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As a kid, it was all about the Puritans & the Indians. It was a four-day holiday & Mrs Hosen's mother came up from Mississippi with pecans for her pies. I don't remember even really noticing the words thanks & giving. 


Now I am so full of gratitude I barely have room for pie (joke!). I am grateful my dad made it out of Germany against all his German burgher instincts to stay put. I'm grateful my mother married on a whim and also made it to South Dakota. I'm grateful to be sane & not estranged from any close friends about contemporary politics. I'm grateful to have the time & inclination to try and figure out what's going on. I'm grateful not to be conspiracy-minded. I'm grateful for friends & I'm grateful for PIE. 

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Someone else's story

My mother was driving when she heard the news. Her hands flew off the steering wheel in shock & she almost swerved into another car, whose driver gave her a dirty look. Later, that woman must have realized what had happened earlier that day & my mother had to have been an anonymous part of her story of the day, which I picture her telling for the rest of her life.


I never thought the date would be other than searing but 60 years later, there are many more people who weren't even born on that dark Friday. November 22, 1963, is further from my grandchildren than World War I was from my birth. 

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Sewer redux

The guy working there said this is original pipe; the building is probably 100 years old. He said another week till the job is done. The guy at the managing company said Friday. How do people work at home? I nap & nap & nap & wake up querulous & confused. 

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Monday Quote

Those who know don't talk and those who talk don't know. 

~ Elie Wiesel, The Hostage (A horribly timely book)


The best lack all conviction and the worse are full of passionate intensity. 

~ Yeats


Same thing, right? I'm sick of being scolded & consdescended to by people I believe to be morally corrupt. 

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Man, what a week. I've been shut out of my office since the emergency sewer pipe repair began, & now I discover that somehow someone got access to my checking account & spent something like $4,500 in 4 fraudulent charges for T-mobile, Verizon & a rental service. Nervewracking, although I think it will be very easy to prove that it wasn't me. Or should be! How DO you prove a negative? There's someone else's name on one of the charges: a clue! Aiyii. I'm exhausted. 

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War & lunch

Current events have both been antimagnetizing me away from some old friends & pulling me together with others. Had a great long lunch this afternoon with someone I used to work with, a poet; we've stayed in touch but not closely but have been talking a lot lately over text & got together to continue our conversation. It's clarifying to know where people stand. Who to cut loose when they've crossed a line that can never be repaired. Who to draw closer.

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Came in to my basement office space on Tuesday & there was a little water around the base of the toilet. Called the landlord. They dug around & looked with a camera & snaked out the pipe, & next thing I knew, I'm booted for a week while they replace the sewer pipe the whole length of the hallway. I'm working at home & hoping I don't need anything essential. Maybe I'll go away for a couple of days. 

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Ruth Osawa at the Whitney

I like Ruth Osawa because she's making things, seeing what will happen if she tries this or this or that. If there's a theory it comes afterwards. And because she makes me realize how much I don't have the desire to take infinite pains over a piece of artwork, no matter how great it might come out (not that it would if I were making it). Like all the little boxes in the chairs piece. It's like cooking. I just have no stamina for chopping & stirring. Commas, that's a different story.

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First there was Ritz Mock Apple Pie, which wasn't invented by Ritz but that's all we ever knew. To my surprise, it has an interesting story, going back to the mid-1800s, when apples weren't always easy to come by, & was especially popular during the Depression, when bread scraps were cheaper. For my 30th birthday, Maggie & Rachel made mock apple pie, rice krispie treats & maybe a couple of other childhood treats. Not that I had eaten mock apple pie before, but there it was on the back of the Ritz box my entire life. 


Maggie has extended the concept with Mock Leek Soup, that has broccoli, potato & a few other things, no leeks, which are too hard to clean. No wonder the Welsh wear them in their hats instead. You can ask her for the recipie.

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Monday Quote

Death made death casual: she had always known. Neither the vanquished in their flight nor the victors returning to pick over rubble seemed half so vindictive as a tragic girl who had disliked her governess. 

~ Mavis Gallant, "The Moslem Wife" (1976) 


So brutally & casually honest. So good.

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Poem of the Week


                 for M-T



November is hell on

earth there is too

muchery the weather


nothing the news

is as old as the Iliad

and yet


and yet something there is

that urges us to happiness

something pulls us

through conversation & lunch

a muchery of

heartbound heaven

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Yvonne Jacquette

All the memorials! All the many memorials over the years. Yvonne was such a great artist & person. Last night lots of people met at Judson Church to honor her. Friends & relatives talked, Yoshiko Chuma & Douglas Dunn danced, some films were shown, including one about creating the mural for the federal building in Bangor that I went to see when I was in Maine in May. (See my blog for May 16, 2023). Some hugs. It wasn't entirely sad but it wasn't joyous either. We're all getting closer. 

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Mike DeCapite

Such a fantastic reading last night. Mike's work is great & he is a terrific reader & last night might have been his best-ever reading. Just when you think he's given you the whole story, all the juice, a little extra bomb goes off & there's more. June is the perfect character as well as a perfect person. Why aren't his books best-sellers?

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Lies, disinformation & antisemitism

Much to say but I'm exhausted. You (many yous) care about the "soft bodies" of all babies except Jewish babies. That's what it feels like & you refuse to consider how horrifying it is to Jews, who have been the victims of so much persecution, to see depravity lauded. Of course I don't want to see anyone killed but what is a country to do when a terrorist group's raison d'etre is to exterminate you? An old friend recently said Israel had killed 2 million Palestinians. In fact, since 1860, 120,000 Jews & Muslims, Israelis & local Arabs have died in the area. Contrast that to half a million Syrians killed in 12 years. Why can't I get through on facts or feelings? 

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Vote early, vote often!

Today is not just Election Day.


I'm happy to report that DTB (AKA Downtown Bakery) has reopened after 8 months of bureaucratic despair. I wasn't sure I would ever get to eat one of their ranchero burritos again. Which they knew to make without me having to order it. 


But it is also Election Day & I hope all my friends vote. 


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Monday Quote

"Great art is clear thinking about mixed feelings," said John Baldessari, and before him, W.H. Auden wrote, "Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings." The great artist has what Auden called "the gift of double focus," and what Keats called "negative capability" — an ability to see things through different lenses, to not only deal with uncertainty, but to use it as the fuel for one's work.

~ Austin Kleon


Kleon is the author of Steal Like an Artist & several other books on creativity. I'm a subscriber to his blog for its many kind, thoughtful insights & suggestions.

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Remember, remember

Remember that it's my wonderful stairdaughter's birthday... Remember "a penny for the Guy" ... Remember to turn your clock back (dang, I like to save that extra hour for when I really need it but this morning I used it TWICE before I remembered I wasn't ready to use it.... Remember to vote on Tuesday! 

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General Malaise

Back when I was Corporal & Lieutenant Malaise, I would lie about dying for half a day then suddenly jump up & be fine. Now that I'm a general, it takes 2 days but now I'm A-OK. 

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A reading list

There has been a lot of very insightful writing over the last few weeks. I've been trying to keep track & am making a start here. I welcome links to other material. This is very much just the start. 


The Decolonization narrative is dangerous & false

It does not accurately describe either the foundation of Israel or the tragedy of the Palestinians.
By Simon Sebag Montefiore, The Atlantic


Why I am a Zionist

By Gil Troy, JNF blog


The Reckoning

Israel must grapple first with its enemies, and then with the failures of its own government.
By Yossi Klein Halevi


Cease-Fire? How about Hamas surrender?

Carly Pildis in The Forward


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Halloween fun at YAI karate

I'm one of the instructors of karate to adults with learning disabilities. For Halloween yesterday, we wrote lots of activities on cards, & the students got to "trick or treat" a card then do the kicks or punches or situps written on it. It was so much fun that I'm not sure they realized how hard they were working. Even Nidaime got in on the fun. He pulled the card that told him to "count from 1 to 10 in Japanese." When he made a(n intentional, of course) mistake halfway through, the students yelled. I said, Help him! & they all counted the rest of the way together. I appreciated him playing along. 

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Halloween is Caturday

One of my favorite pictures of my beloved Buster, in the lobster costume that he patiently wore. He patiently submitted to any prank I came up with because he loved me with the purity of the holy. 


I hope nothing is scarier today than the witches & goblins you will see trick or treating.

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Monday Quote / What I'm reading

I remember feeling that my grief was something that I could hold. Had to hold. That it was unwieldy, unimaginably heavy, fragile, and profoundly precious. That I couldn't put it down. 

~ Rona Cran, from I Remember Kim


This "memoir of grief" for her sister, who died unexpectedly at the age of 32, is modeled on Joe Brainard's famous I Remember series. The form made it possible for her to manage if not contain her grief.


She points out in a preface that there are few memoirs by bereaved siblings. How true, I realize, startled. I know many people who've lost a sibling & I can't think that any of them have written about it, myself included. This is an important book.

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Symposium on poetry

In the end, I don't know what the point is. It seems to be the tail wagging the horse, the critics knowing better than the poets what we're up to. Or who knows, maybe they do. Why do they remember the ridiculous tossed-off wisecracks of our youth? The readings were great, Patricia Spears Jones read especially beautifully, especially when the mic cooperated in that echo-y cavern. I liked everyone I could hear ~ can't ask for better than that. I think from now on, however, they can wait till I'm dead. 


However, massive gratitude to the young couple who very patiently explained that I was far, far from where I was going when I somehow got off the train many, many stops away from Sunset Park. I know they thought I didn't believe them & wasn't going to follow their directions, but I did, & they were more accurate than the MTA's trip-planner, which steered me wrong over & over. I am never going to Brooklyn again.

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Tomorrow: these little oases

Hey, so this is happening:


These little oases: a gathering, taking place on Saturday, 12-8pm, at 900 Third Avenue, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

12 noon

Ayaz Muratoglu
Edmund Berrigan
Anne Waldman
Moderator: Tyhe Cooper


Andrew Epstein
Alexandra Gold
Libbie Rifkin
Nick Sturm
Moderator: Mandana Chaffa


Paolo Javier
John Yau
Elinor Nauen
Jordan Davis
Moderator: Patricia Hope Scanlan


Tilghman Goldsborough
Rona Cran
Bob Rosenthal
John Godfrey
Moderator: Greg Masters


Kay Gabriel
Anselm Berrigan
Patricia Spears Jones
Moderator: Lee Ann Brown


The event is free of charge.


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Steve's steps

Back in NYC & still pretty mellow, I would say. When I think about Steve's place, the central image is of these steps. You park & you walk down the steps to get to the house. They are the welcome, the familiar path to the calm of the land. I've been home a day & already am longing to go back. 

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O Sitebuilder!

Turns out there's a 1,500-image limit to my site (hosted by the Author's Guild). Deleting images is annoyingly slow: I just spent an hour getting rid of two dozen. Goodbye to book covers & desserts. 

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The Blue Ridge Parkway 2023

How fantastic that during the Depression, people in government had the vision to propose and build this magnificent road. We catch a stretch of it almost every year, and one year when it was closed for the season, parked and walked along it. I suppose uncoiled, the BRP and the other roads we drove yesterday would only be a hundred miles or so, but we ambled along at 30 or 40 mph most of the afternoon. No surprise it's one of the most visited of our many wonderful national parks. I wish I could post even a few of the photos I took. I wish I were breathing the quiet air again right now. 

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Monday Quote

One of the few certainties in life is that people of certainty should certainly be avoided. 

~ Willy Russell (English dramatist, lyricist, and composer, author of Educating Rita, Blood Brothers, and more)


Very few people seem unwilling to display their certainties, full of passionate intensity. And ignorance. 

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A garden in Georgia

In 1980, a landscaper named John Gibbs started building gardens on 300 acres of land in north Georgia. 32 years later, he opened Gibbs Gardens to the public. Steve & I stopped there for several hours on our way to Murphy. So peaceful & glorious."Heaven must look like this," as the church lady when she stumbled on Steve's 4 acres. Steve said, If I had a billion dollars, I could do a lot more with my land. There were waterfalls, streams, a Japanese garden, a wildflower meadow, the manor house with a view of the mountains. Everywhere we go we find so much beauty. 

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Crafty ones

Last few visits we've done a project ~ 2 years ago, Steve & Wayne got married, last year we tie-dyed shirts. Today, Steve & I made juice from the naranjillas he grew, based on the memory of having had naranjilla juice in Ecuador. The fruit looks like a cherry tomato & is orange, but the pulp has tomato-like seeds & is green. It was rather involved to make it & maybe not the best thing I ever drank. We only sipped, just in case it's poisonous. Our other half-glass awaits. 

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