“Anyway this is just a note to tell you I’m in a new shell or an old one, like a hermit crab and the ink is now out of two of my pens and this is the last one. I have no more ink in the house tonight. I’ll keep you posted.” ~ John Steinbeck, in a letter to Pascal Covici, September 1948

Sibutu Island, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines* 

“Dreams are the unfinished wings of our souls.” ~ Simon Van Booy, The Secret Lives of People in Love

Tuesday evening. Hot and humid.

Coral Reef, Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines

Two dreams from last night that have stuck with me:

First, I dreamed that I was with Jammi. She and Austin (her ex) had bought a home, but the house itself had to be moved. Jammi was driving the truck that was pulling the house on a trailer. I was in the truck with her. We moved through the streets of Norfolk very slowly until we arrived at the location in which the house would be placed. It was on a hill.

Great, I thought, but Jammi backed the house onto the hill, and it slid into place. We went inside, and there was a lot of work to be done. We worked on painting and putting up wallpaper, but the next day, it all had to be done again. I didn’t feel that I could do all of that work again.

Austin had to leave that day to go back to the war. I asked Jammi if she ever regretted her decision. It was a question that had been on my mind. She looked at me a long time and then looked at the floor as she answered me, “It was the right thing to do for the kids.”

In the second dream, I am embarking on a cruise with my mother, father, and my two sons; my sons are about eight and nine. It is very crowded getting on the ship, and my mother and I become separated from my father and the boys. I tell my mom that we need to follow the line to get to the dining room. We go down a long hall full of people, and then we are in line for dinner, but it is cafeteria style. I’m wondering what happened to the dining room and the wonderful food.

I get in the salad line first, and the lettuce is frozen. I’m already disgusted and wondering where my father is. Then I get in a line for sushi, but the sushi is like the nasty kind that is prepackaged in supermarkets. I order something that will take 15 minutes and am told that it will be brought to me. I wonder how they will find me.

A steward approaches my mother and me and tells me to follow him. He takes me into a room where my dad and the boys are lying on a blue bed; the boys are playing a video game. They’ve been there the whole time waiting for me. The boys are wearing communication devices on their wrists, and they could have sent us a message using those, but they didn’t think about it.

The whole cruise sucks already.

“I write this very decidedly out of despair over my body and over a future with this body . . .” ~ Franz Kafka, from The Diaries, 1910

Friday night. Cool and clear.

Bongao, Capital of Tawi-Tawi Province

So I didn’t get back to this post until now. On Wednesday, I saw my pain doctor and got trigger shots all over my neck, back, and lower back. I lost count. My doctor said afterwards, “Wow. That’s a lot of shots.”

No kidding. I actually thought that I might throw up on the way home. I guess they bothered me more because it’s been several months since I’ve had any trigger shots, and I was one giant muscle spasm. I woke up every three hours or so and took another muscle relaxer (no worries, I’m supposed to take two at a time, and I only take one usually). By Thursday morning, I still hurt.

Fortunately, to take my mind of my excruciating back pain, I got to have my breasts smashed. Yes, the annual mammogram, which, it turns out, I have not had since 2008. I’ve been—shall I say—neglectful of my ta tas. Anyway, let me explain this to those of you who may be unaware: Mammograms hurt more for small-breasted women because the technician has to take your champagne-glass full (before flutes) and pull it onto the platform. I feel like saying, “I’m not Gumby. I don’t stretch that way.”

Not to mention, I went to the wrong building for my appointment and was told to go to the first floor of building 880. I went into the office in building 880, and the woman says, “We don’t have you on the schedule.” Finally, I take out my appointment sheet, and I say, “Am I here?” like I’m some kind of moron. The woman says, “No, that’s next door.”

I’m hot, and the little bit of makeup that I dared to put on is running down my face, and I’m afraid that I’ll be late for my 3:30 therapy appointment. I ask the woman if they can just do my boobs there. She checks with the people in the back (those ominous faceless people one never sees in a doctor’s office), and then tells me that sure, they can work me in.

Done and done. Of course now, I hurt on my back and front . . .

“We hear in retrospect what we have understood.” ~ Marcel Proust

An Island in the Tawi-Tawi Province, Philippines

Well, the computer is going so slowly tonight that I feel sort of like I do in a traffic jam: that I could make more progress if I got out of the car and ran alongside the cars, only in this case, it would be faster if I turned pages by hand instead of searching through files. I fear that I may have to abandon this post once again and come back to the computer possibly in the morning after running a scan; I know when I’m defeated.

Saturday evening. Hot and humid.

After removing spyware and adware, deleting unwanted files, and scanning, the computer seems to be working a bit better, seems being the operative word. I did get this funky black screen when I rebooted, one I have never seen before, so that was a bit scary . . . So where was I?

“The color of truth is grey.” ~ André Gide

Tawi-Tawi Archipelago, Philippines

I find that my mind is not even anywhere near the track I was on when I first began this post, and I probably should have scrapped the whole thing except I hate to do that. I feel as if it’s wasted time. I mean, I’ve picked out the quotes, and I have an idea as to the theme that I’m going to use for my images. I usually already have my poem and song picked out, so to scrap everything because the post is all over the place is a bit disingenuous, especially since that’s exactly how my mind works most of the time anyway—all over the place.

So I’ll finish on this note: I went with Ann, my s-in-law to see her mother today. It was not the best visit as she was in and out as far as being able to converse. We had stopped at McDonald’s to get her a cheeseburger and fries for lunch, which she seemed to enjoy, but she turned down my offer to paint her nails, and didn’t really seem to want me to put lotion on her legs. A few other things happened while we were there which caused me to get rather brusque with her nurse, but I don’t want to get into it.

The other news is that my ex father-in-law, who was admitted to the hospital about ten days ago after falling and breaking a couple of ribs, will also not be coming back home. Ann went to see him on Friday, and she said that while he is more coherent than m-in-law, he seems to know that he is dying.

I texted the kids to let them know the status on their grandfather. Eamonn got back to me right away. Alexis got back to me eight hours later with more of the same: Sorry, will be over soon, ya da ya da ya da. I didn’t bother to reply. I’m going to try to take Eamonn and Brett to see their grandfather this coming week.

This is all too depressing.

More later. Peace.

Music by Aimee Mann, “Save Me”

                   

The Tawi-Tawi group of islands is located at the southwestern tip of the Philippine archipelago. It lies along the earth’s equatorial zone and is composed of 307 islands and islets, 88 of which are characterized by extensive reefs. Tawi-Tawi is an island province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The capital of Tawi-Tawi is Bongao. The province is the southernmost of the country sharing sea borders with the Malaysian State of Sabah and the Indonesian Kalimantan province.Tawi Tawi is a province that consists of 107 islands in the Sulu Sea, once part of a land bridge linking Borneo

                   

in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to
grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who
proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting
seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things
beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting
find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us
free)
forgetting me,remember me

~ e. e. cummings

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6 thoughts on ““Anyway this is just a note to tell you I’m in a new shell or an old one, like a hermit crab and the ink is now out of two of my pens and this is the last one. I have no more ink in the house tonight. I’ll keep you posted.” ~ John Steinbeck, in a letter to Pascal Covici, September 1948

  1. What lovely island pictures… It looks so inviting. However; I thought, well… it’s probably a million degrees there. But, hey, it is 86 degrees there today. They are calling for weather in the 80s for the next 5 days…

    So, these trigger shots are supposed to [eventually] make you feel less pain, right? Kind of ironic, though, that the shots for pain cause all this pain. I hope they start working soon…

    I’m hoping for a pleasant rest of the weekend for you where the pain subsides and the grandparents enjoy visits just a bit, and where you have – at least moments of – time where you forget the pain and enjoy… the sunshine, a butterfly flying past, the dog’s tail wagging, a cool drink, the view of the trees in passing… I draw you in that kind of day…

    • Leah,
      Thank you for the beautiful picture that you are painting for me. I will do my best to make at least some of it true.

      The trigger shots are intended to make the tightened muscles loosen. If the muscles are too tight, there is pain first, then eventual relief. It took a few days this time, but the back is better.

      I came upon the Tawi-Tawi pictures by accident. From what I’ve read, they are not very hospitable to outsiders, and visitors go at their own risk. Yes, like most of the Philippines, I imagine that it is guite hot. But they bring to mind kind of Gilligan’s Island kind of paradise–away from everything. Of course on that island, they had the ability to make coconut cream pies, something I’ve never understood . . .,

      • Ahh… Gilligan’s Island! No wonder why I like those pictures so much. Gilligan’s Island was one of my favorite shows growing up… (It never occurred to me that they wouldn’t have been able to make coconut cream pies. But it’s okay – I LIKE magical thinking…)

        Another of my favorite shows was Man from U.N.C.L.E. I had a good time this week when I looked up a picture of David McCallum from back then and showed it to one son and his girlfriend while we were watching N.C.I.S. “Ducky” is still attractive to me, guess I am showing my age!

      • Leah,
        That’s too funny. When I first began watching NCIS, I immediately recognized David McCallum. I used to have the biggest crush on him as Illya Kuryakin. He was my first hollywood crush.

        I used to wonder on Gilligan’s Island how they could have a bicycle generator but the professor couldn’t fix the two-way radio. And the pies always bothered me, but I must say that they wouldn’t bother me now. Perhaps age allows more suspension of disbelief because we realize that reality is so far from what we thought it would be.

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