Saturday, December 31, 2011

GOODBYE 2011

Up and clothed-ish at 8:36 on a Saturday morning. It was my thought to run over to Trader Joe's but I don't know. I am pretty broke and is it worth it to drive over there for eggs and half and half?

Okay, so TJ run accomplished. Breakfast eaten, moderation moderated, nap slept, bed made ... and now at 2:11? Reality calibrated? The day has turned grey which is never inspirational to me. I would prefer above most else, to go back to dreaming and avoiding of life. However, that does not strike me as any kind of solution, being at best a palliative. (Actually, using a word such as palliative cheers me momentarily.) So, I think I will put on my some clothes again and try the walking cure, although I cannot say that it ever makes me feel better, or if it does not very much. But, it has become something of another discipline, as I have discussed before.

Today, little to nothing seems interesting, inspirational, or meaningful. At least, that's the emotional/spiritual temperature on the inside. Perhaps it is only the slightest ray of light, but I do, at least, have the perspective that it is in my mind and not in reality that this bleakness pervades and struggles to reign (I have been listening to A Clash of Kings on audiobook so I have all this "kingdom-ish" lingo.) Well, better minds than mine have asked this question. And for the moment, I will take the simple advice of changing my environment and breathing in some different air.

11:55 p.m.

It's kind of cute, seeing Park Slopians drift up to the park to watch fireworks. As I walked home from B's, there were streams of folks headed to the civic circle. I had had enough humans for one evening. I think New Years is a more introspective event for me and I need to respect that as such. I would be happier or more content to make resolutions and such.

As for today, I did my walk, took a couple of naps, and even listened to an hour of a restorative yoga class on iTunes. Emmylou enjoyed that greatly having never seen me hang out on the floor so much. She had quite a time running in and out of my legs and in general wafting around as I tried to relax and not laugh at her too much.

And now it is midnight and we can say goodbye to a most unpleasant 2011. May it burn in hell. Goodbye to Miep and civil liberties in the United States. Hello to Emmylou and who knows what next. Not more of the same if I can help it.





Wednesday, December 28, 2011

48 DEGREES AT 9

Taking a hate break, or a break from the hating of housekeeping or the hating of how much stuff I have and how I need to get rid of it responsibly and not just burn down the apartment. (The kittehs would not like that.)

B&N are headed down to visit Brooklyn tonight. This is great in that it utterly encourages me, nay, forces me to make my living quarters more livable. And that's a good thing for all human and feline kind. Emmylou is much enjoying the hurrying and scurrying about, though she is not as fond of the vacuum cleaner (amazing how much better they work when you clean the filter, innit?)

Well, time to put on another fun cd (last one was I. K Dairo and His Blue Spots). Emmylou has calmed down for an afternoon nap. Too bad I am not doing sedentary work at the moment.

So that was December 28th. And now it is the 30th.

Today's bread.

B&N were lots of fun. Quite taken with the kittehs. N insisted on getting to know Cooder, something many consider foolhardy. He proclaimed Cooder to be sweet. Okay, then. And, as good godparents, they played with Emmylou until she could no longer participate. Yes, she, too has an exhaustion point. As N was taking out his contacts, bent over the sink, he felt something touch his cheek. Emmy was perched on the side of the bathtub reaching up to him to see what he was doing.

I am not particularly inert. I am down-ish but not really depressed. I have moments of optimism, still. This whole week has been so strange, as I have not been, as I mentioned before, here much. The relative quiet has continued on the street. The whole tone of time is a combination of hushed and resigned waiting, although that might just be me. I was even able to move from my parking space and return to the same one three times today. That is a rarity.

Emmy enjoys the laundry bag.
Except for today, I have been walking out walking. Today, I ran out to Newark Airport to pick up B and AJ. Since then I have done laundry and made more bread. I had to go to the big megapalooza laundry center so that I could wash rugs. But hey! It is done. At least, we are all home and the rugs are drying. I mailed out my first eBay sale but they tell me the money won't be mine until the middle of the month. Guess eBay/PayPal is just another bank.

Ah well, even though it is almost 9:00, perhaps I will take a 15 minute walk. It's warm enough at 48 degrees.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

BLATHER

The rain was here most of the day although it was fairly warm. The kitchen and front room windows are both open now, although it is time to close them. I didn't exactly get the bird by bird thing accomplished, but progress. Including going out for an evening walk in the wet. It was too stuffy in here, and like writing this blog and doing most of the dishes, perhaps a habit is being formed.

That's the all of it for now.

TIME FOR BIRD BY BIRD

I am just having a hell of a day. Frustrated in more directions than I can think of. Much of it is computer consternation, having an incomplete understanding of what is going on and just not wanting to take out the time to troubleshoot the problem. However, as is the case with many things, I do not think the investment of time is avoidable.

Tomorrow may be a better day to wrangle with the problems. I feel quite at sixes and sevens with many things unfinished in my head and much to do ... I would probably feel less frustrated if I focussed on one or two areas, resolved those problems and no longer needed to afford them much thought. Getting some of my computer problems solved and completing the transfer of summer to winter clothes should be the foci of my endeavors tomorrow. Make it more simple.

The day's uneasiness or just not quite fitting into my own skin started with sleeping late. Which could happen again as I am not in bed yet and it is nearly midnight. The kittehs are cranky, too, perhaps from lack of attention and getting food they truly enjoy. Emmy is climbing up on me and the chair I am sitting on, although I just got up to play with her for a few minutes. Not enough.

I did a walk today, but picture taking felt uninspired. Wait. What a surprise, right?



I find myself enchanted or obsessed with the leafless trees. I am much  more interested in their stripped down forms than I have ever been when they are in full greenery. As I walk around the park, beginning to explore some paths, I see the interconnectedness of the branches. (As it turns out, the paths go through the only native forested part of Brooklyn.) This has become a rather hackneyed and cliched metaphor for my current situation. Why yes, that would be "can't see the forest for the trees." All tangled up, a thicket of issues, paths with no clear outlet.






So, breathe deeply. Bird by bird, as Anne Lamont would say. I will check out the one bird tonight, and then to sleep.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

QUIET AS A SNOW DAY

Quiet as a snow day, it was. But warmer! The later afternoon, naptime, natch, there were some obstreperous car alarms going off, but that period was short lived and quiet reigned again. 'Twil be interesting to see what tomorrow feels like, what with noise and activity again.

I passed a pleasant day. And sorry to disappoint those who thought I might have a big crash today, I did not. I was, in fact, quite productive. I did not sleep in, but got up to do my little moderating gig, took care of Tupie, worked on some art-y stuff. My good pal, Leslie, called up to give me a Christmas astrological reading. I took an excellent walk. I made bread, ceci/sausage soup, and cream crackers.

And best of all! Christmas is almost over!!!

I went upstairs to feed Tupie and ended up watching Elf. That's a sweet movie. I watched it with my mom and Carl once.

So, now to bath and bed so that I can get up and get cracking (not crackers) again.

I know, little content here. But I am content enough.




Saturday, December 24, 2011

ALL IS REASONABLY CALM

Oh yes, another trying day. But it is not trash time and there is minimal noise out there. Not all-is-calm-all-is-bright grooviness, but all the denizens of Christian culture are tucked in (except for those frantically shopping at Macy's maybe).

I've been up and down all day, the worst part of the day had me eating a large amount of contraband potato chips. I feel sick and guilty. But that's over.

I woke up with Emmylou stretched out as straight as a stick next to my head. Melinda colored my hair this morning. Now how bad could it be? Free, greatly needed hair color without even having to get out of my jammies. I did some work. I took a nap. And then, even though we three cool cats were quite cozy, I got up and took my park perambulation. I even took a slightly different route. By the time I got to the park, I missed most of the good light, but I got at least one decent shot.

And thank you for asking. I am on the downslope side of Park Slope here. Crossed over, so to speak. I see it as a good thing that I am expanding my daily (kinda) constitutional. There were plenty of people and dogs in the park, lots of hardy folk exercising their willpower and exercising.

And, I realized I had a free bottle of wine coming to me at Slope Cellars. They punch your card every time you buy wine and when you get ten, you get a bottle of equal or lesser value for a dollar. I had been holding on to a full card for a special occasion, and this is the time. Now, I call that luck! Because I really wanted some wine and now I am drinking it. (Maybe it will cut through some of the grease of the stolen potato chips ... Jean ValJean anyone?)

Yes, she is quite cute.
And so the Christian culture holiday is almost over. I'm going to start another loaf of bread, give Tupie his shot, and work on getting my house ready for my mid-week overnight visitors. The weather is supposed to be even warmer tomorrow, so after my photo shoot of soon-to-be-for-sale items, I might take a longer walk and think about whether I can really afford to have the traditional New York City Christmas meal of Chinese food.


Friday, December 23, 2011

TODAY'S GOOD NEWS

Well, Christian culture is deep into its institutional craziness now. Everyone is some combination of happy and nuts. Maybe we're that way all the time.

My best news is that I took some good photos today.




Thursday, December 22, 2011

ISINGLASS?

Isinglass was on my mind this morning. I woke up at 7:00, a full half hour before I had planned to start struggling my way out of bed and the word "isinglass" was the mental floater. Now, that's a helluva word to start out the day. The first thing that comes to mind is The Surrey With The Fringe on Top and no one does it better than Blossom Dearie.

One would have hoped that this would have been a positive portend for the day, but I find not. I did complete my first on-line sale transaction by mailing out the Christian Louboutin shoes I found over the summer. Sadly, (for me) they were not the primo $1500 pair, but a much cheaper version. Still I made $140 for not too much hassle. AND they are out of the house.

As is my little Sony television with matching DVD/VHS player. Those were listed on Brooklyn Free Cycle and went to a nursing home, which pleased me greatly. So, there, some positive things in a largely negative day. Let's just say, financially, the bone is showing. Not sure what else to do or say, so I will move along to the photographs I took.

I was out of the house, on my feet and walking, by 8:50 (on that fabled walk to the post office). Having recently joined a group (FB) for iPhoneography, and (in a moment of lavish overspending ... $5.00) downloaded more lenses and "film" for Hipstamatic, I took some time to play.

There's a child around here somewhere.

A sort of holy larvae?

Inkhead.

Oh, hell.

Golden leaves in late December.

Ya, ya, boys!


Subway in the sun.

It was on the "funner" side of things, or at least stimulating to be out in the beauteous morning. The light is different and you know how I am about light. I hope a lot more of it rains down on me in short order. For now, a kitchen to be cleaned, a bath to be drawn, and I will withdraw from the world for the time being.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DARKENING OF THE LIGHT

Whooups! There go the trash trucks, right on time with me sitting down to write, ostensibly earlier. Well, maybe it is a little bit earlier. The struggle to get the dishes done is a bit more of a fight with the powers of procrastination than sometimes. I made bread again, this time with a bit of dried rosemary and black pepper, just a touch. I also substituted some 10 grain cereal for some of the flour so that it had a bit more bite. Came out great.

So, solstice! Arriba! I am relieved it is here. Not a great day in the annals of events, really. My cell phone was turned off. That freaked me out a bit. I scared up enough to get it turned back on, but it is certainly a money shuffle. The car need more repairs than adding anti-freeze. I walked to and from the mechanic, so the exercise was happening. The red dot is Meineke. I'm over by the green.


However, done is done. I got some interesting photos on the walk back from dropping off the car. (It was dark on the way to fetch it.)

Back somewhere in my youth and childhood, I studied the I Ching a lot (Bollingen Press edition). Of. Course. I don't look at it very often any more, but whatever the mojo there is in the book, I still respect. The hexagrams are archetypal, of course, and therfore, worthy of some mental reference. Today, the shortest day of the year, put me in mind of a hexagram that tortured me when I was younger. It seemed like a "bad" omen. Now, it doesn't freak me out much.

DARKENING OF THE LIGHT. In adversity
It furthers one to be perservering.

That makes sense.

One must not unresistingly let himself be swept along by unfavorable circumstances, nor permit his steadfastness to be shaken. He can avoid this by maintaining his inner light, while remaining outwardly yielding and tractable. With this attitude he can overcome even the greatest adversities.


In some situations indeed a man must hide his light, in order to make his will prevail in spite of the difficulties in his immediate environment. Perserverance must dwell in inmost consciousness and should not be discernable from without. Only thus is a man able to maintain his will in the face of difficulties.


It has been all about some kind of perserverance. Mostly, I have perservered to stay out of the darkest zone.

I'm not sure upon reading the rest of the hexagram that it fits, but the light sure hides on the solstice.









Tuesday, December 20, 2011

THE DAY AFTER THE NIGHT THE BED FELL

We both know it is better if I write earlier in the evening. By this time, I actually like to be almost asleep, wrangling cats, and maybe cursing the noise of the trash pick-ups. At the very least, having a theme or an idea to write about, something I had been musing on throughout the day, makes the writing go faster.

Not so tonight.

That said, the day ends much better than it began. My ancient (120 years old) bed frame collapsed in the night. No, it was not as fun and dramatic as the great James Thurber story The Night the Bed Fell. (Keith Olberman's reading is not as good as reading it yourself.) Cooder barely stirred from her place near the "epicenter." Emmylou came up to vaguely investigate, but we soon all settled down.

Now, the thought of not having a bed is right up there with not having my mom. Very disturbing to my psyche. As I don't have a couch in this railroad apartment, the bed and the bathtub are the only places to lie down. And the bed is better for sleeping and pulling up the covers. The bed being so old and pretty much nailed together in a non-scientifically engineered manner (I think it started out with maybe having ropes) by moi, I was despondent that I would be left sleeping on a mattress on the floor with the remnants of the bed frame adding to the clutter and chaos.

However! Never underestimate your good friends, especially when they are handy! John, rose from his sick couch, came down with a bottle of Laphroig, no less, and nailed and otherwise compelled the bed to adhere together. Voila! Emmy, Cooder, and I can cuddle in comfort once again.

In other good news, we hope, at least, Pammie was released from the hospital this evening. Her friend Janet brought her home this evening and will visit her again in the morning. I have no recent prognosis about anything. We pray, as we do, that she was well enough to leave and not tossed out as she does not have proper insurance. Janet will update tomorrow.

Meanwhile, here's a photo from Hussong's back in the day. There's Don on the far left with Pam's arm around his neck, the next blond guy I don't know. The fellow with the smile and the glasses is Eddie, and I don't know who the rest of the people are until you get to the right blond with the beer, and that is Roberta.


Monday, December 19, 2011

IN MY GOOD MOOD

Pam is still with us, at least she was as of this afternoon. She posted on FB:

Update - blood transfusion helped but still bleeding internally. Took pain pump away and pain from broken ribs is insanely intense!! Waiting for surgeon to fix finger. I get to take a shower in a little while:o) and the flowers and decorations in my room are awesome! Thank you all so very much!


I still don't know entirely what is going on, but she's still in there fighting.

Yesterday evening the upstairs nabes had a dinner party. I ended up running up and downstairs a bunch helping with various aspects of the cooking. Fun, delish dinner and the peeps were cool. When I came downstairs, I had had just enough wine to not want to write. And I have been struggling along with that anyhow.

I'm not wallowing, but I am also not focussed. In the midst of ... something good, I think. I'm going to get ready for bed now as I have a busy day tomorrow with various errands.

Saturday, when I still in my good mood, I took some photographs.





Saturday, December 17, 2011

RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT

That's now, right? Solstice in a couple of days?

Today started out kind of better. I was up before my alarm, ish, had an excellent idea for a film or tv property, and did not show signs of "worse for wear" after my (3) bourbons with JS the night before. I was in a fairly chipper state on the drive to Manhattan for Saturday therapy ... no, it's not to make Saturday better... I felt I had "turned the corner" on my depression and was energetic and creative again.

Then the day got colder in more ways than one. And now I am sitting here spaced out, playing solitaire when I know I have plenty to do.

This is the time of year when lots of folks check out. Alejandro, Manuel's father; Cesaria Evora, one of my favorite singers and absolutely evocative of a particular time in my life; I don't know, it seems as if there have been others this week.

But tonight, I am dealing with the reality and serious possibility that my friend Pam is dying. I think of her, possibly alone, in the hospital in Kansas, terrified. Pam has been sick nearly her entire life, but she has a life force and a drive than many are in awe of (count me as one). Indefatigable. But not.

Pam was abused as a child more than once. She suffered from colitis, Crohn's Disease, back in the days when it was less known and inexpertly treated. As the only girl, she was largely ignored, and used as back-up (sometimes first string) domestic. Her mother encouraged her to become a secretary so that she could marry a boss.

We all subscribed, back in that day, to the philosophy of "mando", (no idea where we came up with the term), but it was all about doing everthing you did as much as you could. And Pam did. And that included some bad choices about men and marriages and smoking and drugs and alcohol. And along the way, she had many bouts in the hospital with Crohn's Disease resulting in an ileostomy. The story goes on and on, but that hardly matters for this space.

She wrote to me earlier in the week to tell me she is back in the hospital. They've found a spot on her lungs, a mysterious shaded area, she has multiple fractures on her ribs and her spine (all the steroids over the years have left her with severe osteoporosis), an infected finger that may or may not be amputated.

Tonight she wrote and told me that she had received flowers from two boyfriends of her youth.


Pam: What have u been up to? Flowers from Don and Ed are gorgeous. Today bad day. Prepping for blood transfusion now. More later. Love you!

Me: Flowers from Don and Ed must help a bit. Moi? Trying to relax. Worried about you. Blood transfusion seems very serious. 

Pam: It is very serious. My entire body seems to be shutting down and I'm really scared. Thank you for your love and support!!! Hugs and kisses forever!


Oh, and she's in stage three kidney failure.

Photo by Peter A.Samarin. All rights. reserved.
So, there's nothing to say but that I am grieving. She's still with us, maybe, but for how long and under what conditions? I grieve her life, the nuturing, the kindness, the love, and the respect that she did not get. Am I grieving for myself, too?

Pammie is my soul sister for sure and I am just so fucking sad. No. I am devastated, and felled.


Photo by Peter A.Samarin. All rights. reserved.

Friday, December 16, 2011

BREAD AGAIN

I  made bread again today. Not sure if it came out better or worse, but it was different. When baking bread, it is particularly difficult to remember that it is a process, not an event of bread making. And there is much to learn about being a good bread baker. And I have, to quote the Carpenters, only just begun. It looks good though. A bit darker than the previous loaf. I keep wishing it were sourdough. Maybe next year. The fellow who invented this recipe wrote a book on pizza which comes out in the Spring. Pizza dough making is on my list.

One step at a time. I am less likely to trip at that rate.

I was all geared up in my head to do some thinking and writing this evening. But I met up with my friend Jason S, whom I had not seen nor spent any time in a long time. He was kind and generous enough to treat me to a scrumptious dinner and drinks at a fancy Smith Street place. Living in Park Slope, I had forgotten about the beautiful young people of Brooklyn.

My mission to get goods posted on Etsy.com and ebay was furthered today. (Cooder is clawing things so that I understand she is in need of Greenies or pets.) As I had to move the car, I cruised over to Staples and then thought I might as well go to Ikea for inexpensive lighting options. That was kind of cool. Here are some shots:

This is the view out the window. 
This is a parking lot view.

This one, too. Might be my favorite.

Flying the Ikea colors!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

DECEMBER 15

What is it about cats that makes them so amusingly territorial? I just pulled down the plastic bins containing my winter clothing. No sooner did I have one opened, than Cooder wafted in to settle down into one of them and watch the proceedings of my sorting.

The rainy weather was back today, although there was a glimpse or two of blue. In years past, tomorrow or Saturday morning I would be heading for California. Not so this year. This will be a different experience for me as it has been many many years that I have not been with my family. My mother is a bit worried about me being alone on Christmas. I suppose I am worried enough about myself that Christmas just seems like another day to get through. Which, in reality, it is.

There is a pull to stop writing these days. Keeping a perspective on the changing nature of life is not easily mastered at this moment. My instinct is to curl up in the fetal position for awhile, maybe a long while (no, not the big dirt nap). I've got that hidey-hole feeling.

Taz. Pomeranian mix. 
However, experience reminds me that that behavior is unlikely to change either my attitude or situation, so I will work on another couple of steps for today, maybe some breathing, and maybe a bath. And hope that Scarlett O'Hara was right.

Meanwhile, some subway pictures and the cutest dog on the planet, maybe.















Wednesday, December 14, 2011

EVERYDAY HOLY: A NEW MARTHA STEWART BRAND?

"... Holy haunts the everyday but so does disappointment."
— D. J. Waldie, Public "Policy/Private Lives" from Tell Me True: Memoir, History, and Writing A Life


Emmy seems to be on the trail of a critter, and that critter has apparently scuttled under my desk which is, of course, an area stacked with boxes and papers. This is somewhat annoying, but who knows? Perhaps it will inspire me to continue (or begin) a purge.

I do feel as if I have fallen off of my task here a bit. Although I have mostly made the attempt to write, I am not satisfied with all of the thinking that went (or didn't) go into it. And nothing has really changed, nothing materially, but if nothing too unexpectedly crummy happens, I feel reasonably stable. Maybe even productive. Maybe even moving in a better direction.

My walk today took me down to the bookmobile so that I could return that lame James Wolcott book on which I wasted a good week's reading. It probably wasn't as much of a walk as the park loop, but the important thing was that I got out of the house for awhile. I look forward to the re-opening of the library that is on the corner of 6th Avenue and 8th Street (close to that "A") but the book mobile guy said next summer, maybe. Will we even be around then?


I might be in the debtor's prison that has evidently been reinstated in some states, notwithstanding the unconstitutionality ... but constitution schmastitition ... whadda we care?

Yep. Emmylou has found herself a large cockroach. At least she is on the trail of it. Melinda and John had reported one in their apartment. Crap. Now how do I deal with this? Okay. Back fast. Emmylou had disarmed it to the point where I had no trouble with the smashing.

Well, and so I do think that every day might be one where some kind of "holy" could be found. And by "holy" I mean interesting, enlightening, educational, pleasurable, full of progress or realization. Or it could be disappointing. Most days the possibility of better is enough to make me try.

Oh, here's the bread:


Cooder and I took a nice little nap, just enough for me to be refreshed. Cooder staid in bed.




Emmy took a nap on the other end.