No post today. Power outage. Lazy day.
No post today. Power outage. Lazy day.
Monday afternoon, Labor Day. Partly cloudy and humid, 80 degrees.
Well hello. Many thanks for holding on during my dry spell, brought on by the complete and total distraction of gutting and renovating the sole bathroom in our 1950s rancher. I’m hoping that now that most of the work has been completed, I can sit here for a few hours without feeling guilty that I am not tiling or grouting or whatever.
We’ll just have to see, I suppose.
In the past few weeks my creativity has been limited to finding content that might be somewhat interesting to post here as well as rapid skimming of my tumblr dash. Several times I have sat here, thinking about all of the things that I want to say, and then I would think about all of the things left undone, and I would stop. Now that I’m here, I can’t think of a damned thing to say. I guess I’ll just keep going and hope that I arrive somewhere along the way.
Corey is on his way to the Azores. His departure was abrupt but necessary as he had exhausted his unemployment benefits, and unfortunately, the gulf companies in which he is interested prefer that applicants come in person. Since it’s not exactly a short hop to New Orleans, we decided that the best thing for now was to say with his current company. Not ideal, but it works for now.
I know that it’s not August any more (header quote), but I’ve been saving that quote, and I’m going to use it. I mean, “the odd uneven time”? Perfect description of these days.
I’ve noticed that in recent weeks, more and more pictures have appeared on my tumblr dash featuring orange and red leaves on trees, so I suppose I’m not the only one yearning for fall. Unfortunately, it seems that once again I have missed summer, and I”m not entirely sure that that was a bad thing this year. First there was the very uncomfortable side effect of my face swelling whenever I hit any kind of heat, and then there was the whole renovation thing. Between the two, I barely made it into the pool for any kind of relaxation, and now that Corey has left, the pool is just kind of sitting there, needing to be vacuumed and treated.
Not so much my thing. Eamonn was supposed to help with that . . . still waiting . . .
Speaking of kids, Brett started school last week. There was a major snafu with his financial aid; apparently, even though I completed the FAFSA in February (a new early record for me), it didn’t go through. Who knew? And, get this, we made too much money for him to qualify for his grants. Seriously? I mean, really? Geez.
By the way, Olivia started walking a few days ago. So cute. And we added Lex to our telephone plan for her belated birthday present. I was too worried about her being with the baby and not having any way to contact anyone for emergencies. It’s only a few dollars a month, and we got her a new phone, so that’s one less thing that I have to worry about.
Speaking of new phones, we upgraded mine, which would ordinarily excite me beyond belief, but I didn’t even bother to do anything with it until a few days ago. More of that time management thing.
So, besides all of the mundane, day-to-day life stuff, what else is new?
The puppy seems to have regressed and has decided that she is no longer house-trained. I am sorely not amused . . . I’m telling myself it’s the heat and the biting flies.
I’m very behind in my writing project with my friend Mari. I haven’t mentioned it here because I wanted to wait until I was sure it was going to work. Unfortunately, I’ve been the one to fall behind. That’s next on my things of wanting/needing to do.
And of course, because it’s fall, my thoughts have turned toward going back to school. Ask me what I’ve done as far as preparing for my GREs . . . correct. Nothing. I’m still in that middle of the road place in which I’m not entirely sure if wanting the degree is enough of a reason for pursuing the degree. It’s an old argument, one that I have yet to resolve. I’ll probably be 80 and still contemplating this.
God, one of these days I’m going to finally figure out what I want to be when I grow up, and I’m fairly certain that it isn’t what I thought.
I ran across an image of a painting by Italian artist Galileo Chini, which led me on a search for more, which led me to explore the whole Liberty school, which is what the Italian version of Art Nouveau is called, apparently. What struck me was the resemblance to Gustav Klimt, one of my favorite artists; I’ve featured Klimt on here several times. Anyway, the exploration led me to several blogs, almost none of which included names of the works of art, nothing about the media or the dates created.
A particular pet peeve of mine.
I mention this because I received an e-mail from someone informing me that I had infringed on copyright of a poem that I featured a while back. The infringement was completely unintentional, and I really felt bad because I try to do my due diligence.
What’s the point to all of this? Well, there is one, actually. Copyright was one of my favorite courses when I got my publishing degree; it’s something I wish that I knew more about, or even worked in. And the whole Linkedin thing that I’ve been doing has been tormenting me because there are all of these advertisements for jobs in the publishing industry. I read them, and I say to myself, “I could that. And I could do that. And that, too.”
It’s so frigging depressing. Not just because the jobs are all in big cities, but more because of the reality of my life. The whole disability thing. I’m in the middle of filling out yet another round of forms, and I had a meeting with my pain management doctor so that he could fill out his forms, and it didn’t really hit me until he started talking that I really am limited.
I hate this more than I can say.
I’ve been dwelling in the past in my recent thoughts. It’s not a good place to be. But I keep arriving at various crossroads in my life, and I cannot help but wonder what might have happened had I chosen differently.
Remember that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which the old knight says, “You have chosen wisely”? I haven’t felt too many times that I have chosen wisely.
I’m not talking about my love life, my decision to end my long marriage or my decision to take a chance again, to allow myself to love Corey. Not those decisions. No, all of the other life-changing decisions. Far too many to go into here, at the end of this post. Suffice it to say that so many times I wish that I had chosen wisely, but I have always, always, always been led by my heart instead of my head, and this impulse has led me to think, or rather, not to think too well.
Everything from buying this house to making a u-turn that led to my Calais being totaled. Choice? Fate? Something else?
I know. Why dwell? Why not dwell . . . I mean, for most of my life I was always the one to make the big decisions, and granted, a u-turn is not a big decision—I just happened to remember that—and it’s not that I’m necessarily bitching about that because control and I are good friends. I want control. I take control. It’s just that sometimes having control isn’t necessarily the best thing.
Damn. I don’t even know what I’m saying at this point. I think that I’ll stop for now. I knew that the more that I wrote the more that would want to come out, and now I’m not really making sense.
Welcome back. I think . . .
More later. Peace.
*All images are by Italian artists working in the Liberty style, the Italian version of Art Nouveau, so named after the firm of Liberty and Co. in London.
Music by Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan, “Don’t Explain”
couldn’t choose, so I posted both . . .
Music by Robert Plant and Alison Kraus, “Killing The Blues”
If you travel alone, hitchhiking,
sleeping in woods,
make a cathedral of the moonlight
that reaches you, and lie down in it.
Shake a box of nails
at the night sounds
for there is comfort in your own noise.
And say out loud:
somebody at sunrise be distraught
for love of me,
somebody at sunset call my name.
There will soon be company.
But if the moon clouds over
you have to live with disapproval.
You are a traveler,
you know the open, hostile smiles
of those stuck in their lives.
Make a fire.
If the Devil sits down, offer companionship,
tell her you’ve always admired
her magnificent, false moves.
Then recite the list
of what you’ve learned to do without.
It is stronger than prayer.
~ Stephen Dunn
Sunday afternoon. Cloudy and 68 degrees.
I still don’t feel that I can string together sentences in any meaningful way, especially since I am struggling for each and every word. I find myself staring at the screen until my eyes completely lose focus, and then I don’t remember where I was going with a train of thought. These phases are nothing new and I know that my inability to find the right words will be a reality that I will have to face again and again without every knowing why.
So, with that in mind, I think that I will just do a random thoughts post, well, because it seems to make the most sense right now . . .
More later. Peace.
All images are by British artist Norman Smith.
Music by Adaline, “Keep Me High”
Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.
~ Mary Oliver
Friday afternoon. Sunny and cold, 40 degrees.
The strange dreams continue unabated; granted, I tend to have strange dreams most of the time, but the latest crop is intensely strange. I need to ponder them before discussing them.
Anyway, I awoke this morning with a migraine, which has slowly eased. The past few days I have not felt quite right, unsettled and achy. Nothing specific, but puny is the best way to describe it. I hope that I’m not getting ready to have one of those weak periods, the kind that forces me to bed for days. I really hate that.
However, taking to bed does allow me more time for reading, that is when I can concentrate. I decided against writing yesterday and sat down with a book, but then I kept finding my concentration slipping, my mind racing, and I was unable to read more than a few chapters. I ended up watching television. I don’t pretend not to watch television, but I have kind of an unwritten rule that I don’t turn the television on until after 8 p.m. Part of my reason for doing so is that my mother has the television on from the moment she awakens until the moment she falls asleep. I always told myself that I would not allow the TV to serve as my primary means of getting through my days; although immediately after Caitlin died I did nothing but watch soap operas for a year, another reason that I do not allow myself to turn on the television during the day.
So I’ve been thinking about the concept of false modesty. Let me explain:
We all know individuals who are self-deprecating, but only in the hopes that their assertions about their negativity will be rebuffed by the listener and replaced by a compliment. My mother used to call this fishing for compliments.
I am not in this category. When I say that I think that I am X, I truly mean that I am X. I am not trying to get anyone to say, “Oh no. That’s not you. You are so Y. How can you say that?”
Corey and I were talking yesterday about my poor self-image, and he said that he just doesn’t understand how someone can live in a state of constantly chipping away at themselves. It’s hard to explain to someone who does not suffer from this, hard to make someone who is relatively self-assured understand that feelings of inadequacy are very real and not some attempt to garner compliments. In fact, I have never known how to accept compliments gracefully, so adept am I at believing only the worst of myself that to hear anything else just doesn’t seem realistic.
But the truth is that I cannot lay all of the blame for this on my mother, as much as I would like to do so. Yes, my mother has spent most of my life pointing out my flaws, patting my belly, telling me that I need to do neck exercises, etcetera ad nauseam. But, and this is a big but, I have listened to her. I did not have to listen, did I? But I did listen, and I heard, and I believed.
True story: When Olivia was just a few months old, my mother was holding her, and she looked down at this new baby, this wonderful, happy baby, and commented on her double chin, saying something along the lines of “You’ll have to watch that.”
What happened to my mother to make her so completely obsessed with the physical? Is she a product of her times, the decades in which women were valued not by what they knew but how they looked? Okay, those decades have not disappeared completely, but you know what I mean here.
Or is my mother’s seeming obsession with the brutal cut a result of her unhappiness in her marriage, her way of coping with a man who had affair after affair, quite probably leaving her completely insecure and wondering what was wrong with her that he could never be happy?
I have no answers to these questions. I only know that as an educated adult woman who has seen a measure of success that I should not be so self-loathing, and truly, truly, I wish that I were not. There have been periods in my life in which I was riding high, feeling quite self-assured, quite happy with the way that I looked, happy with how I was being received by people, but those periods were fleeting, completely dependent upon how much I weighed, which clothes I could wear, how my hair looked.
I fear that I’m not doing a very good job of explaining what it is exactly that is bothering me. Let me back up:
When it comes to my brains, I am probably more than arrogant. I know how smart I am, and I also know in which categories I am deficient. But when it comes to the physical . . . I am still that young girl on the playground in elementary school who looked around and didn’t see anyone who looked remotely similar. Surrounded by blond, blue-eyed girls named Kim and Brooke, I felt sorely out of place.
Some women would delight in their differences from the mainstream, and at times, I have been quite happy to have someone tell me that I am exotic looking, that they liked my looks precisely because I did not look like everyone else. But more often than not I have felt like the outsider.
Another true story: When I worked as a sales manager for that major retailer I was among a management staff that was, on the whole, quite attractive. There was the woman of Greek heritage who was gorgeous. There was the perky blond with the big chest. There was the brunette with the big beautiful eyes and ready smile. And then there was me.
Okay, what is it I’m saying here? Hell if I know. I only know that Corey is relentlessly frustrated by my self-denigration, that he wishes that I could like myself more. I wish that I could like myself more, too.
It’s no picnic being this wracked with insecurity, and in fact, I’m quite sure that this shroud of insecurity is one of the main reasons I do not do more with my writing, that I am terrified of being rejected for my words, having felt rejected for my difference for so long.
You are probably sitting there thinking to yourself, “Sheesh. Get a life already.” And you would be correct. I should be more grateful for what I have and less worried about what I feel I lack. I should focus more on the things at which I feel I excel and focus less on the skin around my neck or the flab on my upper arms.
I should do these things. I know this. But should and can are a world apart in the universe that is me, a seemingly unbreachable chasm. And I make myself tired all over when I do this.
More later. Peace.
(All images are taken from the Telegraph’s Big Picture series)
Music by Aidan Hawken and Carina Round, “Walking Blind”
I’m trying something new today: So that you can see the poem with the breaks and indents as the poet intended, I have snipped the original and inserted as two jpegs, still working out the kinks. HTML does not allow (or I don’t know how in HTML) to place indents within consecutive lines. Let me know what you think. The following poem is taken from The Poetry Foundation:
Wednesday, late afternoon. Sunny and mild, low 70’s.
I keep saying that I will be able to be more focused, more attuned to my writing and reading once my computer gets fixed, and I had planned to do that with this paycheck, but somehow, I spent my spending money on Alexis and maternity clothes, and then, of course, there was the food that we needed in the house, and the power bill . . . no computer repairs this time, so I am stuck on Eamonn’s computer, otherwise known as the snail that wouldn’t.
I have given up trying to update my tumblr daily as just getting through 20 pages of posts takes hours, which really dampens the pleasure of the experience and turns it into a chore: Just five more pages, no three more, damn, whatever . . .
So I got this blog up-to-date, filling in the past three days, but in so doing, I realized that I m pretty darned depressed. I mean, I’m excited about the baby, but—and I cannot say this to Alexis—I am so sad that Corey and I were never able to have our own baby. I see that as one of the great ways in which I have failed him and our relationship, not that he would ever say so. But I feel this loss so keenly at times, no, not a loss, but a lack, a hole, something. I know that my state-of-mind is not helped by the knowledge that one of Alexis’s friends has had her fourth child as a single mother, four children, four different fathers, maybe three.
She’s not a bad person, and I’m not judging. Rather, I’m envious. Do I think this young woman is acting responsibly? No. Her family knows it, and she knows it, and she was thinking of giving the child up for adoption, but when it came down to it, she couldn’t.
I guess what I’m saying is that it’s so hard to not be able to do something only to turn around and hear of someone who can do that something without even trying. I sound like a child, don’t I?
I know that my mood is not helped by Corey’s absence, that I am feeling sad and lonely and way too sorry for myself. Let’s all think happy thoughts, shall we?
At least the rain has stopped and the temperatures are a bit warmer. I moved my boots to the back of the closet and got out my slide-ons just in time for the temperatures to drop 40 degrees at night. My timing has always been stellar with such things.
Today is a lazy day. Brett has no classes as his exams start tomorrow, and I have nowhere that I have to be, having begun the week with my doctor’s appointment. I forgot to have my lab work done last week in preparation for the appointment. Totally slipped my mind, so I need to take care of that sometime soon. Fasting lab work, which is always fun. And when I stepped on the scales in the doctor’s office, I had only lost two pounds, two pounds even though my clothes say seven pounds, at least.
At least my doctor didn’t lecture me about not seeing a pulmonologist. I told her that my asthma was better, and that was it. Good enough. No new doctor and no new meds. Perhaps she was just happy to hear that I’ve given up sugar and soda and that I’m making real attempts to get more physical activity in my daily regimen.
Unfortunately, I cannot say that the headaches have gotten any better. At the moment, I have the lights off and no music playing. The only soundtrack I have is Shakes snoring at my feet. I’m writing blind again, no glasses, unable to see the screen. All that I see is this blur as I type the words. No matter.
Last night I dreamed that I was at a high school reunion, and I saw one of the guys I had had a crush on. In the dream, he looked the same. Isn’t it odd how people do not age in our dreams? Anyway, other people in the dream included my ex, who was bragging that he had had sex with a hooker (?), and another of my guy friends who I saw only from behind. The hooker statement was wild and completely out of character for my ex. Such a strange dream.
Another part of the dream had a famous soprano singing an aria at the reunion dinner, another completely unlikely event. People were talking during her performance, and I could see that she was getting angry. Then my dinner disappeared. It was crabcakes and asparagus, both of which I love, but neither of which have I had in an indecent amount of time.
I don’t remember how the dream ended.
I just remembered one of the prose poems that I wrote years ago, and what bothers me is that I have no idea if a copy of this poem exists anywhere. I remember what the poem was about—I wrote it when my ex and I were having major problems—and I remember the title: “One more damned drink for the road,” but I don’t know where to find this poem. There is a slim chance that it was on the hard drive of my broken computer, which is good as I do have a copy of everything from the hard drive.
Perhaps I’ll be able to find it after all.
I’ve had lines from poems running through my head almost continually for the past few weeks—my poems, other people’s poems, which means that I should really be acting on these creative spurts, but of course, I have not. It’s as if my mind and my body are at war. My brain is saying, write this, write this, and my body is throwing up roadblocks in the form of migraines and muscle spasms. If I had lived in another era, I would quell my ailments with morphine or strong drink, and I would write until I passed out. That, or I would be locked up in an asylum.
But the words are here, almost all of the time. I look at a photograph, and a line comes to me. I’m standing at the sink washing dishes, and a phrase emerges. But it’s no use. I can’t get past this omnipresent pain. Even now, as I type these mundane words on the keyboard, words that take no imagination whatsoever, my head is tightening, and I’m rushing to complete this before the pain actually does make it impossible to keep my eyes open.
If you’re still reading this, then I thank you. Truly. I mean, how entertaining could it be to read day after day that I have a migraine?
What was it Russell Crowe as Maximus yelled at the Coliseum in Gladiator? “Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?”
This blog is no Gladiator, and I am no Russell Crowe, but I hope that sometimes my words are worth your time, that sometimes I am able to arrange my words in such a way as to allow you to hear my voice. It’s all that I could ask. Obrigada.
And now, a few hours of ancient Rome might be just the ticket.
More later. Peace.
Music by Otis Redding, “Pain in My Heart” (heard this on “Awake” the other night, blast from the past)]
There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a player not moving on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.
The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the ﬂoor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.
The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.
The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.
And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night
like snow falling in the darkness of the house—
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.
~ Billy Collins, in Poetry (April 2005)