“The weather varies between heavy fog and pale sunshine; My thoughts follow the exact same process.” ~ Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry dated 21 April 1918

Leon Spillaert, L'Arbre au Bout de l'Escalier
“L’Arbre au Bout de l’Escalier” (nd)
by Léon Spilliaert

                   

“Who will you be tonight in your dreamfall into the dark, on the other side of the wall?” ~ Jorge Luis Borges, from Dream, trans. Alastair Reid

Monday, early evening. Intermittent thunderstorms, high humidity, high 70’s.

It was nice to sleep later today after having Olivia for two days, but it was nice to have her on Saturday and Sunday as I had really missed spending time with her. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t the best circumstances in which to introduce a baby . . . Awoke last night several times with a headache, a different headache each time. It was very strange, but all included extreme light sensitivity and nausea. Not sure if it’s the barometric pressure or the powder keg pressure that is the current state in our house.

Leon Spilliaert Clair de lune et lumières vers 1909
Clair de Lune et Lumières vers (1909)
by Léon Spilliaert

Even Corey, even-keeled as he is, admits that the stress is really getting to him, and he wants nothing more than to be left alone.

It’s an amalgation of many things: Tillie’s heightened stress over the battle with Jake; the whole idea of taking Jake back to the shelter from which we adopted him; the futile attempts at training the puppy (whose name is still not quite fixed because no one (myself included) seems to find Kopi fitting); Corey’s upcoming trip to Ohio, which, coming at a really bad time, means that we need to resolve so much before he goes; the broken air conditioner in the living room, which is making the front part of the house unbearably hot and uncomfortable . . . and on and on and on.

It’s no surprise that we are all feeling the pressure, and less of a surprise that the dogs are reading it and reacting to it.

“There are a thousand things I want.
Each begins with going back in time.” ~ Jill Alexander Essbaum, from The Devastation

I suppose much of it goes back to bringing home two dogs at once. If we had just brought home the puppy, she and Tillie might be bonding by now, and the puppy might have been able to pick up on Tillie’s demeanor. Instead, the puppy and Jake seem to bring out the worst in one another, and Tillie spends most of her time hiding and trying to get away from both of them.

XIR213998
“Green Seascape” (1909, pencil and watercolor on paper)
by Léon Spilliaert

When we brought Tillie home, we had both Jack Russell boys, but everything integrated so smoothly that I suppose we have been thrown off-kilter by how very different this experience has been so far. Tillie seemed to house train herself. She never chewed on furniture or shoes. She was an amazing puppy, and she has grown into an amazing adult dog.

The recent additions? Not so much.

I have taken to spritzing hairspray on the bottoms of some pieces of furniture to try to curb the chewing. Water mixed with hot sauce only seemed to make the furniture more tempting somehow. If the hairspray doesn’t work, I’ll buy some bitters. Granted, our furniture is far from top of the line, but we do have a few pieces that I really cherish, like my Bentwood rocker, which seems to having glowing lights around it serving to lure in the two miscreants. That rocker is over 30 years old, and I love it.

“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways . . . Without it, no species would survive.”~ Yann Martel, from Life of Pi

That paralyzing lethargy that I spoke of in the last post? Well it’s traveled to Corey, and now he feels completely unmotivated to do any of his projects, including installing the new air conditioner. I can hardly say anything to him as my own desire to accomplish anything is fueled only by the compulsive desire for the house not to be in a constant state of disarray, and a keen need for the living room not to smell like a kennel.

Leon SPillaert, Longing
“Longing” (nd)
by Léon Spilliaert

I keep washing throw rugs and pillows, and am doing a lot of moving things out of reach, but the puppy grows more each day, which means that things which were inaccessible three days ago are now within reach.

We had moved the dry dog food into the dining room this past winter to keep the raccoons from getting into it. Unfortunately, the puppy has realized that if she hurls herself at the bag, she has a good chance of knocking it over, which means FOOD NOW! Yeah, I know.

This morning we woke up to find that the whole house had been t-p’d—inside. One or both of them had unrolled a full roll of toilet paper from the bathroom to the dining room.

To say that I’m hating life right now is a massive understatement.

“What remains of its beauty yesterday?
I have kept all its feathers.” ~ André Gide, from Prometheus Illbound

I suppose I should be happy at the good news, which is that I seem to have lost a few pounds since Alfie died, but I’m too stressed to be looking at the glass half-full thing. I mean, I spent an hour sweeping the floors and wiping things down once I was able to get out of bed this morning.

Leon Spilliaert 1908 The-Royal-Galleries-of-Ostende
“The Royal Galleries of Ostende (1908)
by Léon Spilliaert

The guilt-infusing reality is that we have made arrangements to surrender Jake to the shelter on Wednesday. The woman with whom I spoke yesterday was able to reassure me a bit by telling me that all of Jake’s brothers have already been adopted, so chances are good that he’ll be able to find a new home, but I’m so worried that he’s going to end up back in that cage just wondering why? I’d be wondering why, and yes, I’m human, but dogs are sentient beings. Never doubt that.

Every time that I think about it I can see him sitting there with his beautiful dark eyes filled with sadness. Coward that I am, I don’t think that I can go with Corey when he takes Jake back. I mean, I actually started to tear up on the phone when I was explaining the situation to the woman on the phone. I have never in my life given up a dog, taken a dog to a shelter, albeit a no-kill, extremely clean and well-maintained shelter with lots of volunteers.

It’s all too much, and the thought of Corey going off and leaving me in a few days, even though it’s for a good reason, just makes me sad and more stressed.

Stressed. Stressed. Stressed.

“I’ve always been dark with light somewhere in the distance.” ~ Dallas Green

Leon Spilliaert-Wharf-with-Fisherman-on-a-Mooring-Post-1909-large-1340860501
“Whart with Fisherman on a Mooring Post (1909)
by Léon Spilliaert

So let’s recap shall we?

  • I made the mistake of adopting two dogs at once too soon after the loss of Alfie
  • The dog who has been queen of her doman is now living in constant fear
  • The dogs we adopted are feeding off each other’s energy, resulting in massive entropy
  • The little decent furniture we have has become chew toys
  • The barometric pressure is wreaking havoc on my sinuses
  • The humidity is thick enough to bottle
  • Everyone in the house is overwrought
  • The house that I have been OCD’ing over cleaning seems to be falling to pieces before my eyes
  • The puppy still needs a name.

Yep. That’s about right.

More later. Peace.

All images by Belgian artist Léon Spilliaert (I was able to find the associated medium for only one image).

Music by Lucie Silvas, “Place to Hide”

                    

At Half Past Three in the Afternoon

On one side of the world
I was watching the waterfall
shake itself out, a scroll unfurled
against a grey sky slate wall,
when on the other side—
it would be half past nine, and you
in bed—when on the other side
the night was falling further than I knew.

And watching the water
fall from that hole in the sky
to be combed into foam, I caught
a glimpse in the pool’s dark eye
of us, eating our bread
and cheese, watching the fallen light
crash into darkness. “Look” you said,
“a rainbow like a dragonfly in flight.”

On one side of the world
at half past five in the afternoon
a telephone rang, and darkness welled
from a hole in the sky,
darkness and silence. Soon,
in search of a voice—how to recall
“a rainbow like a dragonfly
in flight”—I walked back to the waterfall.

The trees had lost their tongues—
as I did, coming face to face
with the glacial skeleton hung
behind our picnic place.
The spine was broken, cracked
the rib-cage of the waterfall.
The pond under its cataract
knew nothing of us, knew nothing at all.

And what did I know, except
that you, the better part of me,
did not exist? But I have kept
your anniversary
today—or there, tonight—
returning to the creek, and trying
to understand. I saw the light
falling, falling, and the rainbow flying.

~ Jon Stallworthy

“I am a jumble of passions, misgivings, and wants. It seems that I am always in a state of wishing and rarely in a state of contentment.” ~ Libba Bray, from The Sweet Far Thing

Three Seascapes circa 1827 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851
“Three Seascapes” (ca 1827)
by Joseph Mallord William Turner

                   

“So I fill my hands with the shards of infinite ardors.
A generous cargo of ohs and oh wells.
And a strange half-wish to be a ghost.

It is the thing I wish for most.” ~  Jill Alexander Essbaum, from The Devastation

Monday afternoon. Partly cloudy and warmer, 70 degrees.

I had a full-blown Caitlin dream last night. I haven’t had one of those in a very long time. By full-blown, I mean, I saw her, held her, fed her, talked to her, called her by name. I cannot begin to express how much this hurts my heart. And to compound the ache, my father was also in the dream in a very active way: we talked about something, he smiled, I kissed his cheek.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Setting Sun and the Sea not sure, watercolor
“Setting Sun and the Sea” (title questionable, nd, watercolor)
by Joseph Mallord William Turner

In the first part of the dream I was in a medical center with Caitlin. Our nurse was very nice, and she was trying to get us a private room so that I could breast feed Caitlin. There was a lot of noise in the hall, and I peeked out and saw soldiers and people running. The medical center was being stormed by someone, I don’t know who. I looked around the hallway to see if there was a way out, and there wasn’t.

I went back into the room and closed the door quietly. I told our nurse what was going on. Other people came into the room with their babies. Everyone was scared. People were looking to me. I fed Caitlin and ignored everything else. My ex wanted to know how I could have fed her. I told him I breastfed her; he wanted to know where the milk came from. I told him that it was just there again, like it had always been. Then I went to the windows and said that we could try jumping to safety.

“Sometimes fear grips me that these fragile moments of life will fade away. It seems that I write against erasure.” ~ Assia Djebar,  from “Assia Djebar: The Tireless Walker of Memory,” trans. Erin E. Brady and Guillaume Basset

In another part of the dream I was having an affair with my second cousin at Great Bridge. Everyone knew, but no one said anything. I was still married to my ex. I had four children, and one of them looked like my cousin. My ex wanted to know if he was the father or if my cousin was the father. I lied.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Lonship Lighthouse, Lands End, c1834-5 watercolor
“Longship Lighthouse, Lands End” (ca 1834-5, watercolor)
by Joseph Mallord William Turner

Then, I was talking to all of my cousins about the cars I had when I was a teenager, and I remembered when I spun my VW Beetle into a ditch (this really happened). My cousin said that he remembered, but the ditch was in front of my mother’s house. I said that there were no ditches there, only in Great Bridge.

Then we were singing karaoke. I signed up to do a duet of a country song, but when the music started, I realized that I couldn’t read the screen with my contacts in, so I didn’t know the words. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were part of the group I was with, and they wanted to do a sing-off. I said that I couldn’t because I couldn’t see the words. They said that I was just making an excuse. Then two of the women in the group said they would sing with me.

At some point in this sequence, I was sitting outside with my dad. He may have been working on a fishing rod. I told him that I was really glad that he was my father. He smiled.

I awoke with a pain in my heart and a completely empty feeling.

“Because the body is so ephemeral and corrupt,
what is beautiful today may not be so ten years hence,
I give you words.
Because my thoughts are strange and dreamlike
and not to be trusted to icon or art,
I put them into words for you” ~ Shaindel Beers, from “I Give You Words

Today has been completely out of whack. My doctor’s office called to say that they had to cancel my appointment today because they hadn’t gotten approval for my shots, not the Botox for my migraines, but the cortisone for both of my wrists. Unbelievable. The Botox has finally been approved, but not the cortisone? What gives? I really need shots in both of my hands because they hurt all of the time.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Storm Clouds colon Sunset with a Pink Sky 1825
“Storm Clouds: Sunset with a Pink Sky” (1825, watercolor)
by Joseph Mallord William Turner

Then my dermatologist’s office called and wanted to know if I could come in at 8 in the morning instead of 2 in the afternoon. Really? No. I made these appointments to work around Brett’s school schedule. He has an exam tomorrow. And besides, I’m not even conscious at 8 in the morning. Of course, I didn’t tell them that.

In between, Brett found out that an exam he thought was on Wednesday is actually today. Yep, major freaking out ensued.

Then I paid some bills, and I tried to create an online account for my life insurance, and the site kept saying that there was no policy in existence. I called customer service. Policy is in existence. Associate took all of my information and said to give it a bit and try again. He had a hard time with my e-mail address. I bet he put it in wrong because I still can’t log in to the site.

So much fun. Love days like these. Just want to do nothing, but no. I’m a responsible adult with responsible adult obligations………….. whatever……………

“In one way, causeless emotion reminds me of melancholy: when we have sorrows without a name.” ~ Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack, and Honey

For Mother’s Day, I ordered myself a couple of books and a one-pound bag of Chimes Mango Ginger chews. These things are addictive, and the ginger is very good for your heart and digestion, or so I tell myself, but they’re impossible to find in grocery stores. So yesterday, Brett went with me to T. J. Maxx, mostly to get out of the house, and I tried on clothes, which always makes me feel fat and ugly, and there on the shelves in the gourmet section were Chimes Chews, plain ginger, mango ginger, orange ginger. Unbelievable.

The Scarlet Sunset circa 1830-40 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851
“The Scarlet Sunset,” detail (ca 1830-40, watercolor)
by Joseph Mallord William Turner

I’m trying not to think about it too much because I already justified to myself ordering the one-pound bag. I’m also trying not to think about the shirt that I tried on that was too tight in the—wait for it—ARMS. I have fat arms. How does that happen? Why does that happen? Why do women lose tone in weird bodily appendages and men don’t?

So the trip out of the house to lift our spirits ended up making me feel fat and ugly and inefficient. Now here’s the real rub: I can’t stop thinking about how I paid x amount to order this one-pound bag, when I could have paid y and gotten them at T. J. Maxx. My never pay retail mantra is kind of stuck, like LP’s? Remember that, how they would stick in a spot and play the same sound over and over again, and sometimes, this would happen at night when you would put on an album to fall asleep by, and then you’d fall asleep, and something would nudge you in your sleep, and you’d wake up to the sound of the record stuck on a scratch or groove? Am I the only one that happened to?

“This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath . . .” ~ Margaret Atwood, from “Shapechangers in Winter”

So, no relief in the wrists, no sassy red capris with white polka dots because they looked stupid on me, no cute lavender denim shorts because, well, the stupid thing. I did come away with two pair of really gauzy yoga pants and a new bra, so I’ll just stay at home and wear my yoga pants and hide my arms.

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Beacon Light, oil on canvas
“The Beacon Light” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ack. What am I going on about, anyway. That my arms are flabby is no surprise. That I didn’t look all chic in the red capris is no surprise. That I found Chimes locally is a surprise. I think that I’m just trying to keep my mind from dwelling on my dreams last night. I did so many things, saw so many people, touched on so many memories. I think part of what caused such emotional dreams were two things I saw yesterday: the movie Boy A, which is heartbreaking, and then a short film on Tumblr about a wolf looking for her cub. Ack. Set myself up, I suppose.

The reality is that the dream of breastfeeding Caitlin was so perfect and so very, very painful. That is something that will never happen again. That baby that I held in my arms with the dark hair, the one who looked up at me in contentment—it’s not real. What is real is that I feel like I picked and picked and picked at a scab, and now it is raw again.

The scar that had faded to a pale grey line is red and aching, and it’s going to take me months to heal from this, and why can’t I be better about this? Why does the pain caused by a dream have to be so immediate and so real? Once again, I am among the walking wounded, and no matter how many of these damned Chimes I chew, I fear it is going to get better later rather than sooner.

More later. Peace.

Images by Joseph Mallord William Turner, English Romantic artist (1775-1851)

Music by Sleeping At Last, “Uneven Odds,” absolutely breathtaking

And speaking of  Tim McGraw (really miss you, Corey), “I Need You”


                   

Turner, Late Painting

This almost empty
canvas
is sister
to an empty page
just as a poem
enters: white

with all
its possibilities
emerging from the brush—
smoke or cloud
or beach foam—

and there in the corner
a patch
of burnt orange
where the sun will
eventually
come up.

~ Linda Pastan