Sunday, September 30, 2012


Yesterday was quite exhausting. I was on the go from the time I posted until around midnight. After my fun Saturday night in Seattle, I came home to clean up the debris of the day (more soon on that) and ended up watching NCIS because that was what was on. After two episodes, I was heading into the third when I realized I was on the verge of falling back into pre-employment-stay-up-as-late-as-you-want behvior. I did the better thing and went to bed.

Having been on tight financial rations for awhile, I did have some significant wardrobe needs. That, and wanting to buy some inexpensive bedding at Ikea had me secure another Zipcar as previously chronicled. (See map.) Not really as far as it might appear. Especially when you are powered by a Top Pot 16 oz latte and a maple cake doughnut. I had to throw some of the doughnut out the car window (it's biodegradable) so that I wouldn't wolf down the whole thing. Just on prinicple. I've got to stay away from those and the Serious Pie croissants which might be the best I have ever had in my life. On the other hand, I didn't eat for many hours yesterday, so it was likely good to have had something.

Okay, I digress. ("Gee, really?") I know I should not have been surprised to see that the general landscape while driving down the freeway looked just like my vague notions of the Pacific Northwest but I was and it did. More pine (or some evergreen-y) trees mixed in with maples and whatnot actually turning color. (See, M? I am not wholly deprived of fall color.) Ikea was Ikea except that real estate does not preclude horizontal expansion here, so there was only one floor. And the Ikea shoppers are just like Ikea shoppers wherever: slow, indecisive, and possible prone to recieving alien orders in the middle of the aisle, causing them to stop in their tracks. And they were dressed mostly in clothes from Eddie Bauer and Columbia Sportwear. (Just sayin', ain't neither Brooklyn, Elizabeth, nor Glendale.) This Ikea had NO CHECK OUT CLERKS. That's right, all scan it yourself, at least at that time of day (fairly quiet). Cutting more costs!

Okay, so I found a mall (look up to Bellevue on that map) to find a TJ Maxx because I knew I would be able to find a whole bunch of little items (good balsamic at a cheap price, underwear, coats, etc.) all at the same place. Given the number of coats I actually own (B, stop laughing or grimacing!) it seemed wrong to be shopping for another one. (Ironically, I was near a town called Newcastle, the main drag of which is Coal Creek. I kid you now.) But I didn't bring one with me. (Not really sure why except that I didn't want to carry one.) So, I found a nice Ralph Lauren waterproof down jacket for $50, and a London Fog raincoat (locals tell me I need both). I found other stuff I needed (repeat: needed. I did a reality check on items asking if I needed it NYC.) and headed out in exhaustion (now at hour four of shopping).

Why am I telling you all of this? Caffeine kicking in and I'm just feeling chatty? Heading to the freeway, I saw a sign that said "Wide Shoes." Many of you do not know this, but wide feet have been one of the banes of my existence for my entire life. One of my friends once asked me how I stood on my feet as they were oversquare. (He was, for a time, a professional race car driver). Though I was near to dropping and still a-ways from home base, I thought I should not pass up this opportunity. Shoe heaven for me!!! Whoppee! I don't think a shoe had felt so good on my foot since I bought some bitchen Arche shoes in Paris after the Olympics ... 1992 kids. Very cute. Very comfortable. Strappy low heels that are waterproof? Hello, gorgeous!

Look, lots more running around, trying to get legally parked and then upstairs with all my stuff, doing laundry, going to a new Trader Joe's, where I got a new angle on the Space Needle.

I could keep prattling, but I realize I am on a caffeine and exhaustion high, so I should make like Cooder and crash out some some.

But I need to share one more photo. I stopped by a Safeway as there was parking and I thought I might be able to buy some SOS or Brillo pads and a couple of other items not carried in delis, speciality groceries, or Trader Joe's. Think again. But check this out. They are so crazy about coffee here, the grocery store trolleys have coffee holders. I thought this was hilarious.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Up early even on a Saturday, although I could really go back to sleep about now. That's what I did last Saturday ... did I get up early, take a bath, and then go back to sleep? Hmm. Not important I suppose.

Today, I have a Zipcar arranged for 9:00, a KIA, which is a car model I have never before driven. I am striking out for the local Ikea, partly as a random scouting expedition, and partly to pick up a few items (toilet bowl brush, dish towel, small lamp) that will be cheaper there than anywhere else. Having been to the local Goodwill several times now, I didn't see the prices being low enough. The Goodwill did offer up some better knives than were provided, the ones here being utterly dangerous in their crapiness.

Last night, on a bit of an impulse, I got a Zipcar (Mazda this time) and headed over to the Capitol Hill neighborhood to Elliott Bay Books. And wow, is that a happening neighborhood! Teaming with bars, restaurants, RECORD stores, coffee shops, and non-intimidating hipsters. This neighborhood is so popular, paid parking goes from 8 am to 8 pm! Walking around the bookstore was fun, as it is quite spacious. It's great great great to be able to find things on line (they did not, for instance have The Letters of Madame de Sevigny in stock) but I did have lively conversations with the information desk clerks and the check out clerks.

I splurged and bought my good friend Scott Nash's new book, which was just released this week.

I walked around looking for a likely place to eat, but, being as it was prime time on a Friday night, that was not happening. The pizza place that had been highly recommended by the sales clerk was far too crowded, not to mention too dark for the reading I was hoping to do. I settled for the Oddfellow's Cafe, conveniently located next to the bookstore.

That was slightly less than satisfactory, although maybe I was just tired. The maitre d' suggested I sit at the bar for fastest service, even though there was no longer a line, and several two-tops had become empty, and to my way of thinking, unavailable. Ever sympathetic to the vagaries of restaurants, I agreed to sit at the counter, although I wish I had not. There continued to be empty tables, but I was squished up at the bar with several other singletons. I understand not wanting to hand away valuable table real estate in anticipation of the later night wave of diners, but I didn't exactly feel welcomed.

I know, those bottles look good. But, as I was driving, I consumed but a single glass of white wine. The food was okay, mussels in a smoked paprika, pancetta strip sauce and a radicchio/golden beet/orange sections salad. I might have rather had pizza. I'm going through withdrawals and as I have purchased a pizza pan, it is my intention to gather the makings while I am out on my sojourn today.

Working full-time again is not so bad! I rather like the walk to and from work, under 20 minutes. I might not feel this way when Seattle's rains start, but thus far the weather has been mostly gorgeous. I am missing my friends and Emmylou. Having Cooder's soft belly and quiet purr in my face when I woke up this morning went a long way to increasing my feelings of well-being.

I'm so much more comfortable since I re-arranged a bit of furniture last week. Right now, I am propped up on some pillows, laptop on lap (and charging appropriately), the desk lamp shedding the enough light to read and write. All good.

There's still a backlog of photos from last weekend's trip to Chittenden Locks. This was kind of a nice sculpture.

Friday, September 28, 2012


There go those seagulls again. It is not as sunny and they are not as vocal; could there be a correlation? 

It was another slow day for me, and that is disheartening. I was tired, too, as I had not gotten as much sleep as I need, but I made it through.

I also got this in an email from the young man I am working with (he also did me the solid of copying our boss:

I didn't get the chance today to tell you how much I appreciate your help on this! The extra manpower is a huge relief, and simply having someone to talk through these processes with is a great catalyst for solving the problems we run in to.

Nice, right? Such appropriate consideration from a youngster, no less.

Last night there was a scheduled happy hour for work last night at a local place, which is enticing as are most of the places around here, the places on my meander to and from work. The gin-and-tonics were excellent. Who'd a thunk that drink required any expertise? Choosing top shelf gin, in this case Hendricks, also made a difference. I had a delish appetizer of cheese and proscuitto stuffed grilled figs on baby lettuce. Yum.

I am not so sure about Seattle or maybe just the corner I am inhabiting. Although the folks I work with are hella-and-enjoyably-admirably smart, I don't think a single person has used the words "I read..." or "I was reading..." in connection with something other than a work document or email. Have any movies been mentioned? ("Right, Sally Anne. And when was the last time YOU were in a movie theater?"

After hothouse Brooklyn, Seattle feels intellectually and maybe artistically arid, kind of superficial almost. There is such an emphasis on feeling good, taking care of oneself, some hedonism, etc., and perhaps some spirituality, but it does not feel emotionally, intellectually, artistically fecund, fertile nor inspirational to me. But maybe I just haven't seen enough or met enough new people. 

But maybe it's just Friday.

A long story I am not going to tell here, but Iris' son Adam rescued an orphaned kitten in the country destined for drowning.

Doc is the kitten's name. I think I see love and gratitude on that face. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Flowers at the gardens near the Chittenden locks.
Where, oh where is the ebullience of yesterday's post? Things just don't (necessarily) happen in a straight grade/line/continuum.

I didn't sleep as well last night, receiving a telephone call at an ... unruly ... hour. I don't think that the telephone call was the only disturbance; perhaps I ate more than I should have of my carmelized onion/sherried mushroom/chicken sausage spaghetti finished with butter and parmesan/gouda cheese. Perhaps the heat in the room was too high. Perhaps I suffered from down withdrawal. I don't really know. I do know that I did not wake up feeling all that grand and that continued to be the case for the entire day. Oh, and all those vegetables I ate for lunch yesterday (most delicious kale) caused an active digestive system.

Dogs are given equal water drinking opportunities here in Seattle.
And then work was difficult. I have never claimed that Excel was my strongest suit in the software universe. In truth, it has been a little bit of a sticking point on some projects that I carry too much data in my head, where it could be destroyed by an oncoming bus or a severe case of the cocktail flu (I did not invent that fine phrase). I have resolved to improve my Excel skills and, indeed, I have. But I was not up to snuff with a 20-something when it came to formatting an asset management list. Then again, I am not familiar with the ins and outs of the project; there is much nomenclature and I am more accustomed to working on entertainment projects than software development (although I am not a thorough stranger).

Another view of the Chittenden Locks and fish ladder.
So, I was slow and began to feel old and in the way. Maybe tomorrow I will not. I did wake up to the first real payday I have seen in 3 years. I celebrated moderately by giving my mother some money, paying a couple of outstanding small-ish bills, treating myself to a Thai meal (great peanut sauce), and feathering my Seattle nest with some goods from Bed, Bath, and Beyond (turns out it helps to have a list when you enter that place). I shopped intelligently and bought the cheapest nice things, not buying the high count Egyptian cotton bath towels (I need some at home), or the best down pillows. I bought the least expensive that seemed reasonable, as well as a pizza pan, some bath salts, hair gel, a Melitta for single cups of coffee (instead of the resident Mr. Coffee or buying a full stovetop espresso rig), et cetera et cetera.

So now, I think I will make a bit of use of the bath salts before I test drive the new down pillow (which I did encase in 700 thread count cotton pillow cases, but only because they were gigantically reduced and not a beautiful color). I can't see color when I sleep except in my dreams.
1) I would like to live in this building. 2) I think this building's doppelganger is in Berkeley. 3) I likes me some yellow and blue.

Tomorrow night, there is a "happy hour" after work which fills me with a certain trepidation. There have been many new people added to the project in the last two weeks, so a mixer is in order. My fear range from non-sociability, to saying the wrong things, to drinking too much. Just so you know.

Also, Iris had been out of town, but called me this morning to give me a full report of Emmylou, who I was able to hear. She is apparently doing just fine, save for a flea issue. Iris was taking her to the vet for a treatment, and all should be hunky-dory.

Now off to a rendez-vous with Logan Pearsall Smith and the new bath salts.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


From Saturday's trip to Chittenden Locks.
I really am having fun with Mr. L. P. Smith, although I have to be awake enough to concentrate on the rhythm of his writing which is not a short and fluid as more current styles. I was amused by this in the plus ca change world (he transferred from Haverford to Harvard [hurricanes hardly happen]):

My father had given me a generous allowance. I had already a few acquaintances who belonged to what was considered a good set among the undergraduates, and was elected a member of those societies and fraternities which play, or played, so important a part in Harvard life. I have now forgotten the names of these foolish associations, but my pleasure at election to them I can still recall. It was in the essence a snobbish pleasure; why should I boggle at the word? Indeed the atmosphere of Harvard was at that time — whether it has changed since then, I do not know — richly colored by the sense of social differences. The prestige possessed by members of the most exclusive clubs, the delight of being seen in their company, and the hope of being admitted into their select circles — these were the animating motives of life at Harvard as I knew it; and the democratic principles I had learned from Walt Whitman were of little avail against this atmosphere of social aspiration. That there was an intellectual set at Harvard of much greater interest than the foolish world in which I was, after all, little more than an outsider; that there were young men of intelligence and high promise among my contemporaries, I had not the slightest notion. I was indeed hardly worthy at the time of the notice of intellectuals like Santayana and Berenson, who were at Harvard with me, though I did not know them, and with whom I became acquainted only in after years.

Okay, I started this awhile ago, while I was still in Brewster, but it seemed like a good thing to start tonight's post on.

Had some fairly scary laptop issues this morning, but running disk utilities seemed to resolve the problems in the short run. I know I need to buy a new computer as this one is a good 4+ years old, but I didn't want to have to spend my first paycheck on a computer. I was/am looking forward to paying some debts. Woo-hoo!

I will admit that I have a bit of wine at this point in the evening (8:40). Back to that "chilling out after work" state of mind. I am adjusting to this all. I did make a great dinner dish, kind of randomly. I had some spaghetti noodles to reheat, which I steamed back into life with my newly purchased accessory from Goodwill. I had some mushrooms that had little time left. I sauteed a bit of onion, a bit of chicken sausage, and those mushrooms in amontillado sherry, adding butter and some cheese at the end. Wow. Much better than I would have anticipated.

Another view of the locks.
Maybe this is too quotidien. I'm hanging in there. Great having Cooder here and am just starting to miss Emmylou, although I am pretty sure she is better off where she is for the moment. I remembered to take some sleeping medication last night and surprise! this resulted in the best night's sleep I have had in weeks and a greater level of overall relaxation today.

Yes, there are people and situations about which I am worried out there in the world. Yes, I feel a bit cut off from things, having had no real time to even read the New York Times in the morning. That said, I feel some kind of life groove coming on and let's face it, I can use it.

Monday, September 24, 2012


The morning bird call has changed. Instead of the chirping and cawing, there are seagulls. I'm not sure what that bird call is. It is more musical than the crows, having a diminuendo that sounds dramatic and omnious. They don't fly around this building and make as much noise as did either the birds at Park Slope or Brewster.

Jeff Nunokawa had this to say this morning and it seemed worth sharing in a complete state.

4187. "We turn it into a dramatic monologue" (Robert Langbaum).

by Jeff Nunokawa on Monday, September 24, 2012 at 4:22am ·
The complete structure of traditional drama is a sign that it imitates or illustrates a complete idea; whereas the incomplete structure of the dramatic monologue is a sign that it projects a partial and problematic idea, a point of view. It is significant that when we misread old plays it is usually because we have lost sight of the ethos out of which they were written . . . Instead of subordinating the points of view of the characters to the general perspective and allowing the plot to determine our judgments, we allow the central character to have his way with us; we see the play through his point of view and as an episode in his career. We turn the complete drama into an incomplete one. We turn it into a dramatic monologue ("The Dramatic Element", The Poetry of Experience: The Dramatic Monologue in Modern Literary Tradition).

I wonder if other people talk to themselves as much as I do. And if they do, I wonder whether they recall as little of what they say as I recall of what I say. There I am walking down the street, wondering, half or quite aloud, why things are this way and not that way. I reassure myself and some stipulated (sight, unseen) friend that things are indeed this way and not that way, and that we have just what it takes (maybe just barely) to bear this way with some degree of dignity and consideration for others. (I try to avoid speaking or singing loudly, especially when I know that I am near people who are sleeping, loving, studying or praying.) While I do not remember a single specific word I have ever said during these bouts of talking-to-myself cure, much less any Old Story from which those words have found their fragmentary way, I do recall with a feeling of gratitude that I cannot say out loud, the tones of those teachers (poems, people, prose) whose classic instruction keeps us at our best play, even when the lines are blurry.
If we are able to find our way amongst the weights of the world, that is because of those central characters who have had their way through us; those central characters who taught us how to speak to the scared and the scarred; the central characters whose way directed us to the cross-road passages in the greatest dramas--the ones where the words that we speak to give others (visible and invisible) courage, merge with the words that we speak to receive some ourselves.
Note. Here I am, walkin' down the street . . .  and I say to myself "I *got* this! " [anon].

I particularly related to "wondering why things are this way and not that way" ... and to requote our friends Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, "... seems here like everything/lead up to this day/and it's just like any other day that's ever been..."

Work was better today as I was more enfranchised and at least told what some of my responsibilities would be. I still had a difficult time staying awake as I did not sleep well, being worried about Pammie again. That and not having the (for me) requisite down pillows and general comfort. I have already taken some sleeping medication in the hopes that I will get some good shut-eye tonight.

There's that Space Needle again.
My studio apartment is much more comfortable for me since I adjusted the feng shui to my liking. I suppose we all have different tolerances for our environment, but I pretty much never walk into one without wondering how I might improve or at least adjust it. Perhaps this will increase the likelihood that I will write and post. 

There is a Goodwill store on my route to and from work. I stopped by on the way home as I did need some other kitchen basics and I could use a couple more items of clothing. I scored in kitchen and housewares area, finding spring-loaded tongs (stop laughing, M), a decent knife, rubber spatulas in reasonable repair, a colander like pan that fits into the pans that came with the place thus eliminating the need for a vegetable steamer, a decent microplane for cheese, a pizza cutter, and I don't know what else. The utensils were only 69 cents! I also scored two nice bowls that can contain my necklaces and the cat food. 
Random building near my building, catching some sunset.

And I bought a plaid Woolrich shirt. Oh God. I'm going crunchy. 

At lunch I had time to revisit L. P. Smith and I needs must share him with you again (still from Unforgotten Years:

I detect in myself a tendency to sentimentalize over these early years of my existence. It is not that I wish to recall my youth. It is rather than I feel a kind of impatient pity for that half-baked young fool of an American boy about whom I have been writing. no, I have no regrets for youth. Gladly would I go on living at my present age, and with my present interests, for uncounted years. To become young again would seem to me an appalling prospect. Youth is a kind of delirium, which can only be cured, if it is ever cured at all, by years of painful treatment.


I think I learned when the bars closed here in Seattle. There was about an hour, I think about 4 am, where there was bedlam in the streets. I suppose this will get tiring, but, at this point, I found it amusing and reassuring. If I had any questions about the liveliness of the neighborhood, they have been put to rest.

I am in a studio apartment, temporary corporate housing, in a gentrifying neighborhood called Belltown. The Space Needle is quite nearby which is always fun to see. It isn't that large and one wonders why such a big deal was made of it. Who knew that when it was built in 1962 it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi?

I really have no excuse for not writing a long and lively post today. I realized this morning that i had left my cell phone charger in the Zipcar. Dismayed at the prospect of having lost something and having to spend money to replace it, I thought to go online and see if the zipcar, which is known as Clean, was available this morning. As it was, I secured it for a few hours as I had some errands to run at any rate. 

The bank, Trader Joe's, and a bit of an exploratory drive around the Capitol Hill area of Seattle were interesting. Before I even got in the car, I, of course, wandered over to Top Pot Doughnuts for a latte. Parts of Seattle remind me of Park Slope in some ways, or maybe I am just projecting due to some homesickness.

Mind you, I do not espouse eating doughnuts regularly, but these are kind of hard to resist. Anything relating to maple, which clearly includes maple bars, sing a loud and persuasive siren song to me.

When I went in yesterday, Saturday, about 12:45 We Got The Beat by the Go-go's was playing. I haven't heard that song for ages and it was one of my favorites back in the day. And now I can't remember what the next song was, but it was good. And it was good that it was good as the barista kind of forgot my order and started chatting with a friend. I spent a few minutes bopping around to the music and being patient before I approached the coffee machine.

People are extra nice here. The barista apologized all over the place and gave me a free doughnut. Imagine that kind of service at a Manhattan Rite-Aid or Duane Reed where you cannot get the cashiers to get off of their cell phones. (I managed to consume only half yesterday and half this morning, striving toward moderating in sinning.)

So, enough for now, although there is more to write. Dinner with Marc S. on Friday night was unexpectedly intense and there was no problem staying awake. (Had nothing to do with interpersonal relationships.) Spent yesterday with my old friend Terry, whom I had not seen since 1998. Within about twenty minutes, all the years had disappeared and only comraderie, forbearance, pleasure, and catching up on details remained.

Cooder is already asleep and I need to get prepared for what I hope is a crazy busy week of work. I believe the phrase is "bring it on"?

Sunday, September 23, 2012


So here I am at the gig with a few minutes free and thinking I might write and post. Which I can do, except I cannot email anything.

So, I will revisit this, hopefully, tonight.

Now it is Friday night. Cooder is sprawled out at the end of bed. I have Family Guy on the tube. I'm waiting for an old friend, Marc S., to pick me up for dinner. I have been criminally sleepy today, and there is the ancillary stupidity to contend with. I hope he gets here pretty soon so that I don't fade any more.

This week was slow for me. The design boys were busy, although they had some frustrations as well. I was about to pull out my eyeballs, at least in part because I would like this gig to last awhile and I need to be productive and invaluable. Right now, I'm only under contract for twenty work days, but it could last longer.

Seattle is an adjustment. On Sunday night, after a long day of travel, I arrived in a completely burnt out state of mind. After some hassles, I made it into my room and set Cooder free. As it was late, I hurried out to a local deli/grocery so that I could get some kitty litter for her.

The store had pet food, but for awhile I could not find the litter. I guess I was a little too demanding for the store clerk, who seemed a bit off-put, if not overwhelmed by my many questions. Finally, kitty litter was secured, I bought some smoked salmon as a treat for the two of us (smoked fish is one of her favorites). Upon exiting, I requested a second plastic bag, thinking that it would suffice as a litter liner.

Evidently, that was the last straw. The portly cashier flew into a dance of exasperation, huffing and harrumphing and speed rapping (or what passes for that out here) about my asking for a second plastic bag. Turns out that plastic bags have been outlawed in this state and my request was one step beyond the pale.
Cooder enjoying the bathtub.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Having Cooder along for the job helps quite a bit. No one really wants to enter a bland, non-personal space in a town where one doesn't have a lot of friends and be all alone. Her conversation isn't all that scintillating, but she is good for a cuddle and decorating the space.

The first day of work went fine, although I cannot say it was particularly productive. There is a lot of information and lingo to absorb. Our workmates are nice and understanding and repeatedly thanked the three of us for heading out for the project on such short notice. Let us all hope that that continues.

I can see the Space Needle from my studio window if I stand at just the right angle. I might try to take a picture, but I am not so hopeful. The studio also has a bathtub! Yes, I took my first official bath in about three or four months. By the time I left 8th Avenue, I was too busy and nervous to really avail myself of the tub. This one isn't a great tub, but I did sigh with pleasure as I sank (as best I could) into it.

After living in Brewster for a bit, it is surprising to walk out of the building and into so many options. Restaurants, stores, hell, water, just a short walk away. This neighborhood is still gentrifying so there are social services offices nearby and the corresponding constituencies floating about. The YWCA is on the next block. Again, just different than Brewster or Park Slope.

We can walk to work, about 19 minutes or 66 calories away. It is unseasonably, or unSeattleably warm. One could be lulled into thinking this is a perfectly delightful place to live, with this kind of weather, and maybe it is, even when it rains. The warmth is supposed to last through the weekend. If I weren't so tired tonight, I might have taken a walk over to Elliot Bay, but I am rather at sixes and sevenses and although I am nearly too tired to rest, that did seem like the best course of action.

We ate Thai food from a food truck for lunch. 

There are packs of nerd boys running around here. At least in the part of town we were in, there was a dearth of females. Kind of weirds me out, as I thought that had changed in the technology world. Guess not. I am sure I will have more to say about that at another point. Reaching critical sleepiness mass here.

This tree was the strangest shade of yellow green.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


“Thunder and lighting! You shouldn’t complain …”

I think I am misremembering that from a version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Here I am in Seattle. Cooder and I flew in last night. She seems to be adjusting reasonably well. I think she's a bit bored, but at her age, she mostly sleeps anyway. I start a gig tomorrow, so she'll be more alone than she has been in quite a long time. I'm glad to have a kitty with me. 

There are a lot of things to catch you all up on, but, for right now, this is just where I am.

There are two other freelancers who have come in to work on this project. We walked over to the Pike Market and had breakfast at a place called Lowell's. I haven't had a hangtown fry in a bazillion years. You remember hangtown fry, right?

Pike's Market is expensive and touristy, but difficult to resist on a warm, sunny Seattle day. We know these days are numbered.

I bought these honeycrisp apples, too. I think they are Louise's current favorites. This is $6 worth of apples here. They will go well with cheese.

This bunch of mostly dahlias was $5.00. It sure feels extravant to buy flowers. Could you have resisted?

Emmylou Irene Patsy Clownpaws had to stay in New York. JetBlue won't let you fly with more than one animal. I don't think I could have handled two, anyway. Here she is taking a last minute nap in my left just before I left.

As Ms. Emmy is friendly and adaptable, I left her with Iris. Iris sent a couple of shots today.

As you can see, she isn't adjusting very rapidly.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Last Wednesday a week ago, M was off (not her usual day). We went up Peaceable Hill Road to The Tomato Man, an elder geezer (and we have no idea what "elder" means anymore) who grows his own and has a small, honor system stand whereby folks can drive up and visit the day's offering. M was making some caponata (could not find his specific recipe on line). 'Twas splendid eating.

At any rate, we stood, oohing and aahing over the tomato choices, just gushing. And then we burst out laughing over ourselves, remembering our much younger persons having carried on about much more cultural or carnal objects de joie. Time and friendship do roll on and this was certainly not a scene we might have foreseen.

I spied this box of tomatoes, which appealed to my sense of redemption. There were a lot of tomatoes in there and it took me about two hours to get them all scalded, peeled, chopped, and into the pots. But we were pleased with the results and there are now about 10 cups of fresh tomatoes in the freezer awaiting further orders.

How could I resist the words, "good for something" as that is one of the current constant questions of my current existence. What am I good for? Good at?

The bowl on the left is for the compost, or would be if we had one.
Don't fret; I am not depressed nor spinning not tossing and turning unduly in the night. I am feeling better than I have in many months, getting lots of cooking and reading done, and even some organization, cleaning, and actual work. But just asking ... if I am good for something(s) what  is/are it /they so that I can get back to a financially productive life. 

And what something is good for me?

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Q: How is this cat misbehaving in this photo?

This looks like a satisfied cat, now, doesn't it? Emmy was helping with dinner last night (pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sage sauce, tilapia, roasted balsamic broccoli and potatoes). Maybe it is because the weather is cooling, but she is staying very very close these days. She spent a good bit of this morning lolling in my lap. Perhaps my judgment of her as not-a-lap cat has more to do with the availability of laps. In my current desk configuration, I am usually perched on the edge of my seat, as if I am about to get up (and I am likely to).
Days later. Turns out Emmy IS a lap cat. And I do need to 1) sit still more often and 2) make appropriate accommodations for her. In many chairs, my feet do not sit firmly on the ground so I can't comfortably support a kitteh, meaning said kitteh will slide off. 

Logan Pearsall Smith is pretty funny. Yes, he is a bit arch and archaic in his writing, and perhaps his view is a bit obscure as well, but I thought this was an interesting tidbit, among many, given that this was published in 1939. He was born in 1865. 

There are few human beings more detestable to me than spoiled American children, who, full of their own importance, demand continual attention, and are the ruin of all rational talk among grown-up people. But my hatred of these noisy little monsters is — or at least it ought to be — tempered by the recollection that I was in my childhood one of them myself, ... which my American parents would, of course, have done nothing to abate."

This was observation was occasioned by his preaching Quaker parents having been invited to Britain to do their thing in some mighty fine houses, as some of those Brits were wont to have. I wondered if this all had to do with the Second Great Awakening, but evidently that movement was much earlier. Smith is pretty funny on the Quakers. Also of interest, before I leave the topic for today, Smith's sisters Alys and Mary were married to Betrand Russell and Bernard Berenson, respectively.

Reading. Cooking. Listening to some music. Worrying. That's what I'm up to. My schedule is such that I find it difficult to post here, although I think about it quite often.

Random thoughts:

It is nearly impossible to stay asleep through a fresh brewed pot of coffee. (If I am not up before she is, M's morning ritual often creeps up the stairs, knocking on the need to get on with the day.)

With the bells on her collar, living with Emmylou (and to a lesser extent Cooder) is like having rattlesnakes around, with that warning sound emanting from random places at random times.

I have been around the house quite a bit awaiting some possible developments on the employment front. I did decide to take Albert for a short walk at the reservoir bike path the other day.

Proof that fall is a-cumen.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Quiet from me, I know. Surfing a few of those emotional waves, but mostly I have been trying to move forward on things, or being ... well ... quiet. Which is only to reassure you all that I am not in a terrible mental attitude.

I was back in Brooklyn for a couple of days, catching up with some business, seeing some friends, catsitting Tupelo while John and Mel went to a wedding in Rhode Island. I came back this afternoon to ease back into this life so that I would be ready to apply myself to the myriad of things that need my attention here. Cooder and Emmy, as well as M and J were welcoming. Emmy slept on the couch next to me this evening as we three watched the 60 Minutes episode about the killing off of Osama bin Laden. This was the first time she has settled down next to me in this way. Can the transition to lap cat be far away?

I had a few minutes here and there this afternoon to read a few of the reviews in the Sunday Times Book Review. I particularly related to this quote from an article about Paul Auster's new memoir, Winter Journal:

"Some memories are so strange to you, so unlikely, so outside the realm of the plausible, that you find it difficult to reconcile them with the fact that  you are the person who experienced the events you are remembering."

That begins to address the weirdness I often feel about things I have done, opportunities I have had, possibilities I have passed by. I've been trying to make sense of my life. Turns out others have questions about their lives, too.

I've also been reading quite a bit. I made it all the way through Shari Benstock's biography of Edith Wharton, No Gifts from Chance (461 pages of text and quite a bit of it referencing EW's health and travel). I did get into the minutae at some point and was interested in EW's milieu enough to track down a book or two hitherto not interesting to me, starting with Logan Pearsall Smith's memoir, Unforgotten Years, largely written while on an Aegean cruise with EW.

 EW is quoted as having asked this question during WWI,

"How much longer are we going to think it necessary to be 'American' before (or in contradistinction to) being cultivated, being enlightened, being humane, and having the same intellectual discipline as other civilized countries? It is really too easy a disguise for our shortcomings to dress them up as a form of patriotism."

This ties in as we all just went through two weeks of political conventions.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


1) How can it already be 11:25 a.m.? Time seems to burn like a wildfire. I was up and relatively at 'em before 8 and somehow not enough has been accomplished. Already. Plus, I am hungry and that gets in the way of me making a lot of sense.

2) Already getting to be Fall here. Noticeably cooler. Overcast today.

3) My first thought upon consciousness was "Saigon. Shit. I'm still only in Saigon." Meaning not that where I am is unpleasant, but that I am not making enough progress in resolving the bigger issues of my life and every morning I have to will myself into figuring out the right action.

4) Today is the first anniversary of Emmylou Irene Patsy Clownpaws in my life. And while I miss Miep and can scarcely bear to look at a photo of her, I feel lucky and blessed to have such an excellent young cat as my companion for the next ten or so years. Cooder is wonderful as well, but she is 14 and cannot reasonably be expected to be around for that much longer ... 2 - 4 years? ... I needn't dwell on that, but I can be happy to have Emmy. She even spooned me during a nap yesterday and that is new behavior for her. Kittens are great, but older cats are even better. She is on the floor, keeping watch, as I work here. However, I doubt that it will be long before she conks out, stretched in an adorable way.

I have other tidbits and photos to add but I need to finish some tasks so that will have to wait until tonight.

Meanwhile, here are some flowers near the Brewster House where I attended the Village of Brewster First Annual Food and Film Festival.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


So, even though I just posted a few hours ago, I want to take a moment and begin a new post.


1) DM, DRS, and JRS all donated funds for me to keep mobile. I took my car to get it inspected. Lil' Carl passed handily and the total cost was $21.00. The car will need an oil change in a couple of weeks and is desperate for a tune-up, so I will save those donations for the oil change a little later in the month.

2) The day is splendid, warm enough to be annoying, but not crushing. The leaves, not yet turned or even begun to, are wafting in the morning breeze. We all know what it is coming, but there is a bittersweet beauty to the gentleness of leaves slowly falling. You tend to notice them.

3) Two beautiful kitties hanging out with me in the morning.

4) Harvest time.

5) J bought a 46" LED tv. We watched Sleepwalk with Me last night. 'Twas fun.

6) At the farmer's market, an elderly woman accidentally knocked a potato to the ground. She could not bend over to pick it up. I did. And I was started to tears as I realized this woman was somewhere near my mom's age. My mom could have picked up that potato in the blink of an eye. Grateful for her health and mobility.

Today's farmer's market hauls: yellow and orange tomatoes, sorrell, kale, chard, garlic, onions, yellow and red peppers (making red bell pepper soup ... yum ... and almost always too expensive), rosemary. I didn't get around to getting a rosemary plant until late (or any other herbs for that matter). Oh, I should photograph my herb garden! BRB. 

Three kinds of basil, none of them holy though.

The line-up.

Vietnamese coriander.

I'll leave this post filching from Jeff Nunokawa's beautiful posts.

4163. "the mystery of this heart" (Matthew Arnold)

by Jeff Nunokawa on Friday, August 31, 2012 at 7:10am ·

A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us-- (Matthew Arnold, "The Buried Life")

The longing to learn the mystery of the heart will sometimes lose out to the dread of discovering its darkness.
I've never learned how to avoid the dread, and I don't expect that I ever will. But I think I can learn to consider the darkness as much what comes before the dawning, as what comes at the end of the day.
Note: All I feel is fear, I said to someone, this summer.
But you can feel something about the fear, she said to me.
Like what?, I cried.
Like curiosity, she said.
Teacher Training in Santa Fe