“The wind lashes the surface of the sea and makes it rough and turbulent, but in the deep there is calm.” ~ Cardinal Basil Hume

   

Weeping Willow   

 

“Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.” ~ Karl Von Clausewitz
Japanese Red Maple

It is April 30. That’s incredible to me. One quarter of the year has passed, and I have nothing to show for it. Do you have any idea how depressing that is? I have no reliable method of tracking time any more—no scheduled meetings, no deadlines, no appointments with students. I am loathe to admit that I measure time by evening television shows: If CSI is on, then it’s Tuesday.   

I have calendars everywhere: on my desktop, on the wall next to the desk, in the kitchen, in my purse, but I never have any idea as to the date, which is why I was so surprised to see that today is April 30.   

Perhaps one of these days the fog will lift, and I will see things clearly again. Until then, I will continue to measure out my life “in coffee spoons,” as Eliot put it.   

Corey worked last night and got home at 8 this morning.   

ARGHH. I went to save, and WordPress kicked me back to the sign in page, which means that I just lost THREE PARAGRAPHS. NOOOOOOOOOO………..   

“Life is not an easy matter . . . You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness.” ~ Leon Trotsky

Let’s try this again, shall we?   

Corey worked last night and got home at 8 this morning. Then the guy who makes the schedule called him at 11 and asked if he could come in until 3. Apparently, they have several people out today. It’s now 4:45 and he isn’t home yet; he’s running on about three hours of sleep, and he was tired before he went in last night. I just hope that he doesn’t have to work too long.   

Eastern Redbud Tree

Of course, the more hours that he works, the bigger the paycheck. I just wish that the schedule could be more even, not 30 hours in three days, and then nothing for five days in a row. Of course, who am I to complain?   

Speaking of jobs, Alexis began her new job with a manufacturing company in Virginia Beach. When I asked her what they build, she said that she didn’t know; all she knows is that she adds wires to some kind of component. It’s a job. She is working with a large group of Filipino women, so I told her that at least she’ll eat well. Filipino people love their food, at home or at work.   

Of course, my mother is beside herself over Alexis losing her job. When Alexis told her about it, my mother proceeded to rant about how I had lost a few jobs—almost a decade ago. Mom told Alexis that she didn’t want her to turn out like me. Lovely, just lovely. Then, without fail, my mother called me to complain about Alexis. When she asked me how much money Mike makes, I told her that truthfully I didn’t know because it wasn’t any of my business, and it’s not any of my business. My mother is of the belief that anything and everything in my life and the lives of my children is her business. It’s more of that privacy issue that I was talking about before, as in, there is none with my mother.    

Today she called and started to talk about the same things all over again. I reminded her that we had already had this conversation, so she turned it around to be a commentary on the relationship between Alexis and Mike. She just doesn’t understand it. Has he ever asked her to marry him? I don’t know, not my business. And so it goes once again. I know that if Mike had proposed, Alexis would tell me, but by the same token, should I be asking her constantly when/if they are going to get married? As I told my mother, they’ve been together for seven years, and it seems to be working for them.   

“Be gentle with yourself. You are the truth unfolding.” ~  Joseph Goldstein

I just made a shocking discovery: We are out of Pepsi. How do I go on?   

Eastern Hemlock Tree

Truths for Friday:   

  • Oprah is on a toot to eliminate texting while driving. I absolutely agree. Is anything that important? Just remember the train engineer who caused that fatal crash because he was texting—25 people died, including the texting engineer
  • Is it weird that I still miss Izzie the Trooper? I loved that vehicle, and even though SUV sales are declining, I would own another Trooper.
  • Have you heard about “Marysville, OH, 43040”? It’s a Facebook group that is praying for the death of President Obama. Call me crazy, and I probably am, but I was never taught to pray for someone else’s misfortune, let alone death. The group has over one million members.
  • Am I the only one who thinks that the legislators in Arizona are on crack? I mean, that is the only logical explanation for their recent blatant racist, xenophobic legislation. An article in the Huffington Post reveals that the Arizona Department of Education has told schools that “teachers with ‘heavy’ or ‘ungrammatical’ accents are no longer allowed to teach English classes, this after the state spent 10 years recruiting teachers for whom English was a second language.
  • As the pictures continue to pour in revealing the devastation caused by the recent oil spill in the Gulf, Rush Limbaugh lets loose with his latest conspiracy theory: “Environmentalist whackos” may have blown up oil rig to “head off more oil drilling.” Really Rush? Gave that one a lot of thought, didn’t you?
  • And finally, on Gawker.com I found one of the best blogs ever about the Real Housewives of New York. Richard Lawson’s post, “Everyone Kills the Messenger,” is so much more entertaining than the show. To wit: “Meanwhile over in Bitchington Acres, everyone couldn’t believe what had just happened. Naturally when one is confused about a situation one turns to the very sage Kelly Bensimon, who is always good at unpacking an issue and making it understandable to the common laypeople below her.” To paraphrase the article would not do it justice, so I will leave you the link. Anyone who is interested in excruciatingly funny sarcasm and incisive wit, especially when it comes to the vacuous Housewives, should take a few minutes to peruse this post. Truly. The only bad thing I have to say is that I cannot believe that I didn’t find Lawson sooner.


Looking Skyward by Janson Jones   

Happy Arbor day, the annual celebration of trees. In honor of this holiday, I am featuring pictures of some of my favorite trees: Eastern Hemlock, Eastern Red Bud, Weeping Willow, Japanese Red Maple, Flowering Crabapple. I also love Yoshino Cherry and Weeping Cherry trees, but I just featured pictures of those in a recent post.   

More later. Peace.  

Mazzy Star, “Into Dust”  

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“The human heart has hidden treasures, in secret kept, in silence sealed; the thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, whose charms were broken if revealed.” ~ Charlotte Bronte

  

 

“In all secrets there is a kind of guilt, however beautiful or joyful they may be, or for what good end they may be set to serve. Secrecy means evasion, and evasion means a problem to the moral mind.” ~ Gilbert Parker

What is the difference between secrecy and privacy? Is privacy a matter of choosing whether or not to share something without fear or shame? Is secrecy choosing to withhold something because of feelings of guilt or embarrassment? 

Or, to reduce it to its most simplistic terms: Privacy is a right to which everyone is entitled; secrecy is a choice made to keep things hidden. That being said, where do the lines blur? When does something private become a secret? I think that it’s a matter of intent. Consider: Is the individual keeping the secret because the relationship could be affected adversely if the information were to be revealed? Conversely, is the information merely something that concerns the individual only and if revealed, would cause no harm? 

One article that I read which addresses this issue was written by a therapist who stated the following: 

Secrecy comes with guilt and fear, while privacy results in a stronger sense of self without guilt. Secrecy is about control and destroys trust, while privacy does not. Secrets are often about addictive behaviors, or old defense mechanisms, while privacy is more often about personal history, values priorities, dreams, and visions of the future. The decision to withhold a secret, or to keep something private, is a choice reflecting our values and emotional maturity. Choosing to share a secret is a healthy and mature act even though it may create conflict. Choosing to keep something private, is our right and privilege, however if we choose to share something personal, it has the possibility of deepening an intimacy. 

“Three things cannot long stay hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” ~ Gautama Siddhartha

When I was growing up and living with my parents, I had no privacy. My mother would search my things, look under my mattress, listen to my telephone calls, read my mail. I was determined that when I had children of my own that I would treat them with the respect they deserved and allow them a sense of privacy. Did I find out things anyway? Of course. But 98 percent of the time, I believed that their privacy was their right as individuals. 

Charles Darwin . . . Shh . . .

Everyone is entitled to privacy. I don’t need to know everything that Corey thinks or says. Having just said that, I also don’t believe that secrets benefit anyone except the secret-keeper because the truth always has a way of revealing itself. Sandra Petronio, a professor of communications at Indiana University-Purdue University, devised a rule-based theory on privacy in 2002 called Communication Privacy Management, or CPM. Essentially, CPM states that individuals own information until they decide to share that information with someone else. Underpinning CPM is the idea that information is shared based on a set of rules. 

For example, if I choose to share information about my past with X, and I say to X that I don’t want anyone else to know about this information, then I have established a boundary for that information, making X a co-owner of the information. These rules are understood, and if the person receiving the information breaks the rules by sharing the information with someone else, then trust is broken. Of course, the rules fluctuate depending upon circumstances. 

Another aspect of CPM is the concept of rewards and costs: As the information owner, I control who has access to the information; by sharing this information, I could be rewarded by the freeing aspect of self-expression. On the other hand, sharing this information runs the risk of loss of control over the information or possible embarrassment. Therefore, the information owner sets boundaries to control disclosure of the information. 

I will admit that I have reduced CPM to the barest lay terms and by doing so have left out a great deal, but I thought that it was an interesting concept and a more scientific way of looking at the issue of secrecy versus privacy. 

“Lying is done with words and also with silence.” ~ Adrienne Rich

I saw an interesting clip on Today online about this very issue. Essentially, the premise was that the Internet and e-mail have made it possible for more and more people to be unfaithful digitally. That’s right: digital infidelity. A British study revealed that 20 percent of individuals had checked their spouse’s browser history on the computer. I confess. I have done this, but I’m not proud of that fact. My reasons for doing so—insecurity about where I stood—made sense to me, but I still regret the invasion of privacy. 

While technology has made it easier to be duplicitous, it has also made it easier to find out the truth—a matter of be careful what you wish for because that e-mail you are opening may contain more than you ever wanted to know. As Regina Lynn said in an article on Wired.com, “The internet reveals a glimpse of polyamory to everyone who has ever flirted over IM, entered a chat room or joined a role-playing game. Regardless of whether you have sex online, every coquettish remark gives you a taste of what it means to share attention, time and intimacy with other people.” 

Apparently, more and more relationships are suffering as a result of one partner’s online activity because of the opportunities for secrecy that cyberspace offers. And this harmful activity is not limited to connecting to other people. Other significant issues that can come between two people include online gambling addictions, pornography addictions, even shopping addictions.  The question that the secret-keeper should ask is whether or not he or she would want the spouse/partner to engage in the pattern of behavior that is being kept secret? If the answer is no, then there is something wrong with the behavior. 

One aspect of the Today story that I found particularly interesting was the idea that although digital infidelity is not a physical connection, it is usually an emotional connection or a time connection, which keeps one partner from the other. Then there is the added risk that an online connection may lead to a physical connection. One of the experts commenting on the story remarked that more people are leaving their families behind to be with someone they have never met in real life. Am I the only one who finds this weird, abandoning reality for a perceived connection? 

A true cautionary tale: 48 Hours Mystery episode “Love and Lies” tells the story of Jennifer Corbin, who was murdered by her dentist husband. Jennifer was having an online affair with an individual named Christopher. Turns out, Christopher was a woman. 

More later. Peace. 

Music by Regina Spektor, “Man of a Thousand Faces” 

“I never know when I sit down, just what I am going to write. I make no plan; it just comes, and I don’t know where it comes from.” ~ D. H. Lawrence

“Double Image,” August Strindberg (1892, oil on canvas) 

 

“The paper I write on or you write on, every word we write, every cross and twirl of the pen, and the curious way we write what we think, yet very faintly . . . In them realities for you and me—in them poems for you and me . . . In them themes, hints, provokers.”  ~ Walt Whitman
"Wonderland" (1894, oil on canvas)

Rarely do I know what I am going to write when I sit down at this keyboard. I may have an idea generated from a dream or something that I have read in the news, but most of the time it’s more a matter of touching the keys and letting the words come out. No great creative genius is involved. Rather, it is more a matter of need: I need to write, to release, to ponder, to construe, to evoke. I need to do this as naturally as I need to breathe. 

That is my reality, and truthfully, it has always been this way. I have been writing about things since I was very young, before I even knew how to string letters together to form words. I would put pencil to whatever scraps of paper I could find in the house, and I would write. Of course what I wrote made no sense to anyone but me, but I knew what I was saying. And I had such a need to share my thoughts that I would take these scraps of paper and slip them under the doors of my parents’ neighbors in the large apartment house in which we resided in London. 

Some of the people knew that these notes were from me, but others were confused by the nonsensical missives that appeared under their doors with no regular schedule. The doorman in our building knew what I was doing, so he ever so kindly explained to the confused tenants that it was the little girl in apartment 13 who had been writing to them. 

Then when I went to school and learned how to form words, I wrote more. I wrote poems, letters, stories. But my dream at that time was not to become a writer. I wanted to be a hairdresser . . . 

“O, how incomprehensible everything was, and actually sad, although it was also beautiful. One knew nothing. And sometimes it seemed that something never seen yet long desired was about to happen, that a veil would drop from it all; but then it passed, nothing happened, the riddle remained unsolved, the secret spell unbroken, and in the end one grew old and looked cunning . . . or wise . . . And still one knew nothing, perhaps, was still waiting and listening.” ~ Hermann Hesse, “Narcissus and Goldmund”
"Baby's First Cradle" (1901, oil on canvas)

In many ways, this blog is like those indecipherable scraps of paper: I know what I’m trying to say, but not everyone who reads my words can discern my meaning. That’s okay, though. The beauty of blogs is that readers can just close the window if they do not find the post interesting, or appealing, or if the subject matter is not something that coincides with their personal beliefs. 

I’m not trying to please anyone but myself. In the beginning of this blogging stuff, I was more self-censoring, not wanting to offend anyone who happened to be reading. I wrote in more general terms, putting less of myself into my posts. Over the months, though, that changed, as I had thought that it might. My persona began to creep into my posts more and more. My life, my family, all of it, became fodder. So much so that now my posts are a virtual doorway into my life. 

Is this a good thing? Perhaps not. Will I change it? Probably not. Do I regret this progression? A bit. 

“The swarm of words,
and little stories
are just to loosen you
from where you are stuck.” ~ Shitou Xiqian
"The Wave VII" (1901, oil on canvas)

When I first heard about blogs—personal online journals that are available to anyone and everyone—I must admit to being personally appalled. What kind of person puts his or her life online for the world to see? It just didn’t seem right to me, someone who had always hidden my journals from other people, seeing them as both highly personal and private. 

Then a few years later I decided to create a MySpace page. I played a bit with the internal blog aspect of the page, which made me realize that the whole social networking thing was really just a collective blog—people visiting each other’s sites, sharing opinions, leaving notes, posting pictures. Then I was given the assignment to create a web page for one of my publishing classes. The site could be about anything; there were no parameters. 

I decided to create a site on which people could create a community poem. I called it The Poem Makers. In concept, it was a pretty creative idea (or so I thought): I would write the first line of the poem, and then anyone who visited could add a line and/or comment on the poem in progress. As part of the site, I wanted to include a blog page on which participants could post ongoing commentary about the project, poetry, whatever. My search for a blog page led me to WordPress. 

Essentially the project was disastrous, mostly because I didn’t know enough HTML to create an interactive site, that and the fact that I knew relatively little about promoting a site.  I eventually abandoned the website, but I took that experience and decided to keep going with the blog. My first post was in February 2008, which means that I’ve been doing this for over two years. 

“Within all of us is a varying amount of space lint and star dust, the residue from our creation. Most are too busy to notice it, and it is stronger in some than others. It is strongest in those of us who fly and is responsible for an unconscious, subtle desire to slip into some wings and try for the elusive boundaries of our origin.” ~ K. O. Eckland, Footprints on Clouds
"Coastal Landscape" (1901, oil on canvas)

In that time I have gone from basic posts about nothing at all to posts that include images and music and cover a range of topics. I like how I have progressed. I know so much more now than I did when I began; in particular, I realize that bloggers tend to congregate in communities and that if you want other people to read and comment on your blog, then you need to read and comment on other people’s blogs—regularly. 

I have also noticed a change in my writing style: Whereas when I was writing for publication, I was much more sparse with my words, never using five words when three will do, always choosing the simpler word over the multisyllabic one. Now that I’m writing without an editor, I tend to be more verbose. I do edit myself, but anyone who writes knows the limitations of such a thing. I do go on and on, and it’s an indulgence that gives me pleasure. I also take more liberties with punctuation than before. Always a stickler for grammar, I am merciless with a red pen when it comes to editing or grading someone else’s work. Too bad I cannot admit to being as rigorous with my own. 

Oh well . . . 

“The process of writing has something infinite about it.  Even though it is interrupted each night, it is one single notation.” ~ Elias Canetti
"Aleja" (1903, oil on canvas)

I remember how excited I was when the number of hits that I had received went past 200. It was a time for great rejoicing. I am now well past 300,000 hits, but I still love to see who is visiting, what they are reading, how they got here. I don’t know that I’ll ever tire of paying attention to my statistics as they serve as my validation, for now. 

I suppose all of this boils down to a few simple facts: I have come to love the freedom of blogging. I sometimes resent feeling as if I have to post until I realize that no one is making me do so. I no longer feel as if blogs are an obscene violation of privacy spurred on by the blogger’s own need for exposure. I take pleasure in reading blogs that are written well, or are visually appealing, or are in line with my own sensitivities. 

For now, this whole thing is an open-ended experiment. Who knows where it will take me, but I’m going to enjoy the ride while I can. 

More later. Peace. 

All images are by Swedish novelist and playwright August Strindberg, who turned to painting during times of crisis in which he felt unable to write. 

Music from Bare Naked Ladies, “Call and Answer”
 
  

“I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals . . . ” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Parrot Tulips, 1988

 

“I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of a lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes!'” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

A bit better today. It’s amazing what 12 hours of sleep will do for a person. Of course, if that were 12 uninterrupted hours of sleep it might be a different story, but in my case, it’s an hour here, and hour there. Very strange dreams last night: something about painting the kitchen, stepping into a puddle of paint on the floor, driving, getting pulled over by state troopers, and Corey having to take a Rorschach test, you know, the ink blots? Have no idea what any of that meant.

Yesterday was such a hard day; I even had two anxiety attacks, something that hasn’t happened in years. My heart began to beat rapidly, and I couldn’t catch my breath. I just felt as if the entire day was an out-of-body experience that I would have much rather avoided. I ended up picking an argument with Corey in the evening that left him thoroughly confused and which resulted in my feeling even worse than before I posted. If only such days had a rewind button, or maybe even an erase button.

I’m beginning to move into the predictable regret stage after cutting my hair. It’s too short in the front, and as a result, it’s doing this curly thing that looks absolutely ridiculous. The end result is that I’m just pulling it back into a pony tail again. But it doesn’t really matter as the only people who see my hair are my family and the dogs, and the dogs wouldn’t care if I were bald.

“It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself,
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when its not pretty every day . . .” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Anyway, reading the news today felt a bit like peering through the looking glass:

  • People who are depressed eat more chocolate. But which comes first—the depression, which leads to craving chocolate, or the chocolate, which causes depression?
  • Medications that treat depression can sometimes cause significant weight gain. Really? You’re kidding. I’m so surprised.
  • A British woman who suffered from a severe migraine awoke with a Chinese accent. Apparently it’s a phenomenon called Foreign Accent Syndrome. After my next migraine, I’d like to have Marlene Dietrich’s accent.
  • But the most horrific story concerns a homeless man who came to the aid of a woman in NYC. Apparently the homeless man was walking behind a couple who began arguing. The homeless man tried to intervene and was stabbed by the man who had been arguing with the woman. The injured man then chased his attacker for a few feet before he fell to the sidewalk. He lay there for over an hour while 25 people walked by. One man took a picture with his cell phone. Another lifted the victim’s body, revealing a pool of blood beneath him, then dropped the body and walked away. The 31-year-old Guatemalan immigrant was dead by the time emergency workers arrived. But wait. There’s a psychological explanation for this as well: the Bystander Effect in which the more people who are present, the less likely it is that someone will intervene because everyone believes that someone else will do something. I think that it’s just more of the inhumanity that prevails in today’s society.

“I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Outside, I can hear an approaching thunderstorm. Just a few minutes ago, the background noise was coming from the park. For me, that noise is indiscernible; I no longer notice it. But now, there is the sound of a hard rain and distant thunder. It is a good sound, a calming sound.

Yesterday, I felt as if I was immersed in a storm, a pelting, loud storm. Today, there is a storm, but I feel none of the turmoil.

The entire Oriah Mountain Dreamer passage from which today’s quotes are drawn is called “The Invitation,”  and it is much longer and very lovely. Some parts of “The Invitation” do read like something written by a Native American mystic. However, Oriah is not—as many people have mistakenly claimed—a Native American elder. She is a writer who took the name Oriah after she had a dream in which several elderly women told her to take the new name. Mountain Dreamer is the name a shamanic mystic gave her after a healing. Personally, I find it to be a very poetic name and don’t really care about its origins.

I wonder if I renamed myself  Lola Proceeds with Pain, if I could sell books and be labeled a visionary . . . Probably not.

More later. Peace.

All images are photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, from his less controversial images of flowers.

“Cry,” by James Blunt

“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.” ~ Herman Hesse

Raindrops on Saucer Magnolia Bud

 

“As soon as we put something into words, we devalue it in a strange way. We think we have plunged into the depths of the abyss, and when we return to the surface the drop of water on our pale fingertips no longer resembles the sea from which it comes.” ~ Maurice Maeterlinck

I feel like a total failure today. So many reasons why. Perhaps it’s that fall that I’ve been dreading. Perhaps it’s just an accumulation of things. Perhaps it’s nothing at all. Sometimes, too often, I hate the way that I am—the eddy and flow, the swirl of emotions, the long sleepless nights filled with thoughts moving too rapidly to collect, the sensitivities floating just below the surface only to be so easily bruised.

There is no one explanation when everything matters and nothing precisely is the cause. I only know that my heart aches for all of the things that I cannot do, for the unwritten pages, for the unsung songs. My sense of self fractures much too easily, especially when I dwell too much on the minutiae of life.

Nothing is wrong, but it all hurts too much. I write of being a parent, loving my children, loving my husband, and then I turn the corner, and WHAM. Reality smacks me in the face. All that I long to do for my children I cannot do because I am caught here in this never-ending cycle of nothingness and constant failure to thrive.

Failure to thrive. That term that is used so callously to describe those beings who do not grow as expected. Isn’t failure to live more accurate?

It’s not a competition. Really, it’ not. So why do I set myself up against that to which I cannot compete? So many things undone, put aside until the time is better, and meanwhile, the time never gets better. Never. Gets. Better.

Excuse the endless flow of words that do not move in any logical direction. It just cannot be helped today. Sometimes, it’s just better not to write, especially when the words make little sense. But sometimes, it’s easier to write than to think, giving voice to the unending questions: What if? Can I? Why can’t?

Perhaps, but no.

Great Lake Swimmers, “Moving, Shaking”

Moving, Shaking
I can’t write
I can’t sing
I can’t play
My insides have been broken
My inspiration has flown away
It’s hard to see all the little things

There’s a universe
In a crack in the wall
Or an ant crawling across
A broken tile
And it’s hard to see all the little things
When the big things get in the way

I can’t eat
I can’t sleep
I can’t think straight
I did not know it could be like this
Some things are better off being left alone
There are things that are better left unknown

Oh hands,
Don’t fail me now
They’re the only things I have left
Oh fingers,
Don’t let me down, now
They’re the only things that aren’t gone

Oh world, come
Come crashing down, now
Oh hands, don’t fail me now
Oh let me become deaf and mute to this
Oh hands, don’t fail me, now

I’m carrying my life in a cardboard box
Carrier bag on my back
I’m carrying my life in a cardboard box
Carrier bag on my back

Oh hands,
Don’t fail me now
They’re the only things I have got
Oh fingers,
Don’t let me down, now
Oh hands, don’t fail me now

All Hell falls
All down around me
Oh hands, don’t fail me now
Oh fingers,
Don’t let me down, now
Oh hands, don’t fail me now

“. . . In movement there is life, and in change there is power.” ~ Alan Cohen

 My Last Collage in My Last Office

My Last Collage in My Last Office (bottom left) 

                                

“After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully.  After five years, look at it with suspicion.  And after ten years, throw it away and start all over.” ~ Alfred Edward Perlman, New York Times, 3 July 1958

So, what do you think? New layout. New header.

Collage (top right)

I’ve been wanting to change my format for a while, but doing so takes a lot of time and thought, and I just haven’t felt like thinking that much. I’m happy with this layout. For some reason, it feels cleaner. I like the fonts, and I like have the sidebar on the right for a change.

I know that it’s nothing drastic, but any change for me is drastic as I tend to find my comfort zones and then languish in them for too long. I also changed my header from the cropped picture of my big collage in my last office, so I thought that in this post, I would insert sections of the wall that I had decorated with my favorite stuff, accumulated over the years.

No one else may find these images interesting, but I like them because they remind me of several good things: having a huge office with a window, being able to decorate said office in the manner of my choosing, and not the last of which, having a job. You can tell a lot about me as a person just by looking at the kinds of things that I have saved: a Mardi Gras mask and beads, artwork my kids made, birthday cards from friends, postcards from everywhere, magnets, bookmarks, bumper stickers, and buttons (yes, that is an original ERA button).

“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~ Anais Nin

Collage (bottom right)

Just an amusing aside: When I was re-reading yesterday’s post today, which I always do to find those errors that I have missed the first time around, I came across a wonderful typo: I referred to Corey as getting a goat instead of a boat! Too funny. No, we are not getting a goat, although goats are really cute animals, especially when they are babies. Corey’s mom caught the typo before I had corrected it, and sent him a text message with one word: Goat??

I love how my mind works, or perhaps, fails to work might be more appropriate.

So last night was the finale on this season’s Project Runway. Emilio did not win (audible sobs on his part). Seth Aaron won, which was too cool. Mila came in third (tee hee). Actually, I was really impressed with all three collections. I loved Emilio’s evening gown and his coats, and I even liked one of Mila’s dresses (not the blocked one). But Seth Aaron’s collection showed the most creativity as far as I’m concerned.  So that’s a wrap, and now I just have to wait for the next season.

Real Housewives of New York was bo-ring. Bethenny got her engagement ring (can I just say humongous), but other than that, ho hum. Speaking of change, these women really need to change their attitudes: The Countess (“Darling, there’s a wall there,” when commenting on why she didn’t like one apartment. Geez. It’s New York. Of course there are walls.) I mean get a life, a real one. And who says “darling,” anyway?

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” ~ Henri Bergson

Collage (top left)

Well, Brett’s graduation announcements arrived via UPS today. Another major milestone for our family. His graduation will be in the evening on June 14. I know that he will be glad to be leaving high school. In May, he takes his IB exams, and depending on how well he does, he may be able to accumulate some college credits so that he doesn’t have to take some of the general studies classes his first year. That would be wonderful, not only because we will save money, but also because Brett gets bored when he is repeating things that he has already studied.

I cannot remember if I mentioned it, but he has received his admittance letter from Old Dominion University. The plan is to attend ODU for the first year, and then depending on what he wants to study, perhaps to transfer to Virginia Tech. I am really happy for him as I believe that he will enjoy college so much more than high school. The atmosphere is different. The learning process is different.

Eamonn called today to let me know that he got a job at a pool store that is owned by someone with whom both my ex and I attended high school. They are a really nice couple, and their business is very successful, so I hope that Eamonn acts professionally and shows up when he is supposed to be there. Now we know where we will buy pool supplies. On the downside, he told me that he is failing Western Civilization. Not good.

Alexis picked up Brett from school today, and the two of them went by their grandfather’s house to visit, and he was so happy to see them. He does have liver cancer, but Alexis says that he seems to be doing well. Other good news is that Alexis has found a job, although it might be temporary. It’s working for a manufacturer, but when I asked her what the company makes, she wasn’t sure. Oh well, at least it’s a job, and we should be thankful for that.

Corey works tonight, so it will be television for me. I wish that I had a book to read.

(This last picture includes my magnet board, which was to the right of the collage, as well as my rock fountain, and some of my personal photographs.)

More Stuff

That’s all for now. More later. Peace.

Music by Mazzy Star, “Fade Into You”

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” ~ Carl Jung

Lone Sakura Cherry Blossom, Japan

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” ~  Crowfoot’s last words, 1890

Cherry Blossoms over the Potomac, Washington, D.C.

A heartfelt welcome to my new readers. In the last few days, I have had another spurt of comments from new readers, which is always wonderful. I love to receive comments of all kinds, so if you are just stopping by for the first time, please take a minute to let me know what you think.  

Moving along . . . I’m not sure what possessed me, but I went into the bathroom a few hours ago and cut my hair. It feels better, not as heavy, but I messed up the front a bit. I have to say, though, that I’m not upset because my hair is growing so fast that within a month, it will probably be out of control again. I long for a really good haircut, actually a totally new style. Not short as I look horrible with short hair but something just below the shoulders. It really sucks not being able to pay for a good hair cut, but since I’m not really going anywhere that matters, I can’t justify the expense.  

I don’t know how much of a post this will be. I’m not sleeping again. Yesterday, I finally fell asleep at 7:30 in the morning, and then last night, I fell asleep around 5:30 in the morning. Corey was working 11 to 7 last night, which is a bit unnerving because once I finally fall asleep, I’m alone in bed, but if I wake up in between, which I inevitably do, he’s in bed next to me. You can imagine how that might be a little unsettling.  

“I found a journal in the coffee shop that said, ‘write something and leave me behind’; the open page read: ‘If you want to experience time travel, look into the face of the night because the stars illuminate the past—breathe in their stories.’” ~ C. Troise

Weeping Cherry, Newark, NJ

I’m not sure where I found the above quote, but I love it because it’s the kind of thing that I would do if I were going to coffee shops on a regular basis. One of my favorite places to write in my journal is the Starbucks on Shore Drive, which runs parallel to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This Starbucks, which has a deck, faces the water, making it the perfect spot to sit in the spring sunshine, sip coffee, and write or read.  

One time when I was hiking and camping with some friends, we came across a small shack on a trail. Inside was a hiker’s journal containing comments from people from all over the world, people who had stopped for a moment in their journey to add a few thoughts, read some of the entries. It was like finding a little treasure in the most unexpected place.  

I haven’t written in a journal in ages. I mean, with this blog, there really isn’t a need for my journal. However, once Corey goes back to sea (here’s hoping), we plan to begin  keeping journals again. The idea is that I write in mine while he’s away, and he writes in his, and then we exchange them when he gets home. We have filled two journals in this way, and we were in the middle of two others, but we decided that since we’ll be starting a new chapter of our lives when he finally gets a boat, that we are going to start new journals instead of picking up where we stopped.  

If you have never kept a journal, you might want to think about doing so. I used to make my literature students keep reading journals, which I know was not a small assignment. However, that being said, if they worked on their journals in the way that they were supposed to, then they would have no problems with tests and the final exam. I’ve never believed in teaching literature in a vacuum, just standing in front of a room full of people and lecturing to them about what something means. Meaning is subjective, depending upon numerous factors, and anyone who tries to tell you that X poem means exactly Y is full of baloney.  

“When you are older you will know that life is a long lesson in humility.” ~ J. M. Barrie

  

Yoshino Flowering Cherry, Forest Lawn, Norfolk, L. Liwag

Tonight is my reality show night—the finale of Project Runway, another episode of cat fights on RHNY. Speaking of which, I was reading my online news sources today, and somehow I ended up on a page about the newest housewife on RHNY. I honestly don’t know how I landed on this page, and I cannot remember the name of this latest entry into the supposedly real world, but one thing that I do remember is that when I first saw her, I did a double take because she looks so much like someone I was friends with years ago.  

Same thin nose and thin lips, same color hair (although it was a natural color for my friend), even the same body shape. This was another one of my friends who dated my ex and who he left by the wayside. We remained friends for many years, even though she left the area. And then something happened when she was in town for a reunion, and we haven’t spoken to each other since. One of those things that you don’t really know the reason for but you aren’t concerned enough to actually do something about. Too much time had passed between us, and we really didn’t have much to say to one another.  

Anyway, so I had a bit of deja vu when watching last week’s episode, and it made me stop in my thoughts and wonder whatever happened to her, if she finally found the person she was looking for, if she finished the degree she finally pursued. I have a vague memory of someone telling me that she had cancer, but I might have dreamed it. I have that problem with confusing dreams with memories.  

Speaking of dreams, the other night I had a right strange dream in which I was trying to find a job for a realtor I knew, and I took her to my old boss, but he was in a new building, and didn’t really want to talk to me. Last night, I dreamed that I was in a hotel for some kind of conference, and I ended up going into the kitchen to find lemon slices and cinnamon sticks as garnishes for some wine bar. You see? I cannot even relax and have fun in my dreams; instead of drinking wine and wearing beautiful gowns with the rest of the people in my dream, I go searching for lemon wedges. That must be significant somehow.  

That’s all for now. More later. Peace.  

“Let Her Cry,” a classic from Hootie and the Blowfish