Sunday, July 27, 2008

more (will it ever end?)

Well, I had vowed that my shopping would end with the purchase of my bike. But yesterday I made my way, once again, to Secaucus NJ. My destination? The DWR Annex, the site of most of my best furniture finds. And lo and behold, I found a rare Eames Case Study bedside table. I have always wanted the case study bed (in the picture), but it can't fit into the elevator of my building. But the bedside table is another item I've longed for. And it was marked down ridiculously, unlike most of the stuff at the annex, seemingly priced for a vanished class of I-bankers. I think they discounted it because it appeared to have a large stain, which upon close inspection revealed itself to be easily removed. So I carted it home, and it sits next to my bed now, its ample drawer filled with various items, its large surface home to my radio and a pile of books. I think that now my bedroom is complete, although a new dresser would be great one day.

Note: the picture is NOT my room; the shoes are a giveaway. Strange as I might be sometimes, I don't wear shoes like that, ever. And as I said, I don't have a case study bed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

waking up


Coming out of a bad depression is like waking up from a nightmare. Today for the first time I am starting to feel normal. I got up easily and went about my obligations with a sense of anticipation and pleasure, a fundamental change from the last ten days. This is typical of my cycle. Now I have to watch out that I don't swing too far in the other direction. Luckily I am so used to the symptoms of both poles that I think I will be ok. I am happy that things are looking up, and I hope this normal period lasts. I think part of it was that this time I didn't deny that I was struggling to my family and friends; if anything, my blunt statement of just how bad it was may well have been cathartic. Certainly my brother and sister both seem to understand more; and I got in touch with an old friend, someone I care for deeply and had hurt very badly in the past, and just that contact has given me some hope. And riding my bike is so much fun that I can't help but smile about it. One gift of depression is that it feels so good when it lifts.

Monday, July 21, 2008


For the past year or more I have thought of purchasing a bike. I was an avid bicyclist in high school and during the summers when I would leave NYC for Vermont; while at the MacDowell Colony I probably spent half my time biking through the beautiful New Hampshire landscape. Now, many years later and one knee surgery behind me, I decided to go for it. I went into Manhattan and purchased a wonderful invention, particularly for urbanites: a folding bike, a Dahon Curve D3, pictured above. I rode it back from Soho, down into lower Manhattan, across the Brooklyn Bridge and to my building. Later I rode to Dumbo park to watch the sunset. This marks the end of my buying season. Here's an inventory: ceiling fan, television, furniture, bicycle. Enough already.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


empire stores

When asked how I am I invariably respond with some variation on fine, good, busy, great or swamped with work. I never say "I am fundamentally depressed" or "I am exhausted by my depression." To do so would be most truthful, but I recognize that it is hardly socially acceptable. But lately it is the most accurate answer. On Thursday night I was on the verge of something and I called a small number of friends, trying to find a caring and receptive ear. It was a general failure, though the one person I reached at least gave me a pep talk. But it made me feel lonelier than ever. I don't know what the solution is. Depression is something people just don't want to hear about. I can't blame them; I am sick of it myself. I am trying acupuncture in the hope that this will help. Honestly, I am becoming desperate. But I am sure that today, should I venture out into the inferno, if anyone asks I will smile and say that I am fine, or good, or something like that.

Friday, July 18, 2008


So I finally completed the installation of my ceiling fan with some help from a neighbor. However in putting the light fixture in place I discovered that the bulb--some new kind of compact fluorescent that I'd never seen before--arrived broken. Aren't they full of mercury? If so I most likely have mercury poisoning. I called and they are sending a new one. But the fan works wonderfully, and helps cool my overly-warm dining are. Now I need to go to sleep for a while. A siesta to calm my tattered nerves.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday Mom! Wonder what you are like as a 72-year-old. We all miss you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Patsy Cline and Johnny Guitar

guitar and mirror

My guitar now lives in my bedroom. The living room was too cluttered. So now Patsy has figured that the most effective way to wake me is to play the guitar early in the morning. She plucks a string or two, knowing full well that it won't fail to at least make me groan and send her away. I have to say she is somewhat considerate; having woken me, she doesn't bother me when and if I fall back asleep.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


For July 9, 2008:

"You can make major changes in your life if you use your head, your good ideas and your strength and courage to put your plans in motion. There is a chance that someone who owes you will come through for you, so don't hesitate to ask."

But what if I don't want to make major changes in my life? I guess I should not "use my head" tomorrow.



Lately I have had the most incredibly, vivid dreams. They amaze me with their clarity and feature people who have not normally appeared in my dreams, including members of my family (who have always been notably, conspicuously absent). I won't detail them, but several have actually been cathartic, worth a thousand therapy sessions apiece.

This morning I woke ridiculously early, probably a vestige of my re-setting of my own diurnal clock, something I had to do because I had jury duty yesterday (it was not unpleasant, and best of all I was dismissed at about 3:20 pm, having not even been called for a single jury "voir dire"). As is my morning habit I was listening to WNYC. The hosts were asking people what their favorite summer song was. I thought immediately of that song "Sandy" (not it's full name) by Bruce Springsteen, and then I thought back to the time when that song was in the air.

I was still in high school, naive but not simple, knowing so little of the world and yet content in the way that one is when one feels he understands his surroundings. My world was so circumscribed that I did understand it then. I knew how to negotiate and flourish and succeed in a way that I feel I have never been able to do since.

Do we all feel that way about youth? While I was baffled and troubled by so many things, in fact I could drive all over the southern half of my state without knowing the names of the roads; I could go to a party and know half the people there; I thought that the best thing was riding on a summer night with all the windows open on our way to the lake to smoke and drink and get high. And when I thought of all this--and of course the familiar comfort of my family and the neighbors and the junked cars in the yard next door--I felt incredibly anguished, like I've lost something that I can never reclaim and will never know again.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


It's not what you think. I just finished this novel, STONER, by John Williams, an author I'd never heard of until I read the review of the novel in the NY Times' Book Review last spring. I picked it up at Saint Mark's Books and then never got around to reading it until last week. The frenetic pace of the school year's end had left me a little frazzled, but last week I started to feel the kind of balance that inspired me to read. It was a stunning novel about a drab man in a drab world, but the man is a hero in a way that some people might never understand. For an idealistic creative person like me Stoner's heroism was breathtaking. The writing was as beautiful, clear and pristine as any I've read. Oh how sad I was at the end, not only because of the tragedy of the plot but because I wanted to continue to live inside the world of that book. There are many things I can relate to in it, and while it described a world away, it appealed to me on a gut level in many regards. Get it, read it. The title of the post is linked to a page on Amazon. You can buy it there.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

happy ears

This afternoon I picked up my custom-made musicians' ear plugs. I went to the audiologist in May, but could not find the time to return to get the finished product until today. I put them in before riding the subway back. I have to say that my entire subway experience is vastly improved now. The horrendous screeching of the wheels, the general din, is muffled yet I can still hear extremely clearly. In fact I think I hear more clearly because the background noise is reduced. The filters are designed for performing musicians. The decibel level is lowered without sacrificing any dynamic range. I could see myself leaving them in permanently. I should have gotten these years ago.