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Marguerite July 29, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

“Your plant’s dying,” my four-hours-a-month housekeeper told me in that ever-so-helpful way.

“No,” I said. “It’s going to drop those leaves and grow new ones. It did that once before.”

Once before, five years ago, it turns out. Remember when I wrote that I had a plant (a sago palm)? And that after a few years of having it, it was still alive? And how crazy that was? No? Refresh your memory here.

So, if five years ago I’d had the plant a few years, it’s truly some sort of record that it’s still in my life.

I call the plant Marguerite after Sewa Yoleme’s mother, who gave it to me. Soon after I wrote about the plant, the real Marguerite died. When Marguerite the Plant gave up its original palms, I boxed them up and sent them to Sewa Yoleme.

But doubt is beginning to nag. Did the plant shed leaves another time between that first shedding and now? I don’t think so, but maybe it did. Five years is a long time. Anyway, it doesn’t happen often.

About two weeks ago I took these photos with the old and new growth:



And this was the plant after I trimmed off the old leaves:


This was the plant about a week ago:


And this is Marguerite today:



I still have a plant. What are the odds?

Vague/Fanny July 22, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

At last! At last! Our dear friend Deloney’s book, Songbooks for Haunted Boys and Girls, releases today. Sewa Yoleme sent me a review copy, and last Monday I posted this review on Amazon:

Are they short stories? Prose poems? Paintings? Short films? They suggest just enough to make me think I know more. Now, in the midst of a hot, sultry summer, I feel I am ducking into a dark, cool theater in the middle of an afternoon. There is a barely perceptible flicker to the black-and-white images before me; behind me, the projector scratches and purrs. The characters of the Danforth, the people of Wayne McNeill’s life past and present, get under my skin. I develop my own crush on Mlle Vague, and I begin to love Fanny (a cat) in a way that is at once reverent and commonplace. Most of the year, with the same stories, McNeill instead warms me. I knock, and he lets me in. I shake the snow off my coat and leave my wet boots at the door. I sit near the fire escape where Fanny used to hold court, and Alfie (the new girl) considers me. Mlle Vague says something witty, of course. If I am lucky, there will soon be wine, perhaps even comfort food that sticks to my ribs.

I will give this book to many friends. Do the same for yours.

Congratulations, bard of the Danforth.

Sweat July 9, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

In 1995, I moved to Vermont. A heat wave followed me. I was convinced I’d brought the DC temperatures and wondered exactly why I’d thought it would be cooler here. Eventually, it passed.

This summer has been hot. We get a mess of hot days every summer, but I don’t remember such a lengthy stretch. Particularly, I don’t remember this sustained, southernlike humidity.

When it’s not hot and humid, it’s hot and torrentially downpouring. It’s been this way for weeks.

As I am loath to turn on the AC in my office, there have been many a day that sweat has trickled down my back as I edited manuscripts on the computer. I can only imagine what it must be like for my outdoor-laboring brethren.

Here’s some stuff that’s weather related:

  • I have already slept with the air conditioner on for more nights than I did all last summer. (“Slept” may not be all that accurate. The AC has been on overnight while I lie awake in the dark.)
  • I have been wearing skirts and dresses almost exclusively. This is unusual.
  • My hair is a horror.
  • The river has been so high that a trip to the swimming hole has been too dangerous to consider. Therefore, my first summer dunk was last weekend, in a lake. It took two days for my swimsuit to dry.
  • I have taken as many as three showers in a day. Usually it is two, and one of them is right before I go to bed to not-sleep in the AC.
  • The mosquitoes are voracious, and they love me.
  • The ants are so, so happy, and apparently they love living here with me, in my house.
  • I have at least four rooms that are beginning to look rather cluttered because I can’t face the sweat that tidying will entail.

On that note, maybe I’ll do some of that tidying. I’ve turned the AC on in my office, and it’s lulling me into a false sense of believing I can accomplish something.

52 Years, 2 Months, 3 Days July 5, 2013

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Cheryl died this morning. She had cancer. She had been married one week.

I worked with Cheryl at a medical association in Washington, DC. I was an editor; she was in accounting. Our desks were on the same floor of the building.

“KaffFLEEEEN!” she would yell at me when we passed one another, a push on the second syllable. She could make a gal laugh when a gal needed to.

When I became a freelancer and did jobs for that association, Cheryl would call me when she cut the check, to say hello and to tell me that money was on its way. She’d give me the dirt on everyone I still knew there.

She told me that I’d really like the most recent woman to hold my job, another Kathleen.

And I do. I’ve never met Kathleen in person, but she’s a delight to work with, and we have Cheryl in common. Only this Kathleen became Cheryl’s best friend and has been there for her throughout this horrible illness.

I thought Cheryl was getting better—likely because I wasn’t hearing that much. A few months ago, she got engaged to her longtime girlfriend, and the wedding was set for June 29. On June 28—last Friday—Kathleen posted two pretty homemade bouquets on Facebook. I commented happily, but then received a private note back: “Wedding cancelled; Cheryl is in the hospital. They are getting married at her bedside this afternoon, hence the artificial flowers (no real ones allowed on the onc ward). Please keep her in your prayers.”

And that was the first that I realized that things were much, much worse.

Cheryl and Kristine married on Friday. I am so happy and grateful and glad that they had that. I’ve never met Kristine. For years, Cheryl would threaten to haul Kristine up to Vermont for a visit, maybe even to attend the nearby fly-fishing school. All of us want to do things that never get done.

Kathleen was Cheryl’s maid of honor/best woman. There was a beautiful cake and something bubbly. There was love everywhere.

On Tuesday, I got a message from Kathleen that she thought Cheryl would leave us that day. When that didn’t happen, I had a hunch it would be July 5. Today is the first anniversary of Derek’s death. Now it is also the day that we mortals lost Cheryl.

My 365-project friends might remember my 44-word Cheryl entry, written more than seven years ago:

She is a Pluto girl, not Goofy. Do not confuse the two. Do not go to Disney World and get her Goofy, who is a lot easier to find. It will just piss her off. And don’t even get her started on George Bush.

I am among the many who loved Cheryl. And Cheryl died this morning. She had cancer. She had been married one week.