“Everything is as it is means this: We undergo all kinds of difficult and painful practices. We travel to all kinds of places and discover that we didn’t have to do a thing, that things are as they are. Everything is as it is after we’ve broken our bones trying everything.” ~ Ichitaro

Follow the Wisteria Line, by Marisa DL at pbase.com

                   

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ~ Louise Erdrich

Vines on Yellow by Greg Hefner (FCC)

Tuesday afternoon. Hazy, hot, and humid. Thunderstorms predicted.

I slept fitfully last night. At first I couldn’t fall asleep (I’ve been out of my Seroquel for about a week), and then when I finally fell asleep, I woke up every few minutes scratching myself. I had broken out into some kind of rash/hives thingy. I tried everything: lotion, Benadryl, hydrocortisone cream, baby powder . . . Finally, around 8 a.m. I got up and took a shower. Thankfully, I still had a bit of Aveeno calming body scrub. After the shower, I felt marginally better, but I was still itching.

Four Benadryl later . . . I finally fell asleep for two consecutive hours around 11:30. Needless to say, I am wiped out and still a bit itchy, especially on my back (of course).

The only thing that I can think of that may have caused all of the itching is the fish stew that Corey made for dinner last night. It had clam juice in it. I have never had a reaction to shellfish before, and I love steamed and fried clams, but maybe the concentrated clam juice was just too much. I haven’t eaten anything else out of the ordinary, am not using new detergent or body wash, so that only leaves the stew, which is too bad as it was quite tasty.

So I thought that I would try to write a bit before going back to bed. Corey has gone to TCC campus to fill out more paperwork for a Pell Grant for summer classes. We’re keeping our collective fingers crossed that he can get some funds for summer. We’ve already done the FAFSA for the 2011-2012 academic year.

“Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love them, and to live, really live.” ~ Anna Quindlen, from A Short Guide to a Happy Life

Cottage with Vines in Grimaud, France, by mhodl (FCC)

I spent most of yesterday catching up on my paperwork. I needed to fill out an IRS form claiming “Injured Spouse” status to see if we can get back some of the money that the IRS took from our refund. Apparently, if the debt for which the money was taken is not a joint debt, the other person can claim this status and appeal the seizure of funds. We’ll see what happens. It would be nice to get some of that refund money back so that we can buy a new back door. Of course, we have to wait eight to twelve weeks . . .

I also wrote a very long letter to the owner/president of the local Ford dealership that has been giving us the run around on the Windstar buy-back. I thought that I would try one more avenue before contacting the local media station that has a special consumer help department. No business wants to end up featured on that spot.

Then there was all of the tuition assistance/special circumstances paperwork for the males in the family: Corey, Eamonn, and Brett. I had to fill out forms and complete worksheets to show that we qualify for more grant money if it is available. Of course, all kinds of attachments were required, and I had to do some hunting to get everything together. Being able to apply for special circumstances because I am on total disability is one of the few positive things about being disabled.

I rescheduled a doctor’s appointment that I missed last Monday and finally made an appointment to have my breasts smashed with my requisite mammogram. This Thursday, I have an appointment with the neurologist to get a lumbar puncture. I am really not looking forward to this, but she feels that it’s a necessary test to determine if I have a fungus which might be causing headaches.

I also had to process a return to Avon. The whole Avon thing is not really working out, so I’ll probably give it up soon. The only people who are ordering are me and me and me. But other than that, I must say that I felt a real sense of accomplishment by last night, which is sad really, as I would have been able to do all of those things in an hour at one point in my life.

“I could feel the day offering itself to me,
and I wanted nothing more  than
to be in the moment—but which moment?
Not that one, or that one, or that one.” ~ Billy Collins

Wisteria on Arbor

Corey and I watched a truly terrible movie last night: The Tomb. The preview looked promising, and the movie was from Australia, so I thought that it might be a good scary movie for us. Turns out, not so much. By the end of it, I was yelling at the television, which is never a good sign. You know when the characters are just so blatantly stupid, when they simply cannot get a clue? Yep. That kind of plot.

In other news . . . Corey’s garden is growing like gangbusters. We’re going to have huge sunflowers again this year, and with luck, the tomatoes and other vegetables will hang in for a good harvest. Of course, it’s getting hotter than blazes here, and even though it looks like it might rain, it usually does not.

The living room is quite stuffy as the big air conditioning unit died at the end of last year, and we have yet to replace it. The bedrooms stay fairly comfortable, though. I find that I am very much like the dogs: I either want to be in the pool (which is not yet ready for people, only Tillie), or in the cool dark of the bedrooms. Shakes, in particular, hates the heat as it exacerbates his canine dermatitis.

Oh well . . .

“Remember yourself, from the days when you were younger and rougher and wilder, more scrawl than straight line. Remember all of yourself, the flaws and faults as well as the many strengths.” ~ Anna Quindlen

Hampton Court Palace Gardens, Richmond Upon Thames, England

I have a bit of a confession: I am leaving the house less and less. Now that Brett’s school year is over, I really don’t have any reason to go out, other than doctors’ appointments. I know that being this housebound is not healthy for me, but truthfully, it doesn’t really bother me. What does bother me if going out in public in my current state, which is my highest weight ever.

For someone who doesn’t eat that much (and I really don’t), I just cannot seem to lose weight. A typical day usually includes two cups of coffee (half decaf/half caff), one glass of Pepsi (decaf), a bottle of diet green tea, a cup of herbal tea after dinner, a fiber bar or a sandwich thin (100 calories) with peanut butter, no jelly, dinner, and maybe some gummi bears or a couple of Riesen, and an orange if we have any. I use Splenda in place of sugar almost exclusively.

Does that seem like a lot? It doesn’t to me, but my metabolism is so warped that I just don’t seem to burn calories. I know—I’m not getting any exercise, but it’s that whole vicious circle thing in that I would feel better if I exercised, but I don’t feel well enough to exercise.

Being overweight preys on my mind far too much, but I simply cannot help it. I have such a warped body image, and I stand in front of the mirror and notice only flaws: flabby arms, a big belly, my double chins. I am dreading going to Chad’s wedding as I don’t want anyone to see me like this. Corey’s mom once told me that from the way I talk, I make it seem that I am huge. I’m not huge comparatively, and I know that, but I am huge for me.

Therein lies the rub.

So I stay at home and depress myself. Perhaps I’ll go cut my hair. That always seems to distract me. Thunderstorm is here, so I should probably stop so that the computer doesn’t get fried.

More later. Peace.

Music by A Fine Frenzy, “Whisper”

                   

To This May

They know so much more now about
the heart we are told but the world
still seems to come one at a time
one day one year one season and here
it is spring once more with its birds
nesting in the holes in the walls
its morning finding the first time
its light pretending not to move
always beginning as it goes

~ W. S. Merwin

                   

All quotes taken from Whiskey River

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“The stars are suspended on strings that are pulled up in the daytime and let down at night.” ~ Babylonian Mythology, 3000 B.C.

Moeraki Boulders of New Zealand

“the sound of wind
rustling bamboo leaves
near my window
short is my nap
and its dream” ~ Shikishi

I have been unable to post recently: Three nights of restless, intermittent sleep has taken its toll once again. I feel as if I were a method actor preparing for the role of a zombie, so much so that my eyes seem to have taken on that glassy sheen of the cinema un-dead. Absolutely delightful.

Last night/this morning was perhaps even worse than the night before. Usually I sleep in two-hour intervals; last night it was half hour intervals. I downed an Alka Seltzer a short bit ago and am now sipping on a cold Pepsi. No, I do not need the caffeine, but I do need the fizz. And then there are the migraines, the ones that come roaring in around 2 a.m. All in all, not the best few days.

The one good thing about getting out of bed so much is that one or more of the dogs gets up with me, and we stumble to the back door together. I stick my head outside as they are about their business. Last night was deliciously cool, and the air smelled like spring.

“Below the surface-stream, shallow and light,
Of what we say we feel—below the stream,
As light, of what we think we feel—there flows
With noiseless current strong, obscure and deep,
The central stream of what we feel indeed.” ~ Matthew Arnold

In spite of my not posting for a few days, nothing much happened. I mean, I watched RHNY on Thursday night as Kelly had a meltdown of epic proportions, making repeated nonsensical declarations: “Satchels of gold.” “Al Sharpton, Al Sharpton.” “Feelings are so 1979.” “Bethenny has knives on her tongue . . . eee eee eee (stabbing motions). I know that it’s not nice to make fun of crazy people, so I’ll just say for the record, I told you she was crazy last year.

Since I could not focus enough to post yesterday or the day before, I spent an inordinate amount of time surfing aimlessly. In my searches, I came upon the perfect curling iron, decided to change my shampoo, and read some hype about something called a Far Infrared Dome, which is supposed to be based on Eastern concepts of acupuncture only with infrared heat. If I were going to believe the pitch, then this machine would cure all of my ails: chronic pain, back pain, muscle aches, poor circulation, gout, and a grumpy disposition (just threw in the gout to see if you were paying attention).

Essentially, the device is an open dome that the user places atop his/her body, and then infrared gamma rays from the planet Krypton zap away the pain, leaving a sense of relief and thirst (Users are cautioned to drink water before and after each treatment). Of course, just the increased intake of water could actually be the source of the curative effect.

Hmm . . . things that make you go hmm . . .

Apparently, these infrared domes do a good business in Canada, but I don’t know about elsewhere. Of course they are pricey, but if they actually worked, I could safe a ton on doctor’s visits and shots. I wonder if they are just woo or if there is actually some scientific basis for their claims. Anyone know?

Time out. Had to go lie down and actually fell asleep, real sleep, four hours. Bliss.

“Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others’ faults. Be like running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear.” ~ Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

I had an interesting conversation with my ex on Friday regarding a letter that we received from TCC. Apparently, Eamonn is on academic probation. I’ll admit it: I immediately defaulted on this one and threw the ball into his court. That is a conversation that I could not possibly have without a lot of shouting ensuing (his first, then mine).  How does one get on academic probation at a community college taking four courses? Perhaps by not doing the work? Not going to class? I can only surmise here since I haven’t been firsthand this semester.

I freely admit that I expect a lot of those around me, always have, always will. I expect it because I have seen what each of them can do. Eamonn is a very intelligent person; he can be incredibly intuitive and perceptive. But he is also completely oblivious about the bigger picture—what life is about beyond the scope of his core group of friends, his girlfriend, his little community. Is this surprising? Not really. He’s a teenager who, for the most part, has had a pretty easy life. So on the one hand, I’m not too surprised when he acts as if the world begins and ends with him. That being said, I really thought that he would get it when he started college. You know? It, the big it, as in this is the beginning of my life . . . this is not high school any more . . . this means something.

Unfortunately, it does not appear to have hit home yet. Thus, I pass the buck on this one because I know myself too well, and I know my son. I just do not believe that it is possible to teach another person self-awareness, not matter how much love is behind the lesson. Self-awareness, self-discipline—these things must be learned individually, and almost always as a result of failure, loss, and pain. And the reality is that my instinct to nurture compels me to shield those I love from pain, which is not always a good thing.

“For it would seem—her case proved it—that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver.” ~ Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Writing this post has been like blood-letting: I began it early this morning when I could not sleep. I came back to it after an intermittent sleep. I became distracted while writing it in searching for the theme of my quotes. I took a turn at Japanese Tanka poetry. And of the five quotes that I had originally selected, only the title and the Matthew Arnold quote remain.

Sometimes it comes so easily—my fingers move across the keys, creating words and sentences as if of their own volition. Other times, I regroup, move things around until I am satisfied. But on rare occasions, the writing is as it has been today: filled with pauses, backtracks, and uncertainty. When this happens, I must quell a deep desire to simply take the whole thing and move it to the trash heap of computing, that never-never land where words go to die. Perhaps twice I have given over to this desire and just said to hell with it and stopped, but when I do that, I feel even worse than I did while I was writing, as if I abandoned my very thoughts, negated them, made them inconsequential.

But I do not know which is worse: to suffer through until an end appears so that I can stop, to continue to write until things begin to take shape more clearly, or simply to close up shop, hang a sign saying “Back Soon,” and surrender to the miasma of words on the page that have refused to go where I willed them. But for today, I will compromise, having reached an ending, I will stop, post, and hope for a better day tomorrow.

More later. Peace.

Music by Iron & Wine, “Passing Afternoon”