If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers.

 

Sea of Japan2

Sea of Japan

“Be not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Swimming Carp Hiroshige Ando 19th C
"Swimming Carp," Hiroshige Ando (19th C.)

Woke up today with a full-blown migraine. The headache began creeping around my head yesterday. I was hoping that it was just a sinus headache because of the weather, but nooo.

I actually had to ask Corey to get my medicine for me when I woke up today because I could not move without blinding pain. I took my second and last sample of Relpax. Of course, the medicine did not work this time. It worked wonderfully the first time that I took it. This time—nothing. What crap.

I have a deep-seated suspicion that pharmaceutical companies design their drugs to work sometimes but not all of the time. Hence the need for more and more new drugs to cure what ails the consumer. Okay, so maybe that theory has a few holes, but so does my brain at this point. Just how many migraines can an individual suffer over a lifetime before the brain matter begins to atrophy irreparably?

Anyway, it took me two more hours to finish my post from yesterday, which I was determined to do in my effort to get back to daily blogging. The fact that it did not post until today is immaterial. I wrote it yesterday, but didn’t post it yesterday. A mere technicality. But there was a point . . . oh yes, spent too much time looking into the bright light of the computer screen for yesterday’s post that went up today, so today’s post that is also going up today is essentially going to be a whole lot of nothing. Some meandering. Don’t expect much.

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Hubble Sea of Stars
Hubble Sea of Stars

Random Observations:

Food manufacturers who use MSG should be required to put a big label on the front of their product stating that such is the case rather than forcing consumers to read the list of ingredients. I have severe reactions to MSG, and I’m tired of finding out that it was contained in a seasoning packet only after the migraine has hit.

Don’t ever try to tell me that dogs are dumb animals that don’t have sneaky streaks. Tillie has taken to hiding her favorite ball in the couch. Yes, deliberately hiding it. Both Corey and I have watched her do it. Too funny.

 I don’t understand what passes for language on LOL pictures (e.g., “Can I has it plez?”). Is this an offshoot of texting? Are we now to believe that the keyboard that comes with a computer is too taxing to use properly? Twenty-six letters in the alphabet. Not a thousand. Why on earth do we want to make our pets look stupid by imposing bad spelling and bad grammar on them?

 Still reeling over the fact that 14 people, mostly females, were arrested at Brett’s school yesterday. Also incredibly thankful that no one had a weapon.

 Very dear friend of mine is going through hell because the courts have ordered mandatory visitation rights for her ex-son-in-law, who happens to be a violent drug addict and just had a shootout with the police. Shootout was caught on local news and broadcast, yet he deserves to have visitation because his grandmother is an upstanding citizen? What in the hell kind of logic is that? Infuriates me just to think about it.

 If you read my blog and also have my telephone number (very few applicable parties here), don’t bother to call me because the phone has been turned off, and frankly, I don’t care. As long as we have one working telephone in the family and can call 911, having my own phone is superfluous. Besides, I only get calls from bill collectors anyway.

 I was not allowed to see my pain management doctor the other day when I went for my appointment because my past due balance is so high. My past due balance is so high because my insurance company is not paying my claims as it should be because of the ongoing saga with insurance company. I have been making it a point to pay my co-pays every time I go to the office. Hence, I left the office in tears, and cannot even begin to discuss this issue without getting mad, upset, and generally beyond apoplectic.

 Why do I remember so much more about the details of WWII than WWI when I studied both? Selective memory? Generational? What? Just curious.

 Oh, by the way, the sitting President of the United States won the Nobel Peace Prize. Just in case you were trying to forget. Not going to let you. It’s a big deal and something to be proud of, not to mock.

 Check out the little diamonds that I’m using for bullet points. Small things for small minds.

 I just spilled hot tea on my keyboard, but I am on a roll, so liquid air has to be a sufficient clean-up for now.

 It’s getting cool enough to begin to wear sweaters. I’m starting with my cotton sweaters first. Most of my cotton sweaters are white (it was a phase). The one that I am currently wearing is sporting a very large hot tea stain that has taken the shape of a paw print. Kind of fitting since there is a muddy dog paw print directly to the left of the tea stain from when Tillie hugged me earlier.

 Somehow, while looking for something on the Internet, I came upon a portable dog bath to put by doors to wash your pets’ muddy paws before they enter the rest of the house. How quaint. I’ll be ordering one of those right away, especially if it continues to rain everyday (kidding). I can just envision it: Tillie comes bolting in the door from the rain. I try to wrestle her into the portable dog bath. One of us lands butt first in the bathing tub. Odds are good that it won’t be the labrador with the strength of a rottweiler.

 Corey has been having strange dreams involving three of everything. Have absolutely no idea what that means. I continue to have strange dreams in which I get in the wrong elevator and end up on the wrong floor of the office building in which I work. I wonder if I will continue to have work dreams for the rest of my life. Probably, especially since I still have algebra dreams: Arrive on campus only to realize that I have been enrolled in an Algebra class that I have forgotten to go to all semester, and now it’s time for the final exam.  

 As with all people, I tend to make the same typos repeatedly, even more so when I type without wearing my glasses. I almost always type not for now, expecially for especially. But tonight was a new one: carp for crap, hence the big old picture of a carp.  

“A friend is one before whom I may think aloud.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Continued thanks to those of you who read and send your support. You stay with me on my roller coaster life. You read when I’m sad. You read when I’m snotty. You read when I’m completely offbeat, irreverent, and insane, and you read when I am beyond words. It’s kind of like having friends . . .

Closing with Sarah McLachlan’s “Answer,” which is more than appropriate.

 

More later. Peace.

                                                                                        

Answer by Sarah McLachlan

I will be the answer
At the end of the line
I will be there for you
While you take the time
In the burning of uncertainty
I will be your solid ground
I will hold the balance
If you can’t look down

If it takes my whole life
I won’t break, I won’t bend
It will all be worth it
Worth it in the end
Cause I can only tell you what I know
That I need you in my life
When the stars have all gone out
You’ll still be burning so bright

Cast me gently
Into morning
For the night has been unkind
Take me to a
Place so holy
That I can wash this from my mind
The memory of choosing not to fight

If it takes my whole life
I won’t break, I won’t bend
It will all be worth it
Worth it in the end
‘Cause I can only tell you what I know
That I need you in my life
When the stars have all burned out
You’ll still be burning so bright

Cast me gently
Into morning
For the night has been unkind

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“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.” ~ Albert Einstein

 

Sunset2 at Palm Island Park Mt Dora Fl

Sunset at Palm Island Park, Mt. Dora, Florida by Janson Jones 

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” ~ Ghandi

Well, here we are. Thursday. Another day. Rain outside my window. Muddy paw prints on my floor. Exactly 12 cents in my wallet. Life is . . . well, it is what it is.

Standard Issue School Safety
Today's Standard Issue for School Safety

A quiet peace has settled over the house. Eldest son is spending more time at home. Not really sure what the reasons are behind that, but I’ll take what I can get. Today at Brett’s school there were seven, yes seven fights. Corey said that when he pulled up to the school to get Brett, the police were escorting people out in handcuffs, most of them females. The school was in lockdown for a couple of hours. Local news stations report that 14 students were arrested.

Lockdown. In a school. And people ask me why I don’t get a teaching job. No thank you, not in an urban public school, no matter what their academic standing is or how good the principal happens to be.

The one year that I taught in public schools, I was hit three times, all three accidents, but hits, even so. You know that old myth about having unusual strength during a time of crisis? Well, it’s true. I once broke up a fight between two boys in my classroom by lifting one of them off the other. The kid I lifted, who was actually a very nice boy with very good manners, was a head taller than I was.

Another time, a girl in my class was reaching around me to hit a boy she had a crush on, and I got punched in the arm. The worst fights were always the ones involving females. Not making a generalization here. This is what I saw firsthand.

Not sure what made me think of all of that. I suppose the situation at school today. Thankfully, Brett was not in the vicinity of any of the fights when they broke out.

“Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being . . . creativity requires passion and commitment.” ~ Rollo May 

Maureen, my friend in Australia made a comment that she really liked the images that I used in the last post. I’m glad that people notice the images and the words.

Waves in Blue and Green
Sargasso Sea Abstraction by L. Liwag

I spend about half of the time writing my blog, and then the other half searching for and working on images. Sometimes I am very lucky, and I have a very specific image in mind, one that I have seen on another blog. But other times, such as with the last blog, it takes forever for me to find the precise image that I want. I usually look for images that I know have no copyright or for which I know that the copyright has expired. Or, in the case of my friend Janson Jones, I try to let him know that I plan to use an image in a post; he has graciously given his permission.

And then there are the times that the images I include are mine or a family collaboration. Someone in the family may have taken the photograph, but then I work in Photoshop (wonderful Adobe program, but eats up memory), and play with color, layers, filters. As with every computer program I know, I am self-taught on Photoshop, but the more that I work with it, the more interesting things I find to do with photographs.

And then after I have my words down, and I have inserted my images, I try to think of the perfect song to go along with my theme for the day. Of course, this is not always possible because sometimes, like today, I just kind of amble from one thing to another.

I’ve come a long way since I began blogging over a year ago. Whether or not my changes are an improvement only others can tell. I like to think that I have reached a point at which I have found a good balance between words, images, and music. These three things are the root of my creative process. I almost always write with music playing in the background, and my time at The Chrysler Museum of Art opened my eyes to so many beautiful paintings, sculptures, glass, photography, and other art forms from every time period.

I had always loved art before I worked there, but my appreciation for the visual expanded significantly during my tenure at the museum, especially because part of my job included writing about exhibits, giving interviews, etc. I had to take crash courses in artists and their works every couple of weeks. I’m not complaining at all. I loved the opportunity to learn more about an area in which my prior involvement had only been brief visits to museums. Coming at a work of art from the inside, having the opportunity to work with the curators was wonderfully informative, and therefore, rewarding.

“It has always seemed strange to me that . . . so little stress is laid on the pleasure of becoming an educated person, the enormous interest it adds to life. To be able to be caught up into the world of thought—that is to be educated.” ~ Edith Hamilton

William Glackens The Shoppers Detail
"The Shoppers," by William Glackens (detail, 1907, oil on canvas) from the permanent collection of The Chrysler Museum of Art

I suppose I don’t really understand people who do not want to learn new things. It’s as if they are content with a certain body of knowledge, and anything else would just be extraneous. I understand a need to be focused, but to close your mind to new things, developments in science, language, politics—How can you not take an interest?

I fear that we are raising an entire generation that does not know how to delve, how to dabble. The art that they see is on a computer screen not in a museum. The research they do is from the Internet not in a library. Their knowledge of classical music comes from hearing it as background music to a commercial or when it is used in a movie soundtrack.

The term classical education is no longer a matter of pro forma, and that grieves me. A true classical education meant learning about as much as possible, even if it was just a bit about everything: languages, art, music, literature, politics, science, math, culture, economics, history.  Of course, not all of these subjects are absorbed at once.

A true classical education begins early, with a basic foundation in language so as to be able to absorb basic facts. From this, students progress to analyzing what they are taught until ultimately, these students have the ability to express themselves using their expanded knowledge base. Of course, this is a simplified explanation of what is known as the trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric) and quadrivium (astronomy, arithmetic, music and geometry) of a classical education.

Unfortunately, Latin is no longer taught as a matter of course. And the dialectic of logic and reasoning is included in schools that are focused on college-bound students, but what about the rest? Do I dare touch on the uneasy fact of how many of our high school students graduate without knowing how to read or balance a checkbook?

We are so removed from the Greek and Roman ideas of education (barring their idiotic barring of females from receiving formal education) that I fear we will have a generation whose only acquaintance with Latin may be the two phrases carpe diem and semper fi. Of course, I am over-simplifying things as I have a tendency to do when I am frustrated.

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” ~ Cicero

Actually, I don’t really know how I ended up on this particular topic; I only know that upon arrival, I began to become vexed—a sure sign of my omnipresent impatience with ignorance (not stupidity) and how we as a society are responsible for said pervasive ignorance.

Alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad day
One of my children's favorite books

Time to stop and have a Pepsi and some chocolate, something to sweeten my disposition. I will leave you with this: If you have young children, read to them, all of the time, from board books when they are very young to fairy tales as they get older. A little story: My daughter Alexis was with her friend Jennifer. The two of them were sorting through children’s books bought at an estate auction. Alexis kept picking up books and saying how wonderful this one was and how much she enjoyed that one.

Jennifer replied that she hadn’t read most of them. Alexis was incredulous until Jennifer reminded her that her mother was not an English professor like Alexis’s mother. Jennifer, like so many young people, grew up in a house without books; whereas Alexis already had a pretty extensive library by the time she entered high school. Not bragging, just telling a story.

Teach your children to read early and you will allow them to become life-long readers. And remember, never ever make fun of a child’s ability to read. Nothing could be more cruel or do more harm to a child’s self-esteem. Just ask anyone who has struggled with dyslexia or a learning disability.

I’ll stop now. Relenting my time on the soapbox. More later. Peace.

Just a note: I actually wrote this post on Thursday afternoon, but after writing about picking images for my posts, I froze. I could not, for the life of me, decide on any images that would be suitable for this post, with the exception of William Glackens’ painting “The Shoppers.” Probably should not have written anything about my creative process . . .