“Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.” ~ Cyril Connolly

Venetian Masks

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” ~ Ben Okri

A beautiful spring day here. Tillie is outside playing ball with Corey. Brett is playing XBox Live with a friend from school, and I’m sitting here squinting at the screen because of the pulsating pain that is omnipresent behind my forehead. 

Carnevale di Venezia

Ah, the rich pageantry of life . . . 

I received my lab results in the mail from my last visit to my PCP, and boy were they not good. My triglycerides are high, as is my cholesterol. My liver function is abnormal, and so is my glucose level. The only good news is that my calcium is in good shape, so no brittle bones for me. The reality is that I’m a slug, a slug on the precipice of diabetes, and I have to do something about it. Yes, I know. Exercise is the best possible remedy, and I have had that particular item on my things to do list. Just hasn’t happened yet. 

It’s funny. I run a lot in my dreams, long, beautiful strides, moving like air. In real life, I cannot run. It just kills me. Running would be the fastest way to get in shape, but I do not foresee that happening anytime soon. So, it’s time to get the exercise bike out and do some regular pedaling. At one time, when I belonged to the community center, I was doing my regular weight workout and cycling eight miles a day, so obviously I can do it. Now, I just need to get off my buttocks. 

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

As I type, I can hear Shakes in my closet, trying to shift my shoe boxes so as to build a more comfortable nest. I swear that the Jack Russells think that they are cats. They do possess some very cat-like qualities. 

Venetian Volto (full-face) Mask

I am reading a book about Mary, Queen of Scots. Quite interesting. The biggest problem that I have when reading history comes from the surplus of names. Until I am well into the book, I find myself continuously going back to the list of characters to clarify a person’s identify. So many lords of this and that—it becomes confusing. I do love to read history that is well written, though, especially when it involves some sort of murder. 

I still remember a revisionist book that I read years ago called Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, I believe. It was a retake on Richard III in which the king is made into a kinder, gentler character. Fascinating. My image of Richard III relies heavily on the Shakespearean play, one of my favorites, but reading an alternate version was eye-opening. 

The problem with some historical fiction is that it can drift into so much supposition, as was the case with Patricia Cornwell’s supposed dissection of Jack the Ripper’s identity, or it can be romanticized, which doesn’t really serve anyone well. 

“I want an infinitely blank book and the rest of time . . .” ~ Jonathan Safran Foer

Let’s see . . . what else is going on in my little world?  Not much, I have to say. I watched a television movie, “Who is Clark Rockefeller?” Unbelievable. I watched it because I had heard about this con man a few years ago who claimed to be a Rockefeller, you know, one of the Rockefellers. Turns out, he wasn’t, but not only was he not one of the Rockefellers, he was a German immigrant who had remade himself about five different times, including an incarnation in which he may have been involved in a murder. 

Feather Mask

I know that some people must think that it would be easy to spot a con man or woman for what he or she really is, but I don’t think so. I think that if someone is really good at creating personas, it would be very hard to see through that mask. I mean, we all wear masks that are dependent on where we are or who we happen to be with at any given time. However, for most people, the depth of these masks is quite minimal. It’s called adapting. 

But people who possess the goal to completely recreate themselves—new names, new histories, new everything—that involves something quite different from mere adaptation; it’s regeneration. And I imagine that to do that, there must be a level of commitment that is beyond what most of us have within ourselves. I’m not talking about a mere alias, or a writing persona. I mean the whole egg: voice, inflection, hair and eye color, mannerisms, clothing, and so much more. And putting all of that on and not taking it off for years at a time. I think that there would have to be an underlying psychopathy in the individual. 

This Clark guy was married for 12 years and had a child. His wife did not realize that he was a fake until the divorce proceedings. The feds had a hard time believing that she had no inkling, but as she stated, she was in love and had no reason not to believe him even though there were signs along the way. This was a Harvard MBA, a woman with a powerful job. She was not by any means stupid. 

“You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

Carnival Masks

But think about it: How many of us have put on an act when first meeting someone, especially someone of the opposite sex who we were trying to impress?  So many little white lies, so many affectations. I dated someone when I was a teenager who was an inveterate liar, truly. He just did not know how to tell the truth. Being young and in love, I would tell myself my own lies when I caught him in an inconsistency. It was easier that way. Eventually, I allowed myself to face the truth and moved on, but I understand how sometimes we do not see what is right before us because it is easier. 

All of this brings me to a question, something that Corey and I have had many discussions about: Is an omission a lie? I believe that it is. He does not believe that an omission is a lie. I am wondering if this is a gender thing . . . 

I mean, I have always felt that not telling someone that you have done something that might affect your relationship (and I don’t mean what you ate for breakfast or who you sat next to on the train) is the same as lying about it, but are my standards unrealistic? It’s entirely possible. My association with the habitual liar made me very wary; I freely admit that. And then too, my own lies of omission make me suspicious. By that I mean that at one point in my life, I was guilty of several major lies of omission, not in my relationship with Corey, but with someone else. At the time, it was just easier not to say anything. But I suppose that I am sensitive to lies of omission having used them to my advantage in the past. 

What do you think? 

More later. Peace. 

Music by Leonard Cohen (yes, Maureen)—”In My Secret Life” 

 

                                                                                                                                 

I’m including a bonus link to a slideshow from Parabola Online Magazine. Thanks to Crashingly Beautiful for continued inspiration: A Snowy Day at Seven Jewels Lake by Ven Bikkhu Bodhi  

  

 

Advertisements

And the Sun Shines Again

fog-at-the-beach-by-marge-levine-pastel

I love this pastel by Marge Levine entitled “Fog on the Beach”

“The art of art, the glory of expression, and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.” ~ Walt Whitman

“The fog comes in on little cat feet . . .” ~ Carl Sandburg

Finally, after eight long, muddy days, the sun came out today. At first, the area was covered with a very thick blanket of dense fog, but by noon, it had burned off, and the sun came out, and the temperatures rose. May I just add a hallelujah here?

Tillie the lab was so happy that it stopped raining that she convinced Brett to take her to the park for a walk and some running action. They’ve both missed their park time. As have I. When Tillie doesn’t get a workout during the day, she wants to play all night, which includes trying to help me type when I’m on the computer. You may not know this, but Labradors like to type with their noses, which are quite big.

I had to have my blood work done this morning before my checkup next week. I’m hoping that all of my levels are much better this time, especially the triglycerides, which were through the roof three months ago. My doctor is in Hampton, which means that I have to drive through the Hampton Roads Tunnel to get there. It was a very cool trip on the way to the doctor as the fog had not burned off yet, and the Bay was covered in this white layer.

fog-over-westminster-bridge-and-parliament
London Fog Over Westminster Bridge With Parliament in the Background

I love to see fog on the water. It is a very ethereal sight. At the same time, I hate to see fog on the water when I know that Corey is on a boat because fog is so dangerous for people who work on the water.

I remember when I was small and we lived in London, there used to be fog so thick that it was virtually impenetrable. Pea soup fog it was called. My mother and I were out once when a very heavy fog descended on the city. As a child, I thought that it was a great adventure, but my mother still talks about how frightening the whole experience was—not being able to see anyone until they were right upon you.

I suppose that even at a young age I had a flair for the dramatic, which is why I loved the fog so much. I conjured up the possibilities of all kinds of strange things happening in the fog: people snatching children, wild dogs, and who knows what else. Need I mention that I had a very vivid imagination, which probably did not help my mother’s state of mind at the time.

I do have to admit, though, that I have never quite understood Sandburg’s quote about fog being like little “cat feet.” What is that about? Fog descends. It cloaks. It obfuscates. Cats pounce or slink or retire to another room when an obnoxious person is around. Besides, I have known very few cats who love water, and fog loves water. Okay, so I’ll stop on Sandburg now.

On the Lighter Side . . . Perhaps . . .

42-19062324
You want me to take what?

As I mentioned earlier, ever since I started taking my new migraine medicine I have been having the wildest, most vivid dreams. So today I thought that I would go on the web to see what some of the common side effects are for this particular medicine. I’m not talking about the list of “possible side effects” printed by the pharmaceutical company and included with the medicine. I’m talking about a blog on which people who are taking this medicine report their side effects. Not to my surprise, the list is long and a bit distressing:

  • Vivid dreams; nightmares (so this is not an offshoot of my vivid imagination?)
  • Night sweats (really don’t find this one even remotely attractive but am told that this will happen to me sooner or later . . . great)
  • Short-term memory loss (already have that one from the last medicine)
  • Memory lapses, as in drifting off while people are speaking to you (I thought that was natural for me)
  • Loss of hair (another reason I stopped taking the last medicine)
  • Weight gain (audible gasp and horrors)
  • Weight loss (much better)
  • Excessive clumsiness (now this is too much; I already trip on air when walking through the house)
  • Diminished libido (not in favor of this one)
  • Migraines (excuse me????? I thought that this was why I was taking this medicine)
  • Nausea (or as  my children used to say: naudeous, as in “I’m feeling naudeous”)
  • Acne (now that’s always attractive: acne in a grown woman)
  • Back acne (could that be why there is a diminished libido?)
  • Sensitivity to alcohol (good thing I only drink about four times a year)
  • Temperature sensitivity (puleez, tell me something new)

So in essence, the big ones that are possible are the same big ones for which I stopped taking the last medicine. The other possibilities seem so delightful that I can hardly contain myself. Right now, I’m on the lowest dose with a plan to increase the dose in increments. Almost everyone on the site mentioned that the worst side effects started kicking in at about 100 mg. This gives me something to look forward to, and if nothing else, I’ll have new topics for my blogs.

The Great Lighter Debacle

Every time I buy a double pack of those long disposable lighters—you know, the ones used to light grills or candles—they disappear. The culprit is my son, Eamonn. He takes them and leaves them in the Trooper, a once non-smoking zone. So the other night when the power went out, and I was searching for a lighter to illuminate the various candles around the house (he also steals those and puts them in his room), I could not find a single long lighter.

disposable-candle-lighter
Disposable Lighter: A Valuable Commodity in My House

After some swearing and hunting for matches in the dark, I managed to light the candles that were in shallow jars or dishes, but I was mightily vexed—resulting in my decision to purchase at least four of these buggers and hide them around the house. The problem was that with my short-term memory loss (see section above), I kept forgetting to ask Corey to pick some up when he went to the store.

I finally remembered a few days ago when Corey was going to that horrible bastion of low low prices and killer of small businesses, Wal Mart. But Corey came home without the lighters. He said that they were just too expensive there and that he was sure that he could find them cheaper somewhere else. Fine by me.

So when he went to Target to get special dog cookies (the ones with eucalyptus that help with the dogs’ sewer breath), Corey picked up two packs there. He walks in the bedroom with one and says, “Can you light this thing?” I look at him as if he has grown a third eye and grab the thing out of his hand, only to realize three short seconds later that whoever designed this damned lighter has not only made it child-proof but adult-proof as well. First, you are supposed to move the child-proof lever to the side (of course there is no picture, and nothing is labeled on the lighter). Then, while holding that lever to the side, you are supposed to push in the button to ignite the lighter. Except this maneuver does not work. At all. No flame. No blue butane hue. Nothing. Nada.

Two grown adults and one gifted youth could not make these lighters work. I kid you not. We put them back in the package, and Corey took them back to Target today. The woman at the customer service center asked if there was anything wrong with them. Corey told her that there was nothing wrong besides the fact that some idiot had made them impossible to light. (I think that she may have thought that he was exaggerating; just wait until someone at the store tries to light one).

The end result was that we had to further our search for a long lighter that didn’t cost an arm and a leg and, if the planets were aligned correctly, would light on demand. Fortunately, Corey found some.

We now have them hidden in various parts of the house. Meanwhile, I bought Eamonn a new candle for his room and a small disposable lighter. We’ll see how long it takes him to find the good lighters.

On that note, more later. Peace.

Totally Random Thoughts . . . Just Because I Can

cupids-bow-lips

Love This Color and Would Wear It On My Cupid’s Bow Lips

Luscious Lips, Cowboy Chips, and Delicious Sips

On With the Celebration . . . If We Must

polar-bear-shakes
A Rear View of My Jack Russell Shakes

My mother dropped by to wish me happy birthday this afternoon, and I was still in my pajamas. Obviously she had something cheery and complimentary to say. My reply: “Because I can.”

My dog Tillie is a spoiled brat, but that doesn’t matter because for the 18th year in a row, the Black Labrador Retriever took the top spot as the most popular purebred dog in America according to the American Kennel Club. Pshaw. I could have told them that. However, Jack Russell Terriers didn’t show up anywhere on the list of the top 20. Hmmm. Maybe it’s because when JRT’s get chubby, they turn into Polar Bears. Hmm . . .

Governor Blagojevich of Illinois is a certifiable doofus. The man just doesn’t know when to shut up. Todcowboyay’s press conference included some allusion to cowboys and stolen horses and John McCain and Ted Kennedy. If I read him correctly, six cowboys will attest to the fact that the governor was back at the ranch when the horse was stolen? I think he’s smoking too much oregano again.

So my mother calls me for the fifth(?) time today to give me breaking news. There is a group of doctors called Advanced Pain something and they are looking for people who suffer from migraines . . . I interrupt her to tell her that they are called Advanced Pain Management, and I’ve been seeing them for five years, which, if she ever listened to me, she would know.

My oldest son says this to me this afternoon (swear to god): “Mom, we got you a card or something, but Alexis has it, and she’s not here yet, so I’m going to play basketball. Okay?” Sure, honey. Why not . . . it’s the thought that counts after all.

It’s All In The Genes

So I make no bones about lying about my age. I figure that it’s no one’s business exactly how old I am. It’s up to everyone else to do the math and keep up. Luckily, I inherited those great Filipino genes from my father, which means that grey hair is minimal and can be taken care of every three months or so since it’s only at my temples. I have pretty good skin except for this crevasse next to my left eyebrow. Now, no one else can see it, or so they say. But it’s there. I know that it’s there, and last night I declared that if my Olay Regenerist serum did not do its job and make it go away, I was going to get Botox to make said crevasse go away whether they could see it or not because I know that it’s there. I heard lots of “oh my gods” and heavy sighs, but hey, I’m too young for a wrinkle, and I can be deloooosional just as long as I want to.

goldcuffbracelet2I need a new piece of jewelry. Not want. Need. Look, life seriously sucks right now. The only bright spot is on a national level. I cannot live vicariously through Michelle Obama. I mean, she’s surrounded by Secret Service 24/7. I have no desire to be surrounded by Secret Service. That is definitely not fun. I don’t have a publicist to work with, so I’m not going to be published anytime soon, which means that I’m not going to have the money to fix all of the money-related problems. So what would you have me do? Jewelry. It’s the only answer. Binging on chocolate will give me a migraine and make me gain weight. Drinking too much is bad for me. Sloth? What’s new about that?Obviously I need a trinket of some sort. A ring, a bracelet, nothing too big. I mean, I’m not greedy.

Speaking of chocolate, my triglycerides are, shall we say, in the stratosphere as compared to where they should be. So I accidentally land on this website that has this whole weight loss program based on Acai and body cleansing. So, I’m game. I start reading, especially since it’s FREE! What is this miraculous Acai? Well, from what I can tell, I’m mispronouncing it in my head, and it’s “nature’s perfect food.” If I start on this program, I’ll increase my energy and stamina, lower my LDL cholesterol, strengthen my immune system, fight cancer, and—now this is the big one—lose weight. Hooray!!!

Of course I don’t believe it. And of course, you also have to pair the Acai program with a “total colon cleanse” (how delightful). So I’ll be ordering mine tomorrow once I can put my birthday money on my debit card. What? I’m tired of being plump, especially in my tummy. I love Pooh, but that doesn’t mean that I want to look like him. Besides, it will help my cholesterol levels, which will help my triglyceride levels, which if you had any idea how high they were, you would be aghast, simply aghast I tell you.

Moving right along.

My Lipstick/Gloss Addiction Worsens

I feel the need to assert my position on something: I see nothing wrong with wearing lip gloss in the house. I believe that I have probably mentioned my addiction to lipstick in this blog more than once. I need to have something on my lips at all times; otherwise, I feel naked. In the past year, I have downgraded to lip glosses. However, since I don’t go out of the house very much, I don’t wear makeup as much as I used to, which has its good points and its bad points. But I miss my lip gloss. So when I put in my last order to Avon for deodorant, I just happened to notice that their lip glosses were on sale at a very reasonable price, so I ordered three in light, medium and dark shades.lip-glosses

When Alexis came by yesterday, she noticed the new lip glosses on my dresser and asked why I had ordered them. When I explained my reasoning, she had the audacity to laugh at me, as if wearing lip gloss in the house was an absurd idea. We both turned to Corey, who was smart enough not to weigh in with anything more than a shrug. The truth of the matter is that I actually miss wearing my makeup, not everyday, but most of the time. I like to wear makeup. It makes me feel complete.

I mean, I’ve been working professionally since I was 18. I was working at the newspaper. I left college every day, or depending upon my schedule, I went to work before school. I had to be dressed for work, and I had to look professional. So wearing makeup and having my hair done has been a part of my daily routine for . . . well for quite a while. When I leave the house now, I wear makeup, lipstick, earrings. But some days when I’m not going anywhere, I still feel like moving beyond my normal slothful state. I’m beginning to feel as if Kevin Spacey is going to come after me for committing most of the seven deadly sins all by myself, which wouldn’t be too bad if I were married to Brad Pitt.

My Bad Habits and Those of Complete Idiots

red-wineWhich leads me to red wine. No, there is no connection. It just led me to red wine. Most people with migraines cannot drink red wine because of the tannins (that’s only one theory). I actually appreciate certain red wines. For example, one of my favorites is an Australian Shiraz, which I discovered right before Corey and I were married. Now, if I drank one glass of red wine each evening, it would help me in two ways, it would help to lower my cholesterol and be good for my heart, and it would probably take care of my insomnia. I’m thinking of buying a bottle of Shiraz just to see what it does for my head. I haven’t tried to drink red wine in almost nine or ten years. Corey likes it. It’s one of those damned if I do situations, so I might as well.

And I would just like to say here that if I see one more commercial for “Girls Gone Wild,” which is the type of commercial you see in the wee hours of the morning when everyone else is asleep . . . where was I . . . oh yes, “Girls Gone Wild,” I may have to bang my head against the wall. All right, all of you XY people out there, calm yourselves. Yes, I am quite aware that no one is making these girls participate. That is not my issue. My issue is that these girls are so incredibly stupid as to lift their shirt for anyone, to get blotto on camera and stick their tongues down their best friend’s throats with the least little bit of coaxing . . .

In other words, any iota of common sense that they may have had before they went on spring break was tossed out the window when someone brought out the cameras, and NOW, their fathers, thinking that they are going to see some hot young things, are going to have the surprise of their lives when they see their own daughters and the little girls they’ve known since they were three on the camera showing everyone their thongs. Booyah. You go girlies!

Okay. I think that I’ve covered enough things for now. I think that my birthday is over in all of the time zones, and it’s safe for me to raise my curmudgeonly head again and say thank you to all who sent wishes my way and pog ma hon (thank you Gary Banim) for making me feel older than I feel, which, truth be told, isn’t really possible since I’ve always felt older and looked younger and hated my birthday.

There will be more later. Peace.