November 08, 2005


I had the unnerving experience of arriving at work yesterday morning to find a letter from Carole informing me that she had seen Kate's obituary. We hadn't known that Kate had died - my other email account contained a three-word message from Holly: "Please call me."

Apparently gone for an entire month already. How does a human being fall out of life and not make a sound? On Saturday, we talked about her quite a bit. Perhaps that should have tipped us off. Maybe that was the ripple in the pool that we should have paid attention to. The fact that strangers (to us) in Washington wrote of this before the friends in New York knew of it seems strange.

As much as I knew that this was in the stars, I find myself feeling surprised. When I last saw her in June, I came home and told Jim that Kate was dying. I saw her death as surely as I saw my parents' in those last few months when the body has used up its last defenses and nature begins to assert herself over the process; I saw it in her gradual disconnect from the day-to-day business of living. And yet, I am shocked to find her gone. Our correspondence over these last few months was briefer than usual, as if she either didn't have the strength for it, or she didn't want to tip her hand, lest I nag her one more time to seek medical help. In the end, I decided to stop doing that. I'm not sure, will never be sure, that it was the right decision. I only know that 56 is far too young to die, and that there exists the possibility that this particular death was needless. I wish I had some way of knowing that she had gone to the Christian Science nursing facility - I would have liked to spend some time there, to have said good-bye. I wish I had been a better friend.

November 06, 2005

Long Beach and Art and Stuff

Had an absolutely wonderful study group experience yesterday, in spite of (or perhaps because of?) it being a small gathering (six of us instead of the customary ten or so). I schlepped myself out to Long Beach, which is an incredibly funky section of Long Island. I have fallen in love with the place, which is a very odd mixture of urbanity and seashore - the Atlantic side is lined with apartment/condo buildings backed by a four-mile long boardwalk that runs along the beach. There's an interesting mixture of housing, and from Holly's apartment, you can see the Atlantic Ocean out the back and the bay (is it Oyster Bay?) out the front. Tiny little (vulnerable) spit of land - so cool.

Leeanne came all the way down from Maine and showed us how to weather brass foil with ammonia - we all got to play, and I brought home four little pieces that I really like. I'm going to use them in book covers, I think.

It was mentally invigorating to be with my friends - the lack of like-minded companionship around here is not very conducive to my creativity, but I came back yesterday feeling a bit fired up. The only bad part was the traffic on the ride home, which was brain-deadening and added over an hour to my trip. But my inner New Yorker was satisfied.

November 03, 2005

Onward and upward

That seems to be my motto these days. I have a few things to grapple with at the moment, but I'm persevering. The plantar fasciitis seems to come back with a vengeance every now and then - Tuesday night I was hurting a lot, but Stephe gave me something to do during my tai chi practice (not explaining the intention behind it, of course), and I've been doing it, so we'll see how it goes. I need to pay way more attention to my stretching, and I would very much like to get off the anti-inflammatory meds. Yesterday and today it felt good enough that I went walking at lunchtime.

Jim came to the unfinished furniture store with me last night, and we got a bigger bookcase for my studio - I need way more storage space than I presently have, or I will never get the piles of crap off the floor. I'm going to paint it, possibly a funky color or a crackle finish, but something fun - and maybe by next week it'll be filled with my things. The smaller bookcase will come up to our bedroom in the hopes that the large piles of books on the floor will find a home there. Do other families have media storage problems of this magnitude? Every horizontal surface in our house is covered with books, DVDs and CDs. I guess I should be glad that we read, watch movies and listen to music a lot, but we either need to collect less stuff or buy a much bigger house.

On Saturday I'll be travelling to Long Beach (out on Long Island) for study group. I can't wait to see everyone - I think part of my artistic block stems from a lack of stimulation, the type of stimulation that comes from being with other artists - I'm not quite sure how to tackle that one. Anyway, Saturday should be great, and the weather looks to be nice, too.

Blogcritics continues to occupy a good deal of my spare time. The new sections will go live soon, and I'm going to be editing SciTech. I'm very excited about that, and full of ideas for it, so here's hoping to a success on that front.

Enough cat-blogging for now.