February, February, February

Just checking in with non-news: February days slide into one another, often simply differentiated by light or the lack of it:


Wan and weak but welcome,


Hard and sharply bright and cold cold cold,


Varying shades of grey.

We have had a short late winter time. Temperatures and humidity or the lack of either mark the days as well, bestowing different shades of arthritic nuisance. The past two days were sweetly spring-like, getting a bit colder now.

The current drug test will finally be assessed in a few days . There was a rough, discouraging start and though I mostly seem to tolerate it now, I am thinking this probably isn’t it. So March could be another month, another drug. There’s a possibility I’ll be hooked up up to portable equipment, too.


Making kale chips = still processing plant fiber. Here is THE best recipe I’ve ever found.

I’ve been living completely in the present in an odd and new way, monitoring my body, keeping records. It requires an almost uncomfortable level of self-absorption that can, at the same time, bring bits of satisfaction: a tiny knot releases, the stairs become a little easier, here and there a day without an incident. I cook food more than I have done in many long years, and hour or more a day is spent keeping joints moving, warming them, stretching them.


This new thing rolls out into larger space and unfolds, almost daily. It can’t yet be used for cardio, but it works the knee and hip joints gently, smoothly.


I also have new eyes, my second-ever pair of prescription glasses. I still find the process enormously interesting and wish that all other medical procedures echoed its speed and accuracy.


The glasses do this. There’s a short period of adjustment when I come back indoors on a bright day, but they are fine – very fine – in the studio.

It’s grand to be able to be with Vivi, to be so present for her growing. Pup school has its ups and downs but reveals how she learns. The first task was ‘climb’ – to go up onto a raised surface and stay there. Initially, I thought of it as a cute trick, learning for the sake of learning. But the trainer’s two great teacher-dogs stay loose on a low wooden platform until they’re called to help. They watch us intently, move around and interact with any canine or human who comes to them, but stay on the platform. Vivi rather loves ‘climb’ and neatly pops up onto a hassock for collar changes and leash attachment, for grooming or just petting, which is quite nice for tall arthritic humans. It’s also useful to quiet her down after rowdy play, and to bring on the naps she still needs.


“Now what are we doing?”

Watching her personality develop, watching her inclinations begin to reveal themselves, is fascinating. She’s teething now. Wondrously, she only chews what we give her, even though she’s been our floor patrol officer since the day she arrived.  She finds every tiny thing that reaches our floor, but once she’s discovered the piece of cellophane wrapper, the bit of dried leaf, the tissue, the sock, she proudly parades with her find, making sure she gets our attention with a very particular high-headed prance. I calmly remove wet gooey things from her mouth at least four times daily (which says things about our housekeeping but also actually helps it.) Other quick, rhythmic, daily pauses are spent shaping old, wet cotton dishcloths, and freezing them. They provide soothing chewing for about 45 minutes, then they’re thawed, rinsed, re-shaped and re-frozen, loose chewed areas turned inside. I have two to three hardening in the freezer at any given moment.


And that’s it. This February equals quasi-hibernation with my gentle, funny pack, caring for each other. There are many ventures out, all simply practical. It’s not much to write about.


I did take a glance into the future or at least inside, and agreed to an upcoming collaborative project. It’s something I should be able to physically do in brief increments, medical tests or not. So hopefully, I can once again begin adding some small, delicious periods of escape, losing myself in the timelessness of process and thinking.


Up in the studio, the nipping press is the best way to keep this piece while I rebuild its temporary base. Although I might need the press TO build the base.