Posted by: David | November 7, 2010

Preëxisting Condition

As sometimes happens with these things, the title came to mind first. Preëxisting Condition. But not with the diaeresis, that came afterward. Was reading The New Yorker at breakfast this morning. That magazine is crazy for the double dots. In fact if it were not for The New Yorker would I even know when to use these two little dots? But I digress.

Preëxisting Condition. It has a certain heft  to it (especially with the capital C) as well as an identifiably current and active meaning. Nice title, but not sure where it might lead. Should be very heady stuff about life as we all experience it. Full of joys and sorrows, etcetera. Lived from minute to minute with all our plans and aspirations signifying nothing. As if nothing even needs signifying. Life is the Preëxisting Condition, with a certain ending.

Pass this cemetery on my way to and from work …

… every day for over 12 years now.

Winter is right around the corner. The trees pictured above are now bare. We are back to “standard time”. Darkness when we awaken and darkness heading home from work. Darkity dark dark dark. Good time to listen to the sadder music. Do not despair! Amazon dot com is ready help. For a mere $1.99, YES! One dollar and ninety nine cents buys you this incredible collection of 99 of the darkest classical musical pieces. It took a while to download but if this ain’t worth 2 bucks I don’t know what is. Thank you Amazon!

I saved $96.02 today and have 11 hours of dark music to enjoy. DEAL!

So anyway I hope you didn’t think I was going to start a rant on the insurance industry. Hate to disappoint. That ship has sailed. They are going to profit from your disease, after they’re done making you sick. Best chance we have is to not get sick. Good luck with that. Scream about socialism and Obamacare all you like, the devil takes the hindmost and likes to have us suffer as much as possible. Especially toward the end, when the desparate procedures generate the biggest hospital bills. Darkity dark dark dark. But now I have some music to go with the darkness. Funny enough, the tracks on this bargain download seem to be the classics I’ve been listening to for many years now, though some of them really don’t seem “dark” to me. Hmmmm.

High Five!

Garlic beds all mulched and ready for winter. Brussels sprouts behind and to the left.

Brussels sprouts after getting their leaves hacked off. Easier to harvest and the leaves are about all that’s compostable.

After the harvest.

Half a bucket of sprouts.

This being way too many sprouts to eat before they start to turn yucky, we gave away about two thirds of them. Never tried freezing them. I imagine that they’d freeze up pretty well. Also harvested the last few purple cabbages. Not much left out there but leeks, parsley, some pretty beat up celery, and kale.

Parsley and leeks. For you admirers of foliage. Know you’re out there.

Got a start on harvesting the jerusalem artichokes too. Gave away about a bucket load to two folks at work that want to plant them. One batch of the red variety were planted at the college as part of a “permaculture” garden project.

Diggity dig dig dig.

Please let me apologize for this post’s randomness. It certainly didn’t achieve the altitude I’d hoped for. Come back in a week or two.


  1. So dave – I gotta tell you, this post kind of freaks me out a little bit. Are you okay? Is everyone in your family ok? Great post, but I am worried ’bout you and yours.

    Thanks maleesha, that’s very sweet of you. I’m fine, we’re fine, but as I wrote a few years back, in my most hit upon post, “…only the sheerest curtain separates our pleasant, contented existences from utter torment”. A good friend of mine was recently diagnosed with MS, and that’s been weighing heavily on my mind. Along with the coming of winter. Summer goes so fast, as you well know. You’ve probably shoveled snow already, huh?

    So don’t be freaked. It’s just that old “jeez everything is going so swell that there must be a disaster just around the corner” type of thinking. How’dja like our brussels sprouts?

  2. I’m no sold on Brussels Sprouts…and would never attempt to grow any because of my indifference, but that seems like a pretty good yield for what you have in the ground.

    How was your overall yield for everything this year?

    Indifference you say? Harumph. I find it difficult to believe that you have an indifferent bone in your body.

    This garden year was one of our best ever. We filled up our freezer and our supply of onions and squashes in the root cellar is such that we’ll need to give plenty to friends so they’re not lost to spoilage.

  3. LOVE the brussels sprouts! We didn’t get many this year…but the ones we got were divine.

    Yay! The one’s harvested Saturday have been frozen a few times. Sweet! Hope they keep till Thanksgiving.

  4. Darkity dark dark dark. I like that.

    “Life is the Preëxisting Condition, with a certain ending.”

    Very profound.

    Brussel Sprouts – I’ve never had a b.sprout in my life. I’m a b.sprout virgin I guess. They look way too wholesome. How do you recommend I try one? I see people eating them and I wonder about what’s going on.

    This is homage to friend Bonnie, the talking mime. She often turns phrases of “wordity word word word” for emphasis. It’s a surprisingly adaptable formula.

    THANK YOU for noting the granule of profundity. Twas my goal.

    You need to try a brussels sprout my Taco Belle. When people eat them, they get all kinds of healthy cancer-fighting vitamin packed goodness. And gas. Make you fart like a school bus. So that’s nourishment, and entertainment. Please promise me that you’ll try some. Soon.

  5. Darkity dark dark dark, indeed. But it suits my mood, what with the time change and at this very moment, our first snow falling (it was 70 here yesterday). Darkity dark dark dark …

    Ooh, yah. We had the ice pellets the other day. And the freezing rain. Snow would be preferable to either of those. Thanks for commenting Pi.

  6. P.S. What’s your favorite way to fix Brussels sprouts? I’d always had just boiled or steamed with butter, salt and pepper, but recently came across a recipe that involved pan frying with bacon for crispy-on-the-outside sprouts. Sounded delicious.

    Most often I just microwave them, then season afterward with whatever. They’re actually quite good with mustard on them believe it or not. Grey Poupon or something even zestier.

    A friend at work said that he like to slice them in half, and saute them in butter with garlic, cut side down, then finish them in the oven.

    I sauted some in bacon fat a few weeks ago and that was good. The cabbage and pork flavors go well together.

  7. But it is not an Umlaut. The Umlaut indicates a change in how the vowel has to be pronounced. Yours is a diaresis which indicates that two vowels that sit side by side should not be pronouned as one. I think Umlaute exist only in German. And I also believe that if you just mean the sign, those two little dots, independently of their function, you’d call it a trema.

    Oops. Right. Thanks for that correction. Must go fix that. I think I just like the sound of the word “Umlaut”.

  8. Are there funeral marches among those sad classics? What a strange selection. How long does it take to listen to all 99?
    Do you listen to it while spinning?

    I haven’t yet found the photo of the little house. I have one in my purse, but it is too small, only a postage stamp size, and I know I have much better pictures. I can see the house very well even on a very small picture, but that is because I know exactly what it looks like anyway.

    I didn’t know the Hadron collider is back at it.

    There are a few funeral marches. The famous one by Chopin is the only selection by that composer. Beethoven and Mozart have 10 and 11 tracks each, respectively. There are 11 hours of music. What a deal! For me, the most evocatively sad piece of music is from Peer Gynt; Aase’s Death. And Barber’s Adagio for Strings. But I guess Dark does not equal sad.

    Listen to it while spinning! HAH, that’s very funny! I watch TV while spinning, but many people do listen to music while exercising. Sometimes a commercial with a particularly driving rhythm to its music comes on and my pace picks up a bit. If I were to listen to music while spinning it would be some kind of rock music.

    I hope you find that photo. If not, don’t worry about it. It’s not the one that you sent me drawings of is it?

    The LHC has been back up and running for quite a while now. No amazing discoveries yet.

  9. Yes, the drawing is of the same house or Häuschen pronounce (“hois-hen” strong, audible H) meaning “little house”, but I had a photo with the same perspective. I don’t have so many photos, but some have been put away more carefully than others, and that’s the problem. Albums instead of boxes.

    I also got hold of a beautiful piece of sad music. Have you heard of André Previn? I had never heard of him, but apparently he is known in the US because of the beautiful wives he married. He was a composer. How a composer in this day and age can afford beautiful wives, I don’t know. One of those is called Sophie Mutter, and she is a five star violinist and a beauty. Yet there is nothing in her face to make you suspect a mind.

    I put the access on a post of mine where there are also photos.

    It is called “Tango, a dance and a song” or similar. Apparently he wrote it when he fell in love with her, and wrote it for her to play. Now they are divorced, but still play together. She has three kids. When she was 14 she already played under one of those Barenboim (it means Bear tree); I don’t know anything about classical music, and I don’t know the names of those great directors.

    The composition follows basically classical patterns with wild excursions into someother eery thing.

    Well I hope that you find the photo at some point. From the drawing that looked like a very interesting place to live

    I have heard of André Previn. He was a popular composer, conductor, and recording artist. My father and I had some record albums of his, either popular classics, film scores, or some such stuff. I knew nothing of his various beautiful wives. But I really enjoyed that sad little composition of piano and violin. I would describe it as somewhat “haunting” as well as a little sad. Thank you for pointing me to it. I love that sort of music.

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