“The clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.” ~ Jack Kerouac

 

Prayers on the Wing, by T. Umlaut

                     

“When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki
Gypsy Alley Mail by GemFireAir

Greetings from my computer. Yes, my computer, as in the one belonging to me. Is my euphoria simply jumping off the page? Is there a big, goofy smile on my face? 

That would be yes, on both counts. 

But whoa, doggie. Too much happiness could be dangerous . . . as in the newly-fixed computer does not quite boot up correctly; it still reads a CPU fan error, and oh, yes, it shuts off without warning. 

So why so much joy, you might ask . . . because I know that you are sitting there with bated breath just hanging on my every word so that you can be up-to-date with my life . . . not . . . 

Simple, even with the remaining hiccups, it’s still my computer, my little corner of the world, my files, my keyboard, and my Bose speakers. I had to force myself to go to bed around 5 a.m. after downloading the temporary files that I had stored on Corey’s computer. Corey, ever diligent and attentive, took my glee in stride as I bounced around the bedroom and stopped him several times to make him listen to the sound coming from my speakers. 

After not having it for a month and a half, having it—quirks and all—is bliss. 

“…I am a water woman, not a vessel, not something you can sail or charter. I am instead the tributary, the river, the fluid source, and the sea itself. I am all her rainy implications. And what do you, with your rusted compass, know of love?” ~ Kate Braverman
Not my humble desk . . .

So yes, it is a cloudy, drizzly day here. The pool water is green as there has been no need to clean for the past three days of rain. At least the temperatures are not ridiculously hot. 

I spent several hours this afternoon cleaning my pseudo office area (also known as corner of the bedroom). It’s amazing how much clutter can accumulate when left to its own devices. I removed everything from the desktop, dusted the desk, wiped down the lamp, desk accessories, and dumped the critters from inside my keyboard. I also hung the clothes that I had tossed onto my chair, and threw out oodles of scraps of paper onto which I had written various notes that are now irrelevant. 

In going through my post-it collection of notes, I found a password, an account number, a few quotes, a telephone number that I had been looking for, the name of the new phone that I want to get someday (of course, it will be outdated before I get it), and the titles of several books on my to-read list. Speaking of reading, now that my computer is accessible again, I need to catch up on my book reviews. I have four books sitting here waiting for reviews, two of which are notable, and two of which are forgettable. 

“The world is incomprehensible. We won’t ever understand it; we won’t ever unravel its secrets. Thus we must treat the world as it is: a sheer mystery.” ~ Carlos Castenada
VW Bus: Back to Naure

 On to other things . . . Eamonn finally got another car, a 1991 Honda. I had no input in this purchase (otherwise, I would have strongly advised against purchasing a car equal to my age unless it were a classic like a Bug or VW bus; but hey, what do I know?). Eldest son’s college classes started today. Unfortunately, the car, which he has owned less than a week, broke down on his way home.  I completely understand his vanquished attitude. 

Classes begin on August 30 for Brett. He is already beginning to stress. Nothing I can say will make him feel any better about this next big step in his life. He will have to begin and see where the months ahead take him. However, I did give him his starting college gift a few days early to try to assuage the fear: a beautiful pen. As with many other things, my children love good writing utensils as much as their mother. 

Nothing (well, I exaggerate), beats a beautiful pen that glides across the page effortlessly. 

In other news: I drank my last Pepsi this afternoon. Not nearly as traumatic as what my sons are experiencing, but my own personal hell. And Alfie is having withdrawal from spending the afternoon in my lap. I cannot work in my little corner and hold the little doggie, no matter how much he whines and protests.  As I write this, he is sitting forlornly next to my chair glaring at me. Who said that dogs don’t have facial expressions? 

“I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” ~ Hermann Hesse
Queen Anne's Lace by Miranda Wildman Art

Other than that, summer is winding down, and I feel as if I haven’t taken the time to enjoy it at all. Probably because I haven’t. Admittedly, it’s been a strange summer, and perhaps I feel as I haven’t really done anything because the computer has been out of commission for so long, and we had no deck parties at Anne’s when the Germans were here, and I haven’t spent much time floating around in the pool. 

Not to mention that the continuing saga of health insurance, medication, and doctor’s visits has remain unchanged over the past two and a half months. In fact, I had yet another mix-up with a pharmaceutical company just today, which led to a very pleasant conversation with a Wal-Mart pharmacist. Perhaps I should be kinder as I do not know what kind of attitude I would have if I had to work at Wal-Mart, but it seems that most pharmacists are unpleasant on the telephone, except for the swing shift pharmacist at Walgreen’s who seems happy to be speaking with anyone. 

Time to watch “Project Runway.” Don’t be envious—a working computer, a pouting dog, Bose speakers, unhappy children, and Project Runway—how much can one person have? Jealousy is not attractive on you. 

More later. Peace. 

Music by Dayplayer, “Neverending Summer,” kind of whimsical 

“Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar” ~ Jim Butcher

“Flight of Swans,” by Frank Weston Benson (1951)

                            

“Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again . . .” ~ Frank O’Hara

Well, hey. How have you been? Long time no words between us . . . 

"The Reader," Frank Weston Benson (1910)

First, my computer died, an unanticipated immediate death, requiring the ordering of parts and much finger crossing. Said computer is still sitting forlorn in the corner of the bedroom, collecting dust and serving as a clothes stand. Ah, such is life. 

Then I appropriated Corey’s computer, which is no easy feat. Adjusted myself to his scratchy mouse and a different corner of the house, this one an apparent heat sink of a spot as all afternoon heat collects in this corner. Not to mention that his computer’s speakers sound tinny, an observation that made Corey reply haughtily, “Well, we can’t all have Bose speakers.” What? Was it something I said? 

Then, the Internet was shut off, so between the breakage, moving, and lack of payment, my posting has been, shall we say, bereft? 

In such a short space of time, summer is waning right outside my door. Oh, it’s still beastly hot, but leaves are beginning to appear on the surface of the pool. Speaking of which, my forays into the pool this summer have been few, not because I have developed an aversion to floating about on water but because the interminable headaches make it hard to be in the heat and bright sun. Tillie the Black Lab has been sure to jump into the pool as much as possible, and I’m sure that it’s only to make me feel better. 

“She would never change, but one day at the touch of a fingertip, she would fall.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir
"Lily Pond," Frank Weston Benson (1923)

As I said in my brief post yesterday, I found my blog’s theme changed when I was finally able to log in. How disconcerting. Apparently, WordPress is updating some themes and deleting others. Mine, which I mistakenly believed was Pressrow, was Cutline, which (as Isaak Mak pointed out—thanks), has been morphed into Coraline. Progress is fine, but change is not always necessarily good. It took me almost two years to switch from the first theme that I had, and now I am breaking in a new theme again. 

Granted for some people this would not present a problem, but I had everything where I wanted it, all of the widgets lined along the right side, a new header photo. Part of the problem, you see, is that I’m still not on my own computer, the repository of my vast folder of images, so I had to search for another image for my header last night. I settled on the one above, but it doesn’t seem quite right. And this blasted typeface seems incredibly big. I wonder if it is or if my eyes are rebelling? 

It seems the family is experiencing its share of computer problems. Brett is supposed to submit a Writing Sample Placement Test to ODU before he can register for his freshman English class. He is most unhappy at this proposition as he believes that having survived several years of IB English should make him qualified to take freshman composition. I agree, but as I explained, everyone has to do it unless they tested out, which he did not. 

To date, he has tried to take this test four times. He has written the essay two times. When he hits submit, the essay disappears, and he is locked out. The last time he wrote the essay I reminded him to copy it and paste it into a blank document so that he wouldn’t have to write it again. Brett, like his mother, becomes stymied by those things he deems unnecessary, this test being one of them. Multiply the process by four, and the result is a very unhappy son. 

Meanwhile, the router, the thingy that connects all of the computers in the house to the Internet and to each other, yep that thingy—continues to go in and out. 

“I want to write like August, to swim in it like a pool and forget the clock hands moving across summer’s face.” ~ Terresa Wellborn
"Rainy Day," Frank Weston Benson (1906)

 What else is new on the home front? I would love to be able to say that I’ve been commissioned to write a screenplay, that Corey has been given his own boat, that my children are all content, that the dogs do not have fleas . . . I would love to be able to say these things, but we all know that I would be lying. 

I’ve been commissioned to do nothing, so I’m thinking about selling Avon online as a way to make a spare bit of cash. Of course, I have to check with my disability people to see if I’m even allowed to do such a thing. Corey still has no boat to call his own, and he is working tirelessly at his port security job. 

Alexis is frayed and exhausted from trying to take care of Jennifer’s paperwork, and son, and still be a good friend. She seems on the verge of tears most of the time, and her visits are just brief enough to drop off her laundry, which Corey has volunteered to do for her so that she has one less thing to worry about. 

Jennifer is home from the hospital, and now, I suppose, we are all in wait mode. Alexis and Jennifer’s brother Christopher are trying to enroll Reilly in the grade school that is just around the corner from my house, which would allow me to walk over and pick him up from school any time needed, and Lex’s Aunt Ann has volunteered to be on the emergency list for Reilly as well. 

I wish that I could say that the outlook is good, that Jennifer is rallying, and the doctors have predicted good things . . . If wishes were fishes . . . 

“I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer . . . It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.” ~ Violette Leduc 
"Dog River, Alabama," Frank Weston Benson (1930)

Everything that I have written so far has been much ado about nothing. I realize that. I also realize that I am once again standing too close to a precipice to peer over the side. Too many things are stirring in the cosmos. Too many things are unsettled and being bandied about like a badminton shuttle (I’m certain that’s spelled correctly, but it looks funny). 

My dreams of late have been filled with babies and confrontation, heated arguments with people in charge, those unknown faces of people who hold power over me. I wake up frantic and in pain after averting physical fights. Last night there was a knife, a group of teenagers who were shooting automatic weapons on a side street in Downtown Norfolk, and a long walk down an alley. I don’t need psychoanalysis to tell me what that means. 

The end of summer used to have a curious coda to it: When I was teaching at ODU, August became a month of frenzied activity, getting ready for school, buying new clothes for everyone, trying to fit in as many activities as possible. Now, it is merely muggy and long. A part of me even misses the chaos of buying school supplies for Eamonn and Brett, the lists, the rush from store to store to find three-prong folders with pockets because all of the stores only have the ones with pockets. Buying a certain kind of pen for Brett, and another for Eamonn. 

Corey, the boys, and I would try to fit in a trip to Busch Gardens, and maybe a trip to the Outer Banks. Those were heady summer days. It all seems to very far away. 

“When you start to live outside of yourself, it all seems dangerous.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
"Red and Gold," Frank Weston Benson (1915)

Now, here with two-thirds of the year gone, I think back to the plans I made at the beginning of the new year, my resolution to myself that this would be the year that I finally did something, that I would make the telephone calls, that I would release the flow of words that are dammed within. 

I have done nothing. I have moved through eight months without gaining any forward motion. If I were to disappear tomorrow, there would be nothing to show the world that I was here except as a mother, as someone’s spouse. My sense of self, though, that would disappear in an instant with me. 

All of the worlds within my mind, all of the stories left untold, all of the lines left unwritten—they would cease to exist, and the fault would be mine alone, a result of my continual, ongoing paralysis of spirit. 

Self-pity is heinous on a bright August afternoon. 

More later. Peace. 

Music by Powderfinger, “Nobody Sees”

WTH??

Since I’ve been gone, my theme changed, as in this WordPress theme, you know, header, widgets, other stuff . . . I didn’t change it. Perhaps computer fairies changed it. Anyway, the theme that I was using does not seem to be available any longer, so I chose this one. I’ve tried to recreate my page as best as I can remember, which, if you know me, does not mean a lot.

I think that I replaced all of the widgets, links, etc. If any of you can think of anything that I may have left off the page, please let me know.

The computer repair is going slowly. We’ve replaced the CPU fan, and the power system, but the case fan is not working. Still getting a message about the CPU fan. Have ordered a case fan (luckily, under $10). Supposed to be here in a few days. With any luck, I’ll have my computer back by the end of the week.

Fingers crossed people.

More later. Peace.