“You cannot write in the chimney with charcoal.” ~ Russian Proverb

Blue Skies by Harsh Patel (FCC)


Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully. ~ Norton Juster

Thursday afternoon. Passing storm, temperatures are dropping, but it’s quite humid.

Centuri Sky, Corsica by Ornithorynque (FCC)

No one is home except the dogs and me. Quite quiet.

Such a discombobulating day. Corey worked until 7 this morning, came home and slept a few hours, then had to be at school at 1 this afternoon. He came home around 3, changed clothes, and went back to work until 11 tonight.

He’s exhausted, and I’m tired just because I can’t figure out my nights from my days.

The guy across the street still hasn’t finished the work on Corey’s truck, which means that we’re down to one vehicle, and it’s getting harder to keep up with everyone’s schedules.

Last night I had two very different dreams. In the first, I ran into a very old friend of mine, and I found out that he was dying. I met his son for the first time, and he said that he had heard about me. I asked the old friend if he had kept any of the things that I had given him, and he said that he had kept almost all of them.

We spent time going through his things, and he told me that his wife had left him for another woman, and I was surprised to learn that the other woman was a friend of mine who had never mentioned the relationship with the wife. It was a very bittersweet dream. Seeing him again even in dreams makes me very sad that he is no longer in my life.

In the other dream, I was taken hostage in a grocery store. The bad people had curved knives, and one of the women had bright red hair. She was the most savage of the group. Somehow, I made it from the store to the parking lot, but one of the bad guys was in the parking lot, and he killed an older couple right in front of me.

Then somehow a Charles Manson kind of character appeared. I realized that I had to pretend to agree with him to survive. Then, thankfully, I woke up.

“This has the strong
clench of the madman, this is
gripping the ledge of unreason, before
plunging howling into the abyss.” ~ Derek Walcott, from “The Fist”

Friday afternoon. Very bright and sunny, painfully so.

Sky Blue by jimflix! (FCC)

So much for posting yesterday. In the middle of writing Eamonn came home and turned on a documentary about WWII, and away flew my thoughts. Then I had promised Brett that I would look at a paper that he had due for a class today. My little sojourn into writing for and about myself completely vanished.

I ended up going to sleep about 3:45 this morning, only to get up at 8 a.m. to have a final look at the paper and then transport to school. On the way there, a vicious migraine surfaced in my eye just as the morning sun pierced the windshield of the car. It was so bright that I thought the crack in the glass would deepen from the intensity.

I lie. It just seemed that way. Back home, meds, cold eye pillow, and sleep. That is until my mother called only to ask if I wasn’t feeling well. Migraine, I said. She continued to talk. Have I mentioned that I must turn the volume down to 1 on my phone when talking to my mother? Well, I must, and I did, and then I hung up and immediately passed out again only to be awoken by . . . my mother, who wanted to know if I still didn’t feel well, and when was I going to get the Botox shots, and why hadn’t they happened yet, and was I still drinking caffeine . . .

Pain. Great pain.

“ . . . perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes falls between us springs from disappointment in our search, each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner always a pace or two ahead of us. ~ Evelyn Waugh, from Brideshead Revisited

Afternoon Sun, San Francisco, CA, by mioi (FCC)

I thought that I’d try to share the bright sky with you through my choice of images, a reflection of what I saw this morning and what is still streaming through the window.

So here I am again, attempting to construct a post that is somewhat readable. I’m trying to make my cup of coffee last as we are almost out of coffee, and I fear that there will be none of this caffeinated elixir on which I depend for morning relief when I wake up tomorrow. (Don’t tell my mother.)

Eamonn came home last night with a broken finger (details not to be provided as he would not appreciate it). I had thought that I had tongue depressors in my stash of medical supplies, but they have disappeared, so I had to make do with chopsticks for splints until he could go to the doctor today. Turns out he has a ruptured tendon. No wonder he couldn’t feel anything when I tried to realign his finger.

So my plans for working on the computer last night were foiled, another reason I never finished my post. After applying first aid, I contented myself with watching “Project Runway.” Oh, don’t be that way. I love the madness of it, and for some reason, it makes me think that I can sew, which I can’t.

Obscure things tend towards clarity,
bodies dissolve themselves in a weightless flow
of colors: these then into music. To vanish
is thus the supreme fate of all fates. ~ Eugenio Montale, from “Bring me the Sunflower” (trans. by Margaret Brose)

Sun and Clouds by StefPress (FCC)

So what else is new in my little world?  I won the Lotto? I was offered the job of my dreams? I awoke in a new house that needed no repairs? My bill basket suddenly emptied itself?

No, wait. That’s just my delusions again. Hate it when that happens.

As I was lying in bed earlier, I actually thought about what I would say, but of course, I have long since forgotten that thread. I think that it was something about life, good and evil, ya da ya da ya da . . .

No, really. It was profound. Seriously and absolutely profound, or at least that’s how it seemed in my dream/wake state. I’m certain that it had something to do with the latest Kardashian circus, er, wedding, as you are all well aware of my abiding respect for people who are famous because they are famous.

I mean think about it: We’re protesting the Wall Street whore-mongers who take millions in bonuses each year without a thought about the inequities inherent in the system, but no one says a word about a celebrity(?) wedding that costs more than a school district’s annual budget. What does that say about us as a society? That we are seriously warped?

Yep. That would be it.

I am as far as the sleep of rivers
that stains the deepest sky between clouds,
you are as far as invention, and I am as far as memory. ~ Susan Stewart, from “Yellow Stars and Ice”

Sun Over Catalonia, Spain, by CarlesReig (FCC)

Admittedly, so far this post has been little more than fodder. Perhaps it’s the really screwed up sleep schedule, and perhaps it’s the migraine. Perhaps it’s eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch for dinner. I have no answers, but in an attempt to redeem myself, I will share the following:

A half a century later,

  • and I have borne four children and buried one
  • I have lost pieces of myself that I can never reclaim
  • I am incapable of letting go of the past
  • When I look in the mirror, I do not recognize the person looking back at me
  • I doubt my own worthiness as a human being
  • My dreams are slowly fading
  • The repetition of my days is slowly inuring me to possibilities
  • Instead of becoming more secure as the years have passed, my insecurities have grown exponentially
  • I fear that I will never see Ireland
  • I wonder where the words have gone

These things I believe:

  • Our society has forgotten how to feel, truly and deeply feel.
  • We exist from one byte to the next, adding to our collection of data, but failing to nourish our souls.
  • Ours is no longer a representational government.
  • How a country treats it children directly reflects how it values it future.
  • A flat tax would completely level the playing field.
  • We have abandoned our veterans, our poor, and our elderly.
  • The quality of education continues to decline, and no one in power seems to recognize what this means.
  • We communicate more but understand less.
  • Global warming is not a theory.
  • Paper before pixels.

More later. Peace.

Music by Phil Collins, I Wish it Would Rain (original video featuring Eric Clapton, watch the whole thing if you have time), for Diana, who also embraces the rain


Today I planted the sand cherry with red leaves—
and hope that I can go on digging in this yard,
pruning the grape vine, twisting the silver lace
on its trellis, the one that bloomed
just before the frost flowered over all the garden.
Next spring I will plant more zinnias, marigolds,
straw flowers, pearly everlasting, and bleeding heart.
I plant that for you, old love, old friend,
and lilacs for remembering. The lily-of-the-valley
with cream-colored bells, bent over slightly, bowing
to the inevitable, flowers for a few days, a week.
Now its broad blade leaves are streaked with brown
and the stem dried to a pale hair.
In place of the silent bells, red berries
like rose hips blaze close to the ground.
It is important for me to be down on my knees,
my fingers sifting the black earth,
making those things grow which will grow.
Sometimes I save a weed if its leaves
are spread fern-like, hand-like,
or if it grows with a certain impertinence.
I let the goldenrod stay and the wild asters.
I save the violets in spring. People who kill violets
will do anything.

~ Ann Struthers


4 thoughts on ““You cannot write in the chimney with charcoal.” ~ Russian Proverb

  1. Thanks, Lita.

    I thought about buying 20 balloons and sticking them in his car (he had to work)… Then I thought that balloons are so ephemeral, and that he might rather me hand him the $20. (Which is what I did.) But, you know – he would have probably remembered the balloons the rest of his life. Probably won’t remember the $20.

    I wish I could tell you the name of it, but I can’t find it. (If I lived next door to you, you might not have to visit the library.) Anyway, I read a book about a woman who went to South America looking for a cure for cancer. She was trying to interest in a pharmaceutical company in what she found: cat’s claw. She talked about different remedies for things, but it’s been a couple of years since I read it and I don’t remember her talking about headaches.

    It is possible they don’t suffer from migraines, but the jungle is rife with all kinds of things we don’t encounter much anymore. I don’t think I would have been a good traveling companion for her! I don’t mind snakes too much (here) but some jungle snakes are much more imposing. I’m not a big fan of spiders. The older I get, the more humidity seems to do me in… Etc. I guess you used to be able to say that pesticides/chemicals did cause health problems in the long run, but that the alternative could be devastating (thinking of cholera here). But now, I think we’ve gone beyond that. The chemical soup may well kill us and everything else, too. Might even kill the cockroaches in the end. Sad.

    In any case, I liked the book and I like to read about that kind of research… If I figure out the name I might have to send it to you.

    1. Leah,
      I remember that book. I didn’t actually read it, but read a review of it. I cannot remember the title either. I know what you mean about life in the jungle being rife with its own dangers and problems. And I know that I wouldn’t make it there–hate snakes, humidity and dirty water. Water, something that 4/5 of the world takes for granted…another rant, different day.

      Anyway, as for the chemical soup, alas, yes. We have destroyed so much of what makes this planet beautiful and resourceful, without a thought to where we will be in a few generations.

      As for the balloons versus the $20: He probably needed the money, but yes, the balloons would have been a memory. I did that for my daughter’s 18th birthday, blew up 18 balloons using my company’s helium tank. One popped before I got them in the car (her birthday is in July and it was hottt). I remember the balloon bouquet, but not sure if it made an impact on her. Oh well.

  2. You are a survivor in your dreams.
    You are a survivor in real life.

    For the first time I didn’t like the pictures you posted. Only because my migraines, I think, are triggered by glare… Maybe I just fear they are. I know that sometimes they aren’t… I don’t have them as much now that I don’t take (need) birth control pills. I realize I’ve tried to avoid windshields and glass and ocean on bright days… Maybe it’s just the combination of the knowledge of YOUR migraine combined with the images…

    There’s probably a plant in a jungle out there that is a miraculous cure for migraines, only we haven’t found it yet… Will we? Or did we cut it down and plow it under?

    My youngest has an hour or so left as a teenager… He has to work tomorrow – he’s found a job – maybe I will sneak over to the parking lot and put balloons in his car…

    I hope that you wake up tomorrow migraine free.

    And then maybe, you will see the world a bit more “la vie en rose” (looking through rose colored glasses.) I do the same as you, of course. But, I don’t doubt YOUR worthiness as a human being. I, for one, love your blogs… and find solace in many of the quotes and poems, and I just get lost in the images… (After a migraine, I liked to go to the woods and walk in the green…) And, I know you have a book in you: you are a storyteller, a poet.

    May you be strong, may you be well…

    1. Leah,
      I’m sorry that my images caused that gut reaction in you, but I completely understand. Glare is definitely a trigger for some people. You know, your point about a plant in the jungle is probably not so far off. I have to wonder if people who still live in the jungle, who aren’t bombarded with the chemicals, preservatives, and all the rest, if those people suffer from migraines. Walking in the green sounds like the perfect respite post-migraine.

      Congrats to your youngest. I have nine more months before I have to face that. I still remember how sad I was the day my youngest left single digits, but alas, that’s all part of the growing process.

      I will admit that I was pretty numbed when I wrote this post, but my lists are the truth for me. I just don’t always put it down in black and white.

      Enjoy your son’s birthday.

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