Monday, October 31, 2011

Hello dear love, up in the aerie as color fades from the sky at the end of the day, pallid gray outside the windows. I returned to my usual routines today, of a walk around here and later a workout, but felt unusually tired and at times inexplicably anxious - freeform yet intense anxiety, that I couldn't get hold of, couldn't figure out what precisely was suddenly triggering it. Maybe a touch of writers block, just slightly. One reason may be that the woman with whom I saw a play yesterday afternoon - we're trying to form some sort of writing group, so far it's just the two of us, haltingly trying to cobble something together. So we saw this play,  or theatre piece, the term its creator (also the main actor) prefers as more accurately describing the nature of the constantly evolving work. It was extremely well-done - a tour-de-force performance inspired by, and largely based on, Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay Self-Reliance. There were two actors but it was a de facto one-man show - the nameless character "Man" prolifically quoting Emerson almost exclusively throughout (with a whisper-thin framework as the set-up to the Man's impassioned soliloquies). I'm very glad I saw it, I'd never seen anything done by this tiny area theater group, and I was very impressed.  They are very much on my radar now, and am sorry they weren't sooner, because a season or two ago, they devised a theater piece based on love letters between Anton Chekhov and his wife.

So my writers block stems from a light, loose agreement my acquaintance and I made upon leaving the theatre - let's write of our responses to the play, to the Emerson. And darling - now I feel almost as though I have an assigned paper due! Which I know is the very last thing either my friend nor I wished to put on ourselves... yet I'm not sure I'm going to be able to come up with anything, or anything that I really feel like writing. I like Emerson - his ideas, I think, more than his prose. I liked the piece yesterday - the young Man's eloquently expressed existential journey. At its best - and this actor was that good - the character put me in mind of Hamlet, with his endless astonishing constantly revolving, constantly being built-upon soliloquizing. In another light, I could imagine Woody Allen himself working with the very same material, to very high navel-gazing comic effect, with perhaps a Scarlet Johannsen type - practical, worldly-wise, sexy, and at once wiser than Woody for all his erudite handwringing - sizing him up, stating his problem ("just spend one minute a day - no more - on that stuff"), and making him order something off the damned diner menu. (The "Man" never does! Isn't a menu proffered in a diner by a waitress tantamount to Chekhov's loaded gun making an appearance in Act 1? By the end of the play that gun is bound to go off. Order a sandwich already!)

Darling, you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm sure. The plot was just as thin as that - a guy comes into a diner, and hems and haws for an hour or more at his table, mostly ignoring but occasionally perusing the menu - content all the while instead to hold forth ringingly on his Emersonian soul-searching.

Which is exquisite, and exquisitely done. Emerson really does have "it." There is nothing "sideways" about him. He catches that trout, or whale, and grapples with it. He tames water. I admire that. I caught glimpses of myself in his words, his admonition to resist conformity. As I experienced the performance, in the small darkened space, on the top floor of a townhouse building on Warren Street, in an audience of I would guess twenty-five or thirty tops, I found myself thinking about my blog. I felt glad, proud even, at that moment, that I write it (my secret, in a crowd - no declaiming there). It's my way of trying to capture water with my hands.

(I miss you, and I miss 1.0. I think the combination had something - maybe a lot - to do with my palpable sense of unease.)

(And who is it who thinks of me as "woodstock the bird?" Is it 1.0? It doesn't seem like him. He's usually more open than that, it seems to me. But is it? Is it you? It doesn't seem your style either. I think it's 1.0 but I can never be sure. And so such water slips out of my hands.)

I think of how E.D. had an opportunity, had she so chosen, to meet Emerson himself, when he came to visit at her brother and sister-in-law's house, Austin and Susan's. I don't have a scholarly sense (or any whatever really) of E.D.'s response to Emerson's writings - he was certainly pre-eminent at the time, a celebrity on that occasion in Amherst. E.D. chose to stay in the Homestead, not take the path over to the Evergreens where she might have - in what today would be a photo-op moment - briefly shaken his hand. Perhaps she had a notion too that the Man - brilliant and necessary as he was - was rather too strong stuff for her rather less direct, yet no less penetrating way? I don't know, this idea itself is a bit like trying to catch water, or a bird. Emerson admonishes that that's what the "self-reliant" (a misleading term I think, in what it conjures to me - pull yourself up by your bootstraps, don't be dependent on anything outside yourself) - must do. Self-Reliance is less about "self-reliance" than it is an exhortation to discard the shackles of conformist forms....

Sometimes people, stuck in those conformist forms, seem to think that history ended with them, that they're at the apex and culmination.

It's against that type that someone like Emerson, in his day, writes.

(Witold Gombrowicz writes of this particularly well, in his Diary - his detailing of his personal particulars achieving (sideways, seemingly, a collateral benefit) a transcendent political import - this idea of constricting "forms" outserving their time, their purpose. History does not end. It goes forward - whether one believes in evolution or not.)

I liked the character of the waitress in yesterday's theater piece. What she had to say, in her few brief but wry, self-possessed appearances - her character truly - in the face of her cerebral customer's unremitting monologizing - "self-reliant."  I can picture her as an E.D., if E.D. had had the notion to make an appearance at the Evergreens that night. Emerson possibly delivers a few resounding words to the raptly assembled guests, declines proffered food & drink, sherry, canapes.

E.D. (in her imagination, in her room as the event takes place) appears, regards him. He's smilingly polite to her, but he (like all others in the room) has no idea who she is.

Here, she says, offering him a plate - have a sandwich.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hello darling, we have our October back - colorful foliage, sunshiny sun... and melting snow. This will be a fairly quick, or not too penetrating a post, I'm a bit distracted, and not by myself, D's painting the stairs. It's a nice color, that 'frothy cappuccino', not too different from what's on the walls now, just cleaner. The light is so beautiful just now, autumnal again - golden, streaming in. After yesterday's momentary unwanted plunge into winter we were all dreading that there'd be an extra month of it, but today felt like springtime. Though the inclement weather did impel me to take advantage of a buy-one-get-one-for-$1 sale at a local department store - and so I bought a warm hat & gloves for $31. (You do the math! Look - if algebra had involved problems such as that I might have aced it, not all those trains crisscrossing back and forth between Chicago and Lincoln, Nebraska, leaving at different times. Was I purposely steered into the liberal arts with lonesome problem sets such as that? No - I'll learn multiplication & decimals fast enough if you ask me to calculate the sales tax on a $9 item.)

So sweetheart, are you with the three lovely ones, which reminds me that I need to see (preferably see, rather than read) the relevant Chekhov play - really, I know very little of Chekhov - Uncle Vanya (filmed version - Vanya on 42nd Street), The Cherry Orchard (which I saw back in the 70s at Lincoln Center, in a production that featured the not-yet-famous Meryl Streep), and a handful of his short stories. But you know, I'm glad I discovered him.... he's someone I find myself returning to, and thinking about...

An odd day, no workout or walk - now, that's exceedingly rare. I miss a daily walk about as frequently as I miss a daily post - which is to say next-to-never (though I don't wish to jinx myself). But the day was topsy-turvy that way. My initial plan was to meet up with an acquaintance for a guided landscape tour of the Persian-inspired estate, but the event was canceled (or so we think) due to the snow - which would have obscured most landscape features anyway. But she & I managed to get together anyway. She suggested that we catch a play in town, that I hadn't even been aware of, but that instantly sounded interesting... we had a good time, the play was good (more on that another time, as I think about it more, and when I'm better able to focus).

And that's it darling, for the moment. I'm glad you've landed safe & sound, I'm glad for an awful lot, including that I'm not so self-reliant - that I have you to write to, you my muse. I hope you're having a wonderful time. Oh I am frustrated, not only did I miss my daily walk. Oh sweetheart, dusk is coming - aren't you glad it's not standard-time yet? Which in the bad-old draconian days it would have been, as of today. Instead - barring more blizzards - we have another week in which we can pretend it's still the warm-weather months.

Must run. D's breaking out the 'terrazzo brown.'

Many kisses. Love you. Hope all's well & happy. xoxo
ciao

Saturday, October 29, 2011


***
Dear love, I hope you've had a tolerable flight, landed safely, your luggage on the carrel right away.   Now that you're back, in your alternate comfortable reality, settling in for the night perhaps, let me kiss you - there, that's what I'm doing right now, putting my arms around you, giving you a great big kiss...

Here, snow is falling in earnest. I spent much of the day upstairs, and when the snow started coming down, I felt as though I was inside a snowglobe - except that the snow was outside. There are three windows in the aerie, with slatted offwhite wood blinds, tilted open. It was like a work of art, kinetic films of thick, fat, white flakes tumbling hurriedly down nonstop, in a frenzy of silent excited motion - while all within the room was utterly motionless, still, timeless. And colorful too, I might add. Outside, the world (as I stood at the back of the room, regarding the whole scene, in & out) streamed in greytoned black & white; while within all was as colorful as Matisse's red studio. Only my studio isn't red, it's whatever that pale-ash color is on the walls (that eventually will be "frothy cappuccino" - D's about to start painting the staircase) - but the furnishings are cheerful & bright.

***










***
Now I'm regretting that I didn't take a photograph of the peaceful aerie scene, walls punctuated with its trio of exclamation marks - oblong panels festooned with furiously falling snow. It crossed my mind to, and didn't only because I knew that the camera wouldn't capture the sense of vivid motion - what had excited me so. And so I thought - I'll have to try to describe it instead.

My dearest, I'm a little nervous that we may lose power tonight. The snow is very thick & heavy, gobs of it, and it's supposed to freeze overnight - so it seems that it may be an ice storm, wreaking havoc. In my way of emergency preparedness, I'm typing as fast as I can to you (dearest, more kisses), and I've got a chicken (stuffed with lemon, garlic, & CSA thyme) roasting in the oven, along with a few of those earthy russets, and a pan of mostly orange root vegetables. I considered putting in some of the CSA broccoli, but was reluctant to sever florets from the side, tamper with the gorgeous head. D brilliantly suggested that I chop up the stem (that from supermarket broccoli I usually discard), and put that into the mix. The stem itself - so fresh - truly I have never encountered broccoli like this. Pale green & pristine white; pungent - even raw, so fragrant; hard but crisp, not woody: I am sure that it will be very flavorful.

Beyond that, my day was pleasantly full - I felt very content. I took a long walk with weights, before the snow. I even got in a pilates workout, to that Antiques show on PBS (the one where a yard-sale find might turn out to be a Tiffany lamp worth $50,000 - as happened on today's episode). All this was before noon - amazing alacrity, for me, and in between that, even, I managed a sweet session with you & me (had to, had for a time the house - that is, the lavishly appointed Victorian parlor with the lush rug, fur coat, and upholstered settee back in the shadows so that the help, that might bust in at any moment... and anyway, the wife must absolutely not ever learn of this - to myself) and I have to say, I can't say that I was ever always all that loud (well sometimes) but my word those supercharged batteries and a battery of pretty good fantasies I have streaming in my head as I lie back in the still silent room, heat cranking blessedly through the pipes (so that just the simplest cashmere cardigan for warmth suffices) and - well, darling, it's as though I'm proud of myself, I can hardly believe - it's total 'liftoff.' And that's just the sensation of it, too. Not rockets - but after a bunch of (perfectly delightful) preamble & discussion, you coming & going, doing this & that, me too, sometimes prone, sometimes not, then there's that countdown moment - time fuses - combustion, transformation - unmistakable. And I yelp. For rolling moments on end, I'm surprised at my own voice, newborn baby crying out for the first time, a woman giving birth. Similar forms of cries, that's how it seems to me, visceral and involuntary as that, from somewhere deep within...

***
image:
Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), The Red Studio, Issy-les-Moulineaux, fall 1911. Oil on canvas, 71 1/4" x 7' 2 1/4" (181 x 219.1 cm), The Museum of Modern Art, NY.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hello dearest, back from a stop at the little town library and my weekly run to the CSA farm, the second-to-last pickup for the season. Pick-ups usually run through Thanksgiving, or even later, but had to be cut short because tens of thousands of pounds of anticipated yield were lost in the aftermath of the late-August hurricane, the creek flooding and contaminating swathes of planted crops. I will miss going there.  It gives a nice shape to my week, having that to look forward to, and I'll miss the produce itself. The CSA subscription is expensive - but worth it, I think. Besides the superb quality of the organic produce, I find that I make many fewer stops to the supermarket - saving money there, as well as, I suppose, on gas for the car - minimal, except over many weeks maybe it does add up. Certainly it's more convenient not to feel that I need to go the supermarket all the time (true, D often stops off there on his way home from town - though perhaps not usually for vegetables).

It was a lovely autumnal haul today, going around the bins: a sack of enormous sweet green apples (the same ones I used for the cake I baked yesterday, stealing bites of apple as I peeled & sliced); a zaftig, hourglass-shaped butternut squash; brown bags of onions and of sweet potatoes; beets (yet again! no matter, I like them, and they keep); little russet potatoes that promise to be especially earthy & flavorful, whether baked in the oven or grilled over coals in a foil-wrapped tin; an enormous head of broccoli, of a dark rich color (not like the chlorophyll-green California stuff); and a large handful of variegated kale - also deep earthy green, with purple stems.

I used last week's kale in a beautiful lunch dish today - the crinkly greens wilted in a sauce of chicken stock and white cannellini beans, seasoned with dried sage, lemon juice, milk, and parmesan, and combined with partially cooked fettucine that finished cooking (and absorbed some of the liquid) in the sauce. Divine - and both hearty and heartening on such a cold day.

I clipped fresh thyme from the CSA's herb garden as well, so I'll have a supply, for roasting chickens. I know I'm going on about the CSA today, but I do feel a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving about it. More Thanksgivingy a feeling than I often get on that day itself (as much as I really like that holiday - but it has so many ritual overlays on it, sometimes the simplicity gets lost). I like the whole ethos of the place, and I've mentioned the farmer's newsletters before, and his this week [link here] was, as always, beautifully written, and resonated for me, particularly at the end, his conclusions.

I appreciated his observation, that he makes almost in passing, about competition for love even within families, and when I read that, I felt a pang of painful recognition. I don't write about this very often - as fairly free-wheeling, no-holds-barred, and open as I tend to be here - but I harbor a lot of.... even here I hesitate as I type.... just a lot of anger and bad feeling about my family of origin (FOO). It was very difficult to grow up with them, and I had hopes that we might nevertheless having gotten through it might stick together, but it never happened, and in fact - I think the farmer nailed it, at least for me - people were picked, over certain other people. Very brutally, cruelly, ruthlessly - frankly, to my mind, barbarously. Yes, there very much was competition within the family, along with boatloads of impossible expectations.

Perhaps that's one reason - possibly even the main reason? - that you mean so much to me. You seem to see through all that garbage - well, you were never part of it (not of my immediate family obviously), yet somehow I think you could see it for what it was - you have 'constructs' on your own side that you've had to deal with. Anyway, with you I feel that you see me for just who I am, and you accept me, and there's nothing ruthless about it, far from it - the opposite.

Anyway, enough of that - but I'm glad that I bled that valve - a bit. And a bit is all really that I needed to do, to 'keep it real' -

So, now - on the eve of Halloween - you have a sense of my dark, unhappy, unforgiving side (and you know - it's not so much that as - simply not looking for love where it simply is not to be found - and so, as an act of self-preservation, I have to at this point wholly simply reject them - I'm not one of them - honestly, that's what it feels like to me sometimes).

Is that a weird legacy of, in my parents' generation, psychically absorbing lessons of surviving Communism - thereby embracing the New World (fine, okay) - but throwing out communitarian ideals along with it?

My mother hated the idea of "interdependency" - scoffed at it. What kind of family, or sense of family, is ever going to result if you don't have a sense of that?

Yours seems to at least have embraced that - thankfully, and once in a while, I'm there in person to glimpse it. As much as I disagree with their politics - at least they weren't so ruthless and callous in their family hewings. Though that, of course, brings up problems of its own, hewings to Eisenhower-era forms - well, of course that's - well, it's a comfort in some ways - imprisoning, I can imagine, in others. It's not the precise problem I had to deal with my FOO. But FOO's come in different forms....

Anyway, I have just been rattling on & on here.  I won't bother to proof or polish - how could I possibly?  I've just been trying to set out some stuff, that if it reads haltingly - it's because - yeah, it is halting, on a number of levels - not clean, neat, nice, aphoristic. But I'm glad I can type it out, and think of you, my dear man, reading & considering by lamplight, as I try to put together my thoughts, and send them out into the clear dark sky, out to you.

Love, and many kisses. xoxo

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Hello dear love, not only is it snowing - shocking enough for this time of year - but it actually seems to be sticking. I haven't turned on a weather forecast - I don't really want to know. And yet I've sensed that we're moving towards winter. At night my covers haven't been quite warm enough; today I thought to replace the duvet liner with a heavier one. I took a nap under fresh laundered covers, and slept soundly under the cozy weight. Just now I hear geese honking - I wonder if they're surprised by the snow too - darn! we should be further south now! they might be thinking, as they exhort themselves to fly further, faster. I imagine that tonight will be the first frost of the season - adios, zinnias & cosmos. Til next year.

***
Such a mix of seasons just now: fall apples in a bowl,
summer cosmos that
I picked last week, an
apple-walnut cake that I baked this afternoon - cozy dessert for after dinner, or to have with coffee in the morning.


***
I slept quite deeply during that nap - not for long, a half hour or so, but when I woke up in the dusky room, under the heft of linens covering me like a deep layer of snow, I felt as though I had entered hibernation mode, a slowing weighted mode that I've experienced, seasonally, my entire life, since girlhood. I sleep more as the days grow shorter and colder. (My sister too, maybe? Is that a reason why she moved to Hawaii?!) I feel pulled by that undertow, when it's gloomy out - and the sun never did come out.

I managed a walk this morning in light cold rain, my hair and my fleece damp when I returned home. I battled fatigue and pushed myself to do a workout, motivated a tad extra since a subject on Anderson was obesity - and so, oh no, every day I have to exercise very vigorously. Especially since D found a half-price wedge of French brie at the supermarket yesterday...

My dearest, you grew up with long harsh winters, fiercer even than what we get here. I wish I knew you better. I think you must have been an adorable little boy. That thought crossed my mind as I stood at the sink, peeling apples maybe, or loading the dishwasher. You've seen pictures of me as a girl, I never was photogenic. I picture you looking at a framed snapshot of me when I was in elementary school I think, my hair long around my full round face, I'm only half-smiling and look directly at the camera, past me (regarding the image myself many years later), past you. I try to picture you as a little boy, serious, sturdy, inquisitive, yet a bit cautious perhaps. Very sweet, at any rate - you must have been.

So darling, I'm sure you can tell this is the most uninspired post ever. My writing to you like this is a lifeline, yet sometimes I wish I could just take a vacation from it - in the sense of communicating with you in some other way, if only by stealing glances at each other across a dining table, never mind being in each other's arms.

Dear Levin, let's dispense with those pj's of yours and climb in bed, under soft enveloping covers that settle warmly about us, the two of us holding each other beneath their light encompassing embrace. We'll look at each other's grown-up faces, stroke each other's hair, touch cheeks, murmur about who knows what, all the while the covers discreetly obliviously protecting us, keeping us warm and covered until the furnaces of our fused bodies, limbs entwined, ignite and heat under a complex of soft wrappings, comfortable mattress on a double bed in peacefully appointed bedchamber under motionless ceiling fan, while we against soft pillows, cases smooth and freshly laundered, examine each other in every way, hear each other's voices, inhale, imbibe, while outside the windows, unseasonable snow might be falling all around...

and plus all day long today, in the rawness of the weather
it reminded me of the one time I ever visited Seattle
just this time of year I think it was
my good friend from college, Nicole
they put me up - she & her husband - in a spare room
with an electric blanket
I was such an awful chainsmoker then
it's a wonder I didn't fry the blanket
or burn the house down
that whole time in Seattle, the days,
the few days I was there
it rained & poured and was gray & watery & wet
and I kept walking downhill from wherever they were
to colorful shelters
in the forms of cafes, coffee shops
Pike Square Market

anyway - really that's how this day was -
until it began to snow
it reminded me of Seattle

where I don't think it ever snows - does it?
or if so --- certainly not in October

many kisses
xoxo

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My dearest, I wonder where you are and how you are, I hope all is well with you. I'm sitting up here, a bit past six, after dark already, cozy black sweater draped over my shoulders. I had a very pleasant day, nothing too exciting or ambitious, but things got done, the day ambled along, and had its little gratifications, such as a gift certificate from the bakery in the mail this morning - for several times the amount of the missed loaf of bread.

***







***
... Just a quick note again, to say thank you - I just received your very generous gift certificate & note in the mail. I am delighted - even a little blown away - at what a positive experience this little mishap has turned out to be. Truly there's a lesson in there - perhaps that we do not, indeed, live by 'bread alone' - but as well find sustenance in warm & gracious gestures such as yours. I look forward to selecting more of your wonderful breads with your gift certificate, next time I'm in Rhinebeck. Thank you very much again! All the best, Belle
***
Beyond that, I did some cooking today, a wonderful lunch of roast chicken and pan-roasted root vegetables: cubed butternut squash, sweet potato, carrot, red onion, and Japanese turnips, all tossed with minced garlic, salt & pepper, and EVOO. The turnips were a revelation - an unfamiliar taste to me, spritely-delicate & flavorful - not what I expected at all. That is, my expectations were pretty low - I thought they might be rather bland, like parsnips, or possibly, on the other end of the spectrum - given their freshness, tiny size & heirloom provenance - sharp as radishes. Which in fact, I was initially thinking of using these tiny white turnips raw in a salad - which I suppose I could do - and might have - except that I still have radishes in the fridge to get to. So these turnips got roasted - amazingly delectable. I never thought I might go on and on about... turnips!

It's Wednesday, so the baguette I'd bought on Sunday was by now sufficiently "day-old" to make croutons. I'm glad I got in a workout and a walk today, because I kept sneaking bites of the delicious baguette - tiny crust ends that I slathered with butter, a couple of bread cubes that I'd tossed with minced garlic and EVOO before putting in the oven - oh so good, reminding me of wonderful meals I've had at the now defunct Caffe Carcioffo on Court Street, that would offer, as one perused the menu and sipped from a glass of wine, warm baguette and a little plate of the most magnificently fragrant & flavorful olive oil that you'd dip a morsel of bread into and pop into your mouth - heaven. The pre-cooked croutons were just like that - and afterward, baked? Oh my word.

But no food-porn here, darling, just the real deal, I did, before noon, have a wonderful time with you yet again on that settee, I've gotten really good at super-charging batteries. It's great that they're rechargeable - they take 13 hours to juice up - but I've found that if I juice them up a bit more beyond that (because once the tiny green light on the charger goes out, even if it's plugged into the wall the energy seems to run out) --- well. It amps things up mightily, and is not the time-soaker it once was, back months ago when I was a neophyte at these mechanical/imaginal practices. And so I had all sorts of time then, for walks & workouts, and cooking, and reading more of the Malcolm book on Chekhov, and wondering if 1.0 finds the St. Petersburg airport as Malcolm does (at page 155)...

***
[Sergei and Nelly] met me at the St. Petersburg airport, a place that time seems to have forgotten. The terminal, of an early totalitarian-modern style, is worn and faded, leached of all menace. It was empty and silent. Here and there along the stone-floored corridor leading to passport control, a spindly potted palm inclined toward a dusty window. No other flight had come in--perhaps ours was the flight of the day or week--and it took no time to get through the formalities. Sergei picked up my suitcase, and he and Nelly led me to the car, which was parked in a small lot directly in front of the terminal. Was I in Mother Russia or at the Brewster, New York, train station?
***
Malcolm's book was published in 2001. Dear 1.0, if you happen to be passing through there in coming days, perhaps you can keep an eye out for that spindly potted palm, if it is still there - such things have a way of hanging on, if barely, like the Russian people themselves.

And that's it for now, dearest love. Many kisses wherever you are. There's always room in my bed for you, in the wee hours of the night when I wake up - there you are. And I hope the same is true wherever you are - squeeze over, darling, give me a bit more of those covers and put your arms around me. You feel wonderful, every part of you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hello darling, the sun is setting behind the hills, the aerie for a moment dramatically lit, in a way that reminds me of when you're in a jet plane climbing and rising, the cabin, banked, flooded with light that streams in from one side, the windows facing west...

I noticed today that enough leaves have dropped from strategic trees near our house that the mountains are visible again, a glimpse of them from the solarium, and from up here in the aerie. At this moment, sun dropped behind the hills, there's an ink-purple curve of ridge that seems nearby - just behind a stand of trees in our yard - but in fact is miles away, way on the other side of the river. The mountains are that immediate, the suggestion of them - in a way that I find very beautiful and moving - not a huge dramatically unobstructed view - but a humped apparition behind the trees. I've mentioned before that I feel very fortunate to have any sense of mountains - of place - from here - such views are quite rare, depending on angle, elevation, vegetation. But our house is situated just right, built in 1880, a few years (as I reflected this morning) before E.D. died, in 1886. So she was alive, about the age I am now, as this house, unbeknownst to her, was going up.

I've gotten up again to look out the window. I wish I were a painter, just now!  Colorless light, leafless trees black against blank sky, golden washes of remaining leaves, green foregrounds of lawns - and looming at the back of the immediate earthy tableau - the main subject perhaps - a distinct hazed purple mass...

My mother could draw & paint, my sister too. I don't have that talent. At the moment I wish I were an ancient Japanese printmaker or watercolorist. The aesthetic is Japanese in that way to me, at any rate.

My dearest Edward, you're more Edward to me perhaps than Albert, no you're all of the above & Pablo too, and others... but I wish you could be here enjoying the garden and the falling leaves and newly revealed distant vistas, while still zinnias & salvias chug along in the garden. The chickens are gone for the moment, penned in by neighbor while she's in the city, in the hopes of someone hired to work on her roof who's also a butcher capturing a one-extra errant rooster...

I hope the Occupy Wall Street people do well. We need them. Thank you. They are the resistance against the corporatist coup d'état. I saw a glimmer of that at the President's inauguration, a few years ago, that January day, when D & I, jubilant that the W years were over, stayed home, cranked the pellet stove, and even busted open a bottle of wine at one (perhaps not the thing to do, given the message of 'getting the Nation back to work.') But that's what we did, no harm done, it was our little party, in winter afternoon solarium sun. Speeches were given, poems read, successors sworn in, predecessors witnessing, presiding, and then, on the live coverage, the festivities moved to the inaugural luncheon set to happen, invited corps de ballet, assembling in, mingling, taking their seats at round banquet tables... as the camera observed from above... and amid all this momentous, magical, majestic swirl, touting the amazing wonderment of a new President - no, really New! breath of fresh air New! - sworn in, there I found myself watching, as he marched away, back to the hall, a hunched over Timothy Geithner, who I find kind of cute in a prep-school way, but discomfitingly nervous and facially inscrutable in others, taking a cell phone call from.....

who, exactly? It was clear to me at that moment - that moment that all cell phones truly should have been shut off - or rather, who would be so brazen as to call - and whose call would have to be taken? - because the main event, before our eyes, was going on was right there & then, the New President's inauguration & all the celebration -

no - Geithner had, rather overtly, betrayed by his hunched, twisting body English, turned his back to the room and clasped the phone to his ear in which obviously he was hearing - familiar voices, not even whispered, shouted, ordering, in the mood for innuendo, guffawing

***
and that's it darling, a whole lot has played out
on the global stage since
and will continue to play out

I still wonder what will happen
I wonder what the rhetoric is these days in your circle
how it accommodates itself

and so darling
my dearest love, my Edward
let's figuratively take sleeping bags to the garden
wrap our arms around each other under the stars
and occupy... ourselves with dreams
of what you might cultivate in the garden
the neglected, clay-earthed, overgrown garden
blooming on its own, in late October, with Queen Anne's lace
while I, Cunegonde, figure out what I should do with
huge bowls of pears - besides frangipane -
and apples

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dearest Prince Albert, it's so funny that you made that connection with my memory of the fusty pajamas - that association had crossed my mind too, as I thought about what to write of that good-looking guy in the row ahead of me yesterday. Oh sweetheart, I get it. And - guess what - Queen Victoria liked sex, so there. And she didn't do so badly for herself. And she & Albert were very, very happy together.

Dearest, I'm just quickly typing. It's past six, the gloaming already, the day slipped away from me quickly, wrapt as I was with urgent epistolary business with a wonderful bakery. Now, if only I could summon similar urgency & alacrity on pressing issues of a more global nature. I'm capable of it, on rare occasion have reared my head in writing to an elected official - but it's not a habit of mine, not really. Still, KG's endeavor, "off the sidelines" - I do think about it, even if I am still, in certain respects, on the sidelines. Where I prefer to be. And yet - what I write here, at least sometimes, isn't entirely irrelevant - the truth - as opposed to posturing -

I didn't even shower & dress til after lunch; took a walk around here after four. One detail I neglected to mention from yesterday's beautiful drive to & from Rhinebeck - the autumn foliage is resplendent just this time of year.  Driving down the narrow of 9G, along black bifurcated road unspooling, I felt as though I was journeying within a furrowed cleft ceaselessly parting, unmowed tinted fringe at either side, revealing itself to me as I moved deeper into the clutch of its nubile splendor and embrace.

Something like that. And at some point in the day I had my way with you, this time on a Wellsian transgressive narrow Victorian settee, where neither of us was supposed to be, which made it all the better.

And then I vacuumed the downstairs, and set up dinner - pan-fried perch on wilted arugula, farmstand corn -  still to be had, as of yesterday, as it turned out.

And that's it my dearest.

As 9G's lines, far from oblique, head straight north -
here heads my love straight to you - and my kisses -
quick - up in the stars - duck!

xoxo
A solution came to me as I drifted awake this morning...

and my good mood and equanimity have been restored
- and then some - since!!!

Many kisses, darling, hope you too are having a wonderful day.


***
Dear Bread Alone, I visited your Rhinebeck shop yesterday afternoon and ordered several loaves of bread, as follows: 2 organic ryes, 2 Catskill multigrains, 1 sourdough levain, 1 local apple cinammon, and 1 baguette. The total came to $28.75. I paid with a KZE dollarsaver certificate ($25) and made up the difference.

When I arrived home (north of Hudson) and unpacked the shopping bag, I found that there was only 1 multigrain, not 2.

I do not have a receipt. My sense is that I am short a loaf that I paid for. I do not know the precise prices offhand, but perhaps you could let me know if it does seem that there was an error.

I believe too, that the error was caused by the way I was served & rung up, which I found slightly stressful at the time, to the point that in the back of my mind I felt that such an error was bound to happen. When it came to my turn in line, a very pleasant young woman began to help me - I told her that I wished to order several loaves of bread & that I would like them sliced, and she very graciously began taking down the first loaf of bread I'd named & slicing it. This was a very nice way (from this customer's point of view) to be served - it was orderly, I didn't feel 'rushed' - I could consider which other loaves I wished while she sliced & bagged, and neither did the young woman helping me feel rushed.

A moment later another clerk appeared at the cashier. She was pleasant - but very brisk & efficient - possibly a bit too much so, for the situation. I told her that another clerk was already helping me. She disregarded that and pretty much demanded my order right then, that she keyed in. I felt rushed, and also suddenly the transaction was going much more quickly than the young woman actually filling the order could manage to keep up with. And I was distracted - trying to satisfy the expectant cashier, thinking about what I wished to order, hoping that the young woman could keep up, trying to keep a rough tally in my head.... all amid the busy din around the place.

And so sure enough, when I got home --- I found that I was short a loaf.

I am hoping that - if indeed I am correct - that there is some way the error could be rectified next time in Rhinebeck (perhaps, for example, via an email response from you entitling me to the credit of a multigrain loaf, that I could print out & present - that's just an idea).

I know it seems a very petty thing to write over one loaf of bread. But I'm on a very tight budget, and those KZE dollarsaver certificates are fantastic. But I find it very frustrating to see the value of the wonderful discount substantially eroded due to an inadvertent error - one that could most likely have been avoided, had the original young woman helping me been allowed, as I wished & requested - and in more holistic fashion! - to handle all aspects of the transaction with me. I think it would have been a more pleasant & relaxing experience - certainly for me.

Thank you very much for your attention to this request. Sincerely yours, Belle
***
Dear Belle, First off, thank you for your very helpful and descriptive narrative. I want you to know that we will take care of this right away. The most efficient way for me to fix it is to send you a gift certificate which you can then redeem at your leisure, so I will need your physical mailing address.

Further, I really want to express to you how enjoyable it was to read your explanation of the service that you received. I say 'enjoyable' because your writing was so clear that I felt like I was standing in line right behind you! We really try to make everyone's experience calm and lovely and when we fail to do so we find it very helpful to have an 'outsider's' view. You can imagine that this is difficult to get sometimes because when something goes wrong oftentimes we find out about it in a highly emotional way. By reviewing with us in your detailed manner exactly what you experienced you have given us much insight into how we can improve.

Thanks and I hope you have a lovely day!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dear love, I'm here, back from an afternoon trip to Rhinebeck. Sweetheart, your page hits comfort me no end, and coming home to find them, and another one just now, is just what I need to get my head on straight. I should be in the finest mood ever - I had a wonderful time - but discovered that I was inadvertently shorted a loaf of bread at a bakery, which has irritated me. I'm so frustrated with myself! And probably I shouldn't be projecting all this futile, trivial angst in this post - and yet - that's where I am, maybe I can work through it. I will try, darling, and then I promise, I will relax.

So I thought I had a literary rendez-vous of sorts this afternoon, it came up quite suddenly on Friday afternoon - except that it turned out that the invitation wasn't for this Sunday (meeting up with a woman acquaintance from a plein air session, who's trying to set up a perhaps more regular group) but rather for next. So I changed my plans, which was fine, and also our Brooklyn friends emailed me and we're going to house-swap two weekends from now - so it's all working out. Since I wasn't going to the Persian-inspired estate today after all, I cast about figuring out what else to do. I should say that this weekend is the annual Columbia Film Festival, in Chatham, an event that in previous years I've pounced on & greatly enjoyed, but somehow this year I couldn't get it together to coordinate with D on the car, figure out movies, get tickets, and all that. Oh well - another year.

And no regrets, because I discovered that a very intriguing film was playing in Rhinebeck - most likely for the briefest run - by a Polish film director, a conceptual film that imagines the making of the 16th century Flemish painter Peter Bruegel's masterpiece, Way to Calvary. I'm not familiar with that particular work, but I'm certainly familiar, since girlhood, with Bruegel & his signature look - golden tableaux vivants with numerous figures, colorful in many respects, entire village-fulls, in all manner of quotidian activity.

Darling, I think you would enjoy the film. I'm not saying that you should run out and see it. I would say that I 'appreciated' it, as one would a work of art. I wish that we could have been there together in the darkened theater, viewing it. There was a guy with his girlfriend or wife in the row in front of me, and I'm guessing maybe he was of our descent, because he sort of looked like you, reminiscent - younger, yet grayer, not a hipster exactly, but sort of scruffy - no I don't even mean that, just natural, himself. I kept stealing glances (not in a vampirish way - his S.O. had nothing to worry about from me) to, Persona-like, almost, compare a mental image of you with this guy's head, and really, just have fun with that. Anyway - you just being yourself, not having to play a part, project some image. (I'm not saying that that younger guy in front of me wasn't, but he looked relaxed & unpretentious & by all appearances was enjoying the film & adores, in a really comfortable way, his companion.)

Anyway. By the way, dearest love, my mood is improving as I type to you - you do have that effect on me. Ah so the minor irritation is that I'd purchased, a few weeks ago, for $12.50, a rarely offered 'half-price' certificate entitling me to $25 worth of whatever wonderful breads an artisanal bakery in Rhinebeck has to offer. So I availed myself of that this afternoon, and ordered up several loaves, fresh brown breads that were still there mid-Sunday afternoon, stacked up on wood shelves behind the counter. It came my turn on line, and a young lissome clerk began to help me - I'd like several loaves of bread, and I'd like them all sliced - just to give her a sense of what she was in for, I wasn't just buying, say, a single croissant. And she was fine, and looked at me expectantly. I'd like two loaves of the organic rye.

(Darling their rye bread is a wonder. I savored - devoured, inhaled, thoroughly grooved on - the heel end of a pillowy rye after the movie, as I started the engine and maneuvered onto the Main Street, turning the car around to head back north.)

And then a cashier clerk butted in, and insisted on keying in my order, before in a more naturally-rhythmed way I could simply deal with the first clerk, who was taking down beautiful loaves, threading them through the slicer, and placing each in plastic bags.

To make a long story short, and cause of my irritation - there should have been a second multigrain loaf, not just one... and so my savings weren't really 50 percent.

It's exasperating that this silly minor thing irritated me so, if only momentarily. (Think of way bigger, costlier mistakes I've made! Wow - weirdly, those ellide by... ?!)

Oh darling, let me kiss you once again, my sweet. Also, I should be just so grateful for beautiful, incredible bread from this bakery, even if the discount didn't quite work out as I'd hoped - because darling, too, I spread the saved-wealth around town, purchasing a couple of bars of lemongrass soap at another shop, as well as the ticket to The Mill and the Cross...

Within whose very profound, quietly Christian context, were a number of beautifully dwelled-upon instances of fresh round loaves being made - grain first milled, exactingly and lovingly, by the old miller high atop the crag - and then the ultimate partakers down below, before breaking or cutting into the vital sustenance, the entirety of a meal, lift and reverently kiss each loaf. Give us each day our daily bread. Those words were never uttered in the film, yet were eloquently expressed nonetheless.

And so I'm very grateful for - well all of it, even if the math, given the innocent error, turned out to be closer to 30 rather than 50 percent.

Oh, I'm incorrigible. Will I get past it?

Yes darling, I will. I give you my love, as you give me yours.

All my love. Oh darling. Will come back in the morning, with proper links to the film, etc. Til then - śpij z Bożą.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hello dear love, back from a book-signing and witty, delightful discussion and Q&A at the local international arts colony. I was very happy to purchase the novel there, and moments later have the effervescent author, mingling among her friends and others gathered in the welcoming space, autograph my volume, "Dear Belle - Hope you enjoy it!" As she penned I said to her, don't wear out your hand - I imagined that she might need to sign quite a number of books - to which notion she lightly scoffed & inscribed her name. I've heard her read once before, from her debut novel, one of among several writers at a reading at my favorite literary watering hole, and I was very happy to hear more today, and to obtain her book (which didn't break the bank). And whose subject - the depiction of life in an elite girls' boarding school in India, made me think of my mother, who after the war, as a coming-of-age clueless Polish girl, non-English-speaking, had been summarily thrown into a Catholic boarding school in England, where one might say she had to either sink or swim, and I would say that perhaps she did neither - managed to survive, thrive in some ways, but be forever damaged in others. Anyway, an unexpected connection to make as I heard the novelist (who is about my age) read, and converse as well with her very prim and acerbically dry friend & country neighbor, a poised, decorous woman in her seventies I would guess, utterly refined, who'd spent her girlhood - from age four to 14 - daughter of a sugar plantation owner, in a boarding school in Sri Lanka. The older woman feigned shock at the lesbianism openly hinted at in the passages that this evening's author read. How old were you when you attended the school? Age six to sixteen. Ahhhh. So the elder woman had been plucked from her hothouse environment possibly before untoward sequestered shenanigans might have begun. And this was in the 1970s. To which the elder coiffed woman without missing a beat found her assured answer - in my day lesbianism hadn't been invented yet.

I've probably hopelessly botched the quotes, but it was all very amusing - the audience laughed as though it were a play on Broadway or comic film, the two women seated at the dais were just that charming, quick, and funny.

I'm fading a bit at this point, dearest, it's 7:30. I'm dressed in a nice skirt outfit - I so enjoy wearing them - tapping into my feminine side in that way. The perfume on my wrist, the usual, smells almost chocolatey to me. I did an awful lot of putzing around the kitchen today, it took hours but what did I accomplish? Well, quite a bit, just not dramatically so. Though I did bake cookies. I started out making a batch of chocolate chip cookies, from a recipe from the bag of chips (I have a more involved, supposedly superior recipe, but I'm not so sure, and didn't bother), and then after I added the cup of chopped walnuts, the dough seemed excessively buttery so I decided to throw in a couple of cups of organic oatmeal, and on top of that the contents of a bit-dusty baggie of golden raisins I had on hand. So - a hybrid cookie was born - and do you know - the dollops came out really delicious - the whole, vaguely butterscotchy, greater than the sum of its parts.

And I did a mountain of laundry, and put away the shopping bags of produce I came home with yesterday from the CSA. Seems so simple - oh yeah, I put away produce - what's the big deal? But it took a while. The sweet potatoes were crusted with earth, which got over everything, I had to rinse and scrape them by hand, along with the beets, let them dry, bag each vegetable separately - and that goes for the clean arugula, and kale too....

And that's about it... went for a walk - had done so much housework I had wondered if I'd get around to one, but I did. Had an effective time with you - so very different, what I think about now, for real, to get results, than the stuff I'd written for you all that time ago - OMG - what I wrote - the stuff of someone who hasn't had any in a while - speaking for myself. No, my fantasies - well - they're not that...

And beyond that I started reading one of the books I'd instantly reserved upon learning of it. It's a fictionalized account largely of the love & sex life of the both prolific and profligate H.G. Wells. I pounced on it, and devoured a portion of it, possibly for all the 'wrong reasons.' I was speed-reading for all the salient, explicit, and/or revelatory bits, looking for insight into a type of man I've had searing encounter with, and never quite got over, and to this day don't quite understand - or I do on some level, and not on another. I don't know. I found myself at one point, back down in the kitchen later in the afternoon, after getting myself off, after my nap, before dressing for the literary reading, unloading the dishwasher, feeding the cats, and I burst into tears, hot dry ones, because I don't understand why fate has been on that level so cruel to me. H.G. keeps marrying idealized women who as it turns out are passionless in bed. I have passion. And I'm a wife who's been faithful - for many years until my mind went off the deep end and now I'm not faithful at all. I'm lusty, yet not a cheap tramp. Menopausal - yet never pregnant; childless - never gave birth. I'm at arms reach all the time to anybody - forever out of reach. I lust just as much as the H.G. character (in the novel) professes to lust. And yet - I've never ever given my life over to that. And yet I've always been regarded as "wild" - dzika Jola.

Anyway, I don't mean to go off the deep end mood-wise, and yet I am feeling that way just a bit. I don't get it, not really. Aren't I attractive? degreed? cultivated?

Wouldn't I have made a good wife?
Or is it that I liked sex too much?

Friday, October 21, 2011


My dear love, the day began, and ended, with the most astonishingly beautiful light, for which the region is justifiably famous, and no wonder it has attracted, to this day, so many artists. I stepped out onto the juliet balcony this morning and managed to capture a fleeting moment, glow of fiery embers lit behind the black filigree of twin oaks (shedding their leaves) and other trees. What an effect.

Oh I could tinker in vain with that description for a while, but will move on. So just now, coming back home after a round loop of errands, which ended with picking up D in Hudson, the light at sunset was amazing - pellucid and platinum amid dramatically dark cloudbanked sky - piercing contrasts. Objects - street facades, houses, whole landscapes even - such as when I drove just now, at ten-to-six north up Route 9, view of the eastern horizon a marvel, a prospect of the sinuous line of Taconic Hills shimmering in the distance, gold as a ribbon of wheat field against gray sky - any features fortunate enough to be cast in this magical light for a moment were transformed to timeless perfection.

Oh darling, I am tired of attempts at landscape description - I've spent too much time to no improving avail trying to work on these lines.

I have a nice sense of wellbeing at the moment. I'm dressed in a nice skirt outfit, hair freshly washed & clipped up haphazardly now as I type (at a clip). I actually have a few plans for this weekend, so nice to anticipate because mostly I've been in the house & environs all week, without the car. So now I'm sprung - sort of. Oh it's okay. I was sprung this afternoon, hence my being slightly dressed up - for utterly the wrong crowd. I attended what I thought was going to be a lecture but turned out to be a concert/lecture... on a subject of spirituality & biodynamism & the like that I thought might be of interest... but in fact the iteration this afternoon was a bit too fervent for me - I bailed forthwith. Let's just say that I don't believe the instrument of the lyre needed to be reinvented under the auspices of a German control freak who'd observed that just such a thing needed to be done, and would have been done sooner, but all such Innovations in the Arts ground to a halt due to World War I, following which the topic of the re-invention of the lyre was taken up again in those stern circles, and in fact (as the small audience assembled in the hermetic downstairs gallery space was informed by a reverential devotee) the instrument was reinvented - "born" one night as she put it, naming the date. A group of five women each wielded pale blonde wood hacksaw-sized, metal-stringed instruments that they balanced on their organic-cotton clad laps. (No animal print tops or cashmere sweaters for them - I felt the renegade in the room, very much. Also I'd had an amazing orgasm not many hours before, and none of this bunch seemed terribly inclined in that direction, not in years - a rather repressed, starry-eyed lot.)  The music was nice, as lyre music generally is, the intertwining plucked harmonies intricate, and the women sang too, with angelic voices - it was all vaguely New Age, medieval, and Christmassy. 

I bailed. I needed to get to the little town library, a twenty-five minute drive north, a hit-and-run to pick up books I'd reserved, get them before the "hold" expired and they'd be sent back into the general system. Which I was getting close to that deadline. Which would be okay, in theory - yeah, send them back - except that I appreciate that privilege so much - reserving a book online - and I know that some dutiful assistant librarian in Mahopac or Adriance or Rhinebeck or Millerton - will receive a message that causes her (because it's usually a her, I surmise) to pluck the "checked in" volume off that little town library's shelf and send it to mine -- all because I had made that request. So I don't make those requests frivolously, and I try to honor them. Having said that, sometimes I make them on the fly, an impulse due to a reference I've read at that moment. And I have to tell you that right now - the two books I raced to pick up before the little library closed? I can't offhand recall what they are. Of course, I'm typing very fast to put down this thought - and am glad that my life doesn't depend on it.

And that's it for now, darling. Afterward I stopped, as usual on Friday afternoons, at the CSA farm. Their season and harvest were cut short and whole planted fields plowed under, due to climate chaos (in the named event of Hurricane Irene) - these catastrophic events can no longer seen as entirely unexpected - they are becoming the 'new normal.' I have a great deal of respect for this farmer, and he's affiliated sorta kinda with the groupies I lightly encountered this afternoon before bailing (and let me add too that it reinforces a visceral belief I have that I'm more enamored of healthful preparations of updated Waldorf salad - fresh greens, walnuts, beets, apples, gorgonzola, chicken - than I am of Waldorf schools).

Dearest, forgive me this unpolished post
but that's the nature of this blog
I'm not thrilled with the format, it's problematic incredibly so
but - I have a couple of literary connections & engagements to anticipate this very weekend
and so that's nice
and that's that
dearest love
I have such vivid vision of you
mostly you
just standing there so handsomely
in a doorway
or sitting at the top of the
steps leading down to the finished basement
you've cupped your hand to your ear
talking to some other relative
blood relation of yours I surmise
I saw you there
as I mixed in the kitchen
counseling that stuffing should be put in
the oven and baked for a bit so that the top becomes crunchy
(how could this be news to anybody?)
and I turned and saw you there, sitting
on the top stair of that in-between space
and these days when I think of that
I wish I could have
crossed that threshold
and brushed my hand against you

It wouldn't have happened
it didn't happen
but it's okay
I'm still really really glad
I have such visions in my head

xoxo

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hello darling, spectacular day today, otherworldly even, I was unexpected witness to extravagant joy, exuberant seasons ringing, concatenating, climaxing all at once together. I stepped out onto the porch this morning, sun golden and radiant, air surprisingly mild - torrid even, soft insistent breeze moisture-laden and tropical. The green garden is strewn all over with brown and gold leaves, the enormous ash in undressed tatter. Yet roses as ever are in wild pink bloom, as are salvia and coral zinnias in voluptuously leaf-littered beds. Blueberry bushes in the pen have turned scarlet. The sun poured through slate sky, insouciant of dark glower.  Off-scene chatter of birdsong carried above wind that stirred chimes hanging from eaves into harmonics. Then, even as the sun shone, it began to rain, a lightfilled shower, and it was a rare pleasure to stand on the sheltered porch, marvel at the downpour, and act as doorman as one by one the three cats scampered down the drive and up the steps to come in out of the rain. The screen door is still up, into which Penelope months ago cleverly clawed a 'pet door' for herself - so each cat in succession, each hesitating a moment as though diving, jumped through the gray torn mesh from one solar dimension, to solarium other.

Dearest you, I wonder how your week is going, or maybe it's more than a week, maybe you're back for good. Or visiting up north. Who knows. But I hope things are going well with you. I think of you.

D & I finalized our paint choices for the stairwell today, and I liked coordinating, or rather collaborating with him on it. There was almost a glimpse of our former good relationship, a sense of working on things together, towards a shared vision, mutual easygoing accommodation to improve our mutual home. I once read, in a lighthearted and well-written English mystery novel (I don't recall which or by whom), of a comfortable husband-and-wife team, one of whom observed that for them, the real business of marriage had to do with decorating their home. A sentiment I readily responded to at the time, and remember to this day. There is a lot to that, for me - without going overboard or all designery, just making the domestic spaces as comfortable and inviting and pleasant and delightful as one can, over time, including with the patina of use, and familiarity, and a certain degree of wear. But also of continual tweaking, a sense of keeping things at the very least nicely maintained if not extravagantly improved, including small touches such as fresh flowers here and there...

I did some online research today as to paint colors, and discovered a new line of tints whose chips aren't even in stores yet.  I'm going with 'Terrazzo Brown' for the bottom half of the stairwell in part because, in a rather clever marketing concept that intriguingly attaches to each hue an evocative line from a potential narrative, the shade reads, The earthy tiles cooled her feet as she entered the solarium for her morning cup of tea. Which would downright creep me out in its uncanny resemblance to me - were it not that I drink coffee and don't go barefoot. But how many women have earthy tiles in - let alone a space I've long dubbed - the 'solarium'?

(I've selected 'Cappuccino Froth' for the upper part of the stairs.  Taking the first sip of the frothy beverage, she felt warm and content on the cold winter day.  Comfortable shoes helped.)

Darling, I won't go on and on tonight. I had a wonderful day, with a walk after the rain ended.  The sun stayed out and it was in the seventies like summer except that all the leaves are slipping down. I didn't manage a workout, but I did at another point lie down and have the most exquisite and amazing time with you, it just blows me away, and I'm glad that even on such an unusually warm day the windows have been closed because sometimes I just come to a certain point and it's a precipice or a cartwheel or an inversion and I think of you coming and that's actually, when I can get it to that point, that's what puts me over too - coming together, that fusion, in that moment that something overtakes each of us and with exquisite incredible abandon we fuel each other and both let go -

And then I'm just so happy happy happy, and I leap up and go about doing all my little rounds around here - today, so comfortably, in the buff for a spell, it was just that blessedly mild.

And now I'm up in the aerie, sipping pink wine from a glass, tapping keys, chastely dressed in a between-seasons stylish outfit (nice to dress for myself - I'm wearing a bit of perfume too), and I think of you, and - my darling, I'm throwing my arms around you, as though we could have a moment to ourselves in a darkened corner away from all prying eyes - and kissing you full on the mouth etc. & etc., and all the rest...

Have a wonderful evening darling

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hello darling, up in the aerie, nightfall already at 6:25, dark & blustery with occasional spits of rain, discouraging the chickens perhaps, I haven't seen much of them all day. No poetry this evening, not yet anyway, in fact at the moment I'm feeling a little distracted. D is set to repaint the stairwell, and for the upper half that can be seen from up here, I thought it would be easiest & best to use the same wall color as in the aerie, a serene, atmospheric greige with possibly the slightest hints of lavender or lilac. We'd chosen the color from a chart six years ago, but the paint company seems to have discontinued that particular palette, and I don't recall the name... and so here we go again, the nuisance of trying to select another color. I've been looking at paint hues online for the past hour, and the exercise has tapped unfortunately into a more obsessive, focused, analytical part of my brain -- not the dreamy, poetic, everloving blogging part. Ah well. None of this would be a big deal, except that I dread painting the stairwell some different shade, however slightly different (if we're trying to approximate it) because we won't be painting the aerie right away, and so I know that it's going to be a source of chafing visual irritation to me, the mismatch - and will only make the aerie look in worse need of fresh paint than it already is.

I have no right to complain, I know I have it good. It's just that I do like things clean & neat & fresh & bright & orderly... instead, here it's this constant makeshift, make-do, half-measures, sort-ofs, incompletes. And I'm Lady of the Manor, while D toils. Wonderful.

Near the beginning of when D & I met and started seeing each other - we fell in together very fast - he bought me, for my birthday I think, a lovely tall gray ceramic cylindrical vase. I loved the present, I thought he had chosen it beautifully, I love flowers, all sorts of blossoms looked wonderful in it. I cherished it for many years, and it always had a prominent spot among our furnishings - on Sackett Street, on the left hand side of the gray marble fireplace mantle; up here, atop a low burnished wood bookcase, filled not with fresh flowers, but with artificial (but nicely made) silk cosmos tangles bought on sale from Pottery Barn - I'm not big on artificial, but these were quite nice, in a problemsolving way - they filled up a corner with a nice display, and I didn't have to worry about replacing them all the time, or splashing water on wood.

This was a while ago now, maybe a year or more, but I continue now & then to think of it, and it still bothers me. D had presented me with this gift, twenty-five years ago now, and last year sometime, in a pique of rage, he deliberately took the vase and smashed it. I found the jagged ruined pieces on the floor the following morning. Which just shocked me, that he would have done such a thing. I was very angry, needless to say. He said that he had given me the vase and so it was his to smash. And I said no it wasn't, it was my vase, it belonged to me, and he had no right. (Not to mention all other sorts of shades of nuance, such as - why are we smashing things, in general?) What bothers me too, is that I've since read a mention of Freud having written (I should look up the quote but don't have the energy right now) that to smash a vase is to symbolically smash your wife's head. Which was obviously jarring when I came across that reference, it reverberated with me, and as unverifiable as Freud is (an argument against him as I recall from a Philosophy of Mind class in college) - that's exactly what it had felt like to me when D smashed that particular object. He chose it carefully, both times - first when he gave it to me - it had symbolic import then, perhaps, that I can't say I had intuited or absorbed - and when he chose to then take it away - that meant something too.

Things have calmed down considerably in the last year, we just cohabit. It's not the worst situation, but it doesn't feel tenable to me, nor entirely fair, but I don't know what to do about it. And he doesn't either, so we just go about the dailiness at this point. It's not the worst.

He gives me space, he works & tries to keep up with the bills (modest as our lifestyle is, and house & car paid for). I put many if not most of the meals on the table, do laundry, keep things tidy, fetch the mail. I'm the one who insists on fresh carpeting - that's not coming away from its tacks in the risers - that won't be a trip hazard for guests.

I'm really sorry all this happened. I feel a sense, all these years later - we'll have been married 25 years come February, that even though I was very happy with him for about the first 20 years, that in fact I had made a colossal mistake, an error of judgment perhaps, or perhaps he had quite successfully hidden his nature from me, or it was something he could quite easily do as long as I was earning money, and he didn't feel the pressure of any real responsibility. I have always felt this pressure to try to make something of myself (however unlikely it may look to others from the outside, these days anyway), with intermittent successes over the years, but not over the long haul. It's funny, at Swoon the other day when I took myself out to lunch there were a couple of guys, one of them around my age, the other a little older - brothers perhaps, they seemed to be catching up with each other. The younger one mentioned something about a woman academician of his acquaintance, who (in what I could catch of what he said) after a long illustrious career with hardwon achievements pretty much up & quit, before - as this guy put it - she could "reap the harvest" of all her hard work. The guy seemed nice actually, very empathic, saying that he recognized that she had simply gotten tired. I have never had that sense of putting in the work... and then somehow the moment coming that I reap the rewards. Unless that very moment is now - that, frankly because I have no idea what else to do with myself -  so this bit of writing that I do - I've seized that.

I know that it comes more easily to a certain kind of man, I can think of several, including a former boss of mine in the city, who absolutely knew how to play the game, smoothly navigating himself through everything, serene, unruffled, "village elder," plaudited. (Is that the word I mean?)

I don't know - different degrees. There's playing the game, & coasting, and there's applying yourself. D is applying himself now, I see that, it's a bit belated, and I wish - I don't know - that there were something more affirmative at some point - at any point that I ever knew him - about his applying himself.

You know, perhaps I'm thinking about this stuff too in light of a quote by Vladimir Nabokov that I just read in the Malcolm. It's not the first time I've read this passage, but I'll include it here, I relate to it very much - and my dearest, perhaps you do too, or recognize something - both in yourself, and in me.
"[The Chekhov hero] - a queer and pathetic creature that is little known abroad and cannot exist in the Russia of the Soviets... combine[s] the deepest human decency of which man is capable with an almost ridiculous inability to put his ideals and principles into action... Knowing exactly what is good, what is worthwhile living for, but at the same time sinking lower and lower in the mud of a humdrum existence, unhappy in love, hopelessly inefficient in everything -- a good man who cannot make good... Blessed be the country that could produce that particular type of man... [The] mere fact of such men having lived and probably still living somewhere somehow in the ruthless and sordid Russia of today is a promise of better things to come for the world at large - for perhaps the most admirable among the admirable laws of Nature is the survival of the weakest."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011












Dearest, rising to the surface
or appearing in the night sky as a sliver
(not diva of bright full moon, not tonight)
or I'm standing at an upper floor window
rivulets dripping down the pane
(except that it's not raining)
rendering the shimmering view distorted
as if regarded through warped glass
I gaze out at wet verdant green, trees lush and dark
and like a woman who might in silence look out
absently imagining the figure of her lover on horseback appearing
at the far end of the lonely road and fields
galloping in silence towards the manse
I look out without seeing for a glimpse of you.
But you are far, far away, landscape silent
(at least within the confines of this silent room)
unpeopled save for an image faintly overlaid,
facing me uncomprehendingly, with or without my notice
my own reflection as I peer past
to the vast world beyond
for a reflection of you
even as I know in vain, that the only vision of you,
amid other fleeting momentary impressions
gone when I turn away from the glass
captured only, as ever, if conjured
whether I'm asleep or awake
will be in my mind.













***
images:
Vilhelm Hammershoi (Danish, 1864-1916), Bedroom, 1890

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999), Eleanor, Chicago, 1948, gelatin silver print, National Gallery of Art, Washington (link re: current exhibition here)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dearest Branwell, my love, your page hits speak volumes to me, the images you beam that come spinning back to me with reverberations different sometimes from what I'd been thinking about when I originally posted them. I form a narrative in my mind of what I imagine you're trying to communicate to me. I have no way of knowing, not really, except that I feel that I do know, or understand, intuitively. A few of the images, when you telegraph them, are so acute and eloquent that when I see them I murmur oh my dear, from empathy as to what I perceive, or again intuit, to be your situation. And that's all. I'm glad I'm a comfort to you, I won't be coy, I'm certain that I must be, as you certainly are an abiding if forever out of reach comfort to me. You and I are Dmitri and Anna, without benefit even of the occasional sojourn at the Slaviansky Bazaar Hotel - unless you count our nightly interior meetings here. Which I suppose I do.

I'm thinking anew of Dmitri and Anna too, because I've started to read a slim and compelling hybrid work of non-fiction, called Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey, by Janet Malcolm. I just started it today and am already a third of my way through - refreshingly swift progress considering that I am still in the final pages of Sewall's biography of E.D, which I just can't seem to get to the end of, brilliant as it is. I've been feeling restless, a bit, to consider something else, another writer, so when I came across this interview that mentioned the Malcolm, I instantly reserved the library book online.

Reading Chekhov truly is a hybrid, a word which is rapidly becoming one of my favorites, as I find within its relaxed interstices, niches in which I myself can fit. Janet Malcolm is a wonderful writer, ostensibly a journalist, I've read a number of her considerations on a myriad of topics over the years in The New Yorker, including, memorably, a year or two ago, her account of sitting in on a murder trial in Queens - a harrowing, riveting masterpiece. (I was going to link to the article, but see that it has since been published as a book.)

As much as I've greatly enjoyed Malcolm's writing over the years, I never until now had the thought of wishing to plumb her entire oeuvre, but feel inspired to do so now and am gratified to see, in the 'Also by Janet Malcolm' at the frontispiece of Reading Chekhov, that I have a number of expositions to look forward to, including one on Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

I love miraculous wormholes such as this - when suddenly I have an entrance into a writer's body of work - not just that, but the body of work being very reflective of how the writer's - in this case Malcolm's - mind works, casting her torchlight at dark cave walls, at once illuminating images that come startlingly alive as she sees and describes them.

And so in Reading Chekhov, Malcolm tours various sites in Russia associated with either Chekhov's works or his biography, such as the country homestead he created, which Malcolm now visits. She observes that the original dwelling had been leveled by Stalin, but has since been recreated, in some fashion, and whether or not accurately hardly matters - it remains, despite all heartfelt intentions and even carefully preserved original artifacts - a replica - an irony that Malcolm imagines would not have been lost on Chekhov himself.

In her travels, observations, and contemplations, such as to the waterfront in Yalta, featured in Chekhov's famous short story, The Lady with the Dog, Malcolm offers up very astute, thoughtful, considered insight and interpretation into Chekhov's fictional characters and their existential dilemmas, illuminating them as near-allegorical figures, purposely imprecise...

Janet Malcolm is brilliant, and when I turned to the inside back cover in hope of an author photograph, I was gratified to find one

[memo to 1.0 - what is up with that? your lack of author photos? my God, what image is the American Heritage Dictionary to use when as an illustrative example they credit you with a quote about the Superbrain? well okay, maybe the italicized quote will suffice - but I still wish to see a recent headshot that does you justice! Calling not Vladimir, but Dominique - portrait photographer extraordinaire...]

and also to learn that she was born in Prague, which may or may not make her Eastern European in origin, her roots, genetic predisposition, culturally crosscutting disposition -

***
I remember in high school writing for the school newspaper, an extremely dry affair, closely controlled & managed by a teacher, a guy whose face I barely recall, and name not at all. I was also involved with a bunch of other writing outlets at the school - the yearbook (write something funny!!! - a command that set me back for years); the literary magazine Vertigo, easy enough to simply submit a piece I'd written for creative writing class; the book review journal that a friend of mine & I, with the guardian-angel aide of a school librarian, founded, wrote & solicited pieces for, and had published. And of course I was forever writing essays (happily if tortuously) for various classes...

My parents would get the Times, and in thinking of what form my own wish to write might take, I always loved the first-person journalistic accounts of -- whatever the subject was -- often to be found in the Sunday Times Magazine, at the time especially (which I mean as a comment on my youth & excited sense of discovery), a weekly surprise treasure chest of the heretofore entirely unconsidered, unheard of, and suddenly compellingly fascinating...

Feeling as always not quite in the groove, yet wishing to be, in some way that worked for me, in which I'd feel comfortable - I asked the school-paper adviser if I might be allowed to write a piece from my own perspective. At first he didn't know what I was talking about. "Like in the Times, those journalistic first-person accounts... couldn't I do something like that, on whatever topic, for The Roundtable?"

Absolutely not!! He barked back formidably from behind his steel desk on the linoleum tiled floor.

But it's a legitimate form of journalism, I tried to counter.

Yeah, maybe - but not here, not this school paper.

Lou Grant he wasn't, and neither was I a Mary Richards.

It was just - at the time, in this student's coming up - a rigid imposition of narrow categories.

If I could wish the most minor of do-overs
I would wave a magic wand and imagine, as I posited my query
his face lighting up -
yeah, go for it!
what a great idea
but since I'm still the adviser let's work on what you have in mind
At just this time of year, when the Black Knights take up their positions in the SHS football field, ever-green even as I wear my favorite wraparound ivory sweater and this brand new perfume I've discovered called Miss Dior and I did well on the PSAT's but OMG then there's the SAT's oh whatever, I have to work at the library after school today for a few hours...
Well, no darling, that's not the sort of copy I would have turned in to the bored, angry, school newspaper adviser (and who could blame him, for his perpetual bad humor?)

Anyway, dearest love, bidding you adieu, flying south, metaphorically - like these geese - literally

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Aloha darling, welcome stateside, let me bestow a lei on you and shower you with kisses, an old Hudson tradition. No, not really, alas, nothing here quite so charming. Here, were there an airport, before hardly clearing customs you'd likely be hit up for a donation to the annual June Flag Day parade - the extortion around here starts early - D was stopped in traffic for that this weekend. In the airport parking lot a bevy of volunteer fire would stop your rental car and wave a rubber boot, also demanding spare change for the very large red toy trucks they drive around in. Don't get me started. Are there sometimes legitimate fires & similar major emergencies that all manner of rescue squads respond to around here? Sure, and obviously I have no problem with that. But as my local property taxes keep going up, I resent when I personally, all too often, witness what appears to be a completely unnecessary, wasteful, and colossally expensive overresponse to a minor calamity, say a fender-bender, or a medical crisis. Your Homeland Security tax dollars hard at work in this rural bastion of Party-controlled silly redundancies...

Oh sweetheart - do I get a do-over? Let me try again. How about just a few sweet tender kisses for starters, and the promise of a vivifying drink & delicious repast, whatever you like.

I hope you're settling in and have had a good day. I've had a very nice one myself. I had a half-price certificate and so treated myself to lunch at my favorite casually elegant restaurant on Warren Street. I dressed up a bit again - what a treat to do so, to really enjoy what I'm wearing, and at first the maitre d' wanted to seat me at a small table right in the open of the middle of the room - the last place I wished to be - so I gestured to an empty small table - okay if I sit in the corner? Yes, of course. And so I was happily seated, and soon ensconced in reviewing the lunch menu, and ordering a delicious glass of minerally dry white wine, the variety of which I neglected to commit to memory. And so I enjoyed my meal, and the ambience, and the few diners in the room subtly checking one another out, me included, and I enjoyed the pan-fried scallops (all four of them!) done up in a rich buttery sauce that seemed to involve sesame oil, minced bacon or pancetta, and scallion - unexpectedly slightly Asian, fusion I guess. But before my order had arrived, I actually just enjoyed quietly surveying the room, taking the tiniest sips ever of my $11 glass of wine, and breaking off with my fingers bits of warm baguette, each of which, one by one, as the minutes unfolded, I ritually and lavisciously spread with a dot of cold butter, that would melt into each morsel, that I'd pop delicately into my mouth, and absolutely savor every bite, and - I'm going to say it - the mouthfeel. Yes, I'm a pretty sensual person - I really enjoyed that simple but perfect bread & butter, and the cool refreshing wine. By the end of the meal, I was half-intoxicated from the whole heady experience - which had gotten me for a moment drunker, the wine - or the butter & the rich sauce?

Afterward, I strolled up and down Warren Street, glanced in shop windows, and felt very elegant in my black skirt, animal print top, cashmere cardigan, and sandals. And I have to say that I was quite flattered when a guy parked in a Range Rover evidently noticed me and nodded hello, which I took as an approving look. Which outwardly I completely ignored - what was I supposed to do? I suppose a flirt would know precisely what to do. No, I instead regally sailed on - but it was a kick nonetheless - it is nice to be noticed. I, on the other hand, couldn't see his face, just the brief rather pointed signal dip of his head.

And then darling, I went to a poetry reading - and actually stayed for it. It was quite enjoyable, an older woman, well in her seventies, young at heart, vital, exuberant - and her poetry was very very good. Better than I expected really, though the Opera House here doesn't showcase any slouches, not at all (Ralph Waldo Emerson himself once gave a talk here - that's the sort of high-level bar they've set for themselves, on one level, because they do a lot of community arts programming, as well). I appreciated that this poet, who read from several of her published volumes of poetry, writes directly, while metaphorically, of major subjects - love, desire, death, dying... I was especially impressed that she read aloud a few poems that very openly treated of a woman's loving desire - so refreshing to hear, in our odd culture. And frankly, as problematic as my own blog is, or writing (because my writing, such as it is - that's what it consists of - this blog), I felt validated, or at least that there's another kindred spirit out there - still alive, still corporeal - who loves, who desires, who loves to kiss, to hold and to be held. I wouldn't be surprised if this woman's poetry is one day accorded a greater posthumous regard. In a brief Q&A after she entertainingly & energetically read a number of her verses, she said that she, while published by small presses, has thrived in her obscurity, and that if Knopf were to approach her she'd be inclined to turn them down, because she writes best in complete privacy, anonymity, and obscurity. Which was certainly a sentiment I could relate to, very much so. Whatever it is that I write - I don't write for a "market." I write for myself, and for you. And for whoever else - like yourself, once! - might discover my blog and like it and stay - but beyond that? no, there is no way I could write what I write "for publication."

Anyway, I'm going on & on here, I'm just so happy to sense that you're back - unpacked I guess, your home team charming extortionists (dare I guess?!), with their natural pent-up demand, having left you in peace perhaps, at the tail end of the weekend, for a little while...

Sweetheart, I'm not even going to proof this post, not just now, maybe in the morning. For now I'm just basking in the fresh remembrance of a wonderful day, with firm resolve to redouble my efforts in the workout department tomorrow - sybarite that I am, I enjoyed an awful lot of delicious food & drink this weekend, and though I took long vigorous walks - they weren't enough!

At lunch today in the restaurant I wished so much that you had been sitting across from me. We would have had a nice time. Maybe we would even have taken that table for two in the middle of the room. It wouldn't have mattered, because between the prospect of seeing each other across a table, touching hands now & then, sipping wine -- the entire rest of the room would have fallen away -- it would have been just you & me together --

many kisses, darling

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Scheherazade here, darling, with my 1001st published post...

Though not much of a story to tell this evening, dearest. I'm wondering where you are - is that what you meant by "hell gate & its approaches?" I hope everything's alright. I'll post even though, frankly, I'm not really in the mood. But I like the thought that if you manage to check in, you'll find me here. I'm feeling slightly out of sorts, in between things. I looked forward today to going out this evening, to a literary reading in town. I rested, napped, showered, washed my hair and dried it, spritzed on Miss Dior, put on my black skirt, sparkly evening top, and black cashmere sweater - my preparations reminiscent of Caillebotte's woman at the dressing table.

I had the car in plenty of time, drove into town, parked on a nearby side street, and climbed two flights of nineteenth century townhouse stairs to the softly lit brick-walled gallery loft on the top floor, where patrons milled about sipping wine poured from a selection of fine bottles that had been set out (the space is affiliated with a very good wine merchant downstairs), and helping themselves to a modest & enticing spread of nibbles - pristine log of goat cheese, enormous wedge of parmigiano reggiano that flaked & flecked upon carving, thin rounds of soppressata, artisanal baguette slices cut on the diagonal, bunches of red & green grapes, a scattering of dried apricots and figs. Of figs, I feel a small obsession developing... my favorite pizza is one we occasionally get in town, thin sourdough topped with prosciutto, ricotta, arugula, and figs - I love the combination of savory & sweet. This morning I tore out a page from a gourmet magazine, a recipe for hazelnut-fig biscotti. I will add to my exotic-provisions shopping list for Sahadi's in Brooklyn - dried Calimyrna figs.

As ever, I didn't know anyone in this mingling pre-reading wine & cheese. I poured myself a plastic glass of delicious sparkling rosé, and arranged a few delectable morsels on a paper napkin marked with an elegantly embossed "W" - intertwined, doubled letter coincidentally identical to the new logo of my alma mater, always a weird association to make (I've been at a gathering here before and encountered those napkins), as though the event has anything to do with the college, which it doesn't, and yet it's in the same kind of relaxed, elegant style, so why not, might as well be. And here I am, to boot, Class of '81. So there!

I devoured (discreetly as possible) those bites, and discovered that I was quite hungry - suddenly ravenous. I went back for another glass of wine, another dab of goat cheese on cracker, parmesan hunk on baguette, a single red grape, one of green...

This was indeed a gallery, except that other times I've been there it's just seemed like an upstairs party space - but yes, there was art hung on the walls, which I realized were collages of poems that were to be read from this evening. I strolled around the room, perusing the mountings. Which I can't say spoke to me, but I can be impatient at times with such things - so don't mind me.

More attendees by one's and two's climbed stairs and arrived in the door, room cheerfully abuzz, and most seemed either to know one another or somehow other able to spontaneously form congenial conversational groups, or had come with a S.O. or friend, and I was just standing there trying to figure out another geometric beeline to the drinks & refreshments, harder to navigate now that the room was getting more crowded with people standing around obliviously and inconveniently blocking those crucial tables. But I managed, and took one more small helping for myself, but found they'd run out of the rosé (is such a symptom of the lamentable state of our collapsing global economy? I've never known this well-capitalized outfit ever to either purposely or accidentally run out of wine).

And then I found that I just wasn't in the mood anymore. I had delighted in anticipating the little outing all day, enjoyed getting dressed up, arriving there, and smelling so so nice, darling! (One of my little fantasies - that someone near me, sniffing the air, asks - by God, what is that beautiful fragrance? And I reply, Miss Dior, it's very hard to find...). But I had lost interest in the literary aspects. And so, dear reader, I made up another small napkin of delectables, to bring home for D, carefully balanced the square in my hand and made my way clomping delicately as I could down the narrow steep flights, managing (because, left hand occupied, I couldn't clutch the banister) to neither drop the contents of the napkin, nor to trip, in slightly wobbly sandals, on the stairs.

And so I'm home.  D was happy for the souvenir treat, we'll have pesto for dinner with the remainder of cornish hen (which came out fine by the way, of course). I did so much cooking earlier today, sweetheart - after a long walk around here in the incandescent blaze of October foliage - a pot of red-wine infused chicken drumsticks stewed in a melange of CSA tomato, eggplant, onion - the entire dish, save the Italian plonk, organic!; preparations for yet another frangipane - poached pears, almond buttercream, tart shell; tomato & onion salsa, seasoned with fresh jalapeno, lime juice, EVOO, and cilantro...

So it was a day of cooking, & of dining, of looking forward to food & to savoring it. With such fortifying repasts throughout the day - was it any wonder I didn't quite have room, as it turned out, for a literary feast?

Many hugs, and all best wishes, dear love. I hope everything is going well, or not too terribly, or whatever is going on, that it's manageable, and that you're okay. Thinking of you, and sending my love your way. There - as you come just now to this line as you read - do you feel my soft kisses on your cheek? Have a good evening...  xoxo love, Belle

***
image:
Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), Woman at Dressing Table, 1873, oil on canvas