“There is a sense in which we are all each other’s consequences.” ~ Wallace Stegner, from All the Little Live Things

Web Droplets by Martyn Wright FCC
Web Droplets by Martyn Wright (FCC)

 “Perhaps it’s true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house—the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture—must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstitutred. Imbued with new meaning.” ~ Arundhati Roy, from The God of Small Things

Sunday early evening. Sunny and cooler, 57 degrees.

Drips by Ricardo Camacho FCC
Drips by Ricardo Camacho (FCC)

So much going through my brain, thoughts coming at me, bombarding my senses, leaving me feeling bruised and broken.

Last night as I lay in bed, sleep elusive once again, I began to wonder when it was, exactly, that I lost my strength, my fortitude, as it were. I used to consider myself such a strong person, a person able to weather storms, a person who could take the worst that life heaped on my plate and still, somehow, survive.

But now? Now I cannot find that strength. I search and search, and I only find weakness, and weakness is to be pitied, and pity? Pity is to be scorned. Who wants pity? At least if someone hates you, that hatred encapsulates a strong emotion. Pity bears nothing. It is hollow and useless.

“My mind is blank, as indifferent as the
noonday heat. But images of memories descend from afar and land in
the bowl of water, neutral memories, neither painful nor joyful, such as
a walk in a pine forest, or waiting for a bus in the rain, and I wash them
as intently as if I had a literary crystal vase in my hands.” ~ Mahmoud Darwish, from “A coloured cloud”

My heart feels old. My soul feels rent. My mind feels spent. And I have to wonder who decided that life should always be hard, that the good days should always have a shadow cast upon them. I have to wonder how other people survive in this world, this world so full of heartbreak and sorrow. How do the strong survive? How do the weak find the strength to try once again?

Rain on a Window Gabriele Diwald FCC
Rain on a Window by Gabrielle Diwald (FCC)

It’s all such a mystery to me. I can discern no patterns. Perhaps all of the patterns I once saw were only an illusion. It’s all too much like a fogged pane of glass, a window that steam has cloaked, and then that steam devolves into rivulets that run down the pane so quickly to nothing.

We sleep. We wake. We love, and we hate. We eat, and we cry, and we make love as if it were the last time. We lie and we steal, and we move against one another. We forge alliances and then just as easily break them. We speak decisively, and we wonder what we speak. We cling and we rend, and we scream until sound fails us. We fall and fall again. We turn and turn again.

“To be left with only the trace of a memory is to gaze at an armchair that’s still molded to the form of a love who has left never to return: it is to grieve, it is to weep.” ~ Orhan Pamuk, from The Black Book

At different points in my life, I have felt as if I knew exactly what fate had in store for me. So clear was the way ahead. So determined was the heart beating in my breast. And then at other times I have felt as if the roads that I took were actually part of one large labyrinth, seeming to move in one direction, when in actuality, every path reached a dead end.

Water Drops by Jo Naylor FCC
Water Drops by Jo Naylor (FCC)

The people around me search for answers and find none. The man on the corner, holding the tattered piece of cardboard declaring his humble wishes, talks to me of kittens. The woman moving so sure-footed down the hallway stops in her forward progress to ask if I need help. The son walks past me as if he does not see me until I call his name.

And you there, on the bed you have made, how does it feel? Was it everything you ever wanted? Or was it full of briars and thorns, hidden amidst the down?

“you will never let go, you will never be satiated.
You will be damaged and scarred, you will continue to hunger.” ~ Louise Glück, from “The Sensual World”

I speak in riddles because that it the only way I know through. Perhaps if I meander enough, I will once more find my way. Or perhaps if I meander too much, I will find myself completely lost.

Peony in Rain by James Mann FCC
Peony in Rain by James Mann (FCC)

The shore is not calm, and the moon is not high, and all of the stars in the universe are hidden from me because they contain truth. And this truth they have scattered here and there, placed a grain here in this broken shell, and another one there, in the knothole of that oak. I know this because I once found truth in the discarded hull of a walnut, and when I looked closely, I saw that its center was shaped like a heart. And I thought to myself, “At last. Here it is, at last.”

And I thought to place that small wooden heart safely under my pillow, where it would conjure restful nights of sleep and dreams, but when my fingers sought beneath my pillow, it was gone.

Truth is like that.

“There’s no understanding fate;” ~ Albert Camus, from “Caligula”

One day, I may actually find my place in this world, but more than likely not. I have no more right to peace of mind than the woman in line behind me at the grocery store, even though she seems to have found her calm place through Dr. Pepper and potato chips.

Rainy Day by Keshav Mukund Kandhadai FCC
Rainy Day by Keshav Mukund Kandhadai (FCC)

Can it be bought, this peace of mind? Can I find it amid the words I finger on the screen, as if prying them loose would free them to become realities? Is it hidden in the pages of sonnets an old lover once gifted me, or is it there, among the cornflowers growing absently in the cracked pavement of the parking lot?

Milton lost paradise, and I have yet to find it, but I came close once, so very close . . . but too soon I found that it had only been my imagination, running rampant once again. And so I stand at the shore, tempering my pulse to beat with the outgoing tide—its fierce syncopation ultimately forcing air into my lungs, even as I try to cease the sweep of time’s second hand none too well, if not at all.

More later. Peace.

Music by Angus and Julia Stone, “Draw Your Swords”

                   

It Rains

It rains
over the sand, over the roof
the theme
of the rain:
the long l s of rain fall slowly
over the pages
of my everlasting love,
this salt of every day:
rain, return to your old nest,
return with your needles to the past:
today I long for the whitest space,
winter’s whiteness for a branch
of green rosebush and golden roses:
something of infinite spring
that today was waiting, under a cloudless sky
and whiteness was waiting,
when the rain returned
to sadly drum
against the window,
then to dance with unmeasured fury
over my heart and over the roof,
reclaiming
its place,
asking me for a cup
to fill once more with needles,
with transparent time,
with tears.

~ Pablo Neruda

Two for Tuesday: Winged

Vaux's Swifts by A Edmonstone FCC
Vaux’s Swifts by A Edmonstone (FCC)


“I would stand caught in perfect balance in the interlight. In inescapable transitoriness I could have dissolved like a phantom into the swift black. I was marked out in peacefulness, and whole. When a dog barked, I started out of my rumination and breathed deeply, salty air, smell of crayfish, smell of damask rose, smell of clove and broadbean. I could smell the first early stars.” ~ Wilma Stockenström, from The Expedition to the Baobab Tree

Tuesday late. Cold, 40 degrees.

Cattle Egrets, Victoria, Australia ed dunens FCC
Cattle Egrets, Victoria, Australia by Ed Dunens (FCC)

I had Olivia overnight and part of today. I an unspeakably tired. I think I was dozing a bit in the rocking chair as she was talking to me. I had tried to get to sleep earlier last night as I knew that I would be up earlier, but as is the case most of the time, I simply could not.

My reading binge continues. I read another book this evening, another in the Pendergast series by Preston and Child, the latest. It was a good one. They went off course a bit with a three-book series about the protagonist’s wife, but this one was back with the mystery and a hint of mysticism. I’m fairly certain that I own all of the books in the series, but they are stored here and there. One day I am going to reread the entire series, first to last. I hate it when a previous book is referenced, and I cannot quite remember what happened.

Anyway, I had these two picked out for last week, but then . . . life . . . ah me . . . (by the way, I hate that my search for images of swifts brought up nothing by Taylor Swift. Argh)

More later. Peace.

                   

The Rescue, by caroline, FCC
The Rescue by caroline (FCC)

Swift

1.

into flight, the name as velocity,
a swift is one of two or three hundred
swirling over the post office smokestack.
First they rise come dusk to the high sky,

flying from the ivy walls of the bank
a few at a time, up from graveyard oaks
and back yards, then more, tightening to orbit
in a block-wide whirl above the village.
2.

Now they are a flock.  Now we’re holding hands.
We’re talking in whispers to our kind, who
stroll in couples from the ice cream shop
or bike here in small groups to see the birds.

A voice in awe turns inward; as looking
down into a canyon, the self grows small.
The smaller swifts are larger for their singing,
the spatter and high cheeep, the shrill of it.

3.

And their quick bat-like alternating wings.
And the soft pewter sky sets off the black
checkmark bodies of the birds as they skitter
like water toward a drain.  Now one veers,

dives, as if wing-shot or worse out of the sky
over the maw of the chimney.  Flailing—
but then pulling out, as another dips
and the flock reverses its circling.

4.

They seem like leaves spinning in a storm,
blown wild around us, and we are their witness.
Witness the way they finish. The first one
simply drops into the flue. Then four,

five, in as many seconds, pulling out of
the swirl, sweep down. So swiftly, we’re alone.
The sky is clear of everything but night.
We are standing, at a loss, within it.

~ David Baker

                   

Eagle Wings by Ricymar Photography FCC
Eagle Wings by Ricymar Photography (FCC)

Eagle Poem

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon, within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

~ Joy Harjo

                   

Music by Gabrielle Aplin, “Salvation”

 

“More and more I found myself at a loss for words and didn’t want to hear other people talking either. Their conversations seemed false and empty. I preferred to look at the sea, which said nothing and never made you feel alone.” ~ Paula McLain, The Paris Wife

The Needles, Cannon Beach, Oregon
by Steven Pavlov (Wikimedia Commons)

                   

“I am obsessed at nights with the idea of my own worthlessness, and if it were only to turn a light on to save my life I think I would not do it. These are the last footprints of a headache I suppose. Do you ever feel that? — like an old weed in a stream. What do you feel, lying in bed? I daresay you are visited by sublime thoughts. Dearest, do write to me; for I long for your words. Do tell me you wish to see me.” ~ Virginia Woolf, from a letter to Vita Sackville-West dated 18 August 1929

Friday afternoon. Cloudy, drizzle, low 70’s.

Seaside Beach Oregon Sunset
by The Knowles Gallery (FCC)

It’s been a hellacious few days. My dog Shakes is not doing well. That I am alone in this, or rather, without Corey, is exacerbating the pain. I spent last night intermittently listening to him wheeze, a strange reassurance that he was still breathing. Sleep, when it came, was uneven and troubled.

We humans are a funny lot, what with our emotions, our needs, our desires. But I do not believe that we are the only sentient beings in existence. Each day, science reveals yet another way in which members of non-human species possess the ability to reason, the ability to care, the ability to protect. Sentience, though, is truly a double-edged sword: it makes us aware, even when remaining ignorant would be so much easier, even when an ability to emote sometimes results in feelings akin to being slammed against a cement wall, the wind knocked from our lungs.

Sentience is the price we pay for free will, I suppose, and sometimes, it is an exorbitant price.

I think that I finally understand that line from Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”—”I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” After all, if that were my only lot in life, I would not care about everything happening around me, would not be aware that the world is so much more—bad and good.

What you can’t get over,

You must get past. Through a haze of smoke and rum,
What’s left of me squints at the odds and ends.” ~ Elton Glaser, from “Downloading the Meltdown”

Of course, because I’m already vulnerable, I came across a Springsteen song that I had completely forgotten about—”If I Should Fall Behind.” Man, what a song. And because I have a very morose personality, such songs pierce my heart quite acutely, make me think about what ifs, whens. hows.

Sunset at Haystack Rock
by Wes Rogers (FCC)

The other day I was trying to tell Brett about the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, what a force he was, how he played the saxophone  like he had a direct pipeline to the gods. How Springsteen and Clemons were an incomparable duo. Man, I miss Clemons.

Music has always been one of my primary ways of reflecting my mood, but of course, this is a trait many humans share. Music has been a part of life far longer than most people realize. In 1995, a Slovenian archaeologist discovered a bone carving with evenly spaced holes. This carving, believed to be about 43,000 years old, was named the Divje Babe flute. Other flutes made of bird bone and mammoth ivory have been carbon-dated as being approximately the same age.

I find it fascinating that early humans integrated musical sounds into their societies for whatever reasons. It is entirely possible that we have sought sounds to soothe for millennia. And we are not alone. Consider whale songs—those intricate, long underwater melodies.

“What uniform can I wear to hide my heavy heart?
It is too heavy. It will always show.” ~ Jean Cocteau, from The Holy Terrors

Don’t really know how I got off on that particular tangent. My mind is not exactly cohesive of late. More often than not, I realize that I am sitting in front of this computer screen, and nothing is happening—no music, no words, just my wallpaper and icons.

An example of the state of my mind? Yesterday I went to pick up prescriptions. I got home with only one, even though I had paid for four, and didn’t realize it until hours later. I haven’t been back to get the others as that would take so much effort. Just writing about it makes me tired all over.

Haystack Rock Sunset, Oregon
by Gary Halvorson (Wikimedia Commons)

Actually, this post is making me tired all over. I don’t know that I’m getting anywhere, that I’m saying anything. If feels more like an exercise in futility. I’ll leave you with a few things that I’m pondering:

  • When will I be able to read again? I hate it when this happens, when I cannot still my mind enough to become absorbed in someone else’s words.
  • Which plot idea will I actually begin to work on when I start this project?
  • How long before I give up this project, convince myself yet again that I have nothing to say?
  • How will I ever make it through the upcoming holidays? The thought of getting the house ready, preparing the meals—it all makes me so very, very tired.
  • How can October be two-thirds over?
  • How will I ever find the energy to  make Brett’s costume for him?
  • How much of my life has been spent in dwelling on the imponderables?

“I would like a simple life
yet all night I am laying
poems away in a long box.” ~ Anne Sexton, from “The Ambition Bird

Just a few more . . .

  • I have no idea as to what kind of images I can pair with these words. Nothing fits.

    Oregon Coastal Sunset
    by Malcolm Carlaw (FCC)
  • My words feel hollow. I wonder if they read that way . . .
  • I’m already regretting signing up for NaNoWriMo.
  • At this very second, I have a spot almost in the middle of my scalp that feels like someone is picking at it with a sharp object.
  • I did not realize until now that I am squinting.
  • The last two items mean that a headache is coming.
  • Can I please just hide in my bedroom until the year is over?

(Decided that sunset on the Oregon coast seemed to fit somehow.)

Music from the Boss, “If I Should Fall Behind” (couldn’t pick my favorite version, so I posted both)

                   

The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart

How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind’s labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not language but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.

~ Jack Gilbert

“Time will reveal everything. It is a babbler and speaks even when not asked.” ~ Euripedes

Vintage Zenith Clock Sign in the Carrer de l'Espaseria, Barcelona, Spain, by Arjan Richter (FCC)

                   

“Time has no mercy. It’s there. It stays still or it moves.
And you’re there with it. Staying still or moving with it.
I think it moves. And we move with it. And keep moving.” ~ Simon J. Ortiz from “Time as Memory as Story”

Monday, late afternoon. Sunny, 68 degrees.

The ticking clock? What was I waiting for on Friday? News. A delivery. A decision.

Old Clock in Salzburg by Kitti Jakobovits (FCC)

The shipping company called Corey on Friday and said that they had an immediate opening if he had gotten his credentials back. The UPS tracking said that the package was due to be delivered that day. Should he stay or should he go? We decided that if everything worked out as far as timing, he should go.

In my heart, I knew that going back would be the only way that Corey would be able to redeem himself in his eyes. So we waited. The package was delivered around 3:45. Corey called his contact and left a message. On Sunday he got a call back: Expect to leave on Tuesday. Then he got another call: make that Monday night.

He left today at 2:54, going to Dulles, then to Copenhagen, then to Lithuania.

We checked and rechecked everything. He repacked to make his suitcase lighter. We checked again. If he didn’t have it by the time his baggage was checked at the counter, then he doesn’t have it. But we know for sure that he has his MMD, his passport, his computer and the USB, his phone and the charger . . .

“Time was passing like a hand waving from a train I wanted to be on.” ~ Jonathan Safran Foer

I’m much weepier than when he left the last time. Part of it is timing, part of it is my breakdown on Sunday, part of it is today. It’s just too much to absorb in just one day. Sometimes absolutely nothing happens in a day, and other days, everything happens, and when that’s the case, it’s just too much.

Station Clock, Cobh Heritage Centre, Ireland, by Athena's Pix (FCC)

Let me give you an example: the song “Mandolin Rain,” by Bruce Hornsby showed up on the right side of my YouTube today. I’m not sure what I was searching for that would make that song appear, but “Mandolin Rain” was the song that my ex listened to over and over after we lost Caitlin. It’s a song full of meaning, so of course, it comes blasting back at me like some kind of rocket from the past.

Time is funny that way. It can move along sequentially, and then it can seem to run parallel, and then when things really get crazy, it can seem as if tangents of time are running wildly out of control. As I stood at the airport demarcation between passengers with tickets and the rest of us, I was caught in one of those sequences. Time was moving forward, taking Corey across an ocean away from me. Time was moving backward, bringing back memories of a March afternoon on which I gave birth to my second daughter, and time was standing still as I waited for that final wave—I was static, standing in one place as people came and went all around me, some leaving, some arriving, some running to say hello, some clinging as they said goodbye.

I had all of time in one moment.

“In the yellow time of pollen near the blue time of lilacs
there was a gap in things. And here we are.” ~  Luke Davies, from “from Totem Poem [In the yellow time of pollen]”

Yesterday afternoon I collected these quotes, thinking that I might go ahead and write another post, but after I found the quotes and found the images, I couldn’t write. Sometimes it’s like that. Sometimes I find the quotes and write the post but cannot find the right images, and sometimes I find the quotes, but nothing else comes.

Brighton Station Clock, UK, by Elsie esq. (FCC)

Everything happened so fast between the quotes and the telephone calls. He was going. He was going on Tuesday. He was going Monday night. He was going Monday afternoon.

Last night we lay side by side holding hands and talking—was this the right thing to do? Yes, definitely. Probably. Maybe. Finally I found a way to put what I was feeling into words: Even though I don’t have a lot of faith in this company to come through with a complete hitch for Corey, right now it’s available, and it’s good money. In the meantime he has his other applications out, and he can explore other avenues. This trip gets him back on the water, gives him some ocean time as opposed to near-coastal sea time (it makes a difference, believe me), and he can use however many days he does with this company to put towards a few more certifications, like Tanker Man.

So while the leaving is less than perfect, not nearly enough time to take in everything, the going is good. At least that’s what I keep telling myself even as my chest tightens and I begin to get watery eyes.

“A special kind of silence prevailed, a silence that figures neither in musical nor in philosophical dictionaries, as if time were coming apart and flying off in different directions simultaneously, a pure time, neither verbal nor composed of gestures and actions.” ~  Roberto Bolaño, from Amulet

So after Corey fell asleep last night, I wrote him a letter and left it on his laptop where he would find it later. I told him that I believe in him and that I believe that this is the right thing to do. I assured him that we would all be fine, and asked him to concentrate on his job and not worry about what’s going on at home.

Pocket Watch by Ludmila Vilarinhos (FCC)

Then I tried to go to sleep, unsuccessfully. I had a stomach ache. I had a pain in my chest. Nerves, all of it. Eventually I did fall asleep, even as my mind went through a checklist of things that I needed to make sure were in the suitcase.

Brett couldn’t go to the airport with us as he had a test at school, so it was just Eamonn and me seeing Corey off, telling him to be safe, telling him that we loved him. And I willed myself not to cry, to save the tears for later. Now here I am, sitting at the computer in Eamonn’s room, the afternoon sun coming through the window, Shakes snoring beneath my chair, and the house otherwise empty and silent.

And finally, my body is beginning to feel the exhaustion set in. I think that if I were to lie down, I would probably fall asleep in seconds. But not yet, not quite yet.

“5. I know that time is bound up with space. Time is the shadow of space. Space the shadow of time. I know that we live in the shadow of a shadow and that it returns to the light.” ~  Patrick Dubost, from “What I Know”

After leaving the airport I thought briefly of going to the cemetery, but I realized that such a move would probably do me in, and I would be right back where I was when I awoke yesterday. So I came home, and here I am, mulling over the concept of time and movement, and I have to wonder if a watch stops, does that mean that somewhere, time has stopped as well?

Conflicting Time, Chicago, IL, by dbking (FCC)

The old watches and clocks, the ones that we wound so carefully, cultivating time, harboring time, those time pieces—they were the keepers of the past and the present and the future. Now, the ones powered by batteries, those are merely mechanisms. There is nothing magical about them. I prefer the Roman numerals, the sweep of the second-hand to the digital display. My m-in-law had an old ship’s clock in her living room. It was made of brass, and it chimed the hours and the half hours, and that chime was, I believe, in the key of A, or at least that’s how it sounds in my memory. Eventually the spring mechanism broke, and the clock sat there idly, but its presence was a constant reminder of the hours that it had kept, and the time that had passed in that room.

I have an old watch that belonged to my father. It’s a wind-up, but it no longer works. I have considered taking it to a jeweler to see if I can get it fixed. It’s not a valuable watch, except to me. It has the imprint of my father’s wrist on the inside of the olive green leather strap, and I’m certain that it retains the memory of his DNA. Wearing it is like wearing a piece of him, like I’m sharing an afternoon with him, and he’s making me a cup of tea.

Whenever my father, for whom English was a second language—but he spoke it very well, more properly than my mother—whenever he left for one of his trips somewhere in the world, the last thing that he would say to my mother and me was “See you when I gets back.” I know that he knew that the gets wasn’t correct, but I think that somewhere in time, that must have been how he said it the first time, and saying those same words each time he left was like a talisman.

So I will see Corey when he gets back.

More later. Peace.

Music by Mazzy Star, “Into Dust”

                   

For What Binds Us

There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they’ve been set down—
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There’s a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

as all flesh,
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest—

And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.

~ Jane Hirshfield

“Throw away the light, the definitions, and say what you see in the dark.” ~ Wallace Stevens

Music Man by psyberartist (FCC)

                   

“The days are nouns:  touch them The hands are churches that worship the world.” ~ Naomi Shihab Nye, from “Daily”

Tuesday afternoon. Sunny and mild, mid 50’s.

Rusted Piano Screws by psyberartist FCC

I had planned to post yesterday, but then I kind of went crazy in the house. I got everything done except for cleaning off the dining room table. The house looks and smells great, but I am paying for it dearly—back and arms are killing me, and the low-grade headache that I’ve been carrying around for weeks errupted into something more painful.

Of course, you would think that such exertion would allow me to fall into bed and deep, restful sleep. You would think, but you would be wrong, I saw 4 a.m. come and go once more. Oh well.

Corey has the same ridiculous shift this week that he had last week, which means that he’s getting about six hours of sleep between shifts. The good news, I suppose, is that the shifts end after tomorrow: He’s leaving this weekend. Now that he finally has a scheduled departure date, I’m more numb than anything. I know that I’ve had ample time to adjust my thinking about all of this, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve actually done so. Far from it.

The next few weeks should be nothing if not interesting.

“No one knows what will happen, but you and I at least, while the music of the murmur invents us, will have no part in anyone’s war, we will waste nothing, a signal going through us, like an inkling of god or a hunger for strawberries or the indisputable fact of love.” ~ Dean Young, from The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction

I’m scheduled to get my Botox shots for my migraines on the 21st and to have my pulmonary function test on the 20th. The Singulair has helped with the wheezing, but I’m still coughing. I’m hoping that I don’t have to stay on the Singulair as it has some unpleasant side effects, that, and I really don’t want to add yet another medicine to my regimen.

Old Piano Knobs by psyberartist (FCC)

I am concerned about my blood pressure, though. The last three times that it’s been checked, it was quite high. I had attributed it to being sick and to being stuck in the ER, but the last time was in the doctor’s office, and I didn’t feel particularly stressed. I know that high blood pressure runs on my dad’s side of the family, and his father and a brother both had strokes, so I suppose it’s something that I need to watch, as if there isn’t enough already.

So aside from my ailing body and body parts, the washer has decided to die, and one of the cracks in the sliding door finally gave way, and a pane fell out. Corey put up some wood, which makes the door very heavy, but there’s nothing else we can do before he leaves. Replacing the back door is going to cost big bucks, and there is always something else more pressing, like the washing machine. The part costs $100. Geez.

We could probably pick up a used washer somewhere, but then there is the issue of transporting the darned thing, that, and trying to maneuver it through the house to the garage, as access through the garage is impossible. I love my house

“It’s a sad day when you find out that it’s not accident or time or fortune, but just yourself that kept things from you.” ~ Lillian Hellman

It’s already the second week of February, and January seems so far away. The days go by so quickly, and yet I never seem to get anything done.

The Keys Remain by psyberartist (FCC)

I did cut my hair, though. Did a fairly good job of it this time. I was having one of those days, and the urge had been creeping up on me for a while, so a few days ago, I cut off about three inches all over and managed to get some layers in. I’ll probably never be able to repeat the job that I did. But it feels bettter, not so heavy.

So that’s my big accomplishment for the beginning of the year. I know that I’ve done a lot of other things, like setting up my new desk and sorting and condensing the office supplies, but nothing seems significant. I wonder when my life became so insignificant. I wonder at what point I actually stopped having goals.

I mean, when you have a career, you have goals: next raise, next possible promotion. Or when you are learning a musical instrument, your goal is the next piece that you can master. When writing regularly, the goal is the next word, the next sentence, the next page. But what happens to those of us who live our lives within ourselves, in quiet desperation?

Does the goal become merely to survive? To hold onto reality a little longer? To make it to the next Dr. Who season? Have I truly reached the point at which I measure not my life but my days in coffee spoons (nod to T.S.)?

Tomorrow I might give the dogs a bath, and maybe I’ll do some more laundry (speaking of which, last night I dreamed that I was doing laundry with my friend Kathleen, great way to waste a dream). And of course, I have the taxes to look forward to—that’s always a thrill . . .

More geez. I think that I’ll stop for now.

*All photos in this post, which are taken from psyberartist’s Flickr site, feature images of an old piano that was sitting in someone’s trash. Amazing—beauty in found places.

More later. Peace.

                   

Sequestrienne

Don’t look at me
for answers. Who am I but
a sobriquet,
a teeth-grinder,
grinder of color,
and vanishing point?
There was a time
of middle distance, unforgettable,
a sort of lace-cut
flame-green filament
to ravish my
skin-tight eyes.
I take that back—
it was forgettable but not
entirely if you
consider my
heavenly bodies . . .
I loved them so.
Heaven’s motes sift
to salt-white—paint is ground
to silence; and I,
I am bound, unquiet,
a shade of blue
in the studio.
If it isn’t too late
let me waste one day away
from my history.
Let me see without
looking inside
at broken glass.

~ Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012)

Dorothea Tanning | Art and design | The Guardian (ipnagogicosentire.wordpress.com)

Surrealist Painter, Sculptor and Writer Dorothea Tanning Dies at 101 (laughingsquid.com)

“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

“Everything that I write is a kind of battle won—or lost—against silence and incoherence.” ~ Geoffrey Hill

Sailing on my mind . . .

                   

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ~ Franz Kafka

Tuesday afternoon. Hazy, hot, and humid.

Sailing found on Pinterest

Long time no write, eh? Well we were in Ohio for Corey’s brother’s wedding. We left last Wednesday and got home in the wee hours of Monday morning. I’m happy to say that the road trip was incredibly uneventful, no car trouble, no flat tires, no engines blowing up on the side of a mountain. This time we did the smart thing and rented a car, thanks to Corey’s Aunt Judy who funded the trip. And it’s a good thing, too, that we didn’t take the Rodeo as it broke down last night in the Wal-Mart parking lot; the battery light had been coming on, so we had to buy a battery, and a hose burst. So glad that happened here and not on the road.

It was a Nissan Altima. Very nice, comfortable, and incredibly smooth ride, not to mention good on gas. We made it up and back in record time, too—about 11 hours, which is a nice change from our last trip which was 26 hours during a blizzard. The Tom Tom that Corey’s parents gave him for his birthday last year helped with the timing as it plotted the shortest route (time-wise). Technology can be a wonderful thing.

We took Tillie with us this time. We actually hadn’t planned to take her, but when we were loading the car, she jumped into the back seat and looked at us like “Well?” Very unusual for her as she is not a car dog. She was a bit restless on the way up, but slept soundly on the way home.

Anyway, the visit was very nice. Corey’s sister gave me a much needed hair cut, long layers everywhere, and about three inches off the length. We saw a lot of the family at the wedding, which was a casual outdoor affair, quite lovely really. I am so happy for Chad that he has found a very sweet woman and that their extended family gets along well. All of the nieces and nephews have grown so much. No one is little anymore. I know that Corey really enjoyed himself, so all in all, I would have to say successful road trip.

“I saw myself, heard myself, felt myself, not write—and yet even then knew perfectly both that I should be writing now and that I should now be sorrier than ever for my not writing then.” ~ Henry James, letter to Charles Eliot Norton, December 26, 1898

Head Sail Sun by russteaches (FCC)

I had thought about writing a few posts while I was in Ohio, but I just wasn’t up to it. I was saving my energy so that I wouldn’t be a blob at the wedding and when we went visiting. But that meant no writing, which made me a bit antsy. Maybe one day we’ll have a laptop again, and I’ll be able to write on the road.

My fluffy boy Shakes was happy to see me. He hasn’t left my side since we got home. Eamonn slept in our bed while we were gone, so the Jack Russells weren’t too lonely.

Corey’s boss had scheduled him for a first shift on Monday, which simply wasn’t possible, so he lost that one. But then his boss turned around and gave him two shifts today, first and third, which makes up for the lost shift, but such a full day for him as he also has class tonight. He’s signed up for two classes this fall, and I think that we’ve done all of his paper work, so he and Brett are good to go, that is until I have to buy books, which means lots of Internet searching for the best prices.

Eamonn is another story. He’ going to do two classes this fall, but he lost his financial aid for a semester because of his GPA. I’ve told him that we’ll pay for these two classes, but he must do well. He wants to get into the radiation technology program, and the application must be submitted by December. He really needs to get at least B’s, preferably A’s to get his GPA back up. It would really be a shame if he didn’t get into this program, especially since his dad knows the person in charge. I told Eamonn that this program would be his ticket to independence: There is always a need for radiation technicians in hospitals and doctors’ offices. If he’s serious about getting his own place and being independent, then he needs to be practical.

Here’s hoping . . .

“Maybe the fear is that
we are less than
we think we are,
when the
actuality of it
is that we are much much more.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, Arriving at Your Own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness

Sailing in Roatan, Honduras

So aside from our travels, life is much the same. The kiddies all survived just fine while we were gone, although there were a few hiccups over food. I told them that’s what it’s like to have a roommate. To be fair, Eamonn was unaware that Brett and Em had bought certain food, and we weren’t able to tell him before we left. Eamonn is Eamonn.

Nothing new on the Alexis front. Haven’t seen or talked to her since the day she took me to the doctor. Last night when the car broke down, Corey called Mike to see if he could help. Alexis answered the phone and told Corey that she was eating dinner. Hmm . . . the number of times we’ve been busy but have dropped everything to accommodate her? Can’t even count.

I never thought that nearly grown/grown children would be more difficult than toddler children or more trying than teenager children. I was wrong. I love all of my children, but sometimes I just don’t understand where their heads are . . .

I can sit here and wish with all of my heart that life for my children would unfold without complications, but we all know that such things don’t happen in reality. Motherhood is fraught with potholes and the potential for pain, and nothing can change that. But how I wish that life was still so simple that mere mommy kisses could make things better. How I wish that hugs could heal . . . but if wishes were fishes . . .

“There are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely—or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands.”  ~ Oscar Wilde

Sailing Yachts

I’m cancelling all upcoming doctors’ appointments for the time being because once again, my health insurance coverage is messed up. Apparently, the payment that we sent at the end of June was never credited, and we have no idea where it is. This is not the first time that the payment processing center has lost a payment. But as a result, none of my doctor’s visits in May have been paid for, and I’m getting nasty calls from billing offices.

This I don’t need. Obviously. I mean it’s one thing when I know that I haven’t paid a bill, or that I’ve paid a bill late, but when the bill has been paid on time, and the phone calls still come—it’s just too much.

I told Corey that I’d like to move to Vermont, the one state that provides healthcare coverage for its citizens. It’s not that I’m in love with Vermont, just the idea of having healthcare. Corey says that Vermont is too damned cold.

Of course, if my Social Security disability would be approved, then I’d be relieved of this huge insurance payment each month. Every time that I think about that stupid judge who said that I had no disabilities I get angry. Every time I have a headache that lasts for days I think of that judge, and I want to call him. Each time I have to spend the day in bed recuperating because my body is just worn out, I think of that judge in not too kindly terms.

I hate having my future in someone else’s hands. I hate that loss of control. I hate bureaucrats. Sometimes, I wish that I had gone to law school when I had the chance, but then I come to my senses. Oh, who knows . . . all of the what ifs, should haves, maybes, whys—it’s enough to drive a person crazy, but then, we all know already how crazy I am . . .

(I sure am using a lot of ellipses in this post. Maybe it’s because my thoughts keep trailing off, or maybe it’s because it’s more of a stream of consciousness post: here, there, everywhere.)

“I dream of lost vocabularies that might express some of what we no longer can.” ~ Jack Gilbert 

Sailing by Troy Li (Pixdaus)

I had a lovely surprise waiting for me when I got home: one of my regular readers wrote me a letter, a real letter on stationary. I gobbled up the words and enjoyed it thoroughly. Of course, now I must make the time to write her back, which will be good for me. Years ago, I used to keep a stock of stationary, lovely cream-colored linen. In this day of printers and computers, who has stationary any more?

I managed to read two and a half books while we were gone. I finally read The Book Thief, which I will admit was hard to get into, but once I did, I loved it. It’s set during Nazi Germany, but the story isn’t anything that you might think. I would highly recommend it. I also devoured a Lee Child book, 61 Hours, which is more fluff reading, but enjoyable nonetheless. And then last night I finished Life of Pi, which I had started while we were still in Ohio. I had heard about this book and read reviews, but had never gotten around to reading it. It’s an improbable story, bittersweet and touching. I loved the main character.

I have a stack of books in my to-read pile. I don’t like to read while I’m floating in the pool any more, not since I dropped Gargoyle into the pool and ruined it.

Speaking of the pool, the water is finally clear. Corey had a heck of a time getting the water to clear this season. Even though it’s just an above-ground pool, it still takes a lot of work to keep it in good shape. I deliberately did not go outside today as the pool would have been too tempting, and I really wanted to get a post up. Tomorrow though—floating and perhaps a new book.

That’s about all for now. I promised Brett that I would give him a haircut today, so he’s waiting.

More later. Peace.

Music by the Editors, “No Sound but the Wind” (just discovered this wonderful group)

                   

Too Many Names

Mondays are meshed with Tuesdays
and the week with the whole year.
Time cannot be cut
with your weary scissors,
and all the names of the day
are washed out by the waters of night.

No one can claim the name of Pedro,
nobody is Rosa or Maria,
all of us are dust or sand,
all of us are rain under rain.
They have spoken to me of Venezuelas,
of Chiles and of Paraguays;
I have no idea what they are saying.
I know only the skin of the earth
and I know it is without a name.

When I lived amongst the roots
they pleased me more than flowers did,
and when I spoke to a stone
it rang like a bell.

It is so long, the spring
which goes on all winter.
Time lost its shoes.
A year is four centuries.

When I sleep every night,
what am I called or not called?
And when I wake, who am I
if I was not while I slept?

This means to say that scarcely
have we landed into life
than we come as if new-born;
let us not fill our mouths
with so many faltering names,
with so many sad formalities,
with so many pompous letters,
with so much of yours and mine,
with so much of signing of papers.

I have a mind to confuse things,
unite them, bring them to birth,
mix them up, undress them,
until the light of the world
has the oneness of the ocean,
a generous, vast wholeness,
a crepitant fragrance.

~ Pablo Neruda