Friday, March 22, 2019

Leaps and Bounds

Went to the doc today for a two month checkup.  I tell him what I am doing.  He tells me I am doing well.  Keep doing therapy, he says.  Not recommending surgery yet.  I am relieved.  I am not ready for another surgery right now.  I leave the office hoping, but my arm feels dead.  Still, I make progress every therapy session and every workout.  I try to stay positive.  It is not about being able to clean the shower, I laugh, but about ego.  Looking good.  That one made the therapist smile.

I will skip the factory today.  Ili is out of town for the weekend.  First time alone since the accident.  Today was the first time driving myself to a doctor.  Felt odd, a bit scary.  Lonely, really.  What will I do, I wonder?  What am I able to do?

There is the usual and the mundane, of course.  Yard work to be done.  I will go to the gym.  The hours will pass unremarkably.  Perhaps I will take my first nap on the new leather couch.  Surely that.  Perhaps I will make some photos, but don't put good money on it.  But maybe.

The day is gorgeous.  I must take advantage of this weather.  I sit in a dark room writing because my laptop is dead.  I need to get a new one.  Maybe that, though it is another $3,000 down the drain.  I am having trouble pulling the trigger on that one.

That is the shape of things.  Leaps and bounds.  Leaps and bounds.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Moon Cycle

I'll write tonight in case I can't write tomorrow.  Super moon and all of that.  Ili is at a Moon Cycle group tonight.  I made that up, sort of.  A friend of mine has a meditation/yoga group, and she invited Ili to come.  God knows.  I asked my friend if they were going to cut the head off a chicken and drink the blood and throw the bones, etc.  I said I didn't want Ili coming home with her hair chopped off and a new tattoo.  There will be healing crystals for sure.  Whatever makes her happy.  

I am not the mystical type, so a lot of what they do is silly to me--but as I always say, it's easier than science.  I like horoscopes, though.  They are always right.  

Chakras and rakai.  I don't know.  

The moon will be out soon.  I will go to look at it alone with a glass in my hand.  There will be the normal melancholy and inwardness.  It is something I enjoy.  

I shouldn't be so dismissive.  One of the things I have learned in life is to eat more fiber.  Science is only now catching up to its importance.  But people knew.  There is a wisdom that leads science in the right direction.  It is just difficult to know.  

I hope Ili has fun tonight at the Moon Circle.  That is not what it is called.  And I hope she doesn't come home with a new tattoo.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Dangers of Spring

What is spring like?  The morning began wet and cool, but soon the skies cleared to a robin's egg blue.  The birds are at the feeders, and the sprouts have been nurtured by the rain.  It is truly spring here.

How will I shed winter?  This is a more auspicious day for me than New Year.  I make my resolutions now.  More water.  Much more water.  Less alcohol.  At least a little less.  Less meat.  More grains and vegetables.

And maybe photography.  I have ideas.  If I can turn them into pictures. . . well, we'll see.

Trump's troubles don't keep the democrats from self-destruction.  As Howard Cosell used to say, they are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  They are fools.

Check your horoscope.  You do not want to take any chances today.

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations.
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.

 Remember why April is the cruelest month.  We'll need the clairvoyante to get through these troubling days as the waters begin to flow, the sap to rise.  Beware the dangers of Spring.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Oh, Winter

Dreary day.  It already seems a long week.  Maybe it is the coming equinox that has me by the throat.  Tomorrow, it is spring.  And a full moon.  There will be blood letting and a throwing of the bones.  Ili will do a moon circle dance and come home strange.  And I?  Oh, I will do the same old thing, of course.  But it feels like the end of something.  Winter doesn't want to let go.

I am out of sorts.  I want to say that in Yiddish, but I can't remember the word. 

Oh, winter. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Bird Brain

My laptop crapped out, so I've been posting from my phone.  I only say that to explain why I have been making so many errors.  I can barely see the things I type. 

Exciting weekend.  We had a Monarch caterpillar attach to the underside of one of the boards siding the house.  We watched it form a chrysalis a couple weeks ago.  It took about two weeks, but yesterday, it "hatched."  We made a video of it.  It happened quickly.  Then it hung on the house.  Ili said it would take a couple hours to dry, but the day turned cold and gray, and it was still hanging there at nightfall.  When she got up this morning, Ili went to check on "Chrissy" as I called her.  She was still there.  Ili, the worrying type, feared that she was dying.  "I'm going to give her" (it is a her) "some nectar," she said.  I was in a hurry to get to my physical therapy and left Ili to her tasks.  When I got home an hour later, Ili was sitting in a chair facing the wall.  There was an extension cord hanging from the outdoor plug.  On the ground was the heating pad. 

"What's going on," I asked?

"She fell."

"Uh. . . did she have any help?"  I saw the cotton ball stained red with hummingbird juice on the ground.  The butterfly was on the heating pad.

"I put the heating pad on the ground, and she climbed up on it."  She showed me a video of just that.

"She climbed up there?  Wow."

Just then, little Chrissy began flapping her wings.  She was beautiful.

On my way to the factory, I got a text that little Chrissy had flown away. 

The end.

Great tale, eh?  This is the sort of excitement I have now.  It is fun and fascinating.  We've put up four bird feeders and have learned all the bird calls.  We watched a squirrel build her nest in the camphor tree.  New leaves have exploded all around us.  We have coffee and/or cocktails on the deck morning and evening watching the world around us.  It is beautiful.  It is fun.

Oh. . . and I have begun taking photographs again, too.  That is a good sign, I think.  Just a tad more energy than I had before.  I will make vernacular pictures now.  You'll see. . . soon enough.

Until then, I'll be the guy with the Jane Hathaway birding outfit and binoculars.  You'll see me when you walk by.  I'll wave.  

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Whiskey: The Road to Ruin

Ili purchased this at the local Art Festival yesterday for me/the house.  It is a 16x16 print by a female photog from Santa Fe.  That is where Ili wants to move.  I hear it every day.  Land of enchantment, I reckon.  The artist did nothing to dissuade her.

The photo is matted and framed in white.  We thought to put it over “the library” (liquor cabinet”, but the whiteness of the picture did not go with the teak, so it ended up in the kitchen.  We admire it.

We were invited to an annual party for the arts at an art collector attorney friend’s house last night.  It is a lovely affair in a most wonderful, beautiful setting, but after a full day that began with a mimosa breakfast at what is about to become our favorite morning cafe and continued with a walk to the Boulevard festival (and more drinks) and me taking photographs again for the first time since being obliterated, we made a spaghetti dinner and drank wine, then whiskey, and decided to watch a documentary we found on YouTube about the birth of the blues.  There was no getting up from the supreme comfort of the new leather couch after that.  My only regret is not hearing the wonderful gypsy group, The Cook Trio,” under the cool night’s sky.

But I still get extremely tired and want to be still when the lights go down.  I’m better, though.  Pretty much spent the day on my feet.  I’ll do much the same today without the booze, I hope.

Mother comes tonight for corned beef and cabbage.  I’ve never made it before.  We’ll see.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Better Every Day

I had a full day, but now I sit alone, and I am sad.  Ides of March?  Surely.  Mercury in retrograde.  Something.

Mostly me.

I am doing better every day.  That is what I tell people because that is what they want to hear.  I'm tough.  I look O.K., but I don't look the way I used to.  And it bothers me.

I went to the gym today and lifted more than I did a few days ago.  I get better every day.  That is what I say.  I am truly up to regular women's weights now.  The tough girls still swear at me if I get in their way.  There are mirrors in the gym, so I am not unaware.  But I tell you, I look O.K.  I just don't look the way I used to.

One shithead kid was giving me the goofy eye today.  He is a young, good looking prick, his first year out of high school, I think.  His muscles are growing.  He gets stronger.  He doesn't like me.  I know why.

After the gym, I walked to the Art Festival.  No art.  Two booths out of a hundred or more that were interesting.  I took my little Ricoh GR.  I took the picture above with it as I walked through the streets.  I walked and walked, then came home.  Between the gym and that, it was the most active day I've had since the accident.  Since I was run over.

When I came home, the wrecking crew still had not come.  And then they did.  I was tired and wanted a nap, but that was not going to happen with them here.

And now I am tired and sad.  I can't do the things I used to.  And I worry.  I feel myself a bore.  If I am not in love with me, who can be?  I need to feel my love again.  We need to love ourselves.

It is dark now, and all around town (including next door and across the street), there are parties.  I am not capable of that.  I will sit and watch t.v.  Fear and Self-Loathing.

I drink scotch, of course, to kill the worms from the really bad tuna in the Poke bowl I just ate.  Mostly ate.  Eating out is a terrible disappointment.  So the scotch.  I am drinking a good one, the last of the bottle.  Then I will try Suntori from Japan.  You know, the one Bill Murray advertises in "Lost in Translation."  I am hoping it will be good, but just in case, I bought a bottle of my old standard table scotch.  It is bad to begin drinking better whiskeys.  It is expensive.

Drinking whiskey and watching t.v. and feeling bad for and about myself.  Ides of March.  Mercury in retrograde.

No worries.  I'll be better tomorrow.  I get better every day.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Forget Caesar

Ides of March, an ominous day.

Beware!  I think I'll stay away from the factory today.  I have an a.c. guy coming to give me a quote on a new system.  Probably an inauspicious day for that.  I wasn't aware.  In ancient times (?), March 15 was a day to settle debts.  I read that on the internet, so you know it must be true.

Life after vacation is always tough, even for me.  Especially for me.

I have little time.  After the a.c. guy come the wrecking--I mean cleaning--crew.

No, I don't think I'll go to work today, though I fear I may just be staying home to mope.

*     *     *     

The a.c. guy was just here, took a look, and gave me a quote.  OUCH!  But what can one do?  I'll call another company and see what they say, but I'm pretty sure all the major players are going to be similar.  And as soon as I have it installed, someone will say, "Oh, man, I wish I would have known!  I've got a guy who could get you a real deal. . . ."

Ides of March.  Forget Caesar.  The debt collector is here.

Thursday, March 14, 2019


We've yet to perfect human behavior, and I don't know why, but as a result, life gets complicated.  Maybe it's just me.  Other people seem to do fine.  They get lots of "likes."  I am part of a couple group texts.  They drive me crazy.  Someone will post something then somebody adds something like an image and then the whole thing blows up with each person trying to "like" or love something or somebody more than anyone else.  Then I'll write something and the group goes silent.  I think they just switch channels or something.  Nobody ever "likes" what I post. 

That is not what I meant, though, about perfecting human behavior.  I just sort of bled over into the other thing.  I was thinking of face to face interaction.  How can it go so swell for so long and then one day just turn to shit?  There is something wrong with the human psyche. 

But another person need not be involved, really.  I've had weeks alone where I have been happy and content only to wake one morning in a most sour and hateful mood where and when nothing seems like fun. 

I want perfecting. 

Sure, you want more specific details.  Nope.  Can't happen.  Just can't. 

This weekend is the local Art Festival, so my own hometown will be quite crowded.  Saturday night is the annual art party at one of my friend's house, a beautiful affair carried out to the sounds of a Django Reinhardt gypsy trio.  I look forward to that.

Can I say "gypsy"?  

 Some days are better than others.  What can I tell you?  Here's hoping for a wonderful weekend.  I'll keep you informed. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Hillbilly Curse

The leather couch is worth every penny I spent on it.  No, it probably isn't, but it is.  Nothing has ever been as comfortable.  Certainly not.  And it is beautiful.  I could have spent thousands less (not including the ottoman), but I wouldn't be as happy.  Nor as broke. 

Per usual, however, as soon as I spend exorbitantly on something I want, something I need quits working.  It was true when I bought my first Leica camera.  The next day, the a.c. went out.  That was twelve years ago.  It happened again this weekend.  And it is not just the air conditioner.  There is a natural gas furnace attached to it, so both must be replaced.  The more I think about that, the dumber it seems.  But now it would cost more to separate them. 

The new a.c. will cost much more than the couch. 

This is the hillbilly curse, I think.  My mother and father would never spend money on a luxury.  Cost was always the first priority.  With all things.  Including my clothing. 

And that has made me what I am in many ways.  I've spent everything.  I have no reserves.  Foolish, people say.  I know folks not as old as I who have paid off their homes, who own other properties besides.  They are frugal and practical people. 

I am not. 

My ex-friend Brando always spent everything.  He even spent money he didn't have.  Mine and some of my friends' comes to mind.  I've not done that.  But I have never been able to save anything.  I may have said that you never know what will happen in the future.  You could die suddenly.  And then, I almost did. 

I have had a great time and what I consider to be an interesting life.  No reservations, as the famous man once said. 

And I love the f'ing couch. 

But I know someone will tell me now, "Oh, man. . . did you pay retail?  I could have gotten it for you for a very deep discount." 

I've heard it before.  Often.  It is part of the hillbilly curse.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Nothing About Dogs

An article in the N.Y. Times this morning got me going (link). College educated people more often choose to get married than people without a college education.  Non-college educated people have more children out of wedlock.  Cool.  Now here comes the hard part.  People in Utah and Northern Virginia have higher marriage rates.  The conclusion the author draws is weird.  It is because they have more religion and sports.  You see, such communities have more "social capital."

"Adult sports leagues provide meeting grounds for potential spouses, and youth sports leagues make it easier to raise happy and healthy kids."  

The assumption, I guess, is that the old ways were best, that marriage and "legitimate" children are the thing to be desired, and that those who choose not to marry or have children have corrupted values.  The article's conclusion can best be read ironically.

"Marriage is hard. Raising kids is harder. These undertakings become more feasible only when they are supported by a very local, very human network of institutions such as strong community schools, churches, sports leagues and tight-knit neighborhoods. You could say that to foster marriage and child-rearing, it really does take a village.

 Yup. You could say that.  Or you could say something else. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Top That

Break is over.  Now it is back to work.  Worse, I go back in new time.  When will this madness end?  Nobody wants to shift the clock twice a year.  Let’s start a movement.

Break was perfect, though.  We spent all the money, ate all the food, drank all the alcohol, and had all the fun.

How can you top that?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Nerd Fest

I'm in the last weekend of my vacation which technically is just the weekend and not part of the vacation at all.  It has been everything I wanted.  I have been semi-productive and I am relaxed.  I am supposed to do some yard work today, but I think I will shower and go to lunch instead.  I have been to the gym and I am wet and stink and I want to get clean.  Once clean. . . .

The ottoman arrived yesterday.  It is beautiful and makes it easy for me to fall asleep watching t.v.  We watched "The Favorite, and fell asleep.  I don't think it is a very good movie.  I am tired of watching things that are supposed to be good.  Ili and I have decided to watch only dumb shows for awhile.  We get more out of them than we do movies like "The Favorite," etc.  No more mid-cult intellectual for us.  We're going deep into low-cult/no-cult.  We won't feel so bad about falling asleep.

I bought a wonderfully expensive scotch to go with the leather couch and ottoman.  Everything fit together well.  Grilled a N.Y. Strip two and a half fingers thick to perfection.  It was a nice way to end the week.

Ili ordered bird feeders including two hummingbird feeders.  We sit out at night and watch the show.  It is a bird extravaganza this time of year.  I've gotten out the binoculars.  We are birders.  I want the official Jane Hathaway birder outfit and hat.

And that's it for the nerd report.  I need a shower now.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Manor or Manner?

I almost bought an $800 jacket, a beautiful silk/cotton thing.  I look very, very good in it.  At the last moment, though, I either changed my mind or came to my senses.  This has already been a Spring Break the Bank for me.  Part of me says, "What's another $800?"  And then the old hillbilly in me kicks in.  I'm already upside down on one tiny room.  I have a whole house to repair.

And yet, people buy $800 jackets all the time.  This one is very unconstructed, can be dressed up or down, worn with jeans and a t-shirt or with slacks (I love the word) and some expensive Ferragamos like my man in front of Taylors Pharmacy takes care of every day.  Yes, they sell those jackets like nothing on the Boulevard, and it kills me that I have to be one of the hillbillies for whom a jacket like that is a little bit of breaking the bank.

There is no end to the money one spends on an old, wooden house.  It is constant and never cheap.

I could sell a camera. . . .

I will not buy another camera until Leica brings out the next M which will have an electronic viewfinder built-in.  I will sell all mine before it comes out in order to afford it.  But that won't be for a few more years.

You see, cameras are tools. . . like that jacket.  Well, that's one way to look at it (if you wish to convince yourself).

Vacation is passing all too quickly, of course.  The weather is perfect and the days are both lazy and productive.  We eat and drink well and sit among our rooms and gardens and admire our labors.  There is nothing like leisure work.  I should have been born to it, this life, this manor (manner?).

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Empire Room

Boy--a lot has happened here since last I wrote.  But that is the nature of vacations. . . or staycations, as is the case.  My library/t.v. room is nearing completion.  It is the most beautiful room I've ever seen, and the most comfortable.  The gardens are growing and the potted plants are happy.  Ili and I went to a giant antiques place and were overwhelmed, but I bought six small lithographs matted and framed in matching silver and gold.  They have gone over the mantle in a neat row.  I'd guess that they are from the early 20th century.  The old chairs and couch and a wool rug or two have been steam cleaned and look fresh and new again.  We've gotten rid of some things and rearranged others.  I am comfortable as I can be.


A treat.  I made a pot of rice for dinner on Sunday that nobody ate, so Ili decided to make a rice pudding.  It is the best thing I've ever eaten.  I am mad for it, but it is dangerous.  I am trying to be prudent, but there is a big container full.  I must exercise considerable restraint.

Rehab continues, and I slowly progress.

But the real find so far this week has been the 1958 t.v. show, "Peter Gunn."  This will get me into deep shit, I'm sure, for you are no longer allowed to be enamored of such things.  It is part of the dull, exploitive past, patent patriarchy and the male gaze and everything else.  But the first episode of the first season hooked me.  I'm sure I will grow bored, but truly, it was the jazz.  Here.  Watch it for yourself and see.  But if you don't want to, just skip ahead to 5:19 and watch Lola Albright sing.  You can just watch that.  I love her delivery, her notes, unexpected and seemingly a little naive, but really, sophisticated, you know?  The music in every episode I've watched is great.  There is wonderful camerawork for the time, too.  Some of it reminds me of Hitchcock and Welles.  And Craig Stevens (aka Peter Gunn) might remind you a little of a middle aged Cary Grant in his movements and delivery.  Seems he might have been playing that, anyway.  But watch it for yourself.  If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch all three seasons.

I now call the library The Empire Room.  It is a definite throwback to a clubby Victorian colonialism.  For that, I think, I will be soundly criticized, too.

Friday, March 1, 2019


Holy smokes!  The room is painted and the couch is in.  Ili has done some decorating and has brought in a burgundy covered chair to match the drapes that have arrived as well.  The room is spectacular. 

But we watched the wrong movie on that couch the first night.  "Black Panther."  What a horrible, meretricious film.  Not to be recommended, at least here, my friends. 

Tonight, we'll go for quality. 

At least I drank some scotch on it. 

More later.  Must run.  Love.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Enough for Me

Last day at the factory for a bit.  My leather RH couch will be delivered late this afternoon.  I will be sitting in my Essex green room on my leather couch reading or watching something grand on television.  It doesn't sound like much to you, perhaps, but it is what I have.  And it is fine. 

Much chatter about the bunny rabbits.  I was sent videos of hawks taking bunnies.  And cats.  What can you do about the grandeur of a hawk.  Q says to get Ili the dog.  Ha!  Of course he says that.  He is stuck for the next fifteen or so years with a fur shedder.  The dog will grow out of eating seat belts, sure, but weekends in the city will be problematic.  It is pretty much a must, though, to have a dog if you have a kid.  Dogs help kids immune systems, I believe.  I think I read that.  And they are good for psychological development,too.  Kids learn early on that dogs are better than people.  And then the dog dies, and they learn that as well.  Prepares them for their parents departure.  

But I don't need any of that.  For the first time in twenty-some years, I don't have an animal to take care of.  It is fine.  Animals in the house seems gross now.  What sort of people do that?  You have to watch old National Geographic specials to answer that one. 

I'm looking forward to a drink on the couch later today.  Boy oh boy, that will be something.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Ili wants a dog, but I am dead against it.  I have had cats and dogs in my house always.  Finally there is no dirt, no hair.  My nose doesn't run.  My eyes do not itch.  The wood floors are clean enough to lie on.  Nope.  Nope.  I know they are sweet.  I know they are good for you.  But nope. I've been through it.  Done. 

So. . . we've decided on bunnies.  Not indoor bunnies, but bunnies that live in the yard.  People have them in their yards.  We see them on our walks.  They hop around and eat things and they will come to you when called, crawl up in your lap and give you nibbles. 

For around two weeks, I presume.  Then the hawks or the snakes will get them.  But if it will make Ili happy. . . .

You know how people begin to look like their pets?  I assume I will start to look like a bunny.  Ili says she has already begun to lean in that direction. 


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

There Are Many Pleasures

The painter's done his work.  The old couch has been taken.  Now the room is bare and Essex green.  The chandelier will be here mid-March, the couch on Thursday.  We have ordered deep vermillion drapes for the window.  Therein lie life's pleasures for the moment. That and gardening.  We will go "carporching" this weekend to find gardening pots.  That is the hillbilly term for going to garage sales.

A few more days of work and I will have a ten day break.  Gardening, eating lunch and drinking wine, taking naps, etc.  Maybe--just maybe--I'll be able to ride a bicycle.  I am hoping.

What I am saying is that there is still a life after the life of physical adventure.  There are still many, many things.  I'll continue to enjoy many things.

Abbot's Pizza, Venice, day and night.  I didn't plan these, of course, just found them in the camera.

I haven't taken a picture for weeks.  I haven't really taken a picture for months.  Maybe over break.

Maybe not.

Monday, February 25, 2019

S'All Good Man

No time to write this morning.  Painter coming at seven.  Therapy at eight.  Observation at the factory at ten.  Too much life, not enough liberty.

But it is all good.  S'all good, man.

Saul Goodman.

If you haven't watched it, do.