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The weather apocalypse (again)

This morning's emergency alert from the National Weather Service:


A FLASH FLOOD WARNING is in effect for this area until 2:30 PM EDT. This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.




I stayed home till 11, when the rain calmed down long enough that I could make it to my office 3 blocks away. The trains weren't running so I canceled karate. Cars up to their headlights on the BQE. Worried texts from friends 500 miles away. 


An inch of rain equals about a foot of snow. Just imagine if it were 30° colder! 

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College bound?

This is me not long after I left college for the last time, in 1980. And now I'm thinking of going back.


I'm not sure why, maybe because I discovered I have more credits than I thought. I've always said I didn't go to college, but it turns out I did & have almost enough credits for a BA. I spoke with a counselor from City University today about the process of reentering & it seems doable. I'd been at City College, which is part of CUNY (the City University of NY). It wasn't my first school. 


As I said, I'm not sure why. I've gotten along fine without a degree so it's definitely not for job opportunities & I've never had the something-left-undone nag I know many people feel. Maybe I need a challenge? Maybe I'm curious ~ has everything changed in education since I was a student? A little bit of me likes the idea of being a very old graduate: not record-breakingly ancient but up there.


I think I want them to hand me a degree for a life well lived. 




We shall see. 

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In the neighborhood: Clouds

Happy to be able to be outdoors without drowning. A break in the apocalyptic weather of the last several months. Lifetimes. 


And by the way, talking about the weather is not just idle chatter, according to The Economist

Lnguists call that crucial "hello" talk "phatic". Bronislaw Malinowski, who coined the term in the 1920s, explained that in phatic talk "ties of union are created by a mere exchange of words." If you know literally nothing about someone you can still safely presume they prefer sun to rain, and begin to establish a connection on that basis. If your bus or train is suddenly stuck, an even better opportunity arises. You can be sure your fellow passengers are not happy about it, and a shared grousing session makes them—and you—feel less alone with your inconvenience.


Have a nice day!

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Yom Kippur reflections

Today is the fourth straight day of rain. Yesterday's made our time together in the synagogue cozy. Before the Day of Atonement, I always wonder how I will possibly survive a day of little but praying but I'm also excited for the opportunity to consider my life deeply. The last few years, I've felt bored & antsy but this year I was completely present, at least most of the time. I listened closely to all the sermons & prayers & tried hard to consider how my life has been & how I might want or be able to change. It did feel like a rare chance to shut out the world & be alone with myself &, of course, with others doing the same thing. It would be a miracle if any of that actually worked but maybe the hope is enough?

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Monday Quote

One does not "find oneself" by pursuing one's self, but on the contrary by pursuing something else and learning through some discipline or routine who one is and wants to be.
~ May Sarton (1912-95)


You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know. 

~ William Wilberforce (1759-1833), British politician, philanthropist, & abolitionist


Two quotes for Yom Kippur

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Sunday is Caturday

Harry! So photogenic even as he terrorizes the other cats. 


It's also Kol Nidre as well, the start of the Day of Atonement, the last of the Days of Awe, when we have the privilege of examining our behaviors & actions, and try to set things right with our loved ones and in general improve ourselves. I postponed my coffee detox too late so I'm not sure how the fasting will go but I'm ready. 

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In the neighborhood

Sitting in Tompkins Square Park on a fall afternoon, all the time in the world, laughing with a friend, seeing beautiful young people full in their bodies dancing. It doesn't get any better than this. 

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Johnny lost his keys on Tuesday. We looked everywhere, sure that he hadn't gone out since he had let himself in the night before. We went through the garbage (the cat, Lefty, likes to push things off the tub into the bin) & a million less & less likely places. Then I moved a cup & there they were, in (almost) plain sight, on the tub. 


The next day I buttoned my keys into a shirt pocket, then took the shirt off as soon as I got outside because it was far too warm, went for a walk & when I got home: no keys. 


As soon as I get into bed, Lefty usually jumps in between us, filling up on the energy that hums between Johnny & me. 


We are getting so in tune that it seems obvious that we would lose our keys a day apart. 

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In the neighborhood: My backyard: Jet

It's a gorgeous day! Everything is gorgeous! The weather is glorious! My ugly backyard is glorious!

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It rained all day & now it's fall. 


If autumn comes, can snow be far behind?

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Monday Quote

When I think about what sort of person I would most like to have on a retainer, I think it would be a boss. A boss who could tell me what to do, because that makes everything easy when you're working.

~ Andy Warhol


So true, exactly as having an assignment makes it easier to at least start writing a poem. 

I make to-do lists all the time ~ the closest I come to having a boss. 

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It's (almost) the birthday of the world

Tonight begins the days of awe, starting with Rosh Hashanah, new year's 5784. This is a serious not a raucous holiday & I'll be do a lot of reflection & self- examination over the next days. Back to our regular programming on Monday. 

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Cloud Appreciation Day is tomorrow!

Member #16,394 here, with a PSA from The Cloud Appreciation Society:

Friday September 15th is Cloud Appreciation Day. It is an internationally recognised day when people around the world are encouraged to spend a few moments appreciating the beauty of the sky. On the day, anyone anywhere can contribute their sky for free to our Memory Cloud Atlas and they can explore the Atlas as more photos are added throughout the day.The Cloud Appreciation Society's Memory Cloud Atlas will be launched at one minute after midnight on Friday September 15th, local time. All skies contributed to the Atlas will remain online after Cloud Appreciation Day, preserving the views of cloudspotters for others to explore and serving as a snapshot on a single day of our collective appreciation for the most dynamic, evocative and accessible part of nature: the sky.

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O lovely treacherous sleep

What have I done to alienate you, o REM? Why have you forsaken me? I thought it was bad when I was getting 5 hours & waking up at 3, but now I wake up at 2 for a couple of hours, go back to an unewarws nap & wake up groggy. Some things work sometimes ~ sleep meditations, for example. At the moment I can't think of anything else, since nothing does seem to help. I'm too excited by too many books to lie back for a snoozeola. Oh well. 

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Mysteries in my pocket

I found this on my camera roll ~ there were a dozen similar photos. I didn't take them, at least not on purpose. Apparently it's a butt-snap, if that's the term. 

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Monday Quote

Besides Laura Cumming's brilliant Thunderclap, I'm reading the fascinating How Dead Languages Work, by Coulter George. In the section on Sanskrit, he says that [Rig] Veda, which means "knowledge," goes back to a root ... that [resembles] its cognates in orther Indo-European branches, such as wit in Engligh and videre "see" in Latin. In earlier English, wit referrred more widely to the intellectual faculties, and to know something, in the metaphor of the parent language was to have seen it. 


Laura Cumming writes: The connection between mind and eye is always there: I see, we say, in acknowledgement of a truth, a fact or an explanation. To see is to know. We see the mind in the eye. 

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The Sioux Falls Canaries

This isn't the first raggedy t-shirt I've gotten rid of recently, although this one I didn't cut up for rags as soon as I decided I could no longer wear it. What I have heard was that the Canaries got their name because a frugal owner bought the cheapest uniforms he could find. They were yellow. I can't confirm this, only that "they were named after several minor league teams that had played in Sioux Falls over the years." Yawn. (From 2010 to 2012, the team was called the Sioux Falls Fighting Pheasants.) 

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Friday is Caturday

Every day Harry gets more comfortable exploring our place. Every day Lefty is a little more traumatized by Harry's imperious ways. 

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A hot day in New York City

Headed north at Cooper Square, looking towards Cooper Union & the Empire State Building, after a relaxing breakfast at B&H with old friends. So hot I was longing for, about to embrace, a cooling board. Sounds pretty good right about now, doesn't it? Maybe I'll start a band & name it Cooling Board. Don't a man feel bad when his baby's on the coolin' board. 

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Shofar in the great outdoors

In honor of my mother's second yahrzeit (anniversary of her death), I blew shofar as we do at our daily service during the month (of Elul) before the High Holidays. Went straight from the synagogue to our outdoor karate practice, where I demonstrated the shofar for my friends. A rare overlap of my many separate lives. Alisa was happy ~ she probably won't get to services, so this reminded her of the season we're in. 

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Labor Day weekend

Three cookouts in 3 days. I am an American. 

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What I'm reading

Somehow—I must have seen it recommended somewhere—I ordered a book from the library, & by the time it came I had no idea why. I do now. Thunderclap: A memoir of art and life & sudden death is a beautifully written account of both Dutch Golden Age art & the evolution of the author's eye. Her father was a painter & she's an art critic. I am simultaneously reading her book The Vanishing Velázquez, which is at least as brilliant, compelling & mind-blowing. 

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How swell to spend the afternoon with the extended Stanton crew, a dozen people lounging, laughing, eating, enjoying the end of the summer in Queens. I so very much never wanted a house but I dig that Tara does & takes pains to make things comfortable for all of us. 


You know, it's interesting that of my 5 grandchildren over the age of 18, only one has a boy/girlfriend, either now or in the past. (I don't think any of the 3 younger kids do either.) Yes, 3 are in college but ~ well, who knows if they'd tell Grandma. I do hear that kids today are less likely to be in relationships. 

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Friday is Caturday

The boys are getting along again hooray. I think the two unneutered adolescent cats on the floor were winding them up. Anyway, they were hissing & growling & avoiding each other, but now they're not only friends again, Harry (the orange cat) has decided to visit my place, which he never used to. 

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