“I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.” ~ Anaïs Nin

Progression and transition for the first 1,000 digits of φ Christian Ilies Vasile and Martin Kryzwinski
Progression and transition for the first 1,000 digits of φ
(Christian Ilies Vasile and Martin Kryzwinski)

                   

“At the end of this day there remains what remained yesterday and what will remain tomorrow: the insatiable, unquantifiable longing to be both the same and other.” ~ Fernando Pessoa, from The Book of Disquiet

Sunday afternoon. Partly cloudy and not quite as hot, 90 degrees. Possible thunderstorms.

So were we? Oh yes, joists, mold, swelling, heat wave, water damage, no toilet . . .

The bathroom is coming along. All of the joists have been replaced. The subfloor is going down. A few studs left to replace, and then the repair part is mostly done. Corey replaced all of the water lines, did some moving around, extended the water pipes to outside the bedroom window so that if we ever get around to building the deck out there, we can have a rustic outdoor shower, something I’ve always hankered after but never had an excuse to have.

Progression and transition for the first 1,000 digits of the accidental similarity number
Progression and transition for the first 1,000 digits of the accidental similarity number
(Christian Ilies Vasile and Martin Kryzwinski)

I have to say once again how very impressed I am with my hubby’s abilities. He looks at things, thinks about them, and then presto! Voila! He makes it work (in the words of the estimable Mike Holmes). That’s not to say that Corey hasn’t wondered more than once if he’s in over his head, but I have reassured him that as compared to a lot of other people, he’s really done an amazing job.

Mike has helped out over the weekend, which has sped up some aspects of the work, but still, it’s slow going. It is a full gut, after all, which I don’t think everyone fully comprehended.

“Someone, and no matter who, inhabits my head like it’s an empty house, he enters, he leaves, he bangs each door behind him, powerless I put up with this ruckus.” ~ Claude Esteban, from “Someone, and no matter”

As to the wonderful Botox-related facial swelling? Yes, still here. The heat really exacerbates it. I can walk outside and feel the skin on my face tighten and tingle. Lovely. Absolutely lovely.

Supposedly, when I spoke to the doctor’s office the other day, I was through with the worst of it. Only not so much. I’m taking antihistamines and ibuprofen mostly because I don’t know what else I should take. Fortunately, I have finished with the prednizone, but the fact of the matter is that my face has this patches of puffiness, and I finally figured out what it reminded me of: Harry Potter.

Progression of the first 10,000 digits of pi Christian Ilies Vasile and Martin Kryzwinski
Progression of the first 10,000 digits of pi
(Christian Ilies Vasile and Martin Kryzwinski)

There is a scene in The Chamber of Secrets in which the three main characters take some polyjuice potion to assume others’ identities. In the film, the changing process is shown through this bubbling of the facial skin as it morphs from one face to another. That’s how my face feels.

Bubbly. As if it’s changing from one thing to another. It’s really, really uncomfortable, and these side effects are making me rethink the whole Botox for migraines regimen. Corey says it’s too soon to decide, but his face isn’t bubbling and sliding around, is it?

“I am excessively diverted.” ~ Jane Austen

Brett has been spending the last week away from home as the renovations seem to bother him on some deeper level that I cannot quite understand. I don’t know if it’s the extent, that he wasn’t expecting it, or the disarray, which is unnerving.

Progression and transition for the first 1,000 digits of e
Progression and transition for the first 1,000 digits of e
(Christian Ilies Vasile and Martin Kryzwinski)

Would that I could spend the time away from the house, but then again, that would mean leaving, wouldn’t it? The constant banging is obnoxious, but at least the migraine is gone for now. I’ve only gone to my mom’s house once to take a shower. The rest of the time, we use the pool to get wet and then shower via garden hose in the backyard under the night sky, which is actually very refreshing.

Good thing we have a privacy fence, not that I really care about the neighbors.

Anyway, I expect that I’ll be able to begin the tile work in a couple of days, and I’m really looking forward to it. Once I start, I can stop obsessively looking up articles on hanging tile and reading all of the forums on do’s and don’ts and why and why not. It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of these discussions. This substrate is good . . . no This substrate is good . . . but you should use this kind of mortar . . . but what about . . .

It’s enough to drive a sane person to drink.

“One gets to the heart of the matter by a series of experiences in the same pattern, but in different colors.” ~ Robert Graves, from The Art of Poetry No. 11, The Paris Review

I had the strangest dream last night about neighbors who don’t exist. They invited us over for a quick casual dinner after we had all gone to a theme park for the day. I was really tired but thought it would be rude not to accept the impromptu invitation. During this, my mother disappeared, and I didn’t know it until I answered the phone and she was on the other end telling me that she had gone out with some friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I told her that I’d take care of the dogs, and suddenly, there were four dogs, not two, and I hadn’t remembered to give them food or water, so I had to excuse myself from the company to take care of the dogs.

Progression and transition for the first 2,000 digits of e
Progression and transition for the first 2,000 digits of e
(Christian Ilies Vasile and Martin Kryzwinski)

Then, the museum curator wanted to compare a document, and I knew that it was a problem because the original document had gotten water spots on it from the water damage, and we had been hiding that. The curator was very miffed, and we had to take the document off display because it couldn’t be authenticated. Meanwhile, the company wanted to drink margaritas, but I told them the tequila gave me a migraine, so they drank something that was the color of Midori liqueur.

Finally, everyone left while I tried to tape together the transcript with red sealing tape, this after assuring all parties that homework had to be completed before there could be any playtime.

“I have moved to the edge of the world for two years. If I am not careful, I will fall.” ~ Roxane Gay, from North Country

And you wonder why I have migraines . . .

I awoke to banging in the bathroom and pressure in my forehead and a curious sense that I hadn’t finished what I had started.

Progression and transition for the first 1,000 digits of π. Created with Circos
Progression and transition for the first 1,000 digits of π.
(Christian Ilies Vasile and Martin Kryzwinski)

Anyway, that’s life around the homestead for the past several days. The puppies are managing well, and Bailey has seemingly potty trained herself overnight, which is one less thing to worry about.

In between all of this, Corey has job applications out, and I’m revisiting the idea of taking the GREs so that I can apply to a doctoral program. I haven’t seen le bebe since the birthday party, and there’s no way she can be in the house with all of the wood and nails and what-have-you everywhere. It’s enough to keep the wood chips out of the puppy’s mouth.

Here’s hoping the next few days see a domino effect in getting things done . . . but I won’t hold my breath.

More later. Peace.

All images are taken from The Creator’s Project, Visualizing the Infinite Beauty Of Pi And Other Numbers. No, I don’t even begin to understand the principle behind this, but I found the images quite beautiful regardless.

Music by Sara Jackson-Holman, “Cartography”

                   

Richard Silken Meanwhile

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“The sound of the rain needs no translation.” ~ Quoted by Alan Watts

Rain on the Fountain by stopthegears (FCC)

                   

“Time was passing like a hand waving from a train I wanted to be on.” ~ Jonathan Safran Foer

Tuesday afternoon. Rainy, moderate temperatures in low 50s.

It’s been a week since my last post. I’ve been in bed since Friday afternoon with bronchitis. I’m just glad that it didn’t hit completely until after Thanksgiving dinner. It’s been full blown: the painful cough, nasty stuff in my throat and chest. I’ve been putting off going to the doctor, first because it was the weekend, and then because I started to feel better.

Rain Bokeh by andymatthewsphotography.com (FCC)

Then last night, I felt absolutely horrible again, probably because I tried to do a few things yesterday. Today, my big accomplishment was doing the dishes and putting a load of clothes in the washing machine. I’m hoping to make it through this post, mostly because I miss sitting here, but the idea of sitting here, upright was really too much to contemplate for several days.

And then, there was the added strain of Eamonn getting sick also. His did not seem to be bronchitis, more of some kind of virus that hit his stomach and left him quite ill. I will spare you the details, but at one point, I was seriously considering taking him to the ER because I was afraid that he was dehydrated, but he came through okay, and even went to work today.

So at the moment, it’s just the dogs and me and the rain outside. Let me put it into perspective for you: I was so sick that I didn’t even want my daily coffee. Just the thought of coffee made me feel nauseous. But I’m hoping that the worst has passed and that I won’t need to make that trip to the doctor. Fortunately, I’ve been able to control the cough enough so that it hasn’t caused a headache, which almost always happens when I get bronchitis: I cough madly, and end up with a migraine, which gets worse the more that I cough. The ensuing migraine this time was short-lived (I’m really liking the effects of the Botox if this is all that I have to deal with).

Funny that, being thankful for a migraine that only lasts four hours.

“The world about us would be desolate except for the world within us.” ~ Wallace Stevens, The Necessary Angel: Reality & the Imagination

So Thanksgiving dinner was fairly successful. My mother didn’t complain too much. In fact, she was on her best behavior. The turkey was perfection, and of course, we had too much food. Something to be thankful for, I know. Although next year I need to remember to get a slightly bigger turkey so that there are more leftovers for sandwiches.

Winter Rain by dibytes (FCC)

I worked myself into a frenzy right into the middle of the afternoon, even though my back rebelled in a big way. I just get that perfectionist thing going and can’t stop myself. However, I did leave myself enough time to paint my nails and put on a bit of makeup so that I didn’t look like a total hag. But I was glad that everything went well, and there was no major family drama.

Corey had to work until 4 p.m., so everything was pretty much up to me. Brett helped with moving things, which I never could have done alone.

Of course, my mother called the next day with her questions and criticisms, but even these were kept to a minimum. Could she be mellowing?

Nah, probably not. Still, Corey and I agreed that overall, things went much better than expected, which is a sad commentary in itself—to be prepared for the motherly criticism of everything from the food to the state of the house. Oh well. What can you do? Nothing, really.

And so it goes.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” ~ Marcel Proust

Actually, other than dinner and being sick, I don’t have much to say. I finished reading the book that I had already read; although I must admit that knowing who the villain was in advance did detract from my overall enjoyment, but I was reading mostly because I couldn’t do anything else, so it turned out okay. I wouldn’t have wanted to start a new book that required too much concentration as I was quite unable to devote too many brain cells to concentration.

The Rains, Singapore, by vishy-washy (FCC)

Yesterday because of the vehicle situation, I had to drop Corey off in one place and then take Em and Brett to ODU. I swear that I almost fell asleep on the return trip from ODU, which is not good. I was full of cold medicine and running on restless sleep, which did not make for a good combination. I opened all the windows and prayed until I got home.

I really don’t like doing that. I remember towards the end of my stay at GW, making that trip to Newport News each day was really taking a toll on me, and more than once I found myself driving while unconscious (not really), but you know what I mean—arriving somewhere without having any memory of the trip to get there. Hate, hate that.

So yesterday’s trip made me quite anxious, and I came home and collapsed into the bed and immediately fell asleep. I did not wake up again until Corey called to say that he was ready to be picked up.

He took a refresher test for his merchant mariner’s credentials. Actually, it was two tests, both of which he scored 100 percent. So proud of him. He is slowly passing each hurdle, and we are just holding our collective breaths that everything will move smoothly towards him being able to go back to sea in 2012.

“We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

You know, our luck hasn’t been the best these past few years, so when something actually does go our way, we seem to move in a state of disbelief, waiting for the incipient bad news to arrive on our doorstep. It’s hard to adjust our thinking to the concept that we might actually be making headway.

Falling Rain on Leaves by elvis_payne (FCC)

I suppose a lot of it is that we don’t want to get our hopes up only to have them come crashing down about our ears again. If one doesn’t hope, then one cannot be disappointed. Right?

But I keep telling Corey that his time has come, that he deserves a change for the better. And I’m not just saying these things as a pep talk. I truly believe that he is due for some better fortune. We have both become so used to living in a state of constant uncertainty that it is hard to accept that we may be facing better days. It’s a bit like that poor abused dog, the one who is so used to a slap instead of a treat that he cowers whenever a hand comes within proximity.

But perhaps what that hand is proffering is in fact good? Dare we hope? I honestly don’t know, the old cart before the horse way of thinking. So I try to think good thoughts but temper them with a cold dose of reality.

I mean, think about the explorers of old: they looked for the horizon each time they put that glass to their eyes; they hoped that it was there, but they tried not to hope too much so that the disappointment wouldn’t quash them completely. But then one day, they caught a glimpse of something. They put the glass down, shook their head, paused. Then they looked again, and yes, it was in fact something besides the vast sea before them.

Can you imagine the kind of determination it must have taken to board a boat without any kind of computerized navigational systems, just a sextant, a compass, and a piece of parchment on which to plot courses to the unknown? To set sail with only an inkling that there was something out there? To hope against hope that the inkling would prove true?

“I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.” ~ John Green, Looking for Alaska

In a way, our family has been at sea for a while. Our provisions have been slight but sufficient. We have been voyaging, like so many others, in the hopes that we will find terra firma sooner than later.

Umbrella Leaves by mysza831 (FCC)

We are now at the point at which we believe that we have espied something. Exactly what, we are still unsure. But just the hope that it’s out there—it’s enough to keep us going. And the reality is that we have one another.

I hope that we have weathered the worst, but I cannot say for certain. In spite of this, I feel a sense of calm. I feel a sense of—dare I say the words aloud—a sense of promise of better days. Perhaps all of this is simply my body feeling better because the worse of my recent bout is behind me, but I don’t think so. I sense a change in the air, smell a fresher scent on the wind.

What it rests upon is this: In spite of all of my bitching and moaning to the contrary, I still believe. I still believe that good things are out there, that castles in the air can find weight in reality, that dreams can come true. I know that it is the romantic in me, the one who surfaces upon occasion and declares that love, peace, and good will triumph. The one who still thinks that there is indeed a balm in Gilead that will make the wounded whole.

I know that you don’t see this side often, that this aspect does not often turn its face towards the sun. But it is still there, subsumed most of the time, but not gone.

Do I still dream? Of course I do. It’s just that sometimes, I forget that there are always possibilities. That the no-win scenario is, indeed, surmountable, that it’s just a matter of perspective.

More later. Peace.

Music by the Cary Brothers, “Take Your Time”

                   

The Small Cabin

The house we built gradually
from the ground up when we were young
(three rooms, the walls
raw trees) burned down
last year          they said

I didn’t see it, and so
the house is still there in me

among branches as always     I stand
inside it looking out
at the rain moving across the lake

but when I go back
to the empty place in the forest
the house will blaze and crumple
suddenly in my mind

collapsing like a cardboard carton
thrown on a bonfire, summers
crackling, my earlier
selves outlined in flame.

Left in my head will be
the blackened earth: the truth.

Where did the house go?

Where do the words go
when we have said them?

~ Margaret Atwood

Totally Random Thoughts . . . Just Because I Can

cupids-bow-lips

Love This Color and Would Wear It On My Cupid’s Bow Lips

Luscious Lips, Cowboy Chips, and Delicious Sips

On With the Celebration . . . If We Must

polar-bear-shakes
A Rear View of My Jack Russell Shakes

My mother dropped by to wish me happy birthday this afternoon, and I was still in my pajamas. Obviously she had something cheery and complimentary to say. My reply: “Because I can.”

My dog Tillie is a spoiled brat, but that doesn’t matter because for the 18th year in a row, the Black Labrador Retriever took the top spot as the most popular purebred dog in America according to the American Kennel Club. Pshaw. I could have told them that. However, Jack Russell Terriers didn’t show up anywhere on the list of the top 20. Hmmm. Maybe it’s because when JRT’s get chubby, they turn into Polar Bears. Hmm . . .

Governor Blagojevich of Illinois is a certifiable doofus. The man just doesn’t know when to shut up. Todcowboyay’s press conference included some allusion to cowboys and stolen horses and John McCain and Ted Kennedy. If I read him correctly, six cowboys will attest to the fact that the governor was back at the ranch when the horse was stolen? I think he’s smoking too much oregano again.

So my mother calls me for the fifth(?) time today to give me breaking news. There is a group of doctors called Advanced Pain something and they are looking for people who suffer from migraines . . . I interrupt her to tell her that they are called Advanced Pain Management, and I’ve been seeing them for five years, which, if she ever listened to me, she would know.

My oldest son says this to me this afternoon (swear to god): “Mom, we got you a card or something, but Alexis has it, and she’s not here yet, so I’m going to play basketball. Okay?” Sure, honey. Why not . . . it’s the thought that counts after all.

It’s All In The Genes

So I make no bones about lying about my age. I figure that it’s no one’s business exactly how old I am. It’s up to everyone else to do the math and keep up. Luckily, I inherited those great Filipino genes from my father, which means that grey hair is minimal and can be taken care of every three months or so since it’s only at my temples. I have pretty good skin except for this crevasse next to my left eyebrow. Now, no one else can see it, or so they say. But it’s there. I know that it’s there, and last night I declared that if my Olay Regenerist serum did not do its job and make it go away, I was going to get Botox to make said crevasse go away whether they could see it or not because I know that it’s there. I heard lots of “oh my gods” and heavy sighs, but hey, I’m too young for a wrinkle, and I can be deloooosional just as long as I want to.

goldcuffbracelet2I need a new piece of jewelry. Not want. Need. Look, life seriously sucks right now. The only bright spot is on a national level. I cannot live vicariously through Michelle Obama. I mean, she’s surrounded by Secret Service 24/7. I have no desire to be surrounded by Secret Service. That is definitely not fun. I don’t have a publicist to work with, so I’m not going to be published anytime soon, which means that I’m not going to have the money to fix all of the money-related problems. So what would you have me do? Jewelry. It’s the only answer. Binging on chocolate will give me a migraine and make me gain weight. Drinking too much is bad for me. Sloth? What’s new about that?Obviously I need a trinket of some sort. A ring, a bracelet, nothing too big. I mean, I’m not greedy.

Speaking of chocolate, my triglycerides are, shall we say, in the stratosphere as compared to where they should be. So I accidentally land on this website that has this whole weight loss program based on Acai and body cleansing. So, I’m game. I start reading, especially since it’s FREE! What is this miraculous Acai? Well, from what I can tell, I’m mispronouncing it in my head, and it’s “nature’s perfect food.” If I start on this program, I’ll increase my energy and stamina, lower my LDL cholesterol, strengthen my immune system, fight cancer, and—now this is the big one—lose weight. Hooray!!!

Of course I don’t believe it. And of course, you also have to pair the Acai program with a “total colon cleanse” (how delightful). So I’ll be ordering mine tomorrow once I can put my birthday money on my debit card. What? I’m tired of being plump, especially in my tummy. I love Pooh, but that doesn’t mean that I want to look like him. Besides, it will help my cholesterol levels, which will help my triglyceride levels, which if you had any idea how high they were, you would be aghast, simply aghast I tell you.

Moving right along.

My Lipstick/Gloss Addiction Worsens

I feel the need to assert my position on something: I see nothing wrong with wearing lip gloss in the house. I believe that I have probably mentioned my addiction to lipstick in this blog more than once. I need to have something on my lips at all times; otherwise, I feel naked. In the past year, I have downgraded to lip glosses. However, since I don’t go out of the house very much, I don’t wear makeup as much as I used to, which has its good points and its bad points. But I miss my lip gloss. So when I put in my last order to Avon for deodorant, I just happened to notice that their lip glosses were on sale at a very reasonable price, so I ordered three in light, medium and dark shades.lip-glosses

When Alexis came by yesterday, she noticed the new lip glosses on my dresser and asked why I had ordered them. When I explained my reasoning, she had the audacity to laugh at me, as if wearing lip gloss in the house was an absurd idea. We both turned to Corey, who was smart enough not to weigh in with anything more than a shrug. The truth of the matter is that I actually miss wearing my makeup, not everyday, but most of the time. I like to wear makeup. It makes me feel complete.

I mean, I’ve been working professionally since I was 18. I was working at the newspaper. I left college every day, or depending upon my schedule, I went to work before school. I had to be dressed for work, and I had to look professional. So wearing makeup and having my hair done has been a part of my daily routine for . . . well for quite a while. When I leave the house now, I wear makeup, lipstick, earrings. But some days when I’m not going anywhere, I still feel like moving beyond my normal slothful state. I’m beginning to feel as if Kevin Spacey is going to come after me for committing most of the seven deadly sins all by myself, which wouldn’t be too bad if I were married to Brad Pitt.

My Bad Habits and Those of Complete Idiots

red-wineWhich leads me to red wine. No, there is no connection. It just led me to red wine. Most people with migraines cannot drink red wine because of the tannins (that’s only one theory). I actually appreciate certain red wines. For example, one of my favorites is an Australian Shiraz, which I discovered right before Corey and I were married. Now, if I drank one glass of red wine each evening, it would help me in two ways, it would help to lower my cholesterol and be good for my heart, and it would probably take care of my insomnia. I’m thinking of buying a bottle of Shiraz just to see what it does for my head. I haven’t tried to drink red wine in almost nine or ten years. Corey likes it. It’s one of those damned if I do situations, so I might as well.

And I would just like to say here that if I see one more commercial for “Girls Gone Wild,” which is the type of commercial you see in the wee hours of the morning when everyone else is asleep . . . where was I . . . oh yes, “Girls Gone Wild,” I may have to bang my head against the wall. All right, all of you XY people out there, calm yourselves. Yes, I am quite aware that no one is making these girls participate. That is not my issue. My issue is that these girls are so incredibly stupid as to lift their shirt for anyone, to get blotto on camera and stick their tongues down their best friend’s throats with the least little bit of coaxing . . .

In other words, any iota of common sense that they may have had before they went on spring break was tossed out the window when someone brought out the cameras, and NOW, their fathers, thinking that they are going to see some hot young things, are going to have the surprise of their lives when they see their own daughters and the little girls they’ve known since they were three on the camera showing everyone their thongs. Booyah. You go girlies!

Okay. I think that I’ve covered enough things for now. I think that my birthday is over in all of the time zones, and it’s safe for me to raise my curmudgeonly head again and say thank you to all who sent wishes my way and pog ma hon (thank you Gary Banim) for making me feel older than I feel, which, truth be told, isn’t really possible since I’ve always felt older and looked younger and hated my birthday.

There will be more later. Peace.

Everything Old is New Again

litas-outer-banks-sunset1

Kitty Hawk Sunset (L. Liwag)

The Water of Life

“Eternity begins and ends with the ocean’s tides” (anonymous)

I’ve lived near the ocean for most of my life, so of course, I tend to take it for granted. I remember when I was in graduate school at Virginia Tech, I brought my office mate home with me. She was from Wisconsin and had never seen the ocean, so we made a point of driving her to Virginia Beach to see the coastline. I remember how amazed she was to see the vast expanse of water, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, the shoreline, even the seagulls and the sandpipers darting in and out of the water. It was nice for me to see something that I took for granted through the newness of her eyes.

Another time, a friend of mine came into town and wanted to see the Navy ships in person. She had been working on Navy contracts for years, but had never actually seen a real ship. We went on the Naval base and drove by the ships. She was amazed by their size, and fortunately, one of the carriers was in port. Again, living near Naval bases, I have always taken these behemoths for granted. They are quite amazing when seen up close, and she was very impressed to see something that she had only seen in pictures on the contracts for which she had been working for several years.

by-the-sea
By the Sea (L. Liwag)

Nothing ever makes you look at your surroundings better than when you have the chance to introduce them to someone new. I remember the first time that I took Corey to the Outer Banks with the boys when they were much younger. We climbed the big dune and watched people hang gliding. Even though I had been there before, it was a new experience because I was there with Corey and the boys, and it was really wonderful. It was one of the first trips that we took together, the four of us, and we had such a terrific time. The Outer Banks are only about an hour and a half from Norfolk (depending upon traffic), so it makes for an easy day trip.

On the way to Kitty Hawk and Hatteras, there are several farmer’s markets, which makes the trip even better, especially if it’s the season for ripe peaches. Once in Kitty Hawk, visitors can go to the Wright Brothers Memorial, which is what we did on that first trip together. We also visited the Hatteras Lighthouse. It’s nice to be a tourist once in a while, because I had never visited these places before, so it was brand new for me too. Corey, the boys and I made several more day trips to the Outer Banks on the spur of the moment, and we always enjoyed ourselves immensely.

I remember another trip that I took to the Outer Banks in October, a long time ago, and it was an Indian summer weekend, absolutely beautiful—high 70’s during the day, mid 50’s at night, beautiful sunsets. I was having one of those bad falls, and the trip really rejuvenated me. There were no tourists around, so we pretty much had the beach to ourselves. Nothing is more calming than the beach in the fall and winter. It’s my favorite time to walk on the beach because hardly anyone is around. If you get up around dawn, the sunrises are spectacular, and the only sounds you hear are the birds.

I have always said that if I had the money and the opportunity, I would have two houses: one in the mountains and one at the beach. I would not necessarily spend time at the beach house in the summer. More than likely, I would spend more time at the beach house in the spring and fall when fewer people are around, when the beach is still home to locals, walking their dogs, and strolling in the surf at sunrise and sundown.

adirondack-chairs2
Adirondack Chairs (L. Liwag)

The beach in the winter has always struck me as the perfect place in which to write, but never having had a house on the beach, I wouldn’t know. I think that looking out on the water would provide a glorious backdrop for creative thinking. I have a few CD’s that have sounds of the ocean that I have used for meditation before, and they are very relaxing. In those two hankie movies, it seems that the setting is always a beach house with empty Adirondack chairs. I wonder why . . .

I still have dreams of moving to the islands one day and keeping a home in the mountains. I know that with the economy the way that it is, the probability of this ever happening is growing more remote with every passing day. Besides, what would I do in the islands anyway?

I had originally thought that I might like to open a book shop. After all, there really aren’t very many book stores in the islands. I think that Grand Cayman got a book store, but a small shop near where the cruise ships dock would probably do fairly well, but the more I thought about it, the more that it seemed like work. I still like the idea of opening a small bar right on the beach. Since I don’t drink, this would probably work out for me.

I could sell cold cervezas from a bucket to tourists. It wouldn’t be hard work, and I could sit under an umbrella. More than likely, though, if I ever do make it to the islands, I would just sit under an umbrella with a laptop and write, which sounds like a much better idea. I have no grand designs. Corey can work out of just about any port. The boys will be in college. I don’t think that the dogs will mind where we go. Tillie will like the beach and the water. The polar bear might not be agreeable to it, though.

Who knows? Landscapes change. The ways in which we view them change as well. We see them with different eyes each time we look at them anew, depending upon the circumstances. I just know that I am no longer anxious to spend my life in a place in which people drive Hummers through the suburbs, trample people to death in Wal Marts, shoot each other in Toys R Us, market Botox for women in their 30’s, think nothing of talking about trillions of dollars as if it were Monopoly money, promote DVDs of young college aged females getting drunk and taking off their clothes while obviously too impaired to know what they are doing, and on and on and on and on.

Sorry, don’t let me rain on your parade, but my Obama Hope high has worn off, and I’m deep into my What’s Wrong With These People phase, precipitated by the madness of a Utah state senator wanting to mandate that stores say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” because “this is a Christian nation,” let’s not even begin to discuss just the Jewish population that he is ignoring not to mention every other religion, the horror of Black Friday, and the inflatable lawn ornaments that have sprung up all over my neighborhood.

I think that I need to go lie down with a good book. More later. Peace.

Enough With the Mudslinging

When You’ve Got Nowhere To Go But Down

Hoisted on His Own Petard

John McCain seems to have returned to sanity, or at least to have had a brush with his own decency, but it may be too late to save his campaign, which is sinking as quickly as the stock market. At a town hall meeting in Lakeville, Minnesota on Friday, McCain found himself in the unusual position of actually defending Barack Obama not once but twice as members in the audience made claims against the Democratic candidate.

One man said that he was afraid to raise his unborn child in a country run by a President Obama, and another woman actually openly declared that Obama is an Arab. McCain, obviously uncomfortable by both declarations, said to his supporters, “I have to tell you, he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States,” and was promptly booed by the crowd. As to the woman who declared Obama to be an Arab, McCain, took the microphone away, and quickly shook his head no repeatedly. “No, ma’am. No, ma’am,” McCain said. “He’s a decent family man, a citizen who I just happen to have serious differences with on fundamental questions.”

This is the McCain I have seen before, the one who Joe Biden respects. It’s obvious that McCain has realized that he has started a fire (or someone in his campaign has) that is running out of control, and it is leaving a very bad taste in his mouth (apologies for the mixed metaphor). Can he salvage the situation? Unless he can muzzle Sarah Palin, I don’t think so. She enjoys her role as pit bull too much, and there is something afoot in these crowds, a mob mentality that is truly frightening, and I’m not being sarcastic here. For everyone’s sake, I hope that the Secret Service is being just as paranoid as I am, because this is the type of wildfire that makes loonies want to do something “for the good of the country.”

Speaking of Which

I can’t hold my tongue any longer on this whole William Ayers matter. Palin truly is like a pit bull with lipstick. Once her jaws lock onto something, they simply will not disengage. Ayers is 64 years old, almost a contemporary of John McCain, certainly not a contemporary of Barack Obama. Obama and Ayers served together for three years on The Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty foundation. Obama joined in 1993 and attended a dozen of the quarterly meetings with Ayers between 1993 and 2002, when Obama left his position on the board. Ayers and Obama also appeared together on a University of Chicago panel on juvenile justice in 1997 and another academic panel in 2002, which was sponsored by the Chicago Public Library.

Now, when Bill Ayers was at the height of his political radicalism in the late 60’s and early 70’s as part of the SDS and then as part of the more radical Weathermen, Obama was just a child. It was a tumultuous time in American history. The Viet Nam war was hugely unpopular, and protesting was prevalent and towards the end, violent. Ayers, and his wife Bernadine Dohrn were key players in this violence, bombing the New York City police headquarters, the U.S. Capitol, and the Pentagon in protest of what they viewed as a hugely unjust war.

The couple eventually turned themselves in to authorities in 1980, and both have apologized for their actions. However, in an interview in 2000, Ayers was quoted as saying that he didn’t “regret setting the bombs.” Ayers subsequently said that his words were distorted and that he had no regrets about trying to stop the United States’ war efforts in Viet Nam and felt that the country as a whole could have done more, not that they could have set more bombs.

Today, Ayers is currently a distinguished professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education. Ayers has earned the support of a number of prominent Chicagoans, including Mayor Daley. Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman suggests that while Obama was “justly criticized for his ties” to Ayers, that connection should be matched by equal coverage of John McCain’s association with infamous Watergate criminal, G. Gordon Liddy, who, by the way, is certifiably whacko and a textbook case of a domestic terrorist if there ever was one. (After the federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, Liddy advised listeners of his radio show: “Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they’re going to be wearing bulletproof vests. … Kill the sons of bitches.”) But that’s just my opinion, of course.

The Peanut Gallery

Cindy McCain

Would someone please tell Cindy McCain to ease up on the Botox? I understand that she has suffered a recent loss of her half-sister, so I won’t be too unkind; however, if she is going to be one of her husband’s pit bulls, then she needs to leave her hair down so that her face at least looks as if it still has the ability to move from the eyebrows up. Oh, and if she’s going to criticize Obama for not passing a bill to fund the troops (which he later passed), she should make sure that she remembers that her husband also didn’t pass a similar bill, which should have made her blood run similarly cold (but maybe she just couldn’t feel it).

And someone please tell Michelle Obama to start wearing suits instead of short-sleeved dresses to important events. It matters. I know that it shouldn’t, but it does. She looked great when she showed up for the The Jon Stewart show, so why doesn’t she wear something similar for the debates? Future first ladies are scrutinized for the most bizarre things. Tim Gunn, where are you?

Did everyone get a chance to see the (supposed) Palin home pictures that are making their way around the Internet? I sure hope so. Hockey mom in ultra mini skirt and ***k me heels does not look like conservative fundamentalist, looks more like swinger ready to exchange car keys. All of the teenagers have bottles of booze in various levels of depletion. Yep, bless their hearts, those Palins are just down home folks, dontcha know? Probably wanted to get rid of the trooper brother-in-law so they wouldn’t get any DUI’s (or should I say more DUI’s, Todder?). Excellent stuff that Photoshop.

On that note, just waiting for Wednesday night. I’ll be glued to MSNBC from 7 p.m. on . . .