We got a nice evening rainfall that began with light sprinkles as I was returning from Trader Joe's with a giant candy bar, a bottle of lemon flavored sparkling water, and a tomato for garnishing the tacos I'm making from the last leftover short rib. The rain was a bit of a surprise despite the day having been overcast. There was only a ten percent chance of rain today, and since we beat the odds I'm glad it didn't start falling seriously until after I got home.

The next likely rain is scheduled Saturday afternoon or evening through Sunday morning. Perhaps it will not interfere with my lack of plans for the weekend. In fact I'm almost certain it won't. I might manage to get to a bus-accessible store tomorrow, if I can wake up as early as I did today, and feel energetic enough. It should be dry and cool, though mostly cloudy again. We might see a bit more sunshine Monday, but the big surprise is that the last few days of January and first week of February are predicted to have highs in the sixties, one day perhaps getting as high as 67, which will feel downright sultry after the recent chilly weather. It will be a nice change.

The mockingbird spent quite a while in my back yard around eleven o'clock this morning, and I enjoyed listening to him
run through his extensive repertoire. I also managed to snip a few bits off of the deciduous vine that tried to take over the yard last spring an summer. There are more bits I'd like to snip but the remaining parts are too thick for my small secateurs. I was surprised they clipped through as much of the vine as they did. A bigger pair I'm sure would make short work of the rest of its extravagant growth.

The rain has ended for now, though there might be a bit more later tonight. It is very quiet outside, and not too terribly cold, and I might go out and sit in the dark for a while. Well, sit in what passes for dark in the mini-metropolis. The lights from the parking lot of the apartment house next door manage to shine through the cracks in the fence at that end of my yard, so I have to turn my back to it to keep it from fining my eyes. I'm sure that light wants to blind me. I'm close enough to blind already, and don't need the aggravation.
laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

Humped Day

So I got to Grocery Outlet this afternoon, the weather being dry and not too cold, and now I have donuts for breakfast tomorrow, plus a couple of other things. Later I went to CVS and bought beer an fresh bottle of vodka, and a box of cookies which I thought I would use the 40% off coupon on, but the cookies turned out to already be on sale, and thus the machinery didn't use the coupon. It has expired now. It's too bad I couldn't think of something I really needed that I could have used it on.

My back has been aching today, and the cough and various symptoms of my recent cold are still lingering, and my stomach has been feeling crappy all day so I haven't eaten any dinner, just a small lunch of cheese an crackers. I might heat up a bowl of soup in a while. Or I could just drink my dinner beer without dinner. It might help me get to sleep, at least. Tonight will be clear and cold, but it will be cloudy again tomorrow, with a high of about 55. I know I won't like it, but maybe I'll go to Kmart. It will only be there for a short time now, and I suspect that the selection is getting pretty skimpy, but I ought to give it a look before it is emptied out. Maybe I'll find a thing or two I can use.

I'm really hoping I feel better on Friday so I can go to one of the bus-accessible stores. I haven't looked at their ads yet, but I'm running low on some things I'll be willing to buy even if they aren't on sale.

I'm sure there was something else I was going to say, but it's gone and I don't feel like digging into my recalcitrant brain to find it. I think I'll just dig out some light reading and let the brain rest.

Three Weeks of January End

The wet, chilly day kept me indoors. I didn't go to any of the stores, and have missed another week of Safeway's sale items. There weren't too many but I could have used a few of them. Tomorrow is supposed to be dryish, which is good since I'll need to buy donuts for Thursday breakfast, which means a trip to Grocery Outlet will be essential. I've also got another coupon for 40% off one item from CVS, and it expires tomorrow, plus I will soon need more beer, so I should go there too. It will be a busy day, if I have the energy for it. Today I might not have gone out even had the weather been cooperative. I've felt out of sorts all day. I hope tomorrow is better.

This afternoon the tenants in the apartment next to mine, who I have not seen around for about a week, came and hauled off the metal-framed canvas covered shelter they'd set up in their back yard, so I guess they've moved out. They were the second set of tenants in that apartment since I've been here. They had two noisy dogs. Maybe the third time will be a charm and a cat person will move in.

Despite the cold and damp and relentless overcast the rain was intermittent today, and during a lull I had a visit from the mockingbird. The bird seemed quite cheerful despite the weather, though it didn't hang around for long. I took one of the canvas folding chairs out and sat listening to it for a while, and then sprinkles returned and I went back in. I even remembered to bring the chair back in with me, which I don't always do. Hooray for the little fragments of memory that persist.

But also persistent is the relentless triviality of my thoughts. I keep hoping that I'll find some trigger to bring some significance to them, but it keeps not happening. I'm getting quite sick of writing about the weather every day, and about going to the store or not going to the store. Of course I've been doing that for along time, but I seem to recall occasionally having something more interesting to say, at least now and then. These days I'm at risk of boring myself (and probably my readers) to tears. It's such a drag to have my brain die before I do.
laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

Bookie Joint

It turned out to be a good day at the Goodwill store's half price sale. It might have been better had I gotten there earlier, before the shelves were as depleted as they got by the time I wandered in— though if it had been better I'd probably have had to make two trips to bring everything home. As it is I bought ten books, three of which were extraordinarily large and heavy. Those were a (probably) college textbook on design and drawing of residential architecture, which is in surprisingly good condition, plus two art books published by Harry Abrams. One is James Snyder's Northern Renaissance Art, in excellent condition but sadly missing its dust jacket. The other is called Art Beyond the West, by Michael Kempen O'Riley, and is pretty much what the title implies; art from Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Americas.

The Renaissance art book was published in 1985, and though most of its illustrations are black and white it does have a few sections with color illustrations, including a few full page plates. Seeking more information about it on the Internets I found that a second edition (2005) of it is still in print, and I'd be able to pick up a new paperback copy at Barnes and Noble for $190.38, which is 11% off the regular price. Of course other sellers have used copies for much less, but the shipping and handling on those would be more than the buck and a half I paid for the hardback at the Goodwill store, so I probably got a good deal.

I also picked up two slightly lighter books. One is a hardbound volume of five Agatha Christie novels, only one of which I already have in a different edition, an the other is a thick paperback of A. M. Sperber and Eric Lax's 1997 biography Bogart, which has been hanging out on the shelf there for some time, probably because it's in somewhat crappy condition, but I figure for a buck, what the hell. It even has a few photos I've never seen before.

Finally, there are five very light paperbacks; a Modern Library edition of Twain's Huckleberry Finn (to replace the one I lost in the fire,) and a volume of Edith Wharton's novel Ethan Frome, which is accompanied by four of her short stories. The other three volumes are poetry (harder to come by at the Goodwill store than I'd have expected,) these being The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen, Goethe's Roman Elegies (including a selection of his other poems,) and The Half-Finished Heaven, by Nobel Prize winner Tomas Tranströmer, translated from the Swedish by another of my favorite poets, Robert Bly. Altogether a decent haul for little more than the price of three burritos from Taco Bell, or two and half coffee drinks from Starbucks. But then I might have to ice my shoulder, as carrying all those books back to the apartment put quite a strain on it.

Anyway it's been a long day and I'm going to try to get to sleep a bit earlier tonight, and maybe I'll get up early enough (and have sufficient energy) to do something tomorrow before (or after) the rain hits. If it's too rainy and I have to stay here I've got plenty of stuff to read.
caillebotte_man at his window

Now and Then

It's possible that I've got this figured out; if I get up a bit before noon I need a nap that evening, but if I get up a bit after noon I don't. Today I got up before, and around seven o'clock just had to lie down lest I fall asleep in my chair and then fall out of it. When I woke from the nap I noticed the color of the walls. I don't know the name of the color, but it's a sort of deeply pinkish shade which I'd bet decorators would call something like "dusky rose" or some pretentious such.

But the light in the bedroom is dim, and as I woke from napping the walls looked like the most depressing shade of pale brown I'd ever seen. The only color more depressing I can recall is the brownish-orangey one that the window shades in the house we lived in until I was six years old had. When the afternoon sun shone through them they took on a color that made me want to go back to sleep and never wake up again. In dim light the walls in this apartment provoke the same sort of feeling.

Outside it's very cold again, but it's also fairly quiet, with only intermittent traffic noise from the freeway, so I went out to wake myself up with some fresh air. It sort of worked. I feel a bit awake now, so the wall color didn't swallow me tonight. I have no idea why. I were that wall color I'd devour the entire world.

On a happier note, I went to CVS this afternoon and bought fresh dish washing liquid, which smells very nice, and then I stopped at Taco Bell for a burrito. No night on which I don't have to make dinner is a total loss. There is also still pie. Perhaps I should say that some pie remains, as all pie tends toward stillness, just as language tends toward ambiguity, just as my brain tends toward muddle.

Half price sale at Goodwill tomorrow. Something to look forward to. Tonight I only feel like looking back, but it seems pretty empty. It works out that way sometimes.

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Saturday Night's Alright for Not Dancing

Naturally I had to go to the Goodwill store today to see if they had new books in, which they didn't, but since I was out I headed over to Dollar Tree for a big bag of bargain cheese balls. They didn't have any new books either, but I picked up a bottle of root beer so I wouldn't be buying just one thing. I'm not sure when I'll get around to drinking root beer in this weather, but I've got it now. It's odd how regular beer is good all year 'round, but root beer requires weather that is at least mild, if not sultry, to taste good to me.

It's going to get quite chilly tonight, and remain cool tomorrow under cloudy sky. The last storm brought a bit of snow to the mountains, but nothing as serious is in the forecast now. Next Tuesday could bring showers, and then Friday through the next Tuesday could also be showery, but nobody is predicting significant rain. The whole of next week looks cloudy except for Wednesday afternoon, but I don't think Wednesday will be mild enough for root beer. It will be taking up refrigerator shelf space at least into February, most likely. I'm sure I'll run out of cheese balls before I drink it, so next time I get those I'll have to find something different to buy with them.

It's very odd, but I keep smelling fish in here. I haven't had fish in a long time, so I have no idea where it is coming from. Most likely it is something I haven't identified that is rotting. Either that or it's a phantom smell generated by a brain tumor. That's what I usually assume is causing random, unidentified smells. There's a good chance that, sooner or later, that's what it will turn out to actually be. Then I'll be able to tell myself, "Hah! I told you so!"

Monday is the half price sale at the Goodwill store. I'm going to sort through the books I've already bought, and refresh my memory of them, to reduce the chances that I'll buy any duplicates. It's actually getting to the point that I could do that, and start building a dementia-fueled library.

But right now I'm going to try to hunt down the source of that fishy smell, because it's seriously starting to rive me crazy, and the last thing I need on top of a brain tumor is to go crazy.
laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

Another Friday Gone

The storm has passed, but clouds remain, and the air has grown chillier again. Once again I slept too late to do anything this afternoon but make the brief run to the Plaza. The Goodwill store had nothing of great interest, but I bought a potato and an onion to use in the stew I intend to make Saturday, and a tomato for use on a sandwich tonight. I also bought milk, having finished the previous half gallon today. Exciting day, no? (No.)

This afternoon I did get to hear the mockingbird for a few minutes, which was nice. Most of the sounds I hear here are mechanical: the cars and trucks passing along the freeway and the streets, airplanes passing overhead, the furnace blowing warm air, the refrigerator humming, the computer keyboard clicking. There's the 60-cycle hum from the electric wiring too, but my ears don't have the hearing range to pick that up. On the whole I have to say I prefer the mockingbird to any of these.

More little aches and such are irritating me every day it seems, or I am noticing them more. I suppose I should expect them to grow more numerous at a more rapid pace a time passes. I'm a little over a day from being 75, so it's probably unavoidable. But it's remarkable how often I notice them now. One here, one there... sometimes I feel as though I'm being pricked and poked and prodded by three invisible stooges. It's most distracting. I wish I could poke them back.

If I live until Monday I'll be able to go to another half price sale at the Goodwill store. It's a bit surprising that they're having another one so soon. I think they might be getting overstocked. Their racks and shelves do appear to be pretty well stuffed right now. Most of the book selves were full today. I hope some of the stuff I don't want gets sold before Monday so there will be room for some stuff I want, which I hope they get in. Finding a book I really want is one of the few things that I enjoy here in the mini-metropolis. I should probably try to drink more.

Rain Slept Through

There was rain Thursday morning, but by the time I roused myself from my warm bed in the early afternoon it had ceased. After that there were a few brief showers, but no serious rain has fallen since I got up. While I considered going out to check on the book supply at the Goodwill store and perhaps visit one of the other stores in the Plaza, the sky continued to look so threatening above the still-damp landscape that I was dissuaded by the thought of getting caught in a sudden downpour, of the sort that sometimes punctuates a storm as it ends.

Thus I remained in and braised my short ribs, which turned out delicious despite my having over-browned them on one side before pouring the broth over them and simmering. I ate but one of the three large ribs I'd bought. Another will become part of a stew, for which I must acquire another potato and onion, and I'm thinking of shredding and spicing the third for use in tacos. We shall see. It's still good stew and taco weather. Well, any weather is good taco weather, but a stew definitely pleases me most in winter.

Thankfully the rain brought with it some slightly warmer air, and tonight is noticeably less miserable than last night was. Friday will only get up to fifty degrees, though, so I'm not sure I'll be up to making a Friday bus trip in that chill. I haven't checked the ads for the bus-accessible stores yet, and a good sale item or two might motivate me. But considering how late I rose Thursday and how far from sleepy I am right now, I might not be getting up early enough to get my act together for such a venture. Even if I don't go busing I'll probably walk over to the Plaza in the afternoon, though.

The birds failed to visit my yard all afternoon, or did so only while I was sequestered indoors. I went out quite a bit, though, given that it was milder than the last few days, and the fresh air was pleasant with the fragrance of recent rain. I'm sure the avian contingent had better things to do than perch in my back yard and serenade me, but I did miss their ministrations. I always feel a bit better when the birds sing for me. Perhaps I should bribe them with seeds or nuts or bits of dried fruit. If they want insects or worms they are on their own. There are limits to what I'll endure for entertainment.

Cold, Not Yet Wet

There were a few items I needed for the dinner I plan for Thursday, so Wednesday evening I went out to Trader Joe's. I was out of my favorite beer, too, so instead of getting it at CVS I got that at TJ's too, so I'd only have to make one stop. It's only fifty cents more at TJ's, and last time I was in CVS they were out of it anyway. I didn't want to be out in that cold any longer than necessary.

But of course I did stop at the Goodwill store first, which is a minimal detour, and I'm glad I did. Since Tuesday a new book had been put on the shelf: an omnibus edition of four novels by William Faulkner, unabridged and with a decent sized type face. Wednesday is also a senior discount day, so I got it for $2.69. It includes The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary and Intruder in the Dust.

The night has grown very windy, and I can hear it gusting in the roof vents for the kitchen and bathroom fans, and making the metal frame of the freestanding awning the neighbors in the next apartment put in their back yard bang against the wooden fence. I won't be able to hear it in the bedroom, fortunately. It isn't supposed to get as cold tonight as it will for the next two nights, which will be freezing, but the wind chill is fierce. Rain is likely before dawn.

As it will probably be raining much of the day Thursday I have no plans to go out. I'm going to stay home and braise some short ribs I got at Safeway Tuesday, along with the potato and vegetables I got at Trader Joe's today. It will be one of this month's two or three luxury meals, and I'm hoping the electricity stays on, since I have an electric stove now. The wind is supposed to ease off tomorrow, but not much.

Right now I'm going to make a bowl of ramen, which should help me ignore the chill in the air, and then I'll have another slice of that pumpkin pie, and maybe drink a glass of port with it. Then there are blankets to get under and books to be read. Winter must be defied!

Tuesday Pieday

There is fresh pumpkin pie from Safeway, along with many other things. I still couldn't find the Sparkling water I wanted, which they've moved so many times during their recent renovations, and there was nobody around to ask, so I don't have that. I got most of the other stuff I wanted, and only got the wrong variety of two things. I was a bit disoriented since I was going at a different time of day than I usually have, and being out after dark threw me off. Still, pumpkin pie.

Before that I got to Trader Joe's for a package of tortillas, and also picked up another box of their donuts. I got chocolate this time, but they aren't as good as the apple cider donuts I got last time, so now I know. But it means I now have more donuts than I need, since I bought a package at Grocery Outlet the other day. I will be making myself sick on pie and donuts for the next week.

And before going to Trader Joe's I went to the Goodwill store, and bought more books than I should have. To my surprise there was a copy of the 18th century Chinese novel The Dream of the Red Chamber. This is one of the books I lost in the fire, though not the same translation I had. This book is actually larger than the one I had before, which was an abridged version.

There is also an anthology of literature associated with California's Central Valley, most of it poetry but including some essays and some excerpts from longer works by California authors such as Joan Didion, William Saroyan and John Steinbeck. Then there is a college literature text, The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry which runs over 1,800 pages. A few o them have underlining and marginalia by a previous owner, but that stops about two hundred pages in. Somebody didn't finish their homework.

As I was getting three books and it was senior discount day, I decided to snag two more I've had my eye on but didn't buy earlier. One is Fannie Flagg's novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which I've never read, though I've seen the movie a couple of times. The last is Bill Moyers' weighty tome, A World of Ideas, featuring transcripts of his interviews with forty-two people from various fields including literature, philosophy, business, science, history, and film. So of the five books only two are of the sort that need to be read right through. The others I can dip into at leisure.

Wednesday is going to be chilly and cloudy again, so I'll probably stick around here all day, and the same on Thursday when there will be rain and a high temperature of only 47. I'm looking forward to Monday, when the mercury could soar to a sultry 62. January is just about half gone, and if I can make it through February chances are we'll be getting some pleasantly mild days. Longer evenings, too which I enjoy. But for now I've got pie, and that will have to content me.