Sunday, September 28, 2008

My favorite Paul Newman movie . . .

. . . is hard to choose, but he gave an incredible performance in one the Times obit didn't mention, Fort Apache: The Bronx. What an incredible actor, and what an incredible humanitarian too. He saved The Nation a few years ago when it almost folded. Now that's a bailout I can go for. RIP, Paul Newman.

Two new Chance stories: One night last week, Lily was taking a bath in the Japanese soaking tub and Chance crept in there, sniffing around and batting at Lily when she peered over the edge at the cat from inside the tub. Lily likes it shallower and cooler than I do and I wasn't sure when I would get to take my turn, so after she got out I waited to fill it up with hotter water until after she went to bed. As she headed upstairs to bed I -- thoughtfully, I thought -- left the door open so Chance could go back in and look around.

I tucked Lily in and turned out the light. My mom called, and as we chatted, Dave putzed near me in the kitchen. Then we heard, SPLASH!!!! I looked at him and said, "I left the door open!" before either of us could move, this very wet cat came tearing out of the bathroom and into the living room, leaving a small stream of water behind her. Dave grabbed my towel, the one I'd left near the tub to use afterwards, and grabbed Chance. He wrapped her up tight and she peered from his arms looking very bedraggled. It was hilarious. Between drying her and cleaning up the said stream the towel was soaked.

She still likes to go in there and even jump up on the edge of the tub -- did she slip in that time, or did she actually jump in, not realizing it was half full of water? -- but I trust/hope she's learned her lesson about swimming. Thank goodness it wasn't hotter, and that she was somehow able to scramble out.

The second story is that Dave was on his way out one morning and she was sitting in the window near his desk and threw up her breakfast all over the window sill, the desk, and the floor. Yuck. He'd rather clean up kid puke, he said, and I agree. But as my friend Mary says, cats puke. That's the deal. So, okay.

She's a great cat. Lots of personality, very smart -- my stepfather gave her a cat toy, some small balls that she can bat around the house, and last night she dropped one down the stairs. It doesn't roll on the carpet down there and before Dave or I could get it and bring it upstairs, she appeared in the kitchen, with the ball in her mouth. She had gone down and picked it up and carried it up so she could keep playing with it.

She loves to play. She gets over-excited and nips a bit, but in those cases we say "no" firmly and drop her on the floor. Forget that. She's a love, loves to sit in your lap and purr and be petted, and we love to oblige, of course. I haven't lived with a cat since my dear roommate Anne moved back to Germany and took Mikesh, and that's just too long. I missed having a cat. I miss Anne, who was so despairing of ever recovering from chronic fatigue that she took her own life in 1996. RIP Anne. We loved you.

It's the season for picking fruit. This time I went way overboard and picked way too many peaches. With the help of Dave's mom I blanched them, some of them way too long. I did send some home with Judy and the people she rode up here with, but still, we have have tons more than last year, and they are pretty mushy. But I love them in my oatmeal or granola, and they're fine to cook with. We also picked and froze four quarts of raspberries, and made about two pecks' worth of applesauce. Gawd! Nothing like homemade applesauce!

I am discovering the wild world of FaceBook, and consider it all as research for when Lily becomes a teenager. It's fun to reconnect with friends I haven't talked to in years. I think a lot about friends, how to make them, be with them, keep them, move on from them. And it's nice to get more chances to learn these things, you know?

Yesterday Dave and Lily went to the Bement fall bazaar, and Dave got snowshoes and life vests for her. I went to the town's annual second-hand book sale -- another way to pass the seasons here is the annual sales at the vocational high school, which also includes skiis and skates, and plants, in the spring -- and came home with a big box of great stuff for all three of us. I spent part of the rainy afternoon alternating between The Story of English (companion to the PBS series from 20 years ago) and Howard Zinn's Declarations of Independence, where he handily articulates what I've been thinking for a long time, and backs it up with lots of direct evidence. If you want to understand why Ralph Nader continues to run, and people like me continue to vote for him, read this book.

One last thing -- Lily has been struggling in school, socially. Dave and I met with her teachers last week and came away feeling listened to and as though our concerns will be addressed. Some if it is her behavior, some of it is others, and some of it is the age and the fact that for whatever reasons -- she's an only child; she's younger than the rest of her class; she grew up in Brooklyn; she's a Scorpio -- she relates to people differently than a lot of her classmates. At any rate, we're looking at the local Waldorf school, called Hartsbrook -- love to hear from anyone with experience with Waldorf -- but we are going to work with Bement as far as we can and see if this will work for her. She is doing well academically and really likes that part of it, likes what she's learning. More TK (to kome), as they say in magazine publishing).

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