“We work in our own darkness a great deal with little real knowledge of what we are doing.” ~ John Steinbeck

“After the Snowfall,” by Jonas Lie (1908, oil on canvas)

“We pass through the present with our eyes blindfolded. We are permitted merely to sense and guess at what we are actually experiencing. Only later when the cloth is untied can we glance at the past and find out what we have experienced and what meaning it has.” ~ Milan Kundera, from Laughable Loves

Wednesday afternoon. Snow on the ground, 30 degrees.

Today is my father’s birthday. It’s strange, isn’t it, the dates that you continue to mark on your calendar? Dates that no longer have any connection to a living person, and dates that are still connected to a person, but that person is no longer in your life. For example, every year on October 1, I remember Mari’s birthday, and on November 1, Kathleen’s. Perhaps that is because of the synchronicity of their prime number. Who knows. Regardless, I still mark so many things on my calendars at the beginnings of each year, even though no celebrations or commemorations will be had.

“Barge in the Snow,” by William Degouve Nuncques (1911, oil on canvas)

Today, I’m thinking a lot about my days at the Museum. I loved that place. And I hated that place. Wait. I loved the place, hated some of the people. That’s more accurate.

I still remember using my swipe card to enter through back doors within the galleries—that simple movement seemingly conveyed so much power to me. Any time I felt nervous or anxious, I would wander through the galleries, just drinking in the colors and textures. A museum is truly a wonderful place to work, as long as you don’t have to deal with the board of directors, that is.

But I miss those days even though my tenure ended badly when the museum had sweeping budget cuts, and I was deemed unnecessary. The days that followed my departure were dark in so many ways, and in reflecting on them, I realize that they contributed directly to the end of my first marriage, not that there weren’t already problems. I spent a great deal of time away from home, just trying to lose myself, and eventually, I lost my marriage.

Not regrets. Just facts.

“We create what we remember
to survive all we never had.
In a hall, darkened by exterior glitter,
my father scolds me
for anticipating his gift more than his return.
I am small but I slide an immense distance . . . ” ~ Marlève Rugo, “On Not Being Able to Write”

Of course there are regrets. I mean, I cast by the wayside two, no three friendships from the museum that had been very important to me. I cannot tell you why, now, only that at the time, I wanted to cut so many ties because I was in so much pain, wanted to be free of everyone and everything , which, of course, you simply cannot do. Not unless you are 6 years old.

So those people who I cast off in my attempts to recapture something that I thought that I had lost? I don’t know where they are now or how they are doing, but I think of them often and wish that I had been a better friend.

“Early Snow,” by Walter Launt Palmer (nd, oil on canvas)

Actually, friendship has always been difficult for me. There have been times when I have have had brutal arguments with a friend and then immediately severed all ties. Who does that? Well, I suppose, I do, or rather, I did. But were those truly friends, or just acquaintances? It’s both hard and easy for me to make friends. I make instant connections with people, and sometimes, those connections prove to be less than healthy, and sometimes they prove to be powerful forces in my life.

My oldest and dearest friend from my youth died a few years ago from lung cancer. I did not see her before she died, just as I did not see Allan before he died. Yes, regrets, major regrets. Do I set myself up for regrets? Perhaps.

“There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms.” ~ George Eliot

I’ve been listening to some newer artists and some old favorite artists in an attempt to populate my posts with new tunes to accompany my words. I’ve found quite a few already. Let me know, dear reader, what you think of those I’ve included recently, or if you have any suggestions.The weird thing is that when I stopped writing, I also stopped listening to music all of the time. I couldn’t possibly explain why that is, especially as music has always been a very important part of my life.

I’m particularly partial to the Sara Bareilles’ tune “She Used to be Mine.” It hits very close to home. I feel as if I’ve been so many people over the years, none of them traditional or expected or normal, whatever that is. I truly wonder if everyone feels like that. I mean, it’s more than having certain attitudes in your teens, and then different attitudes in your 40s. I would expect that such things happen to everyone.

“Albany in the Snow,” by Walter Launt Palmer (1871, oil on canvas)

It’s more that when I look back on my life, I see different people. I see someone who was fiercely aggressive in her career while working for the government contractor. I see someone who loved to be at the front of the classroom, making wisecracks and listening to students while at the university. I see a woman who refused to compromise and then one who compromised too much.

Are they all the same me? No. Yes. I don’t know.

Damn. Shouldn’t I know who I am, by now? People think that I’m joking when I say that I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. But truly, I still don’t know, and chances are good that I won’t know when I close my eyes for the last time.

C’est vrai.

“There are men who carry dreams
over mountains, the dead
on their backs.
But only mothers
can walk with the weight
of a second beating heart.” ~ Ocean Vuong, from “My Mother Remembers Her Mother”

I’ll tell you something else that’s strange, even though I’ve said it before in different ways: I miss being pregnant. My body responded well to being pregnant, mostly. Perhaps my body, not so much, but more my spirit. When I was pregnant, I felt completely at home in myself. There have been no other times in my life when I have felt that way.

“Approaching Snow,” by Tom Thomson (1915, oil on board)

Fore more years than I can remember, I have wanted to have another daughter, another girl child to birth and to care for, but that never happened, and now, it’s much too late. And is that fate? Karma? What? God knows millions of women who want children are never able to have them, so am I being selfish in wishing that I could have had just one more? Maybe I am, but wishing never made it so, and so the point is moot, is it not? Regardless (once upon a time, I thought the word was irregardless), I still feel the desire keenly, and I find that strange as I always believed that the older I became, that the wiser I would be, and I truly believed that I would not still have yearnings that were impossible. Odd, that . . .

And now Olivia lives hundreds of miles away, and every day I wonder if she remembers me. I never understood before how a grandchild could affect me in so many ways, but it is completely unlike your own child, a different kind of love, a love that is somehow less selfish because in a grandchild, you do not invest your own future so much. Am I confusing you, dear reader? If so, I do apologize, but it’s not something you can really understand until it happens to you, and then it’s not something that you can understand losing until it happens to you.

“I would listen to my heartbeat. I couldn’t imagine that this sound which had been with me for so long could ever stop.” ~ Albert Camus, from The Stranger

The afternoon wears on, and the sky seems to be darker than when I started, and it’s definitely colder. I worry that the horses are cold, even though all of the reading that I have done says that as long as they are eating well, they will not be cold. They definitely have plenty on which to graze. But still, I want to put blankets on them. I shall resist. For now.

I just had a strange memory: I remember being 15 and sitting in my boyfriend’s den and just weeping and weeping. My father was at sea, as usual, and I missed him desperately. My boyfriend’s mother was not a particularly nice woman, or maybe she was just plain-spoken, and I was too young to appreciate it. Anyway, she told me that it was just growing pains. I left in such a huff.

“After the Snow on the Field,” by Gustave Loiseau (1899, oil on canvas)

I mean, growing pains? Could anything be more insulting? or more accurate? I do not look back on my teens fondly. Everything was too intense. All of the new feelings and emotions, the new ways in which my body did what it wanted without my having any power over it. It was all just too much. I was so very certain that my first love would be my love for the rest of my life. Gawd. Thankfully, that proved to be very wrong.

But there really was a point to this reminiscence, a non sequitur though it be: I have always had a strong affinity with animals, and I have always anthropomorphized them, had ongoing conversations with them, given them human personalities, likes and dislikes, so the feelings about the horses are not unexpected. Nevertheless, I realize that if I’m going to survive on this farm that I’ve going to have to toughen my outlook somewhat. Still, I think the horses need blankets.

More later. Peace.


Music by Finneas, “Break My Heart Again”

Coming Home

When we’re driving, in the dark,
on the long road
to Provincetown, which lies empty
for miles, when we’re weary,
when the buildings
and the scrub pines lose
their familiar look,
I imagine us rising
from the speeding car,
I imagine us seeing
everything from another place — the top
of one of the pale dunes
or the deep and nameless
fields of the sea —
and what we see is the world
that cannot cherish us
but which we cherish,
and what we see is our life
moving like that,
along the dark edges
of everything — the headlights
like lanterns
sweeping the blackness —
believing in a thousand
fragile and unprovable things,
looking out for sorrow,
slowing down for happiness,
making all the right turns
right down to the thumping
barriers to the sea,
the swirling waves,
the narrow streets, the houses,
the past, the future,
the doorway that belongs
to you and me.

~ Mary Oliver

“I feel like I’ve swallowed a cloudy sky” ~ Haruki Murakami, from Sputnik Sweetheart

William Degouve de Nuncques La nuit à Bruger, 1897 oil on canvas
“La nuit à Bruger” (1897, oil on canvas)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

                   

“Sometimes moods of indescribable anguish, sometimes moments when the veil of time and fatality of circumstances seemed to be torn apart for an instant.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday afternoon. Sunny and hot, 88 degrees.

(Forewarning: It’s long and rambling)

A day filled with sadness for several reasons.

William Degouve de Nuncques Parc-de-Milan-1895
“Parc de Milan” (1895, pastel)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

Jake was surrendered to the shelter from which we adopted him. I did not go with Corey; instead, I began to clean as soon as I awoke (9 a.m., very early for me), which has once again become my solution to anything. That I have added yet another column to my lifetime table of guilt should surprise no one. I can only hope that Jake finds a family in which he can be the only child because I know that he would thrive in such an environment, as he has so much love and devotion to offer a lucky human.

Chalk up another major screw up. It’s not a pity party, exactly, more like a hating-life party. Or more specifically, hating my life, or hating how I live, or hating what I’m not doing in life, or hating how life has unfolded.

Circumstances. Sometimes, I really, really hate that word.

I don’t know. It’s all so tangled and gnarly, like a fishing net piled into a ball and left to dry in the sun—the result is a smelly mess needing much patience to disentangle the knots and snarls. I am sorely lacking in patience.

“The Greek word for ‘return’ is nostos. Algos means ‘suffering.’ So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.” ~ Milan Kundera, from Ignorance

William Degouve de Nuncques The Black Swan, pastel 1896
“The Black Swan” (1896, pastel)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

What do you do when someone you know simply cannot let go of something? I have no doubts that many people who have known me have wondered the same thing, given my tendency to cling so firmly to what was, affecting my ability to move into the what may be. But for a change, it is someone else whose desires for something from the past that is affecting the present.

The particulars are not mine to disclose as it is a private matter. I can only say that I wish more than anything that I had never heard about this, this, thing? Event? Point in time? I wish that I had never been made privy to this information, so disturbing is it and all of its implications.

I can only say that if this individual chooses to pursue this path back into the past, many, many people will be hurt, perhaps beyond repair. I say this knowing that the heart wants what the heart wants, fully aware that the heart is selfish and very often, callous.

This person believes that he/she has a right to venture down this path. I disagree. Believe me, my reaction is not from the gut but from the heart and the head. I have mulled over this possibility more than once over the years. I have wondered what might happen should these circumstances arise, and I have lived with a buried sense of dread because knowing this person as I do, I know that he/she has only one thing in mind.

“I am carrying such weights of absolute sadness that I must at any moment be dragged down into the deepest sea and the person trying to seize or even ‘rescue’ me would give up, not from weakness, not even from hopelessness but from sheer annoyance.” ~ Franz Kafka, Letters To Milena

William Degouve de Nuncques Nocturnal Effect 1896 pastel on paper
“Effet de Nuit” (1896, pastel on paper)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

So I’m having a visit with my old compatriot—regret. The two of us go back far too many years. All of the what-ifs, the might-have-beens, the why-nots, the if-only. Sometimes I feel that I should have the two words IF ONLY tattooed prominently on my body for all to see. It might keep me from trying to explain myself. Or maybe not.

Look. The current distressed state in which I currently find myself is not solely because of what happened with Jake, but god knows that plays a part. As I mentioned earlier, life in the abode has been a virtual wall-to-wall bed of nails. Step lightly lest you fall and open a lot of wounds. For a day or so, I actually thought that things were beginning to get better. I had a day in which I was able to think about floating around in the pool, reading a book, relaxing, not that I did any of these things.

I was so, so wrong.

Have you ever listened to the soundtrack from the movie Philadelphia, the one starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington? It has to be one of the saddest, most gut-wrenching soundtracks in existence. From start to finish it is a compilation of heartbreaking songs, and of course, I know each and every song by heart. The only reason the soundtrack isn’t my current writing music is that were it on I would probably not be writing but singing to myself.

I feel as if my life right now is that soundtrack on perpetual repeat.

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moment in life that are over.” ~ Paulo Coelho, from The Zahir

William Degouve de Nuncques Nocturne au Parc Royal de Bruxelles 1897 pastel on paper
“Nocturne au Parc Royal de Bruxelles” (1897, pastel on paper)

Regrets. I was speaking of them.

I regret putting my family and a sweet, lovely dog through the mill for a situation that I truly believed would turn out differently.

I regret that the depression from which I suffer spills over into every aspect of my life.

I regret that I did not tell my father that I loved him every chance that I had.

I regret that I didn’t pursue my doctorate decades ago when it would have been much more feasible.

I regret getting to this age without accomplishing even 25 percent of what I had planned.

I regret that my genetic make-up and predisposition to mental illness has been passed to my offspring.

I regret that I was never able to give Corey a child of his own.

That last one ↑? That’s a super big one. It’s the one that I always felt would deal a death-blow to my marriage. Not all at once, but as time passed. Each time he holds Olivia, I see the wistfulness in his eyes, and now that his brother Chad is a new dad to a beautiful baby boy once again, I can see the pain just below the surface. It’s there. I know it’s there. And I can do nothing, absolutely nothing about it.

“Why did everything always change, when all you wanted, all you had ever humbly asked of whatever God there might be, was that certain things be allowed to remain the same.” ~ Richard Yates, from Revolutionary Road

William Degouve de Nuncques A Venise 1895 pastel on cardboard
“A Venise” (1895, pastel on cardboard)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

I apologize for the disjointedness of this post; it comes from wanting to say so much and having to self-censor in order to respect another person’s privacy. It also comes from feeling such absolute sadness, a sadness that is born of much and little.

Much? How about an inability to give a part myself to someone who means more than life itself, and the ramifications of that inability? A real inability, not a desire not to do so—big difference.

Little? Many would see the betrayal of Jake as not being that significant. After all, he’s a dog, right? You obviously don’t know me at all.

Aside: I had told myself years ago that before I got too old to do so that I would run in a 5k race and that I would finish it, even if I came in last. I also told myself that before I got too old I would get my doctorate, even if I never got a job with it. I told myself that I would take the time to put together a manuscript and that I would look for an agent. And I told myself that some day, I would have another daughter.

How is any of this relevant? Only in how it proves how much I lie to myself, and how cruel fate can be.

“How one must be thrust over a finished cycle in life, and that leap the most difficult to make . . . The struggle to emerge out of the past, clean of memories; the inadequacy of our hearts to cut life into separate and final portions . . . the hunger for frontiers against which we might lean as upon closed doors before we proceed forward” ~ Anaïs Nin, from The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

william degouve de nuncques les paons via la-chair-et-le-sang 1898
“Les Paons” (1898)
by William Degouve de Nuncques

Do you know what I wish? I wish that the child that Corey is currently rocking in the Bentwood rocker was his. But I also wish that it didn’t matter so much to him. I wish that the unconditional love that I offer could be enough. I wish that I could be dense, could fool myself. I wish that we had had the resources a decade ago to try in vitro; perhaps if that had happened successfully, then the complete and utter despair that I feel now wouldn’t be happening. I wish that I were enough, but I know that I’m not. I wish that pain wasn’t palpable, that longing wasn’t visible, and that regret was not in my vocabulary.

I have never wished that I hadn’t gotten involved with Corey, even though there were several members of his family who wished that were so (at the time). But I have wished that I could have been someone else for him, even though I profess to be happy with myself as I am. I wish that I had a perky upturned nose and blond hair and significant ta tas and a name like Cindy or Blair. I wish that I fit squarely into the category of All-American girl.

Yeah. Most of those previous statements were lies. At least on some level. I like being different. I like my olive skin and dark hair. I like my exotic name. I like that a man once told me that I should be treated like a goddess and that another man wrote me a poem in which he compared me to a multicolored butterfly. But for every one thing that I like about myself, there are two that I don’t.

All I know is that right now, at this moment, I feel sad and lonely and more than a little insufficient. It’s times like these that the thought crosses my mind that if I were addicted to something, I could just take it and float off into oblivion.

Yeah. Not so much.

Later. Peace.

I needed blues, so all images depicted are by Belgian painter William Degouve de Nuncques (1867-1935)

Music by Tindersticks, “Sweet Memory”

                   

Translucence: An Assay

A dog implausibly large,
with fur the color of rose-quartz, slipped through my sleep

I have never seen roses that color,
or a vein of quartz move through its fissure on soft-padded feet.
This was sure, though: what she wanted was for me to follow.

She did not look back.
A shadow opened then folded behind her.
I followed as if past a gate latch
sliding closed on its own silent weight.

It was not so very different, really
More as if the narrator had turned and departed,
abandoned the story,
and each tree, each stone, stood clear in its own full fate.

The dream, like the dog, went on, travelled elsewhere.
Passed by the moment when everything might have been changed.
Passed by the moment of knowing I wanted everything changed.

~ Jane Hirshfield

“The colour of my soul is iron-grey and sad bats wheel about the steeple of my dreams.” ~ Claude Debussy

Moon Bridge* at DaHu Park, Taipei
(source: The Daily Mail, UK)

                   

“What empties itself falls into the place that is open.” ~ Jane Hirschfield, from “A Hand

Sunday evening. Sunny and warm, 80°.

It’s been a busy few days, and I’m just sitting down to do a real post. The Nabokov post was timely as I really did dream that someone was quoting from the novel Lolita, and I thought to myself (in the dream), “I love the sound of that.”

The Twenty-Four Bridge in the Thin West Lake, Yangzhou
(Wikimedia Commons)

We did thrift store shopping on Thursday in search of an affordable couch that was in pretty decent shape. At one thrift store (the one where Alexis used to work), I found a really cushy, oversized chair for $50. It was well worth it as it was in great shape and quite comfy. Of course, I wasn’t searching for a chair, but I figured if we were going to go ahead and throw out the ratty old couch, why not do a cheap redo of the living room.

I found an old Cargo/This End Up couch at another thrift store for $15. The cushions were in good shape, and the wood frame had some white paint stains on it. Only problem was the people at this particular thrift store wouldn’t allow me to come back and pick it up. I had to take it with me. What the hell? Every other store give you at least 24 hours to come back for furniture. I was major league put out and walked out of the store.

On Friday afternoon, Brett, Em, and I went back. When I first looked where the couch had been, it was gone, but as I was walking out I spotted it on another aisle, and it had been marked down to $10. Even better. At the register, Brett and I spotted an off-white sofa in really good condition for $25. It was what I believe is a Queen Anne style, something I’ve always wanted. Brett decided to buy it for his bedroom.

Done and done.

“What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.” ~ Milan Kundera, from The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Of course, the store personnel wouldn’t help to load the couches, so there I was with my bad back, and Brett and Em to help me. The three of us struggled to lift the very heavy wooden-framed couch into the back of Corey’s pick-up truck, and then we lifted the lighter one and turned it over on top of the other one. Make sense? I strapped everything down, and we left, never to return.

Full Moon Bridge, Shatin Park, Hong Kong
(Wikimedia Commons)

I know that each store has its own policy, but this particular store was really weird. I got to the register with two hardback books, one of which did not have a price on it. All of the hardbacks were $1.98 or $2.98. The woman said that she couldn’t sell it to me. I asked if someone couldn’t just put a price on it. The manager said, not until Monday . . . I finally lost it and said that the store had the most screwed up policies I had ever heard of. I won’t be going back.

Still, I got a $10 couch that with a little sanding and some Murphy’s Oil Soap looks quite nice. I washed the cushion covers and put the foam insides outside in the sun after I sprayed them with Lysol. So for $60, plus another $8 for two pillows for the sofa, I now have a much-needed facelift in my living room.

I won’t even go into how hard it was to get everything into the house, especially since it started to rain right as we drove up with the two couches. Not. a. pretty. site.

“But now it is still light and the blackbirds are singing
as if their voices are the only scissors left in this world.” ~ Jennifer Grotz, from “Poppies”

Eamonn has been giving me fits the past few weeks, and today I finally lost it. The yard really needs to be mowed, and he acts as if he’s the only one who ever does anything around this house. On Saturday, after two days of frustration and pain, I cleaned all of the floors, did laundry, and bathed the dogs, which got me two bites on my hand (one each from Alfie and Shakes).

Moon Bridge in Japanese Garden, Huntington Museum, Pasadena, CA
Michael Slonecker (Wikimedia Commons)

It’s sad to say, but Corey has always been able to communicate better with Eamonn than I have, and the opposite is true for Brett. Unfortunately, Eamonn has so much of his dad in him, including the part that tends to subconsciously treat women less respectfully than men. Eamonn won’t pull the same crap with Corey that he does with me. It’s very frustrating.

Anyway, today, we loaded up the futon frame (from the old futon that was in Brett’s room) and took it over to my Mom’s to store it in the space over the garage. The frame is in really good shape, and ultimately, I’d like to get a new futon to go on it if and when we ever get a den or I get an office. Then Brett and I put the cradle together while Eamonn laid on the couch. He (Eamonn) is “sick.”

No comment.

“If I could only put up with myself and the selves inside me.” ~ Fernando Pessoa, from Poems of Fernando Pessoa (trans. Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown)

So I’m sitting her, drinking my homemade smoothie and trying to relax. I’ve been making these almost every day for my breakfast/lunch. I put in frozen mango or frozen peaches, banana, orange juice, plain yogurt, a bit of crushed pineapple, some Splenda, and crushed ice. They are yummy if I do say.

Old Stone Arch Bridge in Yuanmingyuan, Summer Palace, China
(Wikimedia Commons)

The house is pretty quiet. Tillie is leaving me alone because we already had our daily game of stick. Shakes is lying at my feet, and Alfie is walking around the house in the cone of shame. We put it on him after his bath, and I’ve been trying to put the Cesar Milan medicine on his wound, but he’s (Alfie, not Cesar) making it very difficult. Equally hard is getting this miracle-cure on Shakes for his hot spots. Cesar Milan needs to come to my house and whisper to my dogs that they need to let me put the dang spray on them so that they’ll feel better. But I suppose that’s out of the question.

The shower is next weekend, and I’m really stressing over it. I always get this way even though I really try not to do it. I’ll just be glad when the thing is over, and we can simply wait for the baby to arrive. I’m using all of my stress energy to clean, which in turn makes my back and shoulder and now my neck simply throb in pain.

I’m trying to finish this post before Eamonn and Brett get home from visiting their dad. With any luck he’ll take them to dinner, which means that the house will stay empty and quiet for a few more hours. I found out today that my ex bought evil step m-in-law’s old Mercedes. When we were together I told him that I wanted an old Mercedes, and we had the chance to buy one, but he said the upkeep would be too expensive. My how things change. Yep. I’m jealous.

“Each one has in him his own history inside him, it is in him in his own repeating.” ~ Gertrude Stein, from The Making of Americans

Let’s see, what else?

Corey has been e-mailing me. Apparently he bought some kind of air card from the captain for $20. Each e-mail costs $.59, which isn’t bad. So we’ve exchanged a few e-mails. He’ll be in the Ascension Islands tomorrow, and he’s hoping to be able to see some of the giant sea turtles for which the area is known. That would be awesome, especially if he can get some pictures.

Full Moon Bridge (engetsukyo) at Koishikawa Korakuen, Tokyo, Japan
Gordon Joly (Wikimedia Commons)

So far, he’s still on track to be home by the end of June. He’ll take a little time off, and then by August I think that he wants to try to get a tug.

Speaking of pictures, did anyone (out of my throngs of followers) notice my new header image? It’s one that Corey took off the coast of Dover. There are lots more, but I’m waiting until I can get into Photoshop without a computer freezing to post them. What do you think of the font? I’m liking the new design, but hey, I’m biased.

I’m asking as if someone is actually going to notice. De-lusion-al. I mean, I have a couple of people who still comment, but did I alienate the rest of you? Bore you to tears? Oh well. C’est la vie.

That’s all for now. Time to go lie down on the heating pad and take my meds. Maybe I’ll read another book. Read one yesterday. Seem to be on a binge.

More later. Peace.

Music by Robert Plant and Allison Kraus, “Sister Rosetta”

*Images of moon bridges: Traditionally these arched Chinese (and later Japanese) bridges used as footbridges and could be an arduous climb, both up and down, depending upon how high the arch was. A full moon bridge is one that, when reflected in the water, creates a full circle, as in the last picture featured.

                   

Poppies

There is a sadness everywhere present
but impossible to point to, a sadness that hides in the world
and lingers. You look for it because it is everywhere.
When you give up, it haunts your dreams
with black pepper and blood and when you wake
you don’t know where you are.

But then you see the poppies, a disheveled stand of them.
And the sun shining down like God, loving all of us equally,
mountain and valley, plant, animal, human, and therefore
shouldn’t we love all things equally back?
And then you see the clouds.

The poppies are wild, they are only beautiful and tall
so long as you do not cut them,
they are like the feral cat who purrs and rubs against your leg
but will scratch you if you touch back.
Love is letting the world be half-tamed.
That’s how the rain comes, softly and attentively, then

with unstoppable force. If you
stare upwards as it falls, you will see
they are falling sparks that light nothing only because
the ground interrupts them. You can hear the way they’d burn,
the smoldering sound they make falling into the grass.

That is a sound for the sadness everywhere present.
The closest you have come to seeing it
is at night, with the window open and the lamp on,
when the moths perch on the white walls,
tiny as a fingernail to large as a Gerbera daisy
and take turns agitating around the light.

If you grasp one by the wing,
its pill-sized body will convulse
in your closed palm and you can feel the wing beats
like an eyelid’s obsessive blinking open to see.
But now it is still light and the blackbirds are singing
as if their voices are the only scissors left in this world.

~ Jennifer Grotz

“Poppies” originally appeared in The New England Review.

“I don’t believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun.” ~ Virginia Woolf

                   

“There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time. Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless.” ~ Milan Kundera

The image reflects my essential reality.

The quotes echo the philosophy of my psyche.

The song captures my sentiments on my birthday.

Music by Sick Puppies, “That Time of Year”

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of. ” ~ Joss Whedon

Blue Tide of Dinoflagellates in Southern Australia by Phil Hart

        

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.” ~ Milan Kundera
Bioluminescent Plankton Washed Ashore

I’ve just spent the last fifteen minutes staring at this blank page while cuddling with the smallest pup, Alfie. Inevitably, when I sit down at my desk, Alfie tries to get in my lap. I usually accommodate him for a few minutes of tummy rubbing and then put him down, but today he was especially cuddly, and my mind sort of drifted off as he lay in my arms and my songs played in the background.

Nana Mouskouri, Great Lake Swimmers, Jon McLaughlin—all made for a pretty mellow backdrop. The only reason I finally stopped my Alfie time was that my left hand went to sleep. Obvious sign that it’s time to move along.

Last night I had one of those convoluted dreams that involved my mother, driving, parking garages, and New York City. There was also an appearance from my friend Allen, my best friend from eighth grade, and boots. I was exhausted after that one. The good part was that I actually slept last night, pretty soundly. I really needed it.  I needed rest, and my body needed time to regroup. All day yesterday my joints were aching, and by late last night, my knee joint and leg muscles hurt so much that I felt like whimpering.

Unfortunately, I need a new heating pad. This last one didn’t last six months. But heat would have really helped my legs. Heat and some Blue Emu cream, which I am also in desperate need of replenishing. If you’ve never tried it Blue Emu is this wonderful cream for achiness, and it really works without making you smell like a grandmother with rheumatism. Of course something this wonderful does not come cheaply, so I have been waiting to buy more.

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ~ Bertrand Russell
Bioluminescence by Phil Hart

This Thursday night is Brett’s IB ceremony at school for graduating seniors enrolled in the IB  program at Granby High School. Currently, the IB (international baccalaureate) works with 2,946 schools in 139 countries to offer an academically-rigorous curriculum that stresses global understanding, cultural awareness, critical thinking, and community service. Of course, the program is not without its detractors: In 2008, Senator Margaret Dayton objected to the program, stating, “I don’t want to create ‘world citizens’ nearly as much as I want to help cultivate American citizens who function well in the world.”

I understand Dayton’s stance, but I truly believe that students who are taught to think beyond their communities, beyond their borders become better citizens because they have a more diverse information base from which to draw. A 2006 article in Time magazine described the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) as “a rigorous, off-the-shelf curriculum recognized by universities around the world.” That we have an IB school here in Norfolk is wonderful, and I am so glad that Brett was able to participate in this program because I know that he would have been bored to tears in regular curriculum.

Anyway, I’ll have to find something in my closet that won’t make me look like a sausage so that I can go out in public for this ceremony.

“No intelligent idea can gain general acceptance unless some stupidity is mixed in with it” ~ Fernando Pessoa

Image of Bioluminescence by Phil Hart at www.philhart.com

 

Let’s see, in the world of make believe and beyond,

  • Lindsay Lohan has to wear an alcohol bracelet, or something along those lines. I wonder if the device senses cocaine?
  • Kelly Bensimon claims that she didn’t have a breakdown but rather a “breakthrough.” Whatever . . .
  • A man involved in a home invasion in Colorado was nabbed by police because of his lip tattoo, “East Side.” Note to self: wear funny fake mustache to hide obvious tat when next committing crime .
  • In Reno, Nevada, chicken costumes will be banned at polling places. I’m not making this up. Apparently, Democrats have taken to showing up in chicken costumes at events held by Republican senate candidate Sue Lowden, who suggested that people barter with doctors for medical care, like when “our grandparents would bring a chicken to the doctor.” I wonder if Sponge Bob costumes are okay?
  • A new African-American Barbie in the Barbie Basic collection is dressed like a hoochie mama (plunging neckline) and has major boobie action. Are we at all surprised by this? I think that it’s just a natural progression in a long line of dolls that have never had realistic proportions.
  • In South Carolina, don’t get in the way of speeding grandmas having bad hair days. Apparently, one 72-year-old woman was clocked doing 102 mph. She was late for her hair appointment. Grandma claims that her doctor said that she has a kidney infection which may have caused her to act in an “abnormal manner.” Right . . .

And finally, the most recent images of the Gulf oil spill show the latest progress into the loop current. So depressing. I decided that in contrast to the awful pictures of the spill I would highlight some pictures of bioluminescence in the sea (such as plankton that glow when agitated) , which is visually awesome.

That’s it for today. More later. Peace.

Jon McLaughlin’s “Beautiful Disaster”