Monday, October 31, 2005


In PA two weekends ago I bought two big chrysanthemum plants, one white and this pink one. This morning I discovered that the white one was infested with some tiny bugs, so I put it outside. But the pink one is doing fine.


three of a kind


Sunday, October 30, 2005

more Patsy


After our early morning photo session, I did something I almost never do. I went back to sleep. I ended up sleeping too much, a horrible feeling. My head feels like it weighs five hundred pounds.


Patsy is a beauty. If she were human she would be a supermodel.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

I am an idiot (sometimes)

Through fastidious research, I have determined that I did in fact break the shifter on my car. Had I been less exhausted and more level-headed, I would have consulted the owner's manual and learned how to disengage the shifter when my brake lights went out. So I cost myself $500. At least it means that my car is not at fault. I am at fault. This is not the first time I have acted impulsively when stressed and caused my own financial damage. But it is only money, after all.

my ride

lying (cheating, stealing)

It would be naive of me (or anyone else) to think that no one lies. We all do it. Small lies: you look great! or I love what you did with the space! or I can't go to work because I am sick today...or one that I have uttered: "oh yes, the piece is coming along well. I should be finished by the end of next month."

These do no real harm. Often we lie out of politeness, other times for some personal gain, but that is harmless to others. It is when lies damage that they become dangerous. Case in point: the Bush administration's lies about Iraq have caused deaths in the tens of thousands, both of Iraqis and Americans. These same lies have caused the reputation of this country to plummet throughout the world. This damage most likely can never be truly undone. It can only be compensated for, hopefully sooner rather than later.

When someone you are close to lies to you (not a petty lie, but a significant lie) that person has really cheated you. He or she withholds the truth out of some personal motivation, but it may very well cause harm: the issue of the lie is often one that, if the truth comes out, will damage you. And the liar is stealing from you: they steal your trust. You wonder if you can ever believe the liar. You begin to doubt things that you once thought were true. This is sad. But my words are cautionary, not only to one reading them, but also to me.

maybe, just maybe

The indictment of Lewis Libby, announced yesterday, was the first glimmer of sunshine in the darkness of the past four years of idiot George Bush's reign. He and his horrifyingly amoral cabal may finally have to account for themselves. I am moved to tears by the fact that our justice system still has some ethical strength. I am not unique in the this way, by any means. I hope they all are taken down and imprisoned. Bush, Cheney, Rove et. al. should be tortured, mentally and physically, so that they have some taste of the suffering that they have caused so many. And may they be haunted for the rest of their days.

On a lighter note, you know how they say that politics is like Hollywood for ugly people? No one does it better than Karl Rove. Looks like a pig, no?

Friday, October 28, 2005

(I'm not writing this)

I wrote a while back that I would not address my depression here, since it is boring not only to me but probably to anyone who reads this--if anyone does--and I am tired of thinking about it. But today I feel it creeping up, as if I were standing somewhere and water was gradually rising to engulf me. Right now I would say that it is about at my waist. I hope it recedes.


Inside my apartment it is freezing. I am not sure why. Usually, in previous years, we have had too much heat. I know that heating oil is much more expensive, and so I guess the building's board is trying to save money. I need to get covers for my air-conditioner in the bedroom, because the cold air leaks in easily. I wake in the middle of the night so cold I can't sleep. And outside it is worse. I used to be so tolerant of the cold. Now, I suffer from it. I have lost a lot of weight (for me, without so much to lose) and this may be part of the reason. So now it is 5:20 am and I've been awake for one hour. I couldn't sleep because I was too cold, and Patsy kept playing with my feet.

bricks and window

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


The nomination of Harriet Miers for Supreme Court Justice is just one more in a long line of examples demonstrating George Bush's love for the mediocre. He is clearly intimidated by excellence. As he coasted through Yale with his gentleman's C's he probably laughed at the "geeks" who got A's and studied. His life since he entered the working world--if such a term is applicable in his case--furthers this view; bumbling, inept business ventures, every step of the way aided by cronies, his embracing the average. It is one thing if he himself is not too smart and can't speak in complete sentences, but now he wants the country to be run by those who share his limited capacity.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005



My Pomona is gaining weight. The thyroid medication is working well. She is even a little more cooperative when taking her pills each day. I am very relieved that she is improving. She had gotten so thin that she looked bad. Now she is growing back into her plump old self.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks died. I remember learning about her in elementary school in "social studies" class. The story we were told was that she refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery because her feet were tired. But today I heard an interview with her on NPR, and she said that that day (she was 42) she had no problems with her feet. She had already been deeply involved with the NAACP civil rights movement, and she decided that she was going to make this protest in advancement of her ideals. Why were we taught that she was tired? I feel disgust.

I remember my brother coming home from school in second or third grade and telling a joke he had learned from a classmate. The joke involved the word "nigger." My mother was angry and told all of us--my brother and I, my sister being too young to understand--how this word was hateful and that she never wanted to hear it from us again. My mother was active in the NAACP when my parents lived in Philadelphia, and had always taught us that any kind of prejudice was evil. And she practiced what she preached. But in the lily-white town where I grew up I heard constant anti-black, anti-jew, anti-asian comments. To my credit, and to my brother's also, we never participated in this. And I got into more than a few fights when someone made a slur against jews. My brother did too. I have never really gotten over growing up in an environment where people hated me because of my religion.

Monday, October 24, 2005

sad conclusion

I have come to conclude that I may very well have broken my car last week. Trying to shift into park with the lever stuck, I probably broke the shifter assembly. While I did try to use the "shiftlock override" switch, I did not carefully read the directions. I wonder if I could have saved myself about $500. The thought makes me feel quite stupid. So I adopt the following philosophies:

1. It's only money
2. Nothing can be done about it now but I have learned to take a deep breath and move slowly in such situations
3. Since I don't spend so much on gas and operating expenses, it all evens out in the end
4. stop second-guessing and just accept things the way they are.

But I do remember that on that day I was very very tired and not thinking clearly on the return drive, and had I been in a better condition I probably would have figured the problem out. Haste makes waste, and I am living proof.

the sum of the parts = ?

I received this email this morning:

Just the day before you posted the commentary about Moby on your blog, _______ emailed a song of his ("Forever") from Viet Nam.

And, on Saturday, I saw "Je t'aime moi non plus", a rare film by Serge Gainsbourg, also starring Joe Dallesandro.

Strange coincidences, no?

I hope you are well.

Warm regards,


Sunday, October 23, 2005



I have a terrible wheezing cough. Earlier I felt very dizzy. Hmmmm. I watched "Heat" by Paul Morissey. Andy Warhol was the producer and it starred Joe Dellasandro and Sylvia Miles.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Moby, please shut up please

Truth is, I have never liked Moby. I found his music unimaginative, although his early work was novel in its use of electronics. But I lost any respect whatsoever when he released his record PLAY. Taking such heart-stoppingly beautiful, soulful spirituals and turning them into banal repetitive and uninspired dance music struck me as truly disrespectful of the musicians from whom he stole. Then I saw him "perform." He ran around a stage clapping his hands over his head while pre-recorded tracks played, and he occasionally strummed a guitar. His "performance" was a joke, when one considers all the musicians who truly do perform, who can sing and play instruments and compose and conduct.

Then some students showed me his website. His drawings were no more interesting than anything any average child could come up with. His journalis embarassing in its vapidity and the utter lack of originality in his thought. His photographs were just plain stupid. I remember one vividly: a bunch of bananas poised over the lip of a toilet, juvenile and poorly executed. My students laughed at the shallowness of it all. Then I learned that Moby frequently went on anti-corporate rants, like some counter-culture figure from the `60s. So how does he reconcile these sentiments with the fact that he sold his music to be used on commercials, one of which I saw (I think it was for a car company)? A hypocrite, a self-server, I decided. Like Ralph Nader, decrying the corporate ruling of America while collecting millions in stock dividends.

But I pay no attention to Moby usually. Today, though, I read an issue of TIME magazine in which he participates in a panel discussion with Malcolm Gladwell, Esther Dyson, the conservative columnist David Brooks, and a few other intellectual types. Moby's comments were sparse, as I suspect that he was in over his head. He did remark on how fascinating technology is, because twenty years ago it would cost a small fortune to produce his music, and now he can do it all on his laptop! (my middle-school students could have told us that). And when asked about how he felt about the future, all he could say was this:
I this the world is so complicated that I can't be so presumptuous as to justify pessimism or optimism, so I'll stay agnostic. But I like waking up every day, and I think breakfast is a fantastic thing.
Please. Since when is it presumptuous of anyone to profess optimism or pessimism? And last I checked, an agnostic is defined as "one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god." He uses words he doesn't understand, and he passes it off as original thought. And yes, the world is complicated, but intelligent people try to make sense of it, and try to educate themselves to do so.

I will resume ignoring Moby's existence, but I just had to make it clear that I think he is a tool.

more than the usual


Mabel, ever cute, seems more so lately. Perhaps it is because she is competing with Patsy for attention. Perhaps not. In any case, she is rather vain and enjoys posing for the camera.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

flower girl

flower girl

looks nice...

Well, at least everyone agrees that my car looks good. The repair is going to cost more than I had hoped (surprise!). It turns out that the shift-lever assembly is shot. I tried to find a used one, but my model year was unique, and therefore they are very hard to find so I had to get a new one. Volvo parts are notoriously expensive (thank the Swedes and their high cost of living), so I am out a few hundred dollars. Ugh.


uphill struggle

This morning I woke up and did the usual feeding of the menagerie, then took Mabel for a walk. We ran into J., Mabel's favorite. She was walking her usual crowd. We discussed the way that the Hasidic guys who run the office supply store on Court Street and how they ogle her when she goes into the store. She suggested that someone make a documentary on the sexual practices of the various sects of Hasidism. Sex and sects? "Torah and Tits!" she exclaimed as I laughed so hard I thought I would fall down.

Then I took the car to the shop, yet again. I felt a sense of utter futility when I woke up, knowing that this was what awaited me. Now I could definitely be accused of over-reacting, but this incident just reminds me of how difficult little things are for me, and the precarious nature of my finances. I feel frustrated. Yesterday, talking to my brother, I told him that the car was giving me problems again. He chided me and reminded me (unnecessarily) of how many times the car had given me difficulties. "What do you expect? I am driving a thirteen-year-old car," I told him. I was exasperated. Clearly if I could afford a newer car, I would have one. This is difficult for him to fathom. For a "normal" person these little inconveniences are not a huge problem. For me, they threaten to plunge me into a state of despair.

I struggle uphill most of the time. Good thing I can laugh, though. Torah and tits!

stairwell II

Monday, October 17, 2005

one by one

Well, by one my blogging circle, such as it is (really more a construct I have invented myself than anything actual) has dwindled. Lodgerlow has put her blog on the shelf, at least for a time. Whirlingboy has not posted in weeks. Supercilious and mono no aware likewise. I press on. I will not abandon this project. Perhaps it is pure self-indulgence which propels me. But it is therapeutic to analyze, to recount, to dissect the events/behaviors/impulses/interactions through which I trudge through my days, good and bad. As an artist, ultimately my material is my self. Writing here helps me to understand myself. Hopefully it is of interest to others, but that is not what compels me. It is more to leave a document, a record, of my days, so that I know that I exist. Otherwise I might get lost. And I for one know that I have been lost many times before in my life.



Yesterday I stayed in. I had work to do for school, nothing very time-consuming, but since I could not use my car, and since most of the subways were messed up, I opted to spend the beautiful day slothfully. I watched Gregg Araki's "Totally Fucked Up," about gay kids in LA. It was shot like a documentary (though it was not) and touching, sad, and disturbing. The bleakness of their outlook--most having been rejected by their families, and, like so many, in search of love and plain acceptance--brought back so many memories that I was overwhelmed, and so I went to sleep. In the middle of a beautiful sunny day I slept, feeling so exhausted that no amount of sleep could be enough. And then I went to bed early and slept straight until morning. I still feel tired.

Now I have a lot to do. And I have to call the mechanic to see if they can fix the car this week. I discovered that the brake lights are out. I hope they weren't out during my drive back on Saturday, because if they were, then it is really miraculous that I was not killed. As it was I almost crashed into the wall driving through the Holland Tunnel.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

road trip

ceiling and arch

Today I drove to Upper Black Eddy in PA where my brother's house sits on the Delaware River. The sun was shining and it felt great to be outside. I was starving though, and having a beer on an empty stomach made me very sleepy on the drive back. Then, parked in front of my building to unload the car, the shift lever got stuck and I thought I would have to call a tow truck. I finally got it to move, but this is not a good symptom and it means I will make yet another visit to the mechanic. Funny, while in PA my brother's friend, a Volvo junkie, told me that I should hold onto my car because they are great cars and indestructible, but the little things do start to go. I hope this is a "little thing."

Friday, October 14, 2005

strange dreams

Last night I had a dream that was interestingly mixed up. I can't recall the chronology of the different scenes, but here are a few of them. I was teaching (my current students) but I would show up for class and the room would be empty. Then, perplexed, I would find my class of students sitting, attentively waiting, in some other, random room. The building was not the same as the one I actually teach in; it was modern, not old, and had huge windows.

I was traveling on a plane to work. This, apparently, was my normal method for getting to school--not by foot, as I do now--and the flight was long. There was a group of regulars, people who always took the same flight, and my friend from college, N_______, was among them. When I arrived at my destination, somewhere in a rural setting, I was to coach a soccer team, and the players were diving into a river, one at a time, and speaking Hungarian to me, which I could understand.

I was in New Orleans, living there, and had gone to a jazz club to hear my childhood friend R. play with his band. They left me an ashtray with a joint at the table that was reserved for me. I was some sort of special guest. The table, when I arrived, was occupied by carefully made-up women with strong southern accents. When I approached they all got up and left. The odd thing is that R. never, in real life, played an instrument so far as I know.

I was negotiating to purchase the building where the club was located. The real estate agent kept telling me it was worth at least two million dollars, but I was going to pay substantially less. I told the broker that I was all ready to go, but I had to consult with my lawyer first.

When I woke up and recalled this last segment, I thought to myself "who in their right mind would make a major real estate purchase in New Orleans now?" With apologies to all those New Orleans residents who have suffered tremendous losses, it does seem an odd time to speculate on a future in New Orleans real estate.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

head, third day

This is the third (or is it the fourth) day of my headache. It comes and goes. The endless rain is the cause, I think. I do like the rain, as I have mentioned, but I am tired of it now. It has been raining since Saturday.

Yesterday walking to school to teach I tried to skirt a huge puddle, and stepped on a sheet of aluminum lying hidden underneath a shallow pool of water. My foot slipped forward suddenly, and in an effort to prevent myself from falling I twisted my left knee jarringly. Now it is very painful and swollen, and I fear I have aggravated the problem with my ACL, the same problem what I had in my right knee (corrected by surgery). I just hope it is not damaged too much because, having gone through that surgery once, I never wish to have it again. So wish me luck.

I bought this "pill plunger" to help with Pomona's medication. It makes it much easier to get the pill down her throat without actually having to use my fingers, which means fewer cuts for me, less stress for her, and more happiness all around. I do think the medication is helping and she is gaining weight slowly but steadily. At least I can no longer feel the acute sharpness of her bones.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

thinking ahead

lower bartonsville road

I continue to think about living in Vermont. I am trying to make a list of "Plus and Minus" categories. So far the plus side is winning. And I stumbled across this blog while doing my usual morning news- and blog-reading. It reminded me that it is possible. I think if I plan and strategize, I could manage to pull it off. I crave the north, I crave nature, and I am tired of the hysterical pace of New York. Or am I just trying to escape something?


People come, enter your life; you think it might be significant. Then, as a beautiful cloud will eventually dissipate, they go. So many times the cycle repeats itself. "Love what you have while you have it, and let it go" is a wonderful philosophy, but it does not heed the ingrained emotional world of one's psyche. This is why I try to hold on to those clouds.

cloud panel

Monday, October 10, 2005


Feeling a bit anxious and with some manic energy, I proceeded to reorganize all the two closets in my bedroom to try to put my clothes in better order and reduce chaos. This involved a good deal of cleaning also. I put on the four Brahms Symphonies -- perhaps trying to torture myself subconsciously -- while I worked. I am pleased with the results: the closets look great, and I can find all my clothes now. But all four Brahms Symphonies in one hearing is too too much. Brahms never could get his music out of the dark, even though there are some moments where it seems he might; it always comes back to this dark-hued autumnal state. Perfect for today's weather, though.

my own two feet

my feet

They have not carried me very far. Yesterday, although I had some urge to go out and do something public, I ended up staying in and doing some work, but mostly letting time pass. Today again it is gray and cold out. I am feeling agorophobic.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

puncture with greenhand

My hands are scratched and cut, from my attempts at home repair on Thursday and four days of giving Pomona two pills a day. She doesn't bite me, but she has scratched in protest. She is getting more accustomed to the pill routine, though, and I am becoming more expert at administering her drugs. And I hope I am not imagining it, but she does seem to have gained a little bit of weight in the last few days; at least I can't feel the sharpness of her bones so clearly.


pillow, sofa and table

I have this tremendous urge to rid myself of things, to make my space spare and empty. Of course it is easy enough to see this from a psycho-analytical perspective. But where do I start? Is it now, listening to Beethoven String Quartets?

I was intending to go to PA today to see C. but I am feeling quite inadequate for a long drive. So I will stay home. I stayed home last night too, although I was invited to a party. It was raining so ferociously that I opted to listen to the whoosh of the storm from the familiar confines of my apartment.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


shadow portrait

I like to take these self-portraits, although in many of them (most of them) I look scary. Not because I am scary-looking, but the look on my non-smiling face is scary. I am not sure what this says about me.

Right now it is raining quite hard, which is shocking since it has not rained like this in so long. I only wish that it weren't doing so on a Saturday, because I was feeling restless and hoped to be out and moving around. That might not be so easily accomplished, though, given my mental state these days, which is fragile. But I had a very nice dinner with B last evening, and he is looking relaxed, and I had a good time. This helps.

Friday, October 07, 2005


I am under financial duress. In the past two months I have spent several thousand dollars on my pets' veterinary needs and repairs on my car. This was money I had not budgeted for, and thus I am stretched very thin. I don't usually worry too much about money--not that I have plenty of it, but I usually do fine for my needs--but this time I worrying. I cannot withstand another unplanned expense. So keep your fingers crossed for me, if you read this.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

good news

pomona sleeping

Pomona's test results came back. It is better news that I expected. She does have a hyperactive thyroid, but everything else is in good shape: kidneys, liver, blood levels. So I will start giving her a pill twice a day--she is going to hate me--and the vet thinks she will start gaining weight again. I am so relieved. I was quite worried about her.

good thing...

There is a reason why I am a musician and not an engineer, auto mechanic or plumber. This morning, as I was about to leave to teach, I noticed water running onto my kitchen floor. Alas, a pipe under the kitchen sink had broken. I got a bucket to catch the water. I then studied the broken parts and how it was all put together, and decided that it was something I could fix myself. I trotted off to the hardware store and bought the parts. I came home, assembled a collection of borrowed wrenches, and set about to put things back together. It seemed so simple. Yet I failed, and in doing so cut my right thumb rather nastily; it is still bleeding several hours later as I write this. So I called a plumber, and he is fixing the thing right now. I think plumbers make pretty good money, based on the cost of this. But the plumber was speedy, friendly, and the sink has a bright shiny new trap and drain.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


To think absence

may make the heart swell,
enlarging with hope.

Six months, two changes of season,
the new weather. Love is
to anger as care to scorn.

To think that I could have
such disorder. For
there is a clock and a ruler but

Mine are broken. I have not yet
fixed them. But like the fox
I have perfected my form.

today so far

wake up
feed cats and Mabel
walk Mabel
drink coffee
take shower
go to bank, deposit checks
go home, drink coffee, read paper
go swimming
go to barnes and noble, browse
go to health food store
go home
walk Mabel
read mail
fall asleep for almost two hours and wake up feeling like sh-t


While walking Mabel today:

"You are so beautiful! You are so cute! And so sweet too!" (in lilting Irish accent)
"You are the cutest dog I have ever seen."
"Excuse me. What kind of dog is that? I have noticed her? him? for a few weeks now. Absolutely beautiful."
"Can I pet your dog? She is SO CUTE. I can't believe how cute she is."
"Mabel Mabel! You're always smiling."
"Oh aren't you adorable! What a beauty!"
"That is the cutest puppy I have ever seen."
"That looks like an Akita puppy. How old is she? She's not a puppy? Oh my god. She is so cute! She looks just like a puppy!"

please shut up please

I often listen to WNYC in the morning. It is a public radio station and has good news coverage, including the BBC News Hour. At 10 am there is a talk/call-in show, the Brian Lehrer Show. This show addresses interesting and timely subjects, but I just can't stand Brian Lehrer's showboating style, and his constant interruption of the guests he has on air. Also, if a caller speaks of things that aren't to Lehrer's liking, he cuts them off and moves on. Overall, he comes across as the kind of person you absolutely would not want to hang out with in any situation. So Brian Lehrer, if you are reading this, please: let other people speak, and surrender some of your apparently enormous ego.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005



I tried something new. Since I am not teaching today or tomorrow--school is closed for Rosh Hashana--I stayed up until 2:30 am last night. For a while I was talking with M. But then I read and played with Patsy and finally went to bed. Still, I woke at 6. But I was able to fall back asleep after feeding the zoo, and I slept until 8. I do feel quite groggy though.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Morning is a most difficult time. After sleep--where dreams take me away--I wake up and within minutes I am reminded of the real situation I am in. Luckily I have things to attend to: the complex feeding procedure for my menagerie, walking Mabel. I am going to keep myself busy. I teach a lot today. Tomorrow I will take Pomona for her thyroid test. I will teach a lesson. I have errands and work to do. I will try to keep my mood from sinking.

I am thinking that it may be impossible for me to have a successful relationship. My condition makes my behavior too volatile, as much as I have improved in this realm. There are still things I can't control. It is asking a lot of another person to deal with this, as most people don't have these crazy mood swings and don't know how to react in the presence of one who does. But B. is right when he tells me "love what you have and let go when it is gone."

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Today has been like scaling a cliff. I did have some help. Thanks, C. Thanks, M. Thanks, B.



clouds and sky

Some words are so light that they can
above us in the blue sky, like clouds.

We see what we wish to see.

And a cloud is a puff of mist.
before me at one moment, moving,
and then gone.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


The sky was blue today. Things happen out of the blue. A fight, and I tell him to leave. He began to gather his things. I could not bear to see him, so I told him to leave immediately. I asked for the keys. I don't want him to come here. I don't want to see him. And then I am shaking so hard and wishing only that I could make everything disappear. And I try to call a friend, just to hear another voice to help me calm down. But it is inconvenient, and I am left staring at the phone in my hand, feeling like I can't breathe. This just brings hopelessness. How could I expect more?

Empty words are so easy. They roll off the tongue and delight the speaker. The unsuspecting may actually believe.

Someone had better watch over me now.