Thursday, March 15, 2018


A rainy day check out with The Wire. How nice to do my own version of mouth breathing for a day. Little thought going on. I even tried some knitting which I had to tear out and will now have to start over. My hands are a bit sore. Could this be arthritis? I sure hope not.

G. Love and Special Sauce were excellent. I wasn't overly familiar with their oeuvre, so it took me some time to get all the way into it. And the Troubadour has changed quite a bit since I was last there ... forty years ago (maybe only 35). I think Maria Muldaur was the last show I saw there. They have taken out the tables and it is all standing room now. At any rate, an excellent pizza dinner and delicious green salad freshly picked from my yard. And cocktails. Not a lot of them, but in my healthier condition, I felt a bit slow today. Oh, the pleasures of sobriety. I am coming back to you.

Thursday, Ides of March.

Sally Anne has been out of the writing pocket. Damnation.

Little bits of progress, and more reading. I think the reading has been taking up my spare thought cycles. And then there is The Wire. Almost through the second season. I finished Americanah.

This entire week, there has been a cloud show every day. Often with a cloud show, there is a nice sunset as well. Given the recent switch to daylight saving time, I have been in the garden around dusk to see it.

The weeds and the poppies are so happy with all the rain showers. They are going crazy. Hopefully, I will get caught up with a couple of things tomorrow and be able to do a bit more straightening up of the the backyard and weeding. I did get most, not all, of the bulbs planted and the first crop is, well, cropping up. Much to my amazement, a rose bush I thought I had killed is coming back to life. The Meyer lemon and the lime are rife with new buds. I finally installed the hummingbird feeder, up high so that I could watch from my desk window, but the cats have no chance of getting anywhere near them.

A purple freesia, the first of the year that I planted last year, is budding nicely. I put in a bunch of bulbs last year, but do not, of course, remember what all of them were. I see some gladiola shoots, more tulips, some narcissus, and not sure what the rest might be. The cats dig around and dislocate the bulbs if they are not planted deeply.  One of my Mexican sunflower seeds has a shoot. The butter or whatever kind of lettuce, is volunteering in various parts of the yard as is one tomato, and one tomatillo, which already has flowers.

And more artichokes.


The only justification
for extraordinary lengths
is extraordinary distances.
Yet you don't find this
in the majority of instances.
No, rather you see lengths
swagger from balconies,
ribbons of lengths rippling
languidly, lengths spooling
from enchanted cavities and
grots. Actually there is
hardly a spot of sky or pool
of water uncolored by some
extraordinary length or other.
Brothers fling bolts of gossamer
off buildings with spectacular
results. Bird negotiate an
aerial spaghetti, sure-footed
goats find themselves unsteady.
Poor people in brightly
lacquered boats just help
themselves to lengths
that tangle up and float
as pleasantly as kelp.

— Kay Ryan, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, New York, Grove Press, 2010

Friday, March 9, 2018


Yes, another poor decision. Even though I have to get up early to get to Carole's Memorial Mass, I decided I had to make another quiche tonight. Now it is 11:00, I am sleepy, but the quiche is baking. I could go to sleep right now. I suppose I should get to my tooth ablutions; sometimes I wait until I am hysterically, desperately sleepy and I curtail the appropriate dental care.

Scotch is enjoying sitting and sleeping in the window lately. It seems too cold to me.

On the good news side, my reading groove has returned. There are times when I can't concentrate or the reading is sluggish. I am deep into Americanah, a re-read of The Handmaid's Tale, and Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley. I won't finish that last one as it is due in two days and I am only halfway through. I started listening to Grown-Up Anger: The Connected Mysteries of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and The Calumet Massacre of 1913. This one is a good nap and bed time listen.

Okay then. Off to dental hygiene. And look! The artichokes cometh.

Well, we drove down to the Mass but missed it all. We did see one niece and had a nice visit. Plus, if I can find a truck and some moving help within the next 9 days, we can replace our washer and dryer! Whee!!

Janet almost cancelled going at all, but I was able to get her out of the house. Oh well, we did try some. This niece, A, looks pretty well for all the stresses of the past few months, plus moving to be in Sandy, Utah with her peeps next week. I think this will be good for her. I had to give her some tips about adjusting to living with snow.


Janet and I are listening to Katy Tur's memoir, Unbelievable: My Front Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History as an audiobook in the car. I mention it because I think it it making me anxious to relive the horror of the campaign as well as our every day life.

(Stacked cats.)

Friday friday friday. Going to The Troubadour tonight to see G. Love and Special Sauce if I can remember how I bought the ticket. Up and down week, but I did make some progress on some odious tasks, so am feeling a bit better.  I lost an ATM card last week and I think that's how I bought it. Plus, the roses are blooming and the azalea is blooming for the first time since I planted it two years ago! I also have more of a gardening plan (move two rose bushes in the front elsewhere, and move the beautiful lemon grass plants all to the front yard).


From other
angles the
fibers look
fragile, but
not from the
spider's; always
hauling coarse
ropes, hitching
lines to the
best posts
possible. It's
heavy work
fighting sag,
winching up
give. It
isn't ever
to live.

Kay Ryan, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, New York, Grove Press, 2010

(Yes, they need food. I didn't feed them at all last year.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


I did try. I found the seeds I bought for this year, read the directions on several packets, then realized I am not ready, really, for the most part to plant much. I did start a small tray of Mexican Sunflowers from seed. Supposedly, they look like this. I have never had much luck with them. I also cleared out a patch for some bulbs (can't remember what), if the cats don't find it a perfect place for pooping. I am suspicious as Oona was out there, already helping me.

"They say the darkest hour is right before the dawn..."

I finally improved my life a little bit by purchasing an inexpensive bluetooth speaker. Now, I can listen to some of my music when I am in my room. I am a bit limited to what is on my iPhone, but still. I took the speaker into the bathroom with me and as soon as Antonio Carlos Jobim floated out of the speaker as I steeped into the steamy tub, I felt luxury. More music. That's what I need. Now I am sitting all warm listening to Blood On The Tracks, perfect for a rainy night.

A rainy morning here. I had one hell of an anxiety dream/nightmare. I was in a hurry, trying to get some falafels and such to my friend, Jason Rosen, who was in a stressful situation (trying to escape something), but staying at Martha and Jay's in Brewster. I was driving a truly hot car that I was considering returning to the dealership as I wasn't sure I could properly drive it. I couldn't properly coordinate the clutch and the accelerator. But the weird part was all the stuff in the car that somehow kept getting in my way and tangling me up, like a big black wool sweater. I wasn't sure how it was confusing my feet, but it was.

My takeaway was that this was a dream about having so much stuff that I cannot move forward fast enough nor operate my life properly. But who knows. And nary a one of you had better throw this back at me.

Meanwhile, my mom just sauntered down the hall, drawling, "Sally, did you know that Jesus died?" Normally, this is the kind of question that moves me along the postal scale, but her delivery was so relaxed and fey that I didn't have my usual negative reaction. Evidently, some Christians were working the Easter angle and wanted to make sure we were informed.

Black-Throated Wind has been floating through my brain this morning. (Lyrics at very end.)

My jeans are all in the wash, or rather now, the dryer, so it's okay that I am still in my nightgown at the advanced hour of nearly one, right? Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe is due at the library today with no more renewals, so needs must be finished. Highly recommended for any one who loves comics, comic strips, the lure of 20th century suburban Connecticut, and John Updike.


Tomorrow is mass for my sister. If Janet and I can get it together, we are going. Getting anywhere on time is almost always an issue with us. But you knew that.

I am very disappointed that my friends Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata did not win an Academy Award for best animated short.

The being tipsy or drunk part, I don't really miss in these days of mostly not-drinking. The ritual, the activity, the stimulation of taste, those things I do think about in the evenings. At this point in the year, the evenings seem quite long. That will change this weekend when daylight savings' time returns.


Words have loyalties
to so much
we don't control.
Each word we write
rights itself
according to poles
we can't see; think of
magnetic compulsion
or an equal stringency
It's hard for us
to imagine how small
a part we play in
holding up the tall
spires we believe
our minds erect.
Then North shifts,
buildings shear,
and we suspect.

— Kay Ryan, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, New York, Grove Press, 2010

Perhaps the gardening will improve with a later dusk. I do have quite a few bulbs to try out. The cats certainly enjoy humans hanging with them in the back yard. They rush to throw themselves on their backs, squirming around in welcome.

lyrics by John Barlow

Bringing me down
I'm running aground
Blind in the light of the interstate cars
Passing me by
The buses and semis
Plunging like stones from a slingshot on Mars
But I'm here by the road
Bound to the load
That I picked up in ten thousand cafes and bars
Alone with the rush of the drivers who won't pick me up
The highway, the moon, the clouds, and the stars
The black-throated wind keeps on pouring in
With its words of a life where nothing is new
Ah, Mother American Night, I'm lost from the light
Oh, I'm drowning in you

I left St. Louis, the City of Blues
In the midst of a storm I'd rather forget
I tried to pretend it came to an end
'Cause you weren't the woman I thought I once met
But I can't deny that times have gone by
When I never had doubts or thoughts of regret
And I was a man when all this began
Who wouldn't think twice about being there yet
The black-throated wind keeps on pouring in
And it speaks of a life that passes like dew
It's forced me to see that you've done better by me
Better by me than I've done by you

What's to be found, racing around
You carry your pain wherever you go
Full of the blues and trying to lose
You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know
So I give you my eyes, and all of their lies
Please help them to learn as well as to see
Capture a glance and make it a dance
Of looking at you looking at me
The black-throated wind keeps on pouring in
With its words of a lie that could almost be true
Ah, Mother American Night, here comes the light
I'm turning around, that's what I'm gonna do
Goin' back home that's what I'm gonna do

Turnin' around
That's what I'm gonna do

'Cause you've done better by me
Than I've done by you

Friday, March 2, 2018


A morning spent bickering with the Janet can really set off a spiral of frustrated depression. I have so much to do and the heart and spirit go out of me after wrangling with her. I know I should just let it go. I should be of good cheer. I should. I should. I should get something done.

Meanwhile, the cats are circling me like hungry sharks. I don't think it is hunger that causes their perambulations. I am sitting at the desk overlooking the garden. A human to harass is too much for them to ignore. But the desk is really narrow. And there are papers every where. Getting access to me is not easy.

The next day wherein it is rainy rather than just cold (for California).

I am feeling a bit Verlaine-esque ("it rains in my heart/as it rains in the village"). All week I have felt on the cusp of tears, exhaustion, and sadness. Apprehensive. Unsettled. Except in the morning, when I am all warm under the covers with Scotch wicking heat off of me, somewhere nearby. The rain will be getting worse tonight. I am sure the nasturtiums and poppies are quite ready to go off once the sun returns. Hopefully, some of my bulbs will be similarly inspired.

The garden is coming along, albeit slowly. I am trying to train myself, yes, even at this late date, to be a bit more methodical and reign in my gardening (and other) aspirations. That said, I did order some special poppy and lavender seeds. The lavender is allegedly better for cutting than the French and English varieties I now have. I splurged (after all it is my birthday month!) and bought myself some elbow-length rose pruning gloves so that I might contain the many brambly plants in my custody: 4 bougainvillea, boysenberry vines, and roses, including a Happy Chappy that is taking over the front bed.

I am tempted to better dress myself to go out and prep some seeds to enjoy this rain and get a proper Spring start.


As one reiterates
oneself day after day,
it's not uncommon
to see non dominant
traits diminish
and self stray
toward the cartoonish.
As though the self were
a straightening Galapago
where not everything was
going to stay affordable.
Say a stylized struggle
were currently under way
among the finches
whereby the few brighten
while the species vanishes.

— Kay Ryan, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, New York, Grove Press, 2010

Thursday, March 1, 2018


Greetings from Joshua Tree. My pals K&M have three nights in a B&B, so I moseyed over here from Palm Springs for a night or two.

Mom seems to be doing quite well without me. Her Senior Center friends are calling her, picking her up, and keeping her involved. I made her a quiche and left her with food to last her a bit. I was a bit reluctant to leave in some ways, never really knowing what her state will be, but I think once she gets used to it, it is good for her.

I haven't been sleeping very well, so I am glad to be sitting back on a bed, being by myself for awhile, chillaxin' as they say. I can look at my thrift store purchases for the day. I bought more books than I need, as I need no more, but I kept the tchotchke and furniture purchases at null. I hope my plants are doing okay without water.

Back in the Springs, of Santa Fe style. Thought of this song this morning, When I Get It Right, only because the coffee came together.

Cousin Dan is on his way for a cousin fest, so I suppose I should do some house cleaning or something.

Cousin fest is over and there is little on the "event horizon" for a bit.  (Just FYI, this is a misuse of the phrase, but I liked it.) Perhaps I can make some progress with those many things I need to do.

Feeling sad again today, although I know that I mentioned that to a friend earlier this week. Today it is more pervasive ... or it is pernicious? Pernicious sadness? Now I want to figure out a scale or spectrum that grades from before pervasive to after pernicious. Which I think is dying of grief. I will bet in some languages there is a word for dying of grief, but I can't quite figure out how to search for it.

Anyway, sadness is unlikely to be the cause of my demise at this moment, anyway. There was some good news on the Mom lung front. Although the report was not easy to decipher nor was much if any help offered when I called the nurse, she is apparently okay. Relief and applause. I had rather assumed this when the inhaler helped her cough go away, but I neither wanted to jump the gun nor jinx it. So, we count this as a blessing.

Even though Janet has sorely tested my patience these last days. We took a drive with Cousin Dan, up to Angeles Crest Highway and down Big Tujunga Canyon into that area. Being in the car with her for  that many hours did not bring out the best in our relating. Rather not belabor it for the nonce, but move along.

Dast I go for a third double espresso? I think so. After a week of being off of my health and non-drinking regime, it is time to settle back into the better regime. But coffee is okay.


Dust develops
from inside
as well as
on top when
objects stop
being used.
No unguent
can soothe
the chap of
Who knew
the polish
and balm in
a person's
simple passage
among her things.
We knew she
loved them
but not what
love means.

— Kay Ryan, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, New York, Grove Press, 2010

Sunday, February 18, 2018


Still have a bit of The Bird Song floating around my head. All I know she sang a little while and then flew on. 

The week has a left me with residual sadness and ... some kind of weltzschmerz. Another terrorist attack on innocent young people by a crazed white male. 

My nieces are moving along with their lives. We are sad about Carole, but she was so unhappy. I do feel her loss, out there on the edges of my familial consciousness. 

I took a break from this to plant the damned lilac vine! I also started clean-up on the front flower bed. My azalea struggles along, so perhaps I might afford it more attention this year. Next up, the wisteria, but that means pulling out a bunch of tomatoes and more digging.

(Will post more as it grows.)

Before I jumped into Joni at the end of the last post, I found this Kay Ryan poem, but Joni won out with that line ... out of touch with the breakdown of this century. She wrote that in the last third of the last century. It certainly feels like this one is not going any place any good.


The first fear
being drowning, the
ship's first shape
was a raft, which
was hard to unflatten
after that didn't 
happen. It's awkward
to have to do one's
planning in extremis
in the early years—
so hard to hide later:
sleekening the hull,
making things
more gracious.

— Kay Ryan, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, New York, Grove Press, 2010
Oona feels it is necessary to supervise my reading.

The next morning. 

Sitting here in bed with my coffee and ... lethargy, sadness, sorrow, overwhelmedness ... in French that is submerge and in Catalan it is aclaparat. Now that is damned good word. In Dutch, it's overweldigd which is also pretty great. 

Now, even that small discursion ... evidently discursion is rare — I suppose digression is the more common — cheered me some.

I know what some of this is. I don't like getting ready to go anywhere. I don't even like the going, only the being there. This is just like I am with books: I don't like to start nor finish them, I only like to be reading them. And wow, that just gobsmacked me with all my unbegun (should that be unstarted?) projects. I am a prisoner of inactivity, intentions, and possibilities.

Be that as it may, two friends of mine had big news they wanted to share with me. They are moving from Marin County to Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati. This encouraged me. I see so few possibilities for life after mom, for hope, for breaking the bonds of this heavy heavy heart. That these friends are uprooting and starting over at this point in their lives just gave me joy and hope. Their courage, their optimism, their fortitude gave me something, even for a time, that I don't get too much: happiness.

They are
sleekening the hull,
making things

more gracious.

And, with I will bid you good-day and see if I can't get those chores done and get to Palm Springs. The limes are coming!

The limes are coming!

Saturday, February 17, 2018


When the days are cool and grey, it is even harder for me to do anything beyond binge-watching something or other. And so it is today. Mom and I have already been out to her macular degeneration doctor and back, so it is not as if the day is completely wasted. I just want to pull up the covers and snuggle, no doubt with Butterscotch sucking up to me for warmth.

However, Mom's lunch people are having a Valentine's lunch somewhere so I suppose I will lug her over there. I think she is asleep right now, my having suggested a bit of shut eye between events.

And on and on and on ...

Waiting for Janet to get out of her CAT scan. I am encouraged because in the last couple of days, her cough cleared up significantly. Given that we both had colds back in January, this could be just a lingering bacterial infection or something. I suppose I will be holding my breath for the next few days anyway.

As I posted on FB, that slew of plants I was telling you about are all in actual dirt and homes of their own. That's unusual for me, but I did manage to get them dealt with. Of course, there is a high possibility of me killing them anyway, but for the moment, we can enjoy them. The cheap bulbs I planted are also doing their magic hopefully. I am stupid enough to think I should run over to the Home Depot that is just across the street to buy a few more good quality bulbs. Then again, if I need to spend some garden time tomorrow, I could just plant my sunflowers and work on weeding.

I know. I know. Giving up the gardening. However. I was stressed today and I did find it relaxing to have my hands in the dirt and shift my focus to repotting rather than worry. And as I did, some problem knots cleared up and a way forward was presented. Oh yeah. I still have the trailing lilac, the wisteria, and the two new roses to relocate so there's a fair amount of work right there.

And! And! And! I saw the first artichoke thistle.

Mom is on her way out of the CT scan, so I will check out for now.

So, in the spirit truth, justice, and the American way, I went to bed around 10:00 when I hit that desperately sleepy moment. I slept reasonably well, without benefit of an audiobook or podcast to lull me to sleep. But lo! if I did not sleep a solid 11 hours, save for Butterscotch's need to make bread on my bare shoulder. However, I am not moving very quickly today. Helas!

And then came coffee. Yum Yum Yum. I likely won't be moving much faster but at least it sets me on a path to enjoying parts of the day.

Saturday again, and dang if there isn't a neighbor mowing a lawn. I can also hear someone's bird bell out in the yard, but I don't see a kitty out there. Besides the tangelos still ripening on the tree, I can see a lot more work to do. I have the water running slowly in the area where I will plant the trailing lilac. Eventually, it is supposed to look like this.

It has been in its container for a couple of weeks now, and seems none the worse for it. The lilac likes the location I have chosen, so all systems seem go.

Having trouble (not again!) being motivated to do any of the myriad things I need to. Every where I look is a chore (and whose fault is that? mostly mine).

(I spy Vera out in the yard now, watching butterflies and looking for a sunny spot. And here some Idris from her hiding place.)

Earlier this week, when I was feeling even worse, I washed all my bedding and hung the linens in the sun. I wash the restless nights, tears, worries, and those scary thoughts out. Getting into clean smelling sheets is always something of a comfort and a positive energy generator.

And hell, I can look out and see my carolina jessamyn flowering like crazy right there. It's happy.

I've been listening to various Joni Mitchell albums since I bought that nice British box set. This one was has been on repeat, although I don't quite understand it. Electricity. (Crappy sound quality.)

The Minus is loveless
He talks to the land
And the leaves fall
And the pond over-ices
She don't know the system Plus
She don't understand
She's got all the wrong fuses and splices
She's not going to fix it up
Too easy

The masking tape tangles
It's sticky and black
And the copper
Proud headed Queen Lizzie *
Conducts little charges
That don't get charged back
Well the technical manual's busy
She's not going to fix it up too easy
And she holds out her flashlight
And she shines it on me
She wants me to tell her
What the trouble might be
Well I'm learning
It's peaceful
With a good dog and some trees
Out of touch with the breakdown
Of this century
They're not going to fix it up
Too easy

We once loved together
And we floodlit that time
Input output electricity
But the lines overloaded
And the sparks started flying
And the loose wires
Were lashing out at me
She's not going to fix that up
Too easy
But she holds out her candle
And she shines it in
And she begs him to show her
How to fix it again
While the song that he sang her
To soothe her to sleep
Runs all through her circuits
Like a heartbeat
She's not going to fix it up
Too easy