“My heart wants roots. My mind wants wings. I cannot bear their bickerings.” ~ E. Y. Harburg

Resting Polar Bear by Daniel J. Cox (Polar Bears International)*
Resting Polar Bear
by Daniel J. Cox (Polar Bears International)*

                   

“If a woman writes about herself, she’s a narcissist. If a man does the same, he’s describing the human condition” ~ Emily Gould

Friday, early evening. Partly cloudy and cold, 45 degrees.

I had big plans to take down the Christmas tree today, but now, not so much. I don’t take the tree down on New Year’s Day, partly out of a superstition that says that whatever you are doing on New Year’s Day is what you will spend most of your time doing in the coming year. I do not want to spend a year tackling a rather large sorting, cleaning and storing job. Also, I like to look at the tree for a while after New Year’s.

Maybe tomorrow.

Polar Bear and Cubs USFWS WC
Polar Bear and Cubs
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Wikimedia Commons)

I mean, if I were feeling productive, I could also tackle the large pile on the left side of my desk that has begun a landslide onto the floor, but it’s so much easier to push the pile back into a pile and pretend that it’s not there. However, I really need the black nail file that is usually in my pen cup, but seems to have disappeared beneath the mass of papers, so I may have to do something. I’m one of those people who has nail files and calendars in almost every room; Corey’s family has tissues in every room. Quirks.

I really need an assistant, or an intern, or an assistant intern. Like that’s ever going to happen. How does one persuade someone to be an intern to the job of life? If anyone has an answer for that, I would love to hear it. Anyway . . .

“Misunderstanding is my cornerstone. It’s everyone’s, come to think of it. Illusions mistaken for truth are the pavement under our feet.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver, from The Poisonwood Bible

Olivia spent the day here yesterday as Lex had a doctor’s appointment and wanted to try to get some things taken care of, so we agreed to sit. One thing I have to say about this baby is that she doesn’t sleep for long stretches, which is odd for me as all of my babies loved to nap, Alexis the most, and we would often have to wake her from her afternoon nap. She says that even when she was in kindergarten, the teacher had to wake her from rest time. No wonder the teachers loved her (kidding).

(By the way, the poem choice arises from a new thing that Olivia is doing: Mike’s stepmother taught Olivia how to shake her head back and forth when someone says, “No, no, no, no, no.” And then she laughs . . .)

Polar Bear by Daniel J Cox Polar Bears International
Polar Bear
by Daniel J. Cox (Polar Bears International)

Olivia has had a bit of a cold, and the pediatrician told Lex to use nose drops (saline) and the sucking thing (aspirator?), which Olivia loves (not). My mom is also sick with what sounds like bronchitis or pneumonia, but try to get her to see a doctor? Not happening. I have wanted her to change her primary care doctor for years as I don’t feel that he really pays attention to everything that’s going on with her, but she loves him and won’t change.

My, I have a lot of parenthetical asides today. Sure sign that my mind is going too fast.

Anyway, I did want to know what you think of the new theme. I can’t afford to get one of those custom themes in which you can select all of the colors and all of that other coding, but WordPress does offer a fairly nice selection of free themes. Only problem was that when I changed themes, I lost my rotating globe and all of those stats. Many thanks to Izaak Mak at I Want Ice Water for providing me with the coding needed. So the globe is back. Funny the kinds of things you get attached to on a page.

“Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” ~ Douglas Adams, from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

I got a little distracted looking up music from the television show “Fringe,” which I’ve started watching again. Somehow, I lost track of it, but it’s being rebroadcast on cable, so I’m watching again. I love the quirkiness of it, almost (not quite) like “X Files,” but a different kind of quirky. I also happen to love both John Noble and Joshua Jackson. Why mention this? Who knows . . . I also had to stop to find quotes for today’s post because I realized that all of the quote that I had previously selected bore absolutely no resemblance to today’s post, which, by the way, has no clear theme.

Polar Bear, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska WC
Polar Bear
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska (Wikimedia Commons)

My back has been killing me for the past week. The new doctor gave me a referral for physical therapy, but I haven’t made the appointment yet,mostly because of funds. The post-Christmas dearth of money has hit, that and the fact that Corey is on job hiatus.  But I’m hoping that I’ll be able to start with the PT sometime this month. Honestly, I haven’t had that much success with PT, but I’m willing to give it a go one more time. Out of the five or so different people who have worked on my back, only one actually succeeded in lessening my pain.

Of course, I need to get back to some kind of physical activity, but the motivation has been seriously lacking in that department. I’d like to start walking with Tillie so that both of us get some exercise in this cold weather. Maybe next week.

“Whether you take the doughnut hole as a blank space or as an entity unto itself is a purely metaphysical question and does not affect the taste of the doughnut one bit.” ~ Haruki Murakami, from A Wild Sheep Chase

I haven’t been doing well with giving up chocolate, what with the abundance of sweets throughout the house, but this one is a must-do, especially because of my blood sugar and my triglycerides. I have been easing off day by day, but the other morning I was shoving Reese’s miniatures in my mouth like they were a supply of oxygen. So glad no one else was up at the time. I mean, who eats peanut butter cups at 7 in the morning?

olar Bear paren sow paren, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska WC
Polar Bear (sow),
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska (Wikimedia Commons)

I do.

Anyway, almost all of the holiday sweets are gone, and that makes me very happy in a weird sort of way. Although, I do still have a keen hankering for cookies, especially those Pepperidge Farm gingerbread men. Delish.

Okay. I’ll stop. I mean, you really didn’t come here to read about my strange cravings and my constant internal debate over whether or not to go over to the dark side where Russell Stover caramel bites and Danish butter cookies reside.

“There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better.” ~ Tom Robbins, from Still Life with Woodpecker

So other than the above inanity, not much going on.

Polar Bear by Craig Taylor Polar Bears International
Polar Bear
by Craig Taylor (Polar Bears International)

I ordered everyone’s calendars after Christmas when the prices dropped by 50 percent. But here’s the thing that kills me: Amazon offers free shipping to Prime members and for orders over $25, which is great, but they sent two different boxes, each one containing only one (count it) one calendar and a sheet of pillow wrap. Both boxes arrived simultaneously, so just look at the waste:

  • Two cardboard boxes (recyclable)
  • Two sheets of pillow wrap (or whatever you call that packing stuff that isn’t bubble wrap but is filled with air) (not recyclable)
  • Two calendars (which will ultimately be recyclable)
  • and shipping for two boxes that had the exact same weight.

Am I the only one who doesn’t see the logic in that? Of course, this isn’t the first time Amazon has done something like this. I remember one time when I ordered Brett some special pens; Amazon shipped them in (I kid you not) a box that was roughly 24 x 6 x 6 inches for a box that measures about 7 x 4 x 3/4.

Whatever.

More later. Peace.

Music by My Morning Jacket, “Thank You Too”

(*Today’s images of polar bears—because I was thinking of Shakes who always reminded me of a miniature polar bear, especially in the way that he lay and tucked his tale under). Some images taken from Polar Bears International site.)

                  

Counting The Mad

This one was put in a jacket,
This one was sent home,
This one was given bread and meat
But would eat none,
And this one cried No No No No
All day long.

This one looked at the window
As though it were a wall,
This one saw things that were not there,
This one things that were,
And this one cried No No No No
All day long.

This one thought himself a bird,
This one a dog,
And this one thought himself a man,
An ordinary man,
And cried and cried No No No No
All day long.

~ Donald Justice

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy

“Our holiday food splurge was a small crate of tangerines, which we found ridiculously thrilling after an eight-month abstinence from citrus…. Lily hugged each one to her chest before undressing it as gently as a doll. Watching her do that as she sat cross-legged on the floor one morning in pink pajamas, with bliss lighting her cheeks, I thought: Lucky is the world, to receive this grateful child. Value is not made of money, but a tender balance of expectation and longing.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver, from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
                   

So here are a few shots of our Thanksgiving feast. Food courtesy of yours truly. Photographs courtesy of Corey’s sister Alana. Hope you had a wonderful holiday. We are very grateful that we had such a bountiful dinner and that we had the company of family.

Thanksgiving
Corey Serving

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver, from Animal Dreams

Gulfoss Waterfall, Reykjavik, Iceland by m'sieur rico* (FCC)

                   

“—O remember
In your narrowing dark hours
That more things move
Than blood in the heart.” ~ Louise Bogan, from “Night”

Wednesday evening. Cloudy and much cooler, low 60’s.

Not sure how far I’ll get with this particular post. I’ve been fighting this headache for days, and today seems to be the worst yet. I thought I’d try to write in between waves of pain. Pictures are of Iceland, which is actually very green, so why is Greenland so not green?

Reykjavik, Iceland by m'sieur rico (FCC)

I have laundry going (Alexis’s), and I’ve already taken Tillie outside for her daily playtime. Brett is at school, and Eamonn is on his way out of the house. I’m supposed to be finding a link to a diaper bag for Alexis, but just not in the mood to look at diaper bags. Maybe tomorrow. I finally did the FAFSAs for Brett and Corey. I had completely forgotten about doing those, which is a shame because the earlier they are completed, the better the chance for grant money. It’s my fault, but what can you do?

I also noticed that I made a mistake on our federal tax returns when I was looking at them to complete the FAFSAs. Great. Just what we need, undue attention from the IRS; although, I have the past ten years of tax returns and receipts all sorted neatly into expanding folders in the top of the living room closet. I’m not saying this to be smug; rather, they are there solely because to get rid of five years worth requires an indecent amount of shredding, and again, I don’t want to do it.

We haven’t heard anything back from the IRS, and I have no idea how long this will take as we had to submit by mail this year instead of online—too many supplemental forms or something like that. And I just realized that we need to submit our state taxes by the end of this month. We owe a little over $100, so I’m waiting until the last possible minute on those.

“Sometimes the drawers of the earth close;
Sometimes our stories keep on and on. So listen—” ~ David St. John, from “Elegy”

I’m working on Brett’s computer today, but I’m counting the days until I can take my CPU in to have the new hard drive installed. Oh happy day . . . simply agog with anticipation.

Waterfall, Reykjavik, Iceland by m'sieur rico (FCC)

Agog is a good word, sounds like what it is. I love words like that.

I have no idea as to where in the Atlantic Corey is at the moment, but maybe he’s made it into somewhat warmer climes. Well, I suppose that anything is better than northern Europe as far as being warmer.

I hope that if you get a chance, you’ll click on the First Books link that I provided in the post a few days ago. They are a great organization, and their goal is to provide books for children who otherwise would have no books in their house, which, unfortunately, is so much of the population. As for me, I cannot wait to start reading books to the coming addition to our family. It’s never too early to begin reading.

As for First Books, I really like what they are doing, and I’m trying to support them however I can.

“Maybe the only thing each of us can see is our own shadow.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, from Diary

Last night I woke up facing the opposite direction in my bed, as in my head was at the footboard, and my feet were at the headboard. I’m fairly certain that I moved around in an attempt to gain more room. It’s odd how a queen-sized bed still isn’t enough for one human and three dogs, two of which are Jack Russells. How does that happen?

Iceland by m'sieur rico (FCC)

Then I woke up with a really bad migraine, but didn’t feel well enough to make it to the kitchen to fill a bag with crushed ice. That just sucks, you know? I really like how it was on the Star Trek shows—a little portal that you just speak to, and voila—whatever you desired, Earl Grey tea with lemon (Capt. Picard), a bag of ice for my head . . . why isn’t the 21st century like all the movies said it would be? You know, flying cars, personalized robots, all of the technological accoutrements?

Actually, I should hush my mouth as I’m always the one complaining about how we rely too much on technology. Okay, so I’m a selective technophile—I like it and want it when it can help to make me feel better. I don’t know what made me think of those little portals, let alone remember that Captain Jean-Luc Picard liked Earl Grey tea.

“It’s too late
to be unwritten,
and I’m much too scrawled
to ever be erased.” ~ Mark Doty, from “My Tattoo”

Brett has signed up for a poetry workshop in the fall, and I have to admit that I am more than a little envious of him. Wouldn’t it be grand (in my world) to be in a poetry workshop, feeding off that collective energy, the kind of energy that you can only find in a workshop. It’s impossible to find that kind of energy anywhere else. It doesn’t matter how varied the talent level is in a writing workshop as long as the person conducting it knows what he or she is doing. Being around like-minded people who are in the process of creating is a guaranteed way to creative inspiration.

Gulfoss, Reykjavik, Iceland by m'sieur rico (FCC)

Brett has had a great introduction to creative writing workshop this semester, and I’m really impressed with the caliber of assignments that his professor has given them.

Mari and I always said that we were going to go away to a workshop, but we never did. It’s an idea that I haven’t let go of, though. I still want to go to a five-day (seven days? ten?) retreat somewhere, work on my craft, get feedback from peers and professionals. I also haven’t given up on the idea of the Warren Wilson low-residency MFA. It’s one of the most acclaimed MFAs in the country, and its faculty has included Raymond Carver, Louise Glück, Stephen Dobyns, Marie Howe, and Gregory Orr, to name only a few.

I know, I know. I need another degree like I need another physical disorder, but you have to understand: I have wanted to get that WW MFA for over 20 years. My ex had said that I should go for it, but when I looked into it seriously, I got the usual spiel about not being able to afford it, and ya da ya da ya da. It’s not a cheap degree, but the people who run it are phenomenal, and they always have a staff that is noteworthy.

More pipe dreams, I suppose.

“Words say simultaneously too much and too little. This is why they are perfect for communication, most people’s lives operating in the uncomfortable balance between too much and too little. Nothing more precise.” ~ B.K. Loren, from “Word Hoard” in Parabola, v.28, no.3, August 2003

I looked for the Loren essay (quote above) online as it seemed like it would be quite interesting, but I couldn’t find it unless I order a back issues of Parabola, which I’m not opposed to doing, but getting the essay for free is far more appealing. But I think that anything that’s titled “Word Hoard” would probably be a good read.

Reyjavik, Iceland by m'sieur rico (FCC)

But getting back to the idea of school, more school for me, my loans will be discharged as of October of this year due to my disability. It’s the one good thing to come of being disabled, having my school loans forgiven.

Frankly, I’m all for forgiveness of school loans. I don’t believe that people should have to decide between rent and paying back their school loans. I’m not saying that people should default on loans; rather I’m saying that there are definite situations in which individuals who have taken out school loans find themselves in positions in which they are unable to repay those loans upon completion of their educations.

How does one repay a school loan if one doesn’t have a job? Another Sisyphean challenge.

Oh don’t even get me started on the whole idea of political hot buttons (school loans being one of them). I’m quite sick of politics at the moment, quite sick of all of the crap from the right about women’s health and women in the workplace. A rich woman who stay home to take care of her children is doing the hardest job in the world, but a poor one who stays home to take care of her children is living off the system, is abusing the welfare system. Geez. Not going to go there, refuse to go there, well, perhaps a post at a later date.

“Literature, the most seductive, the most deceiving, the most dangerous of professions.” ~ John Morley

Let’s see, in other aspects of my mundane life . . .

I watched the first part of Titanic (yet another one) on ABC the other night. Didn’t bother watching the second part. I watched because of some of the people who were featured in it, like Linus Roache, but even he couldn’t save the overblown script. Titanic has been written about by so many people in so many ways. There have been movies, documentaries, conspiracy-theory driven stories. The whole gamut.

Vík í Mýrdal, Iceland Reykjavik Iceland by m'sieur rico (FCC)
I could live on this green patch of land...

I watched “Real Housewives of Orange County” last night, and I have to tell you, I am really sick of those women. A group of them went glamping, which is supposedly camping for the pampered without the camping stuff, like tents, sleeping bags, etc. They ordered their food and found out that they would have to cook it themselves over a fire pit, and you would have thought that someone had told them that they had to give back their fake boobs and hair extensions. Pul-eez. Definitely over the whole Real Housewives franchise.

I also watched “Fashion Star” last night, and thought that I had found a bathing suit that I really liked. It looked good on the runway, but when I looked at it later online, not so much. That show isn’t “Project Runway,” but it will do until the real thing comes back on. So sue me, I like fashion even though it’s not really a part of my real world.

Wow. I’m even boring myself with this blathering about nothing. Time to stop.

More later. Peace.

*All images of Iceland taken from m’sieur rico’s photostream on Flickr.

Music by Royal Wood, “In the Garden”

                   

Come Trembling

In the country where believers eat the bodies
of the gods, we meet a priest who pulls a rope
of thorns through his tongue to make his mind

pure enough for a vision. He dances to music
we can’t hear and waits to come trembling
into knowledge. We don’t recognize ourselves

in his radiance, but we do in his suffering.
He passes through pain and into healing
without seeing the holy rendered visible.

He tells us the oracle died when she refused
to divine the future, but we find her tangled
in her own hair wearing a garland of burrs,

manacled to the bed. We ask for a better world
to die in, but she says, Submit to your freedom.
We tie new knots in her hair and swim

into the belly of a shark to retrieve the book
of signs. Rumors say the secret of life is sewn
into a dead man’s coat, but when we unearth him,

all we find in his sleeves are his fractured arms.
We want to believe, to split open the myth
and lie in it, return to original dark and be changed,

but the bones won’t yield to us, pages are missing
from the book, the gods remain so quiet
we hear water speaking between the stones.

~ Traci Brimhall