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Verizon grrrrrrrrrrrr

This tale starts maybe two years ago, when both my home phone (a landline of 42 years) & office phone (also a landline I'd had for over 20 years) stopped working due to problems in the line. Verizon pretty much refused to fix them & so I switched my office phone to a cell (which is why my cell phone has a 212 number). I also kept paying for my home phone, $43 month after month, even though I couldn't use it. I thought about how useful it was to have a landline during blackouts & other emergencies & I kept hoping they would fix it. 


Finally, a couple months ago, I canceled my home phone. There was a small amount I still owed but they told me don't worry about it. Which I didn't, till I got a bill from a COLLECTION AGENCY for $16.48. Verizon said they sent a bill but I never got it. Blah blah blah, on the line to customer service, then financial services, then customer services—& just when they were wiping it out, my phone dropped the link! 


I could have written a damn check but I was mad—I paid my bill month after month & got nothing, & all I asked is that they spot me that last really minuscule amount. 


Taking a breather before I call back to see what happened...... YES! They took care of it. At least something worked.


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I always feel good about this little being who purrs whenever I'm near. Except when he's biting my feet. 

I'm feeling good about Esti lemon hummus


but not about much else



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Monday Quote

It is lack of confidence that kills a civilization. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion just as effectively as by bombs. 

~ Kenneth Clark


To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse. 

~ John Quincy Adams


And so we soldier on, trying to believe in people's good hearts & intentions, & that the racism & fury we feel so strongly is a passing whirlwind & not the ground we stand on. 


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What, me shallow?

A little story about men with beards: I knew Johnny (this isn't Johnny) for several years, all of which time he had a heavy beard. One day I went to a reading at the Poetry Project & said, Who's that? about some guy across the room. That's Johnny! No, that cute guy over there. That's Johnny, my friend repeated, he shaved. We started dating soon after. 

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Medical knowledge

I was reading some humorous stories about people's self-diagnoses ("Doctor, I think I've caught that Down's syndrome") & remembered many years ago when it looked like I had pneumonia. I was so tired I couldn't even climb a flight of stairs so my late friend Roberta hustled me over to urgent care. They took a chest X-ray & I went to the doctor's office where my X-ray was pinned to the light box. He pointed—"there & there, yes, pneumonia."


Yeah yeah. I wasn't really looking because I saw the giant tumor that covered half of my chest. "What's that?!" I gasped, wondering how it was even possible I was alive.


"Darlin'," he said, "that's your heart."






Never mind. I'm going home now to take my medicine. 

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Everything is improved by a cat. 


Questions & Answers


Why are you washing your clothes in soup?

That's not soup, that's air.


Why do people live in New Jersey?

That's not exhaust, that's air.

Also, too lazy to search for the pink promise.


When will my leg be better?

The Shadow knows not.


Who is sleeping in my bed?

You, your man, your cat, & soup.


What time is it?

No trick questions! No philosophy! No speculating! Drop that bone & back away!


Where time is it?

I can answer that!

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A week in hell

Let's see: my young friend Eli died unexpectedly on Wednesday, apparently from an aneurysm; the shiva was exhaustingly sad. On Friday, my brother-in-law's brother & his wife were killed by a truck that blew through a stop sign; they were the loveliest, liveliest people & their huge family is devastated. On Saturday, I went out for a quick cold drink with a friend on her way out of town for the summer & came home an hour later to find Johnny passed out in his chair. Lucky me to have a medic upstairs. His blood pressure was 67/36 & he could have died if I'd been out much longer. This was probably due to his having worked out in 100° heat without hydrating sufficiently. When I came in to my office this morning to find a big mess where a big chunk of ceiling fell, it felt like the universe maybe thought I hadn't noticed what's been going on. But I have! Believe me, I have. I'm heartsore & weary. 


Thursday Update: But wait! There's more! Old pal from college, John McCarthy, died yesterday from pancreatic cancer. A lovelier, more shining person there never was. He was openly gay so early (1970) that I almost didn't even know what it meant. He was always, utterly himself & therefore kind & accepting to everyone around him. Beautiful man. 

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Monday Quote

The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher standard. 

~ George McGovern


When Russell Means died the day after George McGovern (Oct 21 & 22, 2012), I'm pretty sure it was the only time two South Dakotans led The New York Times obituaries. 


I have admired Senator McGovern since I was a kid. The best of the best. 


Also, it is too frigging hot. 

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To the moon!

I musta been blind. 

Debbie & I were at an American Legion game because her boyfriend (who became a high school football coach) was playing. I remember sitting in the metal grandstand behind 3rd base, staring hard at that big full moon, thinking I would see those men hopping around on it. Thinking that we were here & they were there. I had never taken a science class & really didn't know how ridiculous that was.


From my diary: 

Today is the most significant date in the history of mankind—man landed and walked on the moon. My God! Right now I'm watching them! At 4:17:42 EDT, Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin became a part of history. I'm seeing history. Of all the thousands of years man has existed, it was right now that this happened. Men have been dreaming of the moon all those years, & it's now, when I'm 17 years old, I Elinor Nauen am alive—imagine what will be going on when I'm old. It's familiar, because it's basic to science fiction that the moon is a space station but this is real. To me it's incredible, but Varda & kids her age (7) will grow up with this, take it for granted. I now feel old. Oh God. Men are on the moon. Men are on the moon.


And now it's 50 years later, just like that, and I AM old. And even though I said it clumsily at the time, it WAS thrilling to be alive for something historic & wonderful. 

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He was a good-looking black hipster who was also a very conservative Orthodox Jew. He read Torah beautifully & had an eidetic memory. He tried to make me see the different shades of black skin. One year on Yom Kippur we walked to the East River, talking intensely, & agreed that that was the highlight of the holiday for both of us. Seriously fun.


Eli died unexpectedly yesterday.

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It's hot & we sleep. One of this little loving machine's best qualities is that the minute I get into bed, he hops in & snuggles between me & Johnny. It's not always the best quality when it's 100° out but I love it, & that he starts to purr the second he comes near us. 

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Old Person Poem in Two Parts




my mother asleep

in her hot

nursing home


I sit

like a three-day airport delay



she's not dying—

it's not a vigil—

no one relieves me


she is 95, she is dying


I can't—


long enough to be—

patient, to be an ant

on the last peony




the very old mostly sleep

the half-old kill time

the young dash to a brewery


when I was young

I smoked pot all day

it takes a wheelchair to get my thoughts to the table

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Monday Quote

Bombs and pistols do not make a revolution. The sword of revolution is sharpened on the whetting-stone of ideas.
~ Bhagat Singh, Indian revolutionary hanged at age 23


Bombs & pistols also don't make a public policy, or make for a comfortable time of it, or much else in fact. And if people had sharper ideas, bombs & pistols would be less prevalent, no? 

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Pigeon in a hole

Pigeon holing sounds dirty, like cornholing, which is in fact only beanbag toss. Who would put a pigeon in a hole? & why? What is a pigeon hole? When did the pigeon go into the hole? Did it want to? Is it still there?


Is "hole" a dirty word, is that it? Ace in the hole, to buttonhole someone, burn a hole in one's pocket, watering hole, hole in the wall, hole in one.... Nope, they're all OK. 




Little red rooster, they treat him nice

He ain't laid an egg in all his life

I'm going away somewhere before long

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Greetings from historic Waconah Park

Fantastic to take the great Ed Foster to his first-ever baseball game, & to sit in the first row. He understood it more quickly than any other newbie I’ve gone with. (I often think about Endi, from Sarajevo, who stared fiercely for a few minutes & then announced, “I understand! Nine against one.” He sat back smugly & didn’t pay attention until he suddenly noticed that the bases were loaded. Which confused him to the point where he lost interest altogether.) Ed, though, never took his eyes off the game, asked a few questions (he started at “which one’s the shortstop?” but pretty quickly was asking sophisticated questions that showed he really grasped what was going on) & immediately put on his souvenir t-shirt. 


One of the pleasures of baseball is thinking about why I like it. Today’s reason: with baseball you don’t have to have a stance, you don’t have to proceed. You’re just there, in a pleasant fog, untimed. You don’t have to be productive or thoughtful. You just have to watch. You just have to be present.

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Greetings from Massachusetts


Why don't I get out of town more often? It's unbelievably quiet here. I breathe. I read a few pages. I look up & breathe.

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Monday Quote

Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it. 

~ Richard Adams


For sure, among the many things I love about winter is being indoors, preferably with hot chocolate, watching the flakes come down. But there's so much more. 


I'd guess that it's these hot days of July when people most (think they) enjoy winter? 

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From my roof, July 4, 2019.

I love fireworks & the years when we can see it from our roof usually satisfy me in a primordial-fire ooh-aah way. I have memories from decades. The assortment (snakes, roman candles, sparklers: Safe for Kids) we'd buy from Rich Brothers—just driving an unfamiliar road outside the city limits was exciting. Hitchhiking home to Maine & crossing Pennsylvania during the Bicentennial, with fireworks a few miles off the highway in every little town, me sitting up high in a semi, wondering. My birthday fireworks one February on Chinese New Year. Stopping with Eileen at a giant place in South Carolina, where we separately spent the same amount of money & bought almost the exact same things. I could write the story of my life in firecrackers & bottle rockets.


They were as beautiful as ever last night but alone on my roof, I couldn't enjoy them aesthetically for thinking about tanks & camps & despair. 

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A poem

Khruschev's Hat


Harry Truman is sizing up Khruschev's hat

he remembers it

from their days

in the rodeo


he advised him to get rid of it


now he is thinking

about kicking Khruschev

in the head


lie down, Nikita, he taunts, & I'll do it




I love this guy (by which I mean this poem) & it seems like the right thing to post on Independence Day, dunno why.

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Goodbye to that

That's one hole too many & the top's stretched out. 


Maybe I'll throw away something else some day. 

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Monday Quote

It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.

~ Franz Kafka, The Zurau Aphorisms


What more is there to add.

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