Saturday, June 30, 2012

farmers' market haul

Today's Farmers' Market haul was a good one.  One French Hen (un poulet rouge ...); one packet of Rosy's tamales and some of her posole, and some of her cherries which she swears are perfect and come from the top of the tree (they are, and they are mostly eaten by now).  One bunch baby leeks, one bunch diverse onions, one small bunch chard.  One tub of peas, one of green beans, and a large bag of fava beans.  One bunch yellow beets.  One large bag of very peppery wild arugula.  One bunch of garlic chives.  One small goat cheese molded into a heart, with pansy flowers, and one packet of goats' curd with green chile (both from the woman-run It's All About the Girls goat herd).  And one large bunch of New Mexico wild flowers.  In other words, the market is in full and wonderful summer swing - and in addition to produce, we have (though unpurchased)

dried chiles and grasses

people wearing their summer hats,

and strings of marigolds.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Our favorite nursery, Santa Fe Greenhouses, aka High Country Gardens, has been having its three day summer sale, and we came back with a car load of geraniums and herbs and strange dark brown and yellow striped petunias - like wasps - and a huge pot of flowering basil, and of course catmint, to augment the flowers that we already have.  I'll draw a veil over the unfortunate moment when I thought that - at last! - I'd spotted a little pot of cilantro, and was almost assaulted since I was, in fact, stealing it from someone else's tray of plants ... but the victims of my attempted robbery were kind enough to point out another specimen for me.   Round the back there's something called a Garden of Inspiration - which isn't (or isn't primarily) somewhere one goes and sits when one's stuck with one's writing, but rather shows one what one can do with judicious planting and water systems (and purchases from SFG, no doubt), and garden sculptures, here in our desert climate.  Along one wall was a whole flock of cranes in flight, made out of goodness knows what substance, but most arresting - not that I can see us adopting these, since we have quite enough live birds of our own, including a baby flicker - like a black and white woodpecker with a red head - at the bird bath today.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

street art and the transatlantic

It's another eclectic corner of Silver Lake, en route to the 704 bus stop, via Intelligentsia for a cappuccino and my latest discovery, their feta and scallion scone.  There's another trainer at the bottom, a ballet dancer, an Indian wearing two kinds of formal dress, a lot of painted hearts, and some strange robot-cop looking figures - plus a lot of torn scraps and fragments.  Contemplating why it should be that in England there's Banksy (a barely disguised portrait of him, or at least a wannabe Banksy, called Smitty, helps the plot along effectively in the new John Lanchester novel), who's deliberately pseudonymous, yet in the US we have Shepard Fairey (he of the Obama HOPE poster), who most definitely isn't, I found that, very suitably, Banksy had his first LA show at a tiny gallery in Silver Lake in 2002.

I guess these are (apart from the painted hearts) wheat pasted images, and they had me nostalgic for my old fly-posting days as an undergraduate in Oxford, heading out at the dead of night to plaster hoardings and occasional walls with posters advertising upcoming theater productions, and keeping a constant lookout for police.  I had an old green winter coat - it'd been my best winter coat at school - with a right arm that had turned stiff with all the glue that had slid down it, and frozen and solidified.  But - and this was scary, to find my memory failing me - where did we get the glue, and presumably the plastic buckets from?  Maybe Woolworth's?  And then I panicked when I wasn't sure that I could remember where Woolworth's was (I was right - on the Cornmarket, since 1957 ... although the company had owned the site since the 1930s.  There was previously a Clarendon Hotel there - just where the ugly Clarendon Centre is now.  But I can't be totally sure about those plastic pails, and the brushes, and where we bought or borrowed them - and what did we do with the gummy evidence?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Perhaps the oddest thing about this image is that (unlike those of the past two days) it isn't manipulated at all.  It's just a stencil on the sidewalk on Santa Monica Boulevard, at the top of Myra, seen where I was on my way to catch a bus.  I don't know whether stencils quite fit into my arguments about pavement art for next month's conference.  I was talking about something quite other (Tristram Shandy, to be exact) to Emily Anderson this afternoon, and what she was saying really prompted in me some thoughts about anxieties of artistic impermanence, transience connected with pavement art (for pastels get rained on, trodden on, spat upon ...).  But nothing as violent as that tends to happen to stencils (though, to be sure, they can get painted out, deliberately) - rather, these boots, walking nowhere (though I now have a dim sense of having registered the fact that there may be some large footprints stencilled on the pavement too, marching off round the corner) - these images of boots are only likely to suffer being trampled on and obliterated by real, rubber and leather soled footwear.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

morning glory

Sometimes, messing around, I just come up with an image that gives me a lot of pleasure  - probably an antidote, too, to my near-obsessive checking of the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs.  And the latter isn't because I'm some kind of disaster junkie, but we were both in the Springs so very recently, and because Alice's research project (and ancestors) are all based in CS and in its history, that means that I have an entirely insubstantiatable feeling that's its somehow connected with me.  Here, though, is a morning glory, gently curving its way round the cypress tree - and hence, in turn, completely failing to convey how tinder dry it is here in LA, too.

Monday, June 25, 2012


It's very good to return back to Los Angeles and find that one of the dormant orchids is in full flower.  It's less good to find that various things that I thought were here (a lens for one camera, a battery charger for another) must be back in Santa Fe, or for that matter, in the case of the charger, back in Serbia.  Or somewhere.  So I'm stuck with an iPhone for images for a couple of days.  It's always strange to re-enter one house or the other and revisit all one's personal possessions - that sounds very materialist - revisit even the light, and the floorboards, and the books one left on one's desk.  There will be one less ornamental plate to greet me when I get back to SF, however - yes, dear Moth, in investigating how to climb the fireguard, apparently sent a large Mexican painted plate crashing to its doom (she's fine, and apparently without remorse).  I think this house may need marginally less kitten-proofing - but on the other hand, I'm probably practicing serious self-delusion.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

bowl eligible

Walter Gomez likes his bowl.   There is a strange mis-match between sitting reading photographic theory and continually interrupting oneself to take photos of kittens.  I think that taking an image of Walter G can just be ascribed to the Perfect Instant approach (you don't imagine he stays still there for very long, do you?), and I'll leave it at that.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

it's back to kittens ...

Kitten elevated;

kitten coming out of a grocery bag

kittens in action,

and kitten showing off his spectacular paws.  It's hard to get work done around here.  Actually, in between playing with the young, and consoling the old (LucyFur is currently alarmingly inconsolable: I feel as though I've committed flagrant adultery, and told everyone about it on FaceBook, too), it was possible to string together various thoughts - but oh! the distractions.

Friday, June 22, 2012


With all the kitten activity, it was time to devote some serious time to LucyFur today, lest she become an unhappy cat, thinking that she's been rejected ... which means lots of time in the yard with us.  Only ... her bird-watching activities require, shall we say, monitoring.  The quails - several pairs of them this year, including one with only one leg (Cassie, as in Hopalong C- ) - have just started to produce their chicks - little flocks of ten or twelve at a time running around - not yet in the yard (that takes something of a hop and a jump) - though of course the patrolling of Lucy and Lola has to be stepped up the minute they get over the wall.  The quails themselves, though, are fine guardians of their space and safety.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Walter Gomez

It's Walter Gomez's turn today.  I'll stop obsessively posting kitten pictures soon, but how could one resist ... ?  These are for Barry.

And the good news?  We took them to our own vet, who said that they seemed pretty healthy (they certainly are very very energetic and have wonderful appetites), and he saw no reason why Introductions shouldn't begin soon.  The kitties, old and new, may of course have other ideas.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


This kitten business is completely nervewracking.  Cute though kittens are, they manage to make one worry at every turn (and that's even before one gets to the have-they-swallowed-a-feather; does it hurt to jump on a rolled up yoga mat and have it fall on top of you stage).  Are those ulcers on Moth's nose, and if so, what do they portend?  What does it mean that Walter G has been panting in fits and starts all evening? (other than that it's been in the 90s outside).  And that he's given at least three large sneezes? Is it dust in the carpet, or something more sinister?  On the plus side ... they are full of energy and appetite, and they have clear eyes, and they go for their first check up to our vets tomorrow.  And we keep them isolated, and wear different clothes inside their room, and disinfect ourselves afterwards - and this will be the regime for a week.  What they make of people who arrive to see them semi-naked, and then put on the same clothes each time ...? ...well, it's a good job that they're cats.  But one can't be too careful with shelter cats when one has other kitties.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meet Moth. And Walter Gomez.

It's been just over two months since we lost our dear and irreplaceable Emmett - about the length of time, perhaps, at which it's o.k. to go and visit the animal shelter.  Just to look.  And with a pact - just supposing we came away wit anyone, one kitten only, and a boy kitten.  We do, after all, have three female cats.  We'd seen a grey tabby whom we rather fancied on line ... turned out to be very pretty, yes, but anti-social towards humans, all things considered.   Gomez - this is him below - not, perhaps, at his handsome best here, but looking unquestionably appealing from the get-go (the fact that he didn't much want to get off Alice's bag helped his cause, too).  He's now Walter Gomez, the Walter coming from Alice's grandfather.  The Colorado Springs one.  And Moth?  Her shelter name was Phany, which really wouldn't do.  She jumped on me, in the kitten and young cat meet and greet room, and purred and purred and purred.  So much for not wanting another girl.  Could you have resisted her?

Santa Fe Animal Shelter - the All Fur Friend adoption center part of it - was wonderful, and let us sit and make friends with all the kittens and cats for as long as it took.  There's been an upper tract respiratory infection going the round there - so they have to be isolated from our other cats for five days.  Lucy, in particular, is wandering up and down the hallway, wondering what EVER is going on inside.

And no, this isn't one for my parents' ears.  My mother's fears that we're turning into loony cat ladies ... well, no comment.

Monday, June 18, 2012

filling the birdbath

... is something that we have to do twice a day at present: it's so hot, and dry (with the air made even more dry by being filled, just faintly, with tiny particles of smoke from the fires in the southwest - not so smoky that we can ever exactly see the smoke, but it makes for hazy sunsets.  The slightly blurred, fragmented shards of water, looking like grass clippings, are less explicable, except that I think that I was shooting at rather a slow speed.  It was soon ready, in any case, for the next wave of bluebirds or finches ...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

zero tolerance

Believe me, I should have known better.  The watermelon looked too decrepit for our lunch - it was looking blurred and furry inside, going brown around the seeds (it had, after all, been hanging around at the bottom of the fridge for rather too long).  So my idea of putting it out for the birds ... clearly, the pesky ground squirrel / rock squirrel that delights in digging large holes inside our garden and out was onto this treat like a shot.  How - apart from not putting out water-melon - do we rid ourselves of this unwanted critter?  Animal lover that I am ...  A rifle seems a little extreme, and in any case, even shotgun pellets would ricochet nastily off the wall.  A catapult?  An actual CAT doesn't seem remotely interested - or rather, squirrel rushes off at the slightest hint of feline or human, but we can't be out there all the time.  Maybe a scarecrow?


Rarely, if ever, do I headline with a picture that I didn't take myself, but I was just so happy to make some new young friends this evening that I'll give Alice by-line credit for this one.  Sheep!  Sheeplets!

A miniature horse! (Duster).  Donkeys!  Cats!  Turkeys!  (one of which will doubtless be seen again, on our table, at Thanksgiving).  Real-sized horses!!  Dinner this evening, in other words, at an idyllic situation on a ranch some twenty miles south of here, in the middle of beautiful nowhere; sitting round the pool at dusk with soft music coming out of the speakers while swifts darted low to catch the evening insects (here, below, are a couple in the barn, just a little earlier), and sausages and vegetables cooked away on the grill, and everything was (well, o.k., there's still the matter of my sinus/cold etc affliction) - everything else was perfect, and was a complete vindication - as if one were needed - as to why I am so welded to the light and space of Northern New Mexico.

Friday, June 15, 2012

the consolation of a tulip

One could possibly put anything on the kitchen windowsill in the morning and it would look good with the sun coming in - this tulip's petals are so translucent that one can see the mesh of the window gauze through them.  I needed this tulip (broken off from a larger spray) and indeed other flowers today (some of them bought and planted from Santa Fe Greenhouses, my favorite shopping extravaganza or two of each summer) since my cold/cough/conjunctivitis/general exhaustion and malaise returned with a vengeance - having been free of colds for two and a half years, this one is taking delight in investigating every corner of my body and seeing how it can affect it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Our house is full - that is, both houses are full - of little bars of soap.  I like soap.  I like, that is, artisanal soap, whether made of goats milk or lavender or rose water; moulded into functional bars, like this one, or into cats or sheep or angels or spirals or goats' heads (over time, those always seem to dissolve, wherever they're kept, into a lumpy but still savory mass).  Soap is a convenient thing to buy at a farmers' market when one wants to patronize it but in all honesty doesn't want any more onions or carrots; soap - the most delicately but strongly perfumed soap, like the jasmine soap we brought back from Paris - can be carried off to dubious hotel rooms (think Serbia, or, more accurately, think London Heathrow hotels) to make them, and us, smell better.  I don't have a clue where this soap came from - and indeed, I moved it off the kitchen window sill so that it didn't itself melt - but it prompted a eulogy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

if in doubt, invert a tree

This was a rarish glimpse of clear sky at the end of today - a curiously grey, flat light for most of it, which matched my still cold-ridden mood for much of it, stopping me from doing as much writing and reading as I wanted to (and what I did read was in large part the first quarter of John Lanchester's Capital, which I'm much enjoying, but was hardly to the point), and amplifying my distracted tendency to check the road and driveway for signs of a FedEx van multiple times (I'm waiting for my badly-needed car keys, still somewhere between LA and here, but that's another story).  A van did turn up, or rather a truck, but it was delivering a new tree next door, replacing one that died last summer, was uprooted a day or so back, exposing, just briefly, a wonderful view of the Sangre de Cristos from our middle bathroom.

But this (also, maybe, dying) tree fits quite neatly with what I was writing about today: keraunography ("writing by thunder") - in other words, the patterns left on people when they're struck by lightning.  Back in the C19th, people saw this as a kind of flash photography - the human skin was the sensitized plate, the tree (say) the object, the lightning flash the agent of light.  So they ended up with the image of a cat that had been standing in front of them imprinted on their bald head, or the simulacrum of an umbrella they'd been carrying, or, more likely, the veiny image of a tree.  Something like this, in fact.  It seems that in fact, these burn marks are not (of course) some kind of photography, but represent where a person has been sweating, but even that doesn't explain what happened to Abbott Parker, struck in the back by lightning in Morristown, NJ, in 1904.

"Upon being removed to the Catholic Hospital, Parker was placed on a cot over which hung a large           crucifix.  While the patient’s back was being bathed with alcohol and water the physicians and nuns were astonished to see a picture of the crucifixion on the flesh, whereas a few minutes before no picture was there.  The nuns believed that it was a miracle, and the doctors were mystified, as they declared that the picture was not the result of tattooing.  An expert tattooer, after an examination, also decided that the picture was not tattooed.  A theory which seems generally accepted is that Parker’s skin had become sensitized by the effect of lightning, and acted as a photographic plate for the crucifix hanging over his cot."

NJ has always been a strange place.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


When we left with the volleyballers, the parent bluebirds were busily flying back and forth, back and forth, feeding their young - how many young, we didn't know.  When we returned - activity had ceased.  So there's always that potentially grim task - opening up the box, and seeing if there's any tragedy inside.  No dead baby birds, large or small - clearly there was a successful lift-off!  And there was a great mound of bird poop - how ever many young had there been?  But here are three eggs (one buried deep, maybe even in a Version 1 of the nest; two pushed to the side) that for whatever reason haven't hatched (and there could be so many reasons why - too much heat, too much cold, or just the luck of the draw).  They look like tiny pale blue sugar eggs (the lighting here gives them too much of a duck-egg color). 

And in other bird news, the first clutch of quail chicks - ten or eleven of them - were spotted outside the back gate this evening.

Monday, June 11, 2012


One thing that I learned today is that the Mining Exchange Hotel in Colorado Springs (a most excellent establishment, though I'm not so sure about the Original Art Work that hangs throughout - as above, in our room, depicting the building itself) is not the same building as the Exchange Bank (now much mutilated, and barely recognizable).   This was instantly obvious when I returned and compared the building we'd been staying in with the money box that I gave Alice a couple of years ago.  Alas - but the box shows another floor of rooms, and quite differently shaped windows.

On the other hand - co-incidence rules.  It's still not clear (the elusive City Directories for 1943 and 1944 should clear this one up) when Alice's mother and grandmother vacated the house that I showed yesterday.  But by 1945, it belonged to a Robert LaGrange - an attorney.  And where did that attorney have his offices?  On the 5th floor of the Mining Exchange building, where we were staying and where Alice still is ...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

tourism in the springs

So what kind of tourism should one practice?  There's the standard version - the hikes around the Garden of the Gods (yes! we made it there, at last - that is, I'd never been there before, and Alice was last there aged 5, at a long-discontinued Chuck Wagon dinner, started as a tourist thingy in 1935).  This is a pretty good view of Pike's Peak through the hole in the Siamese Twin rocks.

And then there's the research tourism.  This is the house in which Alice's grandparents lived at the time of The Scandal in the early 1930s (and her mother and grandmother carried on living there until at least 1940, according to the census).  Six or seven years ago we talked our way in, and saw the rooms that her mother would have grown up in - today, we were alarmed to see that the roof was in terrible bad repair in various places - an Ancestral Home, but what can one do to intervene?  The whole area of the Old Northend is full of beautiful houses - ones we could afford, even - but why live in Colorado Springs, unless one has to, which mercifully we don't.  Sure, Pike's Peak is stunningly beautiful - but it's a scarily self-righteously right wing place: this evening, we passed a guy on the street wearing a tee shirt with that by now very familiar Obama image - the Shepard Fairey HOPE one - made more hollow cheeked, more zombie-fied - and the lettering, rather than HOPE, read CANNIBAL.

And then there's the touching base picture.  Two years ago, I posted the image of a tin horse just up the street from where Alice's great-uncle used to live.  And two years later, I find that the same angle, the same positioning of the ears is what I go for again (I didn't check the last one earlier).  The stickers are a little faded, the flowering weeds in front are gone, the store behind, at the back of the M TEL (as the sign reads) still sells antiques and guns and "military memorabilia," and the establishment offers rooms for 2 at $38 a night.  This is a run-down and scary city in many ways ...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

disasters of colorado springs

Somehow, this isn't quite the label that one would want to have, though Alice wore it well.  She was talking at a symposium run by the local library here in Colorado Springs on Disasters of the Pike's Peak Region - obviously enough, the collapse of Building and Loan Societies in 1931/2.  This was far from the only problem to hit this benighted place, though - we heard about floods, fires, and (given the size of the military here) what happens to people returning with PTSD.  I suspect the paper that really made an impact was one on landslides, landslips, subsidence - moral: be very careful where you build a house in the Springs.  Or indeed - the message of the whole conference would seem to be - why ever would you live in a place where so many bad things happen.

To my mind, that ought to extend to contemporary downtown (and indeed, one of the speakers devoted herself to memorializing some of the notable buildings that have been torn down and replaced by impersonal junk).  For - who could ever bear to sit in a cocktail lounge (and of course, I speak as someone who can rarely be persuaded out of drinking a cocktail) decorated with large red and black lamps like this?

Friday, June 8, 2012

the marked grave

Maybe eighteen months ago, Alice ordered grave stones - or at least, small tablets - for her grandparents' unmarked graves here in Colorado Springs (where she's speaking tomorrow at a conference on Notable Colorado Springs Disasters).  The unmarkedness of these graves was, of course, connected with that topic (not my story to tell ...) - but it didn't seem right to let them continue in anonymous oblivion into perpetuity.  So sunset found us driving slowly round the Evergreen Cemetery matching plot markers with the map that I was just about able to call up on my iPhone; feeling intrusive on the youngish man who had brought his folding chair to sit peacefully in the evening light by the grave of some departed person; and managing to locate the small slabs at last.  They were already covered in powdery red dust and fallen leaves, but we did our best to tidy them up.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I don't think of croquet as an American game, and so, seeing a croquet lawn set up out of the window at La Posada, Winslow, at breakfast this morning, I took it to be some strange nostalgic whim on the part of the British chef who runs the Turquoise Room restaurant there, and in which I was, at the time, eating the habitually excellent Arizona Green Chile Eggs.  But there is, it turns out, an American Association for the sport, with its own national rules (played with a six hoop set), and so on.  I doubt I'll ever be tempted to play - it's always struck me as golf for people who are full of Pimms and don't want to walk very far. But I love the setting, with the train rumbling past in the background ...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I ride inside

This is definitely one for the Dogs Against Mitt Romney campaign - seen in the car park at Gelson's, in Silver Lake ... no crate strapped to the roof for this one!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

two bedroom window views

Morning: the Hotel Ibis, in Heathrow.  Fast forward to this evening - an eleven hour flight in between - and here we are, back in Los Angeles.  It's not a fair contrast, tempting as it is to say - so there! That's why I live in California! - had we stayed with my parents last night, instead of taking a car with a crazed driver, who at one point drove rapidly backwards down the Bath Road, and had this been the view from their window, it would be a much tighter call.  At one end, the Jubilee Service on TV, or at least the habitually smug looking Prime Minister stepping into St Paul's Cathedral; at the other, Scott Walker.  Hmmm - maybe a tougher choice, when it comes to choosing between countries ... 

Belgrade to London [June 5th]

From Belgrade airport to Jubilee-full London (and a terrible hotel - don't ever stay at the Hotel Ibis, at Heathrow, unless you're desperate.   Though most of the team went bowling after they returned from dinner in Covent Garden, and that might have made things better.  But the Internet didn't work, despite swallowing 9.99 GBP.  So no post last night).

I found myself playing tour guide on our way into London - tour guide to a city full of red white and blue bunting, and metal barriers resting between the flotilla down the Thames and Tuesday's Royal Procession.  It's certainly easier to be enthusiastic, in some kind of isn't it quaint/nostalgic kind of way, about the Jubilee when one is flying in for less than a day - with such exposure, the sheer density of tat still remains at the level of novelty (the plastic shopping bags like Union Jacks; the bizarre anti-litter notice outside Pret a Manger [sorry about lack of accents]).

And even my parents had a red white and blue flower arrangement from their garden ...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

around Belgrade

So hard to know how to sum up a day ... I'll start by saying that the Women of Troy had a good victory this evening over VC Vizura - so we ended up 5-1 on this tour (which could so easily have been 6-0) - and we love our new branch of the Trojan Family, and we'll miss them so much ...

Here's a boat on the Danube - taken from the outdoor deck of the floating barge where we had dinner (including a very rich dish that was supposedly Tito's favorite - turkey with mlinci, which are like very creamy mac and cheese, albeit in slices).  That was after a weird stop at Pancho's Pizza - where we left the team having pizza, but the rest of us mutinied at the thought of that as a last-night dinner - the kind of fast food place that might exist almost anywhere between Belgrade and - where?  Kars, in eastern Turkey?  So after some quick phone calls, it was off to a boat at the back of the still dark, still bombed out Hotel Jugoslavia.

The morning involved being driven round at top speed in a car in which there seemed to be no relation between the front axle and the rear one - with a little disco ball hanging from the mirror, and visiting Tito's house and mausoleum and museum to the History of Yugoslavia, which included some compelling examples of technological innovation - a record player with built in radio invented by Nikolas Tesla ... or so the caption said.  But NT died in 1943, and this machine was almost certainly a product of the Tesla Litovel factory (no relation) in the 1960s ... maybe it would be safer to write about fridges and washing machines.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Belgrade, anthropologically

Belgrade's Ethnographic Museum seems like a suitable metaphor for the city itself - very grey and polluted and battered on the outside, and in fact extremely full of treasures and interesting bits within.  I went there after what proved to be a very lively - indeed compelling - tour of the city (memo to all tour guides - do what this young woman did, and give us narratives and jokes, not just plain facts).  And indeed I had the museum to myself - all three floors of it - stuffed full of costumes and fabrics and agricultural implements and mock ups of traditional peasant interiors.  I came away with a much better sense of everyday non-urban Balkan existence in the past (balancing the picture that our guide gave us of life during the time of the NATO bombing in 1999).

Shifting track completely - one of the very, very best things to come out of this trip, for me, has been the sense of team life - by which I mean the way in which the girls believe in each other, look out for each other ... I'm sure that I idealize that which I only observe, but it would be so good if academic departments functioned with even a third of the commitment that they have to a sense of joint enterprise.