AnotherMondayforMali: The Long and the Short of It November 24, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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In ~48 hours, I will be either driving 7 hours south on Wednesday, spending Thanksgiving with relatives on Thursday, driving 2 hours further south and back on Friday to see more relatives, then driving 7 hours home on Saturday so that Tim can pack and get to the airport on Monday morning to depart on another business trip. Or not. Every one of those plans is in peril: Tim is sick. I may be getting sick. It might snow or wintrymix on Wednesday, one of the worst travel days ever. The business trip, thanks to typical office snafu, may be canceled.
I don’t want to have to cancel. And I don’t want to go for Christmas instead. I’m feeling guilty about the relatives thing. And I will genuinely miss them.
I will not voluntarily drive in bad weather.
I will not be able to sleep in a double bed with someone else if one or both of us is sick.
Some days it is good to give thanks for long distances; others, for short ones.
Humpday for Helen: The Acme Detective Agency November 12, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
When the door to your friend’s business says Acme Detective Agency, even if the bulk of the business will be bookbinding, not detection—or is bookbinding a red herring?—you attend the grand opening dressed in a short skirt and trench coat. After all, you’ve already inquired as to his need for an assistant. You are in fact the fourth woman to ask about this, and he is willing to hire every one of you, noting, of course, his current lack of cash. He jokes about TV and Angels and how you are the only blonde, so you’d get top billing, of course. Funny. You didn’t realize you were blonde—how dark the other women must be. He talks about his cases—so far, people trying to find other people. Maybe he could pay you $30 for a little work. You wonder what you can offer beyond deeper Internet digging, a phone call or two. You dream instead of high-heeled reception, a bottle of whiskey in the file drawer, the heft of the black receiver plucked from the cradle of the insistently ringing rotary telephone: Acme Detective Agency, you say. How can we help you?
AnotherMondayforMali: Cause and Effect October 27, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
I spent the bulk of my weekend cleaning the attic, organizing what’s up there into understandable piles (to be dealt with later), wiping down the tarps that protect those piles from the many attic elements, sweeping, Shop-Vac’ing, swearing. Late yesterday morning, the straws of my broom hit an old metal pipe that was lying on the floor, and it sounded just like a church bell. That’s odd, I thought. I hit the pipe again with the broom; again I heard the bell. This was simultaneously perplexing and pleasing. I turned away to continue sweeping.
Then I heard the bell again.
AnotherMondayforMali: Birthday October 20, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
Today is Mali’s birthday—well, it’s still Mali’s birthday here, but just past her birthday there—and if Mali lived in the northern hemisphere, perhaps right here in Parts West, she would be spending her birthday month changing her closets from one season to the next, and attending outdoor parties with lantern-lit haunted woods and bonfires of various size (and would again and again have to wash campfire smoke from her garments and hair), and visiting the haunted jailhouse where, after being followed too closely by the story-high monster with the red eyes and giant papier-mâché hands, she’d be not as surprised as one might think when said monster recognizes her husband, breaks character, and says, “Oh, hey, D—”, and maybe she’d like celebrating her birthday autumnally, but with Halloween and Samhain and the Day of the Dead so rapidly approaching, with the light so rapidly retreating, with Winter looming larger than the story-high monster, an October birthday here might feel too bittersweet, or perhaps even just bitter, after being a New Zealander and having this month mean spring and light and promise (and lambs?) and, soon enough, chardonnay on the deck.
Everything’s tilting, and we still haven’t had chardonnay together. Cheers, Mali! Happy birthday! Happy spring!
3BY3: Quarterly Report October 15, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
I never got my scarlet tanager. I’m pretty sure I heard one, but not sure enough to count it.
The third quarter is a slow, sad showing. I can add only eight species. But thanks to a wedding in North Carolina, I can include a brown pelican, which I seldom get far enough south to see. And I got a couple of other shorebirds I hadn’t noted since beginning these lists.
So, here it is: arctic tern, ring-backed gull, lesser yellowlegs, snowy egret, great egret, brown pelican, dunlin, sanderling.
This brings the 2014 total thus far to 116. This is far fewer than 2013’s 173 (but I didn’t add any species in the last quarter), six more than 2012’s 110 at this time, and ahead of 2012’s total of 115.
I wanna see more birds.
AnotherMondayforMali: Coyotes October 13, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
Friday near midnight there were two sleeping gals in my guest room and three guys watching the O’s game downstairs and I was tucked in, attempting a few more pages of Huxley before losing consciousness, when suddenly I thought I heard coyotes howling in the fields behind our house, which meant I should make everyone stop watching the game and go out and listen, because what a wondrous sound it is, but when I opened my bedroom window to confirm coyotes, there was nothing, so I figured maybe I hadn’t heard right after all, but the next morning Laura messaged “Did you guys hear the coyotes around midnight last night? OMG, it was nuts!” and I was psyched that I had heard them after all but bummed that it wasn’t in time to show them off, and Laura said that it only went on for a couple of minutes and “They’re like that, I guess, all howling, barking together then they just stop,” and then she sent me a cool video, which I will share with you now:
AnotherMondayforMali: Disgruntled October 6, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
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Something has to change. I need to (a) get a raise and/or new clients or (b) reinvent myself completely with decent financial outcome (god knows how) or (c) quit my job and become a full-time housewife.
Notes to Gordon October 2, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
After I found out Gordon was really dying, I tried to write often, hoping my efforts would be more appreciated than burdensome. I never heard back, of course, and I have no idea what he received and what he didn’t. I mostly used the U.S. mail, but occasionally sent something to his e-mail account, having no idea if anyone was checking it. Right after he died, I embarked on a long-planned trip. Heading south, as I drove, I listened to his voice reading some of his works. Heading north, I reverted to denial. Anyway, here are the notes.
Dear Gordon and Betty:
This bridge is my view from the swimming hole a couple of miles away, on the Mettawee River. My friends who own the access are summer people. They flew south a few weeks ago. It’s been the shortest summer ever.
Re: Fall 2014
I can’t stop thinking about you. Not that that’s unusual.
I never do this, because there will be so many mistakes and I’ll be embarrassed, but I just received the first proof of final pages for the Fall issue. I’m attaching it. I’ll send you another electronic version when it’s all been reviewed and updated. (Don’t go and distribute this, now.)
Your book review is on page 17!
Off to Portland today, suddenly. It was supposed to be Sunday (another photo shoot) and yesterday all hell broke loose and we have to leave today. I’m busy packing.
I will be working from there!
Dear Gordon and Betty:
Helen (now age 6) has the most beautiful head of blonde curls I have seen on anyone, ever. Here (on this card) is a painting she did when she was 3.
With note enclosed:
Two days ago, Tim and I stopped by our friends’ place to wish their older daughter, Edith, a happy fifth birthday and to give her a present.
I played for a half hour with the two girls, Edie alternating between witch and tiger. Her sister Evelyn, recently two, had a stuffed frog.
Edie has always been rather outgoing; Evie, from birth, has been more serious, reticent, reserved. One can feel her observing everything. For months, one knew she must be talking, but she wouldn’t—just at home.
I’ve spent the last year flirting with her, gaining ground little by little. Once, at a party, I helped her break into her family’s car. That probably helped a little.
On Monday, she was ready to play, and the frog hopped everywhere, back and forth between us and sometimes over the low wall into the next room. We had a jolly good time.
When we were about to take leave and were bidding our adult adieus, I suddenly felt small arms throw themselves around my leg. I looked down, and there was Evie, beaming up at me, saying goodbye.
All goodbyes should be so wondrous: You are my human! I love you! Goodbye!
Still yers, IB
August 31 marked nineteen (!) years at the museum for me. I very soon after began corresponding with you. Early on, I remember you insisting that I not leave my post, that you could not possibly survive another change in editorship. Believe it or not, I took that to heart. Whenever I seriously considered leaving, among reasons to stay was “I can’t leave Gordon.”
Should I outlive you, I will consider the game changed—which, of course, it will be.
Dear Gordon and Betty:
I wish I had been the kind of kid L. Quail is: a total nature geek, fascinated by everything, an expert birder before his teenage years. I think he’s about 12 now. I don’t think he’s ever cut his hair—it’s waist length. L.’s a renaissance man, and a couple of years ago he gave me a set of bird cards he’d drawn—this is one of them. That his name is Quail and he turned out to be a birder is just coincidence. His parents’ names are Quickel and Rail, and all the kids are Quails. I love seeing L. at parties, because he’s someone with whom I have stuff about which to talk. And do I really speak like that last sentence? No. I do not.
Dear Gordon and Betty:
I have been in Portland, eating oysters and imbibing in too much drink and thinking of you. (Oh, Tim and I think of Jax [an oyster bar] so fondly.)
On Thursday, I went walking with Suzanne, this card’s creator. Tomorrow she is off to Ireland with her son.
I have never been to Ireland. Maybe someday I will get there. Maybe someday I will return to Paris, show it to Tim.
There is much about which to be passionate. We all need reminding sometimes.
Dear Gordon and Betty:
Sometime between 1 and 4 pm yesterday, fall arrived in Portland. I had left my hotel room/office for lunch, and all was as predicted, temperatures well into the 70s. But when I went out for my late-afternoon constitutional, I was suddenly underdressed. A crispness has snuck into this town, one that was not predicted when I packed my summery bags last week.
Autumn used to be my favorite time of year. Perhaps it still is, but I’m no longer so innocent about my affections, and I’m afraid to let go and love it completely, unconditionally, knowing that it is leading me straight down the path to a five-month winter.
Time to let go and love it.
It won’t reach 70 today, I’m told…
P.S. I think I only went fishing twice this summer!
Subject: Two photos
Nearly a month ago, I visited Brooklyn for the first time in about a quarter century. Attached are two photos from that trip: some wall art I loved and me and my next-door neighbor riding Jane’s Carousel.
Thinking of you, as I do every day.
Dear Gordon and Betty:
Here’s another drawing by my friend L. I think of you two lovebirds every day.
Hugs and kisses—
It was a dream of mine to have a martini with you. This dream was set in some swanky, classic Manhattan bar, all dark woods and leather. I’m sad we never caught up with one another in New York, but sometimes reality proves better than dreams. The day we met in Boulder and had martinis in your lovely living room—you, me, Tim, Betty, Linnea—well, it was one of those moments one recognizes as it is happening, a this-is-what-I’ve-always-wanted-and-now-it’s-here moment. You—however reluctantly, but being the gentleman that you are—tolerated my blasphemous twist among all those proper olives. I thank you for that.
Cheers to you, sir! And love, always,
Dear Gordon and Betty:
“Go Fishing” is one of my favorite Ted Hughes poems. I was thrilled when he signed off to let me use it—and two others—in the journal so many years ago.
Re: The bow tie
I believe I’ve sent you this photo before, but here is Uncle Chris’s bow tie proudly displayed on my bedroom wall, clipped by my earrings. We are so fond of it and all that it represents.
Indigo (and Tim too, of course)
Here is a corrected proof for Fall 2014. Your review is on page 17.
[via e-mail—Gordon died the day before, but I would not find out until the day after this]
Re: Bedside books
Next to the bow-tie display is a mantel to a former fireplace. Carp bookends guard, on the left, GBS’s correspondence with Ellen and Stella, tucked right now between Milne and Carroll. Van Dyke, Carmichael, and Griswold huddle together rather seriously by the right fish; in between one can find Millay, Kipling, Gorey, and what I believe to be the entire Fisherman Press R. W. Eschmeyer series.
I sleep just one Very Large Fish away from these greats.
AnotherMondayforMali: Plan September 22, 2014Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
Vermont, New York, New Jersey (sleep), Pennsylvania, Maryland (sleep, sleep), Virginia, North Carolina (sleep, sleep, sleep), Virginia, Maryland (sleep), Pennsylvania, New Jersey (sleep), New York, Vermont.