“I find pieces of myself everywhere, and I cut myself handling them.” ~ Jeanette Winterson, Lighthousekeeping

Lightning Strikes the Eiffel Tower (thesun.co.uk)


“I would up heart, were it not like lead. But my whole clock’s run down; my heart the all-controlling weight, I have no key to lift again.” ~ Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Lightning, Placitas, NM, by snowpeak (FCC)

Friday early evening. Sunny, not too hot, humid.

I have not yet adjusted my sleeping patterns to coincide with Brett and Em’s morning classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which means that I take them to school and then come home and go back to sleep. Ideally, I would be falling asleep earlier than 3 a.m. so that waking at 9 wouldn’t be a problem.


We all know how ideally works for me—it doesn’t. Hence, the interrupted sleep patterns and headaches upon waking. Sometimes I wonder how I ever arose at 5 a.m. and did a full workout before going to work. Talk about ambitious. My workout today consisted of cleaning the bathroom and doing a bit of laundry. Whee, feel the burn.

Speaking of which, the wrist is still aching, but my mom is better today. She called her doctor’s office to tell them what’s going on, and they can’t see her until September 6; they told her to go to the ER if the stumbling happens again, which is what I had said to her. She does sound better today, and she ate something healthy, so there’s that.

Last night I had strange dreams about talking penguins and a pike fish that was trying to bite off my arm. The oldest penguin’s name was Bart. Very strange but interesting at the same time. The penguins were quite delightful; the pike was not. It had long needle-like teeth like Prisoner Zero on Doctor Who. I don’t even try to interpret such dreams any more as what could they possibly mean . . .

“Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

Wednesday evening. Hot, humid, and pending storms.

Lightning Strike, by No One Famous Studios (FCC)

Well, you might say that I took a few days off since writing the last section. Understatement . . .

The wrist was way painful; my mom was way needy, and access to the computer was way limited. Okay. So I just wasn’t up to writing. Whatever.

Yesterday I had two much-postponed doctor’s appointments with the pain management doctor and my therapist: eighteen trigger shots later, from my ears to my butt, and one cortisone shot in the wrist. In between appointments, I worked on the also postponed paper work, then, on to Dr. K. to discuss my life for 45 minutes.

Unlike what I expected, I was very restrained. I think that I’m still in postponement mode. In fact, I know that I am. When I told Dr. K. that I was holding off on my grieving, she looked me dead in the eye and said that if anyone could do that, I could. I spent several hours today cleaning floors throughout the house, something that my back and my wrist are thanking me for at this moment. Actually, I’m supposed to be looking through the family photos for pictures of Grandma with the kids.

Why don’t I just rip my heart out now and throw it on the floor and stomp on it because that’s how it’s going to feel once I get in the midst of going through old photographs.

“September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret.” ~ Alexander Theroux

Lightning Strike, by wdallasm (FCC)

I told Dr. K that I don’t have any regrets with my m-in-law. Of course, that’s not true. I live filled to the brim with regrets, every moment of every day. I am a walking regret. Je regrette should be tattooed across my body somewhere. Jean Valjean (Les Miserables) has nothing on me when it comes to guilt and regret.

I wish that I had gone to the hospital while she was still conscious so that she could hear me say I love you one more time instead of my whispered words when she was slipping away. Of course, I wish that I had said I love you one more time to my father.

I wish that I had visited more in the past two years when she was still somewhat with us mentally, that I had sat down and had coffee, that I had asked her for recipes.

I wish that I had taken her to the symphony in the same way that she used to take me whenever there was a performance that she knew that I would appreciate. I saw Itzhak Perlman because of her. I saw one of Nureyev’s last performances because of her. What did I do for her?

How do we measure how much we have contributed to another person’s life? How do we know if we have done enough? How do we live with ourselves when we know that we have not done enough?

How do we know if we have really touched another person, that we have made an impact on them? Is it selfish to wish that you’ve made an impact?

So many questions and no real answers. It’s the Gordian knot all over again—it doesn’t matter from which direction you approach the problem, it’s seemingly unsolvable.

“… and between us every elegy, all the fallen
language that couldn’t hold its own
and wouldn’t give it back, had no flesh
except how long dust keeps our alphabets.” ~ Brian Teare, from “Eden Tiresias”

Lightning, by Leszek.Lescynski (FCC)

When I look in the mirror, I want to like the person that I see staring back at me. I have never been able to do that. I couldn’t really tell you why. Or actually, I probably have a thousand reasons why, but none seem to make sense to anyone but me.

At the end of my days, I don’t want to have lived like Bartleby the Scrivener, the man who preferred not to, so he never did. Literary criticism has all sorts of reasons as to why Bartleby did not, the most common being that it was his way of being a conscientious objector, his protest against the life that was being imposed upon him.

That’s not even close to what I’m talking about in this case. More precisely, I want to have participated, to have savored, to have tasted, to have dabbled, to have shared, to have given, to have touched, to have been touched, to have explored, to have dared, to have ventured, to have tried. Dammit, I want to have at least have tried.

Losing someone you love always leads to self-reflection, and that’s probably the only good part of losing someone you love. But as I sit here and  bang on these keys, so many thoughts are churning through my brain, so many what-ifs, so many why-nots.

At the end of her days, my mother-in-law was not the person she had been. But the person she had been was strong and intelligent and generous with her time and talents. And to be perfectly honest, she would have hated the navel-gazing that I am currently embroiled in performing. She was not one to harbor deep regrets, at least, I don’t think that she was, but what in the hell do I even know about anything.

However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” ~ Stanley Kubrick

Lightning over Aquitaine, France

So, here is where I am at the moment: absolutely nowhere. My head is spinning; my back is aching, and my heart is breaking. I must tell you that this is not a good combination. I could chalk all of this up to not sleeping, but I know, and so do you too, probably, that it’s so much more.

If you are able to derive any sort of linear thought from this post, congratulations. That’s more than I could, and I apologize for that. Perhaps I should have chosen the path of restraint and not have written at all, but I feel as if I am on the brink of something, but I am not quite sure as to what that might be.

Perhaps it’s a poem. Perhaps, it’s just an idea for a post. I can only tell you that I sense something right beneath the surface of my consciousness, so close that I can almost glean a glimpse, but then it slips away. Is it the Silence (Dr. Who reference), lurking there in the corner of the mirror, just out of sight but close enough to control my actions?

Perhaps. Perhaps not. Perhaps I just have a build up of words that have had no outlet for days, and they are reaching critical mass. Perhaps it’s indigestion, but that would require eating an actual meal; wouldn’t it?

I have eaten, but I only taste dust, to be truthful. Perhaps tomorrow I shall dare to eat a peach and wear my trousers rolled, and then, and only then, I will be able to tap into whatever this is.

Until then, silence, and not the Dr. Who kind.

More later. Peace.

“I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables (original cast soundtrack)


The Three Oddest Words

When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to
the past.
When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.
When I
pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no nonbeing can hold.

~ Wisława Szymborska

“We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.” ~ Voltaire

Close-Up of Orca (from ecst.csuchico.edu)


“Each time dawn appears, the mystery is there in its entirety.” ~ René Daumal

Tuesday afternoon. Sunny and warm, mid 80’s.

Humpback Whale Fluke by mikebaird (FCC)

Last night was probably one of the worst nights that I’ve had in a very long time. I got a headache early in the evening that later blossomed into a migraine. Then, I could not fall asleep. I remember turning over and looking at the clock (always a bad thing): 5:35 a.m.

When I did manage to fall asleep, the dogs were unbearably annoying waking me, taking up too much room, scratching. I think that I finally fell asleep soundly around 8:30 and then awoke at 10. Then I spent a few more hours drifting off and waking up. The night is a blur of ice packs, 7 Up (to counteract the nausea), walking back and forth to the kitchen, and medication. Finally, I got out of bed around 12:30 and made coffee. There really was no point to extending the endurance test that I had given myself, and I’m hoping that by not sleeping this afternoon I might be able to sleep tonight.

We shall see.

It is absolutely beautiful outside, but I cannot endure the bright sunshine long enough to float in the pool. I went outside and threw the tennis balls for the dogs a few times and then retreated inside.

Who knows how long this post will actually be.

“Long years must pass before the truths we have made for ourselves become our very flesh.” ~ Paul Valéry

Wednesday afternoon. Sunny and low 80’s.

Dolphin Surfs the Wake of a Research Boat on the Banana River (NASA; Wikimedia Commons)

Obviously, the post did not go very far yesterday. I sat here for a bit and realized that I was zoning, completely unfocused, so I saved and left, hoping to be in a better frame today.

I still had trouble falling asleep last night even though I was dead on my feet. I watched a couple of movies in the hopes that one of them would bore me, but no joy. Finally, around 3 a.m. I took another Seroquel to help sleep come. My prescription says 2 or 3 at bedtime, but I try to keep it at 2 pills as I find that 3 pills makes me feel kind of dopey upon waking the next day. Luckily, I finally fell asleep and slept pretty soundly, which my body really needed.

Corey begins classes tomorrow. I know that he’s really excited because he’s taking biology and English, both subjects in which he is interested. Apparently, I screwed something up with his school loan money, so there is a hiccup in the funds. He received just enough in Pell Grant money to cover the cost of tuition, but not the cost of books, so we really need the loan money to cover that. I’m not really sure if I screwed up the paperwork, but it seems that something has gone wrong somewhere because when Corey went to campus yesterday to inquire, they still did not have anything from whatever site processes the student loans.

There is so much paper work involved in student aid, and I do it for Corey, Eamonn and Brett, so it is entirely possible that I missed a page, which makes me feel terrible.

I don’t remember if I mentioned it before, but Eamonn lost his aid for this semester because of his grades. Quite a blow. One of the only good things about being poorer than we used to be is that we qualify for grants. Brett seems to be on track to have everything covered for this year, so at least one out of three is taken care of.

Em’s aunt and uncle are taking care of her paper work with ODU, and everything there seems to be on track, so now it’s a matter of hunting for the best prices on books for everyone. Saving a few dollars here and there, or getting free shipping is a big deal when considering the prices of college text books, which on average is over $100 for something basic.

“There is nothing more galling to angry people than the coolness of those on whom they wish to vent their spleen.” ~ Alexandre Dumas Père

Pilot Whales by egcp.org.uk

Speaking of Em, things seem to be better regarding APS. She met once again with the case worker from that office, and from what I understand, the meeting went well. I’m trying to remove myself from the process as much as possible for obvious reasons, but the reality is that no matter what the outcome, the pest will not be dissuaded.

Quite frankly, I just don’t care. I don’t care about the baseless accusations. I don’t care about the rambling telephone calls and e-mails. I don’t care about the delusional disparaging remarks. I just don’t care.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll care, but today, I’m too tired to give a damn. I have enough going on without focusing on the negative vibes of an individual who just cannot seem to get a firm grasp on reality. As I said before: Get a grip. Get a job. Get a life.

My life is taken.

“I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.” ~ Arthur Rimbaud, from “Alchemy of the World” (Season in Hell)

Dolphin from ecst.csuchico.edu

Okay. I have a thing for French writers today. Probably because the long Rimbaud quote in the Pollock movie brought to mind Rimbaud, Valéry, and the others.

Rimbaud was one tortured soul, writing most of his poetry in less than five years during his late teens, and ultimately giving up his creative writing by the age of 21. His torrid relationship with Verlaine scandalized France, but ultimately, Rimbaud’s relationship with Verlaine led to the latter’s publication of the volatile poet’s complete works in 1895. Notably, A Season in Hell (Une Saison en Enfer) is considered one of the first works written in free verse, which has led to Rimbaud being called the founder of French symbolism.

Rimbaud wrote A Season in Hell in 1873 after his relationship with Verlaine had soured. It is considered groundbreaking symbolist writing and is the only thing that Rimbaud self-published. The poem is divided into nine parts of varying lengths. Many people have translated Season in Hell, including Henry Miller, but what I find more interesting is that Zelda Fitzgerald (wife of F. Scott) translated the piece during one of her many hospitalizations.

I must admit that I knew virtually nothing about Rimbaud until I saw the 1995 movie Total Eclipse, which featured Leonardo DiCaprio as Rimbaud and David Thewlis as Verlaine. It was a small movie featuring a young DiCaprio before his Titanic box office blockbuster. But according to most sources, the movie is an historically accurate depiction of the young poet and his relationship with the older Verlaine.

It’s a movie that I would like to see again now that I know more about the two writers. Maybe one day on Net Flix.

“Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to untie.” ~ Jean Cocteau

Two Orcas off Eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska (NOAA; Wikimedia Commons)

Anyway, last night I dreamt that I was petting a whale, an Orca specifically.  I was sliding my hand over the animal’s head, and then when it opened its mouth, I ran my hand across its tongue. The Orca nodded its head appreciatively. It was a very pleasurable experience, very peaceful. The only disconnect was that in my dream, as I was communing with the whale, I thought of that stupid movie Free Willy.

I will never understand how the mind stores megabytes of completely useless information, only to resurrect it in dreams. Things that the conscious mind has long forgotten, has not given a second of thought to in years, and then BAM! It’s there, in a dream, intruding upon an otherwise lovely scene.

Dreams are so complex yet revealing. I remember that Corey told me one time that he tried to control his dreams. Brett told me the same thing once.  I don’t know, but I really don’t want to control my dreams, at least, not now. At one time, I would tell myself before going to sleep, “Tonight, I am going to dream of Caitlin.” And usually, I did not. No control.

Now, I just let my dreams come to as they will, and I try to remember the moments that have made the biggest impression on me. What does this have to do with the Gordian knot, the problem that cannot be solved by normal means? Not exactly certain other than I spend my life in perpetual pursuit of the solution to the knot: How do I untie that for which no clear end is visible? How do I solve the problem that is my life without having any clear solution?

Perhaps the solution is that I cannot, and instead of choosing the easiest way of cutting through, I keep trying to untie.

More later. Peace.

Music by Eddie Vedder, “Light Today”


Childhood: IV

I am the saint at prayer on the terrace like the peaceful beasts that graze down to the sea of Palestine.

I am the scholar of the dark armchair. Branches and rain hurl themselves at the windows of my library.

I am the pedestrian of the highroad by way of the dwarf woods; the roar of the sluices drowns my steps. I can see for a long time the melancholy wash of the setting sun.

I might well be the child abandoned on the jetty on its way to the high seas, the little farm boy following the lane, its forehead touching the sky.

The paths are rough. The hillocks are covered with broom. The air is motionless. How far away are the birds and the springs! It can only be the end of the world ahead.

~ Arthur Rimbaud, from Illuminations