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Garden Produce, Masks & Wolves

Most effective cure for angst is exercise, so yesterday I exercised like a mad fiend.

Went running for the first time in a million years. (Knee was a bit stiff, but it didn’t fall off or anything.)

Then I gardened. Behold the haul! Well, actually half the haul. The haul after I went door-to-door to all my neighbors’ houses, asking in my best Oliver Twist voice, Please sir, will you take some more? because I’ve baked all the tomato pies I’m gonna bake for 2018, and produce has a half-life that’s shorter than the next Food Pantry drop-off.

By one o’clock in the afternoon, I was a Real Human Girl again.


Fucked around desultorily with the WiP before deciding to obliterate 1,000 words or so of torturous electric shock therapy description. (Lauren Beukes deals very effectively with a protagonist who gets shot in the head by writing something like, But before he could, a rainbow opened up in the back of his skull.)

Reminder to Self: No reader wants to struggle through long descriptive passages in which Plucky Heroine is essentially tortured.

Not unless the novel is being marketed for a very different audience than originally planned.

Around four, the phone rang. Eleanor H.

“What do you want me to do with your masks?” asked Eleanor H.


“I’m moving,” said Eleanor H.


“Didn’t I tell you that? I could have sworn I told you that. I’m moving to Fort Bragg. On Thursday.”


A year and a half ago, on one of my California trips, Eleanor said, “I have a favor to ask you—“

She wanted me to track her for signs of dementia.

Both her parents came down with Alzheimer’s at roughly the same age she was then.

“Eleanor, that’s kind of impossible to do over the phone,” I told her.

There was simply no one else she trusted, she said.

Eleanor is pretty nutty anyway, and has been throughout the 40 years of our friendship. Brilliant, creative, capable of the highest levels of intuitive understanding, but with very loose associations: Her concentration span topped out at 30 seconds 20 years ago when she began teaching and has become progressively shorter ever since. [personal profile] lookfar might say her executive functions are impaired. Seriously impaired.

So, I didn’t have a clue how I might be able to tell Demented Eleanor from the Eleanor I’d Known and (Mostly) Loved for All Those Years.

But, you know. I was willing to give it a try.

And I was pretty good about monthly check-ins till last June when for various reasons, I kept putting the phone call off.

You know me and phones!

But anyway, no, I did not know she was thinking about moving. Fort Bragg is right outside Mendocino. Very pretty country! Momentarily prosperous as the center of an illicit dope trade, alas! now vanished. Lively still when the tourists are there during the summer.

She’s moving into a house in a kind of compound with people she knows. Good, good. She needs that human anchor to keep from floating away.

And it was not a Big Deal to call Eleanor B—Partner in Crime from my GSPP days who lives exactly one mile away from the house Eleanor H is vacating—to come rescue the masks.

Three plastic bins of them. Maybe 30 masks in all. I bought the first one several billion years ago at the first and only show I did on a Milano runway, and I added to the collection over the years.

Negligible financial worth, I’m sure, but immense sentimental value.

I’ll arrange to ship them to New York when I go out to California in November.


I am worried about Eleanor H.

She sounded quite mad when we spoke. Of course, she was in the process of packing up an apartment that had more-or-less been functioning as a museum to her Dead Husband for the past decade. Bill’s clothes were still in the closets! There was a postcard in Bill’s actual handwriting attached to her fridge with a cat magnet!

Besides Bill’s stuff, there is all that hideous mahogany furniture that she rescued from (I kid you not) her mother’s family’s Mississippi plantation.

If I’d known she was planning to move, I would actually have volunteered to fly out and help her pack though, of course, she might not have accepted my assistance. Probably would not have accepted my assistance.

This is one of the icky parts of the whole getting old thing. Watching various old pals lose their footing on the path. Watching various wolves that are hiding in the brambles salivate as they prepare to pounce.

I honestly don’t know what becomes of Eleanor from this point on.

I will visit her when I go back in November.

This entry was originally posted at http://mallorys-camera.dreamwidth.org. You may leave comments on either Dreamwidth or LiveJournal if you like.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 27th, 2018 04:32 pm (UTC)
You can take your tomatoes, drop them in a zip-lock bag and freeze them if you have the freezer space. They're great for cooking. Drop them still frozen in boiling water, slip the skins off, and you're ready to go.
Aug. 27th, 2018 06:53 pm (UTC)
Huh. Didn't know that. I always figured that if you were gonna freeze tomatoes, you'd have to do it very fast so that the cell walls didn't expand and explode.
Aug. 27th, 2018 06:59 pm (UTC)
You do freeze them fast, but you don't have to cook them up or blanch them first, provided you don't keep them frozen in long-term storage. I kept my garden tomatoes for a few months so I could cook up tomato sauce for chili in the winter.

The same thing works with my friend's Meyer lemons, but I usually zest them, juice them, then freeze the juice and zest in small containers for making lemon bars.
Aug. 27th, 2018 07:39 pm (UTC)
Was there some special procedure you used to freeze them fast?
Aug. 27th, 2018 07:48 pm (UTC)
No. Used the deep freeze rather than the freezer in the fridge, so it was probably zero. That's fast enough. Mind you, the thawed tomatoes aren't any good for use as fresh, like sliced in salad or sandwiches - they're for cooking at that point.
Aug. 27th, 2018 09:31 pm (UTC)

Don't have a deep freeze. Hmmm. But maybe I could just make sauce...
Aug. 27th, 2018 06:20 pm (UTC)
That's a nice harvest! Those tomatoes look great! I love Brussles Sprouts drizzled with olive oil.
Aug. 27th, 2018 06:52 pm (UTC)
Yah, it's been an excellent year garden-wise! :-)
Aug. 27th, 2018 07:29 pm (UTC)
hey patreets. would like to talk with you and have no contact info. email me - i still have the well address. i would appreciate your insight on a situation i am facing.
Aug. 27th, 2018 07:37 pm (UTC)
Re: flanagan

Will do.

Aug. 27th, 2018 10:03 pm (UTC)

Great looking produce! Ditto on freezing tomatoes, need to do some myself.

Aug. 27th, 2018 11:32 pm (UTC)
I think I'll just go ahead and make a sauce tomorrow.
Aug. 28th, 2018 12:13 pm (UTC)
Sauce sounds good, think you have inspired me.
Aug. 28th, 2018 10:25 am (UTC)
I have lost too many friends, and my bff is getting pretty house-bound. I try not to dwell on it, but sometimes it overwhelms me. Aging is tiring.
Aug. 28th, 2018 04:12 pm (UTC)
Aging is a very strange process indeed! :-)
Sep. 3rd, 2018 08:17 pm (UTC)
there is all that hideous mahogany furniture that she rescued from (I kid you not) her mother’s family’s Mississippi plantation.

Sounds like my kind of stuff...
Sep. 3rd, 2018 08:50 pm (UTC)
It's massive. I'll say that for it. :-)
Sep. 3rd, 2018 11:35 pm (UTC)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )