Friday, March 31, 2006

March Going Out like a Monk Parrot...

A busy day here: unseasonable warmth, so they say, but there are always a few March and early April days with no leaves and sun that glares down like summer. At once exciting for its brilliance and shocking for its heat with no shade. Anyhow, it's one of those days, and I've already had a meeting at the high school about the Coalition co-sponsoring a round-table with the Home and School Association an the high school's CCN news station. This is an ongoing project, but especially relevant right now with all of what's been going on at the high school, which has been making t.v. news. This afternoon a meeting with my editor at Montemayor Press . Meanwhile, it's great to be home for a few hours making some changes on my novel manuscript, Martha at the Love Palace. My recent titles seem to be following a pattern: Proper name and prepositional phrase. Billie of Fish House Lane, Oradell at Sea.

Parrots Coming-at-Ya-- Photo by Steve Baldwin.
See his neat site on feral parrots of Brooklyn

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Technical problem fixed?

This blog was unreadable for a week or two: don't know why. Seems to have cured itself. I didn't even have time to complain to anyone.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Latest adventures

March 28
It's a windy, wonderfully typical March Sunday. Joel and Sarah were here for two nights, and are now driving to Stowe, Vermont, to meet Seb and his family, to ski a little, then go on to Montreal. The two of them share an absolute delight in friends and communication. Joel calls from his cell phone time after time, and both of them are on phones, on email, talk about their friends' personalities, successes, problems all the time. They amaze and delight me with this sociability. I miss having Joel in the house sharply, but also enjoy the solitude, the quiet.

A day like today, after they left: I spent a while outside working on my deer netting “tent,” which is now more than half done. And I'm counting on the deer to have good enough sense not to get tangled up in it. There’s a ton more garden work to do, and I’ve spent a lot of time on papers today, started on lengthening the house dress, watered the indoor plants. Generally setting things to rights.

March 20
This just in! Photos from Sarah and Joel of the Gala at Brown last week-end! See March 12 below.

March 18
Just barely past midnight, and we’re at the downtown Sheraton in Boston. Boston always looks so well-groomed to me compared to New York– smaller, cozier. In spite of the John Hancock building. We’re on the 17th floor, view of a flat roof, but beyond that, the Charles River, MIT, Cambridge. Lovely lights in the night, bridges, cars. We had dinner with David and Ann and Nathan, and will be meeting Joel and Sarah and Ryan and Anne tomorrow night

In the morning....almost ten thirty, and I’ve finished by NYU papers, diddled with email, been for a swim! Looking out at that vast dun and dark orange/pink brown and brick and gray city scape, although it should be noted that there are hills in the distacne. Now some museums.

Ten thirty again, but p.m.! Andy studying, belly full from dinner at Durgin Park with Joel, Sarah, and Ryan. Earlier, I went to the Isabelle Stewart Gardner museum, totally delightful, brand new Italian palace created for her art collection in early 1900's, a splendid central garden with a skylight, long loggias and halls and galleries, a Botticelli, various other Renaissance pieces, a John Singer Sergeant of Mrs. Jack herself, a wonderful Dutch room with a Vermeer of Phillip of Spain, a youngish self-portrait of Rembrandt, and the empty frames of the 13 masterpieces stolen in 1990 and never yet recovered– who has them? Long walk to get there past the Boston Symphony, Northeastern University, Museum of Fine Arts. Bright sun, very cold, then walking around on Newberry Street, lunch of noodle soup with kimchi, then Joel and Sarah and more walking around.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Visit to Shinnston

March 16
Busy day in Shinnston! Got up, took a run, ate a bagel, showered, then mom and I went to to Clarksburg, had breakfast at a Denny’s (my first senior meal! Coffee one egg grits one slice bacon one biscuit.) then a real West Virginia treat: Wal-Mart where she got groceries and I got some neutral pants for summer wearing and a couple of overshirts, $3.00 apiece! Everything needs a little work, shortening narrowing, but I had a good time. Next, back in Shinnston, we dropped off the ice cream at the house and went out Enterprise road to the Maley place where my old school fellow Woody Maley has-- a camel. Mercy upon us. Thick brown fur, very eager to stick out its nose–for food no doubt. Why?
Then it was off to Lumberport and Shelley Z’s Aviary birds! I got to hold two Senegal parrots and a white cockatoo, big fluffy Maggie who wanted to rip off my cowrie shell earrings and necklace. All the birds willing to be handled, even liking it. Maggie’s enormous black beak and black feet deliberately one over the other on my hands. One gorgeous blue and yellow macaw who Shelly had to buy back from an abusive owner who beat it with a belt and threatened to shoot it and stuff it if she wouldn’t buy it back. Later, dinner at Jimmy’s where some people I know were having the Lions club meeting in the back in yellow vests with their big yellow banner hanging behind them. Mom is doing crossword puzzles to keep her mind active.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Parties & Conures

Andy and I went to see Madea’s Family Reunion last night, and I believe we were the only white folks in the Essex Green theater-- still after all these years not easy to be a "minority." But it was a good crowd to see it with– enthusiastic and appreciative. A movie full of stock characters and melodrama, yet sincere and moving. I could have done without some of the long speeches, but even those ended up touching you, and of course you knew they would be followed by something funny and irreverent. Tyler Perry is a very talented young guy, and if he gets really taken up by Hollywood in a big way you have to wonder what will happen to him.
Afterwards, Andy went to the Sears tool store that is shutting down and I went to the pet store and looked at the parakeets being charming and squabbling, but discovered in their closed room some gorgeous finches and cockatiels and a Jenday conure that I was allowed to pet! What a charmer! Small northern Brazilian parrot orange, red, gold and green that looked just like the one to the right. It delighted in finger-sitting on my finger through the bars, wanted its head and belly scratched, black bill bit a little, but not so much I pulled away. Only $599, Yeah right.
Later, Joel called to ask whether the bow tie goes over the tuxedo collar or under–I’d say it was really to let us know that he and Sarah were going to the Brown gala! I’d love to see them all dressed up.

Here's something interesting: something called the mirror project in which people have submitted photographic self-portraits of their own reflections: my friend Jill's son Scott Perez-Fox has one. We spent Friday evening with Jill and José at Alice Robinson Gilman's little surprise birthday party that Howard set up at his cousin's house in Maplewood.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


In case you didn't see it, I had an interesting discussion of the memoir/fiction issue from Keith Maillard and Carole Rosenthal at

Also! New photos of the wild parrots of NYC enjoying snow at

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Boston Museum of Bad Art

Well, here's something amusing: The Museum of Bad Art (in Boston). Especially enjoyable is the story of how the first painting in the collection ("Lucy in the Field with Flowers") was found in the trash, became the heart of the collection, then was put in the newspaper--where "Lucy"'s granddaughter saw it. And became a supporter of the Museum... It's a funny idea, moderately mean (after all, those paintings were all painted by someone), but I couldn't help giggling, especially about what a good sport "Lucy"'s granddaughter was.

Friday, March 03, 2006

More pictures of Mars

I really love these pictures of Mars. I've got another one at the January 9 entry. This one is from back in 1996 when the first Mars Probe, the Pathfinder. I'm using it as an idea for material in a novel I'm drafting, possibly young adult, called Melisandre. I'm enjoying this writing, probably too much, just coming up with stuff that appeals to me. I think I don't spend as many hours writing as I used to, but I have more fun...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Friends and the famous

Takeshi sent a photo of him, Chiaki, and Alex that I like: I wrote him to say that I thought they were very handsome young people. Alex, of course, is Alex Kato Willis, my sister's son, Joel's cousin of the same exact age, and Takeshi is Alex's cousin on his father's side and of course our friend too. Chiaki is married to Takeshi, and we are extremely fond of all of them!

Well, yesterday Andy and I met the governor and the secretary of state! I finally found out how I got invited-- it was from the NJ Council on the Arts, and they pulled out their list of Distinguished Teaching Artists, and I got invited and BJ Ward and Ruth Clark the dancer who is now at the Morris County School of Technology special program for performing arts and Randy James the dancer and a couple of other people I knew more or less. I met Robin Middleton and David Miller of the Arts Council along with Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells and Governor Corzine who was much better one-on-one than as a public speaker. When he found out I was a writer, he asked if I knew anyone to help him write speeches! He says he writes his own, but wants a "shadow" to think as he does and help him write better speeches. I was amazed he writes his own (I bet that doesn't last), and he had this pleasant way about him that made me think he actually would take a suggestion for such a person, to spend time with him and help him write his thoughts! I guess that's part of political talent-- to seem-- perhaps even be-- very open and connected. They say Bill Clinton makes whoever he talks to feel like the most important person in his life at that moment. They really thrive on this, shaking hands and connecting. Me, it exhausts totally.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

From the Woolworth Building

I'm posting from the faculty lounge in the Woolworth building before my Fiction II class. I'm frustrated because what I REALLY wanted to do was get onto AOL to do some important mail, but these computers have Windows 2000 and AOL won't work with it-- very annoying. Well, blogger seems to work.