“Watching the sunlight on distant smoke today–how far away and remote it seemed” ~ Charles Burchfield, Journal entry January 2, 1931

Low Lying Fog in California, by Ken Xu, FCC

“Let the light and the winds colour and cleanse my blood.” ~ Gabriela Mistral, from “Quietness”

Wednesday  afternoon, overcast, 48 degrees.

Hello out there in the ether. Hope today finds you well. Yesterday I completely forgot that it was Tuesday, which meant that I had a Two for Tuesday post all ready to go. That’s how much my mind is in disarray: I have to  look at my phone to see what day it is. Does anyone else have that problem?

Trees in the Mist, Hayle England, UK (FCC)

I usually begin my day here with a little organizing, trying to figure out what I have to say, thinking about accompanying images and songs, and then I usually watch a few YouTube videos that I subscribe to—Tati (beauty guru), Alexandria (unboxings and try ons), and then maybe someone else. It’s a distraction, and when I’m finished, I feel as if I’ve cleaned my palette, and I’m ready to go with the words.

For a short minute I thought about starting a YouTube channel, but man, people on there are vicious in their commentaries. One wrong word, and your channel explodes. I just don’t have either the patience or the thick skin for that, so I won’t be putting myself out there for that anytime soon.

I never get tired of watching this,
As the mists seem to move, then not move.
They don’t, of course, but merely disappear.
……………………………………………………….Perhaps that’s why I like it. ~ Charles Wright, from Littlefoot: “25”

A few mornings ago (maybe even yesterday?), the fog rolled in very quickly and lay within the trees at the back of the house like one of those old cotton Christmas tree skirts everyone used to use once upon a time. It was so fast, and by the time I thought about taking some pictures, it was gone; hence the Flickr Creative Commons pix of fog. I thought I’d try to get a variety of locations.

Trees in the Mist, Austria (FCC)

Fog has always fascinated me, ever since I was a young child in England. I’m certain that I’ve written about this before, but I still have vivid memories of being caught out in the fog in London and not being able to see anything. It was a different kind of fog—very, very thick and impenetrable. I remember a man walking in front of the buses with a lantern on a ladder to guide the driver.

I have no idea if they still get fog like that. I mean it was a long time ago, and even if they do, I’m sure that no longer use lanterns on ladders. But the first time that mom and I were out in that, it was pretty scary. I, obviously, had never seen anything like it, but then to realize that my mother was as scared as I was—something like that can really unnerve a child.

We were still living in the old house outside of London at the time, the house with the haunted bedroom. Man, if only I could remember where that was. I have absolutely no idea, and I’ve never found anything of mom’s that had that address on it.

“I really love fog. It hides you from the world and the world from you. You feel that everything has changed, and nothing is what it seemed to be. No one can find or touch you anymore.” ~ Eugene O’Neill, from Long Day’s Journey Into Night

I’ve driven through some really terrible fog more than a few times, but it doesn’t bother me. I find fog oddly comforting and beautiful. Living near the Chesapeake Bay, we could get some thick fog rolling in across the bay; of course, I wasn’t on the water at the time. I would imagine that people who work on the water as Corey used to do not find fog at all comforting.

Misty World, Vallée du Grésivaudan, French Alps (FCC)

It’s just that in heavy fog, sound changes. It can become completely muffled, and then light seems to disappear. I’ve always imagined having a scene in a book in which someone who is lost in a thick fog comes face to face with the killer. Yes, my mind does go to places like that, frequently, actually. I’m always mulling over plots for mysteries. The problem is that the mulling never moves beyond that.

It makes me wonder if I’m just a dilettante: someone who likes to know a little bit about a lot of things without ever specializing in any of them, and perhaps in a way, I am. I’m a curmudgeonly dilettante who loves words. What to make of that? Hmm . . .

Things that make you go hmm…………

“The light is flat and hard and almost nonexistent,
The way our lives appear to us,
……………………………………………..then don’t, as our inlook shifts.” ~ Charles Wright, from Littlefoot: “25”

I suppose that’s enough about the fog, but it’s such a wonderful image, and metaphor, and memory, actually. It’s taken me several years since my mother’s death to begin to remember more. Our relationship was so fractured that I think I tried very hard not to think about her in the immediate months following her death. But now, with some distance, I can begin to sort through the memories better.

One of the sad things, though, is that I know without a doubt that my mom was happiest in England. It seems like everything after that was just a disappointment for her, her marriage, her location, her family, everything. And I only realized too late that it would have been such a simple thing for me to offer to go back to London with her for a visit, but I never did. It never even occurred to me to do that, and now I cannot.

Mountains in mist and fog, Indonesia (FCC)

And so the memories of the two of us exploring every inch of London and the surrounding environs are more immediate, as it were.

It’s hard for me to think of my relationship with my mother as a whole. I’ll give you a classic example of how it was with us: My cousin once told me that my mother talked about me all of the time, and he could tell that she was proud of me. This caught me completely off guard. I never would have believed it if he hadn’t said it as I can remember exactly one time as a teenager or adult that my mother told me that she was proud of me.

One. Time.

Perhaps she said it as a matter of course when I was a child, because I was very much as Alexis was as a child: everything you could want in a daughter—smart, polite, attentive, hard-working, focused. Perhaps when I hit puberty, I became a foreigner to my mother, much as Alexis did to me when she entered high school.

Perhaps. Who knows? Certainly not I.

“Gloom is literally atmospheric, climate as much as impression . . . Gloom is more climatological than psychological, the stuff of dim, hazy, overcast skies, of ruins and overgrown tombs, of a misty, lethargic fog.” ~ Eugene Thacker, Cosmic Pessimism 

As these things are want to do, I have said much more than I had planned to say. The genesis was the fog, and then the floodgates opened. And truthfully, I’m not in the best place emotionally or mentally for open floodgates. I’ve spent the last two days in my pajamas, and when I looked in the mirror last night, I had to admit to myself that I just plain looked rough.

Der Nebel, Gilbert-Noël Sfeir Mont-Liban (FCC)

It’s been a rough kind of week. Tink isn’t out of the woods yet, and it’s hard for either of us to concentrate on much else, but I decided today to make an effort, you know, bath, put on clean clothes, maybe some lipstick, try to write, do more than just stare blankly at the screen. And so this is that effort.

Anyway, because it’s on my mind as well, I am reminded of a line from Charles Wright’s Littlefoot: “I live here accompanied by clouds.” There are so many clouds here, and I don’t yet know if that’s a year-round thing, or just fall and winter. My father would have hated that part. I’m fairly certain that he had Seasonal Affected Disorder; as the months became colder and light began to fade, his depression would worsen.

I can relate. I know that my own temperament is greatly affected by the weather. Take today, for instance: no sunlight anywhere, nothing dappling on the leaves on the trees. Just grey clouds, and clouds aren’t the same as fog. Grey clouds—unlike fluffy white clouds shaped like animals—are just, well, there, making everything look cold and grey and yes, gloomy.

So enough of that.

More later. Peace.


Music by Paloma Faith (loving her these days), “Only Love Can Hurt Like This”


Missing the Dead

I miss the old scrawl on the viaduct,
the crazily dancing letters: BIRD LIVES.
It’s gone now, the wall as clean as forgetting.
I go home and put on a record:
Charlie Parker Live at the Blue Note.
Each time I play it, months or years apart,
the music emerges more luminous;
I never listened so well before.
I wish my parents had been musicians
and left me themselves transformed into sound,
or that I could believe in the stars
as the radiant bodies of the dead.
Then I could stand in the dark, pointing out
my mother and father to all
who did not know them, how they shimmer,
how they keep getting brighter
as we keep moving toward each other.

~ Lisel Mueller

 

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“No one know what causes an outer landscape to become an inner one.” ~ Margaret Atwood

Dawn with Fishermen of Inle Lake, Myanmarby Chris Martin (National Geographic)
Dawn with Fishermen of Inle Lake, Myanmar
by Chris Martin (National Geographic)

                   

“why do you live in your body like you will be given another? as if it were temporary. you starve it, you let anyone touch it, you berate it. tell it that should be completely different. you tug at your soft flesh, wish it thinner, wish it gone. you fall in love with those who praise the way it sighs under their hands, but who praises the way it holds up your weight, even when you are falling apart?” ~ Warsan Shire, “Praise the Soft Belly”

Tuesday evening. Cloudy, high 50’s.

I woke up saying this sentence: “Tyler, I want a tin of bears and Oreos.” Don’t ask me what it means because I have no idea, but I was actually singing it as opposed to just saying it. I have such a very strange dream life.

Olivia, who is over today, is currently napping. I expect her to wake up any minute now, especially because I just sat down to write. I kept postponing, thinking that she would wake up, until finally I decided to hell with it. I’ll just start writing and see what happens.

Across the Mist on Inle Lake by Zara Bowmar Nat Geo
Across the Mist on Inle Lake
by Zara Bowmar (National Geographic)

I called my mom to let her know that Olivia was over here, and she came over for a visit. As my mother was holding Olivia, she was remarking on how fat she is (she isn’t). I won’t even delve into how upset that made me, but I just kept my mouth shut. Olivia is too young for the words to stick, but as I said to Corey after my mom left, is it any wonder I am the way that I am. Corey’s response was that she starts young.

Understatement.

“There is a theory of crying that tears are the body’s way of
releasing excess elements from the brain. There is a theory of
dreaming that each one serves to mend something torn, like
cells of new skin lining up to cover a hole.” ~ Lisa Olstein, from “That Magnificent Part the Chorus Does about Tragedy”

So I finally finished the taxes and Brett’s FAFSA, at least for now. I still need to do Eamonn’s taxes, but those will be a piece of cake after what I just went through. I had to do an amended return for Eamonn because last year I somehow claimed him as a dependent on our return (legitimate as he was still in school full time), but when I did his return I forgot and gave him one exemption. The IRS sent him a letter saying that he needed to do an amended return. I have to say the 1040x is a stupid, overly complicated form, and I went through all of these steps to get the same amount that I had pretty much calculated in my head.

Traditional Fisherman on Inle Lake by Zara Bowmar Nat Geo
Traditional Fisherman on Inle Lake
by Zara Bowmar (National Geographic)

And that interminable wait to speak to an IRS person? She told me that she didn’t know a lot about the 1040x, but it sounded like I had it right. Then she offered to transfer me to someone who was an expert in that form, at which point I was told that the wait would be at least 15 minutes, this after being on the phone for 59 minutes, 54 of those on hold.

No thank you.

“Word by word, the language of women so often begins with a whisper.” ~ Terry Tempest Williams, from When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

Thursday evening. Cloudy and cold, 47 degrees.

Spear Fisherman Rowing Boat with his Leg, Myanmar Inle Lake by Sean Caffrey Nat Geo
Spear Fisherman Rowing Boat with his Leg
Myanmar Inle Lake
by Sean Caffrey (National Geographic)

By the time Olivia left on Tuesday, I had run out of things to say, so I never got back to this post. Yesterday, I was bedridden, nauseous, dizzy and weak. Too tired to read, even, better last night, but Corey and I stayed up until 5 a.m. watching season 2 of “Walking Dead.” It’s a highly addictive show, and we’re trying to finish season 2 and the beginning of season 3 before he is scheduled to ship out on February 16.

We’re in countdown mode again. He decided to sign on for half a hitch (45 days) since none of the companies in which he is interested have openings at the moment. Perhaps something will become available once he finishes this hitch. Neither of us are terribly excited about him going back, but we want to make sure we don’t get caught up in a domino effect again with our bills, and this is the best way to ensure that does not happen.

I think that I was in denial about it, telling him that I was fine with him going, and then I realized that I wasn’t fine, but there really isn’t anything that can be done. I just have to try to keep things together for six weeks or so. I think I can do that, should be able to do that, don’t know if I can do that . . .

“Into what waters do we fall
when we leave, if time does not exist?
What is the depth of heaven?” ~ Manuel Ulacia, from “The Stone at the Bottom”

Corey has spent the last five days cleaning fish. During his last trip he caught lots of fish, red snapper and other kinds with which I am unfamiliar. They were all frozen whole in garbage bags. So he finally decided to clean and fillet them. We had fresh fish twice in the last week. Not complaining. Everyone in the family loves fish. My dad used to cook fish all of the time, fried, baked, however, but he did not often fillet it, which meant fish bones. If there is a bone, I will find it.

Spear Fisherman on Inle Lake by Cuong Do Nat Geo
Spear Fisherman on Inla Lake
by Cuong Do (National Geographic)

I am reminded of something funny that my father used to do. If anyone was choking on a fish bone, he would pat their head in a circular motion. Apparently it’s some kind of Filipino wives’ tale: patting the head clears the fish bone. I can attest that it does not work. Actually, now that I think of it, I think he was pulling my leg . . .

So during this massive cleaning Corey has taught Brett how to clean fish, something he’s been wanting to learn. Eamonn, who knows how already, decided that he did not want to participate in the cleaning. Go figure.

Anyway, now that we’re in countdown mode, it seems that Corey is trying to get all kinds of things done before next week. We’re going to try to go to the movies one more time before he leaves. I had wanted to see Anna Karenina, with Keira Knightly, but I don’t think that it came to any theaters in this area, and if it did, it’s long gone. I think we’re going to see Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, perhaps this weekend.

“Why am I afraid, I who am not afraid? Why must I pretend to scorn in order to pity? Why must I hide myself in self-contempt in order to understand? Why must I be so ashamed of my strength, so proud of my weakness?” ~ Eugene O’Neill from The Great God Brown

I’m very worried about Brett. He is unhappy with one of his classes and seems set on not going. I was really hoping that this semester would be a break for him, only classes he likes, 12 easy credits.

Sunset on Inle Lake by Chinmay Vasavada Nat Geo
Sunset on Inle Lake
by Chinmay Vasvada (National Geographic)

He’s distressed because he had originally signed up for a film class and then at the last minute changed it to a short story class. Now he hates the short story class and wishes that he were in the film class, especially because a friend of his is telling him what a great class it is.

Signing up for classes is often a crap shoot. If you don’t know someone who has taken the class or someone who knows the professor, you don’t know what you’re getting. I had more than my share of crap classes, but there’s really nothing you can do about it once you’re past that drop/add deadline, which he is.

What is worrying me is how focused he is on his perceived mistake. I know that I dwell, but he is completely fixated, to the point of obsessing over what could have been. I so wish that none of my children had inherited the family propensity for depression, but alas, was not to be. All of them, to one degree or another, suffer. But I’ve been doing this dance with Brett since high school, and at times, I feel so utterly helpless and useless that I just want to put my fist through a wall.

“So, now I shall talk every night. To myself. To the moon. I shall walk, as I did tonight, jealous of my loneliness, in the blue-silver of the cold moon, shining brilliantly on the drifts of fresh-fallen snow, with the myriad sparkles. I talk to myself and look at the dark trees, blessedly neutral. So much easier than facing people, than having to look happy, invulnerable, clever. With masks down, I walk, talking to the moon, to the neutral impersonal force that does not hear, but merely accepting my being. And does not smite me down.” ~ Sylvia Plath, from “Cambridge Notes”

How does the depressed aid the depressed? How does one who is herself in a free fall pause long enough to prop up one for whom she feels completely responsible?

Depression goes hand-in-hand with low self-esteem. One causes the other, and it is hard to say which is the precursor and which is the result. My youngest son suffers terribly from a sense that he is not good enough, that he cannot get it right, whatever it may be. And because I carry around enough guilt for a monastery full of self-flagellating monks, I fear that I have caused him to feel less than worthy somehow.

Sunset at Inle Lake, Myanmar by Joseph Cressman Nat Geo
Sunset at Inle Lake, Myanmar
by Joseph Cressman (National Geographic)

Depression and low self-esteem are a sharp knife, and the cuts may be invisible, but they are still there, and I hate that I know about the cuts but can do nothing to help them heal.

I am distressed that he has taken a dislike to this class so soon in the semester, and I don’t want him to take any action that may hurt his overall GPA. Yet at the same time I want him to do what will best help him as regards his mental state. I fear that the planned trip to New Zealand will not come soon enough, and I fear that it will come and he will go and not come back.

Why is life always so damned hard, even when it isn’t?

Enough.

More later. Peace.

(All images from National Geographic Sense of Place are of local fishermen in Myanmar (Burma):  The fish population in Inle Lake has dwindled as a result of overfishing, environmental waste, and invasive non-native species, and fishermen such as those in the pictures above are turning away from their trades, sustaining themselves instead by demonstrating traditional fishing methods to tourists. Local fishermen use tall nets to trap fish and then use spears to catch them. They are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style that involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. The reeds and floating plants covering the lake make it difficult to see above them while sitting. Standing provides the rower with a view beyond the reeds and frees their hands for fishing. However, the leg rowing style is only practiced by the men. wikipedia)

Music by Tindersticks, “Sweet Memory”

                   

Admonitions to a Special Person

Watch out for power,
for its avalanche can bury you,
snow, snow, snow, smothering your mountain.

Watch out for hate,
it can open its mouth and you’ll fling yourself out
to eat off your leg, an instant leper.

Watch out for friends,
because when you betray them,
as you will,
they will bury their heads in the toilet
and flush themselves away.

Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.

Watch out for games, the actor’s part,
the speech planned, known, given,
for they will give you away
and you will stand like a naked little boy,
pissing on your own child-bed.

Watch out for love
(unless it is true,
and every part of you says yes including the toes),
it will wrap you up like a mummy,
and your scream won’t be heard
and none of your running will end.

Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can’t be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.

Special person,
if I were you I’d pay no attention
to admonitions from me,
made somewhat out of your words
and somewhat out of mine.
A collaboration.
I do not believe a word I have said,
except some, except I think of you like a young tree
with pasted-on leaves and know you’ll root
and the real green thing will come.

Let go. Let go.
Oh special person,
possible leaves,
this typewriter likes you on the way to them,
but wants to break crystal glasses
in celebration,
for you,
when the dark crust is thrown off
and you float all around
like a happened balloon.

~ Anne Sexton

“Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.” ~ Eugene O’Neill

Dusk on Monterosso, Cinque Terre, Italy, by PeterJot (FCC)

                   

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.” ~ Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Saturday afternoon. Cloudy, impending showers/storms.

Mediterranean View, Cinque Terre, Italy, by see.lauren (FCC)

What a long, strange week it’s been. I began the week quite weepie, for no particular reason. Just a bit melancholy, thinking about my dad, my life, and feeling a tug at my heart that I couldn’t quite identify. It happens, and sometimes without warning—that inexorable pull towards ground that is not quite as firm, towards an edge that looms a bit too closely—but it does not happen nearly as often as in years past, and my ability to find terra firma sooner rather than later seems to have strengthened of late.

Since the Germans were arriving this week, I decided on Sunday that we had allowed Eamonn to live out of garbage bags for long enough. It was time—time for the big furniture shuffle and commitment to morphing the what-was-to-be-office back into Eamonn’s bedroom. This meant that we had to move the humongous bureau/wardrobe out of the living room (after I finally acceded to the truth that it was too large to work in our bedroom) and into Eamonn’s room.

We/I also decided that since no one had laid claim to the loft bed/desk that was in here, the most logical thing was to saw the top from the bottom and toss the desk part, leaving a bed frame. Corey got out his trusty all-purpose saw and after loud grinding, voila: bed. And it looks quite nice actually, kind of a modern day-bed, and the metal of the bed matches the silver pulls on the bureau. We need to find some casters to fit into the bottom so that it doesn’t scratch the hardwood floors.

I also gave up the bookcase that we had bought to go in the bedroom as it was also black wood, and now that’s in here, as well as my black computer desk. I thought that since my computer is still non-functional, and since we needed a computer desk in Eamonn’s room, it made the most sense to move the black desk in with the other furniture.

So in the process, I gave up my bureau, my desk, and my slim bookcase, and Eamonn got a really nice looking room. Of course, the room really needs to be painted to cover up all of Eamonn’s friends’ autographs in black Sharpie, which he began amassing during high school. For now, it works. Except for the nasty curtains that are currently hanging up at his window. I have decided that I hate them, but that’s fixed easily enough: a bamboo shade, which can be purchased for a song at the discount store.

“It was like days when the rain came out of yellow skies that melted just before twilight and shot one radiant shaft of sunlight diagonally down the heavens into the damp green trees.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and the Damned

Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy, by ezioman (FCC)

The result is that Eamonn now has his bedroom back, and I have lost my office. But since he works all of the time and is rarely home, I have almost unlimited access to the one working computer, at least for now.

We aren’t quite finished with the furniture shuffle. I’m still going to put the nightstand that we had purchased to go with the wardrobe in our bedroom, which means moving the current nightstand as well as the old trunk that I have in the corner. The new nightstand is much wider. We’re putting the trunk in the living room as a coffee table, but since the trunk is currently the home of books, stuffed babies, and other miscellany, it means more shuffling.

At least everything is getting a thorough dusting in the process, and we’re getting rid of stuff that can be donated to the thrift store. Less stuff is good.

So this evening we’re getting together with the Germans for a deck party (Is using that collective bad? I mean, they are all from Germany), but I fear the party may have to be moved indoors as the remnants of the tropical storm are supposed to hit our area.

We went over to the beach house that they are renting on Thursday evening just to say hello. It’s always so good to see them. They are all thinner, oddly enough. Apparently, Phillip was sick for a while with stomach problems, and Hannah has her ongoing problems with arthritis. And Helma, well, she’s always thin as she runs around all of the time and expends so much energy in taking care of Patrick.

Unfortunately, we arrived a bit late, and Patrick was already in bed, but we’ll see him tonight. We communicate with him through a series of head turns and blinks, and I have to brush up on my skills as I always forget. But I tell Patrick that I will only spell with him if he’s patient. I’m the only one who can get away with that as he can be quite vexing when he gets impatient.

(Brief background: Patrick is my ex-husband’s brother. He married Helma while he was in the army stationed in Germany. They were transferred to the states just a few years into their marriage. They were making a road trip here in preparation for Ann’s (other s-in-law) wedding to the jerk (who is now history). They had a major car accident, and Patrick was deprived of oxygen, which resulted in him being permanently disabled, in a wheelchair and unable to speak. He has all of his mental faculties, and can still kick butt in trivia games. Phillip and Hannah are their two children. They all moved back to Germany several years ago, and make a trip to the states once a year.)

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!” ~ Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life 

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy, by Aida Photography (FCC)

Let’s see . . . what else has happened? Oh yes, Corey worked 39 hours in three days, a record. He had a medical transport on Friday/Saturday, and the shipping agent didn’t book him a return flight back until Saturday, which meant that he was gone 23 hours. Love the hours, but it’s a hell of a way to get them. Obviously, he was tired. The downside is that they took away two shifts because he would have gone into overtime. Drats.

This week he’s already lost a shift. Feast or famine. Something has to give.

In other news, I saw Alexis on Friday when she gave Em and me a ride to do some errands (Corey was at work). She’s looking better, and she seems a bit more like her old self. I’ll just keep biding my time in the hopes that given enough time and space, she might be able to get to a better place.

She and Mike are supposed to be at the family party this evening, so we’ll see how that goes. Let’s hope that this gathering is drama free, unlike last year’s in which Ann and my ex got into a heated argument about their Mom’s care. My ex was, of course, being unreasonable and, shall we say, a tad nasty. It really brought down the jocular mood of the evening.

By the way, Cinque Terre, Italy, is in the Liguria region, on the coast of the Italian Riviera. Cinque Terre, which translates as Five Lands, is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. I tried to pick a selection showcasing all five villages.

“In a place far away from anyone or anywhere, I drifted off for a moment.” ~ Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Cinque Terre, Italy, by JoeDuck (FCC)

So other than those tidbits, life has been moving along as usual. Everyone is getting back into the school mindset. For Corey and Eamonn, classes begin on the 18th of August, but ODU starts later.

We’re hoping to have the truck fixed by the time ODU starts back so that we will have two vehicles again. Of course, with that comes the addition of Brett to the car insurance. Yippee.

I need to contact my uncle in Florida to let him know that I’m hoping to have the Explorer shipped here sometime this fall. I still cannot believe that he is just giving me this vehicle. I suppose it’s hard to come to terms with such unexpected generosity, that someone would just think to themselves, we have this vehicle that we’re not using; she needs a vehicle; let’s give it to her.

Wow. I’m really going to have a lot of giving-back to do once we finally arrive on the other side of this curve in our lives. I’m not saying that reluctantly. It’s something that I’m looking forward to doing: helping other people in any way that I can. Life should be like that: You give when you can so that you may receive in times of need.

When did life stop being like that? When did societies stop being about the kind hand? The welcome basket filled with flour and salt? The cup of sugar or the can of whatever? I am reminded of that scene in It’s a Wonderful Life in which they visit the family that is moving into their own home for the first time—the shared joy over one family’s accomplishments, the heartfelt good wishes, the kindness of the neighbors in the blossoming community of new homeowners.

“There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness . . you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of the mind. You never knew those caves were there. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.” ~ Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy, by Mark_whatmough (FCC)

I suppose that I should mention the bit of drama we had mid week when I received a telephone call from Em’s case worker in which she informed me that the investigation has been kicked up a notch. My prediction that the house-visit/inspection would not be good enough to satisfy the pest was spot on.

Quite frankly, I am beyond tired of all of this crap. The pest can take a flying leap for all that I care. He/she has managed to get people to listen to baseless accusations, which has led to an unwanted intrusion into my family’s life. I’m over it.

The most recent slurs against my character include describing me as a “dangerous woman.” Really? You’re really going to go there? You have no idea as to the depths that my vindictiveness can sink only because I have been operating on a remain-calm-and-let-things- play-themselves-out tack. Do not mistake this inaction on my part for unwillingness to confront the storm head on. I have survived far too much loss, pain, and bullshit in my life to allow this petty insanity to hold sway over my life.

In nature, the extents to which the female will go to protect her brood are not exaggerated. I have seen heretofore sweet family dogs bare their teeth at the merest hint that someone was going to approach the newborn litter. The lengths to which I will go to protect my family has probably been my children’s biggest complaint about me. I won’t deny it.

So this is what I have to say about the continued assaults on my character, the non-stop telephone calls in attempts to have authorities, any authorities, look into my life, the haranguing e-mails sent to various individuals in which accusations flow like some kind of concentrated viper venom: Do not underestimate me.

I have done nothing wrong, broken no laws, infringed on no one’s rights, withheld no information, refused no intrusions or examinations even though I would be well within my legal rights to do so. But the time has come for this bullshit to stop.

Grow up. Get real. Get a life. Get a job. Get the hell out of my life and the life of my family. In my estimation, you are a danger to yourself and to anyone who comes within your very narrow scope. I could give two figs about your supposed injustices. You know nothing of true emotional pain, only that which you have manufactured so as to allow you to continue in your role as victim.

This is not a Tennessee Williams play in which you can try to depend upon the kindness of strangers, nor are you a tragic character worthy of the audience’s sympathy. Your chest-thumping, hair-pulling, hand-wringing tactics are banal and base. Your words are hollow. Your supposed grievances hold no water, especially not with me, and any empathy that I may have still held for you has ceased.

More later. Peace.

Music by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, “Where the Wild Roses Grow”

                   

I Remember

By the first of August
the invisible beetles began
to snore and the grass was
as tough as hemp and was
no color–no more than
the sand was a color and
we had worn our bare feet
bare since the twentieth
of June and there were times
we forgot to wind up your
alarm clock and some nights
we took our gin warm and neat
from old jelly glasses while
the sun blew out of sight
like a red picture hat and
one day I tied my hair back
with a ribbon and you said
that I looked almost like
a puritan lady and what
I remember best is that
the door to your room was
the door to mine.

~ Anne Sexton