“Basically we are all looking for someone who knows who we are and will break it to us gently.” ~ Robert Brault

NOTE: For some reason, WordPress keeps deleting the images that I have put in this post. I will try to reupload later because this is driving me crazy………..Later: Seems to be a Ghostery problem…………

                   

Standing at the End
by Southern Heart (FCC)

                   

“After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.” ~ Sophia Loren

Sunday afternoon. Cloudy and humid. Pending storms. High 70’s.

Very strange day emotionally. I have had an epiphany, a very unwanted epiphany: I have closed off my heart. I did not realize just how much until today. I mean, I knew that I was deliberately not allowing myself to feel things so as to not let myself become too wounded by Corey’s absence, but then I realized that in so doing, I have put up a wall. I can only hope that it is a wall that I can take down as easily as I erected it.

I have done this before, of course, put up walls so as not to get hurt. I know that before Corey and after the ex, in that in-between time, I deliberately did not let myself feel too much, which is why I was taken quite by surprise when I began to feel emotions towards Corey.

Night Thunderstorm
by OneEighteen (FCC)

Part of me thinks that my efforts not to feel too much have arisen in part because he is so emotional right now—an attempt at balance in the universe, I suppose. However, that rationale only goes so far.

I don’t like feeling like this, or rather, feeling little if anything too keenly. It’s a very hollow sort of state in which to find myself.

“Can you understand being alone so long
you would go out in the middle of the night
and put a bucket into the well
so you could feel something down there
tug at the other end of the rope?” ~ Jack Gilbert, “The Abandoned Valley”

Don’t misunderstand. This feeling nothing does not meal that I don’t feel anything. Rather, I am trying to feel only the minimal, as if my heart is rationing just how much it can hold in this interim between his going and coming. Did I send my heart with him when he left? Possibly. If only it were that simple or that obtuse.

If I revert to that state in which I placed my emotions in a kind of stasis, if I go back to that state in which I cloaked myself in a kind of thick emotional armor, will I be able to make it through, and more importantly, will I be able to discard this armor upon his return?

Lightning over Mexico
by Brujo+ (FCC)

After my ex and I separated, at first I was in a state of hyper emotions, fancying myself in love with anyone who paid me passing attention. It was a very manic phase, which I realize now. I wasn’t in love with anyone, but I was starved, completely starved for attention, so I made bad decisions in my attempts to sate that hunger. It was a short-lived, temporary state, and I was able to pull myself out of it mostly because I worked all of the time and had very little time for personal reflection. I was in survival mode: single parenting, working 60 hours a week, split in so many directions that looking for any kind of balm for my heart was only done wistfully and with little to no effort.

What was the point?

So I muddled along alone except for my children and my friends, and I was fine. I had no desire for personal complications, having made my life far too complicated once upon a time.

And then he came along, and everything changed, and I had to let go of my fear and let down my guard. A line from Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” (my anthem) immediately comes to mind: “So afraid to love you, more afraid to lose, clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose.” It might seem trite, but it is so accurate.

“And I should mention the light
which falls through the big windows this time of day
italicizing everything it touches . . .” ~ Billy Collins, from “Ballistics”

So today I came to the realization that my heart it cocooned? Asleep? Bereft? All of them?

The last time he was gone, I counted the days. This time, I have deliberately not paid attention to the calendar. I don’t know how many days he has been gone, and I only know that he will be back in port here some time at the end of the month. It’s September, and August is a complete blur. I honestly don’t remember the date on which he departed.

Tesla
by Irargerich (FCC)

But why does it have to be this way? Why must I be too keenly aware or unaware, one or the other? Stasis. Now that’s a concept with which I am totally unfamiliar.

Okay, let’s back up.

I have known for most of my life that I exist between two poles: high or low. I have never been able to coast comfortably in the middle. Never, and I mean never. Even as a child it was one or the other. But as a child, it was much simpler. If I was in a lull, I would simply stay inside and read. The headaches hadn’t appeared yet, and I could read and read and read and simply close out everything else.

I have a keen memory of being in high school psychology, and the teacher was talking about manic depression (the old term for bipolar), and I thought to myself, “Wow. That’s me. That’s completely me. Happy one minute, and crying the next.” Now I know that a lot of people hear about a disease or disorder and immediately have the symptoms. That’s not what I’m talking about here. When I heard about this psychological disorder, I felt such a sense of relief. Other people felt this way too. It wasn’t just me, and it wasn’t just growing pains. There was a name for what was wrong with me.

But of course, mine was not a home in which such things were discussed, at least not then, and I hid this knowledge from my mother and father. It wasn’t until I was an undergraduate that I actually approached the idea of counseling, and then it was at the free counseling center on campus. Real treatment did not come until years later. I lived with my extreme highs and lows, and I did it while married to a man who cannot abide any kind of illness, viewing it as a weakness.

“This is the moment in which we live. Alienated, unmoored, we seek our salvation, one by one, from the artist who brings us the comforting news: I see you. I weep when you weep. The mystery, and the miracle, is that you exist.” ~ Francine Prose

And I survived, but only just.

Then the long trial with medication began, and it took years to finally find one that actually helped, that allowed me to be more even, to sleep, to have my mind not racing all night long. But even with medication, then and now, the highs and lows still came, only more controlled, less acute, allowing me to have a life that was on a more even keel, even if I did list one way or the other at times.

Malta: Lightning Strike
by Owen Zammit (FCC)

Have I ever told you that I thought about dropping out of college when I was a sophomore? Yep, actually considered it as a real life choice. Stopped going to classes for a few weeks. Made all C’s one semester. I cannot remember why I thought this was the right things for me, just remember it happening. Why mention this?

Only because it is yet one more indicator of how my life has gone from one extreme to another.

How did I get here, in life, in this post? Hell if I know. It seems that I have been searching forever—searching for the right career, the right person, the right time, the right major, the right circumstances—to do what exactly? Go to graduate school? Apply for a job? Move? End my marriage? Date again? Remarry? Have another child? Get my doctorate? Write that book? Write that book? Write that book?

You get the point.

“Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances . . .
There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.” ~ Robert Hass, from “Meditation at Lagunitas

So many questions, so few answers.

I need . . . mountain air, a running stream, the smell of fallen leaves and loam. I need not to be here, not to feel this way, not to always be wondering.

Lightning in Brisbane, Australia
by Matthew Stewart (FCC)

Another moment of truth: I’ve been waiting for the right time to move, and now I don’t know if it will ever come. Now that Olivia is here, can I leave here? How can I not leave here and still be true to myself? Of course, the desire to move is purely selfish, but I just don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this house, in this city, in this state, even in this country. I still want to spend some time in Ireland, some time in Australia or New Zealand, some time in Oregon.

The means to travel, wouldn’t that be nice? The wherewithal to make a plan and stick with it, wouldn’t that be a change?

Waiting, still waiting, mostly for myself, for my soul to finally say, “Enough! Enough of this blathering. Do something, already.”

Veronica, I know what your mean about mojo. Mine has taken an extended holiday.

More later. Peace.

Music by Radiohead, “Street Spirit”

                   

for women who are difficult to love

you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
prettier
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.

~ Warsan Shir

“My thoughts are an ocean, they wash woefully up against their limits.” ~ Nescio, Amsterdam Stories

Hot Air Balloon Sunset by alwyncooper (FCC)

                   

“The earth splits open under our feet, and above our heads there is an infinite abyss. I no longer know who we are, nor what awaits us.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir, from The Mandarins

Wednesday evening. Overcast, pending storms, dropping temperatures.

Well, I finally got the invitations printed and mailed. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Setting up the invitations was easy as they came with an online template; however, there was no template for the envelope, so that was a bit of trial and error. Still, no worries . . . right?

Wrong.

Hot Air Balloon, Utah, by ricketyus (FCC)

Print cartridges arrived on Friday evening. Test envelopes printed just fine. Real envelopes, not so much. Paper jam. And with this printer a paper jam can only be cleared by unplugging, deleting the printer, reinstalling . . . Who knew? Certainly not me? I never dreamt that there wasn’t a reset button on the printer. This was Saturday.

On Sunday, Mother’s Day, my day of planned reading and resting? Decided to try again. More begging and pleading of the inanimate object that was ruling my life. Finally decided to print addresses on clear mailing labels and skip trying to send the envelopes through the printer, especially as I had no extras.

On Monday everything looked like a go. Print properties set up correctly. Just a matter of feeding the invitations into the printer. Then the printer decided to stop accepting the invitation stock. This after it had printed about eight of them. Then no more. Not. Another. One. Reset, reboot, begging and pleading, all to no avail. I walked away. Played a little Spider Solitaire. Then got a brainstorm: Why not use the extra printer that Brett’s dad had given him. Got ready to go, only to discover that a) could not download drivers, and b) it’s a photo printer.

Finally I decided to use the copy function to get the text onto the invitations, which didn’t need any drivers. Luckily I had a good template from my test runs. Situated it on the scanner bed, and ran color copies. Unfortunately, as I was home by myself I had to get on my hands and knees to unplug old dysfunctional printer to plug in new/used photo printer. Nothing should be this hard.

“nothing can be taken back,
not the leaves by the trees, the rain
by the clouds.” ~ Dean Young, from “Poem Without Forgiveness”

Hot Air Balloon, Latvia, by Dainis Matisons (FCC)

Took those suckers to the post office yesterday and sent them off. I never even made it out of my pajamas yesterday. Good thing I didn’t get stopped on the way to the post office, but at that point, I did not care. I just wanted the invitations out of my house, out of my sight. (By the way, the poets stamps that I had wanted to use? No one has them. Apparently, they did not sell well in this area. Phht. Talk about your unwashed masses.)

So today Brett and I helped Alexis to transport the gifts that she received from her first shower to my mother’s house as Alexis has no storage space. I threw on some shorts and a workout top, put my hair in a ponytail, didn’t take a shower as I knew that I would be grungy by the time we finished. The first thing my mother says when I get out of the car? “What in the world is she wearing? What in the world is that?” (My mom’s a what-in-the-world person. Uses it as her standby modifier)

Sorry. Didn’t know that I needed real clothes to move stuff. Next time I’ll remember . . .

And you wonder why I have such a crappy self-image . Again with the phht.

“I hadn’t gotten old enough yet to realize that living sends a person not into the future but back into the past, to childhood and before birth, finally, to commune with the dead. You get older . . . and then before you know it you’re time-traveling. In this life we grow backwards.” ~ Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

The stress from four days of trying to execute a project that should have taken a couple of hours at the most has taken its toll. The night before last I didn’t get to sleep until 4 a.m., and last night was 2 a.m., which means backsliding on my goal of 1 a.m. at the latest. Oh well. Couldn’t be helped. We won’t discuss the massive muscle knot between my shoulder blades. What’s the point?

16th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta by ricky_artigas (FCC)

So I brought home the newborn and three-month sizes of clothes to wash for Alexis. She really got some cute clothes, and probably enough so that le bébé can wear a different outfit each day for the next six months. I remember with Alexis that I didn’t buy her any clothes for the first year. I never had to, between my mom and my m-in-law, she was outfitted quite well. In fact, the woman who watched her while I was at work asked me if I could please not dress Alexis in such nice clothes when I brought her for the day. I had to explain that all she had were nice clothes.

Of course my mom had to comment that Alexis got entirely too many clothes for the baby, and that it was “ridiculous.” It’s not like the clothes are going to waste, and I’m certain that they’ll be recycled along the way among all of the friends that she has.

It was funny though, while we were at my mom’s house, Alexis said under her breath, “Boy, she doesn’t even give you room to breathe, does she?” Which is so true. I knew that mom would have to pick up each item of clothing and comment on it, so we went over there with a schedule—I couldn’t stay for hours and hours because I needed to take Brett to school. Still, I know that in spite of her running commentary that my mom is just excited. Don’t think that I don’t understand, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bitch about it any more than my mother wouldn’t be herself if she didn’t have several negative things to say.

Family dynamics . . . oi.

“The medicine of words—medicina verbi. ~ Anna Kamienska, from “A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook”

Hot Air Balloon, Wyoming, by carolynconner (FCC)

Since I first began this post, two storms have rolled through, which has really helped the humidity. I feel as though I spend half of my day wiping my face—things you don’t realize about getting older. I mean, I never used to sweat. Just didn’t do it. Never had to worry about my makeup running (when I wore it on a regular basis), never really worried about wet underarms (well, that still is true).

But this constant facial sweat? What is this? Where did it come from? I wonder if this happens to all Filipina women as they get older. These days I’m not around any so that I can ask.

But all of these things you really don’t think about when you’re in your twenties or even thirties: inconvenient sweating, putting on moisturizer only to have it run in your eyes, being unable to find your glasses without your glasses (actually, that’s always been true for very nearsighted me). This aging crap is, well, crap. I don’t want to be the person that I was along with all of the incumbent short-sightedness (not vision), but then again, I’m not entirely certain that I want to be this person either.

“It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.” ~ Billy Collins, from “Litany”

So all is quiet. Eamonn is at his girlfriend’s house. Brett is at school until 9 p.m. (summer school started this week). The dogs are asleep. The laundry is going.

Hot Air Balloons, Arizona, by D Guisinger (FCC)

I cannot believe that it’s midweek already. The past few days have really run together because of the invitation fiasco. I hate it when that happens, when I just lose days. I mean, I have a hard enough time keeping my tenuous grip on reality without brutal reality rearing its ugly head.

I’ll tell you what, though. I’m finding comfort in the following: Milkshakes are half price at Sonic after 8 p.m.

Yep. I’m going there, figuratively and literally. After all of this crap, and especially after my mother’s assessment of my wardrobe, I’m going to have a milkshake. I figure if that’s my dinner, then it’s a fair calorie exchange. No, it’s not healthy. No, it goes against my whole no sugar regimen. But I’m not telling anyone, and neither are you.

More later. Peace.

Music by Dum Dum Girls, “Coming Down”

                   

Tag (part one)

THIS

Insatiable April, trees in place,
in their scraped-out place,
their standing.
Standing way.
Their red branch areas,
green shoot areas (shock),
river, that one.
I surprised a goose and she hissed.
I walk and walk with cold hands.
Back at the house it is filled with longing,
nothing to carry longing away.
I look back over my life.
I try to find analogies.
There are none.
I have longed for people before, I have loved people before.
Not like this.
It was not this.

Give me a world, you have taken the world I was.

~ Anne Carson

“Everything is as it is means this: We undergo all kinds of difficult and painful practices. We travel to all kinds of places and discover that we didn’t have to do a thing, that things are as they are. Everything is as it is after we’ve broken our bones trying everything.” ~ Ichitaro

Follow the Wisteria Line, by Marisa DL at pbase.com

                   

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ~ Louise Erdrich

Vines on Yellow by Greg Hefner (FCC)

Tuesday afternoon. Hazy, hot, and humid. Thunderstorms predicted.

I slept fitfully last night. At first I couldn’t fall asleep (I’ve been out of my Seroquel for about a week), and then when I finally fell asleep, I woke up every few minutes scratching myself. I had broken out into some kind of rash/hives thingy. I tried everything: lotion, Benadryl, hydrocortisone cream, baby powder . . . Finally, around 8 a.m. I got up and took a shower. Thankfully, I still had a bit of Aveeno calming body scrub. After the shower, I felt marginally better, but I was still itching.

Four Benadryl later . . . I finally fell asleep for two consecutive hours around 11:30. Needless to say, I am wiped out and still a bit itchy, especially on my back (of course).

The only thing that I can think of that may have caused all of the itching is the fish stew that Corey made for dinner last night. It had clam juice in it. I have never had a reaction to shellfish before, and I love steamed and fried clams, but maybe the concentrated clam juice was just too much. I haven’t eaten anything else out of the ordinary, am not using new detergent or body wash, so that only leaves the stew, which is too bad as it was quite tasty.

So I thought that I would try to write a bit before going back to bed. Corey has gone to TCC campus to fill out more paperwork for a Pell Grant for summer classes. We’re keeping our collective fingers crossed that he can get some funds for summer. We’ve already done the FAFSA for the 2011-2012 academic year.

“Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love them, and to live, really live.” ~ Anna Quindlen, from A Short Guide to a Happy Life

Cottage with Vines in Grimaud, France, by mhodl (FCC)

I spent most of yesterday catching up on my paperwork. I needed to fill out an IRS form claiming “Injured Spouse” status to see if we can get back some of the money that the IRS took from our refund. Apparently, if the debt for which the money was taken is not a joint debt, the other person can claim this status and appeal the seizure of funds. We’ll see what happens. It would be nice to get some of that refund money back so that we can buy a new back door. Of course, we have to wait eight to twelve weeks . . .

I also wrote a very long letter to the owner/president of the local Ford dealership that has been giving us the run around on the Windstar buy-back. I thought that I would try one more avenue before contacting the local media station that has a special consumer help department. No business wants to end up featured on that spot.

Then there was all of the tuition assistance/special circumstances paperwork for the males in the family: Corey, Eamonn, and Brett. I had to fill out forms and complete worksheets to show that we qualify for more grant money if it is available. Of course, all kinds of attachments were required, and I had to do some hunting to get everything together. Being able to apply for special circumstances because I am on total disability is one of the few positive things about being disabled.

I rescheduled a doctor’s appointment that I missed last Monday and finally made an appointment to have my breasts smashed with my requisite mammogram. This Thursday, I have an appointment with the neurologist to get a lumbar puncture. I am really not looking forward to this, but she feels that it’s a necessary test to determine if I have a fungus which might be causing headaches.

I also had to process a return to Avon. The whole Avon thing is not really working out, so I’ll probably give it up soon. The only people who are ordering are me and me and me. But other than that, I must say that I felt a real sense of accomplishment by last night, which is sad really, as I would have been able to do all of those things in an hour at one point in my life.

“I could feel the day offering itself to me,
and I wanted nothing more  than
to be in the moment—but which moment?
Not that one, or that one, or that one.” ~ Billy Collins

Wisteria on Arbor

Corey and I watched a truly terrible movie last night: The Tomb. The preview looked promising, and the movie was from Australia, so I thought that it might be a good scary movie for us. Turns out, not so much. By the end of it, I was yelling at the television, which is never a good sign. You know when the characters are just so blatantly stupid, when they simply cannot get a clue? Yep. That kind of plot.

In other news . . . Corey’s garden is growing like gangbusters. We’re going to have huge sunflowers again this year, and with luck, the tomatoes and other vegetables will hang in for a good harvest. Of course, it’s getting hotter than blazes here, and even though it looks like it might rain, it usually does not.

The living room is quite stuffy as the big air conditioning unit died at the end of last year, and we have yet to replace it. The bedrooms stay fairly comfortable, though. I find that I am very much like the dogs: I either want to be in the pool (which is not yet ready for people, only Tillie), or in the cool dark of the bedrooms. Shakes, in particular, hates the heat as it exacerbates his canine dermatitis.

Oh well . . .

“Remember yourself, from the days when you were younger and rougher and wilder, more scrawl than straight line. Remember all of yourself, the flaws and faults as well as the many strengths.” ~ Anna Quindlen

Hampton Court Palace Gardens, Richmond Upon Thames, England

I have a bit of a confession: I am leaving the house less and less. Now that Brett’s school year is over, I really don’t have any reason to go out, other than doctors’ appointments. I know that being this housebound is not healthy for me, but truthfully, it doesn’t really bother me. What does bother me if going out in public in my current state, which is my highest weight ever.

For someone who doesn’t eat that much (and I really don’t), I just cannot seem to lose weight. A typical day usually includes two cups of coffee (half decaf/half caff), one glass of Pepsi (decaf), a bottle of diet green tea, a cup of herbal tea after dinner, a fiber bar or a sandwich thin (100 calories) with peanut butter, no jelly, dinner, and maybe some gummi bears or a couple of Riesen, and an orange if we have any. I use Splenda in place of sugar almost exclusively.

Does that seem like a lot? It doesn’t to me, but my metabolism is so warped that I just don’t seem to burn calories. I know—I’m not getting any exercise, but it’s that whole vicious circle thing in that I would feel better if I exercised, but I don’t feel well enough to exercise.

Being overweight preys on my mind far too much, but I simply cannot help it. I have such a warped body image, and I stand in front of the mirror and notice only flaws: flabby arms, a big belly, my double chins. I am dreading going to Chad’s wedding as I don’t want anyone to see me like this. Corey’s mom once told me that from the way I talk, I make it seem that I am huge. I’m not huge comparatively, and I know that, but I am huge for me.

Therein lies the rub.

So I stay at home and depress myself. Perhaps I’ll go cut my hair. That always seems to distract me. Thunderstorm is here, so I should probably stop so that the computer doesn’t get fried.

More later. Peace.

Music by A Fine Frenzy, “Whisper”

                   

To This May

They know so much more now about
the heart we are told but the world
still seems to come one at a time
one day one year one season and here
it is spring once more with its birds
nesting in the holes in the walls
its morning finding the first time
its light pretending not to move
always beginning as it goes

~ W. S. Merwin

                   

All quotes taken from Whiskey River