“Under all speech that is good for anything there lies a silence that is better. Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as Time.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

Key West Sunset by Janson Jones

“A person has three choices in life. You can swim against the tide and get exhausted, or you can tread water and let the tide sweep you away, or you can swim with the tide, and let it take you where it wants you to go.” ~ Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, Northern Exposure

Wow. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. My head is ringing. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood . . . 

I sat down to post yesterday and realized that I didn’t have anything to say. I hate it when that happens. I will be so glad when this latest bout of whatever finally passes. It’s hard to label it as I don’t really know what it is. Not the blues. More a total lack of energy and constant head pressure. I have been good for absolutely nothing, and it grows weary. 

My cohort Janson Jones in Alaska has been posting some beautiful pictures of Florida on his blog Floridana v3.0, so I thought that I’d share a few with you. Lovely Florida Keys skies. Wish I was there. Actually, I really do wish that I was there as I’ve never been to the Florida Keys but have loved looking at pictures of that area for years. Warm weather, beautiful skies, umbrella drinks—I could do with a little of that right now. 

 

Neonic Blue by Janson Jones

“The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.” ~ Barbara De Angelis 

Let’s see. On the home front, Corey has applied for a few port security positions. His Coast Guard training makes him qualified to do that, so maybe he can pick up a job in port security until the tugboat industry gets back on its feet. Who knows when that will be. He hasn’t given up on Vane Brothers, but delivery of their new boat seems to be open-ended at this point. Unfortunately, bills are not open-ended. Hence, the temporary change in focus. 

Haven’t seen much of Alexis lately. I don’t really know what’s up with her. She could be in another one of her moods, or she could just be terribly busy with her life. I try not to read too much into it, having grown accustomed to my daughter’s mood swings. 

I do wish that things would even out for Brett, though. He is on new medication, and seems to be a bit better, but high school has become such an albatross for him that at this point, we are just counting down until graduation. It’s weird, really, how high school can be such a defining experience for some people and not others.  For Brett, it is nothing but something to be endured. For Eamonn, everyday was a party. My sons are so different in so many ways. I try to remind Brett that high school is really very small in the big scheme of things, just a blip on the radar, so to speak. But I know that it’s hard for him to see it that way until he has some distance. 

I’m still not sure if he is going to be ready to tackle college in the fall, but I’m thinking that maybe a bit of time off from academics might be what he needs to figure out what he wants to do with his life. No one ever tells you about this part of parenthood: having to stand by helpless while one of your children is suffering and being able to do little to nothing to make it better. Such a horrible feeling but nothing compared to what he is feeling. 

I just wish that it were somehow possible to absorb other’s pain, to take away the hurts and replace them with a sense of calm. If wishes were fishes . . . 

Dawn, Long Key State Park, Janson Jones

“I sleep and I unsleep. On the other side of me, beyond where I lie down, the silence of the house touches infinity. I hear time falling, drop by drop, and no falling drop is heard falling.” ~ Fernando Pessoa, A Factless Autobiography

I’m back to having violent dreams again. A couple of nights ago, my dream involved knives, lots of sharp knives, and trying to escape from someone in a tunnel that was filling with water. Before that I had a dream with guns again. Maybe it’s too much NCIS. I only know that I wake up exhausted from fighting bad guys. I suppose I should be thankful that I’m sleeping, given the alternative, but is it too much to ask for sleep with restful, pleasant dreams? Probably. 

The songbirds are beginning their pre-dawn canticles, so spring cannot be too far. Each morning around 4 a.m., if the house is silent, I can hear them. It’s such a lovely sound, yet I wish that I were actually sleeping rather than listening to them sing. 

I will be glad for spring, though. Using space heaters makes the house very, very dry, which I’m sure does not help the sinuses. And the space heaters, along with the electric water heater and all of the other electrical appliances are killing the power bill. At the moment, it’s more than a car payment, and if you’ve made a car payment in the last few years, you know how high that can be. 

Someday we’ll be able to install the whole-house gas-on-demand hot water heater that we have; it’s currently sitting in the box it came in, in the storage shed in the back yard. I hate the electric water heater. It’s not power efficient, and it’s small, which means no long showers unless your preference is for cold showers. But it was an electric water heater or no hot water at all until we make friends with Virginia Natural Gas again. 

Power companies are such ripoffs. In our area, Virginia Power and Virginia Natural Gas are monopolies. We have no alternative sources for electricity or natural gas. Bah. 

That’s just about all for now. I’ll leave you with this quote by Alexander Woollcott, which seems quite fitting since I’ve done a whole lot of wishing in this post: “Many of us spend half our time wishing for things we could have if we didn’t spend half our time wishing.” 

More later. Peace. 

Music by Australian trio Sick Puppies, “That Time of Year” (heard on an NCIS episode) 

 

  

  

That Time of Year 

Another Year
Has Come and Gone again
Look around
And think where have you been
Trace the Lines
On your face tonight
And don’t forget
That this will pass in time
It’s cold out this morning
You should be getting into bed
Can’t believe its that time
Of year again

  

Curled up tight
A darker shade of white
Thinking Back could be here for a while 
Its cold out this morning
And it’s getting harder to pretend
Can’t believe it’s that time of year again 
Can you believe the life you led?
Did you achieve the goals you set?
Did you lose your mind?
Well and then 
Is there a reason you own them
It is a season that won’t end
Can’t believe it That time of year again 

Another year
Has come and gone again
Look around
and wonder what happened 

“When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Moonrise Long Key Florida by JJ

Moonrise on Long Key State Park, Florida by Janson Jones

“Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for.” ~ Alice Walker 

Okay, so I’m back. Finally.

Brett’s last day of 11th grade was Friday. Eamonn’s graduation is tomorrow afternoon at 3. I am looking forward to Eamonn graduating, but I am not looking forward to the actual physical aspect of the ceremony. Huge crowd, people all together in the convocation center, hunting for parking. I can feel my claustrophobia setting in already. But it’s all for a good cause.

Brown Noddy Garden Key by JJ
Brown Noddy, Garden Key, Florida by Janson Jones

I told Eamonn that we wanted to take pictures of him in his cap and gown before we leave. Of course, he is not looking forward to that.  Trying to get Eamonn to stand still for five minutes to take a picture is almost impossible. He bitches the entire time. We did pick up his senior portraits, though, and he is quite handsome, if I do say so.

My niece graduates on Tuesday, and my old friend Chris’s son Gordon, who is the same age as Eamonn, graduates on Wednesday. May I just pause here to say how fricking old this makes me feel.

So in an effort to make myself feel a bit better, I gave myself a manicure and pedicure. I’m trying to keep myself from taking scissors to my hair again. One of these days, I’ll be able to visit Cathy so that she can fix the haircut I gave myself. Until then, I hide the flaws with the waves. It’s much harder to see an uneven cut when the hair is wavy and dark.

“Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments. Therefore, each moment is vital. It affects the whole. Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed.” ~ Corita Kent 

All of the pictures in this blog are from Janson Jones’s Floridana Alaskiana blog. He spent several weeks back in Florida a few weeks ago, and he has been posting some wonderful pictures.

Crocodile Lake Nat Wildlife Refuge Key Largo by JJ
Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Key Largo by Janson Jones

I thought that I would share some selections with you in tonight’s post. The images are from several areas of Florida, and include birds, toads, frogs, moonrise, sunset, and several other wonderful subjects. To see what Janson has posted so far, click on the link.

I love this picture to the left. Everything is so verdant and lush, and there is an air of mystery about the whole location—as if in walking down this path, you are walking back in time, into the wilderness.

Speaking of which, I had a horrible dream last night in which I took my camera and started beating it against a metal porch rail. It was horrible. Actually, the whole dream was horrible, full of betrayals, lies, violence and broken glass. Anyone want to interpret that one?

As always, I told Corey about my dream once I woke up, but it was one of those weird ones where you can wake up and then fall back to sleep, and the dream continues. I always think that when that happens the dream is more meaningful somehow. But how exactly? I have no idea. But I always end up feeling disconcerted for the whole day when I have a dream like that.

“Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived.” ~ Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Star Trek: The Next Generation 

In helping Brett to get his work completed for the end of the year, I reread Macbeth and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. One of my graduate classes was a special seminar on Conrad. I don’t remember the exact reason why I needed three credits that I couldn’t get from the regular schedule, but I got approval to do an independent study.

Broad Headed Skink Blackwater Creek Florida
Broad Headed Skink, Blackwater creek, Florida by Janson Jones

The advisor they gave me was J. J. McNalley. He was a character, spoke in quotes all of the time. I liked the man tremendously, but would have preferred someone else for my advisor. J. J. thought that it would be splendid if I did research on Joseph Conrad. I would have preferred Virgina Woolf.

But I digress . . .

“Life resembles a novel more often than novels resemble life.” ~ George Sand

After I reread Heart of Darkness I started to think about Apocalypse Now. So I rewatched the movie. Although, the movie itself is still hard to watch. It is so full of violence and disillusionment. Just like the real Viet Nam war.

My favorite part is still the air cav guy played by Robert Duvall. I think that the Lt. Colonel Kilgore is probably my favorite Duvall role. He plays it to perfection.

Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz is written to mirror Conrad’s Kurtz, but instead of ivory, the movie’s Kurtz is collecting people, souls. The movie plays Kurtz as having a mesmerizing voice, just like the Kurtz in the book. Brandon’s voice is perfect. The epic line, “The horror. The horror,” resonates.

“Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Eastern Six-Lined Racerunner Bahia Honda Key by JJ
Eastern Six-Lined Racerunner, Honda Key, Florida by Janson Jones

Other than that, Brett and I have watched Harry Potter 5 and 4 in anticipation of the release of The Half-Blood Prince. Yes, I like Harry Potter, and yes, I’ve read all of the books, at least three times. I’m actually quite sad that there won’t be any more additions to the series. The characters in the books grew up with each new book in the series, and I really admire the way Rowling made each successive book darker, keeping in mind that her audience was getting older, and the story necessitated moving from 11-year-old concerns to encounters with truly foul individuals, like Dolores Umbridge.

Yes, the basic story is about good versus evil, but characters like Umbridge are perfect antagonists for students: the teacher with the treacly sweet voice and the imperviousness to common decency. The one who addresses a room full of teenagers as “boys and girls.” Blech! Just thinking about this character makes my skin crawl.

That being said, I’m looking forward to the next installment of the movie version, even though we all know that it has an incredibly sad ending.

Other movies that I’m looking forward to are Inglorious Basterds, with Brad Pitt, and Public Enemies, with Johnny Depp. No. It’s not for the eye candy. Quentin Tarantino directed Basterds (yes, with an e), and Michael Mann directed Public Enemies. I love both directors and am hoping for a couple of good action movies that don’t involve large robots.

I know. It seems that I like both ends of the spectrum, but really, I’m pretty much at the action end unless it involves Tolkien, Star Trek, or something to do with literature. And no, I haven’t had a chance to see the new Star Trek. I’m still debating over that one. It’s hard to let go of the originals, even though I hear that the update is pretty solid.

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Mediterranean Gecko Mt Dora Florida JJ
Mediterranean Gecko, Mt Dora, Florida by Janson Jones

And just let me finish by saying that I don’t have anything to wear to my son’s graduation. Oh, I have a closet full of clothes, but I feel like a sausage in everything that I own, which reminds me of a post that I read on Zirgar’s Fresh New Brain Squeezin’s. Zirgar delved into that sensitive area of being overweight.

Perhaps delve isn’t the correct word choice. It was more like broached the subject with a sledgehammer. It did remind me of the fact that I live in an area that is replete with woman in stretch pants, and shall we just say that stretch pants are not the most flattering attire for their body shapes?

Why do people do that? Seriously, why, or even how does a very large woman push herself into purple stretch capris with a cropped top? Now before you get riled, this is not an indictment on people who are overweight. I have no room to speak on this particular issue as I am carrying around more poundage than I like. What I’m talking about are people who choose to wear clothes that are too tight, too revealing, too skanky, too young, and too fugly for words.

I know that ordinary people do not have extraordinary loads of cash to spend on clothes when they are just trying to get by. But I shop in Target. I know that you can look on the 50 percent off rack and find a nice shirt for $7, a nice skirt for $8, a t-shirt that actually fits for $4. If you are going to buy clothes anyway, could you at least buy clothes that fit, or that are flattering, or cover up most of the private parts of your body?

Am I being too harsh? I don’t mean to be. I suppose I just don’t understand certain mindsets. Of course, if you are perfectly comfortable with your body, that’s great. If you are overweight, no one is saying that you have to hide in the house. I have worked with a few overweight people who dress to the nines and have wardrobes that made me salivate.

For me, the issue is not the weight or the body shape. The issue is fugly, ill-fitting clothes. Unless you are Rush Limbaugh . . .

Then the issue is not bouncing on your toes and making your egg-shaped body look like a Weeble (as in “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”).

Great Egret Lower Matecumbe Key Fl by JJ
Great Egret, Lower Matecumbe Key, Florida by Janson Jones

Aren’t you glad that I used this beautiful picture instead of a picture of Rush?

And with that, I shall close. More later. Peace.