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NauenThen: Something's up & I can't add posts at the moment. The tech people at the Authors Guild are trying to fix it. Back as soon as possible! 

Laundry

Almost 2 years since I did my clothes at the laundromat rather than washing a few pieces at a time in the sink at work. Pretty seamless ~ what was my reluctance? I was out of practice - only noticed I'd left a sock in the washer when its mate came up solo when I was folding the clothes. And I put 10 minutes more than I needed on the dryer. Funny how easily habits & competences can slip away. 

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Monday Quote

I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people's interests. The library was open, unending, free.

~ Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

 

I'm running to the library in these quotes lately, I suppose because it's the only place that seems to open up rather than close down. Sigh. 

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Happy Boxing Day

My family in California, being English, almost always gets together for Boxing Day. One more opportunity to be together. For a long time there was a family lunch every month, ostensibly to celebrate that month's birthdays but mostly because they enjoy hanging out with each other. Even in the funerals this year, the sorrow was swallowed up in how much we like each other. I hope my generation and the next and the next will keep this up. 

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Christmas questions

We even had a little snow very early this morning.

Are there non-Jews who confess to a secret love for Hanukkah? There are certainly a lot of Jews (like me!) who like Christmas. I love the music & loved it when I used to go caroling up by Columbia. The three of us who work in this basement are going to get together this afternoon for a little holiday cheer & I had fun making a playlist. (Secretly trying out Johnny's theory that putting on Marty Robbins is a party-ending move. It's worked before.) I turn on twinkly lights all year round. I grew up eating goose on Christmas & lighting a yule log. I miss both traditions. I love other people getting excited, though I don't particularly care about trees or presents. I like Christmas because it's winter & I love winter. 

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30!

Happy 30th wedding anniversary to the love of my life, the funniest, most infuriating, handsome, sexy, competent man I know. The most handsome Stanton in Manhattan (& a much wider swath than that). The irritations have given us the pearls that signify 30 years & that's good enough for me. 

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A few things I used to do

Throw furniture out my window.

Throw furniture off the roof. 

Be on the phone with Steve Carey for hours, not necessarily talking. 

An awesome spinning back kick. Ha ha, I did that exactly once. 

Hard drugs. (Why "hard"? Smooth 'n' easy.) 

Sleep with boys just cuz they were cute or they wanted to. 

Learn things & they stayed learned.

Own a car. 

Fix my car. 

Hitchhike. 

Wonder if that chair would still be a chair if I took my eyes off it. 

Eat scrapple. 

Obey. 

 

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The virus that came to dinner

God, Covid, will you just please leave? Maybe it's time to revive the Kaufman-Hart play, The Man Who Came to Dinner (or watch the 1942 film). Covid really is the annoying Sheridan Whiteside, self-centeredly disrupting lives & plans, pretending to be ready to depart & then sticking around unwanted. But without Ann Sheridan, Bette Davis, or Monty Woolley. 

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Monday Quote

most persons, you find, peck and peck and seldom really lay any eggs

~ Lorine Niedecker

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Blog, revisited & revised

Yeah, so there's a cap on how many images I can include in my blog, so I'm going throught month by month & deleting bad or unnecessary photos, to free up room for the really good ones. Here's a list of what I cut in just a few months in 2013 & 2014: 

 

karate.jpg

Stanwick.jpg

Basque.jpg

dec_snow_on_5st.jpg

JF_OdH.jpg

pete_seeger.jpg

ChrisChristie.jpg

linda_kittel.jpg

polar_vortex.jpg

AZ_showercaps2.jpg

Sun_tunnels.jpg

Rio_Bravo.jpg

Neptune_ceiling.jpg

home_money.jpg

robin.jpg

chaim_gross.jpg

oliver_twist.jpg

Breslau_1900

Henry_Thomas

spring_trees

East_River_from_bus

Varda_whitney_bowl

jsen_shower_cap

1st_St_flowers

waiting_for_the_sun

confederate_bar2

maggie_frog

inside_SWs_house

SanFran_pizza_2

SanFran_pizza-2_2

Polk

Nadler

hard_times

muji_swag

Kim(Kipling)

 

I have to think ahead - maybe blog less frequently? certainly with fewer photos. I shall ponder. 

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In the neighborhood

Taken across from my building. Love those mysterious leaves in the foreground. All the lights. My version of heaven.

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Hmmmm

Yesterday I could, today I can't add a photo to my blog. Not sure what's going on & the Authors Guild help site has a dead link for blog help. You don't get to see the beautiful scene on my block or the Marsden Hartley painting that inspired my Norwegian story till this gets fixed. 

 

Ha ha! I accidentally discovered some WHITE ON WHITE text in the image section with this message: You have reached your limit for adding images to your site. To upload more, you can delete unused images in your file library.

 

But I CAN'T delete any. So I've contacted the amazing help desk at the AG, who have never failed to answer quickly & solved my problem.

 

Update: Hector from the AG, my hero, helped & now the Hartley painting is up. But sadly, there's a limit to how many images can be in my library so I'm going to have to delete a bunch in order to include more. 

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What, me Midwestern?

I kept seeing this poster & t-shirt from Raygun, the greatest store in the universe (they say so themself!) & thinking, huh, how about that, a Midwest expression I never heard of. And then, I heard myself say it. And then I noticed that I say it ALL THE TIME. Ope, forgot the bag. Ope sorry. All the ways they say people use it, I do too. That was totally weird. It's innocuous, not a word as much as a breath, so I totally see how I never noticed. I suppose everyone I know has been ope'ing my whole life & none of ever noticed. 

 

On a different but related topic, in Norwegian it's grammatical & common to say, for example, "I'm going to the store - do you want to come with"? omitting "me" or "us" at the end. When that came up in my Norwegian class a while back, one or two of us instantly recognized it as a midwestern pattern. I only ever noticed it I do it when people on the east coast called it out. I had no idea why we did that & it was cool to see a Scandinavian pattern carried into English. 

 

It's hard to catch yourself in a regional expression unless someone else hears it & reflects it back to you. That's part of why I so much appreciate studying the beautiful Norwegian language.

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A little norsk tale

Still Life with Eel, Marsden Hartley. We were supposed to write a story inspired by a picture.
 

Tomorrow's the last day of the semester so I've been bearing down finishing & getting ready to read my story. I'll drop it in here, with a summary in English at the end. 

 

De stygge laksen
 
av Elinor Nauen
 
Det var en gang en laksefamilie som bodde i en lite havn langs norskekysten. Herr og fru Laks hadde mange barn: Lakseandré, Laksebjørn, Laksepadde, Lakseedderkopp, Laksetone, Lakseberit, Lykkelaks, Flakselaks, Prikkete Laksegris og de yngste, tvillinger som het Laksandra og Ålinor.
  Read More 

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Monday Quote

I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it. 

~ Edith Sitwell

 

She was ahead of her time. Throwing up her hands at today's Republicans.

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Out & about

There was a julekonsert at the Seaman's Church & an open studio in Bushwick. But no photos ~ you'll have to trust me that I'm actually doing stuff. When Johnny & I got off the train in Brooklyn, we both knew where we were & set off towards my friend's place. In fact, it was the exact wrong direction but somehow eerily familiar. I get lost all the time & this is one of the few times I was absolutely certain. It didn't cross my mind that I wasn't. It should have! 

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From the Vault: Babies

The Mainiacs in Maine, circa 1973: Don, El, Pecos, Sherri, Rick. All that luscious hair!

I don't remember ever having seen this photo till Rick sent it to me this week. Where we were or the occasion for the picture: no idea. I don't recognize the house or what I'm wearing. But there I am. [Insert statement of wonder at the passage of time & the passing of memory.] Rick & Sherri's daughters are now twice as old as we were here. 

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Bob Bondurant

Met Bob Bondurant that day, too. 

I found this the other day, coincidentally not long after the founder's death. I must have been sent there by AARP when I was the automotive columnist for their baby boomer maganize, My Generation, most likely to do a story on how older drivers can ensure safer driving.* I remember starting my piece with a sentence about taking out half the state of Arizona when I rear-ended a truck carrying something nuclear. I remember learning "you go where you look," which is why people on the side of the road get hit by passing cars at a pretty good clip. I learned to trust that the car would go where I sent it. 

 

I thought I might still have that piece but I took a lot of stuff off my computer over the years. I kept a list** so I could find them again but of course I don't have those backup disks anymore, or if I do, no way to access them. Yay for technology. 

 

* found it! I think this is the final but here it is (where's the headline?):

 Read More 

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Jimmy

Jim was Beau, I was El-beau, Baby Jeff's dog was also Beau. Not sure how it started but those were our nicknames & he got me pencils & stationery. Jimmy died in 1999 & Jeff a year or 2 ago. When Jimmy knew he was dying, we planned to rent a Dodge Viper. It sort of came with a speeding ticket, but what did he care? We left it till too late. I still miss both of them but I don't need this pencil. 

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House cleaning

I'm a little amazed at how much stuff we are getting rid of, & pretty painlessly. I've taken out a large bag almost every day since this got underway, not quite a month ago. And still so much to look at. It gets easier. "If I don't need that, I certainly don't need this" is my motto. The only issue is that parts of the house build back up again ~ mail arrives & voila, the kitchen table is a mess again. But it's not worse than 3 steps forward, 1/2 step back. 

 

Tomorrow: a discarded treasure. 

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Monday Quote

Your library is your paradise.

~ Desiderius Erasmus

 

Did you sigh when you saw this picture or looked at the quote? 

 

That's why I can get rid of pretty much everything in my house but not my books. 

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Booster

Getting my covid booster shot in a couple of hours. Will there be many more? Will we be getting annual flu & covid shots? Why am I nervous? Everything is wracking my nerves a bit at the moment. Is there any good news in the public sphere? Wish there was a shot that would give us all a lift.

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Creating

Whew. Our semesterprojekt in my norsk "language & culture" class is to write a fairytale. I have tried to think about it for several weeks & pretty much got nowhere but dead ends. Then suddenly, it all poured out. I wrote the whole thing in 2 days. Now I'm delirious & exhausted & marveling once again at how much creative work gets done behind our backs, as it were. All the problems were solved in a flash, even problems I didn't see coming. Too bad it's in Norwegian & only a handful of people will ever appreciate it. Actually, I don't know yet if it's any good, & I don't care. Writing it was so much fun, the soaring as my characters said & did things I wasn't expecting. I let 'em loose & they ran with it. Doesn't happen that often but it sure is thrilling when it does.

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Old school East Village

My friend's building on East 10th Street, with marble stairs & old linoleum. His apartment still has the tin roof that I suppose has gone in & out of favor. When I think I want to move to a brand-new building, I remember how happy I am about and in the funky old ones. Mine being even more old school, with the tub in the kitchen. 

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From the vault

This was an early KOFF girls prank, or project, when we liberated a subway ad placard & changed "constipated" to "consumptive" then silk-screened the image onto t-shirts. When I say we, I mean Maggie. It was actually the Consumptive Poets League that did it; the magazine, KOFF (get it?), grew out of the League, but Maggie, Rachel & I were called the KOFF girls ever after. 

 

We went on to bigger & better, which you can read about here

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Fall in Chelsea

We saw one snowflake & this maple, 20th Street east of 9th Ave. 

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Monday Quote

I think you have to teach kids to work, and you can only teach them to work if you work... I can't delegate jobs if I'm not doing it.

~ Ruth Asawa (1926-2013). She had six kids, by the way.

 

I got interested in her because she'd been at Black Mountain. Best known for her coiled wire sculptures, I fell in love with this painting at a show of her work I went to a day or two ago at the David Zwirner gallery on West 20th Street. You have to look closely to see the little scribbles in the back of the chair. Somehow that's what makes this great. 

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Out & about

A page from the Augsburg Wunderzeichenbunch (book of miracles) from the mid-16th century.
 

My friend KG is moving away so I felt lucky that he had a couple of spare hours to hang out on Friday. We went to the David Zwirner gallery in Chelsea. This is one of the cool things we saw. 

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In the neighborhood

Is Chisholm having a revival? Or what? After all, she died in 2005 & that was quite a while after she ran for president, the first Black woman to do so. I believe she was the first Black woman in Congress as well. Anyway, here is this poster on a mailbox up the block. 

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Thanksgiving 2021

As usual, my traditional Thanksgiving poem. I no longer have anything to do with the guy whose email I "found" it from 20 years ago, who became a Holocaust denier, with all the paranoia, conspiracy, & ugliness that goes with that. I still like this little work, however. 

 

 

Thanksgiving Almost Found Poem

 

Many years we go to my grandmother's in Virginia. 
My mother, father, aunts and at least two of my brothers are there. 
My son has a football game that morning. 
My daughter is home, but needs to get back to school this weekend. 
My wife doesn't want to ride for nine hours and turn right back. 
Sometimes I have gone alone, but not often. 
A couple of neighbors were vying for our company.
One of those my daughter's boyfriend's family, 
Which we did last year and had fun.
But this year it will be another family,
One we have visited on two or three other Thanksgivings. 
I have a turkey freezing in the garage.

Nothing to do with it.

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A "backsliding democracy"

The mountains of western North Carolina, November 2016.

This is so depressing.

 

According to the Global State of Democracy 2021 report from the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, "The United States, the bastion of global democracy, fell victim to authoritarian tendencies itself, and was knocked down a significant number of steps on the democratic scale." 
 
More than a quarter of the people in the world live in democratically backsliding countries, that is, nations seeing a gradual decline in the quality of their democracy, thanks to restricting free speech and weakening the rule of law.

Who do they blame? Take a guess. (The pandemic hasn't helped either, globally.)
 
The report does say democracy is resilient, with protest and civic action fighting repression around the world. 

 

The depressing part is how many people are OK with it, as long as no one makes them wear a mask to tamp down a pandemic. 

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