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

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.