Thanks for your comments, amigos mios. I dunno about trading, Tonio, but I wish I'd been there to split the bottle with you.
You know what's kept me marginally sane? Drawing on napkins at Tosi's. With black ball-point pens. Surprising the range of shade you can get out of ball-points on paper designed to be absorbent.
Sometimes I come in the next day and they've put my napkin in the candy-case, by the cash-register. So I see it when I go to pay.
I can't really draw, not like I imagine CB can. But I can dash off a bold cartoon and then crosshatch it to death, till it looks like an old woodcut. Day before yesterday I drew a stylized sun and moon tangled in the branches of a tree, with huge drops of water coiling around them. Beside it I lettered "THE SUN. AND THE MOON. AND ALL THIRSTY THINGS. LOOK TO THE TREE. AND THE TREE LOOKS TO YOU. O MY FRIEND. I liked it so much that I was tempted to take it home rather than leave it on the table. I have no idea what I meant by the words.
Coming back from the bathroom I saw that j had come in with her mother and her daughter. She introduced her mother, and we chatted a little. I said "Just a second: I've got a napkin for you." Trotted over and got my tree and gave it to j. "I knew I was drawing this for someone: it must have been you."
J's daughter is an enchanting ten-year-old half-Nepali, with great intense dark eyes, and she was examining the drawing very seriously as I left. A twinge of conscience. I don't know what the message means that I delivered to them.
Tomorrow we go down to Eugene to do the last of our three Christmases. So I really must get some sleep. 3:15 in the morning. All's quiet but the whine of the computer fan and the occasional faint rasp of the disk drive.
Good night. Il buon tempo verra.