“Anyway this is just a note to tell you I’m in a new shell or an old one, like a hermit crab and the ink is now out of two of my pens and this is the last one. I have no more ink in the house tonight. I’ll keep you posted.” ~ John Steinbeck, in a letter to Pascal Covici, September 1948

Sibutu Island, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines* 

“Dreams are the unfinished wings of our souls.” ~ Simon Van Booy, The Secret Lives of People in Love

Tuesday evening. Hot and humid.

Coral Reef, Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines

Two dreams from last night that have stuck with me:

First, I dreamed that I was with Jammi. She and Austin (her ex) had bought a home, but the house itself had to be moved. Jammi was driving the truck that was pulling the house on a trailer. I was in the truck with her. We moved through the streets of Norfolk very slowly until we arrived at the location in which the house would be placed. It was on a hill.

Great, I thought, but Jammi backed the house onto the hill, and it slid into place. We went inside, and there was a lot of work to be done. We worked on painting and putting up wallpaper, but the next day, it all had to be done again. I didn’t feel that I could do all of that work again.

Austin had to leave that day to go back to the war. I asked Jammi if she ever regretted her decision. It was a question that had been on my mind. She looked at me a long time and then looked at the floor as she answered me, “It was the right thing to do for the kids.”

In the second dream, I am embarking on a cruise with my mother, father, and my two sons; my sons are about eight and nine. It is very crowded getting on the ship, and my mother and I become separated from my father and the boys. I tell my mom that we need to follow the line to get to the dining room. We go down a long hall full of people, and then we are in line for dinner, but it is cafeteria style. I’m wondering what happened to the dining room and the wonderful food.

I get in the salad line first, and the lettuce is frozen. I’m already disgusted and wondering where my father is. Then I get in a line for sushi, but the sushi is like the nasty kind that is prepackaged in supermarkets. I order something that will take 15 minutes and am told that it will be brought to me. I wonder how they will find me.

A steward approaches my mother and me and tells me to follow him. He takes me into a room where my dad and the boys are lying on a blue bed; the boys are playing a video game. They’ve been there the whole time waiting for me. The boys are wearing communication devices on their wrists, and they could have sent us a message using those, but they didn’t think about it.

The whole cruise sucks already.

“I write this very decidedly out of despair over my body and over a future with this body . . .” ~ Franz Kafka, from The Diaries, 1910

Friday night. Cool and clear.

Bongao, Capital of Tawi-Tawi Province

So I didn’t get back to this post until now. On Wednesday, I saw my pain doctor and got trigger shots all over my neck, back, and lower back. I lost count. My doctor said afterwards, “Wow. That’s a lot of shots.”

No kidding. I actually thought that I might throw up on the way home. I guess they bothered me more because it’s been several months since I’ve had any trigger shots, and I was one giant muscle spasm. I woke up every three hours or so and took another muscle relaxer (no worries, I’m supposed to take two at a time, and I only take one usually). By Thursday morning, I still hurt.

Fortunately, to take my mind of my excruciating back pain, I got to have my breasts smashed. Yes, the annual mammogram, which, it turns out, I have not had since 2008. I’ve been—shall I say—neglectful of my ta tas. Anyway, let me explain this to those of you who may be unaware: Mammograms hurt more for small-breasted women because the technician has to take your champagne-glass full (before flutes) and pull it onto the platform. I feel like saying, “I’m not Gumby. I don’t stretch that way.”

Not to mention, I went to the wrong building for my appointment and was told to go to the first floor of building 880. I went into the office in building 880, and the woman says, “We don’t have you on the schedule.” Finally, I take out my appointment sheet, and I say, “Am I here?” like I’m some kind of moron. The woman says, “No, that’s next door.”

I’m hot, and the little bit of makeup that I dared to put on is running down my face, and I’m afraid that I’ll be late for my 3:30 therapy appointment. I ask the woman if they can just do my boobs there. She checks with the people in the back (those ominous faceless people one never sees in a doctor’s office), and then tells me that sure, they can work me in.

Done and done. Of course now, I hurt on my back and front . . .

“We hear in retrospect what we have understood.” ~ Marcel Proust

An Island in the Tawi-Tawi Province, Philippines

Well, the computer is going so slowly tonight that I feel sort of like I do in a traffic jam: that I could make more progress if I got out of the car and ran alongside the cars, only in this case, it would be faster if I turned pages by hand instead of searching through files. I fear that I may have to abandon this post once again and come back to the computer possibly in the morning after running a scan; I know when I’m defeated.

Saturday evening. Hot and humid.

After removing spyware and adware, deleting unwanted files, and scanning, the computer seems to be working a bit better, seems being the operative word. I did get this funky black screen when I rebooted, one I have never seen before, so that was a bit scary . . . So where was I?

“The color of truth is grey.” ~ André Gide

Tawi-Tawi Archipelago, Philippines

I find that my mind is not even anywhere near the track I was on when I first began this post, and I probably should have scrapped the whole thing except I hate to do that. I feel as if it’s wasted time. I mean, I’ve picked out the quotes, and I have an idea as to the theme that I’m going to use for my images. I usually already have my poem and song picked out, so to scrap everything because the post is all over the place is a bit disingenuous, especially since that’s exactly how my mind works most of the time anyway—all over the place.

So I’ll finish on this note: I went with Ann, my s-in-law to see her mother today. It was not the best visit as she was in and out as far as being able to converse. We had stopped at McDonald’s to get her a cheeseburger and fries for lunch, which she seemed to enjoy, but she turned down my offer to paint her nails, and didn’t really seem to want me to put lotion on her legs. A few other things happened while we were there which caused me to get rather brusque with her nurse, but I don’t want to get into it.

The other news is that my ex father-in-law, who was admitted to the hospital about ten days ago after falling and breaking a couple of ribs, will also not be coming back home. Ann went to see him on Friday, and she said that while he is more coherent than m-in-law, he seems to know that he is dying.

I texted the kids to let them know the status on their grandfather. Eamonn got back to me right away. Alexis got back to me eight hours later with more of the same: Sorry, will be over soon, ya da ya da ya da. I didn’t bother to reply. I’m going to try to take Eamonn and Brett to see their grandfather this coming week.

This is all too depressing.

More later. Peace.

Music by Aimee Mann, “Save Me”

                   

The Tawi-Tawi group of islands is located at the southwestern tip of the Philippine archipelago. It lies along the earth’s equatorial zone and is composed of 307 islands and islets, 88 of which are characterized by extensive reefs. Tawi-Tawi is an island province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The capital of Tawi-Tawi is Bongao. The province is the southernmost of the country sharing sea borders with the Malaysian State of Sabah and the Indonesian Kalimantan province.Tawi Tawi is a province that consists of 107 islands in the Sulu Sea, once part of a land bridge linking Borneo

                   

in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to
grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who
proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting
seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things
beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting
find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us
free)
forgetting me,remember me

~ e. e. cummings

“Simplicity, carried to the extreme, becomes elegance.” ~ Jon Franklin

cyberspace

Cyberspace

 

“It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements as they tend to sound pretty silly in 5 years.” ~ Johann von Neumann (1949)

Had an appointment with my headache doctor this morning. New strategy: Lots of magnesium and no more of that specific class of preventive meds that have been giving me so many negative side effects. Also a new medicine for migraine onset. The doctor gave me a couple of samples (did you know that pharmaceutical companies are doing away with reps and delivering samples to offices? I didn’t either. I love samples). When I showed the samples to Corey, he said, “Haven’t you already tried that one?” I’ve tried so many different ones that I really cannot say whether or not this is a repeat. We’ll see.

Anyway, here’s hoping that this latest combo will work . . . who knows. Got 14 trigger shots from neck down, and then I came home and crashed, really crashed. Probably had the soundest four hours of sleep that I’ve had in the past three weeks. Go figure.

While waiting for the doctor, I skimmed a copy of  Newsweek, and I came across an article that says that Google is losing money on YouTube. Apparently, when ruler of the information highway first acquired YouTube for $1.65 bilion in 2006, Google thought that it was buying a cash cow.

Wrong.
YouTube logo
YouTube, which most everyone knows, is a site that supports user-generated content. This content, which is uploaded to YouTube at something akin to the speed of light, eats up bandwidth (for storage, retrieval, shuttling, etc.). According to a report cited by Slate Magazine, those who know these things (you know, forecasters, them), say that YouTube’s broadband connection will probably runs around $350 to $400 million a year.

Then, Google has to pay for the rights to show licensed material that is submitted by professionals. That’s another $250 million or so. The result is that by the end of 2009, YouTube will have cost Google an estimated $500 million or more, depending. These are all industry estimates as Google isn’t too keen on revealing exactly how much of their $6 billion in profit is being dropped on YouTube.

“I see little commercial potential for the Internet for at least ten years.” ~ Bill Gates (1994)  

Cyberspace greenApparently, Google thought that they would be able to support YouTube with sidebar tile advertising on the site. What they didn’t count on was that advertisers really don’t want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to have their product placement next to a video of a skateboarding dog (although I don’t really understand why because that dog is awesome (kidding, just kidding)). So the stream of advertising revenue has been, shall we say, running dry, which makes YouTube a big old albatross around Google’s neck.

Granted, Google’s profit neck is pretty hefty, but almost half a billion dollars is a big money pit.

According to the article, YouTube is “the third-biggest site on the Internet, with 426 million monthly visitors who upload 20 hours of video every minute.” That, my friends, is a lot of streaming and a megaton of bandwidth. I’ll bet those former PayPal employees who created YouTube are patting their pockets knowingly. Their sale of YouTube to Google, making the site a subsidiary of Google, garnered the former owners a nice profit, and they got out while the getting was good: before the explosive expansion of YouTube.

“Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin  

You Tube Capture
YouTube Capture of Talking Squirrel

Personally, as you probably know from reading my blog, I love YouTube. I think that it’s one of the best inventions since Twizzlers in a four-pound plastic tub. I mean think about it, YouTube brought politics into the homes of millions of people last year. Because of posts by ordinary people, we were able to see pictures of President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention that showed angles different from mainstream media.

The political process—something too many Americans ignore—became the subject matter of countless videos uploaded by ordinary people. Thanks to YouTube, videos of the Presidential inauguration became almost instantly available, a bonus for those of us who were unable to attend the historic event.

Not to mention the fact that YouTube is a great source of music videos created by people with computers and an eye for images that pair well with a song. YouTube allows the world access to bands and musicians of which they may have never heard.

YouTube also brings stark images of our fallen warriors coming home, of our dedicated service men and women in the field—things we used to be able to see only on the evening news, and then for only a moment or two.

Granted, YouTube is also a source of complete idiocy: Videos of celebrities making complete fools of themselves, images of people falling off ladders, minutes of nothing but callers to radio shows revealing their ignorance. It’s free entertainment for the masses, and the masses cannot get enough of it.

“The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it.” ~ Samuel Johnson

Internet Cafe aboard cruise ship liberty
Internet Cafe Aboard Cruise Ship Liberty

All of that being said, I have no doubts that the brains at Google will eventually come up with some way to crunch the bandwidth problem so that the profit to loss margin for running YouTube can be reversed.

And YouTube has taken its place in Internet culture: For every silly baby face video, there exists another video of an, as yet, unknown guitar player in his bedroom. Remember the unknown Korean student who played Pachelbel’s Canon on the electric guitar? His video is ranked as the 6th most viewed video in the history of the site. Oh, and he isn’t unknown any more. Initially known as “funtwo,” the extremely talented guitarist was identified as Jeong-Hyun Lim, and his hands are amazing.

Undoubtedly, YouTube has become an integral part of computing for millions of people. Internet Cafes: the new social scene. Cruise one, and chances are good that someone is going to be streaming YouTube. Isn’t cyberspace a wonderful thing?

“This is just the beginning, the beginning of understanding that cyberspace has no limits, no boundaries.” ~ Nicholas Negroponte 

I thought it only fitting to close this post with my latest discovery, which I got from Tweetzy Deetzy on Twitter. Here is Finland’s Apocalyptica doing “Nothing Else Matters.” Awesome and then some.

More later. Peace.

Stress: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

An Overworked Mind

This is called “An Overworked Mind.” I can definitely relate.

 

“Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers.” ~ Nikita Khrushchev (just because)

Short post for tonight, more of an update. This has been my day:

  1. Visit to my wonderful pain doctor. Sixteen, count them sixteen trigger shots from my neck all the way down and across my back to my right butt cheek. Too much information? Tough. Try getting the shots.
  2. Picked out the perfect frame for Eamonn’s prom picture. He has been bugging me ever since he got his half of the pictures that he and Kelsie had taken at the prom. They are actually very nice. When I have time, I’ll scan and post it. Anyway, stopped in Target for a quick run to look for frames since they are within 2 minutes of the pain doctor’s office. Target, who used to have a wonderful selection of frames, no longer carries much of anything. I suggested T. J. Maxx. Corey, keeping the budget in mind, relented.
  3. Went to T. J. Maxx, looked longingly at flowing sun dresses that I would love to have. Looked but did not touch. Went to frames. Found one great frame for $3.50 for the 5×7 that Eamonn gave me to put in the living room, and a nice glass drop-in frame for his picture. Managed not to spend very much money at all, and both frames cost less than one frame would have cost at Target. Take my advice thrifty shoppers: The Maxx is still the awesomest for housewares (speaking of which, saw some towels I would kill to have. Our towels are sooo old and tired).
  4. On the ride home began to feel pain from shots that I tried to keep at bay by taking pain meds after office visit. Discussed the issue of closing car factories in the U.S. and what that means to American consumers. Seriously, would you buy a brand spanking new Chrysler with one of those great deals if you knew that getting parts down the road might be a problem? Something to consider.
  5. Got home. House was hotter than hell. Trying not to use living room A/C because it is dripping water onto brick. Water damage. Yuck. Temperature was 91° F. Tried to sit down in my desk chair. Spilled my Pepsi on the bedroom floor. Shakes ran in from outside soaking wet as he wanted to show me that he had jumped in the pool. Brett was in meltdown over presentation. I considered turning around and walking back out of the house.
  6. The glass frame that I bought for Eamonn’s picture for his room was too big. Needed to do something creative. Went into Photoshop to create a lovely background to paste onto the piece of white chip board that came with the frame. Found the perfect paper in my assorted collection of decorative papers. Played around for about half an hour until I got the sizing right. Gave it to Eamonn. Actually got a “Thanks, Mom” for the effort. Yay for me. Sweating like a pig.
  7. Checked e-mail to see if there was anything from Brett’s history teacher. No. But lots of updates from Goodreads. Always fun, when I find the time. Meanwhile, Brett is pouring over index cards I printed out for him and claiming that he does not have the right stuff. What’s the right stuff, I ask, trying very hard not to lose my temper because I’m tired and perspiring like a worker on a chain gang. I don’t know. That answer won’t help me. Moving right along.
  8. Suggest to Eamonn on his way out the door that it would be nice if he calls his grandmothers to ask them personally to attend his graduation. Mumbled answer. No idea what he said.
  9. Towel on floor that is sopping up the Pepsi is shifted slightly to the right to clean up wet paw prints from Shakes coming into the house straight from pool and bypassing towel.
  10. Some kind of strange little flying beasties, not big enough to be flies, not small enough to be gnats, have taken up residence in the bedroom. It is now cooler outside of the house than inside the house. So glad I bothered to put on makeup today. Resenble the Joker.
  11. Still haven’t gotten around to taking more pain medication for the 16, count them 16 shots that I got today. Going to get right on that.
  12. Eamonn has two days of school left. Hooray? Brett still has more days left. Any days left are too many for  me.
  13. Haven’t gotten around to working on Socratic method of analyzing Macbeth, and don’t really see how that’s going to work since the whole basis of the Socratic method is question and analysis . . . whatever
  14. Would kill for a big chocolate milkshake. From Sonic. Now.
  15. Time to depart to watch Enemy at the Gates so that Brett can bone up on his Russian accent. Of the movie choices that include Russian accents, this was his choice. Pretty good choice, too. Haven’t seen this movie in a while, and if I remember correctly, it’s a good one. Seems to me at the time that it first came out, Eamonn wanted to be a sniper. Obviously, that phase has long past.
  16. Tillie is in the living room having a conversation with Brett about her ball. How do I know this? What a silly question.
  17. I think that I’ll paint my fingernails while I watch the movie. Maybe I’ll have a glass of wine instead of a milkshake.
  18. I would kill for something chocolate, preferably by Lindor, preferably in the form of Lindor balls.
  19. Did I mention that I saw some towels that would be so beautiful in the bathroom, that is, as long as you just looked at the towels and not the bathroom.
  20. I would dearly love to be able to shop for clothes that fit. Someday. Maybe this year. That would be nice. Makes me salivate to think about it, that and chocolate, and the new towels.

Oh well. Quick update. My life as it is. Can you stand the level of excitement?

More later. Peace.

“Pain is never permanent.” ~ St. Teresa of Avila

st_teresa_of_avila-by-john-singer-sargent

St. Teresa of Avila by John Singer Sargent

 “Give me life, give me pain, give me myself again” ~ Tori Amos

ecstasy-of-st-teresa-of-avila-by-bernini
Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Just a short post tonight, short for me that is. I had an appointment with my pain management doctor today. During these appointments, I usually get trigger shots in the parts of my back that are knotted. I’ve mentioned these trigger shots before.

Now, my tolerance for pain is actually quite high, which is how I continued to work for four years before having back surgery to try to remedy the problem. Of course, the surgery did not remedy the problem. No, it exacerbated it, but that’s another story, one that I have already told.

Moving right along . . . So these trigger shots do not usually bother me. I have had up to 12 in one day, and the shots themselves have only, on occasion, caused me a bit of pain.

May I just say that today was a first as far as the pain level? When the doctor came in, I greeted him by telling him my story of how I fell down the stairs and landed on the cement floor with my foot turned under me. I told him that I thought that the shape that my back was currently in was probably attributable somewhat to the fall.

I ended up having 10 shots in total. Each and every one felt as if he were sticking the needle into a solid mass in my back, neck, shoulders, and even derrière. Probably too much information there, but you need to appreciate how much of my body was involved in this situation. By the time he was finished, my jaw hurt from clenching.

Now some of you may think that I am exaggerating here, that  no one gets that many trigger shots in one visit. Trust me, I did, and I have. It’s just that this time my back was so tight (this after taking muscle relaxers before going to my doctor), that it rebelled against the insertion of these tiny needles.

“The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.” ~ Arthur Shopenhauer 

st-teresa-of-avila-as-a-young-woman-detail-by-francois-gerard-1827
St. Teresa of Avila as a Young Woman (detail) by François Gerard

So anyway, I’m supposed to go home and put heat on my back after these shots. Did I? Of course not. Don’t be silly. While I was out, I wanted to get some things done, like getting the nose piece put back on my glasses. Afterwards, I was amazed by how well I could see again. Without the nose piece, my glasses were not fitting my face correctly, and I was looking through the wrong part. This may account for my trying to work on the computer without my glasses. The big screen helps, but I’m pretty sure that I was squinting at times (which may have contributed to my recent stress headaches).

Then, while I had Corey in the mood to go places (ha), we went to Bed, Bath & Beyond (Beyond what, exactly? The horizon? The budget? Reality?). I had a 20 percent off coupon that was burning a hole in my wallet, and I had seen a tablecloth that was on sale. Need I say more?

Suffice it to say that we made the entire circuit of the store; however, we did not spend a great deal of money. We got the tablecloth, which I want to put on the dining room table to protect it from the people in my family who fail to use coasters with sweating glasses. I know that if I walk in and see glass rings on my new dining room table, I will blow a gasket or have heart failure, so in an effort to avoid that, I thought that a nice, inexpensive tablecloth would be the perfect solution.

While we were there, I had to look at everything though; otherwise, how would I be able to enjoy the whole Beyond experience? I found a very reasonably priced black canvas basket to put my books in, that is, the books that I have not yet read.  Corey’s response was incredulity: “Another basket? Don’t you already have a book basket?” I replied that yes, I do have a basket, but it does not have corners as it is an oval basket. Consequently, my books are being mistreated by having to adapt to a curved surface. We bought the basket.

Then I remembered that I still don’t have a picture insert for my wallet. All of my family pictures (except my beloved picture of Caitlin and me) were taken with my wallet, and I’m sure, immediately tossed (Why would a thief want pictures of my family?). I like to have pictures of all of my honeys with me just in case someone I haven’t seen in a while says, “Do you have any pictures?” If I have to answer in the negative, I give the impression that I don’t really care about my family, including the dogs, so I really needed the photo insert. Which resulted in a trip to Dollar Tree, where everything is one dollar (such a deal)!

We were supposed to run in and out as it was getting late, and Corey hadn’t cooked dinner yet. But then I saw the silk flowers, and since tomorrow is Caitlin’s birthday, I realized that I needed to make a new arrangement for the urn at the cemetery. And then there was all of that Easter stuff, and I wanted to make a basket for Alexis. Yes, I realize that she is a grown woman. So? She still gets a kick out of Easter baskets just as I do. I found a very nice square, pink cloth basket that she can use for accessories afterwards.

As a result, the in-and-out trip to Dollar Tree turned into another half an hour before we made it home, which is why I am posting so late. We arrived home four hours after I got my shots. Imagine how my back feels . . .

I have my regular doctor’s follow-up appointment tomorrow morning at 11 at which time I will find out the results of my lab work. I’m not at all sure that I want to know. I’ll just hope for the best.

“Our souls may lose their peace and even disturb other people’s, if we are always criticizing trivial actions . . .” ~ St. Teresa of Avila 

light-upon-st-teresa-of-vila-by-chris-steele
Light Upon St. Teresa of Vila by Chris Steele

So I’ll just end of this note for now: Teresa of Avila may have been a saint, but I don’t agree with her assessment of pain, and I’m not sure that given the circumstances of her life, she should agree with her assessment. After all, during her illnesses she experienced religious ecstasy, which led some to accuse her of being one with the devil. As a result, Avila was a proponent of self-flagellation. Avila’s most well-known quote is  “Lord, either let me suffer or let me die.”

I know. I know. I’m horrible for making fun of a saint. But I’m not making fun of Saint Teresa. I’m merely contesting the validity of her quote. So before anyone gets torqued out of shape at how disrespectful I’m being of a revered saint, just remember, I’m irreverent about everything. I’m an equal opportunity cynic.

Now that I’ve cleared that up . . .

Lyrics from Joan Osborne’s St. Teresa

Oh, St. Teresa, higher than the moon

You called up in the sky
You called up in the clouds
Is there something you forgot to tell me…
tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me

Show me my Teresa, feel it rise in me
Every stone a story, like a rosary

We all have our quirks and beliefs, but I draw the line at mortification of the flesh. But then again, I’m not a saint.

And yes, I know. This post wasn’t any shorter. I’m a blonger; what can I say?

As usual, more later. Peace.