Saturday, April 30, 2005



My eye hurts again.

Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.

Can I have a new one, please?


met roof
grey branches

Friday, April 29, 2005

no more words

I have no faith in words. Too often, they disappoint me.



I e-mailed my brother last night after I had heard that Sue died. This morning he replied: "that's weird."

No, it's not weird. It's fucking sad, is what it is. So sad. Sometimes I wonder if he has a heart.

so sad

I can't describe my sadness. Here is an mp3 I found of Sue singing and playing guitar. And I tried to sleep a bit, to rest my mind, but I was flooded with memories, so many memories, her voice, the way she talked, her handwriting, her mother's house, how I would pick her up in the morning on my drive to school and we would stop at the 7-11 to buy coffee and we would cut school on nice days and drive to the state park and get high in a meadow and lie in the sun. And how she went on a health food kick and got us all going and we were all rabid vegetarians for a while. And how she and Ron lived at the swim club that summer and we would have late-night parties and the police would come and chase us away.


I cried last night and now I am crying now.

My sister called me last night to tell me that one of my best old high school friends had died suddenly. Sue and I had been very close while I still lived in PA. After my mother died I never really went back to my hometown, and we had lost touch, but I occasionally heard about her from others. Sue was an incredibly gifted musician. Her voice was unforgettable. She had had some real trouble back in college, but had gotten her life together and was living in State College (where she finished school at Penn State) and was making music, performing, and working as a science writer.

We became particularly close after my father left. She was the first friend I told, after I came to school that horrible day and she sensed something was wrong. "What's going on, Little E? Are you ok?" she asked me that morning in history class (she fondly called me "Little E" because of my larger, older brother). Sue was the only person I knew of our circle who had divorced parents, and we both shared the notoriety and stigma of having a "broken home" as it was so nicely called back then. She had such sparkle, such intelligence, such conviction and passion for life. We used to do wild things together, go romping through the woods, doing too many drugs, but our greatest joy was playing guitars while she sang in her gorgeous rich contralto. I was so sad last night that I could not really speak. I hope that she has found peace. I know life for her was not easy. It rarely is. Sue, I will never forget you. Maybe someday I will see you again.


Thursday, April 28, 2005



mood disorder

Now, in the midst of a hypomanic episode, my mind races and my mood is unusally upbeat and high. I have to watch myself very closely to monitor the words that come out of my mouth and my behavior in general. My behavior is controlled by my mood to a rather extreme degree, and so it takes a lot of self-discipline to keep my actions within the bounds of socially correct behavior. This takes a lot of energy too. Luckily for me, I have a tremendous amount of self-discipline, a skill (or trait) I developed through being a musician and also through being a competitive swimmer in my younger days. I know how to focus and how to set a plan for myself. This saves me from going off the deep end, and enables me to function fairly successfully in the world. My biggest fear is that somehow, someday, I will lose this ability.

understanding myself

One problem I have, being bipolar, is trusting my own thoughts. Yesterday and today I have been feeling effusive and happy. I left a long day of teaching yesterday feeling like I truly loved my job, filled with enthusiasm and kind feelings, grateful for the rewards of teaching my students. And last evening, with my guests, I was talkative, making jokes, laughing, full of energy. And yet, from time to time, I felt like it was not me, almost as if I were possessed and I worried that I would cross some line and my boisterous behavior would lead me to do or say something stupid. And this feeling made me question my joy in my job; was it true, or was it just the rosy glow of mania coloring everything around me? There seems to be no middle ground for me sometimes.


Maybe sanity is returning to our government, at least in some part. This article made me feel some relief.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

(not) sleeping

I have not been sleeping much lately, and so I am totally exhausted during the day. Yesterday, after swimming for forty-five minutes, I was so tired I fell asleep on the subway. But at 14th Street, this guy got on and squeezed himself in between me and a businessman. He insisted on pushing his large body so aggressively that I woke up. I guess the businessman gave him a dirty look, and so huge guy said "hey man, what's the matter? You got a problem with me?" He seemed a little psycho, but the businessman must have appeased him, because they didn't start fighting.

So I thought that I would sleep well last night, since I was tired enough to fall asleep on a crowded train. But I woke up at 2 a.m. and never really slept after that. By the time 7 a.m. came, and I had to go out and move the car, I felt awful. If only I could sleep like my Tuna...

tuna 5

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I like to cook.


Every morning I read the NEW YORK TIMES online. This morning I read this essay, about a counselor who works with the mentally ill. He had gone to Andover and Harvard, expecting to have a lucrative career as a lawyer or doctor (or the other part of the triumvirate, investment banker--just a guess). Instead, affliction with obsessive-compulsive disorder led him to his present career.

This article angered me. And just yesterday I was thinking (after reading the class notes in the Vassar alumnae magazine) that so many of my college classmates have gone into law and banking or medicine, and I suspect many have done so out of a need/desire for wealth and privilege that goes with it. Why did the author of the essay embark on a career of service, without the promise of wealth, only after realizing he was ill? Why do so many graduates of elite schools go into business and banking and law? What happened to altruism? I can't imagine that too many people go into investment banking out of a great love of the profession. In explaining his choice as the result of an encounter with illness, the author implies that it takes some personal experience of misfortune (in this case mental illness, which itself is stigmatized) to inspire one to help others. Also implied is that to be altruistic, to help others, is in some way a denial of the "rewards" of a more "conventional" elite career.

I am at the age where many of my college classmates have acquired expensive homes, automobiles, and such; they have embraced bourgeois values, and I should not be surprised. But it makes me sad. The world would be a better place--or at least this country--if more people devoted themselves not to the pursuit of wealth and material things, but to making sure that all people are able to live a decent life, even if it means sacrificing some of your own (excessive) comforts.

losing myself

I keep losing weight. There is not much left to lose. All my clothes are too big.

A few days ago I was walking Mabel and I saw the mother of one of my former prodigious students. She said "I didn't recognize you. You have lost a lot of weight. Are you ok?" She kept asking me, throughout the long conversation that followed, if I was ok. Her son was one of the most talented students I'd ever had. He is doing extremely well now, at Princeton.

I assured her that I was fine and that I had been swimming a lot.

But if I keep losing weight I might disappear.

Monday, April 25, 2005

a piece of my heart...

Maybe each time I have loved someone, I have given away a part of my heart. So if the love is lost, so too is a part of my heart. I grow weaker with each missing piece. Maybe that is why I feel so tired and so sad today.


While swimming, I like to do backstroke and look up at the sky through the glass roof of the pool. From my apartment, I see a large expanse of sky, a rare and fortunate view for a New York apartment-dweller. Looking at the sky calms me. I will never forget the first time I drove across the country. Once I hit Kansas, and the ground spread in all directions, totally flat, the sky looked enormous, bigger than I had ever seen it. There was little to break up its vastness. And I could see the highway laid out before me, straight into some infinite space.



tuna 5
Originally uploaded by madabandon.
He is quite large. He is quite possibly the largest cat I have ever seen. He is also possibly the sweetest, most gentle cat I have ever known. He will be sixteen in a few weeks. For his birthday I will give him his favorite foods: olives and parmesan cheese and crackers. No joke.



At least I have the piano. Practicing can be meditative and relaxing, although it is also work, and requires concentration. But there is something wonderful about repeating a passage over and over again to get it into my fingers and brain. I can think of nothing else but the little bit of music right in front of me.

While writing this a pigeon landed on the air-conditioner right behind me and started making little pigeon noises and clacking its feet on the metal. I wonder what it wanted?


Last evening I watched "Carandiru," the film by Hector Babenco. I had long loved "Pixote," his early film about Brazilian street children and their criminal but touching lives. In "Carandiru" the characters, criminals too, inhabit the most notorious prison (now destroyed) in Sao Paolo. An idealistic and committed doctor starts working in the prison, and gets to know the prisoners and their stories. But beneath the violent and ominous surface, each prisoner shows a very human side. But to me, it rang false, somehow. The stories were too sweet. These men were murderers and violent criminals, every one of them. And while they are human, they all somehow projected some kind of innocence that rang false in light of their crimes. Their stories were too sentimental, and while I am sure that was meant to contrast with the dark danger of a brutal prison world, it did not convince me. When the horrific riot took place at the end of the film, and so many were killed, it was visually terrifying, but I did not feel the human tragedy of it. It was too sensational, too slick, too sentimental. It lacked the simplicity and honesty of "Pixote," in which the story was more troubling because there was no gooey sentiment, and the realism was more convincing.

Or maybe I was not convinced by this film because I feel disillusioned with things in general. Last evening I wrote a post concerning my feelings about composing and the relevance (or lack of it) of my work. I posted it, then read it, felt disgust, and deleted it. I don't even believe my own words. So I just look for a way to pass the time. I have not been able to paint lately. I obsess over my physical ailments: my eyes, my arthritic knees. I would sleep all day if I could. Today I don't teach, because school is closed for Passover. I will try to work on the cello piece but I am feeling disengaged from it. I think that the only things that are making me feel like life is worthwhile are my relationships--Y, friends, my dysfunctional family--and that today I will spend my time pampering the cats, walking Mabel, and later, swimming.

asleep and awake

pomona sleeping

tuna 1

"intrinsic moral evil"

According to an NPR reporter, the new pope has called homosexuality an "intrinsic moral evil." Nice. Maybe he and George Bush should join hands and go skipping off into the sunset, to live happily ever after.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

little boy

Y and I went to the Japan Society to see the exhibit "Little Boy" which was curated by the artist Takashi Murakami. It was crowded, and we didn't feel like paying the $12 admission, so we just wandered around the lobby and saw the parts of the exhibit that didn't require a ticket. Like these machines:


It is some kind of gambling device, like a slot machine I guess. I have never used a slot machine, so I am really not sure. For some reason, there were so many people wearing black leather at the Japan Society that I was surprised.

We had taken the subway from Brooklyn and were not paying attention to the stops, so we missed Grand Central, and got out at Fifth Avenue instead. Since we were on the same block, we went to Barney's. I used to be such a shopper, but lately every time I have gone shopping I've left empty-handed. This was no exception. After Barney's we decided to walk downtown to 47th Street, and got tangled up in one of those generic street fairs. Y liked it but I didn't (I hate crowds) but then my sister called me so I was able to ignore the crush of people while I chatted with her. But she was driving and I didn't want her to talk and drive at the same time, so I told her I couldn't hear her because of the noise from all the people and loud music.

We saw this incredible green tree around 53rd Street, off of 2nd Avenue. I took this picture, but it does not do justice to the color.

pale green


I rented this movie on Friday. I still have not watched it. I do that frequently. I rent movies that I end up never watching. However, I just watched the trailer (click on CARANDIRU above) and I am fairly certain that I will watch it tonight.

I wonder...

My eyes are still burning. They say that if someone is talking about you, your "ears are burning." So someone must be looking at me...but who?

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by madabandon.
My eyes are burning. Maybe if I saw in black and white they would not hurt so much. I don't know why they are burning like this, but it is annoying.

rainy saturday night

foot, cat and shadow


Tonight is the first night of Passover. When I was a kid my mother prepared elaborate seders, and we would have guests, and the reading and prayers seemed to go on forever. My first time getting drunk was at seder, when I was young, maybe five years old. I am not going to a seder tonight. In past years my aunt or my cousin would have the seder, but this year no one let me know if one was planned. My father does not observe Passover; my sister will go to her husband's family's seder. So I feel a little blue, because the memory of our family seders, back when my mother was alive, are happy ones, and I wish I could relive them tonight. But I will try to be good and eat no bread this week. My gesture of compliance.


cat's eye view

Originally uploaded by madabandon.
This is something my cats see, I think. Of course, I can't prove it. They talk to me, but in cat language.


Originally uploaded by madabandon.
But today, unlike yesterday, I feel content.

barking, but not biting

Yesterday I spent the morning deciding on the exact timing and substance of my swimming session. I would leave my apartment at 1:30 and swim for one hour. But when I got to my gym, it was closed; there had been a water-main break. I felt defeated. I had planned, after swimming, to go buy some kind of storage for my files. So I went to "The Container Store" on Sixth Ave. and 18 Street. I was feeling very tired and grumpy. The swimming was supposed to revive me, but since I had not been able to swim, I was not at all revived.

By the time I got to the store I was in a bad mood. It had started to rain and I had no umbrella. I could not see clearly because my glasses were streaked with rain. When I walked into the store, a very tall guy smiled a huge smile and said "hi!" I forced myself to say hello, and walked inside. All the employees were smiling, and each one of them said hello. "Do you need help?" a smiling woman with short brown hair asked me. "No, I'm fine," I said, not smiling. I wanted them all to leave me alone. I found my file boxes, and paid for them; the clerk put them in an absurdly huge and cumbersome bag. I was trying to imagine how I was going to negotiate my way home on the train with such a package. Feeling even more tired and annoyed, I walked toward the exit. Tall guy was still there. Smiling even more than before, he said "have a great day!"


Friday, April 22, 2005


I have numerous decorative objects that I like to look at and arrange in ever-changing configurations. Here are two of them. If I were more of a queen maybe I would be an interior decorator. Not in a million years...

blue orb


B. wrote about "Rapture" by Blondie. I had not heard it in many years, so I went to iTunes and downloaded it. Listening to it, I was overwhelmed by an intense burst of memory from a time in my life that I remember with some confusion, some embarassment, but also pride and nostalgia...during a time when I did a lot of things that now scare me, when I walked a tightrope--or as one of my concerned professors once said, I burned the candle at both ends--and my friends used to joke (or maybe they were serious) with me, saying "you are going to die young." Well, I am no longer all that young, and I am not dead. And this song still makes me want to dance. Her voice is haunting, and despite the bouncy groove of it, there is something very dark about this song. It reminds me...


Originally uploaded by madabandon.
What do you think it is?


Originally uploaded by madabandon.
I bought this plant yesterday. I had a beautiful jade plant but in a wild windstorm it fell from the window sill where it lived, and was damaged so badly that it died. I was very sad, but this one is beautiful too. In California they grow outside, and become huge. In my apartment, which is bright but has north light, it is a challenge to keep them thriving.


Last evening I had dinner with Thierry. We met first at Angel's Share, which is a very charming and calm bar upstairs near Saint Mark's Books. To get to Angel's Share you walk through the Japanese restaurant, which is busy and noisy. Once you enter the bar, it is surprisingly quiet, as if, in passing through the door, you enter another world. It was great to sit there, drink scotch, and converse. Thierry is a person who I feel I've for years, even though I haven't known him for long.

After dinner, we went downstairs to have a cigarette (I shouldn't smoke, but I weaken from time to time) then back upstairs to the Japanese restaurant, Yokocho. The food was good, and we continued our bar conversation. Despite having had a few drinks, I did not feel drunk, although when I got on the subway to go home, I realized I had a buzz. Then I realized that it was that same restaurant where Y. and I had dinner with Arto, Diego, Hiroshi and (to my surprise and delight) the amazing Brazilian singer Marisa Monte, very late at night (we were the last people in the restaurant). It was the night that Y. and I had met.

[We had gone to Tonic to hear Arto perform. After the show, Arto said he would be joining us at the restaurant with Marisa. I thought to myself that maybe he meant Marisa Monte, a singer who I loved, because Arto had produced some of her records. Sure enough, a little while later they walked in. I managed to talk to Marisa for at least twenty minutes before I let on how much I totally love her work. She was so cool, so beautiful, and I told her the story of how I went to her concert at the Beacon Theater the previous summer, when I had the flu and a fever. The whole night seemed unreal, and it is one of my best memories. I was so excited the next day to call my brother and Solange and say to them "guess who I had dinner with last night?"]

So thanks, Thierry, for taking me back to a very happy time.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


clark street looking west

I remember when I first moved to Brooklyn Heights. My apartment was on Columbia Heights, the last street before the promenade. Walking home, I could see the water in front of me. I will always remember the thrill I felt then, the excitement of finally living in New York, the beauty of the view in front of me, the feeling of living so close to the water (having grown up in a land-locked state, I always wanted to be by water; one good thing about Chicago was living so close to Lake Michigan). I still get that feeling when I walk back from teaching and see the harbor stretched out before me. It's nice to know that the thrill can last this long.

in memoriam

Niels Henning Orsted-Pedersen was one of the great bassists in jazz.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

art and life

I am reading the de Kooning biography, and it describes the close-knit artist community in 1930s New York. At that time modernist artists -- Rothko, de Kooning, Gorky -- were not selling any work, no one was famous, and there was little bitter enmity and competition among the artists (so the authors claim). And I think back to my idyllic view of New York, before I moved here. I thought that there would be a lively, supportive artist community, that I would find the camaraderie of like-minded individuals, all of us dedicated to the artist life. And then, the first summer I lived here, I was invited to the MacDowell Colony. And there were many well-known and very successful artists there in residence; I felt shocked, intimidated, and surprised that I was there at all. And what really took me aback was the intense competitiveness, the sniping, the bitterness among many of the composers there (the "famous" ones). And while I made some very nice acquaintance with other painters and writers, once we all returned to our city lives (most of the people there were from NYC) the bonds broke down; everyone was too busy hustling and trying to pay rent and trying to "network." I don't think there is an enviable world for artists now. Everyone is obsessed with "making it" and being famous and finding a fancy gallery or getting a big commission. New York has become too expensive. Art has become too much of a business. So I have become a bit of a hermit, content to ply my own "trade" and hope that it will be appreciated.

de Kooning: SEATED WOMAN


I don't listen to music so much, since so much of my day is spent practicing, teaching, and writing it that I need silence for balance. When I listen I choose my material carefully. Lately I have been listening to the following:

Stereolab: assorted
Bill Evans: "You Must Believe in Spring"
Todd Rundgren: "A Dream Goes on Forever"
Beethoven: First Piano Concerto

Here are more strawberries, for spring.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005


web of flowers

Sunday, lying in the grass in Prospect Park, the flowering trees overhead made a tangled web. The sun was so bright that it hurt to look for long, but by taking a picture I was able to capture this, and now I can look as long as I want without blinding myself. Oh, and by the way, my eye is all better. I even went swimming this afternoon.

art and life/life and art

I have been reading, with great interest and enjoyment, the biography of Willem deKooning that recently won the Pulitzer Prize. I have always worshipped deKooning’s art, and now, learning of his life, I am faced with many questions about my own. There are parallels in our childhoods and our respective concepts of the artist life. I will not enumerate them in detail here, except to say that, like deKooning, I have always been caught between the need to establish a kind of secure “comfort zone” in my own living situation which often conflicts with my desire to dedicate myself totally to my creative work. Anyone, it seems, who has had a childhood marked by traumatic instability usually needs to create at least the illusion of stability. Artists who come from more affluent or secure backgrounds often are better able to throw caution to the wind and live the truly bohemian life, because they come from a level of safety that I don’t have. But I have been lucky. I have never had a “day job”, or even an adult job that wasn’t in the world of music. And I don’t work 9-5. So I really should spend more of my time composing, instead of just thinking about composing. Or are they one and the same?

Years ago, midway through my second year of graduate school, I won a prestigious composition prize, with money attached, and then a week later I was awarded a sizeable fellowship intended to support my work as a composer. I took a trip to France, planning to take two quarters off from school, and I planned on staying in Europe for months, or even more. I had no solid plan, not even a real itinerary. I arrived in Paris without a place to stay and no worries. I was emboldened by being a foreigner, by having a world of possibilities and newness. But it turns out I could not stay; my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I returned home. My mother died a few months later, and I felt lost, and nowhere was home anymore. A year and a half later, I finished my degrees in Chicago and had decided to make my way in New York. My old teacher from college, a composer whom I admire and respect, who has helped me a great deal (and who was instrumental in getting me the fellowship) suggested that I not take so "safe" a route, and instead travel to Asia and Africa and wander about, soaking up the music and the people. I felt like a failure when she wrote that to me, for I knew that I could not do that. How could I explain that the bottom had fallen out for me? That to embark on a solitary journey, when there was nothing concrete to come back to, or to leave from, would be impossible for me? She was right, but the timing was not.


The sky has that dull haze, making the pure blue of the past few just a happy memory. I love spring, but it also is ominous, because I dislike the heat of summer. If I were in the country, the summer heat would be tolerable. I could sit under a tree, in the shade, and wait for evening. But here, in the city, the heat is torturous: it makes the dirt and trash on the streets ferment and reek, turns the subway platform into an inferno, and forces me to live in air-conditioned chill. So when the sky appears dull, the sun a vague brightness, the edges of the horizon a pink-tinged gray color, it is a warning of what is to come.

Monday, April 18, 2005


I will miss Thierry's blog. It was one of the ones that I read every day. Is it selfish for me to want him to resume? The thing I find so troubling about the internet is that while it can connect us with a wider world, our exchanges do not take shape in real time, and a person can disappear without a trace. If I suddenly erased my blog, I would no longer exist to those who casually come across my words, or who visit this site from time to time. As it is I may only be a fiction, conjured of words and images, but intangible.

sunday in the park


Yesterday, taking Mabel to Prospect Park, and then meandering through Park Slope, I must have walked ten miles. And so today, and last night too, my poor arthritic knee is in sad shape. I can actually feel the two bones scraping together; years ago, when I had surgery to fix the knee, they discovered that some cartilage was damaged and had to be removed. My doctor told me about a new procedure in which some kind of foam is injected into the joint, to replace the missing cartilage, thus protecting the joints and cushioning them. I hope my medical insurance will pay for it.

reading list

DE KOONING (biography)
ALMOST TRANSPARENT BLUE (novel by R. Murakami)


I think that I have posted an entry here every day since I first started this blog, back in December. That says that either I have no life, or I am a hopeless narcissist, or that I am predictable, or perhaps that I need this vehicle of self-expression.

for thierry

Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


The beautiful weather was not good for Key Food. It was virtually empty. I bought these amazing strawberries.



Originally uploaded by madabandon.
Even though the sun was brilliant in the sky, in black and white the scene from the park looks more sober. I prefer this version. It seems closer to the truth of things.


Today Y and I took Mabel on the subway to Prospect Park. The park was crowded with people: families, sun-worshippers, soccer players, drummers. I walked down my old block of 5th Street. The crazy lady who lived underneath me still lives there, after all these years. I wonder if she still has her windows covered up with old newspapers.


amazing photographs (click)


There is reason, thankfully. Let us hope it prevails.

for Bao

Originally uploaded by madabandon.


Theo and I have China on our minds today.

never discuss politics

This morning, remarking about the recent anti-Japanese protests going on in China and Hong Kong, I said that I felt that if Japan just offered an apology, this whole situation might be defused. Otherwise, it seems dangerous. Y replied that the allegations should be proven before Japan apologizes to China. I argued that there was certainly enough proof to render that point moot, and that to claim otherwise is to be like those people who claim that there is no proof that six million Jews were killed by the Germans and their cohorts in WWII. Y refused to acknowledge any similarities, telling me that I simply don't know enough about the situation; that the Chinese claimed that 300,000 were killed in Nanking when the population of Nanking was only 200,000. But there are many more accounts of atrocities beyone that. I was getting angry. The stubbornness of the Japanese is dangerous. What is so difficult about a simple apology? After all, if the late Pope could apologize for hundreds of years of wrong-doing by the Catholic Church, couldn't Japan admit that, in the course of war, it committed violations of human rights?


I had planned to drive to Pennsylvania this afternoon for my nephew's first birthday party. I am not sure if I can do it, though, because my eye, which has improved somewhat, is still troubling me, and driving will probably make it feel worse. I feel bad if I miss the party, though. Ugh. I need a driver, that's what I need. Wouldn't it be nice?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

blue night

blue night
Originally uploaded by madabandon.
Going through old photos on a lazy afternoon. This reminds me of that Seurat painting, the really famous one, that lives at the Art Institute of Chicago. "Sunday in the Park..." but I don't know if that is the real title. But I should call it "Blue Night on the Promenade in Brooklyn." It matches my mood, in any case.

Bill Evans: "Haunted Heart"

In the night though we're apart,
There's a ghost of you
within my haunted heart.
Ghost of you, my lost romance,
Lips that laughed, eyes that dance.
Haunted heart won't let me be,
Dreams repeat a sweet but lonely song to me.
Dreams are just,
It's you who must
belong to me,
and thrill my haunted heart,
Be still, my haunted heart.


In this early morning, my favorite part of day, I listen to John Coltrane play ballads. His intensity constantly threatens to burst through the elegant walls that McCoy Tyner, Paul Chambers and Elvin Jones create to define the tunes. It is so powerful that I feel my mind and body can hardly contain the feeling it gives me.


Last night when he came home at 11 he told me "I feel sick." I asked what was wrong. "From drinking," he replied. He had been at a party. I did not answer. I became annoyed. I was annoyed because I had been home all day, the pain in my eye was severe, and he had not called but once during the day, and had not asked me if I was ok, or if I needed anything. "What's wrong?" he asked, sensing that I was not happy. "My eye hurts," I said.

Friday, April 15, 2005


Normally I would be annoyed by a statement like "I am not a big fan of opera" because it refers to such a broad category of music that it reflects a simple mind. Really what should have written is that I don't usually enjoy going to the opera. The music is fine, wonderful even, but the scene, the seats, the culture of it is not something I enjoy.


I am not a big fan of opera, but some of the music is unbelievably beautiful. Now on my iPod I listen to "O mio bubbino caro" from GIANNI SCHICCHI by Puccini. It is almost too much.


Originally uploaded by madabandon.
The small hall from the bedroom to the dining room in my apartment...



morning fog

morning fog

Behind the house, facing away from the road, was a river. Across the river the hills rose suddenly and steeply. There was a bald eagle that flew, hunting, in the early morning. I would try to watch it, but some mornings, like in this picture, the fog was so dense that I could see little. Today I can see little, because my eye is so painful. I will go back to the doctor.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

stray eye

black shirt
Originally uploaded by madabandon.
In this picture you can see how my right eye does not focus or direct itself to the same focal point as my left eye does. For this reason I prefer wearing my glasses to my contact lenses, because they distract the viewer and make my wall eye less noticeable. Right now my left eye hurts so much, even more when I shut it than when I leave it open. I will have to call the eye doctor if it is not better tomorrow, since I am supposed to drive to PA on Sunday--my nephew's first birthday party--and I can't do it if I can't see.


morning fog

That horrible summer of 2003, late August, I was in Pennsylvania and so depressed that I was having anxiety attacks even in the bucolic countryside. In the early early morning, when I could not sleep, I would take photographs of the fog-shrowded meadows and fields. As the sun climbed, burning off the fog, and the day progressed, I would long to be transported away, somewhere where I could feel happy and safe. One morning, unable to take my feelings anymore, I packed my stuff, got Mabel, and drove away, leaving my friends bewildered. I drove in a panic, back to New York, too fast. Luckily I did not get a speeding ticket. But the tailpipe on my car was broken, and the noise of the unmuffled exhaust pounded into my skull.

But at least I have this beautiful photograph to show for it.


Originally uploaded by madabandon.
A corner in my bedroom.

so tired

I'm so tired. I taught my classes today. In between, I mailed my taxes (!) and did some errands. I tried to fill my prescription for cingulaire or whatever it is, but my insurance will not pay for it. So I got only a new inhaler. Then I had a rehearsal in the early afternoon, after which I came home and promptly fell asleep for almost three hours. I would have stayed asleep, but I had to walk Mabel, who started making little noises at the side of the bed to remind me. Now my eye hurts and it is swollen half shut. It looks bad so I wear my darkest sunglasses. I keep having problems with that eye, which is troubling. Maybe tonight I will work on this sculpture of toothpicks. It has been sitting untended for a long time.



Speaking of cars, yesterday, having decided that the snow season is over, I took my car to Red Hook to get washed. I love my car. It is an old Volvo 240. It is the first "nice car" I have ever owned. All my previous cars were beaters, as we used to call them when I was growing up. My sister and her husband, who buy new cars frequently, like to suggest that my car is too old and that I should replace it. I plan to drive it until it dies. It is, by most standards, not a fashionable or fancy car, but I admire its efficient design, its lack of frills and gadgetry. It is also comfortable, reliable and safe. I try to keep it in good condition, and I try to be a responsible city car owner. I don't drive in the city unless absolutely unavoidable; I use it only to leave town, or when I have a gig that requires moving equipment. I take the subway 99% of the time. Sometimes in summer I drive around the city, when I know I can park, and I am transporting Mabel, but that is only because there is far less traffic then and I don't feel like I am contributing so much to the noise, congestion and smog that driving creates. I take Mabel on the subway, but she does get a little nervous.



My brother has a friend who has become quite wealthy owning a taxi business. He owns many medallions, and like most in this business, leases them to the drivers at exhorbitant rates. The drivers work in stressful conditions for long hours, and at the end of a good day they take home about $50. Meanwhile this guy collects expensive cars, lives in a huge Tribeca loft, and travels around the world, buying expensive watches. When my brother mentioned that the friend had just purchased a new Porsche, I said "nice that he can get rich off the backs of his drivers." My brother was disgusted with me, and said "there you go on your Marxist harangue" and I replied "someone has got to say it." The thought of someone so selfishly amassing wealth this way makes me sad.


can't breathe
head pounds
legs hurt
painful left eye
muscles sore

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Dear Jonathan,
Here is your horoscope
for Wednesday, April 13:

You're so capable of casting a romantic spell -- without even trying -- that it's scary. So when you notice that someone you're not at all interested in is watching you talk with that smile on their face, reel it in. Fast.

hmmm. interesting.



I am waiting for Jeff to bring me my taxes. I hope I will get a good refund. If I do, I will buy a new bed, because my back hurts too much from this old one, and I am myself too old to suffer such indignities. The sky is bright blue and the sun is shining, and it felt good to stand in it. I am ready to go back to bed, soon.