“Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.” ~ Pablo Neruda, from “Here I Love You”

Eugene Fredrik Jansson Vinternatt over Kajen Winter Night on the Quai 1901 oil on canvas
“Vinternatt over Kajen (Winter Night on the Quai)” (1901, oil on canvas)
by Eugène Fredrik Jansson

                   

“Mind you, sometimes the angels smoke, hiding it with their sleeves, and when the archangel comes, they throw the cigarettes away: that’s when you get shooting stars.” ~ Vladimir Nabokov, letter to his wife

Tuesday afternoon. Cold and rainy, 39 degrees.

Well, I slept a bit better last night but still awoke with a migraine. I wonder if the Botox will ever kick in, or if my body will continue to do what it will regardless of treatment.

It’s a beastly day outside, the kind of day that causes the dogs to peer out the door and then turn around, choosing instead to wait and wait and wait. I have so many thoughts bouncing around in my head about so many different things that I thought I might just do a random thoughts post today. So here we go . . .

  • I have realized that my ideas about art have changed significantly from how I used to feel decades ago.
  • Thinking about art always makes me think about Mari, who loved art. When she was still with her husband Buddy, her house was filled with original works of art. I was so jealous.
  • I used to love only the Impressionists with their milky colors all blurring together, Monet in particular.

    Edvard Munch Thawing Snow 1919
    “Thawing Snow” (1919, oil on canvas)
    by Edvard Munch
  • Then I was really into the pre-Raphaelites, especially John William Waterhouse.
  • Lately though, I find that I am much more drawn to the Realists (and all of the associated offshoots) who worked right around the late 19th century into the first part of the 20th century.
  • I like the clearer depictions of landscapes, the richer, more defined colors.
  • I am particularly drawn to Emil Nolde, Leon Spilliaert, Edvard Munch, and Edward Hopper.
  • I have never understood or particularly cared for Andy Warhol.
  • Regardless of movement or school, however, I find that I am almost exclusively drawn to landscapes, or in the case of Hopper, his lonely people.

“You never realise where you are going until you get there,
where nothing is planned, nothing is known,
and you’re drawn back into the heart’s old orbits,
tiny as a grain, massive as a moon.” ~ Pat Boran, from “Moon Street”

A few personal things:

  • I haven’t read a book in almost three months; I go through these phases in which I simply cannot read, cannot concentrate, but this has turned into a long dry spell.

    John Fabian Carlson Brooding Silence
    “Brooding Silence” (nd, oil on canvas)
    by John Fabian Carlson
  • Even though I’m not reading it doesn’t keep me from wanting more books, adding books to my wish list, obsessing over new releases or old titles that I haven’t read yet.
  • Even as a teenager I used to wish that I could work for a publishing company, but I never did a damned thing about it.
  • I have this publishing degree that is pretty much wasted.
  • I used to dream of moving to New York and working for a big publishing house. I never even tried to make this a reality.
  • I also used to dream of moving to New York and trying to find work as an actor. Never did that either.
  • So little action for such big dreams, and now I wonder if I’m too old to have dreams.

“Sometimes at night I would sleep open-eyed underneath a sky dripping with stars. I was alive then.” ~ Albert Camus

Family news:

  • Corey and I talked for almost an hour and a half last night. He has so much to tell me about his new job. I hear an excitement in his voice that I haven’t heard in a while. I’m so relieved.
  • Sometimes I think that Corey only works as a merchant marine to support our family, but I really think that he likes being on the water, and he’s very good at what he does.

    Zinaida Serebriakova Winter Landscape period Neskuchnoye 1910
    “Winter Landscape. Nekuchnoye” (1910)
    by Zinaida Serebriakova
  • When we first got married, his big dream was to own his own landscaping company, and he worked at it for over a year. I was actually surprised when he told me that he realized that he really didn’t like it.
  • Olivia’s new word is no . . .
  • The Christmas tree still has no ornaments on it, and I haven’t addressed any cards yet. This is the most unprepared I have been for the holidays in a very long time.
  • Eamonn called Corey yesterday morning to tell him the phones were off. We were both stupefied by eldest son’s complete lack of context, as in Corey might be a bit busy, you know, with the new job thing. Amazing.
  • I did do some online shopping yesterday, but I don’t even feel like leaving the house to finish the shopping.

“Look up . . . and see them.
The teaching stars,
beyond worship
and commonplace tongues.” ~ Dorothy Dunnett

On time marching inexorably on:

  • Mari and I have gotten lax in our writing project. I started it when I got side-tracked while working on the bathroom. I’m hoping that we can get our rhythm back and really get back to it by the beginning of the year.
  • Speaking of beginning of the year, I have a milestone birthday coming up—not going to say which one, so don’t even ask—and I’m kind of in shock. I mean, how does this happen?
  • Of course I know how it happens, duh, the whole space time continuum, earth rotating around the sun and all of that, but still . . .

    Tom Thomson Frost-Laden Cedars, Big Cauchon Lake 1916 oil on canvas
    “Frost-Laden Cedars, Big Cauchon Lake” (1916, oil on canvas)
    by Tom Thomson
  • I still don’t feel my age. I’ve never felt my age. When I was young, I felt older, and when I got older, I felt younger.
  • I think that I’m doing this whole age thing wrong, but I can’t figure out how to do it right.
  • Still don’t know what I’m going to be when I grow up, which used to be funny, but I realize that it’s kind of lost its charm at this point.
  • Am I going to live the rest of my days not knowing what in the hell I’m doing, where in the hell I’m going, when in the hell I’m finally going to figure something out? Anything?
  • At this point, really, I’d settle for anything.
  • Speaking of time and things, I find that a lot of people fear the future. I don’t fear the future for being the future or for what it may bring. I just fear being unprepared for life.
  • For me, time that has passed is far weightier than time to come.
  • Days gone by contain so many pieces of our selves, of other people, of the world. The past is heavy just from all that it bears and how it is continually resurrected.

“We were approaching winter like an object which cannot be put between words. Behavior became simpler since we had dislocated our memories . . . Though the clouds could be uttered in a variety of tones, the stars formed constellations analyzed completely. You cried for the moon, which had started to wane in agreement with constant and variable.” ~ Rosmarie Waldrop, from Curves to the Apples

Things I still want to do, see, experience:

  • My wish for our next big vacation: Ireland, England, France. I know, almost prohibitive.
  • The northern lights, Aurora Borealis, a comet—I ache to be somewhere without light pollution, to stand on a hill and drink in the complex beauty of the night sky.
  • A Canon Rebel camera so that I can get back into photography (I guess this belongs more on a want to have list)

    Petr Nilus Snowy Landscape
    “Snowy Landscape” (1928, oil on canvas)
    by Petr Nilus
  • The west coast—Oregon, Washington, Northern California. Absolutely no desire to be anywhere near LA
  • A long weekend to New York to go to nothing but museums
  • Speaking of museums, still, always will want to go to the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay. Also the Art Institute of Chicago and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
  • An extended train trip across Europe. I have never traveled any distance on a train, only inner city. I understand that it can be quite cramped, but what I would like to do is go to a country, get off and see things, and then travel to another country.
  • Alaska.
  • A train trip in the northwest of the US and Canada.
  • A home that sits on a cliff near the sea, just like in the movies.

Enough of that. Today’s image theme is . . . cold, as in I am.

More later. Peace.

Music by Thriving Ivory, “Angels on the Moon”

                   

A Good Sky

I show you a good sky.
It could hold a fleet of geese
above a kite, sipping in a breeze,
or foliate the wind
with leaves of cherry wood
and hedge.

It will blanket your sleep
with mirrors of stars
in the soft undressing of night.

It will love you, soley,
through the Venus dawn,
rubbing your eyes awake
a moment before the day’s
light hangs its spars.

I show you a good sky.
It will rain its reflection
on your one troubled eye,
the one that blinks
each time a hawk rants by.

I am no one’s romantic.
No. I am the sky’s shadow-wish
writing this only
to breathe its light.

I show you a falling sun,
passing like a lover,
to be near you, allowing
no star, no bulb on a corner lamp
to possess you as you are.

Look. Here I am, the sky’s moon
down. I will shave
a horizon out of peaks
like none your memory
has ever carved.

I show you a good sky.
Its broad blue ribbon will wrap
its mind around your eyes’ imagination
and tease you into smiles—
Now, be patient,
let your grieving rest awhile.

~ James Ragan

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“The wreckage of stars — I built a world from this wreckage.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, from Through the Circle of Dionysian Dithyrambs, trans. James Luchte and Eva Leadon

Fall on the Merced by puliarf FCC
Fall on the Merced
by puliarf (FCC)

                   

“I keep remembering—I keep remembering. My heart has no pity on me.” ~ Henri Barbusse, from The Inferno (L’Enfer), trans. Edward J. O’Brien

Sunday morning. Partly cloudy and mild, 66 degrees.

I am forcing myself to sit here and make an honest attempt at a post. I make no promises. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, more that I am in the midst of one of those times in which linear thought is hard. It is much easier to focus on the fact that the furniture should be polished, or perhaps that I should clean the light fixtures—inanity over creativity.

Fall Foliage in Central Park2 NYC by Alakan Dude FCC
Fall Foliage in Central Park, NYC
by Alaskan Dude (FCC)

But I will eschew the temptation to wander into mindlessness.

Perhaps it is better if I approach this as a random thoughts post and see where takes me. So . . .

  • Corey’s ship is due in port this evening. They had to reroute to go around a storm. He is supposed to be in port for five days.
  • He is coming home to sad news: His grandfather died last night.
  • I never really had a grandfather. My mother’s father was in a nursing home, and I only met my dad’s father that one time when we were in the Philippines. The only thing I remember about him was that he was a short man who did not smile.
  • During times like these, I miss my father, miss how much he loved his grandchildren. He would have adored Olivia.
  • I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to finish this as I am filled with longing and grief.

“We are dancing in the hollow of nothingness. We are one flesh, but separated like stars.” ~ Henry Miller, from Tropic of Capricorn

  • I’ve never read Tropic of Capricorn. I don’t know why. I knew someone once who had met Henry Miller at a party. I was so naive at the time that I thought he was talking about Arthur Miller.

    Fall Foliage by C E Kent FCC
    Fall Foliage
    by C E Kent (FCC)
  • When I think about how much I thought I knew then that I didn’t actually know, I cringe a little inside.
  • It’s too bad that we cannot go through our whole lives with the surety of knowing everything that pervades our youth. The years strip us of this blissful ignorance and replace it with the weight of knowledge.
  • I was so self-assured in my 20’s, so completely certain that I knew more than the next person. I feared nothing and no one. What happened to that person?
  • I remember after I had been in my new job at the medical school for a bit and had made friends, I asked one of them why she had been so cold to me in the beginning. She replied that I scared the crap out of her. I was completely taken aback.
  • It took the death of Caitlin to humble me, to make me realize that everything that I had thought I knew and believed simply wasn’t true.

“… this is the wreath of love, this bed of thorns
is where I dream of you stealing my rest,
haunting these sunken ribs cargoed with grief.
I sought the peak of prudence, but I found
the hemlock-brimming valley of your heart,
and my own thirst for bitter truth and art.” ~ Federico García Lorca, from “Wounds of Love (Stigmata of Love)”

  • I stepped outside a few mornings ago and realized that the air was beginning to smell like fall, the aroma that resembles mountain water and dead leaves, a commingling of smells like no other.

    Autumn in Kyoto by Daily Picture FCC
    Autumn in Kyoto
    by Daily Picture (FCC)
  • I have an ongoing battle with autumn: It has always, always been my favorite season, and it has always, always been the time of year in which I find myself helplessly, hopelessly depressed.
  • By last night I knew that I was already in the midst of a major depressive episode; as I lay immersed in the hottest water possible in my new tub, I had a sudden sense of being completely overwhelmed.
  • When this happens, anything and everything can set me off: a song, a smell, a sound.
  • I applaud those of you who never feel this way, and I am completely astonished that not everyone feels this way.
  • My skin feels foreign, too small for my body, too taut for my emotions.
  • And I just want to be far away, preferably in the mountains, where there is enough air, where the walls do not contain me.

“Skin, though it takes pains to remember caresses, is marked by the road that pain takes.” ~ Rosmarie Waldrop, from Driven to Abstraction

  • My antidepressant does help, some, but nothing can help completely. I think that many people think that antidepressants are cure-alls; they are not.
  • I resisted going on medication because I thought that I would not be able to feel, because I liked my extreme highs and lows. Let me back up a bit—the first antidepressant I tried (and I tried many) completely numbed me. Who wants to feel nothing? Certainly not I.

    Autumn in the New Forest by MarilynJane FCC
    Autumn in the New Forest
    by MarilynJane (FCC)
  • I view my medication as a large band-aid—it protects me from harm, but there is still a wound under it that takes time to heal.
  • It’s strange really, how I have come to know the precise second an episode has arrived, as if it has rung a bell or announced itself somewhere in the recesses of my brain. I suppose after all of these years it makes sense that I would be so attuned.
  • But back to my initial resistance: having felt the extremes for all of my adolescence, I battled attempts to fix me in my 20’s. I suppose that is a natural response, not to want to be dependent upon something, to want to be able to fix things without the benefit of drugs. It’s a battle that I still fight, actually, looking at the pills in my hand for my various ailments, wondering what would happen if I just stopped.
  • But I don’t. Age has allowed me, at least, the wisdom to recognize that I will probably take pills until the day I die.

“A brief parenthesis in chaos.” ~ Thomas Lovell Beddoes, from “Insignificance of the World”

  • I remember sitting in my first psychology course in high school, the very moment I was able to put a name to what was happening to me, when the teacher began to describe manic depression (as it was called then), the extreme highs and lows, the split second changes between the two.

    Autumn in herefordshire by apdk FCC
    Autumn in Herefordshire
    by apdk (FCC)
  • I told no one.
  • I really don’t know why I’m rehashing this; it’s not as if I haven’t mulled over this again and again and again.
  • But then, I don’t really know why I do a lot of things, at least, not when I feel like this.
  • Nothing seems to make sense, and everything is hard.
  • Everything is hard.
  • Everything is hard.
  • If only chocolate really were a cure.
  • Thanks for tuning in.

More later. Peace.

Music by Noah Gundersen & The Forest Rangers, “He got away”


Steady Now

Although things vanish, are what mark our vanishing,
we still hold on to them–ballast against the updraft
of oblivion–as I hold on to this umbrella in a world of rain,

of heavy wet greens and grays dissolving into a new
atmosphere, a sort of underwater dulled electric glow
off everything, the air itself drowning in it, breath

thickening, growing mold. Yesterday I felt the smell
of grass greeting me as across a great distance, trying
to tell me some good thing in an underglaze of memory,

some forgotten summer trying to speak its piece. It is
the way of things and it never stops, never calls a halt–
this knocking and dismantling, this uprooting, cutting out

and digging down, so tall oaks and honey locusts are
laid low and drop to earth like felled cattle, shaking
the ground we’ve taken a stand on as if it were a steady

establishment, a rock of ages to outface ruin itself, not
the provisional slippery dissolving dissolute thing it is–
which we have against all the evidence set our hearts on.

~ Eamon Grennan

 

“She was like the moon—part of her was always hidden away.” ~ Dia Reeves, Bleeding Violet

Early Morning in a Tulip Field by stoneysteiner (FCC)

                   

“. . . must I polish
Madness daily, rub nacre into a world

We must climb inside the world to live.
A sand-grain in the mind tells us to survive.” ~ Dan Beachy-Quick, from “Sonnet”

Saturday, late afternoon. Sunny, beautiful, 70°.

Well, I just lost my post, everything. And I was almost finished. I’m not sure if I’m going to try to recreate, or just chuck it all and go crawl into a hole and hide. Let’s just see where this takes us, shall we?

Seattle Tulips by marbla123 (FCC)

I had planned to post yesterday, but once I gathered my quotes, my heart just wasn’t into it. Truthfully, I was a bit sad yesterday, more than a bit. It could have had something to do with getting a text from Corey in the morning from . . . Antigua. I could have had something to do with him being there, surrounded by blue seas and white sands, and me being here, surrounded by little league parents screaming at their children in the park next door.

Hmm . . . but today’s foul mood? Squarely on the shoulders of our cell provider.

Eamonn awoke me this morning to tell me that we had no service, which, for him, is akin to the end of the world as he is completely unable to communicate with his friends on a face-to-face basis. I mean, that’s so old-fashioned. I rolled over and woke up a short time later with yet another migraine, the remnants of which are still haunting me—dizziness and light sensitivity.

What’s new?

“Everything is imprinted forever with what it once was.” ~ Jeanette Winterson, from The Stone Gods

I spent some time with Alexis at my mother’s house, cataloging what she has put over there so that she can update her registries at Target and Babies r Us. One thing is for certain: She doesn’t need any more small Onesies, bibs, or blankets.

Alexis has been having some bad days lately. It’s that pregnant woman syndrome of I’m big and awkward, and there’s never enough time. Actually, I think that she might deliver a bit early if she’s anything like me. I was early with all four of my babies. I just hope that she can make it into mid-June, at least.

Field of Tulips, Ottawa, Ontario, by Vince Alongi (FCC)

Taking care of the puppy is proving to be a full-time job (not saying a word about that), and no amount of puppy adorableness can compensate for the work. She was telling me about her latest meltdown, in which she just kept saying, “I’m so tired,” and Mike tried to make her feel better. My daughter is very much like I was at her age in that she’s obsessive about cleaning and having things orderly and in their proper places (interesting how that goes away with the years). But because of her OCD, she creates work for herself, and then feels overwhelmed when there is too much to do.

I know that she’s also stressed over the whole house-hunting thing. They haven’t started to look, and they want to, but should they do it now or wait? I remember when I was pregnant with Alexis I took her father all over Northern Virginia, so convinced I was that we needed to buy a house before I gave birth. Of course, we did not have the funds to do so, and we didn’t, but it was that pressing need to have a good place to bring the new baby home to, some place that was ours.

We were fortunate, though, in that we lived in a spacious townhouse in Alexandria with three bedrooms, a big kitchen, and a fenced yard. She and Mike live in a small, one-bedroom apartment. I  can relate to how she is feeling.

“9. Introducing Decimals

A dream, like trying
to remember, breaks open words
for other,
hidden meanings.” ~ Rosmarie Waldrop, from The Ambition of Ghosts:  I. Remembering into Sleep

So Corey texted me to let me know that the phones are back on. As I’ve said, I could live without them, but at the moment I probably need them to work as my phone number is on the invitation for RSVPs. Alexis pointed out that it would probably not be the best idea to have my mother take the calls as she would just turn around and call me anytime someone called her, and chances are good that my mother would keep the person on the phone forever drilling them for information.

Windmill in an Oregon Tulip Field by McD22 (FCC)

RSVP: répondez, s’il vous plaît. Texted. I always find it curious how words and phrases make it into the lexicon, and most people never give the origins a second thought. Me? I’m a purist when it comes to language, so I’m having a bit of a tough time with certain new words. Friend as a verb, for instance. It’s that whole turning nouns into verbs thing (like text to texted) that really drives me crazy. I still do not recognize impact as a verb.

I know. Language is a fluid thing. It evolves constantly. It’s just that when it evolves to bastardize existing words that I shudder.

Anyway, back to the phone bill. Our cell carrier got enough money out of us to run a small, third-world country for a week. No exaggeration. It’s that huge bill from Lithuania. Bigger than when we used our cell phones when we went away on our first cruise. Apparently they were not willing to work with us, so essentially, the bills are screwed once again. I hope that eldest son enjoys that very expensive piece of technology with which he cannot live . . .

So very tired of this.

“Some people remind me of sharp dazzling diamonds. Valuable but lifeless and loveless. Others, of the simplest field flowers, with hearts full of dew and with all the tints of celestial beauty reflected in their modest petals.” ~ Anaïs Nin

About my big plans for a Sonic milkshake? Never happened.

Right after I finished my post, I was overcome with a serious bout of nausea, which kept me in the bathroom on and off for an hour. Haven’t had that happen in quite a while. I was literally so sick that I had to ask Eamonn to pick up Brett from his class, which, thankfully, he did.

Tulip Fields at Table Cape, Tasmania, by martinhoward (FCC)

Now, unfortunately, my stomach (brain?) is associating Sonic milkshakes with throwing up, so I don’t know when or if I’ll ever be able to have one again.

I remember when I worked at Dillard’s, I would often have a milkshake from Johnny Rocket’s for lunch. Just a milkshake. I worked it off in a few hours of running around the floor and up and down the stairs. And since I don’t have that level of physical activity in my life any more, it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t have a milkshake for dinner, or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Tillie is trying to crawl into my lap to get my attention, so I think that I’ll finish now and go read more of book four in the Game of Thrones series after playing a rousing game of stick. My life is so filled with fleeting wonders of excitement that I can scarcely contain my enthusiasm.

More later. Peace.

Music by Mindy Gledhill, “Anchor”

                   

Genesis

Cylinder sacks of water filling the oceans,
endless bullets of water,
skins full of water rolling and tumbling
as we came together.
As though light broke us apart.
As though light came with the rubble of words,
though we die among the husks of remembering.
It is as we knew it would be
in the echoes of endless terminals,
in the slow scaled guises of ourselves
when we came together in the envelopes of ourselves,
the bare shadow, the breath of words invisible;
as slight errors repeating themselves;
as degradation passes like madness through a crowd.
It was not ordained.
It was one drop of salt water against another.

“I put out my hand and the dark falls through it.” ~ W. S. Merwin, from “Before That”

A winter coated Aukštaitijos National Park, Lithuania

                    

“I like the dark part of the night, after midnight and before four-thirty, when it’s hollow, when ceilings are harder and farther away. Then I can breathe, and can think while others are sleeping, in a way can stop time, can have it so–this has always been my dream–so that while everyone else is frozen, I can work busily about them, doing whatever it is that needs to be done, like the elves who make the shoes while children sleep.” ~ Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Monday, later afternoon. Much warmer, 50’s.

A bad weekend as far as sleeping goes. I realize the insomnia is probably stress-related, the anticipation of what’s coming, but geez it’s a pain.

Stripeikiai Honeymaking Museum, Lithuania

Saturday night Corey convinced me to watch 28 Days Later, a zombie movie. Normally, I don’t like zombie movies, but what he failed to mention was that this particular movie was more of a drama, so I actually liked it, enough to say, “let’s watch the sequel,” 28 Weeks Later, which we did, which meant that by 5:30 in the morning, I was wide awake, and watching special features.

Consequently, I awoke with a headache yesterday afternoon, and the headache progressed into a migraine. Lovely.

Last night wasn’t much better, even though we weren’t watching any movies. What was particularly bad was that I actually fell asleep around 11:30, but then I woke up an hour later and couldn’t get back to sleep . . . so 4 a.m. and another headache today. We were awakened by Eamonn coming into our room to show us the flowers that he had bought for his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day and his demand that I do something with them for him. Great.

How did it get to be Valentine’s Day is really the question that I need to ask . . .

“For me, one of the most important knowings I have now . . . it’s literally beyond words. It comes from a place of silence. There’s no way in words to capture what it is. And so the challenge of writing is how do you capture what has no words. Because in the expression, you lose it.” ~ Dr. James Orbinski, Triage: Dr.James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma

So Corey is not leaving today, obviously. His plans have changed—no, really? Quelle surprise . . .

Apparently, the shipping company is having some problems with the Coast Guard inspection, hence the delay. Corey spoke with his contact today, and there is nothing definite yet. This is both good and bad news: good because we get a few more days together, bad because we were already in the mindset that he was going, good because we can get a few more things done around here, bad because Corey had himself taken off the schedule for his other job . . .

Trakai Castle, Lithuania

In other words, nothing new in the lovely existence that is our world, the world of topsy turvey.

But towards the goal of taking care of things, last night Corey bathed all three dogs. Then the real fun began: we needed to cut the boy dogs’ nails. This involves putting on a muzzle as neither of them are well-behaved when getting their nails cut. We did Shakes first as he is the worst, and somehow he managed to get out of his muzzle and bite Corey’s hand. The whole ordeal was a fiasco from start to finish. The only thing that we have to show for it is clean dogs with trimmed nails and a sore hand for Corey.

I did my first aid thing and applied lots of antibiotic ointment, sterile gauze and tape. This outcome is precisely why we wait so long to cut their nails.

I remember that I had the same problem with my old dog Ascot; the vet gave me a tranquilizer to give her before I cut her nails the next time. I gave her the tranquilizer, and she appeared to be sufficiently stoned, but then when I cut the first nail, she came to life and bit me. Had to get a tetanus shot that time. I know that the dogs must sense apprehension in me, which heightens their own apprehension, but I just can’t help it. Perhaps I should have taken the tranquilizer.

“What did you think,
that joy was some slight thing?” ~ Mark Doty, from “Visitation

So over the weekend the temperature dropped, and we had snow flurries, but by the morning, the snow was gone. The wind kicked up significantly, which made the sliding door rattle and shake. One of the things on our to-do list in the house is to replace the insulation, which I know is shoddy. I had to stop watching “Holmes on Holmes” because the list of new products that I want to try in the house when we proceed with the renovation has gotten ridiculous, but I love that spray on insulation that he uses. Very cool.

Jesuit Church, Kaunas, Lithuania

Yes, I can even get excited over insulation. Sad, I know, and yet more proof that I do not leave this house nearly enough.

All of this reinforced for me that I do not like the cold unless it is accompanied by snow. Bitter cold is nasty, and such weather always brings to mind those movies in which men appear with frost in their moustaches, and everyone’s breath comes out like exhalations of smoke. And while that is all very romantic in the movies, it is not nearly so in real life.

Add to this that the cold has quite deleterious effects on my body—stiff hands, aching back and neck. Joy, joy, joy. (Oh, unintentional play on the quote . . .)

“First, he says, you have to go out into the world. This is not a simple matter of going outside one’s door. No, that is simply going out. That’s what one does when one is on the way to the store to buy a loaf of bread, some cheese, and a bottle of wine. When one goes out into the world, one is shedding preconceptions of past paths and ideas of past paths, and trying to move freely through an unsubstantiated and new geography. ” ~ Jesse Ball, The Way Through Doors

Speaking of getting out, Corey did a little research on Lithuania and discovered these two disconcerting facts: The country has the highest suicide rate in the world, and the highest homicide rate in Europe. Those are not good statistics no matter how you look at it.

Hill of Crosses Near Siauliai, Lithuania, by percivalsmithers (FCC)

I told him that he should not leave the boat while he is there. Of course, most of Europe views the U.S. as one large old West expanse in which everyone owns a gun, and simply walking around leaves one at risk for attack. We fear that which we do not know.

But what do I know, anyway? To prove myself wrong, I decided to search for images of Lithuania, which I have included in today’s post (of course I put the snowy one on top). What I discovered was some lovely Medieval architecture, beautiful churches, and this place called the Hill of Crosses, which is located in northern Lithuania near Šiauliai, the fourth largest city in the country.

According to one site, “There are tens of thousands of crosses planted on a hillside in Lithuania in Kryžiu Kalnas. No one knows for sure why the custom started, but the crosses began appearing in the 14th century . . . The city of Siauliai was founded in 1236 and controlled by Teutonic Knights during the 14th century. The tradition of placing crosses seems to date from this period and may have risen as a symbol of Lithuanian defiance toward foreign invaders. Since the medieval period, the Hill of Crosses has represented the peaceful resistance of Lithuanian Catholicism to oppression.”

“The pact between page and voice is different from the compact of voice and body. The voice opens the body . . . The page wants proof, but bonds. The body cannot keep the voice. It spills.” ~ Rosmarie Waldrop, from Reluctant Gravities

So I’ll close with this little section on the Grammy Awards. I don’t usually watch awards shows as I find them very boring, but I tuned in last night for two reasons, we don’t have cable at the moment, so I couldn’t watch my regular channels, and also, I wanted to see Adele’s live performance (post-surgery). I never made it that far into the show.

Russian Orthodox Church, Lithuania, by AntoniO BovinO (FCC)

I mean, I loved hearing the Jason Aldean/Kelly Clarkson duet, and I thought that I would like Sir Paul’s performance, but instead, I found it rather sad: his voice has lost something in recent years.

But what did it for me, what made me turn off the show was the whole Chris Brown thing. As with most things, I haven’t forgotten that Chris Brown beat the crap out of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. However, it seems that the industry has forgotten this little aspect of his personality. Perhaps he’s cured in their eyes . . . not. He not only performed (on the same stage that Rihanna later performed on), but he won a Grammy.

P’shaw.

I don’t expect celebrities to be perfect, nor do I idolize them. I do, however, know that many, many impressionable young minds look up to people in the music industry. So what does this turn of events say? That it’s okay to very publicly abuse your significant other as long as you have anger-management treatment, and then everyone can just go ahead with their lives as if nothing happened? And in fact, we’ll reward you three years later because you are just that good?

Puleez. I mean, really. Apparently, I’m not the only one who felt this way, angered by seeing Brown strut like a peacock across the stage, as this article in the Chicago Tribune attests:

In an op-ed, Valerie Strauss for The Washington Post said that while people deserve second chances, “That doesn’t mean they deserve a chance to strut around the Grammy stage a few years after being convicted of felony assault.”

Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic tweeted: “I don’t look for the Grammys for moral clarity, but, really? Do the words ‘felony assault’ mean anything at all?”

Enough said.

More later. Peace.

One more image:

Senamiestus, Vilnius, Lithuania, by Sarunas Burdulis (FCC)

Music by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, “Don’t You Want to Stay” (seems appropriate)

                   

From Moral Proverbs and Folk Songs

1.
The deepest words
of the wise men teach us
the same as the whistle of the wind
when it  blows
or the sound of the water when it is
flowing.

2.
Mankind  owns four things
that are no good at sea:
rudder, anchor, oars,
and the fear of going down.

3.
Beyond living and dreaming
there is something more important:
waking up.

4.
Pay attention now:
a heart that’s all by itself
is not a heart.

~ Antonio Machado (trans. Robert Bly)