Wednesday, October 31, 2007


There was a 5.6 earthquake at about eight last night in the East Bay, but I didn't feel a thing. It was deep and on the Hayward Fault so there might well be more. We have survival kits at home and in the car.

We were watching Incubus, made in 1966, black and white, in Big Sur, in Esperanto. Very interesting story about the survival of the only print (it was running as a cult noir in Paris), and the film itself is heavily Bergmanesque. A real treat.

I am now face to face with Master Mouse - the foot soldiers have been dispatched and for two days now the bait has gone but the trap unsprung. Devilish cunning required. You try tying cheese to the trigger of a modern clothes-peg mousetrap. Maybe SuperGlue is the idea.

I have built out the door frame of the bathroom - much better - reset the loo with not only the thickest, industrial strength wax ring I could find, but also cut a further half-inch from the old one to supplement. It was very easy to see the problem, the last ring had fallen from the horn of the pedestal because it just didn't fill the space. Then I mended George's jeans, Felix's white linen shirt, made lentil soup and in the evening we visited Amy, the new kitten.


Underpinning all this is that I can see my camera work was far better this last shoot, and they could hardly be better, nicer clients. I don't like blogging about work but my work of any kind is deeply meaningful to me, maybe too meaningful. We are not one quarter as busy here as we were in London (amazing what a move of five thousand miles can do to your client base), and that sometimes gives rise to wrenching anxiety and a frugality which precludes many things I would enjoy. And so the world grows smaller.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbour
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorise the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Billy Collins

Mice 3


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Mice 2

We got in from Sacramento to find the trap denuded but not sprung, so I set it once more, then Cissy came over to talk about their shoot with Charlotte in LA, and we were telling her all about the authors when we heard it snap. I forbore to clear the body until Cissy had left, to spare her feelings, then - set the trap again.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Last night again I heard a strange schritch-schritch-schritching, seemingly under the floorboards, pulled away the drawers under the sideboard to see that the photo albums had mouse droppings around them. That is good news compared with my fear of a rat which would have meant poison in the storeroom, warning Dee to keep the cats safe, eco-worry etc. I set a trap, but we are off to shoot in Sacramento today, not back til tomorrow so won't check it until then. I washed my hands very thoroughly.

Suscipe was interested, of course, but I would rather not rely on her - especially as she seems so much brighter and calmer since de-worming. We have to cosset her, precious as she is to us.

It was sheer bliss to lie in this morning knowing how busy we will be tonight. I read William's blog, now in Ruby on Rails (and no, I don't really know what it means either), finished Dervish Daughter and drank coffee.

The house is unnaturally clean and orderly; my nails are of a decent length and clean, no bruises or scabs, my hands normal size. I attribute this to two weeks of house guests plus shoots in the middle. Is this how normal people live? Why am I so driven to build? Yet within hours of Daniel's leaving the sheets were drying in the sun, I had made another brew of kambucha and moved furniture back, so I love order for all it becomes stultifying so quickly.

Ideally, would I simply like more work? Different work, teaching? More adventure, more involvement, more energy? Another house to work on? All of the above?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Little Maggie the cat died last night of complications after her surgery - George found her outside on Sunday morning unable to walk so probably a car. They are collecting her body so she can come home.

She was a dear little cat, big eyes and a lively, pointed, curious face, a star in her own version of the drama of life, always being chased by imaginary foes and outwitting plots against her freedom and emerging glorious victorious to sleep on the bed, totally ignoring the birds. Her coat was tabby and very long, her body curiously short, and I often brushed her while I was there which she didn't like. I am sure she made up stories in her cat head. Reality was just a backdrop for the vivid world of Maggie.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I love my room.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Small shoot in my living room, one bass, one lead guitar, big Betacam, many lights and The Young. Great fun.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord

I saw, rather gruesome, the joined hands of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning cast in bronze at the Metropolitan Museum Shop in San Francisco. There they were, her hand tiny and bony, his manly, with some sort of texture which presumably was to make them look weathered and antique. It was just too personal to be in a shop.

My own tiny right hand is slowly losing the scabs from putting up the beam above the shower, although that seems a lifetime ago and I am fretting over what to do next. Maybe I should wait until the scars on the left hand fade? I bought the nepeta I wanted yesterday: should I garden?

I do believe the best actions bubble irrepressibly from within, so we join the Cosmic Dance. Is there virtue in the duty-bound? Depends on the ideology. Going to Meet the One might be wanting Lucy-ish Ups and Upper Ups. My limitations are self-inflicted for the most part.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I started sewing while the roofers were here (slight leak round a SkyTube), decided to make a small adjustment to the sofa covers as they pulled slightly at the corners in a way that irks me. Fixed them, put the first one into the washing machine which promptly leaked. Again. Man came recently and couldn't find a problem, so now have another appointment.

So what is the universe telling me? In short order we have had the loo, the basin, the roof and the washer. Again.

I just love the lofty tone of blogging don't you? The exchange of ideas, the insights, the communal connundrum of Life.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Shame of It

I did it again. We went to see a film called Michael Clayton (wonderful), but at a point of high tension in the film someone crept up behind him - and I screamed. The whole cinema rippled with amusement as I sank in my seat. You can't take me anywhere.

The Fire is Lit

We have plummetted into winter, and very wet it is too. Driving Eileen to the airport was a sightless, white-knuckle white-out ride, cheered by our smugness at swinging into Nordstrom's and buying her a darling reversible bronze/black raincoat with Issey Miyake-like pleated hood, sister to mine which I had lent her.

It is dawning on me too that by giving Stefan his own bathroom, I also get a bathroom more or less my own. I can keep the shower at my height and setting! I can fiddly-fold all towels and textiles! I don't have to be so sneaky about my L'Ombre dans L'Eau soap, last cake, alas.

It has been unnatural being so tidy and organised the last few days. Of course I cleaned up before Eileen came and generated no sawdust while she was here, but just keeping on top of things (and maybe having another woman around) created such a pleasant feeling of order and harmony that I relaxed and enjoyed it. I can't get more wood while the weather is tanking down as it is, so maybe we shall stay relatively civilised until next week and live like normal people, not like out-of-control Extreme Makeover.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Seal!

We saw a sleek young seal this morning swimming up the inlet, the second one we have seen here.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Last night I dreamed of Manderley - no, I laid a new floor in the main bathroom, since the old one had suffered greatly from the sewage leak. It is better than the old one, my technique has improved, or maybe my standards. I am SO pleased with the quality of my work this time around, my game is lifted.

I wasted a happy half hour this morning looking at murals on the internet (try

Today will be getting wood, pottering, and resetting the loo. First, another coffee.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Getting There

Grouting: done
Tricia: done in

Monday, October 01, 2007

I Have Done It!

Well, there's always more to do of course, but all the boarding is done, walls, ceiling, skylight reveal, and I sealed it tonight, not thinking how bad it smells... oops.

I had a Skype conversation with Tim! It worked well too. This could be a revolution.

Landline chat with June, who asked about a poet called Marjorie Pizer who was probably (I thought) an East Coast UU. Found a fair bit about her, she is Australian, Jewish, and she and her husband started Pinchgut Press. She swims daily at Balmoral Beach so in all likelihood June knows her already, just not as a poet. How strange.

Tomorrow I shall grout, and nag the plumber. Stefan shall have a pot to pee in.