The Great Plotnik

Monday, December 31, 2007

A Simple New Year's Resolution (Smack!)

The Great Dancenik is taking stock as the year ends. The Great Plotnik thinks he should too. He just got home from dropping The Great BZWZ at the airport for her trip back to the Big Shmapple, something he never likes doing, and from Martha Brothers where he went to buy French Roast and to give The Grand Dog his morning constitutional, something they both love. Then he came home and found his glasses.


Yesterday, The Great Plotnik needed to take a nap. BZWZ and Ducknik were already taking naps, so the two normal nap spots were accounted for. Plottie walked upstairs to the parlor and noted -- hey! The sofa! I think I'll just lie down here!

There is a little table next to the sofa.

Plotnik yawned, took off his glasses and set them on top of the table.

There was, however, a little silver tray next to the pillow on the sofa and so, sleepy as a Great Religious Leader can understandably be, he reached back and placed the silver tray on top of the table AND the glasses.

There was a little box on the floor so he tossed that on top of the tray too.

Last night, the Plotniks wanted to go to Ti-Couz for crepes so Plotnik started looking for his glasses. THREE HOURS later he still hadn't found them. He went through all the SKANKY garbage, piece by piece. In the dark with a flashlight, he and Duck retraced each step of Mischief's morning walk up Harry Street. Plottie went through every piece of clothing, every pocket, looked under every chair and in every sofa cushion. He took everything out of every cabinet. Three people scoured the house until there was nowhere left to look.

They gave up. Ducknik located Plotnik's old, goofy, decrepit, bozo glasses, the ones he used to wear that weigh so much they leave divots on both sides of his nose, and he put them on and off they went to eat Breton crepes with 25,000 other Saint Plotnikians.

This morning he was in the parlor and stared at that table. He had stared at that f!*!*! table, with the f!*!*! tray and the f!*!*! box on the f!*!*! tray, a minimum of ten times yesterday. He thought: Hah, no way. Even I couldn't be that much of a schmuck. But he picked up the silver tray. There they were.

So let us return to taking stock. It's been a great year. Duckie and Plottie seem to be in decent health (spit over the shoulder to ward off demons, PFAHHH!). The kids are doing fascinating things, Mummy P still has plenty of mileage left (PFAHHH!), Baby I has become Toddler Belly and the whole family seems well. The Plotniks could always use closer friends, but it is dawning on Plottie that this must be either the human condition, or his fault. He chooses to blame it on the human condition.

So, for next year only one simple resolution: NO MORE LEAVING THE
F!*!*! GLASSES ON THE TABLE UNDER THE TRAY AND THE BOX! That's not too much to ask, is it?

And the happiest, most creative and poetic 2008 for all of Plottie's readers and friends. A big kiss from Plotnik. (SMACK!)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Harry Street and Philosophical Doggie

26th of October Street Heights is a fascinating neighborhood. A few blocks away from The Great Plotnik World Headquarters is Harry Street, a street that isn't really a street but is instead a wooden stairway of many steps, heading up a steep hill. A few houses have their entrances off the stairway, which looks less like it is in Saint Plotniko than the forest outside Hansel and Gretel's house.

This house on Harry Street came up for sale a few months ago for the usual million plus, with the added bonus of a walk of at least seventy-five stairs up or down every time you'd want to bring in groceries or your stand-up bass.

Naturally, nobody loves Harry Street more than Mischief. This pose has caught him being thoughtful, philosophical even, with his front half anyway.

The walk up leads to a walk down, and man and dog end up staring at beautiful views of the city from a block above World Headquarters. That's the beautiful thing about 26th of October Street Heights-- every block has another view and they're all different.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Eve Eve Dinner

For the past three years, Christmas Eve Dinner has been preceded by Christmas Eve Eve Dinner. Whereas Christmas Eve Dinner always has at least one meat course, Christmas Eve Eve Dinner is always meatless. There are also usually fewer of the meat-and-potatoes-only crew too, and everyone present also cooks, so this meal is becoming the most flavored and favored of the Holiday feasts.

This year on Christmas Eve Eve, The Great PunkyDunky made his incomparable Shrimp Creole, taken from the Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic and Can You Make A Roux?' Creole cookbook.

Plotnik made cornbread with Kalamata olives and diced green chiles.

Two years ago Jess's Indian-flavored Garbanzos were a big hit, made by the Great BeezieWeezie, but this year Jess herself was here, so she made them.

The Noozle, aka Fefnik, made her famous Persian Shirin Polo, which is rice flavored with orange peel and spices.

Of the many pie choices available, Ducknik made apple.

And how did Plotnik and Ducknik feel about the whole deal?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Noe Kitty

After walking Mischief this morning, Plotnik walks next door to make sure Noe Kitty is OK. Noe lives in the apartment Plotnik's neighbors were nice enough to loan to Nefnik, Fefnik and Vashnik for five nights, in exchange for taking care of Noe. Now the apartment is empty, except for Noe, and Plottie walks over twice a day to make sure she's still a cat.

And she is. Plot opens the door: "Hi Noe!" Muted "Whaooo." Plot walks to the bedroom, where he knows she's under the bed. "Hi Noe!" Silence. "Hi Noe!" A gray head with white whiskers pokes out from under the comforter. "Hi Noe! Want some ear scratches?" "Whaooo. Mrrrwaooo." OK.

So for the next ten minutes The Great Plotnik, founder and leader of a minor Western religion, lies on the floor talking kitty talk to Noe and Noe pretends not to like the ear scratches and belly rubs and soft conversation. Finally, Plot gets up, Noe walks to the window, turns around to see if she might be let outside, and Plot says "Sorry, girl. No can do," and Noe Kitty then prances like Maria Callas, back up, nose in the air, to the bedroom, where she dives under the bed and stays there until we do the whole thing over again tonight.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Few Weeks at Camp Grandpa

As NotThat has recognized, there is indeed a dog in the Plotniks' picture, at least for several weeks. It has been a few years since their GrandDog Mischief spent a holiday at Camp Grandpa and he loves it up here. At The Great Plotnik World Headquarters there are new trees to sniff, new puddles to investigate, new kittens to terrorize, a back yard filled with green hiding places for various varmints that he can dream about catching, and, also, no small human to sneak up on him from behind while he's taking a pleasant afternoon nap.

The Great Plotnik truly loves walking him in the morning and evening, because the boy gets so excited! Ooh! The leash! Oooooh! The plastic bags! Ooooooooh! It must could IS! Another WALK! Ar-roooooof!!

Meanwhile, the Isabella on Red Sofa collection is expanding.

The Great Plotnik has really gone around the bend with Belly. When she eats the carnitas out of his taco he feels like he's helping feed the planet. Holding her helps him figure things out. It's weird, but true.

She makes everybody feel that way.

The house is empty of family now, except for The Great BZWZ. She had the flu for a few days, but has recovered. Now she can spend the next few days sending in grad school applications and seeing her Saint Plotnikian friends. Plot and Duck are really happy she's still here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Under the Tree

It's chaotic leading up, and it's chaotic during, and at some point during all the Christmania Plotnik turns to Ducknik and says: "That's it. No mas. Next year we're doing something else. Mexico. South Carolina. Paris."

It's especially true about presents. Plottie complains and complains about how shopping is too crowded and everything is too expensive and there is too much phony cheer and Santa and the reindeer are all driving Priuses and there is not nearly enough It Must Have Been The Mistletoe, and he means it when he says it, but then Christmas morning arrives. Plotnik looks at all the work people put into getting just the right present for just the right person. It feels good to give and it feels good to get. People cry. People laugh. Plotnik really loves his (re)New Orleans t-shirt.

FiveHead and PD brought back wonderful Mayan scarves from a tiny village in Yucatan called Oxkutzcab. WRONG! FiveHead and PD went to a tiny village in Yucatan called Oxkutzcab LOOKING for Mayan scarves, but didn't find any. 5H purchased these in Singapore on her airline shoot.

Grandma Joy brought necklaces and artwork from Namibia and South Africa.

Ducknik and Plotnik had bought jewelry back too, from Oaxaca.

The South Carolotniks sent many wonderful presents, including these framed needlework pieces, done by Ducknik's grandmother many years ago, and given to BZWZ and Isabella. The work and the big-heartedness of that present brought everyone in the room to tears, especially The Duck.

There is, of course, much more, but the spirit is what counts. It is wonderful to be around people who care about one another, who love being together, who enjoy the way it feels to go out of their way to pitch in. These holidays are exhausting and expensive and time consuming, but in the end you get a lot of wonderful memories, and some go into frames.

And, just in case The Great FiveHead ever wants to run for office, here is the most domestic picture that was, is, or ever will be taken of her. She is some Honey Bunny.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Photos Part One

Christmas has finally arrived. It's early, presents still haven't been opened, but there are plenty of pictures anyway. Santa Belly was Purple Belly yesterday.

There has been a lot of cooking going on.

The Great Five Head is the Offical Brand New Honey Bunny.

Pool Hall Joy has obviously learned to support herself in other ways than education.

Now, it's time to eat (again). More later.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Belly's Pink PJs

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tree's Finally Decorated

We're getting closer. More pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Vashie Finds the Starfish

See Vash-Nik? See the tree? See the starfish? Yesterday The Great Plotnik, The Great Ducknik, Nefnik, Fefnik and Vash-Nik went down to Shmorecraft to buy the Seasonal Green Ornament for the Maharajah Room at The Great Plotnik World Headquarters and Meatball Kitchen. Vashie picked it out and it's a beauty. The amazing thing is this year trees are cheaper than they've been in fifteen years, at least if you get to the tree lot at the right time.

The starfish is on top of the tree, so the rest can now begin. Today, when Toddler JellyBelly (Formerly Known as Baby Isabella) gets here with her parents, along with The Great BZWZ, the decorating can begin.

Here's what sunrise looked like this morning.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Xmas Presents that Nobody Will Take

People seem to love the presents The Great Plotnik and The Great Ducknik bring home to them from their travels in foreign lands, but that's only because they don't see the other ones -- the gifts that do not seem to have the same magic in the light of the living room that they did under the dusky skies of Wherever The Hell.

Like the ratty purses above that were purchased in a tiny shop in Ephesus, Turkey. NOW, Duck tells Plot that she wishes he hadn't misunderstood her signals, that he thought meant BARGAIN and she insists meant FLEE! The little purses were badly sewn and sold by an old man in a stubbly beard who kept his hands in his pants.

These two are the worst. The humble paintings of the poor little snot-faced boy and the poor little snot-faced girl that Duck was convinced were the painter's own poor little snot-faced children, but in fact, later, Plot and Duck found in every gift shop in Peru. Please, somebody, take them?

Can anyone use a nice leather key-chain from Florence? It's good, solid leather and in excellent condition. What? Nobody uses fifty keys anymore?

Well, then, how about this fine PeruRail baseball cap?

The little town of Sirince, Turkey, was fabulous, with its homespun mosques and old churches. Why that led to buying these, uh, tablecloths, is a mystery. And Plotnik already threw away the authentic 'oregano' which turned out to be some kind of lemon tree twigs.

Look, everyone needs wall hangings from Cuzco.

And all the jewelry! These are necklaces from Mikune village in Zambia, but there are also plenty from South Africa and Peru.

I mean, what can you do? Take the Mikune village. Plot and Duck, PD, FiveHead and two friends walked into a huge dirt-floor marketplace and found themselves the only shoppers there, surrounded by a hundred or so sellers. EVERYONE had something that the six tourists HAD to have. And they all had stories. Kids to feed. Many people depended on them. They had prosthetic legs. Why not buy this fine carved elephant? Well, Plot did. And the crocodile salad servers. And the giraffe candy bowl. And the baskets, don't forget the baskets.

But that's the good stuff. Maybe it's not all good stuff. Back into the attic until next Christmas, I guess.