Monday, December 31, 2012

A FEW GO UP

I chose to stay home tonight. I've been bouncing around all week and I will again next weekend. Plus, the dementors are hovering, knocking on my door. I am trying to stay quiet and rested and perhaps they will leave.

So I finished the dystopian YA book I was reading (not recommended) and began another book that is already overdue at Brewster Public Library, but hoping that I can get it finished by or on Wednesday. The book was on a couple of "should have been on notables list" lists.

"I did not want to commit suicide. Instead I felt "suicided," like a samurai who'd failed his code. But because this was America at the end of the twentieth century, no one hold held a sword out to me; the code itself was vague and undefined. I was not expected to do anything. And yet I sensed I was failing at that very American thing, "becoming an individual." Along with the promise of my father's money that I'd ultimately accepted, I also had to accept a reversal in what I'd once understood to be the normal order of American life. Rather than learning how to act for myself, as thought I were, in every moment, colonizing a new world, I learned how to absorb, to resign, to stall. No gift is entirely free. You exchange your future for another's expectation; to take the handout is to become part of a story that's never entirely yours, to dress yourself in the hand-me-downs of your ancestors. You take on the customs of your class, as my father had when he performed the thoroughly ritualized theater of my disinheritance, and as I would, too, someday. I also began to understand that this system or society—whatever one wants to call it—actually had a high tolerance for failure, indeed required it. A few go up, but most sink down and subside into irrelevance, stonelike or cowlike life. At every level, in neighborhoods, teams, jobs, schools and universities, there is a sorting, a sifting, or a threshing. The individual strides into his or her own over the bodies of the fallen, not even recognizing them as bodies, much as I'd plowed my way over the crisped, fallen leaves on the windy paths of Riverside Park.'

Finally met Chili the pug.
— Marco Roth, The Scientists

So, I have taken a nice (appropriate) dose of sleeping meds with the hopes that I will sleep the night through with Cooder and Emmylou as my fellow travellers.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

BEGINNIN' TO THINK THAT I'M WASTIN' TIME

Maybe no photos today, which is a bit saddening as this page looks a little blank without those personal illustrative items. It is later than I should be awake. Truth be told, there has been some alcohol involved although I don't think so much that writing is a dangerous undertaking nor tomorrow to be rued.

Funny mood on this end, though. Sort of  "stock taking" few hours, fueled by the Amantillado and other red wine which I rarely drink these days.  The Honda repair cost $200 which is both the good news and the bad. Given that a headlamp was apparently out, and there were glitches in the electrical system, I am thankful it was not more. On the other hand, that is $200 I would have rather spent on Cooder or even towards new eyeglasses or an iPad Mini. Okay, so be it. Had the headlamp itself needed to be replaced the total would have been significantly higher.

I am dealing with snow and what it does to a car and driver. Again, no catastrophes, but challenges to learn from. Our Allview house is down a hill (see the summer posts if you must) and the driveway is gravel. Parking in a snow storm takes considerations heretofore unknown to me. I tried backing into a dry space at the top of the driveway, but slightly missed the dry-ish portion and therein the problem began.

Let me back up and remind y'all that before I went to the Olympics in 1992 in Albertville, France, and before I moved to New York at the end of 1993, I was fairly naive about snow and how to live with it. I fell every day, every day, I was in the Alps. My compatriots grew used to hanging on to me when we walked because I slipped and fell constantly. I had no idea of the physics of moving on that kind of slippery surface. My first year in NYC, remember Wendy?, I was in the gutter quite often.

Now, at this point, I am pretty good at walking and general navigation, but manuvering a car is a whole other issue. And when you add the hill aspect the factors get ever more confusing. My attitude is positive as I expect that experience will lower my frustration about such matters. But I did find myself stuck on the hill in the driveway and it did not seem as if I could get out of the situation without some outside help. And the snow is set to begin again around 5:00 a.m.

I am heading to Woodstock tomorrow with Marc for a kind of sweet dinner reunion with a bunch of folks who have not seen one another for many years. And all of us have been through some significant life issues (death, illness, etc.)  in that meantime again. Poignancy and reflection are high. One of our number is celebrating his 59th birthday. Much fodder for reflection and connection.

The depth of some of these connections and the prospects of re-uniting with these characters (and I mean that in the best way) is challenging. One hopes to approach such reunions with positivity and joy and, indeed, that was my impetus in initiating the impending events. Yet, there is some apprehension and concern about the emotional, personal exposure that is likely to be, that should be, part of the ensuing events.

And so, I called AAA to tow the car (and it was not a straightforward moment) and drive to a better spot, although I may well be shovelling myself out of the space in a few days. And I have sat  here for an hour or so, just sipping Amantidallo, listening to a Leonard Cohen Tribute cd, and drifting in my thoughts.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

COWS COMIN' HOME

Doc in a rare moment of stillness.


Cooder and Emmylou have collars out here in the country, and those collars have bells, and it feels, sometimes, as if I am listening to the cows come in from the fields. I think I mostly like that I hear them meandering around, but I do find it ... odd? I just notice it is all. As I am now sitting far back in a room, I hear them for a bit before they actually arrive at my side.

Cooder's paws.
Word has it that Albert missed his feline compatriots while we were in Queens. Emmy really hates being confined and managed to work her way out of her carrier just before we got off of the freeway. Cooder was somewhat more sanguine, but by the time I had let her out, then put her back in the carrier, back in the car, and the drove her to an ignominious vet appointment, she had pretty much had it with me. The discoloration on her chin is likely due to aging, but the vet thinks she needs several hundred dollars worth of blood work and probably to be on medication for her liver and her slight heart murmur. She is 14.5, so these things are no particular surprise. But I did cry just having her in the doctor's office, knowing that sooner that later we would be in there for her last time.

I am not going to dwell on this right now. I have enough to do to stay positive.

I must have been ready to see folks as I chatted up M and A as M made Dutch Cheese and Potato Soup. You all remember The Vegetarian Epicure, right? That is a well-worn cookbook around these parts. I think I was more of Moosewood cook or maybe The Veg Ep was over my head at some point. All this to say that dinner was delicious and the company was equally sweet. M, A, E and E's boyfriend C, all lingered at the table continuing to snack on the many Christmas treats and just generally laugh.

Wixii the Bernese Mountain Dog, and Doc.

Tomorrow, the Honda goes into the shop to see about a headlamp or electrical short. Saturday, off to Woodstock with Marc to visit folks and see some upstate snow!


Now, it should be to bed before I get myself too revved up to sleep.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

NOT THAT IT WAS OF ANY IMPORTANCE

... irritated by her aunt's habit of adding unnecessary details. It was age coming on, she supposed: age that loosened screws and made the whole apparatus of the mind jingle and rattle.

'D'you know the feeling when one's been on the point of saying something, and been interrupted; how it seems to stick here,' she tapped her forehead, 'so that it stops everything else? Not that it was of any importance,' she added.

— Virginia Woolf, The Years

Actually apropos of this post as I began it whilst still in Brewster and somehow have not managed to complete nor post.

Lots of houses look like this in Jackson Heights.

Emmy in the b/g; Doc in the f/g.
I begin anew from Jackson Heights, Queens, where the wind is blowing mightily here on the north facing sixth floor. I am animal sitting Tuxedo le kitteh, Doc le kittehen, and Wixii the Bernese Mountain Dog. Cooder and Emmylou are here with me as well. Cooder has found a hidey-hole in the cat tree, conveniently placed near the heater, and is dreaming away the holidays except when she needs to get up and eat or say hello to me. Doc has come over to our rooms as she is likely annoyed that I have not been ensconced on the sofa all day watching tv and providing her with yarn to play with. Doc is not sure about Emmylou. She does like the laser pointer, for sure.

After a slew of telephone calls, I have decided I need some actual television mindlessness. I've got the Kennedy Center Honors on but David Letterman is in the mix and I quite loathe him. Caroline Kennedy looks good, all things considered. I have Doc on the chair behind me spitting at Emmylou who followed me over to the other half of the apartment. Okay, but this is still a pain in the ass: one woman celebrant and fucking Led Zeppelin honors? WTF? 7 men, one woman. I hope someday women are worthy of notice. Won't be watching this. At least there is one BLACK MAN.

Okay, I digress. So, Baby Jesus Appreciation Day passed without my having to be too involved. I had staid up late to watch a couple of episodes of Homeland and unwind after the Christmas Eve party with the Egyptologists. Yay! A Christmas Eve party without Christmas Carols. WITH MEXICAN FOOD! There were tamales flown in from New Mexico. And a helluva gift exchange with 35 participants. I end up with a lapis lazuli scarab and inlaid box. After watching the rest of the series and working, obsessively, on another knitting deconstruction project (moth damage), I thought I should take a walk lest the dementors appear.

Jackson Heights is the melting pot of your dreams. The main street near here, Roosevelt, was full of life: street vendors, pedestrians, open restaurants galore. And Jackson Heights is one of the best eating neighbors  ...

I have to stop and observe that Jimmy Page is fucking old ...
BJA Day beer!



... neighborhoods. I opted for a Thai meal, most excellent.

... And Jeff Beck has the WORST SARTORIAL TASTE. But why should we care when he shreds? That goddamn tone of his. It's fun to see the Obamas rocking out, too. I think Buddy Guy might be the Buddha. And Bonnie gets them on their feet. The woman knows how to slide.

It's all over now. I'll save my rant about the Kennedy Awards for another day. It was nice to see the Obamas relaxing, even if he is somewhat slimy. He does have a hard gig.

Clearly, at this writing, I am all over the place. Tomorrow it is back to Brewster and back to taking care of business, as it were. Cooder has a vet trip and on Friday the Honda goes into the shop to look into a failed headlamp, making driving in this inclement weather the more challenging. Hopefully, by the time I head home tomorrow, the storm will have largely passed.

I went to a Michael's craft store today. The Valentines were already out.

And fuck fuck fuck fuck Jimmy Kimmel forever and his snide and deprecating comment about dancers and those who like them. Sorry but Leno, Letterman, and fucking Jimmy Kimmel are the kind of lowbrow asshats we don't need on this planet. Macho, knee jerk, unthinking, et cetera.












Saturday, December 22, 2012

TENDER, TENDER, TENDERNESS


Emmy being Emmy.
Cooder camoflaged.






I'm back in Brewster and my kittehs are down here hanging with me, as near as they can get and stay reasonably warm. Emmy is over the heating vent, and Cooder is curled on a warm throw. That's nice, right? We all had a little cuddle and a lie down when I first got home.

The house is quiet. M is just about to get off of work. A&E are both home from school and out Christmas shopping, likely catching up on all matters, sisterly and otherwise. J has a bit of a day off today, having been working hard on the follow-up to the Newtown incident. R is in his zone. And I am back at my computer, reading, grazing, and thinking about writing.

At the end of the year again. I am musing on next  year's resolutions and hurrying to finish a few books so that I can include them in this year's count. I only set myself a goal of reading 40 books, down from last year's 70 (made it to 77), and my usual commitment to read a book a week. Reading 70 books was a hard task, even given that I don't have a regular gig, and I was not able to include reading magazines. This year I hoped to read more New Yorkers, and the like, but given my trough of misery and depression, I went through quite a long spell of neither reading nor writing. I've made it through 45 books thus far and I have about three or four I will finish by New Years.


Looking back to see if there was a favorite above Ms. Woolf this year, I thought at first that I had read mostly current, LITE popular books, but upon review I see there were some more substantive reads worthy perhaps of a recommendation. Perhaps I will share some recommendations a little later.

I began to read The Years on a trip up to Albany and what ended up being my first trip to Schroon Lake in 2010. I met BEM at Kim and Gianna's house, BEM having recently finished her master's on Virginia Woolf and who was, that weekend, working on a Woolf paper for a conference. Now, I am nearly finished with The Years. BEM had a baby a couple of weeks ago. And this is only a pity as she likely does not have the bandwidth or mindspace to discuss this work with which I am at long last enamoured.

I must say, that it took me a couple of  years to make it all the way through The Years is no reflection on the work. I don't think I could really concentrate on it enough. Now I see it as a revelation. The last chapter is full of Book Darts, nearly colliding with one another. It will take me awhile to find places for all of these juicy tidbits.


 Now, I want to quote Woolf.


My life, she said to herself. That was odd, it was the second time that evening that somebody had talked about her life. And I haven't got one, she thought. Oughtn't a life to be something you could handle and produce? - a life of seventy odd years? But I've only the present moment, she thought. Here she was alive, now, listening to the fox-trot. Then she looked around. There was Morris; Rose; Edward with his head thrown back talking to a man she did not know. I'm the only person here, she thought, who remembers how he sat on the edge of my bed that night, crying - the night Kitty's engagement was announced. Yes, things came back to her. A long strip of her life lay behind her. Edward crying, Mrs. Levy talking; snow falling; a sunflower with a crack in it; the yellow omnibus trotting along the Bayswater Road. And I thought to myself, I'm the youngest person on this omnibus; now I'm the oldest. ... Millions of things came back to her. Atoms danced apart and massed themselves. But how did they compose what people called a life? She clenched her hands and felt the hard little coins she was holding. Perhaps there's 'I' at the middle of it she thought; a knot; a centre; and again she saw herself at her table drawing on the blotting paper, digging the little holes from which spokes radiated. Out and out they went; thing followed thing, scene obliterated scene.

Virginia Woolf, The Hours

While composing this post, I listened to a mix under construction, that of (mostly) standard songs that Aretha covered as well. I realize that many of you will object to the strings and orchestration on this cut, but her voice and reading are honest and sensitive. And for the record, she recorded this before Otis. Bing Crosby recorded this as far back as the late 1920's/early 1930s. Try A Little Tenderness.

As for reflecting on our lives this past year, our families with all the stresses of the holidays, and the upcoming year which seems poised for some pitched emotional battles (I mean, the NRA is clearly insane if THAT ASSHAT IS THEIR SPOKESPERSON and I will say no more lest I break something or blow up) ... some fiscal and financial challenges and who knows what else. And I say this to myself for myself,


I may be, I may be sentimental
But I wanna say
That I've had my griefs
Oh, and I've had my cares

And just a good word
Soft and gentle
Makes it, makes it easier
Easier to bear

Now, I might forget it
Oh, but don't let me forget it
Love's all my whole
Whole happiness

Mmm, and it's so, so easy
Try a little
Oh, try a little tenderness
Tender, tender, tenderness

Thursday, December 20, 2012

IT DOESN'T MATTER WHICH YOU HEARD

He was thinking he had forgotten something; but what, he did not know. Scene passed over scene; one obliterated another.
— Virginia Woolf, The Years


L'Emmylou endormie.

That's my every day, pretty much, when it comes to finally sitting down to write. Unless, on those rare occasions, that I write as soon as I get up, or, better yet, from bed. Lately, I have not been even bringing the laptop upstairs as it is for sure that I rest better when I am not all internetted up.

Brewster train station.

Back in Manhattan today. It's hard to be in a world capital of glowing consumerism and the absolute Western (occidental) acme of happy holiday shopping and bien-etre. For those of us who cannot (due to straitened circumstances) participate in the American spirit of Christmas, it is a bit disheartening. At least there is no fresh snowfall reflecting the lush merchandise and twinkling lights, or the warm glowing interiors of well-appointed restaurants with merry imbibers. New York is one of the ultimate exemplars of the have and have-nots.
Grand Central Station.

And that's where the toughest rub is, the not having a place and not having a place here. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the reality / unreality / comfort / discomfort / normal / abnormal - ness of being in my familiar stomping grounds where I have access but no foothold. Well, I shan't belabor the point as I am not the first to make it nor is it likely that it won't come up again.

But it makes me blue.



Meanwhile, trudging through the Leonard Cohen/Jeff Buckley book which I heartily discourage anyone from reading unless you are stuck with something orders of magnitude more egregious (you can think of your own examples tonight, I have limited emotional space for my usual crushing didacticism), I have come across the desultory intelligent remark or reflection, this one by k.d. lang:

"I think spirituality in general in our society has been diffused into some sort of relationship between the pop culture and our own personal pillars we create for ourselves. As culture moved forward, we were counting on God less, and people settled into some sort of spirituality that they created for themselves, and a lot of it has to do with incorporating their own human desire. We're greatly craving some sort of spirituality in music."

Not exactly a pithy, well-worded quote, but we get the gist. Of the art forms out there in the marketplace at the moment, I surely do not see another one that might offer any inherent spirituality, save for dance, and that is not as widely accessible.

Study in black and white.

Here are the lyrics to Hallelujah should any of you not know them and a link to the original version:

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

HOPEFULLY LEARNING

See, now I am in a little bit of the zone and I don't want to stop and go to sleep. But if I don't get off of the computer and head to bed, I might get even more wired and then the bad sleep thing happens. Last night, I took a full dose of the sleeping med (not Ambien, still haven't found that, although the clean desk project IS progressing), and slept until 10!! Well, I did surface at 7:30 or so, but I was sleeping so deliciously and that is so rare, that I just drifted back for a few more hours. The day was not as productive ("Say it ain't so, Joe!) as it might have been had I gotten up at  the earlier time.

Oh so much for goofy second guessing myself. Seems I have more to do than psych myself out! Get over yourself.

Cooder is lurking around, as she has much of the day. Not sure what she wants. I can hear Emmylou's collar bells tinkling, too. Maybe they want me to go to bed, although it is more likely they are looking for evening treats.

My friend CXC (one of two friends thusly initialed) called me out of the blue. She's on her way to Oklahoma to see her aged dad and the rest of her family. Some how we don't see one another very often, although we never have other than a great damn time. She told me she reads my blog posts like bed time stories, which is a nice thing to hear. (They might be likely to lull one to sleep.)

I was also pleased you all responded so much to the Edna St. Vincent Millay poem, although, again, I didn't come across it all on my own. Someone with an NPR show had pulled it up for the occasion. I don't think I really knew it that well, but I have re-read it a few times.

Tomorrow I need to get this desk project finished and get ready for a week of back and forth. Train down on Thursday for two nights in Manhattan, one or two nights back here, then back to Queens for two nights. And so cometh the holiday. The precipice of holiday bummerness seems to be nearby, but I don't quite feel as if I am on the trail to the edge.

I did make it out of the house today for a bit, a run to the post office, the bank, the A&P. There was blue sky peeking here and there through the grey. Just to get back into practice, I snapped a couple of sky shots. I had some smarter words and bigger thoughts at one time or another today as I mused on this posting, but they are gone. You'll have to settle for this.


I haven't had any crappy songs in my head lately. I think the huge blast of Richard Thompson radiated them out. I have had the song More Than This playing though. (Here's the Norah Jones version; couldn't find the Roxy Music version on YouTube.)

I could feel at the time
There was no way of knowing 
Fallen leaves in the night
Who can say where they're blowing
As free as the wind 
Hopefully learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning


More than this you know there's nothing
More than this tell me one thing
More than this ooh there is nothing


It was fun for a while
There was no way of knowing
Like a dream in the night 
Who can say where we're going
No care in the world
Maybe I'm learning
Why the sea on the tide 
Has no way of turning


More than this you know there's nothing
More than this tell me one thing
More than this, no, there's nothing

More than this nothing
More than this
More than this nothing

Monday, December 17, 2012

GONE TO FEED THE ROSES

Yeah, well, I am not long for this awake world, as I took some sleeping medication (never did find the Ambien  — maybe tomorrow). I need to get to sleep, sleep through the night, and then get out of bed at a more reasonable hour (closer to 6:30 or 7:00 instead of 8:30).

I was relatively productive, not as prone to (appropriate) crying. I feel dull and unthinking, but that is likely a stage of shock, too. I just hope I can keep the dementors of death and reality away as I am falling asleep.

S heard this poem on some NPR show and I thought it was pretty good, so here you go:


Dirge Without Music

BY EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone.  They are gone to feed the roses.  Elegant and curled
Is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom.  I know.  But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.



Sunday, December 16, 2012

THE FRAGILE SEQUENCE BREAKS

I really have no idea how to write or what to say. I am quite close to one of my "fugue" states wherein I am not entirely captain of the ship that is me. Yes, I am sure that the extremely grey day adds to the desire to climb the hell into bed and pull up the covers, but that's not the only reason. Then again, given my inability to sleep much, not even rest and escape would be achieved and there are lots of other things that need attention.

Newtown is about twenty miles from Brewster. Louise and I passed within a mile or two of the atrocity ( from the root meaning  extremely barbaric, horrifying, brutual, cruel) on our way to upstate Connecticut. On the highway, around 1:30 or so, we noticed a flotilla of police cars heading south at great speed and wondered what might be up. Kind of like the screaming stream of siren-blaring police cars headed down Seventh Avenue on 9/11. My mom called as she thought it interestingly coincidental (or something) that I was in Connecticut the very day this occurred. Little did she know that I was closer in Brewster.

Louise and I were rather lucky. We were so focussed on getting on the road, driving up to Ledyard, and working on the Monsterwood script that we did not receive the ... are there even words to describe the events of Friday morning? ... I am at a loss to either access or formulate them, though there is plenty of touting going on in the media. We didn't hear the terrible ...  ("Extremely and shockingly or distressingly bad or serious" yeah, that's a start) story ... I hesitate to call it news ... until we landed at the Rosen's. JR is a teacher in Connecticut, so he had been apprised for the whole day. And pretty much nothing has been in focus for me since.

When I write about this, think about all of this, I just want to pass out.

Buttonshop Road in Newtown.
I didn't sleep well on Friday night, notwithstanding the warm welcome and my cozy accommodations. I dozed, but repeatedly woke thinking of the pain and mayhem to the south. The incomprehensible. I am more comfortable with that state, incomprehension, not expecting that it could make sense, that any sort of "rational" or even narrative explanation could take any edge off of the shock, pain, and sorrow. In incomprehension, I am not striving, just doing, being, staying in this sad awareness.

Lots of hot dogs in Newton. Not kidding.

JJA works at the Bridgeport, CT newspaper. He's been cranking out the hours, working 14-16 hours days, with no time off. One of his colleagues lost a child in the shooting (one of the adults, I do believe). He's still there, Sunday night.

On Saturday, I dropped off Louise in New Haven so that she could get home more directly. Connecticut is not known for its highways, and there are not a lot of direct routes, particularly east-west routes, so we rely on circuitous small roads to get from one place to another. I did not know the territory and found, too late, that Google maps routed me straight through Newtown.  I was unsure about whether to tread in that direction, but I couldn't figure out how else to get home, so I risked it.

Later that same day.

I've been pretty spacey all day, and not very productive. I did write some cards, do my editing job, and prepared the dinner of cheese ravioli in rosemary/garlic brown butter and some roasted veggies (broccoli and carrots), as well as prepping some brussels sprouts for roasting tomorrow. Gotta keep those vegetables moving. MMA is busily trying to get ready for the holidays and as I am in not much of a mood for tree decoration or cooking baking, at least I can help out with the kitchen and the laundry.

Cooder has been particularly affectionate today, and I appreciate that. She was very cuddly during the night, although she did wake me up. Even though I went to bed relatively early, I woke up for a few hours during the night. I watched Sports Night on Netflix, as I thought reading might wake me too much. I slept late this morning.

I also found out this evening that Jeff Davis passed away last night. That might have added to the general disturbances in my emotional field. I haven't heard from his sister, my close friend, Kit, for few weeks and I suppose I was hoping that he was improving. Or maybe I didn't want to think about it, as it felt too reminiscent of Carl's passing. More tears.

So three deaths in my immediate circle this week: Miranda, Terry (Echo's mom), and Jeff. And then those others.

I think some Ambien is in order tonight, if I can find it. And I will once again quote my touchstone poem by William Stafford:


A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.