“All these things happen in one second and last for ever.” ~ Virginia Woolf, from The Waves

Liliane Klapisch Untitled 1970
Untitled (1970)
by Liliane Klapisch

                   

I spent hours today going through the morass that was my mother’s utility room. It was her junk drawer of rooms. I cannot even begin to tell you of the things that I found, the things that were tucked away in bins and drawers—old sponges that disintegrated upon being touched, a thousand unmatched pot lids, keys of all sizes but unidentifiable, decorations for every occasion, plastic containers and lids, none of which matched . . . I came away utterly spent and smelly.

The moving and sorting continues . . .

                   

if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)

if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)have
one. It will not be a pansy heaven nor
a fragile heaven of lilies-of-the-valley but
it will be a heaven of blackred roses

my father will be(deep like a rose
tall like a rose)

standing near my

(swaying over her
silent)
with eyes which are really petals and see

nothing with the face of a poet really which
is a flower and not a face with
hands
which whisper
This is my beloved my

(suddenly in sunlight

he will bow,

& the whole garden will bow)

~ e. e.  cummings

                   

Music by Coldplay, “Fix You”

GIFs and other things for Saturday

I’m torn. I really need to decorate and get caught up around here, but I also want to just spend the day on the computer. I have so much to do. Holidays should not be an obligation, but they are.

This is my compromise with myself . . .

 eecummings

twinkling tree

Winter, Affirmation

Outside—
the peonies are beyond their deaths.
In here—on our continent of a bed—
we are busy showing each other pictures
of ourselves: mouth to rib, back to belly, palm
to hip. Here is the reciprocal breath, the sanctified
taking—my only chance
at reformation.
All day long I live in my head
and as the house bends toward twilight
you say, See here, you’ve got it all wrong.
Lie down. Get a load of our quiet profiles.
Outside—
the tubers have turned inward,
away from the light.
In here—in our cathedral of a room—
we are busy ridding ourselves
of words, holding our faces
to the mirror. Carrying out
our best directive.

~ Tina Schumann

                     

Music by The Gospel Whiskey Runners, “The Wound”

“(heart,could we bear the marvel of this thing?)” ~ E. E. Cummings, from “If I learned Darkness from Our Searched World”

So hot today. Heat migraine won’t leave . . .

Reblogged from The Paris Review

“I was in doubt that I could make something of myself as a writer until I met two people who were very important to me: one was Gaston Lachaise and the other was E. E. Cummings. Cummings I loved, and I love his memory. He did a wonderful imitation of a wood-burning locomotive going from Tiflis to Minsk. He could hear a pin falling in soft dirt at the distance of three miles. Do you remember the story of Cummings’s death? It was September, hot, and Cummings was cutting kindling in the back of his house in New Hampshire. He was sixty-six or -seven or something like that. Marion, his wife, leaned out the window and asked, ‘Cummings, isn’t it frightfully hot to be chopping wood?’ He said, ‘I’m going to stop now, but I’m going to sharpen the ax before I put it up, dear.’ Those were the last words he spoke. At his funeral Marianne Moore gave the eulogy. Marion Cummings had enormous eyes. You could make a place in a book with them. She smoked cigarettes as though they were heavy, and she wore a dark dress with a cigarette hole in it.”

~ John Cheever, on E. E. Cummings

Photograph: E. E. Cummings leaning out a window, by Henry Dunham.

Link to list of Cummings’ Poems

                   

Music by David Jacobs Strain, “Half Way to the Coast”

 

“If the Olive Trees knew the hands that planted them, Their Oil would become Tears.” ~ Mahmoud Darwish

e. e. cummings Bench in Oregon by Tony the Misfit (FCC)


“Often what I need is even a darker darkness.” ~ Valzhyna Mort, from “Mocking Bird Hotel

Thursday evening. Low 70’s, humid.

Brighton Beach Bench by Elsie esq. (FCC)

I have not been writing, not only because of my emotional state, but also because my left hand seems to have frozen or something. It’s not carpal tunnel, but it may be a recurrence of De Quervain’s tynosynovitis, or what used to be known as washer woman’s hand. It’s a syndrome that is akin to carpal tunnel, but is focused on the thumb.

All I know is that I’ve been wearing an immobilizing brace on both my wrists, but my left wrist is definitely much worse. I have an appointment with the pain doctor on Tuesday. When I called to see if I could get in this week, they told me that everyone, everyone was on vacation. Glad it’s not an emergency.

So keyboarding is quite painful, as is anything else involving my wrist, which is . . . just about everything. I’ve been swallowing ibuprofen like they are Sweet Tarts, and it gives me a bit of relief, which I am taking advantage of at this moment to try to put together a post.

Earlier today my mother called and scared the crap out of me. I thought that she had had a stroke, and of course, no vehicle. I called Alexis, who eventually got here and drove me over. I didn’t call 911 because I had mom do the basic tests for a stroke while I was on the phone with her. If you don’t know what these are, you should. The acronym to remember is FAST:

  • FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop downwards?
  • ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms above the head. Does one arm drift downward?
  • SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange (nonsensical)?
  • TIME: If you observe any of these symptoms, call 911

Fortunately, she did not exhibit any of the above. She had been sick to her stomach and dizzy. I reminded her that she had some nausea medicine. When I got to her house, I had her do the tests again, and she was fine. Her blood pressure was fine as was her blood sugar. My blood pressure, however, was way above normal.

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer . . . and everything collapses.” ~ Colette

Empty Bench by lovstromp (FCC)

So other than that bit of excitement, I’ve been trying to stay busy, but it’s not really working. I have so much paperwork that I need to do. I started it during the hurricane while we didn’t have electricity. I thought that mundane tasks were as good as anything else to do to pass the time. Of course, I didn’t finish it, and everything is in a neat pile on the dining room table (which I cleaned, also during the hurricane).

I found out that my lifelong friend Sarah suffered severe damage from Irene. Unfortunately, she suffered severe damage from the last hurricane to hit this area, and once again, she is without a livable abode. Thankfully, her mother still lives in the area, just down the street from my mom.

The top of the oak tree from the backyard is over the fence and into the bush hedge that separates the park from the houses in this neighborhood. Corey hasn’t tried his chainsaw yet to see if it works. Here’s hoping that it will work because a chainsaw is the only thing that’s going to work.

I hadn’t realized that so much of the tree had fallen. In my mind, I thought that it was just a piece of the tree, so Corey kept giving me funny looks when I suggested he just use his grappling hook to move the branch. Later, when I actually saw the damage, I realized that there is no grappling hook big enough to move that tree top. We’re talking about twelve or so feet of tree trunk with branches.

I need to call our homeowner’s policy holder as I learned that we can still get flood insurance, but it won’t be valid until 30 days after we sign up. Still, we really need to get it, and we just never seem to think about it until it’s too late. I think that we’ll be able to get a policy for under $400, but don’t ask me why that particular number is in my head. I could be imagining things again.

“The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears, or the sea.” ~ Isak Dinesen

Old Wooden Bench Overlooking the Aegean Sea by horia varlan (FCC)

Ann saw the lawyer yesterday to clarify disposition of the house. She/we want to make sure the evil stepmother cannot lay any claims on it. It’s the type of thing that she would do, too, stick her unwanted nose into family business of which she is not a part. I’m more family than she is.

As it turns out, the divorce agreement could be interpreted in one of two ways, so the lawyer suggested that Ann and Paul go talk to their father to clarify what his wishes are. I have no doubts that he will do the right thing as long as his wife does not butt in.

Can you tell that she just burns me? Yes, I dislike her that intensely, for numerous reasons.

I’ve written my eulogy for the memorial service, which is on September 10. I also have written a poem, which I may or may not post here, still not sure. Ann and I have decided that after the service, we’re going back to her mom’s house and drink wine, perhaps for hours and hours. That is how I feel at the moment: I don’t want to feel.

Nothing is real to me yet. I still have yet to grieve, still have not cried. I just can’t.

All that I feel is a continuous dull pain in my chest. I recognize this pain, know it for what it is: the wall between then and now. It is taking every bit of my fortitude to hold up that wall.

Please do not tell me that I need to let myself cry. I remember running into Caitlin’s doctors in the hospital away from her room, and the two of them said (her two female neurosurgeons with whom I had developed a relationship of sorts) that I should just let myself cry. I remember looking at them and saying that once I started I wasn’t sure that I could stop.

It sounds stupid, not thinking that you will be able to stop crying, but it’s a very real feeling—that taking that one step into the void will be irreversible, because it will. Trust me. I know.

“He wanted to cry quietly, but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music.” ~ James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Bench in Mobile, AL, Botanical Garden by Alwright1 (FCC)

I’m going to put together a collage of family pictures to put on display at the memorial. I told Ann that I would do it. Of course, I haven’t started it. That would be the responsible thing to do.

I’m just kind of treading water here. I get up from the bed, walk into the kitchen and look around, walk back into the bedroom, look around, completely forget what I was going to do. I sit down to this keyboard and then nothing . . .  absolutely nothing. Whatever I was thinking of doing or reading or writing is gone within seconds.

To be perfectly honest, I just zoned. I took my eyes from the screen for two seconds, and when I looked back, I couldn’t remember my train of thought.

It’s a state of perpetual hold, like being on hold with a utility company and hearing bad music over and over again until the best solution seems to be to bang your head against the wall, any wall, to make the stupid, inane songs stop, and then, just when you think the interminable wait is over, and that someone is going to respond to your needs, there is a click, and the soundtrack starts over again.

I think that I understand why people actually pull out their hair. Anything is better than this nothing.

Sorry to be so morose. It simply can’t be helped.

More later. Peace.

Music by Jets Overhead, “Where Did You Go?”

                   

Meaning

When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add Up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
—And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?
—Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
And calls out, protests, screams.

~ Czeslaw Milosz

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” ~ e. e. cummings

Abandoned by dbgg1979 (FCC)

                   

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” ~ Jack Kerouac

Friday afternoon. Hazy and hot. Leftover haze from swamp fires.

Abandoned: Eglise St. George 3, by craigfinlay (FCC)

Yet another bad night. I could not fall asleep, and then I woke myself up coughing and had to use my inhaler again. The swamp fires are messing with my lungs. As a result, I woke up pricklier than a porcupine with a dull ache behind my eyes.

The night before last I dreamt that I was spending time with the Kardashians. Okay. Not a fan of any of them, so why I was in their house makes no sense, except that they were all acting completely predictable: self-absorbed and snooty. I was there as a stand-in for their reality show. They criticized my makeup, my clothes, and the fact that I was carrying a grocery bag for a purse.

Why waste brain cells dreaming such crap?

Corey had to be at work at 6:30 this morning, and won’t finish his shift until the ship leaves, which is supposed to be around 8 tonight. He lost his shift yesterday, so this will definitely help. I think that he ended up with only two shifts last week. Actually, I try not to think about such things as the results are never good.

He had his first real class yesterday—biology—and then we did the usual search for the best prices on textbooks. A new copy of the textbook from the bookstore lists at $160. We found an international edition for about half of that. International editions have different covers and different ISBNs but the same content within. The drawback to buying an international edition is that the quality of the paper used for printing can sometimes be poor, something I learned in my publishing classes, but for a 50 percent savings at this time, we’ll chance it.

“Perhaps everything exists only because something else does. Nothing just is, everything coexists; perhaps that’s right . . . Nothing, nothing, just part of the night and silence and whatever emptiness, negativity and inconsistency I shared with them, the space that exists between me and me, a thing mislaid by some god.” ~Fernando Pessoa

Abandoned: Plant in Belgium

Every once in a while, I become concerned with my stats. I couldn’t explain it to you if you asked me. I mean, I claim to be writing this blog for myself, so I really shouldn’t care how many hits I get. Right?

Most of the time, that’s a true statement, but every six months or so I look at the numbers and think to myself that I must be doing something wrong. I know that my blog entries are longer than what most people are willing to read, but I’m not going to change that for anyone. If I were writing a professional blog, of course my entries would be much more succinct and focused, but this is not a professional blog; this is my forum, for venting, opining, mulling . . . whatever.

I have considered going back to Alpha Inventions to see if I can get my stats up, but I just don’t know if it’s worth it. I had such a negative experience with the moderator the last time, and besides, I know that those stats are very inflated. I think that what’s bothering me is that I haven’t hit one million yet.

Some people start blogs and hit a million in just a few months. And not all of those people are writing professional blogs.

I just don’t know. Does it really matter? Why do I care so much? To be honest, I think that I’m missing some of my regular readers, people who have moved on for various reasons, or who may still be reading but are no longer commenting. It’s strange, the connections that you can make with people you will probably never lay eyes on.

“A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood. The writer wants to be understood much more than he wants to be respected or praised or even loved. And that perhaps, is what makes him different from others.” ~ Leo Rosten

Abandoned: Orphanage, by boklm (FCC)

As I sit here, the dishes are in the sink waiting for me. I could probably do some laundry, but I’m just not feeling it, any of it.

Yesterday I spent some time in the pool with the dogs and Em and Brett. It was late in the afternoon, and the sky was calm and beautiful. I was doing a bit of cloud watching. And then I came inside to write, but found that I had nothing to say. I played Spider Solitaire instead.

How pathetic.

I mean, my access to this computer is limited to the times during which Eamonn is not firmly ensconced in his bedroom, so I really need to take advantage of those times, but I just couldn’t do it, which brings me to the other thing that I’ve been pondering: What am I doing here?

I began this whole endeavor for a few specific reasons:

  • I wanted to get back into the habit of writing regularly.
  • I wanted to see if anyone out there in the ether would be interested in what I have to say.
  • I wanted to lay the foundation for a book.

So how have I done? When I first began, that first year, I wrote almost every day for at least two hours a day. Now I might put up 15 posts a month, so production has been cut in half instead of increasing.

In that first year, I had about five people who commented regularly on my posts. Now I’m down to one or two, and that’s not regular either. So that’s been cut by over 50 percent.

Since beginning, I have written probably 20 or so posts that I would consider putting into book form. That’s 20 out of 695 posts, 691 of which are for public consumption. Statistically, that’s not even 3 percent.

Beh.

“Writers, especially poets, are particularly prone to madness. There exists a striking association between creativity and manic depression . . . Why are more creative people prone to madness? They have more than average amounts of energies and abilities to see things in a fresh and original way—then because they also have depression, I think they’re more in touch with human suffering.” ~ Nick Flynn from Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

Confession: I just left this page to play a game of Spider Solitaire.

Interpretation: I cannot stand to put my thoughts to page, let alone read them.

Result: More beh.

Abandoned: Side Entrance to Mansion, Beirut, by craigfinlay (FCC)

Perhaps this is not the best day to analyze what I’m doing here. I’m out of my meds, and until Corey gets home, I will not have them. You might think that one day would not make that much of a difference, but when I say that I’m out of my meds, I mean almost all of them.

That’s a pharmaceutical shock to the system. Poor planning on my part. Just making the telephone call to the pharmacy to enter all of the prescription numbers at the prompt stymied me. I put it off for two days.

Yes, yes. I know what all of this means. Just as I know what my avoidance of the hospital visit to see my m-in-law means: I’m definitely on a down slide. There. I said it.

I have named you, and therefore you are, just as the ancients believed that if they gave a name to their adversaries, they became real.

I name you chasm. I name you abyss. I name you night without stars. I name you dreamless sleep. I name you empty hunger. I name you, and in the naming, I face you.

“How strange talking is—what mists rise and fall—how one loses the other & then thinks to have found the other—then down comes another soft final curtain.” ~ Katherine Mansfield, letter to Ottoline Morrell (24 July 1921)

Abandoned: Villa Viron, Belgium

I try so hard to deny the reality, and sometimes, in the denying, I can change things, but not so this time. Too much is hitting me from too many sides, and I cannot separate the grain from the chaff.

My mother-in-law is being moved to the new rehab center, and in effect, she is going there to die. She has stopped eating. Her Parkinson’s has advanced so much in just a few weeks because of her infections that to restore her to where she was even a month ago would mean painful therapy. Her care is now termed “comfort care.” What a blasphemous phrase. Comfort care?

Excuse me. It’s not a blasphemous phrase, but it is a blasphemous situation: how we treat the elderly in our society. This is one area in which I closely relate to my Asian forebears, for in such societies, families are still blended, and the elderly are revered. In our society, they are disposable, just like the homeless and the poor.

I have put off making this visit too long, but I did not want to stand before this woman and weep bitter tears for what is, what cannot be changed, what we cannot control, we who love her.

When my father’s condition had worsened so as to make the prognosis too obvious, the doctor in the ICU asked if we wanted him on maintenance morphine. I said yes. He asked me if I wanted him to have enough. I said yes. We both knew what he was asking and what I was saying, and if anyone ever confronts me, I will deny it with my last breath.

My friend Mari’s mother, who was dying of ovarian cancer, was not given this option, and her suffering was unendurable for her family. After hearing the story year ago, I decided then that I would have a living will, and that I would control my final days, not some faceless bureaucracy. I remembered her mother’s suffering when my dad was in the ICU, and the memory of that suffering came to mind today.

I don’t think that I can continue with this today. I just don’t think it’s wise, nor is it helping.

More later. Peace.

Music by Ruthie Foster, “Tears of Pain”

                   

So the Hall Door Shuts Again and All Noise Is Gone

In the effort to find one’s way among the contents of memory
(Aristotle emphasizes)
a principal of association is helpful—
“passing rapidly from one step to the next.
For instance from milk to white,
from white to air,
from air to damp,
after which one recollectes autumn supposing one is trying to
recollect that season.”
Or supposing,
fair reader,
you are trying to recollect not autumn but freedom,
a principal of freedom
the existed between two people, small and savage
as principals go—but what are the rules for this?
As he says,
folly may come into fashion.
Pass then rapidly
from one step to the next,
for instance from nipple to hard,
from hard to hotel room,
from hotel room

to a phrase found in a letter he wrote in a taxi one day he passed
his wife
walking
on the other side of the street and she did not see him, she was—
so ingenious are the arrangements of the state of flux we call
our moral history are they not almost as neat as mathematical
propositions except written on water—
on her way to the courthouse
to file papers for divorce, a phrase like
how you tasted between your legs.
After which by means of this wholly divine faculty, the “memory
of words and things,”
one recollects
freedom.
Is it I? cries the soul rushing up.
Little soul, poor vague animal:
beware this invention “always useful for learning and life”
as Aristotle say, Aristotle who
had no husband,
rarely mentions beauty
and was likely to pass rapidly from wrist to slave when trying to
recollect wife.

~ Anne Carson from The Beauty of the Husband

“Anyway this is just a note to tell you I’m in a new shell or an old one, like a hermit crab and the ink is now out of two of my pens and this is the last one. I have no more ink in the house tonight. I’ll keep you posted.” ~ John Steinbeck, in a letter to Pascal Covici, September 1948

Sibutu Island, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines* 

“Dreams are the unfinished wings of our souls.” ~ Simon Van Booy, The Secret Lives of People in Love

Tuesday evening. Hot and humid.

Coral Reef, Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines

Two dreams from last night that have stuck with me:

First, I dreamed that I was with Jammi. She and Austin (her ex) had bought a home, but the house itself had to be moved. Jammi was driving the truck that was pulling the house on a trailer. I was in the truck with her. We moved through the streets of Norfolk very slowly until we arrived at the location in which the house would be placed. It was on a hill.

Great, I thought, but Jammi backed the house onto the hill, and it slid into place. We went inside, and there was a lot of work to be done. We worked on painting and putting up wallpaper, but the next day, it all had to be done again. I didn’t feel that I could do all of that work again.

Austin had to leave that day to go back to the war. I asked Jammi if she ever regretted her decision. It was a question that had been on my mind. She looked at me a long time and then looked at the floor as she answered me, “It was the right thing to do for the kids.”

In the second dream, I am embarking on a cruise with my mother, father, and my two sons; my sons are about eight and nine. It is very crowded getting on the ship, and my mother and I become separated from my father and the boys. I tell my mom that we need to follow the line to get to the dining room. We go down a long hall full of people, and then we are in line for dinner, but it is cafeteria style. I’m wondering what happened to the dining room and the wonderful food.

I get in the salad line first, and the lettuce is frozen. I’m already disgusted and wondering where my father is. Then I get in a line for sushi, but the sushi is like the nasty kind that is prepackaged in supermarkets. I order something that will take 15 minutes and am told that it will be brought to me. I wonder how they will find me.

A steward approaches my mother and me and tells me to follow him. He takes me into a room where my dad and the boys are lying on a blue bed; the boys are playing a video game. They’ve been there the whole time waiting for me. The boys are wearing communication devices on their wrists, and they could have sent us a message using those, but they didn’t think about it.

The whole cruise sucks already.

“I write this very decidedly out of despair over my body and over a future with this body . . .” ~ Franz Kafka, from The Diaries, 1910

Friday night. Cool and clear.

Bongao, Capital of Tawi-Tawi Province

So I didn’t get back to this post until now. On Wednesday, I saw my pain doctor and got trigger shots all over my neck, back, and lower back. I lost count. My doctor said afterwards, “Wow. That’s a lot of shots.”

No kidding. I actually thought that I might throw up on the way home. I guess they bothered me more because it’s been several months since I’ve had any trigger shots, and I was one giant muscle spasm. I woke up every three hours or so and took another muscle relaxer (no worries, I’m supposed to take two at a time, and I only take one usually). By Thursday morning, I still hurt.

Fortunately, to take my mind of my excruciating back pain, I got to have my breasts smashed. Yes, the annual mammogram, which, it turns out, I have not had since 2008. I’ve been—shall I say—neglectful of my ta tas. Anyway, let me explain this to those of you who may be unaware: Mammograms hurt more for small-breasted women because the technician has to take your champagne-glass full (before flutes) and pull it onto the platform. I feel like saying, “I’m not Gumby. I don’t stretch that way.”

Not to mention, I went to the wrong building for my appointment and was told to go to the first floor of building 880. I went into the office in building 880, and the woman says, “We don’t have you on the schedule.” Finally, I take out my appointment sheet, and I say, “Am I here?” like I’m some kind of moron. The woman says, “No, that’s next door.”

I’m hot, and the little bit of makeup that I dared to put on is running down my face, and I’m afraid that I’ll be late for my 3:30 therapy appointment. I ask the woman if they can just do my boobs there. She checks with the people in the back (those ominous faceless people one never sees in a doctor’s office), and then tells me that sure, they can work me in.

Done and done. Of course now, I hurt on my back and front . . .

“We hear in retrospect what we have understood.” ~ Marcel Proust

An Island in the Tawi-Tawi Province, Philippines

Well, the computer is going so slowly tonight that I feel sort of like I do in a traffic jam: that I could make more progress if I got out of the car and ran alongside the cars, only in this case, it would be faster if I turned pages by hand instead of searching through files. I fear that I may have to abandon this post once again and come back to the computer possibly in the morning after running a scan; I know when I’m defeated.

Saturday evening. Hot and humid.

After removing spyware and adware, deleting unwanted files, and scanning, the computer seems to be working a bit better, seems being the operative word. I did get this funky black screen when I rebooted, one I have never seen before, so that was a bit scary . . . So where was I?

“The color of truth is grey.” ~ André Gide

Tawi-Tawi Archipelago, Philippines

I find that my mind is not even anywhere near the track I was on when I first began this post, and I probably should have scrapped the whole thing except I hate to do that. I feel as if it’s wasted time. I mean, I’ve picked out the quotes, and I have an idea as to the theme that I’m going to use for my images. I usually already have my poem and song picked out, so to scrap everything because the post is all over the place is a bit disingenuous, especially since that’s exactly how my mind works most of the time anyway—all over the place.

So I’ll finish on this note: I went with Ann, my s-in-law to see her mother today. It was not the best visit as she was in and out as far as being able to converse. We had stopped at McDonald’s to get her a cheeseburger and fries for lunch, which she seemed to enjoy, but she turned down my offer to paint her nails, and didn’t really seem to want me to put lotion on her legs. A few other things happened while we were there which caused me to get rather brusque with her nurse, but I don’t want to get into it.

The other news is that my ex father-in-law, who was admitted to the hospital about ten days ago after falling and breaking a couple of ribs, will also not be coming back home. Ann went to see him on Friday, and she said that while he is more coherent than m-in-law, he seems to know that he is dying.

I texted the kids to let them know the status on their grandfather. Eamonn got back to me right away. Alexis got back to me eight hours later with more of the same: Sorry, will be over soon, ya da ya da ya da. I didn’t bother to reply. I’m going to try to take Eamonn and Brett to see their grandfather this coming week.

This is all too depressing.

More later. Peace.

Music by Aimee Mann, “Save Me”

                   

The Tawi-Tawi group of islands is located at the southwestern tip of the Philippine archipelago. It lies along the earth’s equatorial zone and is composed of 307 islands and islets, 88 of which are characterized by extensive reefs. Tawi-Tawi is an island province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The capital of Tawi-Tawi is Bongao. The province is the southernmost of the country sharing sea borders with the Malaysian State of Sabah and the Indonesian Kalimantan province.Tawi Tawi is a province that consists of 107 islands in the Sulu Sea, once part of a land bridge linking Borneo

                   

in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to
grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who
proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting
seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things
beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting
find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us
free)
forgetting me,remember me

~ e. e. cummings

“Life is a spell so exquisite, that everything conspires to break it.” ~ Emily Dickinson

 

Virginia Woolf’s Writing Table, Monk’s House, by Gisele Freund

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~ Rachel Carson

Poets' Walk, Central Park, NY

I woke up speaking French again. Very disconcerting. However, as Corey pointed out, what would be more disconcerting is if I did not actually know French, but I was speaking it in my dreams. Granted, my conversational abilities are very limited, but for some reason, I dream in French occasionally.

It’s absolutely beautiful here today, a perfect spring day. That is, everything would be perfect if not for one thing: yesterday was opening day at the park that our house abuts. Opening day is exactly what it sounds like: the baseball season opening, which means lots of cars beeping their horns, the loudspeaker blaring at 9 in the morning, car alarms, and litter.  Every year, people park illegally in front of our house. I say illegally because of the no-parking signs and the fire hydrant, not because I don’t want them to park there. I try to warn people if I see them parking that they will get a ticket if the police happen by, but they usually just look at me as if I am being the neighborhood bitch.

Hello. Fire hydrant. Blocking it is a bad thing, remember? Oh well.

I’m very excited because season 4 of The Tudors premieres tonight. This will be the last season for the Showtime series, starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Henry VIII. In this season, Henry will marry his last two wives (Katherine Howard and Catherine), get old and fat, and go to war. So far, season 2 has been my favorite.

“April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.” ~ T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Poets' Walk, Clevedon, UK

The news is full of sad things: the death of the Polish president and his contingent while en route to Smolensk, Russia for a memorial. According to news reports, the visit to the Katyn forest was to mark the 70th anniversary of the killing of thousands of Polish officers and intellectuals by the Soviet secret security during World War II, an action that led to a huge rift between Poles and Russians.

In Comfort, West Virginia, the bodies of the four missing miners were found, bringing the total number of those killed to 29. The Upper Big Branch mine disaster is the worst in U.S. history since the 1970 disaster in Kentucky. Apparently, the rescue crews walked past the four bodies that first day, but could not see them because the air was so smoky and dusty.

A Tennessee woman put her seven-year-old adopted Russian son on a plane by himself. The plane was going to Russia, and the ticket was one-way. The mother claims that the boy, renamed Justin, terrified her family by threatening to burn down the house with everyone inside. Now the woman’s family is claiming that the Russian orphanage lied to her about the boy’s behavior problems. So many things wrong with this story, not the least of which is the fact that the woman wasn’t returning a broken vacuum to Wal Mart. The adoptive grandmother bought the ticket, and the family arranged to pay a man in Russia $200 to take Justin from the airport and leave him at the Russian education ministry. A note was sent with the boy that read in part, “After giving my best to this child, I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends, and myself, I no longer wish to parent this child.”

And on another sad note, Dixie Carter, star of television series “Designing Women” has died at the age of 70. I loved wise-cracking Julia Sugerbaker. Like the woman who portrayed her, she was smart, attractive, and took no guff from anyone. Funnily enough, some of my friends used to compare me to Julia Sugerbaker, can’t understand why. Carter was married to actor Hal Holbrook.

“your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose” ~ e. e. cummings, “somewhere i have never travelled”

Poets' Walk, Red Hook (Hudson River Valley), NY

One of my blog friends is packing some books to ship to me. I cannot wait. For me, nothing is better than a box of books, not even a squishy black leather Kenneth Cole purse, if that gives you any idea as to how much I love books. Of course, I wouldn’t turn down a Kenneth Cole purse, but since no one is offering . . . Anyway, Kelly is a bibliophile like myself, so she understands just how dispiriting it is not to have books to read, hence her very generous offer to send me some books. In the future, I hope to participate in the Goodreads Book Swap, which is a wonderful idea.

If you love books but have yet to visit the Goodreads site, I suggest you do so soon. Goodreads is a great resource for readers in so many ways. Go to http://www.goodreads.com/. You’ll be glad that you did.

My ex called me last night, just to talk. Wow. I don’t remember seeing the news that hell had frozen over. No really, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a conversation that did not quickly escalate into an argument. He even sounded relatively sober, another first. I did suggest, very gently, that he might want to try to spend a bit more time with his mother as there is no way of knowing how much longer she will be around. I am one of the few people who can get away with saying something like that to him. His sister has tried, but he sees that as her way of trying to tell him how to live his life. I had heard that his girlfriend is moving here from Chicago. He confirmed that she will be here in July. That should be interesting. His last two serious relationships went up in flames. I hope this one works for him.

Now don’t be that way. I’m being sincere. As much as we have our problems—and boy, do we have our problems—I do wish him well. If for no other reason than the fact that when he’s happy, we get along better and can actually have adult conversations that don’t devolve into name-calling. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how Eamonn gets along with a new stepmom.

On that note, I think that I’ll close for today with an appropriate quote from Barbara Kingsolver:

“April is the cruelest month, T.S. Eliot wrote, by which I think he meant (among other things) that springtime makes people crazy. We expect too much, the world burgeons with promises it can’t keep, all passion is really a setup, and we’re doomed to get our hearts broken yet again. I agree, and would further add: Who cares? Every spring I go out there anyway, around the bend, unconditionally . . . Come the end of the dark days, I am more than joyful. I’m nuts. “

More later. Peace.

The one and only Ray Charles singing “Georgia on My Mind.” Classic.

And for those of you who loved “Designing Women,” here is a classic Julia Sugerbaker moment: