Saturday, April 29, 2006


Very trying last few days. Am not breaking injunctionagainst writing on weekends because am very much at school. Conference planned months ago and then forgotten has finally and inconveniently arrived. Thursday spent making new program after the Vice-Boss says that she Forgot to give me the names of 3 additional participants, one a very famous artist who will be Upset if he isn't included. Vice-Boss adds, she would have told me before the other program was made but that it wasn't actually confirmed. Vice-boss clearly definately lying but as there is nothing to do, rearrange program and talk to the duplicating center about making brand new copies. Duplicating center very helpful and sas that it Won't Be a Problem. This a rather optimistic assesment--it turns out that it is a problem--a strange purple line appears on all the programs. The Duplicating Center says that he can't think how it could have happened. Maybe nobody will notice. Point out that I have already noticed. The Duplicating Center says that he will Try to get the programs done. His co-worker laughs hysterically, but do not think that it is about the program. Tell self to check zipper of pants, face for marks, and state of hair immediately on leaving. Trip to bathroom does not reveal anything amiss, which is personally calming but professionally worrisome. Later in afternoon am called and told that The Job is Done. Have vivid and exiciting fantsy that have ordered Mob hit and am receiving news about it, but then recall the dull truth. Send new work study student (name of Billy, who dresses like he has just come from an Appalachian holler but who, in fact, comes from Marin County) to Duplicating Center. Vice-Boss not nearly as excited as I am that the programs got made. She says languidly, Thanks, It would be nice if a few could be put downstairs tonight--there is the big Psychology conference going on. Psychology Conference about Guilt. Offer to take down the flyers myself--am very interested in topic of guilt--am slightly though unjustifiably hurt that wasn't asked to give paper or at least short Talk. Table set up in front of auditorium. For form's sake ask if could put programs on table. Young woman says she will have to ask. She does ask. The woman who seems to be in charge (very prominent forehead, ill fitting suit) turns to me and says I am very sorry (it is clear that she isn't) but No. Your event tomorrow is going to Compete with Ours. Later, compose very well reasoned speech about how those interested in Guilt might also be interested in our own conference about Art and Emotion, and we all work together in this institution, that none of us are in this for the money, that we--as a school--have a long proud history of progressive thought and action and that it is in the spirit of those that came before us that we ought to Cooperate with each other. Also compose sharper speech which includes the colloquial phrase, It's No Skin off Your Back, Lady. Naturally, deliver neither speech and instead say (very unfortunately blinking back inconvenient tears,) What is your name? She says, Ruth. Voice maddeningly quivering ask, And your last name? Grimes, she says, pulling out from coat name tag attached to lanyard around her neck. Once in posession of name, have no idea of what to do with it. Leave. Go back upstairs. Tell the Contessa what has happened. She is very sympathetic, shaking her head and exclaiming, I Can't Believe Her, when required, finally declaring Ruth Grimes a Ho (though very very unlikely that the Contessa knows Ms. Grimes's sexual history.) Go home feeling weak from the experience. Am taken care of by Dave (who draws me a bath and orders Middle Eastern) and Jenny (who licks.)

More on conference to come.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Title for last post came from title of song written by thrilling singer and songwriter Jenn Lindsay. Went to see some other people play, and was gathering up things when she started to play. Sat right back down (unfortunately also had to drink required extra drink.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Both New Man and the Vice-Boss out sick--the New Man with a Cold, the Vice-Boss with unidentified ailment. Brain makes up story about new man and vice-boss having an affair. Are very likely meeting at the Penninsula. Perhaps have been conducting affair under our noses. Forget that have made up affair and become interested and scandalized. Imagine unspeakable scenarios. To combat images, force self to survey supply drawer and compile list of things to be ordered. This only moderatly successful--vice-boss still in skimpy costume and new man very badly behaved. The Contessa says, I have so much crap to do. As write down list, Say, I know what you mean, I have to do the Budget Document. The Contessa says, I think I'll go get some iced coffee, want some? Yes I do. Have finished with supply list. Thought of budget document gives me a headache and briefly think that I may have to lie down on the carpet until the Contessa returns. Quick perusal of carpet--carpet very very stained and see what think used to be a Raisin, but not positive--cures me of any need to be prone. Thankfully, the telephone rings. It is the Leg Model. Shriek, How Have You Been. Long telephone conversation ensues--she has moved to LA (Question: Did I know she was moving? If not, why? Further question: Should I be hurt that wasn't invited to going away party or guilty because was and forgot.) She says that she is settling in nicely. Has even made a new friend, woman who recently wrote article about the Donner Party for the New Yorker. Conversation recalls own childhood California, especially fourth grade history of which remember nothing except the unit on Missions and the very brief mention of Donner party. Of the Missions, remember nothing except that they existed. The Donners--do remember this--were cannibals. The article does not take a contradictory view, simply more nuanced. It seems likely that not everybody ate somebody. Even if some people did eat others, they at least waited to do so ate all the mice, deer, dead cows, and moccasins they could get their hands on, first. And when people ate people they--at least--didn't cook them. Not sure what sort orf distinction this is. Discuss article with the Leg Model--also a product of the california public school system. We agree that story about the Donners a very effective way taboo against cannibalism. I bet--the Leg Model says--if we poked around in what we were taught in fourth we could find the taboo against incest too. This a good point. We attempt to do so. The Leg Model remembers that she had to brush her teeth and then chew pink tablets that stained the teeth where she'd forgotten to brush. I counter with memory of plastic recorders (though not recorders--actually called something phones. Readers?) which got dragged out of a closet and passed around the classroom for extremely uninspiring unit on Music. After week of playing with the recorders, recorders got put into their thin cardboard boxes and then back into the closet, waiting for the next year. Loop back to issue of the Donner Party and the article. The Leg Model says that her new friend--the writer of the article--extremely nice and also very pretty. She pauses. And we are all on different paths. So it doesn't matter that the article writer is only thirty. This revelation comes as a bit comes as a bit of a shock. Thirty-year-old secretary does not have the same ring to it as Thirty-year-old New Yorker Staff Writer. Suffer extremely painful moment. The Leg Model, thankfully, changes the subject. Says, our movie is coming out. Ask, It is? I haven't seen it advertised anywhere. Not coming out, coming out, but it is being sent around to festivals. She's seen a cut. Wish to ask how I look in the movie but don't want to seem vain so instead as how she looks in the movie. She reminds me that it was just her legs in the movie and those seemed fine--though not likely to win any acting awards.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Off the Wagon

The Vice-boss comes very late today. Hair untidy, wearing peasanty sort of top and short denim skirt. Says hello brightly and floats into office. The Contessa bugs her eyes out and mouths Jeans? As we don't wish to be caught talking about the vice boss, but do wish to talk about her, a furious email exchange takes place. (IM would be more efficient, but as the Contessa has noted before, an IM message is not the same thing as getting a real email. Agree -- though this likely make us hopelessly old fashioned, as though we are nostalgic about the passing of the telegram.) Email exchange after beginning in an almost concerned tone quickly becomes libelous towards the Vice-Boss. As type line, Maybe she just came from turning tricks, hence the denim skirt, feel suddenly very worried worried. Type: What if there is a record of what we have written? Would we get fired? The Contessa writes back impressively, Very likely we would be escorted out of the building. By guards. There is a pause in the back and forth until the Contessa types, I don't care if I'm fired, I am an heiress...I think she is on Quaaludes. This unlikely to the extreme, but am excited by the idea. Type, Quaaludes and booze, both -- her eyes were hollow and she was drooling. And need I remind you? Denim. It is clear that she has completely lost her sense of self. The Vice-Boss comes out of her office, her hair brushed and her eyes neither dull nor darting around. Says in extremely dry and business like voice, Fritz, would you please print out the Spring budget for me.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The New Bridge

On way to pool this morning see the New Man giving his Y card to the check in lady. Do not wish to have him notice me, so pretend to examine bulletin board around corner. The New Man and check in lady seem to be long lost friends or perhaps even mother and child--are laughing uproariously and New Man has reached across desk to put his hand on check in lady's shoulder. Am curious but do not wish to be caught staring, so look at bulletin board with renewed vigor. Posters on bulletin board advertise the Geriatric Health and Sexuality Workshop, Part 2. Turn what feels like and imagine is a beet red. The New Man gone from front desk, walk away from bulletin board briskly. Hand over card to check in lady, who does not greet me as old friend or family member. (Nor should she, but am still slightly hurt.) Take time walking down stairs as have no desire to run into the New Man in the locker room either. While meandering, have thought that calling him The New Man analagous to the use of the name Pont Neuf -- new bridge -- for oldest existing bridge in paris -- while inaccurate in one way (newness is passing) it has become accurate because the name faithfully represents an actual person -- think that might type up small scholarly article to be submitted to journal on semiotics -- walk into woman with a stroller who growls, Watch where you're going. Do not see the New Man the whole time at gym until come back from pool and shower where discover that own locker directly next door to the New Man's. Says, Hey there Fritz, don't get enough of me, aye. Mumble, No I guess I don't, excuse me. He laughs in slightly cruel way which imagine is going to lead to me getting snapped me with his towel. Fears, thankfully, not realized. The New Man, in fact, extremely friendly. Suggests that we go to the Donut Pub, which we do, and where he treats.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Not Everything Changes

Very grim scene in copy room this morning. Copper tubing connecting pipes in ceiling with water filtering unit disengages itself and sprays water all over copy machine. The Contessa both fortunately and unfortunately in room when this happens. She bravely pushes past water, finds valve and turns it off. It is only after dealing with problem that she bellows profanities. Go back to copy room, finding the Contessa with wet hair, shirt and skirt and very dark expression on face. Would like very much to laugh. Pinch thigh extremely hard (later discovery dark bruise in exact shape of Africa) and manage to keep quiet. Look around room. Carpet wet sodden and walls dripping. Copy machine off thankfully, but am still afraid of electrocution (kill self and write headline for Post--Office Buzz Slay, or Secretary Fried--feel very sorry for self for being both dead and a punchline.) Call maintenence. Maintenence shakes his head and seems to blame me for the flood, asking, How did this happen? Tell him that It Just Happened. Maintenece nods, says, You don't have to tell me. Say, No really, the machine did it itself. He isn't buying it, says, Well the important thing is that we get this cleaned up. The Contessa comes back into copy machine. Has changed into gym clothes--soccer shorts and a large t-shirt advertising a computer company, hair newly damp and brushed out of her face. Tell her that Maintenence doesn't believe me that the pipe broke by itself. The Contessa blushes. Well, she says, she was feeling frustrated about the unfairness of Probate may have given the machine a tiny kick. I am shocked, as is Maintenence, who changes subject and asks if she is Going on a run. The Contessa grimaces. Says, Isn't this awful? I feel so college-y. In the Contessa's argot, college-y an extremely low assesment--as though college just another word for Church of the Devil.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Morning Walk

Am, for once, tired out from exercise, pure of caffeine (none since seven in the morning,) and thus perfectly able to sleep through the night, except that Dave does not stop tossing and turning. Am dragged out of dreams involving (in order) driving in muddy ditches, digging in a sandy garden, and very bizzare and graphic dream involving alarming treatment for shortness of breath. All dreams as though scripted by Dr. Freud himself. Get out of bed very early, as does Dave. He has circles under his eyes even after he washes his face and brushes his teeth. He puts on pants and a sweatshirt. It seems that he is going on the morning walk with me and Jenny. Jenny yips excitedly and jumps up on him (she has long ceased to show similar consideration to me in the morning. Feelings are temporarily hurt. Devise plan to punish Jenny--no treats for a week and no accidental dropping of cheese or chicken during food preparation--but relent immediately when she runs over to me and nips playfully at my ankle.) We walk out into the early dawn. Park empty but for dogs and their walkers. Trees blooming. Ask Dave why he had such trouble sleeping. He sighs. Jenny takes off after a very ugly squirrel--tail--what there is of it--coal black and mangy. Mange exposes what is the true tail under the fur. Tail as skinny as a rat's and the same color as a dog's erection. Squirrel is very fat but still much faster than Jenny. Squirrel makes a dash up an oak then turns around to chitter at Jenny who is barking below. Jenny give a final brisk bark and then trots back to where we stand. Dave whacks her side and says Good Dog, in a deep voice, which makes Jenny wiggle like a puppy. After this interlude, we are broght back to the concerns of humans. Dave says that he is Tired of Cutting Hair and what would I think of him selling his stake in the salon. Can well understand this, but am struck with fear. Blurt out, Everything is changing at once! This hurts Dave's feelings--he just wanted to talk something over with me--why do I have to overreact. Say with murderous hysteria, I am not overreacting. Conversation devolves--past crimes, snubs, inconsistancies referred to at length. After both of us reach a moment of mental exaustion, we call a truce and go to cafe that allows dogs. Dave talks while I drink coffee with half-and-half. All is, naturally, not as bad as I'd assumed (what had I assumed?) Dave has been offered a licensing contract for products. Mind takes predictable trip to Paris, to real estate agents, and Barneys, but somehow keep mouth shut. He isn't sure if it is going to work out, but if it does, then he wouldn't have to do the day to day anymore. Ask what he wants to do. That he doesn't know. Jenny bites at what hope is not, but sure is, a flea.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Day begins with noise of violent banging in hallway. Am very alarmed and leap out of bed-Jenny raises her head and then drops it down on comforter, Dave doesn't stir. Hallway empty, but further investigation proves that someone has taken sledge hammer to wall in hallway, going through plaster and brick (!) to get to pipes. Pipes--water and gas are exposed. One of the pipes appears to be wrapped in asbestos or equally sinister product and have brief but terrifying thought that curiosity has provided opportunity for fibers to become lodged in lungs. Handyman returns. Ask him what is going on. He rattles off long explanation--a mix of spanish and english, neither of which are comprehensible to me. Rules of society, however, demand that I nod and agree (with what am I do not sure.) When go to work, same problem with ears occurs on entrance of the Contessa. Seems to--but this can't be right--seems to be saying something about Chickens. When asked, it turns out she has been talking about poultry, but only in metaphorical sense. She says darkly, One shouldn't count chickens before they hatch. Ask what she is referring to. She says curtly, Probate. Plead with her to please expand on topic (am interested plus am beginning to worry that have lost capacity for human interaction.) Flood of words follows of which understand all clearly--the gist of torrent is that probate takes a year and that she won't get a penny the whole time and she wishes somebody would have told her otherwise she wouldn't have gone and colored and cut her hair and bought two pairs of shoes at a place that only gives you back store credit. How am I supposed to eat on shoe store credit? she asks. Answer self-evident and the contessa still talking, voice rising higher and louder. When she takes a breath tell her that I am glad that she isn't departing immediately at which she grows quiet. She sighs. Adds, somewhat unconvincingly, I would miss you, of course, if I quit.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Last night when going home, stop by deli to buy milk and dog treats. Also feel that am on the verge of getting scurvy, so pick out four navel oranges--also three yogurts (two peach, one Black Cherry,) box of grapenuts, 2 cans of cannellini beans, 2 boxes of organic chicken stock, bag of carrots, Dijon mustard, and block of extra sharp cheddar cheese. Basket very heavy. Need to use both hands to heft basket up on to sliver of counter next to cash register. Feel suddenly aware of chill in air. Woman behind the register informs me that she Hates It when people put baskets on the counter. This line is delievered to the wall behind me in regal tones. She then gives a look which makes it clear that I am to empty the offending basket myself and that it would probably be best if I wedged a chair under the door handle tonight. Can think of no response except Sorry, which she doesn't acknowledge. Leaving store am stunned by the experience--not upset exactly--feel vaugely pleased that she felt enough of me to give her honest opinion but at the same time am puzzled. Many times there is a man who think must be her husband (why?) who works the register. When he tots up the bill he always asks, Howare Yoo? (stretching out the oos) and then when we are done he inclines his head and says Thank Yoo in the same gracious way. Aren't we all different.

Monday, April 17, 2006


The Contessa says that she doesn't think it would be good for her to stay at home all day every day. She could see how she could very easily become like the older woman who wears a sunbonnet and surgical mask who pushes her cart around the Village all day feeding pigeons. Have had same feeling myself, but still can't understand why the Contessa wouldn't quit and take a trip, at least for a while. Say so. She says back, For one thing, I don't have anybody to take the trip with. When I was younger I liked to travel by myself, but now it would just be depressing. I would be the weirdo hippy lady in the hostel who says condescending things to the college kids. She'd have to grow a mustache or wear big beads and she doesn't want to do that. Ask, Why would you have to stay in a hostel--you could stay in a real hotel, with adults? She makes a face at that too. The phone rings. The contessa picks up the phone. She nods curtly. Says, Sure. Sets receiver firmly into cradle. Well, she says. Ask, Who was that.?That was the Vice-Boss. And? She said that she was running a bit late today for her meeting with the President. The Contessa pushes her hair behind her ears. She is pale. Ask, What does she want you to do? The Contessa replies, Apparently she has a shirt hanging oup on the hook on her door. It is missing a button and she wants me to sew it on. And. (The office gets very quiet and somehow smaller.) She knows I sometimes make my own clothes, so it shouldn't be so hard for me to do it. There is a pause and change further in room climate so that am reminded of what in California is referred to as Earthquake Weather. The Contessa asks, What was she trying to imply by saying that she Knew I Made My Own Clothes? (Do not wish to disagree with the Contessa--this inadvisable at the moment--but brain takes side trip into fantasy about making own clothes--pants so often too long when purchased and then too short when hemmed by tailor. If could do such simple things myself, would improve life immensely. Note: Look at sewing machines on craigslist.) The Contessa says, very impressively, On second thought I think that today I will turn in my two week notice. Agree that there is nothing else to be done.

Friday, April 14, 2006


The Contessa very late this morning. (This not a problem, the phone does not ring at all. Amuse self by imagining that I have terrible medical conditions and then Researching online. e.g. fungal infection of the Eye, Malaria, and Inguinal Hernia. Am very very relieved when the Contessa comes in. She is dazed. Has brought me a cappuccino. Says, I just came from the Boss's lawyer's office. Why? She says, He left me a third of his estate. (Have brief and uncharitable feeling of jealousy--remind self sternly that the contessa spent a fairr amount of her time visiting with him while he was sick where as I pretended he was fine.) Ask, How much did he leave you? She sits down in her chair. I'm not sure exactly, but the lawyer said that once everything is sold it might be somewhere around a half a million dollars. Jump up out of chair. Wave hand in front of face. Tell her that the first thing she is going to do is buy me a glass of champagne. We leave work and go to the little french restaurant around the corner. The Contessa says that she will buy me a Champagne but that it Gives Her a Headache. Agree. As we have to go back to the office we both just have seltzers with lime and the Contessa doesn't have a dime on her, so I pay, but outing still extremely festive.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Funeral held in auditorium. Speeches are given. First by the Dean, who was known to have an extremely antagonistic relationship with the Boss--there was no rancor on the Boss's part, just a need to insert absurd into the daily life. Remember once the Boss complimented the Dean on his haircut. The Dean is perfectly bald and not one to embrace the absurd (despite his passion for Star Wars.) Next to speak is fellow art critic and hisorian, very tall in elegant gray suit. He apparentlly fashions himself a raconteur, telling stories about what seems to be New York in the 1930s (this can't be right). At one point he takes microphone off of its stand and pacing around stage. At this point am forced to withdraw conscious mind from surroundings and retreat to inside of head. While leaving, remember that The Boss once said--quoting somebody else, I think a poet--that sitting in the auditorium feels like being inside a cantaloupe. Thsi begins very long train of thought which ends in in burning desire for a Smoothie. The last person to give a speech is the Vice Boss. She wears a neat black suit and has her hair swept back. She is also wearing black hose which, for some reason, makes the Contessa shudder but which doesn't bother me. What does bother me is my own outfit. Only own one suit, in navy blue. Haven't worn since Sigrid's wedding last summer. Fortunately have no trouble buttoning pants, but coat little tight under the arms. Spend most of day praying that sudden movement won't cause seams to pop. The Vice-Boss's speech ends up being quite moving--she tells funny stories and then gets choked up--whiwh we all do. After the funeral at the reception, the Vice-Boss becomes herself again and seems quite surprised when neither the Contessa nor I have any inclination to go back up to the office again. Never mind, she says, You can take the rest of the day off. It is 5 p.m.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Boss

Yesterday morning (very early, not yet dawn) receive call from the Contessa. She is at the hospital. She is not crying, but her voice quivers a bit, the Boss, she says has died. Tell her she is very brave for and that I will be right there. The rest of the day spent helping the Contessa make funeral arrangements. Boss's family involved too, but extremely poorly behaved--brother and sister of the boss have a shouting match about Who Is Going to Get the Motherwell Prints--at the funeral home. The funeral home people--who must be used to such acting out--pretend to be busy with filing (know precisely what this is covering up and what will be discussed when we all leave.)The Contessa says simply and in a low dejected voice, I really miss him, which has the effect of immediately shutting the siblings up. But see them shooting each other murderous looks for rest of afternoon and when at the Boss's apartment see the sister eyeing the china collection and licking her lips. Wake set for tonight with funeral tomorrow morning. As do not know what else to do lose all sense and offer to cater party. (Contessa's financial situation precarious as always; Brother and Sister also famously down and out.) Brother, Sister, and the Contssa all thank me and say that I am a Saint. This prevents me from backing out of offer. Would simply hire somebody else to do it for me, but quick peek at bank account shows that this is not possible. Try to get Dave to come up town to help, but he is busy. Second call, placed to Libby, is more successful. Libby says she will be right up, What should she Bring? Tell her that I will meet her at Citarella--we will buy most things (cheeses, baugettes, smoked fishes, sliced meats, mustard, pickles adn olives, pate) and make a few simple things. Libby has me tell her list over the telephone. Hear the clack clack of keyboard strokes. Libby impressive but frightening in store. She races around as though at Belmont--at one point could swear that hear her snort and paw at the linoleum--ticking items off list with different colored pencils. (She keeps these in her purse?) I go around store pcking up assorted other items that have not made it onto the list. Libby red in the face at this. Hear her repeating to herself under her breath, it's ok, it's ok. Back at the apartment, the Contessa and the brother and sister are on couch weeping. Libby asks firmly, Who Wants Tea? The contessa sniffles, she Hates tea, but she would like some coffee. Make coffee and then jump into food preparation for the expected crowds.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Coming into building see head of security escorting photographer out of building. Says to photographer, And you will not come back again, is that understood. Have never seen anybody get kicked out of building, even woman who for a period of two weeks the summer of 2003 stopped at every copy machine in building to make copies of her flyers for her Lost Parrot, or the man who attended many of our events and wore nothing but a tank top, shorts that did not adequetly cover his genitals and who made strange snorting sounds while people were trying to talk about Art, or man who came into office--spring 2002--with tape recorder demanding to see the Boss so that he could Interview him. This man did not help his credibility by also waving tape recorder in face of the Contessa and myself when we tried to tell him that the Boss was on vacation. Will You be Willing to Go On The Record? He asked repeatedly. Ejected photographer must have done something extremely bad. Try to ascertain reason by staring at photographer and head of secuity in way that eventually feel is making myself seem suspicious. Go into building. While waiting for elevator, peer out glass, still very interested. Rest of lobby full of people in suits (!) Read poster for event. Event has to do with Politics. Hear snatches of conversation about FEMA and the DHS and feel that am in episode of the West Wing. Am in middle of elaborate fantasy about marching down hallways speaking very quickly to assistant about matters of National Security. We are leaving building and are jumping into chauffered black car (elevator) when Libby asks, So what about that new job of yours? Am very confused. (Is she so efficient she can literally read minds?) Ask, What job? The job in the English department. Had give up that job for dead, but am curious to see what she know. Ask. I heard you were starting next week, she says, keeping the elevator door open with her foot. Other people in the elevator are glaring at her, but Libby demonstrably immune to glares, and am, for once, glad.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


The Contessa turns to look at me with narrowed eyes. She asks, Are you still keeping that blog? Yes I am. Even though you aren't thirty anymore? Get up out of chair. Say, with quiet dignity, at least I am still a secretary. Walk down hall to get water. Come back with water. Ask her if she thinks I should stop. Stop what? she asks. Stop writing the blog. Oh that, she says, she doesn't care, she was just wondering. Feel uneasy for rest of day.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Leave Elizabeth, Sigrid, and brother-in-law in good spirits, (Low moment on day after birth when Sigrid said it hurt to walk and that she Could Guarantee Right Now that the next baby was going to come from Thailand. Later in the day, think that see Elizabeth smile at me, but am informed by brother-in-law--otherwise Mute--which surely can't be good for the development of a child--that smiling does not Occur (his word) until between 6 and 8 weeks. Can only hope that little Elizabeth takes after our side of the family.) Return home to find apartment spotless: piles of magazines gone, floors shining, bathroom smelling of Comet, clothes hung up in closets or neatly folded in drawers and clean, and Jenny smelling like shampoo (human). Even plants dusted and looking vigorous. Am extremely impressed. Dave says he did nothing, which is clearly untrue. Blushes. We have pleasant dinner of pork chops with a mustard sauce, kale, and roasted potatoes, made by Dave. (Jenny, shrewdly doing her best to make sure that everything not too perfect gets into kitchen trash during dinner. Discovery of mess made when sound of violent retching rises above sparkling conversation about Elizabeth Bishop.) This morning while sitting at desk at home editing, am see neat pile of unkonwn papers on desk. Papers seem to be bills and the like--which am usually blind to--but as revision harrowing grab at papers. In stack, discover invoice from cleaning company, bill from wash and fold and bill from expensive dog salon. Become very hot and angry. March into bedroom to scold Dave, but he is sleeping in the bed smiling sweetly (Jenny a bump under teh covers next to him.) Do not like to seem that I am ungrateful, but because I am grateful, enormously.