“Some things become such a part of us that we forget them.” ~ Antonio Porchia, from “Voices” (trans. Gonzalo Melchor)

Yokayama Taikan Mt Fuki 1953 color on silk

“Mt. Fuji” (1953, color on silk)
by Yokayama Taikan

                   

“We become aware of the void as we fill it.” ~ Antonio Porchia, from “Voices” (trans. Gonzalo Melchor)

Monday afternoon. Sunny and warm, 66 degrees.

Sorry about the confusion with posts in the last few days. I had set up one to post on Friday but forgot to update the information, and then the Tyson post was supposed to be on Saturday, but again, my days were mixed up. Daylight Savings Time always wreaks havoc with my brain. Anyway . . .

Yokoyama Taikan Towing a Boat 1901 color on silk

“Towing a Boat” (1901, color on silk)
by Yokoyama Taikan

Random things that I’m thinking about today:

  • I once stopped traffic on a small bridge in Corey’s hometown so that I could take a picture.
  • We do not value ourselves until someone tells us what we are worth. If no one tells us, what happens then?
  • I wonder how many children went to bed with empty stomachs in the U.S. last night? In 2013, children still starve in America. We should be so ashamed.
  • A vet with one leg gave Brett directions in New York. I have to wonder where that vet sleeps at night.
  • I realized something about humanity while watching “The Walking Dead”: a person’s true personality emerges in times of war.
  • Some people just look like they would rather be alone.
  • Not everyone in this world is made for casual conversation.
  • I think that my fascination with old buildings stems from a feeling deep inside that I belong within them.
  • Along those same lines, I have always wanted to write a mystery in which the dead bodies are hidden in abandoned swimming pools.

“Everything is a little bit of darkness, even the light.” ~ Antonio Porchia, from “Voices” (trans. Gonzalo Melchor)

More things:

  • I truly bemoan the state of higher education in this country in which seemingly anyone can come up with a name, add the word university to it, and promote an online college.
  • What is really sad is that so many people will not realize that a degree from most of these places is not worth the wrapper on a Snickers bar.

    Yokoyama Taikan Autumn Four Seasons of the Sea 1940 ink and color on silk

    “Autumn: Four Seasons of the Sea” (1940, ink and color on silk)
    by Yokoyama Taikan

  • The majority of online colleges are nothing but businesses and diploma mills, but the people who will suffer the most are the individuals who desperately want a degree but cannot afford a traditional education.
  • Last night when I got up to let the dogs out, I noticed that the stars were incredibly beautiful, and then I remembered that I was only seeing about 1 percent of what was there.
  • Corey thinks that I want to leave the country, and part of me does, but what I want more is to be able to see the stars.

“Almost always it is the fear of being ourselves that brings us to the mirror.” ~ Antonio Porchia, from “Voices” (trans. Gonzalo Melchor)

In just the last decade, we have jumped so far in technology; I don’t expect the pace to slacken, only to quicken, which means that Olivia’s generation:

  • will probably never use a land-line telephone,

    Yokoyama Taikan Snowy Peak with Cranes 1958

    “Snowy Peak with Cranes” (1958, color on silk)
    by Yokoyama Taikan

  • will find it odd to own both a camera and a phone,
  • will not own a paper phone book, and will probably not have to remember telephone numbers because they will be programmed,
  • may never see a paper daily newspaper,
  • may not have to hear Rush Limbaugh,
  • will probably only have a tablet in their backpacks and no actual books,
  • may never send or receive something via the U.S. Postal Service,
  • will watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy as classics

“No one can help going beyond, and beyond there is an abyss.” ~ Antonio Porchia, from “Voices” (trans. Gonzalo Melchor)

Things that show my age:

  • I remember who shot J.R.
  • I look at my sons’ penmanship and wish that they had gone through those classes with the divided lined paper and practiced writing the letters J and F over and over again.
  • I once knew how to develop black and white film.

    Yokoyama Taikan White Clouds Longing for Spring 1939 ink on paper

    “White Clouds Longing for Spring” (1939, ink on paper)
    by Yokoyama Taikan

  • I used to think the height of convenience was having an extra long phone cord.
  • I have used a rotary telephone.
  • I remember movies of the week and miniseries.
  • I have an album collection
  • I have lived without air conditioning.
  • I remember unleaded and leaded fuel.
  • I could fill the tank of my VW Bug for under $5, and it would last a week.

“There are pains that have lost their memory and don’t remember why they are painful.” ~ Antonio Porchia, from “Voices” (trans. Gonzalo Melchor)

Things I wanted to be when I grew up:

  • A marine biologist (high school)

    Yokoyama Taikan Holy Peaks of Chichibu at Spring Dawn 1928 ink on silk

    “Holy Peaks of Chichibu at Spring Dawn” (1928, ink on silk)
    by Yokoyama Taikan

  • A hairdresser (six years old)
  • A pediatrician (freshman in college)
  • A lawyer (graduate school)
  • A poet (first grade, sixth grade, seventh grade, ninth grade……………)
  • An English professor (graduate school)
  • A newspaper reporter (senior in college)
  • A news editor (senior in college)

When the superficial wearies me, it wearies me so much that I need an abyss in order to rest.” ~ Antonio Porchia, from “Voices” (trans. Gonzalo Melchor)

I never wanted to be:

  • A marketing director
  • A membership coordinator

    Yokoyama Taikan Winter Four Seasons of the Sea 1940

    “Winter: Four Seasons of the Sea” (1940, ink and color on silk)
    by Yokoyama Taikan

  • A development officer
  • A proposal development specialist
  • A technical editor
  • A program coordinator
  • A middle-school teacher
  • A medical administrator

I have been all of the above and none of the above above.

Enough.

More later. Peace.

(Haven’t posted any images by Japanese painters in a while, so today’s artist is Yokoyama Taikan (aka Sakai Hidemaro, 1868-1958), a pre-WWII Japanese painter.)

Yokoyama Taikan Summer Four Seasons of the Sea 1940

“Summer: Four Seasons of the Sea” (1940, ink and color on silk)
by Yokoyama Taikan

Music by Trent Dabbs, “Better Off Now”

                   

A Breakable Spell

I don’t know
with what tongue
to answer
this world’s constant question—

whether the tongue
of red enamel, or blue,
whether the tongue
of flowing water, or ice,

or the tongue of mountain,
or the split-songed
tongue that embraces first light.

But it keeps asking
and so I continue
trying cucumber, trying window,
trying egret

For a moment
she stands with her
elegant legs
black in the water.
Below her, another looks up.

My love,
there is no sound between them.

Then,
inside apples and subways,
in smokestacks,
in blossoming roses,
the heart’s machinery starts up again,
hammering and sawing.

~ Jane Hirshfield

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you.” ~ Jack Kerouac, from On the Road

No time for regular posting. Too much to do and not enough time. Soon, though.

This. All of the time.

**********

“Because they know the name of what I am looking for, they think they know what I am looking for!”
~ Antonio Porchia, from Voces (trans. W.S. Merwin)

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One of Corey’s Handmade Keepsake Boxes 

“Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened” ~ T.S. Eliot

Well, I tried to do a favor for my mom, and it didn’t quite work out the way that I thought that it would. Big surprise. She needs to file an amended tax return for 2007, and since I’m fairly good at taxes, I thought, how hard could it be? It turns out, pretty hard if she does not have a copy of her 1040 in the files. Apparently, my mother has been getting her taxes prepared for free at a community center that specializes in doing tax preparation for senior citizens. Sounds great, right? It would be great if they had given her a copy of her completed tax return; instead, they gave her a summary sheet.

This makes completing the 1040X form darn near impossible since I need to pull specific items off the 1040 for the amended return. Trying to explain this to my mother was almost as taxing as trying to recreate her 1040. My mother is not a stupid person by any means, but she is woefully tech unsavvy, which means that trying to explain to her exactly what I needed and why I needed it turned into a 45-minute conversation. Her response to me was that I should just get on the computer and find her 2007 return.

You see, my mother is a big believer in the permanent record, you know, as in “that will go on your permanent record,” and unfortunately, after watching the Sandra Bullock movie The Net years ago, my mother is convinced that everyone has a permanent record that looms out there somewhere just waiting to be accessed. I tried to explain that I really needed to know how they filed her return, and her response was “the computer.”

Arghh. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

“Some things don’t last forever, but some things do. Like a good song, or a good book, or a good memory you can take out and unfold in your darkest times, pressing down on the corners and peering in close, hoping you still recognize the person you see there.” ~ Sarah Dessen

Yesterday, Corey had a surprise for Brett and me: Corey has been working on a secret project for a couple of months, and he was ready to unveil his project for us. Turns out, he’s been building boxes, you know, as in keepsake boxes. He had seen one in a catalogue that he liked, but it was listed for $30, which gave Corey the idea to see how much it would cost to build one of his own. He built four, images of which are included in this post. It was hard to get a good shot of the Led Zeppellin box as it is very glossy, which does not translate well to a picture with the lighting in our house.

I was pretty impressed. He did all kinds of cost analyses on materials; he tried different techniques, and he came up with four versions. Corey said that he was aiming for a rustic look, kind of like old ammunition and fruit boxes. These four were just his experimental models, he told us. They are nice, solid wooden boxes that can be used to store games, or letters, or whatever. Now I know why there hasn’t been any room in the shed . . .

All of us—the kids, Corey, and I—have our own special boxes in which we put cards, awards, letters, and miscellaneous other things. All of our boxes are full. I have filled three of these over the years. Now I have the “Imagine” box that Corey made with me in mind. Brett claimed the AK-47 box.

Now that he has experimented and seems to have worked out many of the kinks, he says that he wouldn’t mind making personalized boxes for presents, which I think is a lovely idea.

“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.” ~ Antonio Porchia 

Speaking of presents, we have three birthdays in March: my mother’s, Eamonn’s, and my other mother-in-law’s, on the 15th, 16th, and 17th of the month.  I have no idea what Eamonn wants for his birthday this year, but I do know that he may have to wait before he gets anything. That’s just how life is at the moment.

Other than those tidbits, not much is going on. The Academy Awards were on last night. I did not watch. I find the program itself to be unendurably long and boring, and the supposedly witty repartee that each year’s host engages in inevitably falls flat. I cannot imagine the combination of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, and from what I’ve read, most people wish that the combo had not been hosting.

I will probably watch the red carpet wrap-up on VH-1 as I love to look at beautiful gowns, as well as the less-than-appealing ones. You know, the ones that make you scratch your head and say, “what could she possibly have been thinking.”

I was very glad that Kathryn Bigelow won for “Hurt Locker.” I have heard many good things about the movie, which is on my want-to-see list. It’s about time a female director won. Part of me really did not want insufferable egomaniac James Cameron to win so that we did not have to endure another “I’m King of the World!” moment.

More later. Peace.

Music by Bon Iver, “Stacks”

Stacks

This my excavation and today is kumran
Everything that happens from now on
This is pouring rain
This is paralyzed

I keep throwing it down two-hunded at a time
It’s hard to find it when you knew it
When your money’s gone
And you’re drunk as hell

On your back with your racks as the stacks are your load
In the back and the racks and the stacks of your load
In the back with your racks and you’re un-stacking your load

Well I’ve been twisting to the sun and the moon
I needed to replace
The fountain in the front yard is rusted out
All my love was down
In a frozen ground

There’s a black crow sitting across from me
His wiry legs are crossed
He is dangling my keys, he even fakes a toss
Whatever could it be
That has brought me to this loss?

On your back with your racks as the stacks are your load
In the back and the racks and the stacks of your load
In the back with your racks and you’re un-stacking your load

This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realization
It’s the sound of the unlocking and the lift away
Your love will be
Safe with me