“Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.” ~ Eugene O’Neill

Dusk on Monterosso, Cinque Terre, Italy, by PeterJot (FCC)


“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.” ~ Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Saturday afternoon. Cloudy, impending showers/storms.

Mediterranean View, Cinque Terre, Italy, by see.lauren (FCC)

What a long, strange week it’s been. I began the week quite weepie, for no particular reason. Just a bit melancholy, thinking about my dad, my life, and feeling a tug at my heart that I couldn’t quite identify. It happens, and sometimes without warning—that inexorable pull towards ground that is not quite as firm, towards an edge that looms a bit too closely—but it does not happen nearly as often as in years past, and my ability to find terra firma sooner rather than later seems to have strengthened of late.

Since the Germans were arriving this week, I decided on Sunday that we had allowed Eamonn to live out of garbage bags for long enough. It was time—time for the big furniture shuffle and commitment to morphing the what-was-to-be-office back into Eamonn’s bedroom. This meant that we had to move the humongous bureau/wardrobe out of the living room (after I finally acceded to the truth that it was too large to work in our bedroom) and into Eamonn’s room.

We/I also decided that since no one had laid claim to the loft bed/desk that was in here, the most logical thing was to saw the top from the bottom and toss the desk part, leaving a bed frame. Corey got out his trusty all-purpose saw and after loud grinding, voila: bed. And it looks quite nice actually, kind of a modern day-bed, and the metal of the bed matches the silver pulls on the bureau. We need to find some casters to fit into the bottom so that it doesn’t scratch the hardwood floors.

I also gave up the bookcase that we had bought to go in the bedroom as it was also black wood, and now that’s in here, as well as my black computer desk. I thought that since my computer is still non-functional, and since we needed a computer desk in Eamonn’s room, it made the most sense to move the black desk in with the other furniture.

So in the process, I gave up my bureau, my desk, and my slim bookcase, and Eamonn got a really nice looking room. Of course, the room really needs to be painted to cover up all of Eamonn’s friends’ autographs in black Sharpie, which he began amassing during high school. For now, it works. Except for the nasty curtains that are currently hanging up at his window. I have decided that I hate them, but that’s fixed easily enough: a bamboo shade, which can be purchased for a song at the discount store.

“It was like days when the rain came out of yellow skies that melted just before twilight and shot one radiant shaft of sunlight diagonally down the heavens into the damp green trees.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and the Damned

Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy, by ezioman (FCC)

The result is that Eamonn now has his bedroom back, and I have lost my office. But since he works all of the time and is rarely home, I have almost unlimited access to the one working computer, at least for now.

We aren’t quite finished with the furniture shuffle. I’m still going to put the nightstand that we had purchased to go with the wardrobe in our bedroom, which means moving the current nightstand as well as the old trunk that I have in the corner. The new nightstand is much wider. We’re putting the trunk in the living room as a coffee table, but since the trunk is currently the home of books, stuffed babies, and other miscellany, it means more shuffling.

At least everything is getting a thorough dusting in the process, and we’re getting rid of stuff that can be donated to the thrift store. Less stuff is good.

So this evening we’re getting together with the Germans for a deck party (Is using that collective bad? I mean, they are all from Germany), but I fear the party may have to be moved indoors as the remnants of the tropical storm are supposed to hit our area.

We went over to the beach house that they are renting on Thursday evening just to say hello. It’s always so good to see them. They are all thinner, oddly enough. Apparently, Phillip was sick for a while with stomach problems, and Hannah has her ongoing problems with arthritis. And Helma, well, she’s always thin as she runs around all of the time and expends so much energy in taking care of Patrick.

Unfortunately, we arrived a bit late, and Patrick was already in bed, but we’ll see him tonight. We communicate with him through a series of head turns and blinks, and I have to brush up on my skills as I always forget. But I tell Patrick that I will only spell with him if he’s patient. I’m the only one who can get away with that as he can be quite vexing when he gets impatient.

(Brief background: Patrick is my ex-husband’s brother. He married Helma while he was in the army stationed in Germany. They were transferred to the states just a few years into their marriage. They were making a road trip here in preparation for Ann’s (other s-in-law) wedding to the jerk (who is now history). They had a major car accident, and Patrick was deprived of oxygen, which resulted in him being permanently disabled, in a wheelchair and unable to speak. He has all of his mental faculties, and can still kick butt in trivia games. Phillip and Hannah are their two children. They all moved back to Germany several years ago, and make a trip to the states once a year.)

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!” ~ Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life 

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy, by Aida Photography (FCC)

Let’s see . . . what else has happened? Oh yes, Corey worked 39 hours in three days, a record. He had a medical transport on Friday/Saturday, and the shipping agent didn’t book him a return flight back until Saturday, which meant that he was gone 23 hours. Love the hours, but it’s a hell of a way to get them. Obviously, he was tired. The downside is that they took away two shifts because he would have gone into overtime. Drats.

This week he’s already lost a shift. Feast or famine. Something has to give.

In other news, I saw Alexis on Friday when she gave Em and me a ride to do some errands (Corey was at work). She’s looking better, and she seems a bit more like her old self. I’ll just keep biding my time in the hopes that given enough time and space, she might be able to get to a better place.

She and Mike are supposed to be at the family party this evening, so we’ll see how that goes. Let’s hope that this gathering is drama free, unlike last year’s in which Ann and my ex got into a heated argument about their Mom’s care. My ex was, of course, being unreasonable and, shall we say, a tad nasty. It really brought down the jocular mood of the evening.

By the way, Cinque Terre, Italy, is in the Liguria region, on the coast of the Italian Riviera. Cinque Terre, which translates as Five Lands, is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. I tried to pick a selection showcasing all five villages.

“In a place far away from anyone or anywhere, I drifted off for a moment.” ~ Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Cinque Terre, Italy, by JoeDuck (FCC)

So other than those tidbits, life has been moving along as usual. Everyone is getting back into the school mindset. For Corey and Eamonn, classes begin on the 18th of August, but ODU starts later.

We’re hoping to have the truck fixed by the time ODU starts back so that we will have two vehicles again. Of course, with that comes the addition of Brett to the car insurance. Yippee.

I need to contact my uncle in Florida to let him know that I’m hoping to have the Explorer shipped here sometime this fall. I still cannot believe that he is just giving me this vehicle. I suppose it’s hard to come to terms with such unexpected generosity, that someone would just think to themselves, we have this vehicle that we’re not using; she needs a vehicle; let’s give it to her.

Wow. I’m really going to have a lot of giving-back to do once we finally arrive on the other side of this curve in our lives. I’m not saying that reluctantly. It’s something that I’m looking forward to doing: helping other people in any way that I can. Life should be like that: You give when you can so that you may receive in times of need.

When did life stop being like that? When did societies stop being about the kind hand? The welcome basket filled with flour and salt? The cup of sugar or the can of whatever? I am reminded of that scene in It’s a Wonderful Life in which they visit the family that is moving into their own home for the first time—the shared joy over one family’s accomplishments, the heartfelt good wishes, the kindness of the neighbors in the blossoming community of new homeowners.

“There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness, and terror involved in this kind of madness . . you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and enmeshed totally in the blackest caves of the mind. You never knew those caves were there. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.” ~ Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy, by Mark_whatmough (FCC)

I suppose that I should mention the bit of drama we had mid week when I received a telephone call from Em’s case worker in which she informed me that the investigation has been kicked up a notch. My prediction that the house-visit/inspection would not be good enough to satisfy the pest was spot on.

Quite frankly, I am beyond tired of all of this crap. The pest can take a flying leap for all that I care. He/she has managed to get people to listen to baseless accusations, which has led to an unwanted intrusion into my family’s life. I’m over it.

The most recent slurs against my character include describing me as a “dangerous woman.” Really? You’re really going to go there? You have no idea as to the depths that my vindictiveness can sink only because I have been operating on a remain-calm-and-let-things- play-themselves-out tack. Do not mistake this inaction on my part for unwillingness to confront the storm head on. I have survived far too much loss, pain, and bullshit in my life to allow this petty insanity to hold sway over my life.

In nature, the extents to which the female will go to protect her brood are not exaggerated. I have seen heretofore sweet family dogs bare their teeth at the merest hint that someone was going to approach the newborn litter. The lengths to which I will go to protect my family has probably been my children’s biggest complaint about me. I won’t deny it.

So this is what I have to say about the continued assaults on my character, the non-stop telephone calls in attempts to have authorities, any authorities, look into my life, the haranguing e-mails sent to various individuals in which accusations flow like some kind of concentrated viper venom: Do not underestimate me.

I have done nothing wrong, broken no laws, infringed on no one’s rights, withheld no information, refused no intrusions or examinations even though I would be well within my legal rights to do so. But the time has come for this bullshit to stop.

Grow up. Get real. Get a life. Get a job. Get the hell out of my life and the life of my family. In my estimation, you are a danger to yourself and to anyone who comes within your very narrow scope. I could give two figs about your supposed injustices. You know nothing of true emotional pain, only that which you have manufactured so as to allow you to continue in your role as victim.

This is not a Tennessee Williams play in which you can try to depend upon the kindness of strangers, nor are you a tragic character worthy of the audience’s sympathy. Your chest-thumping, hair-pulling, hand-wringing tactics are banal and base. Your words are hollow. Your supposed grievances hold no water, especially not with me, and any empathy that I may have still held for you has ceased.

More later. Peace.

Music by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, “Where the Wild Roses Grow”


I Remember

By the first of August
the invisible beetles began
to snore and the grass was
as tough as hemp and was
no color–no more than
the sand was a color and
we had worn our bare feet
bare since the twentieth
of June and there were times
we forgot to wind up your
alarm clock and some nights
we took our gin warm and neat
from old jelly glasses while
the sun blew out of sight
like a red picture hat and
one day I tied my hair back
with a ribbon and you said
that I looked almost like
a puritan lady and what
I remember best is that
the door to your room was
the door to mine.

~ Anne Sexton