Sep. 1st, 2008

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So my stepmother went home. It's funny, because she wanted me to focus on my grief and cry a lot because that's what she knows how to support, but I realized today that having her was a distraction, and I'm a lot more aware of Ted's absence when everybody else is absent too. He always used to want company but then he would flee, hiding on the computer or in the back yard or even in bed, reading, usually, since he gave up cigarettes. So if the house is full of people he might just be in the next room, hiding. And when the house is empty -- well, for a couple of days he might be out of town, but it's been thirty-some years since either of us went anywhere without the other for more than a week. Or five days, maybe.

So after a while it starts being unavoidable that he's really not here and really not going to be here. Moher went with me to pick up the ashes and she looked at the biodegradable paper box ($165 more than the ugly pink unrecyclable, unreusable plastic box) and said "that's all that's left of him," but no, that's not true, even for a staunch materialist like me who doesn't believe in souls: in his case, there's a pile of skin and bone and a set of eyes that are going to go into other people's bodies, and all that will live as long as those people do.

Which is a kind of comfort. Not enough, but some.

Emma and I went to the Labor Day Picnic. Basically, I wanted to see some people I hardly ever see but who are old-time connections. And also, I was part of the little group that made the labor day picnics start up after a twenty-odd year hiatus (now thirty-some years ago, so nobody much remembers the story, even people who were there, and of those people, I didn't see Tim McCormick or Maureen Smith, and Chris Matthews died the other day), which is something I like to think about now and then. Anyway, I saw John Laird, who is our term-limited lame-duck assemblyman and a really good guy, one of three is it now? gay state legislators and a classmate of Ted's. He gave a speech which was generally whipping up involvement in the coming elections, and I got an idea that will make my life much much easier. I had sworn to myself to take off a week in October to go and walk precincts in Ohio or Florida or Missouri -- some place where the people's votes actually mean something (which is why those votes were suppressed in 2000 and 2004). But John was talking about close, difference-making races in Chino and Livermore and places like that: places I can get to by car in a few hours and spend a couple of days at a time over several weekends, this month and next. So I talked to him and he said contact his office, or Bill Monning, who is the Democratic nominee to succeed John. So I will.

Then I tried to buy black pants without bleach stains and failed. A year and a half ago I was size 22 and sometimes 24. Now I am often way too small for 20 and sometimes too small for 18 but usually too big for 18 and always too big for 16, except in Lane Bryant knitwear, which is bizarrely sized and I wear a 14 in it. So I found some pants in 20, which were of course way too big, and one pair in 18, which was snug but would have done except the button was broken. So I stopped and got black dye on the way home. I'll choose out some pants that are bleach-stained but otherwise wearable and dye them, and then I'll have black clothes to wear.

Gustav apparently made landfall as a 2.

I haven't heard from Frank, nor do I expect to for at least a few days.

I don't want to go back to work tomorrow.

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