Planning so many plans! I’m going to meet up with Rick’s wife, Elise, at the Village Cemetery in Wethersfield Thursday morning as she travels south, and I bought train tickets tonight for a trip to visit my family in Maryland in early August! So exciting!!

My eyes aren’t really bothering me today but they are still totally different strengths (I think I’m just used to it now), so I’m going to see Smart Dr. Eye tomorrow just in case. My family does have a history of bizarro eye problems (well, mostly Robert), so it’s good to check out, I guess.

I got a beautiful new book today! I have been wanting it for a while, but I was inspired to actually buy it because I am planning a train trip and I think it would be fun to read on the train.  I have actually read it before (which is how I knew I love it enough to actually want to own it), but it was back in August, 2008, and I have a really bad memory, so I will be able to enjoy it all over again because I don’t remember what happens.  I just know it’s a really good book to read in August.

Also, I was excited when I picked the book up and saw that the introduction in this cool Penguin Classics Deluxe edition is by Jonathan Lethem!  I love Jonathan Lethem, but I had no idea he liked Shirley Jackson.  Makes sense, though, because Jonathan Lethem pretty much always has good taste.

This book is feather-light to hold, and the pages have a deckle edge, just like my eyeball edition Schocken Kafka books. So cool and classy.

I got a beautiful new book today! I have been wanting it for a while, but I was inspired to actually buy it because I am planning a train trip and I think it would be fun to read on the train. I have actually read it before (which is how I knew I love it enough to actually want to own it), but it was back in August, 2008, and I have a really bad memory, so I will be able to enjoy it all over again because I don’t remember what happens. I just know it’s a really good book to read in August.

Also, I was excited when I picked the book up and saw that the introduction in this cool Penguin Classics Deluxe edition is by Jonathan Lethem! I love Jonathan Lethem, but I had no idea he liked Shirley Jackson. Makes sense, though, because Jonathan Lethem pretty much always has good taste.

This book is feather-light to hold, and the pages have a deckle edge, just like my eyeball edition Schocken Kafka books. So cool and classy.

What the heck x 1,000. When I woke up this morning, my right eye had suddenly become much weaker than the left one! It doesn’t hurt or feel strange or anything, but the prescription is noticeably different, so it’s very hard to look at things without feeling a bit wonky. (Dean: “Got up on the wrong side of the bed?” Me: “No, got up on the weird side of the bed!”) It’s not that bad while driving because you just gaze off into the distance and the stronger eye sort of takes over, but it’s really hard to look at things up close like books/iPhone/computer screen.

The weirdest thing is, I can’t really tell if my right eye is messed up, my left eye is messed up, or they are both out of sync with focusing or something. It seems like my left eye is really sharp when I look at far away stuff (maybe even extra sharp?), while my right eye is fuzzy. But my left eye seems totally unable to focus on things up close, whereas my right eye is okay up close. And if I try very hard, I can get my right eye to sharpen up for looking at far away things, but I have to cover my left eye and really concentrate on intentionally focusing the right eye, almost like I’m peering though a telescope or something. It’s soooo bizarre! If it doesn’t straighten out I’ll have to see Smart Dr. Eye, I guess. I feel normal otherwise, and haven’t had any wonky-eye ciliary spasms in a while.

Just watched Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake again. Remote viewing parties with June are the BEST. ♥

I woke up this morning at about 10 AM and wrote this down, then went back to sleep. I was very sleepy because I didn’t go to bed until 6 or 7 AM-ish. I can’t even remember when.


I had a Sherlock Holmes dream and it was great! Holmes hid in a closet with a pillow at the end after the mystery was solved because he wanted to be alone but he slipped his fingers under the closet door so Watson could sit on the floor outside and touch them while together with the rest of the people.

It had Mr. Zip the miniature postman in it as a character and he was really cute! (I think he was sitting next to my character on bus?) All the rest including the mystery (the main topic of the dream, which was quite fascinating) is fading away from me now…

It didn’t take place in the 1890s, because there was a Nazi element to the solution. I can’t remember if it was modern-day or not, though. I can only really remember the end part, although the rest of the story was extremely good and entertaining. Holmes in the dream didn’t look or act like a Holmes played by a specific actor; he was more my-brain’s-Holmes. But it was clearly inspired by watching Scott Ambler as the prince in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake last night! I think maybe I was the Watson role in the dream.

I want to eat this as a snack EVERY DAY. Too bad I finished them all and I can’t get more until next week at the Wethersfield Farmers’ Market. Superskinny purple beans are amazing and I am obsessed with every element of this photo.

I want to eat this as a snack EVERY DAY. Too bad I finished them all and I can’t get more until next week at the Wethersfield Farmers’ Market. Superskinny purple beans are amazing and I am obsessed with every element of this photo.

I have just seen Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (the 1996 DVD, with Adam Cooper and Scott Ambler) and it is the BEST BALLET THING EVER.

(Also, I am obsessed with the feel of my new bowl. It’s the perfect size and weight to lie on me while I’m watching Swan Lake, slowly eating raw long purple beans during the grand ball scene.  When it’s empty, my fingers can caress the honeycomb texture until the very end.  Note: the actual official color of this bowl is “mauve”!)

Oh, and the crown prince massively reminds me of Benedict Cumberbatch (I realized this during the drunk scene), but I like him far more than any actual Benedict Cumberbatch role I’ve ever seen! (?!)

[Edit: I watched it on DVD, but Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is up in its entirety on YouTube!!  Part One and Part Two.]

I have just seen Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (the 1996 DVD, with Adam Cooper and Scott Ambler) and it is the BEST BALLET THING EVER.

(Also, I am obsessed with the feel of my new bowl. It’s the perfect size and weight to lie on me while I’m watching Swan Lake, slowly eating raw long purple beans during the grand ball scene. When it’s empty, my fingers can caress the honeycomb texture until the very end. Note: the actual official color of this bowl is “mauve”!)

Oh, and the crown prince massively reminds me of Benedict Cumberbatch (I realized this during the drunk scene), but I like him far more than any actual Benedict Cumberbatch role I’ve ever seen! (?!)

[Edit: I watched it on DVD, but Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is up in its entirety on YouTube!! Part One and Part Two.]

I found another snakeskin in the yard today! This must be the official skin-shedding week.

And this, from January 23rd also. It’s been a draft post all these months, so I’ll let it stay exactly as the Past Self composed it. Just some of the little treasures I’ve collected. I’m crazy about precise and subtle details tonight! Exquisite. Overmuch. Inarticulate.

I don’t want to go to bed. These photos are actually from January 23rd, but I never posted them. I like them right now. Evaporated gentian violet, desiccated menthol crystals, and paranoid fish eyes; pointy things and concentric sun-circles! Ocean and forest and poison. I think it’s because I was reading my Coleridge biography this afternoon to pass the time while getting an oil change. I like how that one bottle has only a trace left, in the corner. What’s in there?

Things in the yard yesterday.

What I especially love: the way my veins are blue and sticking out, how dirty my fingers are, and how soft the flutes of that ivory-toned mushroom look. Touching. Broken. The faded decadent 1890s mauveness of Lady in Red hydrangea. The faint greenness and white hyacinthine innocence of Little Lime hydrangea’s hyacinthine blossoms. (LIR = Valentine and LL = Cecil!) The congruity of snakeskin texture and stone wall texture, and their swirl of silver and orange. How the rock reminds me of a fire. How the snake’s head and tail don’t meet. This whole collection of photos just feels oddly V-story to me, though I can’t quite articulate why.

My new lichen book arrived today, and I am excited!  It looks like my favorite kind of guidebook:  big, colorful, detailed photos and clear, enthusiastic notes written by someone with a great knowledge and passion for the subject.  Lichens are tricky lifeforms (they are a fungus and an alga in symbiosis) and are hard to identify, but the book is presented so that even an amateur lichen fan can enjoy and appreciate them. I can’t wait to go into the woods and see what I’ll notice anew.

I haven’t actually read any of the book yet, but I quickly paged through and there are so many different fascinating kinds of lichen with highly varied forms, many with the coolest names.  My favorite names so far:  Sea Storm Lichen, Crazy Scale Lichen, Dragon Horn, Dusty Cobblestone Lichen, Sulphur Firedot, Golden Moonglow, Jelly Flakes Lichen (this sounds like a good cereal), Powdery Goldspeck, Elegant Sunburst Lichen (this one is really beautiful!), Bloody Heart Lichen (excellent!!), Orange-cored Shadow Lichen (sounds very sneaky), and Peppered Moon Lichen.  That’s just a sampling.

My new lichen book arrived today, and I am excited! It looks like my favorite kind of guidebook: big, colorful, detailed photos and clear, enthusiastic notes written by someone with a great knowledge and passion for the subject. Lichens are tricky lifeforms (they are a fungus and an alga in symbiosis) and are hard to identify, but the book is presented so that even an amateur lichen fan can enjoy and appreciate them. I can’t wait to go into the woods and see what I’ll notice anew.

I haven’t actually read any of the book yet, but I quickly paged through and there are so many different fascinating kinds of lichen with highly varied forms, many with the coolest names. My favorite names so far: Sea Storm Lichen, Crazy Scale Lichen, Dragon Horn, Dusty Cobblestone Lichen, Sulphur Firedot, Golden Moonglow, Jelly Flakes Lichen (this sounds like a good cereal), Powdery Goldspeck, Elegant Sunburst Lichen (this one is really beautiful!), Bloody Heart Lichen (excellent!!), Orange-cored Shadow Lichen (sounds very sneaky), and Peppered Moon Lichen. That’s just a sampling.

Spent about SEVEN HOURS today visiting with Uncle Randy and Aunt Mary Ellen at the lake! I got there at 3:40 and didn’t leave until 10:30. I told them several times they should kick me out (in case they were getting tired), but nope! (I got the sense that Aunt Mary Ellen was starting to get a little tired near the end, but that Uncle Randy didn’t want me to leave and kept talking and talking!) The coolest part is, I had never even exchanged more than just a few words back and forth with them until just a few years ago. I was always sort of scared of them when I was younger! But they are actually insanely easy to talk to and incredibly enjoyable to spend time with. And I’m not usually good at talking to people and get easily worn out by too much socializing. But I was chatting away the entire time!

I think the reason they are so good to talk to is: 1) they make you feel really comfortable and at home, 2) they actually talk about interesting stuff, 3) they let me talk, too, so it feels very balanced and engaging.

Because I’m quiet and reserved, sometimes when people talk to me, they don’t really let me say anything. Like I say one thing about myself or what I’m interested in, and then because I’m not that forward about it, they proceed to take over the conversation and just talk about themselves nonstop so I only react/comment on their topics and never really get to share anything myself. I’d like to (in some cases), but I need the right feedback to open up. Uncle Randy and Aunt Mary Ellen don’t do that. They talk about all sorts of different topics, and actually let me contribute to the conversation. And because they make me feel so comfortable, I’m much more animated with them, and more casual/relaxed. I like it!

I’m really tired tonight for some reason, but I wanted to write about this afternoon before the day is over. I had volunteered to bring Dean’s car in to the car dealership for a service appointment, and I wanted to visit the Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford today, so he suggested I ask them if I could get a courtesy shuttle to take me there. (I actually told them I wanted to go to Travelers’, which is across the street, since that sounds less weird than going to a cemetery.) The car dealership is right across the river from Hartford, so it was super quick and worked out perfectly! I didn’t have to drive in Hartford, find a place to park, or anything—they just drove me and dropped me off, then picked me up again after the car was ready! And I didn’t have to wait around bored at the car dealership. So brilliant!

The Ancient Burying Ground was closed this spring for renovations, but they reopened at the end of June, and I had been wanting to go and check out the changes, which include a revamped and more welcoming entrance, lovely new pathways and benches, and improved landscaping. Most of all, I wanted to see my brick! Dean originally tried to get me the brick as a Christmas present back in 2010, but it didn’t work out at the time because the walkway improvements were stalled. But the very gracious secretary remembered me from my e-mails and contacted me again this winter when they planned to put in new bricks (!), and it’s there at last! It looks fantastic, and I love knowing that the money went toward preserving the Ancient Burying Ground.

The best thing, though: the coolest and most amazing coincidence happened…! When I arrived at the burying ground, I was slowly pacing back and forth on the walkway looking for my brick, and one of the Hartford middle school students who are in a summer program to give tours of the burying ground approached me and asked if I wanted a tour. I had had one a few years ago, but I said sure, and she started the tour. Less than a minute later another lady walked up and asked if she could join the tour, so I said of course—we had just started and I didn’t mind starting over.

When the girl passed us off to the boy who was doing the next segment of the tour, he said to my companion, “I recognize you! You’re Mr. Holcombe's daughter, aren't you?” I turned to her in surprise and asked, “Are you Anne Holcombe?!” I introduced myself and she knew who I was immediately. Anne is the secretary of the Ancient Burying Ground Association, and the person I have to thank for my brick being made and installed! (Her father, Shepherd Holcombe, was the president of the ABGA and the spearhead behind the ongoing restoration program that started in the 1980s, the reason the site is in such beautiful condition today.)

We continued the tour together and then talked for quite a while afterwards. It was such a pleasure meeting her and I can’t believe the incredible coincidence in timing! Wow!

After she had to leave, I stayed for a little while longer and took some photos. It was the first time I had been back in the Ancient Burying Ground since meeting my friend and gravestone mentor Rick there last summer, so I was thinking of him a lot (especially because his memorial service and burial were this weekend in New Hampshire), and I made a point to visit the mulberry tree where he had introduced me to picking mulberries. Mulberry season has passed, but as I stood inside its leafy shade, I missed him very much and thought about how lucky I was to know him. I smiled fondly as I wandered through the stones and was greeted by the familiar Gershom Bartlett and Glastonbury Lady Carver faces (both of which Rick was studying, and we’d admired together).

It was a lovely day, and only about 80°, so I stopped at Carini’s on the way home to pick more blueberries, then realized as I was picking that it was a fitting tribute to Rick. I didn’t know it until he died, but berry picking was one of his passions. When my berry bucket was almost full, I heard something struggling on the ground in the netting that protects the berry picking area. It was a robin with his head caught in the net. When he saw me, he started squeaking and flapping ineffectually. Poor robin! I put down my berries and carefully lifted the netting, freeing him, and he flew away! I was so happy!!! :-)

We had such a nice weekend!  ♥  The weather was cooler, and it was perfect for sitting outside on the patio.  We had a cookout and ate outside, and even had a fire with s’mores Saturday evening.

Saturday afternoon we bought two new bird feeders to replace ones that were destroyed by time and use, and had lots of entertainment watching the birds and squirrels figuring them out after we set them up.  One is a new tray, which the squirrels are allowed on, and the other is a new tube feeder that’s exactly like our old tube feeder except it has a copper anti-squirrel cage around it!  (The bird store person said it was the most beautiful feeder in the store, ha!  It’s pretty nice.)  The poor squirrels were very tortured by the delicious smelling seeds and nuts that they couldn’t reach, and kept doing all sorts of wacky things to attempt to get at it.

So far, only finches and titmice have ventured inside, so I don’t know if Mrs. Downy will be comfortable with it or not.  Larger birds can’t fit, but the downy woodpeckers should be able to get in.  We’ll see.  I really hope Mrs. D. will use it and feel safe in there.

Oh, and Red and Mrs. Red have a new Red, Jr. again this year!  He or she was around a lot, at the triple-and-feed, and is really cute—pretty large, but immature looking compared to the adult red-bellied woodpeckers, and with no red on top yet.

We had such a nice weekend! ♥ The weather was cooler, and it was perfect for sitting outside on the patio. We had a cookout and ate outside, and even had a fire with s’mores Saturday evening.

Saturday afternoon we bought two new bird feeders to replace ones that were destroyed by time and use, and had lots of entertainment watching the birds and squirrels figuring them out after we set them up. One is a new tray, which the squirrels are allowed on, and the other is a new tube feeder that’s exactly like our old tube feeder except it has a copper anti-squirrel cage around it! (The bird store person said it was the most beautiful feeder in the store, ha! It’s pretty nice.) The poor squirrels were very tortured by the delicious smelling seeds and nuts that they couldn’t reach, and kept doing all sorts of wacky things to attempt to get at it.

So far, only finches and titmice have ventured inside, so I don’t know if Mrs. Downy will be comfortable with it or not. Larger birds can’t fit, but the downy woodpeckers should be able to get in. We’ll see. I really hope Mrs. D. will use it and feel safe in there.

Oh, and Red and Mrs. Red have a new Red, Jr. again this year! He or she was around a lot, at the triple-and-feed, and is really cute—pretty large, but immature looking compared to the adult red-bellied woodpeckers, and with no red on top yet.