Saturday, June 30, 2007


night swimming (2)
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Back in Brooklyn, briefly. I drove down last evening, making a stop in Poughkeepsie to have dinner with friends, and arrived a little past ten o'clock last evening. It is wonderful to see the cats. Hammy has grown in my week's absence. Soon I will head back up for two more days. I have grown used to the country, but at least Brooklyn is quiet on the weekends in summer, at least it is around here, and so it is not too much of a shock to me.

I will not be posting again from upstate. I am leaving the computer at home. I can certainly handle three days of no email. I need thinking time. Big time. I have a lot to think about.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


horse latitudes
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

When you come toward the barn the horses (or horse and three ponies) come over to say hi. One of the ponies is a bit curmudgeonly and stays behind generally, although this evening she came out to play.

night swimming

night swimming
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

This is a brief update from upstate NY. I am sitting in a café in Hudson, taking advantage of their WIFI and having a latté. I feel quite relaxed. It is beautiful up here, as always, and today it is pleasant outside; the last three days were quite hot, and I spent a lot of time hopping in and out of the pool. Y and N were up; the former since Saturday and the latter since Monday. I drove them both to the train in Poughkeepsie yesterday and enjoyed some solitude since then. I have not done any work. I am reading Charles Rosen's book PIANO NOTES, parts of which I had read before. He was my professor in grad school and his book THE CLASSICAL STYLE was earth-shattering to me when I read it as an undergrad, because it was the first time I read someone who could explain so brilliantly that musical language really does have meaning that can be described.

I watched "The Squid and the Whale" last night on dvd. It brought back so many memories of my own parents' divorce, even though the story was very different from my own. One thing it made me realize, with shocking clarity, is that my father never made any effort to have custody of us, and in fact we never even slept over his place. The only time I stayed with him was when I was house-sitting when he traveled, or for a period during my last year of high school when my mother had kicked me out of her house.

Friday, June 22, 2007


hammy sleeping
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

When I was growing up my father had a way of dismissing any concerns with the general platitude that everything was "fine." Thus, if I had a searingly painful ear infection, I did not complain; I would be told that I was "fine" and to stop complaining. Thus I did; one day, with a scarily high fever and an abcessed ear that was about to burst, I heard the doctor admonish my mother. He wondered why my ear had gotten so bad. But it was MY fault, because I did not complain.

To compensate, I tend to jump to the worst conclusions with little provocation. This manifests itself mostly when I discover some malady with one of my little brood. Patsy had some skin irritations which I immediately assumed were mast cell tumors thanks to my cursory and bad education (via internet) on feline skin disorders. And Mabel's itching ear must clearly signal an ear infection. So one at a time--Patsy first, Mabel next--I marched them off to the vets' this morning. All is well. I feel a bit silly having panicked so last night. And I wonder: if I had a child, would I be able to keep my panic invisible in the face of some illness? I would like to think that I would. I would like to think that I would be the best of both worlds: worry enough to never neglect things, but not panic enough to scare my kid.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


hammy's action shot
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Today I was busy preparing to leave for a little sojourn upstate. Haircut, errands, etc. I am trying to be organized because my spaciness in recent days serves as fair warning: make lists, or I will be sure to forget something crucial. But I am not planning on having too many requirements. All I need is some reading material, a few necessities, my camera and laptop and little midi-controller keyboard (for any musical inspiration that might come my way). Oh, and Mabel of course. I will miss Patsy and Hammy; they will be in good hands, but Hammy is growing every day and I wish I did not have to leave him behind.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

patsy and hammy

patsy and hammy
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Bloomberg for president. Hmmm. I'm not sure. His bland facility is admirable in some situations. However, I have not given this nearly enough thought to make any more intelligent or even worthwhile comments. There are no candidates whom I find very compelling anyway.

Since I have so much more time these days I am hanging with my little family. Patsy and Hammy are happy to have me around like this, and there is a lot of playing going on.

Monday, June 18, 2007

pet peeve number 87

When an artist refers to his/her work as "the work" I want to scream. As in, "in the late 90's the work was dark and tormented." And just now, listening to John Shaefer interview the baritone Sherrill Milnes on WNYC, Milnes referred to "the career." But it was his own career that he was talking about.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by madabandon.

This is Mabel, a week after her haircut. She is looking particularly serious in this picture, which I took on Friday.

Yesterday was bizarre. I decided to go to the beach. So with Y in tow I set on my way. But it was a trip marred by mishap. First, I forgot my wallet, so while driving I was extra careful, since had I been pulled over I would have no ID or license or anything to show for myself. Then, upon arriving, I realized I had no swimming suit. Yes. The water was quite cold, though, so I probably would not have gone in anyway.
Then the magazine I had brought with me turned out to be a copy of the NEW YORKER which I had read cover-to-cover. So no reading.

Finally, after a long nap, we headed back. My eyes were quite dry and irritated. I was wearing my contact lenses, as I usually do at the beach. So while driving I pulled out my eye drops and artfully dripped a few into my left eye. Instant searing agony! They were not the right drops. In fact, they were ear drops! How I managed not to crash the car is still a mystery. The LIE was crowded, the traffic fierce, and I was semi-blind, screeching as tears poured down my face.

Friday, June 15, 2007

silly boy

silly boy
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Ok. Admit it. This is one of the cutest pictures of all time.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


green leaves
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

I have done little the last few days. A bit of composing, swimming. A few naps. Reading. Watching Hammy play. I have time to think. And time to read the entire newspaper. Amazing.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

La fin est ma commencement...

Originally uploaded by madabandon.

The end is my beginning. Or something like that. For when my teaching year is over, I have unlimited time for navel-grazing. Or for work. Or play. Or whatever I choose. It is one of the best things about being involved in education. I don't think I could teach year-round. I would never last. The only thing that I can do year-round is think in my own idiosyncratic way. Even then I get myself into trouble. Right now it is raining ferociously, some thunder and lightning too. Just the right touch to begin...


pink sky with tree
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Lurid is the pain in my head. Lurid is my queasy stomach. Last night we had an end-of-year party for my department. I almost never drink. I had some sangria. Then, for god knows what reason, a martini. Then I had a little toke. Well, that was the end. I almost passed out. I was not sick (as in puking) but just knew I had to get home immediately. Luckily I made it home in one piece, but today I am utterly useless. I am not getting younger and I don't bounce back so quickly. And it really is unseemly for someone of my age and station in life to stagger home the way I did. Luckily I was not exposed to public view. I took a car service door to door, thanks to my neighbor who was also at the party. My sincere apologies to my hosts. I hope I didn't make a fool of myself. I tried to maintain my dignity even when I could hardly stand up.

Monday, June 11, 2007


serra 3
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

In keeping with my theme for the weekend, on Saturday evening I went to BAMCafé to hear Sussan Deyhim, the Iranian-born singer/composer/sound artist. She was performing with two other musicians, one who played a cymbalom-type thing and another drummer (awesome). She played a variety of electronic processing devices and sequencers and such. It was great. Amazing music. She has an enormous vocal range. And such technique. She did this song using throat-singing technique. I loved every minute of her music. And there was this charming, laid-back vibe to the whole thing, people wandering in and out, not all the posturing one might expect. It just shows that Brooklyn is really the place to be.

But all weekend I just could not believe how many tourists there were everywhere. And in Brooklyn. So maybe Brooklyn is over too. What's next? Staten Island...eek.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


serra 4
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Yesterday in the haze of mid-evening I took the subway to meet Y at MOMA. There we met N and her friend H, an Italian living in Australia. The Richard Serra show had opened a few days ago. I love Richard Serra's sculptures and have seen them many times in various places. The bland corporate sterility of MOMA takes away some of their striking power, though. I felt dizzy walking through them. This may have been due in part to how crowded it was, but also to the fact that I slept very poorly on Thursday, felt exhausted all day, and yet could not fall asleep when I tried to take a nap in the mid-afternoon.

On the train to MOMA I ran into a former colleague. He teaches at another private school in Brooklyn. He told me that the jazz director at his school spoke very highly of me after meeting me a few years back at a competition in Boston. For some reason I found it surprising. Then, thinking about it, I realized that this is a big problem for me. I should not be surprised to hear such things. I should be secure in my professional accomplishments. If I have a good rep it is because I have earned it. So why do I still feel like somehow it is not really true? That I am some kind of imposter?

Friday, June 08, 2007


Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Today is my first day with no welbutrin, after six days of gradually reduced doses. I feel like my mind is swaddled in padding, veiled from clarity. This is strange, but not unpleasant. I am having some odd physical symptoms: insomnia, muscle pain, headache. I did swim yesterday, which felt good, and I will probably swim again today. That should help.

Right now on WNYC Brian Lehrer is considering the mayor's congestion-pricing plan. While I am adamantly for any environmentally-friendly policies, this one seems misguided. It will simply be a tax on the less-affluent, further dividing New York into a city of haves and have-nots. This is already too far along, this split. I was a party last evening for a colleague, and was discussing this with a guy whom I've known for years, worked with, etc. We were both lamenting the suburbanization of New York, and hoping that the crime rate would creep up just enough to scare off the people who really should be living in Westchester or New Jersey. I know I have harped on this topic before, but I am somewhat obsessed.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

  • strange visuals (flashes, mostly)
  • no appetite at all
  • can't sleep
  • vaguely disoriented
  • forgetful, more so than usual
  • body aches
  • feel feverish
  • mild sore throat
  • burning eyes

Monday, June 04, 2007


self portrait with dark glasses
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Yesterday I began my "tapering off" of my antidepressant. I am going to see what happens. I feel strange, sort of spacey and absent, my head a little detached from my body (if that makes any sense). I am also very sleepy. I feel like I could sleep for a month.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

home alone

self portrait with jug
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

I am home today. I am not really alone, as I have my little family here. Patsy has a bit of an upset digestive tract. I hope she has not caught something from Hammy. I think it might be that she ate some of his kitten food, and it is quite rich for adult cats. She is acting fine, her usual elegant playful self. I am just finishing up school work for the year, end of year stuff. It is suddenly cool and windy out, and i can finally turn off the loathsome air-conditioning. As much as I need it, it bothers me. It also makes my ear hurt. You know how that guy has drug-resistant TB? I think I have a drug-resistant permanent ear infection.

* * * * * * *

Yesterday I went to Barney's. Their summer sale is on and I need a hat to protect my fair self from the sun. Also whatever else might appeal. But I left empty-handed. The hat I wanted was still $400 and nothing else seemed that interesting, or if it was it was too expensive. So for the nth time I have gone to Barney's and bought nothing. I think it signals the end of an era for me.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Originally uploaded by madabandon.

Hammy is truly one of the delights of my life right now. He is just so cute, and watching how beautifully he gets along with Patsy and Mabel makes me smile and provides tremendous stress relief. Now, as the school year wraps up, I am finding a deep sense of satisfaction in the accomplishments of the past nine months. Granted it was a frantically busy year, but busy for good purposes. What better way to wrap it up than to bring a sweet new kitty into the family. I feel very lucky today.