“In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference.” ~ Douglas R. Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop

"Tiergarten im Winter," by Lesser Ury (German, 1892)

                   

“Truth doesn’t run on time like a commuter train, though time may run on truth. And the Scenes Gone By and the Scenes to Come flow blending together in the sea-green deep while Now spreads in circles on the surface.” ~ Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion

Saturday evening. Cloudy and mild, high 50’s.

6:30 a.m., I heard the songbirds outside my window and watched the sky begin to lighten. Sleep eluded me for the longest time, possibly because I stayed up to finish the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockinjay, but more likely because I found it impossible to get comfortable in any position. Unfortunately, my back has been quite out-of-sorts in the past few days. Of course. My headache has subsided, so the back decides to kick in.

"Gardasee mit Monte Baldo," by Lesser Ury (1914)

I had almost forgotten how painful my back could get, and it actually took me a while to connect this new source of pain, so focused have I been of late on the head pain. Now, the pain is centered squarely on the operation site at the base of my spine, and when this happens, there is actually little that I can do other than to have Corey apply patches and keep myself plastered to my heating pad.

When I finally got up this afternoon, I went into the garage to the get the dogs’ food and dropped the cup that I use to scoop out their servings from the big bag. When I bent over to retrieve the cup, this pain shot straight up my spine. And as always when some part of my body really acts out or up or whatever, I think oh so fondly of the Social Security judge who declared that I was not disabled.

Like the character Katniss from the books that I just finished, I think often of revenge. Think.

“Where does a thought go when it’s forgotten?” ~ Sigmund Freud

A few days ago when I sat down to do my mini posts, I was quite perturbed as I had had a thought as to what I might write an actual post about the next time I got a chance, but for the life of me, I could not remember what this great thought was. Of course, I had the thought as I was lying in bed trying to will myself to sleep, and since I was awake, I thought that surely I would remember the idea.

"London im Nebel," by Lesser Ury (1926)

It took me three days to remember, and when I did, I realized that it wasn’t the wonderful creative spark that I had thought that it was.

Memory is tricky like that: one minute something enters the brain and seems brilliant, full of promise, and then later, when recalled, the original idea has lost its luster. The brain, after having a bit of time to mull over the concept, throws it out, rejects it as nothing more than fodder. That used to happen to me a lot when I fancied myself a poet: I would come up with concepts for new poems, and then as I sat down to write the masterpiece there would be . . . nothing, or what came out was so much less than I had originally envisioned.

I don’t know about others, but I do know myself, and when I force an idea or concept, it never works. Never. The result is garbage that I wouldn’t let my dogs read as I am certain that my dogs are much more discerning than most of the general public, the only problem being in the actual physicality of reading; although Alfie, the smallest, has taken to jumping into the dining room chair at the end of the table and staring at the screen on Corey’s laptop as if he is perusing the pages.

“These are reprieves. Respites
in the demands of sensation
and flow. Know this: you can you can
you can you can you can.” ~ Margot Schilpp, from “Advice in the Form of Confusions

So Friday came and went, and Corey still did not hear anything from the shipping company. I think that it is safe to assume that he is not leaving tomorrow or Monday.

"The River Thames, London," by Lesser Ury

He is getting so frustrated, second-guessing himself as to whether or not he should have taken the Pacific ship, as to whether or not this is actually going to happen or if he is just being strung along again as he was with Vane Brothers, who never came through after promises and promises.

I tried to reassure him that the company must be more frustrated as the longer the Coast Guard holds up the vessel in the shipyard, the more money that the company is losing. The other thing that I did not mention is that even though the hold-up is because of the Coast Guard, I am happy if they are in fact being stringent about the seaworthiness of the ship. Just saying.

But he still feels as if he’s on tenterhooks, swinging in the breeze.

He was involved in a bit of excitement the other day, though, albeit on the periphery: He had gone to Best Buy to see about having my new motherboard installed, and the price has gone up again, from $100 to something like $220, but that’s not the story. As he was leaving the parking lot, several police cars pulled up, and there was much running. As it turns out, a couple of kids tried to steal some games; they were chased by a store security guard and a couple of concerned customers. When the teens were confronted, one of them pulled out a sword and cut someone. Here’s the link.

Needless to say, we didn’t put the computer in for service with them, and luckily, Corey was at the front of the store when all of the excitement was happening in the store’s rear. Wild.

“The lightning has shown me the scars of the future.” ~ W. S. Merwin, from “The Nails

One thing we did learn from the Best Buy computer tech is that my graphics card is also fried. No telling why no one pointed that out the other two times the computer has been in their hands. Corey can replace the graphics card, but we’ll have to find somewhere else to take  the computer to have the motherboard installed as that is definitely more complicated.

"Am Gardasee," by Lesser Ury (1897)

Fortunately, a new graphics card is not expensive. By the time everything is done to my computer, it will have a new power supply, a new cooling fan, a new motherboard, and a new graphics card. The darned thing had better work after all of this. I’m just a wee bit (more than a wee) frustrated with more delays as I would very much like to be at work on my own system at my own desk. But I suppose in the grand scheme of things, this delay is relatively minor.

I did want to mention that I enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy more than I had expected. After I ordered it, I heard from a few people that the writing wasn’t that great. It’s considered a young adult (YA) series, which brings up comparisons to J. K. Rowling, and admittedly, it wasn’t Harry Potter level, but the dystopic scenario was believable, and I sped through all three books. There was a quiet strength to Katniss.

Next on my reading list is the Game of Thrones four-book set that I ordered. In between I might read the book that I bought Eamonn for Christmas about the Bataan death march during WWII. He’s finished it and passed it along to me.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ~ Epicurus

Let’s see, in other news . . . Eamonn has asked for Rosetta Stone French for his birthday, which is in March. As it’s his 21st birthday, we’re going to try to get it for him. I’ve managed to find it at a relatively good reduced price (down from the $300-400 retail price). His friend Sean, who is Army reserves, has free access to any Rosetta Stone, which I think is a really great perk for our service people.

"Landscape," Lesser Ury

Brett is coming along in school. He likes two out of four of his classes. His math and computer science classes are basic classes, so he is bored out of his mind. But he is enjoying his creative writing and art classes. I’m glad that he has decided to take up his sketching and drawing again as I found it very disheartening when he let the comments of his high school teacher dissuade him from drawing. Her emphasis was on trying to meet the standards for the IB exam, which didn’t leave all that much room for personal creativity—yet another instance of teaching for testing.

Alexis is doing well. We speak to each other much more than we were, and she has taken to dropping by unannounced again. We have all missed her, so the change is nice. At the moment, she is waiting for her updated registration to arrive in the mail to make her car legal again. In Norfolk (perhaps all of Virginia, unsure), the city government does not allow drivers to renew their annual registrations if they are behind in their personal property taxes, which was one of the things that we had let lapse in order to pay other bills, like the mortgage and groceries. When Corey went to register his truck, you know, the one that is still not on the road, we had to pay our back taxes, which was a huge chunk of change.

It’s hard to shell out money for personal property taxes when you are just making enough to get by. I find the whole idea of personal property taxes abhorrent in that I don’t feel that the Commonwealth of Virginia uses the money for the right things, but what do I know?

“At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.” ~ Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Well, tonight I’m hoping for a more restful, normal night. Although, normal in my world is anything but. It seems that I am always pinning my hopes on something to come: When Corey leaves, I will start my walking regimen. When Corey leaves, I will try to get to sleep by midnight and awaken in the morning instead of the afternoon. When this stuff clears out of my lungs, I will try to be more active. If . . . when . . .

"Landscape," Lesser Ury

At the moment, I don’t want any changes in my routine as I am too concentrated on spending as much time with Corey as possible, so if that means that we start watching a movie at 2 a.m., so be it. I’ll have time to change my schedule later.

Later.

Such a seemingly innocuous word. As if there will always be laters, as if there will always be tomorrows. At what point in our lives to we begin to accept that we have had more yesterdays than we have tomorrows in store for us? Is acceptance of such a thing resignation? I hope not.

Later. Tomorrow. Whenever.

Words that imply promise, words that connote hope, possibly? We must have hope, even if the sunsets loom closer than the sunrises.

More later. Peace.

Music by Cary Brothers, “Something”

                   

Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone.  As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions.  To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings.  Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice.  You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation.  The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last.  All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves.  Everything is waiting for you.

~ David Whyte

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4 thoughts on ““In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference.” ~ Douglas R. Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop

  1. Maybe you’ll get your snow soon?

    When you go to the grocery store to stock up for the storm, be sure to stock up on grapes for back pain. I find myself hard-pressed to eat an entire cup of grapes each day, though, how about you? Still – it would be worth it if it actually worked, right?

    I have been reading part of a book called “You are Not so Smart” by David McRaney, and I read this article about marketing, that covered a bit about how you can change habits (based on the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, (who also wrote the article, which was “How Companies Learn Your Secrets” from NYTimes 2-16-2012. I might have to read the book, too. As for Target learning my secrets, personally I would APPRECIATE their learning what items I am going to buy and them sending me those coupons. They can reward me with free Starbucks coupons anytime they want, too. (But for some reason they keep sending me coupons for children’s toys and things. You’d think that buying lots and lots of cat food would give them the idea that you buy lots and lots of cat food…)

    I guess I bring this up because you talked about memory… The book by McRaney says “Every brain within every body is infested with preconceived notions and patterns of thought that lead it astray without the brain knowing it.” He goes on to say that “you should take your own perception with a grain of salt.” That you “confabulate” your past… Great. Just when I think I might have it figured out…

    I think I’ll go make cocoa… and get back to the weird skin disease medical terminology…

    Wishing you good sleep, no pain, and good times with Cory….

    1. No snow here, but there was snow in Richmond (about 90 miles to the northwest). When Corey went grocery shopping, he forgot to pick up grapes, so haven’t started on that yet. I did try some ground clove in my green tea; it’s not bad, but I imagine that it will have to be an acquired taste. As for the ground tumeric, tried putting a dash of that on my rice, but it’s such a powerful spice, it quite overwhelms everything.

      As for company knowing my buying habits . . . part of me feels put out and the other part of me thinks who cares? I mean, until we get to the point at which we have chips in our bodies, I suppose I can deal with marketing research based on buying habits, even though (as you pointed out), they don’t always get it right.

      The idea of confabulating the past is intriguing, and probably true. I think that we all rearrange to some extent, without even realizing it.

      Good luck with the medical terminology.

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