I forgot to hibernate, but would like to do so now.

I haven’t written anything for a while because I’ve been exhausted. I wrestled a goat in the hallway of my friend Mary’s house last week. Mary had been very sick, so I was over there putting a mint on her pillow and fluffing up her bathrobe when the neighbor’s goats broke in. I trapped the ringleader before she got to the kitchen, where she would have had far too much room to maneuver. I pinned her against the wall – it’s amazing what rage can accomplish – and dragged her out the door again, where her two sisters were having a battle on the porch. It really is lucky that I knew them all (I used to milk their mother), because they outweigh me now. It wasn’t especially tiring, just symptomatic of the complications that surround everything I do right now.

I could just go hide at home, which is becoming increasingly difficult to access. There’s a medieval looking trap at the end of the driveway (see above), and a spring has erupted in the middle of the curve. It’s not just a damp patch; bubbling has been observed. I drive around it, up into the weeds. It is not, thank God, blackberry season. I have no doubt that our local blackberry bushes can catch and hold a Volvo station wagon. The fatalism acquired from a family full of refugees from Ukraine is serving me well. True, the branch might fall on my car, or my driveway might become impassable, but again, they might not, and there’s not much I can do about either possibility, since I don’t have a backhoe or a bucket truck. My daughter will, in any case, be fine, because she’s like that. I could at least blame my landlord for not dealing with the tree, but he’s elderly, his handyman has disappeared into the woods (not a joke), and the one time he tried to replace something up here (the stove), I pitched a fit because I’d just cleaned it with toothpicks and some PineSol. (I don’t actually cook with the stove – I use it for storage.) I’m pretty much left to my own devices now.

There’s a sound track to all this, because a library patron came in and gave me the collected works of Richard Thompson; I hadn’t listened to him for a long time, although I remember seeing him open for Elvis Costello, who brought him out and then genuflected his way off the stage. Elvis Costello was rather disappointing, afterwards.

Here are sample lyrics from Richard’s early days with Fairport Convention: “It was all I could do to keep myself from taking vengeance in blood….”followed by a wailing chorus of “Oh, helpless and slow, and you don’t have anywhere to go.”

He perked up a bit, later on; try When the Spell is Broken, and Walking on a Wire, featuring the lovely voice of Linda Thompson. Never Again is gorgeous, unless you’re feeling sad, in which case it’s lethal.

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Until the Real Thing Comes Along

Miss Billie Holiday and her dog, Mister

Billie Holiday: happy, apparently healthy, and with her wonderful dog, Mister. I love that picture.

I can only listen to her sing “Until the Real Thing Comes Along” about once a year, because I hate, hate, hate to cry. But this song is a perfect distillation of love and pain, and I needed to hear it again tonight.

Miss Ella Fitzgerald vs. Mack the Knife

Ella_fitzgerald_mb

Here you go: Ella forgets the words to “Mack the Knife” halfway through a 1960 performance in Berlin. She makes up her own, and her voice just becomes more and more beautiful. Plus, she’s laughing while she’s singing, and imitating Louis Armstrong, because she can. She makes me happy.