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Weird couple of days

A 15th-century friend said all women are delicate. I said, Leonard, if you see me coming, you'd better step aside—a lot of men didn't & a lot of men died.

We had an electrical fire. Flames! Luckily, Johnny was here & I wasn't so no screaming or fainting. (The super came by & gave us a new outlet & everything is fine.)

Maybe I am delicate.

The internet was out for two days  Read More 
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Baseball Diary

Look at this beautiful book, a year's worth of the art & writing that William Fuller (who is also in the great Sacramento band Draw Pinky) put out weekly as a stapled newsletter 30 years ago. I miss the days of really great amateur work. And by amateur I mean done for love. Fancy production values just weren't possible in the 1980s, at least not for a mag like this, but the writing & art are totally great, & everyone poured so much energy & talent & excitement into this without any reward except pleasing oneself & the rest of the readership, which I suppose numbered in the hundreds or even fewer.  Read More 
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Canal Street station, where I changed to the Q.
People who live in Manhattan are required to announce their departure to another borough each & every time they go.

I went to Brooklyn.

My friend Annabel lives in a building called the Waterfall, which has a waterfall & turtle pond in front. Also, it's an elevator building.

Other than that, it was just Annabel at home, not really the Outer Boroughs. That's what they're called, though, the Outer Boroughs.  Read More 
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I love science

I try not to have regrets: what's the point? If I mess up, I try to make amends then leave it alone.

But I do regret my inexplicable & silly distaste for science when I was young.

I'm enthralled these days by what scientists & researchers know & come up with. MRIs in infants that can predict  Read More 
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Laughing all the way to Oslo

Johnny & some of the grandkids + elder son
Last week was so hectic that I never wrote about half the stuff I did:
* Saw Kevin Kline in Present Laughter, a Noel Coward play. He plays a ham without being a ham, utterly funny & wonderfully graceful.
* Saw Tony-winner Oslo at Lincoln Center. Unfortunately, we were in the very last row & it was both cramped & at times hard to hear, so the play felt a little too long. The best part was when people burst out with their most deeply held beliefs & you felt like this (Israeli-Palestinian conflict) never could be resolved. But the hope (no matter how things turned out later) was wonderful & seeing negotiation in action illuminating.
* Father's Day with Sean & his 3 wonderful kids.
* Lots of classes & work & reading & my sister's visit.  Read More 
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Look what got delivered! It's a thank-you from the Poetry Project's staff & board for my 22 years on the board, which concluded last week. That's almost half of the Project's 50-year existence, & now that there's term limits, I may well be the longest-serving board member ever.

I helped choose two directors & raised a lot of money this our 50th year. I signed checks, entirely because I live the closest to the Project office. I was Treasurer & not only avoided ever once making a (required annual) report, was so nervous that I mostly didn't open the statements from the financial people. I was the bad cop when we negotiated a contentious lease. I was the first person in years to vote against a motion, which impressed Steve Hamilton no end.

I'm sad/glad glad/sad to be finished.  Read More 
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Where we read now

Meltzer Park.
From the street, Meltzer Park isn't that appealing. It's mostly paved & the benches are fixed in blocks. But inside, it's cool, breezy, shaded, & empty. Also, it's a block away. This is where we'll spend the summer reading poetry.

We started with Inger Christensen's wonderful Alphabet, but I'd lost our place and left it at work, so we decided to spend time with A.E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad. I'd thought he was pretty but he's sophisticated in his rhymes & deep (in a youthful but hard-charging way) in his philosophy. He is considered to be one of the greatest scholars in history (true?) & he was in love with a schoolmate, who was heterosexual but they remained lifelong friends, which seems to be rather mellow for the Victorian era. But what do I know.  Read More 
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The road to Wigan Pier

Half a description of working-class life in northern England in the 1930s, & very grim it was; half an explanation of & plea for socialism. Orwell's prose is serviceable, his ideas sometimes wrong & often prescient, as in:
To a political climber it is sometimes an advantage not to be taken too seriously at the beginning of his career.

Is this wrong, prescient, both or neither:
The machine has got to be accepted but it is probably better to accept it rather as one accepts a drug—that is, grudgingly and suspiciously. Like a drug, the machine is useful, dangerous and habit-forming.

Other quotes from the book:
The less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn't.  Read More 
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Gallery 440

I love Shanee's work. Always recognizable, there's a complexity of color & form that is utterly appealing. We bought a collage at her last show that's on our kitchen wall. I still look at it often (you know how you get used to your surroundings & rarely see things after a while—sadly, that includes messes as well as art). This show was more colorful & less abstract. We went for the gallery talk: 4 artists discussing methods, inspiration, intention.  Read More 
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"One (1) rider per bug"

Insect love.
There weren't a lot of adults on the Bug Carousel. We were reminded of going on a carousel in D.C. a few years ago, all us siblings, a carousel that took off at such a high rate of speed that it scared/nauseated all of us. This one was way more sedate. You can't see it but I'm on a grasshopper & Vee on a, well, some other bug.  Read More 
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Bronx Zoo

The grand 1899 Bronx Zoo.
I'd never been to the Bronx Zoo. Wasn't so sure I wanted to, but my visiting sister did, so up we went. Wow, the best park in New York City. Gorgeous grounds, buildings, exhibits. (Signage, maps, & food choices, not so much.) Definitely going back.
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I will catch up but this week was crazy. A couple of really hot days, then tickets to two shows, a visit from my sister, & my office only this minute (noon on Thursday) done with all the work that has kept me from working here undisturbed for 3 weeks, & at all for 3 days.
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Good wife

Organic eggs with smoked cheddar made by the Amish. From the greenmarket.

Whole grain health toast from Bread Alone.

Asparagus & tomatoes, artfully arranged.

My biennial cooking venture.
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Goodbye to all that

The lobby of 157.
Saying farewell to Johnny's job involved a party on the roof of the building where he'd been handyman, porter, doorman, fill-in super for almost 20 years. (None of those pictures came out because my 15-year-old grandson swiped his hand in front of the lens till I gave up.)

I was gratified how many tenants sought me out to tell me how much they liked, admired, loved Johnny.

Johnny's one & only plan for the future: a cruise, which to me seems like the worst possible thing in the world, unless it's the Circle Line around Manhattan. Anyway, he doesn't have a passport so I don't think it can even happen.  Read More 
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Here we are in our Challah Por Favor shirts from B&H.
Johnny & I were thrilled to be at the New School the other evening to see B&H Dairy get a Village Award from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

Owners Ola & Fawzy, and the whole crew, have been part of our extended family for many years now. Among the first people to visit Johnny in the hospital after his terrible Hummer rundown 5 years ago were Leo & his wife, and Mike and his wife & baby.

That they could reopen after being shut down for 5 months after the 2nd Avenue explosion & fire is a testament to the reciprocated love from many, many people, who donated money, time, expertise, & other support to keep this nearly 80-year-old diner in business.  Read More 
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Wild things

I felt as though I had never been in the woods till I heard the counterpoint between British composer Pete Wyer's orchestral & choral music (sung in Cherokee) and the birds.

The Wild Center also had a prehistoric living sturgeon, that is, a fish as old as the dinosaurs & kind of similar, with those triangles down its spine like a stegosaurus (which is probably not called that anymore, is it).  Read More 
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Writer at work

I'm back a week already but still catching up on what I missed, still getting back in the groove. I mostly worked on a long poem about snow (now called Snowbound. I thought it was going to be a book, but by the time I cut out the section of facts, the section of quotes, & all the fluff, it ended up being only 12 pages long. And more might go.

Part of the fun was cutting it up & rearranging it until you suddenly see what you're doing—a wonderful aha moment.  Read More 
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These squares were accomplished by a pilated woodpecker.

Ben says trees nourish each other underground. Even dead trees are part of a communal system.

The evocative scent of a fresh-mown lawn is actually trauma—the smell of chemical defenses called green leaf volatiles.

At least I don't eat fish.

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The Norwegians, as I’m sure everyone knows, invented the cheese slicer, or osthøvel. This one was given to me by a friend whose mother is Norwegian and was just there on a family trip. Everyone is going to Norway except me. I can’t wait to buy some cheese and feel a little norsk.  Read More 
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