“The weather varies between heavy fog and pale sunshine; My thoughts follow the exact same process.” ~ Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry dated 21 April 1918

Leon Spillaert, L'Arbre au Bout de l'Escalier
“L’Arbre au Bout de l’Escalier” (nd)
by Léon Spilliaert

                   

“Who will you be tonight in your dreamfall into the dark, on the other side of the wall?” ~ Jorge Luis Borges, from Dream, trans. Alastair Reid

Monday, early evening. Intermittent thunderstorms, high humidity, high 70’s.

It was nice to sleep later today after having Olivia for two days, but it was nice to have her on Saturday and Sunday as I had really missed spending time with her. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t the best circumstances in which to introduce a baby . . . Awoke last night several times with a headache, a different headache each time. It was very strange, but all included extreme light sensitivity and nausea. Not sure if it’s the barometric pressure or the powder keg pressure that is the current state in our house.

Leon Spilliaert Clair de lune et lumières vers 1909
Clair de Lune et Lumières vers (1909)
by Léon Spilliaert

Even Corey, even-keeled as he is, admits that the stress is really getting to him, and he wants nothing more than to be left alone.

It’s an amalgation of many things: Tillie’s heightened stress over the battle with Jake; the whole idea of taking Jake back to the shelter from which we adopted him; the futile attempts at training the puppy (whose name is still not quite fixed because no one (myself included) seems to find Kopi fitting); Corey’s upcoming trip to Ohio, which, coming at a really bad time, means that we need to resolve so much before he goes; the broken air conditioner in the living room, which is making the front part of the house unbearably hot and uncomfortable . . . and on and on and on.

It’s no surprise that we are all feeling the pressure, and less of a surprise that the dogs are reading it and reacting to it.

“There are a thousand things I want.
Each begins with going back in time.” ~ Jill Alexander Essbaum, from The Devastation

I suppose much of it goes back to bringing home two dogs at once. If we had just brought home the puppy, she and Tillie might be bonding by now, and the puppy might have been able to pick up on Tillie’s demeanor. Instead, the puppy and Jake seem to bring out the worst in one another, and Tillie spends most of her time hiding and trying to get away from both of them.

XIR213998
“Green Seascape” (1909, pencil and watercolor on paper)
by Léon Spilliaert

When we brought Tillie home, we had both Jack Russell boys, but everything integrated so smoothly that I suppose we have been thrown off-kilter by how very different this experience has been so far. Tillie seemed to house train herself. She never chewed on furniture or shoes. She was an amazing puppy, and she has grown into an amazing adult dog.

The recent additions? Not so much.

I have taken to spritzing hairspray on the bottoms of some pieces of furniture to try to curb the chewing. Water mixed with hot sauce only seemed to make the furniture more tempting somehow. If the hairspray doesn’t work, I’ll buy some bitters. Granted, our furniture is far from top of the line, but we do have a few pieces that I really cherish, like my Bentwood rocker, which seems to having glowing lights around it serving to lure in the two miscreants. That rocker is over 30 years old, and I love it.

“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways . . . Without it, no species would survive.”~ Yann Martel, from Life of Pi

That paralyzing lethargy that I spoke of in the last post? Well it’s traveled to Corey, and now he feels completely unmotivated to do any of his projects, including installing the new air conditioner. I can hardly say anything to him as my own desire to accomplish anything is fueled only by the compulsive desire for the house not to be in a constant state of disarray, and a keen need for the living room not to smell like a kennel.

Leon SPillaert, Longing
“Longing” (nd)
by Léon Spilliaert

I keep washing throw rugs and pillows, and am doing a lot of moving things out of reach, but the puppy grows more each day, which means that things which were inaccessible three days ago are now within reach.

We had moved the dry dog food into the dining room this past winter to keep the raccoons from getting into it. Unfortunately, the puppy has realized that if she hurls herself at the bag, she has a good chance of knocking it over, which means FOOD NOW! Yeah, I know.

This morning we woke up to find that the whole house had been t-p’d—inside. One or both of them had unrolled a full roll of toilet paper from the bathroom to the dining room.

To say that I’m hating life right now is a massive understatement.

“What remains of its beauty yesterday?
I have kept all its feathers.” ~ André Gide, from Prometheus Illbound

I suppose I should be happy at the good news, which is that I seem to have lost a few pounds since Alfie died, but I’m too stressed to be looking at the glass half-full thing. I mean, I spent an hour sweeping the floors and wiping things down once I was able to get out of bed this morning.

Leon Spilliaert 1908 The-Royal-Galleries-of-Ostende
“The Royal Galleries of Ostende (1908)
by Léon Spilliaert

The guilt-infusing reality is that we have made arrangements to surrender Jake to the shelter on Wednesday. The woman with whom I spoke yesterday was able to reassure me a bit by telling me that all of Jake’s brothers have already been adopted, so chances are good that he’ll be able to find a new home, but I’m so worried that he’s going to end up back in that cage just wondering why? I’d be wondering why, and yes, I’m human, but dogs are sentient beings. Never doubt that.

Every time that I think about it I can see him sitting there with his beautiful dark eyes filled with sadness. Coward that I am, I don’t think that I can go with Corey when he takes Jake back. I mean, I actually started to tear up on the phone when I was explaining the situation to the woman on the phone. I have never in my life given up a dog, taken a dog to a shelter, albeit a no-kill, extremely clean and well-maintained shelter with lots of volunteers.

It’s all too much, and the thought of Corey going off and leaving me in a few days, even though it’s for a good reason, just makes me sad and more stressed.

Stressed. Stressed. Stressed.

“I’ve always been dark with light somewhere in the distance.” ~ Dallas Green

Leon Spilliaert-Wharf-with-Fisherman-on-a-Mooring-Post-1909-large-1340860501
“Whart with Fisherman on a Mooring Post (1909)
by Léon Spilliaert

So let’s recap shall we?

  • I made the mistake of adopting two dogs at once too soon after the loss of Alfie
  • The dog who has been queen of her doman is now living in constant fear
  • The dogs we adopted are feeding off each other’s energy, resulting in massive entropy
  • The little decent furniture we have has become chew toys
  • The barometric pressure is wreaking havoc on my sinuses
  • The humidity is thick enough to bottle
  • Everyone in the house is overwrought
  • The house that I have been OCD’ing over cleaning seems to be falling to pieces before my eyes
  • The puppy still needs a name.

Yep. That’s about right.

More later. Peace.

All images by Belgian artist Léon Spilliaert (I was able to find the associated medium for only one image).

Music by Lucie Silvas, “Place to Hide”

                    

At Half Past Three in the Afternoon

On one side of the world
I was watching the waterfall
shake itself out, a scroll unfurled
against a grey sky slate wall,
when on the other side—
it would be half past nine, and you
in bed—when on the other side
the night was falling further than I knew.

And watching the water
fall from that hole in the sky
to be combed into foam, I caught
a glimpse in the pool’s dark eye
of us, eating our bread
and cheese, watching the fallen light
crash into darkness. “Look” you said,
“a rainbow like a dragonfly in flight.”

On one side of the world
at half past five in the afternoon
a telephone rang, and darkness welled
from a hole in the sky,
darkness and silence. Soon,
in search of a voice—how to recall
“a rainbow like a dragonfly
in flight”—I walked back to the waterfall.

The trees had lost their tongues—
as I did, coming face to face
with the glacial skeleton hung
behind our picnic place.
The spine was broken, cracked
the rib-cage of the waterfall.
The pond under its cataract
knew nothing of us, knew nothing at all.

And what did I know, except
that you, the better part of me,
did not exist? But I have kept
your anniversary
today—or there, tonight—
returning to the creek, and trying
to understand. I saw the light
falling, falling, and the rainbow flying.

~ Jon Stallworthy

Advertisement

“Children have neither past nor future; they enjoy the present, which very few of us do.” ~ Jean de la Bruyere

“Seize from every moment its unique novelty, and do not prepare your joys.” ~ André Gide, Nourritures Terrestres

Just wanted to share this with you. Did you know that elephants can smile? This little guy definitely believes in seizing the day:

What is this stuff? This is great!

*****

Here I go . . .

*****

Did you see me?

*****

No, not yet!

*****

Again?

“Anyway this is just a note to tell you I’m in a new shell or an old one, like a hermit crab and the ink is now out of two of my pens and this is the last one. I have no more ink in the house tonight. I’ll keep you posted.” ~ John Steinbeck, in a letter to Pascal Covici, September 1948

Sibutu Island, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines* 

“Dreams are the unfinished wings of our souls.” ~ Simon Van Booy, The Secret Lives of People in Love

Tuesday evening. Hot and humid.

Coral Reef, Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines

Two dreams from last night that have stuck with me:

First, I dreamed that I was with Jammi. She and Austin (her ex) had bought a home, but the house itself had to be moved. Jammi was driving the truck that was pulling the house on a trailer. I was in the truck with her. We moved through the streets of Norfolk very slowly until we arrived at the location in which the house would be placed. It was on a hill.

Great, I thought, but Jammi backed the house onto the hill, and it slid into place. We went inside, and there was a lot of work to be done. We worked on painting and putting up wallpaper, but the next day, it all had to be done again. I didn’t feel that I could do all of that work again.

Austin had to leave that day to go back to the war. I asked Jammi if she ever regretted her decision. It was a question that had been on my mind. She looked at me a long time and then looked at the floor as she answered me, “It was the right thing to do for the kids.”

In the second dream, I am embarking on a cruise with my mother, father, and my two sons; my sons are about eight and nine. It is very crowded getting on the ship, and my mother and I become separated from my father and the boys. I tell my mom that we need to follow the line to get to the dining room. We go down a long hall full of people, and then we are in line for dinner, but it is cafeteria style. I’m wondering what happened to the dining room and the wonderful food.

I get in the salad line first, and the lettuce is frozen. I’m already disgusted and wondering where my father is. Then I get in a line for sushi, but the sushi is like the nasty kind that is prepackaged in supermarkets. I order something that will take 15 minutes and am told that it will be brought to me. I wonder how they will find me.

A steward approaches my mother and me and tells me to follow him. He takes me into a room where my dad and the boys are lying on a blue bed; the boys are playing a video game. They’ve been there the whole time waiting for me. The boys are wearing communication devices on their wrists, and they could have sent us a message using those, but they didn’t think about it.

The whole cruise sucks already.

“I write this very decidedly out of despair over my body and over a future with this body . . .” ~ Franz Kafka, from The Diaries, 1910

Friday night. Cool and clear.

Bongao, Capital of Tawi-Tawi Province

So I didn’t get back to this post until now. On Wednesday, I saw my pain doctor and got trigger shots all over my neck, back, and lower back. I lost count. My doctor said afterwards, “Wow. That’s a lot of shots.”

No kidding. I actually thought that I might throw up on the way home. I guess they bothered me more because it’s been several months since I’ve had any trigger shots, and I was one giant muscle spasm. I woke up every three hours or so and took another muscle relaxer (no worries, I’m supposed to take two at a time, and I only take one usually). By Thursday morning, I still hurt.

Fortunately, to take my mind of my excruciating back pain, I got to have my breasts smashed. Yes, the annual mammogram, which, it turns out, I have not had since 2008. I’ve been—shall I say—neglectful of my ta tas. Anyway, let me explain this to those of you who may be unaware: Mammograms hurt more for small-breasted women because the technician has to take your champagne-glass full (before flutes) and pull it onto the platform. I feel like saying, “I’m not Gumby. I don’t stretch that way.”

Not to mention, I went to the wrong building for my appointment and was told to go to the first floor of building 880. I went into the office in building 880, and the woman says, “We don’t have you on the schedule.” Finally, I take out my appointment sheet, and I say, “Am I here?” like I’m some kind of moron. The woman says, “No, that’s next door.”

I’m hot, and the little bit of makeup that I dared to put on is running down my face, and I’m afraid that I’ll be late for my 3:30 therapy appointment. I ask the woman if they can just do my boobs there. She checks with the people in the back (those ominous faceless people one never sees in a doctor’s office), and then tells me that sure, they can work me in.

Done and done. Of course now, I hurt on my back and front . . .

“We hear in retrospect what we have understood.” ~ Marcel Proust

An Island in the Tawi-Tawi Province, Philippines

Well, the computer is going so slowly tonight that I feel sort of like I do in a traffic jam: that I could make more progress if I got out of the car and ran alongside the cars, only in this case, it would be faster if I turned pages by hand instead of searching through files. I fear that I may have to abandon this post once again and come back to the computer possibly in the morning after running a scan; I know when I’m defeated.

Saturday evening. Hot and humid.

After removing spyware and adware, deleting unwanted files, and scanning, the computer seems to be working a bit better, seems being the operative word. I did get this funky black screen when I rebooted, one I have never seen before, so that was a bit scary . . . So where was I?

“The color of truth is grey.” ~ André Gide

Tawi-Tawi Archipelago, Philippines

I find that my mind is not even anywhere near the track I was on when I first began this post, and I probably should have scrapped the whole thing except I hate to do that. I feel as if it’s wasted time. I mean, I’ve picked out the quotes, and I have an idea as to the theme that I’m going to use for my images. I usually already have my poem and song picked out, so to scrap everything because the post is all over the place is a bit disingenuous, especially since that’s exactly how my mind works most of the time anyway—all over the place.

So I’ll finish on this note: I went with Ann, my s-in-law to see her mother today. It was not the best visit as she was in and out as far as being able to converse. We had stopped at McDonald’s to get her a cheeseburger and fries for lunch, which she seemed to enjoy, but she turned down my offer to paint her nails, and didn’t really seem to want me to put lotion on her legs. A few other things happened while we were there which caused me to get rather brusque with her nurse, but I don’t want to get into it.

The other news is that my ex father-in-law, who was admitted to the hospital about ten days ago after falling and breaking a couple of ribs, will also not be coming back home. Ann went to see him on Friday, and she said that while he is more coherent than m-in-law, he seems to know that he is dying.

I texted the kids to let them know the status on their grandfather. Eamonn got back to me right away. Alexis got back to me eight hours later with more of the same: Sorry, will be over soon, ya da ya da ya da. I didn’t bother to reply. I’m going to try to take Eamonn and Brett to see their grandfather this coming week.

This is all too depressing.

More later. Peace.

Music by Aimee Mann, “Save Me”

                   

The Tawi-Tawi group of islands is located at the southwestern tip of the Philippine archipelago. It lies along the earth’s equatorial zone and is composed of 307 islands and islets, 88 of which are characterized by extensive reefs. Tawi-Tawi is an island province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The capital of Tawi-Tawi is Bongao. The province is the southernmost of the country sharing sea borders with the Malaysian State of Sabah and the Indonesian Kalimantan province.Tawi Tawi is a province that consists of 107 islands in the Sulu Sea, once part of a land bridge linking Borneo

                   

in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to
grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who
proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting
seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things
beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting
find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us
free)
forgetting me,remember me

~ e. e. cummings