Thursday, June 30, 2011

SIGHS OF A SUMMER MORNING




Here are some pug butts walking down the street. They were difficult to photograph discreetly. The one in the rear was very recalcitrant and I was a bit concerned that she (pink harness) was well.



Okay. I'm going up to the Adirondacks for the 4th. I have the time. And I have a bunch of stuff to pass along to Larry. He says I can have my own room in the boarding house that houses the Strand. So, I can take my down pillows, feather bed, quilt, stuffed animal, and nightie and leave them there. (I left my down booties when I went in February.) K says that I am Liz and Larry's Fresh Air Kid.

I hate leaving Cooder and Miep though. Miep is better but still subdued. Hard to know if it is the weather or not feeling completely well. Cooder thought she had better get some pets in this morning. That face! That shedding.

I have just been thinking about the last couple of weeks, the intensity of emotions with a heaping dose of self-scrutiny. If I can just continue to muse and focus in these ways, on these issues of dismissiveness, feelings of worthlessness and that nothing matters, and even the propensity to hurry up, be fast, and not feel, I will be ready to go out and be in the world on a daily basis. That means getting a regular job.

I need to manifest more of my ideas, for instance, actually get Fox in the Henhouse up and running.

Get the draft of Monsterwood finished and out there in the world. Figure out how I can get some of my other ideas moved along.  

Probably the biggest thing percolating now is expenditures;  how I spend my time, my money, my energy, and my heart and soul. I don't think I have been as conscious about "spendiness" in all these areas. I have hopes that increasing my attention to how I do things and what I do, might help me to be a bit more comfortable and satisfied in my life.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"YOU HAVE DONE WHAT YOU COULD."

Arrgghh. I finally sat down today to update my resume. I had not worked on a rewrite since I left Possible Worlds in 2004 and went to Flickerlab. Goodness, I am fairly sure I have forgotten quite a bit. I have a difficult time with getting appropriate perspective on myself. I am often quite vague about what I do and have done. Well, hopefully, all the hours logged in therapy and self-examination will help me be clearer and more positive about myself.

Okay, I'll admit it: it felt good (or something like it) to finally bite the bullet and work on the resume.

I had every reason to think the day was not going to be so great, given my being over-the-limit with white wine last night. I slept in. And it did take me a good long time to really get started, but I have been working steadily since 3:30 or so (it's 7:40 now). There comes a certain point where you cannot think about anything again. I think I am there.

Yesterday, though, summer truly arrived. The kids were so happy to be out of school you could feel it in the air. Everything turned down a notch. Mellowness prevailed, even in the weather, really.

I found another book of poetry at the library though I was trying to not see books. I liked this poem.

From A Letter to His Daughter
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities
no doubt crept it;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day'
begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with
your old nonsense.

This day is all that is
good and fair.
It is too dear
with its hopes and invitations
to waste a moment on yesterdays.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?

One fish
Two fish
Red fish
Blue fish


and what does this quotation have to do with anything?


Mea culpa, mea culpa
men have named you ...


I had my Brilliant Woman's Book Group Meeting
tonight
which can include imbibation
which is not the whole of the story
but which can influence the telling of it.


We read


Eugénie Grandet

and there was quite a bit of discussion about the merits of this book and the value of Balzac. And hey, isn't that a conversation we all want to join in.

As for me, at this moment, I am still a bit emotionally consumed or spent by the last four or five days and not yet ready to jump in full feet with all that is lurking on my mind.

Monday, June 27, 2011

THE WORST ARE FULL OF PASSIONATE INTENSITY?

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity."


- W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming

These past few days embroiled in an escalating and finally pointless argument have left me wondering about the nature of friendships and maybe human relationships at all. How does one know the rules and the boundaries? Are there any out there besides "do unto others as they would do unto you?"

Although my contact with R has been sparse, I think we both feel like that Yeats' stanza.

When I re-read our correspondence, I continue to be astonished at the tones and turns a seemingly solid relationship can take. I have known R for almost twenty years. We have been through some difficult and challenging times, including a "fling-ette," living across the country from one another, his marriage and divorce, my long term affair/relationship, and gosh, the Bush administration and 9/11.

He has always been competitive, as well as kind of cantakerous, but I have always liked curmudgeons (there, something else I liked about my dad!). R is an excellent artist, sharply intelligent and probing. He was the kind of person who likes to be argumentative.

I have posted this many times before, most notably when my brother Carl died. But here I am in further mourning, thinking about Barbara and her pain. And now having lost R and mourning that.

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

-by William Stafford

I value my friends who push and challenge me. If those near and dear to you won't question you and hold you to a higher, or high standard, then who will? As far as I am concerned, we, those of us who band to together to combat the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, can spar and battle (and that can include bleeding and crying) to keep us sharp and focussed, and, if you will, even righteous, when the darkness gets too deep and there are difficult actions for courageous hearts to take.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

VAYA CON DIOS

Yesterday, there was a memorial in Oakland for our friend Barbara, who, you will remember, jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge about a month ago. There is a photo of all those who attended each wearing some piece of red as it was her favorite color. Quite a sea of love and respect.

Her choice stays with me. I spend time thinking of her and that choice every day.

I hadn't seen Barbara in a year or more, maybe since the Christmas Eve party at Denis' and Erik's where Barbara wowed my brother Carl (who would be dead himself four months later) with her remarkable sparkle and wit. If there is any kind of great beyond where spirits mingle, I sure expect Carl and Barbara are chatting it up.





Besides wearing red, I was told a margarita was in order. B and A- J- took me out to a Thai restaurant where margaritas were not to be had. I had a Thai mojito (great) and Betts had a pomegranate metropolitian (likewise). We toasted Babarba and enjoyed our drinks. (And dinner, too.)






Tupie came home from the hospital on Friday and once I got over my own trauma I went back upstairs to hang around with him. He wanted out, which is a bit rare for him. He was at the catnip in no time. He's back to eating, without his appetite stimulant and all the pathology reports came back negative so he is good to go. For which we all say "YAY!"

And little Miep-y is feeling mo' bettah, too. Back to her bed and bath patrols. She does not like taking her antibiotics and shuns me for quite awhile after a her daily dose.

And I am trying to get back on track after, as I have detailed, from a suprise attack. The whole brouhaha derailed me ... and for that I am righteously pissed off ... I went through my procrastination dance today, trying to get my living room back to its recent glory. I was not entirely successful, but, as it happily often the case, I made substantial progress.

And tomorrow is another day ... another day ... another day ... another day ...


Vaya con Dios, BSB!

WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOGCAST.2

The gulag weather has lifted and it is a lovely day. The Gay Pride March is going to be huge and fun and likely extra nutty. I'm not so big on parades, the Tractor Parade notwithstanding, and crowds, so, although I am thoroughly stoked and mentally dancing in the streets, I won't be part of the body count along Fifth Avenue. I've been through the "getting around routine" in Manhattan for the Halloween Parade and the Fourth of July fireworks enough times to never want to do that again.

apologia [ˌæpəˈləʊdʒɪə]
n
a formal written defence of a cause or one's beliefs or conduct


The last couple of days have been emotionally tumultuous. A formerly close friend of many many years decided to "school me" and shock me out of my 24/7 depressive self-indulgent misery. Who knew? This reader also took umbrage at my decision to publicly discuss my father's interest in porn and the effect it has had on me.

I was startled to discover that I had vilified my old dad. So I will set straight the record here. Walter was born in 1916 to barely literate parents. He was a fighter and a survivor and managed to rise above his humble beginnings and achieve much of the life he envisioned for himself.

He was a proud veteran of WWII and without a doubt, as I have said here before, his time serving the United States in the Navy was the glory and pride of his life.

My father was a good and well-meaning man. (And for the record, startlingly handsome in his younger days.) He was generally kind to animals. He was a first-class friend and I am quite sure that I inherited much of his generosity and loyalty to friends. And even if he did not embody everything John Wayne mythically stood for, he meant to.

Except he would not take any journeys to the interior. He was not prone to live the examined life. He did not want anything to change or escape his control and his vision. Not a "go with the flow" sort of person. After a certain point, he stopped being a striver.

So let it be clear: my father was not a bad guy. He was not a good parent for me in ways that I am learning about and examining now.

As I have said in this forum before, I have had levels of confusion that confused me. Some of the deep, psyche-forming messages I internalized from my imperfect parents have had an extremely negative affect on me. And some of those messages led my brother to aid and abet his own demons of demise.

It is my intention to figure out, track down, analyze, and examine those internalized messages and see if I can't change those that work against my success and happiness. Some of this is going to be painful and messy and angry and accusatory and who knows what else. And I will undoubtedly discuss and reveal as much as I can stand to reveal.

So, stop reading if you aren't interested and perhaps made to feel uncomfortable yourself.

I am not a victim.
I am not miserable.

I WILL NOT be quiet.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

FRIDAY NIGHT'S ALL RIGHT FOR FIGHTING?

Some good good things happened today. With the passage of the right for same-sex couples to marry, this weekend's Gay Pride in NYC is going to be KER-A-ZY! Getting it started and then some.

Tupelo came home from the hospital today. The results from the biopsy aren't in, but he looks and acts so much better. I picked him to bring him home and then hung out with him this evening and watched Treme.

(Not so) Young Miep is much closer to her normal self again, too. Wanting to eat, hogging the bed, and miaouing.

Thankful on all those fronts.

The weather was just that gulag-dark-dank-warm-cool that is so very challenging for me. I just want to close my eyes and hunker down.  Interesting as that is what I often feel like in very bright weather too.

Other aspects of the day were neither productive nor uplifting, at least not in any way I could see. I really really really had to fight aggression and crankiness. And some unexpected negative forces. As I am still rumbling and ruminating about it, I will leave it at that.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NOT (AT ALL) BAD DAD

Dark and wet all day, but no real rain. Hand-washed clothes won't dry. Muggy. Foreboding. Nice of the weather to collude with my internal ramblings.

I have had a couple of correspondences today with friends responding to my post yesterday. They seemed worth sharing.

M:
I'm thinking about what you said about Wally.  I imagine that what you were asking for would make a huge difference in his comment.  If it was frivolous or silly or unrealistic, it might not be a bad response, but if it was something reasonable and heartfelt and in fact something he could have provided, then dismissive and hurtful.  In general I hear how Wally has caused you emotional pain and left scars and that causes ambivalence for me as I was pretty fond of him.  And of course, I can be both fond of him and not approving of how he treated you and hurt you but, also of course, those are hard to hold at the same time.  So pretty much I keep them separate.

Moi:
M,
It wouldn't make a difference. It was all HIS view. And from what I understand about child psychology and good parenting, and I do do some work in that area, it was an inappropriate response for any child. Worse than "go the fuck to sleep." 

Wally was not a bad person. I think he was a good friend. And mostly a good father to Michael and David. I can't say the same for Carl and me. I know that he did not hurt me on purpose. We had that discussion before he died when I informed him of how uncomfortable, sexualized, invaded, and objectified he made me feel. He was appalled, hurt, and extremely sorry. So, all good in the interpersonal realm. But that doesn't mean I am not finding more ways that my vision was warped by him. And it can be fixed I think. And he is safe.

xo

M:
I never knew that you had a chance to tell Wally of your hurt feelings.  Wow.  That was pretty strong  and brave on your part.  And I'm glad Wally didn't brush you off or rationalize it. 
_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
R:
Hi Sally,

again I cannot comment... won't let me log in even though I can log in to my own blog (on the same system.)



Anyway, how old were you when you had these experiences with your Dad?





Moi:
0-49.
Why?

R:

So all of the time you were both on the planet.


Why? because what you quoted sound like things a Dad would say to a child, things that a child would not understand the full context of and take much harder than intended (or would be reasonable, children being totally unreasonable.)

Moi:
Sorry, R. It is a cynical and inappropriate way to speak to a child or anyone else who wouldn't know how much you are kidding. And he really wasn't kidding. He was saying he did not care, did not want to hear it, and there is no hope. A bad message to be putting out there. He said it to other people, like my mom, as well. Kind of like fuck you and whatever it is you want.

R:
Sure, not saying that is the right way to be to your kid, just going for a wider perspective. I don't know the man, if he was a mean S.O.B. or worn out and p.o.'d. What was his situation? His cross to bear? Who was telling him fuck you and what you want? Maybe it is the Christian in me, or the Buddhist, but what about forgiveness?

Moi:
I didn't say I didn't forgive him. I am merely trying to understand the roots of parts of my behavior and psyche that ill serves me. 



On the other hand, IT WAS HIS JOB to be kind, patient, and understanding. And to listen to me. So, he wasn't a great parent to me. I don't think he was a bad guy all around at all. 

My father was very seriously poor as a child. The best thing that ever happened to him was being in the Navy and it shaped every single aspect of his life after that. He did not do much to change his viewpoint or behavior for other situations or other humans. He had little to no insight into human beings. He had almost no empathy for his daughters. For instance, when my older sister found out that her husband had been cheating on her for their entire marriage, my father did not support her. He chose to be quiet and lament that his beloved son-in-law was out of his life. He did not take her side particularly. I am sure he felt bad about it, but he did nothing to allay her pain, did not try to spend more time with her or anything else. He just retreated. Because the important pain and disappointment was HIS pain and disappointment and he left it at that. 

R:
Interesting. Being poor will certainly create bitterness. The Navy is big thing too, very man oriented until recently, and even then not so much less.*  Did he see combat? 

I would say that many fathers of your dad's generation saw their job was to provide as best they could for their family, end of story. (And carry around guilt if not able to provide as well as one wants.) The emotional stuff was for mom to handle. And as is clearly your point, he wasn't too female friendly. 

_________________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________

I am in no way trying to villify my father, inasamuch as I disapprove of some aspects of his behavior. I was the last person on this earth that he put his arms around. I fed him his last taste of strawberries and ice cream. Without question, he loved and, in the end, respected me, even if he did not understand me. 

Together, my parents encouraged me to be a loyal and, in a humanistic way, moral person. One of the benefits of my father's "male" treatment of me is that I have an excellent sense of direction and am a very good driver as well. I love movies, books, and history. I have a good "eye" for design and am a killer "flea market" buyer, all because of my father. 

My father overcame a lot of things besides poverty. He had a good life, really. His children loved and admired him, for the most part.

Just so you know it is not all bad dad.

TANGLED UP IN WHO?

This is just a guess, but I imagine that most of you are not toggling between the songs Witchita Lineman (as a result of recently reading about Glen Campbell's Alzheimer's) and Two Ladies (from Cabaret and I have no idea why) in your mental soundtrack. I am not at all sure this is good for my mental health, but I'll be in bed soon enough.

Miep had an on and off kind of day. She's in her usual spot on the bed right now, but she had some weird spells. (Then again, who doesn't?) Her doc kind of wants me to hospitalize her but I have no funds for that sort of thing.


 Tupie is still in the hospital. I visited him this afternoon and sent John some pictures.

He is more alert, but clearly does not feel so hot. He 
would scarcely purr or anything. We hope he is eating
tomorrow so that further tests can be done.


 And as for me? Not a terrible day. Even though it is a bit dog's-mouth-ish, it is not debilitating. I had to take the photos for a friend's 50th birthday part that I cannot attend. I hate taking pictures of myself. At leat I had a little fun here.


Perhaps I have never mentioned it here, but one of the main things I remember my father saying to me as a child, when I asked for anything, was "And people in Hell want ice water."

Up to now, it has been rather amusing and picturesque. But I am beginning to see how deeply dismissive and possibly angry this statement was.

As one of my dear friends described me, I have a tendency to be "cavalier" here and there. And I think this is true, inasmuch as it pains me. That kind of attitude is very much at odds with my do-gooder, progressive, lefty mentality. I like to cultivate kindness and connectedness. I greatly value consideration and strive to be considerate.

I find that I fall short of my own goal there.

My father, as I might have mentioned earlier, really did whatever he wanted. He came first. And he did not do what he did not want to do. I think I have internalized this message in some unhelp/health/ful ways.

My father was not a bad person. I am not trying to discredit or disrespect him. But I confuse myself and I am trying to get untangled.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WHITHER GOEST I?

Goodness. I am wandering around identities and moods this evening. Could it be the two Pilsner Urquels I sipped over the course of the evening? Contemplative, philosophical, sad, shattered, confused, and then groovin'. All in a short span of checking in on myself over a couple of hours.

I had to take Tupelo to the vet again. And Miep was a little quiet again, although she has ventured out and miaoued a couple of times.

Tupelo had an ultra-sound and there was a lesion found on his pancreas, I think. John is understandably beside himself. Tupelo has been has very close friend and companion for many many years. They have a special bond. And Tupelo is an unusual kitty.


So we will say our prayers for Tupelo, too. How can you resist that face?

I am wrassling with myself and my ... emotional construction (?) ... quite vigorously. I am working to get some intellectual and emotional connection/correlation between my dismissiveness and compassion/empathy/connectedness. I doubt this will all be revealed very readily, but I am trying to make sense of it.

As much as I ... well not revile my late father, but certainly examine his effect on me, I think I may have internalized one of the things I like least about him. He always did whatever he wanted to. And quite often, not so much put himself first, but did not consider others. Inasmuch as I don't like to think of myself this way, I think there is a core of me that only wants to do what I want to do. I don't find it a particularly mature perspective and I am a bit disturbed by this notion.





Monday, June 20, 2011

SO MUCH TO DO

Notwithstanding my earlier post about Barbara, I feel reasonably well. I did go through about 45 minutes of a "what the fuck is up with my life and what I am going to do" panic attack. Surprisingly, a short doze helped allay that for the moment. I got up and got back to work on getting my house back in order.

And while it took two beers to accomplish it, I do feel better about what I have in mind for projects, where the materials are, and even an inkling of how to get started on some small things. Again, not done, not perfect, (after all there are some silks and velvets not stored immediately with their own kind), but getting there.

I have been kind of emotional? vulnerable? sad? something along those lines all day, but, again, not outrightly depressed or bummed except for that brief pre-doze down. I also watched The King's Speech, which was actually as good as the buzz. I was quite moved by it. If any of you liked that film, I have to recommend Pat Barker's RegenerationTrilogy. Barker deals with the trauma and treatment of soliders and dissidents in WWI England. At least one volume was made into a movie awhile back.

My lesson for today was that I might be making more progress than I think I am. I did keep at it. Pillow views of Cooder.



Cooder looks either like a satisfied Dutch burgher in a Hals painting or Jabba the Hut. And be nice, she is my kitty.

And post post script. After I posted, I did the dishes, emptied the trash to the downstairs bin, flossed my teeth, and made two batches of tea to steep tonight to be iced tomorrow. So there.


SOMEONE ELSE ON SUICIDE

Barbara's memorial is this weekend. I wish that I could go. In my current financial state, it is just not possible. Folks are signing up and leaving messages on the FB page Denis and Erik made for her.

This is an excerpt from another's blog entry. I highly recommend reading the whole danged thing.

"Of course, it may be possible that some could commit suicide to hurt people, or due to some madness or mental illness other than depression. ... it is a choice that is, not just personal, but profoundly private. I cannot adequately convey what my despair feels like. It is fundamentally ineffable. Pre-verbal. It simply arrives unannounced as an immense, non-negotiable fact, and it speaks the most uncomfortable truths imaginable. The pain of others is, I must assume, as much a mystery to them as mine is to me, and beyond my understanding.


Here's the link to the blog. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A LIFE IN ORANGE

Well well well. I did fall asleep around midnight last night. And I did get out of bed between 7 and 8 and start to slouch around in a vaguely productive way. All that is good, right? Here it is 9:12 a.m. and I have had my two cups of coffee and am working on finishing my organization project while I watch The Blue Gardenia.

All in all, a quiet day wherein some small projects were completed, some progress made. I did not fare as well in the diet and no drinking arenas, but no criminal acts were comitted against myself. Just not keeping up with my own program.

I had a lovely nap, fairly short, this cool afternoon. Both Cooder and Miep joined me. It was temperate enough in my apartment to make a small pizza. And so, I leave today with pictures of the mighty Tupelo, who seems to be feeling better now that John is home.





Saturday, June 18, 2011

AND AWAY IT GOES ...

Feelin' a little "slippin' into darkness..." but not in a wholly down kind of way. And what does that even mean? I am shifting into lower gear? An even quieter place?

Today passed in a sort of a daze. After calling 311 again about loud men on the sidewalk, I finally fell asleep. The iPod alarm that I could not entirely remember how to set started going off around 7:00 and I repeatedly hit the sleep button. I did get up in time to make it to therapy on time.

I finally caught up with my homegirl, Pammie, in KC. We were on the telephone for about 2.5 - 3 hours. It had been a long time since we had spoken. We could have talked more but we are both slightly telephone averse.

Then I passed out for many hours. Like five. Maybe it is some psychic realignment or something. I hope I can sleep like that through the night. I need to get my organization mojo back and clean up the serious mess I made last week. After all, the Divine Ms. M(artha) is supposed to descend from the mount of Brewster on Monday!



Still working my way through All Things Shining, although generally dismayed by my having fallen off the reading wagon. (Hmm ... at least dragging my feet or holding on by my fingers to the alcohol wagon as i have had small amounts of alcohol most days this week.)

"... [DF] Wallace wants to unpack the world as it really is. 'I've always though of myself as a realist,' he said in the Salon interview.


The world I live in consists of 250 advertisements a day and any number of unbelievably entertaining options ... I use a fair amount of pop stuff in my fiction, but what I mean by it is nothing different that what other people mean in writing about trees and parks and having to walk to the river a 100 years ago. It's just the texture of the world I live in.
And although this quote is a bit out of context, those dear and faithful readers ought (without unreal expectations here) to be able to jump to the overall context of distraction and "mod'ren" life...

'Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath born me on his back a thousand times.'
In Shakespeare's rendering Yorick, the fellow of infinte jest, is drawn in contrast with the melancholy Dane. Wallace's contemporary treatment offers us a whole culture taken over by Hamlet's heavy disposition. The flight to distraction, however, ends no longer in the arms of a man of most excellent fancy, a court jester who bears you on his back and lifts your spirits. Instead, the power of infinite jest is sedating; it leaves you congealed, in your special recliner, having wet your pants. Entertainment of this perfect sort takes away our humanity instead of restoring it to us.

That's what gets to me. How much of MY humanity is diminished or assaulted by pornography, relentless and repetitive Judd Apatow celebration of puerililty of male flicks ... and possibly by "chick flicks" ... but the "antics" of Anthony Weiner and Charlie Sheen ... All in all, very depressing.

The battle can be tiring and does not seem like it is winnable at all.

Friday, June 17, 2011

KEEPING YOUR WORD

The sounds of a beautiful late Spring rainstorm woke me last night. Cozy in my warm bed, listening to the whole play of the storm setting up with a single flash of lighting and thunder, it was a mini-drama for my ears and my sleepy mind.

We had another sweet storm this afternoon, the rain coming straight down. This evening the air was that odd combination of warm and cool, stifling and refreshing. I walked down to the farther away liquor store to get some retsina, which tastes nice and tangy on a warm evening, but does not exactly encourage over-indulgence.

The drunks and smokers at Johnny MacK's are whooping and garbling it up across the street. I left my cell phone over at Iris' this afternoon, so if I am going to call 311 to complain, I had better do it before I get into bed.

Miep had her first dose of antibiotics today. She's still spending a lot of time under her hidey-hole chair, but she gets up and comes out for some attention. Cooder is curled up on the edge of the bed, her favorite chair near the bed being stacked with the remants of fabric I have yet to finish putting away.

As I did not have my iPhone camera to take any photos on my evening walk, I will just have to report that I saw a black and white cat with a very long nose curled up, sleeping on a brick bannister. We spoke for a minute. In general, one doesn't see a lot of kitties in the great outdoors in New York City, even out here in the gentle 'burbs. Somehow the air was scented, not as much as the hot nights in LA, but beautiful nonetheless.

I treated myself to a television marathon upstairs. I had forgotten how wonderfully mindless it can be to just sit in front of the set and watch a few hours of good narrative. I'm all caught up on The Big C, Nurse Jackie, and Friday Night Lights.

I did spend some time thinking about my commitment issue. A friend, a male, suggested that in the issue I am considering at the moment, my considerations and decisions are based more on destination than who I might be hanging out with. While I think this is true, I don't know that it is any more valid than worrying about hurt feelings or really what it means to give and keep your word. How much is up for negotiation?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

SOCIAL AND SOCIABILITY

So Miep probably has a kidney infection. She ate a bit and drank today, as well as moving around, so I hope that I can get her on antibiotics. That is something of a relief. (This just in: walking around with tail up looking for pets.)

Ouroboros is the snake eating its own tail. I don't feel as if I am eating my own tail, or entirely returning to old cycles as much as slowing the cycle down to see what I am doing. There's a big miasma of my behavior that is apparently unrelated, but I am hunkering down to see how the disparate chunks relate.

I am being abstract, I realize. This is pre-verbal. One part is my internalization of (what I peg to be) a male dismissiveness. It wouldn't be fair to say that I am un-or-disconnected, but I can be a bit cavalier about commitments, particularly social ones. (Now that I've said that, I really have to think about whether or not it is true.) That feeds into, but is not the only part of, my struggles with being prompt. I don't care terribly about others being right on time, unless it is to a movie, concert, or public transportation. Similarly, I don't always get wrapped up in expectations of social events.

So, I am examining my ideas of commitment to a range of "commitments," and whether my laissez-faire attitude is California-bliss-ninny-go-with-the-flow or something closer to disrespectful or passive aggressive or some other dis-word.

Some might think I have a sliding scale of who is important or the most fun. And I am thinking about whether that is true. But I also bring a certain level of pragmatism, what social event makes the most sense at a given time.

Oh well.

I am finding All Things Shining both pertinent and interesting, but I will save that for another post.




DARKNESS WINS AGAIN?

How does it get so late?

I worked on my boxes of "stuff" today, pulling out some things with a mind to sell them. I organized my sewing and craft supplies much more than they have ever been. I am still not quite done with the little odds and ends and putting them away, but that should be accomplishable tomorrow.


I had to take this one to the vet tonight. She wasn't meowing at me nor jumping on the bed nor chasing Cooder nor any of her usual hi-jinks. She was sleeping under a chair and not very interested in anything. Thanks to Mom for covering Miep's bill. Results tomorrow night. 

This poem was posted on Friends of Barbara Sue Beaver. She is still on my mind. And I often think of her standing on the bridge and wonder what she could have felt.




for Barbara

scratch and scream your feelings raw
give the scab its due

rant and rage against this earth
that feels more pain than you

piety and platitudes
nothing real is said

keen and keening intercede
for living, not for dead

beg and bargain, plead and moan
as all believers do

preach against this hollow hell
as if you had a clue

fear and fright and friendlessness
hopelessness and pain

how dare you give a flying fuck
when darkness wins again



- Arturo Galster

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

LOST AND HOSED

Now whaaat? Some kind of anxiety or bone-deep consadfusion, scundfosion. What is the word for sad confusion? I know, what's wrong with those two? I'll bet some language like German or Urdu has a better phrase. Désespoir is not quite it. Franklin's beloved kitty, Hookah, died last week. Brenna and Nate have to say goodbye to kitty Missy today. I am worried about Miep. But there is more.

The tractor parade and what I saw in Callicoon continue to affect me. As I was discussing with S today, the wrinkles, pain, pleasure, and everything else, written into those faces were hard won. Their expressions felt hyper-real to me. No smoothed and botoxed beauty. No complacency. There was weltzschmerz.



Later that same evening with a tabby clawing my thigh ...
whenever I go away, Cooder is particularly happy to have me around again for the first day or two. She wants lots of cuddles and attention. Makes me think I should go away for a night or two every week.

K posits that sad + confusion = lost.

Continuing to dip into All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in A Secular Age. This is from a talk that David Foster Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005.

"The cliché that Wallace attempts to revivify in the Kenyon speech is the old pedagogical cliché that a liberal arts education teaches you how to think.

"Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that [this] cliché . . . is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed."


Monday, June 13, 2011

ON TRACK

Apartment buildings on 8th Avenue.
So, we find ourselves in Brooklyn again with a happy kitty who is greatly wanting of attention. Although I was sorely tempted to stay in Long Eddy/Callicoon until Wednesday, I decided I needed to be in person for therapy and to stay focussed on my "current track."






I think the cats are glad. I am anticipating a cuddle with Cooder as soon as I finish this post. Miep is enjoying a late night snack of roast turkey.

Breakfast at Long Eddy.

Iris' peonies.


Almost home.


I had quite a severe? challenge this evening. I had to run for the bus at Monticello to make it home. I didn't have time to repack my bag with my goodies acquired today. I found myself on the bus, a two-hour ride, with no reading material. I have a fairly severe fear of boredom. But I did have my laptop and my iPhone. I was able to listen to music and watch an episode or two of Roseanne.

And so to bed with the hopes that the nights spent in such serene quiet and relatively low amounts of stimulation will push me toward easy sleep and an early rising from bed.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

TRACTOR PARADE

Why why why. Rain again. We needed more up here in Long Eddy. It has been more than 12 hours since the last deluge. Here's the good news: we got a couple of hours of late afternoon, early evening sun. There were actually helpful rays absorbed. 

Now on to rain and Courvoisier at 7:30.

There was a tractor parade in Callicoon today. There were A LOT OF TRACTORS. Let me repeat, there were a lot of tractors. More tractors than I will likely ever see at one time again. And I am not very sure that I need to see so many tractors at one time again. 
There were many (beautiful) John Deere tractors, spanning the decades. The John Deere tractors are nice, but I like some of the others better, the old International Harvesters. They sound like something the Wobblies would drive. Some of the drivers were quite wobbly. Although not as wobbly as those watching from the front porch of Matthew's on Main. Those folks were on beyond wobbly by the time we left.






By the time we got to the house, the sun was starting to come out but both Iris and I were nearly comatose. It was one of those times you were glad there were two of you, because that accounted for one whole brain. We came home and crashed.  

Here is Iris sitting at her work table in the sun. Not so very long ago. Did I mention that it is raining again now.





I found the tractor parade both draining and emotional. These people are not poseurs. They are not practicing. When you see some of them, who look remarkably inbred, you realize that it is not craven practices but lack of opportunity or even understanding of opportunity and perhaps that wider world that keeps them in this sphere. Then again, I am not so sure the wider world is all so great.




GREETINGS FROM CALLICOON


Callicoon thrift store cat. When I first saw this kitty, I thought it was stuffed.

Greetings from Callicoon, New York. I don’t believe I actually shared much about my current trip. I was only planning to be gone two nights and two days. Now that I am here, I might stay longer. But still not sure. Evidently, Callicoon is a Native American word for wild turkeys of which there is a plethora here. (I have yet to see wild life beyond drinking rednecks, birds, and a chipmunk.)

I have never been this far west in New York before. Either Pennsylvania or Delaware is spittin’ distance away. I am not at all sure where the Catskills end and the Poconos begin.

It has been raining for hours. And it is mostly quiet save for some kind of squeaking bird or bug.

I have been with my friend, Iris, at whose summer home I am a guest, all day. We never run out of things to talk about. She has been coming up to this neck of the woods since she was 16, and that was quite a long while ago.

Speaking of darned cute. She was a wild thing.
Callicoon is darn cute. There is at least one good “stuff” store and some other interesting emporia of bath/kitchen/furniture et cetera et cetera. Plus, danged good pizza.

Iris came up with a description of someone: defensive narcissism. A concept worth contemplating. And possibly avoiding.