Saturday, March 30, 2013

THINK YOU'RE OKAY

Cooder this morning.
I was out of it yesterday. The birthday and all the stress just knocked me out for the day. I could ill-(oops! pun!) afford to lose a day, but it had to be.

Been up since early today and yes, I am tired, but I am also kind of wired. And having meself a gin and pompelo for a change.

I was all fired up to write a newsy post tonight, but I spent about two hours futzing with various Apple devices on a support call. Much seems to have been accomplished on that front, like I got landscape view to work on my iPhone again! Wiped off my old MacBook Air, sad as that makes me, and started configuring it as a hand-me-down. Got the new MacBook Air tuned more. I will need to use it tomorrow to make sure it is ready for me to take to Chicago on Monday.

Meanwhile, it was the birthday of many of my favorite folks: Brett, Monroe, Michele, and several others I am currently too pooped to think about. And yet. And yet. I got more feted. (That is not fetid.)

First up, a total surprise package from a dear old friend from high school, Linda. We had lost touch for about 30 years and, a year or two ago, were fortunate enough to reconnect though always through the mail. We still haven't spoken nor have I been to California long enough to see her. So the box contained all those lovely packets of Greenies. I guess she reads the blog. (For which, thanks.) Plus, a lovely card and a nice little cash gift and a promise to really write. We all, (M, A, and i) had a good laugh. I called ma mere because we swap silly cat things and she had a nice belly laugh and said to say thanks to Linda, too! Anyway, so grateful and so delighted, too!

Then, a package from KaHug. She had sent me a text that she was sending something so that one was less of a surprise. There were two surprises, however, as she sent me a pair of beautiful grown-up earrings (we might be likely to send one another things of a silly nature. I couldn't photograph them because they went straight into my ears. However, there was a WONDERFUL CARD enclosed:




This one just put me over the top. That's quality imagery there. When we were young and working at Colossal Pictures, I was given a nice handmade card signed by everyone on whatever project we were all working on. Most of them wrote stuff like, "You're the best." "Love ya alot." etc. KaHug wrote
"Don't really love you, but think you're okay." This endeared me to her forever. This is rather in that vein. The Native American princess kind of looks like KaHug, too, although the hair is different. And the clothes. Must be the contemplative expression.

And THEN!! Just when there was no reason for it to get any better because I am old and really don't expect much for my birthday, there was ANOTHER BOX!! This one was from my brother David and my sister-in-law Stella!!! What a surprise!! And in THAT delicious box was COFFEEEEEEE from Santa Cruz, (yay!), Beautiful Chocolates from Richard Donnelly (ah-huh!!!), and a CD wallet FULL OF AWESOME MUSIC (Boz Scaggs, Johnny Adams, David Bromberg, Peter Rowan, just to name a few) AND AND AND a great Winnie-the-Pooh card and a spot of green.

Also, a hilarious hilarious card from Laura.

Over the moon, you say??

Other blessings of the day: My old laboring desktop was non-functional for a while, but she rallied and is back in action.

So caffeinated, chocolated, cashed, musiced, and Greenied. Hell, I felt good! Thank you all so much for all your kind words.

Now I must try to calm myself and get some sleep. I have an entire Ursula K. LeGuin novel to read tomorrow and I must plan/pack for Chicago.

Thanks again!
Emmy this morning.

Some of the birthday roses.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

WE KNOW THE STORY HOW THE WHEEL GOES ROUND

Well, another birthday done come and gone. And Lordy, am I tired. But I just wanted to thank you all before my head hits the pillow. I had the best birthday in many many a moon (and the moon was just past full tonight).

I spent it with many of my besties: best friends (three or four of them at various times) and best favoritest musicians, Emmylou and Richard, (both Aries kids by the way), favorite food: pizza! Had a great Kermit Place Readers group on Tuesday night and Ms. Melinda gave me a stunning haircut. Not to mention some beautiful pale pink roses and a shrimp po' boy for lunch. I didn't eat the roses. Nor the daisies neither.

And even if I didn't actually see or speak to you personally today, by golly, I felt the love. Many most thanks. More tomorrow when I recover some.

Now to bed with bestie kittens!

Highlights of the show included Richard coming out to jam on Ain't Livin' Long Like This. Seeing RT and EH on the stage at the same time. Ain't seen nothin' like that since I seen Bonnie Raitt, David Lindley, and Ry Cooder together. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

ONE'S MOOD WOULD IMPROVE

I guess it is not synthesia, but something visceral like that. When I am tired, I psychically feel as if I am sunburned and someone is sandpapering me. As you can imagine, that is a fairly miserable feeling and you cannot wait for it to stop. And when I am tired, my entire lizard brain is focussed on only one thing: getting rest.

Later on in life.

Not really sure when I wrote that. And I know I've been quiet lately. And yes, I have been somewhat down, but not really to the point that y'all need to worry. Not that I don't have my own ongoing struggles, but one of my closest, dearest friends is in a life and reality struggle with about all the shit you can handle at once: substance abuse, finances, relationships, and meaning of life. As we see eye to eye on so many psychic and spiritual levels, I have been involved and supportive in the ongoing drama. But it takes a toll and now I am fighting off another cold.

And I need to fight it off! Tomorrow night is our Kermit Place Readers' Group meeting to discuss Virigina Woolf's Night and Day, although I don't think many of us will have actually finished it. I know I won't. And Wednesday is the big show, Emmylou, Rodney, and Richard, for which I have been waiting for a good couple of months! So, I shall shortly to bed in the hopes of benefitting from a good night's sleep.

This week, Louise and I read The Martian Chronicles for our Fantasy/SciFi class. Each of us found it hard going. Though we had read it before, our advancing age made Bradbury's vision much more depressing. And L and I are both disposed in that direction anyhow. L's essay was a personal one this week, about why it was such a pain to read it. I just wrote about Bradbury's celebration of and ambivalence toward about the American way of life. I will be happy to read the creamy deliciousness of Woolf as I am falling asleep tonight.


It's very quiet. M and J are already in bed and other than the occasional wail of the train in the distance, the jingle of Emmylou's bell as she gives herself a bath, and the slow whirr of the small space heater, it is peaceful. We were anticipating more snow tonight, though it seems to have warmed up a bit.

One feels that if only the weather were bright and warmer, one's mood would improve.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

POETRY THE WRONG SIDE OUT


In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard.

That's a nice sentiment, isn't it. On some levels, it is probably even true. But I am not so sure about the conclusion. 

The next day. Again.

Kind of blue. And not in a good way. But then again, again, again, I am tired and should not peer too closely at my current mood. 

And hey, I finished my lit class reading for next week today. Perhaps reading Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles has added to my tristesse. Or maybe it was the two episodes of House of Cards where all the characters are despicable.

We're reading Virginia Woolf's Night and Day for the Kermit Place Readers and our March meeting is on Tuesday. I was kind of the person who pushed for it, not knowing that it was 500 pages long. And I'm only at about page 60. I've grown accustomed these last few weeks to just reading as fast as I can to make it through whatever sci fi book that was assigned. Woolf is certainly worth slowing down for ...

"She had the reputation which nothing in her manner contradicted, of being the most practical of people. Ordering meals, directing servants, paying bills, and so contriving that every clock ticked more or less accurately in time, and a number of vases were always full of fresh flowers was supposed to be a natural endowment of hers, and, indeed, Mrs. Hilbery often observed that it was poetry the wrong side out. From a very early age, too, she had to exert herself in another capacity; she had to counsel and help and generally sustain her mother. Mrs. Hilbery would have been perfectly well able to sustain herself if the world had been what the world is not. She was beautifully adapted for life on another planet. But the natural genius she had for conducting affairs there was on no real use to her here."

And, as I am wont to say, damn straight.




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DISHES AND MACAROONS

Double exposure thing I did not do on purpose.
Oh yum! We are getting those big fat chick snowflakes now. I might just have to find my boots and go out in them, although I just took a shower and my hair is wet.

Cooder just came downstairs, but is keeping a respectable distance FOR THE MOMENT. She has taken to sleeping on the couch, the better and more convenient to ask for Greenies, I suppose. Or perhaps she just likes to be near.

Later that same day.


Oh, let's see dishes, macaroons (this time with ginger and lemon) in honor of E & C being home from college, more homework, the day seemed busy but not exactly sure with what. I started setting up a blog for my reading group on Wordpress so that I would learn something new. I finished knitting another scarf (that makes three since the beginning of February!).





When it cleared about around 6:30 or 7:00, I thought it was time to get out of the house for awhile. Albert and I walked up to Turk Hill Road. That was nice.

I'm not sleepy. I didn't even take a nap. It's 11:50.

I am trying to cut down on my alcohol intake again, not that it was very much, but one of my New Years' Resolutions was to only have a drink three or four times a week. That had crept upward. I was tempted tonight (didn't have anything last night) but I ate a lime popsicle instead. Oh, and Spring will be here soon, although, as I understand it, there will be more snow tomorrow.

This is just a couple of houses down.














Monday, March 18, 2013

APROPOS OF NOTHING

I know. Where have I been?? Mostly here. Mostly listening to lectures, reading, and fretting about homework.

We had snow again this evening, although it was not as lovely as the snow on Saturday night which had "flakes as big as baby chicks" as one friend said (not actually about this snowfall, but apt nonetheless).

Happily happily happily, and there isn't much happily in my life presently, my literature course has only three weeks left. This week, as I might have mentioned, we read Edgar Rice Burroughs (A Princess of Mars) and Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Herland).

I didn't read Burroughs as a young young'un, although I remember, quite clearly, that Michael and David read this one and several others. I was likely too busy reading Marguerite Henry, Anna Sewell, and Walter Farley. It wasn't until I fell in love with Mr. Butler that I read Tarzan at his behest. I was pretty well hooked on Burroughs although I don't think I made it all the way through the Barsoom Series.

Apropos of nothing really, reading was one of the more fun aspects of that relationship (and there was a lot that was and still is fun there). Although I am a faster and arguably more voracious reader than Mr. B, we did try to be reading the same book at the same time to better enjoy the books and one another. This was made a bit more challenging by the aforementioned speed of consumption on the party of the first part. We did read The Alexandria Quartet, and two John Fowles books, The Magus and Daniel Martin. I have been thinking of re-reading The Alexandria Quartet, as I think I was too young to really understand the psychology therein. Oh, and I think we read some Walker Percy, too, likely The Moviegoer.

Okay, how is that for random drivel?

Too cold to walk Albert much today, although I did take him for a ride when I went to the post office and the library. I have to read Virginia Woolf's Night and Day for my book group next Tuesday, and The Martian Chronicles for the lit class. Over the weekend, I listened to the rest of the philosophy lectures for the first week and tried to read Socrates' Apologia, but did not get finished with it.

I made a great easy dish, White Bean and Tuna Salad, which I highly recommend as being good for dieters and a snap to make.

Kittehs are fine, except for the ongoing Greenies problem. I cannot tell if Cooder is losing weight or I am being fussy. She certainly has an appetite, so that is a good thing. Emmylou got out again! Richie spied her from the upstairstv bathroom walking through the back just before the sunset snowfall on Saturday evening. Fortunately, she is responsive and was not difficult to recapure.

And there! You are pretty much caught up with me.

Oh! I remember why I wasn't writing much last week! My mom was sick and even took a trip to the ER. She seems to be getting better but I had best check on her before I go to sleep.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

ETHOS AND TRIANGULATION



So I saw this at Starbucks down in the city a couple of weeks back. Can any of you enlighten me about this. I looked up 'ethos' just to be clear about the meaning: "the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution."


It's just a word, why not throw it around in a mindless way and thereby degrade the meaning?

The next day.

Or I don't even know when I wrote this. And I want to write but schoolwork and all keeps me a bit busier than I want to be. However, the literature class will be over in a couple of weeks. The philosophy class I could even share here, thus accomplishing two things.

It's a sunny day, but windy. I need to take a morning nap as I got up earlier than I really wanted to. I just thought I would give it a try. Going to make hoison brussels sprouts today and will report back. Also, bought some beeutiful baby bok choy at the Vietnamese market yesterday and think I should do something interesting with that.

Yesterday morning, I turned around from the sink and saw this. I call this photo The Triangulation of the Pets. Inappropriate as this cat behavior might be, that the three of them were all attending me was rather funny. I do think this is a study for a religious painting of some sort. Plus Albert has a sort of halo around him.










Monday, March 11, 2013

IDEAS TRANSCENDING EXPERIENCE

Great and strange ideas transcending experience often have less effect upon men and women than smaller, more tangible considerations.
— H. G. Wells, The Invisible Man

Taking a break here from listening to the lectures about Hawthorne and Poe. Keeping up with the schoolwork is a challenge. As per usual, I was nearly sure I could neither complete the reading nor write anything this week. Having Louise take the class with me makes it even possible. We very often find we are in the same state of mind about the reading and our inability to find anything interesting or meaningful to say. Yet our kvetching or discussing, as you will, usually leads us to a semblance of a topic and so we write.

This week I really wanted to write about how Wells' The Invisible Man was a science fiction comedy in the rural antic British tradition. But seeing as how 3 or 4 out of every 5 essays I must critique has been written by a non-native English speaker, I think there is a fair chance that my readers would not have sufficient fluency in British genre novels like Barbara Pym or E.F. Benson.

A fever of depression visited me this weekend. And it was very bad. I haven't read any descriptions of this kind of cyclical depression, but I have, fortunately, learned to read it and manage it in myself relatively well. Which in no way obviates or lessens the pain. For me, a biochemical reaction is set in motion, very much like a fever which will run its course. While it burns and rages, I am misery itself and little able to shake it off or mitigate the effects. One thing I can and do often do is sleep sleep and sleep. That generally offers relief and some incremental perspective.

And so today I am back to a relatively even keel. This does not mean the realities that precipated my panic do not still obtain, only that I can bear them with more positive action in mind.

Am I writing weirdly? I've been reading H.G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Perhaps they have influenced me.

Emmylou's collar was found in the attic. She is back to being belled. Cooder continues her eternal search for Greenies. It does make me sad to see how blind she becomes. But she gets around just fine.

Albert and I had a nice walk. The snow is almost all melted and there's a good chance we have seen the end of it for this season. Now, for the green to come shooting out.

And for those of you keeping score, I am working on my third scarf of the year. The cashmere is already worn and Melinda's needs only a bit more fringe and a blocking to be completed. I will see if it is possible to get photographs.







Saturday, March 9, 2013

YAWNING YAMMERING AND TYPOS

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Goodness. Yeah, the Greenies begging is going on. Yeah, I am sleepy. But you can add that to being tipsy. "J" got a nice promotion and we drank some red wine, courtesy of Brett and Kristin, to do a little toast. I am clearly unaccustomed to such beverages.

I keep making typos, which is relatively unusual for me. You'll have to take my word for how many I have made.

I used to be a nearly competitive sleeper. And then those of you who follow this meandering have heard of my insomnia. Today, I slept and slept and slept. Up a few hours, down a few. And even when I am awake, I am not really awake.

So, even though it is only 9:15 pm, I may just give it up and sleep. Plus, Cooder will cuddle up with me and stop bugging me for treats.

I did finish The Island of Dr. Moreau. Thankfully. I did not much like it. Then again, perhaps my heavily sleepy state prevented me from grokking it all. I sit here yawning. I still have The Invisible Man to read, as well as two other stories. The Invisible Man is much more fun, lively, and I think I will just set it aside to read in the morning when I am all here.

I barely made it outside today, although I did drive to the post office to mail a birthday card written well in advance of the birthday and now late. Clearly, I need to get it together.


More big yawning. More typos. It is funny how many I am making.



Friday, March 8, 2013

HER MADNESS IS MY MADNESS

I am sure it will come as no surprise to any of you that (a) Cooder is looking for Greenies; (b) I have not made enough progress in The Island of Dr. Moreau; and (c) I am sleepy. And now on to other concerns.

I did listen to a couple more sections of the lectures for Know Thyself. You can still join me and Louise and 70, 000 other students! I don't know if it helped but I did do the meditation and breathing practices. I now know that the Athenian jury that tried Socrates had 501 jurors. Stay tuned for more interesting factoids.

We also had to list some of our characteristics. There was some talk that folks aren't very good judges of themselves. Be that as it may, and notwithstanding that we aren't supposed to share them, I am going to share with y'all. You won't tell Mitch.

Considerate, communicative, smart, passionate, Romantic (in the fatally intellectual way), affectionate, sad, relaxed, curious, short-fused, self-conscious, underdisciplined, spendy, good listener (attentive?), forgiving, fair-minded (or strive to be), entrepreneurial, media-obsessed, argumentative, insecure, persistent, unsuccessful, empathetic, interested, homebody, insistent, loyal. (Did I miss anything?)

I shall keep you posted as the class progresses, assuming I stay in. Louise likes it.

I was pretty down today. Kind of life-panicky on all fronts. Had a hard time concentrating. Very fearful and, well, sad. I suppose the occasional day of anxiety is to be expected. I still have a lot of life decisions to make. And why would my good spirits and optimism last? Gotta get rid of those delusions. Maybe I should add delusional to the list.

Allview House on a snowy March morning.

I did do some cooking tonight for the first time in ages: orecchiette with roasted broccoli, roasted onions with balsamic and garlic, roasted brussels sprouts, fresh parmesan, and panko bread crumbs. Richie is home from college for a week, so we are back to thinking vegetarian.

Is "lost" a character trait?

Well, I hope the anxiety and depression madness passes. We do lose an hour but maybe gain some sunshine tomorrow night. I know. I didn't mention that I had a correspondence with a FB "friend" this morning, someone I only know from a photography group. She was lamenting her life and I thought I would mention that she is not alone. That was kind of a depressing interchange, but it was likely a decent, human thing to do.

Is "human (all too)" a character trait?

Afternoon walk with Albert.

We did hit some magic hour light.

It does seem as if I had some other things to tell you. The day started off well enough with another FB "friend", one who curates a Rethinking World Literature Group saying




So that should have floated my little boat for the day. But no. Okay. Bed time. Here's a poem because I haven't posted or sent any in forever.

Tis Late 

Of course the tall stringy woman
draped in a crocheted string-shawl 
selling single red carnations
coned in newsprint the ones
she got at the cemetery
and resells with a god bless you
for a dollar that same woman 
who thirty years ago
was a graduate student
in playwriting who can and will
recite "At the round earth's
imagined corners, blow--"
announces silently amidst her louder
announcements that the experiment
some amateurs mixed of
white fizzing democracy
with smoky purple capitalism
has failed. We already knew that.
Her madness is my madness
and this is my flower in a cone
of waste paper I stole from
someone's more authentic grief
but I will not bless you
as I have no spirit of commerce
and no returning customers
and do not as so many must
actually beg for my bread. It is another
accident of the lab explosion
that while most died and others lost legs
some of us are only vaguely queasy
at least for now 
and of course mad conveniently mad
necessarily mad because 
"tis late to ask for pardon" and
we were so carefully schooled 
in false hope schooled
like the parrot who crooks her tongue
like a dirty finger
repeating what her flat bright eyes deny. 
 



And here's my favorite picture of the day.





Thursday, March 7, 2013

LENGTHY AND LONG

Yes indeedy, it still snows. Weather report has it that it will snow until tomorrow evening, albeit not heavily.

Perhaps one of you might be able to answer the question of how many Greenies do I need to give Cooder before she stops pestering me? Then again, there may not be a number that high.

Had a lovely, fat-snowflake flurry walk with Albert this afternoon. We got off the road and trespassed up an unpaved driveway. I was on the telephone giving some bidness advice to niece KF and not paying much attention to where we were going, so Albert had a quite nice ramble.

I only got one photo. It is very much in the vein of late, but I still like it.


Had a lengthy chat with Louise this evening about the issues of our literature course. I will try hanging in a bit longer, but I haven't even started reading The Island of Dr. Moreau, nor listening to the Poe and Hawthorne lectures. Plus our Know Thyself class started this week and I have only listened to a little bit of those lectures. It's a go-go intellectual world up here!

There's a flurry of activity, but not a lot of paying work. And not even much reading outside of the class stuff. And don't even get me started on how far behind I am in my movie or tv watching! 

Emmylou hung out with me as I showered this afternoon. Then there was that flurry of telephone calls and all. When M came home around 6, I realized that Miss Messyfeet was not fulfilling her Miss Underfoot role. M and I went around the house and basement, opening closets, and calling, but to no avail. I went outside into the snow with a bag of Greenie to rattle (that usually gets them both running to me). I heard her meowing like crazy but could not find her. M found her in the attic. I briefly opened the closet that has the attic stairs and she must have followed me and gotten locked in. She lost her collar up there. 

Cooder has calmed down enough to perch on the nearby couch back. Emmylou is meatloafed across the room. And I should go to bed.

MARCH SNOW

What happens when a group of strangers, a few with blood ties, devote their lives to one another and become family, not because they have to, but because they want to?
- Willa Paskin

When Carl Sandburg wrote about fog coming in on little cat's feet he had clearly never heard Emmylou Irene Patsy Clownpaws run up or down stairs, nor bang on the closed bathroom door while someone is showering. She doesn't meow much or loudly, but she certainly makes herself known.

The above quote is actually from an article on the Vulture/Culture site from New York Magazine. And I wasn't going to exegize (?) on the topic, but I certainly know examples of friendship groups that fit that description.

Days later.

I really thought I had posted this. The literature class is kicking my ass. Trying to keep up on the reading, grading, and lectures and do anything else is quite challenging. I don't think all the Coursera classes are that intense. We were supposed to read Hawthorne and Poe this week. Both Louise and I had a tough time with the writing. Then again, we are so disgusted with the grading process, much like others in the class, that we considered not writing anything. We both made up something, but my thesis was so obvious I was ashamed.

Oh well. It is snowing again today after a few days of clean driveway.

Back to work.