Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another experience, on the long list of experiences, that I hope will be mine one day

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Star Block

There is no such thing
as star block.
We do not think of
locking out the light
of other galaxies.
It is light
so rinsed of impurities
(heat, for instance)
that it excites
no antibodies in us.
Yet people are
curiously soluble
in starlight.
Bathed in its
absence of insistence
their substance
loosens willingly,
their bright
designs dissolve.
Not proximity
but distance
burns us with love.

Kay Ryan


My daughter gave me Kay Ryan's Say Uncle
for Christmas. I was telling her a few weeks
ago that I had never read any of the work of
the new Poet Laureate of the US, so she choose
this selection. Haven't decided yet how much
I like her, but I like the poem above.

It makes me think about a comment someone
made one time about how ridiculous he found
the old saying absence makes the heart grow fonder
to be. He's one of those people you meet who think they
are right most of the time, so I went along with him,
but I do think there is something to be said
for the longing that comes with absence.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Living In The Moment
Another place I long to visit

(and a picture taken when they were frozen over one year)

Friday, December 26, 2008


Oh yes, we watched bits and pieces all day long
and into the night. I almost bought the lamp
for my mom.
Finding it hard

to post (what's new!).

What a busy three days it's been. But good busy.
I was thinking last night, when I finally went to bed,
about the fact that my daughter got here about 4 Christmas
Eve and how by bedtime last night she had only been
here for a little more than 24 hours, and I was thinking
how much we crammed into those hours.

We played a game last night that I really enjoyed.
I probably enjoyed it more because I won both
rounds! I do like to win, I admit that. One of my flaws,
I guess. It's called Apples to Apples. It was fun!

I got some great gifts from hubby, sons, and daughter.
Some Annie Dillard I have not read, the newest Dylan
box set, some gift cards, the newest Lucinda Williams.

The conversation, at one point, revolved around where
we would travel if money was no issue and we had the time.
We had to say the place we would most like to go.

I said first on my list is here.

I am sneezing my head off. It was 64 degrees here today.
Tomorrow may be in the 70s with high winds. I so hope
no tornadoes are in the picture.

I want to read Hemingway's A Clean Well-Lighted Place.
Has anyone read it?
My friend was telling me I needed to read it.
Hemingway says something like
My Nada who aren't in Nada, Nada be thy name, etc.

I am way beyond tired. I think. I say that so much.
Oh to live the clean life. No alcohol, limited salt, much
exercise. The wholesome, healthy life. The wine
occasionally with the meal, the fruits in abundance,
the veggies at hand.

But me, I just like to go away too often.

Go away way way down yonder into the belly
of the beast. Swallowed up whole. Waking
up inside the Leviathan not knowing how
you got there and not giving a shit as long as
you get puked back up into where you were before,
the Leviathan not having enough intestinal fortitude
to keep you inside.

And then starting it all over again. Oh, the lack of drama
in the drama always unfolding.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And here's another place I've wanted to go for some time

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guess the location

I've been thinking about places I would go if I could. Places
I want to see before I leave this earth. This is one place
I've always wanted to visit. I get the feeling, that by the time
I can retire, I might not have the energy to go much of anywhere.
I hope that's not true.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

That's How The Light Gets In

I need to wrap gifts. I need to do laundry. I will
do my best.

Cooked Orange glazed pork chops with teriyaki
noodles. Stir fried some scallions and edamame
and tossed them in the noodles. Served the pork
on top. All very good.

We had our Christmas party at work yesterday.
I must say it was the most fun I've ever had
at an office Christmas party. More to come about that.

This song is resonating tonight.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I told you, months before the orchid
bloomed and years after we planted
the first azalea, that you would leave.

The remains of you lie scattered like so
much dust and dirt in this place; your unfolding
is my undoing. Your undoing, my unfolding.

It rained that morning--a rain hard
and fast--as if it must come that way
or not at all, ever. A consuming

rain: no discernable ditch, no yard
to recognize, a face behind a sweatshirt
hood too far removed from feel

and touch to matter. The wind-caught
door slammed itself into tomorrow--
a place we find ourselves now, disturbed

and free, the way the rain can be, the way
the unhinged door--screws missing--still hangs
there, no one left to fix the barely workable,

much as its done its best to hang on tightly.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Won't say (yep, I will, I'm f***ing tired!)

Spent all day yesterday (from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m)
Christmas shopping. I had not done any of my shopping
(other than purchasing Wes's laptop), so I am relieved
it is all done. But I am also tired. I hate to shop!!!!!!!

I did enjoy Barnes & Noble and Borders. Bought myself
a CD at B & N. Here's a song from the CD:

Could not find Etta at her best on You tube...I so love this
song. I am such a sucker for nostalgia and for life like I wish
it had been and has never been. A dreamer, my teachers
used to call me.

And I dream alright, but I'm not the dreamer they meant.

It hurts me, but it is me. And so I'll just let myself go and go
and go and live in the fantasy and know it's not real and probably
never will be but, uh, but I can dream and I can do whatever
in the hell I want to do. Sorta.

I wanted to be the girl who could be it all...mommy, wife,
career woman, friend, lover.

No, that's all a lie. I wanted to not hurt anymore. I wanted
to think I could do anything and be anything, but I knew that
was not what my life was going to be like.

I wanted to get some sleep at night. I wanted my mom and dad
to be crazy in love. I wanted my mom to stop screaming at my
dad and my dad to make her stop without being cruel. And he
wasn't cruel and he wasn't the person to make her stop.
But he was the person who loved her and she loved him
and it's all so screwed up that nothing makes a whole helluva
lot sense except the things people say to me who live that way
too and I know what they mean and wish I didn't and I know
my life was way, way, way easier than theirs and if I still hurt
like this and doubt myself like this and do things to to hurt me
like this all these years later than what's gonna help them.

And then I really gotta think and listen harder than I've ever
listened in my whole life and hope I say one thing in response
that helps them so they don't live the rest of their lives
like this.

Borrowing. Stealing. Believing. Not believing. Numbing, numbing,
numbing the senseless pain. The ridiculous need to punish.
To punish themselves. To punish what we are.

And on that note, here's another song I just love to listen to
again and again:

I see my light come shining
from the west unto the east
any day now, any day now,
I shall be released

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When Sleep Won't Come

How much responsibility
to take for this: the hands
running fingers through the hair,

the words swallowed and regurgitated,
the split second the fluorescent light
in the office decides to blink on

just when the tears start, the way the words
stop, a serendipitous dam blocking
their passage? I do not know.

I do not know what responsibility I own.

The eyes look upward and then to me
as if to say This is the pregnant pause
or the dénouement, the aside—

stage left--the moment the audience
grimaces in their seats, ready for comedic
relief, the time I need to cut my losses and run.

And my eyes can only beg forgiveness
for the silliness of preparation for which
there is no precedence, the absurd

way the listener knows there is no art
for listening that makes much sense.
What have we done?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Back Home

Spent the weekend with my friend who lives
in Marietta (about 10 miles from Atlanta)
just cutting loose and having fun. I got there
Friday about 6:20 her time. Home made French
Onion soup and French bread waiting for me.
We talked, laughed, ate, listened to music and crashed.

The next night we cooked a game hen, some garlic
smashed potatoes, and limas. I was filled physically,
emotionally, and intellectually by the time I left there
on Sunday.

She sent gifts to my youngest son and hubby (and me!):
youngest son got a piece of driftwood she found, which looks
very much like a wolf's head; hubby got a Loretta Lynn
CD (the one Jack Stripe produced), and I got a 2009
lunar calendar poster--awesome!

Cooking Thai tonight. Last night Black Bean soup.

Much to say and wanted to say and write of my thoughts
over the weekend but don't know if I'll get there tonight.


The Titans played the Cleveland Browns this past Sunday.
I don't like football, but I like some people I know who
like football.

There is one for you in me, my friend, but I can't do
it justice tonight--don't know that I ever can.

The poem ran through my head for months,
the lines writing themselves on my drive to Atlanta.

But Jose and my weariness leave me incapable of writing.

I didn't even get to think about how it would feel to drive
by the stadium--not a football field away--and know you
were there. My timing was off.

So, I took the Briley to avoid all the exiting fans.

Tonight, I settle for your picture in my junior high
year book and the thought that you thought enough
of me to tell me your plans.

It's been 36 years. Time doesn't change anything.

People change things.

To 36 years of staying in touch.

I lift my glass to you and hope our paths meet at some point
in time.

And I'm sorry your team lost, but I bet you had a helluva good time.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ghost Orchid

This Is How It's Done

They would come out of the dryer, so long
and wrinkle-free, their blossoms and stripes

asking to be tended. My grandmother took
them from the heat, fixed her fingers into corners

and showed me how it was done. I tried to do
what she showed me tonight, folding the gold

800 count Egyptian sheets, but I was all thumbs
and failed miserably in my attempt. Maybe the trick

only works on 200 count Sears or JC Penney's sheets.
Of course, I make the numbers up. Based on conversations

and memories. I guess it all counts, no matter the type
or fiber. I know the loss counts. My grandmother's

death, my friend's. I think of them both as I try once
more to get a firm grasp on what matters, whether it be

the thread count or the methodology of folding. Both
of them have left me with this: there is a way, and there

is no way. Both speak to me tonight, awake and alone,
trying to make sense out of the things I do to fill in the hours.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Cabbage

You have rented an apartment.
You come to this enclosure with physical relief,
your heavy body climbing the stairs in the dark,
the hall bulb burned out, the landlord
of Greek extraction and possibly a fatalist.
In the apartment leaning against one wall,
your daughter's painting of a large frilled cabbage
against a dark sky with pinpoints of stars.
The eager vegetable, opening itself
as if to eat the air, or speak in cabbage
language of the meanings within meanings;
while the points of stars hide their massive
violence in the dark upper half of the painting.
You can live with this.

Ruth Stone

Monday, December 01, 2008

Hell, why not the whole thing?

Meaningful Love

What the bad news was
became apparent too late
for us to do anything good about it.

I was offered no urgent dreaming,
didn't need a name or anything.
Everything was taken care of.

In the medium-size city of my awareness
voles are building colossi.
The blue room is over there.

He put out no feelers.
The day was all as one to him.
Some days he never leaves his room
and those are the best days,
by far.

There were morose gardens farther down the slope,
anthills that looked like they belonged there.
The sausages were undercooked,
the wine too cold, the bread molten.
Who said to bring sweaters?
The climate's not that dependable.

The Atlantic crawled slowly to the left
pinning a message on the unbound golden hair of sleeping maidens,
a ruse for next time,

where fire and water are rampant in the streets,
the gate closed—no visitors today
or any evident heartbeat.

I got rid of the book of fairy tales,
pawned my old car, bought a ticket to the funhouse,
found myself back here at six o'clock,
pondering "possible side effects."

There was no harm in loving then,
no certain good either. But love was loving servants
or bosses. No straight road issuing from it.
Leaves around the door are penciled losses.
Twenty years to fix it.
Asters bloom one way or another.

John Ashbery


Yes, Mr Ashbery, Asters Bloom One Way or the Other

However, they don't always bloom in this yard,
no matter the time I take, the perfect blend of manure
and fertilizer, the dead-heading and the watering.

Interestingly enough, they tend to do better untended.
Which amuses me somewhat but frustrates me more.
Am I not needed? Are these hands--daring to go ungloved

into the black earth, exposing themselves to shards
of old clay, brick, and glass--not enough? I am not squeamish
and don't mind touching the underbelly nor the topside

of an earthworm, but it's the forgetting them there in the hot
son that gets to me. I--slaving for hours to perfect my aster
garden--only think of them when it's time to put the shovel

and hoe away for the day and I discover what I think is an old
rubber band there next to my beaten-up New Balance. Being
the child I still am with the need to touch things that sometimes

hurt me, I lift a shriveled body up to eye-level and think of the loss,
eyes darting back down to the cool soft ground to search for more
casualties. Mr. Ashbery, I think I just realized why the asters thrive

without worm-killer me--me who can't even let a worm go honorably
to its death.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I get this far:

Cold mornings long ago when the marsh grass
had turned brown and cattails were waving in
the northwest wind. The pungent smell then
was from muck stirred up by hip boots while
we were getting in position for the sun to come
up and the duck season to open. *

and then that's all I can read
because I can no longer read about
Phaedrus, I can only think about a boy,
barely twenty, who knew the smell

of muck stirred up by waders, who sat
in the blind with five others, most of them
in their twenties, all except his uncle, who had taken
him hunting every year since he could remember.

A boy, who for some unknown reason, stood
up just as the boy behind him raised his rifle
to shoot the perfect duck, only the shot went
right through the young boy's head.

I remember the story as it was told,
how the young boy didn't die immediately,
how the uncle cradled him in his arms,
how another boy screamed one long continuous

scream which became a piercing howl,
how the one whose bullet missed the mark
could not move nor speak, how another ran
to get a blanket for the one cradled in the uncle's

arms, how the final one sprinted to the truck.
I was told how the boy--his wavy black hair
now filled with his own warm blood--how his eyes
looked straight up into that brilliant blue morning,

how he never said a word (unless you consider
smiling a word, which is what he did--smile--
I was told), how his mouth became the only
one no longer spewing its white warmth

into the cool autumn air, all of this before
the sprinter ever got back with the truck,
the ducks and geese flying above, oblivious
to the scene unfolding beneath them, flying

around free and grateful up there, their beloved
pond a refuge for at least one more day.

*Passage from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Robert Pirsig


Daughter and her boyfriend just left. They didn't
get here until Friday, so that was our big Thanksgiving
Day celebration. We had a lot of fun.

I was on call last night, so no vino or margarita for me,
but we got slap-happy silly playing Mexican Train
dominoes, which we alternatively called Canadian
train dominoes, NAFTA train dominoes, Why Not
Let's Incorporate Central America dominoes, etc.,
Bill Clinton's Big Blunder dominoes, etc.

So, I'm beat, but it was all good. I just plan to spend
most of the day reading. I AM NOT cooking tonight.
I do plan to go and see my grandson. I so missed him
this Thaksgiving. He and his mommy and daddy went
to Orlando to visit with his other grandparents and family.

Back to my book. I'll see how long I can make it this
time without some other story from somewhere
popping into my head. This is like the fifth time
I've read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,
and I always discover something I missed the first
time through.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tuesday Night with Mr. Death

First, I want to thank you for our telepathic
meeting Tuesday night, me sprawled
on the bed too tired to get up and make
the changes necessary for departure.
I am most humbly grateful for your understanding.

I meant it (and you got it) when I said my hair
had not been brushed for three days
and the mortician's assistant would probably
do one of two things (although the options
are numerous): have to cut the mats out--
after all, who in the hell would notice? I mean
who lifts a dead head off the casket pillow
to see whether the hair is perfectly coiffed?
Or option two: take the time to brush it all out
and speak badly of the dearly departed (me)
because I'm being such a pain in the ass
to prepare for the finale.

Of course, then there was the discussion
about my hairy legs. Remember me telling
you that I rarely have to shave them anyway,
the hair is so light, but how after menopause,
these straggly long black hairs like to make
themselves at home on my kneecaps
(better than on my chin, I know).

I would need some time to run a hot bubble
bath, dig a razor out of the premenopausal archival
drawer, and rid my kneecaps of those silky black
follicular grandstanders. Just simply needed
time, you see. And you did.

But thank you most of all for seeing
the big picture--that dreadful pair of wholly
granny drawers I was wearing over my distended
belly. I so hoped that if no other plea
sounded plausible, you'd be convinced
by the appalling slap in the face
to my dignity, and you were. And you
let me off easy with a wicked whack
of your scythe handle on my upturned palm,
and a stern warning about how, by god, I best
be ready the next time you come calling.
Inside the body

I’ve grown accustomed to typing out my thoughts and find it difficult to pick up my journal and start writing. I once loved the sound of the pencil on paper. The different sounds depending on the type of paper. Now, it just takes too much effort.

I’ve been saying that for a long while.

It’s two days after Thanksgiving. I’m wiped out. Although I didn’t cook Thanksgiving Day (small gathering here—Grandma and Grandpa Gene brought the food prepared by a local grocery), I did start baking that night, and I cooked yesterday. Everything was delicious. Everyone talked quite a bit and seemed to be enjoying themselves. I was quite animated myself until the vino wore off and the three slivers of pie—pecan, buttermilk, and key lime—sent me into a downward spiral which I never fully recovered from.

I feel sad on the holidays. It tends to permeate everything. I feel ambivalent for the most part—the sadness tempered with the joy my children bring and the excitement of having them here.

But I really didn’t sit down to write about the holiday this morning. I was thinking about something Tim O’Brien said in The Things They Carried. He says: “Inside the body, or beyond the body, there is something absolute and unchanging. The human life is all one thing, like a blade tracing loops on ice: a little kid, a twenty-three-year-old infantry sergeant, a middle-aged writer knowing guilt and sorrow.”

He was remembering a girl he knew—his first date—who was 9 years old when she died of a brain tumor. He says, “As a writer now, I want to save Linda’s life. Not her body—her life.”

And then this: “But in a story, I can steal her soul. I can revive, at least briefly, that which is absolute and unchanging. In a story, miracles can happen. Linda can smile and sit up. She can reach out, touch my wrist, and say, ‘Timmy, stop crying.’”

I think about the way words carry us. How they carry us to and from our pain, our losses, our joys. How they can carry us back and forth to work. How they can carry us through the long nights when sleep won’t come. How they do carry us to the source and back again. How in a story or poem, the words, which come from us and through us, can revive the absolute—the unchangeables of our lives.

I have my own stories I want to tell, but I fear telling them. Some of them are best left to the absolute and the unchangeable. Reviving some of them may do more harm than good. But it’s a risk I’ll have to take at some point. I just need a window that looks out to the garden. And a desk. And a few quiet moments each day. I have been afraid to give those things to myself, and I am growing tired of fear—a many-headed Ladon who never sleeps—and its continuous effort to prevent me from taking the journey I must.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I should brush my teeth

I actually didn't do that last night.

Nor this morning after coffee and leftover pizza.
Yep, leftover pizza.

No omelet or frittata today. No fancy fixins.
Too pooped.

Was in bed most of yesterday trying to recoup
from the on call the night before.

Trying to adjust to being on-call at fifty is hard--
rock candy hard...hard freeze hard...hard as the
dried earth in August, the soil 7 weeks without rain,


I concede to being too old to want to adjust to being
on call. I concede to the body's request that I seek
other career opportunities.

I feel chained, like Brueghel's monkeys. Me and my
conscience up there, seated in front of a window,
the vast world beyond not open to us. We pick up
the meager scraps tossed out at us. Grateful to be

Grateful to not be fed to the wolves. Grateful to sit
there chained together, our purpose to amuse others.

One of us looks at the people. One of us looks at the
ground. Neither of us can bring ourselves to look
out the window...look to the vast beyond, which cannot be ours.


Thought of this song night before last when I was
driving home:

I am going to search for some Neil Young tickets.

Then I am going to brush my teeth. Wash my face. Brush
the tangles outta my long hair. Take a shower or soak
in the tub.

Try to act like I care.

Two Monkeys by Brueghel

I keep dreaming of my graduation exam:
in a window sit two chained monkeys,
beyond the window floats the sky,
and the sea splashes.

I am taking an exam on the history of mankind:
I stammer and flounder.

One monkey, eyes fixed upon me, listens ironically,
the other seems to be dozing--
and when silence follows a question,
he prompts me
with a soft jingling of the chain.

Wislawa Szymborska
(trans. from the Polish by Magnus Kryski)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Driving Home, 2:30 a.m.

This is the beauty of on call, I decide,
as I turn east before I head north:
what must be the moon looks like the sun,

confused and unsure of when it's supposed
to be showing itself. Too large for a moon,
I say, as I look at the chin, glowing burnt

orange, a black funeral veil concealing
most of the visage. The city is hushed
and unhurried, most of the houses darkened

now, the neon lights of industry glowing
though no one lurks the halls or frequents
the bathrooms. It is enough to sustain me

on my drive home. I don't need coffee.
I need to know the man in room 27,
lying there in the bright lights of trauma,

is going to get help, is going to come back home
to those he loves and those who love him,
is going to be the man he was before all the death

and loss, before the changes that define him now,
before he felt himself slipping into a place
he cannot name, a place he does not want to be,

a place he hopes he can leave. My hope lies
in the silence, in the 19 degrees of cold, in the slightest
bit of light this frigid night offers, spreading out

in the blackness, willing itself to be seen.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday morning

Just having a cup of coffee and poking around here.
I have 30 minues before I am supposed to be at work,
and I am still sitting here in my sweats, my hair wet,
no makeup on, etc. But the clinic is only a few miles
from here, and I've been putting is some late nights,
so I'm not gonna get too bent if I'm a little late.

Crisis has its own agenda. Supposed to leave at 5, but if
a call comes in at 4:50 for an assessment, then I have to
stay until that assessment is complete. If that assessment
warrants calling in a clinician for hospitalization, then I
have to wait for them. If they agree with my assessment,
then I have to put a plan in place for hospitalization.
If it's voluntary, it takes time, but it takes much longer
if it's an involuntary hospitalization. That's just the nature
of things.


I woke from the most wonderful dream I have had in a very
long time. I read somewhere recently that only bores
tell their dreams. Not sure I buy that, as I have read other
people's dreams on their blogs, or I've listened to other people
discuss their dreams, and I don't find them boring. I don't quite
get the significance of them at times, but I don't find them boring.

That being said, mine really was boring!

My first love was in it. We were the age we are now, but we
were acting like 16 and 20 year olds. I remember him smiling
at me, his arms open, and me jumping into his arms, wrapping
my legs around his waist, his cerulean eyes looking
into mine with a reverence and love. We smiled at each other,
he kissed me and said You'll always be my honey-haired, long-
legged, brown-skinned baby. Cheesy, I know, but I woke
feeling the way ya feel when love is so new and so all-consuming.
The way you feel when you know it's never going to end.

Then in the next sequence, a woman I've had some issues with
in the past, appeared. We made our amends. The dream was long
and involved with an Alice in Wonderland sort of quality to it.
But we are friends now. I feel it. What has passed is in the past.
I feel this tremendous burden lifted.


8:10 and counting. Guess I best go get ready for another day in crisis!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

John Prine - Sam Stone - 1989

John 20 years ago...the years and cancer have taken their toll on John, but he sang this last night. He sounded so strong--voice clear--the whole Palace hushed.

Angel from Montgomery by John Prine and Bonnie Raitt

Just got home from Louisville...saw John Prine (sans Bonnie Raitt). He was glad I got to see him.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


is Veteran's Day. My father is a (or I guess I should
say "was" a 30 year Navy vet), but I didn't think about
it much until a few minutes ago when I turned on the tv
and the History channel was showing a film about Guam.

Dad was there. Dad was so many places I know he wished
he'd never been.

Mom told me yesterday that his picture would be in the paper
today. She sent in information for a spread the paper does
every year for Veteran's Day. She asked me to make copies
for my siblings, and I told her I would. I saw the spread this
morning but closed the paper immediately when I saw Dad.

And I had not thought of the day or Dad since.

Yesterday, I was driving to another town about 40 miles
from here for training. I was southbound. I was about 2 miles
into my drive when I had to get out of the passing lane
and back into the far right because a huge animal (a deer,
I assume) was splattered in the passing lane. It must have
just been hit before I got there because steam was still
rising from its warm body in the 30 degree morning air.

I got about 20 more miles down the road and an ambulance,
northbound, was heading toward home. I thought about my
dad and about his last trip on this planet. He was brought home
from Louisville in an ambulance. He was facing the rear, so things
were very confusing to him. He was confused enough.

I don't understand why someone else didn't understand the
need to cover the window or have the patient faced in the
direction he or she would normally face in a vehicle.

It was all so troubling for him. I spent most of the rest
of the day thinking about what he told me when he
arrived here in town.

I guess I thought I would be better by now. And I guess
I am, but I wonder if I'll ever really be better. If I'll ever
not think about those last days of his life. If I'll ever just let
myself remember the good days.

I can't get there. I can't see them. I can't feel them.

Lucinda Williams - World Without Tears (live)

Listened to this today on my way to another training. I want to go see her again soon!

Home for lunch

and feeling funky, which is quite the norm these
days. Either my head hurts or my back or my knee
or I feel nauseated or I feel dizzy or I feel fatigued
or I feel strange. Every damn day. What's up with
that? I just want to feel good. As in pain free for a day.
Worry free.

Been in a training all morning. CPR/AED/First Aid.
Was in training all day yesterday as well. IDD.
No more MR (Mentally retarded). Intellectual
and developmental disabilities. Was an interesting

Had my first on-all weekend. Was interesting, and I don't
mean that in a necessarily positive way. 30 bucks an hour
may sound like some decent compensation, but there are
so many factors involved. We get paid a set fee for being
on call and then a set amount for each assessment we do,
so the pay will vary on how long you are involved in the whole
shebang. It just worked out to be about 30 an hour this
weekend, but it won't always be that amount. Could be a lot less,
and could be a lot more. Holidays are definitely a time you
can make some money on-call.

Just looked at Wes's check stub and I see that he has only
had 2 bucks per month federal money withdrawn. Don't know
how that happened, but I hate like hell that the poor kid
is probably going to have to pay taxes on his 5K he made
this year. Need to see if we can get something done now,
even though it's late in the game.

I am such a worrier. I feel I should have noticed that long
ago, but I haven't been paying attention. I'm in such a fog
most of the time. Damn 50.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Polyphemus, for Laurel

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Truth Be Told

I'm tired of lying, she said, a tissue
held close to her overflowing nostrils,
blonde hair pulled up into a ponytail,

looking like the eight year old girl
she was once, when her mother fled
the scene in bathrobe and bare feet,

when her father pulled out the gardening
shears in the utility room, his face somber
and set. It does no good, you see, she says,

to keep telling yourself there is no blame,
there is no sense in fighting what's passed,
there is no reason to keep pulling another

tissue from the box. She knows mom and dad
are a done deal, that alcohol and loneliness
befriend those who can't allow room

for closeness, those whose lives depend
on the burn down the throat, the needle
in the arm, the grey smoke filling living

and dining rooms, kitchens and hallways,
mind and lungs. Her apologies are a litany
of the inexcusable. At one point, she looks

out the window at the pouring rain, the leaves
bending beneath the weight of water and wind,
her mouth upturned in a half-smile, and she

says something about how much she's missed
her garden and her children, how she's never
been away but never been there either, how

maybe the rain will settle the dust and ragweed,
how she won't know how to explain the tears.
Patrick, cont.

And the war goes on. And pain goes on. And the loss continues.
For all of us in many ways. For Patrick and his family in ways
I pray I never have to know.

Brueghel's Harvesters

Though they stoop and sweat
outside a stingy circle
that the pear tree affords ...

though the mustardy sheaves
of their morning's labor
lie stiff in their ranks as battle-

tallied dead . . . and though
the tree itself, coiling
ungracefully heavenward, past

a blue steeple, splits
their world with its axis,
here is Eden after all

which the artist makes
us contemplate
by planting in the foreground

that husky, unkempt reaper
with his legs splayed wide,
forcing our gaze crotchward,

to the solid drowse
of his codpiece so casually
unlaced, while another,

nearby, holding summer-
ripe fruit firmly to his lips,
stares out at us, and eats.

Robert Foerster
What a ride it's been

...this month and half of work. I have learned
a great deal already with much left to know,
and I am enjoying the work (sounds sadistical--
enjoying crisis). It would be a great thing to lose
my job (if I lost it because no one was ever in
crisis) but I have a feeling there ain't gonna be no
utopias. On the positive side of crisis intervention
is seeing someone you assessed(who was in great need
of help) three to four weeks later, and finding them
to be remarkably better. Doesn't always happen that
way though.

Once again, though, I feel I don't belong. That has been
the story of my life. Each place I've worked--though I've
been more than adept at each position and been well-suited
for each, a loneliness permeates everything. I'm feeling it
already. Though the coworkers are open and funny and
welcoming and smart, there is still not one person who
knows what the hell I'm talking about when I mention
Mary Oliver or Billy Collins or Flannery O'Connor or
Tim O'Brien. The musical selections one girl plays on her
i pod are either rap or Elton John or something that she
and one of the other girls get up and do some orchestrated
dance thing to (yes, as in electric slide and other dances
I can't remember the names of) and they're laughing and
having a great time and it's fun to see people having fun
but it's also a bit annoying.

I'm such a stick in the mud!


I don't if my entry is going to make it to post this time or not,
but I am using Mozilla and having not one problem getting to
anything, so maybe it's Explorer.

To sum up this past week: my daughter threw a surprise
50th birthday party for me last Saturday. I haven't recovered
yet!. It was great fun. About 30-40 folks here. She's amazing.
Can't believe she found all these people, but I am most happy
that she did. Everyone had a great time. The nest day, we cooked
a big breakfast and she went back home. And the rest of the
week has been a blur. On my actual B'day, I watched election
results and was thrilled with the outcome. Was not an Obama
supporter initially (Clinton), but I am hopeful that this country
will get headed in the right direction now.

No opportunity to take a walk. I'm dead by the the time I get
home in the afternoons. I am going to try to take Molly today.

The house is coming along. Waiting for my shutters to get here.
Had to special order them (big windows) and waiting for some
painting to get done. I am pleased with it thus far.

I just had the most wonderful muffin! I stopped at Starbucks
when I was in Hoptown yesterday (we don't have one here)
and got a bag of their Thanksgiving blend coffee. When I went
to the counter to pay, I spotted the muffins--cream cheese
filled pumpkin muffins with roasted pumpkin seeds. Yummmy!
I'll be in Hoptown all day Mon and Tues for training. Definitely
going to have to stop and get a few more. They only make them
this time of year.

I am so exhausted. I am just going to pace myself today and rest.
Tomorrow is my first on-call day. 8 a.m.-8 a.m. Monday. I hope
I don't get bombarded!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Andromeda Strain (1971) TRAILER

This is the first Michael Crichton I read. Sorry to read of his death. Can't post to my blog directly (once again), but I'm hanging in here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I read some

...more last night of The Things They Carried
and remembered why I had to reread it.

There is simply no way to know the things people
carry around with them every day. Even when they
open themselves as much as they can, you can't know
what they really carry. Tim O'Brien opens himself
so honestly and matter-of-factly that sometimes
it's hard to think how much he carries around with him.

I can't believe I have been working for a month now.
It seems like years some days and like it was just
yesterday I started this journey.

I have been asked in the past why I've never written
anything about my work. I've always felt it would
be such a violation. And I wonder how the WCWs
made their peace as they wrote about some of the
experiences. Even though I would never be specific,
I would know in my mind how much I would think I
was violating some trust. It's been equally hard
to write about my family. Though there are many
stories that many days find themselves shaping
into a poem of sorts, I can't do it. So my focus has been
rather narrow and self-absorbed, my work filled with
banalities of my day.

I guess what I am thinking and feeling is that I can never
give myself over completely to the muse. Too much conflict.
Too much truth to be told that is, perhaps, better left unsaid.

Sometimes I feel I am just conceding to the nagging voice
that continues to say You have no talent. Let those who do
write the words and you just revel in them, swallow them,
cry over them, laugh over them, hug them tight to your chest
because you know they speak your langauge. Maybe that
is just the way it is to be.

And if it is to be, then just keep reading and loving and feeling.

Here's one:

Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks

I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years. . . .

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper. . . .

When the young girl who starves
sits down to a table
she will sit beside me. . . .

I am food on the prisoner's plate. . . .

I am water rushing to the wellhead,
filling the pitcher until it spills. . . .

I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden. . . .

I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge. . . .

I am the heart contracted by joy. . .
the longest hair, white
before the rest. . . .

I am there in the basket of fruit
presented to the widow. . . .

I am the musk rose opening
unattended, the fern on the boggy summit. . . .

I am the one whose love
overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name. . . .

Jane Kenyon

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Breaking Through

Today she said to me I'll sleep when
I'm dead, and I couldn't help
myself so I said That's a great Warren Zevon
song, and she turned her head to look at me,
the tears gone now but their path etched
down her cheeks, and she laughed, and said
Get outta here, really? I gotta listen to this

And so the days pass, and the people come
and go, and my head hurts from the sound
of walls crashing down and water flowing over.

And I think about something I read at some point
in time and can only remember these lines:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace
where there is hatred, let me sow love

and that's all I remember. And I don't know about
a lord or a god or only one or maybe none, but I'm all
about believing that people can be an instrument of peace.

And oddly enough, it is a strange peace indeed
that fills me up to overflowing. And even the restless
nights don't own me the way they once did.

And that's all I can say.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Nirvana - Lake of fire

Started singing this at work today--we were slap happy goofy thank god it's friday crazy this afternoon.

By the way, I can't post anything on my blog. I sign it, I get the page for new post, and then it vanishes. Boo. Things I want to say.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nude Descending A Staircase, No. 2, 1912
Marcel Duchamp

Nude Descending a Staircase

X. J. Kennedy

Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,
A gold of lemon, root and rind,
She sifts in sunlight down the stairs
With nothing on. Nor on her mind.

We spy beneath the banister
A constant thresh of thigh on thigh--
Her lips imprint the swinging air
That parts to let her parts go by.

One-woman waterall, she wears
Her slow descent like a long cape
And pausing, on the final stair
Collects her motions into shape.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Street
Balthus, 1933

The Street

Across the street, the carpenter carries a golden
board across one shoulder, much as he bears the burdens
of his life. Dressed in white, his only weakness is
temptation. Now he builds another wall to screen him.

The little girl pursues her bad red ball, hits it once
with her blue racket, hits it once again. She must
teach it the rules balls must follow and it turns her
quite wild to see how it leers at her, then winks.

The oriental couple wants always to dance like this:
swirling across a crowded street, while he grips
her waist and che slides to one knee and music rises
from cobblestones--some days Ravel, some days Bizet.

The departing postulant is singing to herself. She
has seen the world's salvation asleep in a cradle,
hanging in a tree. The girl's song makes
the sunlight, makes the breeze that rocks the cradle.

The baker's had half a thought. Now he stands like a pillar
awaiting another. He sees white flour falling like snow,
covering people who first try to walk, then crawl,
then become rounded shapes: so many loaves of bread.

The baby carried off by his heartless mother is very old and
for years has starred in silent films. He tries to explain
he was accidentally exchanged for a baby on a bus, but he can
find no words as once more he is borne home to his awful bath.

First the visionary workman conjures a great hall, then
he puts himself on the stage, explaining, explaining:
where the sun goes at night, where flies go in winter, while
attentive crowds of dogs and cats listen in quiet heaps.

Unaware of one another, these nine people circle around
each other on a narrow city street. Each concentrates
so intently on the few steps before him, that not one
can see his neighbor turning in exactly different,

yet exactly similar circles around them: identical lives
begun alone, spent alone, ending alone--as separate
as points of light in a night sky, as separate as stars
and all that immense black space between them.

Stephen Dobyns

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Fall of Icarus
Pieter Brueghel

Musee des Beaux Arts
W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
Out of it

Deep sigh. Very much in need of some sleep but found
that I could not sleep in late. I am getting used to the up
at 6 a.m. thing again. I am not a morning person, which makes
it extremely difficult to function in the morning person world.
But, the good news is that I will be full-time in the Mad city
starting Monday. I am most happy that I will be working in town
and will not have to make that almost 80 mile round trip to
work each day.

The work is fascinating. I confess to feeling overwhelmed. There
is so much to learn. I did my first solo assessment yesterday.
I think it went well, and we have a solid plan in place.

I have been absorbing so much new info, and I've been on the road
so many days, and I've gotten home late so many days that all other
interests have been shoved aside. I do so want to write. So much has
happened in the last three weeks. Some of the lines are so ready
to make their way to the page, but I just don't have the energy to get
them there. Soon, I hope.

Cooking has also become a pasttime. I simply can't stand the eat out
thing, so I am going to have to get some kind of plan in place
to make sure we have things in the fridge that I prepare
over the weekend or that are easy and healthy meals to make
through the week.

Tonight I am making an arugula and pear salad with shallot, balsamic
and dijon dressing. I am going to serve it with spinach and gruyere
stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in prosciutto. I'm also going to make
an herbed couscous pilaf (it has carrots, green onions, green peas,
basil, & oregano in it). I think the chicken will go great with the couscous.

The replacement windows arrived today. The color we chose
for the house is called Warm Sand. The trim with be white.
Shutters black. Very classy look. Very appropriate for this
house. I'll have to post pictures when the whole thing
is complete.

I'll have some landscaping to do in the spring.
I had a huge holly tree cut down (broke my heart--
I hate to cut down a tree!), but it was way too large for where
it was. It extended over the driveway and covered about
1/2 of the front dining room windows. So, in the spring,
I'll decide what to plant there. I also had two rather
overgrown shrubs near the front door cut down.
It looks bare, but much better.

Time to go grocery shopping and to get clothes washed and
to clean house and to read a bit and rest a bit (I hope!).


The Happiest Day

It was early May, I think
a moment of lilac or dogwood
when so many promises are made
it hardly matters if a few are broken.
My mother and father still hovered
in the background, part of the scenery
like the houses I had grown up in,
and if they would be torn down later
that was something I knew
but didn't believe. Our children were asleep
or playing, the youngest as new
as the new smell of the lilacs,
and how could I have guessed
their roots were shallow
and would be easily transplanted.
I didn't even guess that I was happy.
The small irritations that are like salt
on melon were what I dwelt on,
though in truth they simply
made the fruit taste sweeter.
So we sat on the porch
in the cool morning, sipping
hot coffee. Behind the news of the day--
strikes and small wars, a fire somewhere--
I could see the top of your dark head
and thought not of public conflagrations
but of how it would feel on my bare shoulder.
If someone could stop the camera then...
if someone could only stop the camera
and ask me: are you happy?
perhaps I would have noticed
how the morning shone in the reflected
color of lilac. Yes, I might have said
and offered a steaming cup of coffee.

Linda Pastan
In Memory Of William Patrick Rudd

This is the first night I've cried for him. And for
his mom and sister, his father and stepmother and stepbrother,
and all who loved him. He was too young. He was a good
man, a good son, a good friend, and a person who gave his life
for what he believed in. I am so filled with sorrow.

In his short time on this earth, he sure did a lot of living.

May the universe surround his parents and loved ones in this
time of loss.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The one moon among the many moons

Friday, October 10, 2008

How terribly strange

I remember lying on my mother's bed, looking out
the window at the snow falling, listening to Bookends
and thinking only about how sad the music was.

I didn't even know exactly what those boys
were singing. How could I know or imagine ever being seventy?
But I thought, even then, what a rare thing it would be
to have a friend with whom you'd spent years together,
sharing a park bench with you at seventy.

So, I guess that means I was thinking about what those
boys were singing after all and not just about how sad
the song was or how much it made me feel better to feel
sad like that. Melancholy. Filled with longing. Filled
with an aching. Oh, those boys.

My radical wild moon woman friend and I once talked about
a picture a friend of hers took of two old women walking the beach.
She said, That's us. We'll be doing that.

I hope we will.

It does seem so terribly strange to be 50 (will be in just a few
weeks). Everyone on staff is so much younger than me.
The oldest person is 14 years younger than me and the youngest
is 26 years younger. I wonder if they see me as an "old" woman.

So many changes for me. So many things to be grateful for.
So many other things that sadden me and are heavy on my heart
tonight. The death of a young man. The losing of friends.
The passing of years.

I hope I can hang with it all. Fatigue wants to claim me.

I think the loss of my job took so much out of me on a
cognizant level, an intelligence level, an emotional level,
and certainly on a physical level.

Gotta regroup and hang with it.

Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'. I want to get busy livin'.

Can you imagine us years from today...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

When the broken-hearted people living in this world agree/there will be an answer

Back to me

Spent all day yesterday in a nonviolent crisis
intervention training. Very interesting. Helpful things
to know. Today was more on-the-job work. Tomorrow
more training. It's all been interesting and exhausting.

We really do start to stagnate in so many ways when
we aren't engaging on a mental or physical level in a number
of months. I keep thinking about the "can't teach an old
dog new tricks" thing knowing that just can't be right.

Someone just didn't try hard enough with the old dog.
Or maybe the old dog didn't like the new tricks.
Or maybe the reward was not worth the effort.
Or maybe the old dog was just plain old tired and didn't
want to learn any new tricks.
Or maybe the old dog was a bit stubborn and set in his
ways and wasn't sure how much a new trick would matter.
Or maybe the old dog just lacked some confidence that
she could master the new.

I am thinking of a Sexton poem, so I'll post it.

Music Swims Back to Me

Wait Mister. Which way is home?
They turned the light out
and the dark is moving in the corner.
There are no sign posts in this room,
four ladies, over eighty,
in diapers every one of them.
La la la, Oh music swims back to me
and I can feel the tune they played
the night they left me
in this private institution on a hill.

Imagine it. A radio playing
and everyone here was crazy.
I liked it and danced in a circle.
Music pours over the sense
and in a funny way
music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better;
remembers the first night here.
It was the strangled cold of November;
even the stars were strapped in the sky
and that moon too bright
forking through the bars to stick me
with a singing in the head.
I have forgotten all the rest.

They lock me in this chair at eight a.m.
and there are no signs to tell the way,
just the radio beating to itself
and the song that remembers
more than I. Oh, la la la,
this music swims back to me.
The night I came I danced a circle
and was not afraid.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I went off on the happiness tangent Sunday and posted the
mess below--a diatribe of sorts. Within 5 minutes of posting
it, my sister called me. Her best friend's son was killed in action
in Iraq. Her friend had been notified about 30 minutes before
I posted this ridiculous thing about happy people.

Her son was also one of my daughter's high school friends.
They didn't hang out often, but often enough that they
were good friends.

It's been days of calls and taking food and trying to arrange
travel and that sort of thing. I know his mother and father
well. I didn't know him well. Long story. Send prayers.
Light candles. Whatever you believe offers comfort.

Been in training all day and will be all day tomorrow.
I will be working, when I am on call, at a psychiatric
hospital. The training is designed to help us know some
techniques to use when we are verbally or physically
assualted. Much, much to learn.

Heart heavy. Tired. Wondering what it all means.

and so here is the Sunday post I pulled--it is clearly
so ridiculous I don't know why I am posting it.

LIfe. Ever changing. Who ever knows.

Where are the happy people?

I wonder. I know people who seem content
with their lives. I know people who enjoy going
places, doing things, their work, their families,
their lives. I know people who have a positive attitude
about life in general. And I know people who laugh
often and laugh robustly and who never seem to take
themselves or this life too seriously, but happy? Maybe
those are the happy people.

happy: Lots to read about happy. Let's try this.

unhappy: Pretty much just a matter of adding "un" before many
words under the happy definition.

Just what in the hell is happy? Is there a happiness gene?
If so, it didn't make its way into my system.

But the point of this little rambling message is not to belabor
my unhappiness. Just to wonder. About happiness or the lack

I don't even think I can finish reading Learned Optimism. It's
boring me to death at this point. I guess if I were more optimistic,
I would believe the best of the book is yet to come, but he hasn't
given me any reason to think so thus far.


A friend came over for dinner and a movie last night. I wasn't
crazy about the movie. She said we needed to lighten up and watch
something light. She chose Guess Who. I was largely rather bored
through the whole thing and didn't find any of it particularly funny
or even mildly interesting. However, after the movie was over,
we watched the first 20 minutes or so of SNL. Once again, Tina Fey
had me in stitches. I can say that Sarah Palin has done this for the
country--given us some much needed comic relief. Here's
what another friend sent to me about Palin in an email
I got yesterday:

Palin has revealed her real self in the Gibson and Couric interviews, and clearly knows nothing and offers only rubbery expressions and glib repetition, for all the world like a rasping myna bird, of a stream of memorized slogans that sound as though they were disinterred from a time capsule originally buried in William F. Buckley Jr.'s back yard several decades ago.


Speaking of Palin, did anyone notice during the debate
how many times the camera panned behind the podia?
If I recall correctly, we never had any a** shots of McCain
and Obama. Nor did we see any of Joe Biden's
backside as the camera panned only Sarah Palin's rear end. I suppose
we are to note the size of the ankles, the small waist, the perky butt.

My friend said that she could not, in good conscience, cast her vote
this November until America got the same opportunity to check out
the guys' rear ends. She suggested they wear speedos or biker shorts
for the next debate, and then perhaps, she could make her decision.

Good point!


I have only worked three days. I am having some pretty messed up
dreams. I always dream quite vividly, but these have been stranger
than usual.

There is just such a damn boatload of hurt out there
and I just can't figure out why people have to suffer
the way they do. I know on a macro scale, suffering
is rampant, and the degrees to which people suffer varies, but
I am speaking more today about the people I meet in my community--
the people who are very deeply wounded. I'm not talking about the
"worried well" (I fit that category--my name would be beside the
definition). I'm talking about stuff I'm gonna stop talking about!

Boatload of hurt, folks.

Wow. What an uplifting entry today. I'll just add some more to it
with some quotes (one of which Laurel had on her blog not too long

Then trust me, there's nothing like drinking
So pleasant this side of the grave;
It keeps the unhappy from thinking,
And makes e'en the valiant more brave.
—Diaz, Porfirio

One is never as unhappy as one thinks, nor as happy as one hopes.
—La Rochefoucauld, Fran c° ois, 6th Duc de

All happy families resemble each other; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
—Tolstoy, Leo Nikolayevich

Friday, October 03, 2008

I'm on your side, when times get rough/and friends just can't be found

Too drained write much. And I think I am still somewhat wrapped
in self-preservation mode to write anything coherent.

More later.


Sometimes you choose a path and sometimes the path
chooses you. It is as if it has a life of its own.

I am walking through briars, knowing my extremities
are wounded along the walk--there is so much to take
in, so many other facets of being yet to unfold that the cuts
and scrapes and bleeding don't matter that much.

Unfolding is not such a beautiful thing. The undersides
are many times coated in slime, fragile and not pretty
to view. And sometimes, the unfolding yields an even
less attractive progeny.

I'm not sure at this point if the viewing is all that
important. I'm even less sure that the
walk matters all that much either.

I feel certain only about this: I shall keep walking.

I am lighting candles tonight. I am going outside
to view the stars. I am going to sit in the cool autumn
evening until I get cold enough to come back inside.

I am going to eat a s***load of junk. Pizza. Uh-huh.

Some wine. Most likely some bad for my lungs stuff, too.

And I am going to look at the stars.

Monday, September 29, 2008

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one

Hoping I shall embrace

...the change. I am excited, but I also know
the adjustment period will take a little while...
I've been home for almost 2 years (except for the
part-time job I had from last Dec.-May).

This Wednesday, I shall embark, indeed, on a new
journey. Although I think I only work 1/2 day, and
that 1/2 day is spent meeting with HR to complete
paperwork and discuss policy, I am ready to go.

I will be working for a rural mental health center
as a crisis case manager. The crisis case manager meets
with the client in a "safe" place (hospital, police dept.,
the clinic) to assess the client's immediate needs
and to decide what course of action is the best for the client
at that time. They may need hospitalization. They may
need institutionalization. They may need to go home
with a relative or friend. They may need just to talk that
night to get a plan in place for appointments or meds.

Although my work site is roughly 40 miles from home,
it's all parkway to get there. It will still take 35-40 min
to get home, but I know people who live relatively close
to where they work and it takes them 45 minutes to an hour
to get home. I have a friend in Birmingham who lives 14
miles from her office, but it takes her an hour to get home
every evening, so I won't complain too much (I hope) about
the drive time. At least it's not bumper to bumper stop-and-go

As a crisis case manager, I will also be on call two nights per
week. On call starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 8 a.m. The on
call CCM is on call for the 8 counties the mental health center
serves, so I could have to drive an hour or so to do an assessment.
I know that will take some getting used to, but I am so ready
to not just be working, but to be working in a field in which
I have such a keen interest and in which I can try to help others
help themselves.


Daughter and her boyfriend were in this weekend for
a wedding. Yesterday morning, youngest son's girlfriend
came over and we all had brunch together. Youngest
made his "in demand" blueberry pancakes. I cooked
scrambled eggs with hot sauce, cilantro and monterey
jack cheese, some sausage, and some bacon (yep--beaucoup
cholesterol!) but it was fun to share the time together
and everything tasted wonderful.

After daughter left, youngest, his GF, and I played
Monopoly. I almost won--matter of fact, that's the closest
I have ever come to winning. I generally suck at board
games. I either get impatient and don't care any longer
who wins or I simply don't strategize well (if it's a game
of strategy). Sometimes, I'm just really unlucky (cards).
Regardless, it was fun. It was one of the best days I've
had in a long time.

I felt something close to hopeful. It was a strange, yet welcoming


Finished reading No Country For Old Men & Into The Wild.

I already mentioned some thoughts about NCFOM, but I
don't think I've mentioned what drew me into the book
ITW, nor why I recommend it. I saw the movie and wondered
why this young man would do what he did and why he did
not choose to contact his family, or anyone who knew him,
for over 2 years. I wanted to know more about him, what kind
of kid he was, what kind of friend, what his family thought
about him during that time and after the discovery of his
whereabouts, what he liked to read, how he spent his time
as a young child and a young adult. The author makes assumptions
many times about Chris's reasons based on conversations
with people who met him during his two year journey, with his
family members, and with the little bit of information he found
in Chris's journal. It's a well-written book with a few
chapters devoted to the author's own mountain climbing
experiences and his own risk-taking lifestyle. It's worth
the read.

Now rereading The Things They Carried and another book I hope
helps me out some. It's called Learned Optimism. It's
interesting so far, but somewhat on the academic side.
It reads like a book I would have had to read in one of my
Psych classes. I know all too well about Learned Helplessness.
Perhaps I'll learn that such a thing as "learned optimism"
is well within the realm of possibility.


Time to go get some yard work done. Here's a thought
for today from Thoreau's Walden, Or Life In The Woods:

"...If the day and the night are such that you greet them
with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-
scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal,--
that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and
you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest
gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We
easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them.
They are the highest reality...The true harvest of my daily
life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints
of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment
of the rainbow which I have clutched. "

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman
January 26th, 1925-September 26th, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some Days it's Just Too Much

So, I'm on my way to the Pampered Pet Salon this
morning to drop Molly off for a bath and to have her
nails filed, and I get behind this truck with a rather
large decal on the back window (which is tinted so
darkly you can't see anything inside the vehicle)
that says "I dig my coal miner," which is written
beneath the outline of a woman reclining and a man
crawling on his knees toward her inner thighs, his
miner's cap with the headlamp on. Made me think
of this scene from Austin Powers.

They turn at the light, and as they make the turn,
a truck that says, "Wayne's Auto Body" pulls out
in front of me. Can't miss this truck. It has a set
of Texas longhorns attached to the top of the cab.

By this time, I am wondering, more than usual, where
in the hell am I and how in the hell did I get here!

I come home and make an attempt to finish reading
our newspaper (all 8 pages of it). They list police reports
(as do most papers) and a section called "Fire Runs."

In today's section it said this (which is a found poem of
sorts, I think):

"Dispatched at 12:15 a.m. to a request for assistance
from Regional Medical Center at 900 Hospital Drive.

Crews tried to help remove jewelry from a patient
with a ring stuck on their swollen hand. Attempts
to use an assortment of cutters was unsuccessful."

Ok, so what the hell happened to the person? There has been
no follow-up to this Fire Run report, and enquiring minds
want to know. Did a surgeon have to cut the finger off
and reattach it? Or did the doctors give the person massive
amounts of Lasix (if fluid retention caused the finger to swell so much
that the ring got tight) and hope that enough times to the potty
might make the swelling go down, or is the person still walking
around with this too-tight ring cutting the circulation off in
"their" finger?

Tell us, dear editor!

Yes, folks, I need a life.



Getting ready to go window shopping, as in real windows.
We are going to put replacment windows in when we redo
the house. They look like the original windows (6 over 6
they call them at the store--6 panes in the top and 6 in the
bottom). They are lovely old windows, but they've seen
better days.

I think I'm going to keep some of them and perhaps do
some artwork with them. I have some ideas.

Then I'm going to meet a friend for lunch. If all goes
as planned, I'll be at work this time next week, and she
and I will not get to have lunch together again until
we both happen to be off for a day.

If everything goes as planned, I won't be working in town.
I will be driving about 40 miles one way to my work site.

But, I don't have anything in writing at this point--I am just
waiting to receive some more info from the organization.

Time to get my face on and go!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunflowers, 1880
Vincent van Gogh

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What You Don't Say To Your Ma

She tells you she wants
some lye soap, cayennes, and corn,
only if you're going anyway,
to which you respond
Of course, I had planned on it,
knowing that telling her you
were going to the market
tomorrow was not anything
other than a ploy
to keep talking and so then she tells
you how the groundhog ate all the blooms
off the pansies you got for her at Lowe's,
twenty bucks that could have bought
some food, but she was wanting
to see those pansies this winter,
when the cannas had given
up the ghost and the pampas
was leaning heavily toward
the house, how happy that would
have made her on those grey days,
how she couldn't bring herself to call
anyone to kill it as it trusted
her so, like a pet, so she might just put moth
balls around what's left of the pansies
and maybe they'd bloom again and maybe
they'd just stay green for a little while
standing out there proud-like amidst
all the grey and brown and you want
to scream I'm dyin here, Ma,
and I'm not sure if getting better
is better than staying worse, but all you say
is I'll go get you some more pansies.

There goes a troubled woman, she dreams a troubled dream

Sailing to Byzantium

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

William Butler Yeats

Monday, September 22, 2008


How it is a person can lose so much
of who they were and become nothing short
of a complete stranger. How the mind can no longer
bring the words and nearly everything becomes
monosyllabic. How the face in the mirror has
the wrong eyes. The eyes that are much smaller
now. The eyes whose green has lost much of
its once remarkable irridesence. How the lips are much
less full, and the face rounder. How some etch-a-sketched
lines create the new face. And then there are the hands,
fingers swollen most days. Perpetually tanned from long
days of working in the yard, of living in the elements,
the nails sporting miniature Appalachian ridges,
the prominent evidence of the life force gracing
the back of each hand, the uplifted palms revealing
callouses and the rough texture that defines so much
of this life. Just wondering how it happens. How you miss
it happening and just all of a sudden, it is there.


Got a box from Amazon today. Yay! No Country For Old Men,
Into the Wild, and The Things They Carried. I just started
No Country. I've read The Things They Carried and wanted
to reread it but couldn't find my copy, so I just ordered
another that I am going to try to keep here at the house
(every time I get a copy, it has a way of disappearing,
which is really pretty great because someone else is
getting the chance to read one of the best books I've ever
read). I saw the movie Into the Wild and knew I wanted
to read the book, so I ordered that, too.

Only one bookstore in this town, and they never have
anything other than bestsellers, romance novels,
self-help books, and lots of little doo-dad gift things.
No Borders or Barnes and Noble or Joseph Beth here,
so I have to order.


Jo tagged me for a meme last week. I am to name a book
which I feel had the greatest impact on my life,
music which has greatly influenced me, and my favorite
movie. I have been struggling to think of one and only
one in each category.

Each stage of my life has afforded me the opportunity
to fall in love with yet more and more books, music,
and movies. Each day I live presents an opportunity
to fall in love with a painting I've never seen before--
not just fall in love, but to feel a powerful sense of who I am
be simply viewing or hearing or reading or touching,
as the case may be.

I'll give it a stab by starting with books.

When I was young girl, my favorite and most influential
books were White Fang, Call of the Wild, Black Beauty,
and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

When I read Jack London, I not only wanted to know that wild
world he wrote about, I wanted to be Jack London!

There was no limit. I just knew I could be and do
anything if I were Jack. I wanted to touch the fur
on those wild wolves. I wanted to watch them play.
I wanted to hold their gaze. I wanted to marvel at their
beauty. I wanted them to accept me as one of their own.
I wanted to be where the wild things were. I wanted to
be strong, like Buck, and learn to adapt to whatever
circumstances in which I would find myself. I wanted
to be a survivalist, like White Fang and his mother.
I needed to know that there were many frightening
places in this world, but that even in the midst of such
a place, there is beauty and there is hope.

Black Beauty brought me a sense of belonging, of understanding
I was not alone in my pain. I could get lost in the book
and take the focus away from my own sense of loss
and bewilderment. I could keep holding out hope that goodness
would prevail. That he would be loved and treated fairly
and taken care of for the rest of his life. And when he
was finally taken in and loved by a family, I could believe
I would know such love, too. And there was aggressive
Ginger, who bit nearly everyone she met. I could relate
to her hostilities. The book resonated with the empathic
part of my spirit.

And Twenty Thousand Leagues simply filled my head with such
wonder at all the mysteries of the deep. I was fascinated
with the story of Captain Nemo and the strange crew of
the Nautilus. I had nightmares about giant squids
for months, but I couldn't get enough of Verne. So
I read Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Mysterious
Island. Fantastical creatures and bold adveturers. I wanted
to be one of those adventurers!


See, I can't even narrow down a book! I'll just list a few others
I found to be influential in my life:

To Kill A Mockingbird
Crime and Punishment
Les Miserables
The Outline of History (H.G. Wells)
Look Homeward Angel
Tennessee Williams's plays
Everything That Rises Must Converge

Just too many....

Now back to my reading!