Friday, May 31, 2013


It was hot again today, and muggy portending the rain we are supposed to get again (I think). Yeah, it was 90 degrees but it is supposed to fall to 61 tonight, which means I can sleep without the fans. And no thundershowers until Sunday. Tomorrow will be only 88, which means I can tell myself it is cool enough to be productive.

I'm still surfing or skirting the depression wave, but my head has staid mostly above water. As per usual (for most of us), I never get as much done as I think I should, but I did get things done. Like I finally made it to the post office and I think my brother David's birthday card will actually be on time. Like I finally mailed my mom's Mother's Day tribute. And I even mailed off some curtains to Larry in Schroon Lake for the downstairs rather than keeping them and guilt tripping myself for not liking or wanting them anymore even though they are nice curtains. And! I finished knitting another scarf that no one wants! Just have to do the finishing touches. And start another.

There's just been a bit of weight off of my mind getting that Monsterwood edit done. I started cleaning my desk (high time), and installing the drivers to actually get my new printer  ... which I have had since October or November ... actually working.

Cooder is looking awfully thin and spent a lot of the day under our bed, but I think that was mostly to do with the heat. I can't imagine it is cooler there than on the porch with the fans on us, but what do I know? Emmylou staid around today, following me from place to place.

Yes money and work are getting to me again, having finally come to the end of my Amazon money. I stretched out that stuff.

I think J is on the deck playing bass, but as it is dark out there, I cannot tell where he is. It's appropriately broody and muggy. M is going to the Marcus Samuelsson restaurant in Harlem tomorrow for brunch, so she's headed to bed.

I need to get something on my poison ivy! Yes! There is more. And finish my Brothers K reading for the day.

I suspect this is Brewster's swimming hole.

Yesterday, I took down a bunch of quotes from Night and Day (Virginia Woolf, you will recall). 
"If I am late, don't wait for me," she said. "I shall have dined," and so saying, she left them.
"But she can't—" William exclaimed as the door shut, "not without any gloves and bread and butter in her hand!"

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Yes, it is plenty easy to complain. Hot hot hot. Muggy muggy muggy. Stupid stupid stupid. Lethargic lethargic lethargic. 

The pets and I spent a fair amount of time on the screened-in porch today, me editing Monsterwood and making progress in The Brothers Karamazov, them sleeping and looking at me accusatorially. We needed a fan out there as there is no air moving at all.

As it turns out, a cold beer tastes hella-good on a hot evening. I had kind of forgotten, but as Anna and her friend Brianna made a fabulous summer pasta dinner (basil, tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella, olive oil YUM!), I broke my alcohol fast. Then again, I don't like how rapidly one gets tipsy in this hot weather.

I barely left the house today, so I will need to get out early tomorrow before I become incapacitated with heat again. 

I finally finished my edit of Monsterwood and am feeling quite accomplished in that regard. I had plenty of other, distracting options such as the summer clothes hunt, washing the woodwork on the screened-in porch and hanging the new white lights, cleaning the refrigerator (always an option), etc. But I told myself that I needed to get this edit done so that Jason and Louise and the world were not waiting for me.

I had too much sugar today, but I can be better tomorrow.

And I finished Crazy in the Kitchen, thus getting up to date on my 52 book reading challenge for the year! I do need to make better headway in The Brothers K as the group meets next Thursday. 

"On this day, preoccupied with a piece of writing that has not been very much fun in the making, I am cranky. I think, This is one message—that music is fun—but not the most important message. The arts, I think, aren't just fun. They're essential. They're bone, flesh, blood, sinew, should, spirit. And art can be hard, goddamned hard. To make, to witness."
Louise DeSalvo, Crazy in the Kitchen

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


View from stalled traffic. Not quite the 405.
Again with the sleepiness! This time the time is 8:12 and I could put head on this pillow and leave again. I took a nice nap with Cooder and Emmylou on the screened-in porch just awhile ago. Well, two hours ago. Last night, I tossed and turned and almost went to midnight bummer land, but managed to pull out and eventually sleep. I don't get it. 

The moods today were like flying through variable skies. There were moments that looked as if they would be seatbelt-in-your-seats rough, emotionally and perceptually speaking, but then there would moments of groove and zen. The trick is to stay in the air, stay flying, I suppose.

C-cat chillaxing on the couch.
Three hours of wasted time later. Well, I did listen to a bit of Crime and Punishment (almost through the second of three discs) and unload the dishwasher, so it was not entirely wasted. 

It's already hot. Wait. Wasn't I worried about snow just the other day? Well, time for a fan down here. 

Finally made some progress in The Brothers Karamazov. It is dense, but much more amusing than I would have thought. I think I tried to read the Constance Garnett (her translation came out in 1912) version as some things seem vaguely familiar. But this newer translation, Pevear and Volokhonsky, is already 23 years old. God was 1990 that long ago? What have I been reading? Hell, what have I been doing? Alright. No time to answer that. I should try to actually sleep.

Ah, some trees and breeze.

Can't get as close.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Back in Brewster as of this afternoon. Liz drove Mr. Volny and myself all the way down to Poughkeepsie where Mr. Volny and I had grease bomb paninis and parted ways, him to Amtrack and Brooklyn, me to the car. We staid up late on our last night in Schroon Lake, drinking white wine, a little bit of Glenfiddich (which we could really have done without ... that one was my bad), and watched some great footage, mostly of the Rolling Stones sitting in with Muddy Waters in a club in the early 1980s. The surprise of the night was Cyndi Lauper's blues performance which amazed both of us. It was the way to end a nice rainy weekend get-away.

Las gatas were extremely pleased to see me and I them. Albert was happy too, giving me the full-chickie-in-mouth-wiggly-butt-moanin'-dog welcome. Emmylou has followed me around and even took a nap on the bed with me and Cooder. Cooder, of course, curled up by my head and purred. I am sitting in bed, reading the end of Crazy in the Kitchen, wondering if I have enough brain space to tackle a couple of pages of The Brothers Karamazov. Emmy has come up with me (she danced around the kitchen table, getting lost in Emily's long skirt during dinner) and is settling down in the corner by the door where she often sleeps.

It rained here this afternoon, although the birds are celebrating the evening quite vociferously. I could use a bit of sun to cheer me as I gear up to hit real life and get moving on getting something like a career back on track. I am giving myself a full vacation day today and not doing my curating job which I generally do 7 days a week. I don't know what's going on in the world today and that's all right with me.

So, although it is only 8 o'clock, I am calling it a night. J brought home some chardonnay with which to tempt me, but, although I managed this trip without getting drunk (no hangovers!!!), I did drink every day and my body needs a rest. Time for cleaner living. So I can get ready to go back on July 4th!

More to come.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Here's the movie theater.
"Joey D is a serious camper." (Overheard at Miriam's Morningstar Cafe. This was said in a pure Brooklyn 'hood accent.)

"Where does one learn to be a character? Upbringing or innate?"

"We seem to attract dead animals here."

"You know what I love? Ace Hardware!"

Here's the street. This was an accident.

These were things I have heard and managed to get down in the last five days here in the Adirondacks. 

Der cabin.
Mr. Volny and I are seated at the kitchen table in Pottersville, reading and listening to music while L naps and L does work. I haven't had very good internet connectivity so doing my curating job and writing here has been challenging. 

The weather has been quite overcast if not outrightly rainy for most of the time we've been here. It's sunnier today, but already getting nippy. We had heard a weather report that it would be down to 20 degrees tonight, but last I checked, the prediction was more like 37.

The woods and the stream outside the cabin.

Yesterday we braved the weather and drove out to Fort Ticonderoga. What a beautiful setting. It was just too damn cold to linger outside given that I was slightly underdressed.

 So, we had nice naps, good meals, lots of wine, beer, Mr.P's Mountain Smokehouse goodies, and laughter. Mr. Volny and I both got lots of reading done. I finally finished the Virginia Woolf, Night and Day. That was a book wherein it always seemed as if I were 50 pages from the end ... an ever-receding horizon of completion. And I managed to get through the end of The Storm of Swords, too! Now, I have about 8 days to read 165 pages of The Brothers Karamazov. I do feel reading "unburdened" though. 

Not sure what we are doing on our last evening. Looking forward to seeing the Brewster peeps and the kittens. And on to the next?


It's raining pink dogwood blossoms in the front yard. The fall isn't heavy enough to frolic under, but they drift down and across the front lawn, from time to time getting my corner-of-the-eye attention. Cooder is sitting in that open window and is either part of the view or a block. She must see a bird out there as she is rapt. Well, maybe she can't exactly see since she is partly blind, but her ears are perked and moving.

A couple of days later.

Now it is just hellaciously pouring as I put the final items into my bag in preparation for my trip to Schroon Lake later today. It's very dark out there and still fairly muggy, even though it is raining. I have the fan in my room going.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving. — Terry Pratchett

I nabbed that quote from T McN.

And indeed we, we being Mr. Volny and I, are in Schroon Lake. Mr. Volny is still abed. I am down at the Morningstar Cafe having crepes and lattes and doing my social media job. We took the train and were picked up by Liz in Albany and drove the rest of the way.

Here's my view. 

A bunch of young dudes from New York (and very proud of that) just came in to get some (good) coffee. Johnny Rivers is singing "Baby, I Need Your Lovin'" (Excellent go-go dancers in the clip.)

The Strand (movie) Theater opens tonight with Ironman 3, which I have not yet seen. Mr. Volny has seen it but is game to see it again. It's a rainy day, which is not so good for this resort community that depends on summer trade to get through the entire year. 

We staid up very very late, past 2:15, watching and listening to music dvds, laserdiscs, etc. Very loud. L is an audiophile/master of the sort you don't meet every day. The sounds was loud and so wonderfully pure. The couch was vibrating from the volume, but it was pure heaven. I have been telling Mr. Volny about this for some time, trying to get him to pay a visit. He turned to me after some thundering Rolling Stones and said "I've got the religion." Many many many beers were consumed. But not by me.

So, the day may be spent in some people napping. I might be able to finish one of my damn books for book group and get started on the next one.

And it is the birthday of someone very special.

Monday, May 20, 2013


It has been a quiet couple of days. The story does not differ from the usual: not sleeping well, groggy during the day, restless during the night. 

M and J left on Friday for upstate where A graduated from college! I staid behind to mind the pets and keep the home fires, such as they are, burning. There was a Cornell Extension Plant Sale not too far away and as M was out of town, I volunteered to get some tomato plants and some basil. It was kind of a madhouse, even at 8:30 when the sale was set to open. 

As M has another daughter to move home from college on Tuesday and work work worky in between, I planted the tomatoes in their containers on the deck as well. That led to more gardening, even though it was drizzly all day. At least that keeps it from being too hot. I dug a new area for an expanded bed and transplanted some of the seedlings.

The next morning.

May my silences become more accurate.

Theodore Roethke, poet (1908-1963)

Now that's an interesting? beautiful? thought. Or maybe I was in that pleasantly sleepy-waking-up phase before reality crept into my ribcage and reminded me I was lagging behind the anxiety train.

I painted the fingernails on one hand the other night. I am notoriously bad at many of the female enhancement arts and, as I was sitting around gorging on Orphan Black and The Hour, I thought I would practice for fun. My fingernails are quite brittle in general and I have a difficult time keeping any nails at all; they snag, I tear them. At least I have grown out of actually chewing on them. But gardening does my hands no favors. 

All of this to say that it is interesting to notice my fingers as I type and do other things. That unusual splash of color makes me pay a different kind of attention, say, some as opposed to none. 

Quel jour! Much later.

Now Cooder is sleeping comfortably next to me on the couch. It is a beautiful and balmy evening with the slightest hint of precipitation. The lilacs are almost over and the flowers are falling from the dogwood tree in the front yard. There is only a faint scent of lilacs now. Spring is over so quickly!

Not sure where the day went, which is not to say that things were not accomplished, just not as many as I had planned. I wasn't feeling all that well and had to take an emergency nap or two. I wasn't making good decisions about what to eat (Gummy Lifesavers?) and was lightheaded. Could it have been a reaction to the tick I took off of me? Or the prophylactic antibiotics that M and J so thoughtfully supplied? I don't know. I just hope tomorrow is better.

I did get more gardening done. I guess a gardener's work is never done! I have so many morning glories! Not sure where they are all going to go. I put some on the edge of the woods. It will be interesting to see if they thrive. 

And it seems my dear friend JV is going to travel up to Schroon Lake with me this coming weekend which will make for no end of fun! I haven't seen Liz and Larry and dog Jane Anne in over a year! Of course, I am always anxious about leaving the kittens, particularly since Emmylou likes to hover near the front door, but they should be fine. Next time I go away for a few days, I will likely go to Rhinebeck and can take them with me.

Also, had a nice chat with me Mam who has had more than her share of vexations recently. I have been trying to get her to come here for visit, but she told me today that she needs to get her degenerated hip looked at before she does any traveling. If she gets a hip recplacement, maybe she will be able to do sun salutations again (at age 86).

I should take some sleeping aids as I don't think Morpheus will descend easily tonight.

By the way, I don't know where Joni Mitchell got the idea that summer lawns hiss. Around here, there are motors, lawnmovers, leaf-blowers going all the time in the afternoon. Not quite as pleasant as snaking garden hoses.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


The end of magnolia season.
Another Spring day in the green belt, but this one had the threat of heat underneath it. The kind of afternoon that makes you want to ... wait for it ... nap on the screened-in porch. Although I did not. I worked, returned Storm of Swords to the library (made it through 31 of 39!), did a spot of gardening, made dinner, walked Albert, talked to Mom a couple of times, and had a sweet and pleasant evening with M, getting caught up on some thangs. 

And tomorrow is another day. 

Albert and I got in a couple of short walks. M is concerned that I am not familiar enough with the perilous poison ivy and tomorrow will walk with me and Albert to point out the places we walk where I might not see it. That will be good as it is fast becoming flip-flop only time. Back to the shifting of the seasonal clothes. And time to figure out my plans for getting to Schroon Lake next weekend. Not. Driving.

I really need to fix the doorhandle on my bedroom door so that the kittehs stay shut up when I put them in there. I just went upstairs to replenish their food and give them some treats and here is Cooder again! 

I am falling behind in my reading schedule! I still haven't finished the last two books for my reading group and the next one came in the mail today: The Brothers Karamazov! Fortunately, I only have to read the first 150 pages by June 6 and given that I will be on the train for five hours or so next weekend, i do believe I can knock out a substantial portion of that.

M gave me an intense book she read for her library's Farm To Table reading group, Crazy in the Kitchen by Louise DeSalvo. DeSalvo is a fierce writer and the images jump off of the page and into your brain. I'm going to curl up with that shortly and hope that I fall asleep soon, too!!

But back to Night and Day which I really must finish! Only 140 pages to go!!

"... she would come back to find a new person awaiting her, in whose sould were imbedded some grains of the invaluable substance which she still called reality, and still believed that she could find."

"Aunt Eleanor showed promonitory signs of pronouncing an opinion. Although she had blunted her taste upon some form of philanthropy for twenty-five years, she had a fine natural instinct for an upstart or a pretender, and knew to a hairbreath what literature should be and what it should not be. She was born to the knowledge, and scarcely thought it a matter to be proud of.

'Insanity is not a fit subject for fiction,' she announced positively."

The iPhone could not capture the depth and detail of the sun in the leaves here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Brewster, New York

I slept pretty darn well last night; perhaps I was tired out from the Nurse Jackie marathon the night before as well as our soul-searching/scorching conversation. Emotion can just wring a person right out. And I eschewed partaking of any alcohol, so that might have aided as well.

Tools on the bench.
I woke up and headed downstairs about 9:00. I chuckled as I came into the dining room as on the bench at the bottom of the stairs were these tools, ever so neatly lined up.

As I sat down with my coffee, Louise and I looked at patterns on the Vogue Pattern site and talked about sewing and design, debating degrees of tailoring difficulty, drape, and various fabrics. And then all of the sudden, perhaps mutual caffeination being reached, we went roaring into creative mode and began to discuss all manner of projects, some old, but mostly coming up with a new screenplay to focus on. And we talked and worked, sitting at our computers in our nightgowns and sweats until about 1:30 when we finally showered, dressed and went back to the Poet's Walk. (Louise had never been there.)

The critters were behind me on the window sill.

While Louise showered, I took the time to see if I could get some better shots of of the lilac in her yard, at least.

Mimosa on the back deck.


I couldn't take any more pictures on our walk as my iPhone is just too stuffed with music and images. But the day had cleared from the morning grey and drizzle so the walk was temperate and pleasant. We continued to work, of course, hotly debating various aspects of the television and film businesses, narrative structure, and all those sorts of things of which we never tire.

I took another fantastically leisurely drive home. Ever since I moved here nearly 20 years ago and was introduced to the Hudson River Valley by one of the Bs, I have wanted to meander. So meander I did again, while listening to Storm of Swords, which I must return to the library with only 10 discs to go. Agony! (Not really as I will rip the remaining discs and listen to them on my iPhone or something.) So, I couldn't take any pictures of the afternoon light, the astonishing greenery, or the solo heron standing in a pond. Trust me, utterly bucolic and lovely. I also saw, on yesterday's drive, a red fox with a mole or a possum or something (definitely not a domestic critter). What was most astonishing was how normal it seemed. The fox kind of stopped as I drove by. I have never seen a red fox in the wild (or the 'burbs) before, yet it was utterly quotidien, at least once I ascertained that it wasn't a kitty or a puppy being carried off.

Started another Coursera course, this one, The History of Rock, which I think I know pretty well, so I am taking it to fill in gaps and just for a lark. So far, I have listened to about 30 minutes of lecture and I do not think the professor is an idiot wanker and did think about the music in a different way, so that seems like a win. It just started yesterday so you can still sign up.

The garden and the garden shed.

The back of the house and the guest house in the distance.

Hydrangea by the front door.

Dogwood at the Poet's Walk.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Rhinebeck, New York

Guest house, Rhinebeck.
I was up really late last night bingeing on the current season of Nurse Jackie. I slept a bit late and the whole day has been kind of off-kilter. Louise worked on the house. I wrote some, talked about Monsterwood, did my curatorial job, but I have been sad and out of sorts. Some of it is financial worries. Some of it is just general world worried. And there is clearly plenty to worry about.

Late in the afternoon, I left Louise to have some space from our intense discussion of life and some of those insoluble issues. I went to the store to buy the ingredients for a simple vegetable soup and then took some time for a slow drive to listen to Storm of Swords and to enjoy the spring landscape up here. The lilacs are fantastic, particularly given that there are many older, mature plants that are spectacular. The air is soft and sweet with the scent at night. It is much different, slightly more astringent, than the smells of jasmine and heat you get on a good night in Los Angeles. 

I drove through Bard College, and then around some river roads that had plenty of old houses. I also found a cool place where I took a short walk, the Poet's Walk. It was also pretty great, quiet, golden with late light. I didn't walk too long as I needed to get back to make dinner, but I enjoyed it.

I feel kind of lilac: fragile, astringent, complicated. Incomparable.

Yes, must sleep.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Brewster Train Station in Spring.
3:30 pm.

Well, here I am almost ready to get on the train. Taking a taxi over to the station as I am too tired to walk really. It's a coolly grey rainy/drizzly day and the temptation to climb into bed and nap with Cooder is very strong. I always think that the number of naps I take with her is getting smaller and smaller. Morbid, right?

Well here was last night's list. (By the way, I did not mean to be whiny. It's just there has been a precipitous drop in viewers. You can't cancel me, though.)

1) Clean litter boxes.
2) Organize better what is left downstairs.
3) Laundry.
4) PACK.
5) Plant soon-to-be dead azalea and hydrangea.
6) Make list of all the people I know born in May whose birthdays I am on the verge of missing.
7) Invoice Ms. I.
8) If I get up early, take Cooder to get weighed.

Here's what got done.

1) Clean litter boxes.
2) Organize better what is left downstairs.
3) Laundry.
4) PACK.
5) Plant soon-to-be dead azalea and hydrangea.
6) Plant bulbs, dig up a new bed.
7) Finish straining and reboiling the poultry/veggie stock that has been on the stove.
8) Desultory pass at kitchen cleaning.
9) I at least remembered to pack some birthday cards I had already bought.
10) Started ripping Storm of Swords so that I could put it on my iPhone and listen as the whole pack is due on Monday and I will not make it through another 15 discs.

Sharon's backyard dogwood.
That's all for now folks. Will try to check in after book group. It will be a challenge to see if I can stay awake and read on the train.

The next day.

Did manage to stay awake, read on the train, and made good progress. 

Kermit Place Readers gathering was really fun and interesting. We actually do better when we don't all like the book. I was on the verge of not going because of the catnap on a rainy day magnet, but I am glad I got there.

11) Returned overdue book to Brewster Public Library on the way to the train station.

Only slightly hungover, which is also nice. After stopping by one of the B's to give her a neck massage, I came to John and Mel's. They were still out, having too much fun. And that too much fun has them still abed at 9:41. I did get some quality time with Tupie, my godcat.

And here's a link to a video from the RT/EH/RC tour!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


The center for tiredness is now open. But I hope to be asleep during most of its business hours.

John, the mightest worker ever (except for maybe his wife, Melinda who is pretty mean in the getting-things-done department [one some of us too seldom visit]) came up to Brewster and helped me move the majority of my basement belongings into storage. And that would explain my persona tiredness, which, as I said, I hope to remedy soon.

Book group tomorrow night and I am far from having finished the book. Again. I considered not going, briefly, but that is not good. So, I hope to take the train (time will be the limiting factor) and and read all the way into Manhattan and out to Brooklyn.

I sat down at this desk to make a list of all the things I have to do tomorrow before I leave, but I haven't. And since hardly anyone is reading my blog anymore, I might as well bore the few of you still here by making the damn list. I mean, I am thinking about it.

1) Clean litter boxes.
2) Organize better what is left downstairs.
3) Laundry.
4) PACK.
5) Plant soon-to-be dead azalea and hydrangea.
6) Make list of all the people I know born in May whose birthdays I am on the verge of missing.
7) Invoice Ms. I.
8) If I get up early, take Cooder to get weighed.

Okay, that's enough of that.

Cooder is 15 today. I have had her since she was 12 weeks old. The first night I had her, she curled up and slept by my head, purring. And she still does that. I don't know how I will live without that as she has been so comforting to me over the years. Emmylou is a first-rate kitty, but not so cuddly and has no purr to speak of. I have given Cooder Greenies whenever she asked today in celebration of her birthday. And as it is getting late, she wants more.

Gosh, and it the 14th birthday of Julian Alessandro Cirincione Ferraro. It was his impending birth that caused me to move back to NYC from Berkeley. Sigh. And the stories begin.

Here are some snaps from the reservoir where I walked Albert yesterday. He was so anxious to get out of the car that he jumped out as soon as I opened the door, which is unusual for him. I had looked over to the passenger seat to get what I needed from my purse and when I got out and opened up the back seat, no fucking Albert. Silly dog! He's little but he is mighty and mighty stubborn. He almost pulled my arms out of the sockets to get up onto the path and get smelling!! And pooping. (Yes, I picked it up.)

By the way, the song of the day is Walk Away Renee.