Friday, January 18, 2019

The Fear



A long weekend ahead.  My weekends haven't been successful for quite awhile.  I head into this one with much trepidation.  I try to steel myself against it, but I know when the moment comes, I will not be prepared.

I am tired, but not wanting to be a crippled old man, I push on.  Let's go here.  Let's go there.  What I want to do is sit or sleep.  It has been three months now, not long enough to heal but long enough for others to get bored of my incapacities.  This weekend, though, I must rest.  I must stay near my home and aid the healing.

I live in a land of vacationers, however, and think to do a series on people and leisure.  If only I had the gumption right now.  It is the perfect time of year.

The sky is blue after a delayed sunrise.  I will take a walk.  I haven't for over a week as Ili has been sick and I have been her helper and companion.  But I begin shoulder therapy once again on Monday, and so I want to get everything else ready, too.  I am afraid.  I don't tell anyone that.  But I am.  Let's not talk about it.  You must not tell anyone either.

And so the day wears on.  I must greet it.  You already have, I'm sure.  I am so far behind.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Imitation



While I was incapacitated at my mother's house, I tried to do my own "Egglestons" around her house.  I wasn't successful.  He is more difficult to imitate than you might think.  The more I try, the more I admire his photographs.

I watched "Everything Is Photographable," the new documentary about Garry Winogrand, the other night.  I had reserved tickets to see it in Atlanta, and then when I was in L.A. I saw that it was going to play in a local theater.  I called to get tickets and was told it had been rescheduled for the night of the day that I was leaving.  Then I had the accident, so I didn't get to see it anywhere.  But you can rent it on YouTube for $3.99, so I did.  Here is my review.  Save your money.  You can see everything that is in it for free on YouTube.  There is nothing added, nothing new.  It will show on PBS in the coming months, but I wouldn't recommend you bother.  It is a true failure.

I wish that it were not so.

I am beginning to get sad.  There are many reasons.  I can't talk about it now.

But I'll tell you something; I sure would like to make a good picture.  

Monday, January 14, 2019

By Spring?



I haven't reached despair, yet, but last night I got close.  I thought about how nearI came to dying, and I realized I would have to do it again sooner or later.  It would be no more pleasant the second time around.

This is no way to lead a happy life.

I have led a happy life.

I still don't have gumption.  I can't wander yet, can't spend the day walking and lazing around cafes.  I can't carry a bag on my shoulder.  That will take a while.  You will have to wait a spell for me to come to your own hometown. 

But I wish to. 

I have a friend who lives in Manhattan, who worked for the defunct Interview magazine.  He says that the city is changing beyond recognition.  I want to get back up there before everything is gone.  He sent me photos of Asbury Park.  Photogenic, he says. 

There is much to do.  I must get well. 

By Spring? 

Metal on Bone.  No match at all. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Keep Trying



 He is the kind of doctor who looks you in the eye and yells, "You've got cancer," without blinking.  It wasn't cancer.  It was my shoulder.  And the rest.  The news was about as bad as I could get.  Surgery would probably make it worse, he said.  Everything is a mess.  We'll try physical therapy.

I'm hoping to be able to put a shirt on without help.  Hoping to be able to get off the floor using both hands.  Etc.

I'll go at therapy like I'm training for the Olympics.

I haven't whined, but sometimes in the night. . . .

Flawed photographer, flawed photos.


I try making pictures, but nothing is working well.  My timing is off, my rhythm, I guess.  I'll keep trying.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Probably



I'm getting better, I swear.  I go to the shoulder doc today to see the future.  Anxious, I confess. 

Rough days could lead to better nights.  That's what someone said.  To what can rough nights lead?  Can and could are vague enough terms.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  The future is always couched in such terms. 

I haven't been watching the news at all, but I read that Stormy Daniels was folding clothes in her underwear on Instagram while Trump made his speech.  I'm missing much. 

I'll let you know how this afternoon goes.  Probably. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Wait




I'm not whole, but I long to be.  I am uneasy with how long this is taking.  It is worse at night when I wake in the dark and begin to think.  I dream of climbing mountains.  I dream of surfing.  I dream of driving down the Baja highway and eating fish tacos and drinking beer in the early 1960's.

Then I try to turn over, and I can't.

Throw onto that some other traumas and the despair is overwhelming.  Throw a drowning man an anchor.

But one knows that one's problems are his own and that telling others about it when they can do nothing but sympathize is a sure way to lose friends.  And so you say, "I'm fine.  I'm good."

"You're tough," they say, and it makes them feel better to think so.  They can let it go.

I don't blame them.  I am the same way.  It is frustrating not to be able to help.

I got a call yesterday from an old colleague to tell me that another old colleague had died.  He was 80.  I hadn't seen him for about eight years.  He was an odd one which makes his memory very vivid. I don't think I can go to his funeral.  It won't be much of an affair.  The funeral will be as sad as his death.

I do feel better, I think.  Either that or I am simply adjusting to some things.  I have an appointment with a should doc on Wednesday to see which way we go.  I am very anxious about this visit.

I wait to see which way this story goes.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Dependent



Last bit of a beautiful afternoon, light breeze, sixty-nine degrees.  Cloudless blue sky.  Ili has gone to visit her parents, so I had the day to myself.  I made breakfast before she left, and she was on the road by eleven.  I went to the gym and walked an inclined treadmill and walked on a stair stepper machine.    I came home and showered and dressed and got my cameras and lenses together.  I was going to take advantage of the day.  I drove out to a stretch of highway that I thought might be promising.  When I got there, I drove into a market and parked the car.  I felt small and vulnerable as I pulled my cameras onto my shoulder.  I snapped a photo of a palm tree and began to walk.  The distance between things is greater at foot speed than at sixty.  Nothing was as interesting and it took me a long time to walk from thing to thing.  I moved slowly, my ribs hurting, but more just because I was slow.  In minutes, I was worn out.  What had I thought I was going to do?  I didn't have the moxie.

I struggled back to the car, twisted gingerly, slung the camera bag into the passenger seat with great effort, and pulled myself up into the seat.  Then I sat.  The day was beautiful, and I sat on a sad, ugly piece of road on my day off, tired, worn out, spent.

It was a sullen reminder of where I am physically right now.  I am not up to much.  Sitting around the house, I feel fine.  But the world. . . it is still too much.

The sun sinks lower in the sky.  The temperature drops.  Ili is not home.  I will be hungry soon, and I will want a drink.  I am as dependent as a child.

Perhaps soon. . . .

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Means Nothing



Accidental table top photo.  Just advancing the film.  Turned out to be the most interesting shot on the roll.  Means nothing.

Each night, I look forward to feeling better the next day.  Not a little better but a lot.  The next day is much like the last, so I tell myself this will take time.  Of which, I think, I am running out.  Mornings are better than evenings, of course.

Repeat.

Yesterday I went to the beautician.  She does what she wants.  Yesterday she wanted to cut my hair short.  She doesn't consult with me for I've told her long ago that I don't know.  I will have to get used to this one.

But I have confidence.

I have an adapter to fit screw mount lenses onto the Sony A7.  I thought I did, but I wondered why I would.  I found it and put on my two "new lenses."  The Nikon 5cm is a dream.  The Canon 3.5cm is what I had suspected, very soft focus.  These two will stay with the Monochrom.  I want to shoot today if I can find some energy.

Now I must begin my day.  The weekend will surely fly away on short wings.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Specialized




We live in a specialized world.  When I look at the medical bills from my treatment and stay in the hospital, I don't know who most of the people billing me are.  There are many specialists and many helpers, especially in the operating room.  I'm surprised I haven't gotten a bill from the janitors yet.  

To wit: I went to the dentist just a bit ago to have a crown that had fallen out put back on.  Seemed simple.  Same dentist who had put it on, I think.  Maybe.  It might have been the one before him.  I don't know.  But the crown fit onto the tooth without a problem.  And then the dentist offered me three options.  

"I can put this back on with some cement, but I can't tell you how long it will stay on.  It could be a week, it could be ten years."  

I was fine with that, but it seems he works with another dentist now who is a prosthodontist.  He recommended that I see him to have a new crown.  He might recommend a root canal, but he didn't know.  What did I want to do?

I told him I didn't have sufficient information to make a decision.  I was confused, really.  In the past, this fellow had put on a crown.  Now. . . he practiced "family dentistry."  Had the rules changed, I wondered?  Was he never supposed to do crowns or was this just another change of the type that put Dr. Marcus Welby on the little league team?  Those were not questions that I asked him.  

"Well, I want to do this right, of course."  

And of course, the right choice was to see the specialist.  He put my crown in a case and handed it to me.  I would need to make an appointment with the prosthodontist.  

I left flummoxed.  What the hell?  I felt I should have had the old crown cemented on, but now I didn't want the old dentist to do it.  Would the prosthodontist recommend that?  Shit, fuck, goddamn.  

Driving home, I decided to do some research.  I was going to change dentists.  I didn't need this hillbilly any more.  

But this is the way of the modern world, no?  If I want a one stop shop, I need to live in a less specialized country.  What would have happened in a European country, I wondered?  Or in an Arab country?  I was pretty sure I knew what would happen in Mexico, Venezuela, or Columbia, all fairly modern by world standards.  

It cost me $80 for the recommendation.  They no longer took my insurance.  

I am told I am getting the best medical attention in the world.  

I've decided to have a Belgian Ale tonight.  I had another long day at the factory, and I feel tired and worn.  I am excited to try a new lens that came today, a 5cm Nikkor LTM (screw mount) lens from the late 1950's.  I shot a little with it, and it looks beautiful.  I need to get another adapter, though, as the one I have will not bring up the correct frame lines on my Leica's.  I'll get it right eventually.  Now I just want to go out and shoot.  But not yet.  I am too tired at day's end.  I will study more Eggleston and more Winnogrand tonight.  What was going on in those opaque minds?  Neither explained their works and both said that the photos were just meant to be looked at, but I am convinced there are algorithms in the works that I can partially interpret.  That will be my evening.  

I am preparing for the future that I hope exists.  

Here is the last photo of me as a whole.  Here you see my goal.  

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Great




More film fun.  Healthy veggie smoothy. I need a lot of health.

Quick post at dawn.

That didn't work.  Let's try noon.  But this doesn't work, either.  What do I have to say.  I am able to perform my functions.  Nothing more.  Some of them.  I need help with others.

"How are you feeling?  Are you in pain?"

"I'm doing great."  What else can you say.  "Better than yesterday."  Some days, that's a lie.  After a day at the factory, I hurt all night.  Not much sleep.  Feeling like poop today.  Fortunately, the factory is busy.  I deal with few people.

I put off things that need doing.

Having written that, I realize. . . I must do them now.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Talent



A bad year ended well.  On the last evening, I bit into a gummy candy and pulled off a crown.  December 31.  I am hoping that is the end of it.  I go to the dentist tomorrow.  We'll see if I am lucky or not.

I love this photo for silly reasons.  It is a film picture taken straight from a scan without manipulation.  The colors of film are different from digital.  I can't explain it.  Flowers and light and art.  So be it.

I have returned to the factory.  People are nice, but the day has worn me out.  I am not well though I have fooled myself sitting on the couch.  Long way to go.

I want to take pictures, kids.  I really do.  But all I can manage now are the occasional snapshot, so that is what we'll live with.  I am studying the masters with intensity, though, trying to determine what they did and why they did it.  I look at picture after picture in search of answers.  It is difficult.  I want to look at everything they did, not simply the book or two (or ten) that has been published.  Surely there is an algorithm for each project.

I continue to photograph my house, my yard, the trash cans and car fenders, getting each a bit better or worse but sometimes knowing why.  Everything is a matter of focus and talent.  Talent.  What is that?  It is a cover word too large and ambiguous.  It is in a category of words that oppress us.  It has more to do with madness, I think.

I'll tell you more as I think of it.

A forbidden whiskey and some glee.  We find it where we can.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Monday, December 31, 2018

The Annual Cycle



One thing gives over to another.  Old story.  New tricks.  There is a simplistic finality to it.  The last bite of an ice cream cone.  A new flavor.

In a couple days, I will return to work at the factory.  I will be assumed normal.  I am not.  I do not have the juice for a whole day.  No drive.  I cannot conceive of independent projects or deeds.  I want them.  I do.  I must solve this.  I must think.

A short entry, this.  I hope you are preparing.  I am.  In which case there is not so much for which to prepare.

I shot this at the hipster coffee shop.  The dog was eating ice cream out of the cup held by a happily screaming girl.  It was too good not to put the Monochrom on.  Everything is off, the shutter speed, the focus, the ISO.  Still. . . it has a quality.

Until next year. . . .

Sunday, December 30, 2018

In the Planning



Like I said, I didn't think I'd be able to post every day. There are too many factors, none of which need to be discussed here.  Not many.  Not much.

I get tired after too much exertion which usually is simply going places, riding and getting in and out of the car, walking among people, sitting in public.  I have done enough of that these holidays, and I come home and crash like a baby.  I still need rest.  People I know see me and say I look good, and I do for someone run over by an SUV, but I am still rotten inside.  It hurts to move.  If I'm standing still, however, I can fool a crowd.

Some nights I worry about it, but who doesn't worry at night?  Most days I am able to be strong.

I take two cameras with me whenever I go out now, the Leica Monochrom and the Leica M10.  They are fun cameras that get a lot of attention.  Once in awhile, I even make a picture.  They are mostly snapshots or pictures out the car window, but occasionally I try.  A little here, a little there.  Nothing book worthy.  Just stuff.

I have been enjoying pictures as they come out of the Monochrom.  They are more filmic than other digitals.  The vintage Canon lens is not at all sharp, so everything has a bit of a glow.  I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I am letting it work for me for now.  The picture of the shoeshine is made with that combo.  Can I say "shoeshine"?  No, I am sure I shouldn't.

I do not like New Year's Eve.  It has no meaning for me.  I have rarely been out at midnight, and when I have been, I have regretted it.  In all likelihood, I will be asleep long before the calendar turns.    Ili says that's good with her.

But there will be champagne.

There are many worlds "out there."  As much as possible, you choose which one in which to travel and to live.  I am selecting a gentler world than I have hitherto explored.  Ili and I have been planning trips we wish to take, and we have tried watching travel videos about these places.  YouTube is full of them.  The newest ones seem done for Instagram.  Pretty girls in makeup and outfits walking past a 1,000 year old door in some exotic city.  Lots of vicious smiling and party screaming for the camera.  We've taken to watching Rick Steve's videos.  Nope, I'm not kidding.  They are more informational than Diane and Dave's Adventure City.  But I am convinced that travel is useless now, that anywhere you go, there will be more tourists than locals.  Everything is a photo op.  It's not wrong, I think.  That is always what travel has been unless it was for trade and wealth.  There are just more people who can afford it now.  Everywhere you go you can get a professional guide.  And there is Facebook and Instagram.

But as my friend said to me after going to Africa on his own--"It looked just like the t.v. shows."  I know it is lame, but I understand what he means.

It will be awhile, though, before I am able to hit the road.  For now it is all planning.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

2nd Christmas




And we did.  We did go to see Ili's family in the parent's condo on the beach, and I met another of her sisters whom I had yet to meet.  It was fine for me.  All I had to do was ride in the car, then sit in the condo with an occasional conversation or a trip to the balcony to look out over the ocean, beach, and sky.  Everyone was nice to me, and nobody threw anything.  We stayed through the morning and early afternoon, and then it was time to go.  Ili wanted to stop for a drink.  Her family, not mine, so I understood.  We went to a place by the bridge on the river half a mile from the ocean, not our kind of place at all, but the kind of place that would have a bottle of wine and some chowder.

Ili began to relax, and then she began to plan our trip to New Orleans in February.  I did not tell her that I was not sure I would be able to go.  I mean. . . the flights are $89/round trip.  I shit you not.  And the AirB&B is $100/night.  Four nights.  Mardi Gras.  There is no lose in this.  Surely we will go.

I fell asleep on the way home.  I could not keep my eyes open.  My gut was bubbling with old fish stew and my broken side was swollen and throbbing.  But when we got home, there were packages sitting on the front stoop.  There is nothing like getting a delivery.

Still, I was tired and weak and swollen, so before anything, I wanted a scotch.  Ili poured.  I swear she is a dream in so many ways.  And so a drink, then the opening.  All the packages were for me.  I opened the small one first, for I had ordered that, a 1940's or '50s Canon 35mm vintage lens.  It wasn't a vintage lens when they made it, of course, but I have been reading that the rendering on a Leica Monochrom is much better than a modern lens, so I couldn't resist. And man, the lens I got (for a really low price) is perfect.  This lens and camera combo will be my go-to for a long time now.  The images I have already shot please me greatly.  Yes, yes, and there is another to come, a 50mm Nikon that has a great reputation.  I'm in love, I'm in love.

But there was still another package to open, the big one.  And this one was from Ili--five sweaters from J. Crew.  You might be saying, "Really?", but they are the loveliest sweaters you have ever seen.  My favorite is the gray 100% cashmere Mr. Rogers button up cardigan, but they all have a place and a purpose.

After trying them all on, I realized how tired I was (even though the scotch was kicking in, and you know how that can lift you for awhile), so I sat on the couch and began to fall apart.  Which is where I am now, recording these Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.


Ili says I look good from behind in those many sweaters, and I will not question what she means.  Rather, and perhaps, you will see some images of me sometime from such quarters.

Maybe I should say, "French."

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

After




I haven't been taking many pictures lately, of course.  My mother and Ili did, but I have not looked at them.  I didn't even look at my injuries.  The first time I stepped out of the shower in my own home (which was long after the accident and operations), I was depressed for days.  I am better off an ostrich.  Look away.

But I have taken to carrying light film cameras, a little Yashica Electro CC or a Canon Canonet Q 17 iii.  They are easy to carry and easy to use.  I just pop pictures during my walks or when Ili is driving me somewhere.  I never know what I have on the roll when I take the pictures to the photo lab.  And there is usually nothing there of any interest, even to me.  But sometimes there will be something like this, a dad and daughter (I assume) walking by a palm-fronted church on their way to a Sunday service.  I don't even bother scanning the negatives now unless something looks good enough to print.  I let the photo lab do it.  The images are good enough for showing in the virtual world.  I wouldn't mind printing a small version of this, though, so I will eventually scan it on my own.

On Christmas Eve, my mother came over for the traditional pajama party.  I grilled steak and lobster, both of which came out perfectly.  The aroma of the grill must have called to the neighborhood animals, and I ended up with a new cat friend, a little black and white which I am trying to convince Ili is not the one spraying our trash can.  A bit later, a little white spaniel showed up on the deck.  I knew it was the neighbor's, but I didn't know which one as several people have ones that look just alike.  I opened the door and she came into the house.  Ili wants a dog badly and was as excited as if I had given this to her as a present.  It was the sweetest, loviest, most aristocratic and well behaved dog you could meet.  My mother held her in her lap for the longest time, and the dog, Shelby was her name, sat comfortably and calmly with the occasional appreciative "kiss."  I looked up the number on her tag and sent a message to the website that I had the dog, but half an hour later no one had called.  I wasn't sure if the dog was a vegan or not, so I tried a little of the buttery steak on her.  She seemed to like it fine.

In a bit, the neighbors were in their yard, so I called to Shelby to follow me which she did with sweet, obedient aplomb.  By the time I got to the neighbor's (I am slow, remember, still gimpy with injuries), they were inside, so I rang the doorbell.  Shelby sat and looked at the door in anticipation.  And indeed, she was their dog.  The neighbor's a very nice people, an attorney and an anesthesiologist who have a daughter I watched grow up and become a pediatrician and a mother of what seems to be a number of children.  The scene inside the house looked like something from a Steve Martin movie, "Father of the Bride," or "Parenthood."  You know, the sort of movie that makes your life seem so crummy.  Little kids in designer pajamas, a Christmas tree decorated by professionals, the smell of food cooking, everything glowing in a golden light.

Etc.

I almost felt. . . well, almost.  But only for a bit.  I went back to the house, washed my hands, and began to serve dinner.  We had our own golden light and melted lemon butter and a wonderful bottle or two of wine and a teak cabinet full of liquor and tons of Christmas deserts, presents under the tree.

Etc.

And I thought about the other neighbors in my moderately successful neighborhood.  A divorced professor across the street.  A divorced surgeon on the other side.  A divorced orthodontist next to him.  A sad family of trust funded drug addicts.  A divorced business woman whose house is for sale. What were they all doing tonight?  It wasn't all Steve Martin.

I like the season, but I find Christmas Eve and day too much.  I am not very good at commitment or obligation, but there they stand, eternal.  We had the usual cocktails with the usual losers and miscreants.  Watched the usual movies.

Etc.

Now--what remains.  We will go to see Ili's family today.  And then. . . .

Etc.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Monday, December 24, 2018

Eve



Christmas Eve.  It is colder than usual here in the Sunny South.  We like the cold until it comes, and then not so much.  But today seems particularly holiday-inducing which is O.K. as I have marketing to do for our steak and lobster pajama party with my mother tonight.  Good food and drink will have to suffice as I've not had it in me to go shopping (except for me online).  Oh, I bought my mother a couch and truly have a gorgeous present for Ili tonight, but only one.  Perhaps I'll get to Williams and Sonoma today on the Boulevard to pick up little stocking stuffers for tonight.

I've already received too much this year following my particular fortune and fate.  So many people have sent me too much, really, so that I feel both love and embarrassment.  One should accept gifts well, though, with grace and humility.

Q sent me a ukulele.  I shit you not.  My left shoulder is so compromised I can't comfortably play it yet, but I fooled around on it for awhile when it got here and learned the tuning and some chords and will be able to make music once my shoulder is fine.  But a ukulele is a true surprise.

Jan Bernhardtz sent me a greeting card like the one above back in 2009, I believe.  I made my own and still use it today.  It seems apropos for me this year.

I don't think that way, though.  I'm looking ahead to when I can get out and make photographs again, when I can bring the camera to my eye with both hands.  Yes, I have goals.  I have fallen in love with my Leica M10 which is unusual as I usually resent having made an expensive purchase of much, much longer.  For instance, I am only now falling in love with my Leica Monochrom for which I have purchased some vintage lenses to complete the photographic look.

As soon as I have the arm and energy for it.  I was sorry to miss photographing the season this year.

Now I must think about the day.  It takes me three times as long to do anything right now as it used to take, and I run out of gas pretty quickly still, and I have to say, for all the fun of it, I dread the evening for I will be expected to participate in making fun and all I will really want to do is sit still until bedtime.

But it is Ili and my mother.  They, I think, will understand.

For those of you who have found the signal I am broadcasting, I hope you have a warm and happy Eve.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Partial Return



I feel as if I am writing from outer space, out of touch, disconnected, as if this will transmit into a perpetual void of dark and silence.

So it seems.  I've been away for awhile.  The last post I made here was on a Saturday morning.  That afternoon, I went out for a Vespa ride and was run over by an SUV.  I went to the hospital trauma center with seven broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and "a broken shoulder" which consists of many breaks in different bones.  They began workin on me immediately.  They brought in a priest.  I had an extended stay and eventually an operation.  After my release, I had a home nurse and many, many medicines.  I had a staff infection in my blood that required much attention.

I'm not supposed to write about it at this juncture, so that is all I can say.  It has been about two months since my operation and I am still rather compromised.  I don't know what will happen to my shoulder yet--operation or replacement.  I would hope for neither, but even typing this is a chore.

My friends all say that they are glad to have me alive.  I am fortunate, they say.

Ili stayed with me night and day.  I stayed at my mother's after the hospital, sleeping in a Lazy Boy chair.   So after taking care of her for four months, she got the chance to repay me.  I am still here, I think, due to Ili and my mother.

So that is it.  I don't want to talk about any of it.  I am just explaining why I've been away.

I originally chose a picture of a homeless man lying on the sidewalk for this entry, but I changed my mind.  I took this picture in a hipster coffee house with an old Yashica rangefinder camera and color film just last week.  It is happy.  It is fun.

Christmas has caught me unawares.  It is here and I am hardly.  You and I have missed the intersection of the winter solstice and the full moon together.  Such is life, sometimes.  I will try to stay in touch here now, though maybe not as often as I had before, at least for awhile.  But I am back in some broken form.  A gimp's shadow creeping across the grass one winter's solstice cast by the last full moon.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

One of My Most Confused Posts Ever



I still haven't worked on the trip photos yet, but I will today.  I don't have much enthusiasm for that, though, for they are the end of summer photos and I have returned to the beginning of autumn.  That was marked yesterday by changing the quilted comforter on the bed.  I have two of the same that I bought from Pottery Barn from decades ago.  The green one I put on for spring and summer.  That was put away yesterday as the burgundy one emerged.  I'm a sucker for such simple traditions.  It was almost momentous.

I had a long but successful day at the factory, and after work, I wanted to celebrate, so I stopped at the chi-chi bar for an Old Fashioned.  I was celebrating alone, but it was still a celebration.  The day was pretty, the temperatures a bit cooler and the air a bit drier, and I decided I would grill myself a steak, so after one cocktail, I went marketing, upbeat and looking forward to the weekend.

Back home, I got out of my work uniform and into my "soft clothes," a t-shirt and loose harem pants. Laugh if you will, but the goddamned things are cool.  I've worn them out to get groceries and to the liquor store and even to see my beautician who was mad about them, and yesterday when I went to the garage to run my printer, the tenant went mad for them, too.  Putting them on changes the way I think.  They are dangerous, though, as they have an elastic drawstring waist.  I could get very, very fat wearing them, but of course that is why I like them.  It is in keeping with my new philosophy of being kind to myself and taking "the gentle path."

So, elastic waistband in place, I was ready to grill.  I opened a bottle of wine, chopped the potatoes and slathered them in olive oil, salt, black pepper and red pepper, and wrapped them in aluminum foil (I prefer tin), and then did the same with the asparagus.  Then, grill preheated to about 500 degrees, I put everything on.  It didn't take long to sear the steak on both sides, then I set the temperature down and sat at the dinner table on the deck to smoke a Cuban cigar and drink my wine and think.  I was still happy.  It had been many months since the weather encouraged sitting outside, and it was fun again to wave to those on their evening strolls.  This was to be the first outdoor meal of the season.

Alone.

Everything was delicious, and clean up was easy.  It was time for a whiskey on the deck, and everything was wonderful and good as the sky went from light to dark, shade by shade, until it was almost night.  I decided it was time to go inside.

I looked at my phone.  Nothing there.  And that is when I began to hear the house.  There was no music.  There was no laughter.  There was nothing to distract me from the empty sound of the quiet rooms.  I thought to read.  I thought to do some writing or to sit down at the computer with the trip's pictures, but suddenly my energy had waned.  I sat down on the couch and turned on the t.v.  I looked at the clock to see how long before bed, then put on a documentary about a Conde Nast photographer I had never heard of.

Sometime later, I woke up.

And that is how I celebrated the changing of the comforter.  The end.

I'm looking forward to some things today, a scooter ride, lunch, a nap.  When I write it down, it looks pitiful.  Still.  And tonight is the big fight.  I am considering purchasing the pay per view for $67, but I am afraid I'll fall asleep before the main event.  I would really like to see it, though.  You know. . . "the fighter still remains. . . ."  Conor McGregor, who I keep mistakenly calling as Gregory O'Connor, is the Donald Trump of MMA.  And indeed, the people watching the fight will be overwhelmingly Trump supporters just like a NASCAR race or a country music concert.  And in the other corner is the Russian Muslim, Khabib Nurmagomedov.  It is a classic professional wrestling card except for the fact that these guys are going to really beat the shit out of one another.  And who doesn't enjoy that?

See, that is the trouble with lefties.  They enjoy a good debate more than a good fight, and that is why they and I are losing.  I keep telling my lefty friends to quit using academic jargon and to go to a Tim McGraw concert once in awhile or go see some professional car racing or just get into a fight.  It will change the way they relate to the world.  Watching soccer isn't enough.  But they don't want to hear it, and every time I open my mouth any more, somebody gets mad and people start crying and leaving the room, and I'm not exaggerating.  My lefty friends are all a bunch of whiny babies who get pissed off if you don't agree with every inch of their intersectional/plant based platform, even if you are on their side.

Oh, I don't want to get started.  They've all resigned themselves to a Kavanaugh Supreme Court without taking responsibility.  Unless liberal values become more inclusive, the right will keep winning.

Yea, I think I better watch the fight tonight. . . if I can stay up.