“The colour of my soul is iron-grey and sad bats wheel about the steeple of my dreams.” ~ Claude Debussy

Moon Bridge* at DaHu Park, Taipei
(source: The Daily Mail, UK)

                   

“What empties itself falls into the place that is open.” ~ Jane Hirschfield, from “A Hand

Sunday evening. Sunny and warm, 80°.

It’s been a busy few days, and I’m just sitting down to do a real post. The Nabokov post was timely as I really did dream that someone was quoting from the novel Lolita, and I thought to myself (in the dream), “I love the sound of that.”

The Twenty-Four Bridge in the Thin West Lake, Yangzhou
(Wikimedia Commons)

We did thrift store shopping on Thursday in search of an affordable couch that was in pretty decent shape. At one thrift store (the one where Alexis used to work), I found a really cushy, oversized chair for $50. It was well worth it as it was in great shape and quite comfy. Of course, I wasn’t searching for a chair, but I figured if we were going to go ahead and throw out the ratty old couch, why not do a cheap redo of the living room.

I found an old Cargo/This End Up couch at another thrift store for $15. The cushions were in good shape, and the wood frame had some white paint stains on it. Only problem was the people at this particular thrift store wouldn’t allow me to come back and pick it up. I had to take it with me. What the hell? Every other store give you at least 24 hours to come back for furniture. I was major league put out and walked out of the store.

On Friday afternoon, Brett, Em, and I went back. When I first looked where the couch had been, it was gone, but as I was walking out I spotted it on another aisle, and it had been marked down to $10. Even better. At the register, Brett and I spotted an off-white sofa in really good condition for $25. It was what I believe is a Queen Anne style, something I’ve always wanted. Brett decided to buy it for his bedroom.

Done and done.

“What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.” ~ Milan Kundera, from The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Of course, the store personnel wouldn’t help to load the couches, so there I was with my bad back, and Brett and Em to help me. The three of us struggled to lift the very heavy wooden-framed couch into the back of Corey’s pick-up truck, and then we lifted the lighter one and turned it over on top of the other one. Make sense? I strapped everything down, and we left, never to return.

Full Moon Bridge, Shatin Park, Hong Kong
(Wikimedia Commons)

I know that each store has its own policy, but this particular store was really weird. I got to the register with two hardback books, one of which did not have a price on it. All of the hardbacks were $1.98 or $2.98. The woman said that she couldn’t sell it to me. I asked if someone couldn’t just put a price on it. The manager said, not until Monday . . . I finally lost it and said that the store had the most screwed up policies I had ever heard of. I won’t be going back.

Still, I got a $10 couch that with a little sanding and some Murphy’s Oil Soap looks quite nice. I washed the cushion covers and put the foam insides outside in the sun after I sprayed them with Lysol. So for $60, plus another $8 for two pillows for the sofa, I now have a much-needed facelift in my living room.

I won’t even go into how hard it was to get everything into the house, especially since it started to rain right as we drove up with the two couches. Not. a. pretty. site.

“But now it is still light and the blackbirds are singing
as if their voices are the only scissors left in this world.” ~ Jennifer Grotz, from “Poppies”

Eamonn has been giving me fits the past few weeks, and today I finally lost it. The yard really needs to be mowed, and he acts as if he’s the only one who ever does anything around this house. On Saturday, after two days of frustration and pain, I cleaned all of the floors, did laundry, and bathed the dogs, which got me two bites on my hand (one each from Alfie and Shakes).

Moon Bridge in Japanese Garden, Huntington Museum, Pasadena, CA
Michael Slonecker (Wikimedia Commons)

It’s sad to say, but Corey has always been able to communicate better with Eamonn than I have, and the opposite is true for Brett. Unfortunately, Eamonn has so much of his dad in him, including the part that tends to subconsciously treat women less respectfully than men. Eamonn won’t pull the same crap with Corey that he does with me. It’s very frustrating.

Anyway, today, we loaded up the futon frame (from the old futon that was in Brett’s room) and took it over to my Mom’s to store it in the space over the garage. The frame is in really good shape, and ultimately, I’d like to get a new futon to go on it if and when we ever get a den or I get an office. Then Brett and I put the cradle together while Eamonn laid on the couch. He (Eamonn) is “sick.”

No comment.

“If I could only put up with myself and the selves inside me.” ~ Fernando Pessoa, from Poems of Fernando Pessoa (trans. Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown)

So I’m sitting her, drinking my homemade smoothie and trying to relax. I’ve been making these almost every day for my breakfast/lunch. I put in frozen mango or frozen peaches, banana, orange juice, plain yogurt, a bit of crushed pineapple, some Splenda, and crushed ice. They are yummy if I do say.

Old Stone Arch Bridge in Yuanmingyuan, Summer Palace, China
(Wikimedia Commons)

The house is pretty quiet. Tillie is leaving me alone because we already had our daily game of stick. Shakes is lying at my feet, and Alfie is walking around the house in the cone of shame. We put it on him after his bath, and I’ve been trying to put the Cesar Milan medicine on his wound, but he’s (Alfie, not Cesar) making it very difficult. Equally hard is getting this miracle-cure on Shakes for his hot spots. Cesar Milan needs to come to my house and whisper to my dogs that they need to let me put the dang spray on them so that they’ll feel better. But I suppose that’s out of the question.

The shower is next weekend, and I’m really stressing over it. I always get this way even though I really try not to do it. I’ll just be glad when the thing is over, and we can simply wait for the baby to arrive. I’m using all of my stress energy to clean, which in turn makes my back and shoulder and now my neck simply throb in pain.

I’m trying to finish this post before Eamonn and Brett get home from visiting their dad. With any luck he’ll take them to dinner, which means that the house will stay empty and quiet for a few more hours. I found out today that my ex bought evil step m-in-law’s old Mercedes. When we were together I told him that I wanted an old Mercedes, and we had the chance to buy one, but he said the upkeep would be too expensive. My how things change. Yep. I’m jealous.

“Each one has in him his own history inside him, it is in him in his own repeating.” ~ Gertrude Stein, from The Making of Americans

Let’s see, what else?

Corey has been e-mailing me. Apparently he bought some kind of air card from the captain for $20. Each e-mail costs $.59, which isn’t bad. So we’ve exchanged a few e-mails. He’ll be in the Ascension Islands tomorrow, and he’s hoping to be able to see some of the giant sea turtles for which the area is known. That would be awesome, especially if he can get some pictures.

Full Moon Bridge (engetsukyo) at Koishikawa Korakuen, Tokyo, Japan
Gordon Joly (Wikimedia Commons)

So far, he’s still on track to be home by the end of June. He’ll take a little time off, and then by August I think that he wants to try to get a tug.

Speaking of pictures, did anyone (out of my throngs of followers) notice my new header image? It’s one that Corey took off the coast of Dover. There are lots more, but I’m waiting until I can get into Photoshop without a computer freezing to post them. What do you think of the font? I’m liking the new design, but hey, I’m biased.

I’m asking as if someone is actually going to notice. De-lusion-al. I mean, I have a couple of people who still comment, but did I alienate the rest of you? Bore you to tears? Oh well. C’est la vie.

That’s all for now. Time to go lie down on the heating pad and take my meds. Maybe I’ll read another book. Read one yesterday. Seem to be on a binge.

More later. Peace.

Music by Robert Plant and Allison Kraus, “Sister Rosetta”

*Images of moon bridges: Traditionally these arched Chinese (and later Japanese) bridges used as footbridges and could be an arduous climb, both up and down, depending upon how high the arch was. A full moon bridge is one that, when reflected in the water, creates a full circle, as in the last picture featured.

                   

Poppies

There is a sadness everywhere present
but impossible to point to, a sadness that hides in the world
and lingers. You look for it because it is everywhere.
When you give up, it haunts your dreams
with black pepper and blood and when you wake
you don’t know where you are.

But then you see the poppies, a disheveled stand of them.
And the sun shining down like God, loving all of us equally,
mountain and valley, plant, animal, human, and therefore
shouldn’t we love all things equally back?
And then you see the clouds.

The poppies are wild, they are only beautiful and tall
so long as you do not cut them,
they are like the feral cat who purrs and rubs against your leg
but will scratch you if you touch back.
Love is letting the world be half-tamed.
That’s how the rain comes, softly and attentively, then

with unstoppable force. If you
stare upwards as it falls, you will see
they are falling sparks that light nothing only because
the ground interrupts them. You can hear the way they’d burn,
the smoldering sound they make falling into the grass.

That is a sound for the sadness everywhere present.
The closest you have come to seeing it
is at night, with the window open and the lamp on,
when the moths perch on the white walls,
tiny as a fingernail to large as a Gerbera daisy
and take turns agitating around the light.

If you grasp one by the wing,
its pill-sized body will convulse
in your closed palm and you can feel the wing beats
like an eyelid’s obsessive blinking open to see.
But now it is still light and the blackbirds are singing
as if their voices are the only scissors left in this world.

~ Jennifer Grotz

“Poppies” originally appeared in The New England Review.

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“That time was like never, and like always.” ~ Pablo Neruda

Anchorage Alaska by Janson Jones

Blue Anchorage, Alaska by Janson Jones

Ode To Enchanted Light by Pablo Neruda

Under the trees light
has dropped from the top of the sky,

 
Van Gogh The Starry Night 1889.
"The Starry Night," Van Gogh (1889)

Outside, the tree frogs are chirruping loudly. The crickets are singing, but it’s too early in the evening for the cicadas.

Inside, silence. For the first time in it seems forever, I am totally and completely alone in the house, well, aside from the dogs. Eamonn is out with friends. Brett’s good buddy Gordon came by and picked him up, and Corey is still in Ohio. Hence, the silence.

I have plenty of things that I could watch on the DVR, episodes of NCIS and Law & Order, and a few movies that might make for a good night, although, no Asia Extreme while I am completely alone. Sleep would be impossible if I did that.

I have very mixed feelings about being alone. By nature, I love solitude. I love time to myself to do what I want when I want to do it. But when the middle of the night comes, I like at least one other person to be in the house with me. It’s not that I am afraid to be alone, per se, but rather, that I prefer to know that someone is nearby in the night.

The irony here is that I have always thought that I would dearly love to live somewhere in the country, away from everything. No distractions, just me and nature and the opportunity to write. But truth be told, I don’t know that I would actually want to live isolated, down some dark stretch of country road, no neighbors around for miles. I could really talk myself into being a nervous wreck in a situation like that.

But I don’t like cities much, any more. Who knows? An island? The tropics? Australia? Alaska? France? All have their special appeal and for such very different reasons. 

light
like a green
latticework of branches, 

Something fairly outrageous along the lines of my true nature: On Facebook, I took one of those damned quizzes that are a waste of time. This one was about which Disney character you are most like. My answer: Cinderella.

My friend Rebecca got a huge guffaw out of that one, as did I. Fairy tales and and fairy princesses and prince charming. That would be a big no. I honestly thought that the results would be Cruella da Ville or someone like that. Although I do have to admit that Disney’s Cinderella is actually one of my favorite movies: I love the singing and sewing animals. Alexis and I would watch that particular movie frequently when she was young.

But my versions of fairy tales always ended with a caveat: They didn’t live happily ever after. They had to get jobs to pay the mortgage on the castle. I suppose I felt the need to include that part mostly because of what my own parents drilled into my head as I was growing up: Always make sure that you can take care of yourself. Get a good education so that you don’t have to be dependent upon any man.

shining
on every leaf,

Van Gogh The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum Arles at night 1888
"The Cafe Terrace on the Place de Forum, Arles, at Night, Van Gogh (1888)

Odd advice from a couple in which one person was the primary breadwinner (my dad), and neither of whom were college graduates. But my dad new the importance of a good education, and my mother knew the consequences of being dependent upon someone else to take care of you.

So in that way, I suppose it makes sense.

At least there was never any question about whether or not I would go to college, and I know that I was luckier than most because my parents paid for both my undergraduate and first graduate degrees. One of the benefits of being an only child and going to an in-state public university. I do wish, though, that I had ventured beyond the borders of my home state, gone to a liberal arts college somewhere out west, maybe. Or perhaps, studied abroad for a few semesters. Something different. But it didn’t happen. For a while, I actually toyed with the idea of pursuing my music, the piano, and I also gave serious thought to going to a school for the arts to pursue acting. But I did neither.

Even without the drama degree I have always managed to keep too much drama going on in my life. My internal monologues and external diatribes never really needed honing in a classroom. And I realized that while I enjoyed the piano, it wasn’t my calling. I was good, but I wasn’t excellent, and just being good allows you to teach but not to play with a symphony.

Little realities that I am awfully glad that I realized in time. 

drifting down like clean
white sand.

Unfortunately, the night sounds outside have turned into the sound of an engine revving repeatedly across the street. One of our neighbors works on cars at all hours of the day and night. Most of the time, I don’t notice the sounds. But it is so quiet tonight that that’s all that I can hear.

And of course, the dogs have to bark at the neighbor—a man who has lived across the street since before we moved here—because they’ve never seen him before ever in their lives. He is an alien and therefore worthy of a three-part concerto: Alfie’s high-pitched yips, Shakes’s midtone arfs, and then Tillie’s deeper, more ominous sounding barks.

That’s what I love about Labs. To hear them, they sound like big, mean dogs. But if someone were actually to come into the house, Tillie would wiggle her butt and roll over to have her belly rubbed. You only buy a Labrador for protection if you want to trip someone in the dark.

A cicada sends
its sawing song
high into the empty air.

Van Gogh Starry Night Over the Rhone 1888
"Starry Night Over the Rhone," Van Gogh (1888)

Originally, Corey was supposed to come home today from Ohio with the new/used van. Plans changed, and now I’m not sure as to when he will be home.

I’m trying very hard not to become too anxious about his job prospects, but it’s difficult. Part of me wishes that we lived in a small college town so that I could apply for a teaching position with a college or university. But other than doing something like that, with the flexible hours that such a position affords, I really cannot think of anything that I can do, not with the limitations that I have.

And besides, there aren’t many employers who would be willing to take me on, not knowing my health background. So ironically, I have ended up in a situation very much like the one my parents cautioned me against: being dependent upon others. In this case, dependent upon my disability insurance coverage and dependent upon Corey. Odd how things work out.

If I dwell on it too much, then I start to become maudlin, pondering the what ifs and whys. Worrying about not carrying my weight in this relationship, fixating on what kind of message it sends my children.

The world is
a glass overflowing
with water.

See, this post has become dreary, aside from the Neruda, that is. I started out well enough, talking about being alone but not being lonely, and somehow, I ended up in the same place that I too often find myself: feeling sorry for myself. My life is just a sad, country song—one of the old-fashioned kind full of heartache and lost dreams and empty whiskey bottles (where in the hell did the whiskey bottles come from?) . . .

Patsy Cline has nothing on me, well, except for that voice. It seems to me that if you are going to have the life of a sad country song, then you should have the voice to go with it.

Oh well. The car engine has finally stopped. Midnight is almost upon me. The frogs are back. And it’s time to watch some crime drama, especially since I don’t have a new book to read. Speaking of which, I want to read Atlas Shrugged, don’t know why that’s been on my mind, but it has. As has Alice B. Toklas. I woke up a couple of mornings ago and said aloud “Alice B. Toklas” and then spent hours trying to figure out why her name greeted my morning.

Aside from knowing that Toklas was Gertrude Stein’s amour for many, many years, and that Toklas published a very famous cookbook, I have never had any interest in the woman.

Don’t you just hate it when something like that happens and you cannot discern why? Well, I hate it. Bothers the daylights out of me.

I’ll probably awaken tomorrow from a dream filled with frogs that sound like cars, my mother singing Patsy Cline, and memories of trying to fit a glass stiletto onto my foot. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll be able to fall asleep to choruses of cicadas at 3 in the morning—just me, my dogs, and the echoes of night sounds.

Infrared Stars
Infrared Stars (Spitzer)

More later. Peace.