“I think my life is of great importance, but I also think it is meaningless.” ~ Albert Camus

George Bellows Churn and Break oil on panel 1913
“Churn and Break” (1913, oil on panel)
by George Wesley Bellows

                    

“Why walk in the eye of a private tornado,
looking as if your life depended on taking cover
sooner rather than later?” ~ Rachel Wetzsteon, from “Questions and Answers”

Wednesday afternoon. Cloudy and mild, sixty-two degrees.

A very bad night, restless, a creeping headache. Then this morning the pain medication caught up with me, and my body began to itch all over. Why am I telling you this? Who knows. A preamble to what is to come? Perhaps.

George Bellows Tang of the Sea 1913
“Tang of the Sea” (1913, oil on panel)
by George Wesley Burrows

You see, my mother is driving me crazy. For the past few weeks she has been calling me, nearly hysterical over her car. Right after she broke her leg she bought a new Honda. I tried to talk her out of it, but she would not hear of it. I think she felt she needed a new Honda mostly because Lex and Mike had bought one. Anyway, I was not involved in the financing of it; why would I be? But she had a balloon payment at the end of three years. Ever since the Honda finance people contacted her about said payment and her options my world has turned to crap.

At one point I intervened and spoke with the general manager of the dealership that sold her the car. We had things straightened out. Then my mother got back on the phone, and chaos ensued again. Now she is calling me, telling me that the stress of this is making her heart race, saying that she just can’t take it.

Which leads me to this: Does the woman ever stop to think that perhaps someone else is having a really bad day? That the person on the other end of the telephone my be a tad overwhelmed with stress?

Short answer: No. Never.

“And somewhat as in blind night, on a mild sea, a sailor may be made aware of an iceberg, fanged and mortal, bearing invisibly near, by the unwarned charm of its breath, nothingness now revealed itself . . . that darkness in which eternity lies bent and pale, a dead snake in a jar, and infinity is the sparkling of a wren blown out to sea; that inconceivable chasm of invulnerable silence in which cataclysms of galaxies rave mute as amber.” ~ James Agee, from A Death in the Family

So today there have been at least two calls and two messages, during which she yells at me and tells me not to argue with her. This when I am only trying to get a telephone number from her.

George Bellows The Gulls, Monhegan
“The Gulls, Monhegan” (c1913, oil on panel)
by George Wesley Bellows

In the meanwhile, I’m stressed beyond belief over Corey leaving Sunday for his training. The trip is open-ended. He may or may not be back at the end of the week. He may or may not go straight to a ship. He may or may not be here for Christmas . . .

Unfortunately, at the moment we are existing on two paychecks from Louisiana unemployment, which is at least $100 less/week than Virginia unemployment, and we just had to drop almost all of that on the plane ticket for him to attend new hire orientation and training. I’m stressed because I hate for him to leave without having sufficient money in the bank for him to fall back on. Who knows what circumstances may arise. In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how to pay the utilities, phone, cable, etc. with imaginary money.

“My stoic, unconvinced world,
world of the paper heart,
is it that you don’t know grief
or haven’t had enough of it
that you let yourself
be governed so?” ~ Katie Ford, from “Overture”

Now that everything is set, and Corey is definitely going to begin a new job next week, it’s time for me to worry. While he was worrying about his medical tests, I was fine. I mean, I wasn’t worried because I just knew that everything was fine (I had that feeling, you know?), and it was. The urine test showed a false positive on his bilirubin levels, but the blood test showed that it was fine. That being said, now that he’s beginning to allow himself to become adjusted to this new phase in our lives, I am becoming less adjusted.

George Bellows Sunlit Surf, 1913
“Sunlit Surf” (1913, oil on panel)
by George Bellows

It’s the yin/yang thing, I suppose.

Mostly, though, it’s worry over bills. With the transition to any new job there is always a hiccup in income, waiting for the new pay period to kick in. For him, the first one is going to be December 20. My disability comes in at the middle of the month, but that is always spent before it ever hits the bank.

Add to this the fact that I am completely unprepared for the holidays, have done absolutely no shopping, and I’m getting that sinking feeling. So let’s just make this state of affairs completely unmanageable by adding my mother’s drama because, gee, why not?

“My soul is so heavy that no thought can carry it any longer, no wing beat can lift it up into the ether any more. If it is moved, it merely skims along the ground, just as birds fly low when a thunderstorm is blowing up. Over my inner being broods an oppressiveness, an anxiety, that forebodes an earthquake.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard, from Either/Or, Part I: Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. 3

I feel the need to scream, silently, of course because of the head thing. Loud noise = migraine . . . (by the way, did you know that sensitivity to smells is called osmophobia? I didn’t until my pain doctor used the term, but I digress . . .) And then whenever I think about screaming, I think about Edvard Munch, and then I forget because the painting is too good.

George Bellows Rock Bound 1913
“Rock Bound” (1913, oil on panel)
by George Wesley Bellows

Nevertheless, a scream might release some of this pent up anxiety, or barring a scream pounding my fist into something, but it would do nothing about my mother, and I would be left with more stupid pain.

In the back of my mind I have a song refrain playing: “Leave me alone, oh leave me alone, oh leave me alone, oh leave me alone. Won’t you leave me, leave me alone?” So of course I had to hunt it down. It’s an old Helen Redding song called “Ruby Red Dress” (that’s Redding of the “I Am Woman” song), and the actual lyrics are these:

Leave me alone, won’t you leave me alone
Please leave me alone, now leave me alone
Oh leave me alone, please leave me alone, yes leave me
Leave me alone, won’t you leave me alone
Please leave me alone, now leave me alone
God leave me alone, just leave me alone, oh leave me . . .

But while I was looking that up, my mother called again, yelled a lot more, and then ended the conversation by saying to me, “I can’t talk to you. You’re just like your father.”
Have I ever mentioned that my mother has perfected the art of hanging up on people? It’s quite obnoxious.

“This is what it feels like to split the shell of a woman.
Shards of her everywhere. Animal light spread across

the walls.” ~ Raven Jackson, from “My First Lover Speaks to Me as I Sleep With Her”

Sorry this whole post has been a rant. I actually do not feel as if I am in rant mode. Rather, I feel particularly heavy—heavy heart, heavy mind. All of my thoughts feel too heavy for my head. The air feels too heavy to breathe. My neck feels to heavy to hold up my head, and my eyelids are too heavy for consciousness.

George Bellows Green Breaker 1913
“Green Breaker” (1913, oil on panel)
by George Wesley Bellows

At times like these, I wish that I could breathe under water. How wonderful it must be to dwell beneath the sea—stippled sunlight, brilliant colors, muted sound, as dark as you care to go deep, or as light as the space just beneath the surface.

Unfortunately, not a possibility, gill-less that I am. Still, it’s my whole love affair with the sea that holds sway with my thoughts. To that end, today’s images are by American Realist George Wesley Bellows (August 12 or August 19, 1882 – January 8, 1925), who died at the age of 42 from  ruptured appendix. Bellows was well known for his boxing paintings, but I prefer his land and seascapes, particularly the churning sea depictions as they match my mood today. As a bonus, I created a gallery to go along with this post. (Playing with art soothes me.)

I need a vacation from my life.

More later. Peace.

                    

Music by Lucie Silvas, “Cry a Little More”

                   

Untitled

Van Gogh writing his brother for paints
Hemingway testing his shotgun
Celine going broke as a doctor of medicine
the impossibility of being human
Villon expelled from Paris for being a thief
Faulkner drunk in the gutters of his town
the impossibility of being human
Burroughs killing his wife with a gun
Mailer stabbing his
the impossibility of being human
Maupassant going mad in a rowboat
Dostoyevsky lined up against a wall to be shot
Crane off the back of a boat into the propeller
the impossibility
Sylvia with her head in the oven like a baked potato
Harry Crosby leaping into that Black Sun
Lorca murdered in the road by Spanish troops
the impossibility
Artaud sitting on a madhouse bench
Chatterton drinking rat poison
Shakespeare a plagiarist
Beethoven with a horn stuck into his head against deafness
the impossibility the impossibility
Nietzsche gone totally mad
the impossibility of being human
all too human
this breathing
in and out
out and in
these punks
these cowards
these champions
these mad dogs of glory
moving this little bit of light toward us
impossibly.

~ Charles Bukowski

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“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” ~ Haruki Murakami, from Dance Dance Dance

Iceland colon The Blue Lagoon by Captain Oates
Iceland: The Blue Lagoon
by Captain Oates (FCC)

                   

“It occurs to me, then, that people themselves are full of tunnels: winding, dark spaces and caverns; impossible to know all the places inside of them. Impossible even to imagine.” ~ Lauren Oliver, from Pandemonium

Thursday evening. Very cold, windy, snow flurries.

People are insane around here. They see flurries, real flurries albeit almost microscopic, and they freak. Everyone rushes to the grocery stores and gas stations as if they are going to be unable to leave their houses for days. It’s laughable and annoying at the same time.

Seyðisfjörður - Iceland by Gilles Chiroleu FCC
Seyðisfjörður, Iceland
bu Gilles Chiroleu (FCC)

Anyway, about the whole doctoral program application, here’s the deal: Yesterday I finally found a more explicit page on the website that gave January 5 as the deadline unlike the other two pages that said January. Obviously, I have missed the deadline, which at first gave me great angst but also filled me with a sense of relief.

Corey reminded me that I can use the coming year to better prepare for a return to school, take the tests I need to take, etc. But, and this is a big but, I will be one year older, and the truth is that there is ageism in doctoral programs. Last year the program had 97 applicants and accepted 8. I would be up against people fresh out of master’s programs, people more likely to be able to get jobs.

I’m not really sure how I feel about all of this, but I have ordered some GRE prep materials off EBay nonetheless. I also need to unearth my Norton Anthologies and do some cramming from them. I hope they haven’t fallen prey to the elements or the critters.

“Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of an owl?” ~ Mary Oliver, from “Some Questions You Might Ask”

We postponed our sushi date for my birthday until this weekend. I really didn’t feel like putting on real clothes and leaving the house yesterday, that and I was quite full from the Eggs Benedict that Corey made me for brunch. So delicious. So we’re going for sushi and then taking the boys to see Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.

Islandsk landskap by nordon dot org cc
Islandsk landskap
by nordon.org (CC)

A special thank you to Leah in NC whose package of birthday chocolates arrived today, feeding my addiction, so bad but so good. Thanks for remembering my birthday even though I would rather forget it.

Oh yes, back to the year older thing and the application: Doctoral programs are very competitive, which makes me ask myself the question, the pertinent question—is this the program that I want, or is it the program to which I am applying because of the tuition assistance. For people like use tuition assistance is a very big deal, but I had really wanted to do my doctoral research on Polish poets, specifically Wislawa Szymborska. I’m not sure if GW’s program would encompass that.

The whole thing is so very confusing. The only thing that I know for certain is that I want to work on my doctorate; I have wanted this since I was in my 20’s and the desire has never gone away, which is saying something. I want this so much that I am willing to prepare for the GREs, and I really loathe standardized tests as I never do well on them.

Perhaps I can still be a gopher for Peter Jackson and fetch his tea . . .

“The thing is to understand myself: the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die. That is what I now recognize as the most important thing.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard

I don’t know if you know this, but I really try not to repeat my quotes, music, or images, which means that sometimes I have to search on key words in my posts past. I did that today to double-check on one of the quotes, and a post from two years ago popped up in which I was talking about seeing Alexis’s friend Jennifer in the hospital. I mention this only because I was so certain in that post that Jennifer would not have long to live. Thankfully, I and so many others were wrong. She is still happily around today, raising her son. It’s nice to be wrong about something like that.

Svartifoss Cascade, Iceland by Victor Montol CC
Svartifoss Cascade, Iceland
by Victor Montol (CC)

I heard from my s-in-law Helma a few days ago. Apparently when I mailed her Christmas Card in which I included a letter, I omitted a digit in the zip code, so she didn’t get the card until a few days ago. I’m just glad that she got it at all. She is having a very hard time with Patrick’s death. I really wish that she wasn’t an ocean away so that we could sit down over coffee and just talk. It hurts to know she’s hurting, but at least she has all of her family nearby.

I find that’s the problem with most of the women with whom I am close emotionally—physical distance, as in too much of it. That’s partially another reason I would like to be back in school, to meet new people, have some outside stimulation beyond these cracked-paint walls.

“Once there was
a ceramicist who cast vessels on the scale
of human beings. Asked why he punctured each
one by striking the soft clay with a two-by-four,
he answered, ‘To let the darkness out.’” ~ Laura-Gray Street, from “Phosphenes and Entopics”

I found a new site for poetry: The Fishouse, which is a site that promotes the oral tradition of poetry by posting recordings of poets reading their work. They showcase emerging poets, which they define as those with fewer than two published books at the time of submitting. According to the About page, “From the Fishouse takes its name, and the spelling of “Fishouse,” from the writing cabin of the late Lawrence Sargent Hall. Hall renovated the former codfish-drying shack and wrote in the space for 50 years.”

See. My idea to have a writing shack is not unique. Space is important. Ambiance is important.

Old Shed in Iceland-XL by Trey Ratcliff Stuck in Customs
Old Shed in Iceland
by Trey Ratcliff, Stuck in Customs

At this moment, I am sitting at my desk, which is tucked away in the corner of our bedroom behind the door. Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful to have this space, which in our house, is a premium. But it’s dark and cramped, and I cannot help but feel that I might be more inspired if I could hear the birds outside or at least have natural light pouring in the windows.

Oh, what am I going on about? We’re just lucky to be able to pay for my health insurance (which is finally up to date and reinstated), and I’m whining about not having a room of my own.

“All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?” ~ Jalal al-Din Rumi

So let me leave you with this thought: When is the last time you breathed? Not the automatic respirations that your body does on its own, completely separate from your will or thought. Not that kind of breathing. But the kind during which you pause and then inhale deeply and slowly through your nose (or mouth if you’re asthmatic), then exhale just as slowly. The breath measured, counted, and in so doing, given meaning.

Dyrholaey, Iceland by Martino! FCC
Dyrholaey, Iceland
by Martino! (FCC)

Bet it’s been longer than you thought, hasn’t it? I know it was for me.

I came upon something, probably on tumblr, that posed that same question, and it made me pause. I couldn’t remember the last time I made breathing active, the last time I paid attention to my lungs expanding and contracting, to the way the air moved into my nose, to the sound that ensued. And I have to admit, it felt good, really good to breathe, not because the opposite would be terrible, but because the act itself was affirming. And for me, that’s saying quite a lot.

Grace in small things.

More later. Peace.

Music by Trespassers William, “Vapour Trail”

                    

The Soul

It disappeared.
It reappeared
as chimney smoke
that burnt through carcasses
of swallows stilled,
and that it portrayed no will
was why I followed that smoke
with this pair of eyes.
It was that it didn’t need
or require my belief
that I leant upon it
as a tired worker
upon
a gate.

~ Katie Ford

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

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

                   

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

Saturday afternoon. Cloudy, impending showers/storms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cinque Terre, Italy, by JoeDuck (FCC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More later. Peace.

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

                   

I Remember

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

~ Anne Sexton

“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate—that’s my philosophy.” ~ Thornton Wilder

 

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” ~ Rainer Marie Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

I haven’t done an update in a while, and since I am supposed to be filling out FAFSA applications for both Brett and Eamonn, I thought that this would be a good topic to keep me from completing more forms. So here goes.    

Twenty-five things:   

  1. This time ten years ago I was just beginning my relationship with Corey as friends and co-workers.
  2. Egret in Flight
  3. Five years ago I was miserably working for a real estate company as a marketing director.
  4. This time last year I was doing exactly what I’m doing now: frittering my life away, attempting to write, being a slug.
  5. One of my favorite moments at the museum was the time that I was at the shoot for our Monet exhibition, and there was a frog wrangler. Seriously.
  6. Corey and I were walking through the Botanical Garden when we decided to get married.
  7. My dad loved to go fishing late at night, and when I was a girl, it was always a treat when he took me with him.
  8. The part of my body that I hate the most is my neck. Second, my arms.
  9. I think that Gwyneth Paltrow has a lot of nerve complaining about her bat wings (upper arms) as she is skinny and knows nothing about real bat wings.
  10. When I was in the 6th grade, I pretended that the man in the picture was not my father. I am still ashamed of that.
  11. My cell phone was stolen out of my car by a man I let wash my car. I was so stupid, which is what the police pointed out in a neighborhood meeting about crimes committed by the men who went around and offered to wash cars.
  12. When I was a teenager, I cleaned my mother’s house every Saturday. No one made me. I just did it.
  13. I have a soft spot in my heart for short, elderly Filipino men.
  14. I think the reason that I am so intrigued by my dreams is that they are so much more interesting than my real life.
  15. I am afraid of snakes and centipedes but not spiders.
  16. I love to listen to the birds singing in the early morning, when the air is filled with many different songs, creating a natural harmony.
  17. Chickadee
  18. When I was little, I always wanted to have a sister, but not necessarily a brother.
  19. The most beautiful place Corey and I saw when were in Mexico was the Mayan ruins in Tulum. I much preferred the natural beauty of the ruins, the Iguanas,  and the blue water hitting the rocks to the crowded, touristy atmosphere of Cancun.
  20. The Mexican soldiers patrolling Tulum carry automatic weapons, which is quite a jarring sight in the midst of such natural beauty.
  21. I wish that elves and fairies were real.
  22. I have boxes and boxes of photographs that I have taken over the years but have never sorted or arranged. I also have several empty albums that I bought with the intention of putting the pictures into albums.
  23. I don’t think that there’s an episode of Law & Order that I haven’t seen, and the show has been on for 20 years.
  24. I still want to go back to graduate school to get my PhD.
  25. Is there such a thing as a family that isn’t dysfunctional?
  26. I have had three bosses for whom I would work again in a heartbeat—the City Editor at the newspaper where I cut my teeth, the marketing director at the Museum, and the Director of Marketing and Communications at GW.
  27. The worst boss I had was at the department store. He was a misogynist, and he had no sense of loyalty.

“Where am I? Who am I?
How did I come to be here?
What is this thing called the world?
How did I come into the world?
Why was I not consulted?
And If I am compelled to take part in it,
Where is the director?
I want to see him.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Twenty-five more things:  

  1. I once worked as a temp for a company that was so cheap that they counted paper clips.
  2. I used to clean my guy friends’ apartments whenever I visited.
  3. I used to dream of owning a muscle car. Now, I couldn’t bend down to get into one.
  4. Pelican at Sunset
  5. Someone once told me that my legs weren’t perfect and hers were because mine didn’t touch at the top.
  6. I wish that my legs still didn’t touch at the top.
  7. If I were a billionaire, after I paid for college for everyone in the family, I would set up a foundation specifically for young women in need of start-up funds. I would also start a foundation for unpublished writers to get the funds needed to work on their writing full time.
  8. If I were a billionaire, I would donate a chunk of change to the campaigns of whoever ran against Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and a handful of other extremists.
  9. One day I will go to Australia and Ireland.
  10. I sing to my dogs.
  11. I think that I’ve taught Tillie how to say I Love You, but she could be saying “I want cookies.”
  12. One of the most beautiful valentines I ever received was from a boy I was not dating. It was a hand painted butterfly, and in it he wrote a poem about me. I found out later that he killed himself the following year.
  13. I love pens but hate ball point stick pens that run on my fingers.
  14. When I was a little girl, I thought that I would help my mom with the ironing. I melted one of her blouses.
  15. I polished the floor of my grandmother’s house in the Philippines with coconut halves that were strapped to my feet. The dark floors were so smooth that it was like skating.
  16. I’ve always wished that I could draw.
  17. My parents had a tree on the side of their yard that I climbed and from which I could jump onto the roof.
  18. Cedar Waxwing
  19. I have wanted to live in Blacksburg ever since I went to grad school there, but I think that it’s more the idea of living in a college town.
  20. Corey and I want to go on another cruise one of these days.
  21. I remember returnable soda bottles.
  22. I have a vague memory of the shops on Portobello Road in England.
  23. The green grocer whose shop was just down the street from our apartment on Goldhawk Road in London was named Mr. Higgins. He gave me sweets.
  24. Two traditions that I think Americans should adopt are tea time and the siesta. Both make so much sense to me.
  25. I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes in over two years. I think that must be a record.
  26. Ideally, I would love to have a beach house and a house in the mountains. Then I could have the two environments that I love the most.
  27. I let my dogs steal the covers during the night.

“To be on a quest is nothing more or less than to become an asker of questions.” ~ Sam Keen

Twenty-Five Questions:   

  1. If you could have lunch with anyone in history, who would it be?  That’s hard. It’s a tossup between Thoreau, Einstein, or Anne Boleyn, all for different reasons
  2. What is the one thing you want more than anything else at this very moment? A haircut.
  3. What it the one thing you hope to accomplish this year? Work on my book idea to the point that I have something to show an agent.
  4. What do you hate the most? Intolerance, followed closely by a lie.
  5. What do you love the most? Love and being loved
  6. How old were you when you first encountered death in a real way? Twelve, when my mother’s father died
  7. What modern convenience would you miss the most: a computer, a cell phone, a television, a microwave? Definitely a computer.
  8. If you could do one thing for anyone in the world, what would it be? I would get a job for Corey.
  9. Which person that you do not know do you relate the most to? Virginia Woolf.
  10. What is your worst trait? Jealousy followed by insecurity.
  11. How do other people characterize you that doesn’t match how you see yourself? I am frequently told that I am confident, which I am not.
  12. What is the one thing in this world that you would eliminate if you could? Famine.
  13. Glass half empty or half full? Empty.
  14. Great Blue Heron
  15. Are people inherently evil or inherently good? Good.
  16. Do you keep secrets from those you love? No. Absolutely not.
  17. Where is the one place you return to again and again?  The cemetery where Caitlin is buried.
  18. Is there a place you go to when you need to clear your head? Barnes & Noble Booksellers
  19. Are you happy with your life? Not really. There are too many things I want to change.
  20. Which affects you more: smell or sound? Sound. Music has a way of playing into my moods.
  21. If you had the power to change one thing in your life, what would it be? I would have had another baby.
  22. What would your super power be? Flying
  23. Can men and women be friends without sex getting in the way? If one of them is gay.
  24. If you could live in another country, where would it be? Australia or Finland.
  25. When you are away from home, what do you miss the most? My dogs.
  26. Do you believe in revenge? In concept.

Well that was harder than I had anticipated. More later. Peace.   

Damien Rice, “9 Crimes”