“I write only for my shadow which is cast on the wall in front of the light. I must introduce myself to it.” ~ Sadegh Hedayat, Boof-e Koor

Moonlight over Sandesfjorden by eivindtjohei (FCC)

Note: I could not get my computer to work yesterday evening, so this post is backdated. Sorry . . .

“I desire to press in my arms the loveliness which has not yet come into the world.” ~ James Joyce, The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Thursday afternoon. Very humid, mid 80’s.

Moon on the Lake by villemk (FCC)

I showered today. To most of you, this might not seem like such a big deal, but since yesterday I never made it out of my pajamas, and spent almost the entire day in bed, it’s a big deal for me.

So much has gone on in recent days that I feel as if I’ve run a marathon in combat boots: my entire body aches and is rebelling at just the idea of sitting here.

We found out the total amount needed to bring our mortgage current plus the attorney’s fees, and it isn’t pretty. I had to tap a source that I really did not want to tap, a relative (indirectly). Not my mother as she does not have the funds, nor do I want to have to hear from her about what a failure I am again. Unfortunately, this source could very easily let slip to my mother what’s going on.

I know that I just have to suck it up and deal with whatever fall-out there is, but the thought of the what-ifs is significantly adding to my stress level. This whole mortgage fiasco is beyond anything we have faced in years. The idea that I could lose this house—as old and decrepit as it is—just breaks my heart. The idea that we could become displaced scares the crap out of me. So if I can secure the funds from someone who is willing to help, I cannot allow my pride to stand in the way.

“I count the clouds others count the seasons
Dreaming of archipelagos and the desert
I have lived through weeks of years.” ~ Susan Howe, from “Hinge Picture

Acitrezza Faraglioni Moon Rise, Sicilia, Italy by gnuckx (FCC)

Oddly enough, I began the week on a good note, but that was doomed to pass quickly.

I saw Dr. K. on Monday and talked out the whole issue of going back to work, the possible risks and possible benefits. I told her that I would be pursuing this particular position purely for the money, not because I’m interested in the job itself. She then put it to me in a way that I could really appreciate: If I went back to work for a job that I was not invested in emotionally, a job—just a job—then the chances of my health problems being exacerbated would be greater than if I went back to work for something that really meant a lot to me, like a university teaching position.

When she put it that way, it made complete sense to me. Sometimes it takes an objective third party to make you see what’s been in front of you the entire time, the reality of it all.

And for me, the reality is that if I could go back to teaching English for a college or university, I wouldn’t care about the salary because I would be doing something that I really love.

Anyway, that was Monday. It’s been downhill, full speed ever since.

“I am not good at noticing when I’m happy, except in retrospect. My gift, or fatal flaw, is for nostalgia. I have sometimes been accused of demanding perfection, of rejecting heart’s desires as soon as I get close enough . . . I know very well that perfection is made up of frayed, off-struck mundanities. I suppose you could say my real weakness is a kind of long-sightedness: usually it is only at a distance, and much too late, that I can see the pattern.” ~ Tana French, from In the Woods

Fratarski Otok Moonlight by cinemich (FCC)

I’ve been trying not to just sit around and eat chocolate, even though it seems like a pretty good idea to me. Those 90-calorie fiber brownies? Yep, those? They taste like powdered cardboard. They’ll do in a pinch just to get the flavor of chocolate near the taste buds, but as far as filling that need for chocolatey smoothness . . . nope, not even close.

Then there are the 100-calorie snack packages. Do you know how many chocolate chip cookie thingies they put in one package? Eight, and they are the size of a quarter. Yep, 100 calories of pure chocolate air.

What I want is a carton of some kind of Ben and Jerry’s, preferably with the highest fat content possible, and a big spoon, and no one around to see me indulge. That or a bag of Pepperidge Farms cookies. Those would be good too.

Instead, I’ll just sit here and type and hope the cravings go far, far away. Men simply do not understand the whole chocolate thing. It’s not just for PMS. It’s for stress. It’s for depression. It’s for happiness. It’s for celebration. It’s dopamine with calories. Given a choice between Godiva and heroin? Godiva, hands down. Adult acne be damned.

“A dreamer is one who can only find their way by moonlight, and their punishment is that they see the dawn before the rest of the world.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Lunar Reflections, Fort Fisher, NC by Donald Lee Pardue (FCC)

Well, that little interlude helped a bit, that is until I remembered that yet another Law & Order franchise has been ruined for me. “Law & Order UK” killed off the Matt Devlin character, played by Jamie Bamber (who was also Apollo in “Battlestar Gallactica”). I loved him. I was already pissed at the loss of Ben Daniels, whose Crown Prosecutor James Steel was as sharp as Linus Roache’s character of Michael Cutter.

Bamber’s departure comes as a result of his casting on “Precinct 17,” of which I know absolutely nothing.

And “Law & Order SVU” is also going down the tubes with the departure of Christopher Meloni and the addition of two new cast members. Okay, so this is not important in the grand scheme of things, but as I am a diehard fan of all things L&O (with the exception of LA, which I cannot bring myself to like), the loss of the original, the tossup of SVU, and the big changes to UK make me terribly unhappy, which, as you know, is so unusual for me.

“It’s like morphine, language is. A fearful habit to form: you become a bore to all who would otherwise cherish you. Of course, there is the chance that you may be hailed as a genius after you are dead long years, but what is that to you . . . Time? Time? Why worry about something that takes care of itself so well? You were born with the habit of consuming time. Be satisfied with that.” ~ William Faulkner, Mosquitoes

Moonlight at Redang Island, Malaysia by Christian Haugen (FCC)

So, here I sit. The house is quiet. Everyone is at school or at work. Everyone, that is, except for me and the dogs and the dust bunnies . . . I’m sitting here with the sun in my eyes, the afternoon sun that is streaming through Eamonn’s bedroom window. If I do that thing that kids do, you now, close my eyes almost all the way, then I can see light refracting off my eyelashes.

Remember when you first discovered how to do that? I don’t either.

For some reason, I cannot get my YouTube to work at the moment. I keep getting a 502 error, whatever that is, whenever I set a playlist to play. I tried signing back in, but nothing. So I don’t have a song for this post, which is okay, I suppose, as I don’t yet have a theme in mind for the images to go with the words. It’s that kind of post: disjointed, fragmented, bumpy.

I prefer for my posts to be like the kind of ride you get in an Infiniti, or something along those lines: smooth, comfortable, almost quiet. Instead, I have a 4×4 kind of post going on, and I keep hitting all of the potholes. My suspension is shot, and I’m badly in need of a tune-up.

Oh well, never going to own that muscle car that I always dreamed of having. You know, the one with the motor that growls low at stop lights, the one that slides in and out of cars. Nope. Not going to happen . . . ever. A muscle car needs to be low to the ground, something that my body just won’t do.  No black Ford Mustang with a sunroof and speakers that make my tummy vibrate.  Just please don’t put me in a white sedan. I think that would be the end of me.

What am I going on about? Who the hell knows.

More later. Peace.

Music by Tom Waits, “The Part You Throw Away”

                   

“Since I last wrote summer has gone. It’s autumn. Now Jack brings home from his walks mushrooms and autumn crocuses. Little small girls knock at the door with pears to sell & blue black plums. The hives have been emptied; there’s new honey and the stars look almost frosty. Speaking of stars reminds me—we were sitting on the balcony last night. It was dark. These huge fir trees ‘take’ the darkness marvellously. We had just counted four stars & remarked a light, high up—what was it? on the mountains opposite, when suddenly from far away a little bell began ringing. Someone played a tune on it—something gay, merry, ancient, over and over. I suppose it was some priest or lay brother in a mountain village. But what we felt was—it’s good to think such things still happen to think some peasant goes off in the late evening & delights to play that carillon. I sometimes have a fear that simple hearted people are no more. I was ashamed of that fear last night. The little bell seemed to say, but joyfully: ‘Be not afraid. All is not lost.’” ~ Katherine Mansfield, from a letter to Richard Murray, September 5th, 1921

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“If the Olive Trees knew the hands that planted them, Their Oil would become Tears.” ~ Mahmoud Darwish

e. e. cummings Bench in Oregon by Tony the Misfit (FCC)


“Often what I need is even a darker darkness.” ~ Valzhyna Mort, from “Mocking Bird Hotel

Thursday evening. Low 70’s, humid.

Brighton Beach Bench by Elsie esq. (FCC)

I have not been writing, not only because of my emotional state, but also because my left hand seems to have frozen or something. It’s not carpal tunnel, but it may be a recurrence of De Quervain’s tynosynovitis, or what used to be known as washer woman’s hand. It’s a syndrome that is akin to carpal tunnel, but is focused on the thumb.

All I know is that I’ve been wearing an immobilizing brace on both my wrists, but my left wrist is definitely much worse. I have an appointment with the pain doctor on Tuesday. When I called to see if I could get in this week, they told me that everyone, everyone was on vacation. Glad it’s not an emergency.

So keyboarding is quite painful, as is anything else involving my wrist, which is . . . just about everything. I’ve been swallowing ibuprofen like they are Sweet Tarts, and it gives me a bit of relief, which I am taking advantage of at this moment to try to put together a post.

Earlier today my mother called and scared the crap out of me. I thought that she had had a stroke, and of course, no vehicle. I called Alexis, who eventually got here and drove me over. I didn’t call 911 because I had mom do the basic tests for a stroke while I was on the phone with her. If you don’t know what these are, you should. The acronym to remember is FAST:

  • FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop downwards?
  • ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms above the head. Does one arm drift downward?
  • SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange (nonsensical)?
  • TIME: If you observe any of these symptoms, call 911

Fortunately, she did not exhibit any of the above. She had been sick to her stomach and dizzy. I reminded her that she had some nausea medicine. When I got to her house, I had her do the tests again, and she was fine. Her blood pressure was fine as was her blood sugar. My blood pressure, however, was way above normal.

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer . . . and everything collapses.” ~ Colette

Empty Bench by lovstromp (FCC)

So other than that bit of excitement, I’ve been trying to stay busy, but it’s not really working. I have so much paperwork that I need to do. I started it during the hurricane while we didn’t have electricity. I thought that mundane tasks were as good as anything else to do to pass the time. Of course, I didn’t finish it, and everything is in a neat pile on the dining room table (which I cleaned, also during the hurricane).

I found out that my lifelong friend Sarah suffered severe damage from Irene. Unfortunately, she suffered severe damage from the last hurricane to hit this area, and once again, she is without a livable abode. Thankfully, her mother still lives in the area, just down the street from my mom.

The top of the oak tree from the backyard is over the fence and into the bush hedge that separates the park from the houses in this neighborhood. Corey hasn’t tried his chainsaw yet to see if it works. Here’s hoping that it will work because a chainsaw is the only thing that’s going to work.

I hadn’t realized that so much of the tree had fallen. In my mind, I thought that it was just a piece of the tree, so Corey kept giving me funny looks when I suggested he just use his grappling hook to move the branch. Later, when I actually saw the damage, I realized that there is no grappling hook big enough to move that tree top. We’re talking about twelve or so feet of tree trunk with branches.

I need to call our homeowner’s policy holder as I learned that we can still get flood insurance, but it won’t be valid until 30 days after we sign up. Still, we really need to get it, and we just never seem to think about it until it’s too late. I think that we’ll be able to get a policy for under $400, but don’t ask me why that particular number is in my head. I could be imagining things again.

“The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears, or the sea.” ~ Isak Dinesen

Old Wooden Bench Overlooking the Aegean Sea by horia varlan (FCC)

Ann saw the lawyer yesterday to clarify disposition of the house. She/we want to make sure the evil stepmother cannot lay any claims on it. It’s the type of thing that she would do, too, stick her unwanted nose into family business of which she is not a part. I’m more family than she is.

As it turns out, the divorce agreement could be interpreted in one of two ways, so the lawyer suggested that Ann and Paul go talk to their father to clarify what his wishes are. I have no doubts that he will do the right thing as long as his wife does not butt in.

Can you tell that she just burns me? Yes, I dislike her that intensely, for numerous reasons.

I’ve written my eulogy for the memorial service, which is on September 10. I also have written a poem, which I may or may not post here, still not sure. Ann and I have decided that after the service, we’re going back to her mom’s house and drink wine, perhaps for hours and hours. That is how I feel at the moment: I don’t want to feel.

Nothing is real to me yet. I still have yet to grieve, still have not cried. I just can’t.

All that I feel is a continuous dull pain in my chest. I recognize this pain, know it for what it is: the wall between then and now. It is taking every bit of my fortitude to hold up that wall.

Please do not tell me that I need to let myself cry. I remember running into Caitlin’s doctors in the hospital away from her room, and the two of them said (her two female neurosurgeons with whom I had developed a relationship of sorts) that I should just let myself cry. I remember looking at them and saying that once I started I wasn’t sure that I could stop.

It sounds stupid, not thinking that you will be able to stop crying, but it’s a very real feeling—that taking that one step into the void will be irreversible, because it will. Trust me. I know.

“He wanted to cry quietly, but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music.” ~ James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Bench in Mobile, AL, Botanical Garden by Alwright1 (FCC)

I’m going to put together a collage of family pictures to put on display at the memorial. I told Ann that I would do it. Of course, I haven’t started it. That would be the responsible thing to do.

I’m just kind of treading water here. I get up from the bed, walk into the kitchen and look around, walk back into the bedroom, look around, completely forget what I was going to do. I sit down to this keyboard and then nothing . . .  absolutely nothing. Whatever I was thinking of doing or reading or writing is gone within seconds.

To be perfectly honest, I just zoned. I took my eyes from the screen for two seconds, and when I looked back, I couldn’t remember my train of thought.

It’s a state of perpetual hold, like being on hold with a utility company and hearing bad music over and over again until the best solution seems to be to bang your head against the wall, any wall, to make the stupid, inane songs stop, and then, just when you think the interminable wait is over, and that someone is going to respond to your needs, there is a click, and the soundtrack starts over again.

I think that I understand why people actually pull out their hair. Anything is better than this nothing.

Sorry to be so morose. It simply can’t be helped.

More later. Peace.

Music by Jets Overhead, “Where Did You Go?”

                   

Meaning

When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add Up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
—And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?
—Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
And calls out, protests, screams.

~ Czeslaw Milosz