Tuesday, January 18, 2022

You look, like a dog in a suit, at once old and young for your age

I feel as distracted as I did that day I was listening to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings while trying to get work done (remember way back in 2018? Don't be impressed that I remembered it was 2018, I had to google it. Also, was that the Before Times? Or did the Before Times Era end pre-2016? Hmm, food for thought). Anyway, that was either the height of my distraction or the start of it. And today I'm probably just over-caffeinated.

The pipes are unfrozen, of course. In fact, after my hero's journey to buy a heat gun at Lowe's (I narrowly avoided getting trapped on the way home by a train derailment, expertly steering Virginia Woolf onto the highway and around to approach my house from the other side of town), Mark ended up returning it an hour later (sad trombone sound here). By the time I made it back, he had opened the bathroom floor and exposed the pipes, and they had thawed right out. Later, he shoved insulation in the floor.*

Spoiler: THEY CAN

Me, 2023

Work-related, believe it or not.

Time traveling.

*This may solve the problem, although it's an issue of the pipe being near an exterior wall that's basically not insulated so we shall see.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

By the pricking of my thumbs

Woke to frozen pipes* in the bathroom, after not even the coldest night this week. I took Clover for a long walk in the cold to a completely deserted park. Back in our driveway, she paused and looked up at the branches of an evergreen tree — I looked, expecting to see a squirrel, but it was a small woodpecker. A female (black and white without red all over). Now I'm not sure if it was a downy or hairy woodpecker, not recalling how long its bill was or even if it was "small" or "medium" sized. I didn't hear it pecking, but Clover clearly did. It made me miss Gus, the way he would watch birds all the time: how do they do that?

In the back yard, I saw a nuthatch, a bird whose name I always grasp for, skipping over "titmouse" before I get there. I don't know, I guess it doesn't evoke nuts or hatching — it's the upside-down, gray and blue guy with the pointy bill (they always stand upside-down on the trunk of the willow tree). I tried to draw one:

It kept coming out looking like a narwhal. 

They say Wordle is is the sourdough starter of 2022 and that's fine with me!

The Tragedy of Macbeth was stark and stunning. Wow, what a bleak play. It's not my very favorite, but I still remember** Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow after being told to memorize it in ninth grade English class, and there are so many great lines. 

*It's a work in progress, but we've unfroze em before and we'll do it again!

**I will be quoting this in my dotage, no doubt, driving my caretakers crazy. Ditto The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Recommendations for a long winter

Wordle's a word now, spell checker.

I simply must insist that you try Wordle if you haven't yet. You can only play it once a day, and it just takes a few minutes, so it can't...become a problem.

You could try baking a chocolate babka too, if you have some friends or neighbors to share it with. 

Stitch with yellow thread. Buy a new journal. Drink peppermint tea instead of nine more cups of coffee. Wear mittens instead of gloves. Watch good movies. Get a soft sleep mask. Light candles. Apply extra lotion. Go outside, no matter the situation out there. Read a real book. Make fish tacos, then the next night make "fish tacos" with whatever you can find in your fridge (tofu, potatoes, carrots, beans, whatever). Think about making soup. 

Friday, January 07, 2022

You want it to be one way

It's snowing, gorgeous fluffy snow, plenty of it, and unlike past years when I've been sad that the wintery weather held off until after Christmas, this time we got both: actually perfect Christmas Day snow, and this lovely melancholy January storm.

Clover wears her boots proudly, after an initial comedy routine of about 30 seconds, in which her feet and legs look like they're being controlled by an inept puppeteer. It's like an extra treat we get every time we put them on her, a moment of hilarity. (Without the boots, she limps sadly over salted sidewalks and stops every five minutes to clean snowballs from her fancy feet.) 

Okay, I should be writing some things so there will be actual money in my next paycheck, but I had to quickly link to this Tilda Swinton profile because:

"My ambition was always about having a house by the sea and some dogs."


She’s smiling, and says she’s got a surprise. We head off towards her car, Swinton marching ahead imperiously. In the car there are four springer spaniels in the back and a fifth, the eldest, Rosy, is in the front passenger seat.

We went to a January 6 vigil for democracy last night which was a little bit lackluster. Or maybe that was just me. There were a few guys with a flag that said FUCK BIDEN and fuck you for voting for him. One guy had a megaphone, but the crowd was large enough that it could drown him out pretty easily. The speaker said, "Don't engage!" and although the group was mostly middle-aged and older, I imagined a shared feeling among us all, the holding back of an impulse to surround those jerks and tear them limb from limb like in a Shirley Jackson story.

Elmo and a regular-ass rock

This is why I need to write stuff first thing in the morning. This is my brain in the afternoon.

It's on sale BUT WHAT IS IT

Monday, January 03, 2022

There is no Frigate like a Book

I evidently read 32 books in 2021, and according to my Goodreads ratings, which I only use to remember what I've read and whether I loved or hated it, these were some of my favorites:

The Overstory by Richard Powers. What I remember about the four stars I gave this book is that I was entranced by the first half or so, absolutely in love with it (trees!), and then struggled to focus on all the various characters and the arc of the plot in the second half. And this is a big, fat book.

Fair Play by Tove Jansson. This was so charming — I forgot my January 2021 plan to read more of her books and biographies, etc. Maybe this year!

Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton. "My need to be alone is balanced against my fear of what will happen when suddenly I enter the huge empty silence if I cannot find support there."

Leave the World Behind by Alam Rumaan. An unsettling near-future possible dystopia situation, a social satire crossed with a thriller.

No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood. I loved this, and I only gave it four stars because I find it so hard to give anything five out of five stars, you know? A weird, beautiful, hilarious, and devastating prose poem. Whenever I see Patricia Lockwood's name I initially think she's a family member. I hope we're related.

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. I loved Hyperbole and a Half, and I was worried about her when she didn't publish anything for seven years. What a treat to read this — she's still so funny and honest.

I am, I am, I am: Seventeen Brushes With Death by Maggie O'Farrell. Basically what it is to be a living human person in a body. She is a beautiful writer.

Women Talking by Miriam Toews. Mennonite women conspire in an attic, but much more interesting than that sounds.

To Write as if Already Dead by Kate Zambreno. This one is hard to describe, but it was one of my favorites this year. A ghost author, "writing the body," a kind of detective story in search of a lost online friendship, plague times (AIDS/Covid-19).

More four-star reviews:

The Matrix by Lauren Groff.

The Spare Room by Helen Garner.

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins. 

Fight Night by Miriam Toews.

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney.

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz.

Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear by Katharine Weber. 

Second Place by Rachel Cusk. 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

We were together. I forget the rest.


The liminal week, in which I do crossword puzzles, finish jigsaw puzzles, light and blow out candles, sweep and vacuum, sort cardboard, move chairs, nibble the last cookies, watch movies, water plants, do laundry, drink too much coffee, and accomplish many many other things in lieu of (paying) work that doesn't need to be done but could be done. Mainly, though, it's a bonus week with Mom and Dad and ZoĆ« and Isaac!