“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” ~ Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs

silence of the lambs

 Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs

“Okey Dokey. Here we go.” ~ Hannibal Lecter from Hannibal 

It’s noon on Tuesday. Corey and his Dad have gone to Springfield to pick up the rental car. Apparently, there is a dearth of rental cars anywhere within an 150-mile radius of Lima.

I find this rather odd. Did a convention of oversized men in undersized cars make a run on the rental cars at the Dayton airport? What gives?

So once they return with the Impala, we’ll be on our way, that is, after lunch.

Everything is packed; at least, I think that it is. I’m terrible about leaving things behind. Apparently, I left a pair of shoes at Ann’s last year when I took them off (probably after too many slushy alcohol drinks) and never put them back on.

I must have not needed these shoes as I never even missed them. Anyway, a former friend of mine says that my habitual leaving behind of things is my little way of making sure no one forgets me . . . hmm . . . things that make you say hmm.

Clarice Starling: If you didn’t kill him, then who did, sir?
Hannibal Lecter: Who can say. Best thing for him, really. His therapy was going nowhere. ~ Silence of the Lambs  

Hannibal
From Hannibal

Brett seems to be better today. He is watching strange videos on YouTube and laughing rather insanely. His fever came back during the night, but I think, hope, that it might have broken.

We are all rather loopy. Well, at least Brett, Tillie, and I are rather loopy.

Brett wants his own bed and his XBox. I want a million dollars and no more things to worry about (but I would settle for a thousand dollars and fewer things to worry about this month), and Tillie, well Tillie just wants it to be Tillie time endlessly and forever.

Hannibal Lecter: You will not persuade me with appeals to my intellectual vanity. ~ Red Dragon 

Everyone here has been exceedingly nice and understanding, which makes me feel worse for not being very good company.

But maybe I’m never good company, and I’ve just forgotten about it? Who knows any more.

So we’ll be driving back in a Chevy Impala, unmarked cars for some Staties. I’ve never cared much for Chevy cars and trucks, but I must not put that down in words or I will curse us.

I kind of remind myself of that guy in The Mummy Returns: “This is cursed. That is cursed. Everything is cursed.” Turns out, though, he was right. Everything was cursed.

Hannibal Lecter: “First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature?” ~ Silence of the Lambs 

Speaking of movies (yes, I was speaking of movies), I watched Fracture again last night. It was one of the DVDs that I had brought with me for Corey’s mom to see. I really like that movie: Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling.

Silence of the Lambs poster
Silence of the Lambs Cover

When the boys were younger, they used to be afraid of the cover of Silence of the Lambs. I didn’t know that until they got older and told me.

I have enjoyed all of the Hannibal Lecter movies and books. Hannibal (movie and book) was enjoyable, but I do prefer Jodie Foster as Clarice. Something about her West Virginia accent and her attempts to not show fear make her fear more palpable.

I love Julianne Moore, just not as Clarice Starling. It’s a role that Foster created and owned. It’s just that simple.

But I digress . . .

Hannibal Lecter: Rudeness is an epidemic. ~ Hannibal Rising

We need to get the rental back within 24 hours of picking it up, so we are going to be on a tight schedule.

Let’s everyone burn a shrubbery in the hopes that nothing goes wrong (a shrubbery?)—the Monty Python extended metaphor still applies. In fact, I can think of nothing more apropos to the current situation in which we find ourselves.

red dragon book cover
Book Cover for Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Corey’s cousin Matt is going to work on the Trooper for us. We do need a new (refurbished) engine. I suppose I will be on my search for the elusive money tree once we return home, not that I have much hope on that front.

At least we will have someone who knows what they are doing working on the car this time. Corey insists that I not call the shop that did the repairs on the Trooper. I’m not sure why he doesn’t want me to do this.

Actually, I think that he thinks that Izzie’s demise is his fault: he ran out of gas and a passerby offered some gas. What Corey didn’t know was that the gas was diesel. Corey is convinced that all of the problems related to Izzie stem from the introduction of diesel into her system.

But what he doesn’t seem to understand is that to my way of thinking, in spite of the diesel, any mechanic who is worth his salt should not take the word of a customer when fixing a car. Once he or she is into the repair, everything that is wrong should be pointed out.

Granted, not everyone wants to know everything that is wrong with their vehicles, but we were laying down a considerable amount on an older vehicle. I would have liked to have made an informed decision. And if we needed to replace the engine, it would have been cheaper to have outlayed the money once instead of twice.

I have no qualms about expressing my unhappiness (no, really?) to the shop that did the repairs. It’s not like we are ever going to take another vehicle there to be fixed.

Whatever. I need to blow off some steam somewhere, and I would prefer that it is in the right direction, aimed squarely at the people who did such shoddy work in the first place.

Hannibal Lecter: People don’t always tell you what they are thinking. They just see to it that you don’t advance in life. ~ Hannibal 

So it turns out that we won’t be driving an Impala because the Hertz place in Springfield did not have a car available. Corey and his dad went to Dayton airport and rented a Buick Enclave. I’m not going to complain. After the horrible car ride that we had coming here, going home in comfort and style sounds incredibly appealing.

We are trying an alternative route home that was recommended by the guy that rented us the Enclave. Apparently, this route is supposed to chop hours off our travel time. The last time we tried an alternate route in an attempt to save time, we ended up on the side of a mountain in the dead of night with little visibility. Harrowing.

silence-of-the-lambs2
Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs

I remember that trip vividly because I was hallucinating from lack of sleep—no exaggeration. I saw a boat in a tree and a chicken leg floating. There were no lights on the road, and it took us an hour and a half to get back to the main road. Corey doesn’t remember these things, or chooses to selectively forget. So if we take this alternate route and end up getting home on Thursday, I am going to be mightily put out. But hey, that’s nothing new either.

When we get home, though, it may be a few days before I can post again. Who knows what awaits us.

I do know that my poor little fat boy Shakes is probably beside himself that I left him at home and took the Lab instead. Eamonn said that Shakes didn’t get out of the front window at all the first day that we were gone.

This could be very bad. If he decides to retaliate, who knows what he may do.

I can hardly wait to get home and see: Eamonn alone for days, the Jack Russells run amok. Wonderful, wonderful.  Or is it, I can’t hardly wait? I always get that confused.

We’ll see. More later. Peace.

“Hello, good evening and welcome to another edition of “Blood, Devastation, Death, War & Horror.” And later we’ll be talking to a man who DOES gardening.” ~ Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Flying Circus

Monty Python’s Flying Circus 

 

“We interrupt this program to annoy you and make things generally irritating.” ~ Monty Python’s Flying Circus 

“I should say not! Dinsdale was a perfectly normal person in every way. Except inasmuch as he was convinced that he was being watched by a giant hedgehog he referred to as Spiny Norman.” ~ Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Well, it’s Monday afternoon. We’re still here in Lima, Ohio. Lost in Middle America, as Corey calls it.

Ministry of Silly WalksIt looks like the Trooper is going to be staying here for a bit, and we are going to take a rental car home. Beyond that, don’t ask me what’s going on.

To top things off, Brett is sick. Last night he was running a fever and was nauseous. He hasn’t been feeling well the whole trip, but I thought that maybe his timing was just off from sleeping in the car at the auto place while we were waiting for Corey’s brothers to show.

But he just doesn’t seem to be feeling any better. He was up at 4 this morning, thinking about throwing up. Not good. Brett hates to throw up.

In fact, last night both Brett and I left the birthday party a little early and came back to the house. I thought that we might watch a movie, but we were both asleep by 10 p.m.

Soldiers: My goodness me! I am in a bad temper today, two three! Damn damn, two three! I am vexed and ratty, two three! And hopping mad!
[soldiers stamp feet on ground angrily] ~ Monty Python’s Flying Circus 

Spot the LooneyPersonally, I’m fidgety as hell. My back hurts, but my headache is gone, at least for now. But I just can’t seem to make myself calm. Too much to worry about. Too many things in the air.

I don’t know how we’re going to pay for this whole engine thing. My health insurance has to be paid by the 30th, or they are going to cancel me. We need to pay the water bill and the electric bill. The phone people want money.

Dennis: [interrupting] Listen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. ~ Monty Python and the Holy Grail

pathosIf I knew how, I would seriously consider printing some of my own money. Just enough to pay off everyone and get them off our backs. But I’m pretty sure that the Federal government frowns upon such actions. Of course, they frown upon just about everything.

Almost everything that makes fast money is illegal: guns, drugs, prostitution, etc.,  not that I would consider any of those. But what about Wall Street or owning a bank or something like that. It’s probably too much to think that AIG could throw $5,000 our way (that’s probably what one of their executive lunches costs). 

I have thought about looking for that money tree that my mom used to always talk about when I was growing up. You know, the one that she would say she was going to go pick some money from when I would ask for things.

Despite my best efforts, I have been unable to locate this source of income. And I am dubious as to my abilities to find a leprechaun and a pot o’ gold as well.

I’m open for suggestions here . . .

King Arthur: Cut down a tree with a herring? It can’t be done. ~ Monty Python and the Holy Grail 

French knightsI know that I’ve been trying to make light of all of this, but I do have to say that I really don’t know how much more bad luck I can take. I try to keep things in perspective. No one is gravely ill, and I am thankful for that.

But apart from that, it seems that we have just about the worst luck of anyone that I know at the moment: unemployment, disability, overwhelming bills, the possible loss of the house, a truck that is barely holding together, and now, a dead Trooper.

At least we know that the trooper can be used for sleeping . . .

Ex-Leper: What I was thinking was I was going to ask him if he could make me a bit lame in one leg during the middle of the week. You know, something beggable, but not leprosy, which is a pain in the ass to be blunt and excuse my French, sir. ~ Monty Python and The Life of Brian

Seriously, though, I know that things can be worse, but do we have to actually find out how much worse? Is it necessary to know firsthand every bad thing that is out there in order to know about every bad thing that is out there? I don’t believe so.

I mean, for example, I know about sharks and volcanoes and the plague. I know about homelessness and violent crime and communicable diseases. I realize that the world is in actuality a big place in which a myriad of terrible things can happen. I know that my very small section of the world is actually protected and somewhat privileged.

meaning of life drAfter all, I come from a place that has running water (if we pay the bill), indoor plumbing and toilets, appliances on which we can cook and in which we can preserve food, walls, a roof, soft beds, warm blankets, clean clothes.

We have access to medical care, medicines and emergency care. We can watch movies on our televisions and have instant access to information on the Internet.

We have privacy when we want it. We can enjoy the company of others when we seek it. We can read what we want without the government censoring our books.

We have the freedom to say what we believe and to vote in elections without the fear of being shot for supporting the wrong candidate. We can go to grocery stores without fearing suicide bombers.  

So yes, in the grand scheme of things, my life isn’t bad, isn’t nearly bad. I have food in my stomach and clean water to drink. I have clothes and shoes to put on my body, and my family is not dying of dysentery or starvation or preventable illnesses.

Compared to other parts of the world, we do, in fact, lead privileged lives. Compared to the privileged in this country, we lead average lives. Compared to athletes who make $35 million a year, we lead mediocre lives.

Mr. Mousebender: I want to buy some cheese.
Henry Wenslydale: Oh, I thought you were complaining about the bouzouki player. ~ Monty Python’s Flying Circus

I wish that I could say that putting things in perspective helps me to feel better about things. It should. I know that. My logical, sensible side knows that of course things could be worse. Of course, we should be thankful for what we have when so many have so little.

MoL wide-eyed
Monty Python's Meaning of Life

In asking if the road ahead could be a little smoother, do I bring down the wrath of the gods, the curses of the force, the lightning bolts of the heavens?

I’m still open to the whole witch doctor thing. Maybe some shamanism, as long as I don’t have to strangle a rooster or read entrails. I have to draw the line at entrail reading, besides, it seems to be a bit open to interpretation to me:

Well, this gizzard looks sort of like a peanut. . .

No it doesn’t. It looks like a cashew.

No, I really think that it looks like a peanut.

Cashew. And you haven’t even gotten to the intestines yet.

Intestines? Oh, aye. Linguini, definitely linquini. Linguini and a peanut, which means 40 days of rain and loss of money.

Angel hair pasta not linguini. And a cashew. Definitely cashew. Not rain. A drought. And you will come into money.

I think that you’re half-cocked.

Well I think that you look like a springer spaniel.

No need to get personal.

Mr. Vibrating: Oh I’m sorry, just one moment. Is this a five minute argument or the full half hour?
Man: Oh, just the five minutes ~ Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Life of Brian
Monty Python's Life of Brian

And now, I will leave you with the funniest grammar lesson ever to be depicted in film (from The Life of Brian)

[Brian is writing graffiti on the palace wall. The Centurion catches him in the act
Centurion: What’s this, then? “Romanes eunt domus”? People called Romanes, they go, the house? 
Brian: It says, “Romans go home. ” 
Centurion: No it doesn’t ! What’s the latin for “Roman”? Come on, come on ! 
Brian: Er, “Romanus” ! 
Centurion: Vocative plural of “Romanus” is? 
Brian: Er, er, “Romani” !
Centurion: [Writes “Romani” over Brian’s graffiti] “Eunt”? What is “eunt”? Conjugate the verb, “to go” ! 
Brian: Er, “Ire”. Er, “eo”, “is”, “it”, “imus”, “itis”, “eunt”.
Centurion:bSo, “eunt” is…? 
Brian: Third person plural present indicative, “they go”. 
Centurion: But, “Romans, go home” is an order. So you must use…?
[He twists Brian’s ear
Brian: Aaagh ! The imperative ! 
Centurion: Which is…? 
Brian: Aaaagh ! Er, er, “i” ! 
Centurion: How many Romans? 
Brian: Aaaaagh ! Plural, plural, er, “ite” ! 
Centurion: [Writes “ite”] “Domus”? Nominative? “Go home” is motion towards, isn’t it? 
Brian: Dative !
[the Centurion holds a sword to his throat]
Brian: Aaagh ! Not the dative, not the dative ! Er, er, accusative, “Domum” ! 
Centurion: But “Domus” takes the locative, which is…? 
Brian: Er, “Domum” !
Centurion:[Writes “Domum”] Understand? Now, write it out a hundred times. 
Brian: Yes sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar, sir

“Gloom, despair, and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery . . . if it weren’t for bad luck, we’d have no luck at all . . .” ~ Hee Haw

walking-on-broken-glass

Walking on Broken Glass, by L. Liwag

 

What happens if you break a mirror while walking under a ladder on Friday the 13th while throwing salt over the wrong shoulder?

Bad luck happens in direct proportion to the amount of money you do not have ~ L. Liwag

Well, kiddies, this is how the fun began: We thought that we ran out of gas in Hagerstown, Maryland. Pushed the car through an intersection, Corey did, that is. Then we had to push the it down and around to get into the Exxon station, Corey and I and a man who looked as if he might have a heart attack.

Now, several things are wrong with this picture: Me, helping to push the Trooper. The car stopping when the gas gauge did not ready fully empty.

We should have known that it was but a prelude . . .

Half an hour out of Hagerstown, on I68 going west, chugging (literally) up a mountain, cresting it, and then coming down, Izzie the Trooper died. Just died. Stopped. Dead. On a mountain.

99isuzutrooperNow mind you, we just got Izzie back from the mechanics a week ago.

We are kind of midway between Norfolk and Lima, Ohio. On the side of the road. On a mountain.

It is literally, hot as Hades. I am perspiring like a sweat hog. The hood of the Trooper is up to indicate to passersby: “Hey, look at us. We haven’t just stopped here to rest. Something is wrong.”

Passersby ignore us. We debate. Make telephone calls. Devise a plan of action: Corey’s brothers are going to come and get us, using Steve’s Suburban, towing the ginormous landscaping trailer.

We call roadside assistance and get towed to just outside a place called Flintstone, I kid you not.

It’s 7:20 p.m. on a Friday. Our insurance has arranged to tow us to a small repair shop called J&J’s Repair Shop. Dubious name as I do not even see a bay. Or there might be a bay, can’t really tell. Lots of broken down cars and a purple bus like The Partridge Family.

A man with no shirt on asks Corey to turn the key. Corey does. The man with no shirt pronounces that the engine is gone.

questionsGone? As in gone gone? Dead? Why did we just go into hock to spend money we didn’t have to get something major done to the engine when it was going to die? Why didn’t the mechanics in Norfolk notice this other problem.

Gone? Are you serious?

For $1600 they’ll fix the car and take us to a motel. Sure. We’ll write you a check. I don’t think so. Man with no shirt leaves. We are stranded in the dirt. Literally.

It will take Corey’s brothers about six hours to get to us. I told you, we were midway. Somewhere in Maryland, 96 miles from Morgantown, West Virginia (that’s what the sign says). It’s a twelve-hour trip from our house to Corey’s parent’s house.

Canceled the hotel room in Sidney and were actually able to get a refund. Hallelujah.  

We decide to go to sleep for the duration: Corey in the driver’s seat. Brett in the passenger seat. Tillie in the backseat. And I decide to sleep all the way in the back on top of the luggage. I figure this is the part of the Trooper with the most room in it.

I am wrong.

I take as many muscle relaxers and pain pills as is safely allowable and fall dead asleep. At least the temperature outside is cool.

Around 5 in the morning Corey’s brothers arrive. Izzie is ceremoniously put onto the trailer.

Steve’s Suburban has leather seats. The better part of valor: We decide not to put Tillie’s dog nails on the leather seats. Corey rides in the Suburban with his brothers. Brett, Tillie, and I stay in Izzie.

We pass out from exhaustion. Depression. Tension.

Brett comments that so far, this has not been a great trip. Understatement.

It is hard to be charming when you smell like a wildebeest. ~ L. Liwag

I’m not really sure at what time we arrive in Lima. At least Corey’s dad is surprised. Surprise!

We came all the way from Norfolk to surprise you on your birthday! He’s happy. At least that part of the plan worked . . .

Mad, smelly wildebeest

It’s raining. Indian Lake plans have been canceled. Regroup. I don’t want to hug anyone because I stink. Truly. I am covered in sweat, grime, and dog hair. I feel as if my eyeballs are covered with fine hair. I am trying not to act as horrible as I feel.

I’m not sure that it is working.

A shower and a toothbrush. This is all that I can concentrate on. I just ended my sentence in a preposition. I don’t care. That’s how bad it is.

The migraine sets in around 5 p.m. I’m clean now, but I cannot move. Everything hurts. Please, someone just bring an elephant to stomp on my back so that it will feel better.

Corey’s sister is in a play, Grease. She is playing Marty.

I was in Grease a million years ago. Corey and his mom go to the play. I wish that I could go to the play. I love Grease.

I stay home and whimper to myself.

Tillie has a new friend: Alana’s Yorkshire Terrier Jake. I’m glad that someone is happy.

Corey gets home from the play around 11 p.m. I know that he is running on pure adrenaline at this point. They have pizza. I cannot climb the stairs from the basement to join the family for pizza. I feel like a boor, a rude boor. I’m praying that everyone understands and doesn’t think that I’m a boor.

Why does the word grease look funny? Is that how it’s spelled? How about boor? That looks funny too.

Tenacity is a great motto—for other people. ~ L. Liwag

So the good news is that Corey’s family is awesome: They will come and get you when you are broken down two states away.

Other good things: We have one of our dogs. I have most of my medicines with me. We have clothes for four days. The coffee is good. Brett has his PSP and several games. There are Twizzlers. No Pepsi, but Coke. And three computers.

One problem, though. I only brought one book with me, and I finished it last night.

Like Miss Scarlett, I will think about everything tomorrow. Today is Sunday, and we can’t take care of anything today anyway. Actually, I may never think about any of this. My brain might explode.

I’m seriously thinking of hiring a witch doctor or an exorcist when we finally make it back to Norfolk. No one’s luck can be this bad.

And so ends part one of the continuing saga: Why we should fly to Ohio the next time that we come . . .

And now, a song. More later. Peace.

 

“Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.” ~ Ray Bradbury

Kayaking at First Landing State Park by Karen Roberts

Kayaking at First Landing State Park by Karen Roberts

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money.  Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” ~ Susan Heller 

Well, this is the latest on our planned trip to Ohio: Corey bought the new tire today and had all of the tires rotated and balanced. The Trooper is still acting funny, which gives all of us a warm, happy feeling.

I think that we are going to try to change the brakes and fix the one window while we are in Ohio and Corey can get some help from his brother and his cousin, both of whom know a lot about cars. At least, that was the plan yesterday.

We both tend to get a little anxious and testy before these trips because it’s not just a three hour trip to D.C. It’s a good 12 hours in the car, through mountains. While the Trooper is a very comfortable SUV that does reasonably well on gas, she’s been driven hard for the last few years, and she just isn’t what she used to be. I’m hoping that this will be her last long trip.

“And that’s the wonderful thing about family travel:  it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind.” ~ Dave Barry

Pew Island Trail
Pew Island Trail at Indian Lake, Ohio

We’ve decided to get a motel room  in Sidney, which is outside of Bellefontaine (a lovey French word which is pronounced Bell Fountain in Ohio???). It will be easier for everyone because our arrival is supposed to be a surprise for Corey’s dad, and while Chad, one of Corey’s brothers, had invited us to stay in his house, it’s really too much for the three of us plus Tillie to show up at his house, which is not any bigger than ours, and his girlfriend’s kids have all been bitten by dogs, which makes them dog-shy.

Tillie wouldn’t bite anyone, but try to get a child who sees a big black dog to understand that. It’s simply not fair to the children.

So we’ve found a fairly inexpensive hotel that is pet-friendly and is on the way to Indian Lake, which is where we are supposed to meet everyone on Saturday. 

In spite of all of the pre-travel stress, I know that Corey is looking forward to seeing all of his family and spending some quality time with them. I’m looking forward to exploring more of Indian Lake as the last time that we were there, I was unaware that there was a nature trail. I’m also hoping to rent a kayak.

I haven’t been kayaking in years, but it is not terribly strenuous to do. For a while, I harbored a desire to own my own kayak and taking it out on the Chesapeake Bay. Ah well. So much for that.

“What do nudists wear on casual Fridays?” ~ A.J. Esther 

So those are the big travel plans. Eamonn’s job will be to look after the two Jack Russells, who are staying home, and to take care of the house. I don’t anticipate any parties, but with Eamonn, I would never try to predict.

Aside from the upcoming trip, there really isn’t much to talk about. Corey and I spent hours yesterday doing laundry, getting caught up with all of that as Brett informed us that he did not have any shorts. He has shorts, but they were all in the dirty clothes hamper.

Poor Brett. Eamonn manages to acquire clothes that aren’t his on a continual basis, so every once in a while, I take Brett in Eamonn’s room (when Eamonn is gone, of course) and ask him to look through the clothes to see if anything is his. I must clarify, though. Eamonn acquires clothes from everywhere. We have strange things show up in our laundry all of the time—by strange, I mean that I know with certainty that I never purchased these clothes and that I have never seen them before.

blue heron
Blue Heron at Indian Lake, Ohio

My mom used to hate that when I was in school. I would come out into the living room wearing a shirt, and she would say, “Where did that come from?” The answer would usually be Sarah. But mom would go on a rant about how I had plenty of clothes of my own, and didn’t she buy me enough clothes, and what would people think?

I always loved that one: what would people think? Like the guy at the mall was going to know that the shirt I was wearing wasn’t mine? I dunno. My mom had some major quirks about clothes and jewelry. I suppose that she still does, considering that she always has a kind word to say about whatever I happen to be wearing, which is really annoying because she is always trying to give me an outfit that she bought for herself that doesn’t work.

Consider: My mother is about five inches shorter than I am. Her tastes run to fancy t-shirts. She tried to give me an ecru shirt and pants with some kind of embroidery on it and then became really pissed when I told her that I cannot wear ecru becase it makes me look yellow. She said that the set was beige and had never heard of people who can’t wear certain colors.

This is my mother, who has witnessed certain colors of clothes turn me a wonderful shade of jaundice.

I think not.

“When in doubt, wear red.”~ Bill Blass 

I really wish that I had some chocolate to sweeten my disposition because right now, I’m feeling pretty gnarly. Not happy. Not angry. Just gnarly. Only way I know how to describe it.

I’m pretty sure that a chocolate shake from Sonic would help the situation. That or it would give me a headache. Ah, life’s choices. The rich pageantry.

More later. Peace.

I wrote this post last night but forgot to post it. Amazing. Don’t know where my mind is. Then realized that once again, a paragraph had disappeared from my earlier version. My computer has a ghost.

Addendum: Sucked into a black hole

One of my habits with this blog is to go back to the previous day’s post and reread it for any errors, those errors that occur late at night when rereading proves to be fruitless as you cannot see what is or isn’t there.

So imagine my surprise today when I went to read yesterday’s post only to find that the opening sentence was missing, as was my paragraph on black holes. Yesterday, when I was in the middle of writing my post, I had one of those blue screen errors. I was beside myself because I was certain that I had lost everything that I had written, just as I did a few weeks ago.

So I was very relieved when I rebooted my system and found that my draft was still there, or at least I thought that it was. I finished up my entry, gave it a quick scan, and posted before anything else could happen.

But when I went back today to reread it, I realized that the entry started a bit awkwardly, and then, there was no mention of black holes, which was my entire reason for using the images that I chose. Crap. Double crap. I hate it when things like this happen.

I’ve fixed the entry now, at least, I believe that I have, but I cannot recreate the opening paragraph as I originally had it, so what’s there will have to do unless I get a brain storm.

For those who read and commented, thank you for being so generous as to not point out the lack of flow.

More later. Peace.

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” ~ Og Mandino

M51 spiral purple dots are black holes

M51 Spiral Galaxy (Purple Dots are Black Holes), NASA picture 

 

“Stars, in your multitude, scarce to be counted, filling the darkness with order and light.” ~ From Les Miserables

“For there were countless numbers of stars: each time we looked above we were astounded by the swiftness of their daring play” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

BlackHole from seedmagazine dot com
Artist’s Depiction of Black Hole from seedmagazine.com

Don’t misunderstand. I love what I call the mystery of life, the continuous ebb and flow of the lifestream upon which we all move. I love how life intrudes and intercepts, provides moments of beautiful grace, complete surprise, even unexpected sadness. All of these things, these emotions and episodes are what make us human, which is why when I find myself just moving along without any real sense of purpose, I feel so terribly disconnected.

During these times, I am unable to read because I cannot focus. Writing is hard because I have to search so hard for words that normally flow with ease from my fingertips to the page. I find myself lying in bed, watching movies without really paying attention, ignoring telephone calls, allowing my e-mail to go unread for days at a time.

And the worst part is that these moments come upon me unannounced more often than not. There is no single precipitating event, no confrontations, no arguments, no bad news. Rather, it’s the absolute nothingness that seizes upon me and leaves me feeling adrift.

“Though my soul may set in darkness. It will rise in perfect light, I have loved the stars too fondly To be fearful of the night.” ~ Sarah Williams, from “The Old Astronomer to his Pupil”

Depiction of Black Hole GWU
Depiction of Black Hole (gwu.edu)

I’m not talking about being depressed, about my incipient lows over which I have little to no control. This is something different. It’s not sadness, not an ache, not even emotional pain. It’s nothingness, which sometimes, is much worse.

It feels like a black hole, that space phenomenon that exudes massive gravitational pull. When an object becomes sufficiently compact, like a dying star, a black hole is formed, a region of nothingness in space. A black hole is cut off from the rest of space time.That’s how my emotional nothingness feels: as if I have been cut off from regular time, like I am standing off to the side, watching everything that is going on, but not participating, not interacting.

I know that as with everything else in my life, I will work my way out of this. Unlike the matter that is sucked into the black hole and moves inexorably towards the Event Horizon, I am not being pulled helplessly. For me, it’s just a matter of time. For me, it could be something as simply as getting a good night’s sleep and awaking without a headache.

Let me leave you with the beautiful words of poet Mary Oliver. More later. Peace.

 

The Spirit Likes to Dress Up

~ by Mary Oliver


 
The spirit
  likes to dress up like this:
    ten fingers,
      ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
  at night
    in the black branches,
      in the morning

in the blue branches
  of the world.
    It could float, of course,
      but would rather

plumb rough matter.
  Airy and shapeless thing,
    it needs
      the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,
  the oceanic fluids;
    it needs the body's world,
      instinct

and imagination
  and the dark hug of time,
    sweetness
      and tangibility,

to be understood,
  to be more than pure light
    that burns
      where no one is --

so it enters us --
  in the morning
    shines from brute comfort
      like a stitch of lightning;

and at night
  lights up the deep and wondrous
    drownings of the body
      like a star.

“All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.” ~ Henry Miller

Earth, Air, Fire, and Water

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.” ~ Jawaharlal Nehru

Massive thunderstorms this afternoon. Loud thunder booms, but no major downpours in our area. The flower garden could use a good dousing. Corey was out doing errands and said that it was raining hard in other parts of the city, but nothing here.

Eamonn is disgustedly happy to have the Trooper back in his possession, even though I told him that we still need to do a few things to it. I’m hoping that the smoke coming out of it is leftover from the problems that we just had fixed and that once it gets a good drive on the Interstate, she’ll start to run like her old self again. Corey said something about the rings, which sounds expensive. I’m ignoring that pronouncement in favor of bad gas (for the Trooper, not me).

I’ve been pricing tires, and of course, what we need won’t be cheap. Nothing ever is. Moving right along . . .

“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” ~ Joseph Addison  

CharacterDumbledore Half-Blood Prince
Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Tomorrow night Corey, Brett, and I are going to eat sushi and then go see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This is part of Brett’s birthday present. He is the only one of the kids who actually likes sushi, so that gives us something to look forward to this weekend.

On other fronts, I happen to know that Janson and his wife are currently in the hospital awaiting the birth of their daughter Aurelia. He has been Twittering about the progress most of the afternoon. I love the name Aurelia. It lilts on the tongue and sounds like a fairy.

My friend Maureen who lives in Australia is awaiting news from her doctor, so I’m keeping a good thought for her as well. And David Bridger’s wife Janette is scheduled for surgery at the end of July. Finally.

Even though the medical system in this country needs fixing, I have found from hearing from people in other places that national healthcare does have some major drawbacks—like waiting for operations that are necessary or having some doctors refuse to do procedures that must be performed by other doctors. However, I still believe that this country needs a healthcare system that is available to all, and not just to those who can afford to pay the premiums.

As usual, the blogging community is awash with action. My best to everyone. I’m keeping all of you in my thoughts.

“It is what we make of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” ~ Nelson Mandela 

Okay, this topic is from David Bridger as well: You are stranded on a desert island, and you can only take ten things. You are one of the ten things. Who or what would you take with you? I’m assuming that food will be on the island so we don’t have to worry about that.

I’m thinking that I need a few different versions of this because, as you know, I have such a hard time making up my mind.

List One: This one is compiled with the understanding that I am not alone in the world, that I have family and pets.

  1. Corey, Alexis (and her significant other), Eamonn, and Brett plus myself. That’s six right there. Must have family with me on this desert island.
  2. Tillie, Alfie and Shakes. Another three. Must have the dogs, even though they take up three spots.
  3. My Lord of the Rings (three books but one story so it only counts as one. I know. I cheat). Must have reading material. But I would give up the books, I suppose, if my sons had companions.

List Two: This one is compiled with the understanding that I am alone in the world, no pets or familydeserted island 1

  1. Myself (1)
  2. My Lord of the Rings (1)
  3. A copy of The Odyssey (because I’ve never made it all of the way through) (1)
  4. Lots of writing paper and something with which to write (2)
  5. A fully-loaded MP3 player and back-up solar batteries (3) (Do solar batteries exist?)
  6. A huge bottle of 4711 cologne to remind me of civilization (odd choice, I know) (1)
  7. A dog for companionship (1)

List Three: This one is compiled with the understanding that I must take that which I need to survive and gather food

  1. Myself (1)
  2. A machete (1)
  3. Two dogs, male and female (2)
  4. Lots of writing paper and something with which to write (2)
  5. A spade (1)
  6. Something reflective (1)
  7. A bottle of 5,000 Ibuprofen (since I cannot have all of my meds) (1)
  8. A bucket
cast-away-tom-hanks-2
Tom Hanks and Fed Ex boxes in Castaway

Now the reality is that if I were to be stranded on a desert island a la Castaway, I would hope that some things washed up on shore with me, one of which should be my carryall bag. I could survive months with just the contents of my carryall bag as it contains meds, scissors, a mirror, candy, a pocket knife, my inhaler, a notebook and lots of pens, a mini screwdriver, and sunglasses.

In Lola’s system of counting, the carryall bag counts as one thing just as the Lord of the Rings counts as one thing.

And if I had my purse as well as my carryall bag, I would be in fine shape. Also, if I washed up on a desert island wearing the things that I usually leave the house with, I would have a watch, my glasses, my cross, some earrings (okay, those I can do without), and probably a book and/or notebook.

Look, I’ve always been a pack rat, ever since grade school when I decided that I needed to take a satchel to school filled with things that I might need. Alexis inherited this tendency, so if she were with me and we got stranded, you can bet that we’d have a lot of things one might need just in case.

I’m not sure about the whole ice skate as dental tools as in Castaway, but the blades would be handy as would the laces. Don’t know if I have it in me to use an ice skate as a dental tool. But unlike Tom Hanks’s character in the movie, I wouldn’t be waiting to open all of the Fed Ex boxes. He was being honorable.

I say that if you are stranded, sealed Fed Ex boxes are fair game. Although given that attitude, the boxes that would wash up on shore with me would probably be things like government proposals, mortgage payments, and car parts. I’m not sure that side steps for a truck would come in that handy on an island  . . .

 “What is important in life is life, and not the result of life.” ~ Johann Wolfgang Goethe

deserted island 3I wish that my lists were more creative, but I think that they actually reflect more about me than at first glance. For example, I could survive without another person with me as long as I had a dog to keep me company. Implements with which to write and record things are very important to me. My choice of a machete instead of just a plain knife show that I am my father’s daughter.

Granted, wanting to take along a bottle of cologne might seem crazy, but if I had nothing else on this island to remind me of home, a smell would suffice. Smells are very important to humans: they conjure happy thoughts, trigger memories, even help with digesting food. The German cologne 4711 would do that for me. It would allow me to remember that piece of me that once belonged to society.

And if possible, having an MP3 player that is full of my personal music choices would serve as a connection to the world. I would have Chopin and Beethoven, the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen, Sarah McLachlan and Annie Lennox, Pavoratti and Broadway musicals. Music, in its varied forms, is communication, and it is something that is universal.

Having music with me would help to alleviate the loneliness, even if there were no chocolate to be found anywhere.

I wonder what other members of my family would choose to take: How Brett would survive without electronics . . . How Eamonn would survive without his cell phone . . . What Alexis would choose of her multitude of things that she must have . . . What Corey would want with him for the rest of his life . . .

Each list would be very different. Of that, I am certain. What and who we value as people is as varied as the sunrises. Not surprisingly. After all, it is that which makes us individuals, unique and the same, as unpredictable as the tides.

More later. Peace.