“Nothing human is finally calculable; even to ourselves we are strange.” ~ Gore Vidal, from Julian

Filippo De Pisis  1933 Paesaggio con passero e casolare
“Paesaggio con passero e casolare” (1933, oil on canvas)
by Filippo de Pisis

 


 “I have dreamed much and done very little.” ~ Gustave Flaubert

Tuesday night. Partly cloudy, 58 degrees.

In this dream I have been placed on my back in a solution that is slowly killing me. As the minutes pass, I keep thinking that I can’t die because that wouldn’t make sense. There is a woman who is pure evil, and apparently, she’s the one ordering people to be put into this solution. As I feel myself dying, I start to give away my jewelry, holding a piece out and declaring that it is for x, and another and another, until I have no jewelry left on my body. I know that someone is going to save me, but I don’t know how I have this knowledge.

Filippo De Pisis Natura Morta Marina con Ali di Gabbiano 1929 oil on canvas
“Natura morta marina con Ali di Baggiano” (1929, oil on canvas)
by Filippo de Pisis

Is it any wonder I walk through my days as if lost?

I did manage to get out of the house today and vote. Made Brett go with me. Too many people don’t place enough importance on mid-terms. Eamonn went fishing instead. At least Corey did an absentee ballot before he went back.

Skipping Two for Tuesday again today. You might not believe it, but putting together that kind of post takes thought, more thought than I am capable of at the moment. So some randomness instead:

  • Just three days after Halloween, and people in my neighborhood are putting up Christmas decorations.
  • Would it be okay to shoot these decorations with a paint gun?
  • I do not own a paint gun, for the record, but the thought of doing something radical is oddly comforting.
  • Days before Halloween, stores were already stocking Christmas decorations . . . I just can’t, just can’t even . . .

“I wanted the moments of my life to follow and order themselves like those of a life remembered. You might as well try and catch time by the tail.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre, from Nausea

Filippo de Pisis La Felana 1945
“La Felana” (1945)
by Filippo de Pisis
  • My mother collected clowns—figurines, dolls, pictures
  • I am terrified of clowns, so are all of my children
  • I used to absolutely hate the color yellow, so much so that I would protest if the graphic designer chose a Pantone shade of yellow for a design.
  • I now love yellow and all of its various hues.
  • I cannot explain any of the above.
  • White noise (noise that is so constant that you forget that it’s there) that fills my days: the cooling fan of my CPU overworking itself, the very loud window unit air conditioners throughout the house
  • The kind of white noise I would prefer: running water, bird songs

“We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.” ~ D.H. Lawrence, from Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Filippo de Pisis Natura morta con calamaio 1951 oil on masonite board
“Natura morta con calamaio” (1951, oil on masonite board)
by Filippo de Pisis
  • I have never gotten my paper degree from GWU for my publishing master’s. I think I owe them $50.
  • Throughout most of my adulthood, I have had a very hard time with mail, as in opening it when I get it. It bothers me a great deal, and I have no idea as to why.
  • I have so much paperwork that I need to do, but again, this is something that I put off and put off until I cannot possibly put it off any longer.
  • I have an abiding antipathy towards paperwork, i.e., completing forms, responding to requests for information, filing, etc.
  • The above is a direct result of years and years of having to fill out medical paperwork, going all the way back to Caitlin

“Give me a report on the condition of my soul.” ~ Anne Sexton, from “Anna Who Was Mad”

Filippo de Pisis Foglia nella tempesta 1940 oil on canvas
“Foglia nella tempesta” (1940, oil on canvas)
by Filippo de Pisis
  • I need (no, really) a new purse.
  • I am lousy at small talk.
  • I have always been a bag lady. I asked for and got my first leather briefcase when I was five. True story.
  • Alexis, and now Olivia are both bag ladies. One of Olivia’s favorite things to do is to go through my purse, take everything out, and put it into one of her bags.
  • This is not taught behavior. Is there a gene for an affinity for purses and carryalls?

All images are by Italian painter and poet, Filippo de Pisis (11 May 1896 – 2 April 1956). Something in these somber images calls to me.

Music by Beth Hart, “Sister Heroine”

                   

Death Comes to Me Again, a Girl

Death comes to me again, a girl
in a cotton slip, barefoot, giggling.
It’s not so terrible she tells me,
not like you think, all darkness
and silence. There are windchimes
and the smell of lemons, some days
it rains, but more often the air is dry
and sweet. I sit beneath the staircase
built from hair and bone and listen
to the voices of the living. I like it,
she says, shaking the dust from her hair,
especially when they fight, and when they sing.

~ Dorianne Laux

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“Carry with you maps and string, flashlights, friends who make you sing, and stars to help you find your place, music, hope, and amazing grace.” ~ Mary Chapin Carpenter

Stonehenge November Sunset

Stonehenge November Sunset

 

“Maybe what we leave
Is nothing but a tangled little mystery
Maybe what we take
Is nothing that has ever had a name”

Random thoughts about nothing at all:

Today has been one of those days that just seems to be a never-ending river of crapppola. Nothing really in particular, just a bad day, I guess.

Some good news: Vane Brothers called and unofficially offered Corey a tugboat job. The catch? It won’t be until the end of the year or beginning of next year. He has mixed emotions about it, which I understand. I mean, how can you get excited about a job that will probably happen, but no guarantees?

Clent Standing Stones Winter Sunset
Clent Standing Stones Winter Sunset

Alexis stopped by this evening. She was very chatty. Her doctor has adjusted her meds again, and she seems to be in better spirits emotionally. That makes one person in the family . . . So she’s talking about the holidays. Who is doing Thanksgiving. What she is buying for Christmas. Have I mentioned that I absolutely hate November?

Listening to my “Music to Work By” playlist. Jamie O’Neal’s “There Is No Arizona” is currently playing. I love that song. I love to sing that song. I love the words to that song. I miss singing. Maybe one of these days, Corey and I will be able to go to the karaoke bar that we used to go to, and I can get my singing fix.

I had wanted to watch the original Halloween movie in honor of, well, Halloween. But for some reason, the DVR did not record it even though I scheduled the recording. ‘Twas not meant to be. Just as well. Corey doesn’t really like it, and I didn’t want to watch it alone. I reminded him that I watch his scary movies with him and had him almost convinced he needed to watch with me, and then it wasn’t there. We watched some other scary movie instead, and it turned out to be totally predictable. I hate that.

Have I mentioned that I am out of reading material? Dream job: Own a bookstore that is just mine all mine. Then I can stock books that other people don’t have and read the stock. Of course, independent bookstores are going the way of the atmosphere and clean drinking water. It’s hard to compete against the Barnes & Nobles of the world.

“Maybe love will fade
Like the parchment pages of our history
Maybe life is made of flickers
From some brilliant, burnished flame”

Standing Stones of Stenness England
Standing Stones of Stenness, England

My friend Sarah had another round with the courts today. She is going through hell with the court system over her ex-son-in-law and his mother’s request for visitation  Apparently, his mother can still see the children, but the good news is that the ex (drug addict and cop assaulter) is not allowed to be present. Exactly how does one go about ensuring such a thing? Sometimes the laws that are supposed to protect minor children really bother me. Of course, everything varies city to city, state to state.

Tomorrow is election day. I managed to get my mother to say that she would go vote. I told her that we need all of the Democratic votes that we can get in this particular governor’s race. I’m not holding my breath, though. Virginia is far too fickle when it comes to politics, especially in governor’s races.

Social Security denied my disability claim—again. Essentially their reasoning was that since I can dress myself and move my arms and legs, I’m not entitled to disability. It’s a good thing that I’m covered by my insurer. However, I know that my insurer will want to appeal, which makes sense since coverage by Social Security would mean that the insurer no longer has to pay for me.

Still rainy and chilly here. I’m wearing a pair of red socks that have penguins all over them. I love my Christmas socks. Wearing them is one of the better things about the weather becoming cooler. I know, small things amuse me.

We received a nice surprise on Saturday. My sister-in-law in Germany sent us an early holiday box filled with German chocolates, cookies, marzipan, coffee, and a beer stein for Corey. He doesn’t drink beer that often, but he has always wanted an authentic German stein. Helma said that she wanted to send us treats because we always take such good care of Phillip and Hannah when they are visiting. The whole family really enjoys their visits, so spending time with my niece and nephew is never a chore.

I’ve been having strange dreams again, but I’m not remembering them as well. This may actually be a good thing because I’m hoping that it means I’m getting a more restful sleep. I told Corey that I would love to sleep for eight hours uninterrupted one night. No dogs nudging me, no waking up because I’m thirsty, no waking up because I hurt somewhere—just eight solid hours of sleep. One day, maybe.

I’m dreading the holidays this year. Normally, I love Christmas and hate Thanksgiving, but I think that Christmas this year might be just as bad as Christmas was last year, which was last minute and stressful. I really hope that I don’t become like my mother, who does nothing but bitch about the holidays. In all of my life, I think that my mom has only liked her Christmas present from me maybe three or four times. I’m not exaggerating. I love to buy special presents for those I love. It’s not spending money that makes me happy; more, it’s finding something that I think is really suited to the person for whom I am buying the present. We’ll just have to wait and see how this Christmas turns out.

A word about the images, since my last post on Druids, I have had standing stones on my mind, hence, the photos of several standing stones from across the United Kingdom, courtesy of Wiki Commons.

I stress too much over the strangest things and find pleasure in really tiny things. I don’t think that I’ll ever understand myself.

“Everybody strains to hear the sound
Of their heart’s calling
Now you can write yours down
It’s your life story” ~ All quotes from Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “It’s Your Life”

Callanish Standing Stones
Callanish Standing Stones

When I grow up, I want to be a ballerina . . . writer . . . doctor . . . lawyer . . . Broadway star . . . marine biologist . . . teacher . . . fabulously wealthy . . . writer . . . poet . . . farmer . . . Peace Corps volunteer . . . president. Now, I would settle for being debt-free, pain-free, and somewhat sane. Funny how things change. 

Check out the peace sign character that I’m using instead of a bullet or diamond. Again, small things . . .

Here is Jamie O’Neal singing “There Is No Arizona”:

 

 

More later. Peace.

 

A Matter of Style: Obama Has It and Well . . . McCain Doesn’t

Three Days to Go and So Much to Be Done

John McCain’s Twilight Zone Redo

Okay. I’ll admit it. I do watch a few reality shows. I know that I have claimed to abhor most of them, and I do. But I love “Project Runway,” and I’ve started to watch Tim Gunn’s “Guide to Style,” mostly because I love all things Tim Gunn. I watch “What Not to Wear” occasionally, not as much as I used to, but Tim Gunn is more fun right now, I suppose because of the novelty, that and because of the outrageous idea that a woman can get along with 10 basic items in her closet. What a hoot!

The other wonderful thing about Tim Gunn’s show is that he surprises every woman by taking her to some designer’s workshop just to give her an inkling of how fabulous she would look in a designer gown. Now, if someone did that to me, and then didn’t give me one of those designer’s gowns, I’d be spitting fire. I mean, really, that’s cold. But of course, the women get the gowns, and go off to their special events looking fabulous. And here I sit, looking like a sausage, bemoaning my fate.

So I turn to Corey, and I say, “I’d love to call the show and tell them I need a makeover to bring my look up to date.” To which he replies, “Are you out of your mind? You can’t let Tim Gunn come in our house.” Which is true, so there goes that idea . . .

I only mention this whole idea of new styles and makeovers because I’ve decided with three days to go in the campaign that John McCain needs a redo, a complete start over from the beginning and try again. I’m serious. I mean, it couldn’t hurt. Could it?

Work with me here. Let’s go back . . . Doo do do do . . . doo do do do (eerie music from the “Twilight Zone”). Voice over: “Imagine if you will a man, so completely overwhelmed by circumstances, that he would like nothing better than the chance to start again. Now imagine, that man goes through a door and finds himself exactly where he wants to be: August 1, 2008. He has entered (dramatic pause and music) the Twilight Zone.”

Why August 1? Well let’s see, that gives him a chance to reconsider his vice presidential candidate and to vet that person thoroughly (what a concept). It gives him a chance to redo the Republican National Convention without starting late and to make it more of the spectacle that his party wanted. It gives him a chance not to pseudo-suspend his campaign and threaten to hold his breath over the first debate. It gives him a chance to do a take back, or actually, never happened on the incredible statement, “the economy is fundamentally sound.” It gives him a chance to uphold his basic sense of decency and never let his handlers push him into the murky waters of mudslinging and chargers of “socialism, terrorism,” and all of that other malarkey.

It gives him a chance not to embarrass himself by hanging his hat on some incredibly ill-conceived idea of Joe the Plumber as an American everyman. It gives him a chance to distance himself from George Bush much, much sooner in his campaign. And if he had played all of it better, then he probably wouldn’t be defending traditionally red states right now, and this would be a much tighter race.

Not that that’s what I want. But a part of me really does want the old John McCain back. The man who wasn’t going off half-cocked at every turn. The man who wasn’t wandering around on stage looking for Mr. Puddles. The man who wasn’t calling on a Joe the Plumber who wasn’t even there. Hey, I’m human. I really do feel for the guy, even though I have grown to hate what his campaign stands for. But I attribute that more than anything to two things: Sarah “Alexander Haig I’m In Charge” Palin, and some really bad handlers who have given him some really bad advice.

So if wishes were fishes, and I had a few extra to give away, I’d give one to John McCain, and let him have that one. Maybe. I mean, I’d let him have his dignity at least. After all, November 4th is only three days away, and Obama is moving into Arizona, and one of my favorite songs is by Jamie O’Neal: “There is No Arizona.” Let’s hope not for John McCain, anyway.

Speaking of Style

I was watching Rachel Maddow’s interview with Barack Obama the other night, and I loved her comment about his personal style. She was simply amazed by how calm the man was. She said that if he were any calmer, he would “be on ambien.” She also commented on how calm the people around him were, surprisingly so.

It’s a presidential campaign, people. Why aren’t you running around like the firestorm that it’s supposed to be? I remember comments about the Clinton campaign and the subsequent administration, how everyone was adrenaline-filled and running around like crazy all of the time. What a contrast. It’s kind of like jazz, how it can be hyperkinetic and then really smooth. Doesn’t surprise me at all that Obama isn’t hyper. If you’ve ever seen him come on stage, he kind of lopes, very casually, like he hasn’t got a care in the world, or another three stops to make. I’ll bet he makes his Secret Service contingent crazy.

News From the Phone Banks

Unlike Barack Obama and his handlers, things at campaign headquarters are, shall we say, a bit frenzied. I think the junk food may have something to do with it—lots of leftover Halloween candy, homemade cakes, carbs, and a few veggies for good measure. We’re down to making calls for volunteers to come in on the last few days for door-to-door canvassing and for phone bank work, and we’re getting more answering machines than answers. Most people have heard from us at least two times by now, and they’re getting a little touchy, as in the woman who said, without grace, shall we say, “I wish you people would just leave me alone. I’m old!” All right. Point taken.

Granted, I hate to be on the other end of a rolling poll machine. I know how relentless they can be, which is why I like to be on the calling end and not the receiving end. But for those of you who are receiving the calls, just remember, it’s almost over. And if you really want to get rid of us, join us!

And I have to say, these Obama people are pretty relentless, they even have sign-up boards for ninja stealth canvassing during the night before polls open. No, no one is going to be knocking on doors, but they will be putting door hangers on door knobs so that it’s the first thing you see when you open you door in the morning to get the newspaper, if you still read a hard copy, that is. And guess what? I gently urged (hah!) Corey to sign up for one since he’s up all night anyway. I’m not sure, but I think that he may have been shooting daggers at me with his eyes, or maybe it was just a look of love. Who can tell these days . . .

Out of my calls today, I did manage to persuade one guy to come in after his shift at work to make telephone calls tomorrow, and another to come in to drive people to the polls after he drops his daughters off at school on election day. Me? On election day, we’re signed up for more phone work, and who knows what else we’ll be doing. Brett will be working, too, since school is closed that day. I’ve promised him his manna from heaven when all of this is over: His own dozen of Krispy Kreme donuts, hot off the racks. Mom knows how to bribe.

I was speaking with the phone bank coordinator, one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Turns out we have more in common than a belief in the visionary guy. She, too, has fibromyalgia and her share of pain problems, but she’s still working and volunteering. I’m in awe, truly. I know that I couldn’t do what she’s doing, by half. A sincere, big shoutout to her (and I would do the windshield wiper wave, but I refuse to take my Palin impersonation that far).

Finally, a Word from the Mighty Cleese

The word is berk, b-e-r-k. It’s a wonderful British word that means in general, fool. But its derivation comes from the Berkeley Hunt. In Cockney rhyming slang, hunt rhymes with c*nt, so berk takes on a much more derogatory meaning. Cockney, for those who might not be familiar with the term, is generally used to refer to slang from the East End of London, and rhyming slang is far more complicated, involving the dropping of a word with another word or phrase that rhymes with it.

Long story short, John Cleese appeared on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” last night and read another one of his poems, this one an homage to that twit, Bill O’Reilly. Cleese used the word berk in his description of O’Reilly, and when Olbermann asked him what the word meant, Cleese actually brought up the Berkeley Hunt definition. Priceless.

It’s been a long time since I’ve actually heard the word berk used, except once in a while on Masterpiece Theatre on mysteries, and I read it frequently in my British mysteries, but I used to hear it when I was a child, and my mother and I would travel around London, especially in the markets. Even as young as I was, I knew what a berk was, but I was never allowed to use the word. It’s a wonderful word, and Cleese’s use of it makes me want to reintroduce it into my personal patois. Think of the fun I could have . . . Oh stop being such a berk . . . That man is a complete and total berk . . . and so on. It really is too tempting. You do know that I’m going to have to go there.

On that note, more later. Peace.