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

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


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

Sunday evening. Sunny and warm, 80°.

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

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

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

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

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

Done and done.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s see, what else?

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

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

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

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

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

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

More later. Peace.

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Jennifer Grotz

“Poppies” originally appeared in The New England Review.


If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

Another Full Moon by Lachlan Donald of Melbourne, Australia

“Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms.” ~ Sir Laurence Olivier

Well, last night was a bit better. I managed to fall asleep by 3:30 a.m. and slept for three straight hours before Tillie woke me to go out. It took a bit, but I fell asleep again around 8:30 and might have slept longer, but Eamonn called from his Dad’s house to complain that his phone wasn’t making outgoing calls. He was rather peeved when I told him that we would not be paying the phone bill anytime soon as we were between a cash influx.  

You would think that I had just stripped him of all his human rights in the way that he carried on. It’s amazing, though, this parenting thing. I used to get distressed whenever Eamonn got distressed until I realized that the maxim about boys being easier to raise than girls was a complete and utter lie. Eamonn is just as dramatic, if not more so, than Alexis was at his age. So I have finally gotten to a point at which I subtly tune out his beseeching until he sort of wears himself out, and then I comment.  

Is that an awful thing to admit? Not really. Don’t judge me unless you’ve raised teenagers.  

“Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

January Snow

So about 6 hours of sleep, more than I’ve been getting lately, and almost enough to make me feel refreshed.  

It is quickly darkening here, and the forecast calls for 5-8 inches of snow. I will be completely surprised if that happens, but who knows. I was looking at the weather report, and Lima, where Corey’s parents live, was a whopping 18 degrees today, so our 34 degrees is almost tropical.  

Other than the weather report, not a lot happening around here. I finally got the 2010 calendars up for everyone. I mark all the birthdays, holidays, school events, etcetera on the various calendars throughout the house. My logic is that perhaps one of us will glance at the calendar for the day and remember an appointment, although I must say that I have been much better about going to appointments on the correct days since I stopped taking that horrible medication for migraines (originally typo as migration—ha), Topamax.  

In some circles, it is referred to as dope-amax because it really wreaks havoc on the whole cognitive/short-term memory function—as if I need any more quashing of that particular ability.  

Anyway, the calendars have been marked, and in so doing, I realized that my youngest son will be graduating from high school this coming June. How wonderful and horrible at the same time. I know that he’ll be elated to be out of high school, but I’m really not sure how I feel about such a rite of passage.  

Anyway . . .  

“Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Icy Sunset, Point Woronzof Park, Anchorage by Janson Jones

I’m in the middle of book four of the Harry Potter series. Getting through all the books is taking longer as I haven’t been able to focus enough to read lately. I was reading a bit just before writing this post, and I came across a word that just doesn’t appear that much in the U.S. but probably is used more often in the UK: betweentimes. What a lovely, polysyllabic word. I love words that are different, words that aren’t used much in casual conversation. I’ll have to manage to find a way to work betweentimes into something soon, which is likely to get a raised eyebrow from Corey.  

I watched “Real Housewives of Orange County” last night, and I have to say that the women are getting annoyingly tiresome, I mean, more than usual. Recent shows focus too much attention on Lynne’s daughter Alexa, who is out of control, and now that Vicki has decided to act nicer, the timbre of the show seems to have shifted. I don’t care for the superior attitude of housewife Alexis and her controlling husband, and Tamra is essentially a basket case.  

Speaking of which, it’s really grating on my nerves how she says “between Simon and I” all the time. It should be “Simon and me.” Me. Me. Objective. Geez. I know, I’m nitpicking, but making the same grammatical error over and over and over again makes me cringe. (Yes, I need something else on which to focus my attention).  

So I believe that I’ve gotten to the point at which RHofOC has grown old. With any luck, RHoNY will be a bit more fun as it hasn’t been on as long as the original.  

I watched my other reality television addiction last night (both on the same night—how convenient), “Project Runway.” I don’t know if it’s just my state of mind, my inability to focus, or what, but that show is also starting to seem like a rehash. After the season with Christian Siriano (fierce), everyone else seems boring. However, now that I think of it, a few other shows seem less interesting this season: “Leverage” (what happened to the fast pace?), “CSI” (don’t even watch it any more), and then there’s the new one that just came out: “Spartacus: Sand and Blood” or something like that.  

Boy was that a mess. It was kind of like a horrible mishmash of 300 and Gladiator, only with lots more fake blood and stop-action for every fight sequence. I wanted to shake the television. I mean please.  

“None of us knows what the next change is going to be, what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner, waiting a few months or a few years to change all the tenor of our lives.” ~ Kathleen Norris

NOAO Enhanced Image of the Moon

Okay. You know that my life is slow when I go on and on about television. Maybe once I begin to sleep more normally, I’ll be able to focus on other things of more importance.  

Along with my winter/moon-themed images, I thought that I’d feature a new photograph from Janson Jones’s newly-revised Floridana v3.0 blog. He has decided to drop the Alaskiana from his blog’s title, but it’s kind of hard for me not to think of the two words together as they flow so well (Floridana Alaskiana).  

Other than that, let me close with a few ponderables:  

  • Why did Heidi Montag have 10 plastic surgery procedures done at once? I mean, she’s only 25, and now she looks like a bad version of a Barbie Doll. Let me just pause here to say that I am not a Montag follower, but I read a blurb in Newsweek about her plastic surgery addiction, and it made me cringe. Botox at 25? Really? Supposedly Montag prayed over the decision to have the head-to-stomach reno done; might I just say that this is not the kind of thing you pray over . . . I mean how about Haiti? Or the economy? But a boob job? Again, please.
  • How did my much-shorter-but fluffier Jack Russell Shakes learn to get into the kitchen trash, which is a pedal-opening container? I now know for sure that it’s him and not Tillie (apologies to the Lab) because Tillie was sound asleep next to me when I heard the commotion in the kitchen. Very strange.
  • Why do Little Debbie oatmeal cookies taste so much better at 3 in the morning? Just saying.
  • What gives with being cloudy and overcast on the night of the Wolf Moon? According to an article on MSNBC, tonight’s moon is expected to be the biggest and brightest (in appearance) of the year, and the term wolf moon dates back to the Native American notion that hungry wolves howled at the winter moon. I love looking into our backyard when the moon is full. The entire yard just glows.
  • Which idiot decided that sending formaldehyde-laced trailers to Haiti would be a feasible idea? Remember the trailers that FEMA sent to New Orleans, the ones that actually made people sick? Yep, those trailers. Let’s send them to Haiti. No, I don’t think so. Yes, the Haitians are dirt poor, but do they deserve to live in infected dwellings even temporarily?
  • And finally, what would cause a Roman Catholic priest to shoplift a tub of butter and a sofa cover from a Wal Mart? Okay, maybe the butter if he was starving, but a sofa cover? I just don’t get it.

More later. Peace.  

Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” (and by the way, this song existed loooong before that hack movie Twilight) . . .