Monday, May 19, 2008

a good summer means lemmas for everyone

1. i bet the eucalyptus groves weren’t crowded

Ah, luxurious coolness. This was the first really hot weekend of the year, and AK and I were pleased to discover that the ceiling fans for which we petitioned our child-prodigy landlord (he’s 26 and he owns rental property, which in my book places him in the same category as teenage concert pianists) work fabulously.

We also made it to the beach with Christine and Jody—and I feel like, on the first really hot weekend of the year, “made it to the beach” is the appropriate term. On the way, I called my sister to see if she wanted to join us. She said, “Actually, I’m already at the beach, and, just to warn you, so is everyone else.” Even the $20 parking lots were full. Getting to the ocean was a feat.

Normally I’m proudly anti-beach. I grew up in a beach town and I’m always amazed by how many of my high school classmates’ MySpace pages list the beach as a primary part of their identities. I mean, the beach is lovely, but I also grew up around a lot of nice-looking eucalyptus trees and I don’t feel the need to write MySpace odes to them. But I realize that civilization has traditionally congregated around major bodies of water, and so I am in the minority.

2. maybe on a math farm

Christine screamed in delight as she boogie-boarded for the fist time. AK caught a perfect wave. Then we played a sandy game of travel Scrabble, spelling “morals” and “gender” and “oval”—all of which we felt were poetic and deep—and concluding that “zorn” was not a piece of farming equipment or in fact a word at all.

Although…I just looked it up on and I learned that “Zorn’s lemma” is “a lemma in set theory: if a set S is partially ordered and if each subset for which every pair of elements is related by exactly one of the relationships less than, equal to, or greater than has an upper bound in S, then S contains at least one element for which there is no greater element in S.”

So I owe Jody an apology. Except he kicked ass anyway, defeating me by 50 points even without the triple letter score for Z.

AK loves Boggle but can’t stand the slow pace of Scrabble (“It’s people staring silently at a board!”), so she spent most of her time in the water, washed off her “water-resistant” sun block and came home with a great tan.

3. california: come for the gay marriage, stay for the falafel

We finished the day with a feast of grape leaves and fava beans and these little chewy, deep-fried cheese pockets at Marouch, a hole-in-a-strip-mall on Santa Monica Boulevard. It was the best Lebanese food I’ve had.

It was also only the second Lebanese restaurant I’d been to, but Christine and Jody’s friend Kim, who introduced us to Marouch, is Syrian, and she confirmed that it was the closest to her family’s home-cooking that she’d found in L.A.

Kim and Jody also confirmed that the gay-marriage-is-okay decision by the California supreme court will go a lot farther than just making gay marriage okay because it says you can’t discriminate—when it comes to anything—on the basis of sexual orientation. They’re queer lawyers. They know these things, in addition to long words and which plate is yogurt, which is baba ghanoush.

I’m looking forward to leftovers in my shady-cool house. It’s going to be a good summer.


Tracy Lynn said...

I'm pretty sure the yogurt is the one without the eggplant, dude.

Claire said...

Names don't count in scrabble last I knew. Reading a lemma was a nice little flashback though.

I'll have to tell my Lebanese bud about that restaurant. I miss his cooking, and a variety of foods more readily available in LA groceries.

Veronica said...

AWESOME. i'm not a beach-obsessed californian either but this sounded like fun. i'd go next time (hint). and yes, zorn, is a word. way to go jody. as for "staring silently at a board!", check out zefrank's episode on that one. sooooooo good.

Cheryl said...

TL: Fine, if you're going to get all technical-gourmet about it.

C&V: I can't believe I know two people who know what a lemma is! I thought it was a suicidal rodent until very recently.

And V, the Zefrank episode totally cracked me up. Check it out, peeps:

Claire said...

That'd be a lemming.

Cheryl said...

After they throw back a few vodka shots in a last-ditch effort to stave off depression, I'm sure they're calling themselves lemmas.

Cheryl said...

As in: "I hay bein a lemma. (Urp.) I'm gonna enn it aaaalll."

Claire said...

That must be true. :)

b52 said...

I wouldn't write odes to the eucalyptus either. Back in the day, development projects in the global South used to plant them by the forest-load because they're so fast-growing. Problem is, they slurp up water like crazy and leave competing plants dry, and they don't have low branches. That means the vegetable fields don't get the water they need, and villagers can't break off branches to use for firewood and other needs. Think of it as a type of blowback.

I can't believe I just wrote this comment.

Cheryl said...

My proposed solution to the big unwieldy eucalyptus trees in our back yard was always to get a koala. My dad wouldn't go for it, and I'm guessing environmentalists wouldn't welcome a mass influx of koalas in the global south either.