Thursday, May 31, 2007

den of...

Originally uploaded by madabandon.

My place is a den of cuteness these days. Patsy and Ham are adorable together. Patsy has always been quite social, and now she has someone to play with. This means she no longer tortures me by knocking things off of shelves to get my attention.

I've been ridiculously busy although I had foolishly thought that things would really slow down this week. On Tuesday I hosted a venerable pianist/songwriter/arranger/producer from New Orleans. This man is really a living legend in American music. He played and talked to a huge crowd of students, who were wild in their applause. It was really cool but since it all came together very last-minute I had a tremendous amount of running around, phone-calling, getting calls, etc. And today another legendary musician will come to one of my jazz classes. It is musical celebrity week for me, I guess.

Monday, May 28, 2007


sister and brother
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

It is nice to see how Patsy and Hammy get along. I am so happy that Patsy has a friend to play with. Now when I go away with Mabel I won't have to worry about her being all alone. And believe me, I worry about stuff like that. I get sad thinking of her by herself, waiting for me to come home. Because she doesn't eat when I leave her; if going for one day, I will fill her bowl with food, and it is full when I return. Once I have greeted her, she runs off to eat.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

in the bowl

in the bowl
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

This is one of Hammy's favorite places to hang out. Mabel doesn't mind that he sleeps in her food dish. She doesn't like the expensive Wellness dry dog food I bought her anyway. Last night, making lychee tea, one dropped to the floor and Mabel at it, peel and all, and it made her a little sick in the digestive tract. She seems fine now. Soon she will join me and Y on a jaunt to Pennyslvania to visit my sister and her brood.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Patsy and Ham

Patsy and Ham
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

They are getting along wonderfully. Patsy acts motherly toward Hammy. She cleans him and herds him around. She is also teaching him how to play nice. She gets a little pissy because Hammy gets so much attention. But Patsy, always a lady, never loses her dignity. Hammy, on the other hand, is not at all dignified. He is silly and curious. He wanders freely around the apartment now. He is fully litter-trained and has yet to have an accident. And he loves to eat. And eat and eat and eat.

personal space

hammy 3
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Today after swimming I was getting dressed. My locker was in the far left corner of the three-sided bank of lockers. I sat at my stool. I still had to put on my shirt and my shoes. A tall very sweaty 50-ish man came into the bank of lockers. He had thinning wettish hair pulled back into a tiny ponytail, above which loomed the bald pate of his head. He reeked of sweat. There was a stool next to me with an old towel on it. "Is this yours" he grunted at me. I shook my head. He glared at me and took the towel and dropped it on the ground. Then he sat on the stool about four inches from my left side, stifling me with his b.o. He was the perfect example of a certain type of 50-ish man, straight, with compromised hygiene and no sense of other people's space. I very quickly threw my shirt on and my shoes and got out of there fast.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

good news

Hammy is getting bigger and stronger by the hour. He is super cute. A parking sign, perched high on a heavy steel pole, got knocked over by the wind last night, narrowly missing my car but seriously messing up the truck parked behind me. Good luck for me, though I feel bad for the owner of the truck. I got one of those free credit reports. I have a perfect credit score. I am a good risk.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Originally uploaded by madabandon.


hammy 2
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

This is Ham. He is about eight weeks old. He came from Pennsylvania, from a farm near York. He is very cute and sweet, and he looks very much like Patsy did when she was a kitten. I saw Gino too, at the vet's, and gave him a treat and a scratch. So far Hammy is getting along very well with everyone. He loves to eat and talk, and he has a very loud voice for someone so tiny.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

blue green

blue green
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

This is the color of tranquility.

Finally I am done with a very very busy semester in which I had to juggle too many projects. Well, yesterday wrapped it up and now I can relax, write my student evaluations with no distractions, and plan for a nice summer. I feel relieved and tired but good, because I accomplished a lot this year. It was one of my most productive years in recent memory, at least since the mid-90s. Wow.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


And in those times, the ones I mentioned in my last post, I was still unaware of the world as a place where something like this travesty could be allowed to happen. In this country rich people grow richer on the backs of others and avoid paying taxes so that the have-nots more often than not descend into lives of hardship and grief.


I am fixated on this song called "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane. I downloaded it from iTunes and I must have listened to it one hundred times or more yesterday and I am listening to it now. It is an almost perfectly conceived and executed anthem. And it brings out some powerful nostalgic yearning in me, memories of high school, hanging out at the lake with my friends, sun shining, no worries, life being simpler, my world so much smaller but so much more understandable.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Maybe I've cracked and the last post was ample evidence.

But I don't think so.

This morning while I was walking to school I heard someone come running up behind me. It was the mother of a student, an artist herself, a fine one; and she had come over just to thank me, not for anything specific, but for what I was giving to her kids. She is, like many of the parents, a very smart and accomplished person, and I was grateful for her words. For some reason, as I continued on my way, my eyes were filled with tears.

So maybe I have cracked.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

hallmark card

Lace and chicken feathers,
taken as one,
together forever.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Originally uploaded by madabandon.

I have a beautiful orchid that was given to me by the cast of the play last week. This is not it; I have not yet photographed it. This is another beautiful orchid that was a birthday gift a few years back.

I take photographs so that I can remember things. Beautiful things, sad things, funny things. When I look at Gino's picture, I feel sad. I don't know if animals' memories are like that. I hope Gino does not remember the bad things that happened to him. I hope he remembers his time here, because he seemed so happy (when Mabel was in the other room); he purred so much when I petted and brushed him, and when I fed him too. I am still so sad that I had to bring him back. I can't bear the thought of him penned up in a cage at the vet's. Please please please let someone who appreciates his scarred beauty and dignity adopt him and give him a home where he can play, sleep, eat, and be safe.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

empty seat

empty seats
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

I am very sad to say that Gino has gone back to the vet. After a long discussion she determined that he probably had bad experiences with dogs, and given his age, was unlikely to change. It was a very difficult decision. I fall for animals quickly, and Gino had endeared himself to me with his roguish charm. But his aggression toward Mabel was alarming, and Mabel herself had begun to look nervous. I took him back after giving him some salmon, a brushing, and a thorough ear-scratching which had him purring and rolling around. Still, I almost cried as I left him. I just hope that someone really nice will adopt him. He would be fine as an only cat, or in a household with other cats. He was not at all aggressive toward Patsy, although she and he had not yet had a tête-a-téte. If you read this, and you know of someone who is looking for a cat and doesn't mind an adult who is a little street-wise, please contact me.

Monday, May 14, 2007

what to do?

Well, after three days, I am in a dilemma about Gino. He is no fan of Mabel, and he has attacked her multiple times. It is not in defense, because she keeps a polite distance. But I have gotten caught between the two of them and have the scratches to show it. Mabel seems nervous, and it is breaking my heart. Gino is older than I thought he was, based on the appearance of his teeth. I am not sure if he will come around. The vet gave me a large cage to keep him in, hoping that by being around Mabel but not able to get to her, he would become used to her. No sooner had I set the thing up when he just jumped right out of it. I don't want to traumatize Mabel. After all, she was here first. So Gino is back in the bathroom. Stay tuned. The vet told me I can bring him back; I think he might need to be an only cat, or at least in a household without a dog.

Of course I am tortured about this, because he is a real sweetie and full of purring and affection with me.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

what goes up...

sleepyhead patsy
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Well, what goes up must come down. Last week I wrote about my heightened energy and productivity. Well, as it always does, my hypomania has given way to exhaustion. I feel ill; my whole body hurts, my throat, my eyes. My legs ache like I ran a marathon. Friday evening was the last show of the play. I needed a weekend of doing nothing, but yesterday I had to go to Pennsylvania to celebrate my father's and stepmother's birthdays. Dinner was late, the food was too heavy, and driving back there was a horrendous storm, with thick fog and driving rain, which completely took it out of me. Today, near comatose, I watched two movies from Netflix: "Shortbus" and "Casino Royale." I liked the former a lot and found the latter entertaining but not nearly as artful and clever as the old James Bond films.

Gino is sleeping on the bed. He is still wary of Mabel, and Patsy is still wary of Gino, but I predict a peaceable kingdom will come soon. He is very sweet. My big project is to get him to use the litterbox; he has had a few accidents. He pees in it, but he seems confused about everything else that one is to do in a litterbox. I keep my fingers crossed. He is noticeably more relaxed. I have been cleaning him, brushing him, and he's looking good. His leg still has a long way to go, but I think that here, in a much less stressful environment than he was in, he will heal nicely. He acts a lot like my Tuna. I find it inspiring, how a cat can go through such trauma and still be trusting of people. I will keep my readers posted on his progress.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Originally uploaded by madabandon.

This is Gino. I took him home yesterday. My vet had called. She knew I was planning on getting another cat this spring. Gino was found with a rope tied around his leg. He was badly injured, but he has recovered quite well. He still has some bad abrasions on his leg from the rope, but they are healing beautifully. He is scared of Mabel and there has been some flying fur, but when I am not home Gino stays in the bathroom where he has been cozily set up with food and all his necessities. He is very sweet and gentle, and he loves to sit next to me. Patsy seems quite curious, not scared, and I predict they will all be good friends in time.

We think Gino is about a year-and-a-half, but it is hard to tell. He is a big boy, and he wears the scars of a difficult childhood. I am glad I found him. I don't think he would be easy to place. He is not a cute kitten, and his scars won't win him any beauty prizes. Right now he is sleeping at my feet. When awake he is quite talkative.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mabel post-bath

bathtime mabel
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

number twenty

Compose a fanfare for two trumpets to be performed at the dedication of our school's main building. It is being dedicated to the founding headmaster, a man of genius and complexity quite rare in the world.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


  1. wake up at 5 am and do laundry
  2. mop and polish the floors throughout the apartment
  3. work on three compositions at once
  4. talk too fast
  5. sleep, barely, fitfully, maximum four hours a night
  6. don't eat normal meals
  7. don't eat much at all
  8. make lists of projects
  9. obsess over random series of numbers
  10. disassemble three sets of rapidograph pens
  11. clean pens in ultrasonic cleaner
  12. work on meticulous, highly-detailed pen and ink drawings in my "book" (I draw, write, scribble, etc., in notebooks. I have dozens of them).
  13. hand-wash two sweaters and a jacket
  14. re-organize bedroom closet
  15. put winter clothes away
  16. take out more summer clothes
  17. pay bills
  18. make phone calls to set up appointments for next week
  19. converse numerous times with my collaborator on the play

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Since I received payment for a big commission along with refunds from the IRS and New York State, I have become completely debt-free for the first time in years. Yes, I still have a mortgage to pay, and a car payment, but I have no credit card debt. I inherited a pile of it years ago and only now have paid it off (long story). Yet I still have an excellent credit score because I am one of those people who pays all bills on time and, fortunately, I have never had so many bills that they exceeded my income, as mediocre as my income is. But still the debts were a weight on my shoulders that won't be missed.

In this new state of un-indebtedness I have purchased some badly-needed items:
  1. Bosch HEPA vacuum cleaner (awesome, powerful, extremely quiet)
  2. Toshiba DVD player (my old one was working poorly; new one has amazing picture quality
  3. Three pairs of Adidas Stan Smiths: two black/green and one bright blue/white (extravagant; one would do just fine but when I find something I really really like, especially shoes, I buy two)
  4. One medium-size Freitag tote/shoulder bag for work (not a necessity, but an indulgence)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


ruins (7)
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

I don't know what or whom to hold responsible. Since Saturday I have felt ill. My stomach hurts ferociously whenever I eat, and I am very tired, no matter how much I sleep. Although I don't sleep enough to be sleeping too much, if that makes sense. It might be as much stress as anything else. A situation that I have alluded to previously has taken its toll on me. I am seriously in need of down time. What happens is that although I have many vacations from teaching, this year I have had to work through each of them, on OEDIPUS or on other composing projects. So no vacation is really a vacation. And thus I am falling apart. I am exercising though. It helps my sanity.

Another former student died, last week, after a bad accident. I know it is hardly news to anyone that such things seem so random, out of our control. But that seems like hollow comfort, somehow. Maybe comfort is a ridiculous concept, something we would like to have but something that is really not possible. Just acceptance.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Originally uploaded by madabandon.

This weekend I tried mainly to rest and relax. The week, especially toward the end, was stressful. This is due to a situation at school which is particularly challenging my patience, generosity and compassion. Enough said. Yesterday Y and I took the water taxi around Manhattan. It was a little cold. We got off at Christopher Street and walked up to the Chelsea Market to buy food for dinner.

Today I went to Park Slope, walking with Y up 5th Avenue to find some food. Then we walked back to Ft. Greene and I hopped on a bus to go home. I have been doing little, but I did give Mabel a bath. I took pictures of her which are hilarious. I will post them soon.

Friday, May 04, 2007

birthday cake

Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Happy Birthday, Bao!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

multi-hued blue

blue 2
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

My mood has been unstable the last week. It makes for an interesting ride. Overall the color is more blue, but there are flashes and episodes of more vibrant, aggressive colors mixed in, as in my painting here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


my left foot
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

I have lost a lot of weight. I was aware that my eating was sporadic over the past few weeks, given my ridiculous schedule and my bad habit of neglecting meals--I simply don't get hungry for long stretches of time, and when I am not hungry I find it nearly impossible to eat--but the truth was confirmed when I weighed myself at the gym. I was surprised by the number and realize that I had better pay more attention to my food intake. Increase it, that is.

The problem is that when I lose weight like this my face gets very thin and bird-like, which is not attractive.