“I’m walking through goldenrod in new shoes, shoes I got for a song— like the one I’m singing now that pleases the cicadas, the one that would make Schubert cry. And I love the way the ash is the first tree always to turn” ~ Keith Ratzlaff, from “Yellow Landscape”
Monday afternoon, cloudy and warm, 86 degrees.
So the forecast was wrong, of course. More warm weather in store, but fall is definitely looming. The Gold Finches are buzzing the late summer thistles, and the air is taking on that clear expectancy—not the stillness of a hot summer afternoon, but hesitant, as if awaiting autumn’s redolent aspect. Right after I mentioned how certain trees are already losing their leaves, I came across Keith Ratzlaff’s poem that mentions ash trees losing their leaves first. Serendipitous.
Last night I dreamed about Eamonn; he had just broken up with someone he had been dating, and she was a real piece of work. She sent someone to kill me with a knife. My dreams can be truly frightening at times. Anyway I chose today’s lovely song to go with today’s poem, which reminds me so much of my father, and it is bittersweet to think of him naked to the waist in his backyard on a late summer afternoon, taking a bite out of something he has just picked from his garden. God I miss him so very, very much.
Corey is cutting down trees in preparation for cold weather so that we don’t run out of wood this winter. Last year we were able to rely on Dallas to supplement what we had. This year that won’t be an option, so he’s getting ready. It’s odd to think of all of the small ways in which we depended upon Dallas and he on us, and now he’s gone. I still haven’t grieved for him. There has been no sense of closure, and I find myself angry at people I don’t even know, his kids, but I also do not know the circumstances of their estrangement. I don’t kid myself that Dallas was innocent, as I knew him too well to think that.
Nevertheless, I am still angry, and things feel incomplete, a caesura in time, if you will.
“There was a time, usually late in August, when summer struck the trees with dazzling power and they were rich with leaves but then became, suddenly one day, strangely still, as if in expectation and at that moment aware. They knew. Everything knew, the beetles, the frogs, the crows solemnly walking across the lawn. The sun was at its zenith and embraced the world, but it was ending, all that one loved was at risk.” ~ James Salter, from All That Is
Odd little thing around the homestead: We have swarms of flies that we can’t seem to get rid of; they are everywhere, every room, and not just a few. There are too many to count. Corey has put up fly strips (which I really hate, but they work), and they are covered in dead flies within hours. It’s very strange. It’s as if there are unseen carcasses hanging around the house, attracting these swarms, and you might assume that the house is filthy with waste and masses of trash, but I assure you that it is not.
The flies buzz me as I sit typing; they buzz me as I try to sleep. It’s making me crazy. I really, really hate flies. They are nasty creatures, living on manure and rotting flesh. I have a fly swatter in the bathroom, and I swipe at them each time I go in there, even to wash my hands. The dogs are afraid to follow me into the bathroom now, which bothers them as they think that I may go in and disappear forever. I wonder if flies are just a common pest around these parts, as the saying goes, just another part of living in the country with which I am still unfamiliar.
I remember that last summer we had masses of ladybugs, and I worried about the dogs then as ladybugs can infest the roof of a dog’s mouth, and it’s something to be wary of, but that never happened. So are the swarms of flies like the swarms of ladybugs? Corey did a bit of reading, and there is something that can be added to the big bug zapper that hangs outside; I wonder if it’s worth spending the extra cash to get something like that.
“And I’m singing because who else but a dog could be so happy at finding me here? And I’m singing because yesterday I needed something to hold, and he laid his gold head in my hands.” ~ Keith Ratzlaff, from “Yellow Landscape”
Other strange things: I remember saying to Corey months ago before Dallas kidnapped him for stud that Napoleon was such a spoiled horse that I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to come inside. Well . . . he did. The other day I walked into the living room holding my lunch on a plate, and Napoleon saw me and proceeded to walk through the front door and stand expectantly in the living room. It was crazy—a horse in the house? Really? Who has such things happen?
We do, obviously.
Corey backed him out and put up the gate that we use to keep dogs and goats outside, and the irony is that Napoleon could step over the gate or knock it down quite easily, but it was enough to stop him. So now he stands outside the door and pokes his head inside as if to say, “where’s my treat?”
I have now managed to spoil dogs, cats, goats, a bee, and now a horse. I regret nothing.
“The other day the ash tree lost its leaves in a single afternoon.” ~ Keith Ratzlaff, from “Creation Story”
I searched high and low for the source of the Oscar Wilde quote in the header, but alas, my search was in vain. I don’t believe that it comes from De Profundis or Dorian Gray; I rather think that it’s from one of his poems, but I don’t know which one. Anyone out there have a clue?
Speaking of Oscar Wilde, I really liked the depiction of Dorian Gray in the Showtime series Penny Dreadful, as depicted by Reeve Carney. He was beautiful and thoroughly charming but also a bit scary, just as Wilde depicted him. I happen to think that the series was well done and ended too soon after only three seasons. The show’s creator, John Logan felt that the series should end with the death of Vanessa Ives, portrayed by the wonderful Eva Green. I’ve always loved her; she’s so intense looking, which is what made her perfectly cast for that particular series. I also liked her in the 2011 series Camelot as Morgana, but that one only lasted one season.
Bit of trivia for you: Josh Hartnett from Penny Dreadful has two children with Tamsin Egerton, who played Guinevere in Camelot.
On that note, I think that I’ll close for now. More later. Peace.
Music by Foo Fighters, “Home”
Green Pear Tree in September
On a hill overlooking the Rock River
my father’s pear tree shimmers,
in perfect peace,
covered with hundreds of ripe pears
with pert tops, plump bottoms,
and long curved leaves.
Until the green-haloed tree
rose up and sang hello,
I had forgotten. . .
He planted it twelve years ago,
when he was seventy-three,
so that in September
he could stroll down
with the sound of the crickets
rising and falling around him,
and stand, naked to the waist,
slightly bent, sucking juice
from a ripe pear.
Saturday afternoon. Partly cloudy and mild, 73 degrees.
Apparently, I have a new follower. And she loves to comment. And she thinks I’m someone else, because apparently anyone using the moniker Lola, must be the same individual. And apparently, I have lots of time with which to run multiple websites.
I am a writer and have lived in Manhattan for most of my life. In addition to the random musings of my blog, I am presently working on a sci-fi novel, two mystery novels and a book on my saint squeeze, the Archangel Michael.
Man, I wish that I were this busy . . . and I wish that I had as many books in the works as this particular Lola claims to have. But what is up with the Kate Middleton fixation on both ends of this, er, um, dialogue?
Anyway, apparently, Gillian, my new best friend, thinks that I’ll take down her messages. Oh, my. Not for a million dollars would I delete any of this.
Although I have refrained from reverting to editor role and correcting grammar and syntax, I must admit that I just couldn’t help but respond here and there (emphasis and/or responses in italics mine). Oh and, feel free to comment. You guys (all three to five of you) know that I love to get comments.
I want you to post this to your Kate-Hate bitches too, see below:
Although I know you will take down my posts (not a chance) on this and your other crappy websites (would you mind terribly letting me know about these as I must be neglecting them from my dearth of knowledge as to their existence), I have spent – ie. wasted – enough time perusing your self-obsessed, ultimately self-hating whining against other women who have done you no harm. I will leave you to your shameful secret web-mining and hateful group-shaming and bullying posts against Kate Middleton and other women you have never, and will never, meet. I have a backlog of Veep episodes (I’ve heard this is a really good show) to watch which is a far better use of my time. You will never make it as a legitimate published writer – also remember this crap is uploaded forever and will come back to bite you. You should have stuck to quilling! (what an interesting word, and it implies that I actually may have some artistic talent, which I don’t) You may big-time yourself (is big-time a verb? I’m confused) at Starbucks with your laptop (man, so my other self has a laptop? So jealous), but as you judge, remember most of those “little people” around you think good thoughts, including about a woman trying to do her best to bring good cheer to others. Face it, it is more than you do in your quotidian routine life(love this phrase, perhaps I’ll borrow it). She puts forward her best inner self and actively works on her outer health and beauty too. Since you don’t, you therefore choose to hate her for it. Gosh I’m glad I’m not you! Errhh, this whole web-interaction (were we interacting? Sorry, wasn’t paying attention) has left me feeling a bit depressed that the internet now gives unsuccessful writers, who would never have the talent or resilience to get past the junior editor or press cadetship, a chance to publish their rants. This is why fascism, racism and sexism exist, intolerant and judgemental people like you…(PS. If you can publish anonymously, (um, I don’t publish anonymously; anyone wanting to can see my identity) why can’t I? Hypocrite)
Gillian(I guess she wanted to make sure I really paid attention to this comment, so she posted it twice, but I think that it would be overkill if I were to make the same responses twice.)
Although I know you will take down my posts on this and your other crappy websites, I have spent – ie. wasted – enough time perusing your self-obsessed, ultimately self-hating whining against other women who have done you no harm. I will leave you to your shameful secret web-mining and hateful group-shaming and bullying posts against Kate Middleton and other women you have never, and will never, meet. I have a backlog of Veep episodes to watch which is a far better use of my time. You will never make it as a legitimate published writer – also remember this crap is uploaded forever and will come back to bite you. You should have stuck to quilling! You may big-time yourself at Starbucks with your laptop, but as you judge, remember most of those “little people” around you thing good thoughts, including about a woman trying to do her best to bring good cheer to others. Face it, it is more than you do in your quotidian routine life. She puts forward her best inner self and actively works on her outer health and beauty too. Since you don’t, you therefore choose to hate her for it. Gosh I’m glad I’m not you! Errhh, this whole web-interaction has left me feeling a bit depressed that the internet now gives unsuccessful writers, who would never have the talent or resilience to get past the junior editor or press cadetship, a chance to publish their rants. This is why fascism, racism and sexism exist, intolerant and judgemental people like you…(PS. If you can publish anonymously, why can’t I? Hypocrite)
(Let me pause here for a moment: Gillian, my dear, I have to agree with you on this one: Lola of lovelolaheart does seem to be obsessed with the Duchess. It’s kind of weird, isn’t it?)
Anyone visiting this page, please refer to the bitchy envious attacks against someone this woman has never met at: lovelolaheart.com, (I have to admit that I am a bit torqued that this Lola is using the word musings in the title of her blog; that’s my word; I like the internal alliteration) then see if you want to keep reading this so-called “liberal” and “feminist”. She never got over being the unattractive little pudgy girl (um, pudgy now, yes, but in school, a bit too skinny, just saying) from an ethnic background (Filipino. Let’s be clear here)at school, rather than wanting to be the posh Anglo-Saxon prefect (Prefect? As in, you know, one of those students in charge at Hogwarts? Now that would be cool). Show ALL your posts to a psychiatrist and start drinking genuinely good coffee (I happen to like my coffee, Mayorga; it’s strong and tasty) (at the Grumpy Cafe for example where you will feel intimidated by genuinely creative people) rather than spending hours in Starbucks (If I did this, it would mean that I would a) have to leave the house, and b) have the money to hang out drinking Starbucks coffee) pretending to yourself that you are a writer, sneering at the little people.
You and your other Kate-Hate friends are all a bunch of hypocrites (I have friends?).You profess to that you are not making envious attacks, that you are concerned Kate Middleton carries out insufficient royal duties, that she is undermining the institution of royalty, that you had to work full-time as well as raise children, that royalty is waste a money and irrelevant. Yet you all (fifteen of you) (wow, fifteen? Really? Are they all named Lola? Where are these fifteen duchess disparagers?)seem to spend hours trawling the internet and blogging comments that are misogynistic, indirectly aggressive (the psych term for bitchy), derogatory and highly critical – despite claiming that you are not at all jealous. (Now I must pause here and be serious for one moment: I’ve been called many things, but misogynistic is definitely not one of them. Perhaps, Gillian, you should look through my posts for the past six years, which, by the way, also serves as a direct indicator that I didn’t start this blog to excoriate the Duchess.)So why do you care? How does it negatively impact on your life? If it doesn’t, why are you wasting your time being a “Mean Girl” to someone you never met in such a cowardly way? You would never, ever say this to the woman’s face, or her husbands, were you by chance to meet her. If you say you would, then protest publicly in your real name with a real address by writing a letter to a UK newspaper – if you don’t have the guts, then why are you wasting your time on this. Maybe you should spend it constructively doing charitable works yourself at a local women’s shelter or playing/socialising with those kids that you had to raise part-time for the hours every week you spend on this drivel. If you are unwilling to show your writings to a colleague outside any posters on this page, then you are exhibiting shame and embarrassment about this activity.(Beg to differ with you on this particular point, only as regards my actual blog: I don’t share my writings with any colleagues because, well, I don’t have any of those any more, not since going out on disability, just my meager little audience here who can attest that I am actually not at all interested in the goings-on of any royals, anywhere.)I can’t believe there are adult women, many of whom have university educations, participating in this exercise in the group-shaming of a young woman who has never committed a crime, never abused a child, never purposefully behaved harmfully towards another human-being (You are absolutely spot on here, Gillian). She wears a thong because if she had a visible panty line, no doubt the press would pick on it (TMITMITMI). She wears off-the-rack accessible clothing and unfortunately, helicopter down-draft caused her skirt to flap for less than a second. She has been photographed behaving with goodwill in an appropriate manner millions of times by now. The travel agent amateur photographers is being ostracised by the local community in the Blue Mountains now because they consider her behaviour towards a young woman generously bringing funds and publicity towards their plight disgraceful. That’s reflects the way almost all people would respond to the comments on this and similar pages you all frequent. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, was what my mother used to quote. (I’ll just let this speak for itself, shall I?)I would say this to each of you to your face. If you can’t honestly say that you would post this garbage in your own name, in full knowledge of your family, friends and colleagues, then don’t waste the world’s and your own time. If you think you need psychological help because you recognise that it is odd to demonstrate so much ill-feeling towards a woman you actually don’t know or have any interaction with, then please get it (I will certainly address this with my therapist at my next appointment, but it will have to come right after my ongoing discussion regarding my response to recently losing my last parent. Priorities, don’t you know). Publish the Blue Mountains Mayor’s comments because they reflect what most people think, not your own mean-spirited musings…. Bet you don’t even have the guts to post this or his comments Lolita (Hooray! You got my name right!). I am going to refer you and other Kate-Hate middle-aged ranters (love this)to the Daily Mail as story material. Your self-obsessed and hateful behaviour is appalling – no wonder you also have a low opinion of yourself.
Okay, now seriously, I cannot tell you how much this collection of comments has brightened my Saturday afternoon. It’s been a very long time since anyone paid any attention to my little blog, other than the few compatriots who lend me a bit of their time by commenting on my relatively inane ramblings. The last time this happened, it was the psycho stalker who was hanging about in the shadows wreaking havoc. That individual chose not to come forth and identify herself, so that makes this little interlude all the more special.
It’s funny, but whenever someone attempts to disparage me, I always think of Oscar Wilde, who, because of his lifestyle, was constantly harangued in the press, yet he chose to respond with wit and wisdom. I only wish that I could be so urbane, but as I am not, I decided to include some of Wilde’s more apropos words.
So I’m taking the following from Gillian’s (I’ve always loved that name) rather heated rant:
Lola (of the other site), stole my musings phraseology
Said Lola writes a lot about Kate Middleton, none of it very flattering
Somehow, that Lola, and my alter-ego Lola have merged to become one.
This rather unsettling intermix has resulted in a reality akin to that strange movie Inception.
For the record:
I happen to think that Kate Middleton is beautiful and stylish, and her son is adorable, but other than that, I don’t really spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating the Duchess or the royals in any significant fashion.
I may be a bitch, but I am never a misogynist, nor am I remotely fascist.
Intolerant? Me? Seriously?
My aggression is never indirect.
And yes, I can be very judgmental (just ask my family), but I am never ever racist.
I am in no way embarrassed by anything that I write in this blog.
I have never made any attempt to hide my identity, but I choose not to post my full name on here because I don’t want to show up on some pedophile’s Internet search for
“lovely young Lolitas.”
Someone once asked my mother if I was malnourished because I was so skinny as a child. Would that it were so now.
Telling me that the Duchess wears a thong is too much information.
Who is the Blue Mountain mayor?
If I ever were to meet the Duchess (not that that is even remotely likely in this lifetime), I would do the polite thing and call her “Your Majesty.”
I have never been called a bully, and I would need to belong to a group in order to participate in group-shaming.
You are probably correct in saying that I will never make it as a published writer, except for that niggling little detail that I actually have published a few poems and essays, articles, and a retrospective booklet, just not the mysterious mystery, the plot of which continually bounces around in my brain.
Who are these little people of whom you speak?
And as far as not making it past a junior editor, well perhaps you are correct; although since I worked as a senior editor that assessment may be a bit off the mark.
Thank you, Gillian. Truly. It’s been lovely.
More later. Peace.
Music by The Kinks, “Lola” (what else?)
I once shoplifted
a tin of Vienna sausages.
Crouched in the aisle
as if to study the syllables
of preservatives, tore off the lid,
pulled out a wiener and sucked it down.
I’ve cheated on exams.
Made love to foldouts.
Walked my paper route in a snowstorm after dark,
so I could steal down a particular alley
where through her gauze curtains, a lady
lounged with her nightgown undone.
I’ve thrown sticks at stray dogs.
Ignored the cat scratching to come inside.
Even in the rain.
Sat for idle hours in front of the TV, and not two feet away
the philodendrons for lack of a glass of water
gasped and expired.
So many excuses I’ve concocted to get by.
Called in sick when I was not. Grabbed credit
for happy accidents I had no hand in.
to pin the innocent with crimes
I have failed
to learn from grievous error.
Invented gossip. Held hands
in a circle of friends to rejoice
over the misfortune of strangers.
Pushed over tombstones.
Danced the devil’s jig.
Once, when I was barely old enough
to walk home on my own, I hid
behind an abandoned garage.
Counted sixteen windows.
Needed only four handfuls of stones
to break every one.
Designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef. It is also speculated that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the like.
Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone. This intelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners. Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves. They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.
Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations. It enables us to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns. Logical intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives. Young adults with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships. They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.
Sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.
Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others. It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives. Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings and motives.
Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills. This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and craftspeople exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.
Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings. Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language. Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers. Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.
Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life. Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers. These young adults may be shy. They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.
Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in three dimensions. Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination. Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming.
“The lake, as usual, Has taken its mood from the sky, Its color also, The blue that breaks hearts.” ~ Tom Hennen, from “June, with Loons”
Thursday afternoon, Halloween. Cloudy and warm, mid 70’s.
The fates have been reversed for about a week or so: I’ve been wanting to write, have had much to say, but have had no time to spare until just this moment. I’m hoping that I can finish this post before the neighborhood kids begin to roam, and the dogs begin to go crazy. We’ll just have to see.
Since I have so many different thoughts going in so many different directions, I thought I’d do a random thoughts post. Here goes:
I learned a new word the other day: deliquescent, becoming liquid or having a tendency to become liquid. Doesn’t that just sound as if it should be in a poem?
I continue to awaken each morning with a song in my head, and the song of the morning does not seem to have any relevance to anything that I can pinpoint. For example, the other morning it was The Courtship of Eddie’s father theme song.
There is a running theme that occurs in my dreams, regardless of what the main theme is: I have forgotten to feed the dogs that stay in the backyard. I only remember them after several days. I find them in various states of illness—listless, dehydrated, close to dying.
Last night I dreamt of my family in Great Bridge, all of my cousins; one of my cousins introduced me to his friend and said that I had gone off to sing. I was very confused because I didn’t remember having a singing career.
I bought Halloween candy that I’m not particularly fond of hoping that it would keep me from delving into the bag; this has not worked completely.
Does too much sugar affect your dreams?
“She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.” ~ Oscar Wilde, from “De Profundis”
So here’s the latest news from around the home:
Corey will be in port on Saturday. He’s getting off the ship before they travel to Ascension; we have to fit in the trip to New Orleans before all of the holidays roll around.
I weigh four pounds less on my pain doctor’s scale. I like that scale.
Olivia is going to be a lady bug for Halloween; I bought her some black and white Mary Janes with red bows, too cute.
I wonder how many of you remember those hard leather shoes made by Stride-Rite for toddlers, how we were all forced to wear them and then in turn told to force our children to wear them . . . somewhere along the line, the doctors who decide said that tennis shoes were better for young feet.
I read where Kate Middleton’s sister Pippa bought the young prince silver casts of his hands and feet for a christening gift, and media voices were calling the gift creepy. How is that any creepier than bronzing baby shoes like everyone in my mother’s generation did?
My current fascination with all things make-up related continues. Don’t ask me why as I haven’t the faintest idea.
Lately, I’m fixated on just the right make-up brushes.
“And if all that is meaningless, I want to be cured Of a craving for something I cannot find And of the shame of never finding it.” ~ T. S. Eliot, from The Cocktail Party
Funny, I thought that I had so much to say, but the last few hours have had so many interruptions that I cannot seem to find my train of thought.
It’s far too muggy to be October.
I just remembered that I had another dream about the real estate firm where I worked. In these dreams I’m always trying to please my boss, unsuccessfully.
I don’t want to think about how many jobs I have failed at; it’s just too depressing.
Neither Brett nor I went to any Literary Festival events this year.
I finally watched the movie Sylvia in which Gwyneth Paltrow plays Sylvia Plath and Daniel Craig plays Ted Hughes. The movie wasn’t bad, but I think it soft-pedaled the depiction of Hughes.
At the moment I’m feeling very displaced, as if I’m on the verge of something without really knowing what or why.
The other day I realized that this year marks 25 years since Caitlin. It still feels so immediate, so close, yet not.
I wonder if anyone else can understand anything I am trying to say.
“But mountain weariness and mountain hunger — how few know what these are!” ~ John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir
She said, apropos of nothing . . .
My mother ordered me some strange gadget from QVC. I told her that I didn’t have room for it, and I didn’t really need it. She insisted that I had told her I wanted it. This would be hard as I have no idea as to what it is. Patience. Patience.
QVC preys on the shut-ins, the elderly, and the lonely.
I probably won’t see the mountains again this year.
Obviously, I’m not going to apply to the doctoral program at GW since I have made no further efforts in preparing.
I am my own worst enemy.
Now that Corey is coming home, we can finally finish the bathroom, all of the things we couldn’t do before he left, and all of the things I couldn’t do on my own—not a whole lot, actually. Still, unfinished is unfinished.
I have the strangest feeling that I have forgotten to do something really important, but I have no idea as to what it might be.
“While the earth breaks the soft horizon eastward, we study how to deserve what has already been given us.” ~ William Stafford, from “Love in the Country”
On a more serious note . . .
I think that my mother is deteriorating mentally faster. I have noticed more things in just the last few weeks.
I really need to investigate what kind (if any) of support there is for seniors, as far as keeping house, running errands, that kind of thing.
We are not a society that values the aged, not like the Asians do.
I constantly berate myself for not having enough patience with my mother, yet when I’m around her, I just cannot seem to summon the patience I need.
I feel like a horrible daughter.
I am praying to the gods that be that I can teach myself more of how to live in the moment, something I have never quite mastered.
Am I too old to learn such things?
When I am with Olivia, I am forcing my mind to rest, not to think about this bill or that problem, but to just enjoy this time because I know all too well that it passes quickly.
I would give anything to have another fall afternoon with all three of my children when they were still young.
I happened upon the most wonderful site: Lancaster Center for Classical Studies, which posted pictures of cloudy weather for today, just as I have here. I wonder if they do that every day . . .
More later. Peace.
Music by Rosi Golan and Johnny McDaid, “Give up the Ghost”
You will never be alone, you hear so deep
a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums,
or in the silence after lightning before it says
its names — and then the clouds’ wide-mouthed
apologies. You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon,
long aisles — you never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years. You turn your head —
that’s what the silence meant: you’re not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.
Madrid-based photographer Esther Lobo (FahLoSue) created a series of fantastic Rorschach inkblot tests made with yogurt, ice cream, peanut butter, condiments, and other types of food:
The stains were made completely manually with my own hands and without post-processing tricks. I used soft plastic plates (Foamy). Then I dropped foods such as mustard, squid ink or soya over the plates. After bending the plates I obtained the symmetric stains. Finally I have placed the source of the stain over the symmetrical image, and so documented the psychological portrait of each food stuff.
“Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play… I tell you, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.” ~ Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Wednesday, early evening. Drizzly and cool, mid 40’s.
Well yesterday was kind of a strange post. I was feeling very scattered and restless, and it came through in my writing. I realized this morning that I haven’t been taking my Cymbalta regularly in the past week or so as I’ve been stretching out the capsules to make them last until payday. This is not the healthiest way to use antidepressants, but sometimes, you just have to make do, but as a result, my moods have been marked by manic periods of energy (all of the cleaning), followed by spells of inertia.
Today when I drove Brett to school, traffic was just plain stupid. It’s as if the people on the road turned off their brains when they turned on their wipers. And then I was stopped at a crosswalk on campus, and as it was during change of classes, large groups of students were making their way across the road. To my amazement, some douche-bag in a Mercedes behind me blew the horn for me to move. Was I supposed to run over the kids in the road?
Brett and I had the same reaction: we both flipped him off. Brett was grouchy because he closed his hand in the door (ouch), and I was over the whole stupid driver while raining fiasco.
Consequently, the headache is omnipresent, not quite morphing into migraine territory, but painful enough that I just realized that I’m squinting at the screen.
“You have to let things Be as they are. Who knows which of us Deserves the world more?” ~ Robert Bly, from “What Things Want”
I had to drive Eamonn’s car today as Corey had the Rodeo at work, and the truck is still . . . not working . . . The neighbor bought (supposedly) the brake lines to replace the rusted lines, but has yet to make his way all the way across the street to install them. Never again. Neighbor sure, but mechanic, no, no, no.
Anyway, Eamonn is bent because I used his gas, and he needed to go to a meeting. As I have no money, I told him that Corey would give him cash for gas when he got home, but I forgot that Corey was working until 4 and not 3, so lots of stomping and huffing about by eldest son. Oh well, it’s not like he hasn’t driven our vehicles down below the big red E.
So in more of my latest cleaning binge in which I am trying to declutter one thing at a time, I took everything down from the top shelf in the glass cabinet to see what could be thrown out or donated, and I found a martini glass (??? only one ???), a set of four tall, thin shot glasses whose origins I am unsure of (probably a leftover from the Dillard’s Homestore days), a chipped souvenir glass from the Spirit of Norfolk, which I am quite sure belongs to Alexis, and two goblets from our wedding reception (I made the table centerpieces in oversized goblets).
Another thing to check of my to-do list. My life is so full . . .
“That is why the better part of our memory exists outside ourselves, in a blatter of rain, in the smell of an unaired room or of the first crackling brushwood fire in a cold grate: wherever, in short, we happen upon what our mind, having no use for it, had rejected, the last treasure that the past has in store, the richest, that which when all our flow of tears seems to have dried at the source can make us weep again.” ~ Marcel Proust
So these are things that I’ve been pondering:
While Eamonn’s car is a junker, it still reminds me of how easy it is to drive a little car and zip in and out of lanes, which I miss; however, getting out of the car reminds me of why I will never again own a low-to-the-ground vehicle. Awkward and uncomfortable.
I have nothing in my wallet, absolutely nothing—no bills, no coins, nothing. Sad, really.
People in the south tend to add extra syllables to words, which I rarely notice, but this manner of speaking can become quite humorous in curse words, as in when damn becomes diy-um (pronounced as written).
I remember my father, with his Filipino accent, always said shee-et, kind of a blend of southern and Tagalog, I guess.
A favorite line from a song: “Your best friend in life is not your mirror.” Apropros of nothing . . .
I dreamed that Corey, Alexis and I were in some store buying Christmas decorations, and the store stocked candle tops (just the top part of the candle and nothing else), and really cheap ornaments.
I also had a dream in which a friend’s father had died, and a group of us were (for some strange reason) taking a shortcut through the dead man’s backyard. The oddest part is that this house has been in many of my dreams, but in this dream, a fence now stood where no fence had been before, and I declared that I was not climbing a chain link fence in heels.
I have rerun dreams in which the action may be different, but the settings have been in other dreams. One particular recurring dream involves me coming into a lot of old furniture and antiques, sometimes a piano, but not always. Sometimes the antiques have been given to me by a museum board member, and sometimes not.
My dream life is much more interesting than my real life.
“ . . . and you look at the things in the room, offscreen, unwebbed, the tissued grain of the deskwood alive in light, the thick lived tenor of things, the argument of things to be seen and eaten, the apple core going sepia in the lunch tray, and the dense measures of experience in a random glance, the monk’s candle reflected in the slope of the phone, hours marked in Roman numerals, and the glaze of the wax, and the curl of the braided wick, and the chipped rim of the mug that holds your yellow pencils, skewed all crazy, and the plied lives of the simplest surface, the slabbed butter melting on the crumbled bun, and the yellow of the yellow of the pencils . . .” ~ Don DeLillo, from Underworld
This DeLillo quote is actually quite apt for my state of mind. When I’m writing, I often find myself looking around at various objects in the different light of the waning day. Sometimes my eyes are drawn to the grain of the wood; other times, a smell catches my attention. Everything becomes significant, even the most insignificant of things. It’s a matter of heightened senses.
I much prefer ambling through life with heightened senses as opposed to an innocuous sense of numbness—the light outside my window, the sound of raindrops falling from the eaves, the occasional bird call, the unwelcome sound of someone’s engine—these things reside in my subconscious all of the time, but occasionally, they surge to the forefront, demand my attention.
I suppose what I’m getting at is that while I may protest that I am moving through life without any purpose, moving as if on auto-pilot, the truth is that this it not true, and I must remind myself of this. While my goals may not be the ones I had at another stage of my life, that does not mean that these goals are not important, that my dreams and desires do not bear witness to my life’s purpose.
What I care about, all of the many, many things that I care about, while they may be insignificant to some, these things keep me grounded, help me to move through my days with my own sense of grace.
With that in mind, I thought that I’d spell out just a few of the items still on my bucket list, if you will. These are the things that I want to do and see and have before I die:
To see Ireland and Wales
To witness the Northern lights
To ride in a hot air balloon (even though I’ve given up on the idea of skydiving, the balloon still remains)
To have a writing hut that is all my own
To own an old IBM Selectric, preferably red or black
To go to the Louvre and the Musée D’Orsay
To ride the Orient Express (yes, this one is pricey, but one day I will do this, even if I’m 82)
To have a claw-footed bathtub in which I will take many, many hot baths, submerged in lavender water up to my chin and surrounded by candles, while Beethoven plays in the background
To have a view of the sea and a pair of Adirondack chairs in which to recline
To finish a 5k, even if I have to walk it
To have a really good camera that I can use to shoot pictures of the night sky
To publish a book, a real book, not one that I’ve written under contract for an institution
To see every episode of Dr. Who
To read Proust in the original French
To visit Australia and see the Great Barrier Reef
To go to Weta Studios in New Zealand and meet Peter Jackson
To own a sailboat (Corey and I once spoke of owning a charter service in the Caribbean, which I think that I would still like to do)
To make a difference in just one life.
More later. Peace.
Music by Foy Vance, “Be the Song”
You Can’t Have It All
But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this.
Moonlight over Sandesfjorden by eivindtjohei (FCC)
Note: I could not get my computer to work yesterday evening, so this post is backdated. Sorry . . .
“I desire to press in my arms the loveliness which has not yet come into the world.” ~ James Joyce, The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Thursday afternoon. Very humid, mid 80’s.
I showered today. To most of you, this might not seem like such a big deal, but since yesterday I never made it out of my pajamas, and spent almost the entire day in bed, it’s a big deal for me.
So much has gone on in recent days that I feel as if I’ve run a marathon in combat boots: my entire body aches and is rebelling at just the idea of sitting here.
We found out the total amount needed to bring our mortgage current plus the attorney’s fees, and it isn’t pretty. I had to tap a source that I really did not want to tap, a relative (indirectly). Not my mother as she does not have the funds, nor do I want to have to hear from her about what a failure I am again. Unfortunately, this source could very easily let slip to my mother what’s going on.
I know that I just have to suck it up and deal with whatever fall-out there is, but the thought of the what-ifs is significantly adding to my stress level. This whole mortgage fiasco is beyond anything we have faced in years. The idea that I could lose this house—as old and decrepit as it is—just breaks my heart. The idea that we could become displaced scares the crap out of me. So if I can secure the funds from someone who is willing to help, I cannot allow my pride to stand in the way.
“I count the clouds others count the seasons Dreaming of archipelagos and the desert I have lived through weeks of years.” ~ Susan Howe, from “Hinge Picture”
Oddly enough, I began the week on a good note, but that was doomed to pass quickly.
I saw Dr. K. on Monday and talked out the whole issue of going back to work, the possible risks and possible benefits. I told her that I would be pursuing this particular position purely for the money, not because I’m interested in the job itself. She then put it to me in a way that I could really appreciate: If I went back to work for a job that I was not invested in emotionally, a job—just a job—then the chances of my health problems being exacerbated would be greater than if I went back to work for something that really meant a lot to me, like a university teaching position.
When she put it that way, it made complete sense to me. Sometimes it takes an objective third party to make you see what’s been in front of you the entire time, the reality of it all.
And for me, the reality is that if I could go back to teaching English for a college or university, I wouldn’t care about the salary because I would be doing something that I really love.
Anyway, that was Monday. It’s been downhill, full speed ever since.
“I am not good at noticing when I’m happy, except in retrospect. My gift, or fatal flaw, is for nostalgia. I have sometimes been accused of demanding perfection, of rejecting heart’s desires as soon as I get close enough . . . I know very well that perfection is made up of frayed, off-struck mundanities. I suppose you could say my real weakness is a kind of long-sightedness: usually it is only at a distance, and much too late, that I can see the pattern.” ~ Tana French, from In the Woods
I’ve been trying not to just sit around and eat chocolate, even though it seems like a pretty good idea to me. Those 90-calorie fiber brownies? Yep, those? They taste like powdered cardboard. They’ll do in a pinch just to get the flavor of chocolate near the taste buds, but as far as filling that need for chocolatey smoothness . . . nope, not even close.
Then there are the 100-calorie snack packages. Do you know how many chocolate chip cookie thingies they put in one package? Eight, and they are the size of a quarter. Yep, 100 calories of pure chocolate air.
What I want is a carton of some kind of Ben and Jerry’s, preferably with the highest fat content possible, and a big spoon, and no one around to see me indulge. That or a bag of Pepperidge Farms cookies. Those would be good too.
Instead, I’ll just sit here and type and hope the cravings go far, far away. Men simply do not understand the whole chocolate thing. It’s not just for PMS. It’s for stress. It’s for depression. It’s for happiness. It’s for celebration. It’s dopamine with calories. Given a choice between Godiva and heroin? Godiva, hands down. Adult acne be damned.
“A dreamer is one who can only find their way by moonlight, and their punishment is that they see the dawn before the rest of the world.” ~ Oscar Wilde
Well, that little interlude helped a bit, that is until I remembered that yet another Law & Order franchise has been ruined for me. “Law & Order UK” killed off the Matt Devlin character, played by Jamie Bamber (who was also Apollo in “Battlestar Gallactica”). I loved him. I was already pissed at the loss of Ben Daniels, whose Crown Prosecutor James Steel was as sharp as Linus Roache’s character of Michael Cutter.
Bamber’s departure comes as a result of his casting on “Precinct 17,” of which I know absolutely nothing.
And “Law & Order SVU” is also going down the tubes with the departure of Christopher Meloni and the addition of two new cast members. Okay, so this is not important in the grand scheme of things, but as I am a diehard fan of all things L&O (with the exception of LA, which I cannot bring myself to like), the loss of the original, the tossup of SVU, and the big changes to UK make me terribly unhappy, which, as you know, is so unusual for me.
“It’s like morphine, language is. A fearful habit to form: you become a bore to all who would otherwise cherish you. Of course, there is the chance that you may be hailed as a genius after you are dead long years, but what is that to you . . . Time? Time? Why worry about something that takes care of itself so well? You were born with the habit of consuming time. Be satisfied with that.” ~ William Faulkner, Mosquitoes
So, here I sit. The house is quiet. Everyone is at school or at work. Everyone, that is, except for me and the dogs and the dust bunnies . . . I’m sitting here with the sun in my eyes, the afternoon sun that is streaming through Eamonn’s bedroom window. If I do that thing that kids do, you now, close my eyes almost all the way, then I can see light refracting off my eyelashes.
Remember when you first discovered how to do that? I don’t either.
For some reason, I cannot get my YouTube to work at the moment. I keep getting a 502 error, whatever that is, whenever I set a playlist to play. I tried signing back in, but nothing. So I don’t have a song for this post, which is okay, I suppose, as I don’t yet have a theme in mind for the images to go with the words. It’s that kind of post: disjointed, fragmented, bumpy.
I prefer for my posts to be like the kind of ride you get in an Infiniti, or something along those lines: smooth, comfortable, almost quiet. Instead, I have a 4×4 kind of post going on, and I keep hitting all of the potholes. My suspension is shot, and I’m badly in need of a tune-up.
Oh well, never going to own that muscle car that I always dreamed of having. You know, the one with the motor that growls low at stop lights, the one that slides in and out of cars. Nope. Not going to happen . . . ever. A muscle car needs to be low to the ground, something that my body just won’t do. No black Ford Mustang with a sunroof and speakers that make my tummy vibrate. Just please don’t put me in a white sedan. I think that would be the end of me.
What am I going on about? Who the hell knows.
More later. Peace.
Music by Tom Waits, “The Part You Throw Away”
“Since I last wrote summer has gone. It’s autumn. Now Jack brings home from his walks mushrooms and autumn crocuses. Little small girls knock at the door with pears to sell & blue black plums. The hives have been emptied; there’s new honey and the stars look almost frosty. Speaking of stars reminds me—we were sitting on the balcony last night. It was dark. These huge fir trees ‘take’ the darkness marvellously. We had just counted four stars & remarked a light, high up—what was it? on the mountains opposite, when suddenly from far away a little bell began ringing. Someone played a tune on it—something gay, merry, ancient, over and over. I suppose it was some priest or lay brother in a mountain village. But what we felt was—it’s good to think such things still happen to think some peasant goes off in the late evening & delights to play that carillon. I sometimes have a fear that simple hearted people are no more. I was ashamed of that fear last night. The little bell seemed to say, but joyfully: ‘Be not afraid. All is not lost.’” ~ Katherine Mansfield, from a letter to Richard Murray, September 5th, 1921