“My ex-wife used to make me go to therapy. Twice a week I’d lay on the couch and tell him how the orphanage headmaster would beat me on the head with a shoe.” ~ Detective Lennie Briscoe, Law & Order (2003)

Detective Ed Green: [checking Bender’s financials] Damn, I wonder what a 200 dollar haircut looks like.
Detective Lennie Briscoe: Kind of like a 400 dollar car-wash.

(I’ve had posts ready to go, just forgot to publish them. Been that kind of week/month.)

Dr. Bertram Stokes: Maybe I should call my attorney.
Detective Lennie Briscoe: You can call the sugar-plum fairy for all we care.

One of my favorite curmudgeonly characters and one of my favorite actors: Lennie Briscoe (as played by the inimitable Jerry Orbach)

                   

Music by Brandi Carlisle, “That Wasn’t Me”

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“I seem to have run in a great circle, and met myself again on the starting line.” ~ Jeanette Winterson

Really?

“I must hold in balance the sense of the futility of effort and the sense of the necessity to struggle; the conviction of the inevitability of failure and still the determination to ‘succeed’—and, more than these, the contradiction between the dead hand of the past and the high intentions of the future.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up

Thursday afternoon. Rainy and cold, 45°, 32° colder than yesterday.

I’ve pulled out the yoga pants, Christmas socks, and white cotton sweaters. Bring on the cold weather. Next Thursday is Thanksgiving. Ask me if I’m ready . . .

The house needs a good cleaning. The dining room table once again needs to be decluttered. And I’m well and truly taken aback by the fact that Christmas is only weeks away. It seems that from November 1st on, my life moves at a frenetic pace, one that I am never able to quite stay in step with as the days roll by because I seem to be walking in circles, as it were.

I had to cancel lunch with Rebecca yesterday, and it’s good that I did as Corey was called into work at the last minute (his only shift this week), and Eamonn is now without a vehicle and needs rides to and from work. Speaking of eldest son, he has decided that this will be his last semester of college. He says that he just doesn’t want to do it (college) any more. Corey is trying to convince him to at least finish this semester as it is so close to the end. That would be logical; I have come to know that I should not expect logic from any of my offspring.

Eamonn is once again talking about joining the Coast Guard. I’m in favor of the move. I think that it would help him to grow up, get grounded and become more disciplined. Plus, if he wants to, he can resume college post enlistment with the GI bill. Who knows if he’ll follow through. He’s toyed with this idea before. I’m staying out of the decision process as I do not want my opinion to come back to haunt me.

I find that I am very tired as I sit here typing these words. Bone weary, spirit exhaustion., and I keep pausing to close my eyes and just sit here, pondering. Perhaps not the best state in which to find oneself when trying to assimilate a cogent post.

“It was the humming noise inside me that told me to do something and found nothing to do that meant anything, the bit of me that was like a fly smashing itself again and again on a windowpane. It was the futility of aging . . .” ~ Maggie Stiefvater

Friday afternoon. Sunny and cold.

Just couldn’t finish yesterday, so I gave up and took my weary body to bed, only to have my mother call and rail at me for almost 20 minutes about Eamonn (because he had nerve enough to ask her to co-sign for him to get a loan to buy a used car), her perfect credit, turkeys, and anything else that she could think of. Then she called back a few minutes later for good measure to get more jabs in.

The whole thing left me prickly and on the verge of tears, so I locked myself away from the fray in the bedroom and watched a movie, the name of which eludes me. Even though the bedroom door was closed, Brett came in repeatedly because he was trying to figure out his schedule for next semester, so I could hardly refuse to talk to him. And the dogs wanted out of the room as soon as I closed the door, only to want back in as soon as I let them out and closed the door again. So restful. So relaxing.

In spite of all of this, I did manage to get more sleep last night than the previous night, which is good; however, I awoke around 11:40 with a migraine, the residual effects of which now have me typing with my eyes almost closed.

Perhaps yesterday should have just been called a wash from the beginning, and if I’d known how it would turn out, I would have probably just stayed in bed with the phone off. Even a “Law & Order” marathon didn’t help to improve my mood.

“I go on eating out my heart and poisoning every moment of my life in the attempt to rouse people’s sensibilities. At least if I could do it with closed eyes. The irony is I see the futility of my efforts and yet I can’t let go.” ~ Emma Goldman, Nowhere at Home: Letters

I dreamed that I got my hair cut short (for me), above my shoulders. I dreamed that I was teaching in the public school system again. I dreamed that it was 2:30, and I had forgotten to call in sick (that’s one that I have often, always 2:30). I dreamed that I was looking for a contact lens case in a football player’s locker (very strange). I dreamed that my boss said that I looked pregnant. I dreamed that a strange man asked me to have a cup of tea with him.

My life in my dreams is much more exciting than my real life. I’m always going places, doing things, meeting people. Unfortunately, the places that I go aren’t places that I would really like to go, and the people that I meet are almost always strange.

The other night when I couldn’t get to sleep, I started another book, only to discern a few pages in that I had already read this one. That’s one of the problems of reading so many books: I forget titles, and then during book sales on Amazon, I tend to order books that I think that I might want to read, only to learn that I’ve already read them at some point.

That’s also in large part because I have no book shelves to peruse. If I ever get book shelves and unpack my books, I can just start all over with my existing library, which I’m certain has no fewer than 1,000 books. Seriously. Of all of the things that I collect, books are number one. And that total does not include all of the books that I have given away over the years, either to charity or to friends. It also does not include the books that I own related to my degrees, books on publishing, literary criticism, the collected works of Shakespeare, etc.

Man, I would love to unpack my books. I just hope that they haven’t been destroyed by silver fish. Creepy little buggers.

“The threads of circumstance that lead to tomorrow are so tenuous that all the fussing and worrying about decisions is futile compared to the pure randomness of existence.” ~ Nick Bantock

I’m trying very hard not to go into the bathroom and give myself a haircut. Maybe I’ll just suck it up and go to a Hair Cuttery or something; I mean, they couldn’t possibly mess it up any more than I would by cutting it myself.

I know what the problem is: I’m feeling fat and ugly and feel a need for some sort of change. And a new mascara or nail polish isn’t going to do it. But perhaps I can convince myself that a new bottle of nail polish for under $5 will make me feel just as good as a good haircut for around $45 . . . Right.

Even though no one is home at the moment, the dogs are being particularly obstreperous, barking madly at things like air. It’s annoying as hell. Actually, everything is annoying as hell, a sure sign that I should just retreat, regroup, and perhaps eat some Oreos.

More later. Peace.

Music by The Boxer Rebellion, “Caught by the Light”

                   

Poem

I lived in the first century of world wars.
Most mornings I would be more or less insane,
The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,
The news would pour out of various devices
Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.
I would call my friends on other devices;
They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.
Slowly I would get to pen and paper,
Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.
In the day I would be reminded of those men and women,
Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,
Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.
As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,
We would try to imagine them, try to find each other,
To construct peace, to make love, to reconcile
Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,
Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means
To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,
To let go the means, to wake.
I lived in the first century of these wars.

~ Muriel Rukeyser, from The Speed of Darkness

“We do not find our own center. It finds us. We do not think ourselves into new ways of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” ~ Richard Rohr

Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Hebden Bridge, UK

  

“I want to write like August, to swim in it like a pool and forget the clock hands moving across summer’s face.” ~ Terresa Wellborn

When I realized that this post would be #500*, I immediately froze and wrote nothing. I mean, 500? That’s pretty auspicious, at least in my mind, anyway. If I were to estimate the number of words in my posts and multiply by 500, I would get somewhere between 550 and 600,000 words. 

Hmm . . . Things that make you go hmm . . . 

Granted, not all of my posts have been written; a small percentage have been videos. But still . . . I have sat down at my computer (or someone else’s) at least 500 times (more if counting the posts I lost and had to rewrite) and written about . . . well, things. I have to admit that when I began this project, I never thought that I would last this long. Of course when I began this project, I was ecstatic to get 100 hits in one day. 

My how times have changed. Now, I realize that despite my creative ebbs and flows, I will probably continue writing here for some time yet, and fortunately, I am not nearly as obsessed by my stats as I used to be. Rather than numbers, I relish the comments as they are much more tangible (so if you’re lurking and haven’t commented, please accept this as an invitation to do so). 

So here I am, muddling about, trying to think of something to say in my anniversary post. Who knows where this may lead . . . By the way, I was quite surprised to see all of the 500 images that I found when I did a Google search, so I took that as a sign that I should bedeck my post in the company of other historical 500th things, like Henry VIII and a 500-year-old bridge in the UK. Granted, some of these anniversaries occurred before mine, but hey, Henry won’t mind. He was all about self-promotion.

So here I go . . . 

“Knowledge of the self is the mother of all knowledge. So it is incumbent on me to know my self, to know it completely, to know its minutiae, its characteristics, its subtleties, and its very atoms.” ~Kahlil Gibran
Image of King Henry VIII in Celebration of His 500th Anniversary

If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers.

I have created three sets of five in honor of the big 500. It’s the least I can do. No really, the least: 

  • I have decided that in the history of television, five shows stand out as being uniquely entertaining, at least in my estimation:

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”: I mean really,  hilariously funny and engaging dialogue (shows up again in another Joss Whedon creation, “Firefly” which I would have listed here, but it didn’t last long enough) 

“The West Wing”: Still waiting for a President Bartlett, unfortunately 

“Law & Order” (original): Twenty years. Just as relevant. Who else can say that? 

“House”: One of the best-drawn modern tragic characters 

“Oz”: Consistently gripping drama with an ensemble cast unlike any other ever seen 

  • Based on the above, I realize that I am a nerd/drama junkie. Sitcoms just don’t do it for me.
  • I still need a haircut.
  • Being the party of “No” is nothing of which to be proud.
  • The war in Afghanistan is too reminiscent of Viet Nam in that it is an unwinnable war. Counterinsurgency in a country that has repelled conquerors for over 1,000 years is lunacy. They don’t want to be Americanized, and the concept of American imperialism is outdated. Bring our military home.
“Brilliance is typically the act of an individual, but incredible stupidity can usually be traced to an organization.” ~ Jon Bentley
A 500 Yen Coin
  • BP’s former CEO Tony Hayward has been reassigned to Siberia. At first I thought that this was funny until I found out how much he is being paid to go away: $1.6 million in salary, and more millions in pension benefits. I guess he got his life back.
  • President Obama appeared on “The View,” causing some critics to lose their minds, saying that the show was not serious enough. Need I remind everyone of Bush’s appearance on “Dr. Phil”? At least most (Snooki aside) of the questions on “The View” were pointedly in keeping with today’s issues. And as far as the Boy Scott Jamboree that Obama passed on, how about the other 12 U.S. presidents who declined the same invitation, including Republicans Nixon, Reagan and Ford? They weren’t called un-American.
  • Jon Stewart is right. Nothing Obama does will ever make the right happy. Nothing.
  • Just a reminder: W. had a surplus coming into office ($236 Billion, according to Congressional Budget Office). Obama had a $1.2 Trillion deficit when he took office (same source).
  • Another reminder: The Wall Street crash happened on W’s watch, not Obama’s.
“Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star.” ~ Confucius
Darth Vader 500th Anniversary

Well, I just lost one-third of this post when I tried to save because the router went out. Lovely. Let’s see . . . what was I rambling on about anyway . . . 

  • All of Corey’s sunflowers are dead, which means that the beautiful patch of yellow in the backyard is now a sad patch of droopy, green stems and leaves.
  • For some reason, centipedes abound in our house this summer. I don’t care what you might have to say about them, I am terrified of centipedes. I know that this is an irrational fear, but I used to have nightmares about them when I was a child. I dreamed they were in my bed. These things are hard to kill, and before you lecture me on letting things be, you should know that I only swat a few things: cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes, and ants running rampant on my kitchen counter. Nevertheless, centipedes just won’t die.
  • I’m ready for fall, which is weird since I still think that it’s April.
  • At one point we had about six tennis balls throughout the house. Today, I couldn’t fine one, which means that Tillie and Shakes cannot play pool ball. They are very sad puppies. Next week, I’ll probably find the missing tennis balls in an unlikely spot.
  • I think that I’ve just about decided what my next tattoo will be, not that I’ll be able to afford one anytime soon. These are the kinds of things with which I occupy my mind. Small things . . .

So much for the great 500th post. I sort of lost my momentum after part of the post disappeared. I think that I’ll go have a bowl of cereal and watch a “Law & Order” rerun. That always works. 

More later. Peace. 

Music by Iron and Wine, “Such Great Heights” 

 

*I realized today that my actual stats show only 496 posts, but, and this is a big but, I have written and posted 500 times. About a year ago I made 5 posts private, but I then decided to delete 4 of them permanently, which puts my total at 500 . . . Crystal clear, right?

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little . . . ” ~ Tom Stoppard

Law and Order Optical Illusion Billboard

   

“We are asleep with compasses in our hands.” ~ W. S. Merwin
Berger Paints Billboard Illusion

Watched Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead last night (1990 starring Tim Roth and Gary Oldman); hence, the Stoppard quote. Thought that it would be a good movie to watch before going to sleep. Good movie, yes. Sleep, no. 

Speaking of sleep . . . I haven’t been getting much—yet again. The past two mornings have seen me sitting at this computer at 7 a.m. and not because I’m an early riser. Au contraire. I am having a hard time falling asleep again. Who knows the whys or wherefores of my body, why I can sleep for 10 hours one night and four hours on another, why I can fall asleep without any pharmaceutical assistance one night but not so on another. Regardless, I am watching dawn break, morning rise, and everything else in between. 

I do know the heat really affects me—headaches, mood swings, appetite—and it has been hotter than hades here for several days. I suppose, though, that we are quite fortunate considering the bizarre weather patterns to the north: a tornado in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a major twister in Eagle, Wisconsin that damaged or destroyed 125 homes and killed one person, flooding in the midwest after severe thunderstorms, a 5.0 earthquake that struck in the Quebec/Ontario border region with tremors felt as far away as Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Toronto. 

A good rain here would be nice, but nothing too drastic. 

“When you have insomnia, you’re never really asleep, and you’re never really awake.” ~ From the movie Fight Club, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk
Maker's Mark Billboard Illusion

 One of the things that I did when I couldn’t sleep was to organize my music on my YouTube channel, break it down into more categories as I had reached my 200-song-limit in my main category. One of these days I’m going to follow progress and get an MP3 player. Of course, those are really better for people who actually leave the house, go places in cars, or maybe even on walks. 

Yep. We’ll see about that. 

I’m actually a bit hungry today, craving chocolate and salt. Unfortunately, slim pickings in the house at the moment, so I don’t anticipate that carving being sated anytime soon. Just read an article that states that adults should not ingest more than one teaspoon of salt a day. I’m so busy worrying about sugar and fat; now I have to worry about salt? Sometimes I think that existing on crackers or cereal is really the best way to go. 

I’ve been counting calories recently, and Corey asked me how I’m going about determining calories. I told him that I’m estimating what I think something might be and then doubling it. I watched some show about Americans and food, and it was actually quite revealing. This university professor (cannot remember who or where, sorry) studies food habits. He had this study group divided into two subgroups. Each group was served the exact same meal, but their reactions were very different. The meal was a taco salad from Taco Bell. 

The first group was served the meal on the plastic plate, and they were told that it was fast food. When asked their opinions, most of the individuals said that the taste was mediocre, and they were pretty accurate in estimating the calories at around 1,000. Group two was served the exact same meal, but it was placed on nice dishes, and they were told that it was from a bistro that served health-conscious food. These people claimed that the food tasted great, and they estimated the calories between 300 and 450. 

So interesting how presentation can affect perceptions. But of course, being in marketing, I knew that. 

It’s the same thinking that advises people not to eat standing up over the kitchen sink (Corey does this), and to set the table for at least one meal a day. The mind affects the enjoyment of a meal as much as the meal itself. 

“I’ll tell you how the sun rose a ribbon at a time.” ~ Emily Dickinson
Mini Cooper Underpass Advertisement Optical Illusion

Aside from those tidbits, not much seems to be stirring in my right brain at the moment. I suppose it’s because I know that Corey is in the dining room trying to make less than three hundred dollars cover about one thousand dollars worth of stuff. Alchemy. That must be the answer because working 11 hours a week certainly isn’t creating optimum cash flow. 

I’m not disparaging. On the contrary. If not for Corey’s creative right-brained abilities with the minimal income we have, we would have been out in the cold (or heat, as it were), a long time ago. Just knowing that he is doing this always brings about two diametrically opposing emotions in me: awe and sadness. 

In keeping with the whole concept of creating something out of nothing, the images are optical illusion billboards from around the world. Enjoy. 

More later. Peace

Music by The Pretenders, “I’ll Stand by You” 

“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate—that’s my philosophy.” ~ Thornton Wilder

 

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” ~ Rainer Marie Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

I haven’t done an update in a while, and since I am supposed to be filling out FAFSA applications for both Brett and Eamonn, I thought that this would be a good topic to keep me from completing more forms. So here goes.    

Twenty-five things:   

  1. This time ten years ago I was just beginning my relationship with Corey as friends and co-workers.
  2. Egret in Flight
  3. Five years ago I was miserably working for a real estate company as a marketing director.
  4. This time last year I was doing exactly what I’m doing now: frittering my life away, attempting to write, being a slug.
  5. One of my favorite moments at the museum was the time that I was at the shoot for our Monet exhibition, and there was a frog wrangler. Seriously.
  6. Corey and I were walking through the Botanical Garden when we decided to get married.
  7. My dad loved to go fishing late at night, and when I was a girl, it was always a treat when he took me with him.
  8. The part of my body that I hate the most is my neck. Second, my arms.
  9. I think that Gwyneth Paltrow has a lot of nerve complaining about her bat wings (upper arms) as she is skinny and knows nothing about real bat wings.
  10. When I was in the 6th grade, I pretended that the man in the picture was not my father. I am still ashamed of that.
  11. My cell phone was stolen out of my car by a man I let wash my car. I was so stupid, which is what the police pointed out in a neighborhood meeting about crimes committed by the men who went around and offered to wash cars.
  12. When I was a teenager, I cleaned my mother’s house every Saturday. No one made me. I just did it.
  13. I have a soft spot in my heart for short, elderly Filipino men.
  14. I think the reason that I am so intrigued by my dreams is that they are so much more interesting than my real life.
  15. I am afraid of snakes and centipedes but not spiders.
  16. I love to listen to the birds singing in the early morning, when the air is filled with many different songs, creating a natural harmony.
  17. Chickadee
  18. When I was little, I always wanted to have a sister, but not necessarily a brother.
  19. The most beautiful place Corey and I saw when were in Mexico was the Mayan ruins in Tulum. I much preferred the natural beauty of the ruins, the Iguanas,  and the blue water hitting the rocks to the crowded, touristy atmosphere of Cancun.
  20. The Mexican soldiers patrolling Tulum carry automatic weapons, which is quite a jarring sight in the midst of such natural beauty.
  21. I wish that elves and fairies were real.
  22. I have boxes and boxes of photographs that I have taken over the years but have never sorted or arranged. I also have several empty albums that I bought with the intention of putting the pictures into albums.
  23. I don’t think that there’s an episode of Law & Order that I haven’t seen, and the show has been on for 20 years.
  24. I still want to go back to graduate school to get my PhD.
  25. Is there such a thing as a family that isn’t dysfunctional?
  26. I have had three bosses for whom I would work again in a heartbeat—the City Editor at the newspaper where I cut my teeth, the marketing director at the Museum, and the Director of Marketing and Communications at GW.
  27. The worst boss I had was at the department store. He was a misogynist, and he had no sense of loyalty.

“Where am I? Who am I?
How did I come to be here?
What is this thing called the world?
How did I come into the world?
Why was I not consulted?
And If I am compelled to take part in it,
Where is the director?
I want to see him.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Twenty-five more things:  

  1. I once worked as a temp for a company that was so cheap that they counted paper clips.
  2. I used to clean my guy friends’ apartments whenever I visited.
  3. I used to dream of owning a muscle car. Now, I couldn’t bend down to get into one.
  4. Pelican at Sunset
  5. Someone once told me that my legs weren’t perfect and hers were because mine didn’t touch at the top.
  6. I wish that my legs still didn’t touch at the top.
  7. If I were a billionaire, after I paid for college for everyone in the family, I would set up a foundation specifically for young women in need of start-up funds. I would also start a foundation for unpublished writers to get the funds needed to work on their writing full time.
  8. If I were a billionaire, I would donate a chunk of change to the campaigns of whoever ran against Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and a handful of other extremists.
  9. One day I will go to Australia and Ireland.
  10. I sing to my dogs.
  11. I think that I’ve taught Tillie how to say I Love You, but she could be saying “I want cookies.”
  12. One of the most beautiful valentines I ever received was from a boy I was not dating. It was a hand painted butterfly, and in it he wrote a poem about me. I found out later that he killed himself the following year.
  13. I love pens but hate ball point stick pens that run on my fingers.
  14. When I was a little girl, I thought that I would help my mom with the ironing. I melted one of her blouses.
  15. I polished the floor of my grandmother’s house in the Philippines with coconut halves that were strapped to my feet. The dark floors were so smooth that it was like skating.
  16. I’ve always wished that I could draw.
  17. My parents had a tree on the side of their yard that I climbed and from which I could jump onto the roof.
  18. Cedar Waxwing
  19. I have wanted to live in Blacksburg ever since I went to grad school there, but I think that it’s more the idea of living in a college town.
  20. Corey and I want to go on another cruise one of these days.
  21. I remember returnable soda bottles.
  22. I have a vague memory of the shops on Portobello Road in England.
  23. The green grocer whose shop was just down the street from our apartment on Goldhawk Road in London was named Mr. Higgins. He gave me sweets.
  24. Two traditions that I think Americans should adopt are tea time and the siesta. Both make so much sense to me.
  25. I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes in over two years. I think that must be a record.
  26. Ideally, I would love to have a beach house and a house in the mountains. Then I could have the two environments that I love the most.
  27. I let my dogs steal the covers during the night.

“To be on a quest is nothing more or less than to become an asker of questions.” ~ Sam Keen

Twenty-Five Questions:   

  1. If you could have lunch with anyone in history, who would it be?  That’s hard. It’s a tossup between Thoreau, Einstein, or Anne Boleyn, all for different reasons
  2. What is the one thing you want more than anything else at this very moment? A haircut.
  3. What it the one thing you hope to accomplish this year? Work on my book idea to the point that I have something to show an agent.
  4. What do you hate the most? Intolerance, followed closely by a lie.
  5. What do you love the most? Love and being loved
  6. How old were you when you first encountered death in a real way? Twelve, when my mother’s father died
  7. What modern convenience would you miss the most: a computer, a cell phone, a television, a microwave? Definitely a computer.
  8. If you could do one thing for anyone in the world, what would it be? I would get a job for Corey.
  9. Which person that you do not know do you relate the most to? Virginia Woolf.
  10. What is your worst trait? Jealousy followed by insecurity.
  11. How do other people characterize you that doesn’t match how you see yourself? I am frequently told that I am confident, which I am not.
  12. What is the one thing in this world that you would eliminate if you could? Famine.
  13. Glass half empty or half full? Empty.
  14. Great Blue Heron
  15. Are people inherently evil or inherently good? Good.
  16. Do you keep secrets from those you love? No. Absolutely not.
  17. Where is the one place you return to again and again?  The cemetery where Caitlin is buried.
  18. Is there a place you go to when you need to clear your head? Barnes & Noble Booksellers
  19. Are you happy with your life? Not really. There are too many things I want to change.
  20. Which affects you more: smell or sound? Sound. Music has a way of playing into my moods.
  21. If you had the power to change one thing in your life, what would it be? I would have had another baby.
  22. What would your super power be? Flying
  23. Can men and women be friends without sex getting in the way? If one of them is gay.
  24. If you could live in another country, where would it be? Australia or Finland.
  25. When you are away from home, what do you miss the most? My dogs.
  26. Do you believe in revenge? In concept.

Well that was harder than I had anticipated. More later. Peace.   

Damien Rice, “9 Crimes”   

   

    

 

One Hundred Things

A dock at sunset on White Sands Island in the Maldives.

These are the things . . .

I realized that even though I’ve done a few memes on here, I haven’t ever really talked about myself completely, honestly. So I thought that I would compose a random list, just to see where it takes me. So here we go:

  1. I like broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. About the only vegetable I really hate is okra, and that’s because it’s slimey and hairy.
  2. I’ve never eaten escargot. No matter how much garlic you put on it, it’s still a snail.
  3. I love shrimp, but I will not eat lobster. If someone around me orders lobster, I make clawing motions with my hands and say “help me” in a high-pitched voice so as to shame them for eating something that could live for years and years in the ocean.
  4. I also will not eat lamb or veal. Do you know how they make veal? If you did, then you couldn’t possibly eat it.
  5. I love chocolate. I have tried to give up chocolate many times as it is not good for my headaches, and it is full of calories, but it keeps coming back and jumping into my mouth when I’m not looking.

    kayaking-at-first-landing-state-park-by-karen-roberts
    Kayaking at First Landing State Park by Karen Roberts
  6. The last time I was timed, I typed 126 words a minute. That was a long time ago, and I type much faster now.
  7. I have gone kayaking, and actually really enjoyed it. If I had the opportunity, I would own my own kayak and use it on the Chesapeake Bay.
  8. I like to go hiking in the foothills of Virginia, but I haven’t done it since I hurt my back. My ex and I once went hiking/camping with some friends of ours. The girl wore penny loafers to go hiking. That was her idea of old shoes. I ended up carrying the guy’s pack on the hike back. Not outdoor people.
  9. I love my dogs and treat them like children. Dogs are meant to be loved and talked to. People who abuse dogs should be put in jail as far as I’m concerned. A man who will beat a dog will beat a child or a woman. Don’t ever believe any differently.
  10. I enjoy the smell of fresh cut lilacs, rosemary, gardenias, and lavender.
  11. Butterflies are small miracles.
  12. tiger-swallowtail-on-lantana
    Tiger Swallowtail on Lantana by L. Liwag
  13. My three children, who are no longer small, are still my pride and joy, even when they screw up. After all, who doesn’t screw up once in a while?
  14. I would love to have more children, even though I am considered past my childbearing years. But what does that mean, anyway? I really don’t care.
  15. If I could live anywhere in the world, I would live somewhere where I could see water and mountains at the same time.
  16. I believe in nationalized medicine and a flat tax rate.
  17. I am a liberal liberal. I don’t mind paying more taxes if it means that there will be better schools and better healthcare. My only protest against paying more taxes is that I want the rich to pay their fair share, too, and to stop having so many loopholes so that they end up paying less than those of us in the middle of the road.
  18. I miss my father every day of every week of every year. I see him in my dreams often. I believe that he is looking out for me as best he can.
  19. When I was at the beach once, I asked god for a sign that things were going to be all right, and then the waves pulled back, and a perfect shell was there at my feet.
  20. I believe in angels.
  21. I wish that I remembered more from my publishing class on computer systems, but it was such a painful experience the first time that I think that I have blocked everything that I managed to learn.
  22. I love Beowulf (not the movie, the written version)
  23. I wish that I looked like Angelina Jolie, but I wish more that I had her ability to go to poor countries and do something for the people who live there.
  24. angelina-jolie-goodwill-ambassador
    Angelina Jolie as Goodwill Ambassador
  25. I collect stuffed bears, and I buy the ones who look like they need a home.
  26. I have a calendar fetish. I always have at least three calendars of my own: one next to my desk, one in my purse, and one in the kitchen. If I had more places to put them, I would have more.
  27. I am a speed reader, but I don’t scan in order to read more quickly. For example, I read each of the Harry Potter Books, even the longest one, in just one day.
  28. I have read The Lord of the Rings more times than I can remember.
  29. The English Patient is one of the most beautiful books ever written, and the movie is still one of my favorites.
  30. I get silly drunk about two times a year, but otherwise, I drink very seldom.
  31. I don’t do illegal drugs, and the worst thing I ever did when I was a teenager was speed, and I hated the way that it made me feel.
  32. I love to learn. I have one bachelor’s degree, and two master’s degrees. I would go for another degree in a heartbeat.
  33. I miss being in the front of the classroom but not enough to teach in the Norfolk Public School system.
  34. I’ve never been in a girl fight. How utterly stupid.
  35. I am very sentimental. I can cry at a Hallmark commercial, a Lifetime movie, or a YouTube clip. Sarah McLachlan’s commercials about animals in shelters just kills me.
  36. I am fiercely loyal and protective.
  37. I am an Aquarius.
  38. Eamonn and Caitlin’s birthdays are within ten days of each other in March (Pisces); Alexis and Brett’s birthdays are within three days of each other in July (Cancer).
  39. It’s far easier to give birth in March than in July.
  40. I’m not afraid of needles, as in having blood drawn, but I hate it when I get someone who is not good at putting in an IV. That hurts.
  41. I talk back to the computer and other inanimate objects. I also carry on conversations with other drivers, but they don’t know it.
  42. I love coffee and hot tea. I drink cream in most types of hot tea except for Earl Gray and Oolong.
  43. claire-lerner-blue-tea-cup1
    "Blue Tea Cup," by Claire Lerner
  44. My favorite dessert is Tiramisu, followed closely by real New York cheesecake.
  45. I used to be a shopaholic but have since reformed, for a variety of reasons.
  46. I believe that psychopharmaceuticals were developed for a reason and that no one should be ashamed of having to take them.
  47. I hate it when people jump to conclusions.
  48. I have a terrible habit of correcting other people’s English.
  49. My husband is younger than I am, and when we first got together, no one thought that it would last. We’ve been together for nine years, and it is the best relationship of my life.
  50. My mother is without a doubt the one person in this world who can get to me more than anyone else. She knows exactly what buttons to push.
  51. I wish that Alexis believed in herself more, but at this point, I have to let her be who she is and try not to interfere.
  52. My last beta, Mulder, decided that he didn’t like me and wouldn’t look at me any more. I took it very personally. He doesn’t live here any more.
  53. blue-beta
    Blue Beta: Mulder Did Not Look Like This
  54. I am hooked on crime shows: CSI, Without a Trace, Law & Order. I do not like sitcoms.
  55. Heidi Klum is über gorgeous, especially when she is pregnant.
  56. American society is fixated on how people look and doesn’t pay nearly enough attention to educating its children.
  57. Someday, I want to go to Australia, Ireland, and Greece.
  58. I love to take pictures but don’t like to have my picture taken.
  59. Cruises cease to be fun when you run out of money.
  60. My big goal in life is to be debt-free and to have good credit again.
  61. All of my children inherited my propensity for depression as I inherited it from my father. Sometimes genetics really sucks.
  62. I wish that Mari lived nearby so that we could spend time together again.
  63. I need to get off my ass and put together my book, but I am too scared of the whole rejection process.  
  64. point-woronzof-sunset-2-by-janson-jones
    Point Woronzof Sunset by Janson Jones of Floridana Alaskiana
  65. I managed a newsroom when I was 19-years-old.
  66. One day, I will figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
  67. Ending sentences in a preposition really bothers me.
  68. I love to use quotations by other people in my own work. It helps me to focus.
  69. I love sunsets and sunrises. I cannot think of anything more beautiful than a painted sky.
  70. I miss getting dressed, putting on make-up and going to work everyday. I love make-up.
  71. I hate dreaming that I am at work.
  72. I believe that men and women can be friends, but sooner or later, sex tries to get in the way.
  73. I love music: classical, pop, classic rock, country, new age (whatever the hell that means), opera, blues, even some hard rock.
  74. My birthstone is garnet, which I love, but I also love pearls, aquamarines, and diamonds.
  75. One day, I am going to have a big diamond ring, just because.
  76. I used to love to wear hats, but now I just look silly.
  77. I have long wavy hair, and I would like a new hairstyle, but I look like a monkey when I have short hair.
  78. I usually eat one big meal a day (dinner), and maybe a snack, but I cannot lose weight. I hate that.
  79. I can be very impatient, which can lead to my being snarky, especially when I’m driving.
  80. I find that I always end up telling Corey where to park, even though he doesn’t need my help. I wonder why I do that?speed-limit-sign
  81. I speed on the interstate, but I obey the speed limit in the city.
  82. I desperately need a new old car that is just mine because Eamonn ruined Izzie the Trooper, and it smells like cigarettes.
  83. I love ankle bracelets and earrings, and I love watches, but am down to about four now that still work.
  84. I smoked during college exams, but I hate cigarettes, and cigarette smoke.
  85. I don’t look my age, but that is because of good genes and Oil of Olay Regenerist, and I don’t ever tell people how old I really am.
  86. Writing my blog posts is my daily therapy.
  87. Both Shakes and Tillie snore, but Tillie snores louder. I snore louder than anyone in the house.
  88. I hate my body. I feel like a sausage most of the time.
  89. I really love shoes and boots, especially boots.
  90. I wear Christmas socks all year long.
  91. We are not friendly with most of our neighbors. I wonder why.
  92. I have never really wanted to own a horse, but I have considered living on an old farm.
  93. I am a hoarder when it comes to books and sentimental things like old cards and letters.
  94. I used to own a yard tractor and would mow the yard in my bathing suit. Of course, that was when I was in good shape. My nasty neighbor to my left thought that it was scandolous.
  95. I hold a grudge, expecially if I feel that I have been wronged unfairly.
  96. I think about revenge, but have never actually taken it.
  97. Bad manners offend me, and my sons know this and use it to drive me crazy.
  98. I wash my hands a lot, but I don’t think that I am OCD about it.
  99. One day, my bedroom will finally be painted, and I will be able to put in my new furniture.
  100. I like antiques even though my mother calls them “tired, old things” and believes that people should move on.  
  101. yoda-1
    Original Yoda
  102. I have a hard time moving on, and don’t adjust to change very well.
  103. I like the first three Star Wars movies (chronologically) a lot better than the last three (numerically).
  104. Corey brings me a cup of hot mint tea every night before bed. Isn’t that thoughtful?
  105. I am a pantheist: I believe that god, some kind of god, exists in all things: people, animals, trees, water, and that if we listen carefully enough, we can become one with all things in nature.
  106. One day, I will finally go on a poetry retreat.
  107.  

That’s quite enough for today. Peace.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Insomnia Leads to Bad Television Habits

“Last night I dreamed I had insomnia. I woke up exhausted, yet too well rested to go back to sleep.”

~ Bob Ingman

Every once in a while, when I cannot get to sleep and I have already seen the episodes of “Without a Trace” and “CSI” that are on at 2 in the morning, I’ll try to find something else to watch on television that will bore me enough so that I can fall asleep. That is when I find bizarre programs like “Bridezillas” on WE. I’m not even sure what network WE is, but I must admit that the show “Bridezillas” and its companion show “Platinum Wedding” or something like that are really something to behold, especially if you are looking for polar extremes.

bridezilla
WE's Show "Bridezillas"

Apparently, “Bridezillas” is television’s answer to “Cops” for women. I haven’t seen behavior like this since I taught middle school for one year. These women actually do things on this show that cause the censor bleep button to have to be used repeatedly. One wedding, and I’m using the term very loosely here, used shotgun shells as part of the decor. In another, the bride left her rehearsal dinner to go to the store and returned two and a half hours later. All of her guests were gone, and her fiance was a tad upset. She managed to turn the whole thing around to an impeachment on her guests’ impatience. The show is like an accident waiting to happen, and the viewer wants to turn away but just can’t because it’s only going to be worse, which means that it will only get better.

One bride’s rehearsal in the church turned into such a fray with the groom-to-be’s side of the family that the priest actually had to ask them to leave. Another bride-to-be gave the wrong location to her bridal party on where they were supposed to get their nails done, and then she had the audacity to throw a tantrum because half of her party didn’t show. She got on her phone and told them all that they were out of the wedding because they “didn’t care enough to support her on her big day.” At this point, I’d be thanking my lucky stars that I was out of the wedding party, but no, the bridesmaids always want back in. What, are they crazy?

But the best one was the bride who got upset when her nephew turned up missing during the reception. Everything stopped so that everyone could search for him. The bride threw herself on the couch and had a complete meltdown because no one was paying any attention to her. Luckily, the boy was found safely and all eyes could be turned back on the bride before her makeup was smudged. I’m not making this up.

In “Platinum Weddings,” viewers are treated to weddings that are examples of the most incredible examples of conspicuous consumption known to man. Everything from traditional Indian weddings in which the groom rides in on an elephant, to weddings in which the lighting alone costs $50,000. One wedding had a drink that was designed especially for the bride and groom to be served at their after dinner cocktail bar and dance room. Of course, fireworks were set off at the appropriate time. Cakes can cost upwards of $50,000, and the flowers can run anywhere from $25,000 to $250,000. Where do these people live? On Venus?

Needless to say, I don’t fall asleep when I watch these shows because I get caught up in the complete idiocy of the whole thing and end up watching three episodes in a row. I then find myself totally disgusted with myself and feel as though I need a bath to wash off the excess in which I have immersed myself.

One day, I was unable to get out of bed at all, and I watched an entire season of “America’s Next Top Model” from beginning to end. Usually on days like these I read, but my head hurt too much, so I tuned the television to something inane, hoping that it would put me to sleep. Of course, the reverse happened. I found myself watching the progression of these 14 or so candidates, slowly being weaned down to the final 3, then 2. I had a personal favorite, and I had one candidate that I particularly disliked. Why? Why did it matter to me? Was the winner going to go on to find a cure for AIDS?

I mean, Tyra Banks is a multi-millionaire. She has managed to turn her career as a model/Victoria’s Secret runway model into a television icon. She’s savvy, and she’s incredibly full of herself. The show is just as much about Banks as it is about the women who are competing. Tyra is always talking about how she did this for this photographer and that for said designer. Supposedly, it’s a lesson for the gawky young women who are learning to become models. And you do see some of them break out and change from show to show, but really, what’s the point? The two Jays are more interesting than the models. Trying to figure out what bizarre outfit Tyra is going to wear to judging is more interesting than some of the photo shoots. I can sleep through two episodes, wake up, and still not have missed much.

I suppose that is the point of reality television. There is no point, and to try to find one is an exercise in futility. I know that there are people out there who love their reality television. I just don’t happen to be one of them. I’ve never watched one episode of “The Real Life” or “The Surreal Life” or “Survivor” or “The Great Race.” My daughter tells me that “Jon and Kate Plus 8” is a nice show, but the thought of eight children scares the crap out of me. We did watch “Holmes on Homes” for a while to get some tips on home renovation, but that got too depressing when we ran out of money to continue renovating.

I will admit to loving “Project Runway” because I love Tim Gunn, and for some odd reason, I like “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” I think that it’s because Vicki is insane, and I’m waiting for her children to snap on her. I don’t like the other Housewives shows. They were bizarre knock-offs. But late-night reality shows are an entity all their own. I once was flipping through the channels and came upon some kind of dating show on which one man and three women went on a date, or something like that. I cannot remember the name of it, nor do I particularly want to. Five minutes of the Barbie-like verisimilitude, and I thought that I might be going mad. The women were flaky, too.

I suppose what makes late-night television interesting is that I haven’t seen it before in the way that I’ve seen every episode of Law & Order, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Law & Order SVU, and CSI. Whenever there is a Law & Order marathon on, I’ll watch, but I will fall asleep. The whole idea of watching television to cure my insomnia isn’t always truthful on my part. Maybe I’m watching just because I’m bored and because I don’t want to get out of bed to peruse our extensive DVD collection to figure out what I could put on the player.

theghost
Asia Extreme "The Ghost"

Which brings me to another point: I will watch good movies over and over again, but I have to be in the right mood for a particular movie. For example, right now, I’m in a vampire/horror mood. I’m watching the Blade movies, Saw (all of them), and maybe others, but not zombies (zombies freak me out). I have discovered Asia Extreme movies on Sundance, and I really like them. I’m not really sure as to why, but part of it is that the movies can be pretty darn scary, and I haven’t seen all of them before. I think the other part is that almost all of them are based on some kind of ghost story, which is better than a slasher story any day.

What does all of this have to do with sleeping? Nothing, except that after watching scary movies, I can go to sleep and not have nightmares. Odd, huh? You would think that I would, but I don’t. I think that it’s because my brain knows that between an Asia Extreme movie and an episode of “Bridezilla,” the episode of “Bridezilla” is definitely the scarier of the two because it’s real. There are real women out there behaving that badly and thinking that it’s perfectly acceptable to treat people like crap simply because they are getting married.

Personally, I can really understand why some men run from the alter. If I were marrying some of these women, I’d get my butt in the closest pickup truck and floor it to the next state, change my name, shave my head, grow a beard, and go to work in a field that required me to be out of the country for extended periods. Those women on that show are crazy. It’s Cops on progesterone.

I’ll watch a scary movie any day. I find them to be much more soothing and less anxiety-filled. I kid you not. But lately, I like my new technique of trying to go to sleep: I turn on my latest bedtime music playlist, turn on one of the soothing visualizations on my great big screen, and turn off the television. The dogs seem to like it, not that they really care as long as I stay still long enough for them to get comfortable under the covers. And then I try to let Hypnos carry me off to sleep so that Morpheus can bring me dreams.

“Come, cuddle your head on my shoulder, dear, your head like the golden-rod,

and we will go sailing away from here to the beautiful land of Nod.”

~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

More later. Peace.