“It’s a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.” ~ Naguib Mahfouz

Pierre de Clausade Pont Neuf, Neige sur Paris, 1959

Pont Neuf, Neige Sur Paris (1959, oil on canvas)
by Pierre de Clausade

                   

The slow mornings of coffee and newspapers
and evenings of music and scattered bits
of talk like leaves suddenly fallen before
one notices the new season.” ~ B. H. Fairchild, from “The Dumka”

Thursday afternoon. Sunny and mild, 54 degrees.

Well, it’s been a wild week so far. Where do I start?

Pierre de Clausade, The Seine

“Quai des Orfèvres” (1974, oil on canvas)
by Pierre de Clausade

Dreams first: Last night, I had this very strange dream in which Corey and I were at his parents’ house in Ohio, and I had gotten up late, and there was no coffee left. I got so upset that there wasn’t any coffee. I took it personally—they had drunk all of the coffee before I woke up to punish me, but then I realized that Corey hadn’t had any coffee either, so it was okay . . .

No snow here. In fact, it’s absolutely beautiful today, big change from last night. The winds were absolutely wicked: one panel of our fence was blown off. It was part of the old fence on the side of the house. And on my way to pick up Brett at school, the major artery to campus was flooded, really flooded. People were acting crazy, and I just kept thanking the stars that I had relatively new brakes and tires. I made it to campus through the water, but the way home was a nightmare as the cops had closed off the boulevard by then, and everyone was trying back roads. I was so tense that I arrived home with a headache.

No surprise there.

“To touch and feel each thing in the world, to know it by sight and by name, and then to know it with your eyes closed so that when something is gone, it can be recognized by the shape of its absence. So that you can continue to possess the lost, because absence is the only constant thing. Because you can get free of everything except the space where things have been.” ~ Nicole Krauss, from “Man Walks Into a Room”

So Corey left Sunday. Everything happened quite fast. The ship got into port on Saturday afternoon. Corey and I had both thought that the ship/he would probably be in port for several days, maybe even a week as that’s usually the case.

Pierre de Clausade Neige Sure La Rive oil on canvas

“Neige Sur La Rive” (1964, oil on canvas)
by Pierre de Clausade

Not so much.

He drove to the ship around 3 in the afternoon and was back home by 6 that same evening. Seems they were planning to leave port at midnight. We had to get everything packed and ready in a matter of hours. The good news is that he’ll only be gone about two weeks. They are only doing a run to Ascension and back. Not sure how many runs they’ll be doing, but he’ll be back and forth every two weeks or so, maybe three times.

Because of the quick turnaround, I didn’t really have time to prepare myself emotionally for what was happening, which meant that by Monday, I was kind of paralyzed emotionally. By that I mean that just the effort to get out of my pajamas and drive Brett to school was more than I was prepared to do, so posting was out of the question. I was in a mild stupor, just wandering through the empty house. Between Tillie and myself, I don’t know who was more downtrodden.

“I say: let the trifles that strangle us be seen merely as
trifles, remediable inequities.  Then when the wind has had its way with us
we can see ourselves as we are, face to face with the invisible.” ~ Pablo Neruda, from “A Heavy Surf”

Pierre de Clausade Neige au Pont Neuf

“Neige au Pont Neuf” (1959, oil on canvas)
by Pierre de Clausade

The house has been so quiet during the day, just the dogs and me. Yesterday I took my mother to the orthopedic group to get a cortisone shot in her knee. She had been saying that the pain was excruciating, but when I told her that she should get a shot, she freaked, saying that the shots were too painful, that I had no idea how painful they were. I explained to her that I’ve had cortisone shots pretty much all over my body. I wanted to tell her not to be such a big baby, but I didn’t. Anyway, took her, she got the shot, everything was fine.

Speaking of pain, these patches that the new doctor prescribed seem to be helping with the overall pain, but they aren’t lasting a week like they’re supposed to. Month two doubles the dose, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m scheduled for the migraine Botox shots at the end of the month. Wouldn’t it be something if I manage to get to a place in which I am no longer coasting along between a 3 and 5 on the pain scale, that I actually hover more at 1 or even zero?

I can’t even begin to conceive of such a thing.

“I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time is chasing after all of us.” ~ J. M. Barrie, from Peter Pan

I just took a break to drop off prescriptions and to have a quick game of stick with Tillie, who has been soooo restless these past few days. Her sad face absolutely wounds me to the quick.

Okay, must pause here. What exactly does the quick mean? A quick (sorry, groan) search yields the following: the living flesh (as in the flesh beneath the finger nail). But cutting to the quick means to get to the point, or the heart of the matter. The quick and the dead—the living and the dead. Language is amazing.

Pierre de Clausade Mer du Nord oil on canvas

“Mer du Nord” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Pierre de Clausade

What else is new?

Yesterday I had to do a complete scan on my computer and redo my Mozilla Firefox profile because everything was acting wonky. I could only open one window of Firefox at a time, which is problematic when I’m doing searches on images as I rely on the drag and drop from one window to the next (for example, from Tumblr to Google images). Apparently, I didn’t have any viruses, but I cleaned out all of the extraneous files, shredded my recycle bin and restarted a couple of time. Everything seems to be back to normal.

Thank the gods for discussion boards. You can put even the most obscure phrase in Google regarding a computer problem, and you’re bound to get at least five hits on discussion boards dealing with the same problem. It’s just a matter of reading carefully and being selective. I have come so far when it comes to figuring out computer issues, a far cry from the woman who got her first PC back in the 90’s and found the whole concept of screen savers amazing. As I was saying to Brett, it’s amazing how much has changed: my first computer measured memory in megabytes, and now his phone has more memory than I had on a PC.

“Here is a handful
of shadow I have brought back to you:
this decay, this hope, this mouth-
ful of dirt, this poetry.” ~ Margaret Atwood, from “Mushrooms”

In other news, I finished another Ian Rankin novel last night. I’ve read four in the past two weeks. The main character is Scottish CID officer John Rebus, who is quite the curmudgeon. Any wonder I love his character? I’ve read just about every book in the series; I think there are 12 total. I need to figure out which ones I have left and add them to my book wish list.

Pierre de Clausade Notre Dame in Winter

“Notre Dame in Winter” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Pierre de Clausade

Brett is going to NYC this weekend on a school trip. The art department at ODU is sponsoring a weekend trip for students to visit museums. I am so envious. It’s been years since I was last in New York. I want to take Corey for a long weekend, just meander through the museums. I know that he would love it.

Next week is birthday week for Eamonn and my mother. Have no idea what I’m going to do yet. My other m-in-law’s birthday was on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve never been a big Saint Paddy’s day celebrant. The idea of drinking green beer just appalls me. Around here there is parade in Ocean View that has become quite a tradition. What is probably the bigger tradition is being drunk before noon. I don’t think I would have enjoyed that even when I was young enough.

Whatever.  I’ll close for now.

More later. Peace.

(All images by French painter Pierre de Clausade. I was unable to find dates for all works shown.)

Music by Taylor Swift, featuring The Civil Wars, “Safe and Sound” (not normally a Taylor Swift fan, but I love this song)

                   

The Afterlife

They’re moving off in all imaginable directions,
each according to his own private belief,
and this is the secret that silent Lazarus would not reveal:
that everyone is right, as it turns out.
you go to the place you always thought you would go,
the place you kept lit in an alcove in your head.

Some are being shot into a funnel of flashing colors
into a zone of light, white as a January sun.
Others are standing naked before a forbidding judge who sits
with a golden ladder on one side, a coal chute on the other.

Some have already joined the celestial choir
and are singing as if they have been doing this forever,
while the less inventive find themselves stuck
in a big air conditioned room full of food and chorus girls.

Some are approaching the apartment of the female God,
a woman in her forties with short wiry hair
and glasses hanging from her neck by a string.
With one eye she regards the dead through a hole in her door.

There are those who are squeezing into the bodies
of animals – eagles and leopards – and one trying on
the skin of a monkey like a tight suit,
ready to begin another life in a more simple key,

while others float off into some benign vagueness,
little units of energy heading for the ultimate elsewhere.

There are even a few classicists being led to an underworld
by a mythological creature with a beard and hooves.
He will bring them to the mouth of the furious cave
guarded over by Edith Hamilton and her three-headed dog.

The rest just lie on their backs in their coffins
wishing they could return so they could learn Italian
or see the pyramids, or play some golf in a light rain.
They wish they could wake in the morning like you
and stand at a window examining the winter trees,
every branch traced with the ghost writing of snow.

~ Billy Collins

About these ads

2 thoughts on ““It’s a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.” ~ Naguib Mahfouz

  1. I’ll keep hoping for pain cessation or, at least, a one or two on the scale… Looks like some nice days might be coming… and I can go out and pick up all the sticks that fell during the windstorm… Someday I’m going to buy a bunch of little rubber ducks and throw them out in the puddles in front of a day care center… (I’ll try not to get caught; I’m sure it’s illegal.)

    Maybe Corey’s absence will be a little easier to bear with the short trips…

    I’m glad you’ve found a good series to sink into. I am about a third of the way through Middlemarch

    • I love the idea of the rubber ducks in the puddles. Do it!

      I picked up sticks while I was playing stick with Tillie. I do think the two-week hitches will be much more tolerable.

Thoughts, opinions, ideas?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s