Monday, October 30, 2006

South Park - NOT!

That awful cartoon show called South Park is making fun of Steve Irwin, and the way he died, on its show. Uck. His daughter Bindi's kids' show has been put off for a year to give her time to mourn, and that seems a wise decision to me. A DVD will be released on kids and fitness that apparently had already been completed, done with her dad. Sigh.

Been listening to NPR's new talk radio show, On Point. Very informative, very balanced, trying to present both sides of an issue. This morning they were talking about how reliable the electronic voting machines are, and what the best kind of electronic machine is the best.

Finished my poster for the Women's Faculty Forum poster exhibit, and am pretty satisfied with the way it turned out. Had some color copies of it made for posterity.

Been getting emails from my newly discovered 2nd and 5th cousins. Cool.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Blue Agave

Blue agave nectar, low glycemic index. Mix two tablespoons in a glass of seltzer, add the juice of one fresh lime, some ice and enjoy a delicious, refreshing drink that's a healthy alternative to soda, either sugared or sugar-free. I'm really picky, and I found it to be yum yum.

Slept till noon today, which with the time change was one o'clock I guess. Been doing too much refined sugar, hence the rave about agave nectar. Did some cleaning up, then Bindi and I went out to run some errands. Found another huge branch down from the big wind last night, but no damage done. Went to Page Hardware and got vacuum bags and an electric mug warmer for my desk. It always takes me so long to drink a hot drink and by the time I get to the bottom it's completely cold. We'll see how this thing works. Also picked up a manual hand crank drill, cause I can't find the one I have. It's very convenient for making small holes without dragging out the electric drill, finding an outlet, etc. Environmentally conscious, too. Only $13 and the thing is so well made! Page's has everything. One of my fave Guilford shops, and the staff is always so friendly and helpful.

Went to the Guilford Green to find some canines for Bindi to play with, but nobody was out. Found a black lab on the sidewalk with its humans, but they were busy and on their way. Will have to call Maddie's human and set up a play date. Dropped by FoodWorks, the local natural food market, and bought some things I needed with a 10% off coupon I had.

Spoke with Jim for a while who is off to Dallas next Sunday for a few days with his friend Margie. Don't know anything about the city, but guess he'll check it out for me, since he's never been there either. Margie has a conference there, so Jim is going along for the ride. I think that's nice.

Had tentative date to do more arts & crafts with Annette today, but just didn't feel up to it. Called her late in the day and got a name of another electrician, whom I will need since I blew out the electrical strip under the kitchen window by running the microwave and the toaste oven at the same time. Maybe it's just a blown fuse. That'd be nice.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Arts & Crafts

At left, one of Rob's stunning water reflection photos, no digital manipulation whatsoever. Went to the Artspace exhibit today with the Bindster, met Rachel and Frances there, ran into Howard E. saw Rob Rocke, who introduced me to yet ANOTHER Rob, saw Tony's work. Whew. My knees were killing me and, as usual, Bindi was adored by many an art-looker. Saw only one other dog there, a little papillon named Rocky.

Went to a mediocre crafts fair today at the Guilford Community Center, a seniors crafts fair. Did pick up a couple of things that were quite nice, but won't mention them as they might end up as gifts for one of you.

Had lunch with Rachel and Loren at a new noodle shop we'd never been to. So good to see Loren and hear her stories of teaching 7th grade in Brooklyn. She's in a kind of boot camp as far as teaching goes, but seems to be learning a great deal, and the kids are lucky to have her.

Learned that my second counsin Kay Wood whom I've just been introduced to via the internet lived in Pontiac, Michigan, not all that far from the AndFam in Midland, a couple of hours maybe.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Bring the Houseplants In

Saw the fox again today, running across the road in the dark, while I was driving to get cat litter this evening.

Got into the office this morning and called Comcast cause our internet was down again, so ran back out to Guilford to meet the cable guys. Seems the cable from the street to the house is not big enough, so it will be replaced. I was glad to have the afternoon off to bring in more of the houseplants -- at left, Aristolochia Gigantea, an odd bird that was given to me struggling but now blooms its head off. It's a form of Dutchman's Pipe.

Have eight people who have said they will join me in Guilford for Thanksgiving/Indigenous Peoples' Day. I'll cook a bird and something for the vegetarians, and everyone else will bring the trimmings.

Went to Jennie Livingston's presentation of her two new films yesterday afternoon, organized by Rachel. One film, called "Under the Ice," was a short documentary about dog walkers in New York City who one winter watched a man walk out across the ice of a local lake, fall in the ice, and drown. They were not able to save him without endangering their own lives. It was very powerful. Jennie is the late director Alan Pakula's niece, and he told her to absolutely not go into filmmaking since it is such a difficult career. So much for that advice. She is Rachel's friend and might join us for Thanksgiving Day.

Think I've picked my last cucumber. It's getting really cold at night. Dug up my ginger which has multiplied itself by four. It's so fun to do that. Bought a finch feeder, and will get seriously into filling all the feeders this weekend. Meeting Rachel and Frances and Loren for lunch tomorrow, then to the art exhibit where our friends Rob and Tony and Rob Rocke will have their work displayed. Looking forward to that.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Anderson Ancestors

Was surfing the net a couple of nights ago, Googling Gladsia Bland and Gladsia Anderson (photo at left), and I came across, which turned out to be a geneology site for my father's side of the family! This is very exciting for me, as I had wondered about this for some time. It's a complex and complicated site, but I was able to find out that my great great grandmother Malinda was married on the day I found the site, 23 October, 144 years ago, and she had twelve children with three husbands! I'll share more tidbits as I come across them, and will be adding all sorts of people to the site that are not there.

Monday was also lunch with Geeta, her friend Jean from Australia, and Oyuna, one of Yale's World Fellows. Rachel came too. It was quite lively listening to Oyuna talk about her home country of Mongolia and her work with the political, religious, and social systems there, and her two children, whom she admits are her best fashion advisors. Jean, it turns out, shares a financial accountant with the Steve Irwin family, and one of her children goes to the same school as Bindi Irwin. Six degrees of separation indeed.

On Sunday Annette and I got together to do crafts, she a glittery holiday wreath, and I one of my oatmeal box collages. It was great fun, and Bindi was well diverted by some of the goodies we won at the dog costume contest. We didn't finish so will get together some time this week to complete our projects.

And today my sister Judy emailed me to say she had met someone through her husband Dale's work in the physics department at the Univ. of Illinois, and it turned out to be my childhood friend Celia! So in three days I have made connections with fifth and second cousins, and an old friend from elementary school. I look forward to finding out more about these folks.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Most Creative Costume

Hey, we won a prize for the most creative costume today! You can't really tell from the photo, but Bindi was a peacock with tailfeathers and all. There were ten dogs, two cats, and a bunny rabbit who won most cute for being ensconced in a costume that looked like a big carrot. It was way fun, and I never would have done something like this without my doggie. Bindi was very tolerant of the costume, altho she didn't like wearing the hat very much. We won a big plastic pumpkin full of dog treats and useful dog care items, plus a coupon for a big bag of new very high end dog food. There were cookies and cider and fun was had by all. Annette let me borrow her digital camera to take the photos, since I still don't have one.

Later, Jim came over and we went on the trolley trail walk in Stony Creek, then out to dinner to Friends & Company. I had a very nice grilled salmon over an asparagus risotto, with apple crisp and vanilla ice cream for dessert. Jim wanted to stay longer and hang out I think, but I told him I needed to get into my pj's and get into bed. I'd had a big day for me.

Day Off

Took Camilla to the vet this morning for a check up, to get a script for xanax, and to get an ultrasound on her heart. Her heart is fine, which is a real relief, but the bill was $460 or something like that, which included the fee for Dill's necropsy. I spend so much money on vet bills. Oh well. Don't have any human children to spend it on, 'cept the AndFam Munchkins. Then went home and waited for the Comcast guy to come and fix the internet connection. It shuts down about once a month, which is way frustrating. But I made a little headway on getting more crap in my rooms put away. It's so hard.

Doing very bad with the sugar thing. Bought two pints of Haagen Dazs mint chip light and ate them both for dinner. That's so so bad for me. I'm so fussy about what kinds of treats my friends give Bindi, but I'll fill my body with the most poisonous crap. Want to be more open about these binges, in hopes that I might get some insight or someone will contribute something helpful.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Oooh, I have such a great neighbor. Annette called this evening to invite me to play with glitter and paste this weekend. She had gone to the craft store and bought all sorts of goodies. I have to think about what I want to create, but just the fact that she initiated this project makes me very happy. And just look at that cool upload paw print! She said her houseguest saw the fox this past week, too, so foxy is definitely hanging about.

Geeta just got her first cell phone. She's my age. I helped Rachel head off a migraine today. Rubbed her shoulders, and we did a little standup yoga. Tommaso is bummed that his landlord won't let him get a chihuahua. I made a call to Marlene DeSanto, the Guilford yoga teacher that Sharon recommended. It's the next step in my health regime. Scott called to say he's selling cars, but that somehow he has managed to scratch two that he sold, and the other salespeople have nicknamed him "Crash." Jim in New Orleans has produced yet another successful jazz video. Had a little setback in my clutter project, as M. objected to a change I had made in the living room.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Know what that is? An indoor swimming pool. Yale has the largest suspended natatorium in the world. Went with Rachel today, cold drizzly outside, cold wet inside. I just jumped in.

Jim came over on Sunday and kept me company while I cleaned some of my messy room. He read the paper and surfed online, while I futzed around trying to make some order. Why is it easier to clean and organize with someone else there? I need a witness? Moral support? Someone to chat with in between the sorting and dusting? He was reacting to the cats and the dust and the mold and who knows what else, but he hung in there long enough to have dinner with me and Rob, who is sick with a sinus problem and a tooth ache. I made minestrone soup, served with cucumbers from the garden, and a Meyer lemon cake from a Trader Joe's mix. Nice.

Thinking about taking Bindi to a dog costume contest on Saturday; we'll see if I can get it together to create a costume. I have something in mind. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


This afternoon I saw my first live wild fox. I was headed down the driveway in my car and saw this creature cross in front. It was sunset and she was alone, and headed into the woods. I drove out of the driveway, turned right, pulled over to the side of the road and saw her briefly sitting just inside the edge of the woods, then moving off as the car startled her. I uploaded this picture as it represented most closely what she looked like, although I saw her from the side. I thought perhaps an oppossum, then no, the legs are too long. It was a fox. I have waited a long time to see a fox in the wild, so for me today is very special, and I know that I live among her.


I needed a fox Badly I needed
a vixen for the long time none had come near me
I needed recognition from a
triangulated face burnt-yellow eyes
fronting the long body the fierce and sacrificial tail
I needed a history of fox briars of legend it was said she
had run through
I was in want of fox

And the truth of the briars she had to have run through
I craved to feel on her pelt if my hands could even slide
past or her body slide between them sharp truth distressing
surfaces of fur
lacerated skin calling legend to account
a vixen's courage in vixen terms

For a human animal to call for help
on another animal
is the most riven the most revolted cry on earth
come a long way down
Go back far enough it means tearing and torn endless
and sudden
back far enough it blurts
into the birth-yell of the yet-to-be human child
pushed out of a female the yet-to-be woman

(c) 2001 by Adrienne Rich

I love this poem. I find it woundingly beautiful.

* * * * *
I was very tired today, and with Bindi's help, managed to drag myself out of bed. I took us to a Harvest Festival on the Guilford green, and saw lovely things made by human hands, some exquisite, some quite ordinary. Didn't buy anything, as what I wanted had no use but to collect dust, no matter how artful, and I am trying to avoid those kinds of purchases. I am so overwhelmed by the state of my two rooms, so messy and cluttered, so now have to hire someone to help me make sense of it. When it gets this bad I can only add more to it, not find a way thru to the order I know is hidden somewhere under the chaos. Brought in all the house plants from outside and they have taken over, so verdant is my green thumb. I will try to give some away.

Last night I went to the Artspace opening, where Rob had a photo displayed, along with almost 500 other artists! The reception was mobbed, and with Bindi in my arms, Carolyn's pretty scarf around her neck, we weaved and pushed our way thru the clot of humans till we found R & R, said hello, and promply skedaddled. Will go back to see the art when we can really see it.

Before the opening, we went to Moderately Cheerful Hour. Jordan was there and held Bindi till his leg fell asleep; Chris was there looking tanned from his helicopter work in Louisiana. Geeta and David came for a bit; it was definitely cheerful.

Early yesterday afternoon I went over to the sleep study center to get fitted for the CPAP machine mask. The technician was very nice, and helped me feel better about having to use this awful machine. If it will indeed make me less tired, and give me more energy to live, and hopefully lose weight, many things could change. But I will keep my expectations low until I see the outcome of the treatment.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Last night Margaret and I went to see "Eurydice" at the Yale Reperatory Theatre. It's a retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice: Eurydice and Orpheus have just married and are deeply in love; Orpheus is a gifted musician, his instrument the lyre. Eurydice was pursued against her will by Aristaeus, and as she ran from him, she stepped on a viper and was killed. Orpheus, in his grief, decided to descend to the Underworld and try to get her back. He played his sorrowful music and even Hades, the ruler of the underworld, was swayed. Hades agreed to release Eurydice, with one caveat: on their journey out of the Underworld, Eurydice must follow behind Orpheus, and he must not look back until they are both in the light. When they are almost out of the world of the dead, Orpheus, in his anxiety to make sure Eurydice is still with him, looks back and she is whisked downward to the Underworld, leaving Orpheus alone once again.

In this production, the focus is on Eurydice's relationship with her dead father, with whom she is reunited in the Underworld. With themes of amnesia, memory, and the retelling of their lives, they gradually come to know one another again, altho Eurydice is torn between her love for her father in the Underworld and her love for Orpheus above. It was to me a very interesting and engaging production; unfortunately, it made Margaret very very sad, and she wished she had not seen it. I believe she is still grieving the loss of her own parents and this script hit too close to home, to heart.

The photo is from the publicity.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The Guilford vet called today to say that DillBoy had heart disease, which caused the enlarged heart, and when I said Camilla was his littermate, the vet said she should get an ultrasound to see what shape her heart is in. If she has the same thing, there is medication to control the progress of the disease, altho not cure it. So we've an appointment for next week. That's beautiful CamillaCat in the photo, again taken by my friend Rob.

Rachel got me to go swimming at the Yale pool today as her guest. It really is a very nice clean pool, albeit cold. I just dove in and started swimming. Dived in? You gotta keep moving in order to keep warm. Don't like that part, but the largeness of the room and the temp of the water keeps the chlorine fumes down, so that's a plus. Got a little dizzy after a while, but will try to go once a week. The plan is to set up a yoga class out in Guilford once a week, join Planet Fitness nearby for the weight machines, and try to stick with all of them. Have an appointment Friday for the CPAP machine again, just a 40 minute thing to fit the mask or something. Then the machine will be ordered and someone will come to my house to show me how to use it.

Turns out Gus had a dislocated hip. How painful. But I think he's better now, and his owner called me an "angel." Can't get a higher compliment than that. Get it?

One-eyed red fleeced ghost. Bindi in her crate, covered with a red fleece blanket while sleeping. A blanket she had chewed holes in as a youngster. She awakes, stands up, and is peering at me from under the blanket, only her left eye showing through a hole she had created. Wildly funny! I laughed and laughed. Joy of dog.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I'm taking Bindi downstairs for a walk and as I get outside the door of my building, a dog goes speeding past without a leash. I expect the owner to be close by, but no. Sam is outside too, and she says the dog has been running in and out of the street for a while. I said, we should try to capture it if it comes back, and shortly after, the dog comes back up the sidewalk, limping, holding a back foot in the air. He easily came to me when I spoke gently to him, and I grabbed his collar, gave Bindi to Sam and took Gus up to my office to call the owner. Gus had tags and a collar with a cell phone number written on it. He was panting heavily, and I passed a young man on my way up to my office who said the dog had been hit by a car. Why was I the first one to pay any attention to this obviously well-cared-for animal who was lost and hurt? I made the calls to the numbers, with no luck in talking to a real person, just leaving messages. I kept my eye on Gus, tried to calm him, but became increasingly concerned as his panting did not abate, and I noticed abrasions on the insides of both his left front and rear legs. He could have a broken leg, or worse, internal bleeding, altho he seemed to be ok, if a little shocky. After an hour, I decided to take Gus to the Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine in New Haven. Gus willingly got into my car with some wimpering that indicated he was in pain. It was a short drive to the hospital and Claudia was there and gave him immediate attention. After taking Gus to the nurses, Claudia was able to tell me that Gus had been a patient there before and they had other contact numbers for the owner. What a relief. I later got a call from the owner thanking me profusely, wanting to send me flowers. Apparently, while the owner was away from the house working, someone was cleaning the carpets and Gus must have escaped. I declined the flowers, saying, just pay it forward when your chance comes.

While at the hospital, a man brought in a very tiny white kitten whom he said he had found, and it was almost lifeless. When the tech told him it would cost $300-500 just to stabilize the animal, the man said he could not afford it, and agreed to let the little creature be euthanized. So sad. But at least Gus's story had a happy ending. I will call tomorrow to see how Gus is doing.

All this after Annette calls me last night to say that there was a coyote in her driveway, just sitting there!! I have yet to see one out here, but hear of sightings all the time. All my animals were in, and I've decided to keep the cats in for a while. However, on my way to work this morning, I cut some flowers and basil from the garden, and when bringing them into the house to get water, Misty sneaked out. She had been mewing loudly all morning to go out, but I wasn't going to let her. After she darted out, there was nothing I could do since she will not come in when called if I want her to and she does not, but as I drove down the driveway I noticed her sitting in the woods on a log. I got out of the car, walked gently up to her, and she allowed me to pick her up and put her back in the house. More relief, as she would be safe all day.

Yesterday Frances and Rachel came out and we went for a walk thru the Stony Creek marshes. It was a glorious sunny fall day, and we easily saw ducks, egrits, blue heron, and many dogs with their hiker owners on the same path. There was a tag sale at the Stony Creek Puppet House, and I've got a line on an antique fox pin that I will check out again this weekend when they will have the tag sale again. Saturday I went to a church crafts fair, I love those things, after hanging out with Rob for a bit. He brought over postcards for the show some of his photography will be in.

Saw Dr. C on Friday who stressed once again that building muscle in my legs is the only way to keep the pain at bay in my knees, altho she did give me prescription pain killers for the worst of it. My health my health.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

St. Augustine

No, not the one in Florida, but the church by the same name on Caputo Road in North Branford. Annette and I took Bindi to the "Blessing of the Animals" on Saturday, and what a sweet time it was. Lots of dogs, including Maddie, Bindi's playmate from puppy school (the Great Dane), one cat, a rabbit, some guinea pigs, and a couple of hermit crabs. This ritual is in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals.

"The very animals found in Francis a tender friend and protector; thus we find him pleading with the people of Gubbio to feed the fierce wolf that had ravished their flocks, because through hunger "Brother Wolf" had done this wrong. And the early legends have left us many an idyllic picture of how beasts and birds alike susceptible to the charm of Francis's gentle ways, entered into loving companionship with him; how the hunted leveret sought to attract his notice; how the half-frozen bees crawled towards him in the winter to be fed; how the wild falcon fluttered around him; how the nightingale sang with him in sweetest content in the ilex grove at the Carceri, and how his "little brethren the birds" listened so devoutly to his sermon by the roadside near Bevagna that Francis chided himself for not having thought of preaching to them before. Francis's love of nature also stands out in bold relief in the world he moved in. He delighted to commune with the wild flowers, the crystal spring, and the friendly fire, and to greet the sun as it rose upon the fair Umbrian vale. "

Odd, today was the day of his death in 1226.

That morning I went to R & R's tag sale, and got a few very neat things. Sunday i was very sad about Dill so invited myself over to R & R's and felt very taken care of. I told them they didn't have to entertain me, so they unloaded stuff from the cars from the tag sale and made jokes. Perfect. Monday came around way too soon. My Yale corridor was almost empty because of Yom Kippur, but I was there. Today Bindi got her bandages off, and her stitches removed. We both came home from the vet and crashed. I woke up from a nightmare and felt kind of scared, and couldn't remember where I was. I thought I was in a much bigger, more isolated house, but I finally realized I was safe and things were manageable. Wish I had more energy when I come home from the Yale job. Perhaps things will change when I get the CPAP machine and learn how to tolerate it. I've started taking the supplements the nutritionist gave me. I have an 8:30am client in the morning, so it is to bed.