“Carry with you maps and string, flashlights, friends who make you sing, and stars to help you find your place, music, hope, and amazing grace.” ~ Mary Chapin Carpenter

Stonehenge November Sunset

Stonehenge November Sunset

 

“Maybe what we leave
Is nothing but a tangled little mystery
Maybe what we take
Is nothing that has ever had a name”

Random thoughts about nothing at all:

Today has been one of those days that just seems to be a never-ending river of crapppola. Nothing really in particular, just a bad day, I guess.

Some good news: Vane Brothers called and unofficially offered Corey a tugboat job. The catch? It won’t be until the end of the year or beginning of next year. He has mixed emotions about it, which I understand. I mean, how can you get excited about a job that will probably happen, but no guarantees?

Clent Standing Stones Winter Sunset
Clent Standing Stones Winter Sunset

Alexis stopped by this evening. She was very chatty. Her doctor has adjusted her meds again, and she seems to be in better spirits emotionally. That makes one person in the family . . . So she’s talking about the holidays. Who is doing Thanksgiving. What she is buying for Christmas. Have I mentioned that I absolutely hate November?

Listening to my “Music to Work By” playlist. Jamie O’Neal’s “There Is No Arizona” is currently playing. I love that song. I love to sing that song. I love the words to that song. I miss singing. Maybe one of these days, Corey and I will be able to go to the karaoke bar that we used to go to, and I can get my singing fix.

I had wanted to watch the original Halloween movie in honor of, well, Halloween. But for some reason, the DVR did not record it even though I scheduled the recording. ‘Twas not meant to be. Just as well. Corey doesn’t really like it, and I didn’t want to watch it alone. I reminded him that I watch his scary movies with him and had him almost convinced he needed to watch with me, and then it wasn’t there. We watched some other scary movie instead, and it turned out to be totally predictable. I hate that.

Have I mentioned that I am out of reading material? Dream job: Own a bookstore that is just mine all mine. Then I can stock books that other people don’t have and read the stock. Of course, independent bookstores are going the way of the atmosphere and clean drinking water. It’s hard to compete against the Barnes & Nobles of the world.

“Maybe love will fade
Like the parchment pages of our history
Maybe life is made of flickers
From some brilliant, burnished flame”

Standing Stones of Stenness England
Standing Stones of Stenness, England

My friend Sarah had another round with the courts today. She is going through hell with the court system over her ex-son-in-law and his mother’s request for visitation  Apparently, his mother can still see the children, but the good news is that the ex (drug addict and cop assaulter) is not allowed to be present. Exactly how does one go about ensuring such a thing? Sometimes the laws that are supposed to protect minor children really bother me. Of course, everything varies city to city, state to state.

Tomorrow is election day. I managed to get my mother to say that she would go vote. I told her that we need all of the Democratic votes that we can get in this particular governor’s race. I’m not holding my breath, though. Virginia is far too fickle when it comes to politics, especially in governor’s races.

Social Security denied my disability claim—again. Essentially their reasoning was that since I can dress myself and move my arms and legs, I’m not entitled to disability. It’s a good thing that I’m covered by my insurer. However, I know that my insurer will want to appeal, which makes sense since coverage by Social Security would mean that the insurer no longer has to pay for me.

Still rainy and chilly here. I’m wearing a pair of red socks that have penguins all over them. I love my Christmas socks. Wearing them is one of the better things about the weather becoming cooler. I know, small things amuse me.

We received a nice surprise on Saturday. My sister-in-law in Germany sent us an early holiday box filled with German chocolates, cookies, marzipan, coffee, and a beer stein for Corey. He doesn’t drink beer that often, but he has always wanted an authentic German stein. Helma said that she wanted to send us treats because we always take such good care of Phillip and Hannah when they are visiting. The whole family really enjoys their visits, so spending time with my niece and nephew is never a chore.

I’ve been having strange dreams again, but I’m not remembering them as well. This may actually be a good thing because I’m hoping that it means I’m getting a more restful sleep. I told Corey that I would love to sleep for eight hours uninterrupted one night. No dogs nudging me, no waking up because I’m thirsty, no waking up because I hurt somewhere—just eight solid hours of sleep. One day, maybe.

I’m dreading the holidays this year. Normally, I love Christmas and hate Thanksgiving, but I think that Christmas this year might be just as bad as Christmas was last year, which was last minute and stressful. I really hope that I don’t become like my mother, who does nothing but bitch about the holidays. In all of my life, I think that my mom has only liked her Christmas present from me maybe three or four times. I’m not exaggerating. I love to buy special presents for those I love. It’s not spending money that makes me happy; more, it’s finding something that I think is really suited to the person for whom I am buying the present. We’ll just have to wait and see how this Christmas turns out.

A word about the images, since my last post on Druids, I have had standing stones on my mind, hence, the photos of several standing stones from across the United Kingdom, courtesy of Wiki Commons.

I stress too much over the strangest things and find pleasure in really tiny things. I don’t think that I’ll ever understand myself.

“Everybody strains to hear the sound
Of their heart’s calling
Now you can write yours down
It’s your life story” ~ All quotes from Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “It’s Your Life”

Callanish Standing Stones
Callanish Standing Stones

When I grow up, I want to be a ballerina . . . writer . . . doctor . . . lawyer . . . Broadway star . . . marine biologist . . . teacher . . . fabulously wealthy . . . writer . . . poet . . . farmer . . . Peace Corps volunteer . . . president. Now, I would settle for being debt-free, pain-free, and somewhat sane. Funny how things change. 

Check out the peace sign character that I’m using instead of a bullet or diamond. Again, small things . . .

Here is Jamie O’Neal singing “There Is No Arizona”:

 

 

More later. Peace.

 

“We convince by our presence.” ~ Walt Whitman

Blue River Henry County Indiana by Julayne

Blue River, Henry County, Indiana by Julayne

 

“Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.” ~ Walt Whitman

“When I give, I give myself.” ~ Walt Whitman

Sings of Autumn U of AK campus JJ
Signs of Autumn, U. of Alaska Campus by Janson Jones

Earlier this morning when I let the dogs out, I stuck my head outside and inhaled deeply. Yep. Smells like fall.

Even though we don’t live in the country, so to speak, the air still has those fine seasonal permutations in which sounds and scents can be discerned. Today promises to be in the low 60’s and sunny, or so says my little weather icon. Part of me could live in clear and cool in the 60’s every single day of my life. Not hot. Not cold. Not gloomy. Not snowy.

Yet, there is still that part of me that aches for the tropics. Not so much the heat as the blazing sun and azure waters. Feeling the fine grains of sand beneath my feet and falling asleep to the sound of the incoming and outgoing tides. I find that very appealing.

People who are from this area know exactly how fickle the weather can be. It can be 80 degrees on Thanksgiving Day. It can snow five inches in the middle of March. We can go from a high of 86 on Monday to a high of 60 on Tuesday. Everyone talks about how wonderful it is that we have such mild winters, but that makes me yearn for snow. And as I have said before, spring is entirely too short: We virtually run through spring directly into summer in about two weeks. But fall does seem to last a bit longer, which is fine by me.

“The future is more uncertain than the present” ~ Walt Whitman 

I’ve had this feeling of late that I am coming to some sort of crossroads. Part of that feeling is probably due, in part, to the fact that we are now at a do or die time for Corey to get a job, and the outlook for him being able to get a job on a tug boat is looking extremely dim.

Forecasts for the shipping industry do not anticipate any kind of upturn in the industry until 2010. I just read about a strike by some tug workers in New York harbor because of hiring practices.

Fall FoliageSo we have been discussing alternative careers. I know and Corey knows that circumstances will probably make it more than a possibility that he is going to have to shift his career if he is going to get a job anytime soon, which makes both of us more than a little melancholy. He just finished those classes to get more endorsements on his Merchant Marine Document (MMD), and he is more qualified than he has ever been at any point in his shipping career. But there just aren’t any jobs.

My Captain is without a vessel. I really ache for him. I, too, know what it is like to be out of work (not the current circumstances of being disabled), but avidly looking for work, and getting nothing but the standard, “We’ll put your resume on file” response. After the first 50 times, it’s hard not to begin to turn inside and think that there must be something wrong with you.

Statistically, in this kind of stagnant economy, I think the old saying is that for every 100 resumes you send out, you can expect to get 1 interview. Bummer, huh?

But even though we are still on this see saw, I have this gut feeling that a change is coming, not exactly sure what kind of change, but some kind of change. Change can be good. Right? I should embrace this gut feeling. Right? Then why do I feel trepidation?

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” ~ Walt Whitman 

Perhaps trepidation is too strong. Fear is too dramatic. Icky feeling in my gut is poorly phrased. What’s the word that I’m looking for? Agitation? Perturbation? Palpitation? Hesitation? That’s it: hesitation.

I am hesitant to embrace any kind of gut feeling that might portend a change for the better. After all, if you convince yourself that things are looking up, that’s about the time a grand piano falls from the sky and lands on your head.

Skyline DriveIs it any wonder that I really liked the story of  “Chicken Little” when I was a child? I suppose I have always been a glass half-empty person. I mean, if I won the lottery, after being incredibly excited, my very next feeling would be dread because of the taxes that I would have to pay. I know. I know. I’ve been talking about hope and strength and peace of mind, but the nudge side of me keeps intruding.

My ex used to call me a nudge, as in I could never let something go. I would keep nudging until it erupted or died like the proverbial dead horse on the front lawn. I’ve really worked on the whole letting go thing. I think that I’ve gotten much better. For example, whenever I used to get into an argument, I was never ready to apologize and move on. I do apologize now, and I actually mean it sincerely 99 percent of the time.

But I don’t think that I’ll ever get to the point at which I can say (truthfully) that I have let go of the perturbation at having been wronged by someone (other than Corey). I mean, I don’t openly dwell as much; truth be told, I don’t dwell to the point of internal agitation. But every once in a while, a memory of a situation in which someone has treated me badly will pop into my brain, and I will stew for a bit. I really wish that I could overcome the ability to remember past wrongs with such clarity. The rest of my memory seems to be getting fuzzier, but not the “Oh. I have been done wrong” part.

But I digress . . .

“Not I—not anyone else, can travel that road for you,/You must travel it for yourself.”  ~ Walt Whitman  

Crossroads. Fall. Right.

I do feel that I am coming to some sort of divide in the road, Frost’s two roads diverging. And I will probably take the path less trodden upon as it seems to offer more in the way of surprises. I’m just hoping that they will be good surprises, for a change.

Fall is my season of big change. Almost everything significant in my life has happened in the fall—good and bad. Job changes. School. New friendships. Losses. All in the fall.

I also find that I write more in the fall. I am planning to get back to my daily writing in October: posting everyday, getting back into my routine of writing about something, anything every day. Fall is also my time for poetry, perhaps because my psyche is has embellished upon it the memories of teaching literature classes to students who would groan audibly when I would mention poetry. By the second week, they wanted more. It’s all in the words, the ways in which we share them, the manner in which we connect with them.
sunset on skyline drive
Perhaps the change that I sense is the bounty that fall brings to my life. Perhaps not. Not being a seer, I have no way to tell. I just know that something is looming, just over the horizon. And I think that I am actually ready for it.

So I will pause and make myself cherish the coming days. Go outside more and breathe the air, watch the birds, listen to the geese as they fly overhead, and smell the leaves, the chrysanthemums, and enjoy my season.

I have used quotes from Walt Whitman in this post because his words have been echoing in my brain. In particular, there is one long quote by Whitman that is among my most favorite:

“This is what you shall do: love the earth and sun, and animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence towards the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men; go freely with the powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and mothers, of families: read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life: re-examine all you have been told at school or church, or in any books, and dismiss whatever insults your soul.”

I have included James Wright’s “A Blessing,” as it is one of my favorite poems, and it jumped into my mind as I was writing this post. Obviously, it was supposed to be here.

More later. Peace.

A Blessing

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

~ James Wright

                                                                                                   

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