Tuesday, October 14, 2014
But, I stayed in the house, thanks to Genevra, who agreed not to force me to sell because I'd signed papers agreeing to do that. And I spent money on it for the first time. Oh, I'd put on two roofs and replaced an oil burner and fixed the downstairs bathroom and had my bathroom floor repaired when the toilet threatened to fall into the apartment below…
But I hadn't done anything else. I hadn't decided that this is my house, even though I've lived here for 30 years. It was still temporary with all my collapsable furniture and clutter.
But Elsa suggested Delson, the most magnificent contractor imaginable. I didn't imagine that I could afford him. But he's reasonable and has lovely Brazilians working for him -- his son-in-law, two nephews and various assorted others who he's hired. The first photo show the remains of the porch that he thought he'd just have to repair, but that I knew was in dire shape.
For years, Joe and Pam lived next door with his parents. Pam did a lot of work on the garden, in the yard, which was undone by the folks who bought it. They even took down a pine tree taller than the house that his mother had planted when he brought it home in a styrofoam cup from kindergarten. Pam has volunteer petunias and offered me some, but I somehow never got around to take them. But here's one that was growing by the sidewalk and I dug it up with a spoon, at night.. There was another one, but two days later, all of that was clipped. The folks next door like everything clipped. So, here is the petunia in a tiny garden that I started in all the madness of having done nothing, nothing, nothing to the back yard when the house was supposedly going to be bought as was.
I ended up as a pretzel with my legs lodged above my head in the twist of the stairway. I am lucky to have only gotten a swollen ankle and a limp for a few weeks. Needless to say, I didn't transplant it, them, anything.
And then the upstairs porch was stained, in the nick of time, because the pressure treated wood was parched and starting to crack.
I wasn't pleased with this particular one which looks half dead, but she assured me that it will be fine in spring. They put in five, including this one. I wanted to replace the lovely cherry that finally gave up, two cherries to be exact. One used to hang over the driveway next door and Joe's father used to pick cherries to put in brandy. No such luck now because they had no actual fruit trees and I wouldn't have bought one because I can no longer dig a sufficiently large hole and dump in humus.
I felt terrible when the guys left, as if they were leaving home. They had a strange sweetness, as if they weren't judging me or my house, just trying to make it better.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
And the don't doing is fine. I start enough that it's alright that I don't finish everything.
Actually I am in the process of putting up a new website…www.pennyanteproductions.com for the long, long, long interviews with folks who work at the backside of the track. And a wonderful editor, Maia Lynch, is working on an inter-active documentary site. So, I'm not lying in bed eating chocolates, much as I'd like to be. When I do lie in bed, I'm rereading Kitchen Confidential and wishing I'd had some experience of that wild life which was, let's be honest, pretty much only available to men. Today, I went to the Shinique Smith show, new… as you will see by the photo below which isn't really representative of her painting, though they also use cloth. And then took an hour tour, wandering around after a woman named Mead who spoke nicely about Copley.
This is the house that I still have after all the chaos I caused by thinking I should sell it. Instead I'm putting in new windows, insulation upstairs, and also fixing the back porch and who knows what else. As Susan said, "Why haven't you ever done anything to it?" That was a great question. I'd put on two roofs and put in one new oil burner, but nothing else that might have made life easier, improved the climate inside during the winter and saved on the oil bill.
If you should go to that new site, which isn't entirely finished, you will find videos of Lee Loebelenz and the Irish Wolf Hound puppies…they are listed under Lion Spring Farm. I'm not entirely finished editing them or editing the site, as I said, but at least it's up. I'm quite pleased by that, though I have many, many more interviews to add. It will be a reference point for those interested in the stories of folks who work with Thoroughbreds and about Thoroughbreds which go on to have new tasks, new lives once they leave racing and then there are the Wolf Hound pups…going from what look like tiny pit bulls, to real long-nosed dogs...
Sunday, July 6, 2014
As a friend said, remember you'e an alcoholic, given to precipitous decisions … and regrets. Technically, I'm an adult child of an alcoholic, but what the hell, it's all the same. I leap, then look, there's no ground, I've almost sold my little two family, almost bought a condo, but…
I want to go backwards.
I'm not ready to leave the little two family and all the light and all the problems, yet…maybe in another couple of years. By the skin of my teeth and much gnashing, I extracted myself from the sale (that's to a very, very kind buyer…) and got out of the purchase (thanks to a very nice relator) and am still here in a big mess that definitely needed a shop vac which Bogie and I bought today.
He wasn't entirely happy riding in the cart, shivering with dismay, and he definitely must have considered the advice by three young girls that it would be better to have him in a stroller, close to the ground, to be a good thought…
I had considered myself very clever to have gone on-line to find a filter for my 30 year old stop vac, but it had no umph… the new one does, except that I had it hooked up to blow, not suck, so you can imagine the dust of the ages blown around in that attic.
Ann-Marie came to help for a week, when I still thought I'd sell it, a great deal of sorting, carting, looking through…it's an endless amount of work, was, is, will be…don't worry, of course I'm making a video about the process, my grim face as I survey the wreckage….. whatever is gone is gone and whatever is going will get out there, including the old shop vac…
The inspector from MASS Saves comes in the middle of the month and I'll find out about windows and insulation, etc….and whether they sponsor a loan… so, that's good… interesting. Why, as S. asked, have I never done any of this before? Good question. Excellent question. I wasn't ready? I didn't know how? I didn't think about it? This winter was so awful I had to move or face it? I'm have the duck-and-cover tendencies of an alcoholic?
In the beginning of all of this, I paid to enter a show…and was sort of chosen to be part of it, relieved to finally exhibit this landscape work…………took endless effort, carting it downstairs, all those boxes, setting it up, wrapping it again, taking it………….
and the show is terrible, horrible, ghastly, worthless…
a mass of work from an endless amount of people, everyone it looked like, who sent in checks.
I'm so sorry I did it and now this is in the never-again-category that another friend often reminds me of….
but it was nice to see it set up downstairs…the insane installations I made at Feet of Clay in Brookline without ever thinking about what I'd do with them, how I'd show them…
The good thing is that I decided that the blobs, otherwise known as "For No Earthly Reason" which were on my regular website…could be given away for donations at the community garden during the Art Walk… and they went like hotcakes, 8 or nine boxes of them…money tucked into a jar…
I still have ten or twelve tucked into my own garden…and they are sort of friends, and the rest have tiny cacti growing in them or serve as decorations…can you imagine…
Now I have to figure out what to do with the porcelain boxes and the 1,000 little figures of nude ladies...
670 something little formations from different types of clay, different uses of slip and glazes..
crazy…what do I do with them now?
wait until next year and the Art Walk??
Anyway, I'm grateful still to be in the wreck of a house and to have had such success with the physical therapy………… I will do the exercises, faithfully…
please do look at
Susan Landry's on-line journal about memoir.
I like Alan Helms reply to my questions and think his book is extremely important….for many reasons….
Friday, March 28, 2014
We'll see if the physical therapy works. It did last time, six years ago. But I haven't made much progress so far, one visit only… and an hour drive to the drawing class and too long spent bending my neck over to complete a curious exercise in redrawing into a failed drawing and continuing to work on it. The class is designed for folks who are painters, so I'm a bit lost, but I've watched the bit kids long enough to have learned a few tricks so I knew I could use charcoal, and ink and scissors..all sorts of tools that I could never have imagined using. If I'd been able to stand up and do more than hobble afterwards, it would have been totally successful. I'm so type A that I get furious if I'm impaired, as I often am, by some ache or another.
The first time I drove to Lee's farm, Lion Spring, it took three hours and many questions to strangers. Now it takes about an hour and 15 minutes. And she's great company, a exuberant talker, my favorite kind of person.
so, hopefully, if anyone gets to watch this video about the puppies, I'll know that my next task, or is it the one after the next task, will be possible.
Lee Lobelentz, Goose & 5 puppies+
So, it's one foot-after-the-other, though I can't keep thinking about discomfort and aging and sorrow. A dear friend died not that long ago, unimaginable. I think about those early days in New York, sharing the kids, all the help she gave me, her laughing nature and sheer practicality. She was the only person I knew who had a similar career as a photographer and teacher, though she worked far harder than I have, and was a far better academic who took all that very seriously. I'm so sorry she's gone.
But it's still one-foot-after-another to accomplish what I can before I can't.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
The dogs have gone to L.A. for a long vacation. Bogie, my dog, isn't unhappy. Unfortunately, I found out that he has kidney problems recently so I've taken to feeding him with a spoon. Oh, I hope his former trainer doesn't read that because she told us that some dog had trained his owner to get down on the kitchen floor and feed him with a spoon. I sit on a stool.
I bought this feeder for five dollars and let it hang around for years. But now it's in good use.
This is the 16th cat that my daughter rescued from the back yard. He is one of two that she called big heads and spent weeks in the basement after he was neutered and before he went off to become acclimated to humans and then to find a new home. Last night, after my one-to-one lesson, when my brain had absorbed as much new information as possible, I found another cat in a cat on the back porch. K. had left notes on how to find the two folks who come pick up the cats so I frantically called one and by 7 or 8, a fellow came to pick up the other extremely angry big head. He will be fixed on Friday and then will cool down and hopefully go off to a better life than scrambling around in the cold looking for food.
If you got this far, thank you.
Friday, August 30, 2013
It was getting dark in here and a bit smudgy. I could no longer drive legally at night and it was inevitable. James, who I never manage to correspond with, much as I want to, said to do it five or six months ago. That was when the optometrist suggested that it was time to introduce me to a surgeon. But I wasn't ready.
The operating room was cold, but the process was interesting and the surgeon was willing to describe what I might be seeing…caused by the intensity of the light. I saw three small pink circles in a field of changing color, orange, lavender, green, orange again. Sometimes the dots moved, revealing black as if there was a mask underneath them. Later, when he was taking out the actual cataract, the field was pale gray with white crackles…and I knew when he was putting in the lens because of the extremely narrow lines of white light…
The nurse had spoken to her supervisor and I had to delete all the photographs I took that included any patients or staff…she stood behind me after the operation and watched, to make sure. But I kept a few blue elbows, which didn’t seem to bother her.
Waiting with all the other people waiting, some older than me, some a bit younger, men and women, the men looking more sprightly, strange as that seems, took far longer than the operation did……….a long time sitting there, trying to write about years ago when I had my toe nail taken off and was in a New York hospital near women with serious problems…a mastectomy, an amputation. And was certain I’d die from the anesthesia. I didn’t. I’ve heard so many stories about how easy this cataract experience is and that when it’s over, it’s over. Never again in that eye. Cataracts don’t redevelop.
I must have been nervous, though, in spite of what I thought because I went to the wrong office for my next morning after-inspection. You are not allowed to make any important decisions for 24 hours after the surgery. This wasn’t a decision and not all that different in terms of mistakes than I do make – arriving an hour too early or too late or on the wrong day. But it was a first for a wrong office, the one in Boston rather than Cambridge. Oh, well. The surgeon, an incredibly pleasant man, didn’t mind my taking photographs. Many eye doctors are also photographers, though of a very refined and classical bent. Landscapes that are perfectly in focus and beautifully printed.
Now my left eye sees everything in a heavy tinge of light. Whites are really white. My right eye still gives a yellow tinge. Yesterday when I visited friends, their house was yellow when seen with one eye and a very pale, pale yellow, verging on white, when seen with the new lens. I can’t imagine how awful all the photographs I’ve lightened recently must look…. oh, well…
Friday, August 23, 2013
But here's Dolly. She's been Shirley's project and is coming along nicely, thank you. So, she's gone from a pet who I actually enjoyed...to approaching the status of a racehorse which is not as friendly a creature. But she's still gorgeous. I wish she was her old flopping self and hadn't improved so nicely into the profession she was born to...but there you go, that's what happens when a good trainer gets going.
The good accident is happening upon a woman who has just purchased a Thoroughbred who she will take into her next life and I've been able to video the process of them getting acquainted before the horse leaves the stalls and takes off to a more elegant life. This filly has always been treated gorgeously, so the new owner is not getting a problem horse who needs a lot of work until she becomes secure.
It was rather an accident that I ended up video taping the folks who breed and buy the horses, but I feel into two interesting projects last summer...and here I am, drowning in material. It's exciting. And I'm glad. But I bought a new video camera. And that meant a new editing program. And that's connected to my new computer, a desktop that I bought almost a year ago, but still don't know how to use properly. Besides, it has it's own technical problems that have been fixed once. Etc. I've got great new material and a mountain of technical information to absorb.
A good space to be in.
And a bad one that just means I have to put one foot in front of the other and get to it.
I'm certain that if I were at the garden, I wouldn't have another squash that's been eaten by what most people seem to think is a woodchuck. My squash plant, singular, probably will decide not to have any more zuchs. My tomatoes, though they are sickly looking, are still prolific and I would have liked to have a couple with my pita and hummus. But, there you go...they are there and I am here.