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BY Michael

11/01 Direct Link
Yesterday was Halloween. Halloween has become a big holiday I've heard it said, second only to Christmas. Odd it will be when Halloween gets to be bigger than Christmas, but that appears to be where this society is headed. Anyway I carved a pumpkin for Halloween. It was something you wanted me to do and while you wanted one of those fancy pumpkins from a pattern printed off the internet I just carved the pumpkin I always carve. It is the pumpkin picture I carry in my head from year to year and now it sits alone and cold outside.
11/02 Direct Link
The UPS truck trolls by
As I wonder
What would the neighborhood
Do
Without its daily infusion
Of UPS?

They might have to send around
a truck to collect
the DOWNS.

I imagine the DOWNS truck
Would be a bright red.
and it would be taking
things away from people

instead of dropping them off.

Hello, I am here to get the designer sheets
off your bed,
and your new waffle iron.
I am your frowning DOWNS man.

Oh does that mean you will fix
the waffle iron?
The UPS man broke it when he
dropped it on my step.
11/03 Direct Link
This is not going to be a 100 Words entry. I am safe from that. Not sure what I mean by safe there, sheltered somehow I suppose. Sheltered from the semi-public exposure. But then how much exposure does a 100 Words entry really get? This is not at all going where I thought it was going to go. That is not entirely bad. There is a chill in the air outside today. It is the wind. The wind seeps into the cracks around your collar and chills you there. It leans against your pant legs and chills you even there.
11/04 Direct Link
I am wearing my red flannel shirt. It is a dark red, a subdued red. I like it. It is a new shirt. It feels soft up around my neck. There is some danger it may come out of the laundry a different color or size. There is no room for shrinkage as it fit perfectly as is. I realize that it is risky business to buy a flannel shirt that actually fits given what frequently happens when they are washed, but it was not exactly a cheap shirt so it may survive. I am gambling on the presumed quality.
11/05 Direct Link
I am freaking out a bit. I sense my life closing in around me, as if the number of options open to me are being systematically reduced day after day. This perhaps is the nature of aging, the reduction of options. This perhaps is one of the surprises that we have to look forward to, one of the things that we have no way of anticipating when we are younger and have many options. But how many options do we really have at any moment in time? Two? Three? An unlimited number? Perhaps in a small way they are unlimited.
11/06 Direct Link
I look to the piano but I have written about the piano before. That does not preclude my writing about the piano again. The piano is a big thing. It is a big festering thing in my life. I am simply not gifted at the piano, so it comes to me with great difficulty and what I learn does not stay with me. It is frustrating. How much longer will I be able to keep this up? But I have the piano. Since I have the piano and am letting it take up so much space I should play it.
11/07 Direct Link
Along the railroad tracks my father would take me. In the cold, too cold winter he would take me hunting there, walking hopeless miles in the snow in search of rabbits and pheasants. There was something bleak about the railroad ties creeping up out of the snow beneath my own small footprints, about the aged fence posts sprouting at regular intervals beneath the wire, about the fields stretching endless and white with broken cornstalk stubble. Snow laid up in tiny corners, a skiff along the top of a post. The wind howling and tugging at my legs and my clothes.
11/08 Direct Link
And it is time for my early afternoon shakes. The creeps or whatever. It just is not good. I am worried that it will continue to get worse as I get older rather than improving with some sort of recovery. Recovery would be good. I pray for restoration of the soul, for recovery. I pray for it by different names thinking maybe I am calling it by the wrong name and this is why God is ignoring me. Perhaps He is upset that I did not capitalize His name at some point. I went for years not capitalizing God's name.
11/09 Direct Link
Christmas music. It seems early for Christmas music but that is just me trying to shove Christmas off. It is an unaccountably bad time for accountably sad reasons I suppose. Tony Bennett is singing. He is a man from long ago, now old, even older than I am. All these Christmas songs seem to be from long ago and their long agoeness just makes me aware of the passage of time. No one gets out alive it is said and there are so many witty things said that I have never thought of. Have all the witty things been said?
11/10 Direct Link
I get an email from Rhapsody telling me there is a new Klaus Schulze CD available. It is called In Blue and reminds me of William Gass's On Being Blue. In my memory he is Henry Gass, but the internet quickly corrects this. I see the book has recently been re-issued. I had thought it had slid into obscurity, much like me, but apparently not. I believe I still own a copy. Maybe the older edition is worth something now. Mine is a paperback so probably not. Still it was an attractive paperback printed with a soft blue paper cover.
11/11 Direct Link
I get an email from Rhapsody telling me there is a new Klaus Schulze CD available. It is called In Blue and reminds me of William Gass's On Being Blue. The cover reminds me, and perhaps the title. I turn off the Christmas music and start up the Schulze. I see it is a two CD set and this causes me some cognitive dissonance as I want to play the piano at some point today and I don't have time for a two-CD set here. I put it on anyway and pull up Word to play in that warm puddle.
11/12 Direct Link
I remember a day when the term "cognitive dissonance" got really stuck in my brain. I had heard it before, but an anthropology teacher leaned over her tiny podium one day to fix me with a look...Sinclair, was that her name? Karen Sinclair? Was Sinclair her last name? Or am I fixing on David Sinclair, John Sinclair's brother. My brain is not dependable in these matters. Just look at what I did with William Gass. Google is not much help is sorting out Karen Sinclair. Perhaps if I changed the search. Yes there she is. I remembered the name correctly.
11/13 Direct Link
I remember a day when the term "cognitive dissonance" got really stuck in my brain. I had heard it before, but an anthropology teacher leaned over her tiny podium one day to fix me with a look and said something to the effect that I really did have a lot of the stuff. Yes, I had a lot of the stuff then and still do, maybe more now than I had then and I have learned a lot of new things to call it. Mostly anxiety now. I call it anxiety. Perhaps it has become purer and more independent now.
11/14 Direct Link
You bring me some Bruschetta and crackers to eat with my wine. You got the bruschetta at the store today, bringing it home proudly saying you had bought it for me. I had not had bruschetta before and took a dim view of the jar, resolving in my mind to hate the stuff no matter what it tasted like. No I did not want the bruschetta. But I tasted it and, say, the bruschetta was not so bad after all. I am reminded of the kibbie you made. I liked that a lot and wound up asking for it again.
11/15 Direct Link
It has been snowing all day. It is the first snow of any consequence this season. We went out to several stores. You bought me hiking boots at one. I am pretty sure I didn't want the hiking boots but it seemed important to you and I realized I was just being an ass about them. So I said, "yes," and let you bring them home. They are still in the box in the entry way and I know that at some point I am going to have to get up and struggle into the damn things. They aren't slip-ons.
11/16 Direct Link
It has been snowing all day. It is the first snow of any consequence this season. We went out to several stores. You bought me hiking boots at the tractor supply store. When we came home we moved my car out of the garage and into the snow field. I am pretty sure it will become a snow drift after the maintenance man plows. That is how he is about my car. I was sad to see my car go out into the snow, but it is the best arrangement. I recognize this. That doesn't mean I won't be sad.
11/17 Direct Link
I drank the wine again early this afternoon. It was your idea for me to drink the wine. I have been rolling off the Ativan and have been having the most awful heebie jeebies. I did not think the wine would help, but it does. It puts the quiesce on the jeebies like no other. It really works. Thank you. Thank you. I brought my car home this afternoon too at your suggestion. It was in a small snow bank, not really so bad and the tire pressure light had not come on either. That thing is a damnable inconvenience.
11/18 Direct Link
I save my writing to the cloud. Writing takes up so little space that everything I have easily fits into 2 GB. I think It is GB. I am sure it is not TB and I don't think there is anything between GB and TB. The point is that 2 WB (Whateverbytes) is the cutoff for free space and when I exceed that I have to either start paying for space or I have to wrestle all the stuff back onto my computer and let me testify, that copying to and from the cloud is not a confidence inspiring experience.
11/19 Direct Link
A tiny avalanche of snow cascades off the evergreen planted next to the front door on the condo unit next door. Why their front door faces the side of our unit I don't know, but that is how they are put together. It means our neighbors have to walk around their unit to get home. Ours is straightforward. Park the car, dodge the garage and walk in. We walk into a hallway from our garage and you have assured me that they have no hallway in their unit. You have seen all the units. I have seen only this one.
11/20 Direct Link
We have three stockings hanging from the fireplace. We have more stockings, but three is the number of stocking hangars you have. I didn't mention that I used to hang stockings from a nail pressed into the space between the mantle and the wall. I'm pretty sure that would work here, but you are happy with your stocking hangars and we only need space for three at the moment. We have another six or seven stockings, but they have not been filled yet. The three are there waiting for my son to show up with his wife and the baby.
11/21 Direct Link
I don't have the fire in the belly for anything anymore. Doing things is more of an intellectual exercise to keep my brain from self-destructing. Staying busy relieves the existential pain. I think it is existential pain. I wonder what I would get if I Googled existential pain. I shall try it. And of course I get hits. The phrase "living is painful" stands out in my browser window for some reason. This is a different window than the one telling me I have misspelled "Googled." It is interesting that a word so commonly used is not in my dictionary.
11/22 Direct Link
This is a way to start the engine rolling. Soon it will gain momentum and I will erase the first part. So many of these trains run better without the engine anyway. They are pulled along the tracks by imagination and so need no diesel oil or tons of bent and forged steel. We are lucky, so lucky to live in these times. The best of all times so far as we know. And I live in the best of places for these times. Again so lucky. Ok, is it time for the train to veer off on another track?
11/23 Direct Link
You brought the turkey carcass home from the dinner. You hate to see anything go to waste. It was huge and you didn't have a pan big enough to put it in, so you put it into two pots and began cooking it up. By lunch today we had turkey noodle soup and I envision a long line of turkey related dishes coming out of your tiny kitchen over the next few weeks. You are a good cook and the only bad thing is that I feel guilty because you do so much of the cooking and I so little.
11/24 Direct Link
It's raining again today. It is supposed to rain tomorrow also, the day I will go to Ohio. I think I will go to Ohio. That is where my parents and sister live and I have promised to put in an appearance for the holidays. You are not going with me. You have simply refused to go and this put me in a panic at first. I have never seen a woman behave this way before. Now I am getting used to the idea. You will go once a year you say and I can go any time I like.
11/25 Direct Link
I have six minutes of power left on my computer. Time to find a plug. My original plan was to write until it needed plugged in and then go play the piano while it charged. So much for plans. How does the saying go? Planning is useless but it is essential? I have moved into a chair closer to my charging cord. The light is not so good here. I can see the computer screen just fine, but the keys are not really visible. Good thing I can type in the dark. I give up and turn on another light.
11/26 Direct Link
The unthinkable is that you can die at any minute, any time, any day. Yet so many of us continue to act as if it will never happen. I suppose that is what we must do or be strangled with angst. Of course I am strangled with angst and my awareness of my onrushing mortality may have a lot to do with it. Had I another hundred years or so to straighten matters out, I might relax, go back into the work force, do great things and so on. Now I am stuck out here in three-sigma land writing poetry.
11/27 Direct Link
Your printer ran out of ink. You asked me to take you to get some more. I was concerned because it was Black Friday and you know all the stuff you hear about Black Friday. We decided Meijer would be the safest place to go. It was raining, a cold rain and he town was gearing up for the annual festival of lights parade. This little town has some diehard parade fans. It is a dreary day and they already have tents and chairs up reserving their spots. I waited in the car for you, parked behind the Brinks truck.
11/28 Direct Link
I will start scribbling because sometimes that slows my mind down when it is in fugue like this. I may even settle into 100 words if I can achieve normal or close to it. You are in the kitchen. Maybe you are cooking again. Yes, you say you are boiling some miniature hot dogs. Vienna franks I think. Is that what they are called? You got your one thing done. I know what you are doing, sort of. I don't think I could step in and do it for you if you got sick. I don't understand it that well.
11/29 Direct Link
I Googled it. I Googled everything. I got very little information except for people trying to sell me things. The internet has become very crowded with entrepreneurs. It is hard to do a search for anything without being overwhelmed by ads and offers to sell. It is difficult to get actual real information with all the marketing and straight-up bad information out there. I would bemoan the lost days when the thing worked, but I don't recall a time when it worked better than it does now. I mean sometimes it works, but more and more it is just commercial.
11/30 Direct Link
The battery ran out on my laptop. It seemed sudden. I left it on when I took you to the pharmacy. It was dead when I got home. Normally it sleeps after a bit. Must be it did not have enough battery left to successfully sleep. It for sure didn't have enough battery to turn on when I got back home. This leaves me fearing that I will soon have to buy a new battery for this machine. That is not so big a problem except that the machine also has two dead usb ports and has been acting odd