Friday leftovers . . .

Downton Abbey Christmas
Downton Abbey Christmas Special (PBS): I just love these two together

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

Friday afternoon. Cloudy and cooler temps.

I just found out today (I realize that I’m probably late to the party, as usual) that there’s going to be a Downton Abby movie next year. I really cannot wait. In honor of that, I thought that I’d post one of my favorite screen shots from the series, in which the Dowager Duchess shares her thoughts on men:

More later. Peace.

Music from Downton Abbey, “Nothing to Forgive” (Christmas episode, Season 2)

“And I can’t be running back and forth forever between grief and high delight.” ~ J. D. Salinger

All Together by kdee64 FCC
All Together by kdee64 (FCC)


“Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.” ~ Frank Herbert, from Dune

Tuesday afternoon. Rainy and mild, 59 degrees.

And so we do the Tidewater temperature bounce: 34 degrees, 59 degrees, 31 degrees, 67 degrees. Is it any wonder we are a population of incubating sinus problems?

Pine_Grosbeak_2 via onejackdawbirding blogspot
Pine Grosbeak
via onejackdawbirding.blogspot (cc)

Just above my left temple is a pain akin to having been bruised by a hammer. I can’t tell if it’s leftover migraine or incipient sinus headache, which makes figuring out which med to take more trouble than it’s worth. I sat on the edge of the bed with my hot coffee cup pressed against my head, trying to figure this out, and finally took nothing more than ibuprofen because I was giving myself more of a headache over trying to figure out the headache than the possible medicine could have relieved.

Still with me?

Last night I dreamed that my high school friend Sarah was a soothsayer, and she had read in the cards that within 24 hours everyone who was playing video games would die. We were trying to figure out how to let everyone know without causing widespread panic. Can you just imagine? An impossible task. One thing though—she had the most amazing long grey hair, the white-grey, not the steel grey, and I was so envious.

“All we can do on this earth is step into the future
with a sense of the many people behind us,
the living and the dead, as if we carried our bodies
like amphorae filled with sunbeams into each new day” ~ Morton Marcus, from “All We Can Do”

Yesterday I went to Lex’s apartment after dropping off Brett on campus, stayed for a bit and then brought Olivia home with me. We hadn’t seen her in a week, and I was going through bebe withdrawal. Eamonn had called in sick to work, so Olivia got to see her uncle and her Granddaddy, two of her favorite people. She is babbling a lot, saying ma ma, but it doesn’t seem to be associated with anything, just babbling, which is natural.

chickadee-on-snow-covered-branch northrup dot org
Chickadee on Snow-Covered Branch

I remember when Caitlin was in the hospital, she had begun to say something that sounded like ma, and she was the same age that Olivia is now. Funny the things you remember out of nowhere.

Anyway, we had fun eating strained squash and fruit, and she is doing all kind of gesture imitations, which is funny to watch. But while we’re watching Olivia, Tillie is watching us, especially Corey, as if to say, “Hey! What about me?” Such a funny dog.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if poetry—poetry in the broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme, and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs—is how the world works. The world isn’t logical; it’s a song.” ~ David Byrne

By the way, I’ve been meaning to say greetings and thanks to my newest followers. Recently, I topped 100 followers without even realizing it. Always glad to hear from new people, and remember, if you would prefer to comment via e-mail, that’s fine too.

Let’s see . . . what else?

Robin in Winter via onejackdawbirding dot blogspot cc
Robin in Winter
via onejackdawbirding.blogspot (cc)

I haven’t started on my new meds yet mostly because one of them was on back-order at my pharmacy, and I want to start the new regimen with everything. That makes the most sense because I want to be able to tell if they are working collectively and to see if there are any unwanted side effects I may not be able to tolerate. Anyway, I found the one medicine at a CVS near the house and had the script transferred there, so I’ll probably start everything tomorrow; although I’d prefer to start on a Sunday as one of he meds is a patch that needs to be changed every seven days, and I know myself—I forget too easily, so I need a memorable day of the week, you know, like Sunday.

My, I am running on today, aren’t I?

One of my new meds is a sumatriptan shot that I can give myself when my migraines are severe. I had tried this medicine years ago, and it made me very nauseous; however, that being said, the new doctor gave me a shot while I was in his office (because I had a headache, of course), and told me to take a phenergan with the shot for the nausea. The shot worked on the headache, but left me feeling a bit dizzy/woozy. I guess I’ll have to wait to see if this is an avenue in which the nausea is worth the pain relief.

“I am looking into your dark centers
where I see myself reflected,
standing close to the edge,
as though I might
at any moment
take in my breath and dive down.” ~ Deborah Abbott, from “All Day at Work”

I watched the last episode in season 3 of “Downton Abbey” last night, and boy was it heartbreaking. I really hate it when I have made an investment in a show, and it ends up breaking my heart. Corey is going to take seasons 1 and 2 with him when he leaves. I have the boxed sets. He likes period pieces as much as I do. In fact, one of the first movies that we watched together was Sense and Sensibility, the one with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. Such a beautiful version.

Don’t really know what the above paragraph has to do with anything, but I was thinking about it, so there it is.

Bohemian Waxwing bobvt
Bohemian Waxwing by bobvt (FCC)

Other than the usual weird dreams last night, I also wrote a poem. However, I did not wake up after composing this poem, so I did not record it. Consequently, I remember nothing of it other than it was there. I know that it was short with short lines, a la Charles Bukowski, but I don’t remember anything else, which is so very frustrating. I know that I liked it, and I think that it had something to do with gravity, which may have come from thinking about Copernicus’s birthday today (somehow that connects in my brain).

I hate when my mind does this to me.

“Without even intending it, there is that little shiver of a moment in time preserved in the crystal cabinet of the mind. A little shiver of eternal space. That’s what I was looking for.” ~ Alan Ginsberg

I’m all alone in the house now, listening to The Secret Sisters. Corey has gone to do errands; Eamonn is at a concert, and Brett as at school. Just me and the dogs, and the dogs are barking at everything and nothing, and Alfie’s bark is the exact pitch that makes my eyes hurt when I have a headache, so all in all, it’s simply fantastic. The only thing missing is the sound of a chain saw or leaf blower.

Eurasian Jay by n-c cc
Eurasian Jay by n-c (CC)

Actually, just a few minutes ago while I was sitting here daydreaming, I was listening to the wind whip the wind chimes into a frenetic ballad, and I noticed the sound of a jumbo jet passing overhead. When you live in an area filled with the sounds of fighter jets and jumbo jets, it is very easy not to hear them any more. Anyway, so paying attention to these random sounds I remembered a scene in “The Walking Dead” in which one of the characters says that she would love to hear the sound of an airplane passing overhead because in this post-apocalyptic world populated by zombies and survivors it’s so quiet.

And this leads me to ponder: Would I really like to live in an old farmhouse on a piece of land somewhere, far from everyone else. I think that I would, but then would I miss the sounds? I wouldn’t miss the loud trucks and the sirens, but I would miss the sound of the train in the middle of the night, and the sounds of a fog horn on the bay.

I think that I know what I want, and I think that what I want is different from this, but actually, I don’t really know. Do I? Do any of us?

More later. Peace.

Music by The Secret Sisters, “Tomorrow Will be Kinder”


The Lucky Ones

stuck in the rain on the freeway, 6:15 p.m.,
these are the lucky ones, these are the
dutifully employed, most with their radios on as loud
as possible as they try not to think or remember.

this is our new civilization: as men
once lived in trees and caves now they live
in their automobiles and on freeways as

the local news is heard again and again while
we shift from first gear to second and back to first.

there’s a poor fellow stalled in the fast lane ahead, hood
up, he’s standing against the freeway fence
a newspaper over his head in the rain.

the other cars force their way around his car, pull out into
the next lane in front of cars determined to shut them off.

in the lane to my right a driver is being followed by a
police car with blinking red and blue lights – he surely
can’t be speeding as

suddenly the rain comes down in a giant wash and all the
cars stop and

even with the windows up I can smell somebody’s clutch

I just hope it’s not mine as

the wall of water diminishes and we go back into first
gear; we are all still
a long way from home as I memorize
the silhouette of the car in front of me and the shape of the

driver’s head or
I can see of it above the headrest while
his bumper sticker asks me

suddenly I have an urge to scream
as another wall of water comes down and the
man on the radio announces that there will be a 70 percent
chance of showers tomorrow night

~ Charles Bukowski

“Many many deep thoughts have visited me. And fled. The pen puts salt on their tails; they see the shadow and fly. Life ideas—that’s a bit thick. We’ve exchanged the clever for the simple. The simple envy us our life.” ~ Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry dated 29 November 1940

Federica Galli 1996 Pian delle Betulle acquaforte su zinco
“Pian delle Betulle” (1996, etching on zinc)
by Federica Galli


“And that time, once so speedy and impatient, is now extremely slow in passing in certain hours of the afternoon, especially at the onset of winter, after the equinox when evening falls treacherously and the lights you weren’t expecting are switched on in the village . . .” ~ Antonio Tabucchi

Saturday, early evening. Rainy and cold, 38 degrees.

I’m baaaaack . . . Did you miss me?

So snow is in the forecast around here. Yesterday it was 60 degrees and beautiful. Of course it’s going to snow. What else would it do here? Secretly, Tillie and I are hoping for snow so that she can go galumphing, and I can take some pictures.

Federica Galli, Cascina Belluria, 1985, etching on zinc
“Cascina Bellaria” (1985, etching on zinc)
by Federica Galli

I know that I copped out this past week, but truly, I just couldn’t do it. I hope that I gave you a few chuckles and a bit of food for thought in my interim posts. I don’t know if I had a mild case of the flu (I did get my flu shot this year), or if it was an episode of fibromyalgia, but I was completely out of it, stuck in bed, no energy, alternating between chills and being too warm, an overall ague (love that word). Anyway, I’m on the mend, as if Brett, who was prescribed Tamiflu, and Corey and Eamonn seem to have escaped.

Speaking of Corey, he won’t be leaving until the end of the month. Apparently, the ship blew something (water pump?) while they were in the Azores, and now everything has been bumped by a couple of weeks. I’m mostly glad because we get to keep Corey a bit longer, but I had already gotten myself mentally prepared for him to leave, so now I need to adjust my thinking. Corey is bummed because he was ready and had set up the finances for the six weeks that he would be gone; now he has to adjust all of those scheduled payments.

Can’t win for losing, I suppose.

“Look / maybe this is the place we’ve been /
waiting for, maybe this place / is the day, inside us, inside each /
corpuscle, the day, that day, everyday is / inside, my body, your body,
everyday is / this thread” ~ Nick Flynn, from “Haiku (Failed)”

Yesterday I had an appointment with the neurologist in the new pain management group. I had told Corey pre-appointment that if this doctor wasn’t any different from the last one I saw in December, that I would have to find a new practice because I was very underwhelmed by doctor a who did nothing more than prescribe things.

Federica Galli 1981 Lanca Gelata, acquaforte su zinco
“Lanca Gelata” (Frozen Oxbow) (1982, engraving on zinc)
by Federica Galli

Turns out doctor b is wonderful, truly wonderful, and I am so glad. I finally have someone who will pay attention to all parts of the equation, who has come up with a plan of action to change my treatment. And most wonderful of all is that he consulted with me instead of talking at me, which is, as you probably already know, a rarity for a physician.

He is tackling my combined chronic pain and migraines in an aggressive way, and I have Botox injections for my migraines scheduled for March. Best of all, I never have to back to doctor a, who had foisted me off on his partners, which means that I never have to go back to the Portsmouth office, another thing for which I am grateful. I really couldn’t tell you just why I am so anti-Portsmouth except that it’s kind of a local thing, which is stupid, so I don’t really have a reason other than I really hate to go through the Portsmouth tunnels (either one) because they are sooo narrow and dark, and my claustrophobia really kicks in.

“Life is the farce we all have to lead.” ~ Arthur Rimbaud

I sat down to write hours ago, but then became distracted in trying to find attributions for my images, which are all by Italian artist Federica Galli, who died in 2009. I was able to find lost of images of her work, but very few had titles or years of creation, both of which I like to include whenever I insert works of art with my posts.

Anyway, hours later, I finally found the information on all of the images that I had chosen, but had found that I had sort of run out of steam, so I decided to have a hot shower and a cup of tea and then to try again. So shower, tea, biscotti (110 calories), not back again. Since I haven’t written anything in several days, I thought that I’d add some random observations from the past few weeks.

Federica Galli il giardino della Villa Reale a Monza 1996-7
“Il Giardino della Villa Reale a Monza” (Garden of the Reale Villa in Monza) (1996-7, etching on zinc)
by Federica Galli

Here they are:

  • Are there actually people out there who still listen to what Dick Cheney has to say? Why?
  • RNC Chair Reince Priebus (what kind of name is that) thinks that Republicans just need to smile more when delivering their message, which he does not believe needs to be changed. Smile? Really? This will fix what ails you?
  • Convicted pedophile and self-proclaimed prophet of the LDS Warren Jeffs just looks like a pedophile, know what I mean?
  • The pope is resigning. Conspiracy buffs proceed to salivate.
  • The people on the ill-fated cruise ship that lost power deserve a lot more than $500 after being given red bags in which to, er, empty their bodily waste. The embarrassment alone is worth at least $1,000.
  • No one remembers what Marco Rubio said in his SoU rebuttal because of the whole sweating thing.
  • The minimum wage should be raised. If you disagree, try to live on $9 an hour for one month, and then get back to me.

“So many things I had thought forgotten
Return to my mind with strange pain:
—Like letters that arrived addressed to someone
Who left the house so many years ago.” ~ Philip Larkin, from “Why Did I Dream of You Last Night”

I’ve decided once again that Valentine’s Day is a stupid holiday, and I kind of wish that I hadn’t bought everyone cards.

Life is too short . . .

  • to drink cheap coffee

    Federica Galli 1996 albero gelato al pian delle betulle
    “Albero Gelato al Piano delle Betulle” (1996, etching on zinc)
    by Federica Galli
  • not to enjoy good chocolate
  • not to have at least five types of tea on the shelf at any given time
  • to wait for the right time to see other parts of the world
  • to hate your hair and not do something about it
  • not to spring for a good cable package, one that includes BBC America, AMC, and Sundance
  • to think that pedicures are luxury and not a necessity
  • to eschew playing in the snow
  • to pretend that cookies aren’t a food staple
  • not to read poetry
  • to spend time with people you don’t really like (this one is from a roommate I had in college, and I appreciate it more as I get older)

“Every life is inexplicable, I kept telling myself. No matter how many facts are told, no matter how many details are given, the essential thing resists telling.” ~ Paul Auster

And some random thoughts, just because:

  • Carson and the Dowager Duchess are my favorite characters on “Downton Abbey”

    Federica Galli 1981 La Nevera, Acquaforte su zinco
    “La Nevera” (1981, etching on zinc)
    by Federica Galli
  • I keep telling myself that I could design/sew if I just had a sewing machine. This is nonsense, of course.
  • My dreams never included zombies until I started watching “The Walking Dead.” I blame Corey for this.
  • Apparently many insects are a good source of protein and have no fat. Knowing this still does not make me want to try scorpions on a stick. However, if the zombie apocalypse does rear its ugly head, I promise to rethink this.
  • Costco is selling emergency ration packages, anything from three days worth of food to weeks worth. Are their marketing people watching “The Walking Dead”?
  • Is it weird that I really want to own a good shredder?
  • And a sword?
  • In the last few years, I have reduced my news sources to “The Daily Show” and tumblr, and I am still probably more informed than most people in the U.S.
  • If I subscribe to NetFlix, I may never have to leave the house again . . .

That’s all for now.

More later. Peace.

Music by Birdy, “Just a Game”


Oppressive Light

Two trees stand in the snow,
tired of the light, the sky
heads home—nothing nearby
where the gloom makes its abode.

And behind those trees,
houses tower in the dark.
Now you hear someone speak,
now the dogs begin to bark

The round, beloved moonlight
lamp appears in the house.
When again the light goes out
A gaping wound remains in sight.

What a small life to know
and so much nothingness nearby.
Tired of the light, the sky
has given everything to the snow.

The two trees dance with grace,
bend their heads and nod.
Clouds race across the sod
of the world’s silent face.

~ Robert Walser

(Revised version (w. restored rhyme scheme) of Daniele Pantano’s translation)

“I wish I coul carry this clarity with me” ~ Anne Carson, from “The Glass Essay”

Perseid Meteor over Mount Tiede National Park, Canary Islands
by Robert Porto (*


“It is as if we have all been lowered into an atmosphere of glass.
Now and then a remark trails through the glass.” ~ Anne Carson, from “The Glass Essay” (all quotes contained herein from this source)

Monday afternoon. Partly cloudy, mid 80’s.

So after I posted yesterday I decided to finish my post-flooding cleaning, which involved more laundry, the kitchen floor (which was filthy from all of the walking back and forth with wet feet and shoes), and under the bed in our bedroom.

Oh, under the bed, where years, nay, decades (so I exaggerate) of pet hair tumbleweeds had accumulated. Over four hours later, and I was almost satisfied. All of the boxes had been withdrawn from neath the bed, dusted off, and examined to see if they could be tossed. Some were summarily tossed without examination, for example, the box for the vaporizer that I know we no longer possess.

The Moon and Venus alongside a Perseid Meteor, Las Vegas, Nevada
by Tyler Leavitt

Things that make you say ew out loud . . .

I did a thorough job as I do not plan to venture beneath the bed again until we install carpeting and paint, which should happen . . . hmm . . . I cannot even tender a guess at this. Months? Years? Decades (I really hope not)?

A couple of puffs on the inhaler, several splashes of cold water on the face to remove grime, and many sneezes later . . . (my, lots of ellipses in this section)

“a space where the little raw soul
slips through.

It goes skimming the deep keel like a storm petrel,
out of sight.”

For some reason, this Carson poem about Wuthering Heights, the Bronte sisters, the moors, her mother, her ex-lover, life—just seemed to appeal to me today.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2012, Cape May, New Jersey
by Chris Bakley

Anyway, after I had finished cleaning beneath the bed, I had one of those bizarre freakish accidents: I was in the kitchen, and I put my right hand down with some force, and it slid across the handle of the stove, which has a crease where the parts join. My finger and nail caught in that crease, and a good portion of nail and skin were ripped off.

I’m being graphic because it was one of those things that could only happen to me, one of those things that does happen to me when I’m exhausted. I never even knew that a miniscule seam existed. Consequently, I now have a pit in the top of the nail bed on my right index finger (prepositional pile-up, there), and it hurts like a bugger. I suppose I must have made quite a racket with my screaming and cursing as Eamonn actually came out to see what was going on, and when he found out that it was only a finger, he said, “Oh, is that all?”

My reply was not kind.

I consoled myself last night by watching five episodes of “Downton Abbey,” season one, which I bought on DVD a few months ago. Of course, now I need to buy season two, but I had planned to do that anyway. Comfort in British period dramas and Hot Pockets (completely unhealthy)—nothing beats it.

“The bare blue trees and bleached wooden sky of April
carve into me with knives of light.”

I’m taking it slowly today as I am still quite sore from the weekend’s exertions. Last night when I applied more topical ointment, I was careful to use it sparingly. It helped a bit, that and the heating pad and ice. So I don’t know if I’ll make it over to Alexis’s apartment, but I’m thinking about going for a bit late afternoon, just to check in and hold the baby for a bit.

Perseid Meteor with Moon and Venus over Lake Berryessa, California
by Matthew Henderson

Earlier I went into the backyard with the dogs so that Tillie the Lab could jump in the pool a few times. While I was there I dipped several June Bugs out of the pool. A few minutes later I felt a sharp jab on my breast that felt like a tiny needle. One of the bugs had gotten inside my nightgown and was clinging to me. So glad that they don’t sting, but this brings me to my discovery last night:

A huge (monstrous, really) spider had built a web on the light fixture in the dining room. I wouldn’t have seen this in the daytime, but with the lights on it was hard to miss this brown spider hanging out in the middle of its web, which was quite exquisite, by the way. I didn’t remove the spider as it appears to be a kind with which I am unfamiliar. I decided that I would wait until tonight and let one of the boys move it outside. I don’t like to kill spiders, you see. They are such helpful creatures.

Unfortunately, a side effect of finding the spider late at night was that I dreamed of spiders and webs and other odd animals. The spider in my dream kept getting bigger each time I put it outside. It would come back in and build a bigger web. This went on until the spider was as big as a small person, and finally I realized that I would have to kill it. Then later in the dream I found some pods outside my mother’s house. Within the pods I could see baby animals gestating: a couple of giraffes, a panther, an alligator, a few birds, and an ostrich.

It was very, very strange. Some of the animals came out of the pods and were running about as miniature animals, and I named the ostrich Ollie (don’t ask me why). I was trying to figure out what to feed them, and I knew that they all needed different things to eat, but I decided on orange rinds. The panther was smallish, and tame for a bit, and then it started trying to bite, so I decided to give it to my cousin . . .

“Each morning a vision came to me.
Gradually I understood that these were naked glimpses of my soul.”

I think that I could safely categorize the entire weekend as strange and bizarre, don’t you think?

8:30 p.m. the same day, still 80 degrees . . .

Perseid Meteor Shower, Cave City, Arkansas
by Jeff Rose

I ran out of steam a bit earlier, so I decided to go to Lex’s apartment. She texted and sounded a bit distressed, so I went to help. I realize that I’ve become a crutch for her, but I don’t mind. Holding Olivia gives me an enormous sense of peace, even when she’s fussy, and the truth is that I can calm her when others cannot. No, I’m not giving myself any special talents, only that I’ve done it with four babes of my own and countless others that I watched when I was young. Babies, children, and animals can sense when someone is comfortable with them and when they are not.

So I’m back now, and I thought that I’d finish this post, especially since I’ve already found the images that I want to use: the 2012 Perseid Meteor Shower. Such a light show; unfortunately, it cannot be seen from my house as there is just too much light pollution. I wonder if Corey knows about it and if he’s getting a stellar (pun intended) view from the ship.

I had planned to cook tonight, but Eamonn went out with his girlfriend, and after taking Tillie the Lab outside to play for a bit when I got home, I was just too hot. I will be glad for fall. This has not been the best summer for lazing in the pool in the afternoon, and I’m ready for cooler temperatures and less humid air.

“Soul is the place,
stretched like a surface of millstone grit between body and mind,
where such necessity grinds itself out.”

The wounded finger is feeling a bit better since earlier today, but my right pinky toe is aching. In my nervous habit of peeling skin, I pulled too much skin from around the toe, and now it’s quite painful. It’s not an admirable nervous habit, but it’s better than smoking.

Perseid Meteors, Lahti, Finland
by Tuomo Leppänen

The huge spider has been removed to outside, and the web is no longer. It really was a masterpiece though, even if it did give me nightmares.

As I was leaving the apartment, Mike was finishing dinner, and he made homemade beer-battered onion rings. I swear they were melt-in-the mouth good. They have a deep fryer, and the tastiness of these noshes is really making me rethink the need to have a deep fryer. I have a real aversion to grease, and I don’t much care for frying, but Corey does it rather well. Perhaps he’ll want to try his hand at some homemade beer-battered onion rings when he gets home. Just a thought.

I did want to share the lines directly preceding the title quote as I found them beautiful, but it’s hard to put lines of poetry in the title as WordPress does not allow for hard line breaks in that section:

“a sudden sense of every object
existing in space on its own shadow.

I wish I could carry this clarity with me”

I’ll leave you with a few more beautiful pictures of the meteor shower.

Perseid Meteor from Snowy Range in Wyoming
by David Kingham
Perseid Meteor from Mount Lemmon, Tucson, Arizona
by Bill Vaughn
Perseid Meteors, State College, Pennsylvania
by Samuel Hartman

More later. Peace.

*All images of Perseid Meteor Shower courtesy of; individual photographers attributed in captions.

Music by Wye Oak, “Plains”


Spider Crystal Ascension

The spider, juiced crystal and Milky Way, drifts on his web through the night sky
And looks down, waiting for us to ascend . . .
At dawn he is still there, invisible, short of breath, mending his net.
All morning we look for the white face to rise from the lake like a tiny star.
And when it does, we lie back in our watery hair and rock.
~ Charles Wright