“The colour of my soul is iron-grey and sad bats wheel about the steeple of my dreams.” ~ Claude Debussy

Moon Bridge* at DaHu Park, Taipei
(source: The Daily Mail, UK)


“What empties itself falls into the place that is open.” ~ Jane Hirschfield, from “A Hand

Sunday evening. Sunny and warm, 80°.

It’s been a busy few days, and I’m just sitting down to do a real post. The Nabokov post was timely as I really did dream that someone was quoting from the novel Lolita, and I thought to myself (in the dream), “I love the sound of that.”

The Twenty-Four Bridge in the Thin West Lake, Yangzhou
(Wikimedia Commons)

We did thrift store shopping on Thursday in search of an affordable couch that was in pretty decent shape. At one thrift store (the one where Alexis used to work), I found a really cushy, oversized chair for $50. It was well worth it as it was in great shape and quite comfy. Of course, I wasn’t searching for a chair, but I figured if we were going to go ahead and throw out the ratty old couch, why not do a cheap redo of the living room.

I found an old Cargo/This End Up couch at another thrift store for $15. The cushions were in good shape, and the wood frame had some white paint stains on it. Only problem was the people at this particular thrift store wouldn’t allow me to come back and pick it up. I had to take it with me. What the hell? Every other store give you at least 24 hours to come back for furniture. I was major league put out and walked out of the store.

On Friday afternoon, Brett, Em, and I went back. When I first looked where the couch had been, it was gone, but as I was walking out I spotted it on another aisle, and it had been marked down to $10. Even better. At the register, Brett and I spotted an off-white sofa in really good condition for $25. It was what I believe is a Queen Anne style, something I’ve always wanted. Brett decided to buy it for his bedroom.

Done and done.

“What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.” ~ Milan Kundera, from The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Of course, the store personnel wouldn’t help to load the couches, so there I was with my bad back, and Brett and Em to help me. The three of us struggled to lift the very heavy wooden-framed couch into the back of Corey’s pick-up truck, and then we lifted the lighter one and turned it over on top of the other one. Make sense? I strapped everything down, and we left, never to return.

Full Moon Bridge, Shatin Park, Hong Kong
(Wikimedia Commons)

I know that each store has its own policy, but this particular store was really weird. I got to the register with two hardback books, one of which did not have a price on it. All of the hardbacks were $1.98 or $2.98. The woman said that she couldn’t sell it to me. I asked if someone couldn’t just put a price on it. The manager said, not until Monday . . . I finally lost it and said that the store had the most screwed up policies I had ever heard of. I won’t be going back.

Still, I got a $10 couch that with a little sanding and some Murphy’s Oil Soap looks quite nice. I washed the cushion covers and put the foam insides outside in the sun after I sprayed them with Lysol. So for $60, plus another $8 for two pillows for the sofa, I now have a much-needed facelift in my living room.

I won’t even go into how hard it was to get everything into the house, especially since it started to rain right as we drove up with the two couches. Not. a. pretty. site.

“But now it is still light and the blackbirds are singing
as if their voices are the only scissors left in this world.” ~ Jennifer Grotz, from “Poppies”

Eamonn has been giving me fits the past few weeks, and today I finally lost it. The yard really needs to be mowed, and he acts as if he’s the only one who ever does anything around this house. On Saturday, after two days of frustration and pain, I cleaned all of the floors, did laundry, and bathed the dogs, which got me two bites on my hand (one each from Alfie and Shakes).

Moon Bridge in Japanese Garden, Huntington Museum, Pasadena, CA
Michael Slonecker (Wikimedia Commons)

It’s sad to say, but Corey has always been able to communicate better with Eamonn than I have, and the opposite is true for Brett. Unfortunately, Eamonn has so much of his dad in him, including the part that tends to subconsciously treat women less respectfully than men. Eamonn won’t pull the same crap with Corey that he does with me. It’s very frustrating.

Anyway, today, we loaded up the futon frame (from the old futon that was in Brett’s room) and took it over to my Mom’s to store it in the space over the garage. The frame is in really good shape, and ultimately, I’d like to get a new futon to go on it if and when we ever get a den or I get an office. Then Brett and I put the cradle together while Eamonn laid on the couch. He (Eamonn) is “sick.”

No comment.

“If I could only put up with myself and the selves inside me.” ~ Fernando Pessoa, from Poems of Fernando Pessoa (trans. Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown)

So I’m sitting her, drinking my homemade smoothie and trying to relax. I’ve been making these almost every day for my breakfast/lunch. I put in frozen mango or frozen peaches, banana, orange juice, plain yogurt, a bit of crushed pineapple, some Splenda, and crushed ice. They are yummy if I do say.

Old Stone Arch Bridge in Yuanmingyuan, Summer Palace, China
(Wikimedia Commons)

The house is pretty quiet. Tillie is leaving me alone because we already had our daily game of stick. Shakes is lying at my feet, and Alfie is walking around the house in the cone of shame. We put it on him after his bath, and I’ve been trying to put the Cesar Milan medicine on his wound, but he’s (Alfie, not Cesar) making it very difficult. Equally hard is getting this miracle-cure on Shakes for his hot spots. Cesar Milan needs to come to my house and whisper to my dogs that they need to let me put the dang spray on them so that they’ll feel better. But I suppose that’s out of the question.

The shower is next weekend, and I’m really stressing over it. I always get this way even though I really try not to do it. I’ll just be glad when the thing is over, and we can simply wait for the baby to arrive. I’m using all of my stress energy to clean, which in turn makes my back and shoulder and now my neck simply throb in pain.

I’m trying to finish this post before Eamonn and Brett get home from visiting their dad. With any luck he’ll take them to dinner, which means that the house will stay empty and quiet for a few more hours. I found out today that my ex bought evil step m-in-law’s old Mercedes. When we were together I told him that I wanted an old Mercedes, and we had the chance to buy one, but he said the upkeep would be too expensive. My how things change. Yep. I’m jealous.

“Each one has in him his own history inside him, it is in him in his own repeating.” ~ Gertrude Stein, from The Making of Americans

Let’s see, what else?

Corey has been e-mailing me. Apparently he bought some kind of air card from the captain for $20. Each e-mail costs $.59, which isn’t bad. So we’ve exchanged a few e-mails. He’ll be in the Ascension Islands tomorrow, and he’s hoping to be able to see some of the giant sea turtles for which the area is known. That would be awesome, especially if he can get some pictures.

Full Moon Bridge (engetsukyo) at Koishikawa Korakuen, Tokyo, Japan
Gordon Joly (Wikimedia Commons)

So far, he’s still on track to be home by the end of June. He’ll take a little time off, and then by August I think that he wants to try to get a tug.

Speaking of pictures, did anyone (out of my throngs of followers) notice my new header image? It’s one that Corey took off the coast of Dover. There are lots more, but I’m waiting until I can get into Photoshop without a computer freezing to post them. What do you think of the font? I’m liking the new design, but hey, I’m biased.

I’m asking as if someone is actually going to notice. De-lusion-al. I mean, I have a couple of people who still comment, but did I alienate the rest of you? Bore you to tears? Oh well. C’est la vie.

That’s all for now. Time to go lie down on the heating pad and take my meds. Maybe I’ll read another book. Read one yesterday. Seem to be on a binge.

More later. Peace.

Music by Robert Plant and Allison Kraus, “Sister Rosetta”

*Images of moon bridges: Traditionally these arched Chinese (and later Japanese) bridges used as footbridges and could be an arduous climb, both up and down, depending upon how high the arch was. A full moon bridge is one that, when reflected in the water, creates a full circle, as in the last picture featured.



There is a sadness everywhere present
but impossible to point to, a sadness that hides in the world
and lingers. You look for it because it is everywhere.
When you give up, it haunts your dreams
with black pepper and blood and when you wake
you don’t know where you are.

But then you see the poppies, a disheveled stand of them.
And the sun shining down like God, loving all of us equally,
mountain and valley, plant, animal, human, and therefore
shouldn’t we love all things equally back?
And then you see the clouds.

The poppies are wild, they are only beautiful and tall
so long as you do not cut them,
they are like the feral cat who purrs and rubs against your leg
but will scratch you if you touch back.
Love is letting the world be half-tamed.
That’s how the rain comes, softly and attentively, then

with unstoppable force. If you
stare upwards as it falls, you will see
they are falling sparks that light nothing only because
the ground interrupts them. You can hear the way they’d burn,
the smoldering sound they make falling into the grass.

That is a sound for the sadness everywhere present.
The closest you have come to seeing it
is at night, with the window open and the lamp on,
when the moths perch on the white walls,
tiny as a fingernail to large as a Gerbera daisy
and take turns agitating around the light.

If you grasp one by the wing,
its pill-sized body will convulse
in your closed palm and you can feel the wing beats
like an eyelid’s obsessive blinking open to see.
But now it is still light and the blackbirds are singing
as if their voices are the only scissors left in this world.

~ Jennifer Grotz

“Poppies” originally appeared in The New England Review.


4 thoughts on ““The colour of my soul is iron-grey and sad bats wheel about the steeple of my dreams.” ~ Claude Debussy

  1. It is nice to have a new (used) living room. When I walk by, I have to do a double-take.
    I agree on the kids getting married thing. It changed me too. You begin to see things in a totally different light. And yes, they inherit things that they never even known about, and if you say something, they think you’re crazy.

    We have sooo many thrift stores in this area. Some good and some not so good. Brett found a couple of his old overcoats in thrift stores. I always look for Depression Glass, which I love. I found a bunch this trip, but didn’t have the money to purchase. Oh well.

    Today is beautiful. No humidity. Back still hates me but is getting better. Hope you enjoy Lolita. It’s a tough read mostly because you really want to hate the protagonist but can’t always do that. At least that’s how I remember it.

    1. My Mom collected Depression glass for a while. I guess when they moved down here in 1985 she must have sold it all and also the tea cups she collected – because we’ve never found them. My father, on the other hand, brought boxes of old magazines, a complete deep sea diving outfit, boxes of rocks, ship models, an old radio tube tester, old radios, car parts for cars we no longer have (and didn’t have in 1985), and I don’t know what else. Most of the things they moved down here are marked on the box or the piece with the weight – so that he knew how much he was loading in the pick-up truck. They made lots of trips with the smaller things and had a U-Haul for the larger things.

      I have some collections – I kept my mother’s teapots and her clocks. And I have one set of her china or whatever – it’s English and called calico – a dark blue with white flowers. Mostly I have BOOKS. Except for books, I probably don’t have more things than the normal person. But now when I go to the stores, I think: This is neat, I like it, but the kids will just have to get rid of it in 20 or so years. But, depression glass would be considered an investment…

      I also think that when the kids leave home I want to move to a smaller house farther out in the country with fewer bills – less tax – and so stuff will have to go… I’m trying to train myself, I really am…

      Cool today, but we keep having showers…
      Hope you have a wonderful day.

      1. Yep, that whole thing of living smaller? Just cannot do it with some things, especially books. Will not get rid of my books. Other stuff I can do without, but not that. My depression glass collection is small, but I would like to get more. Corey tries to talk me out of it, at least until we have a bigger house. If we wait long enough, everyone will be gone, and we won’t need a bigger house . . .

        Actually, I have decluttered a lot, but not enough in my family’s eyes. I’m not a hoarder, by any stretch, but I like my picture frames with all of my family, and I like my candles. Makes for a lot of dusting, though.

        Smaller house in the country sounds idyllic.

        Very cool today, showers. Break from the humidity.

  2. I did notice the lovely new header, it’s just that if I had said something I might not have called it a header because I’d forgotten that it was called a header! The font is cool, too.

    Interesting about the moon bridges. I didn’t know that.

    That’s neat that you found the couch(es) and the chair! The couch I have is either as old as I am or a bit older. It’s still in fairly good shape, it’s just that the slip cover my Mom made is too loud for my taste and I need to replace it or buy a new couch. We don’t have too many thrift stores and the couches at Goodwill look like they should have gone to the dump. But – the books at Goodwill are a good deal…

    The book club might read “Lolita”…

    Funny how kids can be so opposite… and how they inherit things that they couldn’t possibly even know about… (at least on this end). I think that kids often don’t “GET” a lot of stuff until they get married and have children of their own. I know I didn’t.

    Looks like it might be a fairly nice week weather-wise ahead… I hope you are recovering from couch-lifting. It’s fun to have a new living room, isn’t it?

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