The Battle of Winterfell:
Music from “Game of Thrones: Winter is Here,” by Ramin Djawadi
Music from “Game of Thrones: Winter is Here,” by Ramin Djawadi
Man . . . I missed National Grouch Day (October 15). So perturbed I missed the perfect excuse for my demeanor ………
On one of the most beautiful and oldest parabolic dunes in Juodkrantė, Lithuania, the forest is alive with a vast array of fairy-tale creatures, witches, demons, kings, princesses, fisherman and devils. Known as the Hill of Witches (Raganų kalnas), this public trail through the woods takes visitors on a trip through the most well-known legends and stories in Lithuanian folk history.
This year and month mark the 125th anniversary of the reign of terror that the “Jack the Ripper” murders held over the world. Jack the Ripper is the best-known name given to an unidentified and notorious Victorian murderer who became the first internationally known serial killer. He was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. His name originated in one of several letters written by someone claiming to be the murderer. Within the crime case files as well as journalistic accounts, the killer was known as “the Whitechapel Murderer” as well as “Leather Apron”. The letters were sent in September and October of 1888 and are believed to be written by Jack the Ripper himself, though scholars debate over their authenticity.
Friday afternoon. Partly cloudy and warmer, 55 degrees.
Honestly, I don’t know how far I’ll get today. I want to write, but I don’t know what to say. I’m sad, but I’m okay. In other words, it’s one of those days in which my mind and my heart are battling, and I have no idea if I’ll reach some kind of accord or if I will just have to give one over to the other and be done with it. In the meantime, I’m eating Junior Mints very slowly, making each one last for minutes as opposed to seconds, as if savoring such a sugary treat might help me to find my way, or perhaps, I’m just enjoying the chocolate.
At the moment, “When the Morning Comes” is playing, and its slow melody is working on my heart, leading me to believe more and more that this is not a good idea, this attempt to post, to write something coherent, to put something out here, this, here, now.
Perhaps I should put my playlist on pause and go take a shower . . .
Sunday afternoon. Rainy and mild, 60 degrees.
So, no. I never did get back to this post on Friday, nor did I get back to it yesterday. I probably wouldn’t have gotten back to it today had I not been bored with playing spider solitaire. Don’t ask.
The roast is in the oven. My mother is making me cook Easter dinner. Truly. She bought a hen and a roast and then asked me which one I wanted to cook for Easter . . . both? Bear in mind that I did not ask her to buy either. I don’t really do Easter. Don’t ask me why. But today, I’m doing Easter. Whatever.
Perhaps my ornery outlook today can be traced back to my mother’s assumptions: she buys something, and I shall cook it. I do not remember entering into this agreement at any time . . . ever. What gives?
Don’t get me wrong. I can cook. Quite well, actually. And sometimes, I feel like cooking, but not often. Once I go through the preparation and cooking stages, I almost always have nothing left for the eating stage. I’m over it all by that point. Of course, with Corey gone, I do have to cook more than usual, but we are a very casual household, and more often than not, dinner is a catch-as-catch-can affair.
But not today.
I got several comments on the Camus passage that I posted the other day. I don’t know a lot about Camus, and I don’t often use his words, but his “Falsely Yours” epistle touched something in me. Perhaps it was the absurdity of it, and his acknowledgement of the absurdity of it with his closing. I don’t know. “Should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee?” strike me as patently absurd, kind of like a poem I taught in one of my literature classes—of course the title and poet escape me now—in which the speaker, a woman is writing a massively long suicide letter. The poem ends with her watching her sleeping child.
I used to present the poem to the class with the following question: Is it really a suicide note?
My answer was no, that the woman was writing to exorcise her demons, and the writing itself helped her to get past her feelings of despair. Watching her child sleeping peacefully reassured her that life was worth living.
I kind of saw Camus’s question in the same way. Who, in a serious contemplation of suicide, would reduce it to a choice between coffee or death?
I’ve been watching “Game of Thrones” recently. Corey downloaded seasons 1 and 2 for me. I’m really enjoying the dramatization of Martin’s saga. My favorite character in the show is also my favorite character in the books: Tyrion, the dwarf son of Tywin Lannister. The actor playing the part, Peter Dinklage, has captured the essence of Tyrion so well.
I’m on season 2. Season 3 premiers on HBO tonight. I don’t have HBO. Oh well. I’ll just have to wait until it’s available for download or there is a DVD set. But watching it does make me want to go back and reread, which is a sort of predicament for me. Martin is currently writing book 6. I finished book 5 a few months ago, and I felt then that I probably should have reread books 1-4 before embarking on book 5. So do I postpone rereading the books until right before book 6 hits the stands, or do I reread now and possibly reread then?
Decisions . . . decisions.
I did finish a really good book by Stephen Dobyns Friday night called The Church of Dead Girls. Dobyns is one of those rare writers who is equally proficient in prose and poetry. This particular book was one of my thrift store finds, and it was worth all of the pennies that I spent on it and many more. If you like murder mysteries like I do, it’s a definite must-read.
Last night was quite a restless night. My little boy dog Alfie is having problems again. I’m giving him the pain medicine that the vet prescribed, but I really wish that he would let me put medicine on the sores on his face. Trying to do so is like asking to be bitten.
You know how some people can be around any dog without any problems whatsoever? My friend Mari is like that. I mean, I love dogs and dogs love me, but dogs who have any kind of finicky disposition can sense right away that I am conflicted about them. They know that they can take advantage of me, and they do. Alfie knows that if he growls and bares his teeth that I won’t come at him with medicine for his face, and I really don’t know how to go about it in any other way. After all, this is the dog that the vet diagnosed as having canine rage syndrome.
I need the dog whispering guy, you know, Cesar Milan? He is too cool. He would know what to do. And then after he whispered Alfie, he could whisper me and tell me how to calm myself, but I don’t think he people whispers.
Speaking of dogs, Tillie is beside herself because we haven’t gone outside to play yet, and no matter how many times I tell her that it’s muddy and rainy out, she will not desist. Seriously, this dog tries to climb into my lap when I’m sitting her at the computer.
More later. Peace.
Music by The Civil Wars, “Kingdom Come”
Days in Late March
Days move along in one direction
faces in the opposite.
Uninterruptedly they borrow each other’s light.
Many years later it is difficult
to determine which were the days
and which were the faces …
And the distance between the two things
feels more unreachable
day by day and face by face.
It is this I see in your face
these bright days in late March.
~ Henrik Norbrandt, trans. Thom Saterlee
Wednesday, early evening. Thunder showers.
Tillie had two seizures today while I was out of the house. Luckily, Corey was home with her. He said that they both lasted a pretty long time. I hate it when she has seizures because there is no warning.
I had an appointment with my psychiatrist today, a med check. We talked about my recent anxiety attacks and agreed that it’s probably a temporary thing based on circumstances, so she prescribed me something for the interim. I remember when I used to have anxiety attacks all of the time. I was married to my ex. Maybe that explains it, but I haven’t had them in a very long time, so this backsliding is bothering me.
Anyway, I have a new television addiction: “Fashion Star” on NBC. It’s pure fluff, but the music is great. There are no scenes from the workroom like “Project Runway,” but there are lots of divas, which always makes for interesting watching. And Corey and I have started watching a new drama called “Awake,” which features Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter), who is a superb actor. The premise of the show is different, which makes it engaging to watch.
You know that my life is kind of in standstill when I’m writing about what’s on television . . .
Today is one of those days in which possibilities seem limited as opposed to endless.
I was in the elevator after my appointment, just thinking about where I am at the moment, and it occurred to me that I haven’t been able to see Dr. K. for months now. I had suspended my therapy because I had to keep cancelling and rescheduling because of the vehicle situation, and I didn’t think that it was fair to her to be taking up slots in her schedule that I might not be able to keep. I told her that I would call her when we finally got the truck fixed and resume my sessions at that time. Now I need to wait until I get caught up in my health insurance as we are behind a month again. So no therapy for now.
The doctor I saw today asked me how long life has been this way, and I told her three years, but actually, it’s now four years. I keep forgetting that it’s 2012; all of this started in 2008. Four years of ups and downs, mostly downs. Four years of an endless cycle of debt. Four years of just scraping by. Four years.
My how time flies. In four years, a person could get a degree. In four years, a baby grows from an infant to a toddler. In four years the presidency changes. So much happens in four years, and yet, nothing happens.
Forgive me. I’m quite maudlin. Perhaps I should not attempt to post, but I feel that need to write, to make these keys click or clack or whatever sound it is that a computer keyboard makes. I just had a sudden memory: the sound of 50 IBM Selectric typewriters all going madly simultaneously. That was the sound of the newsroom in the morning, in the era pre-computer. If you listened carefully, you could discern the different cadences, depending upon the user’s typing ability. There were the two-fingered reporters, the one fingered reporters, the full hands reporters, so all together, it was kind of like a schizoid percussion section: rat-a-tat-a-tat very quickly, or one beat at a time.
That’s a good memory.
Last night I had a Great Bridge dream, that’s one featuring all of my relatives on my mother’s side with whom I grew up, especially my cousins. My Aunt Ronnie was still alive, and everyone was coming over for dinner, just like they used to. Except in this dream, Corey’s family was also there, and his brother Steve arrived on a three-wheeler. Dinner was chaotic, and I was trying to feed a baby who kept spitting out the food. Then Aunt Ronnie took the baby from me, and fed her with no trouble. She told me that I was doing it wrong.
I also remember that before dinner, we were setting up folding chairs at a very long table, and I was carrying four chairs on each arm—like that could happen now. Once upon a time, maybe, like when I worked at Dillard’s—I was kind of freakishly strong for my size, routinely picking up four-ways completely covered with clothes and moving them around the floor. Of course, that probably led to my back problems.
Speaking of once upon a time, there was something about that in another dream, but I can’t quite grasp it. But I also dreamt that I was in someone’s office, and they were telling me about this epic book that I should have read but hadn’t. It was a book about everything, and when I opened the book, the pictures moved (on the paper). I decided (in the dream) that I would buy a copy for each of my sons.
In the past few weeks, dead relatives keep appearing in my dreams: my aunts and uncles, my m-in-law, my dad, and once, my ex-father-in-law walked in and said that he’d been asleep and was wondering what was happening. That was really weird as he has rarely appeared in any dreams throughout the years. (Aside: I almost always misspell the word weird, which in itself is weird as I have always consider myself weird.)
I’ve begun reading the second book in the Game of Thrones series, having finally finished the first one, which was really quite good. Only one thing bothered me: the author used the phrase “game of thrones” at least five different times in the narrative. I love the phrase, but usually the titular phrase is only found once in the narrative, which helps to give it emphasis. I’m not sure why George R. R. Martin did that, seems like overkill.
But what do I know? He’s published a lot more books than I have . . . but if I ever do get published, I’m going to be sure to have two middle initials—G.R.R. Martin, kind of like J. R. R. Tolkien . . .
I know that the books have been turned into a show on HBO, but we don’t have HBO, so maybe if we ever get Netflix, I can watch the series. Sean Bean and Lena Headey are in it, among many other notable actors. I could probably download it, but I’m reluctant to download shows as they are much more prone to viruses. So I’m back to talking television. Geez.
I should probably stop now before I bore all of you beyond tears.
More later. Peace.
Music by Peter Bradley Adams, “Full Moon Song”
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~ Mary Oliver, from Dream Work
Sunday early evening. Mild, 60°.
So it’s been two days since Corey boarded the plane that took him to Dulles, and then on to Copenhagen, then to Lithuania. Apparently he was late arriving in Lithuania because of fog. The plan made three attempts to land and then had to return to Copenhagen to refuel. Thankfully, he slept through most of it, and also thankfully, I did not know about it until it was over, and he was safe on the ground.
Tomorrow I have to send him an express package with the things that he forgot, two of which are essential, and I don’t know how—between the two of us—we forgot to pack them: his merchant mariner document and his USB for his laptop.
We don’t know how long he will be in Lithuania yet, still waiting for a decision on where the rest of the repairs will be made. He said that there is a crew of about 16 on board for now.
The last two nights have been as restless as expected. Friday, Tillie was obviously upset and wouldn’t eat. I pulled a dirty t-shirt from the hamper and put it with her, and she settled a bit. Yesterday and today I’ve tried to play with her outside for a bit, and my plan it to begin walking with her tomorrow. I hope that between the physical activity and the extra attention, she won’t go into full grieving mode, leaving me with one less thing to contend with so that I can get about the business of being miserable.
The other two dogs are fine; the fat one never leaves my side long enough to pay attention to anyone else, and while Alfie knows that something is up, he seems fine as long as I let him nuzzle and sleep at my feet.
It really hasn’t hit me yet. I mean, right now it’s just as if he’s away for a transport. We’ll revisit the issue in a week and see how I’m doing.
I took the time yesterday to catch up on my blog reading, something I have been remiss in doing. One of my blogger compatriots gave me a suggestion for a post that I think I’ll tackle soon: the virtual hoarding that I do on Tumblr. I hadn’t really thought about it until recently, but I realize that Tumblr lets me amass lots and lots of things, but in a good way: I don’t have to dust, and I don’t have to make room. Anyway, I’m pondering that for now . . .
Last night, this morning, really, the moon was still big and bright in the sky at 6 a.m. or so. This whole spring forward thing on the time always screws me up; although, I’m not really certain as to why since my nights are my days and vice versa. I mean, I don’t even know the date unless I look at my cell phone or one of the calendars hanging throughout the house.
Anyway, I’ve been trying to stay busy the past few days, catching up on reading blogs and Tumblr, and starting the Game of Thrones series of books. It’s hard reading, and I can’t do my usual speed reading as there are so many new names of places and characters, something inherent in fantasies. But I read until 4 this morning, and then made myself stop so that I could attempt to sleep.
Right. That really worked.
Before Corey left, the boys sat down with us, and we came up with a family game plan for chores and tasks. Not too many changes really, just reminders that I can do laundry, but I cannot lift the baskets. I can do the shopping, but I need someone to come with me to carry. Eamonn is taking on the yard mowing, which is good as I can’t do it, and Brett hates to do it.
But we have a plan, and my hope is that I don’t get too much grief when I do eventually ask for help and that I don’t have to be in constant mom-reminder-mode. Such a pain, especially with grown/almost grown offspring. But we’re hoping that the plan will help the three of us settle into a somewhat comfortable existence in Corey’s absence. We’re shooting for a new kind of normalcy.
I remember when Corey worked on tugs and was two weeks on/one week off—it was hard going in a lot of ways. I was still working full time, and the boys were in high school, and Eamonn was at the height of his difficult years and Brett was having so many problems. Some days, I just wanted to hide in my bedroom with the dogs. But there were dishes to do, and laundry, and all of the rest, not to mention I was going to school in DC two nights a week. I really don’t know how I survived that, but I did. I suppose we all do what we have to do when we have to do it.
It’s better if you don’t think too much about things, I suppose.
In this most recent mode of no-sleep, I find myself attuned to every little noise. More birds are starting their morning song, so the middle of the night is actually not very quiet.
I remember that when I lived in the mountains the sounds of sirens were rarely heard in the middle of the night. When I lived in northern Virginia, it was the opposite, city sounds all night long. I don’t think that I really notice the sirens around here unless I’m trying to quiet my thoughts, but sometimes in the still of the night I can still hear the train whistle, and when there’s fog, I can hear the foghorns on the bay.
I know that I would be able to quiet my thoughts better if I had the sound of waves or rippling water within earshot. Perhaps, once I get my computer fixed and set up on my new desk, I’ll go back to my old habit of listening to my Sounds of Nature CD collection: thunderstorms, waves, whale songs, even rainforests. It’s a toss up between thunderstorms and waves, pretty much.
Last summer, we didn’t have much tree frog action, and I missed that. Just as I miss the pond outside the bedroom window with the frogs singing. Anyway, with water on the brain, you can see why I chose today’s images.
So that’s what life has been like in the past few days. I had toyed with writing an analysis of the Kony 2012 fray, even composed some of it in my brain, but then I just didn’t have it in me to delve into such deep political waters. It would take maximal brain cells and concentration.
I suppose I’m keeping my brain on a short-leash at the moment. Subsuming the need to think too much or ponder too deeply. Introspection poses too many problems. It’s that nagging awareness that I’m holding things at bay, not allowing any tears in front of Corey before he left, for example. If I don’t allow myself to think past the surface, if I don’t move past the dust bunnies and the dirty clothes, if I don’t sit alone with my thoughts, then perhaps this ache that is creeping into my heart can be assuaged.
I’m okay, really. I mean, more okay than I expected to be, which is what worries me. I have this tendency to build walls inside without realizing it. I mean, I admit that I exist in a constant state of grief and loss. I would be lying if I claimed anything else. That loss exists in the background of my reality—a thin membrane that cloaks everything without suffocating it. If I allow it to come to the forefront, it can be all-consuming, which is why I usually just feel the subtle vibrations of its existence.
I have taught myself postpone my confrontations with that aspect of myself, to walk carefully on the surface. At least, that is what I tell myself, and sometimes saying things silently over and over does make it so. Sometimes.
More later. Peace.
Music by Shuyler Fisk, “Waking Life”
You Reading This: Stop
Don’t just stay tangled up in your life.
Out there in some river or cave where you
could have been, some absolute, lonely
dawn may arrive and begin the story
that means what everything is about.
So don’t just look, either:
let your whole self drift like a breath and learn
its way down through the trees. Let that fine
waterfall-smoke filter its gone, magnified presence
all through the forest. Stand here till all that
you were can wander away and come back slowly,
carrying a strange new flavor into your life.
Feel it? That’s what we mean. So don’t just
read this—rub your thought over it.
Now you can go on.
~ William Stafford, from The Methow River Poems in Even in Quiet Places