Friday leftovers . . .

Downton Abbey Christmas
Downton Abbey Christmas Special (PBS): I just love these two together

If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

Friday afternoon. Cloudy and cooler temps.

I just found out today (I realize that I’m probably late to the party, as usual) that there’s going to be a Downton Abby movie next year. I really cannot wait. In honor of that, I thought that I’d post one of my favorite screen shots from the series, in which the Dowager Duchess shares her thoughts on men:

More later. Peace.

Music from Downton Abbey, “Nothing to Forgive” (Christmas episode, Season 2)

“For we live with those retrievals from childhood that coalesce and echo throughout our lives, the way shattered pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope reappear in new forms and are song-like in their refrains and rhymes, making up a single monologue. We live permanently in the recurrence of our own stories, whatever story we tell.” ~ Michael Ondaatje, from Divisadero

“We live in time—it holds us and molds us—but I’ve never felt I understood it very well. And I’m not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly . . . And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing—until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.” ~ Julian Barnes, from The Sense of an Ending

Sunday afternoon. Partly cloudy and absolutely beautiful, impending autumn, 71 degrees.

Tuesday night I watched a retrospective on Robin Williams on PBS. It was lovely, and the interviews really got into the man as much as the comedian/actor. I appreciated that they spent a good portion on the visits to the troops that Williams had made over the years as I had no idea that no other celebrity had performed before the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan more than Williams. The interviews were cut with selections from his last full-length interviews for “Pioneers of Television.”

But when the show was over, after I dried my tears, I realized something important:

What I had said the other day about the coda to Dead Poets’ Society being about Mr. Keating realizing a light had gone out wasn’t exactly accurate. While Keating is deeply affected by Neil’s suicide, the honor the boys bestow upon him at the end by disobeying the rigid headmaster and standing on their desks leaves Keating with hope; he has not failed these boys. Instead, he has enlarged their perspectives on the world, and if that is the only thing they take away from his class (and it isn’t), then he has made it possible for more lights to shine in the world.

Sad yes, but hopeful, so very full of hope.

To paraphrase what Pam Dawber said at the end of the show, if only Williams could have seen how his death affected the world. I continue to be amazed by the number of people around the world who are truly mourning for this once bright star in the firmament.


Blue Like a Desert

Happy are the solitary ones
Those who sow the sky in the avid sand
Those who seek the living under the skirts of the wind
Those who run panting after an evaporated dream
For they are the salt of the earth
Happy are the lookouts over the ocean of the desert
Those who pursue the fennec beyond the mirage
The winged sun loses its feathers on the horizon
The eternal summer laughs at the wet grave
And if a loud cry resounds in the bedridden rocks
No one hears it no one
The desert always hollers under an impassive sky
The fixed eye hovers alone
Like the eagle at daybreak
Death swallows the dew
The snake smothers the rat
The nomad under his tent listens to the time screeching
On the gravel of insomnia
Everything is there waiting for a word already stated

~ Joyce Mansour


Music by Gregory Alan Isakov, “If I go, I’m goin'”

“Oh whisper me words in the shape of a bay” ~ Emily Barker from “Nostalgia”

*I had set this up to post on Sunday, or so I thought, but found it in my drafts . . .

I really love how I find some of the most beautiful music through the mysteries that I watch. This one is a real beauty:

Music by Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo, music adapted for television series “Wallander,” as seen on Masterpiece Mystery


Tram wires cross Melbourne skies
Cut my red heart in two
My knuckles bleed down Johnston Street
On a door that shouldn’t be in front of me

Twelve thousand miles away from your smile
I’m twelve thousand miles away from me
Standing on the corner of Brunswick
Got the rain coming down and mascara on my cheek

Oh whisper me words in the shape of a bay
Shelter my love from the wind and the waves

Crow fly be my alibi
And return this fable on your wing
Take it far away to where gypsies play
Beneath metal stars by the bridge

Oh write me a beacon so I know the way
Guide my love through night and through day

Only the sunset knows my blind desire for the fleeting
Only the moon understands the beauty of love
When held by a hand like the aura of nostalgia

“I wish I coul carry this clarity with me” ~ Anne Carson, from “The Glass Essay”

Perseid Meteor over Mount Tiede National Park, Canary Islands
by Robert Porto (*


“It is as if we have all been lowered into an atmosphere of glass.
Now and then a remark trails through the glass.” ~ Anne Carson, from “The Glass Essay” (all quotes contained herein from this source)

Monday afternoon. Partly cloudy, mid 80’s.

So after I posted yesterday I decided to finish my post-flooding cleaning, which involved more laundry, the kitchen floor (which was filthy from all of the walking back and forth with wet feet and shoes), and under the bed in our bedroom.

Oh, under the bed, where years, nay, decades (so I exaggerate) of pet hair tumbleweeds had accumulated. Over four hours later, and I was almost satisfied. All of the boxes had been withdrawn from neath the bed, dusted off, and examined to see if they could be tossed. Some were summarily tossed without examination, for example, the box for the vaporizer that I know we no longer possess.

The Moon and Venus alongside a Perseid Meteor, Las Vegas, Nevada
by Tyler Leavitt

Things that make you say ew out loud . . .

I did a thorough job as I do not plan to venture beneath the bed again until we install carpeting and paint, which should happen . . . hmm . . . I cannot even tender a guess at this. Months? Years? Decades (I really hope not)?

A couple of puffs on the inhaler, several splashes of cold water on the face to remove grime, and many sneezes later . . . (my, lots of ellipses in this section)

“a space where the little raw soul
slips through.

It goes skimming the deep keel like a storm petrel,
out of sight.”

For some reason, this Carson poem about Wuthering Heights, the Bronte sisters, the moors, her mother, her ex-lover, life—just seemed to appeal to me today.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2012, Cape May, New Jersey
by Chris Bakley

Anyway, after I had finished cleaning beneath the bed, I had one of those bizarre freakish accidents: I was in the kitchen, and I put my right hand down with some force, and it slid across the handle of the stove, which has a crease where the parts join. My finger and nail caught in that crease, and a good portion of nail and skin were ripped off.

I’m being graphic because it was one of those things that could only happen to me, one of those things that does happen to me when I’m exhausted. I never even knew that a miniscule seam existed. Consequently, I now have a pit in the top of the nail bed on my right index finger (prepositional pile-up, there), and it hurts like a bugger. I suppose I must have made quite a racket with my screaming and cursing as Eamonn actually came out to see what was going on, and when he found out that it was only a finger, he said, “Oh, is that all?”

My reply was not kind.

I consoled myself last night by watching five episodes of “Downton Abbey,” season one, which I bought on DVD a few months ago. Of course, now I need to buy season two, but I had planned to do that anyway. Comfort in British period dramas and Hot Pockets (completely unhealthy)—nothing beats it.

“The bare blue trees and bleached wooden sky of April
carve into me with knives of light.”

I’m taking it slowly today as I am still quite sore from the weekend’s exertions. Last night when I applied more topical ointment, I was careful to use it sparingly. It helped a bit, that and the heating pad and ice. So I don’t know if I’ll make it over to Alexis’s apartment, but I’m thinking about going for a bit late afternoon, just to check in and hold the baby for a bit.

Perseid Meteor with Moon and Venus over Lake Berryessa, California
by Matthew Henderson

Earlier I went into the backyard with the dogs so that Tillie the Lab could jump in the pool a few times. While I was there I dipped several June Bugs out of the pool. A few minutes later I felt a sharp jab on my breast that felt like a tiny needle. One of the bugs had gotten inside my nightgown and was clinging to me. So glad that they don’t sting, but this brings me to my discovery last night:

A huge (monstrous, really) spider had built a web on the light fixture in the dining room. I wouldn’t have seen this in the daytime, but with the lights on it was hard to miss this brown spider hanging out in the middle of its web, which was quite exquisite, by the way. I didn’t remove the spider as it appears to be a kind with which I am unfamiliar. I decided that I would wait until tonight and let one of the boys move it outside. I don’t like to kill spiders, you see. They are such helpful creatures.

Unfortunately, a side effect of finding the spider late at night was that I dreamed of spiders and webs and other odd animals. The spider in my dream kept getting bigger each time I put it outside. It would come back in and build a bigger web. This went on until the spider was as big as a small person, and finally I realized that I would have to kill it. Then later in the dream I found some pods outside my mother’s house. Within the pods I could see baby animals gestating: a couple of giraffes, a panther, an alligator, a few birds, and an ostrich.

It was very, very strange. Some of the animals came out of the pods and were running about as miniature animals, and I named the ostrich Ollie (don’t ask me why). I was trying to figure out what to feed them, and I knew that they all needed different things to eat, but I decided on orange rinds. The panther was smallish, and tame for a bit, and then it started trying to bite, so I decided to give it to my cousin . . .

“Each morning a vision came to me.
Gradually I understood that these were naked glimpses of my soul.”

I think that I could safely categorize the entire weekend as strange and bizarre, don’t you think?

8:30 p.m. the same day, still 80 degrees . . .

Perseid Meteor Shower, Cave City, Arkansas
by Jeff Rose

I ran out of steam a bit earlier, so I decided to go to Lex’s apartment. She texted and sounded a bit distressed, so I went to help. I realize that I’ve become a crutch for her, but I don’t mind. Holding Olivia gives me an enormous sense of peace, even when she’s fussy, and the truth is that I can calm her when others cannot. No, I’m not giving myself any special talents, only that I’ve done it with four babes of my own and countless others that I watched when I was young. Babies, children, and animals can sense when someone is comfortable with them and when they are not.

So I’m back now, and I thought that I’d finish this post, especially since I’ve already found the images that I want to use: the 2012 Perseid Meteor Shower. Such a light show; unfortunately, it cannot be seen from my house as there is just too much light pollution. I wonder if Corey knows about it and if he’s getting a stellar (pun intended) view from the ship.

I had planned to cook tonight, but Eamonn went out with his girlfriend, and after taking Tillie the Lab outside to play for a bit when I got home, I was just too hot. I will be glad for fall. This has not been the best summer for lazing in the pool in the afternoon, and I’m ready for cooler temperatures and less humid air.

“Soul is the place,
stretched like a surface of millstone grit between body and mind,
where such necessity grinds itself out.”

The wounded finger is feeling a bit better since earlier today, but my right pinky toe is aching. In my nervous habit of peeling skin, I pulled too much skin from around the toe, and now it’s quite painful. It’s not an admirable nervous habit, but it’s better than smoking.

Perseid Meteors, Lahti, Finland
by Tuomo Leppänen

The huge spider has been removed to outside, and the web is no longer. It really was a masterpiece though, even if it did give me nightmares.

As I was leaving the apartment, Mike was finishing dinner, and he made homemade beer-battered onion rings. I swear they were melt-in-the mouth good. They have a deep fryer, and the tastiness of these noshes is really making me rethink the need to have a deep fryer. I have a real aversion to grease, and I don’t much care for frying, but Corey does it rather well. Perhaps he’ll want to try his hand at some homemade beer-battered onion rings when he gets home. Just a thought.

I did want to share the lines directly preceding the title quote as I found them beautiful, but it’s hard to put lines of poetry in the title as WordPress does not allow for hard line breaks in that section:

“a sudden sense of every object
existing in space on its own shadow.

I wish I could carry this clarity with me”

I’ll leave you with a few more beautiful pictures of the meteor shower.

Perseid Meteor from Snowy Range in Wyoming
by David Kingham
Perseid Meteor from Mount Lemmon, Tucson, Arizona
by Bill Vaughn
Perseid Meteors, State College, Pennsylvania
by Samuel Hartman

More later. Peace.

*All images of Perseid Meteor Shower courtesy of; individual photographers attributed in captions.

Music by Wye Oak, “Plains”


Spider Crystal Ascension

The spider, juiced crystal and Milky Way, drifts on his web through the night sky
And looks down, waiting for us to ascend . . .
At dawn he is still there, invisible, short of breath, mending his net.
All morning we look for the white face to rise from the lake like a tiny star.
And when it does, we lie back in our watery hair and rock.
~ Charles Wright