First notes

228.8 lbs

… the new year in NOAP officially begins… i sit here, wondering what to write, knowing that i should just start writing and something will surface…

… the salient features of yesterday…

… my traditional new year’s day walk by the river interrupted by the escape of Fiona… situation resolved by the time i get home…

… after making a french omeltte for breakfast, i go out to the back yard and repair the hole in the fence through which Fiona escaped and reinforced the bottom of the fence in places not previously reinforced… i recommend to H that she still escort the dogs out to the back yard… Fiona is fiendishly clever about escape… it’s a horrible feeling when a dog you love escapes and goes for a walkabout… it’s happened a number of times with her… a number of times she has been contained by neighbors who call, or bring her back… speaking of dogs… Chas is whining to be let out of the bedroom…

… when i go out with the dogs i discover it is still raining… it’s been gray and dreary since we returned from our southern sojourn… it will get cold tonight… even colder Monday night… down into the teens…

… dogs let out, treated, returned to bedroom with H… the next few hours are mine… i put on my headphones, cue up Bach Cello Suites, Paul Tortelier the performer… i should have them memorized by now and on a certain level they are, on another level, they are not…

… yesterday i was thinking about books i have recently read, about Etel Adnan’s lovely book, Shifting the Silence, that i can’t remember a single detail of… nothing… is it that they weren’t significant enough to me to emblazon some message on my brain?… or, is my mind getting old and not retaining the way it used to… possibly a combination of the two…

… and so the year has begun… i have trepedation about this new year… i believe the political situation will continue to get worse… the climate will continue to get worse… the world situation will continue to get worse… possibly the only challenge that may not get worse is the pandemic… how much worse could it get?… at any rate, the new and really contagious variant does not seem to be as virulent… that can be a sign that it is burning itself out… one can hope… H was wondering if we should restart instacart for most groceries… i am not fully there yet… i think i will try going to markets at times when there are few people there… early in the AM… that’s my super power… being able to get going earlier than most…

… we did some shopping and food making for a young family, half of which is down with covid, despite being vaccinated, boosted and cautious, masking up when appropriate, avoiding crowds as best they can… they are frustrated, something about parents at daycare being antivaxers… we offered to continue to help, bring food, run errands…

… i notice there is snow forecasted for Friday, 3-6 inches… that is far enough out that it could easily change before then…

… what do i want to get done today?… photo walk… writing… make breakfast… farmer’s market… family zoom call… clean stovetop… vacuum… read… more writing… what should i pay attention to?…

Fiona goes for a walk about…

… having a nice walk by the river when H calls and in a panicked voice tells me to come home, Fiona had escaped the back yard… i can report that heart and lungs are good to go… quite the uphill hike from the river done double time… as i was getting close enough to join the search she called to tell me she had found and coraled her… what a relief!…

… this brief message about how quickly life can be rerouted brought to me by the cosmos…

Happy New Year!… may your year be filled with attention paid to all the right things, whatever those may be!

Beginning the day…

… wake up at 2:00 AM for the bathroom… sleep fitfully, if at all, until 3:30 AM… i get up, Fiona hops off the bed, we leave the bedroom together… i weigh myself, 230.0 lbs, get dressed, follow Fiona downstairs… fill the kettle and put it on the stove… Fiona wants to go out, but because i now have to supervise her, she has to wait… clean the coffee pot, grind the coffee, take my medications, retrieve the cat food dish, clean it out, open a tin of cat food, dump it in the dish, return the dish to its stand at the top of the basement stairs… i go upstairs to get Chas… we return downstairs… the dogs and i go out the back door to the back garden… i follow Fiona to the way back, observe her peeing, we return to the back door where Chas is waiting… treats for the dogs when we come back in… then i go out the front door to put the garbage out to the street… on the way the smell of poop… when i return i flip the living room lights on and sure enough, a small pile on the rug by the gas fireplace… the coffee water is boiling, i turn it off and pour water over the coffee grounds then go to clean up the poop… while waiting for the coffee i read Heather Cox Richardson and find it at least not so depressing… apparently Biden has organized considerable financial pressure to be applied to Russia if Putin decides to invade Ukraine… Tucker Carlson is complaining that the Biden Admin is overreacting and that Russia is just beefing up defense of its borders… there was a time when few in positions of power and influence would support Russia, but Carlson has proven to be enameled of oligarchies and dictatorships… i imagine he wants to be dictator himself one day… there is a selfish streak in to much of the American population i have thought to myself… we emphasize individual liberty over the common good… it’s biting us in the ass right now… various actors in the previous administration are in a variety of phases of being cornered into testimony… will it all be done in time to make a difference?…

Beginning the day… i wake at 2:30 AM… stay in bed… get up at 3:30 AM… Fiona comes with me… i weigh myself, 230.8 lbs, get dressed, go down stairs, let Fiona out, fill the kettle, put it on the stove, take my meds and vitamins, feed the cat, let Fiona in, read HCR, which depresses me… she’s struggling with the idea that the game may be lost already, democracy may be on its way out… she is trying to have hope… i make the coffee, put a little cold water into my thermal mug, add a pinch of cinnamon, add a little agave, pour coffee into the mug, screw the top on, return to my studio/dressing room upstairs… Fiona is waiting for me on the studio bed… i start to settle down but Chas whines… i let him out of the bedroom where H is sleeping… Chas, Fiona and i return downstairs… i let them out… i read an article in The Bulwark arguing that Lauren Boebert should not be stripped of her committee assignments because of her Islamophobic comments aimed at representative Ilhan Omar… i am on the fence as to whether i agree or not… the author argues we should deplore and ignore citizen Boebert but we should not block congressperson Boebert from representing her 700K constituents… the dogs come back in, i give them and the cat treats, the dogs and i return upstairs… i let the dogs into the bedroom where H is sleeping and return to my desk… i spend the first 45 minutes organizing my journal… i have been reading through it at the rate of two weeks per day, which should have me finished by the end of the year…

First Thoughts

… some time spent exploring the possibilities of Drafts… my initial reaction is that it might be too complex for this daily journaling… i don’t know if i need all the bells and whistles but i will continue to play with it… Ulysses, i suppose, would become the polishing app if i went that way…

… Fiona seems to be ok… she scared me yesterday, H coming into the kitchen with concern on her face, i insisted she call the vet and describe what she saw… then she needed a picture… i helped her saw what her concern was about… i freaked out… i am usually a level headed person in emergent situations, but i kind of lost it and the day was tainted from there forward… i still managed to get most of what i had planned done…

… Thanksgiving week… also… colonoscopy week… Tuesday… clearing out the pipes for the TG meal… ha, ha… minor apprehension about it but i expect it will be ok… just the doctoring that needs doing if one is not to develop a serious problem…

… after this it will be on to the heart doctor…

… these last number of days have all started out very pleasantly… up until i get home from my walk, generally speaking, and sometimes well beyond depending on what happens during the rest of the day… i have had a general sense of happiness pervade everything lately…

… we are up with a start… Fiona sat up in bed, indicating she was preparing to dismount… we scrambled to set her down on the floor, whereupon she scrambled out of the bedroom and down the stairs before we could catch her and slow her down… she is not supposed to be running down stairs which she half did… sigh… gate at the top of the stairs tonight…

… in my sleepy stupor i scrambled to put clothes on so i could take her out for a walk… H asking me questions about her scramble downstairs… they are annoyed with me and the questions sound accusatory… what part of Fiona scrambled faster than i could did they not understand?… what’s happened has happened… let’s move on to taking her out which is what i did… took her a while but she had a wicked pee… we came back… H gave her treats and fed her water with a syringe… Fiona is still trying to figure out how to drink with the cone collar on… she will eventually…

… H, Fiona and Chas all downstairs napping… it is 5:17 AM, normal for me to be up but way before H’s normal wake time…

… feeling the need for a little spiritual calm i have recordings of Gregorian Chants going in my headphones… i am not religious, wouldn’t want to be catholic if i were, but it’s all in latin so i don’t understand a word and the chants are very soothing, like gentle waves lapping the shore of a beach…

… today will be about keeping Fiona still, monitoring her wound and taking her for periodic walks… there are too many stairs involved in letting her out in the back yard… and in any case, she would be want to chase squirrels back there… best to keep her on a leash to restrain her enthusiasm which clearly has returned…

… i was so upset yesterday with the bleeding and having to go back to the vet… it overwhelmed and in some ways immobilized me… thankfully H was coping better… 40 years as an ICU nurse gives you calm in the face of concerning situations… i also didn’t like seeing Fiona so knackered… barely able to move… only to changing position once in a while… such a vital and enthusiastic dog… particularly so in the hours leading up to her surgery… it worries me that if H ever got seriously sick i might loose it and be unable to be there for her… of course, my more confident mind says, yah, you might freak our here and there, but you will find a way to rise to the occasion…

An Attempt At Exhausting A Place In Paris, by Georges Perec, arrived yesterday… it turns out to be a small, slim, little book… it will be a quick read and i am anxious to get to it, but i have to finish The Journals of Denton Welch first and i have a little less than half the book to go…

… Georges Perec is known for the idea that one ought to pay close attention to the small, unremarkable-to-most-people details… i have to learn more about his reasons for this, but i am guessing they are similar to my own, which is that the bulk of creaturely awareness is about these small, seemingly insignificant, details… we live our lives in a sea of the quotidian… western society, Americans especially, is/are all about the climactic extreme experiences that are felt in intense bursts producing adrenalin rushes that forever sear the experience into our minds… the bigger and more impossible the challenge, the more an individual is valued for achieving it… i value the quotidian over the rush of the exceptional and extraordinary… though some of my clearest memories are of fleeting exceptional moments that surface randomly from the sea of the quotidian…

From yesterday…

… Fiona comes home from the vet, then goes back… getting in and out of the car stressed the wound and she started bleeding… needed a couple of staples to resolve… she is now sleeping it off near the fireplace…

… we were told to pick her up at 2, and we did, but if i had it to do over i would have waited a couple of hours… she was a little too unsteady and struggled to get in and out of the car which is what opened her wound in my opinion… second time she was much steadier and climbed in and out of the car more smoothly…

… early evening, Fiona still sleeping it off… i am not coping well… very tense, angry… worried… drinking…

First thoughts:

… Fiona spay day… a little nervous… will be glad to have it over with… then on to the recovery and getting myself mentally and physically ready for a colonoscopy… a year overdue… a major step forward in the doctoring that needs doing…

… speaking of things intestinal… clearly had a bug yesterday of the sort that makes me pretty unhappy, not because of unfortunate bowl movements, but because of an all over achey feeling that really wears me down… a malevolent organism on the march… i feel better this AM… i also re-started my probiotic supplement this AM… the subscription came undone due to some rearrangement of my prime account at Amazon…

… colonoscopy, then thanksgiving next week…

… an edge of frustration that few people read what i write… i tell myself that isn’t the point… writing every day and publishing everyday is the point… a product of the now… every day… when i review it… i like what i have done… so, keep doing it…

… part of me thinks that my writing should be dense with profound understanding… that is not the point unless profound understanding is composed of the minutia of my life… that’s what this blog is about… the day in and day out record of some of what i pay attention to… an intentional recording…

… as i read Denton Welch’s journals, i find profound understanding largely absent… it is a detailed and well written account of what was important to him and much of it is pretty self centered… there is the occasional passage that dives a little more deeply into the broad human condition…

… is my writing as self centered?… it is to some degree but, i like to think, also big picture focused to some degree…

… i read a forecast in The Economist that indicated the most likely result of the midterms will be a Republican controlled house, Democrat controlled Senate… short of disaster… all the big stuff needs to get done in the next year…

… HCR meter mostly about the infrastructure package (a BFD) and how far right extremists are seeking to punish any republican that voted for it… there were 13 in the house who did… it is being portrayed as the another step in a socialist takeover of the country… one hopes the benefits will become apparent by the midterms and perhaps the house will stay under Democratic leadership… a fellow can dream…

… the dogs wake up… i let them out of the bedroom… follow them downstairs… let them out… Chas seems particularly anxious to go out and is first, followed by a more lackluster Fiona… i wash some of last night’s dishes and wonder why i am not hearing whining at the door to come in… when i finish the dishes, i open the back door and Fiona strolls up the driveway, the stairs, and in… Chas is nowhere to be seen… i do a few more things around the kitchen then go back to check on Chas… he is waiting, but not whining… he walks in slowly, saunters into the dining room, then turns around and saunters into the kitchen… he is usually much more enthusiastic about the treats he gets in the morning… i offer him the aforementioned treats… he takes them but then spits them out… it appears he is not feeling well… refusing treats is extremely unlike him… we will have to keep an eye on him…

… today a new pair of flannel (or maybe fleece?) lined jeans will arrive… i have been looking for them all week, even though shipping information said firmly it would be today that they arrive… i chose the slow boat to save money… it amazes me how much we look forward to receiving the things we purchase online… it’s like little Christmases, birthdays and anniversaries all year long… ahh, the psychology of acquiring things!… i ordered these jeans to have a second pair to alternate wearing during the winter months…

… it strikes me that one of the reasons more people aren’t up in arms about the possibility of authoritarian rule is that things are largely behaving the way they normally do and “authoritarian rule” is an abstract concept… the majority won’t object strongly enough until it is too late…

First Thoughts

HCR meter, hopeful… making the case that the Biden administration is fundamentally changing the way government works, rebuilding hard infrastructure, establishing soft infrastructure funding that will be consequential… interestingly, she points to the way the news media (liberal included) is making the story all about the “dysfunctional” Dems by reporting breathlessly on the intransigence of Sinema and Manchin, while ignoring the dysfunction of the Republican Party, which refuses to be engaged in the process in any way… Republicans, she points out, are spending the majority of their time waging culture wars that they believe will make their base passionate enough to return them to power one last time… and it will be one last time… i believe that if the current iteration of Republicans is allowed back in, they won’t leave… likewise, it will be a Democratic era if the Dems are able to hold on, which they will do in a more legitimate way, by making sure all people can vote… this depends largely on the passage of voting rights legislation, which relies on Sinema and Manchin agreeing to, at minimum, a carveout in the filibuster that would permit a simple majority to pass whatever bill it is that moves forward… so, yay for infrastructure and to returning the government to being “of the people, by the people and for the people”… it is important to do things for the people… but the peril is clear, the solution is clear, the outcome is not…

… nice dinner party last night with K and D, except H dominated the conversation, focusing on herself and making it hard for the rest of us to participate… i get it though, i think she is desperate for direct human contact… beyond that, it was nice to spend some time with K and D… and!… they bought two of my photographs!… it’s been a good year on the photo sales front… to the point where i will report the activity as income on this year’s taxes… it also reminds me that i need to get back to getting work in front of the public… loosely, i am planning to do that in the new year… starting with an application for a NYSFA grant… very competitive, probably won’t get it, but it is free to apply and as they say, “you gotta be in it to win it”…

… Fiona escaped the yard yesterday… H was in the back garden, planting bulbs… one minute she was there, the next minute Chas was trying to tell her she had escaped… i had thought i had the various under-the-fence routes plugged, but apparently not… this morning i went out with the dogs and i think i found the hole… will plug it up today… it isn’t a very large hole but she doesn’t need much… it seems anything she can get her nose through she can go through…

First Thoughts

… an awkward moment yesterday on Zoom with M, J and R… discussion of tree planting for D… J talks about sending M money to help with expenses… we are all expected to… R says nothing, i say nothing… i am ambivalent about it… it’s more for M than D, i know… but i don’t have the money right now and memorializing D is not at the top of my list of priorities… complex and uncomfortable feelings…

… a solid day of work yesterday… writing, photowalk, farmer’s market, cooking… made a very nice dinner… whole red snapper baked in salt, oven roasted potatoes, salad of radicchio, arugula and leek with a mustard vinaigrette dressing… also made pumpkin soup for later in the week…

… could not resist the urge to have alcohol… it was in the house, i had it… opened a bottle of hard cider telling H that such a fabulous meal should not be without alcohol… that is, of course, ridiculous, it can be without alcohol, i just don’t want it to be…

… i sometimes wonder if one can think of themselves as alcoholic if their issue is not that they drink all day, but that they can’t let the sun go down without having a drink and tend to drink a little too much when they do… is this functional alcoholism?… what if i went to an AA meeting to help me stop it?… would i be laughed at?… the truth, i am pretty sure, is that i am not an alcoholic, i just drink a little more than is good for me and find it very hard to resist having alcohol in the evening… i write about it here in the hopes of making it a conscious choice by recognizing it and trying to understand my motivations… in this way i hope to begin saying not tonight…

… H barely did anything to help acknowledge our anniversary beyond a loving post on FB… to be fair, it’s in keeping with her family’s Calvinist approach to birthdays and anniversaries, which is not to do much… it’s a little disappointing for me… i am not Calvinist… the celebration, such as it was, was what i planned… we did go see the koi… H seemed to agree we should make it an annual thing… maybe twice a year… i will go visit on my birthday too… something about rituals with spiritual content for me…

… Fiona is supposed to have neutering surgery this week… i think… except, the vet has not reminded us of that and i did not get it onto the calendar… i need to call to verify… hoping they did not drop the ball as they did before…

First Thoughts

… in bed at 9:30, up at 3:00 AM… at least i slept through…

… the day after dad’s passing… the melancholy is subsiding… lots of thoughts about seeing Mom and my brother and sister… wondering if the expected improvement in family dynamics will materialize… worried about my sister annoying me, which she has the capacity to do… i will find out come Monday…

… Fiona being very fussy about her food… only way to get her to eat much is to sprinkle it with freeze dried organ dust… she seems not to like the kibble and it hasn’t helped much to home make wet food… she might need more exercise to pique her appetite…

… the heat has finally broken… i may actually get the stairs in place if not completely finished…

… a major hurricane heading straight for Louisiana… will hit tomorrow the x year anniversary of Katrina…

HCR meter mixed… about the contest of individualism and collectivism in the U.S… not at all clear which will come out on top…

… a day or two ago, i read an interesting article on slime mold… i appear not to have published it… now i have… the idea that the view of races as being inferior/superior is a social construct and that it has been constructed in service of white supremacy… the idea that humanity sits on top of an intelligence pyramid has also been constructed in service of white supremacy… it makes sense to me…

First Thoughts

… HCR meter pointing downwards… discussion of conservative extremism as evidenced by policies against mask and vaccine mandates… it’s really bleak and threatening… at present, the only remedy appears to be some form of federal voting rights legislation which the Senate can’t pass without making a change in the filibuster… several moderate Democrats Senators have said they will not vote to change the filibuster… what’s most depressing and frightening is that both sides view the current situation as an existential threat… this is the kind of thing that has already and will continue to lead to bloodshed…

… no alcohol last night, in at 9:30 PM, up at 4:00 AM… 6.5 hours of sleep… yup, that seems about right…

… finished The Essential Haiku yesterday, started Conscious, by Annaka Harris… i read a Brain Pickings post about it a couple of days ago and decided to buy it… i am 25 pages into it and was thinking that the development of ideas about consciousness in the book seemed a bit confused and unsound… i know that the book is heading towards presenting the concept of panpsychism, because of the Brain Pickings post and because there is a chapter labeled “Beyond Panpsychism” about ¾ of the way through the book… an embrace of panpsychism would undercut some of the reasoning in the parts i have read so far, which flits around the trickiness of deciding when matter becomes “conscious”… the dividing lines are not clear and where we presently draw them doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny… so i am thinking the author is confused and muddled but it occurs to me that they are setting us up to introduce panpsychism as the resolution of the muddle… so i think i know why they are proceeding the way they are… at my present rate of reading, i will be done with the book in a few days…

… K comes today to continue with the weeding an mulching of the garden… i have done some work on the other side of the garden and it looks like we will be close to complete by the time H gets home…

… i am looking forward to driving down to Florida and back… the time spent there will be emotionally fraught as J will be frail and continuing on the path of heart failure, and C will be stressed out and sad, and my own emotions will be complex because of my poor relationship with J… so i focus on the three days of travel at either end… time to process… the possibilities of some minor adventures…

… i am feeling a little anxious about my skin exam next week, though i am not presently concerned about any skin anomalies… will be glad to have that past me…

… Chas to the vet yesterday… he’s gained a large amount of weight, 8 lbs according to the vet’s record… we decided to do a blood panel that included thyroid indicators… we’ve had several dogs in the pat with thyroid issues… fortunately, that is easy to treat… the visit cost nearly $470… we used to be able to get out of there for around $200… both Chas and Fiona got vaccinated for Bordetella, aka, Kennel Cough, yesterday… apparently it is going around… the vet says they have seen doggie patients at the rate of 1 per day that have it… it sounds like there is a cluster in one family in Beacon or Beacon vicinity…

Walking

… warm and humid today… will be hot later and again tomorrow…

… sitting on Roundhouse property by the falls…

… thinking about my web presence, wondering about a three branch approach…

  • notes on attention paid
    • micro.blog quasi stream of consciousness
  • on attention paid
    • ghost hosted monthly formal post and newsletter
  • StudioMBK
    • portfolio site

… thinking about the complexity of our lives in the next few months…

… thinking we should postpone Fiona neutering… lots of moving parts in our lives and the vet practice we have been using is in transition, moving offices, new owner, staff upheval, we need veterinary practice to settle down…

… i’ve decided to map my walks going forward and include as part of walking posts…

… thoughts about a Patreon account linked to my news letter…

… shooting in manual mode with the Nikon… it is slowing me down… pictures are more carefully considered…

… a pause to rest my back… Ron’s Icecream…

Fiona Sleeping

Walking

… cloudless morning, perfect temperature…

… Fiona is with me today so H can sleep in… we are sitting at a picnic table in Long Dock Park, enjoying the air, sounds and smells…

… noting that my body does not feel as tiptop as i would like it to…

… thinking more about the new direction i would like to head… thinking i would like to concentrate on sending out a monthly news letter…

… some research into Greek mythology… Ariadne and Arachne… i learn that Arachne might be a better myth reference for the wires and utility pole series…

… this used to be the Rivers and Estuaries Institute, not sure if it still is, there is a big Clarkson University logo on the front door…

… Clarkson is also renovating an old industrial building near by…

… now sitting by the banks of Fishkill Creek… we’ve had lots of rain lately… the creek is swollen…

01 First Thoughts:

… Fiona, evil dog… she is determined that i will not sleep… she got restless at 1:30 AM, for 1 ½ hours i tried to ignore her, she would not settle down… i got little more than three hours sleep… my whole day will be disrupted… this has been a pretty sucky week between restless dogs and mother-in-laws having car accidents… the one good thing happened yesterday, a young woman friend was highly complimentary of some photographic work i shared on FB…

… right wing conservatives in Tennessee have gone bat shit crazy… putting an end to vaccination outreach for children… not just COVID, all normal childhood vaccines… the state’s director of vaccination programs was summarily fired for sending out a memo reminding vaccine providers that teens older than 14 didn’t have to get parental permission to get vaccinated, which is actual state law… a whole lot of unnecessary sickness and death will be the result… why?, because politicians are stoking the culture wars in hopes of getting elected… the situation is so bad that Fitch, a bond rating company, is considering lowering the United States Government bond rating from AAA status… because of the political situation… there has to be a better way… maybe politicians need to be a professionally licensed class of workers and there should be severe penalties for disinformation…

… i am fed up with just about everything that intrudes on my life right now… just about everything…

07 Fiona:

… our dog Fiona tested positive for a tick born disease in routine blood work… on to the PCR test… $200 later, all is well… better than prophylactic treatment with antibiotics…

03 So Irritated

… my dog Fiona has become undisciplined… i don’t know why… this morning i walked her round and round the house, waiting for her to do something, anything at all… round and round… round and round… nothing… i finally gave up and brought her back in… within minutes she pooped on the living room rug… i was livid… H says we are going to have to figure out why she is doing that… the only solution i have found is to take her for a substantial walk… i resent that… i want my god damn mornings to be uninterrupted… i want to get up and have a few hours of quiet where i can think and read and write… i have told H that the next time we are out here we must roll up all rugs and put them in the basement… one thing i have learned from our years of dog stewardship is that rugs are destined to get ruined no matter how good the dog… best just not to have any…

03 Sleeping Dogs not Lying

… the dogs wake up… i get them and take them out… round and round the house we go… Chas does his business quickly… Fiona refuses to do anything… round and round, nothing… she’s always been this way… needs a long walk to get the pipes flowing… i don’t have time this morning… we come back in… it isn’t long before there is cleanup to do…