Category Archives: friends

Focus and restriction

Focus and restriction can yield relief. After a few days on the BRAT diet, I am feeling better. Blood and stool lab work all came back negative. Phew. So a re-set. I can do that.

Focusing on the history of our young nation through the lens of John James Audubon also makes me feel better. I’m reading a second biography and taking notes. I’ve read two biographies about his wife, Lucy.

Okay, okay — so much for keeping secrets. But you probably would like to learn that at one point the Audubons owned close to a dozen slaves, yes? And that for some reason, historic mentions quantify nine as “a few.” Let me reality check. Would YOU refer to nine of anything as “a few”?

You cannot read about Audubon without getting fantastic descriptions of huge sycamore and chestnut trees, of paddling down the Ohio, of camping with the Osage, and of course birds. Birds, birds, and more birds.

Audubon loved them all which makes him even more appealing somehow — from the humble warblers and wrens to the spectacular eagles and rose-breasted grosbeak.*

Here’s what I’ve learned about JJA as a husband. He was hyper-focused on his drawings and investigations of nature, which meant he roamed the woods for weeks and even months at a time. He was an abject failure at business and also given to confabulation (DID he study with Jacques-Louis David, for instance?). In short, he was unreliable.

He presents the weird mix of fate and innate capacities that produces works of genius. But you also get poverty and extended periods of isolation for Lucy. For substantial stretches of their marriage, Lucy supported them by teaching.

It’s chilly this morning but supposed to reach 100 this weekend. Huh?

Had dinner with friends last night. Seven of us. We didn’t hug even though it’s been a while but if someone was sick, we’ve all been exposed, hugs or no.

K is on a conference call with China. They tend to be endless, which is part of why I’m outside. He goes into the office three days a week now, I think I’ve said. It seems a little pointless — the commute and diminished sleep the cost of collegiality?

All the annuals are in pots now.

* Under a Wild Sky, John James Audubon and the Making of The Birds of America, by William Souder, pages 90 – 93.

All 3 collages from Paris Collage Collective’s weekly prompt

Bought a breast

We just learned that my brother-in-law was exposed to Covid on Saturday, so we are waiting to hear the results of his test. Fingers crossed, he’s okay.

On a more minor note, we’d been planning to have Thanksgiving dinner at their place.

All this by way of saying, I just got back from the grocery store. Rather than get a small bird for $32, I bought a hefty breast for under ten. When I got home, husband immediately lamented the absence of dark meat. True enough, and there will be no glorious leftovers for sandwiches or fettuccine but hey, I’m the cook around here and I went for simplicity.

After reading a restaurant review over at Donald McKenzie’s blog, diningwithdonald, I got a hankering for roasted cauliflower with a tahini sauce, so I bought the ingredients for some version of that as well. I’ll report back.

Mostly though today I am mildly obsessing about commas. My friend recommended the book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves for assistance. Thank you, Dan Preston! I’ve just started it and it is hilarious. Who knew?

I am more than halfway through my novel’s professionally-provided edits and I can’t tell you how many changes concern hyphens, commas, and dashes. It’s a little embarrassing but also eye-opening.

In other news, a Tarot deck arrived, one that I ordered so long ago I’d forgotten about it. The American Renaissance Tarot. Can’t wait to explore.

Also, a friend gave me an old jacket made of silk kimono scraps. I’m currently saying NO to most offers of this kind but made an exception for this. Thank you, Sue!

Lastly, a quilt I made K years back has needed repair. Some of the thinner cottons disintegrated. Appliqué is the way to go here.

From the archive : Michelle

Those two sentences were left by Michelle* about a year before she died. It was in response to the loss of our front yard maple.

The comment in italics, below, came roughly a year later and was her very last here. It is classic Michelle.

I’d written a post that began thusly:

The vultures are always circling the corpses-but, we are not dead yet. Turn away from the chaos and cruelty. Shelter deep within your truth. “Gandhi called his overall method of non-violent action Satyagraha. … Nowadays, it’s usually called non-violence. But for Gandhi, non-violence was the word for a different, broader concept-namely, “a way of life based on love and compassion.” In Gandhi’s terminology, Satyagraha-Truth-force-was an outgrowth of nonviolence.”

I’ve been obsessed with RGB all day. Every site and all the opinions have saturated me. I too have to let her go though I dearly wish she might have stayed longer. No one will forget her. She was one of a kind. I’m not looking forward to the fight with circling vultures, but I just got my checkbook out to send some encouragement to Biden/Harris (can’t do any financial transactions on line) COURAGE I tell myself. Courage and clear determination.

When I remember to care, to do something helpful, my body reminds me I’ve been away too long. This is a most satisfying post dear Dee. I read you like memoir chapters sometimes and it feels like listening.

I’m still focused on balancing. I get the news Via BBC and move onward to read about friends afar on blogs and face book and great thinkers and doers from all around the web, sharing them on Face book. Today I made the monthly bank trip and spent time at the Farm market. I nap at will as a part of my awakened practice of listening to my body with compassion and understanding. I would worry about the planet and our coming election, but it won’t help.

Brilliant memes, Dejoy is dead in the water and joyless. I still have trouble saying Fuck anyone because i associate the word with the patriarchy that invented it. Hang on for the elections and vote in person if you can.

Your Grounded self is never still. How fortunate you are.

Michelle Slater! Her voice, her heart, and the example set by her intrepid and spiritual life are still so very missed!

* Michelle Slater, blog : MsUncertaintyPrinciples

***

So this is another thing I plan to start doing — publishing stuff from my DRAFTS FOLDER. It’s miles long and years deep. I’ve learned the value of looking back, as a way not just to remember, but to integrate. In a funny and counterintuitive way, looking back helps me stay current with myself.

If I repeat myself because some version of the draft got published, so be it. I mean I’ll try not to do that l, but you know how it is!

NOT a cutter

To hear Deb tell it, a cutter was coming my way. It was too this and not enough that but feel free, you know, to chop it up.

Huh? I love it. As my mother might’ve said, “it’s a good transition piece.” And pockets to die for!

It’s a gorgeous day here in the Northeast. Sunny and warm. Our street is blocked off from whatever utility work the city’s doing, but the machinery’s still. I can hear the crickets and I can hear children on the playground.

Came down early this morning. Lit the fire table and worked on the laptop in order to change a bunch of Eliza’s reflective queries to statements. Sharp reader pointed out that the form got wearisome (to be frank, Eliza gets tiresome, too, but that’s a different issue).

I folded all the cloth in the front closet yesterday. Wow. It’s what most would consider a decent stash. For me, it’s just the stuff that wandered upstairs during a handful of projects. We might put a few little shelves in there.

Shelves! Long desired! Functional! Simple!

Minors forms of progress feel so necessary right now.

It’s Saturday, right?