“They believed that if a mouse found your hair clippings and built a nest with them you got a headache. If the nest was big enough, you might go mad.” ~ Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

My Brain on Migraine

“Normally seven minutes of another person’s company was enough to give her a headache so she set things up to live as a recluse. She was perfectly content as long as people left her in peace. Unfortunately society was not very smart or understanding.” ~ Stieg Larsson, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

“Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail.” ~ Theodore Dreiser

“I also painted a study of a seascape, nothing but a bit of sand, sea, sky, grey and lonely — sometime[s] I feel a need for that silence — where there’s nothing but the grey sea — with an occasional seabird. But otherwise, no other voice than the murmur of the waves.” ~ Vincent van Gogh, from a letter to his brother Theo, 17 September 1882

Yangon, Myanmar:

Beauty in the afternoon: If you have a few minutes, watch the whole thing. I promise that you won’t be disappointed:

“They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz.” ~ Donald Miller

“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.” ~ Vincent van Gogh

Close-up Detail of van Gogh’s “Starry Night”

                   

“Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday early evening. Sunny, high 80′s.

Blue Waiting by nalo.soul (FCC)

Absolutely beautiful today. Not too hot. The perfect day to float around the pool for a few hours. Yesterday I gave Alfie and Shakes baths while we were outside, and today I did Tillie. After my relaxing time in the pool, I came into the house and did a bit of cleaning, the floors, the bathroom, some glass. I was a sweaty, smelly mess when I finished. Time to bathe myself.

Last night Corey had his last session of his introductory class. He’s so glad that it’s over. Frankly, I feel that the class is a complete waste of time for people who have been out of high school for a while. It’s the kind of class that would actually be good as a seminar for graduating seniors who are college bound to help them determine what fields they might want to pursue in college. Other than that, I think that it’s just plain silly.

My mom dropped by with some fresh cherries this afternoon. I adore fresh cherries. I can eat an entire bag by myself. I have determined that I must have fresh fruit in my diet, and if not that, then at least yogurt. It’s that sense of something fresh to clean the palette. So far my attempts to eat healthier are working: I’m drinking a lot more water and a lot less Pepsi. I’m trying to stay away from bread and chips. Just cannot give up the gummi bears, but I limit my daily consumption.

Frankly, in the summer I could live on fresh vegetables from the garden and Edy’s fruit bars. Our eggplant and bell pepper plants have died, victims of the extreme heat. Corey has a huge crop of sunflowers, but they are all droopy, not standing straight like last year’s crop. This year he planted seeds from last year’s crop, so the stems weren’t as thick. Perhaps next year they will be stronger and more upright.

“Blue as the evening sky, blue as cranesbill flowers, blue as the lips of drowned men and the heart of a blaze burning with too hot a flame.” ~ Cornelia Funke

Captain on the Bridge by Jens Lumm (FCC)

I’m so glad the last heat wave finally broke. My head feels a bit better, and obviously (as witnessed by the cleaning), I have more energy.

WordPress has launched several new themes, and I was actually considering changing my theme, but none of the new ones quite felt right. So I settled for changing my header picture to something more in keeping with summer. I rather like the image that I found. Let me know if you notice and what you think about my selection.

I had very strange dreams last night. One was a bit on the sci-fi side as it involved being able to breathe and live beneath the water. Kind of cool, actually. I probably had that particular dream because Corey and I watched “Torchwood” before going to sleep last night. “Torchwood,” which is an offshoot of “Dr. Who,” was a series on BBC. Then I heard that they were going to do a new version. Well, Russell Davies (from “Dr. Who”) is involved in the reboot, but it’s on Starz and only has two of the original cast.

I’m not entirely certain that I like the new version. The old show was very much in the same vein as “Dr. Who,” with aliens, and strange occurrences. The cast had chemistry, and there were references to the doctor. The new show deals with one main event, and I keep thinking in the back of my mind that the doctor should be involved in this threat to earth.

I suppose as with most things, in this, too, I’m a purist. I’ll keep watching, mostly because I love John Barrowman as Capt. Jack Harkness, and I’m also quite fond of Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper. But I miss Owen and Ianto. Oh well . . . can’t have everything.

“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Blue Flood by ecstaticist (FCC)

The Fitzgerald quote above is one of my all-time favorites. Just beautiful writing. Truly incomparable.

So speaking of my mom, I’ve planted the idea in Eamonn’s head that he  might want to consider moving in with his Oma. Of all the grandkids, Eamonn would probably get along with her the best, and I know that I would certainly feel better if someone were living there full time. There’s plenty of room, and Eamonn is only home at night. I think that it could work.

We’ll see what happens with that.

It’s not that I don’t want him here, because I love seeing him all of the time, but it’s more that he would have plenty of room over there, and someone would be around at night if something happens to Mom, like another emergency. Of course, it’s a decision that they would both have to favor, so who knows what will happen.

I only know that if Eamonn is going to stay here, we have to do something about the garbage bags full of clothes, and he has to stay home long enough to move furniture.

Other than that, not a lot happening on the home front. We’re waiting for some expected funds so that we can get the work on the truck finished, and the Rodeo needs a few (more) things. I’d like to be able to send for my Uncle Ely’s Explorer in the fall as Brett will be driving the Rodeo. Of course, he needs to take his driving test, which doesn’t seem to be on the forefront of his list of things to do.

I remember that as soon as Eamonn was of age to get his driver’s permit, he wanted to take the test, and then he psyched himself out so badly that he failed the test a couple of times and had to retake it. My children are all so different. Of course, once Brett has his license, we’ll have to add him to the car insurance, which is not going to be cheap—that’s for certain.

“People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues. Murky darkness” ~ Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Great Blue Heron at Sunset on Captiva Island, FL, by Jujuba (Pixdaus)

I had a lovely telephone conversation with someone the other day in which the person with whom I was speaking told me that she found my last post quite inspiring. Apparently, she had been having a really hard time at work lately, and she was feeling down. She said that my post gave her the mental boost to keep going, that it reminded her that life’s annoyances are only temporary.

I thought that that was such a lovely thing to say. I had been a bit concerned of late that my stats aren’t surpassing 1,000 hits a day like they used to, but comments like that and many others that I receive from regular readers help me to keep things in perspective.

I may not have millions of hits, but I have a lovely little support group that reads me regularly and comments when possible. If I can cheer someone with my tongue-in-cheek irreverence, or if I can inspire someone with my collection of quotes and images, then that’s what makes this blog relevant, not the numbers.

Coming from my last position in which the numbers were the end all and be all of how well I was doing my job, it is far too easy to get caught up in the statistics and to forget that the numbers are actually people. And it’s the people for whom I write, the people who I consider when choosing subjects, the people I think about when trying to decide on the post’s theme, or the selection of content.

And if I haven’t said it lately: You guys are the best. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Let me close with the following:

From my favorite Doctor Who episode, “Vincent and the Doctor,” written by Richard Curtis:

Vincent: Hold my hand, Doctor. Try to see what I see. We’re so lucky we’re still alive to see this beautiful world. Look at the sky. It’s not dark and black and without character. The black is in fact deep blue. And over there! Lighter blue. [the starscape slowly transforms into The Starry Night] And blowing through the blueness and the blackness, the winds swirling through the air. And there shining, burning, bursting through, the stars! Can you see how they roll their light? Everywhere we look, complex magic of nature blazes before our eyes.

Doctor: I’ve seen many things, my friend, but you’re right: nothing quite as wonderful as the things you see.

More later. Peace.

Looking for a song by Blue October to go with my blue theme and found this beautiful one: “Congratulations”

                   

Devotions of a Painter

Cool sinuosities, waved banners of light,
Unfurl, remesh, and round upon themselves
In a continuing turmoil of benign
Cross-purposes, effortlessly as fish,
On the dark underside of the foot-bridge,
Cast upward against pewter-weathered planks.
Weeds flatten with the current. Dragonflies
Poise like blue needles, steady in mid-air,
For some decisive, swift inoculation.
The world repeats itself in ragged swatches
Among the lily-pads, but understated,
When observed from this selected vantage point,
A human height above the water-level,
As the shore shelves heavily over its reflection,
Its timid, leaf-strewn comment on itself.
It’s midday in midsummer. Pitiless heat.
Not so much air in motion as to flutter
The frail, bright onion tissue of a poppy.
I am an elderly man in a straw hat
Who has set himself the task of praising God
For all this welter by setting out my paints
And getting as much truth as can be managed
Onto a small flat canvas. Constable
Claimed he had never seen anything ugly,
And would have known each crushed jewel in the pigments
Of these oily golds and greens, enamelled browns
That recall the glittering eyes and backs of frogs.
The sun dispenses its immense loose change,
Squandered on blossoms, ripples, mud, wet stones.
I am enamored of the pale chalk dust
Of the moth’s wing, and the dark moldering gold
Of rust, the corrupted treasures of this world.
Against the Gospel let my brush declare:
“These are the anaglyphs and gleams of love.”

~ Anthony Hecht, from The Transparent Man

“Reality is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends upon what we look for. What we look for depends upon what we think. What we think depends upon what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.” ~ Gary Zukav

Gate of Wishes, Mrtivica Canyon, Montenegro (Pixdaus)

“The more I see, the less I know for sure.” ~ John Lennon

Saturday afternoon. Temperatures hovering above 100° F. Thunderstorms.

Keyhole Arch in Monument Valley

I awoke with another headache, nothing new. Not too bad, but lots and lots of pressure in my forehead and behind my eyes. Probably due to the barometric pressure and the heat.

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in years: I went outside during a rain shower and got in the pool. It was so refreshing. The air temperature dropped a bit, and the water cooled. The dogs joined me for a few minutes, but Shakes doesn’t much care for rain. Tillie stayed out with me for the duration. It didn’t rain long, but I enjoyed myself while it did.

I was hoping to do the same again today, but unfortunately the rain is accompanied by thunder and lightning. Even I have enough sense not to get in a metal-clad pool in the middle of a thunderstorm.

I just glanced at my weather icon, and the temperature has dropped 8 degrees in the last fifteen minutes. Now that’s change I can live with . . .

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ~ Oscar Wilde, “Lady Windermere’s Fan”

Monday afternoon. Not nearly as hot.

Kicking Horse River through Natural Bridge, Canada

So I got distracted . . . where was I? Oh yes, drama.

Woke up this morning to lovely news: we should expect a drop-in visit from Adult Protective Services. Whatever . . .

The ongoing drama at our house had been calm for far too long. I knew to expect something soon, and I wasn’t disappointed. Apparently, the pest (nicest word I can think to use for this person), reported Em’s case worker and our home as being  . . . shall we say, unfit? Charges include holding her against her will, all of us being insane (I told you this person wasn’t wrapped too tight), beating her down continually (not sure if that was meant to be literal or metaphorical), ya da ya da ya da . . .

In the inestimable words of W: Bring. It. On.

I mean, we have absolutely nothing to hide here. We are exactly as we purport ourselves to be: a middle class family in the burbs that is making ends meet. We have a home, food in our pantry, all of the accoutrements, as it were. We do not claim to be wealthy because we are not. We do not claim to have all of the answers because we do not. We do claim to have a healthy living environment for our family because we do. We do claim to know a few things about people who face challenges in life because we do. We do claim to be good parents because we are.

So when I heard that APS was going to come by, my response was what it only could be: Okay. Whatever. Tell them to drop by as they like because we have nothing to hide.

So they did. Today. A very nice woman who sat down with Em and asked her basic (and I mean basic) questions: Are you able to dress yourself? Yes. Do you take care of your own physical hygiene? Yes. Do you know how to do things around the house? Yes (she does now). Can you get your own food or does someone have to do it for you? Get it myself and can cook a little . . . and lots more in that vein, and then . . . Are you happy? I am now.

We left Em alone with the case worker so that the woman wouldn’t think that we were trying to sway her answers or to influence her unduly (because that’s what I do, you know. I beat people down until they are simpering idiots who have no will of their own . . . right.) The case worker asked her more questions that I didn’t hear because I wasn’t listening. Then I invited her to look through our house, as it were.

Dreaded visit over, and everyone survived. And the case worker didn’t even flinch over Em’s shaved head, which she is loving, by the way, especially since no one has asked her to wear a hat to hide her ears. Of course, after the case worker left I took all of the illegal drugs out of the hall closet, and I let the dozen or so illegal aliens out of the bathroom, and I got back to making the homemade meth that I was cooking up in the kitchen along with barbecued ribs.

It’s a joke, people. Of course, I know that sentence will come back in another form somewhere, but at this point, I am so over it.

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” ~ Aldous Huxley

Keyhole Arch, Apostle Islands (National Park Service)

You might think that such a visit and the results would put a normal person’s mind at ease, that the news that a completely unbiased third party witnessed the supposedly downtrodden young woman healthy and happy would be welcome news. You would think, but the key word here is normal. I know that this saga isn’t over. There will be more frantic telephone calls to whoever will listen. There will be more tossing about of the family name in an attempt to curry favor. There will be more stealing of passages of my blog to try to show how insane I am. There will be more disparaging remarks regarding my character, the character of my family.

As I’ve said before, when I need to, I can have the patience of Job. The more chest-banging this other person does, the less I need to justify myself. And dare I say it? I don’t really have anything to justify. I took in a young woman who felt trapped and mentally abused. I offered a safe haven to a person who did not feel safe, for various reasons. She is healthy. She is happy. She is safe.

I can do no more than what I have already done and what I continue to do—be myself—be patient, be sympathetic and empathetic, be a sounding board when needed.

Oh, and by the way, the illegal things? Puleez. But the part about Em’s shaved head is true; she just hasn’t died it blue yet . . .

“The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Keyhold Arch, Antelope Canyon

Even though I’m spending a lot of effort here bitching, I’m actually not at all peeved. Instead, what I really feel is a deep sense of pity. You might think that I’m a sap for feeling pity for an individual who is set upon my ruin, for the person who does not hesitate to disparage me to anyone who will listen, but that is indeed what I feel.

I cannot say that I have ever encountered anyone exactly like this particular individual before, but I have encountered people who are filled with such a determined sense of entitlement and righteousness: They are the only ones who are right, and everyone else is wrong. They are entitled to have this or to be given that because of a skewed sense of self-importance.

Unfortunately, my encounters with this personality type most often have occurred when dealing with members of boards of directors, especially in the arts. I cannot tell you how many people, women especially, who banked everything on their last names. They would meet me, hear my unusual, distinctly not patronage-linked last name, and immediately make assumptions about my value to them. If I could, in fact, give them something they needed or desired, then they would deign to be polite to me, but if my existence did not in any way benefit them, then I simply ceased to matter.

The first time that this happened, I was highly affronted, and my alpha side reared its head: You will listen to me because I do know exactly what I am talking about . . . I may as well have been barking at the moon for all of the good that it did me. This personality type is impermeable to reality, well, at least the reality in which so many of us exist. I took a lesson from my director, who was a very soft-spoken, wise man when he told me that I simply could not treat these people using logic because in their worlds, Copernicus was wrong, and the universe did indeed revolve around their spheres.

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” ~ Ansel Adams

Keyhole Tree, Broome, Australia

I have written about self-entitlement before, but usually as it pertains to teenagers and how we have an entire generation of people who think that they deserve whatever they want simply because. It’s not often that I encounter someone from my own generation who operates with this same sense of entitlement. People within my age group have usually worked hard to get to the points in our lives at which we find ourselves. Many of us our self-made, and many people I know are second generation to this country.

Being second generation (even on one side) imbues those of us like this with a strong work ethic because the desire not to fail our parents is extremely important. Being second generation also means that few of us have family names on which to fall back. We have made our own names, and we don’t depend upon our ancestors to define us. I cannot imagine being the kind of person to make requests simply because of what my name happens to be, but I have met people like this, and they have no qualms about throwing around that name as if it we still lived in a system with peers and nobles.

I think that part of what makes me strong is the fact that I have worked for everything that I have, that my parents came from humble beginnings and worked and saved for everything that they had. I’m proud to come from working-class stock. I was taught the value of a dollar, and I was taught that respect is something to be earned, not something to be bestowed upon someone simply because of who they are.

So what it boils down to is that in the midst of all of this, I try to retain my patience, and I try to retain my sense of humor, much taxed though they may be. And when in doubt, I remember the rule of three: that what we send out into the world comes back to us threefold.

Karma. It’s a bitch.

More later. Peace.

Music by The Morning After Girls, “Hidden Spaces”

                   

Picture of the Author with Vice President

That’s me on his left. If neither one of us
looks comfortable, it’s because I said
I’m sorry to hear about his heart.
A small machine, he says, sends tiny sparks
in there, to pace the flow of blood.
Some people will dispute this photo; his office
has denied it’s me; but I have to believe
I am in the picture. It’s awkward, yes,
for we don’t know each other;
and if he’s known as a man who keeps
public secrets, I’m not known at all.
Even so, he and I share something
that we cherish, deeply, which is our love

of trout. On his Wyoming ranch, he owns
a trout stream for himself. When I raise
the question—How’s the fishing?—he will rise
to the subject, and we will have grown
a little closer, having now disclosed
a passion no one, having known, lets go.
And he, too, is a man who knows cold blood
of trout cares nothing for who you are.
Nor do they care who owns the land
their water flows within: So long
as land and stream stay clean, they live.
Because I must rely on public lands
to find—weighed out in the flash
of a trout’s brilliant scales—that cleanly order,
I’m concerned about his sympathy
with those who call such places “undeveloped.”

But I know better than to say as much
to a man who’s so well versed
in the rhyming of ecology with economy
abstract nets that hold so many tangibles,
such as meadow grass that filters silt
so cutthroat trout may have clean beds
of gravel for their spawning redds;
or the English teacher whose hopes
for a pay raise float on the promise
of a growing tax base—in other words,
the new sport coat I’m wearing
in the photo, bought for this occasion.
Still, I want to believe in the heart
of a man who would fish a barbless fly
for a trout, and let it go; who would spend
that much time to be where trout live, to step
so softly in their stream, they do not frighten.

So I am going to tell him a story
about the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico,
and a man who lived there. By all accounts,
William Myers knew the land, but owned
none of it. Had no money, so in order to live
in the mountains, he bartered work
for the privilege of staying in
other people’s second homes.
One day, he drove his ATV up a ridge
to scout the most likely route to run a pipe
to his friend’s house. He lit a cigarette,
studied the forest floor, as he’d often done
for fresh deer lies, bear scat, a crop of mast
that might draw wild turkeys in.
Whether it was a spark from the ATV
or the cigarette, he didn’t know; but he was sure,
he told police, that it was he who caused the fire.
That night, a glowing orange blemish on the sky;
by next day, a dry mist with a taste
of wet paper. Nine thousand acres
of forest he had hunted, ponds and creeks
he’d fished—the bell-note of hummingbird wings,
the raccoon crooning to her pups—gone up
in a surf of flame; sap-laden pines burst
like the improvised gas-and-bottle bombs
he’d learned to make in the army. Helicopters
dropped fire-retardant chemicals on a woods
he’d loved but never owned, and never meant

to burn. They fell in scarlet plumes, like blood
that must have sprayed from his skull
when he stood in front of the gun
he held in his own hand, and fired.
—Well, it may have been the words
like blood, and skull, and gun,
that made the men in sunglasses bring
our conversation to a polite, efficient end.
Or it could have been my agitation
over a man who took responsibility—
who, as his scribbled farewell letter read,
could never live with what he had destroyed.

~ William Wenthe (as found in The Paris Review)

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” ~ Charles Bukowski

Four Hands, Normandy, by nalo.soul (FCC)

                   

“When your feet will no longer carry you, you have to walk with your head.” ~ René Daumal, Mount Analogue

Friday afternoon. Dangerously hot and humid. Air advisories.

Abbaye de Jumièges, Normandy, by Allie_Caufield (FCC)

Woke up yesterday with massive migraine. I’m attributing it to the horrid heat, but it meant that I couldn’t go with Ann to visit my other m-in-law. Every time I open the sliding door to let the dogs go outside, it feels as if a wall of heat is coming at me full tilt. Even my eyeballs are sweating. Geez.

Woke up with another headache today, but not as bad. In one of my dreams last night, I was in line at a restaurant and suddenly found myself at the front of a cafeteria-style parade of food, only the food was gourmet—grilled shallots, butterfly shrimp tempura, other stuff. I was so confused by the set up that I left the line and sat down in an empty booth. The restaurant was filled with people from my high school class, and I didn’t recognize any of them.

In another part of the dream, I was with Kathleen in this huge office space filled with cubicles, and we were talking about sneaking out of work early so that I could buy a blouse. She said that Smith & Welton was having a sale. Boy, that’s a blast from the past. That store hasn’t been around for years and years.

The night before, I dreamed that Tillie and I were walking home from Old Dominion, which is not a short walk. And the more that we walked, the colder it got until there were massive snow drifts everywhere. Tillie and I were walking atop the drifts, and once in a while, we would have to jump down from heights that were rooftop high, but we landed in the soft snow. I stopped at a house that I thought was empty and opened the garage door. A woman came out the back door and asked me what I was doing in her garage. I told her that I really needed to use the phone to call my dad for a ride home. She was very calm for someone who had a stranger in her house.

Strangeness. Obviously, the heat is working on my brain. With luck, we’ll have storms this weekend.

“Everything has its own voice. Thunder and lightning and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees—all these have voices, and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related.” ~ Thomas Berry

Vue Sur Mer, Normandy, by nalo.soul (FCC)

Corey is working first shift today. He has worked five shifts in four days. As a result, the Rodeo is still parked near the elementary school awaiting the alternator. He goes by to make sure nothing’s happened to it. We’re hoping that he can work on it this evening, that is if it isn’t too blasted hot.

I threw tennis balls for Tillie and Shakes earlier today just so that they could jump in the pool for a quick swim. Quite frankly I couldn’t stand to be outside more than a minute. You know it’s too hot when the dogs won’t stay outside and just spend the afternoon on the couch beneath the air conditioner. Tuesday evening the transformer in our neighborhood blew, which meant that we were without electricity for about 45 minutes. Probably over-usage.

I hate being so dependent upon air conditioning. It’s terrible for the environment and a major contributor to global warming, but the alternative, living in excessive heat, does not appeal to me either. It makes me think back to when my mom and dad first bought their house. It did not have air conditioning for the first year we lived there, and somehow we muddled through. When we were in the Philippines, my grandmother’s house did not have air conditioning, but the apartment that we lived in did have AC. But talk about hot.

As a kid, I remember that summer days that I didn’t spend in the library I spent on my bike with my friend Cathy Weaver. We would leave in the morning and stay gone until dinner time. I suppose as a kid you don’t think about the heat, or at least, we didn’t. Perhaps age affects the ability to tolerate extreme temperatures, but my dad never had a problem with heat, only cold. Of course, he was born in the tropics.

Corey and I have talked about how if we ever have enough land, we hope to put up a windmill to generate power, and we want to install solar panels. I think it’s the least that we can do to help preserve this little planet we inhabit.

“She strung the afternoon on the necklace of memorable days, which was not too long for her to be able to recall this one or that one . . . It was something that lasted; something that mattered for ever.” ~ Virginia Woolf, Moments Of Being

Etretat, Normandy, by nalo.soul (FCC)

So we’re hoping to be able to see the second part of Deathly Hallows this weekend. I’m not sure how I’m going to react. Harry Potter has been in my life for more than a decade. The books are remarkable, and the movie adaptations have been excellent. It’s kind of like when the extended DVD version of Lord of the Rings: Return of the Kingcame out—no more new LOTR. I was quite sad.

You might think it silly that I become so invested in books and movies, and I have to say that for the most part, I do not become attached to movies at all. But with these two series, it’s been different. They are both sagas, extremely well-written sagas that have been translated into epic motion pictures. Of course, Peter Jackson’s LOTR series is more epic as far as movie-making, but with the Harry Potter series, it’s been an investment of time and emotions.

Speaking of investments of time—although I should probably not put this into words as I have a way of jinxing myself—I think that I have a real working plot for a novel coming together. I mean, I have lots of threads of plots running through my mind all of the time, but this time, I have the villain; I have his means, and I have his motive. I just haven’t decided on the hero, as it were. I will probably have a woman, but I’m not sure what her job will be. Not a coroner as that’s been overdone. I’m actually thinking that she might be an investigative reporter.

Will have to consider that more. But it’s making me excited to have worked out this much just in my brain. Now comes the next step, the one that I never take: putting it down on paper (or on virtual paper, that is). I’m actually a bit disconcerted that I won’t be typing on a real typewriter as there is just something about creating the pages manually instead of via printer that seems more tangible.

I would love to have an IBM Selectric. It’s the kind of machine that I learned to type on, and my fingers can really fly over the keys. But even more than that, there is the sound of the ball (whatever that thing is called) hitting the page that I remember fondly. Oh well . . .

“And yet I love this quiet clouded day. A bell sounds from afar. The birds sing one after another, as if they called across the tree tops. I love this settled stillness, and this feeling that, at any moment, down may come the rain.” ~ Katherine Mansfield, Notebooks

The River Aure, Bayeux, Normandy, by Jim Linwood (FCC)

Corey has almost finished with his introductory class for TCC. He plans to take biology and English this fall, which will give him seven hours. Eamonn is planning to take two, maybe three classes; he’s thinking about taking a music class. Every night when he gets home from work he sits down at my old piano and just plays, not very melodic, but full of heart.

The piano is out of tune, and the pedals don’t work. My mother tried to convince me to get rid of my piano years ago as she said that it was “just taking up room.” I still like to play occasionally, but the other night when I sat down to play something for Eamonn, I had a harder time reading the music than I ever have before. Part of it is that my glasses are not a current prescription, but truthfully, the other part is that I am sooo out of practice.

I took lessons for 14 years. I used to be able to play Chopin preludes, Bach two- and three-part inventions, and Beethoven sonatas. Not so much now. But hearing Eamonn trying to play so earnestly makes me want to play again. In fact, I just remembered that in part of my dream last night, I was accompanying a reading of The Hobbit by playing the songs in the book. I wasn’t doing a very good job of it, and the professor who was reading was getting very impatient with me.

I need to get back to basics, do some scale and chord work. And I really, really need to get new glasses, but as with so many other things, it will have to wait, at least for a month or two. We’re still catching up from this abysmal July.

Anyway, that’s about all for now. I’m trying to get back into writing at least every other day, working towards every day. Time to go into the hot kitchen and do a bit of cleaning.

More later. Peace.

Music by Beck and Bat for Lashes, “Let’s Get Lost”

                   

Walking Across The Atlantic

I wait for the holiday crowd to clear the beach
before stepping onto the first wave.

Soon I am walking across the Atlantic
thinking about Spain,
checking for whales, waterspouts.
I feel the water holding up my shifting weight.
Tonight I will sleep on its rocking surface.

But for now I try to imagine what
this must look like to the fish below,
the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.

~ Billy Collins

“This is Dr. Reality´s office calling, you´re way overdue for your checkup . . . ” ~ Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice

Amble Pier by Jim Donnelly (FCC)

                    

“I wish you could live in my brain for a week. It is washed with the most violent waves of emotion . . . And you think it all fixed and settled. Do we then know nobody?—only our own version of them, which, as likely as not, are emanations from ourselves.” ~ Virginia Woolf to Vita Sackville West,1926

Wednesday afternoon. Hazy but not quite as hot.

Pier by dendroica cerulea (FCC)

I had very vivid dreams last night. In the first, I was in the midst of a CSI episode, one in which the main character was Gil Grissom. I stopped watching the show after William Peterson left as he made the show (in my opinion). Anyway, the entire cast was there, and the earth was literally cracking—massive waves, the ground opening up and swallowing large masses of people. We were moving quickly, trying to stay ahead of the devastation. At one point, we got on an escalator, which in my mind in the dream did not make sense since the electricity should not have been working. Lots of running and screaming all around me, but I was fairly calm. Weird, very weird.

The other dream involved my dad. He told my mom that he was going to the grocery store, and I jumped in the car with him. It was our old VW bug. But he wasn’t really going to the grocery store; instead, he was going to visit his friend who owned a gas station/small convenience store. He wanted to have a beer with him, and I ruined his plan by jumping in the car.  He went anyway and left me in the car for a few minutes while he visited with all of his friends at the convenience store.

He left the car running, and it began to roll backwards. I pulled up the emergency brake, and it stopped rolling. My dad came out and asked me what happened, and I told him. He asked me to go into the store with him to help him carry something. He had bought two large glass containers that were etched on the outside. They were both over two feet tall. I was certain that my mother would hate them. On the way home, he told me that he really wanted to open a gas station with a small convenience store.

Suddenly, my mother was in the car, and she and I were arguing because I told her that I wanted to go home. My dad was in the passenger’s seat, and he had his old machete. He waved it in the air and told both of us to stop fighting. We didn’t.

I wanted to go home because I suddenly realized that I hadn’t turned in the last two assignments in one of my classes, and I hadn’t asked for an incomplete, so I was going to fail the class. I really needed to call my professor to tell her what had happened. My mother kept bitching at me.

Strangely enough, I did not wake up with a headache.

“We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are. Sane or insane. Saints or sex addicts. Heroes or victims. Letting history tell us how good or bad we are. Letting our past decide our future. Or we can decide for ourselves. And maybe it’s our job to invent something better.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk

Man on Tynemouth Pier by smlp.co.uk (FCC)

Dreaming about my dad is a very bittersweet experience. Almost always, the dreams are fairly realistic, as in he’s acting like my dad, and he looks and sounds like my dad. You know how sometimes in dreams people take on different voices or mannerisms? This never happens with my dad. But one thing that I have noticed is that in the most recent dreams, my mother is almost always with my dad. I’m not sure why that is.

I haven’t spent much time with my mother lately, and I feel guilty about that. I also haven’t visited my other m-in-law in a while, and I feel guilty about that as well. My ability to heap guilt upon myself is limitless and always has been. I probably would have made a great Puritan during the colonial period: hard work and guilt being my primary driving forces.

All would have been well, that is until I spoke my mind, and then I probably would have been burned as a witch. That whole timid female thing? Definitely not me.

I do wonder why I still have dreams about school. Usually, my stress dreams involve an algebra class that I have forgotten to go to all semester, and suddenly, it’s time for the final exam. But this time it was a sociology class, and I even recalled the name of my old professor in the dream—Dr. Dixie Dickinson. Isn’t that a strange detail to recall after all of these years?

I remember that she was one of my favorite professors, and that I took two classes that she taught because I enjoyed her so much.

“But when we reach the end of the pier of everything we know, we find that it only takes us part of the way. Beyond that all we see is uncharted water. Past the end of the pier lies all the mystery about our deeply strange existence . . .” ~ David Eagleman

Craigendoran Pier B&W by baaker2009 (FCC)

The quote? New author. Hence the pier theme. Seemed appropriate.

You know how yesterday I was so proud of the fact that we had no car trouble during our Ohio road trip? I should have known not to brag. The Rodeo broke down on Corey on his way home from school last night. Seems it wasn’t just the battery that went, but the alternator as well. Mike and Alexis brought Corey home, and surprise! Alexis let Corey borrow her new car to get to work last night for his second shift.

I felt so sorry for my poor hubbie yesterday. It was an endless parade of crappola in which he was the major participant: First shift his relief arrives an hour and a half late. He gets home with just enough time to change clothes and go to school. On the way home from school, the car dies. He has to be back at work at 11 p.m. This morning he woke me around 8:30 just to talk. He had been up over 24 hours, this after driving 12 hours on Sunday night/Monday morning.

At the moment, he is sound asleep, waiting for Mike to get home from work. Thankfully, Mike offered to help Corey change the alternator, which saves us the labor charge. Then tonight Corey has to go back to work at 11 p.m.

So all of my boasting about this being the best road trip ever came back to bite me in the ass. Fate has a very warped sense of humor. The rental car was a dream, but the Rodeo is another story. At least we didn’t try to drive the Rodeo to Ohio and have these breakdowns happen on the way there or on the way home. Just saying . . .

“Stripped of words, untamed, the universe pours in on me from every direction. I become what I see. I am earth, I am air. I am all. My eyes are suns. My hair streams among the galaxies.” ~Steven Millhauser, Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories

Old Pier, Lobos Buenos Aires, AR by Irargerich (FCC)

I have come to a few conclusions. Let me share:

  • Our house is very crowded when filled with five people. I don’t remember it feeling this crowded before.
  • I’m very fortunate to be married to a man who still has dreams about the future.
  • In this country, the rich are now referred to as “job creators” (per Jon Stewart). Are we supposed to be able to swallow the bitter pill that allows the rich more tax breaks than the middle class if they aren’t called rich?
  • I do not want to live to be so old that I merely exist. That is not living.
  • I’m chewing my fingers again, which is a sure sign that I’m stressed without even realizing it.
  • I have felt old since I was young.
  • I try not to make fun of Mormons, but it’s so hard.
  • Coffee should always be served hot and strong.
  • When I was younger, I gave my heart to people who did not deserve it, but in so doing, I gradually learned to be more discerning.
  • Given the choice, I would choose more land and a smaller house as opposed to a bigger house and less land.
  • Salt air holds magical powers of rejuvenation.
  • I would prefer wall-to-wall bookcases over expensive furniture.
  • Something about Oregon is appealing.
  • My life has an omnipresent soundtrack, real and imagined.
  • I am still very self-conscious and feel like an ugly duckling when I am in large groups of people.
  • I have gotten to a point in my life in which a self-propelling vacuum is on my list of things I desire.
  • I still desire sunlight, moon glow, cool winds, the heady scent of gardenias, lilac, and fresh rosemary, sweet fresh peaches, hot tea at dusk, beautiful books, and the sound of waves hitting the shore.
  • I lost myself somewhere along the way, but I am slowly finding my way to a different state of being, one that trusts in myself more and harbors less resentment for past ills.
  • I am ageless—simultaneously old and young—and this I can accept.
  • When I run out of things to say, I can always find the perfect words from someone else:

“We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time.”
~ T.S. Eliot

More later. Peace.

Music by Cee Lo Green, “What Part of Forever”

                   

Last night as I was sleeping

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

~ Antonio Machado (Trans. Robert Bly)