A happy daikon radish, allowed to blossom. I’ve never seen one blossom before, or one wearing cosmetics for that matter.
April 28, 2012
April 26, 2012
April 23, 2012
April 22, 2012
Lots of green leafy things I don’t know the name of. Some, like spinach and mizuna and rocket lettuce, I do. Fern fronds, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, mountain potatoes, onions, red radishes, rape blossoms, strawberries, a few very expensive tomatoes. We also bought a rather bedraggled strawberry plant that seemed to be on sale. It was displayed with two other pathetic plants, like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, in a lonely place with no price, but when the cashier went to check they offered no discount and not wanting to look cheap I paid the regular price.
The two women customers in line behind me were from a Southeast Asian country. A few blocks from the mother-in-law’s house there’s a new Indian restaurant run by a group of Indian (or at least from the general area) men. Judging by the number of cars in the parking lot it’s a popular place. Their sign says they do take-out. I made Sam go in and ask for a take-out menu but, as I thought, they don’t have one. They don’t put their hours of business on their sign or show their quite low prices. Advertise that nan oven! Sam and I are always quick to dole out unheard business advice to restaurants. Down the street is the always-empty restaurant Annie Hall. We’re obsessed with its unsuccess and always drive by to see how many customers they have. Boring, overpriced menu of the usual Japanese pastas and pizzas that have nothing to do with New York. Blasphemy. A restaurant named Annie Hall can’t offer a cream cheese and smoked salmon bagel for lunch? Really, they all should listen to our excellent advice.
Sam’s mother asked him to buy bananas. Later that night after I went to bed they shared a banana and she told him a story. When she was young her father brought home the exotic treat of bananas. She and her sister were excited to see what they tasted like but weren’t allowed, only her older bother and father got to eat them. The unworthy females watched. Now she can eat all the bananas she wants.
April 20, 2012
Went down to the mentally challenged people’s center this afternoon. They’ve planted tulips. Tulips are pretty. On Fridays if I want to buy something from the center’s little vegetable stand I have to go before 3:30 because the farmer comes and takes all the challenged produce away early. Today I got there just as the farmer was hauling stuff away and he gave me a discount on the cabbage I bought. Everyone is very nice there and I feel at home, being challenged in so many ways myself.
The highway is right down the street and there’s an odd little area near the off ramp with a nice covered sort of picnic table like a gazebo, but it’s not a place anyone would want to hang out because it’s so close to traffic. Lately, when I’ve passed by late in the afternoon, I’ve noticed a woman sitting there smoking cigarettes. She always has a bag of groceries and looks like she’s on her way home from work and needs some time to herself before doing so. “Me time” I suppose. The other day I saw her sitting there and she seemed especially upset. On my way back home she was gone and I snooped around and discovered four cigarette butts and an empty aspirin container. I hope she’s okay.
April 19, 2012
April 17, 2012
From The Diary of Anais Nin 1931-1934:
“A few pans, unmatched dishes from the flea market, old shirts for kitchen towels. Tacked on the walls, a list of books to get, a list of menus to eat in the future, clippings, reproductions, and water colors of Henry’s. Henry keeps house like a Dutch housekeeper. He is very neat and clean. No dirty dishes about. It is all monastic, really, with no trimmings, no decorations. Plainness. The white and light grey walls.
“If what Proust says is true, that happiness is the absence of fever, then I will never know happiness. For I am possessed by a fever for knowledge, experience, and creation. I think I have an immediate awareness in living which is far more terrible and painful. There is no time lapse, no distance between me and the present. Instantaneous awareness. But it is also true that when I write afterwards, I see much more, I understand better, I develop and enrich. I live more on time. What is remembered later does not seem as true to me. I have such a need of truth! It must be that need of immediate recording which incites me to write almost while I am living before it is altered, changed by distance or time.
“We sit in the Clichy kitchen having lunch. Books piled up, records on the floor. Charts and drawings on the walls.
“I have just stood before the open window of my bedroom and I breathed in deeply all the honeysuckle perfumed air, the sunshine, the snowdrops of winter, the crocuses of spring, the primroses, the crooning pigeons, the trills of the birds, the entire procession of soft winds and cool smells, of frail colors and petal-textured skies, the knotted snake greys of old vine roots, the vertical shoots of young branches, the dank smell of old leaves, of wet earth, of torn roots, and fresh-cut grass, winter, summer, and fall, sunrises and sunsets, storms and lulls, wheat and chestnuts, wild strawberries and wild roses, violets and damp logs, burnt fields and new poppies.
“The same thing which makes Henry indestructible is what makes me indestructible. The core of us is an artist, a writer. And it is in our work, by our work, that we reassemble the fragments, re-create wholeness.
“I am amazed how many streets he can walk through in a day, how many letters he can write, how many books he can read, how many people he can talk to, how any cafes he can sit in, how many movies he can see, how many exhibitions. He is like a torrent in continuous movement.
“We were walking to the Place Clichy, Fred, Henry and I. Henry makes me aware of the street, of people. He is smelling the street, observing. He shows me the whore with the wooden stump who stands near the Gaumont Palace. He shows me the narrow streets winding up, lined with small hotels, and the whores standing by the doorways, under red lights. We sit in several cafes. Francis Carco cafes where the pimps are playing cards and watching their women on the sidewalk. We talked about life and death, as D. H. Lawrence talked about it, the people we know who are dead, those who are alive.
“Henry and Fred were both at work when I arrived at Clichy for dinner. … Henry falls into a thoughtful quietness, musing, chuckling over his work. … As he sits there sipping coffee, I see a new aspect of him: I see his richness, the impulses which blow like gusts and carry him everywhere, his letters to people all over the world, his curiosity, his exploration of Paris day and night, his relentless investigation of human beings. His charts on the walls are enormous, filled with names, incidents, titles of books, allusions, relationships, places, restaurants, etc. A giant task, a universe. if he can ever write it all.”
April 16, 2012
Something is happening to the planet. I’m used to watching the sunset from my balcony and now I have to go outside my front door to see it. Why did the sun decide to set all the way over there? Daylight seems to last longer by the day, too. This is very strange.
I stopped in at the grocery store down the street because I’ve felt guilty for failing to purchase anything there lately. I bought oranges. Not that I wanted any, but there are so few things from which to choose. The oranges are from California. I am from Washington state. The old geezer had bad breath. So did I, probably.
April 14, 2012
From Fred Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo:
“My form of retaliation consists in this: as soon as possible to set a piece of cleverness at the heels of an act of stupidity; by this means perhaps it may still be possible to overtake it. To speak in a parable: I dispatch a pot of jam in order to get rid of a bitter experience. … Let anybody only give me offense, I shall ‘retaliate,’ he can be quite sure of that. … You perceive that I should not like to see rudeness undervalued: it is by far the most humane form of contradiction, and, in the midst of modern effeminacy, it is one of our first virtues.
“God is a too palpably clumsy solution of things; a solution which shows a lack of delicacy towards us thinkers — at bottom He is really no more than a coarse and rude prohibition of us: thou shall not think! I am much more interested in another question, — a question upon which the salvation of humanity depends to a far greater degree than it does upon any piece of theological curiosity: I refer to nutrition. … Only the absolute worthlessness of German culture — its ‘idealism’ — can to some extent explain how it was that precisely in this matter, I was so backwards that my ignorance was almost saintly. … Indeed, I can say, that up to a very mature age, my food was entirely bad … . It was through the cooking in vogue at Leipzig, for instance, together with my first study of Schopenhauer (1865), that I earnestly renounced my ‘Will to Live.’ … But as to German cookery in general — what has it not got on its conscience! Soup before the meal … meat boiled to shreds, vegetables cooked with fat and flour; the degeneration of pastries into paperweights! And, if you add thereto the absolutely bestial post-prandial drinking habits of the ancients, and not alone of the ancient Germans, you will understand where the German intellect took its origin — that is to say, in sadly disordered intestines. German intellect is indigestion; it can assimilate nothing. … But even the English diet, which in comparison with German, and indeed with French alimentation, seems to me to constitute a ‘return to nature,’ — that is to say, cannibalism — is profoundly opposed to my own instincts. It seems to give the intellect heavy feet … . The best cooking is that of Piedmont. … All prejudices take their origin in the intestine.
“The scholar exhausts his whole strength in saying either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to matter which has already been thought out, or in criticizing it — he is no longer capable of thought on his own account. In him the instinct of self-defense has decayed, otherwise he would defend himself against books. The scholar is a decadent. … To set to early in the morning, at the break of day, in all the fullness and dawn of one’s strength, and to read a book — this I call positively vicious!
“All these things which mankind has valued with such earnestness heretofore are not even real; they are more creations of fancy, or, more strictly speaking, lies born of the evil instincts of diseased and, in the deepest sense, noxious natures — all the concepts, ‘God,’ ‘soul,’ ‘virtue,’ ‘sin,’ ‘Beyond,’ ‘truth,’ ‘eternal life.’ … [T]he most noxious men have been taken for great men, and that people were taught to despise the small things, or rather the fundamental things, of life.
“I know of no other manner of dealing with great tasks, than as play: this, as a sign of greatness, is an essential prerequisite.”