Thursday, June 30, 2011

Darling, very much at low ebb all day, but just a quick post now to check in with you in case you're coming off a plane perhaps & checking for my presence. I did some weeding today, and unloaded the dishwasher, and cleared (though not cleaned) the sink, and went about flower borders with scarily sharp pointed lethal shears snipping flowers for vases, one that sits on the downstairs sideboard, the other, a small violet glass made in Poland (obtained via smith & hawken) on my desk as I quickly type to you. I've been immersed all day in a very unusual, gripping, mordant account by a writer who I mentioned a few weeks ago, Caroline Blackwood - a sort of latter day - so hard to explain (and I'm fading) account of her wishing to get at the facts of the widowed Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, the Baltimore divorcée who caused Edward to renounce, in a big way, British stability in favor of his comfort. Blackwood's initial inquiry was as to the state of the Dutchess, in her ancient widowhood, and she comes up hard against an extremely creepy character, "Maîre (Suzanne) Blum," who is the Dutchess' all-too-powerful lawyer, and keeper. It is the creepiest psychological horror story ever, as the story, and Blackwood's inquiries and forays and explorations unfold. And now I'm near the end of the book, where Blackwood draws comparisons between Blum and the Duchess, an incisive psychological portrait of sheer horror, the thoroughly repressed Blum worshiping in a very weird way, the object of her desire. One of the strangest and most astute books I've ever read. And Blackwood, at least towards the end of the book, when she recounts Wallis Simpson's biography, her upbringing in Baltimore, bad marriage to an abusive alcoholic - makes her out to be a very sympathetic character - not what I expected to read from the iconic images of Simpson that get repeated again & again. Anyway. Darling, I'm too tired (with dialup) to fish around for proper links, so I'll come back tomorrow morning - the book is called The Last of the Duchess, by Caroline Blackwood. I have peered over at the library copy of the book, open and lying face down on an NYRB (open to a page of a review of an exhibition of Manet). And I see that in this post I have been misspelling Duchess. It's Dutchess County - but the Duchess of Windsor.

Darling, wherever you are, many thoughts of you, happy landing, many kisses, and I'll meet up with you later - in our dreams. XOXO

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Darling, you're right, I should ask the head librarian if she might consider ordering the book. I had toyed with the idea before but felt that the subject was possibly a bit esoteric for a general public library system. Also, my motives are so mixed & personal though of course people have all sorts of reasons for wishing to read a particular book. Yes, I'm interested in the subject matter, now that that plate of fresh chopped magnificent CSA romaine has been set before me. But what really makes me wish to devour it is the caesar dressing liberally tossed of "my first lover wrote it!" topped with crunchy croutons of "plus he thanks me in his acknowledgments!" I have a tendency to blurt out such details, which won't, I don't believe, nice as she is, impress a librarian to part with scarce acquisition funds. Should I find myself tempted to divulge the extraneous, perhaps I could publicly refer to the wildly memorable author more decorously as 'my first boyfriend.' But you're right, why not put in the request - and let the professional make the call. I will float the suggestion next time I'm there.

Do you suppose I'm writing a novel bit by bit? It feels that way to me sometimes, but it's the story of life, and I have no idea how it's going to turn out. A fictional narrative is entirely beyond me, the uncertainty of my own situation, trying to write myself out of it, challenge enough - resulting in the virtual pageturner, Dear Reader, before you.

By this time you may be wandering downstairs and peeking in the fridge or at the stove and wondering - so what's for dinner? Well, efforts in the bedroom late in the afternoon despite all sorts of fervent conjurings didn't go so well, and thus I was confronted with yet another limit to my imagination, it seems that I get bored with the same fantasies, same one twice in a row (morning to afternoon), so must constantly seek to reinvent - somehow. And plus, maybe I'm not quite the self-involved, self-sufficient narcissist I seem - I would enjoy company - yours.

(I keep starting to put this down, then deleting it - that I wish you'd drop me a line again, but only if you're going to be remotely steady about it. I'm still wondering why it took seven months to acknowledge - and I would really love to learn the reason, I'm truly mystified. But if it doesn't work for you then it doesn't work for you - I'm certainly not going to be hanging around waiting for the virtual phone to ring.)

Right, so dinner's going to be sauteed onions and livers, the latter collected from packaged whole chickens prior to roasting, and frozen until I've accumulated enough for a main course. I've been rising to the challenge of getting through the weekly CSA produce share, picked up every Friday afternoon in the growing season. Lunch today was pasta that involved kale, a tight sheaf of dark gorgeous folds reminiscent of an exotic crinkled-silk fan. And there was also a small cabbage, diminutive & elongated, rather than the usual fat round cannonball - I thought I might sauté it to go along with the liver & onions. The outer soft green furls turned out to enclose pristine white & yellow depths, delicate & enticing. (I'm not even striving for food porn here but am getting turned on.) I tasted a bit: incredibly fresh & flavorful, possibly the best raw cabbage I've ever experienced, both visually and in terms of flavor. Sautéeing is a waste when it's that good raw, so I decided to make cole slaw, an uncertain proposition as I consulted my cookbook because it calls for very specific seasonings, such as celery seeds & celery salt. Which by miracle, I had in my tub of spice jars, left over from when I made cole slaw last summer, or maybe it was Bloody Marys over the winter... because you know the foodie police (chorus of disapproval) would be aghast at my use of expired spices - they were flavorful enough, it was fine.

My darling, my darling. How can I end this? Better luck next time, for starters. Recharging batteries. Oh, aaarrggh. Ah well, tomorrow's another day, and this evening's only beginning.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hello darling, up in the aerie relaxing, wondering what to write, after an hour of chores, moving about the kitchen tidying, and putting together dinner, roast chicken, corn, and a summer-squash gratin, that is, slices of yellow zucchini layered in a ceramic baking dish, each layer topped with a white sauce of sauteed onions, milk, a knob of melted gruyere (forgotten about and finally used up), and parmesan. It's very humid, a bit oppressively so (though in comparison to the sultry-climed burg where you live you might find conditions here comfortable). I went for a walk in the morning, doing my usual big loop around here, zigzagging along roads that zigzag parallel to various creeks that run, and join, and divide again, around here - it really is quite a dynamic landscape, what with the tributaries, ravines, and hills. On my walk I encountered a small army of roadworks crews, dump truck after dump truck from county and surrounding towns, pouring new asphalt on an obscure side road that gets scant traffic, and one of the thus gainfully employed public works guys (all guys, all white I think) was making himself useful by directing traffic with a fluorescent orange flag (the all of a car or two that passes by in these quiet, offpeak parts), and as I walked past him he jokingly said, I want to see your ID. And I responded, not without humor, but darkly, we're not in a totalitarian state - yet. I know, I'm a little heavy, the guy was just trying to make a joke - and yet, it didn't strike me as funny, it was all tinged with that good 'ole boy Homeland Security-funded firetrucks & dumptrucks that reinforces this kind of small-town big-machined authoritarianism. I find it annoying.

Also on my walk, at my faster pace I passed an older woman pushing a stroller, a grandmother (though not so old) with her grandchild, I've seen her a few times before, without the stroller, and as I passed by she said to me, marveling, my how far do you walk? I replied, vaguely gesticulating a circle in the air, I do a big loop. I zoomed past, on the other side of the road from her, and as I went by I glanced at the stroller, offhand friendly curiosity to glimpse the baby. And was so surprised to see a little toddler boy staring at me - and his face was convulsed with anguish or grief. The little child was crying, but in utter silence - just this rictus of heartbreaking pain. I was very surprised, and looked at the little boy as I kept walking, with great sympathy, and in instant cooing tones - oh, baby what's the matter baby? The grandmother was at first confused that I had said that - what? And then she glanced at the child and saw for herself, with apparent surprise, how upset he was for some reason, and tended to him. It was just a very poignant moment, this thoroughly unexpected glimpse of the youngest child's sentient yet voiceless pain - not surreal exactly, but highly expressionistic. Not that I mean to turn it into art, that this particular child's way of expressing his unhappiness was so silent and at the same time so forceful and unmistakable. The vision of his sorrowful pained face, his eyes looking straight into mine, stays with me - and so I write. I hope the child is all right, perhaps he isn't, quite.

And that's all I have really, for this evening, darling. I'm feeling a bit off, due to the humidity. Other random thoughts? Just that I did an abbreviated workout to Charlie Rose again, and am feeling just discouraged, as a woman, that he has so few women on his program. I mean, I haven't done a formal study of course, it just seems that his guests are often predominantly or exclusively male. Obviously there are exceptions - but should the inclusion of a woman be an "exception"? I don't know why I'm feeling so sensitive to it - perhaps because it's one of the few shows I watch, at least lately, on a regular basis. I like to see a mix, to reflect the diversity in the world that we actually live in. But his show is hardly representative. Actually, he confuses me a bit. He seems a disciple of Bill Moyers on the one hand, (with all the compassionate values that that affiliation to me implies) but very Ralph Lauren Purple-Label establishment on the other. Can you have it both ways? Well, he seems to, but the latter seems to prevail. Why do I watch? Really, I should do my workouts at noon, with Tavis Smiley for the hour. Because Charlie Rose has that dickwad (sorry) Mark Halprin on all the time, a "journalist" who doesn't even bother to hide his bias - today in some gushing appreciation of wunder uberbitch Michele B he said something about "the left will scream..."

Yeah, the left is screaming right now, inwardly, like that poor little child, fallen angel. I hope he's all right.

Darling, signing off. And I will try to do so on a nicer note, as befitting a love letter. So I hope wherever you are you've been having a nice or at least tolerable day, and I look forward to meeting up with you later tonight, dearest Minotaur - in my dreams, and after. XOXO

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hello my darling tree frog, have you hopped back across the pond? I am sitting here in my amphibian altogether, having stripped off my jeans & cotton blouse after a bout of weeding and mulching in the north garden. I knelt in the dirt and the weeds came up fairly easily by hand, and I disturbed numerous earthworms that rose to the surface indignantly writhing and churning. Once I got myself psyched to do it, the weeding wasn't so bad, and I enjoyed the new perspective that put me in mind of E.D., a perspective of examining the earth so close up, not unlike a telescoped Alice, scrunched on all fours, poring. A quiet day, not very eventful, D brought home falafel sandwiches for lunch, which were delicious, and reminded me of Brooklyn, there was a cart on Atlantic Avenue that we used to treat ourselves to, with the most delicious pita concoctions with shredded lettuce, and tomato, and yogurt and tahini. D recalled an Israeli guy he once knew who had opined that Yemenis make the best falafels. Maybe that's the key to peace in the Middle East, settling once and for all who makes the best falafels...

What else today, I've been in an unusually amorous mood, can't seem to get enough, can't seem to quite - oh, aargh, I did once, and then more weakly a second time, and the third try just now I struck out despite all sorts of abstracted impressions of you. Am I turning into an addict like one of "Walter's" amours? No, but making up for lost time maybe. I know very well that I won't go blind, but will I get carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand from all that vibrating? That is a tad worrisome - it would be hard to explain, because no one would ever believe that it resulted from an excess of weeding.

Oh baby, I hope your golf swing has improved and whatever online degrees you decide to pursue are fine with me. Although I can be a bit opinionated on that score. A Friend of mine recently decided (on a dime, it seemed) to go an archane scholarly route and pursue heavyduty early Christian theological studies (not to the view of joining a ministry though, I don't think), and it's utterly his decision of course, but he has such an artistic gift, in both writing & artmaking, that it seems to me a waste not to cultivate that. But what do I know? And is it any of my business? Not at all. And so I keep my opinion to myself (he doesn't read my blog), and - well, I just hope he isn't burying himself and his gifts, pursuing this path... I think of a world bereft of all the potential art he might have created if he had chosen to devote himself to that - and I'm sad for the world. Does the world need another theological scholar? I'm skeptical.

Sorry to sound like such an opinionated hardass about someone else's life decisions. Anyway, darling tree frog, I'm glad you've landed safely on the other side, or so I imagine - how exactly, I don't know, patterns of page hits I guess - what else could it be?

I was musing too, today, about how I'd like to read 1.0's new book, but it doesn't seem that the regional library system is going to order it, and as much as I would love to purchase it (thereby doing the gracious thing) it's around $50, and I simply can't justify it. D has really been extending himself and being incredibly nice about getting me a new camera to replace the one I accidentally ruined, so that's an expense - I do need a camera, and I think this next one is going to be better, at least I hope so, I wasn't thrilled with the framing quality of the previous one, not that it was a Freudian slip that I laundered it, not at all. I try to be as fiscally responsible as an unemployed latterday Emma Bovary can possibly be, and certainly not seek to subterfuge or undermine. All that said, I am also dying to go down to the city to catch that Picasso Marie-Thérèse gallery exhibit before it ends in mid-July, and I'm starting to look at Amtrak schedules with an eye towards going down one Saturday. And maybe I'll stop by the NYPL or a large chain bookstore and see if I can peruse 1.0's book. Well, that's not so adequate either is it, and besides I might arrive at the Barnes & Noble and find that it's shrinkwrapped. Well, at some point I'll get my hands on it somehow, even if it's a while from now, and I'll be glad to read it. Ironic, or something. I write & write & write, give away this blog for free (who would pay for it - no one, not til the 22nd century, maybe not even then), and I know that I have 4 official followers and two (I believe) other devoted readers, beloved by me. And I'd like to read that book, but I haven't got $50, and plus I (that is, D) absolutely has to contribute at least a few dollars to the DSCC and our favorite elected officials before their June 30 campaign fundraising deadline, especially given the dire prospect of failure to defend a Democratic-controlled Senate due to insufficient grassroots monetary support, what with the de facto Civil War we're in, corporatists with their unlimited cash, versus humans...

Darling, I would love after other explorations, to simply lie with you and compare notes, tell you about my theories, the way I make sense of the world, how it appears to me. And I want to hear yours too - I suspect that you're - well - a man of faith - and also a man of reason - both. Of course you have firm beliefs, and core values - but not ideological, not zealotrous, not mindlessly keyed in to talking points (except when need be for cover - or so I imagine).

Sorry darling, I really didn't mean to go off in this direction (seriously I am sitting here typing, in the beautiful mild afternoon temperature and light, without a stitch of clothes on) - and

an email just came in, with the announcement of the upcoming nuptials of two women of my acquaintance, a few years ago I worked with them for a spell, who have been a committed couple for 35 years and have always dreamed of their wedding day and now it's here, in a few weeks, now that they have the civil right to wed in the state of NY

does that threaten me or my marriage in any way?
no, not at all

wow, they lasted longer together, without mentally straying evidently, than I manage to have

and I'm okay too, I believe - normal - human

I wish them well, and will send them my wellwishes and congratulations

What's that line from Bob Schneider's "Let the Light In".. something about love, it's always been that way, forever and ever - amen.

let the light in, let the light in...
it's all right

love you darling
sweet dreams, sleep tight
very very many kisses

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Darling love, Lois on the Autobahn here - no, not really, I'm reformed, though I did do a lot of zipping around the county yesterday, pressing the limits - though not exceeding them - especially what with all the assorted law enforcement types out in force this weekend, in far newer spiffier vehicles than mine, paid for by taxpayers in this local communist state. It pays to work in government in the county - then one has a salary & benefits - or to be a weekender from the city. Is that it for the local economy? Not really, but between the two, that must cover a hefty percentage.

Anyway - I'm completely rambling. Lois on the Autobahn - that's the title of a song, by Bruce Cockburn, on today's KZE playlist. Do you see why sometimes I take those song titles personally? Such as, by Pink Martini, Donda Estas, Yolanda?, though they didn't play that today - not yet anyway.

Darling, how are you? I'm putting my arms around you and giving your wonderful self a great big hug and kiss, just like six months ago and a day. (You felt really good.) Ah, only five months and 30/31sts for another go, but who's counting.

I've been having a nice weekend, feeling organized and on top of things at the moment, as I sit up in the aerie at this soft hour, light mellow, birds tweeting outside. It was a weekend of chores, and of treats, such as yesterday, vacuuming the downstairs followed by a jaunt to the sheep farm for camembert. My psyche seems to require a dangled carrot in order to get me to do heavy chores. I've been procrastinating on cleaning the bathrooms, past really what I can stand, but I hate that chore so much, though of course enjoy the results. Today I had the car for most of the day, so I dropped D off at a job in town, went for a walk at the conservation area, and toyed with the idea of taking myself out to lunch at that stylish restaurant I like followed by a movie at the multiplex. The plans solidified when D realized, as we drove in, that he'd forgotten his cellphone so could I drop it off for him later. In the crunch 45 minutes between the walk and going back into town with the phone, I sprint-cleaned the two baths, even laundered the shower curtain liner. Ah, so nice to have that chore behind me. And what was the carrot for me? The prospect of an elegant little repast, along with a glass of chilled white wine. I was one, at a table for two, and I imagined you sitting there across from me. My imagination is getting quite vivid - maybe it's those 10,000 hours of practice Gladwell talks about - I mean, without at all hallucinating. I enjoyed sitting in my beautiful outfit (elegant formfitting blouse & skirt), glancing around the room - some bored Hollywood moguls evidently, three guys, two of the three at any given moment either talking on their cells or texting, I guess that's very usual these days. And the glass of wine was delicious, cool & dry, and I ordered odd things from the brunch/lunch menu - I'd had scrambled eggs for breakfast, so an omelet was out, as was anything too heavy such as a pulled pork or skirt steak panini. Plus we're having fish for dinner - homemade tuna burgers - so that ruled out the salmon cake. So I ordered two appetizers (to my mind, though they weren't listed as such), bacon-wrapped dates, a half-dozen toothpicked morsels, smoky & sweet at the same time - candy for grownups, I said to the young woman serving me. I've had something like it before - dried figs stuffed with a dab of blue cheese, wrapped in cooked bacon, and baked. That, darling, is incredibly divine, those seemingly incongruous flavors & ingredients coming together into a very very Big gourmet O. And darling, I really do find food porn - because there's so much of it - quite tiresome, but that particular combination - is, as are thoughts of you when it's working right, monstrous.

The second mini-plate was a pork "rillade" (I think was the word), a very mild pâté, which I suppose was delicious - darling it was, except that it was so delicate that between the sips of mineral wine & the coarse dijon it was served with - I mostly tasted the mustard, and savored the crunch of the potato-chip-thin crisp, toasted baguette slices upon which I luxuriously smeared a smidgen of the pâté, then dabbed with a mustard seed or two, sip of wine, bracing chaser of thin sliced pickled cabbage. Oooh! So many individual sensations!

So that chamber concert of mouthfeels came to $28, but I had a half-price certificate, and left a tip - so in all I paid $17.50. Worth every penny at that price. At $28 - plus tip? No. And so I don't go there unless I have the coupon. D said to me, management must regret when you come, since you don't pay full price. And I said, management should be happy, because without the coupon I wouldn't come at all. And I leave a good (20 percent) tip for the waitstaff, so they shouldn't care...

So darling, you sitting across from me in that clean lightfilled space - as it happened I was staring at the bar, with all the bottles on shelves decoratively arranged, and I suppose you would have been staring at me, and at the wall behind me - I was against a wall.

I settled the bill, and then drove, with all kinds of four-ounces of exquisite wine-induced amorous thoughts of you lasciviously mouthed as I drove 20 m.p.h. by the school even though it's Sunday - to the multiplex where I caught the new Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris, which isn't one of his greatest, but was cute, and I enjoyed it. And if one is going to yearningly search for the golden age of artistic time travel - in the Woody Allen movie, it was, for a charming pair of characters, a toss up between Paris in the 1920s, and Paris in the Belle Epoque 1890s. An idea in the film is that one isn't always satisfied with the present - one thinks of some previous epoch as the - apex? apotheosis? epitome? - which word do I mean? (darling, I'm fading, along with the light, and should head downstairs to feed cats, etc.) - an era that should one have been graced with being alive in it, would have been the era to be in. I wonder what it might be for me. God knows I feel uncomfortable in this one, especially after seeing Michele B. on Face the Nation this morning with her Snow White's Evil Stepmother looks, her machinelike self invoking the name of God every two seconds and looking as if she would relish simply chopping off the head of whoever - namely, the President - is in her merciless path - but I digress.

And I wouldn't wish to be E.D. in Amherst, c. 1830-1886, her dates. At the conservation area I suppose I was dressed a bit like her, 2011 updated style, it occurred to me when I ran into an acquaintance. My hair was pulled back off my face, clipped in a bun, I was wearing a midnight-blue top with a black skirt, sporting weights & sneakers. I have fifty pounds or more easy, I imagine, on E.D. And yet...

What era? I don't know, I'd have to think about it, my dear love. So, shall we get the check and quit this hamburger stand? Allow me, I have a certificate - I don't even have to print it out. And a very beautiful private bedchamber that we can retire to for a couple of hours, for a nap and a siesta.

(coach whispering talking points in Michele B's ear...)
Oh, those are two different things?

darling, oh ugh, I hate to leave on the punchline of her
so very very many completely unironic ridiculously passionate kisses for you

love you

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My dear, I just got up and am dreamily waking over a cup of coffee. Snatches of dreams last night. I had lunch with Martha Stewart, described my blog to her, and congratulated her on being a new grandmother. She had an exquisite leafed sprig of perfectly ripe raspberries and I remarked that I have a cousin by that name. Then I was with my cousin and her mother, my aunt, at their car, stopped by a park by a river. A little boy was playing with a teeny frog he'd found, and I suspected that he had cruel designs on it - I asked him to be gentle. The boy willfully ignored me, so I took the frog from him with the idea of placing it somewhere more hospitable, a pond or lake. We were all about to leave, were waiting for someone, and I said I'll be right back. I walked along a walled canal, too hardscaped to be congenial to a frog, and found myself entering a college campus. I had a vague knowledge of the place, grounds I'd once been familiar with, and the map in my mind was akin to a child's board game, cacophonous sweep of roads and hills and belltowers and natural features and administrative buildings all in a colorful jumble. I realized that any small natural body of water was a great distance away, on the other end of campus. I wandered with the frog in my hand - would it survive my trying to rescue it? I was very far from the car now, either they would leave without me, or if I managed to return I would have delayed them very much...

There was more to the dream, but I don't remember now. I woke in cool gray stillness, ceiling fan whirring, thinking of you lying next to me. Very peaceful to wake up that way. I lay under the comforter, self-sufficiently savoring.

On my walk yesterday morning I realized that what I had thought were foxes or coyote pups last week weren't at all - they must have been very, very young fawns. Because coming down the hill with my weights I encountered a ghostly group of them, barely visible in the shadowy thickets - a large doe and four kneehigh delicate progeny - that much bigger, I calculated, than when I'd seen them a week or so before. The group stood staring at me, and the baby deer, nuzzling in the grass, stumbling on wobbly thin legs, seemed friendly. If I had stood still I wouldn't have been surprised if they might have approached like young children out of sweetly unguarded curiosity. I passed near them and called out softly in greeting - hi deers, aren't you pretty, look at you.

A bit later on my walk was a big dog, I've seen it before, unleashed, barking, a bit menacing, a mix, German shepherd/collie, to take a guess. I was heading home at that point, and it barked and darted across the road in front of me, into someone's front yard, and a car was coming around the bend, which I'm sure hadn't seen the dog who I was afraid might leap back into the road, so I stood in the middle and shouted, don't go on the road dog (or some such - I was instructing the dog, in firm tones). The car slowly rolled towards me, stopped, and a window rolled down: a woman and her teenage daughter. The woman said, I've seen that dog - and she mentioned a spot several miles away. Wow, that dog gets around, I said. So be careful the woman said, leaning over the steering wheel as both she and her daughter, a pair of print faces, peered at me - I think it's lost. Yeah I guess so, I said, standing helplessly in the road. The window rolled back up and the car moved away. Great, so now I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere with this dog, who's staring at me. I stood for a minute considering what to do, I didn't want to pass it, in case it was in a mood to bite, or even just to charge up at me, which would have been frightening even if its intentions were friendly (how could I know?). I thought, you know, considering that the woman herself mentioned that the dog might be dangerous, she might have offered me a lift just far enough to get past it, in the direction I was headed. But no... Then again, I hadn't asked her for a lift either.

So I turned on my heel realizing that I wasn't trapped, I could double back and take a different path home, the trail that winds up along the edge of a ravine, ending at its summit at the ancient cemetery behind the handsome old church. I returned to the end of the dead end road, where the trail starts, and passed by the car with the mother & daughter. They seemed to be going from house to house. Oh great, I thought, it's like a Flannery O'Connor short story. Maybe they didn't offer a lift to a stranger out of an abundance of caution. But maybe I'm the one who might have been at risk. It seems that they may be a pair of religious zealots out prosletyzing - they might have tried to convert me!

I stepped from the road across a narrow sodden ditch and entered the trail. I was about to encounter an obstacle here too, as well I knew - an enormous pine that had toppled during severe storms about a month ago, blocking the path. Such a dramatic landscape, making my way up the trail - teeny me (relatively), the ancient pine, when I came upon it, timber snapped in two, lying across the path, smote before me like a toppled giant. There was no getting around it, too overgrown on my left, I might have slipped down the ravine to my right. I thought maybe I can straddle it, but the massive trunk was about waist high and I thought, what if I get stuck and disturb it some way, and the tree dislodges. I tested the trunk, trying to shake it with my hands. It didn't budge. There was a narrow opening beneath, just big enough for me to go on all fours and creep under. So I did, and had that scary irrational feeling I get if I have to crawl beneath the grand piano for some reason - say to retrieve a cat toy - I'm afraid that at that precise moment its legs will collapse and the piano will come crashing down on me. I crawled under the pine and within a few awkward moments emerged on the other side, jeans muddied, cream-colored sweater streaked with dirt. But here I was back on the trail, continuing up the heights to the Civil War-era cemetery.

As for the dog, about a month ago on my walk a man had stopped his bigass truck to ask me if I'd seen a stray dog, he was looking for it - and I said, no - not then I hadn't, but I wonder if it's the same one. Poor dog.

Later in the afternoon, D stopped the car short, and just managed to avoid running over a chipmunk, crazed with fear trying to figure out which way to run to avoid the wheels. Mercifully, it escaped, I jumped out of the car to make sure.

And out in the darkness overnight were coyote yips in the yard...

And that's that, dearest love, an early morning debriefing of a palette of impressions that I thought I might as well try to set down, before they disappear with all the fresh tasks and sensations and thoughts that are bound to rain down like meteor showers as the day goes on.

Ah, that's a thought I remember from lying in bed early this quiet morning, thinking of you. Your kisses were like gentle rain coming down all over my back, caressing and enveloping me. I lay with my eyes closed, luxuriating, warmly waking.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dear love, back from picking up this week's vegetables at the CSA farm. The scent of fresh thyme and lemon balm lingers on my left hand. I snipped sprigs of each and clutched the small handful on my way home. I pause now and raise my fingers to inhale faint lemon earth. Were I to offer my fingers to you - extend my arm and observe while you close your eyes - I imagine you would flare your nostrils, breathe in deep, and stir, aroused by the aroma, for a moment swoon, and then come up for air again, open your eyes, look in my eyes with a smile - and kiss me. Or it might put you in the mood for roast chicken, as it does me too (I usually stuff a whole bird with thyme, lemon, and garlic as well) though at the same time I think it would make a subtly heady herbal fragrance suitable for a kitchen goddess.

Where are you sweetheart, you seem scarce today, perhaps you're in transit (because surely not, I pray, in a coma, traction or prison). Ah no, here you are now, and I wouldn't mind taking a stroll with you around the garden - garden of my dreams though, because ours is so overgrown I tend to avoid it, especially with all the rain this week. But yes, that is a nice image, and so let me put my journal away and bring you a glass of wine too and we can sit together and look at Penelope and at the little woodland garden - which is much fuller now than when that image was taken a couple of years ago. The astilbes, dark spikes barely tinged with color are at their ascetic peak, and for the very first time since we planted them a few years ago, the oakleaf hydrangeas have bloomed, magnificent, heavy ivory efflorescences unfolding in stages from top to bottom, and now in full bloom, rather like the effect for me when things have gone for the briefest revelatory moment, which I prolong as long as I can stand, never more than several seconds I'm afraid, all I can stand, transcendently well. Had I forgotten my body was involuntarily capable of that? Not volcano, but teeming opposite, vortex, concentrated pool gathering inward and outward at the same time, sea anemone undulating, concupiscences whirling.

That's how it is for me, on my solo voyages of discovery - no, not solo, the discoveries of the buried depths of dazzling icebergs don't occur without very specific and concentrated thoughts of you. That, plus I did a couple of loads of wash, and should have vacuumed but couldn't, and Penelope & Claire seem to be new BFF's semi-amorously hanging out together on the same porch step Penelope stretching out a langorous paw towards Claire when she stirs, and dinner I want to hear so much about your day, just see you lean back against the back of the Wave Hill chair and tell me - whatever might cross your mind at the moment to say. Here, have a savory cracker with some creamy camembert darling, I'm just back with a small tray and fresh drinks for us. Here, smell my wrist darling, fresh thyme & lemon verbena from the herb garden, and just for you, in my dreams darling, I've put an enormous organic chicken, the kind that march here & there around gardens in these parts, in the oven, and after we have our libations and watch astilbes acerbically unfurl and hydrangeas droop lush & drenched but before the mosquitoes drive us crazy, I'll lean over and plant a kiss on your sweet soft lips and linger yours at mine, demonic overgrown garden all around, cats scattering, maple tree obliviously bowering, I'll place my hand at your stem, you'll excavate for mine, and we'll meet you and I, volcano & vortex twisting, revolving, positive and negative concentrating, conflating, in effulgent, transcendent

it lasts only a few seconds
but what seconds
clouds part to glimpse
oneness with infinity

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Darling love, not a half hour ago I was in frustrated tears because I couldn't get the dishwasher started

thoughts of you were a great comfort

turns out you have to press the start button for a full three seconds - not hit it every three seconds

afterward all happy thoughts of you came along

recharging batteries as I speak

Aimé-Jules Dalou (1838-1902), Bacchus and Ariadne, French, 1894, sculpture, marble, 82 cm high; Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, Williamstown, MA

Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, Flesh & the Devil, 1927

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"... in the sky I see the heights you lifted me..."
-- The Nields, "New State of Grace"
Hello darling, back from a late day walk around here, between storms, and the moment I got home and up in the aerie after feeding the cats and unloading towels from the drier, it began to rain again, audibly outside the windows, and now it's pouring, steady shimmering music as it slips through all the leaves on the trees and countless droplets land on the pavement and on the roof and bounce and eddy and trickle and drip and cascade down again and again, constant soothing sound, as I sit here in my underwear writing to you. It was a lovely walk too, after all the rain the creek high, rapids rushing and running parallel to the road I walked on. I pause now to listen to the rain a bit. The sound reminds me of a vacation D & I took about ten years ago, staying in a little cabin outside Acadia National Park in Maine. It seemed as though it rained hard every night, pounding on the roof, streaming down pitch-dark windowpanes, battering the pines. It was such a rare treat to be in this arcadian (never mind Acadian) location, muffled incessant rain mellifluously pouring, while we sat cozily inside, sipped wine, lit a fire, and played Hem's Rabbit Songs, a CD I've misplaced, or perhaps loaned or gave to someone, and wouldn't mind hearing again.

I'm feeling quite organized, a very nice dinner on the way - meatloaf, mashed potato, mixed salad, & the rest of the strawberry-rhubarb pie, with cream that I whipped up with superfine sugar & almond extract because I'm out of vanilla and have noted so on the grocery list.

How are you darling? In the trees I still can see your face... I think about you all the time.

It's funny, someone this morning (perhaps you) clicked onto my blog via an image I'd once posted of Edward Carpenter, images of whom I had associated with the Nields song "New State of Grace," and so when I drove to the supermarket I put on the disc, Love & China, and the other one too, This Town is Wrong (the discs were in each other's cases), and listened to a few of their songs, the beautiful Christmas one that starts "I'm so busy this December," and Haven't I Been Good, among them. When I returned home and refreshed stats I was surprised to see that someone had landed on my blog by googling "learn to love the sea" - a line I'd once quoted from a Nields song, that I had finished listening to moments before, on my way home. That was almost spooky, I haven't listened to those albums in months.

Dear Edward, if I've had an uplifting effect on you I'm very glad, I really am.

I don't know that I love the sea, or can ever learn to love it (metaphorically that is), I've been in it all my life - don't you see all the swimming I do, each & every day? I'm not going to learn to love the sea, it is my element -

The rain is letting up a bit, a car passes wetly by on the road, a bird chirps loudly near

and that's it for now dearest. There are other things I could say, such as in the political sphere - of which I should probably try to say more. Let me say that I found Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on Tavis Smiley riveting and completely dead-on accurate in my book as to the state of affairs in our country - I hope you might get a chance to hear his interview (link to video here). Really, I have a lot of thoughts about the political sphere, but I don't wish to win a lottery to have dinner with the President - but I very much wish that Bobby Kennedy, Jr. would - because what he has to say is "it" in a nutshell, and his message, so incisively put, needs to be heeded. By contrast, let me mention how thoroughly useless I found C.R. today, with four white male columnists from the NYT, opining for the hour about the global state of affairs - without ever once (that I heard) so much as mentioning the word "corporation" or "corporate interests."

Darling, I'm sorry, I am simply not terribly coherent when it comes to expressing myself on political matters, not when I'm listening to the rainfall, and thinking of you, and needing to go downstairs to put a flame under the potatoes. And also, I'm more of an artistic sort, given to associatively make connections - not speaking in impassioned, riveting paragraphs the way I heard Bobby Kennedy, Jr. do on Tavis Smiley. My God, had he been, say 150 years ago, preaching a sermon from a Northern pulpit about the abolitionist cause he would have been a very important figure - and I could tell, refracting back, that's how impassioned souls such as Henry Ward Beecher must have come across.

So darling, I'll let this thought go for the moment, but will just add that I felt acutely what Bobby Kennedy, Jr. was saying, that we in the U.S. are - have always been - walking a fine line between communism and fascism: democracy lies in the difference. But these are particularly perilous times, with untrammeled moneyed interests flouting the very notion of rule of law and actively seeking to undo our democracy in favor of soulless tyranny. Being first-generation Polish, whose relatives on one side resisted Nazis (fascism) and on the other Soviets (communism) - and with the rich historic legacy always of Poles fighting for democracy and self-determination, both for individuals and for a nation - how can I not take what's going on these days very much to heart, given what my ancestors across the sea and across time went through?

It CAN Happen Here - fascism that is, which is what Sinclair Lewis wrote in his semi-satirical, cautionary novel published in 1935. Americans think they're immune somehow - "exceptional" (as in "exceptionalism") - but we're not.

Okay darling, I needed to get that much off my chest, because it does weigh on me.

Darling, letting you go now, I hope you're having a wonderful evening, and maybe someday we can compare notes - oh, on all sorts of subjects -

loving you very much

... I wrote it down and put it on a postcard and sent it to you..."
-- The Nields, "Paris"


P.S. Post revised to include link (here) to Tavis Smiley's interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. - I very highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dearest, up in the aerie, hair still damp from my shower an hour ago, after my workout. Charlie Rose is killing me. I could no more do a workout to Richard Lugar followed by Donald Rumsfeld (shudder) than I could to A.G. yesterday, so Ellen at four it was again. I could use a second DVD player up in the aerie. Then maybe I could watch Ingmar Bergman or Woody Allen films while keeping strict & honest to pilates on the other player. It feels as though it's getting hotter & more humid just now, even as the afternoon waxes into early evening. Dearest, I am not feeling very inspired at the moment. I've had the car the last couple of days, so I've been able to go for walks at the conservation area, where I hadn't been most of this spring. The old regulars, each with their dogs, are still there, going through their paces. Tomorrow is D's birthday but he'll be out on a job all day, so I tried to make a nicer-than-usual lunch when he came home, fettuccine with pesto, leftover grilled chicken, a nice salad of redleaf lettuce, avocado, tomato, and a tiny red onion from the garden, and strawberry-rhubarb pie for dessert. I served it on our 'fine china,' very pretty vintage-inspired plates that I keep displayed on open kitchen shelves. After D went back to work, I set to baking chocolate chip cookies, from an entirely new recipe, very different from my usual one that I squint to read from a bag of chocolate chips. A couple of weekends ago I happened on a cooking show discussing the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie, and since I make them all the time I was intrigued. Instead of creaming butter & sugar in the mixer, they melted butter in a pan, swirled it on the burner for a few minutes til it turned golden brown, then whisked in the sugars (granulated, plus dark- rather than light-brown), followed by egg and vanilla, and finally the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, walnuts, and extra-special 60% cacao Ghirardelli chocolate chips). I haven't tried one yet but they baked up beautifully. It's surprising to me that the technique could be so different, yet the result still come out as chocolate chip cookie, possibly though - I'm reluctant to use the word "transcendent" with reference to a cookie - but perhaps so.

Dearest, I would like to commune with you but at the moment, feeling fatigued, I would prefer, rather than writing, that it be in the form of your stepping behind me, putting your arms around me and kissing the top of my head. I'd clasp your hands to my breast, and tilt my face upward, to meet your beautiful lips.

I've read some more about the Ariadne and Theseus myth, still musing about it, letting it filter, sink in. It's a very rich & complex myth, I'm not sure I still have it down exactly right, but then again there seem to be variations of the basic theme. The Minotaur was Ariadne's half-brother whom, by helping Theseus, she helped kill - that is, conspired in killing her own kin. It seems that she and Theseus eloped together afterwards. She was certainly in love with him. Was he with her? Perhaps for an instant, or perhaps he'd promised her his hand in exchange for her indispensable assistance, or perhaps he eloped with her in gratitude afterwards. But by the time they reached Naxos in Theseus' ship, he was no longer into her, and he left her there, sailing on with the sons & daughters of Athens whom he had, by killing the Minotaur, rescued from his having devoured them. Ariadne was heartbroken, abandoned on this island by herself, in love with Theseus. But Dionysus, god of wine & intoxication & ecstasy, discovered her, coming down along with his followers in a leopard-driven chariot, and fell in love with her, seeing to her essence, her passion & loyalty. And they lived happily ever after...

Theseus - I wonder what happened to him afterward. Rational man through & through, he had a moment of realization when he lopped off the head of the Minotaur, that in a sense he was killing off his own shadow self. After ditching Ariadne on the remote island, he continued sailing towards Athens. But in all the partying that went on in the boat, what with all the nubile young sons & daughters of Athens, he neglected to switch his black sails to white or another color. And it's possible that as her revenge Ariadne neglected to remind him to do so. And so Theseus's father, the King of Athens, stood on a cliff watching the seas for sign of his son's ship. And when he glimpsed the black sails on the horizon, he interpreted it as a signal that the mission had failed. And so Theseus's father committed suicide, casting himself into the sea. And Theseus then became King...


I recognize echoes in this story of 1.0, and of me (at least from a very long time ago) - and of you? Maybe, I'm not sure - more shadowy anyway, less literal. No, but maybe, the way you quietly came with your iPhone in June of last year - that's when I first noticed Mr. iPhone - but your timing seemed beyond coincidental, perhaps deliberate, after 1.0 had disappeared from view up to the North Pole somewhere. Oh well, it doesn't bear such close looking at for close comparisons, I mean it's certainly not as though 1.0 had abandoned me at that juncture, not at all. But he did leave, in a sense, as he had to do - and you very quietly appeared, took his place. And you helped keep me going, even if I thought that you were him for the longest time, that entire summer. And then I learned that 1.0 didn't have internet access that whole summer, so Mr. iPhone was someone else. And then I learned, months later, who I believe it was - believe to this day. So you have played sort of the Bacchus role to my Ariadne, in a way...

If I'm up for it later this evening and skies are clear, I'll go outside and look up at the stars, and imagine that one of the constellations is the one that Bacchus created, when he lifted Ariadne up to the heavens, in a celestial sign of his love.

image, & detail:
Titian (1488?-1576), Bacchus and Ariadne, 1520-3, oil on canvas, 176.5 x 191 cm (5.79 x 6.27 feet), The National Gallery, London (link here)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dear love, your Pink Minotaur is up in the aerie with her well-deserved matching pink ice-filled drink, à la the Kate Winslet exercise plan - workout followed by a glass of wine. I've been remiss in the workout department for a week. I got tired of the Law & Order SVUs, the nine a.m. hour wasn't convenient, and I didn't think the show was ultimately so great for my head. I like to workout these days to Charlie Rose (D asked me once - does he like it too, to which I responded with a not-terribly withering look). His show got bumped all last week (in the one o'clock hour here) in favor of a pledge drive and ancient Lawrence Welk shows and the like (good Lord - but let me continue) for the Tea Party set, and now a wicked thought occurs to me. Since children don't have the right to vote, then perhaps there should come an age that voting rights should be stripped from the ancien regime who gifted the younger generations with the mess we're in, and stubbornly vote some demented line out of sheer orneriness, because it's certainly not about their grand- and great-grandchildren's futures, it doesn't seem to me. Yes, I know this is a terribly mordant suggestion and will never fly... but perhaps children ought to demand it, or at least demand a say in the rotten world they're about to inherit, because the snake in the demographic belly is so enormous and now aging, and the young ones will be paying for it dearly.

Darling, I'm sorry. I'm actually in a really nice mood, if a bit tired. And a bit disgusted. How did I get on this? Oh yes, so Charlie Rose came back on again today - phew. Except: Alan Greenspan, for the hour. Oh Come On. Do you expect me to workout to him? He who helped get us in the world of economic mess that we're in? Do I care - should anyone, except for radical freemarketeers, care anything about what he has to say?

So I did one workout of sorts, with monstrously effective thoughts of you, then fell asleep, then got up and went about a few light chores - watered hanging baskets, made caesar dressing for tonight's dinner, a salad of the enormous head of CSA romaine (there is something about biodynamic produce, it is more vivid and alive in both flavor & appearance), and homemade croutons. Then I did a second workout - the rubberband pilates kind - at four, switching between Oprah and Ellen, which wasn't so bad because Jennifer Aniston was on the former (I find her incredibly dull, but very earnestly so) and Gwyneth, on the latter, who is easy to "love to hate," and I suppose I do, but there's something about her that manages to remain always a little offbeat, quick, unpredictable, as giddily silly as she is.

I'm glad I'm back to the workouts - what with my obsession with camembert (most recently indulged at the arts colony over the weekend) and otherwise sybaritic tastes in cheap wine & home cooking - I too felt a need for vigorous atonement - no, I mean toning - à la Gwyneth, who told Ellen that she works out five days a week to maintain her amazing figure. Nothing comes for free, she said, as she admitted to a love of fried food.

Also, I felt physically better after the workout - it must help with circulation - it has a marked salubrious effect on my sense of wellbeing and energy, and helps my aches go away. Strange, that. Actually, some of my worst moments in a day are right when I'm waking up. One might think I'd feel rested after a night's sleep, but no, instead I feel sore & achy & fatigued as though I'd been in a wreck. It isn't until I get moving that I feel like myself, and really good.

So my darling dear frog-prince, can you tell I'm not feeling too inspired today? No poetic metaphors issuing forth as my fingers clatter away at the keys. I read a bit more of the Huffington biography of Picasso. He's aging, and he's got a new young love now, Françoise Gilot, who effectively replaces Dora. But he cruelly tries to play one off the other, except that Françoise is a sensible cookie and not easily sucked into his b.s., and so she resists moving in with him for the longest time. (I peeked ahead, via wiki; in later years after leaving Picasso, she eventually marries Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine. If there's a cure for this...)

Darling, how are you, are you doing all right? I wonder where you are, star light, star bright...

I have huge gaps in my grasp of basic cultural history, such as a good imaginally working knowledge of Greek mythology. So thinking about the Minotaur theme, I looked up the myth online, and happened on an account written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his Tanglewood Tales, a retelling of Greek myths. I'm a little sorry I started with that one, because I get the feeling that perhaps he Disneyfied it, whitewashed it a bit it seems, took out some of the darker aspects pertaining to Our Hero Theseus, who kills the Minotaur (in whom Hawthorne does see much pathos). Ariadne crucially helps Theseus, giving him a spool of thread that he holds as he makes his way through the labyrinth, while she holds on to her end, giving a little tug now & then to let him know that she's with him, even if not right there beside him. After dispatching the Minotaur, Theseus finds his way back thanks to Ariadne's ingenious homing device as well as her steadfastedness - she never lets go. Nor does he, which would have been, within the labyrinth, if not death by Minotaur then perpetual lost wandering exile.

Hawthorne's version reads uncontroversially enough, until the section where he insists that previous accounts of the myth, in which the Minotaur-slaying Hero abandons Ariadne on the island of Naxos, are slanderous falsehoods, and that indeed the hero invites Ariadne to come away with him on the ship back to Athens, but she declines out of love of her father, even though he is the wicked old King Minos. (I wonder why Hawthorne here seemingly goes out of his way to remove the implication that Theseus, in abandoning Ariadne, might be in possession of a flawed moral character; in other of his writings Hawthorne seems particularly well-acquainted with and interested in examining contradictions, ambiguities, and perversities of human nature.)

So I'm trying to get to the bottom of which variation of the myth is 'truest' - and I stumble onto a rich association, of a Richard Strauss opera, Ariadne auf Naxos. I don't know the opera, but I love Richard Strauss, so perhaps I'll try to follow that golden thread.

But the more I look into this myth, the more it does look as though Ariadne fell madly in love with Theseus, and came away with him, and never got over him, not after he left her on that island, though perhaps there was a previous claim on her, by Dionysus...

okay, it's all frittering away at the edges like baked crinkly superfood kale chips that Gwyneth says children will love

I don't know the myth well enough, still exploring

dearest, aspects of myself this afternoon pulsated swimming pink involuntarily moving efflorescent mysteriously vividly contracting and expanding drawing in and pursing out in fluttering pulses all undersea for the moment amidst throaty seaworth athwart swimming to inaudible air again capsule landed on the sea and pay attention to other aspects of the room the ceiling fan whirring white body pink tips shapely foot against the wall images of you at me your mouth single pearlescent drop glistening

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dear love, up in the aerie at half-past six, after a drive to Rhinebeck and back. It's been a beautiful day, sunny and dry, and the air is cooling so much now that I've put a light sweater on over my blouse. I went to see the new Terrence Malick film, Tree of Life. I hadn't read any reviews before going, was just somehow by osmosis catching that it was a rare film by a great though not prolific director. I'm intrigued now to read some reviews (mañana). I have mixed feelings about the film. At first I loved it. It is full of stunning visual images, such as of volcanoes, and galaxies, and sea life; the roiling & boiling, scalar coiling & uncoiling of all of creation, in all of its forms - supernovas to undersea stingrays to fields of sunflowers - quite religious in nature, the profound interconnectedness of all things throughout all time throughout the universe. Very opening-chorus to the St. Matthew Passion, though that wasn't in the soundtrack. The movie was two hours and twenty minutes, and I found myself towards the end feeling restless. Ultimately I thought it suffered from a number of "a littles." It was a little long, the storyline a little thin and a little confusing, the film a little overblown & pretentious - and yet I'm glad I saw it, especially for the amazing footage of natural phenomena, so pulsing and dramatic and mysterious. I was reminded of images I've seen created by Bill Viola, divings into and eventual emergences from deep water, metaphorical plungings and rebirths.

Ironic to see it on Father's Day, it was very much a father-son story, Brad Pitt playing the irascible father - not entirely convincingly perhaps - it's too hard to make Adonis (not to mention über-Dad)-Brad Pitt into a bad guy, maybe Malick couldn't bear it. Or maybe Brad Pitt couldn't. I stayed for enough of the credits to catch that he was one of the executive producers.

I found myself spacing off during the movie and, given its storyline and themes, thinking of my own father whom I haven't seen or had any contact with in well over ten years, and of my brothers too - similarly. And I just shrugged to myself - I mean, that's the way it's played out, it's over. I don't have any desire or interest to see any of them, they really are gone out of my life, out of my head, except for occasionally. They have in the past been very quick to pin blame on me - that I'm the one who's isolated myself. But Minotaur scapegoat had to, for her own survival. And they made me the "other" - for their own survival. Such is the family of raptors I come from. Am I a raptor? I certainly don't view myself that way. I view myself as very loving - yet others, many others, don't necessarily see that about me. But you seem to have, and for that I'm very happy - to have been seen, perhaps as I'd like to be seen, as I feel that I deepdown actually am (though imperfect) - I just feel that you glimpsed something, and I don't have to try so hard, or pretend -

I don't know, I'm just rambling here. It's funny to feel so full of love in some sense, but then to look at the "facts" of my life and find them problematic & maybe wanting. I inadvertently shocked an acquaintance the other day, to whom I found myself trying to explain the nature of my blog. He's a small businessman, so he didn't grasp that I'm really not looking to expand my readership - he wasn't getting it. So then I said, in awkward blurting fashion, that I actually write love letters and this is how I communicate with my "friend," and my acquaintance looked at me, appalled - in part because he's well acquainted with D. I have to say, I felt like a complete idiot and a bit of a Hester Prynne too. Another thought occurs to me in association with this incident (after which I felt anxiety and kicked myself for having been too forthright, or not explaining myself quite right, e.g., that this is the form that my poetic writing seems to take - well how much explaining can one do of one's self while someone's writing up a receipt?). It makes me think of the struggle for same-sex marriage parity, a civil rights issue of which I am in support. And it's funny, sometimes I sense - maybe I'm wrong - on the part of some, such a desire for the institution of marriage, that I feel that what gets forgotten is - well, there are unhappy marriages too - or certainly the surely near-inevitable problems that come up even within a solid marriage, over a long period of time, if one is intelligent, and feeling, and sentient... So if you get same-sex marriage parity, unhappy marriages - even extremely longlived ones - happen - how do you deal then? It isn't easy. I've figured out a way, connecting with you, to keep myself going, and to write as well, and I think I make you happy on some level (I feel that I must be), and it may be a shocker to some who have never been married - let alone for as long as we have been in our respective marriages, about a quarter-century - but sometimes that's how it goes.

Nobody, between us, has conducted a cardinal sin, no scarlet letter, not yet, maybe not ever. (People can parse & harshly judge in other respects - I've read Salon enough that I'm familiar with the arguments.) Maybe you and I will meet in heaven, maybe not. But I'm glad you found me, and that I found you, and that we connect across the universe in this way, touching souls - I know that for me, with you, things are much more bearable.

I should go downstairs now & see if there's enough dressing for salad to go with the leftover steak, spoon out the remainder of the potato salad, and fill the bird feeders - I hear the steady chirp of a cardinal, the male one I think.
post started yesterday evening...
So darling, my blog isn't dead, I'm still here, and by the way I realize that by pioneering you meant being able to identify wild mushrooms and the like. I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday. I set out to, and then got caught up with a bit of belated email correspondence with My Friend in Finland, which by the time I was done I was exhausted. So sorry, dearest. I know now to do nothing but write to you at the moment after five that I sit down with the intent to write to you.

Just a quick note now, after my post-Omi post. Up in the aerie, of course. I have no idea what's for dinner, though not for lack of cooking this afternoon. Yesterday marked my first visit of the season to the CSA. Crops (and as a result the first weekly pickup) were delayed by a week due to weather - hail and torrential rains followed by a moisture-leaching heatwave - severe weather, but perhaps no longer so atypical.

The CSA farm is located off the highway on which I incurred my speeding ticket a couple of months ago. I haven't been back on that road since, til yesterday, but found, maybe because I was sandwiched between a couple of speed-obeying cars, that I had no trouble keeping to 55. So why was I doing 73 that afternoon - for a moment - which is all it took.

What a haul from the CSA yesterday: thus all the cooking this afternoon. I got there just in time, before the skies opened up and the rains came pouring down.
I entered the barn where bins filled with the week's produce are kept, and read the blackboard that instructs what quantities shareholders (this year including us!) are to pick up, e.g., 1 bunch turnip, 1 small handful cilantro, one bowl salad mix, 1 head romaine, 2 summer squash, 1 broccoli, etc. (this image is from a visit last year). I made my way around the dim sheltered space, thunder rumbling, heavens about to open up, and drove back home in the storm, car tightly sealed, wipers sluicing madly against pounding rain.

I'm glad we're bona fide members of the CSA this year, it makes me feel part of the program, a reason to live here. I'm very grateful to D for all his hard work, and I think it means a lot to him too to be able this year to provide for the subscription. I sensed a note of pride and satisfaction on his part that I was able to go to the farm, and he was curious to see what I came back with.

So today I cooked or otherwise organized much of the produce, with great pleasure. Some chores weigh on me - housecleaning, weeding - but not cooking, not dealing with (with alacrity) such a bounty of magnificent fresh foodstuffs.

I whizzed up pesto from the most pristine "biodynamic" basil, garlic scapes (long, delicately flavored shoots), and parsley, along with the other customary ingredients - walnuts, EVOO, parmesan. Truly, pesto is one of my very favorite condiments, sauces, elixirs, ever - and this one came out extraordinary. And I made a pasta sauce involving a CSA head of kale. And a phyllo-spinach-summer-squash pie. So much work - that is, play! I donned apron over skirt and went about it all, and Wicked Witch of Cincinnati me was overjoyed and flew (on her broomstick) to the living room to crank up the stereo when Bob Schneider came on - Let the Light In.

Sunday. Good morning darling. This post - to borrow from Mr. Schneider - oh what a mess I must confess. But I'll let it go, with very many kisses, and wishes to you too for a very happy Father's Day - love, Belle. XOXO

P.S. More about the CSA here. Everything about the farm is very interesting. For example, the farm's founder & owner, who is Dutch, studied biodynamic agriculture in the Netherlands before emigrating here twenty years ago; the farm owns & cultivates land that was originally part of the estate of Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States. The farm's website is excellent, including a very informative newsletter, written from this highly experienced and expert biodynamic farmer's perspective, offered weekly as the season unfolds and progresses.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Notes jotted down around 4:15-4:45 this afternoon, transcribed from pocket journal

At Omi, seated at a sunlit table in the cafe area of their intimately scaled, open, lightfilled visitors center space. Could possibly qualify as a peak moment - but no, darling, you would actually have to be here for that to qualify. Numerous visitors, scattered at tables here & there, or standing at the buffet-spread counter, where as usual is a plush wheel of the local sheep's milk camembert, slices of baguette, little bowls filled with what appear to be seeds (crunchy & delicious I'm sure, I should try some). I right now am seated at a little table, sipping pinot grigio from a plastic glass, and have popped half a strawberry in my mouth, chaser from a tiny savory cracker round spread with camembert.

This place is a ten-minute drive from my house, and in the space of a few minutes I feel as though I've transitioned into a parallel universe. I was lying down wakefully in the shade-drawn bedroom, listening to a hard rain falling, not ideal for viewing an outdoor sculpture exhibit which is the attraction or draw today ("art, hors d'oeuvres, beverages, hayrides"). I slipped into my beautiful formfitting pleated print blouse & black skirt, selected flat shoes (rather than high wedge-heeled sandals) for the possibility of tromping around a wet field, opened an umbrella, black & chic (coordinating with my outfit of black & shades of turquoise, white & green). I stepped onto the porch, past drowsy cats lazing, and down the steps in pouring rain.

Within a minute or two, as I drove north then turned east, the rain ceased & the sun came out, a light mist rose off the road ahead, I passed a farm with a very young calf chewing, and then the open vistas came, an abstract (almost) panorama of blue sky, billowing white clouds - enormous, generous billows - and green foliage all around - all was green, blue, & white, at least at a glance, as I drove.

Ooh, I just tried the seeds - they are good, crunchy, sweet-spicy, baked with some sort of honey-spice treatment that I can't quite place but that I'm sure if I were to ask the very friendly chef who usually presides behind the counter pouring wine & replenishing canape trays, she'd readily tell me her secret ingredients, and I'd be like - of course, that's what it was - the "it" I can't quite place just now. Honey-roasted....... cumin? Or chutney - now, that I know is a secret ingredient in her bite-size chicken bits, that & mayo --

Darling, I wish you were here, but sitting here in my nice outfit & readers & sipping wine & enjoying the pleasant tumult of a cheerfully peopled room - is the next best thing, and besides - I'm writing to you. I did step out with my wine glass before I sat down to write, to view at least some of the installations. The one closest to the visitors center, visible in the field across from where I sit, looks almost like a very low-planted annual border from a distance, braiding & uncoiling in a wide stripe down the lawn.

On closer inspection (and now I see two women actually stepping on it, walking all over it, which hadn't occurred to me to do; I had walked, both times, alongside, regarding the work of art) they are chains made of - ? - arranged in thick freeform braids, colors splayed & twining, chartreuse, gold, blue, red, violet, & more - the lawn growing through, so that the patterned chain must have been set down some time ago (or perhaps no more than a week, given how quickly things grow this time of year).

Anyway, will grab one more cracker with a bit of that amazing cheese and no more wine - I am my own designated driver - and return home where I will forthwith greet you with a great big hug & kiss and set out to write to you, my darling.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dear love, I have just pulled a latticed strawberry-rhubarb pie out of the oven, which I baked along with a small pan of chicken wings marinaded with yogurt, garam masala, and grated ginger; and another of small farmstand beets tossed with salt, pepper, and olive oil. I have watered the garden and hanging baskets, and dug in another enormous lush, white-panicled goatsbeard - to fill a large gap and to join the first, planted a few years ago - at the back of the woodland border: my "masterpiece," the only border that I seem to be able to manage, although it too gets weeds, but not as monstrous and prolific as in other parts of the garden. I have to remember to stop by Randy's tomorrow and give him the money I owe for the plant. I had about ten dollars on me, hopped in the car (since I had it for the day) and went over there, but it's such a large plant that it costs more it turns out - anyway, he's a sweetheart, I'll pop by there tomorrow with the right amount.

I've been musing about something I wrote in yesterday's post that I realized wasn't quite true. I had quoted James Lord's line, of his memorable lunch with Dora and another friend, "This was one of those moments that seemed to define the universe forever by the piercing delight of the present." I then wrote, "Where I am now is just such a moment too." And I realized (probably did even as I wrote it) that that wasn't true, not really at all. I was having a pleasant time certainly, enjoying the sun and peaceful hour, attending to it, and I could be grateful for that. But it wasn't the variety of moment that James Lord was describing - that is, a peak experience - of 'piercing delight'. What a perfect word in that context - 'piercing' - that singularly rare stabbing of time-unbounded ecstasy. I do sense just what Lord meant, and I have experienced such fleeting moments in my life, of course. Though not in a while, quite a long time. I think it might be true for me to say that the closest I've come in recent history was the day I spent that included moments that you and I were together in the same room, I just felt so full of feeling - delight, discovery, wonderment - seeing you for the first time in a new way, sensing that my feelings were reciprocated, in that unspoken Kitty & Levin way that makes it perhaps a little less than peak piercing experience - or maybe, no, that's what it took, this circumlocutous, unspoken dance of interpreting your smile, glancing at you whenever I could, whenever I felt I could get away with it unawares. Those are the little images that I carry with me in my mind, that I cherish.

It's funny, the only other moments I have felt something close to that, at least in recent months, are when I've taken myself out for a little lunchtime meal at an elegant restaurant in town. The restaurant has its frustrations, yet I enjoy being served a cool glass of white wine in an elegant stem, taking my fork delicately to sample a dish that proves to be tantalizing & mysterious, a new experience, if only because I haven't made it myself, as with many of my dishes (& I'm a good cook), many times over.

Like E.D. I find I have to engineer peak experiences for myself, and I do manage to, at least sometimes, and thoughts of you, parts of you, deconstructed I'm afraid darling, amorously so, help. Today I fantasized absurdly about being seated at that long table with you, with so many others there rapt in conversation, chandelier bright, wine glasses brimming, platters passed around, children scattered to basement and to rafters up to their own devices so that the adults have a nice time. I cherish a moment when you passed behind me and lightly brushed your hand against my back. And I think of the moments in that hour when I would look at you, a couple of seats away, safe uninteresting stranger between, and I'd see you smiling reflectively, a private thought that made you happy, your eyes cast down, and my looking at you, at the very moment when your face was cast just that way, amidst the cheerful holiday whirl & candlelight. So today I had the most absurd fantasy that involved me slipping beneath the table, completely unnoticed by anyone at the party, on my knees, between yours, alternate, loving, urgent drama played out in silence below the chatter & tumult and clink of china and yelps of laughter from someone's joke - you & me together in spirit, your smiling to yourself reflectively, eyes cast down, in the midst of all the company and clatter, under the cover of long damask cloth.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hello darling, the most gorgeous day today, sunny, dry, not too hot. I took a walk this morning down the road and doubled back when I glimpsed, in someone's front yard, two small animals rooting around in the grass, so purposefully that they didn't notice me. My first thought was - are those foxes? Because the guy who lives there doesn't have puppies, he's got this huge hound that sometimes sits on the stoop and is so old or bored that he doesn't even bark when I pass by. I'm not positive they were foxes - could they have been coyote pups? Or - who knows - perhaps the guy has acquired puppies, but these creatures were a bit large, light orange-tinged russet, they didn't look quite like dogs. Nor, for that matter, so much like foxes either except for maybe their pale-fire coloring. Whatever they were, I didn't want to mess with them. What if they came charging up at me - and had rabies? Can I tell you that with the minor calamities I've endured of late - speeding ticket, laundered camera - I seriously don't need rabies shots, and there is no way I would ever wish my blog to come down from its blue-skied ribbon-festooned heights as I bestow kisses & blossoms aimed at my beloveds below, to turn into a grim diary of medical hell.

The most beautiful hour just now. I feel so sated from that delightful write-up of James Lord's of lunch with Dora. I love his line, "This was one of those moments that seemed to define the universe forever by the piercing delight of the present." Where I am now is just such a moment too. I lay down for a bit though I didn't sleep a wink, got up, before five, when the light turns more gentle, and went outside. I snipped more blossoms for another vase, a beautiful pale green art nouveau one from Olana, a gift from friends. It now sits replete on the sideboard, a second miniature Redon. I watered the garden and am very grateful that D has re-arranged hoses and purchased new lighter-weight ones with nifty nozzles, so that it is very easy for me to water now, I don't have to lug heavy, overly long ropes that get knotted up, and whose blast flattens delicate blooms. So the hour in warm golden light going about in braless top & diaphanous skirt watering tender annuals - I could imagine that I was perhaps in Provence. Though I needn't do that - being here is splendid enough. It's just that the thought came up after that vicarious, sensuous lunch with Dora - which after all that wine of course I needed a siesta!

That's it for now, darling, no big news. Birds are tweeting, children splash and shout in a pool next door, someone's riding a tractor mower, the summer motorcyclists are back roaring in occasional blasts down the nearby highway, slatted window shades filter in the mellow light, dinner will be grilled lamb chops, mesclun, and leftover potato salad, a tree frog warbles, I wonder about the total lunar eclipse which it seems won't be seen from here, oh, which reminds me that today is my name's day - so I'm glad for the treat of a Provencal lunch with or without Dora - truffle omelet! aperitif! foie gras! cheeses! That does sound heavenly - does it to you too? I would love a lunch like that with you in just such a setting as in the beautiful, apposite photo I happened to find...

(Apposite indeed - it turns out that the image is of the terrace of Dora Maar's former residence, in the village of Menerbes in the South of France, which now operates as a local international arts colony under the auspices of a foundation associated with the MFA in Houston.)

sweet dreams, darling
many kisses

in lieu of a siesta - lunch with Dora, Sept. 1952

The restaurant at Les Beaumettes couldn't have been more modest. We ate outside on a narrow terrace set just above the main highway between Cavaillon and Apt, along which in that era there was very little traffic. Dora had ordered the entire meal in advance and promised that it would be excellent. It was. For aperitif, we began with a liter of icy white wine, the bottle of which bore no label. Then came a truffle omelette, followed by roast lamb with foie-gras sauce, salad, cheeses, almond cake, coffee, and several unlabeled bottles of red wine. I sat facing Dora. She was smiling. Here, I thought, is someone I've never seen before, a total stranger, mysterious, the radiance of her gaze amazing. The trumpet cigarette holder came into frequent use, and sometimes a tiny avalanche of ash cascaded down the silk slope of her breasts. We were all talking. And it was also as though I'd never before noticed the exquisite birdsong quiver of her voice, unique, an enchantment. This was one of those moments that seemed to define the universe forever by the piercing delight of the present. We talked about a thousand things but principally about Picasso. "Talking about him, we're talking about ourselves," said Douglas, "because if anyone remembers us after we die, it will be because we knew him."

"Oh, I'd much rather talk about the cinema or the weather," Dora said, "but I have to talk about Picasso, because people expect it, because nobody knows as much about him as I do."

I said I'd give a lot to live a hundred years to see what happened to Picasso's reputation and fame. Might it all wither away and come to nothing? Remember Guido Reni. No chance of that, Dora said, for the commitment of dealers, collectors, and museum curators was already too great, there could be no turning back now. And Douglas said that this was the Picasso century, he was the greatest figure of the century, greater even than Einstein or Freud.

"Poor century!" said Dora.

James Lord, Picasso and Dora: A Personal Memoir, p. 95
actually I could use a little siesta after all
thinking of you too darling

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My darling, up in the aerie after a chilly day with rain, sun attempting to come out now. I see the room suddenly brighten with cool gray light - the last hurrah, at quarter past six. I had trouble getting started today, yet another watery state. Finally motivated myself to vacuum the upstairs. I've been feeling achey, mildly so, that's part of it.

I've been sitting here a little while, trying to figure out what to write, musing. I googled a high school English teacher of mine, from thirty-five years ago, and found that he'd commented a couple of times on Amazon. In my sideways fashion, though he'd left a particular comment a few years ago, I posted under my pseudonym in response. His comment regarded an early Julie Christie film, one I haven't seen, made when she was in her early twenties. In having viewed the 1965 Darling in light of a film Christie starred in forty-one years later, my former teacher was moved to write,
Watching this early film in juxtaposition with Away From Her reminds us that Cleopatra was not the only woman whose beauty can not be withered by age. When the beauty evolves from intelligence, it is always with her and with us. We all are that much richer for having been in her presence.
His comment came in the midst of all my current readings about Picasso 'Creator and Destroyer' (truly, he bulldozed his women, I mean psychologically) and in Persona-esque fashion identifying with Dora Maar who was essentially destroyed as a result of her having been rototilled in her relationship with him. She suffered a nervous breakdown, abandoned photography (of which she had been a Surrealist original), and became a devoutly religious recluse. Wow.

So when an old high school English teacher from formative yesteryear thus posted - I felt buoyed & encouraged. So I will be withdrawing my application from the convent, and taking down the rope from the rafters...

Darling, I'm just kidding, bleak gallows humor that that was. It's just sometimes things are so confusing. Or on that Minotaur track again - just feeling like this monstrous outsider sometimes... my mind turning now to politics, my feelings of alienation & anxiety regarding the worrisome state of affairs in our threatened democracy. Sometimes in my mind, actually, I try to talk sense to your wife. I try to tell her - hard to, she's the one gifted with speech, corporate apologist - do you realize that what you thought you stood for, a certain set of values, in opposition to some other set of values, all covered by a label - has all morphed & shape-shifted? Not the values - - - no. never that, not for me or for you - but the label - the coded brand name - under which they were represented?

My uncle is no longer in compos menti but he spoke of saving for a rainy day, and the wonderfulness of the savings bank, and of the tax benefit of owning a home, mortgaging it, that is - which encourages conservative values of property ownership, cultivation, and the like.

I agree with that, and did then, as I listened to him lecture to the rapt (or not so rapt) at the lengthy dining table. Come to think of it, I'd fidget & figure out some excuse to go past the full-length mirror in the dimly lit hallway by the telephone table, to visit the loo.

And I googled you once, and learned, remembering now, that you listed as one of your interests that you enjoy "pioneering." And of course I thought of that organization that I have to tell you from Day One my parents had cast a very gimlet eye about, seeing it as a cover for a rigid agenda that was anathema to them - and me too, now (not just now). (Though brilliant marriage pool - that it was. Of that, part of me, swimming on my own across channels, is regretful. I might have met - perhaps you!)

Anyway - pioneering. So I left this comment for one extremely formative high-school teacher, who taught American Studies, and thought in successive fashion of another who had also made an enormous impression on me (between the two of them, I learned how to write). I googled him, and discovered a comment he'd left on a website having to do with "pioneering." I followed a couple of links and saw images, and thought of you, and am convinced that that is what you, darling, meant by pioneering (not whatever it's been co-opted to mean by GOP forces).

I wouldn't survive two minutes in a debate with your wife. She's very good. We went to the same school. And I love her, I do - but - I could not disagree more strongly with her, and I feel that there's so much at stake. And we all stem from the same family - I have my grandmother's toes I think sometimes, when I look down at my feet.

Sometimes words are labels, like children's stickers. Conservative. Pioneering.

Yours, Dora the explorer -

All my love dearest pioneer -

In the words (discovered today, here) of a high-school teacher of mine, one of the most civilized men I have ever met:
I remember my membership in the Pioneers’ Club and the magazine with immense pleasure. That, and a pile of old Field and Stream magazines (given to me by a neighbor) started a lifelong love of the outdoors, of fishing and hunting and dogs, woods, trees, woodland skills etc. I remember the feather awards and even some of the tasks I performed to earn them. I later joined the BSA but never forgot where it all started, and that was nearly sixty years ago.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hello, darling Minotaur of my dreams. Say what you will about Minotaurs, I seem to have a soft spot for them - for you - not that I knew that about myself, not consciously that is.

I have been lightly and associatively immersing myself in Picasso, the women in his life, and his art over the last week or so. I am becoming fascinated with his imagery in a way I never had been before, sensing how it interweaves with his biography, and with the most important women, serially, over the course of his life. By chance or kismet in my travels I've discovered wonderful online resources. In a message in my inbox came a review of a gallery exhibition in the city, devoted to prolific images Picasso created of the woman who was ultimately perhaps the very most important to him, Marie-Thérèse Walter. It's a beautifully written, insightful review. And the gallery's website is wonderful, offering a virtual tour of the more than 80 pieces of art brought together for this focused thematic exhibition. I'd love to travel down to the city specifically to see this show. I hope I will be able to manage it.

Also, I've been rereading the section in Arianna Huffington's biography of Picasso, about the Minotaur. I feel resistant to her what strikes me as judgmental take on the imagery and on Picasso's character as regards this metaphor. Because I see an awful lot of pathos in the imagery myself, lonely misunderstood monster doomed to isolated exile deep in his labyrinth, alone at the kernel, longing for his unattainable love, the one who can release him.

I in turn dream of the Minotaur, of you - at least waking, I do.

It's such a rich image - the Minotaur - and Picasso used it again and again to highly resonant effect with reference to himself. Here, for example, is an image of a collage he created New Years Day 1928, the very first time he invoked the Minotaur in his art, a year almost to the day after his first fateful encounter with Marie-Thérèse as she came, amidst a crowd, up the Paris Métro steps. The relationship was consummated July 1927, and at the time of the creation of the collage Picasso was wholly embarked on their wildly passionate affair while at the same time married to Olga, a figure whom he had married chiefly because she represented to him a certain stability and respectability... something he needed on one level... but on another felt compelled - phallically propelled, as powerfully captured in this image - to run.

It's a remarkable self-portrait. As I free-associate (since I am not approaching this material, not even pretending to, in a scholarly way) it reminds me of the Peter Shaffer Equus imagery too (a play that 1.0 and I saw together on Broadway in fall 1975 I guess it was). I feel that I understand you better having seen this image. And by "you" maybe here, in this strange twinning and merging in my mind of my dream lovers, perhaps I mean more 1.0, but not exclusively, you too Beast as you once referred to yourself to me (Belle), assuming that "Beast" is someone of my acquaintance, though who I don't know, can only think about, consider, imagine. When I first saw the collage image this afternoon it came as - maybe not a sudden realization - but as an inexorable dawning, a coming together of gathering connections, a view into the depths, a way in - including into Picasso's insight into himself - in a very direct way that I could grasp, now that I'm so much older, and now have the capacity to understand.

I also discovered a wonderful MOMA website that explores "themes and variations" related to Picasso's imagery, themes including "Minotaur," "The Nude," "Portraits of Lovers," and more. (Here's a wormhole link not to the homepage, but to yet another beautiful, powerful, rich Minotaur image; at the bottom of the page is an entrance to the multimedia 'subjects and themes.')

Dear Beast, dear Minotaur, I hope all is well with you, I think of you all the time. It's a peaceful moment up here in the aerie just now. I stepped out into the garden earlier (after having planted as I promised to do, the perennials I bought yesterday) and snipped a few blossoms that I'm enjoying as I sit here musing and typing. I wish I could snap a photo to show you - I'll be getting a new camera soon, just not today. I've placed the flowers in a small vase, five inches tall, of purple amethyst glass, a diminutive ellipsis that rises to open flared lip into which I poured water and tucked one by one as I went about the borders snipping, individual miniature specimen blooms. Do you know those grand floral displays that one encounters upon entering the Met Museum, the Enid Haupt-funded ones that are just immense and towering and lavish and exquisite placed in those grand marble niches? My tiny vase with its abundance and diversity of blooms, reminds me of that, only on the most reduced scale - appropriately so, both for my desk, and for the simplicity of a home in the country. (I read a wonderful quote today, by Anton Chekhov - "Don't tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass. Words to live by, as a writer! Darling - I'm trying.) And so I regard this beautiful little arrangement in front of me. The purple amethyst vase is, indeed, colored glass, a pretty vessel, but it's the pristine fresh blooms that remind me of stained glass. But not, as in churches, black-lead lines inset with sacred rippled colors, carmine, platinum, gold. The luminous hues, collected here in a nosegay composition of green leaves and the petals themselves, are sprightly pastel lights, various shades of pink, and lilac, and lavender, with sprigs of yellow too, of rosebuds, cleome whorls, tiger-striped marigold, blue geranium trumpets -

Darling - my new camera cannot happen soon enough, can't wait

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Minotaure caressant du mufle la main d'une dormeuse (Minotaur Caressing the Hand of a Sleeping Girl with his Face), June 18, 1933, printed 1939. Drypoint, plate: 11 5/8 x 14 7/16" (29.6 x 36.6 cm); sheet: 13 7/16 x 17 1/2" (34.2 x 44.5 cm).

Pablo Picasso, Le Minotaure (The Minotaur), 1928, Black chalk and pasted paper mounted on canvas, 142 x 232 cm

Odilon Redon (French, Bordeaux, 1840-1916), Bouquet in a Chinese Vase, possibly 1912-14, oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 19 5/8 in. (64.8 x 49.8 cm), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York