Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hello darling. Just a quick post tonight, I'm pretty exhausted. Beautiful late afternoon light - it's 5:47 p.m. - and I just finished vacuuming and dusting (mostly) at long last the downstairs. The light up in the aerie where I am could not be lovelier at the moment, all still and platinum and timeless. KZE is on in the background - yes, a program that comes on for two hours every Saturday afternoon at 5 called Radio A.... A meaning you know what. Big doings in the region today, don't know if you've heard - let's just say today was not the day to drive into Rhinebeck and catch a matinee of The Kids Are Alright (with Julianne Moore and Annette Bening).

Went dishwasher shopping in earnest today. D & I had gone a week ago and noted some 10 percent off sign - which was no longer valid. So I got instantly discouraged, because I spend so much time trying to score half-off organic lettuce - I didn't want to pay more this week for a dishwasher I'd come to a conclusion about, doing the math, a week ago. So I walked right out. I was a bit of a jerk, D of course was being valiant and the big-box store clerk honest-to-god looked like a young Mark Ruffalo - let's say if I sensed my mood going south it was better I get out of there.

So I went back to the car just to chill. Okay, here's my montage "Of the Historie and Origin of Dishwashers of Note" in my life. I grew up without one, as I know so did you (although having typed that now I'm a bit less sure). Here's a little story: back when D & I were in the process of selling our amazingly lovely & perfect one-bedroom in Carroll Gardens - we had an open house, and instantly a bidding war ensued, and by the end of the weekend we had actually gotten an offer for (I don't quite recall) maybe $25K over the asking, and the whole deal went to RE (real estate) attorneys very quickly and a contract was drawn up and signed....

To make a long story short, the couple who had so fell in love with our apartment balked when they (or so they claimed) realized that there wasn't a dishwasher. There was a lot of stressful and tedious back and forth, carried on by our realtor, and our closing attorney who come to think of it weekends up in these parts someplace (whatever). Our realtor was such a kicker, just a larger-than-life absolutely gorgeous, expensive, sophisticated, voluptuous Latina (sorry - don't know her country of origin) who said to all of this - heck, I'll buy them a dishwasher. Her name is (as I know I've written to you in some other letter before) positively Updikean - let's say - oh, sorry I'm too tired, I can't even paraphrase or code one - need I remind you that I don't have a writing staff?

Oh anyway. So, dishwashers. Well what about them? Oh right, so I'd marched out of the big box store because some 10 percent deal was off and I wandered back to the vast parking lot and D chased me down saying that there was a model of some very highend brand on clearance. Which trumped whatever 10 percent deal off whatever was from last week.

Bottom line, we have quite a chi-chi dishwasher coming to us Monday afternoon. Not that I needed or expected this from a dishwasher, but it's so fine that when I open the door and look to the mirrored back I can see myself. Interesting.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hello darling. Beautiful late afternoon here, hot, sunny and dry. The temperature's supposed to drop into the low 50s tonight, radiational cooling that reminds me of California. I changed sheets today and made the beds back up, this time with cotton blankets on top. They haven't been necessary for a while but will be welcome tonight.

Fifty-nine and clear by you, sunrise at 5:40, a civilized hour, though sunset at 12:33 a.m. is still pushing it, the sun behaving like a child refusing to go to bed. Are the tents lightproof or is there a vexing persistent glow through the gortex or whatever material that is?

What did I do today? Washed dishes by hand, I think we're getting a new dishwasher this weekend. Watched more Mad Men. Do you know it? It's a drama series about Madison Avenue advertising executives, their loves and lives in the early 1960s - fantastic characterizations, great acting, production values to perfection, well-observed, all working together to evoke that rapidly changing moment in time.

What else? Walked at the conservation area, drove across the bridge to the bank, drove back, picked up D at a job, stopped by supermarket, found several items with yellow half-price "managers special" stickers including baby mesclun - my favorite, I love the soft texture. I bought four plastic containers and have washed and dried it already to keep it from turning into compost. Alaskan cod will be for dinner.

What a lovely song on just now, I sway to it and think of you. Very romantic and lilting. Amarga Navidad, by Lila Downs - love it. Like a fado. Maybe it is a fado. Now Van Morrison is on. That would be you, darling. I love ya I love ya I love ya I love ya I love ya I'm hungry for your love.

What else? Washed sheets, hung them on the clothes umbrella which is hard to do because the buddleia has grown through it, so I ended up tossing pillowcases like frisbees onto the far end from the porch. Watered garden, things have been quite dry and I heard next rain won't be til next Wednesday. Checked blog stats. Bala Cynwyd, PA up top. Longing for United States. Page hits from you read as code - I view each one as a kiss, a magical visitation, the stop of a butterfly, or of a hummingbird. One day I hope for an actual kiss.

These days butterflies and hummingbird-like moths stop by the buddleia, but I haven't seen a hummingbird recently, though I believe they're around.

What else? As I drove up Warren Street Bob Schneider's Bring the Bringdown came on, one of the sexiest songs ever in my book. I sat at a red light and danced in my seat, just wanted to dance and remembered dancing with you. Did we go out dancing only once? Once is all I remember. Anyway, great song.

In other "bringing the bringdown" news, the other day at the conservation area I saw a barge floating a large section of the new Willis Avenue bridge downriver. It's been in the local news that it was fabricated up here and is being floated to Bayonne where it will be assembled and floated up the East River to replace the duct-tape-and-chewing-gum repaired structure that currently connects Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.

My delightful man (of course you are, and can't tell you how envious I am of everyone who gets to be around you), I hope everything is going well with you and that you're having a good time. I should go see about dinner, measure out rice to cook up in a pot, slice lemon, pull out mustard & butter to make a bit of sauce to drizzle over the sauteed cod. What's the veg tonight? Not sure. I never did make it to a farmstand today. No more baby mesclun for today though - half a package with the chicken quesadillas at lunch was enough.

Read more of the beautiful epistolary friendship between E.D. and Thomas Wentworth Higginson (will I ever reach the end of the book?). Checked movie schedules and other cultural listings. Became intrigued with synopsis of an opera playing at Bard this weekend, The Distant Sound, by Franz Schreker, 1910. The theme resonates -- Fritz, a composer, forsakes a woman’s love for an imagined sound that is but the distant echo of her presence. But the opera is only partly about Fritz and the elusive ideal that shimmers, mirage-like, beyond his grasp. It is also about how Grete, the composer’s beloved, is exploited by the society she lives in, and how she survives by retreating into her dreams...

This post is a ramble but it's the next best thing (like page loads:kisses) to being in your presence. I'll leave you with a lovely quote I read this morning, that the writer Nicholson Baker included in a fan letter he wrote to John Updike in the mid-1980s. I've just stepped into the bathroom to fetch the NYRB in which I read the piece. The quote is by someone by the name of John Jay Chapman - who is that? never heard of him. Anyway.
Your complete literary man writes all the time. It wakes him in the morning to write, it exercises him to write, it rests him to write. Writing is to him a visit from a friend, a cup of tea, a game of cards, a walk in the country, a warm bath, an after-dinner nap, a hot Scotch before bed, and the sleep that follows it. Your complete literary chap is a writing animal; and when he dies he leaves a cocoon as large as a haystack, in which every breath he has drawn is recorded in writing. "Balzac," quoted in Richard B. Hovey, John Jay Chapman
Now I'd like to hear the actor Jon Hamm, who plays the charming and complex ad executive Don Draper in Mad Men, read that quote aloud as he fixes his prey. Your complete ad man writes all the time. It wakes him in the morning to sell, it exercises him to pitch... Or maybe more likely it would be a quote delivered by a different character, one more given to pompous speeches - well, whatever.

Dearest love, very many kisses for you, woven into tonight's corner of cocoon. Love you.

I can't vouch for this video, but if you have insomnia because of the midnight sun peeking through your little umbrella beach tent.... here's Bring the Bringdown. I hope it's as sexy a version as what I hear on radio, and baby, I love you, I am dancing with you to this either way.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

notes from the ice floe

Feeling fatigued today and achy. I can't seem to motivate myself to do anything. I should clean the house. It's getting grimy and dirty. I used to enjoy housekeeping, in Brooklyn anyway. The place was smaller, I was younger, and every once in a while I'd call in sick just to give the place a thorough once-over. I think I may be depressed, but then I think of people I know who really were and I don't know. I think I'm just bored and I'm tired of not having had sex in years (mostly). I'm a vampire. I need it like vampires need blood. I haven't had blood in ages. Is that so bad to say? Oh probably. I don't care. I did have a friend, in college, who went through a really bad depression. Actually two, friends that is. One, my freshman year, threw herself out a third story window of the dorm and succeeded only in breaking her feet. Poor girl. The other, different college, we were roommates one summer at a frat - she drank way too much (mornings) and could hardly get out of bed at all - she was a mess. I always looked like the strong one in comparison, and I did try to be supportive to my friend but she was inconsolable. She did finally get treatment or snapped out of it, I don't remember the details. She got better. So I'm not that, not clinically depressed I don't think. Listening to the audio commentary to an episode of Mad Men, Season 3. The theme is about decay and disintegration - the old Penn Station is about to be torn down to make way for the new Madison Square Garden. The series director makes an excellent point that the destruction and loss of the old Penn Station was a terrible loss, of course, but that it wasn't just that the developers were horrible, evil capitalists - New York was in decay and they believed they might be offering something better, a new, clean vision. According to him, there had been other iterations at that site before the old Penn Station, that had burned down, so there was also this genuine faith in mutability and change. I found it useful to hear the director say that, because these days I do find myself feeling a little too binary for my own taste, good vs. evil sort of stuff - maybe it's good vs. blind faith in the ethically dubious.

I dreamed about you last night, that's as close as I get. That's pathetic. At the conservation area someone who once came on to me gives me the cold shoulder and calls his dog by its full name to get it away from me. The neighbor woman is at the moment with my husband, her useful hero, while she gives me the cold shoulder. Am I such a monster? Honestly, personally, I don't think so. I think I look all right. I might be a little depressive - sorry, not all cheers & smiles & bonhomie all the time - but I don't believe I have a negative energy, that saps happiness out of a room. That guy's dog likes me, by the way, not that I care. Oh, and yes I admit it - I have a sex drive, and a desire to be kissed and to be loved and touched, and I desire in turn to kiss and love and touch - is that so bad? Of course not. What's "shocking" is my admitting it so starkly especially after over 20 years of marriage - I've lost count now - 23 or 24 - the first 20 of which were perfectly happy and I was in love. But when your partner for whatever reason systematically mentally withdraws from you because he himself is going through an untreated depression, over a period of years and with other triggers, it is too much for me. What am I to do? I'm some kind of purebred useless European who's found herself alone and unequipped here. And I'm no David Foster Wallace or Sylvia Plath, I simply cannot do that (call it characteristic lack of resolve). I don't know what would help. I was talking about that theme of decay before. We bought this house, a fixer-upper if ever there was one, and I had a genuine hope at the time that we could bring it around and turn it into a clean, decorous space. But we've been here over five years, the nest egg got depleted, it's grimy, dirty, and ugly, though we did plant trees. In the meantime I became achy, tired, and angry. My father, an old school bastard, shuts down points of view from women he doesn't want to hear by dismissing them as "bitter." I suppose I'm bitter, in that horrible nasty monster sense I grew up hearing about in my nasty family whom I wish nothing to do with ever again. And where are you? You seem to miss it when I miss posting for a day. How do you suppose I feel when you miss refreshing my site on your iphone or however that works? As much as I know how busy you are with so many souls relying on you. So it's not really about that. It's about feeling really stuck and alone and not knowing what to do and not feeling psyched about very much anymore and yet completely unable to end it at all while at the same time dreading the coming long winter. I wish I could get it back for D, it was nice the 20 years while it lasted. I'm kind of amazed it did last as long as that, though there were weak spots at the beginning, especially when I had to spend some time with his mother, a sweet gentle soul but boring as all hell and it just made me miss hanging out with your mother, and all those high-flying literary talks - that all ended for me a very, very long time ago and I sensed it - bitterly - in the early days of my marriage. But I got over it, there were other compensations, D was sweet, attentive, bright, funny when happy - we had a good time. We were truly happy - or I should speak for myself - I was truly happy with him. But the matchbook got wet.

He kidded himself (and me) about his ability to bring this house into nice shape. I know he didn't do it on purpose - it was denial, and hiding - we should have bought a smaller house, with less land, in not so rough shape. Though I'm not sure that would have helped. He got bummed out after his career tanked because the whole music industry tanked. He didn't know how to restart so hiding in the endless fixer upper was psychically appealing to him, even if unconscious. Trouble is, I didn't get the memo til too late. And I'm - not infirm exactly, far from it - but isolated, very much. I like solitude. But there's a thick bright line between solitude and isolation and I'm well onto that latter archipelago. Like a polar bear.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Images from the visit to Mass MoCa the other day. To give you a sense of scale, this is a small glass house suspended in an enormous loft space. The name of the exhibit was Gravity is a Force to be Reckoned With, by the artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. Indeed the furnishings in the house are upside down.

When I opened the doors to enter the hall and saw the glass house from afar I laughed because it instantly called to my mind a distant yet vivid memory, of Philip Johnson's glass house on Ponus Ridge Road in New Canaan, CT. I used to bike up that road all the time (including when you and I were dating) and loved to stop in the golden late afternoon - just this hour probably, quarter to six - and peek over the beautiful ancient stone wall across verdant acres to the little house set far back towards the west. Almost every time I took a peek at the house - transparent, minimalist furniture, a settee visible - it sat empty in the distance.

One time, in the A.D. after you and I broke up - I think I was in college, but I could be mistaken - anyway, I was home for a weekend and thought of the glass house and convinced my sister, seven years younger than me, that she should glimpse it, that we should go see it. (Little details are coming to me, possibly false - was she applying to art school at that time? and wasn't aware of Philip Johnson and his marvelous house? and that bossy older sister me set about to rectify that educational omission?)

Memory's a little hazy on how we got there. I believe we took the branch train to either Talmadge Hill or New Canaan - Talmadge Hill, I suppose, I think that would have been closer. Either way it would have been a long walk to his house, so now I'm thinking that we quite jauntily and adventurously took our bikes on the train, cycling tourists on the all of 10-15 minute ride north from Glenbrook. That's all that makes sense to me anyway - we must have done that.

We disembarked the train, in the foreign wilds of bucolic and beautiful New Canaan - I always loved those ridged roads and vistas and quaint bridges overhanging the ever-enticing Merritt - but I digress. We made our way up Ponus Ridge (or if from the New Canaan village station, possibly along Wahackme or was it Frogtown Road, routes that I had bicycled countless times in the past) and arrived at the Great stone Wall fronting Johnson's impressively vast acreage that rolled (as I recall) endlessly to the west where he (and on occasion I) enjoyed vivid sunsets setting behind another ridge, High, or Long, or maybe Greenwich already even.

My sister and I propped our bikes against the southernmost corner of the stone wall and clambered up. Now I recall it was a rather high wall - high enough that to glimpse the architectural square fishbowl with its black leather and steel furnishings, required gaining a foothold in a crevice and hoisting myself up. It didn't take much, a mere almost ladylike step or two. It wasn't an obnoxiously high wall, six feet or higher that by its very existence ostentatiously advertised "Keep Out." (I think of one of that nature along the main street in Upper Nyack, New York.) No, it was four to five feet, or a bit more, just high enough to prevent curious or indifferent ogling from cars.

I was practiced at clambering off my bike, gaining a toehold, and glimpsing the house and property from a momentary perch. I ditched my bike and invited my sister to do the same. We had come all this way, it was a leisurely, quiet, still summer afternoon, nothing was going on, everything was perfectly quiet, flies buzzing perhaps, but just pervasive silence all around. So I thought, what the heck? Let's scale the wall and sit against the other side and look at the place and enjoy our snack - because now I'm thinking (unless I'm embellishing) that we'd packed a light meal, a sandwich perhaps, and certainly a cold drink of water, or iced tea, against a sweltering day.

So I'm spending a moment of adventurous quality time with my young sister who possibly at the time idolized me (or maybe not, who knows anymore). We're resting our backs against the cool wall, stretching our limbs out on the lawn, admiring the important 20th century architectural landscape which - imagine that! at the time - two girls with a few dollars could hop on bicycles and a train to see - when

all of a sudden in the glass house a Giacometti figure sprang from the sculptural settee. OMG! Philip Johnson was home! Who knew? I don't recall a parking pad in front of his house, or even a drive leading right to it. I think I used to idly wonder how he did reach his house - if he ever did. It didn't actually look liveable.

Oh yeah, he was home all right - already, back in the late 1970s, elderly - and I can tell you that he - assuming it was he, the animated figure leaping to his feet and into his slippers (or am I making that part up??!!!) - was quite spry. My sister and I took one look at each other and bolted. We flew right over that wall, got back on our bikes, and that was that.

Yet another misadventure with my sister, things never go well when we're together. Such as the time in Brooklyn Heights that we got out of a cab and in the act of opening the door knocked over a cyclist in the bike lane. It's always like that with her and me. And somehow it's always My Fault. Ah whatever.

So I incurred the momentary wrath of Philip Johnson. I seem to have that effect sometimes.

Good morning, dearest. Last night I dreamt that I was walking towards you, you were waiting for me on a streetcorner. I was smiling with joy, happy to see you, knowing you were happy to see me. When I reached you, you put your arms around me and kissed me. As I woke this morning I lingered in the sensation of being in your arms, gazing at your beloved face, such a nice way to start the day.

I saw the camp manager's write-up yesterday - what a delight! I left a comment to that effect but that blog doesn't seem to publish comments, not that I've ever seen anyway, and they didn't publish mine. I really enjoyed the piece, amusing and full of colorful detail (he has a gift - the writing was charming, sprightly and fresh), and I am very happy to have a much better mental image of what it might be like to be there. (To camp so near the water, that must be amazing! Is there the constant sound of waves?) Plus I am delighted to have new images of you, though they're a little distant, or obscured or indistinct - but still, I'm happy for them.

Today promises to be sunny, hot and sultry. Radio's on with a weather signal test. I wonder if we're going to get storms. I wouldn't be surprised.

You look for sun, I look for rain
We’re different people, we’re not the same
The power of the sun
I look at treetops, you look for caps
Above the water where the waves snap back
I flew around the world to bring you back
It was the power of your heart
You looked at me, I looked at you
Your sleeping heart was shining through
Wispy cobwebs that we’re breathing through
The power of the heart...

I had a wonderful experience at the conservation area yesterday. The morning was cool and fine. I went along the usual paths, exercised with weights in shady spots, paused at the overlook and looked out at the silver river. A Peter Gabriel song (originally by Lou Reed but I don't know that version) came to mind and I sang snippets as I walked -- all around the world the world just to bring you back, it was the power of your heart. I was glad to get out of the sun as the path wound into the woods. Within a shaded glade I rounded a bend and came suddenly upon a young deer. It stood preternaturally still just ahead of me. Peter Gabriel sings, I looked at you, you looked at me. I looked at it, it looked at me. I stood still and spoke softly, hi deer, don't be afraid, it's just me, aren't you beautiful. What strange marvelous creatures they are, otherworldly. Two alien species regarded one another. I was glad to get a good long look at the eloquently expressive yet mute and expressionless creature - paradoxical. I took in its impenetrably dark eyes, jutting ears improbably large for such a narrow ovoid head. The lithe creature was graceful yet at the same time ungainly, as if missing arms, its body massive for such delicate thin legs. The deer grew skittish and pranced in place, looking at me and nervously over its shoulder at the overgrowth, uncertain whether to stay or flee. I spoke to it in soothing tones and it stepped from hoof to hoof like a horse in a paddock. It's the longest encounter I've ever had with a deer, a sustained interval, up close and personal. I took a couple of steps to resume my walk, gently signaling my intention to go in its direction, and spotted another young deer hidden in the brambles, a sibling perhaps which watched us both. I took another step and the deer in a sudden panic turned, bounded into the vegetation, and uttered a cry, which surprised me because I thought that deer are utterly mute - it was a cough-like cry, strangled and inarticulate. The pair of deer momentarily thrashed in the thicket, the racket ceased, and now they were hidden and perfectly still again, watching me perhaps as I walked past. I thought of the past, you thought of what could be. I walked for another twenty minutes or so, returned to the car, started the engine, turned on the radio - and at that precise moment KZE started to play Power of the Heart, amazing. I sang along as I made my way down the dusty dirt drive and turned onto the main road towards home.

You know me I like to dream a lot
Of what there is and what there’s not
But mainly I dream of you a lot
The power of your heart
The power of your heart
All around the world to bring you back
It's the power of your heart
The power of your heart

Putting my arms around you, darling, as in a dream. Love and very many kisses.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Good morning darling. I have been having a bad morning, anxiety-ridden, yesterday evening too. I'm writing as a way to soothe myself, and to get a hug from you which I know will make me feel better right away. So I posted yesterday evening. I was feeling tired, read it over in published mode and thought, gawd that's weird even for me, so I sat up straight and decided to edit it a bit and was rolling along nicely when for a split second the power went out and came back on again. The computer blinked off and I lost all my edits. I was annoyed but philosophical. Storms had moved through here already but must have struck something crucial elsewhere. The part I had a hard time being philosophical and patient about, though, was that it takes a solid half hour for my computer to become functional again, between dialup and logging into this and signing into that and waiting for Firefox to load updates and closing annoying prompts ... you get the idea. Takes forever. And now this post that I had second thoughts about was only getting older and I was growing anxious that you'd see it before I could tweak it to my satisfaction. I became increasingly frustrated with the feeling of not being in control of a small yet crucial thing. Not every post will be a gem, of course, but I make an effort. The computer came online again, I saw that I hadn't edited in time, I felt absurdly upset, then D came upstairs, and he and I had a big fight.

[Oh good, already my morning's starting to go better, David Gray's on now - I find him entirely soothing. Not even a song I know, Only the Lonely - but oh his voice.)

Today is the most spectacular day, sunny and dry. I slept deeply and well, though at the same time with fitful dreams, and I woke with an unbidden, involuntary anxiety attack thinking about the unfinished business of the unsatisfying post. I hate it when a day starts off with anxiety. It doesn't happen often but here it was. I thought, okay, I'll tweak the post now, later I'll write another one, we'll move on, and that'll be that. I'm drinking coffee, in the midst of edits, and literally out of the clear blue the power goes out again, this time for a couple of hours.

So I went for a walk, trying to shake the feeling of being out of sorts. But sometimes tiny incidents end up carrying a lot of freight.

On Saturday I drove past the sprawling strip malls here and saw what appeared to be a minor fender bender. I kid you not, in this crazy place, well over a dozen emergency vehicles showed up - ambulances, firetrucks, paramedics, sheriff, police - lining up at the local-taxpayer-funded trough to respond to what I am quite sure was either (a) nothing, (b) next to nothing, or (c) a situation that could have been handled by many fewer First Responders.

Today's power outage, that knocked out Hudson (as D learned over the phone) and several towns besides? Not a word about it, say, on the radio. I stopped by the town hall and one of the town's finest was there - very friendly but he had no idea the power was out (maybe he'd just commuted in from elsewhere). I drove home and spotted a neighbor walking along - her husband's a first responder type, so very many around here. She was on the cell with him - he'd heard that a squirrel got in a transformer. Right, blame nature. Poor squirrel - except that I find it hard to believe that story. I'm guessing it's related to the brief outage yesterday evening.

So dearest, I'm going to leave last night's post alone, goodness knows I don't want to trigger another power outage. Let me get on with my day and hopefully shake this strange mood. I hope you don't mind too much that I poured out my silly troubles to you. And they are silly, right on the face of it, I do see that.

Maybe it's that I really hate power outages. They truly make me feel that things are out of my control, which mostly they seem to be. You're just sitting there and - pffft. I got caught in that major one several years back, where the grid in the eastern half of the country went out. That was a nightmare for me. It was a summer late afternoon, I was at work in the Bronx, and we were all told to leave for the day. Only how was I supposed to get home to Brooklyn? A colleague lived in Riverdale, and another woman and I accompanied him on foot and then bus and wound up at his place. Well, he was safe now - but Ariel and I were on our own. Somehow we managed to get to the Upper West Side - buses, very crowded ones - and now it was getting dark. Ariel lived on the UWS, she was fine. Now I was on my own. I had maybe $20 on me, and a gypsy cab very kindly took me down the West Side Highway to lower Manhattan. He dropped me off around Chambers Street, but didn't want to go further. I made my way in pitch dark - fearful of rats, prowlers, etc. - and managed to reach the agency office building, where I found other stranded staffers. I was safe there at least, spent the night in the lobby, and at daybreak walked home over the bridge. It was quite an ordeal, not just the feeling at times of danger and peril and being very far from home, but the sheer uncertainty too - why was the power out?

And yet I was fine, I lived to tell the tale, nothing really bad had actually happened to me. I'm just no good with anxiety or overly stressful events. With this morning's power outage - well, what was going on? It's perfect out - surreal. If you told me that it was because a UFO had landed I could believe it since there's no heat wave or storm.

Let me check the weather conditions where you are... 50 and overcast.

I am going to shower now, wash my hair, rinse off the bug spray from my walk, put on a clean outfit, restart my day, go to the supermarket and farmstands as was my original plan, and give you a big hug and many kisses, my darling - just thinking of you makes me smile and feel better.

Have a wonderful day, dearest. I hope all is well with you - and your generator.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hello darling, back from a pleasant jaunt across state lines today. It's always a pleasure to drive the back roads here, so scenic and changeable. One town - Ghent, say - will be all pastoral rolling green landscape with cows and barns - another, minutes later - New Lebanon, say, or Austerlitz - rugged and mountainy. On the way back we drove along the lamentable (in places) Routes 8 and 20 in Massachusetts, heading towards Pittsfield where we cut west towards the NY state line. These routes run alongside the lovely Berkshires, which as far as we can tell have no foothills, just an essentially foothilly nature, such a gentle, lovely landscape, but been mined in places, and in the midst of all this beauty have been indifferently sited strip malls, shopping centers, roads to nowhere - etc. I asked rhetorically, how did they take such a beautiful corner of the country and turn it into Cleveland? D laughed, it's a place he's visited (I've never been), and agreed, that's what it looks like, somehow just all spent industrial wasteland.

So much history written on that landscape. All those handsome 19th century brick factory buildings, and articulated, seemingly organically grown centers of small cities (Pittsfield, Adams) that one senses once upon their time were very bustling. Many of the old industrial buildings on the outskirts are boarded up today, and some of the downtowns are a little wan, but there are many valiant efforts at adaptive reuse, such as the museum we attended today, Mass Moca. It's a museum of contemporary art that due to the nature of capacious industrial age loft spaces is well suited to accommodating overscale art. Actually I was struck with the beauty of the buildings themselves - a low scale campus, no more than two or three stories high (the heights varied intriguingly in places), beautifully fenestrated with window after multi-lighted window, row upon row, letting in beautiful light from all angles - perfect for displaying art, or making it.

We talked in the car about this and that and fell on the subject of iphones and digital cameras and I expressed frustration that in a blog that I enjoy - the writer takes the most beautiful snaphshots with what - her phone? camera? - and posts beautiful posts at that very moment from, say, a shop she's visited. I am complaining about my camera. Anyway it's settled - for my birthday I will be getting a new digital camera which I understand aren't even that expensive. With this new camera when I attempt to frame a shot of, say, the signage of today's museum - the "A" at the end won't be cut off. I'm also having issues with Blogger having futzed with the programming and now I can't seem to choose the sizing of my photos (I would have chosen small in which case the MoC... if not the A would have shown up.)

A sense of unreality ensues, sitting here in my underwear, sipping from an icefilled glass, listening to song after powerful song on Women of Note. I have a mental image of you driving up to my house way back when to pick me up, we'd kiss hello. Maybe it's the thought of all those ancient horrible factory buildings where I lived (they weren't 19th century handcrafted beauties). No, I know that's not it. It's just the thought of you kissing me, now. I wonder if it would be the same. No, I know that it wouldn't. But who's the beloved? I have an aunt who in her day looked like the actress Julie Christie, no exaggeration. Gorgeous. A young GI found her in Munich when she was in her youthful prime and they've been together ever since. He's a coauthor of many books and having googled them both this morning she's always in the dedications, referred to as the beloved wife. Thank you for sparing us time away to write our books. That's in one of the dedications, funny thing to say I thought.

This post is devolving, dissolving a bit I think. I saw an exhibit of selfportraits at the Hudson Opera House the other day. There was a bright color photo by Marina Abramovic, of a figure, fleeting, clothed in red as I recall, on top of the Great Wall of China, and below the HD photo a little hand-drawn line drawing, and cryptics. The whole thing framed. Ambiguous. Self-portrait? It wasn't obvious to me. Maybe. Why not?

On our way home it was a relief to get away from the stripped landscapes of the western Berkshires and get back into Columbia County where we stopped to buy fresh eggs at someone's house, and at another impromptu stand for a bakers dozen of ears of corn which the woman seemed so happy that we stopped gave us 14. The Chatham eggs - $4 for a dozen - look awesome, large, light brown and speckled.

When we got home I lay down for a bit, then there was some discussion about a new dishwasher. I decided that I should have a bit of input into it, so we got back in the car and drove a couple of miles to a big box store where we discovered that nylon baskets are a distinct improvement over the rust-prone vinyl covered ones and so worth extra dollars that can be recouped if we upgrade to a $399 model which entitles us to a 10 percent discount blah blah blah.

What am I to do about kisses, touch.

Insert enormous full-color photo of Great Wall here.
And tiny hand-drawn figure below.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hi darling. What an hour for you to be up, I can't imagine, or maybe I can. I'm glad springtime seems to have arrived in your parts, 50 and sunny I read. Extremely hot here today, well into the 90s. Spent much of the day driving up and down Route 9 and 9H between K'hook and Hudson, or so it seemed. The library has a program where you can borrow a pass to a number of regional museums. I was hoping to snag the pass to the Clark Art Institute (in Williamstown) and go tomorrow, but someone beat me out by five minutes. Just as well - under the rules I would have had to go today and return the pass tomorrow. The pass for "Mass Moca" (Museum of Contemporary Art) was still available. Long story short since the library doesn't open til noon Sundays - and the museum is a good 1-1/-2 hour drive away, I was able to persuade the librarian to let me check out the pass at the very last moment today, so that we can leave in the morning.

I feel the need to write about something other than what stage of undress I'm in, what's for dinner (leftover salads and grilled chicken), how hot it is, what chapter of whatever E.D. biography I'm in, and how I ended up at the supermarket no fewer than three times today due to lack of organization. Call it summer doldrums. Maybe I should give your camp manager a holler for some organizational pointers.

Darling, darling, darling. All day long I think of you, you are never far from my thoughts. Isn't that crazy? Yes, it is. I mean, I think of other things too, and observe, and go about things. I went to a farmstand north of the library and as I parked the car to go in and get peaches, I saw a tiny mouse scurrying out of there into the blazing sun. Astonishing sight, really. I wasn't the slightest bit skeeved - it was as cute as a chipmunk, but it was a mouse. I have another reaction entirely when I see one (usually deceased) in this Halloween house. (Nature is a haunted house, I read today of an E.D. poem). This house is haunted with mouse corpses, I believe.

So you see I think too of things other than solely you, the benefit I suppose of my great education, an ability to - not compartmentalize exactly, but to hold things in mind simultaneously.

This afternoon I made up a homemade soda concoction of raspberry syrup & seltzer. I refreshed my glass, took it with me in the car, and picked up D just now - he asked if it was rose! Not yet, but you know - tastes pretty similar. I guess I like icefilled, bubbly glasses of berry-tasting pink drinks, rated G before five, R afterwards.

How in the world are you faring, my love? I think of you - well, I don't want to torture you, but for example I know that you like to drive - can you ever drive where you are? I just hope that someday, someday I get to hear an account, preferably while in your arms or at least in the same room with you, but with our track record I certainly don't get my hopes up. Your next book contract - and not to rush you - a memoir perhaps? Or perhaps, I can hope, you're keeping a scrupulous diary of your expedition. Let's see, I look to a great diarist, Witold Gombrowicz, a Polish expatriate who on the eve of WWII found himself in Argentina, whereon he faced a question later (or perhaps earlier) similarly picked up on by Louis Armstrong, because the cruise liner that might have returned him to Poland was due to set sail in the morning - should I stay or should I go?...
Monday: Me.

Tuesday: Me.

Wednesday: Me.

Thursday: Me.

Friday: Josefa Radzyminska has magnanimously provided me with a dozen or so issues of her
News and Life [Polish emigre publications] and, at the same time, I have been able to get my hands on a few issues of various Polish newspapers from back home. I read these Polish newspapers as if I were reading a story about someone whom I knew intimately and well, who suddenly leaves for Australia, for example, and there experiences rather strange adventures which are no longer real because they concern someone different and strange, who can only be loosely identified with the person we once knew. So strong is the presence of time on these pages that we respond with a hunger for directness, a desire to live, and even an imperfect fulfillment. But it is as if this life were behind glass -- removed -- everything is as if it were no longer ours, as if it were being seen from a train.

If only one could hear a real voice in this kingdom of passing fiction!...

Monday: 39 and overcast.

Tuesday: 39 and overcast.

Wednesday: 39 and overcast.

Thursday: 39 and overcast.

Friday: Belle has magnanimously provided me with dozens of posts of her news and life...

Darling love, Factchecker will be over maybe, or maybe not, to put in all the italics and accents graves and agues or whatever they're called in Polish, that are required. For now, please content yourself with very many kisses and so much love, my dearest, from your loving Belle. XOXOXO

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hello dearest, feeling reticent at the moment, a little off all day. The day's been overcast and I was seized with melancholy this morning. I'm pretty much over that but at times it's rained hard and it was cool enough to wear long pants. I read an essay about E.D. and "evanescence," the evanescent nature of things, of nature, specifically of hummingbirds, and I idly wonder about monarch butterflies that stop by the conservation area, are "tagged," and many months later the very same creatures are discovered in Mexico. Can it be comfortable for a monarch to be tagged? I wonder what that involves. I find it hard to imagine that it wouldn't be at the very least an irritant to the creature.

39 and overcast where you are. KZE has taken to playing a new David Gray song, A Moment Changes Everything. Good song, I liked a line I caught, "summer sky blushing pink..." - he has a special gift for lyrics. But I hope it doesn't mean an end to KZE playing Stella.

I am completely limpidly just typing away here. Did some cooking and baking this afternoon, taking advantage of the cool weather - it's supposed to be 90 tomorrow. Whipped up pesto from farmstand basil. Baked chocolate chip cookies, a project I started a few evenings ago that came to a sudden halt when I realized I was out of flour ("game over"). Stirred up pizza dough several days ago, and have kept it in a cool spot and punched it down a couple of times a day since. Today I brought it into play, assembling two different pizzas - fresh tomato, garlic scape still in my fridge drawer (sort of like skinny, crunchy, garlicky scallion), goat cheese and parmesan. Also a pissalediere, a classic combination of gently sauteed onions (sweat - do not brown! ever ! they must remain translucent!) - mine always end up with at least a few browned slices if I neglect to stir them but it doesn't seem to matter. So they caramelize a bit, still delicious, and then they're nuked at 500 F. in the oven, so how can I sweat the sweating process so much? Anyway: pissalediere - a bed of stewed onions scattered with a pattern of anchovies and olives (anchovy grid & olive kisses, tictactoe, XOXOXO), flavorful salty substances both. By the way if your camp manager ever wants my recipes he can give me a holler - they sell olives and anchovies in Shishmaref or Kotzabue don't they? Of course they don't - they hardly do here (except for bland supermarket versions or exorbitantly priced "gourmet" shop prizes) in the hinterland of the Upper Hudson Valley. Which is why the occasional trip to Sahadi on Atlantic Avenue is a necessity - at least for the way I cook, with goat cheese, olives, couscous, walnuts, almonds, and the like - all incredibly overpriced up here, and completely reasonable at that compact Lebanese plankfloored storefront.

A Johnny Cash song is on now. I was reading more of the Brenda Wineapple volume on the friendship between E.D. and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. The biographer intersperses E.D.'s verses in her text, and as I read the cadences of the poems felt familiar. I thought, Johnny Cash lyrics have the same spare modern simplicity - I Walk the Line. E.D. might have composed that lyric, or poem. Maybe I'll flesh out that thought some other time.

Speaking of books, yours comes out shortly - why can't I find an image of the cover? Is there a mystery? Well, okay, it hasn't been "released" yet. Years ago I told one of my brothers about a set of reports that I had written for a city agency, and how they were about to be released. My brother, an attorney, was puzzled by the word - "released" - what is that? Didn't compute. Published, when the government is good and ready to publish.

I am going to let this fly, darling. I miss you very much, as completely ridiculous as that is to say. I hope all is well with you.

A Moment Changes Everything. Hitting send. Love you darling.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Darling love, a gorgeous day, sunny and dry, not too hot. How do you like my "cut-leave" coneflower (rudbeckia)? It's over 7 feet tall, reminding me of Jack and the Beanstalk. We planted a third one this year, in the middle between the existing two, but for this season it was getting too much shade from the spirea in front. Next year I'm sure it will be as tall as its companions.

Listening to radio, dinner production is behind me - a big pot of Sicilian chicken is on the stove. Found out the hard way that the dishwasher died. Of course it was fully loaded and set to go and - pffffft - nothing. So I spent an hour at the sink washing everything by hand, Glenn Close in Damages doing her dragon lady thing on the little kitchen TV behind me. Marcia Gay Harden's in it too this season, she plays a "woman of a certain age" vamp, very sexual, all plunging silk blouse necklines, stockings with garters, and aggressive sexuality of an expensive, professional high-achiever type. May I say - so not me? Not that I wouldn't mind getting dressed up in an elegantly prowlish outfit. She has quite a form, a couple of episodes back showcased to spectacular effect in a tightfitting (yet ever so classy) linen sheath dress. My form is pretty good these days too - though not to her level, not one that would remind anyone of Hemingway's description of Brett in The Sun Also Rises. Brett was damned good-looking... She was built with curves like the hull of a racing yacht, and you missed none of it with that wool jersey.

I'm 50 and 11/12ths, in my prime and then some, but not a Mrs. Robinson type, though it would be fun to deck myself out like that as a lark. Well, who knows, perhaps a deeply buried vamp would come out. I wouldn't be surprised.

What style am I? I don't know offhand who to compare myself to - but certainly more natural, less studied/made-up/constructed than a predatory femme fatale.

Enough about me. I'm Evil, Evil Kneivel, for my girl.... Cute song lyric just now, a young man liltingly croons, accompanied by the strumming of what might be a ukelele. (I check the KZE playlist - Tift Merritt w/Zeke Hutchens).

Darling, how in the world are you?

Now a Springsteen song is on. I saw him in concert a couple of times probably about 10 or more years back now. And saw him close up at an after party too, in some Jersey venue (some coliseum named after a former governor? a corporation? who knows now) at which I also saw the charming doe-eyed actress Heather Graham who was dating the sardonically-persona'd Ed Burns at the time and I said some silly fan-type thing to Burns who gave me a once-over bored smirk.

The room was very crowded, after the concert with afterparty invitees getting drinks before the Boss might arrive. Which he did in that crowded room and I did see him pretty close up. I can conjure the image now, or my reaction to seeing him. To me he looked like a walking Rembrandt painting. Is he Dutch, or Flemish? Because somehow just the way the light fell on him... he wasn't tall, but his features were just so thrown into relief, pale luminous skin, dark hair -- he glowed like a Rembrandt. I was taken aback by that. At that moment, several glasses of wine in me for sure, I wasn't grasping for an art-history analogy. But there you go. He has a certain compact, self-possessed presence - at least at an afterparty. Because in concert - of course he puts himself out there.

Feel free to cast a bored indulgent look at your iphone, darling. You know - come to think of it - I always found Burns pretty cute even if I didn't always love his film persona. But darling - you sort of look like him.

I don't look anything like Heather Graham, as you well know. But those two broke up a million years ago. Now he's with... Christy Turlington. Oh never mind.

So many smiles and kisses for you darling - love you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hello darling, up in the aerie, very hot & humid, fierce storms threaten but have so far skirted by. I'm prudently dressed in my underwear just in case. The sun is bright after an afternoon of brooding turbulence. I turn on the radar weather channel. We're not out of the woods yet, an orange trapezoid in the west is heading this way. Where's my tee shirt? Okay, right here.

Very little to report, darling. Went for a walk this morning at the conservation area. So many different wildflowers in bloom, very beautiful. E.D. would love the place, and the flowers I'm sure are the very ones she was familiar with. Also there were several different kinds of butterflies: a couple of monarchs, and stirred up from the grass as I stepped seemingly miniature versions with similar orange-brown coloring. There were white butterflies, and a single exemplar I haven't seen before, in the clover at my feet - tiny, hardly bigger than a dime, its wings a muted pale lavender shade of Fortuny silk. Moments later I regretted not having stopped to take a closer look. Even from my lofty height as I scaled over the lawn in seven-league boots it was exquisite. But I was in impetus iter (forced march) mode, not in a mindset to halt on a dime, though I have at other moments, along the path in the woods, to forage a few wild raspberries. (It is a wonder to me that other creatures don't seem to eat the berries - birds, squirrels, deer - I don't get it. I sample a few tart morsels, a post-breakfast snack - beautiful, delicious Vitamin C on the fly.) Afterward, keeping my eye out in vain for a second animated jewel, I thought of Nabokov, who would also like this place. He would certainly have stopped, seized the moment, cast his net, and expertly caressed the details.

I am the Queen of the Summer Salad, dearest. In the last couple of days I've made large beautiful bowls of taboulleh; a salad of farmstand corn, red onion, parsley, and a cider vinegar dressing; and a curried couscous with carrot, raisins, and slivered almonds. D grilled chicken thighs, salmon steaks, and lamb chops last night, fixings for easy meals - party food! - straight out of the fridge. Tomorrow I'll make a dish I usually make in winter, it's so hearty - but I have all the ingredients, even olives and red wine, so Sicilian Spicy Chicken it will be.

A Clash song just came on (Train in Vain) that sends me right back to my college days when it was a huge smash. This morning I heard Eliza Gilkyson sing a song (Paradise Hotel) that incorporated A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum. Now that I absolutely associate with you, listening to that Salty Dog album up in your aerie attic, so as I stood at the kitchen sink spooning cat food onto plates I thought of you.

Sean Penn was on Charlie Rose yesterday. I caught the second half. Impressive guy. I really like him. Intense, earnest, driven, has a mission, a calling. He speaks sense. He believes that either all of this is just a grand coincidence, or we're here for a purpose, a plan, that in key respects we don't have so much free will, it's more a matter of figuring what role it is one's here to play. What he said resonated. A refreshing voice, not a trace of sentimentalism, just purpose. Yet a lightness about him, or a modesty, he doesn't put himself on a pedestal. I was impressed. He was very eloquent on matters in Haiti. He went down there for what he thought would be a couple of weeks in the aftermath of the earthquake, and ended up staying for the long-haul, starting a foundation and remaining on-the-ground there. He had sharp words against opportunistic NGOs that sweep into a place on the heels of disaster and basically erect theatrical sets without follow-through or infrastructure necessary to support sustained relief efforts. Boy did what he have to say have the ring of truth to it, the hollowness of corporatist organizations (he pointedly said that he felt that the ethos of the executive leadership of some, if they're not the #1 NGO getting the credit - then they'd just as soon that disaster victims not even be helped, it's not really their primary mission). I guess what is, in this mentality, the mission, is quite simply the mindless ant-colony furtherance of the NGO ant colony. It hardly matters whether it's profit-driven or (supposedly) not-for-profit. The mindset's the same.

She said, 'I'm home on shore leave,'
though in truth we were at sea
so I took her by the looking glass
and forced her to agree
saying, 'You must be the mermaid
who took Neptune for a ride.'
But she smiled at me so sadly
that my anger straightway died

If music be the food of love
then laughter is its queen
and likewise if behind is in front
then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crash-dived straightway quickly
and attacked the ocean bed

Big hugs and kisses for you, darling. Hope all's well with you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hello dearest. Up in the aerie with rapidly melting ice filled glass of rosé. Perspiring in this torpid heat and after a flurry of food prep - a blueberry-yogurt cake is baking in the oven. I have the car for a couple of days which is really nice. So I went for a walk in the morning, then hit farmstands and did a supermarket food shopping. Then I collapsed for a short nap with my resumed Brenda Wineapple Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson volume. Woke up feeling revitalized so I set to washing, trimming and putting away the produce, playing sous-chef to myself in advance of rather more fun (or at least showey) cooking tomorrow. I enjoyed having this mountain of work to get through - and getting through it. I like working in bursts like this. I've also decided that I like cooking and baking much more than I do gardening. It's much less physically taxing and whatever needs to be done I can have a miniseries on in the background - currently, Damages, Season 3 - not loving it. Next in Netflix cue is Mad Men Season 3 - that I'll be all over. After that will be some season of True Blood that most everybody's seen already but will be news to me.

Spent a lot of time today thinking about the concept of the "ambivalent man" that I got introduced to via Dominique Browning's memoir. A penny has dropped. I get it now. It's the conceptual framework I needed. Explains a lot - more than one guy. Problem for me is, what do I do with this newfound perspective? Well, for the moment, just do what I do.

In other news, (1) D working several towns away which the cats evidently sensed, thus after my morning shower gifting me right in front of the kitchen sink with a deceased mouse. I screamed and carried on, which absolutely no-one heard because neighbors on one side are in the city, and neighbor on the other was on his tractor-mower which is so noisy that he had on earmuffs of sorts. I went to the woodshed and selected my implement - a pointed shovel, not the most efficacious implement but amongst shovels the one with the longest handle. Then there was the complete freak-out endeavor of trying to get at the corpse - which I wasn't entirely convinced was a corpse, and might be playing dead. No, it was in rigor mortis, and somehow unlike the poor mouse I survived the earthly ordeal of scooping it up and dumping it into the weeds.

(2) Am I really to believe that people accidentally land on my site by googling "did Sages Ravine, MA have a tornado on July 17, 2010" or "lightning storm Catskills"? The former, in convoluted and less than believable fashion leads to my blog; the latter not at all that I could figure (I tried). Note: Please consider this the postmodern portion of my blogcast day.

(3) I'm glad I had the car all day long because I bought a baker's dozen ears of corn at a farmstand along with other produce, and after spending a couple of hours in the kitchen this afternoon contributing to the household economy, I was like, where are the purple peppers? And the quart of tomatoes? I ended up having to go back - indeed I had left them there after paying. Glad it wasn't a wash.

Right now there's some really nice jazz piano on KZE, so conducive to chilling, mellowing out. Along with that, wafting up the stairs, is the aroma of blueberry cake.

I think I'll just let this post fly, as unpolished & all as it is. Hope all is well with you, my dear friend.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hello dearest. Very hot and sunny today, humid, but all quite bearable. Keeping cool up in the aerie, Jerrice's Women of Note on the radio, my Sunday late afternoon ritual. Overnight were the most spectacular thunder and lightning storms. I was asleep and fitfully woke up to the numerous flashes and nearby explosions. Maybe that's why at some point Gwynnie came to join me in bed. She's taken this long (months) to figure out where I sleep? I wish I could have been more awake for the storms, I love the drama. I might have been frightened and I think the thought to be crossed my mind, but I always feel reassured to think that this old wood ship of a house, built 1885, hasn't been felled by a storm yet.

I wonder how you're doing and hope that your work is progressing smoothly and all that's to be done is getting done and that you're having fun besides and everyone's happy. I look forward to a write-up on that blog that featured the camp manager. Details please!

Not much to report in the detail department here. Made an omelet of sauteed onion, tomato, and goat cheese for breakfast, with awesome thinly sliced brioche from Balthazar which makes perfect toast. Lunch was leftover chicken and cole slaw, which I'll make again soon - refreshing & delicious. Dinner will be grilled steak and salad. Besides the storm last night, KZE played song after favorite song of mine, to my endless delight, I love listening in my halfsleep. You are never far from my thoughts. I finished the Browning memoir and returned it to the library this afternoon. There I looked at a flickr set of photos from the friends at whose apartment I stayed last week (seems like so long ago now). He's an amazing photographer, beautiful images of Acadia and iconic ancient New England barns and architectural details - what an eye. I idly wonder what kind of camera he uses. I had a great camera once. I bought it at some used camera shop in Denver in the mid-eighties. I was on a business trip, about to take Amtrak to California to attend my brother's wedding, so I bought a camera so that I could be sure to record the trip. It took beautiful, beautiful pictures. I think I have a pretty good eye, but that camera had some transcendant quality to it. I would enjoy having a really good camera like that again, only digital. I used to spend a small fortune in film and film developing. Nice to get away from that.

I'm in a quiet langorous mood. Jerrice is playing lovely, sweet, lilting songs. You've come in twice this afternoon, once from Jersey City, just now from New York - I know it's you. Hey you. I just checked the weather in your parts, haven't actually done so in the last week. 43 and overcast and no flights coming in at the moment, not to Shishmaref anyway. Is the weather where you are similar? Perhaps it's very different. I think I read someplace (probably that blog) that conditions are very buggy. Maybe the gradations are very fine as I seem to recall they are on, say Cape Cod, tides and weather markedly different on the bay versus ocean sides.

I am just rattling on here, musing and thinking of you and sipping wine and listening to music and just connecting with you. The thought makes me smile - literally - pleasing hydraulics of emotion.

Now Jerrice is playing a song by Bettye LaVette. Until Jerrice I've never heard of Ms. LaVette. Jerrice runs a KZE spot to promote her show and says something to the effect of "and I'll play contemporary favorites such as..." - I forget who she names, but they're all familiar names, and she caps off with -- "and Bettye LaVette." And I standing at the sink or stove or in the car, say out loud, Bettye LaVette? Who's Bettye LaVette? (It's become a bit of a worn shtick around here I'm afraid, because D doesn't seem to have been aware of her either.) The other day I was at the stove cooking, that chard pasta dish I think, and I turned on Tavis Smiley. (It's pretty rare that I turn on the TV at all, so I rarely catch his show.) Guess who he had on at that precise moment? Bettye LaVette!

(How do I know how the great soul singer-songwriter's name is spelled? I just fact & spell-checked.)

Went downstairs for ice and stepped out the back door onto the porch in my long cotton robe. Beautiful light just now, flickering light and shadows, a darkening day, cats prowling to and fro, flowers highlighted. I love you darling and hope the camp manager's foray into eggs benedict for 32 went okay. It is not easy to poach eggs for so many people and to keep the delicate hollandaise from curdling. I give him, and you, a lot of credit. As Tavis Smiley says, keep the faith.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hello, dearest. Four p.m. The skies are darkening, I wonder if it will rain. In a dreamy, somnolent mood today probably due to the heat. Went for a walk this morning, re-read the geology essay in the kiosk, and realize that I had messed up my description of it. The bluff is more like 100 feet high. But the glacial lake that was once there was about 100 feet below sea level. As the glacier up north receded, the removal of its weight caused the earth's crust to rebound perhaps as much as 200 feet. Got it? Okay, maybe this will help. I grew up with mattresses like that. Everything was okay as long as you lay flat and prone. But if you sat up the top half would spring up, or the bottom half, depending, or maybe both ends at once if you were in the middle. The geologist used the word "rebound," which made me wonder if the bluff or some form of higher ground had been there prior to the glacier, that the glacier flattened it for a while, and then - presto! - the era of post-Ice Age hydraulics.

Oh good, it's raining now, nice pattering drops. Someone's grilling too, I smell the fumes. Unless it's the neighbor burning plastics again as he's wont to do.

I'm bumming out ever so slightly because page hits from someone in the eponymous river city have ceased ever since I happened to mention them. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle works both ways. That is, I became conscious of the person showing interest in my blog, and it did affect me a little - that now I had more than one (fairly) steady reader that I knew of, what did that mean for my writing? (Not much - redoubled willfulness.) I had an inkling, perhaps even a hope, of who that person might be, entirely in my head, utterly unverifiable. (And this too swings both ways - if you think I mean you - not necessarily.) So I mentioned it and the person went gun-shy or enabled a blocking cookie or whatever and either quit reading entirely in a huff or perhaps went underground. So the Observed was observed by the Observer, the Observed saw something and said something, and now Observer was the Observed, and I lost myself a reader. Read and learn, my friends, the Observed is to remain within the blog bubble like a character in a traditional novel, seemingly unaware of Observers who though inquisitive themselves are a notoriously shy species. Oh but don't you know that I am nothing if not postmodern in breaking conventions such as that even if it means (like a gun showing up in Act I) shooting myself in the foot as a result? Anyway, dear Mr. (?) Whoever You Are in the urban hole at the center of the town donut of Greenport, if you delight me again by checking in on my blog from time to time I promise never ever to mention you herein ever again. Like Vegas. Okay?

Oh, what else. Sitting around in my altogether and reading more of the Dominique Browning memoir this afternoon. It's a little uncanny how very similar we are in some ways. She plays piano, Bach's Goldberg Variations - as do I (or did, the easier ones anyway). In her youth she struggled to understand Heidegger, and finally gave up. Check, and check. She went through a Silver Palate cookbook phase. Well, many of us did in the eighties, so maybe that doesn't count. When she bakes cookies she might triple the amount of raisins since she loves raisins. My oatmeal raisin cookie recipe calls for two cups of oats - I put in four, figuring that it's more healthful that way. I could go on. Also she and I attended the same college, though at different times (she's a few years older than me). A lot of parallels.

I am getting a lot out of reading about her doomed relationship with the "legally separated" though never divorced and thus ultimately unavailable lover she calls "Stroller" because when she gets too close he withholds, withdraws, disappears - strolls away. I haven't finished the book but have read that after a simultaneously gratifying and frustrating decade she ended the relationship. She grew stronger, evolving into the conviction that her peace of mind and entitlement to the kind of mutually committed love relationship that he, a portrait of ambivalence, could never give, trumped whatever feelings of love and validation that she did receive from him. It's not exactly a parallel situation - she, after all, actually got to lay eyes and hands on him regularly - but close enough, I recognize the - well, type. I have to consider myself too this way, weigh peace of mind against love or what passes for love.

Reading her on this subject is like sitting down with the ideal friend or sister I wish I had (or with a mirroring reflection of sorts) who talks forthrightly and nonjudgmentally in a way that I relate and respond to, about such difficult, painful things as ambivalent relationships.

Rosé time, the rain lasted all of two seconds and the sun's back out. Radio Archaeology's on next, of all things. Kisses.

Postscript. Here is a very nice essay by Dominique Browning, written in her characteristically warm, sage, and immediate voice, on the subject of what it meant for her to reach the end of her long love affair with Stroller.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Darling, I just got home, am settled in the aerie with a glass of rosé, and KZE is playing Natural Forces. Earth science reminded me of the song, listening to it now and thinking about the lyrics reminds me of you, out West. Did you ever get a new horse?

In the essay that I noticed in the kiosk this morning the geologist noted that he would be giving a guided tour of another conservation area in the county - "July 15 at 3." Yesterday (as reliably reminded by the francophile Mr. North Fifth Street at the12534) was Bastille Day so I deduced that the 15th's today and I thought, wow, so weird I'm reading this at this very moment, since for all I know the essay's been up for a while, I hardly ever look at the kiosk - maybe I'll go. Like E.D. with her wellspring knowledge of botany, I felt that I could use some hard scientific grounding in local natural phenomena in order to give me fresh source material, inspire new connections and metaphors in my writing. So D, who's very friendly with the next door neighbors (while I remain forever the pariah - for some reason that eludes me, maybe some primal one-sided death match, Mom vs. mythically child-devouring Non-Mom (WTF has really changed since "feminism"?)) borrowed their Subaru for the afternoon so that I could have the car. So I drove out to High Falls, a lovely piece of protected land, very woodsy, reminiscent of the Bartlett Arboretum, only with the abiding sound of rushing waters - Falls and brook. Hot sunny day, but here it was all dappled shade, stands of fern, and worn, rock-strewn dirt trail from which arrowheads have probably been long ago spied and pocketed (I never found one as a child - did you ever? why do I imagine that they were more plentiful then? or does the earth, after heavy frosts, yearly heave up a fresh spare supply?) -- all one might wish from a northeastern woodland trail (all but a bog walk, astronomical twilight, and thou), along with dramatic geology reminiscent of Mianus Gorge in Greenwich, CT - ravines and, I don't know, striated granite? But no geologist, and no guided tour, so I toured the place in geologically ignorant fashion, simply enjoying the cool shade, beautiful scenery and memories of you, not just memories, but a desire to hold your hand (I reached out my hand) and discover the place together. I think you would like it. Kisses, darling.

P.S. I finally did make cole slaw, with farmstand cabbage, carrot, and half a kohlrabi (like a sweetish turnip I've read) that's been sitting in fridge vegetable bin for a month. I'll never get to the other half so maybe right now I should go downstairs and grate it into the slaw, where I'm sure the sweetish turnip qualities will be lost in the deliciously obliterating dressing of mayo, mustard, celery seed, celery salt, etc. Also cooked up an enormous pot of pasta with a sauce of ground turkey, turkey sausage, tomato, chicken stock and swiss chard. Note to Ms. Browning - I didn't used to know what to do with chard either - those enormous bunches are daunting - but, chopped up, it wilts down and then is perfectly manageable in a very large pot, mixed up in, ultimately lost, yet adding a healthful green note (and bragging rights) to a mélange of delicious savory ingredients.

More kisses for you, darling.

Good morning dearest. I feel so much better today than I did yesterday, light years. I got out at 7:30 this morning for a walk, before it gets more hot and humid. I felt despairing at first and had a good cry (nothing like a private sob in the great out of doors) and walked and did arm exercises and kept up the pace and did my large looping figure 8 around the park and by the time I reached the end I felt much better. It was beautiful at the conservation area at that hour, in the midst of the midsummer rattle of cicadas, chirping crickets, and birdsong. I reached a lovely spot where goldenrod, not yet in bloom and drenched with dew, stood glistening in the morning sun, a field of shimmering diamonds. It was so crystalline as to remind me of winter, and I imagined soaring over a dense Scandinavian forest, evergreen treetops brilliant with freshly formed ice. Returning to my car I stopped at the kiosk by the parking lot and a posting behind the glass caught my eye, a nicely-written essay about the geology of the place. The geologist described a point I'm familiar with, a 200-foot high bluff overlooking the river and wetlands below. He wrote that many millions of years ago there was a lake at that spot, as well as a massive glacier further north, and it's not that as the lake receded it exposed the high bluff, it's that the tremendous weight of the melting glacier pushed the earth's crust up from below. I don't usually think about the dynamism of the earth or of geological time - not as it relates to around here anyway - but as I stood there reading, the description conjured such a vivid image of the earth shifting, rolling, rising and being molded and sculpted - I felt as though I was on a boogie-board trying to keep my balance just thinking about it, and the Lyle Lovett song, Natural Forces came to mind.
I rode across the great high plain
Under the scorchin' sun and thru the drivin' rain
An' when I set my sights on the mountains high
I bid my former life goodbye.

An' so thank you ma'am, I must decline
For it's on my steed I will rely
An' I've learned to need the open sky
I'm subject to the natural forces
Home is where my horse is.
Now I'm up in the aerie with a great cup of coffee from a cafe downtown. We've been out of the "good stuff" the last few days, just really wretched supermarket stuff, and I simply don't want coffee if it's not going to taste delicious. (I believe that's what got my day yesterday off to a bad start.) I am in such a good mood now (and nothing hurts!) that I can see myself making cole slaw today after all. Let me get right down to it. Later, darling.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dearest love, up in the aerie, reading Dominique Browning's Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas & Found Happiness. I'm doing her one better at the moment - I'm in the nude. (I do keep a robe at the ready in case Mormons should stop by.) Oppressively humid today, and I'm having one of those "everything hurts" days. Gave in and took an ibuprofen. The sun is breaking through the clouds now, instantly lifting my spirits.

Browning and I are kindred spirits. Or perhaps we're a type, of the sort I rarely meet in life, more frequently in the pages of a novel, memoir, or blog. Educated, literate, sensitive, passionate, romantic, poetic. In her memoir, she's even enmeshed in a doomed love affair that drives her mad, against which she beats and yearns for years, moth to a flame. There's no use talking reason at it. Something gets unlocked. I get it.

I wonder if I knew someone like her, had a friend like her, we'd like each other. Or are we so similar and strong and individualistic that we'd be wary of each other, maybe even slightly repelled? I used to have girlfriends, most of my life, maybe will again. Right now, though, it's not what I want. It feels almost subversive to admit that. But I just don't. In your way I have found you more constant than most.

Where are you? Such a desert here today, nothing but Altamonte Springs, Florida, and Hastings on Hudson, New York, in passing.

Notes from a little while ago (expanded and embellished now). Dearest, I have the car again this afternoon so am back at the picnic table. On my walk down the garden path I found myself wondering, not for the first time, about the mystery of your page hits. I can't figure them out so of course my imagination goes haywire. I was working on my post yesterday when you flickered on my site. I posted soon after, and you haven't tried again, not since yesterday early afternoon your time. Isn't there 24-hour satellite connection there? Maybe there isn't, though that doesn't seem likely in this era. I rule out that you share your iphone and so are simply not in possession of it at all times. So then I think, maybe you're only free to hit on my blog when someone isn't looking, because the person will be angry or hurt to know what you're reading. (That doesn't make much sense - you could be reading all sorts of things, news articles for that matter. Will they see you reading it? Isn't the print awfully small?) I think about this person, settle on her gender. I really hate when my mind goes there but it does. All yesterday you never tried again. (And sometimes you'll miss a day altogether.) I don't mind - it's fine - I don't mean to sound needy, that's not what I mean. It just makes me wonder about your evenings, whole entire days and nights on that beach. They are so full & busy, there is that much to do, so much to absorb your attention, that you don't try again? Perhaps so, in a sense that hits me hard. Or, things I'm sure really are very busy and physically taxing - so perhaps you're so exhausted from the day that you've simply crashed - you're really asleep? No, that doesn't explain the long lengths of time. Perhaps there are frenetic excursions Off the Island? In any event - I can't figure it out, and so my mind goes over and over it. I hope you'll let me know the explanation someday.

More bird song and if I saw monkeys swinging from the trees in this verdant grove on this tropical day I wouldn't feel surprised. Kisses.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Notes from this afternoon...
Dearest love, I am sitting at a picnic table in a grove of honey locusts at the conservation area. A train sounds in the distance and around me birds twitter invisibly in the trees. I've brought a glass of ice water, readers, bug spray if I need it, and I'm wearing my pretty skirt outfit. It's very sultry out. A few minutes ago a brief shower pelted the car as I drove down Route 9 to get here. Now a faint breeze feels cool on my bare arms.

I came here for a walk this morning and was delighted to notice raspberries growing wild along the path. I took photos but they came out so dark it looks as though I was out wild-orchid hunting at night.

So still and peaceful here. I hear the tu tu tu of a cardinal. Now I hear voices, a father and daughter. They have the audacity to sit at my table. What a breach of decorum! Oh. They've just gotten up. (In fairness, they were here first when I arrived, so I went to the other, more secluded table. They left so I took their place. Maybe they feel they still have a claim, a trace haunting. Whatever - it's all very friendly and peaceable. I'm glad they sat down. Sweet.) The girl has a few wildflowers she's put in a soda cup. She smiles at me and I smile back. I wonder if she knows the names of the blooms. Queen Anne's Lace, I see, and wild aster.

I got a little spoiled blogging from Brooklyn. There was so much new input it wasn't hard to come up with posts. Now that I'm back, and perhaps particularly with this enervating weather, I'm like - what am I going to write? That I just feel like napping - another reason I've taken myself out with my notebook. That I bought a farmstand cabbage yesterday and am trying to inspire myself to make cole slaw. That I seem to have a new reader and wonder who it might be, if we're acquainted. That it makes me very happy when I see "United States" on the pageload activity. I kiss my index finger and touch the screen. I'm happy to see Hudson there now too - benevolent, I sense, unlike the last one.

The Catskills ridge reclines in a smokey, dimmed silhouette. A gnat circles about my face. My pen is running out of ink. Dinner will be grilled chicken. Honey locusts, grouped and tall here, are lovely trees. I think of fractals, feather-shaped individual leaves arrayed along twigs, branches displaying graceful fans against the pale sky. There are plenty of young specimens, but I have my eye on the handsome mature one right in front of me, the one with the most luxuriant bark, gray, thick, and ropey, deep intertwined furrows I want to run my hands up and down all over. Beautiful thick trunk. I want to reach my arms around, press, feel it hard against me, look up into it, close my eyes, worship and adore...

I felt unusually amorous earlier and exhausted at the same time. I was on my way to the library but went home instead and lay down and imagined you and did something about it and dozed off and then got back up and drove to the library. A dollar covered an overdue fine and the recent fiction issue of The New Yorker. I wonder where in Europe you'll be. I wonder how your summer is going. I think of you. I cup my chin in my hand and look at the mountains.

Let me see if I can get better shots of the berries. Loving you so, darling.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dearest love, very hot here today, 91.5 reads a website. Up in the aerie in my altogether sipping from an icefilled glass. Radio's on low, brain's in a bit of a fog, perhaps from the heat. I've been at low ebb most of the day. Or perhaps just in a reflective mood. I didn't do very much today. Went for a walk this morning but it was already getting hot and I felt achey so I didn't press it. Went to farmstands and the supermarket. Listened to radio. Read more White Heat. Read that Roman Polanski is free - I'm glad. Watered garden. Ran washer. Hung laundry. Put away laundry. For lunch spooned wonderful middle eastern dishes from Sahadi's onto plates. Hummous, baba ghannoush, kalamata olives, lamb-stuffed grape leaves, curried couscous, finely minced parsley greened tabbouleh salad, fresh pita bread. Made a cucumber salad with plain yogurt and fresh dill to go with it. Half a local peach for dessert. Lay down for a bit with my book, tried to fall asleep and couldn't - yesterday's strong iced coffee can't still be the culprit, can it? Peter Gabriel's Power of the Heart came on - beautiful song. I listened to it among the bedsheets. He covers the song - who did it first? All around the world just to bring you back, it was the power of your heart - when I hear that line I think of foreign adoptions. But then he sings, Marry me today, so I don't know. If I could be anywhere but here right now (ruling out being with you, near where I read it's, yes, 39 and overcast), I think I would like to be at the Maine coast, on a rocky cliff overlooking a marine blue sea, ocean breezes cooling and energizing me. Lake Taghkanic park reminded me of Acadia N.P. in Maine - what a beautiful place that is. Have you ever been there? Typing that now I remember after you left for AK your parents invited me up to Maine for a weekend trip. Your mother was a great driver (I mean automobile, but I suppose in an expanded sense as well). That was quite a long drive to Bar Harbor from Stamford. We stopped at a restaurant in New Hampshire that evening and I had the first lobster of my life, and I was flustered and all thumbs about it, but it was delicious and great fun. Later that weekend we stopped by staid and lovely Oberlin College. No, not Oberlin - Bowdoin, of course. I think it was the first campus of its type - small New England college - that I'd ever seen outside of Seventeen collegiate fashion spreads. The light at the tiny cottage in Bar Harbor was clear and golden. It was right on the water. Beautiful time of year to be there, early fall. Warm sun, crisp air, cold at night for cheery wood fires. Many years later, one September, D and I rented a cottage for a week outside Acadia, and I thought of that weekend with your family all those years earlier, and wondered where that cottage was, right on the water, somewhere nearby. Even at that point, in 1976, you were a million miles away, at the start of everything that came after (did you know that then?, yes I think you did), and I was just starting the A.D., and now it's all these years later. Wrinkles in time. I don't really understand it. You're on a beach, I remember a beach, and I dream of a beach.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hello darling. Sitting at my desk up in the aerie, freshly showered, wrapped in a bath towel. I became so re-enamored of swimming this week that I took myself out to Lake Taghkanic state park this afternoon and swam back and forth as far out in the lake as I could get, along a rope upon each of whose plastic buoys was alighted a single tiny iridescent blue dragonfly-like insect. Are they called bluebottles? Not sure. I wished I'd had my readers in the water so that I could examine one up close. I'm sure they're exquisite. Their coloring certainly is, and they seemed alert, as if surveying the leviathan swimming to and fro.

It was my first time there. It's a beautiful, classic vacation lake, slate and silver ripples surrounded by green wooded hills, blue skies today with huge clouds suspended in ornate billows like Vesuvian steam. I swam, then sat on my towel and read White Heat, by Brenda Wineapple, a well-written examination of the friendship between Emily Dickinson and her preceptor, Thomas Wentworth Higginson. (Preceptor - I've been meaning to look up that word. It's a word that I've only encountered in connection with E.D. (Fascicles is another word like that, the term for the packets of poems she compiled and stitched together.) Preceptor, from Latin praecipere, to teach, (1) a teacher; an instructor; (2) an expert or a specialist, such as a physician, who gives practical experience and training to a student, especially of medicine or nursing; (3) the head of a preceptory. You were my Preceptor once, darling, and I still think of you that way, mostly because before I looked it up I thought the word might mean beloved and willing recipient.)

Then I lay on my towel and tried to nap. I'm exhausted today, mostly due to a tedious, unnecessary fight yesterday evening which accomplished nothing and whose lingering effect was to wear me out. But I couldn't sleep because I'd treated myself to an iced coffee from Strongtree's, a wonderful organic coffee roaster and café down by the train station. Their coffee is delicious and strong, so I lay awake in the shade of a mature pin oak, stretched out long in my bathing suit, staring up at an expanse of robin's-egg blue firmament. I closed my eyes and when I opened them again a thin gauze of clouds had appeared as if lowered from above. I sat up and read some more. In front of me a father admonished his young mischievous daughter, spider slim in her wet black suit and dancing on her feet, to stay put right in that spot ("don't move") and said "you're in charge" to a slightly older boy. The father left for the pavilion and the boy did his best to supervise his wayward sister who with a big grin on her face stood on the pavement and peed. A puddle gathered under her and she laughed and made rude noises and darted away and darted back and peed a bit more and taunted her brother. I observed this whole thing and the boy looked over at me with not embarrassment so much as weariness. What am I supposed to do, his look seemed to say. I have no idea, I telegraphed back, good luck. I returned to my book and when I looked up again the boy and his sister had vanished. I stood up and headed to the water, taking care to avoid the wet spot on the pavement. I swam a second ten lengths, and that's when I saw the bluebottles. Also the cloud cover had thickened and settled overhead in a massive bank like a huge sci-fi spaceship, benevolent though.

Then I gathered my things and got in the car and drove down 82 to a farmstand where I bought three cucumbers for $1.25. They were out of lettuce, and they had no tomatoes which I was craving, and Mignorelli's, a local produce shop on Warren Street, also didn't have any because they're not in season yet as I was informed by a girl behind the counter. We planted tomatoes here but tragically during my stay in Brooklyn, as I was debriefed on my return, one night some creature invaded our vegetable patch (true, we're lackadaisical about gating it) and ate not only numerous nascent tomatoes but the peppers too.

I'm terrified of most highway driving, but yesterday on the way back from Brooklyn I did the Columbia County portion of the Taconic, and today got back on to go to the park. I accidentally overshot the state park exit, which surprised me by being on the left as I drove south, so I wound up in Dutchess County before I could turn around and come back the seemingly interminable miles. Now Jerrice is on with a fado and I've shaken off the towel and I'm very glad that... that... that... oh I don't know, that you're my preceptor, my dearest, whatever the meaning of the word. Icicles to fascicles, darling. XOXOXO

Friday, July 9, 2010

culture diary, day 7

My last evening in Brooklyn. D will pick me up tomorrow, drop me in the water - that is, the pool, we'll do a bit of provisions shopping at Sahadi's and Trader Joe, and hightail it back to good old Columbia County. After a matinée of Girl Who Played With Fire, which I liked but didn't love (less riveting than Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and throughout which I savored scenic glimpses of Stockholm and the beautiful Swedish countryside, I bought a bunch of thank-you flowers that might well be from CC (regional countryside anyway) - zinnia, sunflower, globe amaranth, yarrow, and flowers that I'm guessing to be echinops and phlox. Classic six country bouquet. I peeled off the cellophane, struggled with the tightly bound rubber band, and now the stems are fanned out in a glass vase atop my friends' lovely marble fireplace mantle, reflecting in a mirror that I remember J saying he found by the trash on one of his neighborhood rambles. It's really nice, oval with a wreathed offwhite-painted frame, shabby chic but not overly so. Some people have the knack of finding treasures on the street, tag sales, second hand stores and the like. I don't particularly, though some years ago we brought our taxes to a preparer in Park Slope, who charged $200, a mighty sum, and afterward when we headed up a leafy brownstoned side street we spied a wonderful pharmacy floor lamp that someone had put to the curb. I'd seen such lamps at Pottery Barn. We're not eagle-eyed scavengers but this had obvious value so D picked it up and we brought it home. There was a minor wiring issue which D handily fixed and we surmised that that's why it had been discarded. I'm fond of the lamp, which stands by an armchair in the living room. It's made of dark metal and the shade reminds me of a World War I helmet. It's very expressive. We refer to it as R2D2.

At the time I looked up the lamp in a PB catalog - $200 - the cost of the tax preparer. Who didn't even do our taxes right. That summer the IRS contacted us and said that we hadn't availed ourselves of something or other and that we had overpaid and here was a nice refund.

I love the little nearly-square framed view of the sky from this tiny study. Now it's blue sky and animated white clouds. I keep seeing amorous couples kissing though not just now. No discernible shape really. Puffy white Australia with New Zealand or Borneo in tow maybe.

Missed Stella the Artist this morning. For some reason I couldn't get the livestream to work. It seemed to kick off after the 3 am KZE rules-of-the-game review, and I couldn't get it going again until a song or two after Stella. I'm sorry I missed it. I've played the Letterman version a couple of times, but it's not the same. I love it when Stella unexpectedly comes at me, which doesn't happen every day.

Livestreaming my thoughts to you... Another perfect day, they keep piling up, someone sings now. Cat Stevens, I'm guessing. Let me check. Not even close. Monsters of Folk.

Went for a swim at midday even though I didn't have sunscreen. Had a contretemps with a parks worker who made a federal case over the fact that I didn't have a lock. I said I'm here from out of town for a few days, I didn't think to pack one, and the woman at the door (who gave me a hard time yesterday but waved me through with a friendly smile today) said it's okay. There were a good half-dozen blue-tee-shirted parks staffers in the women's locker room. We can't be responsible, this one said maniacally. If someone wants my f**king dirty clothes they can have them, I said. (Yes, the f-bomb dropped. I'm totally amazed I got away with it - she could have booted me right there. But lucky me - I think that was part of her regular vernacular so I don't think she noticed (phew). Talk about a Girl Who Plays With Fire.) Or wait, I offered, maybe I could just keep my things on the pool deck while I swim. She looked appalled. Oh no, not the pool deck. F***ing insanity.

But it was instantly all okay and worth it once I hit the water. I ended up sharing a lane with a friendly European woman, and we compared notes on how amazing & delightful the pool is - that is, if you can get past the gauntlet. I told her how I don't have a lock. Oh you can get one at the 99 cent store, she said. I didn't think of that, seemed like a pricier item to me. Plus offhand, not sure where a dollar store is around here.

Enough about me - how is everything with you? I check your weather (or the nearest to you as I can figure): 55 and clear. Day length will be 21 hours and 51 minutes. Use the two hours and nine minutes of darkness wisely, darling.

This being culture diary and all, I should mention that I saw Solitary Man a couple of days ago, too. Another movie I liked but didn't love. Good Michael Douglas though, playing a roué who isn't as solitary as he ought to be, creating such messes that he ends up more solitary than he wishes to be. I'm sure that was the (thinly disguised) diner that's on the corner of Fordham Street and City Island Avenue. And I love Susan Sarandon but she had on way too much makeup, a mask. Surely she (or the character she played) doesn't need it. That image is definitely not how I wish to age.

Girl Who Plays With Fire and Solitary Man. Good match. Love and kisses, darling.