Schwartzie is our youngest cat, a very long haired black sweetiepie pacifist we got from the Northeast Animal shelter. I was in the bathroom when I noticed him sitting long in the litter box straining but nothing coming out. I was very scared that it might be a urinary blockage but it turned out, he could piss just fine, but he was badly constipated. We tried every home remedy for cats and finally he was able to go. We have to brush him regularly from now on. It’s been a number of years since we had a longhaired cat, all shorthaired. Xena never shed, nor does Mingus. I should also brush Willow regularly. She’s medium haired but sheds a lot.
When we finally completed the recording of two poems for Bill Moyers, it turned out his assistant had sent us the wrong information, the exact opposite of what they wanted. Finally Thursday we taped again. This time it only took four tries to get it right. I now have almost memorized both poems. Neither of them were poems I had ever performed so getting into them took some time.
Today is the Belmont. Right now horse racing is the only sport I watch. I can’t get excited about football games from six years ago or any baseball. Boxing matches from the last decade? Network TV is just about gone from my watching — I’m not crazy about celebrity gossip, game shows or movies broadcast for the twenty-second time. Even Jeopardy is doing reruns now.
I have been reading [and am still—it’s over 600 pp] John Irving’s SON OF THE CIRCUS that Dale lent me. The library is sort of kind of open. But it’s complicated. And I bought enough books to keep me in reading material for at least three more weeks. I’ve been sending out poems and some have been accepted. But I find with less stimulation and a lot of garden work to do, my poetic production has slowed down. There are only so many political poems I can bring off in a period. We’re in a drought and insects and fungus are among us in record numbers. Mosquitoes, ticks, caterpillars on the cabbages and other cole crops, cucumber beetles, and little shiny black beetles, and this morning, black flies that bite.
I had started two kinds of broccoli inside, the types I grew last year for our best broccoli harvest ever. The plants looked great form the time they left the greenhouse into the garden. Woody checked them Monday to see if any heads had formed. The leaves were fine but the center of each plant where the heads had started to form was rotten, brown and quite gone. We had to pull all the plants and get rid of them. We’ve found fungus on little bean plants, on winter squash. This weather is a killer. Warm, sometimes hot, bone dry but humid. Perfect weather for fungi. I had bought NEEM oil but Woody had never used it [he does our organic spraying] until the fungus attack. Now he sprays it every other day. It helps.
I have been seeing three of my women friends whom I trust to be exceedingly careful. We only get together here when the day’s warm but not too hot. We sit on the sunporch ten feet apart. If they want to eat anything, they bring it. Plus Dale has been coming in to work with me on Mondays, so I feel less isolated than I did. But it’s sad. Normally we have a party on the afternoon of the Kentucky Derby. I cook up a bunch of finger food, people bring hors d’oeuvres if they feel like it and Woody makes great mint juleps.
Now the Belmont is that Derby length and before the other two races and no spectators. I bey the horses like it better with nobody in the stands to yell and startle them. Of course, there are horses that like the attention, just as I realized some cats actually enjoy cat shows and desperately want to win. I had a friend who showed Korats she bred and when her best show cat didn’t win a ribbon, she
[the cat, not the woman]
would crawl under the towels in her cage and sulk.