Sunday, August 22, 2010

There's caterpillars in me parsley...

They're baaack...

See where peer pressure will get you?

Oh, no. I'm not allowed to toss them off the terrace now, noooo. That would be bad, and nasty, and mean, and un-ethi-everything.

They are eating. my. parsley.

But that's fine. I can let go. Perkyvoice. Live and let live.


Note. This parsley is right beside my strawberries. So far, they don't like strawberries.

Sure, I can let it go. But all my parsley has been taken over. And I like parsley. Raw, in salad. With raw onion. Chopped and stuffed under chicken skin with lemon. Etcetera.

My left wing tolerance will dry up when they finish the parsley, and the dread right winger will come storming from behind the clipped shrubs. I'm mad as hell and I just can't take it anymore. Off! All of you, Off off off!

Sh-kerboom, mushroom cloud, caterpillar parts, green rain.

Speaking of which, some years ago someone (who did not know me very well) told me she took me to be the opposite of what I in fact was, politically. She thought I was the opposition. It floored me. So I have had to come to terms with the fact that I am basket of conservative and liberal contradictions. But to be taken for one of those when I seem far closer to one of them? Sobering. And then you wonder how different they are, anyway.

Then I was told by someone else that I play my cards very close to my chest, that I am enigmatic and hard to read. And I think to myself, what is this red thing pumping messily gushing blood promiscuously, situated smack in the middle of my rib cage behind plexiglass? I thought it was my heart! Apparently not.

Then there's the friend, attached by law, mind you, to the friend who says I'm the aforesaid poker player; the friend, alleged, who describes me in her post-40 memoirs as - as my chica the Latina paraphrases it - 'an impeccably dressed Eskimo stirring the bouillabaisse.' In other words, Cold. But making really good bouillabaisse. And in the same breath suggests that I do not like men. And then details the blow-by-blow break up of a relationship of mine, years ago. I am mentioned by name, but is the dude? No. Her friend (?) V gets a rather more detailed dragging through the mud, so I guess I'm lucky.


Friends don't call friends Eskimos, for sooooo many different reasons. Doesn't matter if you say nice things about their bouillabaisse. And then the underhand outing? You don't think we might have had a conversation about this before I saw it in print? And no, the compliments do not make the spiteful comments OK.

You see where talking about caterpillars will get you?

It's about perceptions. And relative worth.

About who gets to stay, and who gets tossed off the terrace. And why.

I feel better now.

Sometimes I need to ruminate on a thing. And I have ruminated.

The caterpillars can stay.


  1. Caterpillars, I don't know which species, are reputed also to like dill. If you don't like dill as much as you like parsley, maybe plant some dill? Next time? Because you're right, you've got to have fresh flat-leaf parsley on hand for many things because it's so good in many things.

    Sorry to hear about the memoir debacle. I think people who don't make their livings as writers don't understand that something can sound odd or unkind on the page when it sounds so very lighthearted and straightforward inside their heads. . . She seems to have pressed on a sore point, but she may have meant it as a compliment, however clumsily expressed. Many people admire self-containment,or the seeming union of opposites.

  2. Marie,

    You don't need to worry about how people perceive you.

    You understand the things that matter: having a great drink in hand (in a beautiful glass) whilst giving our plants a drink; Opinel knives (great on a picnic, I love the stained carbon edge); butchers are the best, I always leave happy, they always put a smile on your face; you love your local shops; you don't do frauds; you love great plants (and even indifferent ones); the sun; the sky; the sunset; last but not least you waited, you did your time and you found Vince.

    You love a good bbq / braais / chargrilled meat (and god knows the hosta will survive, or be damned).

    Most important of all, you love good writing. So please excuse my drivel above. Hemingway said it all in a Moveable Feast, and what he didn't say, MKF Fisher did. You get it. So don't worry about the buggars that don't get you.

    So when you next step on the gravel, and you hear the crunch underfoot, raise your glass for everything you have done! And who you are. Not how you think people perceive you.

    Best wishes to you and Vince,

  3. Wow, didn't see where this post was going.

    I'm sorry about the caterpillars and I'm even sorrier about the rhymes with witch and the hurtful names and downright lies. And why would she find it necessary to tell your story? Did your personal pain make you a better cook? Did she feel her life looked better if she shredded someone elses?

    Don't fret Cat Girl. We know you as an avenger of shoddy stores practices and racial injustices and a protector of caterpillars and those you love, urban gardens and proper coffee and napkins.

    The cream always rises.

    xo jane

  4. Food is most definitely a common denominator. I am the exact opposite of you politically but I enjoy you and your blogs (really love the cat)....If I found the caterpillar on my parsley I would not throw it off of the balcony, I would gently remove it and carefully take it over to the waiting beaks of my free range organic chickens to gobble up before the poor caterpillar new what hit it.

  5. oops, read this post too quickly, before fully awake, and with a morning headache not fully dissipated. Also scanned some of the Amazon reactions to the book. Ack! No amount of naivete about the written word excuses this. Most unfair and unkind. I imagine He Who Shall Be Nameless was thougth to be more likely to sue if disturbed. Still, the editor should have insisted on "names have been changed" all around.

    People can be so disappointing.

  6. Thank you for the patient and thoughtful words...

    Sherri, beaks of hens. You see, this is why I need hens!

    Sorry, a bit embarrassed by all this. Not my usual post. My Croft, as you say, I have tender points, and did not take the high road.

    He Who Shall Remain Nameless is of course well known in his own right, with an even more famous father. I'm not sure lawsuits were so much on her mind as Let's Not Piss off the Famous Friend?

    Of course, the lesson to the naive is, insist on reading the copy before it goes to press.

    Or just say no. Maybe Nancy Reagan was right.

  7. Yikes.

    Well: I am thrilled with your recipe. I will be making it!

    As for Ms. Breakfast Club: *Sigh*. I'm not surprised, really. There is a certain type of megalomaniacal writer/performer/act(or)ress that habitually trades on on the interiors of others, for commerce. I happen to be friends w, related to, and business partners w several.

    It's a big, hairy drag at times.

    Hugs xo & thanks for the fish tips.

  8. We allowed our caterpillars to live. They only ate the parsley, not even the dill next to it. If yours are the same species as ours, they apparently also like carrot tops. We caught them at the pupating stage before they wandered away, and now have chrysalises waiting to become black swallowtail butterflies, maybe next week? I have posted on my blog about it. Though tempted to squash the caterpillars, when we (the humans) reflected on the fact that they were butterflies to be, we didn't. They ought not to end up eating all your parsley.

  9. Some people can write eloquently, without the need to resort to personal hurt and point-scoring.
    And, yes, sometimes caterpillars can lead you down some very strange paths! Caterpillar catalyst?

  10. About the can always go to the store to buy more parsley if need be, but there's no place else to get gorgeous Swallowtail Butterflies than to provide the habitat. And for the rhymes with itch...some people can only make themselves feel big by making other people feel small. Backhanded compliments or compliments dipped in venom are no compliments at all. We all admire you for the complicated person that you are!

  11. Hmm, I know little about caterpillars and even less about gardening, but if there's one thing I know, it's that Estorbo's "wooman" is worth her weight in gold. Or, as Estorbo might put it, "worth her weight in pelleds." Anyway... this is just my awkward way of saying that anyone who loves Estorbo the way you do can't be cold, and does not deserve to have anecdotes from her personal life writ large (and distorted) in someone's book.

    It's enough to make me say "Eep!"

  12. Very kind of you to let the butterfly children live, but there is always a tipping point. But at least the butterfly child has a pure motive in eating your parsley. Not so much with Ms. Ringworm. Just sayin' ... You're the best, Marie.


  13. Oh boy, some very funny comments here, thank you - you have made me laugh.

    As for the real worms, the tiniest black ones have disappeared. Into the beaks of something? Or perhaps they will re-emerge, fatter. The original worm is getting quite plump.


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