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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Recluse Reveries

I could so be a hermit.

No, not a cookie  type hermit (but, hmmmm). I could be one of those mysterious old women, always swathed in a thousand baggy sweaters, only glimpsed when I'm out feeding stray cats or on my rare, alien trips to the grocery.

What’s conjuring my solitarian fantasies this time?

I’m just back from a visit with Helen en famiglia in Hoosick Falls. GodDAMN this is a magnificently beautiful, pastoral patch of the planet. Yesterday morning we drove out to the Moses Farm for apple pies, fresh veggies and some solid pumpkin picking. The farther away we got from the tiny town, the deeper into woods and farmland we plunged, the more magical it all became.

The trees are green, green, green right now with hints of russet here and there. The hills rolled, corn was high and the sky a brilliant, cloudless cerulean blue. Every now and then we’d pass a cottage, tucked behind beautiful, tall hickory, black walnut and birch trees. I wondered, what would it be like to live here, off in the middle of woods and farms. The town names seem like they’re fresh out of fairy tales – Walloomsac, Eagle Bridge, Petersburg, Pumpkin Hook!

I'm imagining the brill solitude – the fabulous peace of nothing but gorgeous mountains, trees, streams – nature – all around. I'd paint, read, write, chat with Coco and sit outside watching the sun filter through the trees. In winter I'll build a fire (there must be a fireplace!) and watch the snow fall on the mountains.

There’s an old, one room school house for sale in Eagle Bridge. It’s 672 square feet (plenty of room for me and Coco!), on an acre and a quarter. The asking price is just $69,000. Zillow didn’t have any pics of the interior and I can’t tell what shape it’s in but I wanna have a look see. No, even if it’s in perfect shape, I can’t buy it. Even if I could conscience spending the dough (not just the asking price but the yearly taxes, heat, water, upkeep and repair bills), the joint’s nearly four hours away from Valhalla. How often, realistically, would I get up there?

Still, I want a live, in person tour for no other reason than to feed my imagination.

And, OK yeah, I would suck BIG time as a recluse. I know that. I like my alone time but not all the damn time. I really do like people. Honest! Also too, I’d miss Jen, Oni and the damn ocean. We’re besties, don’cha know.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


Jeff Flake has total faith that states will do the right thing by us illin' taxpayers.

Jeff Flake thinks the Graham-Cassidy bill is the best shot at repeal and replace. Repeal and replace – it's the magical mantra. Comprehensive, affordable health care is apparently beside the point.

Jeff Flake’s a complete moron.

No, no, I take that back. What he is, and this is much worse, is a grifting son of a bitch (not to diss his mom but, clearly, she didn’t send him to his room sans dessert often enough).

The man poops out an anti-Trump book, which also takes his fellow Republicans to task for the mess the country is now in, and yet 91.5% of his votes have been in Trump/Republican lockstep party line. Disingenuous much, man?
"I've been sympathetic to this impulse to denial, as one doesn't ever want to believe that the government of the United States has been made dysfunctional at the highest levels, especially by the actions of one's own party.”

"Too often, we observe the unfolding drama along with the rest of the country, passively, all but saying, 'Someone should do something!' without seeming to realize that that someone is us."

"If by 2017 the conservative bargain was to go along for the very bumpy ride because with congressional hegemony and the White House we had the numbers to achieve some long-held policy goals—even as we put at risk our institutions and our values—then it was a very real question whether any such policy victories wouldn't be Pyrrhic ones. If this was our Faustian bargain, then it was not worth it.” (source)
Obvs, with his pretty words and good-ish looks, he’s trying to con the skeptical marks. He is up for reelection in 2018, after all.  I'm not like the rest of these mooks!

Just FYI on the latest effort to kill Obamacare:
Trump says preexisting conditions are still covered BUT states can apply for waivers. These waivers would give insurers the leeway, the ability to charge us’ns of the not perfectly, 100% healthy clan higher premiums. Also too, states will have free reign to change other ACA protections such as the wonderful ban on lifetime benefit limits. Without that, insurance companies can decide – Gosh, despite the big checks you’ve been writing us every month, you’re costing us money so we’re not covering your chemo/brain surgeries/Multiple Sclerosis treatments/Diabetes meds anymore.

AND there’s a lovely loophole in Graham-Cassidy which allows insurers to deny coverage for:
  • Pregnancy and maternity care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Mental health services
  • Reproductive health services, including birth control
  • Substance abuse treatment
BUT Jeff Flake has faith the states will do the right thing.

I wonder if he’s remembers or even knows about the governors of Maine, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan.

Amongst other heinousosity, last year, the Kansas Senate narrowly passed a bill that would let lawmakers impeach state judges for “discourteous conduct” and other transgressions…(source)  This went down immediately after Brownback's dictatorial, strong-arm play to manipulate the courts. 

And yet, Jeff Flake has absolute faith the governors will do the right thing.

Flake's Dem challenger will likely be Kyrsten Sinema. She’s been the rep for Arizona's 9th congressional district since January of 2013. Looks like I’ll be sending a shekel or two in her direction.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Moviolas of Nod

Crazy ass dreams all this week and I can recall only stray, odd snippets.

A few nights back, in Snooze Land, I was moving back to Cambridge – to a large sun-filled, loft-type place, close to MIT (our old, pre-Valhalla, neighborhood). Sounds great, no? Yeah, except for the distinct lack of ocean and no Jen or Oni. Sure. I guess. Emmm, no.

In the new digs, I was surrounded by utter chaos – a maelstrom of opened, half unpacked boxes, lamps, garment racks, MORE goddamned boxes and other random shit. Everything was a confused clutter.

I would have new roomies. EEK! Who were they? Who knows? Mega enorme unknowns. I hate unknowns!

This morning’s specter, the mess from which I just woke, was another relocation horror. We had to leave Valhalla – all four of us. The Amazing Bob was still very much alive. We’d sold our houses and were packing up for the nomad action. We didn’t have a new crib but still we were moving on. Why? Beats me all to Hell and back.

Our dear, soon to be departed home, was pandemonium and I was panicked. The Gentle Giant dudes would arrive any moment and we weren’t anywhere close to ready.

Where would we find another patch of Avalon that we could actually afford? I didn't want TAB to be as freaked as me so I assured him, we’ll go to a hotel for a few days and then find a nice, new crib. Mega agitata – how would we pay for a hotel and would a few days be enough time to find someplace awesome? I was rockin' some major dubiosity.

Later same night/same dream, Jen and I, on a sunny day, were biking through hilly woods near the ocean’s edge. We came upon an isolated house. Could we move here?

And then (in the new house or was I in the one we were leaving?), I was mega focused on painting an old wooden mailbox with bright, sharp but pale peacock blue pigment.

Apparently, last night, I was dreaming in David Lynchian chapters.

I wanna know – what’s up with all this entropic-esque, relocation shit? Also too, why, oh motherfucking why, I gotta leave Valhalla EVAH? That salient tidbit’s never revealed.

Then, in another cot-time moviola, I had hearing again – not full strength but I knew it’d all come back. I was listening to soft classical music (Debussy? Ravel? Satie?) and savoring the violin’s mellow resonance.

Looks like my subconscious was giving me a fucking break from all the anarchic unknowns. Thanks brain!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Books and Health

Down days are why bookstores were invented. So yeah, after getting the You need MORE surgery news, I stepped out to my local dealer. Sure, I had books at home but none were mindless, escapist, FUNNY mysteries or sci fi. Funny – mega importante. Clearly, I had a big need so off I went.

Question – why OH, FUCKING WHY is the closest tome trafficker all the way down in Braintree, one ENTIRE town south. Cry for me brothers and sistahs – this is a motherfucking tragedy. Rilly!


What’d I pick up?
A Murder of MagpiesJudith Flanders
When Samantha Clair agreed to publish journalist Kit Lovell’s tell-all book on the death of fashion designer Rodrigo Alemán, she could scarcely have imagined the dangers ahead. (source)
What sold me was Donna Leon’s blurb – Deadly funny.

Mash Up, an anthology
Pride and Prejudice meets Macbeth by way of The Wizard of Oz and a dollop of the speculative, in this entertaining anthology where authors get inspiration for short stories from the first lines of famous works of literature.
A) LOVE the concept (which promises at least a quart and a half of hilarity per read)!
B) There’s a John Scalzi story in here!

Dr. DOASimon Green
The name is Drood, Eddie Drood, also known as Shaman Bond. My family has been safeguarding humanity for generations, facing the hidden horrors of the world so you can sleep at night and remain oblivious to the existence of the monstrous nightmares that walk and stalk among us.
I’ve read others in this series. They’re witty, weird and def keep me buried in the pages.

Escapism-wise, I'm all set now. Thanks.

And, speaking of fiction...

Mebbe it’s just me but it seems that every time one of the vicious Republican repeal and replace, so called healthcare bills gets shot down, they come back with something even more devastatingly rapacious and cruel. Their proposals claim to be about giving us taxpayers something better than the ACA but they’re really all about erasing Obama’s brill achievement AND putting the insurance companies back in the bill-us-into-early-graves seat.

The Rude Pundit picks apart and points out the insanity, the inhumanity of the Graham-Cassidy (AKA Lynch Obamacare) bill. Please, go read. Just FYI, those of us with pesky preexisting conditions (such as my delightful neurofibromatosis type 2Nf2) are gonna be financially roasted until we welcome death. Yeah, the Orange Menace lies AGAIN. Shocking, no?

As long as I’m talkin’ ‘bout health shit, now that I’m an older babe, certain embarrassing things, on occasion, happen – like all of a sudden having to pee RIGHT THAT VERY MINUTE. Turns out, this shit’s got a name, Overactive Bladder and has a “helpful” sponsored post up on Shoutyface. 9 Foods and Drinks to Avoid for a Better Bladder

They tell me to avoid citrus, tomatoes, coffee AND tea, chocolate, spicy food, soda, alcohol (what? NO wine!!!???), sweeteners. Also, avoid too much—or too little—water.

‘the fuck am I supposed to eat and drink? This list is ridiculous. The only two things on the here that are hey, no prob are soda and sweeteners. How about I just make sure I hit the head more often than when I was 30 and check in with my PCP, hmmmmm?

Who writes this shit?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Eyeball Action

I had a follow up with my handsome cornea minder yesterday. Waiting for him to arrive, after his baby doc took care of the preliminaries, I was a bit nervous. Of course I was – we’re talkin’ about my damn eye here. I’m already missing hearing – vision has GOT to stay online.

Oddly, the Gun Club’s tune She’s Like Heroin to Me, was playing loud and long in my bean. So much so that I was inspired to get up outta the exam chair for a bit of singing and dancing. I didn't – figured that might be distracting for the docs (and embarrassing for me).

Wut up? My brain had kicked into auto-cope. While I wasn’t wise to being all stressed and afraid, my subconscious was and had gone to work with the soothe and amuse action.

Doc Dana had good news – my cornea’s fine/stable/no worse. Yea! I’m mega relieved. But wait – there’s something new in Donna World. I’ve got cataracts. Joy. Motherfucking joy-joy.

Yes, I totally know that this is now, in our medically advanced age (relative to my mother’s cataract surgery time in the early ‘70s) totally no big. The Amazing Bob had cataract surgery on both eyes and it was less stressful than going to the dentist (but what isn't?). Little sister Celeste had one eye done. Same thing – easy peasy.

The procedure takes about 15 minutes (!!!). I’ll be awake for it but sedated (and I wanna be). Afterward there are antibiotic drops to put in for three to six weeks. I Googled cataract surgery and was put even more at ease.
Cy Twombly-esque whiteboard action in the doc's office

All in all this will be a piffle, a trifling, small beer and such. Also, I don’t even see the cataract specialist until mid-December so it’s not like my eyes are on fire or anything.

So why am I down about this? Pffft – even though this is no big, it is:

A) Still surgery
Most modern cataract procedures involve the use of a high-frequency ultrasound device that breaks up the cloudy lens into small pieces, which are then gently removed from the eye with suction.

This procedure, called phacoemulsification or "phaco," can be performed with smaller incisions than previous...(source)
See that? Incisions. Those will made with sharp knives IN MY EYE. OK, taking a deep breath now. Calming down. Honest.

B) Something MORE that’s wrong with this traitorous body of mine. Isn't Nf2 enough? Shouldn't that be proof against everything else including the common cold?! (hint: YES!)


C) The Amazing Bob isn’t here to chill me out, make me laugh, take care of me OR bake me
some damn cookies. That’s just a zillion kinds of WRONG! Yes, Jen and Oni are here. Helen is close by. Paula’s just up the street. I WILL have support. Also too – Coco.

So, I'm feeling a little whiney/kvetchy/pissy today. I'll hit the gym and try to elliptical the mood off. Possibly I'll even eat a cookie, dammit!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Free Melania? Why?

I just don’t get the Free Melania thing.

She married von Clownstick of her own free will – she’s not a captive. Fer Bast's sake, Melania's defended the addled fuck's vile, spectacularly racist birther shit. She’s even defended his grotesque attitude and treatment of women. Oh and she's on board with Benghazi-ism. No. Melania's no sweet, helpless lamb. She's not some sad maiden, kidnapped from the Slovenian countryside, in need of rescue. No, she's Trump with a smidge of savoir faire and better/not repulsive packaging.

Yes, she’s married to a disgusting, horrifically vain, compassionless, bigoted, bullying, entitlement rocking, narcissistic grifter – a man who, had he not been born in a monster money patch, would’ve become an oily, unbathed, third-rate carnival barker. Hitching her wagon to his was her choice. Did she do it for the big bucks alone? Does she like him at all, let alone love him? I don't care.
Before all the plastic surgery and heavy make up

Melania could leave the ugly pool of rabid weasel puke if she wanted to. Yes, if she divorced him, she’d no longer live in a gilt covered penthouse. She’d be somewhat less obscenely wealthy BUT, make no mistake, she would not be joining the ranks of us poors.

While the Free Melania meme was amusing at first, it’s well past its sell-by date.

She owns a jewelry biz:
a collection of gem-encrusted bracelets, watches, and necklaces that The New York Times once described as "Louis XIV by way of Atlantic City." (source)
There was a skincare line with a very odd ingredient – caviar. I know that fish oil is a good thing for skin and hair health but caviar? Sorry/not sorry, this reeks of “let’s reel in the Dallas/Revenge/Kardashian/Real Housewives/Gossip Girl obsessed rubes.”

Yes, her disgusting old man opened doors for her but these are/were her entities. By the by, Melania's official FLOTUS webpage briefly touted her jewelry line. Just like the Orange Menace, she's making bank off her White House gig.

She could leave that mentally ill, bloated reptile and still be a wealthy woman (just like Marla). She doesn’t. Apparently, they're a good match. Yeah, he’s a disgusting old fuck (maybe not so much to her though) BUT she doesn’t have to do him often and he provides a mega lavish, gold plated lifestyle. Ya know, it’s all good and shit.

So, once more, what up with all the Free Melania shit. The babe might be a vagina toting human but that doesn’t mean she’s some saintly being. To believe she’s trapped is sexist bullshit. We womens can be every goddamn bit as cheesily money-grubbing and mercenary as men. Rilly! Equality and shit, don’cha know.

Monday, September 18, 2017


Huh, it appears to be Monday. AGAIN.

These fast trips to see mein Vater are always discombobulating. The first day home is spent in a deep haze. This time, however, I seem to be working on a two day brain fuzz hangover. My befuddled fogbound tête will be coddled and cuddled – compounded – by the weather. Rain. The forecast says it'll rain every damn day this week. Joy.

Rain is good. Needed. Still, it infuses me with the energy to do nothing more than curl up in my minty, comfy chair with a ripping yarn, a cup of spiced chai and my sweet kitten. I really do have to get off my duff and work (design jobs won’t design themselves, don’cha know), hit the gym and perform other dull life support shit.


Under the thinning fog the surf curled and creamed, almost without sound, like a thought trying to form inself on the edge of consciousness.
~ Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

After a long silence, Dodge cleared his throat. "I think I speak for all of us when I say, 'Huh?'"
~ Frank Beddor, Seeing Redd

Remember that there is only one important time and that is now. The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion. The most important person is always the person you are with, who is right before you, for who knows if you will have dealings with any other person in the future?
~ Leo Tolstoy, The Emperor's Three Questions 


The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

She felt all right. Her heart was like a drum hanging from piano wire in her chest, slowly, slowly beaten. Her hands and feet were numb, not with cold but with a sultry torpor. Thoughts moved with a tranquil lethargy, her brain a leisurely machine imbedded in swaths of woolly packing.

She felt all right.
~ Richard Matheson, I Am Legend and Other Stories

I think, therefore I am... confused.
~ Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.
~ Bill Watterson

Ya know, if it’s good enough for Calvin’s Da, it damn well’s good enough for me!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Leaving and Arriving

Yesterday morning Jen and I woke at Michal’s, located in idyllic, pastoral Idaho, Pennsylvania. There’s nothing to the town – it’s just one road through rolling farmland with a few houses. It is magnificent. I understand why she lives all the way out there in remote arcadia – beautiful green serenity.

Chocolate violin cake!
After coffee and the most amazing blueberry pastry (Michal, by the by, is a kitchen goddess. TRUTH!) we motored into the “big” town of Indiana in order to hit the Newman used book sale. It was, as forewarned, mammoth, with yard sale type prices. Yes, I bought way too many tomes to tote home – of course I did. Hi, my name is Donna and I'm a book addict. Helen will pick them up from Michal the next time she’s down visiting Daddy.

We then hit Caffe Amadeus for coffee and, yep, more pastries for our brunch with Pop. Diet? Yeah, I’m back on that Hell beast now, thanks.

Here’s the other thing we did on our Pennsylvania sojourn – we went to the University’s museum to see a retrospective of Jim Innes’ work. Jim was a beloved teacher and good friend. We’d fallen out of touch when I was in my tumultuous twenties. I’d always meant to get back in touch with him but he’s gone, like The Amazing Bob, on to Elysium. (Carole King’s tune is, naturally, playing my head now)

The show was amazing. A few pieces were transcendent AND the prices were strangely good – affordable for yurs truly even! I waffled, telling the gallery minder that I was interested but couldn’t commit to buying at the moment. I wanted purchasing info just in case I was able to harvest some extra bucks.

By the next day, Saturday, I was in a panic. I just GOTTA have at least one of the brill beauts that’d sparked me up.

There’s this one – nude riding a red bird with blueish angel-like wings. It’s fairy tale-like. Makes me smile. I want to live with it.

And this one: Free At Last, Psyche Undergoes Metamorphesis. DAMN, this one’s a dazzling mystery, a window into Jim’s head. There’s a story here and I wish to baby Bast I knew it.

Neither painting is small (red bird is probably in the neighborhood of 24"x36" and Metamorphesis is around 36"x50") and my wee cottage most def is. I WILL however find space.

I sent the gallery people an email saying that I def want to buy the red bird painting (I forget its title). Also, if Metamorphesis hasn’t sold by the time the show ends, I would like to know. Who knows, this autumn’s cabbage crop might be good. I also asked them to verify prices since they seemed too good to be true. Typo? Did someone forget a zero or two? HOPE NOT!

Haven’t heard back yet but it IS the weekend. Still, I hope both are still available.

Jen and I touched down in Boston at 7:30PM and were home to cats, Oni and our own respective beds by 8:30. It was a good and, as uszh, all too fast trip. GodDAMN I wish Daddy lived closer.