Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Little Inspiration in a Dark Week

"Art 21: Art in the 21st Century" goes into artists' studios and artists' minds, and offers fast-paced stories of the artists' motivations, thoughts, materials and backgrounds. The diversity of the mediums (media?) of the artists covered makes the viewer feel as though she were watching an all-encompassing stratosphere of summoning the imagination from the brain into the world through production of creativity and how it feels and what its value is. Each artist talks about what art is and how it fits into, inside of, and outside of our minds. Sometimes Netflix brings great things.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Introspection

Sorting through thoughts happens most often in isolation. Does isolation and thoughtful circulation of thoughts lead to madness? Why, yes, it does, sometimes ... but does it always.... ? that is my question. Fortunately I have never been a victim to that unfortunate circumstance, but I have been close enough, peripherally, through reading and isolation and observation to get a glimpse of it. I remember writing about this months ago and relating it to a trilogy I read by Paul Auster ... all stories dealing with that concept. Not all ended in madness. The logical and unimaginative private detective came out just fine. Good story. Bleak, gray, deep and cyclical. Tricyclical.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pre-natal and Post-death

I've been giving some thought to the funeral business in the last few months, as I've been reading about it in The Black Obelisk (the library is sending me e-mails to ask for it back), and stories all around speak of the production of caskets, the families who spend generations repeating the cycle of profiting from the ceremonial mourning process, and the ubiquitous nature of the lucrative aspect of deaths in society. Much is spent on the beginning of life, with perhaps seven months of hospital visits, possibly an expensive surgery, and mountains of baby gear. By my precise calculation, the expenditure of funds averages to be equal in comparison.
Nowadays, I think the trend of newspapers is to charge people for the publication of an obituary, whereas baby announcements are published for free, at least in my little corner here. You pay now for an obituary because they let you write it any way you want to. You can get a free one with the facts as basic as a birth announcement.
If a birth announcement were written as an obituary, it might be something like this ...
Alma Grace Potter, age .0000000000001, became alive on Saturday, November 27, 2010, in New Hampshire County Hospital in Youth, New York. She had been in her usual health and birth was sudden and expected.
Preceding her in birth were her parents, Horace Greenlief Potter and Linda Potter. Also preceding her in birth were her grandparents, Will and Mazie Potter and Flint and Ivy Worth; a sister, Alice Z. Potter, and a brother, Dewey S. Potter; two aunts, Mega Potter and Dreama Potter Weaver and husband Guy, an uncle, Simonton Potter, and five cousins and several step-cousins. An uncle, Rob Potter, preceded her life by dying before she was born.
She was active in the womb, and participated from the inside by listening to college lectures and children's stories, taking trips to Target, and going with her parents to prenatal yoga classes. She will most likely enjoy hobbies such as knitting, texting, cross-country skiing and gardening, and she is a Buddhist by faith. She is also an avid stretcher.
Friends will be received in New Hampshire County Hospital from November 27 to November 29, and at home for the next three weeks. Gifts can be purchased in reference to the Target baby register at the front desk.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It's been gray and rainy the last four days, and I haven't been able to walk. Work has been sluggish and yesterday pushed me to my limits. I made something with apples that have been in the refrigerator about a month and a half, and some of the apples taste OK and some of them taste a little funny.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An All-Good Saturday

Saturday I left the home for an adventure, involving following an unfamiliar route to Pittsburgh on the east side, going to Monroeville. Later I went to Squirrel Hill, which is a lovely and interesting little section of Pittsburgh. I saw some British-reminiscent architecture, an endless variety of merchandise from all over the world, beautiful churches/mosques, and an intense golden light of the November sun illuminating the landscape to make it golden and spectacular, with what color there is left of the late, late fall. I went the wrong way twice, on the turnpike, but turned around and it was OK; and started the trip by getting stuck in traffic because of a three-car wreck about a mile from home. The wreck occurred in the middle of a dangerous intersection, and about a year or two ago a traffic light was installed after a series of accidents there. I remember hearing a policeman I know saying that traffic lights never make intersections safer. A young one in the house typed up an itinerary for us, and mapped out the drive and scheduled our departure time from home. We were 10 minutes late leaving, and I believe we would have ended up much closer to the accident had we left when we were scheduled to.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I watched a documentary last night called "Babies," which followed the lives of four babies in four vastly separated parts of the world: Japan, Africa (I didn't catch which country), United States, and Mongolia. Worth watching, but I fell asleep. There was no determinable dialogue, as it was all about conveying images and mood.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Yesterday was a day of travel. It was work-related, and I thought it would help me in a non-work way to get a change of scenery. It was rainy, dark, and dismal. It helped a little.
I found a Kermit-the-Frog classic tan trench coat at Target on sale, which I purchased for those Muppet-feeling days. Halloween candy and costumes are also on sale. Thursday nights are the best shopping days. Merchandise is marked down for the weekend shoppers and you can buy it before the weekend shoppers have purchased them.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What's Really There?

Yesterday I was thinking about labels, and how sometimes people who are quick to judge might label the people they are interested in dating. They label them quickly and they date the labels, and in that way people become objectified. Beautiful, shy, rich, emo, athletic, smart, young, artistic, easy ... and those people who label and objectify don't seem to care or bother with what's underneath. That makes a person feel hollow. That's why it always feels unnatural and wrong to go on a date with someone you don't know or who doesn't seem to bother much with wanting to know what's happening with you. I often wonder if they think it doesn't matter, or if they don't have the capacity to understand that other people are just as complex as they are, or if they just don't care. It's mostly on the surface, and it's probably doomed to fail. Or maybe they're not complex, and that's the whole problem.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Frames, The Reframing, The Reframest

There is nothing quite like writing. Sometimes my mind feels like a blank slate for future experiences, and learning new things, but reading over some of my historic troublesome times and ways I've dealt with them helps me remember that once I was wise, worked it out through the passage of time and the commitment of words to paper, and from nebulous thoughts to tangible articulation, and have created conclusions and angles that transform the bad into good. The future would be much more clear if I could keep all I have learned in mind, but it probably would have all slipped away had it not been scribed and kept for my future.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The More Things Change, the Mo .... re They Stay the Sa ...... me

My strange spate of absorbing random advice of late ... "you can't change who you are" ... made philosophically funny by an episode of Arrested Development ... has brought me much more to think about today. Jason Bateman's character, Michael, says this over and over as he realizes he is inherently good. He tries to get past that by devising an evil plan to get back at his brother, but it turns out that what he tries to do ends up being perceived as something good, after he started to feel guilty about it, and after the events unfolded differently than he had planned because of events out of his control. I, as I'm sure all humans have for all time, have never tired of debating about whether people can change or not. People do change some things about themselves, I think, but what seems to stay the same is how a person treats other people, which all pertains to a person's kindness (or cruelty), peacefulness, combativeness, honesty level, confidence level, arrogance, humility, modesty, diligence, possessiveness, passivity, apathy, thoughtfulness, inconsideration, obsessiveness, ability to let go and move on, addictive behavior, tendency to internalize or externalize blame, control freakishness, response to conflict, response to rejection, response to achievement, response to fear, and response to stress. And, of course, the older people get, the more rigid people seem to become in the qualities of their personalities. I remember my grandmother, who was born in 1906, said to me about 20 years ago, people are no different now than they were hundreds and hundreds of years ago: society has the same problems, people are violent and self-destructive, and men will always be ready for war. And I will probably never stop over-thinking things. Unless I don't live forever.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Lately I've been picking up on bits and pieces of advice I hear ... trying to make sense of things, as I always do, and last night I heard on the movie "The Haunting of Molly Hartley," the comment, "Human weaknesses always bring consequences," or something close to that. I'm glad a fluffy teen horror movie could give me something to think about today.


As I was reading last night, reflecting about how I like things in other people that I like, or would like to, see in myself, and how it relates to The Black Obelisk, I fell asleep soon after. I looked back at the previous page of the book the next day to re-read the conversation I wrote about yesterday, and I couldn't find the part comparing people to mirrors. Maybe I just imagined I read it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


In The Black Obelisk, the author goes on about mirrors and reflections for about a page. He (Erich Remarque's character) was talking to his beautiful female friend who lives in a mental institution. She asked him how mirrors work, and what happens to the pieces of the person that go into the reflection. He said that they reflect back, and that's all they do. Then he went on about how people we like work like mirrors to us, that we keep them around because they reflect us, that we see likable qualities in those likable people because we recognize in them parts of our likable selves. Bits and pieces of ourselves sometimes do disappear into those other partners and become part of who they are. Could it be then, that what happens when relationships end is that we no longer see any parts of ourselves in that other person, that the mirrors shatter, or get hazy ... and it's more like an impenetrable wall?

Friday, October 8, 2010


This fall weekend's weather should be sunny and in the mid-70s all three days. What more could a person want? I will be going to a big festival that is centered around the celebration of being young, pretty, rich and politically connected. But I try not to think about that part.
Going to the dentist for tooth-drilling and filling this week was predictably miserable (I don't understand ... I take care of my teeth!), but my dentist is experienced and quick. That counts for a lot! I tried to appreciate all that I could about it, that I am responsibly seeking and taking dentist help, that the walls in there were a nice, calm blue, with brick on one wall painted white, and this particular room did not have Fox News playing in it as most of the other rooms do. As I watched in the waiting room, I was informed, after a story about sugary drinks being OK for kids in moderation (further evidence, as if I needed it, that Fox News is poison!), that the Fox News channel is celebrating its 14-year birthday right now. The news people had a tall, round, candy-coated cake to help commemorate. I couldn't believe my eyes. My dental office should ban all sugar-related stories unless they are anti-sugar stories.
A few days earlier, I saw my former (young and therefore much less experienced) dentist at a health fair, with a giant poster of him on it behind him. I last saw him almost four years ago. When he filled my cavity, it took more than an hour. My jaw couldn't take being open all that time. After sitting there for a very long time, with him struggling over my tooth, he dropped a metal tool on my eye (I noticed my new dentist passes tools under my chin, not over my eyes). I had to go back the next day and the next day because it wasn't done right. He left some things in my mouth that shouldn't have been there. He put too much filling in my mouth. I couldn't use the tooth for eating like I should have been able to. I had to go back three times. The tooth felt like a marble countertop, smooth and flat, not like a tooth should feel. After three years, I finally made it back to the dentist, but to my new dentist who someone had recommended. At the health fair, the young dentist remembered me, saying that he remembered I had some sensitivity on my tooth, after I told him he had worked on a cavity of mine. Four years ago! He asked me how it was doing now, and I said, fine, but I was afraid to go back to the dentist for a few years, and that my new dentist had fixed it. I was just being honest, and he asked, but I couldn't help feeling guilty about it, in case he felt bad. You don't want to go to a health fair, at your booth, putting yourself out there, and have someone talk to you about how you messed up. I guess that's just the risk you take. Lately I've been telling people when they do something that bothers me. At first, I feel good about it, like I really needed to do it, and then I worry that they think I'm mean or a little crazy. I think I prefer the healthier way (note I WAS at a health fair) -- to tell people rather than keep it to myself and let it eat away at me. I guess you call that getting older.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stuck with Subjectivity

Thinking about what goes on in my head vs. what goes on in other peoples' heads. We're all about the same, I think (we think), and heard this same thought on the radio as I woke up last week. Actually the bit I heard was a comment that men's and women's minds and ways of thinking aren't as different from each other as people have believed.
It seems like the more time I spend thinking about stuff, the more self-absorbed I feel. The more self-absorbed I feel, the more conscious I am of my thinking and of my actions. I want to start thinking from a different perspective, but I have a hard time getting out of one place in my mind. I think about what I did and what I said, and what effect that has had. But I want to be thinking that how other people in my life think and act has more to do with them and not with me. Maybe that comes with time, when the sting of a painful experience with someone I know has passed and I can look objectively at it and I can stop thinking about how it has to do with me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Advice and An Awkward Encounter

I have been doing a lot of walking lately. I listened to a song yesterday and today that advised me to say to myself several times a day, "Always be calm, cheerful and confident." "Let go." I wish it were that easy.

Last Tuesday, I walked about a mile from my house to run an errand, and another mile or two to find some unmarked trails not far from where I live, that I had heard about recently. On the way, a property developer/landlord/senior citizen drove by and asked me for a ride from his luxury SUV-mobile. I recognized the car and the man because he had driven my co-worker and I for a tour of some property that he was leasing about five months ago, and my neighbor is his employee. Of course, he didn't remember me. He simply wanted to know if I wanted a ride. I told him which way I was going instead of accepting. A few minutes later, I was in dangerous walking territory because I was looking for the trail, cars were going by very fast, and there was no walkway -- just steep slopes, high grass, and a cornfield. He drove by again and asked if I wanted a ride, and I accepted to get out of the way of the fast-moving cars. I told him I was looking for a trail. I think I was almost there, but he drove me far past it and around too far. About five minutes later, I found the trail and he dropped me off. I walked on the trail for about an hour, and as I was walking back on the dangerous road, he drove by again and offered another ride to me. I accepted, as I was in the same fast-paced no-sidewalk situation. He told me he wanted to show me his house, and it was right on the main road. I know I should have said no, but I had met him before, knew he owned most of the neighborhood (all of the neighborhood at one time), and was curious about the sort of home he would have in our small area. It turned out to be one of the nicest of the houses. He had albino deer that had been taxidermitized and were sitting on an overlook over the kitchen. He offered me rum raisin ice cream and venison balogna, which seemed to me to be a new and disturbing concept. I thought to myself, if someone could just be kind to me without me being afraid I was being hit on, life would be sweeter, and sweet ... maybe it could be this guy. He's at least 70, and I'm young enough to be his daughter ... I think. So, after a tour of this beautiful and interesting house and several of the balconies, I was ready to go home. I said I could walk, but he offered to drive again. I had already been gone for quite some time, and had some delicious pot roast ready for me at home. I should have said no. Actually, I think I did say no. So, when he dropped me off, he asked for my phone number, touched my arm twice, and said he'd like to take me out to dinner. Foiled again. My belief that strange men who are super friendly will only be looking for an impersonal date was further solidified and I felt disturbed that I was open to the possibility that his intentions were any different. He wrote my number on a birthday card his grandson had mailed to him. It said "Grandpa" in giant red letters. I should have said no. I should have said no.

The good news is that I have received no such phone call inviting me to the previously suggested "dinner," to which I would most definitely protest.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The inner/outer critic

When we're living closely with someone else, it becomes easy to blame our annoyances on the other person and find incredible fault with him. When we don't have another person in our lives with such one-on-one closeness, that fault-finding is then directed inward. I think.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sometimes Re-Framing is a Struggle

When will I ever see empty promises, unfulfilled offers, and consistent indifference to me as rude and offensive, rather than unconsciously internalizing all the blame? I need to see that it's not all about me! Now I suddenly see, the problem is self-absorption. Wait, now I'm blaming myself again! It happens so easily!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Little Things

Today was going unreasonably bad. I think it's because I had dessert for breakfast. The whole idea of positivity was seeming impossible. The sunny, bright sky was mocking me with its perfection while I was miserable. The smile someone gave me was bubbling with evil and insincerity. I was grumpy until I had more dessert later on, after some bread with pepperoni in it. I read some advice about imagining that the day was beginning with the seemingly limitless energy of the morning, even if it's not the morning. Then I realized that life wasn't so bad.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I went to a park for a festival last weekend in my hometown. She's only been coming to that hometown once or twice per year, for the past 18 years or so, and even then not even out in public, but still two people called me by my sister's name. I was thinking ... I guess it helps me take myself less seriously, which is something I could really use. I corrected them, and I said it happens just about every time I come home. I guess that's what happens when you have siblings who are girls like myself. We're practically the same person.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So hopeful, so illogical.

I woke up today with a single thought that calmed me and made my day better. It was after a long nap. I thought that I had no justification for being unhappy because of the way someone acted, because those actions were in conformity with what I had already experienced, again and again, with that person. Disappointments would be so much easier to deal with if I could keep that in mind. I wish for something better, something more, something more positive, and then I am disappointed when someone acts in conformity with how they have acted in the past. It's illogical to expect anything different, yet I do hope for the best. I guess it's human nature.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Here in the calm, mountainous area away from the coast and away from the hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes of the coastal and flat lands, we had calamitous weather complete with an earthquake tremor warning not too far from here. The sky went dramatically from light to dark to light to dark and rain to sun. Later in the afternoon there was a tornado spotted on the road about an hour or two from here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jonah Hex

Friday night I was roped in to watch a new Western movie, traditional in the sense of the lone hero, violence, swagger, horse-riding, action and tragedy, but with a supernatural twist in that the hero, Jonah Hex, played by Josh Brolin, could talk to dead people. Megan Fox was in this movie, so I could finally see what all the commotion over her has been about. Despite being tired after a long day, I did not fall asleep while watching it, but I'm not sure why. It's definitely not my kind of movie, but Josh Brolin was channeling Clint Eastwood in the best of ways. The plot was formulaic, but something kept me interested and alert -- possibly the margaritas from the Mexican grill restaurant I consumed beforehand. I learned by reading the end credits that it's based on a comic-book story. Then the campiness made more sense. I wasn't sure going in whether it would be a comedy; and I could tell right after it started that it wasn't, but there was one funny line when Jonah Hex looked at a dog that suddenly appeared, and he gruffly addressed the dog: "I don't know what to say to you," he said. Funny because that's how I feel sometimes about babies and pets. Even though the movie was rated PG-13, it caused my sensitive brain to have a couple of scary dreams about fires.
Before the movie started, I looked around the theater, and then asked my friend, "Is this the opening night for this movie?"
"Yes," was the answer.
"There are six people in here!" I observed.
Next time I pick the movie!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I haven't sat down to watch regular old television in months and months and months ... but last night my friend ushered me off the phone at 9 p.m. so she could watch Top Chef on Bravo, and urged me to do the same. So, having nothing better to do, as is probably the case with most reasons to watch television, I watched it. I felt so bad for the gray-haired, dred-locked, spectacled chef who was rated the bottom chef and was asked to leave the show. They showed him wiping away a tear from under his glasses and I felt his pain. He used a store-bought pastry to add to his maple syrup and macadamia-nut creamy dessert, and the judges were very unhappy that he hadn't made his own pastry in the half hour or so that they were given to make their things. I woke up this morning feeling bad for him all over again. He had a nice smile. Next up, the same show except they replaced the cooking concept to art challenges. Finally, a reality show that I wanted to see the end of. The challenge was to take a mountain of old appliances (mostly a lot of old TVs) and make a 3-D work of art. I feel like I just discovered what to do with all of that post-dinner, pre-bed doldrums! But I don't want to be a casualty of normalcy, so that's probably why I have resisted.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Streaming Movies!

Streaming movies from Netflix via Wii is the best thing that happened to my TV! Beetlejuice is a great movie, no matter how many times a person sees it. Last night I started watching the Julie/Julia movie. Julie has a blog, which is a big part of the movie. She makes Julia Childs' food and then writes about it. What resulted was a movie deal and a book. It sounds so easy! The big wide world found her blog and liked it. If nothing else, I felt like cooking after watching for a little while. It's unavoidable. I remember watching Julia Childs's cooking show on PBS once a long time ago. It was one of those days, a very, very long time ago, when I had nothing to do, and there was nothing to watch on TV so I watched the only thing that was not golf, tennis, an infomercial, or the shopping channel. I watched it for a few minutes and decided I would rather do something else. But the movie glamorizes her in a very appealing and charming way. By the time either Julie or Julia became tiresome, the movie makers switched to the other one. The one thing that holds me back from cooking creatively is the expanding waistline ... but in my mind, I'm about ready to put together the most amazing grocery list.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Live, learn, evolve. Forget. Repeat.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Airwave Enlightenment

In my head I have been hearing a phrase I heard on the radio this morning as I was traveling to a contest of sorts: "I compete only with myself."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Life seems incredibly dull at the moment, which I am appreciating because when something remotely novel happens, then I will be superfantastically ecstatically happy about it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


New growth, sustainable living, recycling, environmentally friendly, and jealousy. That last one has spawned the tiniest bit of envy and sadness of lacking into centuries and centuries and centuries of hard feelings, thinking, action and consequences. A hard concept to grasp is that one's feeling of jealousy exists and is known to only the person who is feeling it, yet it is a universal emotion that is felt by anyone who is human. When a person with the jealous feelings tries to convey it to someone else, especially to the subject who is envied (better quality of life) or who is the object of the jealousy (possible or genuinely strong feelings for someone else), it is difficult for the receiver to relate to the reality of that feeling. Yet it can be so profoundly present in the jealous person's mind. It can consume that person until there is nothing left for that person to think about. Often the qualities or state of life the other person is jealous about are created from sources, events and experiences of which the jealous person has no concept. I read something like that once. Does thinking about such things help when I feel jealous? Not especially. What helps is thinking about all the good things I have that I like about myself and my situation, and thinking that I am glad to be where I am and be who I am.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Classic English Literature"

This morning I was wide awake at 2 a.m., perhaps anticipating that I would have to be awake today earlier than usual (but not that early). I was hungry, my knee hurt (bad jumping decision about one month ago), and then the automatic sensor light over the driveway turned itself on and illuminated the place where I sleep. I looked out the window. In front of it, near where my hand landed, was a book, "Pride and Prejudice," that I purchased for 50 cents at a book sale at the public library about three weeks ago (50 percent off sale!).
This weekend, I finally watched a movie about Jane Austen's life, and, after watching it a few times repeatedly in various parts because I kept falling asleep, realized I had never read any of Jane Austen's six novels and then set out a plan to find one (perhaps in my own home). Then I realized early this morning that I had just bought one. So I began reading. I managed to get to page 11, and then the sleepiness crept back in. Despite its sedative effect, I do want to read more.

Friday, April 9, 2010

How One Second Lasts One Week

At a library book sale last week, at which I arrived about three minutes before its closing time, I picked up a Sophocles book and randomly read the page I turned to. It was a poem that lamented that, at least in my interpretation, the moment of an event is far shorter than the effect it has on a person's mind. I thought about all the time spent dissecting all the momentary incidents, short relationships, and longer relationships I've had and realized how true it was. I've been thinking about that very short moment of reading the line in that poem and I've been thinking about how long I've spent thinking about its implications. So true, so simple, and so strange. All those things that happen to us, momentary or not, make up the intricate structure of who we are. And then I was thinking about how long ago that little line was written, and how long that thought must have been going around.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More Adventures in 3D

How to Train a Dragon ... now I know, after watching this computer-animated adventure movie, which I was ushered into with comments like, "It's not JUST a kids' movie," and "it was better than Alice," what it's like to fly with one and make it my pet ... just like having a cat except that it flies. Like a cat, it purrs, offers love, communicates with its eyes, circles around to find a comfortable spot to sleep, eats fish and protects me from other creatures. I felt a little seasick on one part, and felt things coming right at me with alarming speed. It was a good ride, though, and having low expectations for a movie always makes it better. Halfway through the movie, things were going very well for the protagonist, and I wondered for awhile when the conflict, chaos and near-tragedy would begin. It finally came and of course everything worked out pretty much for the best. And, I didn't fall asleep as I did when I watched that Alice movie.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I jumped hard on my knee five days ago. I didn't fall, I didn't land funny, I just jumped too hard. I hope my knee goes back to normal some day.
Little tiny buds are coming out everywhere today. Yesterday, some green stalks for flowers came up about a half inch out of the ground in my front yard. Today, they are about three inches out of the ground. I hope the frost doesn't come and whither them to destruction. In the amazing winter we had, it seemed to snow every day in February. Then it didn't snow anymore. Everyone I talk to about the weather thinks it will snow again soon.
The weather is like people's personalities. Sometimes you can make some predictions based on past experiences, but you never really know.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Yesterday, I took a walk through the neighborhood, my usual route up and down some steep hills. Toward the end I walked past two women, who had just pulled up into a driveway right next to the road. One of them walked close to me to retrieve the mail from her mailbox. She yelled to woman #2 and said: "When we first moved here I had to get Lucky." Woman #2 said, "What?" Woman #1 said, "When we first moved here, I got Lucky." And Woman #2 said, "WHAT?" As I walked on past, I heard, "When we first moved here, I got Lucky in the car. He was so small back then." Not knowing how the rest of the story went, because I had walked out of hearing range, I smiled the rest of the way back home about the "Who's-on-first" beginning of her story. I repeated the overheard conversation to my friend when I got home, but she didn't laugh.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Just a little drive two and a half hours south of here yesterday for work was amazingly uplifting. The closer I got to my destination, the scenic landscape showed gradually disappearing snow all along the sides of the highway. After driving for about an hour and a half, the ground was finally visible and I thought all the brown, yellow, reddish and gray colors of the earth that were illuminated by the brilliant sun that shone everywhere that would have seemed dull at this time of year were .. I don't know how else to say it ... absolutely beautiful. The sky was at its darkest, deepest blue and I listened to old and new songs that made me happy: 1) Sweethearts by Camper Van Beethoven (old), a cynical song about Ronald Reagan, and 2) Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (new), a song that makes me feel that crazy, abandon-all-else, glorious, sunny, all-consuming giddy feeling of being in love for the first time. While I was down south, I heard by telephone that my friend's baby was being born in the afternoon. I got to see photos of the mom and baby.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Today and yesterday the sun returned after a long absence. Everyone was happy. Yesterday I went to a fundraiser, an event that composed one of a string of fund-raising events I seem to be a part of, or a visitor of, lately. There's another one on Sunday, and yet another a few weeks from now that I will be attending. Friends are bringing a baby into the world today, a lot sooner than expected. Life is amazing.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Please Melt So You Can Help Heat My House Again

The heat pump has been broken for more than a month. We've been using what is called here "emergency heat," which is traditional electric heat, minus the "air handler." True to what the repairman told me yesterday, the heat pump reduces cost by three to one. Usually the electric bill is $100 per month, and the previous month's bill was three times that much. Repair guy says he can't fix it until the huge block of ice melts the blades of the fan outside, and he insists on having mother nature do the work for him.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


"The Green Pharmacy," by James A. Duke, says that peppermint is good for anti-aging, backache, bad breath, earache, emphysema, fever, gallstones, gingivitis, headache, heartburn, hives, indigestion, morning sickness, nausea, pain, scabies and sinusitis.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Existential Monday

I thought long and hard today about how to break up the monotony. I thought about it, and I tried to think about all the great things about my life. I'm glad I don't live in an earthquake zone, I'm glad I don't have a son who just committed suicide (I'm thinking of Marie Osmond and the parents of that guy who acted in Growing Pains), I'm glad I have my own room and my own place and I'm glad I have enough shoes for awhile. But as for the monotony ... I'm still thinking. It could last forever; forever, that is, until I die, and then what? I could be doomed to eternal monotony, but only I control my destiny. And when I refer to "eternal," I mean however long that will last.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Three weeks until the first day of spring. I spent lots of time removing ice and snow from the driveway and front porch. Last night I watched "A Prairie Home Companion," but I either fell asleep or got otherwise distracted toward the end of the movie. I couldn't decide whether you had to be a solid fan of the radio show in order to appreciate the movie. I've listened to it from time to time, in bits and pieces, and sometimes it's a little funny, and sometimes the musicians are really great. It used to play at our house on Saturday nights when I was five, six, seven years old. My mom thought the "Ahooa Hot Sauce" commercial was really funny, but I did not.
Today I will try to travel somewhere.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Things That Start With "Z"

Sometime this morning I dreamed that my children went to the zoo with a friend. When everyone returned home, I discovered that the friend had helped the children take some seals, or perhaps sea lions, from the zoo to have at home as pets. We did have a pool that was kind of hidden in the floor. But it was unclear to me what to do with them. I thought they should be returned, but then we would all face serious consequences, no matter what. We could keep them as pets, but why? Was chlorinated water OK? Every once in a while I would check in on them, while pondering what to do, and they seemed to have enough water and food. What should we feed them? What if the pool ran out of water? Do they have to have water to swim in, to live? I was stuck with the burden of figuring out a problem that someone else created for me. A big problem. If only I could take those seals back to the zoo, and not raise any suspicions and not have to answer any questions, everything would be just fine. (Can you imagine? "Pardon me, Zookeeper Al, we mistakenly thought these seals were ours, and then, upon getting home, realized we should never have taken them out of their rocky little habitat here.") It just wasn't possible. The consequences were inescapable. The burden was just too big. There were too many of them. Six, maybe 10, 12.
In waking life, about two weeks ago, I lost the zoo magnet that was on the back of the car. I miss that magnet.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


The children were gone from the house all day and all night. The house was very quiet. We all worked to clean up before they left. One hat was left on the floor in front of the couch, a striped, funky handmade hat left behind in the rush of their departure. The little hat has been with us for 13 years, and was a gift from a friend. The hat made me realize how just a few short years of childhood after the busy toddler years lead to little pieces of our youth being left behind for bigger and better things. And then we are all grown up, a long and painful and never-ending process. I hope they return soon, so I can help make the rest of their childhoods the most productive, educational, healthy and love-filled childhoods they can be.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Altered Realities

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus mysteriously appeared with no fanfare at the little theater downtown this Friday. I'm not sure when this movie was released, and I'm pretty sure it didn't come to the bigger, modern theaters at the mall and the new town center here. This is Heath Ledger's last movie, the one in which he died during the filming and Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Collin Ferrell replaced him in the Imaginarium through-the-looking-glass parts. My expectations were probably too high for this movie -- I anticipated fantastical special effects, an unusual set of characters and situations, explanations that made sense, and good acting, but none of those expectations were met. When one steps through the imaginarium, scenes unfolded that seemed no better than the 1960s-ish effects from the scenes in the Mary Poppins movie in which Mary Poppins and friends sing with the penguins, fishes and carousel horses. Maybe that was supposed to make it charming and old-fashioned, but it seemed gritty and unimaginatarium-like to me.
The following day I watched "The Wolfman," for which I had no expectations. I suspect this movie had a bigger budget, because the scenery was beautiful and dramatic, the characters were believable, and Anthony Hopkins was just a little bit terrifying. In both movies, reality was changed by the supernatural, but in very different ways. There are those movies and situations in real life when our realities are altered, sometimes as if by magic or the supernatural. Some people crave that altered reality and some people steer as far away as possible from it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How About That Weather?

I believe, without measuring, we got about 14 inches of snow Saturday. I shoveled six to eight inches out of the driveway Friday night, about six inches more Saturday morning, an inch or two Saturday afternoon, and another inch on Sunday. Make that 16 inches, then. I would venture to guess that the amount of snow in this county depends on what side of town you measuring from. I saw the blue sky and a glimmer of brilliant, sideways sunlight, ever so briefly on Saturday from about 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. I also made some amazing rack of lamb with couscous and lima beans this evening.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How a Rock and A Leaf Can Make a Drive Home Better

In October we were taking a walk in the neighborhood. We found a cement post by a dentist's office that was about three or four feet high. It's the kind of post that prevents cars from crashing into a dentist's building. We put a red maple leaf on top of the post, with a rock on top of it to hold it down. From October until now, we check on our leaf and rock, when we think of it, when we drive by. It makes us smile a little bit, to know the leaf and the rock are still there, and because, in a way, the leaf looks like it's waving to us. They've almost become our friends. It also makes me happy because it reminds me of how we can amuse ourselves, and construct our own intricate realities, to make life sweet.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Amazing what a change of scenery, beautiful landscape, and friendly people can do to lift a person's mood, as I state again like I have stated before, I'm sure. Today was sunny (but bitterly cold) and immeasurably bright, and I got to drive home in a glowing, exhilarating sunset that gave the earth a pink aura. I think of how we are all stuck in our boxes at home, and how so many people missed out on a great sunset. The way society has evolved has turned us into constructs of solitariness, and away from what makes us feel alive -- travel, connections, horizons, sun, trees, clouds, wind, fresh air, buildings, rivers, flowers, communalism and amazing coincidences. You can't get so much of that at home.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Loaf, is what she said. And more.

Sunday a waitress explained to me what "scrapple" is, and I almost wasn't hungry anymore.

Monday, January 25, 2010


This past weekend we took a journey to the homeland, and saw Avatar for the second time. We celebrated a birthday and sang Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog as requested by the birthday subject, enjoying her closest 20 friends and family members as we ate at a Chinese restaurant. We sang and ate there last year, except that last year I arrived close to the end of dinner because I went, in search of the right place, to the other three Chinese restaurants in town first, even though I had passed by the right restaurant when I first drove in to town and would have been on time if I'd known that restaurant had changed its name from the name I knew.
This evening I contemplated going over to my neighbor's house to explain that his two bags of trash had fallen into my driveway and a lot of it had spilled out onto my hillside and yard. I don't think he could see it from his place. He wasn't friendly, but said he'd take care of it. I was nice. He was standoff-ish. I hate it when the pull of energy is not the same between two people. It leaves me feeling off balance. I was thinking about the dynamics of physics and space in relationships yesterday when I took a walk. It is rare when two people share the same energy and feeling for each other. When it happens, you somehow, somewhere, feel the connection and the other person feels it, too. I just think it's physical, physics, in the invisible energy waves. As basic as it seems, it feels good to commit it to words.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Today I was amazed and blissful about seeing an ad for Blue Moon on the back of a beer delivery truck. It was a giant moon, with streaks and variations of blue, orange, and yellow, created artistically to look like a painting that should be framed. All the colors were cheerful and moody at the same time. It was beautiful. I thought, "Blue Moon just gets me." Oh ... also, the sun was shining brilliantly, something we haven't seen in a long while.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I was dwelling on the negativity I've been feeling in the last couple of days, and trying not to but not doing such a good job at it (it's wholly irrational, really), and then I read this today and now I feel as if I've transcended all evil. Momentarily. It was exactly what I needed.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


No books, no movies, no spectacular moments or amazing coincidences. Just work.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Planet turns

Roads are icy. My head is full of sickness. It has been 20 degrees outside. Thanks to my dad, my car's tires do well on this ice. I'm remembering my wish lists that I've written about in the last year or so. In one way or another, I've obtained almost everything I wanted. It's great to go back and think, made possible by documentation, of how much I've accomplished. Our natures cause us to keep pushing forward and think about what we want to accomplish next, what we need and what we want. When it feels like we're stuck, we can see that life has been constantly moving forward, little by little. Sometimes we don't feel the earth moving under our feet.

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