Who are these silent strangers waiting for me to know who they are?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Woman on the Edge

Woman on the Edge

I stand
A woman on the edge of two worlds
Both are beautiful
On the right side is the world of beginnings
Filled with youth and innocence,
With children and laughter,
Hard work and sweat.
On the left is the world yet to be
Filled with memories of the other,
But also wisdom and peace,
Joy and shared tears,
Hard work and deep thought.
In the first, I learned that I am alone
I must stand for myself
Or be lost to myself.
In the second, I am beginning to learn
That I am not alone but part of everyone
Through the love they carry in their hearts.
Here I am a mature woman
But I must learn to stand with those I love
Or be lost to the world.
Far in the distance I see the beginning
And know that these hoops of life have no end

Friday, June 29, 2012

RIP Zombie

As I sit before my computer screen this evening I find myself contemplating being human. There are times that I fail to see any benefit to being one. It might truly be better to not have this useless intellect powering an over active imagination and fueling the unstoppable thoughts that are torturing me. Two weeks ago I lost my young cat in an unexpected and shocking death. My brain will not let the image of him lying on the floor lifeless be put to rest. I keep seeing him in the days just before, careless, adorable and so loving in stark contrast to his still form. At first, I just couldn’t believe it. Then my brain began to try and find a reason for it. Certainly, there must be a deeper reason, something that gives meaning. But there really isn’t. He is gone, just like that. I have lost many people that I love and many have gone after an illness. A few, like Zombie, died abruptly. I have missed some of them terribly with an ache that is indescribable, like a hole torn in my soul. But Zombie was my baby. He was my comfort when I felt inconsolable. Like all felines, he never judged and always  trusted that I would be there to care for him. Why? I ask myself this all the time. Why would he be taken from me? Was it something I did? Did I fail to notice some dire symptom? And what am I going to do now?
We all seem to race through life, dimly aware that someday we’ll die. We watch in horror as those we know grow older also and shy away from the looming reality of our mortality. There are times when the death or illness of someone close to us smacks us in the face and forces us to see the inevitable. At those times, I have taken stock, changed my priorities and tried to live my life as if every second counts. To me, people mean more than anything else. Yet, here I am once again being smacked in the face. There was no reason, no indication that Zombie would soon be gone. Now, I look at all the people I love and feel panic that I will lose them. That they will be gone before I ever have a chance to tell them, or show them, how much I love them.
It has been two weeks now. Last night I finally said to myself, “I can let him go.” In some kind of unreal, nightmare, I buried him in the backyard. The next day I built a cairn over him and covered it with roses. I knew that he was at peace but I was just numb. We left the day after that to go to IL and I feel like we abandoned him. I had nightmares about finding him and nightmares about him not really being dead. In my waking hours I know that he is gone and my grief is about me, not him. The numbness has worn off and I can’t bear to think of returning to my home in WV without my baby there to greet me. Maybe there’s a small comfort in the Navajo belief that we return to the earth and become a part of her. A friend sent me this poem:
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Brewing tea

Brewing tea I have been brewing tea for a long time and the secret to the best tea is steeping for just the right amount of time. No over brewing or you’ll end up with a bitter nasty flavor and of course, under brewing leaves you with warm water that tastes faintly of something you can’t identify.

The same could be said of steeping thoughts for just the right amount of time. I find I can either blend them all together and come up with an amalgam of flavors or I can single them out and enjoy each one separately, leaving possible blending for a future brew.

So, here I am in the midst of an emergency brew. Concentrated. The main ingredient is self-hood. See, since I was very young, I have done this thing to myself. When I care about a person, really care, I end up giving them a figurative piece of myself. Then when I am with them, everything they feel and think, becomes what I feel and think. No one taught me this, no one asked me to do it, but I have nonetheless. Now, as I try to figure out what is my feeling and my thought, I am flummoxed, confused and lost. I began brewing a couple of weeks ago but last night, a simple phone call propelled me into some serious and frenetic brewing. There is not much harder than having too many people all wanting me to do something different because I get so mixed up in everyone else I lose my self. But as a mother, the worst is feeling the heartbreak, grief, despair of your child and not being able to do anything about it. It is counter productive and actually destructive for me to feel his problem so deeply that it seems like my own. So, I sit and brew like I've never brewed before. I feel sad but I have finally clarified my brew to be my own emotions and thoughts rather than his. Panic is all strained out and my brain is now functioning like it should. I can't fix anything I can just let him know how much I love him and that if he gives himself time, it will get better. And he can breathe. Just remember to breathe, deep oxygen rich breathes.

 My tea today is: I am not my son. I am myself and I can do this.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Red Sky at Morning

Today, I decided to go back to getting up at dawn. I nearly mad it, about 10 minutes after the official dawn. It is so peaceful in the house early in the morning. I made a pot of coffee and had a cigarette out on the porch. For the first time in a couple of years, there was a red sky. Of course, my brain went immediately to the saying, "Red sky at morning, sailor take warning, Red sky at night sailor's delight." I am not a sailor, and I am not at sea, but I can't stop myself from wondering what kind of hideous weather will plague my today. We are expected storms later this afternoon. (insert mysterious and suspenseful music here)Anyway and nonetheless, I am looking forward to a productive day of housework (yuk) and book research. I am finally multi-dexterous and can operate my mac and my pc with proficiency. I am re-acquainting myself with MS Word.Even with the handicap of years on the mac, Word is so much easier than Pages. Yet, I have to add 'curses to windows' at this juncture, having just experienced an unexpected update. Inconvenient that. So, rather than a Red Letter day, I am having a Red Sky Day. Wahoo. Maybe I should go back and read some of Cicero's orations to see what ancient wisdom and philosophy has to offer me. Right now, I will settle for some more coffee.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Wednesday - I am contemplating a few odd stray thoughts. Like, for instance, did you ever pass an old, neglected house and see numerous windows missing their glass? These houses seem like caves, dark and somehow foreboding inside. There's that indefinable feeling that blends the "something's not right" uneasy feeling with the "how did this happen" what's inside there feeling. Sometimes, when I see an old building I just feel sadness or regret. So, why do certain ones creep me out? Certainly, driving along a single lane dirt road in the hollers of WV adds to the creep factor. But in the middle of town on a sunlit day, there is a certain house that screams "DON"T ENTER HERE! MURDERERS, RAPISTS, PIG SQUEALING PERVERTS ARE LURKING." It is right next to a quaint, and respectable house with a little pink bicycle on the porch and Yellow flowered curtains in the window.

And, why do certain old books make me want to hold them like priceless treasures, while others just need to be thrown out. Their weight is part of it, I think. A heavy, ornate book with rag paper pages, printed on letterpress and illustrated lavishly with beautiful, crisp wood engravings and bearing gilt designs on the cover is much preferred over a light weight, dried out brown, wood pulp paged volume that threatens to disintegrate if you actually turn a page. It's true that the one I prefer to hold is the Chemistry textbook from 1890 and the well bound but brittle book contains Thackeray's Vanity Fair.

And speaking of books, over and over I find books that are lost gems. I look at them and think, someone, somewhere would love this book. I mean really cherish it and read it and appreciate it. But will they ever even know it exists? I have this delightful Travelogue by Burton Holmes. He was a guy that simply traveled and took photos and movies - and then returned to the States with his beautiful works and went on tour. He performed six shows a week, sometimes in six different cities, in which he just talked about the people and places he had seen. In this particular volume from 1910, he was talking about Korea and Japan. The images are stunning and his stories so interesting. The book itself has beautifully designed pages. Somewhere out there, is a person who would appreciate his photography, stories and his subject. So many orphaned books!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fight for myself

I don't know! I DON'T KNOW! I'm lost! I'm scared! I feel like I'm disappearing! MY SKIN'S COMING OFF! I'M GETTING OLD! Nothing makes any sense to me! NOTHING MAKES ANY SENSE! - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

It is Thursday night. The night barren of anything redeemable on TV. I have just gotten a brand spanking new HP laptop computer that I feel handicapped when using. The conversion from Mac back to PC somehow seems like I am going simultaneously forward and backward. I feel hopelessly confused when trying to get all my documents from mac to pc. I have already been going through an identity crisis. I have not had a cigarette in 8 days and I would cheerfully steal a butt off a helpless old lady if any were available for the hijack. But I can't, because my husband won't even give me a hug if I smoke. I smell like an ashtray you know. In the interest of actually being shown some affection, I will quit. It's a dirty, selfish, expensive habit and it disgusts him. Some how in all this mess I call a brain, I feel like I am losing my identity. Bit by bit, a slow millimeter at a time, I find myself shutting off all of my preferences and newly discovered joys to please my husband. Not that he is asking me to do any of that. But, his constant criticism and air of disapproval is wearing me down. Even when he is not really disapproving, it feels like he is and furthermore, like he is mad at me. A month ago, I didn't care. A month ago I felt like I was making progress on speaking my mind and discovering what my mind really has to say. It's sort of like brain washing, I am rarely alone and at any moment he will decide to play the bag pipes or read posts from his Survival forum, or ask me questions about what he is working on. If I sleep late he glowers his disapproval. If I sleep late and then I want to etsy rather than go out, he really radiates displeasure. OK forget all that, I am just repetitively whining and I hate to hear myself. In fact, I am finding myself teetering once again on the brink of hating myself. arrrrgggghhh. Is it just withdrawal from nicotine? Am I going crazy? I promised myself that I would not sit and catalogue my stupid self imposed "rules."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Sailor

I researched this book today about a young man who runs away from humiliation and becomes a sailor. At the beginning of the book he is drunk, and depressed. This is an excerpt of a couple pages about his attempt at suicide. For some reason this just gripped me and I couldn't stop reading.

For some odd reason which he couldn’t explain, the feeling of excitement began to grow with the certainty that he was on the line. He cold feel the metals, icy cold, smooth and slippery under his feet. He limped along until a dim shape loomed ahead. It was a signal box. By this time his excitement was almost terrible. . . .

“Now’s your chance, “ said a gentle voice deep down in himself.
Instantly he lay full length in the six-foot way.
“Set your head on the line,” said the voice.
He did as he was told. The sensation of the icy metal under his right ear was so horrible that his heart almost stopped inside him.
“Close your eyes,” said the voice, and then it said a little more gently as if it knew that already he was half dead with fear, “Stay just as you are and you’ll not know nothink about it.”
He closed his eyes.
“Don’t move, “ said the voice. “Stay there and it’ll not hurt you.”
If he had had a God to pray to, he would have prayed.
The engine seemed a long time on the way. He daren’t move hand or foot, he daren’t stir a muscle of his body. But as the seconds passed an intense desire came upon him to change the position of his head. It felt so undefended sideways on. Surely it would be better if he turned it round so that . . .
“Don’t move,” the voice commanded him. “Keep just like that. Quite still.”
He was bound to obey. The voice was stronger than he.
“Eyes shut, and you’ll not know nothink.”
It was as a mother would have spoken had he ever heard a mother speak.
. . .The engine was coming. He could hear it snorting and tattling in the distance. He simply daren’t listen. He tried to imagine he was already dead. But a frightful crash suddenly broke in upon his brain, and then another, and then another . . . he never realized how much it took to . . .
“Fog signals, “ said the voice. “Keep just as you are . . eyes shut . . .quite still . . .quite still.”
There it was, grunting and rattling . . . Know nothink! . . .there . . .now . . .
Grunting, rattling snorting what a time it took! In spite of himself he opened his eyes, and found that he was still alive.
“You were on the wrong line after all.”
The sound of the voice turned him faint.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tragedy unexplained

I read a friends blog today that has filled me with anger and frustration. It was a post about the starving horses confiscated in Fresno from a previous lottery winner. The question posed by my friend, Why would they? My first reaction is the knee jerk reaction of all animal lovers. They are selfish, self indulgent, assholes who, in the process or living their uncontrolled lives, forgot about the animals dependent upon them. They should do jail time at the least but what I really want is for them to be locked up and have someone "forget" to feed them.
Aside from that, I have to look deeper, these people are just people after all. They thought "wouldn't it be fine to have a horse ranch?" but never realized the work and dedication it takes to care for these majestic creatures. There are people who get so overwhelmed with their own life and stress that they stop caring about their own welfare. They stop washing laundry and cleaning house, the stop caring about their own hygiene and what they eat. How could someone in that condition take care of anyone or anything when they can no longer care for themselves? It makes me angry, very angry and it makes me feel helpless. But I suspect that, like hoarders, they did not intend to harm anyone and when things got out of control they avoided reality out of self preservation. So, along with my harsh judgement there is the slightest bit of pity. Here is a person who thought that winning the lottery would solve all their problems. Now they could really have a chance at a good life. But no one teaches us how to live with poverty or sudden extreme wealth. If you could not handle a small amount of money and never learned responsibility, then having sudden wealth just magnifies stress and complicates life. Small problems faced with poor judgement and no self responsibility become large problems, sometimes with terrible consequences. Unfortunately, caring for animals, like having children, is not preceded by a maturity and aptitude test. A person does not have to prove they can handle it before they are faced with actually doing it. So - was this guy a self absorbed ass? or was he a sad example of how our society does nothing to teach self responsibility? How in the world can we teach adults to actually be responsible, understand the consequences of their own actions when we, as a society, work so hard to teach and reward the pass the buck mentality. "It's perfectly alright to do your least on a job because if you are fired you can get unemployment." "It's not my job to stop bullying or discrimination." etc.
Ultimately, I just don't understand why or how a tragedy like this can happen.

Monday, February 13, 2012

nothing much

I am sitting here after a satisfying day of coin sorting, book research, and laundry. It amazing how good fresh, clean sheets make one feel. Now if I could just put a hold on the ladybugs, thank you. I have already picked five of them out of my hair! Where are they getting in? It's snowing out and they are still active. I have one crawling across the top of my laptop right now. There are so many that even the cats ignore them. Just let a moth flit by and they are all teeth and claws but ladybugs? Hohum. So boring. What? Crawling through mom's hair? So what. I'm just going to chew my feet and sharpen my talons so when she moves her legs I'll be ready to attack. Meanwhile, I'll just enjoy the rug and the fire.All except for Mike who has turned his back on my me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Get a perspective

So, here it is - Wednesday. I have been researching books all day. In the back ground I have CSI playing and a kitty in my lap. Today is one of those days when I feel like the minutes are ticking by in slow motion. I can't really say that I am distracted. It's more like my brain is simultaneously working on multiple problems and/or tasks. You know, the kind of problems that don't have solutions but you can't let go anyway. They are the kind of problems that make me feel as if there is no one on the face of the planet that I can consult or commiserate with. A real sticky wicket or two. It is too true that most people don't want to hear another's problems or emotional traumas, especially when there is no apparent solution. That only adds to the feeling of isolation. But - if I want to be brutally honest with myself (and its seems I do) I have to admit that some solutions have occurred to me but I have rejected them. In the back of my mind I hear Einstein, "Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting different results." I just keep searching myself and trying to figure out what to change. Frustratingly, I seem incapable of implementing any of the changes that I do know need to be made. That's when I ask myself "What the hell is wrong with you?!" and "Am I the author of my own defeat?" Maybe, they are not really problems anywhere but in my own mind. Does that mean that I am insane? I don't know but today I understand why someone would chose to drink and how that could lead to an on going battle with alcoholism. What's even worse, is I understand why that could seem like an acceptable trade off. Don't get me wrong, my problems shouldn't be life or death issues, - really they are not - but at times they seem to swallow me whole. From in the belly of the whale, I lose perspective.

Monday, January 30, 2012


It’s Monday and I really have nothing to say. I have been aimlessly doing things about the house. Put away laundry, sorted through old photos, took pictures of the cats. I am so bored that I can’t even think straight. Internet is not working! So, I have washed the dishes, swept the floor and cleaned the kitty litter boxes. Where is that book I wanted to read? I can’t find it. I brought in firewood, cleaned out the frig and took a bath. I still can’t find my book. I found a box of trashy romance novels but none of them are very interesting. It is now 2 pm. I contemplated watching Dexter, but decided to save it for my evening faire. I wrote a letter to my sister-in-law, packaged up a box for my daughter and cleaned the shower walls. Oh look, I need more fire wood and the internet is still down. I vacuumed the rugs, trimmed my hair and decided to have stir fry for dinner. So, I sorted through the freezer and found the right vegetables. Maybe I’d rather have chicken wings, french fries and a salad with bacon dressing. My husband is working on setting up a new router and I am making hand squeezed lemonade. I feel so domestic that I need to slap myself. I know just the thing. I will clean all the light switch plates and door knobs. Done! that took a good 45 minutes. I think I need to bake a cake or maybe some cupcakes. Chocolate will do. I’ve already been to the store and I don’t want to venture into walwart again today. That means I have to make my own frosting. It’s better that way anyway. Right? O.K. now, cup cakes are baking, still working on the internet and am listening to my ipod on random. I trimmed Zombie’s nails, brushed out Mikey and the cupcakes are cooling. Why can’t the netgear communicate with the suddenlink box? Let’s call and see. It is now 4:30 pm. Waiting. Waiting.
Deep in the cells of my brain, neurons are firing. Or fizzling. Or something. We will now run the diagnostic again. ISP failed. Reset the device. Reset for the 5th time. Router is turned off. Router is turned on. Still not connecting. Grrrr. Is it a mac thing? I am beginning to hate mac. Maybe a PC laptop is in order. Yes. I would love to research what kind of laptop to get but . . . I don’t have the internet right now. Yes Sir. Firewall is disabled. Yes Sir, everything is plugged in. All the lights are on. No connection. Diagnostics recommends we contact our internet provider. Reconfigure IP. Yes Sir. Use passive FTP mode. After 30 minutes Suddenlink cannot help us. On to Netgear. Calling and waiting.
It is 6:30 pm - I am finally able to access the internet! Wahoo.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's alright I'm alive

I crawled out of my skin
I thought that’s what I wanted
but now it hurts too much
I feel the slightest breeze
I’m exposed

I stand on the brink, heart pounding
caught between flight and fight
No one where to run, no one to battle
no way to breathe

With my mouth dry
I address the air
past the tightness in my throat
- I will breathe

Slowly, the wild bird
quiets and rests
my thoughts thaw
It’s alright

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Sea

Sometimes it seems like the internet really is like the sea at night. All around, all you can see are the darks swells of the waves. Even if you know there are other boats, hidden behind the nearest swell. Above you can see a million stars, the same stars that any other on the sea may look at. Yet, even when you call out and try to make contact, the wind swallows your voice. You can write a note, stuff it in a bottle and toss it out trusting the waves to deliver it and trusting that someone will read it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This and That

I was wondering, can a person get writer's block when writing their own journal? There should always be something going on inside my head, right? It's true that most of what goes on in a typical day is not noteworthy. BUT if the brain stops taking note of the unusual within the mundane then how do I jump start it again? Of course, then there are the times when there is so much going on in my head that I can't seem to distill it down into anything that makes sense.

I began working on this post yesterday. As I was typing I was interrupted by a phone call from Jack. He wanted to stop by and show my husband the beautiful reproduction 18th century gun that he had built. By the time he left, I was totally distracted and waiting for a phone call from a friend. Without really being conscious of it I continued this thought pattern throughout the day. I began thinking about thinking. So, what is a thought anyway? A thought is in no way original. It is just the data retrieved and filled in from memory of a sound, an image, a taste, etc. To be original, you have to have an idea. Ideas are those epiphany's that are based, not on a memory or thought but on your brain interpreting something totally new. Did you ever try to observe your thoughts - as if from outside yourself - and trace them back through the string of memories to the origin? To come up with an original idea, you could try asking yourself a question that forces your brain to look at old thoughts in a new way. Better yet, if someone else asked you a question about something that was outside your everyday thought pattern, you might come up with a totally original idea. So - food for thought - or ideas:

Without humanizing them, if cats could really talk what to you suppose they would say, or want to say to us, humans or to other cats?

If human thought and intent shaped our reality, what kind of a world would you think into being? How would you convince others to think the same way so that collectively you create reality your way rather than, say the way media wants us to think?

I guess - I need to stop and think some more.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

facebook sucks

It is interesting to see how many people think that broadcasting the minutia of their daily life on facebook somehow gives their life meaning. These are the ones who feel compelled to let everyone know what they are cooking for dinner, what they are shopping for, what their pets are doing, what they are wearing (or would like to wear)., etc. Most of what they post is surface, meaningless stuff like a bare bone without any meat on it. The worst of them are even hollow without any marrow. These same people will randomly post some shockingly personal things. The kind of things best said to your best friend or spouse. Yet, they post it for all to see. Perhaps it is only posted because it is safe from any real human interaction. I think that my biggest pet peeve concerning facebook is that it is pseudo life, pseudo friendship and pseudo communication. In the past I have tried to elicit real responses to actual meaty issues and usually these go unanswered and ignored. If I want to get any recognition to a post, it has contain pictures or have multi choice questions, much like grammar school or remedial education. Maybe, I am just boring, or the topics I choose are boring. Either way, I feel that I would much rather be ignored in person than over the internet and I refuse to compromise my own privacy. So screw it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

why can't I be a car?

Going to the doctor should be like going to a mechanic. We should be able to deposit our body, leave it for testing and repair and return later after spending time in a comfortable lounge quietly reading a good book. Instead, we are privy to every indignity and invasion of privacy and certainly aware of pains (both mental and physical) we are forced to endure. When they are done there is no acknowledgment of humanity. We go forth to deal with insurance companies who act as if you are trying to rob them and your only motivation is to somehow receive a prescription drug to supplement your habit. In my opinion, there is something to be said about the good old days when you went to your family doctor for everything. He talked to you like you were a human being that he cared about. So - waaaaaah!
I think I have recovered my equilibrium and hope to be done with the medical community until next year. Now I just need to get through the dentist!!!