“All the hardest, coldest people you meet were once as soft as water. And that’s the tragedy of living. ” ~ Iain Thomas, from I Wrote This For You

Ice-Castle-Brent-Christensen1
Ice Castle, Silverthorne, Colorado
by Brent Christensen

                   

“I, too, seem to be a connoisseur of rain, but it does not fill me with joy; it allows me to steep myself in a solitude I nurse like a vice I’ve refused to vanquish.” ~ Julia Glass, from Three Junes

Friday afternoon. Sunny, low 40’s. No snow . . .

So we had wet snow and rain last night. Absolutely nothing stuck, but we had delayed openings and closings anyway. This area is totally unprepared for any kind of winter weather, so accustomed to mild winters devoid of white. In response, I thought I’d post something I’ve been saving: images of real life ice castles.

Last night I had the weirdest dreams, and consequently, I woke up mad at Corey. Don’t you hate it when a dream causes a waking reaction? The gist of it was that Corey was flirting with a woman, and he thought it harmless, but I was offended, and it escalated from there. In between, Elliot, formerly of Law & Order SVU showed up because I found to women buried in the sand. I ran into an old friend of mine who made me the best mixed drink I had ever had, and oh yes, I won the lottery, twice. I was an uber millionaire, and I was planning to hand out money right and left to relatives.

Ice Castle image2 from Huffington Post
Silverthorne Ice Castle
by Ryan Davis via Huffington Post

Also in this same dream sequence there were aliens, three to be precise. I had packed up my car to go somewhere (it was my old Trooper Izzie), and I was carrying a strange assortment of goods, including some kind of taser especially for the aliens that I carried. They were supposed to awaken in 12 hours, but woke up 9 hours early. I was fighting all three as the people who were traveling with me were running about inefficiently. Then I went to the Navy exchange to replenish my supplied, but I couldn’t find a charger for my phone, which I needed because I could communicate with base back on earth via Twitter, and I also needed some kind of battery charger for my vehicle.

I ended up going to an auto store to buy things, and I picked out a pickaxe for a weapon, but it was too heavy. I didn’t buy the generator because it was $450, but I bought a car charger for $40 and a portable lantern so that I could see in the dark to kill the aliens

Very, very, very strange. Perhaps I should not have watched “American Horror Story before going to sleep.” The insomnia and headache didn’t help. I saw something on my tumblr dash about a supposed Japanese legend that says that if you can’t sleep at night, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dream. I couldn’t find anything to confirm that statement, but I found it intriguing.

“Your head’s like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars . . . But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune’s all we are.” ~ Grant Morrison

Today began late as I got to sleep late, even though I really needed to contact people early. We’re trying to get my health insurance reinstated so that I can get my prescriptions, but in the meantime, I’m trying to get samples of my antidepressant from the doctor’s office so that I don’t have a full-blown crash. All of the maneuvering is causing incredible stress, and I really want to hide under the covers until it all goes away.

On top of everything else, I’m having computer problems. I couldn’t get my Yahoo mail to work, and I keep getting redirected on various sites. I cleaned up all of my unnecessary files and made sure my malware was active, but I’m just not in the mood for a persnickety computer. I did a little research, and apparently, other people have been having Yahoo issues. I found a site that offered a couple of fixes, and one worked, so that’s taken care of for now, but it slowed up my ability to deal with Human Resources.

Silverthorne Ice Castlevia Huffington Post
Silverthorne Ice Castle
by Ryan Davis via Huffington Post

Add to this growing pile of crappiness the fact that my birthday is coming up next week, which I hate, and I realized as I was doing dishes today that I still haven’t done the paperwork to try to get a life insurance policy, which I really need to do before my birthday, as it’s one of those landmark ones that causes my available rates to go up. I don’t know how they arrive at these numbers, but I find the whole thing mystifying. So far I’ve been turned down by any mainstream insurance providers because of my health, and for some reason, I have it in my head that I need to have a hefty policy so that my family is not left in debt. Go figure.

“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.” ~ Shauna Niequist, from “Bittersweet”

I was really hoping for snow so that I could take some new pictures. I haven’t shot anything (with my camera) in quite a while. Brett, who has changed his mind about sitting out this semester, was thinking about taking a digital photography course, but he changed his mind, which is a bit disappointing because I was hoping to pick up some tips from him. The problem is that art classes are so limited at ODU, and art majors are always fighting for spots, so Brett didn’t want to take a spot that an art major may have needed.

Silverthorne Ice Castlevia Huffington Post
Silverthorne Ice Castle
by Ryan Davis via Huffington Post

He does have a very cool semester awaiting him. I had suggested taking no physics and no math, just things he was genuinely interested in, so he’s taking an advanced poetry workshop (so jealous), a Harlem Renaissance lit class, a film class, and an art class. Personally, I think that having a semester in which he does only what he wants instead of what he has to take will really help him to get grounded again. I had anticipated that he would be a bit out of sorts when the semester began and he wasn’t going to class.

He’s still planning to go to New Zealand, just postponing until May.

Can I tell you a secret? The other day, I started filling out an application on the GW website for the doctoral program in English. Haven’t finished it yet because I got scared. Maybe this weekend I’ll be able to finish it.

“Which one of us has never felt, walking through the twilight or writing down a date from his past, that he has lost something infinite?” ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Just remembered another strange detail about my dream sequence: I was putting this money into a counting machine to verify that I had won the lottery, and I kept messing up, inserting paper money when the machine was counting silver and vice versa. I had 10 pieces of silver shaped like forks which were worth one thousand dollars each. How does my mind work when I’m asleep? How do I end up in these places with these people doing these things?

Ice-Castle-Brent-Christensen4 as found on inhabitat dot com
Ice Castle, Silverthorne, Colorado
as found on inhabitat.com

I mean, wouldn’t it be great if I dreamt that I was walking through an ice castle? But no, I’m walking around a store looking for an adapter. Am I boring even in my dreams? Sheesh.

My response to the stress of the last few days and the bad sleep of the last few nights is to want to go into the bathroom and chop at my hair with scissors. Fortunately (or not, depending upon how you view it), my head hurts too much to stand in the fluorescent light long enough to do anything. But just another thought here: what genius (and you know it had to be a man because no woman would willing subject other women to this) decided that fluorescent lighting would be best used in the bathroom?

If I ever get to design my dream bathroom it will have block glass in the window, a moonlight above the bathtub, which will be jetted, naturally, and nary one tube bulb will be in sight.

“You’ve got forever; and somehow you can’t do much with it. You’ve got forever; and it’s a mile wide and an inch deep and full of alligators.” ~ Jim Thompson

I need to confirm with HR that I still get most of my tuition paid for, but I don’t want to hit them with that until I’ve resolved this health insurance fiasco. I’m not really certain what possessed me to begin the application; I just found myself looking up the program and then clicking on the complete application link. Perhaps clicking on links might be the death of me. It’s far too easy.

Silverthorne Ice Castle via Huffington Post Ryan Davis
Silverthorne Ice Castle
by Ran Davis via Huffington Post

Jon Stewart was talking about that last night, how the White House petition website had such a low requirement for petitions to garner a response, beginning at 5,000 signatures, now at 100,000 signature. Hell, Gangnam Style has over one billion hits on YouTube, so how could the White House not imagine that people with nothing better to do would sign bizarre petitions, like requesting secession from the union?

Anyway, my point is that I was just talking about being linked in and what it’s done to us, and then I have this epiphany that my life now is just jumping from one link to the next, kind of like exploring the world the easy way. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? I mean, fear is what compels most of us to withhold, to stay put, to refrain from attempting things, but a wired world tends to push that fear from the forefront of our minds, allowing us to jump into things we would never have thought about a decade ago.

There be dragons, and there be alligators, but the water is fine . . .

Hope you enjoy the music and images.

More later. Peace.

(For the full story on the concept behind the ice castles and how the structures are made, click here.)

Music by Lindsey Stirling (filmed at Silverthorne Ice Castle), “Crystallize”

                   

Textbook Statistics

On average, 5 people are born every second and 1.78 die.
So we’re ahead by 3.22, which is good, I think.

The average person will spend two weeks in his life
waiting for the traffic light to change.

Pubescent girls wait two to four years
for the tender lumps under their nipples to grow.

So the average adult has over 1,460 dreams a year,
laughs 15 times a day. Children, 385 more times.

So the average male adult mates 2,580 times with five different people
but falls in love only twice in his life—possibly

with the same person. Seventy-nine long years for each of us,
awakened to love in our twenties, so more or less

thirty years to love our two lovers each. And if, in a lifetime,
one walks a total of 13,640 miles by increments,

Where are you headed, traveler?
is a valid philosophical question to pose to a man, I think, along with

Why does the blood in your veins travel endlessly?
on account of those red cells flowing night and day

through the traffic of the blood vessels, which if laid out
in a straight line would be over 90,000 miles long.

The great Nile River in Egypt is 4,180 miles long.
The great circle of the earth’s equator is 24,903 miles.

Dividing this green earth among all of us
gives a hundred square feet of living space to each,

but our brains take only one square foot of it,
along with the 29 bones of the skull, so

if you look outside your window with your mind only,
why do you hear the housefly hum middle octave, key of F?

If you listen to the cat on the rug by the fire with
the 32 muscles in your ear, you will hear

100 different vocal sounds. Listen to the dog
wishing for your love: 10 different sounds.

If you think loneliness is beyond calculation,
think of the mole digging a tunnel underground

ninety-eight miles long to China
in one single night. If you think beauty escapes you

or your entire genealogical tree, consider the slug
with its four uneven noses, or the chameleon shifting colors

under an arbitrary light. Think of the deepest point
in the deepest ocean, the Marianas Trench in the Pacific,

do you think anyone’s sadness can be deeper? In 1681,
the last dodo bird died. In the 16th century,

Queen Elizabeth suffered from a fear of roses.
Anne Boleyn had six fingers. People fall in love

twice. The human heart beats 3 billion times — only — in a lifetime.
If you attempt to count all the stars in the galaxy, one

every second, it’ll take 3 thousand years, if you’re lucky.
As owls are the only birds that can see the color blue

the ocean is bluish, along with the sky and the eyes
of that boy who died alone by that little unnamed river

in your dreams one blue night of the war
of one of your lives. (Do you remember which one?)

Duration of World War 1: four years, 3 months, 14 days.
Duration of an equatorial sunset: 128 seconds, 142 tops.

A neuron’s impulse takes 1/1000 of a second,
a morning’s commute from Prospect Expressway

to the Brooklyn Bridge, about 90 minutes,
forty-five without traffic.

Time it takes for a flower to wilt after it’s cut from the stem: five days.
Time left our sun before it runs out of light: five billion years.

Hence the number of happy citizens under the red glow
of that sun: maybe 50% of us, 50% on good days, tops.

Number who are sad: maybe 70% on the good days—
especially on the good days. (The first emotion’s more intense, I think,

when caught up with the second.) So children grow faster in the summer,
their bright blue bodies expanding. The ocean, after all, is blue

which is why the sky now outside your window is bluish
expanding with the white of something beautiful, like clouds.

Fact: The world is a beautiful place—once in a while.
Another fact: We fall in love twice. Maybe more, if we’re lucky.

~ Arkaye Kierulf

“A doodle. I do doodle. You too. You do doodle, too.” ~ Willow, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy and Spike

Buffy and Spike (Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Marsters)

 

“And then I was being chased by an improperly filled in answer bubble screaming ‘None of the above.'” ~ Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Today I took on another project: I cleaned my desk.

Buffy
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Now I know that many of you would not consider such a thing a project, per se, more of a task. Let me explain: I have always had a propensity for cluttered desks, and now that I am working on a desk that is about one third the size of my last desk, it is very easy for me to amass a mess in very little time.

But since I need to take care of some forms and make some telephone calls, the only way that I could do that efficiently was to find the forms that I needed. Unfortunately, by the time I tried to make some calls, it was already 4:50, and very few people want to talk to people at the end of the day. At least, I know that’s how I felt when the end of the day rolled around and the telephone rang. I would look at the caller ID and decide if it was a call I really had to answer or if I could let it go to voice mail.

So, one telephone call later, I went back to the actual physical desk which needed to be dusted. I mean reallydusted.  Finished that without giving myself an asthma attack, oh happy day for small things. The only thing left is to finish putting a pile of night-clothes back in the top of the closet; they were unceremoniously dumped out of the closet in order for me to gain access to the left side of the closet.

After that, if I’m still standing, I need to do some laundry. I’m exhausted just writing about it.

“I’ll see your numbness and I’ll raise you a lower back pain.” ~ Xander, Buffy the Vampire Slayer 

Xander
Xander (Nicholas Brendan)

Poor Corey is sick today. I think that he might have a stomach bug of some kind. He has spent the better part of the day in bed. Of course the dogs like it. I really didn’t realize that he felt as bad as he does until he came in and looked longingly at the bed, upon which was strewn my papers and notes from my desk. I finished quickly so that he could crawl back inside.

Corey doesn’t get sick very often, so when he does, it’s a really terrible, awful thing. I’m not mocking. He’s just beside himself when he doesn’t feel well, as if his body is directly offending him in some way. It’s cute, in a silly way.

The dogs have been enjoying his rest, of course. Shakes is cuddled up next to him, and Alfie is on his pillow above his head. Earlier, when I had the bed covered with papers, Alfie came in and gave me a dirty look. He then proceeded to jump on the bed and walk through the papers. My dogs are quite obnoxious at times. I have to remind them that the bed does not actually belong to them.

“Well, personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon. Let’s go to work.” ~ Angel from Angel

Angel
Angel (David Boreanaz)

Have my recently updated “Music to Work By” playlist running in the background. Just had to pause to identify a song. It was Joan Baez, “Diamonds and Rust.” Don’t know what possessed me to download that, but I remember when I was younger, it was one of the songs that I would sing full out when I was depressed, which was quite often. I’m sure that my neighbors were not amused, but they never complained. Thankfully.

I also downloaded a few Jackson Browne songs, and Janis Ian’s “Seventeen.” I suppose I was in a terribly nostalgic mood yesterday when I did all of the downloading and updating.

Yes, I know that I can be quite anal about somethings, and my music is one of those things. When I have my CDs on a shelf (not in storage), they are arranged alphabetically by genre: classical, jazz, etc. My music library on my computer is also very well organized: I have made sure that each song has been categorized, and that the name of the album is included (that is, whenever I can remember the name).

Anyway, I have four basic playlists: working music, sleeping music, country music (yes, I like country music, not the old style, though, more the crossover stuff), and a “This and That” category that has a little of everything in it.

“Haven’t you figured it all out yet, with your enormous squishy frontal lobes?”  ~ Spike,  Buffy the Vampire Slayer 

Alexis came by earlier on her way home. She delivered some homemade Lumpia, which is the name of small Filipino eggrolls. I love good Lumpia. Don’t really like regular eggrolls.

Lumpia can be strictly vegetarian, or it can contain meat, depending upon what the cook wants to do. Alexis and Mike make good Lumpia. She has begun to teach herself how to cook Filipino dishes, which really impresses me since I haven’t taught myself anything new in the kitchen in ages and ages. I am trying to convince Corey to learn how to cook Adobo, which is usually made with chicken or pork and has a delicious sauce.

He’s thinking about it, he says . . .

“That’s not Proactive Guy. That’s Sit-Around-And-Wait-For-The-Rest-of-His-Life-To-Turn-To-Crap Guy.” ~ Xander, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Another interesting thing has happened. Brett decided to join the Improv Club at school. To say that I am happy about this move is an understatement. It was completely his idea (even better), and it means that he is actually willing and able to do an extracurricular activity this year. Such a change from last year.

Monday is parent/teacher conference at his school. Corey and I will be going, of course, and I’m hoping that I will be hearing better things than last year.

Brett’s new schedule of having four classes every other day seems to really be making a difference as far as his stress level is concerned. He has the one day off to do assignments and to just chill. Of course, it’s only October, but I’m keeping a good thought that he’ll make it through his senior year without too many problems.

“Wait. Handbook? What handbook? How come I don’t have a handbook?” ~ Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Willow
Willow (Alyson Hannigan)

Tomorrow I must make the telephone calls that I didn’t get to today. I also have an appointment with my regular doctor to make up for the one that I couldn’t go to last Friday. She is probably going to chastise me because my thyroid levels were off when I had my blood work done. My levels were off because I have run out of thyroid medicine, and I am still at an impasse with my prescription coverage.

I am trying not to pin too many hopes on the government’s idea of healthcare reform, but I swear I just don’t understand what the big deal is. How many countries around the world have government-sponsored healthcare? And these aren’t all wealthy, developed nations. I mean, if Thailand could institute universal healthcare in 2001, why can’t the United States.

Universal healthcare is not going to take us on that road to communism. Please, give me a break. What it will do is make sure that our infant mortality rate goes down, that our seniors get the medicine that they often cannot afford and that people like me who are disabled are able to afford our health insurance premiums.

I’m not asking the government to pay for everything, and I don’t believe that the majority of Americans are asking for that either. We just want options. We want not to be denied automatically for pre-existing conditions over which we have not control. For example, people who have had asthma since childhood, and that asthma has nothing to do with cigarette smoking.

Or consider the individuals who have had suffered bad side effects from a medication that has led to other health problems. How is it fair to deny coverage in such a case, especially since if the pharmaceutical companies had better oversight, then we wouldn’t keep letting medications onto the market that cause problems later. For example, the latest one that I know of is the medication Reglan, which, apparently has caused numerous problems. Well guess what? At one time, I took Reglan. Not for long, and it was years ago. But Reglan is just the latest in a long line of medications that infiltrate the market only to be recalled a decade or less later.

But the individuals who have health problems as a result of taking these medications can be denied coverage because of that wonderful catch-all classification—a pre-existing condition.

“Been there, done that, and deja vu just isn’t what it used to be.” ~ Angelus, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Spike
My favorite vampire: Spike (James Marsters)

Oops. Slipped onto the soapbox for a moment. But I’m sitting here at home without medication that I really need but cannot afford because it’s a matter of paying my health insurance premiums or pay for other things. Same old story. Really tired of singing this song. Nevertheless, don’t think for a second that I let it slide whenever I hear of another outlandish comment by a Senator or Representative regarding healthcare. I’m sending e-mails, signing petitions, letting it be known that I do want healthcare, and it is an issue for me.

For example, Republican House Leader John Boehner contends that he has never met a single person who supports the public option as part of health care reform. Last week, Boehner said that he was “still trying to find the first American who’s in favor of the public option.”

Hello? Hello? Is anybody in there? 

Here’s an updated version of “Diamonds and Rust.” Yep. It’s Judas Priest.

More later. Peace.

(Just a note: In a Buffy mood. No particular reason. There was some great philosophy on that show, in a silly vampire slayer kind of way.)