Monday, March 30, 2009

In Memoriam
Nicholas Hughes, 1962-2009


Thursday, March 05, 2009


The Wind, A Lake, A Bump

I say to Molly Isn't this fun! Only because
for the first time in weeks the wind that blows
is not a cold wind. I feel it could take me right
up into the air and all my spinning would make
sense, would have something logical it could attach
itself to.

Hmmmm. It was nice, but short-lived. Molly
and I had to come back in at some point, I suppose.

I wondered about the birds when the ice took the trees.
How odd it must have been to have been sitting there
on a branch thinking you had someplace to be in the midst
of rain turning to ice. Only to have your place snap
beneath you. To find yourself lifting your wings and
looking for another place. Only to find it snapping
and breaking beneath you. And then to find there
was no place you felt safe to rest your weary bones
and wings upon. And then, by the next day, the ground
covered with ice which is covered with three feet of snow,
and you don't know where you're gonna get food
and you aren't so sure if you want to go into the trees
again and there's no one throwing out bird seed cause
they're all in shock and trying to figure out when it's going
to be warm again or light again.

And I wondered about the birds.

But, the trees are still here--shattered, but here. And the birds
are still here. And the daffodils are blooming already, despite
the cold

And I really just wanted to talk a bit about my confusion.
But I can't. Because it doesn't really mean much unless
it keeps me imprisoned. I guess. I'm not sure. Or unless
it leads me to some kind of understanding. I guess.

And I have this bump on my upper left shoulder, superficial
kind of thing, that could be a damn pimple, me at 50. Egads.
A pimple on my back? Me at 50? Me at 50 even saying
it may be a pimple. Might as well say I need Depends.
I guess. I don't really. That's part of the confusion.
Which is so ridiculous. My cat with an abcess, my mother-
in-law nearing 90 getting ready to go under the knife
so her back won't hurt so badly and she won't have to depend
on a walker. My sister working 2 to 3 jobs to keep her house.
My niece making dangerous, ridiculous choices. My worries
about family and friends great and not unfounded. And I
am confused and curious about a damn little irritating bump,
rise, growth something or the other on my back?

I smell cat pee. I think the old boy with the possible abcess
did it on the small area of carpet between this room and
my son's. It's overwhelming my nose. I am confused.

He is sick, I think. I guess. I think so many things are guess
work. Like the way I can't cook Coq au vin and not think
of you. The way the herbs go to my head and the wine,
which has not had time to intoxicate me, intoxicates me
nonetheless when I think of you, lifting your fork
to take a bite, there by the river, our quilt spread
out on the ground, lazy loud geese floating around in all
that stagnant pond scum just so they could get a closer look
at the strange people sitting there eating, acting as if there
were no confusing things and nothing to guess about.

I guess that's what they may have been thinking.
I guess they can think.

And then there is the growth, the bump, the unknown.
That thing my fingers can touch and manipulate and
rub, my mind growing just about tired enough of guessing.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Chautauquas and Other Things

I'm all for bringing back Chautauquas. But most
of us would find some reason not to go. This from
Pirsig:

"What I would like to do is use the time that is coming now to talk about some things that have come to mind. We're in such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it's all gone."


Yes, that day-to-day shallowness oftentimes swallows us whole.
For the first time in a very long time, I am actually asking for
some of the shallowness, if shallowness will allow my mind to rest.
I have begun to enter a bit of a manic cycle. It's been years since
I felt this way. I was so glad when the mania was gone. But then,
there was trade-off, as there often is. Mania for apathy, inability
to articulate, extreme exhaustion, no excitement over words, music,
art, endeavors, accomplishments, living. You go from heart pounding
crazy in your chest and racing thoughts, writing like crazy, going
to concerts, going to writing groups and workshops, living on the
edge and doing things you can't believe you're doing to almost flat-lining
and experiencing a brain which has gone to mush.


*****************************************************

Spent most of the day doing laundry, reading, trying to watch tv.
All I really wanted to do was get warm and rest, but I have been
unable to do either. It is bitter cold outside with gusty winds.
We had strong winds again Wednesday night which knocked out
our power for about 3 hours. I was terrified that we were going
to enter the black zone again, but we managed to get the power
back on before the basement flooded again. The rain was pouring
hard and the wind gusting 60 mph and higher.

On Tuesday of this week, which seems so much a blur to me now,
my husband called me from his shop and said he had just called
an ambulance and it was on the way to get him. He said I don't
know what's wrong with me, but something happened. He sounded
far away and as if he were struggling to find words. Four hours later,
after a cat scan, an EKG, numerous blood tests for cardiac enzymes,
metabolic readings, etc. , the conclusion is that what happened to him
possibly can't be explained. Possibly inner ear coupled with orthostatic
hypertension. He explained to me what happened to him. It sounded
like a stroke to me, but nothing on the scan. He is better today,
and has been since that day. No weakness now and no dizziness. He
is on Antivert, steroids, and Cozaar. He has promised to put down
the salt shaker, try not to be so high strung (definite Type A personality),
and to cut down his smoking. He hasn't agreed to completely stop, but
I think he wants to. He is an amazing man who does not complain, does
not miss work (is a workaholic), and who seems unafraid of most everything.
He was terrified that day. It was terrifying to see him that way.


************************************************

Dinner last night was tasty and healthy. I made chicken
tortellini soup. It had diced sweet potatoes, celery, onion, garlic,
and red & green peppers all sauteed in extra virgin olive oil.
I added to that kosher salt, cracked black pepper, fresh thyme,
chopped flat leaf parsley, and oregano. As soon as the veggies
started to soften, I added vegetable stock, chicken stock,
garbanzo beans, corn, and shredded rotisserie chicken.
I let that cook about 30 minutes and then added ribboned
kale. As soon as that wilted, I dropped in a package of whole
wheat three-cheese tortellini. I served it with grated parmigiano
reggiano and Italian crusty bread.

I went through the cabinets today and thought I'd try to just
build a meal around something I found, so I have come up with
Green Peppercorn steak with mango chutney sauce over
basmati rice. I'll have some steamed broccoli with it.

Then some chicken parmigiana over linguini with asparagus
bundles. Then some sea scallops with vermouth and artichoke
hearts. I haven't cooked with vermouth so am not sure what
would be a good kind. I need a good dry vermouth. Cinzano,
Noilly Pratt? Don't know. I need brandy for the peppercorn
steak, and I don't cook with it either, so, I don't know a good
one to try. Korbel VSOP, St. Remy VSOP Napoleon, Monarch VS?
Don't know. I don't about brandy and vermouth. Wines I know
a little about.


How's all this for shallow? Quite enough for me for this day.
Time for a glass of syrah to warm me up, I hope.