Friday, March 28, 2014


Well, here you go for anomalous weirdness, I have the theme song from Camelot running through my head. I think it's this, 

A law was made a distant moon ago here:
July and August cannot be too hot.
And there's a legal limit to the snow here
In Camelot.
The winter is forbidden till December
And exits March the second on the dot.

because, as you know, this is not happening here ... It.Is.VERY.cold. 

The next morning.

Evidently, today in 1912, the first cherry trees were planted in Washington, D.C. And it is/was Gloria Swanson's birthday too. (Later in the day, PAS sent me a Sarah Vaughn b-day card. I share a birthday with some good chicks.)

Now back on the bus to the city. I'll spend the night in Brooklyn. The plan is to have dinner with B1 for my birthday. John and Melinda may join us. Pizza or sushi? That seems far less important than having a productive day. 

Life puts a person in some strange places. I'd a never thunk I'd be commuting on the L.I.E into Manhattan. 

Did I mention my tristesse at leaving Mary's house soon? Cooder and Emmylou so enjoy the space, sun, and quiet. Emmy is having some adjustment issues with me being suddenly gone so much. And last night, when I finally got home, I had work to do before I rushed off to bed. She kept putting her paws (and sometimes her claws) on me as I was working, wanting some attention. 

And slowing down seems to be my current lesson, area of focus. The anxiety and general acceleration of getting this project delivered seems into consciousness and the un ... and the next thing you know, careless mistakes are being made that a minute or so more of calm action would have prevented. 

So there's my practice. Slow down, listen to the situation and not the anxiety and pressure, respond don't react, and take the time to do it right

Somebody's doin' it right.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Hello. Yes, I am still alive. I am, in fact, already on a bus to the city, having been hipped to the Wi-Fi way to travel by John's brother-in-law. I've mostly been working out of the house, which has been fine and good as I have plenty of room, a printer (that was critical), and good connectivity. Most days started very early, even from home, with a lot of iChatting with Brad, the VFX supervisor, who was on set for all sorts of crazy hours. Some days, like last Thursday, I worked past midnight, crunching numbers, and trying to put together a puzzle of a VFX budget.

That's all done and in process and now we have to actually produce the darned stuff. I haven't done this in a long, long time and the technology has changed, so there is some catching up to do. Fortunately, all my immediate superiors are quite helpful and are of the school that appreciates straight-forward admissions of ignorance of things, non-judgmental.

So close, yet so far.

Emmylou and Cooder have taunted me with their leisurely afternoon naps on the bed, in the sun. They were confused and not entirely happy to see me darting about trying to get out of the house on time. I suppose they will be even less pleased to have their very comfortable lives upended yet again as we move somewhere in a couple of days. 

Well, still trudging into town and I am overcome with sleepiness, so I think I will try for a short nap before I hit town. The internet is slow on the bus and I can post this later.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


There is already a tendency to rush kicking in on a deep level. Yesterday, I found myself getting extremely stressed. On set, food is everywhere. I scarcely went out of the house yesterday, save to dig up some fold-up tables from the garage to increase my work space (they were kind of nice, too, bigger than tv trays ... I'll have to tag them in the yard sale.) 

Today will be grueling again, although not as long, I hope. I was pretty much at it from when I got out of bed at 6:30 until 9:30, with some food breaks. And a quick phone call or two to lament the untimely passing of beloved Cosmo. 

My concern today, is that I am getting in that "too tired to think" mode and that is not an option. So, although rushing seems like the thing to do, I think I need to take a shower, and maybe get in a walk. My head could use some clearing and rather than jumping back to focus, maybe I need to unfocus more ...

Well, I just took a grief break and cried about Cosmo, wrote to Louise and Erik, and I feel a little bit better. Cosmo had a lot of presence. Iris recently lost her dog, Wixlii, after a long illness, and although it was sad, it didn't have the thunderbolt shock of Cosmo's death.

Love is love. Beings are beings. There isn't a sliding scale or hierarchy of loss of a loved one, a breathing, affectionate, personality with whom you shared your life. Be it a purring presence in your bed, warming your feet, chirping you good morning. We invest our attention and love in these creatures and they in us. A loss of a loved is just that, as profound, moving, devastating, and valuable as any loss. Love is love.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I guess that's how this business goes, waking up to a flurry of email. And being on the computer at 6:51 to answer them. On the other hand, I suppose it it meritorious that I woke up at 6:20 of my own accord. 

It's going to be a busy day. I have a lot of negotiating and budget stuff to do, then I have to pick up the house as a new realtor is coming to look at the house tomorrow. But that should only take an hour, and perhaps I can attend to it increments.

My eyes are crossed from looking at screens, yet the tv is on and I am looking at this one as well. Justified is on. There's a short shot of Jameson's over ice, and bed is beckoning. 

So, all in all, things are fine but I am just working hard. 

And then a great sadness ... Cosmo died today. He was a most most excellent kitty. He lived with Louise and Erik. I was told what happened, he passed away after some dental surgery, but I was so upset I can't remember the rest of the details. He was sweeter and more mellow than this picture shows. 

Friday, March 14, 2014


I feel kind of as if hit by a train. And I just got up. And today will be a long one, but I know that it is the first of many. We start on location on Monday. 

I slept reasonably well, but I had one of those nightmares that rattle your soul, displace  your heart, and which require some kind of recalibration. I don't remember much of the nightmare, just that my cat, a combination of Emmy and Cooder was dead, and it was not a pretty picture. I'm sure there is a meaning and symbolism beyond that but the grief and dread energy, which is as close to reality as it can be, does not leave the nervous system very fast.

Given that John and Mel don't have to rise and shine in quite the same way and would not be in immediate need of the facilities, I made my hot water and honey and took a relaxing, short bath to see if that soothed and comforted at all. In Long Island, I step outside to the kitchen porch for some very fresh air and some morning rays, if there are any. Different life here in Brooklyn.

One of my favorite things taking the subway to and from work was seeing all those people, and there were a number of them, huddled hungrily over their copies of The New Yorker. My subscription lapsed, but I am fortunate enough to be a subway commuter again, I will re-up. 

I liked the geometry and color here.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


For a day that started with me nearly skidding on a pile that Tupelo had not managed to get to the litter box to deposit, it wasn’t bad. I mean, you’d think, if you were the superstitious type, that that did not portend well. Especially that, in the next step, I almost stepped in the vomit he had shared. But c’mon, he is an old, old man, deserving of all respect and patience, so I just cleaned it up and made coffee. And a lot of the day was mellow and fun. 

It’s a long long walk from the G station to the studio. And it was bitterly bitterly cold. It was quiet when I got in, but, as the hours wore on, things got much more intense. Or so it seemed to me, but my production stress muscles are a little flabby. I started to get wound up, but remembered that any upset was unlikely to yield good, measured decisions.

Well, I am really too burnt out to go on at the length I had hoped. But getting back up to speed is not going to be instantaneous. I treated myself to pizza and a bit of red wine and relaxed and instead of working, I am going to hit the hay soonish.

I don't know the exact name of this place but it will take a better photo. It is a home for old ladies. For true.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


So, day two in the new adventure. I am on the train, finally, heading down to the production studio that is at the old Brooklyn Navy Yard. It is hours later than I had hoped to get to the studio, but it was one of those mornings.

Already it is interesting how much I have to refocus and get back into my body. This is a very fast schedule and I have a lot to absorb and think about, particularly since I have been living in my own private Idaho for a while now. This morning, I could not find my car keys and thus missed a train. I looked high and low, under the car, in the trash, in my overnight, in the couch cushions. And where were they? In the coat pocket of the last coat I had worn. It is a testament to my being rattled that it took a good twenty minutes for me to think about that possibility. And that I would think about the trash and the couch first?

Quick update from the Center for Tiredness, as I am about to head out to a bar to troll for workers (it's a software meet-up). It's very intense and very fun, although I think I am going to work like a dog. I haven't done this kind of work in a long time so it is a fun refresher. Here's the studio, at the old Navy Yard where I believe my father may have been stationed. Okay. Check with you soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


First day on the job ... and very intense already. The above title is taken out of context from one of the documents I am reviewing.

So, this will be very short tonight. I'm ... overwhelmed, but in a good way. My brain is going at 100 miles a minute and I do need to get to sleep so that I can get up and get an early train to Brooklyn to meet the production crew.

Meanwhile, me being me, feels some tinge of sadness that the more pleasant days of solitude and cat communion are (really thankfully) behind me for the moment. I just want to honor the positive parts. And look around the dear house of Volny. Emmylou has become quite taken with the basement and I am sure she will miss that. 

Lots to think about. I will make no assumptions about practical bugs.

Monday, March 10, 2014


I just looked up the word "tenterhooks" ... just to make sure it wasn't "tenderhooks" ... but tenterhooks it is. Here's what Wikipedia had to say: 

Tenterhooks are hooks in a device called a tenter. Tenters were originally large wooden frames which were used as far back as the 14th century in the process of making woollen cloth. After a piece of cloth was woven, it still contained oil from the fleece and some dirt. A craftsperson called a fuller (also called a tucker or wa[u]lker) cleaned the woollen cloth in a fulling mill, and then had to dry it carefully or the woollen fabric would shrink. To prevent this shrinkage, the fuller would place the wet cloth on a tenter, and leave it to dry outdoors. The lengths of wet cloth were stretched on the tenter (from Latin tendere, meaning "to stretch") using tenterhooks (hooked nails driven through the wood) all around the perimeter of the frame to which the cloth's edges (selvedges) were fixed, so that as it dried the cloth would retain its shape and size.[1] In some manufacturing areas, entire tenter-fields, larger open spaces full of tenters, were once common.

Yes, I need to prevent personal/spiritual shrinkage into fear and insecurity. Really, though, I am doing reasonably well as I wait for the next steps which will make this job a reality. 

It's a production job. Remember I used to produce animation and VFX (visual effects)? An old friend and colleague emailed last week asking if I knew of any VFX producers in ... wait for it ... Long Island. Hmm ... I seem to be residing there for the nonce. Why not me? Although I might be overqualified in some respects, I haven't done specifically this in a number of years, having been more focussed on animation and technology production. But I still sit around with John and analyze shots, generally keeping up with what is going on. 

The project is only 8 weeks, so, as I said problems not entirely solved and I will not be riding off into a happy sunset after my Job-like last few years. But this looks like a lot of fun and just hard enough to be a challenge in a couple of ways, like being on set and learning a new piece of production software. I can't really divulge much more, but it does feel good. And I must be ready because I did not have insomnia worrying about it last night. I'm not even chewing my nails now. I didn't even sink into procrastination by watching the season finale of True Detective with breakfast.

So, now a poem or two and back to the business of "getting it together" ... More Stafford.


Wisdom is having things right in your life
and knowing why.
If you do not have the right things in your life
you will be overwhelmed:
you may be heroic, but you will not be wise.
If you have the right things in your life
but do not know why,
you are just lucky, and you will not move
in the little ways that encourage good fortune.

The saddest are those not right in their lives
who are acting to make things right for others:
they act only from the self

and that self will never be right:
no luck, no help, no wisdom.


There is a county to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot—air far
down, a snap that you might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That's the world, and we all live there.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Fleur de sel caramels in a blue bowl.

I have no plans to entirely stop this blog, but I haven't had appropriate concentration. And no, not because of depression as I have mostly been reasonably okay. Yea, there are the occasional piccolo slides from up to down, but truly the longest one lasts only a few hours. I just have not been able to concentrate on much of anything intellectual or spiritual or even particularly confessional, if those are three of the notes I hit here.

And now, though the formalities have yet to be observed, I understand I am going to work on a project that could lead to some work for a few months. I met with my "immediate superior" yesterday and received word from him today that he had a thumbs up from his "immediate superior."

This came out of the blue. And I will give you more details, such as what I am going to be doing and where and all, but I want it to be a little more formal. I think I start on Tuesday and will be busy through the end of April at least. And I expect to be busy busy busy, so having the mental space for this might be a challenge. 

I am pleased even if I am not gushing here. It is work I haven't done for quite a long time and that will be a bit of a challenge, but I am up for that. I am more trying to conserve my energy and not go on some kind of manic high of relief and delight, because, although this is an unexpected and terrific turn of events, my larger life issues remain ahead of me. 

But it has been a tremendous ego and self-esteem boost. And I could use that. 

Was looking for a Rita Dove poem to share, but came across this instead


Look: no one ever promised for sure
that we would sing. We have decided
to moan. In a strange dance that
we don't understand till we do it, we
have to carry on.

Just as in sleep you have to dream

the exact dream to round out your life,
so we have to live that dream into stories
and hold them close at you, close at the
edge we share, to be right.

We find it an awful thing to meet people,

serious or not, who have turned into vacant
effective people, so far lost that they
won't believe their own feelings
enough to follow them out.

The authentic is a line from one thing

along to the next; it interests us.
Strangely, it relates to what works,
but is not quite the same. It never
swerves for revenge,

Or profit, or fame: it holds

together something more than the world,
this line. And we are your wavery
efforts at following it. Are you coming?
Good: now it is time.

— William Stafford

I hung my clothes on the line outside today. That was a pleasure. If it is warm tomorrow, again, I will wash my sheets and hang them out as I love the smell of sun dried sheets, although I don't think I will be sleeping here for a couple of nights. Emmylou came out, exploring the yard, avoiding the snow patches still on the ground. Cooder was asleep, probably in the sun on the bed upstairs.

Anyway, there's a lot to do tomorrow, and it is after 11:00 so I should goodnight you all now.

Thanks for sticking with me. Prayers and good thoughts for the next!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Listen to this.

Yes, back in the world of good intentions I was going to take a walk today as, although there is some fresh snow on the ground, it is dry. But it is also four degrees out there and a short walk to the post box convinced me that maybe I would not be successful at being out for even twenty minutes. 

Two days later.

I don't want to be so far out of this habit. I feel as if I am betraying someone or something. I will say that I am slightly spaced out and not as grounded as I would prefer. My narrative thread has been somewhat frazzled.

The weather has been clement enough for walks. I have broken up my days with post office perambulations. The cold is bracing rather than biting. And today, it was warm and dry enough to wear regular shoes instead of boots. 

For the moment, I will just say that things are moving along in a positive direction. Might have some work. Remains to be seen. But I have a bunch of errands to run tomorrow and I need to be out of the house early and I have already staid up too late listening to Coursera lectures on The Music of the Beatles.

Here are some snaps of Cooder enjoying some catnip.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


“Your nightmares follow you like a shadow, forever. ” 
― Aleksandar HemonThe Lazarus Project

Isn't it interesting that my blog post yesterday was about feeling fine and then I went and had two nightmares last night? 

One of them was about someone or something being on fire, but I think the impetus for that dream came from the opening scenes of the novel I just started, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, wherein someone catches fire from too much hairspray on their clothing. 

(As a sidebar here, I could not remember how this one came up in the queue, and I was a bit skeptical given the last two "recommended" books I ploughed through, The Interestings and The Marriage Plot, but this one seems like a winner. Nicely written with a percolating energy.)

The other dream, which included elements of other recurring dreams like thrift stores and pets, (speaking of which Cooder is making her way as carefully as she can onto the desk, in search, I will guess, of more Greenies) had me not finishing a take-home history exam in order to graduate. That's one of my main anxiety dreams, not having graduated from college. (I did, I swear.) In this one, I was up in Schroon Lake, lusting after some vintage crockery and furniture, thinking I had pretty much finished my take home exam, only to find that it was not in my notebooks as I had thought. I had only a short while, 20 minutes, to finish a 2-exam and I didn't know what question I was supposed to be answering. I don't remember too much else except that my TA was handsome, dark-haired, and had a three-piece suit and tie.

Interpretations, anyone?

I was very relieved to wake up. 

As I did not do my curatorial gig yesterday, I will keep this short and do some actual work before I dash out for a walk before the storm arrives. I need to get started on the next volume of Proust and work on my resume today as well.

“I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?” 
― John Lennon

Saturday, March 1, 2014


It's noon and I am still nightie-clad. But it Saturday and perhaps I can relax my standards a bit today? As I decided to stay put instead of going to Brooklyn, it feels like uncommitted time, which is not say that there are not projects still gnawing and nagging, I thought to slow down a bit. (Someone says, "Check her for breath!") 

So, I allowed myself THREE cups of coffee (instead of two), and I climbed back into bed in the sunny window beside Cooder and I just read. I know I talk about books all the time, but it occurred to me that I spend more time looking for things to read than actually reading them. I have a potboiler mystery, The Yard, and I am just relaxing along with it, reading for pleasure. I am an aspirational reader, as you all know, and I have another volume of Proust to get started on for this month's group, but I haven't really thought about reading for pleasure and not for some (self imposed) assignment. 

I know it should't be such a source of pride for me, but I FINALLY GOT MY PRINTER WORKING. It's only been since November of 2012, you know. Lame perhaps, but I did accomplish that one thing this week (there was more, really).

So, having started this, I am going to get dressed, make my bed, and go back to reading. Catch you in a bit.

Wow. I really did no work today, which is pretty rare for me. The extent of my productivity was printing out some recipes and finishing a book. How lovely and glorious to just do nothing. Cooder, in particular, enjoyed my lounging about on the bed with her. 

I should have gone for a walk as the weather was dry if cold, but I didn't even do that. I suppose I will have to brave the elements for exercise early in the day tomorrow.