as fate would have it


we earth-trodders should probably tremble when we see portents from the higher powers. i was reading on my balcony yesterday (nov 12) -- again in just boxers in the delicious sunlight -- and i see a cat crouched to spring on any one of the 7 or 8 serbian crows (not monochrome like ours but black then grey then black in three equal parts) bopping about within a few feet of it. i'm thinking, what are those birds doing there? don't they realize it's a cat?

so i watch, never having seen a tom ever catch a jerry (or the like), but when the cat finally pounces, the birds jump easily away. and then i see more: the birds are actually taunting the cat, prancing close to it but just out of reach, flying right over its head and landing just behind, hopping across its field of vision. and they seem to be working in concert.

after a few more attempts, the cat gives up and zips away. the birds then disperse.

when this Trauerspiel began, i assumed of course that fate was the cat and i one of the clearly doomed birds. but no! perhaps it's not so bleak; maybe all these chapters are going to turn out ok; just maybe...

another sign i wasn't sure how to interpret was my dishwashing liquid -- for the sensitive, such as myself! (also note how the ketchup label advertises hot peppers. hot peppers, however, are not among its ingred- ients...)

finally, the grilled lamb stand i intended to bring my main course for last night's dinner was closed, so instead i continued on and ate at a pretty fancy, old-school serbian restaurant, decked out gaudily like a love grotto Cupid would have shared with Bacchus. (oh my did the fountains spurt)

and reading the english menu, and noticing the prices being a little high, i was a little concerned. but how, my lovelies, knowing me as you do, could i resist Mountain Lamb in Self Milk? fear not! resist i didn't, and out comes a helmet-sized glass cauldron half filled with lamb chunks, potato, and veggies in a rich dairy "potage" -- clearly thickened with the feta-like kaymak and utterly stupendous. (picture to follow) i think i'll make this at home, only i'll cook down the liquid till it's an ultra-dense, lamb-infused ICBM of flavor. should be amazing.

also had an excellent day at the market, buying beets the shape of breasts in National Geographic from an old woman whose face said Eastern European Root Vegetable Farmer so loudly even had i not seen her wares i would have known she'd have tubers and rhizomes stashed away somewhere. even better, after i gave her a somewhat inappropriately large bank note, she kept saying in serbian, Grandma will change your bill for you, honey, Grandma will give it to you. ha!

by the by, my grandmother often refers to how her husband walter's family in austria-hungary -- now romania -- were "dirt farmers" only 2 generations before (not exactly sure what other type there are apart from the hydroponic geniuses in Marin county), and i've alluded here to the photo in which the alexandr karelin-faced women look like they could beat my brother at arm wrestling, so, yes, Grandma really wasn't far off the mark.

i then bought spinach from a man whose hands looked like size x-small medical gloves inflated to near rupture.

and -- PETA ALERT! PETA ALERT! -- i also bought 2 delightful bits of Barbaro, soon after the fall: horse steaks and dried horse sausage, the latter of which is complex and delicious in the extreme. i'll be cooking up the steaks tonight and will report back. but based on the color of the meat, they should be scrumptious.

back to the mill wheel, which, gods willing, will keep turning smoothly. the portents appear good.