Monday, September 30, 2013


I don't have anything very good to say tonight, but it has been a few days since I've written, so seems like I should give some sign of continued existence.

Then again, I can't really say much as I am in a state of what ... mourning and despair?  Well, you've heard that before. But the mourning is getting closer to home.

I was really doing better. The not-writing was just that I was gone and then a bit busy with some other creative endeavors, and jus thinking some things through and trying to get focussed. No really big deal. 

And I was getting geared up and getting-a-move on. But then early this evening, things changed. I was talking with Jason and getting started on dinner about 5:00. I had kind of noticed that Cooder hadn't been downstairs in a few hours, which is not her usual pattern and I was vaguely concerned. It was warm enough to open the SIP for some late afternoon sunning and as I was hanging up with Jason, I noticed Cooder hissing at Emmy. Again, not all that unusual, but she was kind of leaning against the door. I hung up, shooed Emmy away, picked Cooder up, but she didn't seem to be able to stand up. I put her on the couch, expecting her to walk and lie down once she got over being miffed, but she didn't.

I stepped away to let her settle, but she couldn't walk properly. And after a couple more minutes, she still wasn't walking right. I quickly called her vet, but they were closed. I called their emergency vet and they said to bring her in, which I did as fast as I was able. 

We still don't know her condition, but after $400 of emergency visit and blood tests, they let me bring her home to watch. She ate, drank water, had some catnip, but wasn't really sleeping. 

I take her to her own vet tomorrow for further testing. She's finally resting. She's here next to me. I hope we wake up in the morning. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Today was better. I slept reasonably well and woke up at a respectable hour. And I got a few things done. I spent 90 minutes on the telephone with Maman trying to get her computer working. We didn't get it working properly but after many tries we did make progress and can pick it up again. This was frustrating. Afterward, I needed to chill out, and I needed to walk off some of the Smarties I binged on, so Albert and I took an hour-long walk at the reservoir.

It's late and I should try to get some sleep. Emmylou is upside down and conked out here on the couch as I finish this and watch the next season of The Sopranos.

Jeff Nunokawa had another great post so I will share it and say goodnight.

5002. "love those for whom the world is real" (James Merrill)

September 24, 2013 at 8:20am
However seldom in my line to feel,
I most love those for whom the world is real ("The Book of Ephraim", The Changing Light at Sandover).

This is really something, a girl said last night, about the strange ceramic clown that has been part of my household for years. As alarmingly self satisfied as the clown looks, I just know that he's anything but. (I assume it's a he, though I can't say for sure: its gender does not submit to simple identification.)

If my young guest and her friends hadn't been considerate enough to celebrate his existence, I just know that my poor clown would have spent the night (as he has spent many nights) in a state of darkness about his very being.

That clown is a parable: Think how often you and I cast about in shadows, unsure of the reality of our own being, no matter how game our face, like so many sad and lonely clowns or clouds or crowds, until someone quick and bright comes along to draw it out.

Where would we be without those special someones to confirm our especial existence?

Lucky for us, they're no further away than the next real surprise.
Note: . . . a world which has meaning only for a consciousness (Hazel Barnes, "Humanistic Existentialism and Contemporary Psychoanalysis", in The Literature of Possibility, A Study of Humanistic Existentialism)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


 Self-distrust is the cause of most of our failures. In the assurance of strength, there is strength, and they are the weakest, however strong, who have no faith in themselves or their own powers. ”
— Christian Bovée

I had snatched this quote at some other point in time and came across it again last night, shortly after I had posted about SRB. I wondered if he had suffered self-doubt or had issues with self-worth. From where I sat, SRB was a winner, with enough of the right stuff to do good things in his life, do well for himself. Then again, we rarely know what is on the inside, the frightened and dark side of anyone. SRB just had a life force, and I can feel that it is gone. There's a hole where SRB used to be.

Teresa, Charlotte's mom, posted a comment on yesterday's post and I am going to include it here, since I can't imagine most of you go back to earlier posts for any reason.

Our own experience with a death too young is allowing friends to feel safe to share their experiences with young deaths we had not known of. I had no idea how many friends have lost young siblings and children. I feel like we've been ushered into a parallel reality of loss that's been there all along, invisible to us. I don't know if loss is harder or easier, knowing how present it is for so many.

And who knows why this has affected me so much. I wonder if there are resonances of losing Carl. All I know is that I took half a sleeping med at a reasonably hour and conked out for 11.5 hours solid and then never really woke up today. I was feeling sleepy and instead of napping, I went to the reservoir for a walk (okay, see there I am trying). I came home still sleepy and unable to concentrate so finally I gave it up and napped for a bit, which helped some. Hopefully, I will sleep reasonably well again and have more focus tomorrow. 

Monday, September 23, 2013


I am getting things done, but I have a new free-floating anxiety. I keep looking around, internally, for what is wrong. And then I remember my young friend dying over the weekend and I am so disturbed. A disturbance in the field indeed.

I am breathless at this death. Honestly, short-of-breath stunned. I am going to walk and see if I can collect some thoughts. 

Why yes! You can see that the colors are changing. This picture hardly does it justice. The walk was helpful but I still had to come home and take a nap. 

I didn't sleep well last night as I kept thinking about SRB and his truly untimely demise. I wanted to crawl under the bed today, I felt so badly. I had not seen him in several years, only kept in contact via FB, so I am as surprised as you are that this is affecting me so dearly.

I suppose the resonance of Charlotte's passing so senselessly and so recently is a big part of it. I mentally reel for T. I am still tender from that sadness. 

Knowing my own pain and struggle, I empathize with the pains and struggles of others and it seems as if SRB had some serious demons and was not making great life choices. 

I am not going to subject you to another posting of William Stafford's A Ritual to Read to Each Other, but, of course, I read it. 

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

SRB was such a delight to work with, so smart, so talented, such a great, cooperative, forgiving attitude. But also gave good smart-aleck attitude, too. Helpful. A go-getter. And yet something went awry. There has been unsubstantiated speculation that there must have been drugs involved for such a young and healthy man to have a sudden fatal heart attack. 

I just can't help but feel that SRB missed his star and that he was, if not a star, possessed of a sweet inner light.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep. 

And here is a bit of goodness from this loss: I called a sister-in-arms who worked with us, CXC, to share the news as I know she does not partake of FB. We hadn't spoken in quite awhile but our connection was as fresh as the autumn day. We jumped into real conversation and spoke for at least an hour. The signals were clear, and the darkness is a little less deep.


Although I just posted an installment, I am still up, updating the new iOS, and ripping the rest of The Fellowship of the Ring. Teeth are flossed and brushed, however, so as soon as my iPhone gets updated, I can just go to bed. I need more Fellowship to listen to, and to soothe me in the night. I really just want to close my eyes and crash here on the couch, but there are lights to be turned off and so forth.

Cooder and I did have a most delicious nap this afternoon. Indeed, I am slightly surprised I am so ready for sleep now. Perhaps the moderate amount of zinfandel I drank contributed to my general sleepiness. 

Tomorrow is the Brooklyn Book Festival. I missed last year as I was newly arrived in Seattle. Glad I am ensconced with M & J and Cooder and Emmylou at the moment.

Oh! Tomorrow is the first day of autumn! That's what I was going to remark upon before I was distracted into other things. And there's already a fall rain falling.

Now it is Sunday night. M and I went to the Brooklyn Book Festival. But, I just found out that a wonderful young man, very smart, very talented, very capable, died at age 30. I am just in shock and sorrow.

That will just have to do it for tonight. RIP, SB. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Hi, hi! I'm still here. Things are okay. The week was emotionally and spiritually challenging with lots of soul-searching, but I am more than less okay.

Thursday was the Kermit Place Readers discussion of The Brothers Karamazov. Huzzah. We are done. It was not the most popular book we have ever read, and, indeed, several KPReaders were similarly disconcerted by all the hysteria, but the majority of us liked it. And all of us were, to some degree or other, pleased we had read it.

So, on to The Fellowship of the Ring. I am only three discs from the end, which is fairly fast going. I ripped the discs and put them on my iPhone so if I can't sleep, I listen to that for awhile. Although I utterly understand why Lord of the Rings is important in popular culture, I am ready for a break. Meandering through the Mary Stewart (This Rough Magic) and actually grabbed Neil Young's autobiography,Waging Heavy Peace, off of the library shelf.

This is not really telling you much. I am slightly dazed and a bit down, but much better than I was earlier in the week. Being back in Brooklyn is always emotional in one way or another. I staid late in town in order to take a walk in Prospect Park with John yesterday and what should have been a 90 minute drive was twice as long as I did not get out before traffic. However, I DID get in a walk, and that seemed more important.

Before I left on Thursday, I finished the tomato sauce and even made some rosemary-garlic infused olive oil, something I have been wanting to try for quite a while. Although olive oil and bread is off of my current eating regime, I did sample to excellent effect.

On and on. 

I could barely keep my eyes open last night. M and I watched the final episode of Silk, which we greatly enjoyed. I went to bed at 10, but didn't sleep well, despite my exhaustion, waking up every two hours or so. That made today quite challenging. So, I am about to head for that horizontal space and I will ensure that sleep happens by augmenting with medication. Fortunately, I did not entertain the dementors when I awoke and was able, after a time, to doze again.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


The dementors are afraid of cat cuteness.

The dementors were busy today. Several of my nearest and dearest were more than usually depressed. I was in anxiety-about-life mode but persevered enough to get some things accomplished notwithstanding my zombie-esque emotional state.

And it was a spectacular day. M and I noted that it was dark by 7:30, pitch dark, no foolin’ dark.

Albert and I had a nice walk on the bike path, the first walk I have taken in a couple of days. It was a push to get the energy and make the time – anxiety and panic do not like distraction from their own feeding and care – but I don’t want to lose the barely formed semi-habit.

Not alert enough to really write about much more – you didn’t want to hear about that pull-the-covers-over-my-head feeling, did you?

But I can expound a bit further on last night’s post as Jon Stewart (not him again!) went completely off on CNN and their culture of hysterical non-information-based reporting, their "breathless wrongness." 

But his heaviest criticism was aimed squarely at CNN, for what he called "breathless wrongness" and described as general chaos and frenzy during non-stop coverage of the breaking news ..."

Hysteria is one reason I didn't like The Brothers K. Everyone was so MANDO! (Mando was a word we used back in our 20s to describe something intense to its ridiculous or ultimate extreme. Takin' it to the limit.) The characters in The Brothers K were always yelling or drunk or wound up in some über-drama or other. I didn't see the point. 

From last night's article:

Perhaps disasters have become clichéd. In the same breath that we view images of destruction on the news, we text friends and read about Kardashians. We don’t see our own vulnerability until we’re standing knee-deep in mud in our basements.

Disasters are trivialized as just more noise and chaos unless you live through it yourself. Maybe that's why not enough people care about the growing homeless and poverty-striken populaces. Can't understand it, it's more more noise, bullshit, and another disaster. As long as it is not happening to me (you).

There are a lot of us knee-deep in something. We don't even have basements. 

Hysteria and "breathless wrongness" are incongruent with my "practice" of slowing down. And I guess that I was doing that practice when I slowed down my panic and anxiety by taking the dog for a walk in the sunshine. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Any morning when I wake up on my own after having defeated the Night Dementors, not having a hairball deposited (unceremoniously) in my hair, and a fairslept night, has to count as a good one and worthy of mentioning. An attempt to see the more positive side of things.

Later that same day.

Not a bad day. The car didn't need as much work (right now at least) as I thought it would. Spent a fair amount of time working on the graphic novel. All reasonable thangs. I even finally put on my car registration which has been sitting around since August. I mean that took Goo Gone, scraping, vinegar, and finesse.

And I read stuff, posted on one of my other blogs. and then came across 

Help, we’re drowning!: Please pay attention to our disaster

Here in the horrible Colorado flood, people are dead and homes destroyed. But the scary part is everyone's reaction

by someone in clearly in Colorado. We, we readers and writers in this space, know someone in Colorado, near the flooding area. I had the presence of mind to AT LEAST send him an email asking how they were last week and then today I got this: 

Drying out here – no flood damage in my town but lots of friends and some of Sheri’s family who lives in the foothills definitely hurting. Gonna be awhile before all the roads, railroads, sewer lines and the like are back.

Here's the opening paragraph of the article:

As I write this, Colorado’s Front Range is in the middle of its worst natural disaster in about 100 years. For people like me, who live here, it is a flood of tragic proportions. To the world, it is just another disaster. When many of my out-of-town friends, family and colleagues reacted to the flood with a torrent of indifference, I realized something. As a society, we’ve acquired an immunity to crisis. We scan through headlines without understanding how stories impact people, even those we love. Junk news melds with actual emergencies, to the point that we can’t gauge danger anymore.

... A torrent of indifference ... This dovetails with several (that's more than two, right?) conversations(*) I have had recently with folks in my (our) cohort who are mightily struggling with the vicissitudes particular to the economic and social realities of life in this country at the moment. Doesn't seem like there is a lot being done to address this growing problem. I mean, neither me nor any of the peeps I was chatting with are calling from our shopping carts quite yet, but what we do share is frustration and perplexity about how to alleviate our situations. 

[(*) And also with Robert Reich (just stay calm, MDS) who was a guest on Jon Stewart last night and has a new movie, Inequality for All, about some of these topics. Oh and also with all the reports on income disparity and the number of Americans living in poverty today. (Here's one from the Washington Post to get your started.)]

Here's the closing paragraph of the article: 

I’d like to think that in our networked world, it’s easy to comprehend how the things we read about in the news or on social media might be impacting friends and loved ones. It seems, however, that we’re so drowned in data that we’ve become comfortably numb. Even our reactions have become passive, disconnected. Hitting “like” on Facebook or leaving a sympathetic tweet doesn’t come close to the human power of a phone call, especially for someone facing the loss of their home, their health, their life. We’re too disengaged to connect the dots between disaster and its human impact. And that scares me.

Comfortably numb? More like uncomfortably, defensively numb. But that might not be so good, either way.

I'm certainly not implying that any of you, gentle readers and friends, is unkind or unsupportive or inattentive, I'm more addressing you as caring and reasonably active denizens of humankind. What is to be done, really? How are we, how can we help one another? And do we really want to, I mean, as a society? 

Confused in Putnam County, NY.


Monday, September 16, 2013


A beautiful Fall day and I should get in the car and drive to the orchard to photograph those apples. But I really don't feel well, still, so I don't know. However, given that it is fall, I do feel compelled to share this Fall fashion tip for scarves. I haven't tried it yet, but it does look pretty cool. And sometimes I have long long scarves. 

Oh crapola. I lost some of what I wrote earlier today. One point was that it is not advisable to listen to The Fellowship of The Rings and to watch The Sopranos. This narrative juxtaposition caused me to have some very very strange dreams. 

Just not feeling that well and, at this point, it is more likely allergies than coming down with a cold. I know I have some allergy meds somewhere ... but where? 

So, my philosophizing is lost and I am too sleepy to recreate much more. It was a strange cold and hot day. Seriously, from rain to sleeveless weather back to rain and comforters. And it is still officially summer. 

M bought plums and made plum cakes that were plum fine!

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Unlikely as it might seem, I was up at 5:30 a.m. That is rarely, if ever, a positive thing. And what were the circumstances to wake me? Something in my hair. What something could suddenly be in my hair?  Cat kack. What fun! And I couldn't find my glasses either. So, early morning shower.

So however your day goes, you'll have trouble topping that as a crappy way to wake up.

I had to get up early anyway to make my run into the city. I'll be napping as soon as I get back.

Sitting here working and hanging out with Cooder and Emmylou. They like their morning pets. 

So, still watching Season Three of The Sopranos. I wish I had seen the first two seasons, like I need any more TV to watch. It's much funnier than I recall. The New Jersey Museum of Science and Trucking.

M&J and Albert are home. Emmylou is stretched out  on the floor on her back. Cooder is on her favorite chair. Albert and I took a little 20 minute walk. Listening to The Fellowship of the Ring is much more interesting  and pleasant to listen to than The Brothers KaramazovAlbert is curled up on the couch now. Don't you love it when your animals snore? Cooder and I had great nap today when she curled up on my chest, blocking my view of Borgen which I was trying to watch on my laptop.

The heater is on a bit. I wore my sneakers instead of my flipflops on my walk. Weather has changed.  We stopped at Salinger's Orchard on the way back from the city. I was stunned at how full the parking lot was! If there is better light tomorrow I will go and see if I can get more shot of the apples almost falling off of the trees. Quite impressive. M made an eggplant stew that perfectly captured the moment: the freshness of summer and harvest chill. 

Oh my god, Carmela's clothes.