Friday, June 30, 2006



pomona reclining
Originally uploaded by madabandon.
Pending some test results, the likely diagnosis is that Pomona has kidney disease. I will bring her home today and try to keep her comfortable. If it is advanced--and it looks as though it is well along--then I will not let her suffer in pain or sickness. I have always called her "Pomona Angel" or "Queen Princess Pomona." She has always been so dignified.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


pomona sleeping
Originally uploaded by madabandon.
I took Pomona to the vet this morning. For the past week she has been noticably slowing down, although she still eats and drinks. But now she has begun to pee on the floor and herself, and she is shaking and doesn't want to move. The doctor is keeping her overnight and I will see what is up in the morning. I think she may be diabetic, and given her overall health otherwise this is not good. Here she is last evening; Y had a photo shoot with her modeling. She still purrs when I talk to her.



While I am pleased to have the summer free of teaching, I do have one complaint. I would be much more productive if schools were closed in autumn or spring. I don't like summer weather like that which we've had the past few days: hot and humid, the sky hazy, the sun more of a smothering blanket than a clear orb in the sky. Even in the shade the damp hot air stifles me. I want some dry days. Then I don't mind the heat so much.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Originally uploaded by madabandon.
Now that I am a subscriber to Netflix I have been watching more films than I typically do. Last night I watched Transamerica. While the plot became predictable, and the "road movie" clichés were cloying, the acting made up for the plot problems. Felicity Huffman's face was amazing to watch. The complex of emotions, so tightly reined in, played across her face so vividly. Dignified and graceful, she broke my heart.

Today I woke up feeling down for the first time in a while. I won't give in to it, though. I have been cleaning and organizing. Theo will come for dinner and I want the place to look decent. In this photo, taken last night, I look strange, no?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I should have mentioned that the brownstone has only recently been spiffed up; the owner (the half-brother of the crazy guy) had the deteriorating brownstone patched and then painted over. The door and window trim was painted this odd shade of green. Here is the house just a few months ago:


I hear that someone, a tenant, has moved in, and is fixing up the interior. Good luck.

doing things

green door

Surprisingly, this photo has generated a lot of attention. The house in the picture is a very run-down brownstone, one of the worst in the neighborhood; for a long time a schizophrenic ex-con lived there, smoking crack and running around the neighborhood (occasionally naked) breaking into cars and menacing people. I hear he is back in jail, but that is not the best place for him. He should be in a hospital somewhere.

Yesterday a few hours after swimming I had a horrible allergy attack again and had to take two benadryl. I was due to meet Bao for dinner at 9:30 and at 6 pm I passed out, luckily waking at 8:30. I am glad dinner was late or I would have slept through it. Bao looked good, relaxed and suntanned especially compared to pale old me) but I was pretty much out of it (sorry Bao) and kept forgetting what I was talking about in mid-sentence. Coming home on the subway, I fell asleep, which I almost never do. Luckily I woke up before my stop, or who knows where I might have ended up. That benadryl is strong stuff, but it does work.

This morning I drove to Fairway in Red Hook, that amazing market, and bought food for the week and for dinner tomorrow, when Theo is coming. I am looking forward to it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

le weekend

Friday night I went with Y, N, and H to BAM to see "Zabriskie Point," Antonioni's film about the American counter-culture. It was crowded and we got there too late to sit together. I was sitting at the far right, end of the aisle, too close to the screen, and so I had to assume an awkward position just to see. The theater was quite stuffy, and earlier, in the throes of a horrible allergy attack, I had taken benadryl. So my experience was confusing: I felt physically bad, and yet I was mesmerized by the images on screen. Whatever one may think about the contrivances of the plot etc., it is a visually stunning movie.

Saturday I was planning to go to PA to my younger cousin's graduation party--he finished college--but it was pouring rain and my spinning head (benadryl after-effects) made the idea of driving unattractive. So I didn't go. I feel somewhat guilty, but decided to let it go. And so I was able to go back to BAM, this tiime to see "L'Eclisse" ("Eclipse"), another Antonioni film shot in the year of my birth. This one was not as captivating although the lead woman was stunning and her almost-deadened affect charming for a while. Soon, though, I found myself wondering how much longer the movie could go on, and that is a very bad sign.

Sunday, another rainy day, I did almost nothing. I did make myself a bit ill by trying to drain the messed-up dishwasher by siphoning the water out, getting a mouthful of water mixed with dishwashing detergent, and feeling like I might have poisoned myself. After a rest, I felt better, so Y and I relaxed. We ate. We slept. That was that. I like the weekends, but I often feel as though I should be doing something that I am not.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Originally uploaded by madabandon.
Next weekend (one week from today) will be Patsy's first birthday. I invented the date because I don't actually know what day her birthday is. But since Pomona's invented birthday is April 2 and Tuna's is May 2, Patsy's is July 2.

viewed this weekend

L'ECLISSE (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962)

ZABRISKIE POINT (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1970)

Friday, June 23, 2006


Originally uploaded by madabandon.
I am so productive! Every day I swim, I work, I clean my apartment, I fix things, I take care of long-neglected obligations. I don't even curse the awful humidity. I do the laundry. I pay my bills. I wax my car. What is going on?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

every day

Originally uploaded by madabandon.
I take these photographs every day with Photo Booth, software that came with my new computer. The camera is built into the computer

The plumber is here. Hurray.

cause for alarm

Why I think, on average, about one hundred times a week of leaving here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

tangled up

feet etc.
Originally uploaded by madabandon.
Well today started out wonderfully. I woke early and took advantage of the cool morning to wax my car, which now shines resplendently red and attracts the glances of passing admirers. Then I went for a swim and mostly had the lane to myself. On the way walking home I decided to tackle some small home repairs, so I stopped at the hardware store and bought a new attachment for the faucet on the kitchen sink as well as a sprayer handle for the spray attachment. Arriving home, I made some coffee and installed the faucet part. Beautiful. I should have stopped there. Why? Because after replacing the sprayer, the faucet did not work at all. No water. Nothing. I found the handyman for the building, and he fixed it, I thought, but about twenty minutes later it stopped working again. So I resigned myself to replacing the entire faucet and calling a plumber to install it, at considerable cost. It is true that the faucet had been malfunctioning for years and in the back of my mind I knew it had to be replaced, but I had neither budgeted for it, nor expected that my own attempts to spiff it up would result in its demise. But you know what? I don't care so much.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


smashed cone with oil drum
Originally uploaded by madabandon.
This morning I woke up early (surprise!) and set about doing some maintenance. My car had been covered with dried tree sap for a few weeks and looked awful. So I drove to Red Hook and got it cleaned. Part of the side molding fell off in the process, but I was able to fix it. Then I drove around in Red Hook, a little lost, trying to find the way out, which I eventually did. Now I am working more on OEDIPUS, listening to the choruses sung in ancient Greek. Tonight I will confer by phone with my collaborators. My stomach hurts for some reason, perhaps because I have not eaten. I am hoping for some violent storms this afternoon. The sky looks promising.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Originally uploaded by madabandon.
Well, true summer is finally here. It is hot out, 90F right now, and this keeps me inside where I have been working more or less all day. The director of OEDIPUS has sent me recordings of the choruses in ancient Greek. Her recitation is absolutely mesmerizing and it is helping me to imagine the music much more clearly that I am able to by reading the text alone.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Yesterday I was all over the place. I went with Y to Madison Avenue because he had some shopping to do. It was crowded, tourists abounding, and when the sun came out it was a little warm. I got sunburn on my face.

In the evening I went to Prospect Park with Y and a few others to hear Laurie Anderson perform with a Tuvan throat singer. I have always admired Laurie Anderson but I have to say that her performances get stuck in this kind of numbing pace that can put me to sleep. So that is exactly what I did: lying on the grass with tree branches overhead, in the dusk, I fell asleep. Sorry, Laurie.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Originally uploaded by madabandon.
Today while walking to the pool I saw a man sitting on the sidewalk, on State Street. He was seated at an upright piano that was against the curb, and he was tentatively playing, a few notes at a time.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

free at last

Originally uploaded by madabandon.
I don't mean to sound like my teaching job is a prison, or even a chore. I like it very much. I also like the vacations. This summer will not be a vacation--I have far too much work to do--but at least my schedule will be generally free. And I can swim every day. I skipped much of the end-of-year ceremony (graduation, faculty party, senior boat-around-Manhattan trip) because I have a bit of an issue with these things, bad memories from my own such ceremonies. I also dislike saying goodbye, and to have to say goodbye to all those people would be exhausting. But of course I wish them well, and I will miss some of the students very much.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Vanity causes some to do odd things. Take Paul McCartney, for example. Why does he color his hair? We all know that he is in his sixth decade, and what 60-something man has such pure brown hair with not a grey hair in sight? Coupled with his sagging face, the discord is inescapable. It appears that his colorist missed a spot on the right temple.

It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I think the best thing that ever happened to Paul is that he met John Lennon. Otherwise he'd probably still be in Liverpool writing his quaint, cliché-riddled ditties. Oh bla-di oh bla-da.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

about town

The weather this weekend was amazing. So I was out and about. To west Chelsea (galleries, Comme des Garçons store), downtown (stop at Chelsea market to buy dandelion greens and pancetta) and then continuing down to the West Village. There I found the elusive Martin Margiela store--having a sale but I didn't buy anything--which is unmarked. Inside everything is whitewashed except the clothes and the very friendly staff. Last night there were ungodly loud fireworks--traumatically loud--in anticipation of the Puerto Rican Parade. I saw the parade today when I went with Y to Barney's. It is sale time and I bought a shirt that unfortunately was not on sale but I wanted it anyway. Now I have to stop spending money for a while.

R train downtown

Saturday, June 10, 2006

tear it up


Every summer sidewalks and streets in my neighborhood are torn up and put back together. And today I heard a steady sound of explosions coming from somewhere in the northeasterly direction.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

hold on tight...

My hypomanic mood has lasted for a few days now. It started with the welcome news that my medical situation is not alarming. I will be checked out at the end of the summer. My doctor was absolutely correct in taking this very seriously, but it is not as bad as was first thought. Then two nights of little sleep (allergies and Patsy were to blame) have put me across the line. Today I did something that now, thinking back on it, alarms me. I was walking Mabel. There was a white Hummer parked on my street. I saw a slim well-dressed blonde woman walk up to it, get inside, start it up, and move it to the other side of the street. I walked up as she was getting out of the car. "Hey," I said. She looked at me. "Is anyone in your family fighting over in Iraq?" I asked her. She looked puzzled. I continued "because I sure hope someone is, considering that you are driving that thing." To her credit, she didn't scream at me, didn't laugh, but engaged me seriously. She told me that it was the new model, the H3, and that it cost her $40 to fill the tank. She said that a lot of cars do worse, pointing to a large shiny new BMW nearby. I couldn't believe she was so reasonable (although I think it must cost more that $40 to fill that tank because it costs me almost the same). Then I looked at the Hummer, and I noticed it had Pennsylvania plates. She was not from here. And just a short time ago, taking Mabel out for her last walk, the Hummer was gone.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

rose 2

Two hours of sleep last night. Allergies.

Monday, June 05, 2006

"down on the corner..."

shrouded house

This house, down the block from my building, is one of the grand mansions of Brooklyn Heights. Suddenly, today, it appeared shrouded in white, like some small project by Christo. After all, he wrapped the Reichstag, no?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

weekend update

I have been very busy with all kinds of things, one of which is dealing with a number of doctors. I have not been forthcoming here about what is going on with my health, partly because of privacy, and partly because I don't wish to think about it. But now I am resigned to the situation. I have to be, because it is fairly serious. It seems that my carotid artery on the left side is partially blocked, which increases the risk for stroke significantly. It was blocked when I firs had a sonogram a 18 months ago, but the most recent test showed a strangely high increase in the extent of the blockage. This despite the fact that I am in excellent condition, don't smoke cigarettes (the neurologist assured me that smoking other things is not nearly as dangerous in this case), I don't drink, and I am not overweight, and I have low cholesterol. There is a possibility that there is a malformed blood vessel somewhere that is causing this. Now I have symptoms of hypertension, which magnifies the risk much more. Paranoid me gets frightened now of any headache, dizziness, confusion-all bad signs. The neurologist also thinks that some of my medications for bipolar are effecting my blood pressure since he can see no other cause, and I am not genetically predisposed to it. So here is the rub: if I have to stop some of those medications, my mental health will suffer. But if I don't, I could die of a stroke at any time. While I might not, I am at very high risk, particularly for my age.

I am calm about this and I am doing everything I can to help myself: meditation, lots of exercise, careful diet (no meat, no butter, mostly vegetables and grains and fish). I take one aspirin a day to thin my blood (doctor's orders). But I am unnerved too. I go back to the neurologist on Monday; he will have consulted by that time with another radiologist, my internist, and my psychiatrist. I have utmost faith in this neurologist. In his office he has THE ILIAD, Joyce's ULYSSES, French novels (Stendahl, Balzac, etc.) AND a small piano. A humanist doctor is a rare thing, but something I value very much.

So there it is. Wish me luck.

Friday, June 02, 2006


When I was a child
I played by myself in a
corner of the schoolyard
all alone.

I hated dolls and I
hated games, animals were
not friendly and birds
flew away.

If anyone was looking
for me I had behind a
tree and cried out "I am
an orphan."

And here I am, the
center of all beauty!
writing these poems!

(Frank O'Hara)

sleeping boy

Thursday, June 01, 2006



Maybe writing this blog makes me a historian, or something...