“. . . Accident ruled every corner of the universe except the chambers of the human heart.” ~ Snow Falling on Cedars movie

  

Cardinal in the Snow, New Hampshire

“The snowfall, which he witnessed out of the corners of his eye . . . struck him as infinitely beautiful.” ~ David Guterson, Snow Falling on Cedars

Bare Limbs on Snow by L. Liwag

Well, I was wrong. Put one down for the record books. Apparently the meteorologists called this one accurately: Hampton Roads got snow—a lot of snow. And it’s still coming down. Actually, at the moment, ice is coming down, but another band of snow is right behind the ice.  

We haven’t had snow like this for many years, and just think, it’s even more snow than what we saw in Ohio in December, but not more snow than we saw on that fateful trip to Ohio in the December blizzard.  

I hear a few brave souls outside, and earlier, before the ice, a few of the younger neighborhood kids were rollicking, but funnily enough, Tillie, the Lab, wouldn’t set foot outside until Brett bundled himself in layers and went outside with her. A couple of times, she stuck her snout outside the door, and then brought it back in and looked at me balefully as if to say, “you’re kidding, right?” The only dog brave enough to go outside by himself initially was Alfie, the smallest Jack Russell, who promptly sank and became covered in snow up to his flanks. The fat one went out a few steps and then turned around and came back inside. Now that Tillie has braved the unknown, she wants to go back out, but no one is up for playing in the ice.  

“The heart of any other, because it had a will, would remain forever mysterious.” ~ David Guterson, Snow Falling on Cedars

Fosso Innevato (Snowy Ditch), Italy

Another benefit of the snow is that I slept, really slept. That wonderful muffling effect that a heavy snowfall has on all ambient noise must have allowed my body to achieve a state of complete restfulness, because I got a great night’s sleep, even though I didn’t fall asleep until about 4:45 a.m. My body feels cold but not tired.  

Corey is about to build a fire in the fireplace so that we can contribute to the Greenhouse Effect. Unfortunately, it’s that or walk around the house in coats because it’s damned cold in here, but at least we haven’t lost electricity as so many others affected by the storm have. So we take the bad with the good, but hey, I slept . . .  

I’ve had a few new readers stop by and leave comments, which is always nice. Just wanted to take a minute to express my thanks as comments let me know that someone is reading.  

Last night, I dreamt of hats, straw hats, straw hats with big brims specifically. I was trying them on in some kind of rest stop store, kind of like the old Stuckey’s restaurants that used to dot the highways. I also dreamt of bow ties, Jack Nicholson as a military officer, and learning that Corey had spoken to his commanding officer in French.  

Strange, most strange. In another part of the dream, I was speaking to a woman who was putting together the program for the Opera House, and I was giving her printing tips. I told her that I used to do this kind of thing for the Museum. Also most strange. I don’t discern any great meaning behind these snippets, just found them interesting.  

“When they looked out into the whiteness of the world the wind flung it sharply at their narrowed eyes and foreshortened their view of everything.” ~ David Guterson, Snow Falling on Cedars

Kiosque du Jardin de Ville (Kiosk in City Garden), France

I plan to spend the rest of the day wrapped up in a blanket, reading a book. It’s the perfect day for it.  

Since I began this post, the wind has begun to blow quite hard outside, making the wind chimes clang repeatedly. It’s kind of haunting, actually: just the wind and the chimes. No sounds of traffic, people, dogs. Nothing. I guess everyone who was feeling adventurous has had enough of the snow and ice and gone inside. That and the fact that it is darkening rather quickly may be the reason for the seeming silence.  

When I saw the snow in the middle of the night, I began to think of songs that would be appropriate. Oddly enough, Samuel Barber’s “Adagio in G” popped into my head, but it’s such a solemn song that I don’t want to use it with today’s post. I think that I thought of that particular song because of a movie that I saw years ago starring a younger Ethan Hawke. Barber’s Adagio was featured in the movie previews, but not in the movie itself.  

The film, A Midnight Clear, was the story about two WWII units stranded in a snowstorm, one American and one German. The units reach an unspoken truce, but ultimately, the film ends tragically. I don’t think that the movie was very popular, but I remember seeing it with my friend Mari during one of our regular weekend movie outings.  

If I remember correctly, Hawke also starred in Snow Falling on Cedars, a weak adaptation of David Guterson’s beautiful novel of the same. I really don’t remember that much about the movie, but I vividly remember the cover of the book, which was a black and white picture of fog draping the cliffs surrounding Puget Sound. Odd how memory serves us.  

The book was beautiful, almost lyrical, in its portrayal of the complexities of the human heart, love, betrayal, and truth. The movie was beautiful in its cinematography, but hard-placed to convey the depth of the novel’s characters. However, with few exceptions, Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Lord of the Rings being a prime example, that is almost always what happens when adapting a book to a movie.  

Today’s post feature photographs of snowy images from different places: Italy, France, New Hampshire, and Ohio.  

More later. Peace.  

Annie Lennox’s version of “Whiter Shade of Pale” seemed like a good fit.  

If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

Another Full Moon by Lachlan Donald of Melbourne, Australia

“Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms.” ~ Sir Laurence Olivier

Well, last night was a bit better. I managed to fall asleep by 3:30 a.m. and slept for three straight hours before Tillie woke me to go out. It took a bit, but I fell asleep again around 8:30 and might have slept longer, but Eamonn called from his Dad’s house to complain that his phone wasn’t making outgoing calls. He was rather peeved when I told him that we would not be paying the phone bill anytime soon as we were between a cash influx.  

You would think that I had just stripped him of all his human rights in the way that he carried on. It’s amazing, though, this parenting thing. I used to get distressed whenever Eamonn got distressed until I realized that the maxim about boys being easier to raise than girls was a complete and utter lie. Eamonn is just as dramatic, if not more so, than Alexis was at his age. So I have finally gotten to a point at which I subtly tune out his beseeching until he sort of wears himself out, and then I comment.  

Is that an awful thing to admit? Not really. Don’t judge me unless you’ve raised teenagers.  

“Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

January Snow

So about 6 hours of sleep, more than I’ve been getting lately, and almost enough to make me feel refreshed.  

It is quickly darkening here, and the forecast calls for 5-8 inches of snow. I will be completely surprised if that happens, but who knows. I was looking at the weather report, and Lima, where Corey’s parents live, was a whopping 18 degrees today, so our 34 degrees is almost tropical.  

Other than the weather report, not a lot happening around here. I finally got the 2010 calendars up for everyone. I mark all the birthdays, holidays, school events, etcetera on the various calendars throughout the house. My logic is that perhaps one of us will glance at the calendar for the day and remember an appointment, although I must say that I have been much better about going to appointments on the correct days since I stopped taking that horrible medication for migraines (originally typo as migration—ha), Topamax.  

In some circles, it is referred to as dope-amax because it really wreaks havoc on the whole cognitive/short-term memory function—as if I need any more quashing of that particular ability.  

Anyway, the calendars have been marked, and in so doing, I realized that my youngest son will be graduating from high school this coming June. How wonderful and horrible at the same time. I know that he’ll be elated to be out of high school, but I’m really not sure how I feel about such a rite of passage.  

Anyway . . .  

“Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Icy Sunset, Point Woronzof Park, Anchorage by Janson Jones

I’m in the middle of book four of the Harry Potter series. Getting through all the books is taking longer as I haven’t been able to focus enough to read lately. I was reading a bit just before writing this post, and I came across a word that just doesn’t appear that much in the U.S. but probably is used more often in the UK: betweentimes. What a lovely, polysyllabic word. I love words that are different, words that aren’t used much in casual conversation. I’ll have to manage to find a way to work betweentimes into something soon, which is likely to get a raised eyebrow from Corey.  

I watched “Real Housewives of Orange County” last night, and I have to say that the women are getting annoyingly tiresome, I mean, more than usual. Recent shows focus too much attention on Lynne’s daughter Alexa, who is out of control, and now that Vicki has decided to act nicer, the timbre of the show seems to have shifted. I don’t care for the superior attitude of housewife Alexis and her controlling husband, and Tamra is essentially a basket case.  

Speaking of which, it’s really grating on my nerves how she says “between Simon and I” all the time. It should be “Simon and me.” Me. Me. Objective. Geez. I know, I’m nitpicking, but making the same grammatical error over and over and over again makes me cringe. (Yes, I need something else on which to focus my attention).  

So I believe that I’ve gotten to the point at which RHofOC has grown old. With any luck, RHoNY will be a bit more fun as it hasn’t been on as long as the original.  

I watched my other reality television addiction last night (both on the same night—how convenient), “Project Runway.” I don’t know if it’s just my state of mind, my inability to focus, or what, but that show is also starting to seem like a rehash. After the season with Christian Siriano (fierce), everyone else seems boring. However, now that I think of it, a few other shows seem less interesting this season: “Leverage” (what happened to the fast pace?), “CSI” (don’t even watch it any more), and then there’s the new one that just came out: “Spartacus: Sand and Blood” or something like that.  

Boy was that a mess. It was kind of like a horrible mishmash of 300 and Gladiator, only with lots more fake blood and stop-action for every fight sequence. I wanted to shake the television. I mean please.  

“None of us knows what the next change is going to be, what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner, waiting a few months or a few years to change all the tenor of our lives.” ~ Kathleen Norris

NOAO Enhanced Image of the Moon

Okay. You know that my life is slow when I go on and on about television. Maybe once I begin to sleep more normally, I’ll be able to focus on other things of more importance.  

Along with my winter/moon-themed images, I thought that I’d feature a new photograph from Janson Jones’s newly-revised Floridana v3.0 blog. He has decided to drop the Alaskiana from his blog’s title, but it’s kind of hard for me not to think of the two words together as they flow so well (Floridana Alaskiana).  

Other than that, let me close with a few ponderables:  

  • Why did Heidi Montag have 10 plastic surgery procedures done at once? I mean, she’s only 25, and now she looks like a bad version of a Barbie Doll. Let me just pause here to say that I am not a Montag follower, but I read a blurb in Newsweek about her plastic surgery addiction, and it made me cringe. Botox at 25? Really? Supposedly Montag prayed over the decision to have the head-to-stomach reno done; might I just say that this is not the kind of thing you pray over . . . I mean how about Haiti? Or the economy? But a boob job? Again, please.
  • How did my much-shorter-but fluffier Jack Russell Shakes learn to get into the kitchen trash, which is a pedal-opening container? I now know for sure that it’s him and not Tillie (apologies to the Lab) because Tillie was sound asleep next to me when I heard the commotion in the kitchen. Very strange.
  • Why do Little Debbie oatmeal cookies taste so much better at 3 in the morning? Just saying.
  • What gives with being cloudy and overcast on the night of the Wolf Moon? According to an article on MSNBC, tonight’s moon is expected to be the biggest and brightest (in appearance) of the year, and the term wolf moon dates back to the Native American notion that hungry wolves howled at the winter moon. I love looking into our backyard when the moon is full. The entire yard just glows.
  • Which idiot decided that sending formaldehyde-laced trailers to Haiti would be a feasible idea? Remember the trailers that FEMA sent to New Orleans, the ones that actually made people sick? Yep, those trailers. Let’s send them to Haiti. No, I don’t think so. Yes, the Haitians are dirt poor, but do they deserve to live in infected dwellings even temporarily?
  • And finally, what would cause a Roman Catholic priest to shoplift a tub of butter and a sofa cover from a Wal Mart? Okay, maybe the butter if he was starving, but a sofa cover? I just don’t get it.

More later. Peace.  

Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” (and by the way, this song existed loooong before that hack movie Twilight) . . .  

    

  

 

“Lost — Yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.” ~ Horace Mann

 

 Dawn on Island View Beach, BC, by Brandon Godfrey

“If you had never been to the world and never known what dawn was, you couldn’t possibly imagine how the darkness breaks, how the mystery and color of a new day arrive.” ~ John O’Donohue*

Dawn as seen from an airplane over Greece

While the above sentiment is beautiful, greeting the dawn for six mornings in a row has just gotten old. I mean, I was thinking about it. If I worked the night shift, then my body clock might make sense, but as I am not working at all, this biological time-out has become overwhelmingly stale. 

This most recent episode began on Sunday after my birthday (great sushi for birthday dinner, by the way). I woke up on Sunday with a headache, so I spent most of the day lying on my back in the dark. Slept on and off. By Monday, headache had receded to pressure, but I felt exhausted. Or, let’s just say that I thought that I felt exhausted. Now I truly know what exhausted is: I feel as if I am one of those movie zombies, wandering about aimlessly looking for my next victim, but even that description doesn’t quite do this state justice. 

Last night, I took my bedtime meds early (around 10). Nothing, nada. Around 12:30 Corey came into check on me; I took Benadryl. Nothing nada. At 3:20 when Corey (Mr. Nightowl himself) came to bed, I took half a trazadone, since a whole pill normally puts me out and gives me a medicine hangover. Nothing, nada. Creeping towards 5 a.m. and still no sleep. Not even spurts of mini-sleep. Ab-so-lute-ly nothing. By this time I figured that it had been 9 hours or so since I had taken any muscle relaxers, so I chanced it, even though thoughts of putting myself into a pharmaceutical coma were lurking somewhere. 

At 6 a.m. I heard Brett’s alarm go off, but he didn’t get up. I was just starting to drift a bit when I squinted at the clock: 6:16 and still no movement from Brett. He had two exams today, so he had to go to school. I knocked on his door, and behold, he was not awake. I nudged Corey around 6:45 and told him that there was no way that I could drive even though I was awake since I was definitely under the influence of something. I finally fell asleep around 7:45 and slept until 11. Took two ativan and slept from 11:30 to 2:30. 

Those last three hours were the only uninterrupted, sound stretch of blissful sleep that I had. Every night since Sunday has been like this. 

“I’m sleeping while awake, standing by the window, leaning against it as against everything.” ~ Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Snow at Dawn by Tracy Rosen

In between tossing and turning, I play computer games. I think about writing, but realize that if I begin a post, my mind won’t settle—it will only come to consciousness fully. I know, computer games aren’t the best idea either, but I try to find something mindless, like Bejeweled, just moving jewels around, but mindless games don’t seem to fix the problem either. 

I have noticed that the quality of my dreams when I do sleep is pretty wild: Something about a really ugly dress, a work dream thrown in there (work dreams have taken the place of algebra finals for my stress dreams), and then the other night, I had a full-blown action/adventure movie in which Corey and I were holed up in some seedy hotel, trying to find ammunition. Apparently, we were on some job that involved taking out someone, and we had run out of ammunition. 

I remember being quite enamored with my gun, which was a Walther PPK, à la James Bond. It had a weird siting mechanism, and the safety was on the back, not the side. Weird. I have never owned a gun and have never fired a handgun, but in this dream, my gun was my best friend. 

“Only mystery makes us live. Only mystery.” ~  Federico García Lorca

Spire of the Church of Tronville-en-Barrois at Dawn

Although, what is more strange is that when I am not sleeping, in those long stretches of painful wakefulness, I find myself doing very odd things like math equations. Trust me when I say that while I am good at math, I do not like it, so why is my mind in overdrive doing word problems? 

Do you ever compose in your sleep? I do, not as much as I would like, but it happens. I compose verse, which in my dream state sounds perfect, but I almost never wake myself to jot down what I have composed. I think that I do, but it’s just my body tricking me. However, on Monday, when I finally did fall asleep, I composed a piece of music, which is something that I have not done in many years. 

I am a classically-trained pianist, which I may have mentioned. I was good, but not great, and I knew it. I just loved it, which is why I took lessons for so long, but knowing that I didn’t have that special whatever that would set me apart, I did not major in music in college. So when I realized in my dream that I had composed a piece of music, I felt overjoyed. Once I woke up, I managed to hum just a tiny bit of it, but that was all that was left to me in my conscious state. 

However, I interpret the way in which my mind has been working recently during my semi-awareness to mean that I might be embarking on another creative spurt, at least I hope so. I mean, math? Music? Of course, the two are closely related . . . perhaps my mind is making connections that I have yet to reach once I am alert, although describing myself as alert these days might be going too far. 

“I have a sense of something imminent coming closer. But then I lose it again, become ordinary and inadequate. I feel like someone who is trying to guess an object being described by music. The sound grows steadily louder; he thinks he is on the point of grasping it, and then the sound becomes weaker again and he has to look for another answer.” ~ from the diary of Kaethe Kollwitz

Sunrise on the Outer Banks of NC

Who knows what is really going on in my mind? Certainly not I. Of course, if I were to venture a theory, it would be that the stress of our lives is currently wreaking havoc with my body. Yes, there is the pain, but that is omnipresent. It is more the sense of my head being very full and tight, my ears ringing, and an inability to focus. 

Of course, it has now been exactly two years since Corey was laid off. His job with Vane Brothers, which his contact said should start at the beginning of this year, now has a tentative start date of mid-February. We haven’t given up hope because if he does actually manage to get a job with this company, it would be wonderful. They have a great reputation in the shipping industry, good benefits, and people who work for them seem to be satisfied, which is not commonplace in tugboating. 

I have learned that people who work on tugs jump from company to company, often returning to companies once, twice, even three times. I suppose it’s just one of those industries that is a bit incestuous: everyone knows everyone else; being part of the in network secures a job faster than qualifications, things like that. Anyway, I am really, really hoping that this comes through. We’ve been due for a change of luck for some time now, and I find that time has become somewhat unreliable as a result. 

By that I mean I look up, and it’s the end of January. I was just getting ready for Christmas. But at the same time, it’s been two very long years without a second regular income, and that seems interminable. It’s almost as if I am somnabulating through the days, getting nowhere, so my body cannot truly rest. 

 “If you could only keep quiet, clear of memories and expectations, you would be able to discern the beautiful pattern of events. It’s your restlessness that causes chaos.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Florida Dawn by Janson Jones

Oh listen to me, going on about a whole lot of weirdness. I can say, though, that my back feels better today after getting my caudal yesterday, even though I felt as if I was going to throw up on the procedure table. This nausea crap is really getting old, but as I told Corey, I’m sure that this, too, shall pass. 

I just have to hold on to the idea that next week or the week after, my body will begin to right itself, so to speak, and I will be able to concentrate more fully on the things that matter, like writing this blog, for example. This overwhelming sense of restlessness cannot last forever; can it? I mean, a person could really and truly go crazy without the ability to find focus. 

Ah well. For now, I will continue to exist between these states of tossing about in the bed covers, stumbling to the kitchen to get something to drink, sitting at my desk in front of this computer waiting for inspiration. I don’t think that I have killed my sleep like Macbeth did, but I do believe that something inside of me is churning about too much, hence the inability to sleep soundly. Exactly what that something is, I have no idea. But as Emerson said, “What you are comes to you.” 

I have to believe that given time, things will begin to shift course. The receding tide will remove all the detritus that life has scattered on the shore for the past two years, and dawn will again become something that I greet with a sense of hope instead of dread. 

More later. Peace. 

Music from the Dixie Chicks: “Landslide,” which seems wholly appropriate: getting older, children getting older, being brought down by a landslide . . . 

  

 

  

*Many thanks to Crashingly Beautiful for the quotes used in this post.