“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” ~ Sylvia Plath

Marianne von Werefkin Schneewirbel 1915
“Schneewirbel” (1915, oil on cardboard)
by Marianne von Werefkin

“My pen was idle for a long time, perhaps only because the words found it difficult to cross the hostile space of the minute where man is without memory, where life hangs on a thread, a breath.” ~ Edmond Jabès, from The Book of Questions Volumes 2 and 3: The Book of Yukel Return to the Book, trans. Rosmarie Waldrop

Sunday evening. Partly cloudy and very mild, 76 degrees.

First, I want to welcome those of you who have recently subscribed to my blog. Thanks ever so much.

Marianne von Werfkin Nuit Fantastique, c1910
“Nuit Fantastique” (c1910)
by Marianna von Werefkin

However, I feel I might have done you a disservice. In normal years (whatever those are), my posts are mostly written by me about, well, me, my life, my family, my foibles. This year has been quite different. After my mother’s death in January, I never seemed to be able to get back into my writing groove, and as a result, my posts are frequently reblogs of articles I find interesting, silly/funny Friday leftovers, and lots of poems and art, with very little of what is actually me in between.

So if you’ve hitched a ride onto my fading star because my blog seems to be more about being entertaining than being about musings, I sincerely apologize for how I plan to change things: I’m going to try to write more and reblog less. You see, even I have grown tired of my rabbit trails here and there, almost everywhere but where I need to be, by which I mean inside my head, sifting and culling thoughts and ideas and generally opining to my heart’s content. I do plan to keep my Friday leftovers and my Two for Tuesday poems, but aside from that, I’m going to begin the last quarter of this year trying to do more of what I need to do: create, write, actually think about things, ponder the relationships between words and phrases, and with any luck, I might be able to recapture some of what I think I have lost recently.

“I shall never know why
Our lives took a turn for the worse, nor will you” ~ Mark Strand, from “The Man in the Tree”

Anyway . . .

This past week has been quite an endurance test for me: I ended up watching Olivia every day from last Saturday through Thursday, with only one night off. Circumstances in my daughter’s household kind of imploded, and out of respect for their privacy, I shall not delve into details except to say that I was left reeling, and I felt that volunteering to watch le bébé was the best way in which I could help everyone muddle through.

Marianne von Werefkin Autumn paren School 1909
“Autumn (School)” (1907, tempera on paper)
by Marianne von Werefkin

You all know that I love Olivia beyond words, but boy is my tired body not up to the challenge of keeping up with a very curious, very active two-year-old. Add to that the challenge of buckets of stress causing my insomnia to rear its ugly head, and the sleep deprivation coupled with the very full days and nights resulted in a physical and mental meltdown for me, one that I couldn’t really share with anyone.

And in between I had to deal with trying to get Brett to the DMV to get his license before ODU starts, finding out that it’s going to cost an arm and a leg to switch around plates on vehicles, and trying to finalize the whole Social Security thing. Not to mention surviving the day on which Brett’s tail lights decided to all die at the same time, ending up with us looking for shade under which I could try to splice wires and change out bulb harnesses (which I did, but it didn’t work).

Man.

Hence, no real posts for the past few days, and more than the usual level of stress and anxiety. My only respite was my evening bath with a backdrop of my blues playlist and a chilled wine spritzer.

“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears. In the end that’s all there is: love and its duty, sorrow and its truth. In the end that’s all we have—to hold on tight until the dawn.” ~ Gregory David Roberts, from Shantaram

Thankfully, the week ended much better than it began, with the exception of my pain management appointment on Friday, better known as the pain management appointment that didn’t happen. Yep that medical group that has been playing havoc with my body since March of this year finally ended our relationship on a bruising note: I showed up for a Friday appointment at an office that had shifted to Portsmouth in the middle of the month, and apparently, I was told this . . . not.

Marianne von Werefkin Le Chioffonnier 1917 tempera on paper
“Le Shioffonnier” (1917, tempera on paper)
by Marianne von Werefkin

They asked me at 2:20 if I wanted to try to drive to Portsmouth for the 2:40 appointment, to which I replied a resounding no as I do not do Portsmouth. My driving relationship with Portsmouth is not the best as I have yet to enter that city and find any location without first getting lost, so I knew that to try to make an appointment that was 20 minutes from the time I stepped into the defunct beach office was impossible.

Two things happened as a result: First, I was finally given the contact information for the pain management doctor who left the practice in March, you know, the one who I adore, the one who actually makes my back and head feel better, the first one in quite a while who actually listens to me (this information for which I have been begging everyone and anyone with whom I had any contact). Yep, he has opened his own practice, and I finally have the phone number (can I get a hallelujah?)

Second, when asked if I wanted to reschedule, I replied, “No. I’ll be seeing Dr. X from now on.” And I carried my weary, achy body out the door and to the nearest Target, where I spent at least an hour looking at makeup and nail polish that I didn’t need, but I felt better afterwards, nevertheless.

“. . . I recognize the lazy
murmur of August, the carmine of the sea.” ~ Eugénio de Andrade, from “You Are Where My Gaze Begins”

So tomorrow is Corey’s birthday, and he’s spending it on the ship. However, he will be home on Wednesday, and we plan to have a family dinner in honor of his and Brett’s birthdays, neither of which we were able to celebrate. I’m so looking forward to his homecoming, even though he’ll only be home for two weeks this time so that his schedule can finally be synced with his other crew mates who are going to be on the new ship.

Marianne von Werefkin House with Lantern c1913 tempera on cardboard
“House with Lantern” (c1913, tempera on cardboard)
by Marianne von Werefkin

I can tell by his voice that he’s tired, but at least it hasn’t been six weeks this time, which was unbearable for both of us. Now that his sister Alana has had her baby, and we know that everyone is fine and healthy, I think that takes care of one of his major worries. And now that the situation with Alexis seems to have been resolved for the time-being, that is another thing he can stop fretting over.

It’s so hard for him when things are troublesome at home and he is away, and I try not to dump anything on him if I can help it as his focus needs to be on his job when he’s out there. Unfortunately, I am horrible at hiding pain in my voice, no matter how I try. It goes both ways, though. I can read him just as easily from a thousand miles as if he were across the room. It’s that double-edged sword of loving someone completely, which is good, but loving them so completely that hiding anything is impossible, which can be bad.

Oh well . . .

“What would become of us if everything that happens out there were quite clear to us?” ~ Erich Maria Remarque, from All Quiet on the Western Front

Look, I never said this was going to be a deep post, or a moving post, just a real post. I’m working on it. Okay? It’s a process . . .

So I’m trying to begin this week by getting my groove back, as it were (but not as Stella did). I also plan to try to write something to Mari, and to get caught up on paperwork. Okay. Maybe too much for one week, but we’ll just have to see how I do, won’t we?

I do have to say that in recent weeks/months I’ve accumulated a plethora of quotes, art, and songs, so much so that I have about 20 drafts ready to go; I just need to fill them in with my words (just that one minor detail). Additionally, I have that post about Robin Williams that I began about ten days ago, and I do want to finish that, for a number of personal reasons. So let’s just say that I have a loose game plan, and I in coming days I need to remind myself that I’m the only one hanging deadlines over my head, proverbial swords of Damocles, as it were.

Marianne von Werefkin Moonlit Landscape 1907 mixed media on cardboard
“Moonlit Landscape” (1907, mixed media on cardboard)
by Marianne von Werefkin

At the moment, I really need shots from my neck to my butt, and everything in between. I need botox for my migraines, and I need a vacation, but for now I’ll settle for the first two (sometime in the next few weeks, oh please, oh please) with plans for the third some time next year.

I will tell you this: Corey and I might have a short road trip planned to look at some property somewhere in the western part of the state. That’s all that I’ll say about that for now. Can’t reveal all of my cards in one round, now can I?

I certainly asked a lot of rhetorical questions in this section, didn’t I?

More later. Peace.

All images are by Russian/Swiss artist, Marianne von Werefkin (1860-1938)

Music by Rebecca Roubion, “Break”

                   

Summer Solstice

I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.

~ Stacie Cassarino

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“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.” ~ Edith Wharton, “Vesalius in Zante (1564)”

Hgnging Bridge Hussaini, Borit Lake, Pakistan

                   

“Let me be, was all I wanted. Be what I am, no matter how I am.” ~ Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

Friday afternoon. Partly cloudy and very warm, 80s. Impending storms.

So where do I begin?

Corey arrived home on Wednesday night. The company chose not to wait for his documents to arrive, instead sending him home. I couldn’t reach him on Wednesday because his cell phone battery died, but he managed to call me once he made it to La Guardia after having one leg of his flight cancelled, being rerouted to Toronto, having his luggage lost, having a plane held, and having another plane arrive late.

Hanging Bridge at Trift Glacier, Switzerland

If this sounds exhausting, trust me when I say that it was. He slept fourteen hours straight into Thursday afternoon, and who could blame him?

The good news, though—or at least the news that makes all of this bearable is that while he was on the ship for those four days, he found out a lot of information about the company, and most of it wasn’t good. It seems that they’ve lost a major contract because their ships keep breaking down, which means that they aren’t able to fulfill the runs between countries. One of the guys in charge on the ship said that in the first two hitches that he served, he was sent home after four days the first time, and after two weeks the second time.

Another guy said that the company is not above telling the crew one thing and telling the Coast Guard another, in attempts to get the ships back at sea. As it turns out now, everyone who was sent to crew the ship along with Corey will be sent home sometime in the next few weeks because that particular ship has a blown engine, which means one to three months in the yard. The Coast Guard is reluctant to pass on the inspections because the company has made half-attempts at fixing problems before, which, obviously, is unsafe.

“If you go to the window, perhaps you’ll still catch
the dying of the last light.

Madness. The madness of March.” ~ Eugénio de Andrade, from “White on White” (translated by Alexis Levitin)

So the long and short of it is that Corey would have been coming home anyway, but not this soon, but definitely not after three months. He has worked for a really dysfunctional shipping company before, and it made life very tenuous. That particular company routinely did patch jobs on their boats, and the boats were always breaking down as a result. I told Corey that I think that in the end it’s probably better that he didn’t invest too much time in this company only to be jerked around constantly.

Loboc Hanging Bridge, Philippines

The management at the security company was glad to have him back, and he plans to contact several other companies that were interested in him before, but he didn’t have his paperwork updated at the time. I think that things will work out for the better; at least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

In the meantime, I’m in an ongoing battle with UPS, having recently learned that the package was not held up by customs but rather because the store didn’t sent out the package until yesterday, this after being assured that everything that could have been done to get the package there within the two days for which I paid handsomely had, in fact, been done. I really hate people who lie to my face, well over the phone.

You can bet that someone, somewhere in the UPS food chain is going to refund me that money.

“Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened.” ~ T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton” from Four Quartets

Yesterday, I waited on campus for Brett as he only had two classes, and I didn’t want to waste the gas making four trips. I spent the time reading more of Game of Thrones. It was a beautiful day, and I was quite relaxed. I had big plans to walk Tillie when I got home, but by the time I did get home, I found that I was just exhausted. I know that it was the after-effects of the past four days finally catching up with me. I may try to take her for a walk when I finish this post, though, as I felt really good after she took me for a walk the other day, although, she did jump in the pool when we got home. She’s such a funny dog.

Hanging Bridge in Drake Bay, Costa Rica

Anyway, yesterday was my mother’s birthday; she’s 80. She would absolutely kill me for telling people how old she is. Corey and I gave her one of his beautiful sunflower pictures, and she actually seemed to like it, rare thing when my mother likes a gift.

Today is Eamonn’s 21st birthday. We don’t have his actual gift yet as it’s going to be Rosetta Stone for French, and the plan was to pay for that with Corey’s first big check . . . yep, well, that’s how that goes, for now at least. He has big plans to go out with his friends tonight. Here’s hoping that he’s careful and has a designated driver.

It’s really strange in some ways to see your children grow into adults. I still have the most vivid memories of Eamonn as a small boy, and boy was he cute. Even then he was quite a flirt, shades of things to come. But it’s funny that when I have dreams that involve a young child, it’s almost always Brett as a baby or toddler. I suppose that’s because he’s still the baby in my mind. By the way, Brett corrected me: It wasn’t a toss up between New Zealand and Australia, rather between New Zealand and Canada or Sweden. My mistake.

“we bury the ashes
of our wording
and sift
the silences.” ~ Joy Kogawa, from Offerings

Had to take a break while Brett removed that strange adware program called Text Enhance from the computer. It seems that I’m not the only person that had the appearance of strange underlining and links to suddenly appear on their copy. Brett said that it’s adware/spyware, and he recommended that I download Ghostery, an application the prevents scripts from detecting your presence online, which stops the scripts from running on your computer.

Carricki-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland

The following is from my tech savvy son: The program installs itself onto the computer and creates ads in relation to the text that is on screen. Enhance’s website removal instructions only harm the computer further. Do not go to the website as it will install Enhance to your computer without your knowledge or consent. To delete it, simply uninstall it from the add/remove program menu in the control panel, or scan for it with an anti spyware program.

Thanks for the assistance, Brett.

That’s one less thing to worry about today, and trust me when I say that today has been one for the records as far as dealing with things. In between writing this post, I’ve been back and forth with UPS in six separate telephone calls, cut off once after holding for almost eight minutes, and told three different things as far as getting a reimbursement. Oh, and did I mention that one woman said that they had no idea as to when the package might be sent back from Germany; funny thing is that it wasn’t sent until 10:20 this morning, two hours after I talked to the UPS store manager, who assured me that she would see that it was returned to sender—but it hadn’t even left the country at that point!

Argh. I feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick that damned football.

“Wait.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.” ~ Galway Kinnell from “Wait”

Since I began this post over four hours ago, the temperature has dropped 21 degrees, and rumbles of thunder can be heard in the distance. The rain is coming down hard now. There will be no walk today, for obvious reasons. The headache that was dull is back full force, and Eamonn came home from work to find green streamers all over his bedroom (I didn’t have balloons, so the streamers are almost as obnoxious).

Oh, and to add to the growing miasma of unmitigated crap that comprises our lives over the past six days, Corey got his paycheck from the Lithuania trip, and of course, because nothing is going right at the moment, it’s short. Can I just say that this whole week would be better if erased with permanent white-out from the book of life, auto-corrected and eliminated, as it were.

I plan to spend the rest of this evening watching Investigation ID on cable, get my fill of psychopaths and people who kill for revenge. As Aristotle said, tragedy allows the audience to purge itself of pity and fear and other negative emotions. I firmly believe that watching real-life stories of murder and mayhem and watching dramatic stories of the same ilk, as in “Law & Order,” allows me to release all of these pent up feelings of needing to throttle someone because of their incompetence and stupidity.

Purging the emotions without actually taking action. That’s a good thing. If only it really worked.

Okay, enough already. Between the telephone calls, computer malware, computer freezes, and all of the other bull, it’s now 9:10 p.m. I began this post half a day ago . . .

More later. Peace.

*I can think of no better image to represent how I feel than today’s selection of hanging bridges . . .

Music by Alex Clare, “Relax My Beloved” (Corey found this one for me)

                   

Rachmaninoff on the Mass Pike

It calls the heart, this music, to a place
more intimate than home, than self, that face
aging in the hall mirror. This is not
music to age by—no sprightly gavotte
or orderly pavane, counting each beat,
confining motion to the pointed feet
and sagely nodding head; not Chopin, wise
enough to keep some distance in his eyes
between perceiver and the thing perceived.
No, this is song that means to be believed,
that quite believes itself, each rising wave
of passionate crescendo wild and brave.
The silly girl who lived inside my skin
once loved this music; its melodic din
was like the voice she dreamed in, sad, intense.
She didn’t know a thing, she had no sense;
she scorned—and needed—calendar and clock,
the rules, the steps, the lines, Sebastian Bach;
she wanted life to break her like a tide,
but not too painfully. On either side
the turnpike trundles by, nurseries, farms,
small towns with schools and markets in their arms,
small industry, green spaces now and then.
All the heart wants is to be called again.

~ Rhina P. Espaillat