Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Well, I had a reasonable run of a few days without crying. No tears! Well, except maybe for watching The Newsroom (which could make me cry out of frustration) as they usually manage to hit a liberal nerve every episode that starts me to tears for a moment. That's kind of the knee-jerk cat-or-dog-food-isn't-that-sweet?-or-something cry.

I'll just be pleased I to have had some days of less emotional pain. And even though I have cried pretty deeply and must now clean my glasses of salt residue, I am not prostrate or self-destructive or anything.

I was feeling semi-okay yesterday when I realized that it is time for my car to be inspected again. That's money that I had neither budgeted for nor have. NY State is relentless about inspection stickers and the "fix-it" ticket is not a minor amount of moolah. But the other thing that upsets me and threatens to undermine that delicate and nascent sense of ... well, not well-being, bien-être, ... more like a breathable okayness, a sense that the wolf was not POUNDING on the door ... you never know what is incoming. And lately it is rarely good. It is not as if I have experienced largesse-a-go-go.

Such is life on the edge. I can't even afford to sit in my out-of-town sanctuary room without spending money, needing money. 

I was chatting with my mom who has been having some trouble with her back and hips, which is certainly understandable at 85. Her chiropractor had suggested a two-month regime of thrice-weekly sessions and some other exercise. Although my mom was somewhat reluctant (not to say recalcitrant) to make the commitment, she decided to go ahead with it. I said, "You don't want to lose your mobility." And then we rung off as I was crying and she had an appointment to get to.

She called back to observe that the mobility issue is one I might consider. She said that there are different kinds of mobility, emotional, spiritual, attitudinal (besides economic and social, of course) and that I might want to sit with that.


Even in small matters, it can be hard to remember than one is trying to change. I'm trying to wean myself from the Safari internet browser as my younger friends tell me that it is slower and less efficient than Google Chrome. Being as these folks are less patient and more savvy about things digital, and I have had issues with the efficiency of Safari, I began the switch. But even this morning as I sit down to do my editorial job and wind up for a day in Brooklyn, I almost migrate back to Safari because it is familiar, I don't have to look for or think about anything. I know it. But I need to stay the course and learn something new, get the unfamiliar more familiar. Learn a new ease.

In the midst of every day, I come up against the fears and strangeness of looking for work. Some days, it is so overwhelming that I don't even know how to cast my thoughts, my efforts, my persona. The world and work seem so unfathomably changed since 2008, I am unsure of how to take action. Sometimes, it feels like a simple matter of effort + timing, other times I am stunned into confusion about who I am and what I should/can do. Often nothing seems possible. Sometimes possibility exists.

Learn a new ease?

So, I was trundling around FB, maybe trying to get caught up with Jeff Nunokawa's daily post, which I have not been keeping up with as I might like. Ephemeral and kind of iridescent in that his words and meanings are different in different lights. My light at this morning shone on definition of self as I struggle to sell my skills and wares in a confusing marketplace. Work seems utterly unattainable. Desperately foreign and unknowable. Or so we hope?

4159. "the dimmer but yet eager Titanic life gazing and struggling on walls and ceilings" (George Eliot)

by Jeff Nunokawa on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 1:19am ·
Ruins and basilicas, palaces and colossi, set in the midst of a sordid present, where all that was living and warm-blooded seemed sunk in . . . deep degeneracy . . . ; the dimmer but yet eager Titanic life gazing and struggling on walls and ceilings . . . (Middlemarch)

It feels bad to want something badly: something well within sight, but just out of reach. Of course, not to know, or remember knowing, this feeling brings on its own vexations. For those of us who dwell, just now, outside the State of such aching, frenzied, freezing yearning (having not yet known it, or having known it too well), the closer we are to the sight of it, the further we feel from the fact of it. For those of us who dwell, for now, outside this State, to see it up close is like watching a movie with the sound muted.

But then you remember that they used to somehow make movies without sound. And some of those movies were love stories, loud somehow with passionate regard. You may have seen one of those movies. Who knows, in your dreams or your own dark age, you may have been in one yourself. And who knows, maybe you'll actually be cast in one or another such moving picture, sometime, sooner or later, in a theater near you.

It could happen to you. Stranger things have happened. It's not like the age of miracles is ever really past.
Note: that roar which lies on the other side of silence (Middlemarch)
"They are leaning out for love . . . they will lean that way forever" (Leonard Cohen)

Or so we hope?

None of this this morning. J and Emmy will have to negotiate morning face pets.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Is anxiety contagious?

Maybe it is just having Emmylou nearby or maybe it is just time or maybe it is something else, but I have been feeling better these past two days than I have in about four months. Chipper (if not outrightly cheerful), productive, focussed, you know, all the good stuff. Gosh, maybe even something like hopeful, but not actually hopeful.

But some nears and dears are in serious turmoil, some with reason I can see or has been told to me, other not.

The Alcott kids are all back in school, so the house, theoretically, will be quiet. M, J, and I were not so quiet last night, listening to music and eating pizza and being a bit of the throwbacks to our early-twenties selves. Yes! Pizza season has kicked off! I didn't get a picture but M did and when I get it, I shall post. There were ingredients that were on their way to going back and it was cool enough to fire up the new oven, so I did.

Tomatoes! Tomatoes! Tomatoes! M and I went to the Tomatoe Man up on Peaceable Hill Road and stocked up. I made two kinds of sauce. The orange and yellow tomatoes were so sweet one could remember that tomatoes are actually a fruit. They were more like overripe peaches, all squishy and juicy than those tasteless wedges all too often put on a salad.

Lookin' good, right? Tasting pretty good, too.

Cooder helped with the photography. This is upside down, but cool this way, no?

And then I did some explorin' on Sunday. I drove up to Pawling (14 miles north) and stopped at the John Kane House. Kane was a British sympathizer whose home was commandeered by the rebels and became Washington's hq for a couple of months in 1777, I think.

Well, time to get ready to drive to Brooklyn again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Enviable vegetable garden.
I want to sleep. I went to bed and read for quite awhile before I turned out the lights. But no deal. I'm not particularly upset or depressed or anything. I have a slight slight headache, and I can doze, baby, I can doze. But I cannot sleep.

I might as well give writing a shot. The crickets are loud. It is a little nippy sitting by the open window and I am just a bit shivery (not timbers though) in my nightgown with Iris' orange shawl (pashmani ... is that what that they call them? No ... pashmina ...).  And perhaps a sippy nip from the dwindling bottle of Chartreuse, the remaining soldier from the Lagasse-Johnson haul in late June.

She doesn't look too uncomfortable.
So You can see by the photograph there that Ms. Emmylou is in da house. She looks more tail than kitty, but she's normal in person. Well, kinda. The ride up here was pretty harrowing. Ms. Em does not like restraint in any form, so being in the carrier freaked her out royally. After a time, it just seemed easier to let her roam a bit on the passenger side of the car. She was panting and meowing wildly. I nearly turned around to take her back to John and Melinda. After an hour or less, though, she quieted down enough to sit on the seat and let me stroke her head and we made it the rest of the way. Good thing Louise wasn't in the car as she is a stickler for both hands on the wheel.

(Evidently, Cooder can't sleep either as she is downstairs with me now, whipping her tail about and marking her face on things. Or standing on the keyboard and generally in front of the screen. This desk is not big enough for cats. jkkkkkkkkkkkkkiu)

She wasn't even too afraid of Albert, which I took as a good sign for day two, although this evening he did a mild chase that she wasn't too fond of. Albert is getting fond of me, too, and will bring his toy, Chicky, and prance around for me when I come in.

The weather has cooled slightly to make moving around pleasant. Other signs of oncoming autumn include the kids going to school. Young R celebrated his 19th birthday today by getting dropped off at college. Quite an achievement for someone who was not expected to graduate from high school. Kudos to M and particularly J who shephered him along. Not an easy task. Tomorrow E goes back to Stonybrook which leaves me, M, J, Cooder, Emmy, and Albert.

As the rest of the family was off dropping off R, I took Albert on his afternoon walk. He is a stubborn kinda fella and never wants to turn back home. I snapped some photos to show you all a bit more of the 'hood.
View of the house that was the scene of last week's barbecue.

Their fence. Imagine it is old.



Thursday, August 23, 2012


Wednesday, August 22? 11:00 pm.
No pictures today. Most of the day I had my nose to the grindstone or the computer or both. And then there I was thinking I had all sorts of insights and energy to write. Turns out not to be true. So, time to shut this down, brush my teeth and crawl into bed. There may well be a resurgence of writing interest in the morning.

Thursday, August 23rd, 10:12 pm

Now here I am sleepy again without any pictures to post. I worked at it today, worked at moving forward. The day was certainly not without procrastination, but I did accomplish a resume update and an-almost-ready-to-send draft of a cover letter for a job I am actually interested in. I'm giving myself the night to sleep on it and to see if I wake in the morning with some of my "special" sauciness that does occur to me.

Yesterday was a bit more disappointing as all three job/work related discussions came, well not to naught, but naught to progress really. I did take a bit of an emotional dive there, but not so far down as to prevent coming up for air and doing some more swimming.

Iris and I had not seen one another since the move, although we have managed to keep barely up on the telephone. We had planned a meal for this week, but given our relative and mutual states of bummedness, there was no assurance 'twould come to pass. In fact, I woke yesterday morning planning to bail. As did Iris, as it turned out when we did have dinner! 

And my/our virtue was rewarded. We were both energized and cheered merely by being together. I got to see Iris' fabulously remodelled kitchen, a project in which I had a small, organizational role, and then Iris took me to dinner at the Jackson Diner. The Jackson Diner, you say? Why isn't that one of the premier Indian restaurants in the area. To which I respond with a hearty and enthusiastic yes. Given that I had not had much to eat yesterday, the treat was all the more appreciated. AND their was no traffic on the BQE in either direction. Must have been virtue rewarded!

I came down to one of the Bs empty apartment to see if some solitude would give me some focus that I have yet to attain in my new surroundings. I had three meetings set up. And, 'though I tarried and parried with the possibilities of not showing up as planned, I did arrive at all three appointments. And on time.

So, I return upstate without any manifest progress ... well, I WILL HAVE EMMYLOU with me, but I do think I made some internal progress. Now for another few steps.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Emmy and Tupie are getting along pretty well.
Are pets some kind of addiction? One of the Bs and child are allergic to pets and this is the apartment where I am currently hanging out. I love the quiet. It is wonderfully calm here. But when I open the door, I immediately look for animals to greet me. The idea of getting into a pet free bed is just a bit lonelier. And I am not complaining here, I just notice.

I walked down the block to visit John and Emmylou this evening. As I came up the last flight of stairs, the door opened and just beyond I could see a fuzzy face looking worriedly in my direction. John said that he knew I was coming up the stairs when Emmy jumped up and ran to the door. He didn't her me, but she did.

While I am not terribly depressed at the moment, I am having a tough time staying on an even keel. I didn't sleep well last night, which makes me cranky and groggy. My much-anticipated plans for the day with a friend fell through in a dramatic way (incident involving a wayward cab). I did have a lovely nap but then I woke up. The small project I keep hearing is about to start gets delayed. And it is always difficult to keep perspective when one is so close to the precipice, or so one feels one is.

On the plus side, and I need to say it, I did pull out my resume for deployment (needs work again). I corresponded with some folks I had let drift away a bit. I had a good conversation with a good friend who is in a similar situation. And I even did a bit of the research I needed to do for a meeting I have tomorrow.

I know I am also beyond upset about this Todd Akin/rape ridiculousness. As I commented to someone, it does make me want to walk out into traffic and just lie down. If I somehow neglected to send you the Rebecca Solnit article about Men Explaining Things here it is. Don't miss it. Eve Ensler wrote an open letter to Todd Akin. It is shocking that such things need to be gone over.

Park Slope apartment house doorway. Cool right?

So to bed for now. Perhaps I will fall asleep in due time, at a reasonable hour, if I head that way now.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Wow. It kind of got cold here already. It isn't more than halfway through August to September and it was sweater instead of sweating time this morning. I even pulled out the comforter and put it on the bed, although I know it will be hot again.

Melinda's friend Megan gave her these fantastic tomatoes. I haven't eaten any yet as I am still marvelling at their beauty. Emmy was interested as well. (See her big tail over on the right?) No idea what they are called. As I understand it, they came down with from Vermont.

M, J, A, and I had a cool, cozy, and companionable breakfast time reading the New York Times. I don't get to read the Book Review as thoroughly as I would generally like to. On the other hand, my list of books to read gets quite long and I will never make it through that growing list before I die. There's a review of a new biography of Charles deGaulle that is allegedly a page-turner ... a 707-page book about deGaulle? Well, I can at least check it out when I finish the mammoth Edith Wharton biography (that will be a while as I am only reading about 5 pages a day) ... and then there is the Proust volume half-finished.

So, a cold-ish day. I was in a complete napping mood, but M and J's neighbors had invited them down for a barbecue. I was invited and, after some persuasion by E, who came back to the house and specifically asked me to come down, I agreed to make an appearance. I wasn't feeling very outgoing or emotionally secure/stable, so I wasn't sure if I could be social. But I did and I could. The folks were very nice and within a few minutes, and half a glass of wine, I was quite comfortable. Two yellow jackets drowned in my glass of wine. Is that supposed to be good luck?

The moral of this story which none of you are allowed to ever repeat to me is that sometimes it is a good idea to calm down a moment, revisit a decision, and perhaps put yourself out there a bit. I will deny I ever said this.

Off to Brooklyn again tomorrow. I was supposed to go today but I did chores and went to the barbecue instead. Emmy will help throughout the week as she did on Friday. There is some discussion of seeing if she would fit in here in Brewster, which would make me very happy or at the very least cheer me up considerably (happiness and I are quite estranged at the moment). Cooder, not so much. But the house is big enough, although there is only one me.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Ah, the pets of yesterday: Cooder at the foot of our bed, Albert dozing in the sun in the hallway, waiting for his peeps to get up and get rollin'. 

The pets of today are Emmylou Irene Patsy Clownpaws and Tupelo, the Mighty.

And now back to Cooder and Albert. Yes, I am bouncing between Brooklyn and Brewster quite a bit.

Did not sleep for shite last night. Fortunately, or unfortunately, M had brought me the new Tana French, Broken Harbor, so I had something to burn through instead of mere tossing and turning. 

Today, besides making a marinated green bean and tomato salad, M, J, and I went to an open house at the nearby Ryder Farm which has been owned and operated by the same family since 1795. We got a tour of the original home (substantially altered, but the flavor of it was still there) and even took a hay ride (a wagon pulled by a tractor) around the property. 

A lovely feather-legged chicken and her cute chick.

Been on the farm for a long time.

Stunning day.

They grow flowers, too.

View from the back porch.

Near the back porch.

One week's worth of a farm share.

Farm machinery and a little guest house.


Chicken area there next to the building.

Looked as if it might get cloudy.

It is not my intention that this blog degenerate into just mindless photos. I realize the only yoga connection here is that I am still trying to do some kind of practice, as loose and imperfect as that is.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Afternoon nap Cooder
Oh goodness, how it rains. We here in Brewster were awakened at 4:00 a.m. to the cannonade of thunder and lightning for a good, solid hour. It was the loudest storm I have ever heard. Cooder would have no part in cuddling me, either, preferring to stay under the bed. Probably should have gotten up to sit on the screened-in porch and watched the sky. Jay says that lightning is conducted here because this is a particularly iron-rich area.

This did no good for drying out the basement either.

Photo from My Persian Kitchen.
Not entirely because it is Julia Child's 100th birthday anniversaire, but also because it is Farmer's Market day, I reached into my cookbook/notebook to make Persian Carrot Soup. This was a New York Sunday Times Magazine recipe in 1994. Those cooks among you should take notice of this one. There is a lot of chopping involved, but it is easy beyond that and floor-stomping-damn-good. I lifted this photo from another site's recipe for Persian Carrot Chicken Soup, but you get the idea. 4 whole onions = a lot of crying. (Now, if we only had some mergez on the side!) And for your listening pleasure while you cook, I might recommend Lyle Lovett's tribute to his Texas-singer songwriter brethren, Step Inside This House. And here's a link to some Julia cooking tips on Epicurious.

There is not much else to report on. Cooking cheered me today. As did the sight of all those vegetables at the Farmer's Market. As I was perusing several kinds of potatoes, I noticed this sign just behind the truck. Hmmm ... quite a bit different than the Brooklyn Public Library Farmer's Market or Union Square for that matter.

Monday, August 13, 2012


This is K's house on the Housatonic River in Connecticut. I went up to have dinner and lots of wine with one of the Bs on Saturday night. This is what I woke up to.

By about 8:30 or 9 a.m., I wasn't able to do any more sleeping, B and AJ were still dead to the world, so I decided to just head back to Brewster. As some of you have expressed interest in what the world looks like around here, I stopped a couple of times to snap some flavor.

And LST was mentioning the Appalachian Trail to me the other day. Just so happens it runs through this neck of the woods. It is fairly prosaic around here.