Interviews and beans

I’m receiving an award—the Rose Dorothea award — from the Provincetown Library this coming Friday, September 14, @ 7 pm. I’ll be giving a poetry reading as part of the celebration. In preparation for the reading and award ceremony, I did an interview on Monday with Ann Wood for the Provincetown Banner and Wednesday with Rebecca Alvin of Provincetown magazine. I had just finished a long interview for Moment magazine the week before. An interview I did with Legend is already up on line. I believe the library award is named for a ship, of which a large model is there, or so I’ve been told. I’d assumed Rose Dorothea was a woman, but no, she’s a ship. I’m curious about the story behind this. Also up on line is the interview in English and Portuguese I did with a scholar who is writing her thesis on my work.

I don’t know why anyone grows bush beans. They make all at once and then die. Pole beans give and give all summer. Just as they’re preparing to die they have a last burst of many beans. I froze four pounds Thursday and gave away another pound and a half. Twenty pounds and four half pounds of frozen beans are quite sufficient for us for the winter. We still were getting wax, purple and green pole beans. I like to grow a version of scarlet runner beans each year on one teepee. Years ago Margaret Atwood told me that if I wanted hummingbirds, I should grow scarlet runner beans. There are many improved types, but I always am careful to plant ones that are truly bright red. We always have hummingbirds. Sometimes they nest in the scarlet running beans teepee and the female is very aggressive about defending her nest. Those beans are off limits while she’s sitting on the eggs and when the little birds hatch.

I have been reading DIRTY RIVER by Leah Lakshmi Piepzra-Samarasinna. I was surprised to find two shout-outs to me, about what my writing has meant to her. It’s exciting and affirming to find something like that in any book, in this case, in her memoir. I relate strongly to passages about getting shit for being bisexual and about how she ate in poverty. I was so poor for so long that those times are still vivid to me. How you are always balancing various needs when you only have money enough to solve one of them. Dressing out of rummage sales and thrift shops and holding on to those precious clothes until they disintegrated. Being happy when I found something that fit, wasn’t full of holes already and badly stained, and was actually pretty. So many decades later, I remember certain items that made me feel good when I put them on. She didn’t have a winter coat in Toronto, which made me remember getting by without a winter coat when I lived in Michigan and Chicago. Finally in Chicago I found one. It was a hideous green and too big for me but it only cost $3. I still remember how glad I was to wear it.

I am done putting tomatoes by. Enough Italian canned sauce, enough simple sauce jars, enough hot sauce in jars, enough dried tomatoes, enough jars of plain tomatoes. I know we’ll enjoy them in the dead of winter, but enough is enough. They are slowing down at last. Later today, we’ll pull the paste tomatoes in my garden to make way for the lettuces, endives, escaroles. The plants are browning from the bottom of each vine upwards and there are no more blossoms and skimpy fruit. My second planting of cucumbers are gone made and is spewing out cukes faster than we can eat them. My succession planting of cilantro is growing rapidly. The cole crops I started and planted early last month are doing as well as can be expected with the torrid weather and the slugs. The eggplants are done, but the peppers are still producing, both the sweet and the hot. I’m freezing as well, of course, of eating them.

Friday evening, rain, beautiful rain. We don’t have to water till Monday. Monday is Rosh haShonah, so Erev Rosh haShonah is Sunday night. We’re having 10 people in our small diningroom so it’s going to be crowded. I do a short ritual before the meal – a shade less than half an hour. It had been so long since it rained, the cats didn’t know what it was at first and Willow was frightened. What is that noisy wet stuff?

My cable went insane this week. Thursday night, we tried to watch the Eagles/Falcons game but there was no sound. Then the sound came on in Spanish. We have been getting random programs in Spanish all week. I could follow it more or less but Woody couldn’t and it irritated him.   Another insane thing is that random programs would have a voice over for seeing impaired people. A voice would say, “He walks to the door and opens it. Then he walks inside and looks around.”

On my 3rd try, I got a Comcast agent who actually was bright and talked me through fixing it. it took some time but it is supposed to be normal now. We’ll see. So lovely and cool today. Everyone’s in good spirits and lively, for a change, including me.

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