Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Yes, things were dire when I last wrote. Radio Sally has been Radio Silent for a couple of weeks now. And then I go losing my writing mojo again.

Wednesday, June 8

Dating these entries feels more like a journal than a blog, yet given my sporadic attempts to write these days, it rather makes sense. Getting up to date seems like the place to start as I don’t have too many ideas these days.

I had to retreat to the patio again in order to write this. I get very stuck in the morass molasses/entropy center that is the house, particularly when Janet is around watching television. Since I last wrote, Janet has started going to lunches at the local senior center (they invite me, too) so there have been several days when she has been gone for the better part of the day. This is good for me.

Her memory continues to decline. The stimulation she gets from hanging out with her friends does seem to help, as does her exercising and reading. Some of my harangues are having an effect, seemingly. She is difficult to motivate. Speaking of which, I should get her to take her eye drops and prednisone before she naps.

The news of Scotch’s condition did take my depression down a couple of notches. I received a belated birthday gift of cash from M&K and spent it on an ultrasound and blood test for Scotch. The diagnosis was a tumor on the spleen, but the blood was clean and positive. The vet was optimistic about her recovery and quality of life should I find the means for her to have surgery.

I continued to agonize over this. I have had other cats, most notably the beautiful and funny Miep, who had cancer. I did not feel it was investment to intervene and she died a few weeks later. But these other kitties were much more ill than Butterscotch is. Scotch still eats and poops and patrols the house perimeters, as well as having taken to enjoying more outdoor naps in the sun as the weather has suited her.

So, I decided to go ahead with the surgery. She is likely being operated on as I write this. I borrowed the money in the short term. I started a gofundme to see if I could raise a few dollars to offset this loan. Here's the link should you be so moved. I know it is risky and rash given my financial situation, but it seemed wrong to not try something.

Meanwhile, a few months back, some neighbors knocked on my door at 10:30 PM while I was coping with the pain resulting from a pulled tooth. As you might recall, they had a black cat they said was a stray. (Turns out, it was a relative's cat and they were just palming it off on us.) Drugged and cat-addicted as I am, I took in for the night. Janet fell deeply in love with him and so came Merle, #5 on the cat parade.

Two weeks ago, the original owner of Merle arrived, again late at night. This time Dyra brought her daughter and sons to visit Merle. Oh, and a six-week-old kitten they said they had rescued from a woman with a wagon of three cats that she was on her way to dump in a field. They thought we might want another. A sweet little boy was carting around the tiny kitten. I had to rescue it. I took it just to get it out of their hands.

As Emmylou had a vet appointment for a skin condition the next day, I took the kitten to have her checked over. $100 later, she was pronounced to be six weeks old and healthy. I am somewhat on the fence about keeping her and hence she has no name. Janet is crazy about her. Kitten and Janet entertain one another. Her whiteness is in the backyard with me, learning to chase bugs and perhaps  might try a sunbath as well.

Where do we go from here? At this moment, I restlessly, anxiously wait for a call from the vet. I do feel better for having taken these actions, at least at the moment. Even getting out of the house to write this feels like a step in the right direction. 

The garden needs quite a bit of attention, however it is the heat of the day back here. The tomatoes are a-cumen in. The Bug Blaster is, as far as I can tell, doing its job in keeping the spider mites at bay. I finally got the hang of it, although I usually get wet. In this heat, who cares? All the nasturtiums, cosmos, and bachelor's buttons have died and gone brown, as well as most of the sunflowers. I have plenty of seeds I could try if I could only get motivated.

Having written this, I do feel better. Not writing nags at me. I could even take a coffee nap or spend more time with The Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating or Kill’em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul. I misplaced a library book that is due tomorrow so I could also look for Lab Girl, although I have looked and am clueless as to what else to try.

Sometime later.

Vera Paris is happily snoozing away the afternoon in one of her two cat beds here on the patio. The breeze has risen so the curtains in the breezeway and the drying clothes catch it. Even the soon-to-bloom sunflower leans rhythmically along. I've been reading poetry, trying to find something to encapsulate some part of this day, these experiences, or something to go on. I don't know which volume would help me, but I am not having much luck with what I have to hand. And I can't even think of a song that speaks to this moment. 


A person speaking
pauses, lets in
a little silence-portion with the words.
it is like an hour.
Any hour. This one.
Something happens, much does not.
Or as always, everything happens:
the standing walls keep
standing with their whole attention.
A noisy crow call lowers and lifts its branch,
the crow scent enters the leaves, enters the bark,
like stirred-in honey gone into the tea.
How rarely I have stopped to thank
the steady effort of the world to stay the world.
To thank the furnish of the green
and abandon of yellow. The ancient Sumerians
called the beloved "Honey," as we do.
Said also, "Borrowed bread is not returned."
Like them we pay love's tax to bees,
we go on arranging the old notes in different orders.
Desire inside A G A G G A T.
Forgiveness in G T A C T T.
In a world of space and time, arrangement matters.
An hour has no front or back,
except to those whose eyes face forward,
whose tears blur thought and stars.
Five genes, in a certain arrangement,
will spend this life unrooted, grazing.
It has to do with how the animal body came into being,
the same whether ant or camel.
What then does such unfolded code understand,
if it find in its mouth the word important
the thing that can be carried, or the thing that cannot,
or they way they keep trading places,
grief and gladness, the comic, the glum, the dead, the living.
Last night, the big Sumerian moon
clambered into the house empty-handed
and left empty-handed,
not thief, not lover, not tortoise, just looking around
shuffling its soft, blind slippers over the floor.
This felt, to me, important, and so I looked back with both hand
open, palms unblinking.
What caused the fire, we ask, meaning, lightning, wiring, matches.
How precisely and unbidden
oxygen slips itself into, between those thick words.

— Jane Hirschfield, The Beauty, Knopf, 2015

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