Sunday, September 03, 2006

Happy Labor Day weekend, everybody! I hope you all had a lovely summer. Ours has been full of bursting!

First of all, the thrilling news that Degrees of Latitude, my book-length poem that I describe as "the geography of a woman's life," will be published by Four Way Books in New York in Spring 2008. Keep an eye on my website for more information as it becomes available.

Second, I spent a week babysitting with Emma in August while her nanny was on vacation. Emma is 15 months old now; when I saw her she was walking eagerly and spent a great deal of time going up and down inclined driveways and up and down steps on walkways going to neighbors' houses. She loved going around the neighborhood; a block's walk could take as much as an hour and a half!

She fell going downhill and scraped her knee. "Emma," we'd say, "where's your boo-boo?" She would hold up her knee and point proudly: "Bo-bo!"

I'm in love!

We had a stray hound come to live with us for almost three weeks while we tried to find her a home. Finally, she went to live with a pest control salesman who has a pack of hunting dogs he wants to breed her with. Soon after that, we found an abandoned tabby kitten on the road and brought her home too. Luckily, our local shelter, All God's Creatures, was able to take her -- and only for a day, because she had a standing request for an orange kitten!

Now we're back to normal. Except of course that it's the week of the US Open, Andre Agassi is retiring, and he's struggling -- so far successfully -- to stay in the tournament with his bad back and his courage. The fans (count me in!) adores him!

Good health and happiness to you all.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Can't believe it's been so long since I wrote you!

We had hail in April, or was it May, big balls of it that lasted ten minutes or so during a warm spring storm, making water splash high in the pool and cooling the air as we watched from under the shelter of the carport.

We had a visit from Emma and her parents close enough to her first birthday that we celebrated. She got blue frosting all over her mouth. She's standing on her own now, for a second or two, and so pleased she claps to congratulate herself and falls down.

Phoebe found a snake in one of the garden railroad ties that hadn't quite pulled itself all the way in. She liked playing with its tail. The neighbor who looked after Phoebe and Amos while we were away for a weekend in early June wasn't so amused and shot the snake when it ventured out into the yard.

We've been visited by a stray hound dog in the last few days. She's a young female, apparently abandoned by the stream under the bridge. She saw Amos doing his rounds and came to call. We shooed her away as best we could for a day or two, afraid she might lead him astray; but having determined she doesn't belong to anybody in the neighborhood, Louis lured her into our unused kennel yesterday with the promise of food, and she's there now (it's Sunday) until we can find somebody to take her.

Agassiz is retiring.

The summer promises to be long and hot and dry. May the weather suit your soul wherever you may be.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Is my excuse for being absent so long -- since early November -- that the winter has been so mild? If it had been severe, I'd have had that excuse! So I don't have an excuse.

Meantime, New York City is digging out of a record-breaking 26.9 inches of snow that fell on Sunday. Ironically, we were sorry not to be there: to experience it, and to share it with our friends. But we were less sorry on Monday, when it was a work day, and still less sorry on Tuesday, when it was producing record-sized puddles.

Our septic tank died a couple of weeks ago. Nobody knew where the darn thing was exactly, though we had been told the general area. There was no visible indication on the ground surface.

The plumber had to bring in his backhoe (ditch witch). After several hours of digging, he found a clay pipe -- seven feet down! The next day he dug a trench, following the pipe, and after several more hours, found the 40-year-old tank, a concrete and cinderblock affair that was worn to within an inch of being gone completely! Roots were growing through the pipe fittings, clogging the works.

Once the new tank comes and they install it (and a new drain field), the plumber's going to bury and abandon the old tank, like Chernobyl!

Welcome, as my daughter says, to home ownership!

But we're happy. The place looks great, we're working hard, the baby's got two teeth, the animals are healthy, and it's almost about to be spring!

Happy (old) New Year, friends! May this year bring you all the blessings of health and happiness, peace and productivity.