Tuesday, July 31, 2012

COOKING UP A MESS

Cooder in excelsis?


She is a good kitty. Mostly. J found her on the stairs once or twice yesterday, kind of wanting to come down, but kind of wanting to not run into Albert or some half-perceived semi-danger. Well, it has been a month for me, officially, yesterday. Cooder didn't come up to the country until the 3rd of July. Perhaps she will yet adjust and move around the house more comfortably. I often find her sitting peering down the stairs ... or sleeping in Emily's room.

Although it is 9:19 a.m., the Brewster house is still asleep. I am working on my second cup of coffee and contemplating what I need to take to Brooklyn for a three-night stay. I have a part-time job interview that I applied for in March. 

I am surprised that the news that Rick Santorum felt the Freeh Report and subsequent NCAA penalties against Penn State was not more widely publicized. I might have suspected that Santorum prioritized football above the safety of children, morality, justice, kindness, compassion, and some of those kinds of things. 'Tis a bit of another thing to have him say it. Seems to me this is the kind of thing one wants to know about a politician.

Now, several hours later, I have yet to finish this post and have lost the many trains of thought I started with.

On Sunday, all the Alcott chillun were home. A barbecue ensued. This was an occasion for me to try out a new recipe or two: Arugula, Golden Cherries, Marcona Almonds with Shaved Parmesan and hummus. The arugula salad was stellar. The hummus needs more work, but it is certainly edible.

Emily had brought home a humongous zucchini and we were neither able to prepare nor eat the whole thing, notwithstanding that there were eleven of us. (Well, there were other things to eat.) Last night, I guess not having satisfied my cooking jones, I made Marinated Zucchini with Mint and Scallions. There's so often something unexpected when you make a new recipe. The marinated zucchini recipe was just not well-written, and although the ingredients were good and harmonious, the amounts of things were too vague. Or maybe I am just too much of an amateur to have intuited the right combinations. At any rate, no more cooking for me for a few days.

As there were inexpensive but reasonably good looking tomatoes at the A&P, I made Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Olive Oil and Chopped Vegetables, too. I won't be around to try that. It was fun too go kitchen crazy. M is rather astonished (I think) at the mess I can make in the kitchen. My sister-in-law in Oakland is always tried when I cook as she is not much of a mess-maker. I am more focussed on the food than on the floor. And I do clean up when all is said and done.


Monday, July 30, 2012

YAWN


Cats yawn quite a bit. Catching that yawn can be quite difficult. I was quite pleased to get Tupelo on Friday afternoon. Ah Brooklyn.



Emmylou was so so happy to see me, although this is not a picture of her pleasure. She followed me all over the apartment, whenever I got up. She slept next to me on the couch. Happily, I will get to see her again on Tuesday as I need to be back in town for a couple of days.

Friday night, John V. and I had dinner with Z, and our friend Phil ("America's Favorite Canadian"), and Phil's gf, Una, from Iceland. Phil and Una were in town from Montreal as Una had a music video playing at BAM in a film festival. 

Rodney Crowell, the singer-songwriter, wrote an autobiography, Chinaberry Streets. Mart brought me the audiobook. So, on Saturday, when I could finally tear meself away from le kitteh, I popped it into the cd player. I didn't take the weather report all that seriously and blithely headed up the Saw Mill River Parkway, notorious for flooding. 

Hurricane Carla was a "highlight" of Mr. Crowell's childhood and his description is riveting (and funny). Rain pounded my car as I listened and drove: it was nearly a simulcast! 

Okay, I've been bingeing on tv for the last four or five hours, having watched The Simpsons, True Blood, The Newsroom, the first episode of Politcal Animals, and now The Newsroom again. I should just stop writing. 




Friday, July 27, 2012

TRAGIC OPTIMISM OR THE TIREDNESS OF COODER

Last night, we had no internet/cable service due to the storm warnings. Hence, no posting. That needn't have stopped me from writing, but it kinda did. J was in boisterous spirits having had a very promising job interview. M was tired but happy because of said interview and probably because there was celery soup to eat for dinner so she could sit and relax. And me? In a reasonable mood as I had managed to unpack a couple more boxes and make progress in room organization, although you would know it if you looked into my room.

We "battened down the hatches" such as they were, removing the picnic table umbrella on the deck, shutting the windows around the house (and there are quite a few), and then sat around sweltering in the humidity as we waited for the storm to hit. I could have probably driven down to Brooklyn as planned.






Cooder enjoyed the day. She likes to have some physical contact with me, even if it is hot.

I saw an article in some publication yesterday that some unpublished Katherine Mansfield stories had been located. I think I read a nice old British Penguin edition of In A German Pension and was suitably impressed by the writing. Having forwarded this news tidbit to M, I received last eve, The Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield, in order that I might further whet and satisfy my curiosity.

In between our lazy banter and the musing guitar strummings of J as we companionably sat through the storm, (happily, we still had electricity),  I read the first story in the collection, The Tiredness of Rosabel. For nineteen, KM was blazing. Here is the concluding paragraph:

"And the night passed. Presently the cold fingers of dawn closed over her uncovered hand; grey light flooded the dull room. Rosabel shivered, drew a little gasping breath, sat up. And because her heritage was that tragic optimism, which is all too often the only inheritance of youth, still half asleep, she smiled, with a little nervous tremor round her mouth."


How much do you love that phrase "tragic optimism, ... the only inheritance of youth"? That struck a chord as I am so recently reviewing my life's path that led me to my current circumtances. Tragic optimism sounds about right.


I have often confused Katherine Mansfield and Katherine Anne Porter (I mean, haven't you?). Perhaps wading and wafting through these stories will change that for good. Meanwhile, I need to get back to Proust for next week's book group.

And off to see Emmylou.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

THE BEAUTY OF SWISS CHARD

Be careful with that listening to Nancy Wilson. My friend Pierre sent me several killah cds worth of vintage Nancy and I am somewhere time travelling to where I am thinking Someone to Watch Over Me makes a lot of sense. And you know that that aint' right, so sayeth Janis.

Picked up the car, again, and there is still another issue with the door and the lock. The door and the lock ... that sounds like a title or a topic for philosophical discussion. I don't feel a pressing need to lock my car here in the suburbs. And I am kind of willing to brave it in Park Slope.

This is Cooder on Saturday afternoon after I had been gone for two nights.
Not much to report but not quite so relentlessly distressed. I have just paid attention to other things. Today was the Brewster Farmer's Market. The Swiss chard and celery were so gorgeous I could not resist. This led to a lot of cooking today. The tomatoes looked okay, too, so I made a Marcella Hazan fresh tomato-based sauce. There's celery soup cooling on the stove at 10:38. And I combined a couple of recipes to come up with Swiss chard with raisins and pine nuts.

I have to confess, few things gratify me more than people wolfing, daintily, of course, down my food.  Amazingly, the Swiss chard and the pasta dish were done at the same time so dinner looked much more coordinated than it was. And even I thought the fresh tomato with sauteed vegetable sauce over rotini was superb. It did not even need cheese, in my opinion.


Melinda with Emmylou. Bless her for keeping those photos coming.
Plus, there was wine left over from the celery soup, so I got to drink and cook, which is fun, if dangerous. Now, it is time to put the clothes in the dryer and head for bed.

Monday, July 23, 2012

PRACTICALITY

I have a few friends who are in similar circumstances. Truthfully and gratefully, I am, perhaps, in a better position as I have the staunch and stalwart (you KNOW who you are) who work on my behalf nearly daily. MW saw the photos of the Brewster train station and lamented that this is exactly where he wants to be, if not NYC, and not where he is in a forsaken corner of Southern California.

The other day, MMA responded to my post with this: "I think the key to your situation can be summed up in one word: pragmatism." I've been mulling this over and, as I do with any well-intentioned insight,  attempting to incorporate this into my situation. This is a bit of a challenge as I am so blown-apart internally, spiritually, that I don't feel I can reasonably, pragmatically, reliably, find a bit of ground or experience inside me to start any healing process.

I truly do feel utterly undone, only not undone enough to not exist.

pragmatic: relating to matters of fact or practical affairs often to the exclusion of intellectual or artistic matters; practical as opposed to idealistic ...

I am not convinced that existence is better than non-existence. "I" didn't exist for a long time and the world did just fine without me. "I" am here now and life does not seem to be improving for most.

I will keep working on the pragmatism concept and see what I can come up with.

I believe, thanks to Mom, I pick up my car tomorrow.

Here are some snaps I took in a Bushwick (I first typed Bushwish) coffee shop bathroom a couple of weeks back.





Friday, July 20, 2012

PANIC AND RECALIBRATION

A rainy day here in Brooklyn. I have spent it in utter escapism, reading the crack-cocaine-fucked-up-marriage thriller, Gone Girl. That's what happens when you live with a librarian ... you can mainline the stuff.

Well, that fun is over and I suppose I should shuffle back to some sort of reality or usefulness. I can start by treating you to fresh pictures of Emmylou who is delighted to have me around.  



Lots of head pets while I was drinking my morning coffee ... and the jaunty bent ear from squirming under my fingers.

I took the train down as the Honda won't be fixed until next week. I had gone to the trouble to read Proust for my Brooklyn book group and as I had been one of the proponents of reading it (well, those who attended were all up for it), I didn't want to miss the discussion. Proust is not an escapist read and I wanted to hear what the sage women thought.  (All in favor, and ready to push forward! Next meeting is in two weeks I think, but we only have to read about 100 pages.)

Here's the view from the Brewster platform.


                                                                              
Nothing quite like a train track heading off into the distance. 

I wanted to see Emmy, of course, go to the therapist, and catch up a bit with Melinda and John. I was so sleepy last night, though, that I did not spend much time talking with Melinda last night. She came home from work early today as she is not feeling well, but I was nodding out with my book addiction by then and really couldn't stop until it was all over but the creepy residue of the narrative.     


Emmy was happy to curl up on the bed for the marathon reading. 

Yes, it is strange and a bit trying to be here. I am okay when I am just hanging in John and Mel's apartment, but when I step into the hall, I want to collapse into tears. 

I am still shocked and confused by my place in life. That would, perhaps, account for my lapse of care that resulted in a car in the woods and not knowing how to move forward with my life. I am still gut shot, the sound still ringing in my ears, the gunpowder smell of inexorable events lingering in the air. 

Folks ask me if I am sorting through my belongings to downsize. And while that needs to happen, I have no idea what kind of life or situation I am preparing for. What criteria? Where? 

And then when I try to put it together with any perspective, I am stunned again into the moment after, before the pain has set in entirely, in those seconds of panic and recalibration. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

AND SO IT GOES


Melinda sent me pictures of Emmy this morning. Cooder sat in the window as I started my day. Just another one to get through. No disasters, no specific backsliding. And I got in a nice nap. Everyone complained about the heat, but somehow I escaped the brunt of it.

And so it goes.

Monday, July 16, 2012

NO TIME FOR RAIN

Writing does not come easily these days. I just may still be in some form of shock or maybe I just don't want to be too contemplative and reflective right this minute. Plus, it is too hot for much of anything.

We spent the weekend re-organizing the kitchen. That took quite a bit of time; you might be surprised. Mart and I were pitching out food and integrating my left-over kitchen stuff as well as what I got out from Tim and Missy before they left for California. We might well have enough balsamic vinegar and olive oil to last us the rest of our natural born days. Lots of allspice and nutmeg, ground and in nut form.

In the midst of this, there was a torrrrrrential downpour, complete with cracking thunder. Mart and I did not pay too much never mind, but, fortunately, Jay was vigilant. There was some kind of leak and water was pouring into the basement. And yes, I did have a bunch of stuff down there. Still to early to tell, but my iPod, docking station, and AirPort were all "exposed" to water.

Placed next to my head at the Thai restaurant on Friday night. I could live without ever seeing a troll doll again.
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So, today was back to triage, trying to unpack, figure out what was most likely to be water damaged, given the panoply of boxes down there. 

Well, I am giving this up to watch the first episode of this season of Breaking Bad. It is after my bedtime, but I thought I might be able to stay awake to watch. Not so sure now.

Friday, July 13, 2012

GRUMP STUMP MUGGY

A muggy, hot day that produced a very cranky Ms. SallyAnne. I did have to struggle to do much of anything. Allview was Grump Stump Central. Can a day both drag and be a blur? It seemed like I ate a lot, which is something that I have not done for a few months: crinkle potatoe chips, French Vanilla ice cream, toast with rosewater tea jam, and then Mart and Jay treated me to some damn good Thai food. I did not offset this eating frenzy with my usual stairmaster day. And it did feel as if I were eating out of frustration and mugginess. Must watch that.

Martha asked if I missed Brooklyn. I am mostly conscious of missing Emmylou. In other ways, I am not thinking much beyond what is right in front of me. Given that what is right in front of me is, for the most part, pleasant, I am not thinking much about my life, my loss of myself and my home, the future, or what it all means.

I mean, I'm not complaining as much about being in pain, although my knees are still a bit tricky. I guess I am kind of stunned. None of this is particularly normal; it feels a bit like a vacation or a time out, only I have lots of my crap to deal with. And when I start thinking about that and one thing leads to another, yeah, I do find myself crying.

Meanwhile, due to the excellent grace of my mother, my car will be fixed sometime next week and I will have mobility if not gas to go anywhere. I know that others are struggling as well and there is SOME comfort in thinking that my situation is not ALL my fault. Perhaps a positive attitude is closer than I can see right now.

Photos to follow.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

MORE FROM BREWSTER

Okay. I don't have a lot to say really. This is all a brave new world for me, and I don't know who "me" is. 

In my shock and dismay over my car fiasco, I spent yesterday mostly sleeping and reading Michael Connolly's The Poet for escape. Jay was particularly sweet in trying to cheer me, taking me to the local Farmer's Market and out to lunch at his favorite diner, George's in Carmel, NY. I am not sure I am "cheer-up-able" at this point, but I loved him for trying.

Here is a wall at George's. Arthur Godfrey as a noteworthy celebrity? Martin and Lewis? Where did these come from?


Here are a couple more pictures of the car. Both passenger side windows out (still must finish vacuuming up glass), door and side mirror destroyed. 


As I mentioned, the engine and basic body are a fine as 'twas a tree that stopped the car.





And for those of you who are trying to get a better picture, can you see the grade?

So here's the front yard and the house.




This is the street.





That should keep you occupied for today.










Wednesday, July 11, 2012

DID YOU PARK YOUR CAR IN THE WOODS?

This question was addressed to me by Jay about 3:15 or so. I had just come back from a vegetable run to the grocery store and a stop by Home Depot. I had been home long enough to chat with Martha and sit down to work on Occupylive when we heard a thud. Jay, ever vigilant, came around the house from downstairs to see my Honda in the woods, down the hill, parked/stopped by a tree.

More good news right? The car did not roll into the house, which was fortunate. The car was stopped after about 40 feet which was fortunate as it did not go down into a ditch nor did the front end hit anything other than foilage and some rocks. I hear tell that the fact that no one was hurt was good news, too, although at this moment that is disputable in my mind.



Not really sure what to think about all of this, beyond the feeling of being cursed. So, today, I am just reading and sleeping and assimilating.

Albert, before his visit to the groomer.



A nose is a nose is a nose.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ANOTHER REPORT

Wooooo. Monday and I slept in. I got up with Mart in the 7s and had my morning sweetness drink, but I knew I needed more sleep. Cooder obliged with her excellent sleeping skills example. I am so pleased and surprised at her adjustment to new surroundings. She only has sweet Albert to contend with, and though he be dog, he is easier to contend with than Emmylou.

I, on the other hand, pine for the young squirmulon.






This moth was trying to get in when I came downstairs. That's the front of the house or rather the foilage in front of the house. 

Saw a terrible car accident on the way back to Brewster yesterday, probably the worst I have ever seen. I even cried.

Tuesday morning. I thought, once again, that I had published this yesterday but I see that I did not complete the task.

I made dinner last night: sauteed kale with onion, garlic, and chicken sausage, quinoa, and a salad made Italian-style wherein the lettuce is salted for five minutes, then dressed with vinegar for five minutes more, then tossed lightly with olive oil and served. SMS made it better as there were no proportions recommended for ingredients, but I will try again.

I drove around a bit yesterday, dropped Richee off at a friends to study physics and play some role game, and also did some marketing ... or shopping as we would now call it. I find that folks drive more slowly than I do. I feel as if I am driving like ... a New Jerseyean! And that's just a short step to calling myself an asshole driver. Just more aggressive.

Cooder just came down to join me in the front room, so she is expanding her territory. I wonder where Albert is.



Sunday, July 8, 2012

DESTINY AND GRACE

A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” - Fontaine


Ain't that the truth? That's pretty much how I feel right now and my response today is just to sit down in the middle of the road and let destiny have its way with me. I'm too tired and overwhelmed to fight anything, particularly destiny.


At least yesterday's walking coma seems to have lifted. And notwithstanding sleeping on a couch, I slept pretty well. When did I start waking up so early? I was wide awake and out of bed by 7:30. Of course, I could probably go back to sleep right now.


Emmy joined me on the couch for sleep sessions, again very sweet. Here she is fighting the heat. All is grace.





Back in Brewster, desultorily unpacking and chilling out. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

SATURDAY IN BROOKLYN

I haven't been very conscious today. I woke up early to head down here to get the Honda looked at and to see Kathleen. I spent most of the day napping here chez Marki-Volny. And I still haven't woken up. On the other hand, I decidedly needed sleep.

Now I am watching Gidget. Ah, California. Having grown up on surf movies, I retain some affection for them, notwithstanding the sexism. Being out there in the full-on sun is scary.


Emmylou was sooooooooo happy to see me. She was mewing before I got the door opened. She even blessed me with her presence during a nap, which is rare. It has been lovely to hang out with her. I hope Cooder is doing fine without me in Brewster.


This "sculpture" is outside the Meineke dealer where I took the Honda. A part needs to be ordered so I have to bring it back next week. After a $166 test, I still don't know how much it will cost. But I do know how lovely these folks are. They wouldn't take my credit card, saying that they trusted me (I've been going there for a couple of years). That's a nice feeling.


This was Cooder napping with me yesterday. Her life seems to be okay. Wish I had that level of comfort.

I did get some rest today. I only moved one thing upstairs today. Tomorrow, I have more stuff to move, although it's not much. My body hurts less and maybe I will wake up, too.






Friday, July 6, 2012

BATHTUB KNEES TEARS


Notwithstanding the heat, Cooder curled up next to my head for a nap. I mean, how sweet is that? She is managing pretty well, really. She wants to go out and hang in the yard. Of course, she has scarcely been outside in her entire life, so I think it's a pretty big step and am not about to let her out without close supervision quite yet.

I miss my bathtub. My body still hurts, particularly my knees, from all the stairs at 8th Avenue. There are two formidible flights here in Brewster, too, although I am not carrying as many boxes, so things are a bit easier. Still, the knees are not getting rest. Times like this call for oxycodone or something. I'd sleep better. 

Tomorrow I am going to visit my Emmylou in Brooklyn, and John and Mel and some other stuff. I am concerned that it will devastate me emotionally although I am not all that stable anyway. I maintain, but I wake up from fitful sleep in tears. Tears are better than out-and-out terror which is another option.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

MOSQUITO MEAT

Another July 4th, another festival of mosquito bites. And alas, the fallacy/fantasy that the bloodsucking didn't really start until dusk was crashed. Now that I am a country girl, I will have to revisit alternative methods of mosquito defense.

I was just too tired and stupified to write yesterday. I am only marginally more conscious at this particular moment. I lurch toward some equilibrium and cognizance of where I am and perhaps get a glimpse of where to head. As I woke up about 5, I think I can safely hit the sheets again. I have to get a move on the myriad of moving and sorting that still needs to occur.

I also have to get cracking on the 300 pages of Proust I need to read by July 19th.

One way or another, this darkness got to give.

Later that same day.

Okay, this is how tired I am. I thought I sent this out this morning. Oh well. I did get in some good napping and I am feeling a bit better physically, but there's a ways to go.



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

MORE OF THE SAME

This was a couple of days ago.
I woke up at 5:00 this morning, although my "wake-up call" was not until 6:15. Even drowsing on the couch in the cool was not so very enticing. It is going to be another long day of moving so I might as well get on with it.

Much better, right?
Louise was a champion yesterday to come over and power through dismantling my bathroom. I have so much stuff and the odds and ends are always the hardest. Why can't they be packed first when you have a keener eye and more energy? There is more to be cleaned in the kitchen, a place which I cannot make myself attend to in a methodical manner.

The plan today is to get the place finished and get back up to Brewster before the traffic rush. We shall see about that. The car is packed close to capacity, leaving room for Cooder's travel bag, and her litter box accoutrements. I hate leaving Emmylou, although I know she is in good hands and is very welcomed.

Making sure I take her with me?




Getting closer. 



And, of course, the engine light came on in my car, so who knows what that means besides another bill and headache and inability to drive where I want to ... as if the gas prices were not enough.
Zoe came up to Brewster with us.
Emmy on the fire escape in the morning.


I have my crying jags, like when I round the corner on the BQE and see the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. And this morning when I think about it. But I do need to finish my coffee and get busy.




Monday, July 2, 2012

QUICKIE

Up before 6:30 to pack up the Honda, aka Lil' Carl, and head up to Brewster with miscellaneous plants, the 1970s component stereo, and the desktop mothership computer, Talisker. It's hot already but I have to get the hell out of this Dodge before I just collapse into tears and worse.

I'll be back.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

ON THE OTHER SIDE?

July 1st, 9:15 a.m. and already hot. Welcome to the reboot. I really cannot write too much at this time as my hands and fingers are so sore from moving that I am somewhat uncoordinated. And although most of the stuff is out of the apartment at 8th Avenue, there are the-little-things-that-fall-through-the-cracks and cleaning.

Cooder, Emmylou, and I are holed up with John, Melinda, and Tupelo until I finish cleaning the apartment. Then Cooder and I move up to Brewster and continue the packing, unpacking, moving, and most terrible (in the superlative sense) task of figuring out what the fuck. That is a 360-degree-red-rubber-ball-life-encompassing WTF.

So, yeah, I am still around. Hopefully, my brain and my thoughtfulness will return. My mind spins with the many things to do, regrets, and possibilities of ... well, the future seems so distant and I am meaning the next week or two. For now, I will find some clothes, get some more coffee, and take a pass at cleaning. It is so hot, I will have to come up here to the air conditioning for breaks.