Archive for March, 2011


They are four widely divergent types; the motive that drives each one of them to crime is peculiar to that person, and each one would employ a different method. The deduction must, therefore, be entirely psychological, but it is none the less interesting for that, because when all is said and done it is the mind of the murderer that is of supreme interest.

It was a soft purring voice a voice/used deliberately as an
inStrument–nothing impulsive or unpremeditated about it.
Hercule Poirot swung round.
He bowed.

The door of Mr. Shaitana’s flat opened noiselessly. A grey-haired butler drew it
back to let Poirot enter. He closed it equally noiselessly and deftly relieved the
guest of his overcoat and hat.

The man who came in did so with a kind of parody of a brisk bedside manner.
He was a cheerful, highly-coloured individual of middle age. Small twinkling eyes,
a touch of baldness, a tendency to embonpoint and a general air of well-scrubbed
and disinfected medical practitio/er. His manner was cheerful and confident. You
felt that his diagnosis would be correct and his treatments agreeable and
practical “a little champagne in convalescence perhaps.” A man of the world!

“In real life people don’t bother about being too subtle, Mrs. Oliver,” said the
superintendent. “They usually stick to arsenic because it’s nice and handy to get
hold of.”
“Nonsense,” said Mrs. Oliver. “That’s simply because there are lots of crimes
you people at Scotland Yard never find out. Now if you hada woman there
“As a matter of fact we have ”
“Yes, those dreadful policewomen in funny hats who bother people in parks. I
mean a woman at the head of things. Women know about crime.”
“They’re usually very successful criminals,” said Superintendent Battle.
“Keep their heads well. It’s amazing how they’ll brazen things out.”
Mr. Shaitana laughed gently.
“Poison is a woman’s weapon,” he said. “There must be many secret women
poisoners–never found out.”
“Of course there are,” said Mrs. Oliver happily, helping herself lavishly to a mousse of foie gras.

The firelight gleamed on the crystal stoppers. Always an artist in lighting, Mr. Shaitana had simulated the appearance of a merely firelit room. A small shaded lamp at his elbow gave him light to read by if he so desired. Discreet floodlighting gave the room a subdued glow. A slightly stronger light shone over the bridge table, from whence the monotonous
ejaculations continued.

“It’s impossible!” cried Mrs. Oliver. “Absolutely impossible. None of those
people can be criminals.”Superintendent Battle shook his head thoughtfully.”I wouldn’t be so sure of that, Mrs. Oliver. Murderers look and behave very  much like everybody else. Nice, quiet, well-behaved, reasonable folk very often.” “In that case, it’s Dr. Roberts,” said Mrs. Oliver firmly. “I felt instinctively that there was something wrong with that man as soon as I saw him. My instincts  never lie.”
“Didn’t get any extra change out of her,” commented Battle. “Put me in my place,
too. She’s the old-fashioned kind, full of consideration for others, but arrogant as
the devil! I can’t believe she did it, but you never know! She’s got plenty of

“I should have kept him to the end,” said Mrs. Oliver. “In a book, I mean,”
she added apologetically.
“Real life’s a bit different,” said Battle.
“I know,” said Mrs. Oliver. “Badly constructed.”

IF….. by Rudyard Kipling


Rudyard Kipling 





 IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

And just because you’re old and celibate doesn’t give you the right to act however yod
want, lady. I’m of un certain age and celibate (not by choice, of course) and still manage to get along in polite society^

I guess you could call Trixie ( dog) my third best friend because no matter what I do, what I say, or the kind of day I’ve had, she loves me unconditionally.

People who have been married have a sort of telepathy and now we were communicating without saying too much.

I chewed and thought about his question. Was it time to move on? I didn’t know. I did know that I missed Crawford terribly and hoped I would hear  from him. I wished I was more twenty-first century and could pick up the phone and call him myself, but I always hesitated; I don’t know why.

The thing that saved me was the fact that I was bilingual, having been raised in a French-speaking household, and I could sometimes figure things out without killing too many brain cells.

What I remember about Peter was that he was always trying to get me to ride in his Trans Am and that I always declined. Even then, when I should have been throwing caution to the wind and living the life of a carefree coed, my common sense ruled. I had been right about him all along but it still didn’t explain to me why this seemingly bright, attractive woman had ended up with him.

It would take about forty-five minutes to get to Boscobel, and factoring in picnic time, I figured we should leave my house a little before five. I told   her that I would buy dinner and prepare it.”Of course you will. If you leave it up to me, we’ll be eating stale Wheat Thins and drinking flat Diet Coke.” She hung up without saying good-bye.that’s her trademark. No beginnings and no endings.

I tried to think about something sad, willing tears to my eyes. The best I could conjure up was the feeling I get when I watch the first Rocky .Between his love for mousy Adrian and his inability to form a complete, cohesive thought, I was a sucker for his plight. I thought about Rocky in his boxing shorts and my eyes welled up. Thinking about Sylvester Stallone’s post-Rocky career probably would have produced more genuine sadness and tears but that didn’t occur to me at the time. It wasn’t exactly an award-winning performance but the doorman looked at me with something approaching sympathy.

Nothing says sexy like someone who reads obtuse Irish writers
“‘Love loves to love love. And this person loves that other person because everybody loves somebody but God loves everybody,'” he said, a faint  blush appearing on his cheeks as it may have occurred to him that quoting Joyce was either a show-offy move or one that would give me the wrong impression of our first date .Neither possibility crossed my mind. “I’m impressed,” I said, and it was the truth. Not only did he quote correctly, but it was a quote from well into the text.

She nodded and took a long sip from her water glass. “I’m all right with everything.” She smiled, a little sad, but resigned to the truth: her parents were better off apart. And as divorced, or almost-divorced, families went, theirs was pretty functional. Neither parent used Meaghan or her sister to their own gain, they saw their father as much as they possibly could given his crazy work schedule, and their parents seemed to genuinely like each other, ever if they didn’t love each other anymore. There were no financial issues to speak of; their father took very good care of them and made sure they wanted foT
nothing. There was no ill will or resentment in the air when their parents spoke. As she tried to tell Erin, it could be much, much worse. She gave her father a punch in the arm. “And frankly, Dad, you need a woman. You’re getting awfully cranky.

Our school has an unwritten motto: “Keep your alumnae close and your rich alumnae closer.

I was also upset that I seemed to be falling apart. I had always thought of myself as a relatively strong person: I had weathered the deaths of both my
parents before I was thirty, endured a marriage to a man who humiliated me with his actions at least once a year, put myself through graduate school while  working full-time, and gotten a doctorate in the shortest amount of time possible. Now, I was involved in something totally out of my realm of experience and the thought of it made me sick and more than a little crazed.The weather was beautiful: bright, sunny, and clear, and in direct contrast to my mood: dark, cloudy, and complicated. I was furious at Max for leaving  me on Broadway, and I was mad at myself for allowing her to convince me to do something I knew wasn’t right.Kathy’s death also weighed heavily on my  mind. Parents sent their children to our school thinking they would be safe: a Catholic institution, a long tradition of graduating strong, independent women  (and a few men), and a peaceful setting all contributed to a feeling of safety and well-being.

We spent an hour or so stocking up on cosmetics and hair accessories at Sephora, the large cosmetics retailer on the bottom floor. Max’s hair was only a few inches long, but she bought some jeweled barrettes and some kind of turban that she said was essential to making home facials successful. We wandered around the bath aisle, finally picking up some kind of shower gel that promised, “serenity, sensuality, and a feeling of well-being.” Whatever. I[
smelled like coconut. I also picked a lipstick called Jennifer, which was a muted peachy brown and not nearly dramatic enough for Max who stuck heO
tongue out in disgust when I showed it to her.

The waiter arrived and we placed our order: me, the usual, and Max, a medium cheddar burger with fries and a chocolate shake. She looked at me and said, “I didn’t have breakfast,” as a way of explaining her large order. She’s one of those people who eats to excess and remains a size four; if I hadn’t witnessed her hedonism over the last twenty years, I wouldn’t have believed it myself. But she ate and drank to excess five out of seven nights never exercised, and still looked amazing.

I wasn’t feeling so lighthearted. I looked around the restaurant, feeling vulnerable, exposed, and a bit sad. Max was like Teflon–everything slid off her\
She didn’t seem affected by anything and found humor in almost everything. And right now, she wasn’t even sensitive enough to shut her trap and notice
that I was scared.

I guess she wasn’t as dense as I thought. She had been right there with me, all the time.

“Are you always this controlling?” I asked.”Are you always this stubborn?” He drove to my house and pulled up in front.

I could become a beer drinker in my new life as a single thirtysomething. I imagined myself at singles’ parties, hoisting beers, a big grin on my face, telling  jokes and meeting lots of other single people. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. As long as I had beer and a few single friends, I could live the life of a single woman.

She popped the trunk from inside the car and got out to retrieve her packages and her computer. Based on years of experience, I knew that we would be having a fashion show later when she modeled all of her new purchases.

‘And then did you go to Cambridge?’ asked Stanislas, looking up at Daisy. ‘I spent a summer there once. It is quite a beautiful place.’
‘Oh, no!’ Daisy shook her head, laughing.
‘So you went to Oxford? That is also good, I think.’
‘No! Nothing like that! I went to university in Bangor. I wanted to do media studies, though I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but I thought it sounded cool. But actually I got bored with it, so one day I was in Harvey Nichols – a really great department store in London – and I just got a job there, which was excellent fun for a while. And then there was this girl I knew who was going for a job in fashion PR and then she was like, “Oh, I’m suddenly going to Thailand to travel,” so she went to Thailand and I went to the interview instead. Voilà.’
Everyone looked astonished at this, except round-faced fifteen-year-old Amélie, who looked dazzled.
‘You English!’ Agathe said, looking at Daisy with a brilliant smile. ‘You are so eccentric!’
There was a short silence.
‘I suppose,’ Clothaire said from behind his copy of Le Monde Diplomatique, ‘this proves that the British really are an empirical people. Nothing has changed since the eighteenth century.’

‘But Clothaire is very romantic, isn’t he?’
Octave raised his eyebrows. ‘Clothaire, romantic? Not really. Completely tyrannique, in fact.’
Daisy was beginning to see Isabelle’s relationship with Clothaire in a different light. ‘So you think that he doesn’t appreciate Isabelle?’
‘Well, he appreciates some things. He likes to have a pretty girlfriend. She dresses with elegance and she is a good cook. And she is very intelligent, so when they get married and have dinners, she will be a good hostess.’
Daisy was shocked. ‘That sounds dreadful! Why is she with him?’
‘Good question. Clothaire is quite an interesting guy, but he is so pompous. I think Isabelle is too good for him. But women are strange sometimes.’ Octave smiled at Daisy. ‘You never know what they are thinking.’

Paris Fashion Week was in full swing and she was meeting Anouk to go to a couple of shows. Afterwards they were having tea at Ladurée, where, if they were in luck, they might catch a glimpse of fashion royalty – Mario Testino, perhaps, or Anna Wintour – sitting incongruously in the midst of soignées Parisiennes and their poodles. It was quite a place for fashion moments even out of show season. Daisy had once seen an old lady dressed entirely in shocking pink, hat and gloves included, order a plate of tiny magenta-coloured raspberry and cherry macaroons and feed them discreetly to her basset – who sat quietly beneath the table wearing a small pink coat.
Daisy did not believe in dressing down for the shows: it had to be designer battledress, and preferably by someone only the cognoscenti would be able to identify. She settled on a black high-necked, slim-hipped and belted coat dress by Savage from two seasons ago, worn with long black boots. It was a sample that had never actually gone into production, a unique piece embroidered with intricate braids of stiff black horsehair. Oh yes, it looked good. It did sort of say ‘kiss the whip, slave’ but then again that look always went down well in the fashion world. Daisy cocked her head to one side: perhaps she looked a touch too strict? She needed a frivolous touch – her flashing heart-shaped brooch, of course!

Savage, Chrissie had explained, wanted to steer clear of ‘the tent’, the marquee erected outside the Natural History Museum in Kensington, where London Fashion Week set up temporary home twice a year. That was too soulless and corporate for her, apparently. What she wanted instead was to show in a space that ‘felt like home’. Savage must be somewhat spéciale, Isabelle thought while surveying the enormous low-lit warehouse littered with mysterious remnants of defunct machinery and smelling vaguely of dust and chemicals.
She turned to Jules. ‘It is a bit sinister, this place.’
‘Never let it be said of Savage that she doesn’t like things edgy.’
‘It seems a little bizarre to invite people here for this. Isn’t Whitechapel where there was … you know … Jack the Ripper?’
‘Oh yes, absolutely. You can practically feel his presence at your elbow, can’t you? It really gives you gooseflesh.’ Jules looked around appreciatively. ‘This is more of a Silence of the Lambs sort of setting, though.’

‘Actually, I long to know about the origins of the band. How did you guys meet? Tell all.’
‘Whitby,’ Karloff said enigmatically.
‘I don’t understand,’ Isabelle said in confusion.
Jules turned towards her. ‘Whitby in Yorkshire is where Dracula’s boat landed in England.’
Isabelle stared at her blankly.
‘In the book, darling, the novel by Bram Stoker,’ Chrissie said between sips of tea.
Jules and Karloff nodded vigorously.
‘So Whitby is a place of pilgrimage,’ Chrissie pursued, warming to his theme. ‘Like a gothic Ibiza. Everyone wears black. Everyone is pale, dark and interesting. The sky is leaden. There is a graveyard with higgledy-piggledy tombstones. It’s freezing cold. A great time is had by all.

So far, her Sparkle blogs had flowed out in a frenzy of excitement. This one was much harder going. She stared listlessly out of the window of Isabelle’s study and wrapped her fluffy pink dressing gown more closely around her. For the first time since moving to Paris she felt very chilly. Perhaps the notes she’d made at the shows would provide some inspiration. She turned the pages of her pad and typed in whatever seemed vaguely relevant:
Patent everything – shiny shiny shiny.
Nude tights in/bare legs out.
Soft pale grey is new black?
The new black, really? Whatever. It was hard to care at the moment. Daisy paused and looked out of the window. Outside the sky was just that newly fashionable shade of grey. It looked like it was going to rain in a minute. She turned another page and typed in:
Vintage returns with contemporary, slouchy edge.
Airport chic – French pleats and turquoise mascara.
Seven-inch heels on pain of social death – five at a push.
Key look of the season: think Sophia Loren meets Hello Kitty.
Dullsville, all of it. What else? Oh yes:
Best party: launch of Ça pue, non? Revolutionary new perfume that smells like petrol. Brilliant party food – experimental canapés, some delicious, others disgusting, laid on giant Perpex table like snakes and ladders board.

‘Do not take it too personally. There have been so many others. The thing about French men is that they are very proud of being misogynists. They are always talking about la misogynie this, la misogynie that. They find it hilarious.’

fragrant always.’
‘Good for you,’ Tom Quince said, nodding. He looked at Clothaire. ‘Not a florist, by the way, a gardener.’
Clothaire snorted.
Tom Quince ate a mouthful of soup, then said, ‘Though, as a matter of fact, I did consider becoming a florist. But what I enjoy most is making gardens.’
‘It’s very powerful stuff you’re harnessing, very healing,’ his neighbour Belladonna said, looking at him through her eyelashes. ‘You must have a really deep connection with telluric forces.’
‘Like me, Bella is a pagan,’ said Jules, his other neighbour. ‘Unlike me, she likes nothing better than dancing naked in the moonlight. I prefer to wear a toga. It’s more dignified.’
‘I like to commune fully with the earth mother,’ said Belladonna, curling a lock of her black hair around her forefinger. ‘I’m a white witch, you see.’
Clothaire banged on the table and frightened Raven, who bounded down to the floor with an indignant miaow.
‘No, but you are joking with this! You went to a good university. You are an intelligent guy, yes or no? You should do something more interesting.’
Tom Quince calmly shifted his gaze from Belladonna to Clothaire. ‘No doubt you’re right.’
‘Have you quite finished?’ asked Jules, who had come to stand behind Clothaire. ‘I thought so. I’ll take this if you don’t mind.’ She whisked away his half-empty bowl and placed it on top of a perilously high pile of crockery that she then carried across to the sink.

The bus started and, right on cue, tears began to roll down her cheeks. Daisy found these days that almost any movement – reaching up, sitting down, running, breathing in, breathing out – triggered the tiresome crying. Public transport was the worst, obviously, what with all the stops and starts. She had become that dreadful stock character of urban life – Tragic Crying Girl. It didn’t matter that people gave her strange looks. She didn’t care because she couldn’t help it. Perhaps one day the tiresome crying would stop, she thought, looking out of the window at the depressing parade of garish fast-food restaurants and cheap clothes shops on the Boulevard Saint-Michel.

q s, poetry

All men should strive to learn before they die:
what they are running from, to, and why.

~James Thurber

where there is hope there can be faith. where there is faith, miracles can occur.

……………… “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.


I confess:

I am a multidimensional vibration.

But How do I contain that?

I am being and becoming

And I am lost and found in the between


But I don’t know how to reach the other parts of me,

stretched like melted plastic taffy through wormholes of possibility.

I am the thirteenth rose, de-thorned, but pricked by the dozen other red mirrors.

The roses were white, but stained the blood of my zodiacal reflection.

Archetypes battle in me, and I seek my courage in conjuring miracles: the hymns necessary to sustain peace between the gods of war.

All gods

are gods of war.

And I’ve been caught stealing


I’ve been caught thieving


The eagle pecks at my flesh

The swan serenades my soul beyond death

The vulture carries the carrion of my heart across the Milky river Styx

I am the orphan in exile, and I am the hybrid trying to hide in stars

And my centaur’s arrow points back, like an oroborous tail,

Straight into my mouth

I am both Prometheus and the Wounded Healer who spares his Flame from its famine

I am the Artist-Shaman who sacrifices his heart upon the altar

So that humanity may feast upon dawn for but one more day

I am the Sacred Face of the Sun

Reaching to kiss you with my Solar Flare lips

I know my embrace is deadly

But the Light will ascend you

And the Heat will resurrect you

Just stare at me and remember

You are not separate

Climb into the Light

Return the Many to the One

and Fold the distance

Into Wholeness

Very Useful Rules for Living Stolen from Olivia Joules


Never Panic. Stop, breathe, think.


No one is thinking about you, They’re thinking about themselves, just like you.


Never change a haircut or colour before an important event.


Nothing is either as bad or as good as it seems.


Do as you would be done by, eg, thou shalt not kill.


It is better to buy one expensive thing that you really like (and can afford) than several cheap ones that you only quite like.


Hardly anything matters. If you get upset, ask yourself: “Does it really matter?”


The key to success lies in how you pick yourself up from failure.


Be kind and honest.


Only buy clothes that make you feel like doing a small dance.


Trust your instincts, not your overactive imagination.


When overwhelmed by disaster, check if it’s really a disaster by doing the following: a) think “Oh f*** it”; b) attmpt to turn it into an amusing anecdote. If none of the above works, then maybe it is a disaster, so turn to items one (1) and five (5).


Don’t expect the work  to be safe or life to be fair.


Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.


Don’t regret anything. Remember there wasn’t anything else that could have happened who you were and the state of the world at that moment. The only thing you can change is the present, so learn from the past.


If you start regretting something and start thinking, “I should have done…”, always add: “But then I might have been run over by a runaway lorry. Or crushed by a falling grand piano.”