Persimmons are ripening all over town. The mysterious tree on my walk to work turns out to be a persimmon tree, and I think the cage around it is to keep the squirrels away.

I don’t like persimmons very much, but they are pretty. I remember the first year we moved here I bought one from a bare-footed kid selling them at the entrance to campus. It was cold out. It seemed very foreign at the time.


I have been swept up in the whole baseball enthusiasm. How could I resist? The Giants are in the World Series! Orange and Black! October! The Giants! Strangely, here’s a fairly good description of the Giants likeability here in the Dallas paper. Or here, or here

And then there is the very odd, but funny, pitcher Brian Wilson. Here’s a video.

Anyway — they really are pretty likable. It seems that they’ve take a bunch of pitchers in their 20s who are fantastic and then added a bunch of other players who have been knocking around unused on other teams but are actually great, and now they’re winning. It’s kind of a miracle, actually. It’s a little like a Disney movie, even. So, I’ve been swept up.

Let’s see, what else.

I’m getting exited about the trifecta of Thanksgiving/N’s birthday/K and my 25th anniversary. My brother and his new boyfriend are coming.  He seems very happy, so I think that will be fun. I am wondering if we should invite anyone else, but the thing is, people tend to have traditional Thanksgiving plans. We could invite N’s friend E’s family, for example, except they always go to their friend Roz’s house for Thanksgiving. So maybe we’ll just leave it at a small celebration. This could be the nicest thing in any case.

It’s colder, thank god, so I’m no longer wearing my sad summer wardrobe.

I read Lev Grossman’s the Magicians, and I keep meaning to talk about it but not quite knowing how to go about it. Okay, it’s about a disaffected teenager going about his Brooklyn business of doing very well in school, applying to some serious colleges and being seriously miserable when, bing!, it turns out that magic is real and he is invited to a sort of Hogwarts-meets-Vassar College. In addition, he is seriously addicted to the Narnia books, which here are called the Fillory books. So that’s all good, except it turns out that he’s still miserable because he still doesn’t know what to do with his life, and when he graduates he’s back in New York with too much money and nothing to do but drink all day with others in the same circumstance.

I think it doesn’t all quite fit. I wish it did, but I think it doesn’t. And the ending. Hmmm.

Mixed feelings. Too bad it’s not better, is I guess my final judgment. Too much picked up and the not used. Too much appearing out of nowhere here and there (for instance, why are we suddenly told halfway through the book that his parents had never cared for him? It would have been better if we’d had some notion of that from the beginning, and we don’t.)


Got to go.




A number of odd things along my commute this morning.

I pass the house of a girl who used to play with M when she was in 1st grade. It’s a beautiful house full of big rooms and windows and a kitchen with huge french doors leading out a gorgeous garden. I remember being there when it was full of blooming iris. Oddly, though, they’ve etched over the bottoms of the living room windows with some kind of pattern — like you’d do in a bathroom. Maybe it looks better inside.

A message from N asking me what she used to want to be when she was little. I wonder if she’s worrying about what to be. It was an astronaut, and she seems to continue to want to travel, so there is a consistency.

A pair of spectacles hanging from a rosebush along the sidewalk. Probably somebody dropped them, but will they see them there?

A flock of towhees scooting around in the dust under some sunflowers, which have already bloomed. A small sturdy dog interested, too.

Before I left Jim and Lucy carefully sniffed a part of the plumbago in the back yard. I think the deer has been back, or perhaps it’s the evil Geoffrey. The plastic tube is out of Jim’s neck, but he still looks a bit odd with half of his neck shaved.

The bus came quickly and I managed to get two more rows knitted on my sock before I got to my stop. I was a bit earlier today and the German man who talks on his phone for the whole walk from my house to the bus stop was not there. I’ve gotten used to listening to his half of the conversation, but it was okay without him, too.

M is wondering about Tristan and Isolde for some reason, and I’m not sure why.

Driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing

It’s  windy, today, and chilly!

I woke up early, folded the laundry and made it to the post office to send various Halloween items off to arrive by Saturday. Funny — it takes quite a bit longer for things to get to Maine than to Ohio.

Now I’m at work with a rather uncomfortable hole in my stockings. I’m not quite sure about these shoes, either. They’ve been hanging out in my closet for years, but now they’re the only thing brown that doesn’t have holes in the bottom.  I realize that my fashion sense is pathetic. For one thing, I live in a college town known for its odd dress — I saw a woman waiting at the bus stop wearing athletic socks and tevas, for instance — so I’m not getting any clues off the street.  As for shoes, I buy them on sale and let them lie on the closet floor for five years until I get used to them. Then I wear them. These are just loafers, though, so they were never particularly stylish to begin with which means they’re not likely to be out of style either, right? It’s just the color that’s questionable. It’s a sort of caramel.

Okay. Fascinating though this is I guess I’d better move on. It’s Wednesday — day of innumerable meetings for which I am never really quite prepared.

Reading: I read Dan Ariely’s The Upside of Irrationality which I liked, but less than his previous book.  He’s one of those economic psychologist people — actually, the most interesting parts had to do with psychology. If you’re angry you’ll make an angry decision, even about something you’re not  angry about, and all future decisions will tend to be angry – for instance, and this is his example, a woman comes home after a very bad day and her husband, who is lounging by the television set, says, “I though you were bringing dinner.”  She responds angrily and an angry pattern is set. Hmm.  His advice is to pick a partner who will make this downward spiral less likely, and the way you can know this is by going canoeing with any future spouse — anyone you can canoe with without breaking out in a fight is someone you could probably marry.

Probably good advice.

I am remembering the one time K and I went kayaking in a double kayak. Never again.

My trip to Ohio

So, I’m back.

It was gorgeous.

My previous experience with Ohio has consisted solely of driving through on highway 90 on my way from Connecticut to Minnesota, many times. I believe we needed a new transmission once in Youngstown. And then being highly suspicious of their voting practices in recent elections.

But if you drive further south, away from the industrial wasteland along Lake Erie, it’s really pretty. There are small farms and Amish buggies and lots of horses all over the place and extremely beautiful trees. It was lovely. We came from Pittsburgh, which is really in Appalachia, and then drove west. You can see the countryside changing from mountains to farmland. Anyway, it’s quite lovely — especially at this time of year. We missed the peak of the leaves, but they were gorgeous nonetheless.

And M seems very good. Grown up and handling things in a completely reasonable manner. Amazing. In a way, it was almost worse to see her, because it reminded me how much I miss her. But in another way, it was wonderful to see her. She looks great and is doing well.  We sat in on her Chaucer class, which I was impressed with, and saw her sculpture studio, which was slight terrifying — lots of huge and potentially destructive machines — and distracted her completely from her work so that by the end of the weekend she was quite behind, which is apparently what we’re supposed to do.  Really — the way they set it up, you come to visit in the middle of the semester, just when they have a ton of work, and then you can either distract them, or start worrying about distracting them and then pester them — are you sure you have time to come out to lunch with us? Don’t you have to read the Squires Tale? And that block you’re making? — which of course is the one thing they hate more than anything else.  And which of course, you are really trying not to do.

We drove her deep into Amish country in search of interesting woods for her sculpture and saw lots of horse-drawn conveyances. There are the standard square black covered carriages drawn by one brown horse. These can carry two people, or a family. But there are also little open pony carts which apparently can go really fast. Those look pretty fun. And then you’ve got the big wagons and agricultural machinery drawn by enormous and beautiful draft horses. It’s pretty amazing.

And we took her out to eat, because she is apparently quite tired of the cafeteria food. And we had lunch with the Necromancers, which was very fun. (Oh, I see she’s been reading Laurie Colwin!)

And now we’re home. I can’t wait to see her – she and N are both coming home for Thanksgiving, thank god.

What else? I’ve been reading too, but I’ll tell you about it later.  Got to go —


We’re out of here early tomorrow to go visit M (and Jeanne!!). But first I have to take Jimmy back to the vet because someone, and I suspect the evil Geoffrey, has bitten him in the neck. Of course.

I spoke to N this morning from her laundry room — school is going just fine, apparently, and she wondered if my mother would like to entertain the rugby team the night before they have a game down south.  Or at least let them sleep on her floor.  Probably, I think.

So — I have to get home in order to clean up the house a little bit for my brother, who will be feeding the cats. And I suppose I have to do the laundry so we can pack.

I’m excited — it will be cold, I hope, and maybe there will be a few leaves left, and we will see M.

Do you think I would be crazy to go to a mitten camp? I’m thinking it might be fun.

Fall — it continues

Well.  The fridge rearrangement was hugely successful. The removal of the superfluous can rack adds a lot of space, and putting the two shelves level (you can make them not level) makes a lot more sense.  There is now room for everything, including beer (important), leftovers, and mustard. (We seem to have a lot of mustard, and I even threw some out.) I am happy whenever I open the doors. Perhaps I will take a picture for you, if the camera turns up.

I went to the vet this morning, and Jimmy really does have diabetes — so it’s back on insulin for him. But it doesn’t seem to bother him, and the vet is pregnant! That’s very exciting — I like her very much. She is Indian and she’s from Pittsburgh — thats all I know about her, but she’s very kind to Jim.

Then, because I’d already had to take the morning off, I took the afternoon off, and since K came home to make a number of important phone calls and didn’t seem to want me around, I abandoned my plan to clean the bathrooms and went for a lovely lovely walk. I drove south and over the hills, much further than I’d planned, and then went for a long walk down near Livermore — which is pretty much the middle of nowhere. It’s much more rural out there — lots of horse farms and ranches. Someone with a tea party sign in his yard saying “throw the bums out!” (Yes, and replace the bums with crazy people? Ooo-kay.)  It really was a lovely walk. I saw not one person until I got back to the parking lot. I do kind of wonder if I’m going to be eaten by a mountain lion or killed by a mass murderer, but it hasn’t happened yet.  I saw some ground squirrels, cows (another fear is that I will get eaten by a cow –they are very big and you can’t tell what they are thinking), lots of common buckeye butterflies, a California sister butterfly, a very pretty juvenile red-tailed hawk — they have a checkerboard pattern on their undersides — and, at the very end, a flock of bluebirds! Nice views, too. Much close to Mount Diable, our local mountain, than I’ve been yet. It turns out that it has two peaks! A very satisfying walk.

So —

In other news, it has gotten chilly enough at night for flannel sheets! But I think I heard this morning that it’s going to get hot again.

Oh well.




The weather has turned, at least for now, and it’s fantastic. It’s cooler — even rainy, today, and I have a billion things to get done. I no longer feel like lying on the couch in a stupor.

So — what shall I do, then?

I’m making millionaire’s shortbread, and while I’m doing that I think I’ll clean out the refrigerator. We went over to A and A’s for dinner last night (homemade butternut squash ravioli — so delicious) and it turns out that they have the same refrigerator that we do, and by simply taking out the very odd can rack (I know — who needs that many cans? We have none.) we can rearrange things to accommodate a 6 pack of beer standing up in one place!

I think theirs might actually be slightly larger, but still, I am sure this will help.

I went on a walk this morning in the rain and it was fantastic. It wasn’t so much rain as mist, and fog was drifting in through all the canyons. Fog reveals as much as it hides, I think. It shows the shape of the land, which you would otherwise not even see, as it drifts in. And in hiding some areas completely, other spots become mystifyingly clearer than they ever are on a sunny day. It’s the light, I suppose. Fields of little puffy seedheads were visible in the rain as they caught the rain and turned white against the darker wet grasses. I’m sure they were invisible until it rained.

Okay. I’m off. In case you couldn’t tell, I am very very busy.