Spring cleaning…

The temperature actually rose above freezing today!  Sylvie, wisely, took the rare opportunity to hang outside and bask in the sun.


…for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile I, inspired more by the hope than the reality of Spring, decided to embark on a little Spring cleaning.

I started with my computer’s address book which I purged, in the blink of the delete button, of many of the vestiges of our old life. Gone, instantly, were house sitters, insurance guys, tutors, trainers, someone’s mortgage broker we never used, electricians, furnace people (did we ever even HAVE a furnace?), friends of the boys who they are no longer friends with, their parents who we only pretended to be friends with to begin with, some nice French guy I met at a TED conference, camp counselors, hair dressers, great Take Out places (Good-bye Reddi Chick!), gyms, the orthodontist (but not our dentist Dr. Chin! Never Dr. Chin!), and the guy who used to deliver soda and water in glass bottles. And in the Fs, one I found especially hard to delete, a dear relative newly gone from our little spinning planet.

As I scrolled through the names, wielding my delete button freely, it felt as if our long California life was passing before my eyes.  It was sad – and sweet – and when I was done, I felt refreshed, happy to see the names of my real friends left standing, somehow easier to find.

New York State of mind

Diary entry, January 26, 2013: Wrote all morning then walked the dog. Freezing out, probably, like, 60. I think LA is getting colder in general. Lunch with Mark at the Country Mart. Warmed up enough that we could eat outside. I had the kale salad. Tasted like hay, but I have to keep the pounds off so I can keep wearing skinny clothes.  Afternoon tennis with Shawn.  Barbecue and mojitos on the patio with the Schnieders. I wonder if I’ll miss all this when we move to New York…

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Diary entry, January 26, 2014:  Spent all morning stacking firewood in the basement. Must  reduce crazy heating oil expenses. Need a wood burning furnace. Or one that runs on french fry oil. Is there such a thing? Dog refused to go outside.  The car needed a jump, and then Red Hook Hardware was all out of space heaters and fat wood. Are you kidding me!? For lunch I had  a reuben sandwich, potato chips, soup, an apple smeared with almond butter and three oat cookies. Fuck it. Winter clothes/obesity. What’s the difference?  I wonder if Sharper Image makes fleece gloves that I can wear while typing. Tweaked my back trying to pick-ax a deer turd that was frozen to the front walk.  Maybe I should grow a really huge beard.

My Chatty Friend

Sylvie and I have been alone together for a week, in the middle of nowhere New York, house-bound due to heavy snow, sub-zero temperatures and, today, freezing rain. This morning when I came down the stairs she gave me her “we need to talk” look…


Okay, I don’t speak dog, but she was probably saying one of three things, maybe all three: “Do the world a favor and shave.” “Are you what happens to people when they move from  Los Angeles to the arctic?”  “Force me to watch televised bowling again and I will end you.”

Not Whole Foods

If you’re looking for a grocery shopping experience that differs from this one, venture on down to my local market (on route 9, past the John Deere dealership, the Creamery, behind the Mobil station) where yesterday I heard this conversation in the meat section…

“Whattaya been up to, dude?”


“Shit! Me, too!”

“Sucked, right?”

“Yeah. Even just for a year.”

Already home…

Each morning, we take Sylvie for a walk down Sparrow Bush Road.  It’s our new routine. And every morning of this first week, we’ve seen Canada geese on the wing in the brightening light.




When I was growing up, I loved the sight and sound of geese in the late summer sky above the valley. Their mournful honking always filled me with a thrum of longing I never quite understood.  It was something about their moving on, homeward bound, when we were already home, and the way their passage marked the end of something beautiful.