Benjamin Moore's November Rain

For future reference: Although Benjamin Moore's "November Rain" looks yellowish in the sample bottle, on the wall it dries down to a pale, warm gray with a tiny bit of spring green. In direct natural north light, it looks off-white, neutral, ivoryish. It is absolutely lovely.



I dreamed I was looking through my notebooks, the ones from when I worked in the archives at Goettingen. Carl Friedrich Gauss, 1837: I am so tired I can hardly open a can of figs. It's not CFG whose tired, of course. It's me. The "can" refers to my ongoing problem with our new electric can opener, which is only slightly easier to use than our old hand-cranked one. Life, after all, is full of petty disappointments. But still: figs? Anecdotal evidence that notebooks have a life in dreams.

Parents 2.0

Jane sings a complaining song:

My parents are great
But it's time for new parents
Like Grandma
And Grandpa...


Before & After

I look at the "before" pictures (which aren't, alas, digitized) and I think, who would ever buy that house? But the thing is, I don't think I ever really saw the house that was "before". I always saw the "after."

Main Room

Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
The main room's still very much under construction but at least the drywall's up and (mostly) primed, and the double-doors are trimmed (you can see it if you look closely). Outside the frame, there's a third set of double-doors to the right. I can't wait til the wood floor goes in.

Entry Hall

Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
Here's the entry hall. The staircase with the antique window is to the right; the entry closet is to the left.


Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
Here's the staircase where the antique window will go.

Pantry Door

Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
Here's the same door in our kitchen. The light is low because I took these shots at 6 pm.

Entry Doors

Originally uploaded by quiet.eye.
After much soul-searching, we settled on five-panel almost-Shaker they-don't-look-molded interior doors from Brosco. Some part of these doors is actual wood, I'm not sure which. They feel substantial and look good. Here are the doors on our entry closet.


Where The Wild Things Still Are

We threw a party this weekend for all of Jane's school friends because I was tired to meeting her classmates' parents in the parking lot after school and not having time to say anything other than a quick "Hello!"

Twelve kids in the house is a lot of kids -- and a lot of kid energy. They pull strings I didn't even know I had. I had the strangest dreams afterward, primitive and weird.

Like the man said, Wo Es war, soll Ich werden. Sooner or later, anyway.


My "Day"

1. Sometime in the AM: Husband removes self from bed, replaces self with kicking child.
2. Sometime later: My eye begins to itch.
3. Later still: I fall asleep.
4. 6 AM: MJ leaves for someplace. Child asleep in bed. Eye not so itchy. "Bye."
5. 8 AM: I wake up. Child is still asleep. We are late for school. Eye itching outrageously.
6. 8:05, child wakes up: "You have pinkeye, Mommy!" Indeed, I do.
7. Guess who still doesn't have a doctor.
8. 8:10 AM: I dribble Jane's old tobrimicin drops in my eye. Itching stops.
9. 8:15 AM: By mistake, I pour too much milk into Jane's pancake mix. Now there are pancakes for six, and no milk for coffee. Peering out the window, I notice there are two cars parking me in. I swallow my vitamins & anti-depressant, then I make an executive decision: We are not going to school today.
10. We do, however, need to get to the grocery store. Because there is no milk for coffee.
11. 9:15 AM: There are still two cars parking me in.
12. 10 AM: Jane finishes her breakfast. We are showered, dressed, and ready to go. The cars haven't moved. I park Jane in her car seat, leave the engine running, heat on, window cracked. Despite these precautions, I am sure the car will burst into flames or something while I am moving the two cars parking me in. I can't decide if this is a crazy thought or a normal one, probably because I still haven't had any coffee.
13. 10:05 AM: Cars are moved. We are ready to go. I put the car in reverse and...
14. 10:06 AM: Oops.

15. 10:15 AM: I am tempted to jump off the roof. Instead, I go back upstairs and get some tools

and then I employ an assistant

to help me "fix" the car, meaning "affix" the broken mirror to the car door with duct tape, like this

16. 10:45 AM: We finish our shopping with no new mishaps. That is, until I load the groceries into the trunk, whereupon I drop a cardboard box full of chocolate milk boxes onto the bag containing the bread. Now we have pitas.
17. 11:00 AM: Coffee break.

Day is not even half over yet. Excuse me while I put some more drops in my eye.


Only the Coffee Counted

"'Bring on the lions!' I cried.

"But there were no lions. I spent every day in the company of one dog and one cat whose every gesture emphasized that this was a day throughout whose duration intelligent creatures intended to sleep. I would have to crank myself up.

"To crank myself up, I stood on a jack and ran myself up. I tightened myself like a bolt. I inserted myself in a vise clamp and wound the handle until the pressure built. I drank coffee in titrated doses. It was a tricky business, requiring the finely tuned judgement of a skilled anesthesiologist. There was a tiny range within which coffee was effective, short of which it was useless, and beyond which, fatal.

"I pointed myself, I walked to the water. I played the hateful recorder, washed dishes, drank coffee, stood on a beach log, watched a bird. That was the first part; it could take all morning, or all month. Only the coffee counted, and I knew it. It was boiled Columbian coffee: raw grounds brought just to boiling in cold water and stirred. Now I smoked a cigarette or two and read what I wrote yesterday. What I wrote yesterday needed to be slowed down. I inserted words in one sentence and hazarded a new sentence. At once I noticed that I was writing -- which, as the novelist Friedrich Buechner noted, called for a break, if not a celebration."

-- Annie Dillard, The Writing Life


Speed & Direction

Either I'm moving ahead too fast & forgetting myself; or I'm stuck on the past, wondering what the heck happened.


Reading Next Week - NYC

I'm reading from my novel
next week in NYC at Dead Poets,
March 6th, 8 pm, at 450 Amsterdam (between 81 & 82)

Hope to see you there!

Jane's Take On Homeland Security

Tonight, while MJ gives her a bath:

(coyly) "Dad?"


"Will you accept bags that don't belong to you?"