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Linda Kittell

Just received word from her husband Ron Goble that my friend Linda died on Wednesday. She had had a rare lung cancer. I'll remember her big smile, her big laugh, her love for her family & for baseball, her good poetry.
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I never thought I would say it, or think it, or feel it, but I'm sick of this cold weather. Snow I never get sick of & I don't entirely mind the cold, but it is wearing me down. I am grumpy & I'm not the only one: People seem on edge, jokes aren't rolling off like they usually do.  Read More 
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My friend Dot

Melissa ("Dorothy") Zexter was a painter who developed a sensitivity to her materials and migrated to embroidered photography. She's a big baseball fan, with a particular fondness for Butch Hobson, Butch Wynegar, & Butch Huskey. She once led a life of crime but has rehabilitated herself. She also has 2 beautiful daughters.

P.S. Happy birthday, President McKinley  Read More 
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Pete Seeger

All the stories I'm hearing today are similar: how unpretentious, kind & good-humored he was. He was at a breakfast in the Adirondacks, where he played & sang a little. A kid climbed right up on his lap & said, You will always be singing in my heart. Pete loved it. But damn it, I can't remember what he said back except that it made everyone love him.

OK, in a hurry, can't stop to verify or track this anecdote down any better.

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The snow chronicles XII

Snow predicted today for southern Alabama & South Carolina, rain for New York City. What's wrong with this picture? And as someone pointed out, there's something amiss when 36° registers as a heat wave.

Weather, weather. Maybe it's not the all-consuming interest for me that it is for a couple of my friends. I can't remember from day to day what yesterday was like, & I'm not much interested past advice on sweaters & scarves. Or maybe weather's a great hobby, since, like cloud-watching, it involves little more than paying attention whenever you think of it.

Just blew a fuse so now the heater's off in here. That's weather for ya. Read More 
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A thought

Maybe the great separation is not the living & the dead, but the minding & the not minding.
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The snow chronicles XI: Slovenians

For years I've said hello & nothing more to one of the elderly janitors at YAI, where I help teach karate once a week to developmentally delayed adults. I actually wasn't sure if he was YAI or not, due to his heavy accent. Last night when I was leaving, I waved & idly asked if he was enjoying the cold weather. Oh boy!  Read More 
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The snow chronicles X

East River from Brooklyn (photo by Maggie Dubris)
A friend from back home ee'ed me to ask: "I know you like snow, but when is ENOUGH?!"

We only had 11" & they didn't cancel school. How could that be ENOUGH?

Now it's Day 3, & it's bugging me not to ride my bike. Maggie says the trains are horrible—infrequent, therefore crowded—so I'm mostly walking but it's harshing my mellow. Also, it's cold without much prettiness left. I like the cold when I'm outdoors, but in my office, not so much.

Friday update: My friend says the East River is frozen over off Greenpoint. "It looks like a bunch of icebergs." Read More 
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One more Joyce post

This is the silver loving cup my mother won (along with 10 guineas*) for being the "bonniest baby" of 1924. She always says it meant she was the fattest baby.

The engraved text reads:

Presented by
The Rector of Walton
- to -
Alice Joyce Phillips
Bonniest Baby
July 7, 1924

That church, in Liverpool, England, was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.

* A guinea was a shilling more than a pound; in today's money her 10 guineas might be worth about $25. The silver cup is priceless.  Read More 
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Cousins rock II

A birthday is just an excuse for a party in my fun-lovin' family. We are all FCs (Favorite Cousins) to each other & we know each other to a crazy extent: At the Joyce 90 celebration were a couple of 4th cousins.

AND I'm home in time for the biggest snowfall of the season. Yippie!

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My mother

Joyce with Tante Ilse
My mother turned 90 yesterday & a huge chunk of the U.S. side of the clan is gathering this weekend in Arizona to celebrate. Her cousin Hazel (also turning 90, in May) just flew in from Liverpool, where they both grew up. Lots of California cousins. A good time will be had by all. And no blog till Tuesday.  Read More 
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Go around the iceberg

I'm trying to remember why I wrote that line on my list of goals for 2014, which is in front of me on the bulletin board. Am I admitting that it's sometimes better (not to mention easier) not to be stubborn? That paying attention to how things are working out, then correcting course, isn't a bad idea? It's a good motto, if only I knew what I meant by it.  Read More 
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A nice life (cont.)

Got up, ate a disgusting half-sandwich that was 2 days old, had a flat tire on the way to karate so I locked my bike in front of the not-yet-open bike store & ran the rest of the way & kept my perfect on-time record. You're supposed to do 10 pushups for every minute you're late to class,  Read More 
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A nice life

Hanging out in my studio, Becca on the phone in the other room, Eileen stopping by to grab her mail that I'd picked up while she was away, on the phone with Martha hearing about her & Baz's long (& long-ago) friendship with Baraka, deciding to pick up coffee & the cat's pills tomorrow, making a date to work on material with Sensei Michael, checking a dozen things off my to-do list, enjoying the spring-like weather especially as I'll be hopping on my bike in half an hour, looking at "January" on Willis's calendar of photos from his garden.  Read More 
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Kagami Biraki

January has so many of my favorite events, like the Poetry Project Marathon & this morning's official New Year's at my dojo. Everyone who can comes for an early morning workout (following all-day cleanup yesterday) & a lecture by our grandmaster, Kaicho, who announces a theme for the year. It almost always comes down to being humble & trying to improve our characters, which—as he points out frequently—is more important than kicking & punching. "Technique rather than Strength; Spirit rather than Technique."  Read More 
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Kind of cool to go to the Municipal Archives, down on Chambers Street, across from the Municipal Building & City Hall. I was looking for an old photo & the whole place was nicely low-tech. You signed in, you leafed through bound volumes of hand-written records, you dug into a file cabinet of microfilm, you loaded (or in my case failed to load) it into a giant machine, someone wandered over to help you, & when you were done you put everything back & they didn't even charge for printing the photo that came out too dark to be usable. Everyone seemed vague & Barbara Pym-ish. I would like a job working there one day a week.  Read More 
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Bridge to nowhere

Great scandal! Not icky-sexy, no complicated financial or legal shenanigans in places I've never heard of. Straight-up old-fashioned bare-knuckle politics. I don't have a horse in this race, so why take glee in Christie's misfortunes? Because he's a Republican & a bully & a crook. Because there's a smoking gun: "time for traffic problems in Fort Lee." Because thank heavens this came out before he made a serious run for President. Imagine him with even more power to retaliate: scary.

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What a good poet Linda Kittell is. I included her "What Baseball Teaches Us About Love" in my anthology of women's writings about baseball 20-odd years ago; to this day, I can't read or hear that poem without crying. We became friends through that book & have been ever since. I've visited her in Idaho, & we read together at a Baseball Hall of Fame event. At last she has a collection out, Love Reports to Spring Training, about a left-handed pitcher named Love. If she lived anywhere but rural Idaho, she'd be well-known, I have no doubt. She deserves to be.

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The snow chronicles IX: 7°

In the midwest they're having something called a polar vortex, which none of us (except Willis, of course) ever heard of but it's not new. It's not toasty here but there's a 30-degree difference with what we're having & what's hammering Minnesota & South Dakota.

I'm still in my jeans jacket & sneakers, as I am all winter, with earmuffs & gloves. I guess if 7°—about as cold as it ever gets in New York City—doesn't drive me to wear that fur coat, nothing will. Probably not a good idea to give it to the coat drive, right?

Update: I just found out it was actually 4° with a windchill of -16°. OK, that's cold.

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Dave Zirin

One of the best journalists around is Dave Zirin, who writes a blog called Edge of Sports. He's The Nation’s sports correspondent, which probably tells you all you need to know about what he does: which is talk about politics by talking about sports. A straight shooter & smart analyst of what's really going on. Check out www.edgeofsports.com. Read More 
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Running into friends

Even on a cold day, it's possible to have a warm conversation with someone you didn't expect to see. One of my favorite things about New York is the networks, who knows who, and also, how interesting people are. A surprise lurks behind everyone. If this weren't a walker's city, a lot of this wouldn't work.  Read More 
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The snow chronicles VIII

Got up early, watched 2 episodes of season 3 of Treme, took a nap.

Sorry not to see the snow coming down all night (6 or 8"!) but walked in Tompkins Square Park. If you didn't look toward the 16-story Christadora & if you let your eyes glaze, it could be a hundred years ago: kids & dogs & brownstones.

The vet  Read More 
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The snow chronicles VII

We're supposed to get quite a bit tonight, maybe 6" & blizzard conditions. Trying not to get too excited. I relish having to walk backwards when the wind is so harsh you can't breathe into it. Bison can, cows can't, which is why the former survive storms that the latter don't.
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New habits

It's irresistible to want to turn over the new leaf that January 1 signifies. My best friend & I spend every New Year's Eve analyzing the year we're leaving behind & planning for the coming one. We enjoyed last night's talk so much that we decided  Read More 
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