Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In which I rant even more

(No one is allowed to take anything in here personally. If you're inclined to do that, reread an older blog and skip this one)

Okay, folks, the funk is winning at the moment. It doesn't look like it because I have rarely (can't quite say never) been one of those people who could take a break from everything just to feel something. Sometimes I even envy those who can. Me, I keep getting up and going to work and making sure the cats are fed. Doesn't mean I don't recognize that feeling of lassitude mingled with panic that marks depression for me. It starts with the recognition that I am in fact forcing myself to do the things that make up my life rather than anticipating them with joy. I feel like I'm surrounded by people who are constantly quarrelling either with each other or with me. At the moment, the response to the question, "Where do you want to be" is "Somewhere far away from here with only my instincts to listen to." I spent a long time uncovering that instinctual voice only to suddenly find it buried again. my plan to squirrel away money to go to Ireland in May is looking less feasible as I consider another 6+ months without anything resembling a vacation. I haven't written anything (with the exception of one poem) in months. I'm not working on Amy's baby blanket for a vague fear of putting this nasty energy into it. The thought of taking four days in December and heading to NYC is looking really good at the moment. Yes, I know NYC is cold as hell in December. I don't really care at this point. I haven't been in years and I love it there. I think the strange peace I feel when visiting there is worth the potential of putting Ireland off a bit longer. Right now, I have just about enough saved to cover something like that. At the very least, I feel the need to cut off most of my social activities at the moment until I can get my feet back under me for good again. I'm snapping at people and resenting just about everything anyone says to me that isn't bland and impersonal. Acting that way doesn't represent the me I want to be. It's been pointed out that I have to take care of myself, that there's a balance issue there just like with anything else in life. The baby steps I took toward that over the past year felt, even at the time, like extreme decadence. Why does pushing myself to this point feel so normal? I'm tired, I'm not sleeping, I have little appetite most days. Yesterday, Peeves and Daisy hissing at each other made me cry. I've resisted for as long as I can-time to call in reinforcements. It may not (probably won't) still the overthinking I'm so prone to but maybe it will make it easier to start determining when 'no' is, in fact, the correct and kindest answer to all involved. Apologies in advance, I just have to step back again.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I didn't read this as a child and, in some ways, I think that's a good thing. I think there are elements of it that would lack the poignancy and depth that they have for an adult reader. I shared this one, a few years ago, with my aunts, Edna and Frances, and they both adored it, too. I don't want to give a synopsis but it concerns the Nolan family (Johnny, Katie and their children, Francie and Neeley) and their lives in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. One of the things that strikes me every time I revisit it is the skill with which Smith not only recreates a very specific time and place but, also, the dynamics of what we would probably label a dysfunctional family today. Yet, the Nolans not only survive poverty but manage to surmount it with love and ingenuity. There's a recognition that their deprivations and the sacrifices they have to make contribute to, rather than detract from, their lives and their strength as a family. Near the end of the book, when the mother is going to remarry and Francie and Neeley realize they won't be poor any longer, that their infant sister will grow up in a very different home than they had:
" 'Laurie's going to have a mighty easy life all right.'
'Annie Laurie McShane! She'll never have the hard times
we had, will she?' 'No. And she'll never have the fun
we had, either.'"
Re-reading it this time, I also found a great deal of truth in the relationship between Katie and Francie. There's a very real, very sad quality to their inability to move beyond what is, really, a deep similarity in their characters as well as Katie's favoritism for her son. Both recognize this fundamental alikeness at different points in the novel as well as Katie's preferential treatment of Neeley yet, in the way of we humans, both also acknowledge their inability to change who they are and how they feel. Katie does offer Francie love to the best of her ability and doesn't attempt to hide the harshness of life from her, feeling that Francie's strength and survival instinct will see her through.

There's simply so much beauty in this book. It'd take me forever to go through all the wisdom it holds. And, each time I read it, I pick out a different favorite part. This time, the prize goes to advice Francie gets from her grandmother.
"What had granma Mary Rommely said? 'To look at
everything always as though you were seeing it
either for the first or last time: Thus is your
time on earth filled with glory.' "

And now for something completely different.

Pardon the Monty Python reference (perhaps I should put the little registered trademark symbol up there?). Anyway, still feeling pretty bogged down at the moment despite my recognition of the fact that I am in this spot because of my inability (unwillingness?) to let go of the past completely. I did see Melissa the psychic last Saturday who pissed me off a tad with her accuracy and perception of what's going on with me at the moment and, undoubtedly, accurate view of what's at stake if I don't. So, I'm working on that. I really am tired of the whole dating thing since it just feels like a fruitless pursuit tantamount to having to convince someone else of your personal worth.


I decided that, in the interests of keeping up blogging and also offering you who read this something more interesting and hopefully more upbeat, I'd start re-reading books that I find significant and sharing them on here. I have a list and might throw in some new reads from time to time but, mostly, I think I'll focus on those books that really shaped me or that I can label 'Great Books.' You can still expect periodic updates, what's going on with my knitting, pictures of the Munchkins. I'm just going to try not to focus so much on this funk that seems to want to stay or at least pop in with more regularity than I care for.

Oh, yeah, if you want the specifics on Melissa/the last reading, I'll share. Just don't want to get into it on here right now.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Three Day weekend

Went down to my mom's for the weekend and had a grand time with the munchkins. We rode go-karts and the kids played on these inner-tube boats that allowed them to spray water on me, each other, pretty much anyone with ten feet of them.

That was Saturday which was wrapped up by lots of Emma helping me knit on Amy's baby's blanket and me trying to get at least one decent picture of Alex.

Sunday, the whole company went off to church except for the heathen who went off to the cemetery to visit with Grandma and Grandpa a bit. After that a bunch of us had lasagna and then pitched in on Amy's house. It's coming along, faster all the time it seems.

We painted and swept, hauled the waste drywall around so it could be used for fill, roasted some marshmallows over brush that needed burned.

It wasn't too bad of a weekend, all told. Well, it was punctuated with a brief argument with Angie (who actually apologized, taking me completely off guard) and going back and forth with some of my facebook friends who insist on denigrating anyone who views the world differently than them. I knew that our differences, politically, were fairly great but I thought that debate could go back and forth without stooping to personal attacks and insults (at least I tried not to engage in that). But, it didn't work and I ended up having to delete people. I hate doing that shit. I'd almost rather not be on a social networking site than have to take that step but, it's done now and I do feel a bit better knowing I won't have to deal with that bs everytime I change my status or want to post some article or cartoon that catches my attention. Yes, I'm a liberal with socialist leanings. I don't think that gives someone more conservative the right to act like a disgruntled parent who's determined that I learn the 'way the real world works.' Anyway, I'm still struggling with feeling like I just don't fit in anywhere these days. That didn't help. Feeling like I'm ever further on the outside of the clique down home didn't either. I just feel a certain level of resignation over it and, recognizing that, well, it made me feel another layer of sadness. I'm not changing, they're not changing and the level of acceptance I feel when visiting just doesn't seem to be changing, either. Aw, hell, just go look at the pictures of Emma and Alex again. That's a much more cheerful activity than this, lol.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Horse Race

Once upon a time there was a race between five pairs of horses. Each pair was to be hitched to a cart laden with an equal number of rocks. The team that reached the finish line first would be declared the winner and, as prize, would receive a lifetime's supply of grain. The rules were simple.

On the day of the race, the five owners of five pairs of horses presented themselves for the contest. The first pair of horses was one belonging to a man of renown who prided himself on how he cared for his animals. The pair was well-groomed, well-fed and the observers of the race oohed and aahed at them, declaring them fine specimens, looking forward to seeing how they ran the race.

The second pair had been mistreated and malnourished by their owner, a cruel man who many among the community feared. Yet many of the people gathered there that day looked forward to seeing how well they could perform and were, quietly, rooting for them to win.

The third pair of horses belonged to a man who was known to be quite ill and, therefore, unable to care for them as much as he wished. The two horses looked rather frail themselves but many were confident that they could, at least, complete the race and believed that these horses still had a chance to win.

The fourth team was owned by a man who, for various reasons, had a second job that wouldn't allow him to stay with his horses and watch the race. He hadn't trained his animals himself but had entrusted them to a stranger and, on this day as on so many others, couldn't stay to see the fruits of his labor and the results of his effort. He deposited his team at the starting line and left promptly so that he could continue to earn the grain that they already needed to survive.

The fifth pair of horses wasn't so much a pair. One of them had died on the way to the race. Yet, their owner was confident that one of his horses, alone, could compete as well as the other, paired, horses and insisted on being allowed to enter them. Under the rules and conditions, he argued, his one horse stood just as great a chance of winning as those paired around them. The judges of the race, swayed by his argument, agreed that his horse could compete that day.

All the teams lined up and the race began. When the dust had cleared, the winner was obvious. The first, most beautiful, pair of horses had won the race handily, leaving the others behind. The third and fifth pair of horses hadn't even come close to the finish line, though they struggled with their loads even after the race was won, trying to at least complete their task. The second team, startled by the noise of the other horses and the crowd had frozen, stock still and refused to move beyond the first few steps. The fourth team, who, being horses, didn't quite understand the point of the race, meandered a bit but did, eventually, reach the finish line after everyone else had gone home.

After the fuss over the winners died down a bit, a child who had come up with the rest of the crowd stood petting the be-ribboned winning team and asked the owner of them, "A lifetime's supply of grain is an awful lot, isn't it? Could you share some of what you've won with the other horses and their owners?" The crowd roared at this, the owner of the winning team loudest of all. He patted the child on the head and cried, "Why, of course not, young man!" He pointed at the departing owners, saying, "They ran the race same as my horses! The track was even, the day fine, the carts and loads the same, weren't they?" The boy nodded, noticing all this to be true. "Why," the man continued, feeling bolder as he saw the prize being driven toward him, "everything in this race was done on a fair and equal basis! I (and my horses) earned that prize! Why should others prosper off our labor? Where's the fairness in that? Share? I think not. This grain belongs to me and mine, rightfully."

The boy, who was, after all, young and impressionable, couldn't help but agree with the man. After all, in a child's eyes, an adult is generally right unless proven by someone else to be wrong. Yet, some in the crowd had a vague feeling that things hadn't, actually, been quite equal. A few of them muttered together about making the next race, or the one after that, a bit more fair and objecting if it wasn't. Most of them, however, didn't want to challenge such a prominent and successful member of the community. And, so, they stayed quiet, assuring themselves that things would change over time and the race would become a fair one eventually. Because, after all, surely one who had as much as the winning man couldn't go on forever thinking that his advantage over the others in the town was truly fair. Could he?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I feel crappy today. Sorry, folks, but 'tis true. And, I try to be honest on here, I really do. And, at the moment, I feel like I'm leading a life that is viewed as naive and foolish. I probably won't tomorrow-by then, I'll probably be all shrouded in the defenses I usually keep up to keep the crap at bay. But, at the moment, I feel like that's deserted me. So, if you read this before that kicks in (and I just might remove this when that happens), you're going to read a blog written by the Anita who's medicating herself with ice cream. Think I'll let her get a few things out.

1) Why isn't there more love in the world? Real, unconditional love. Lennon said all we needed was love. I think that's true, starting with love for ourselves first. Why don't we work on that instead of worrying that we're not tough enough or strong enough?
2) I really really don't like humiliation masquerading as entertainment. It's ugly to me. All the weight loss shows/reality shows that provide people with yet more ways of pointing out how people don't fit the 'norm' and push the idea that, if only they'd change, the rest of their lives would fall magically into place upset me.
3) Am I the only person who doesn't think money, breast size and the circumference of one's thighs are adequate measures of success? Doesn't honor and kindness count in that column anymore?
4) I miss having a center to my life.
5) I never got to say this to the person who should've heard it but, no, in fact, I don't enjoy being the center of attention. The one-on-one is hard as fuck for me. All I ever wanted was to be included, to be one of a group that got along and liked each other. I wanted to be among the crowd, belonging. The center of attention? Please. That's the most uncomfortable place for me.
6) I really want a birthday party. I know it's kind of silly at this age but I want one.
7) Fuck you, Alan.
8) I wish I had a job I felt good about doing. I like having enough money to support myself and benefits and all that but I really wish I got to come home at night and be proud of what I do.
9) I would like all the papers and homework I helped various people complete (or did for them) back. Or, at least I'd like to be able to take credit for some of the really good writing I did for them for free.
10) Penelope Cruz, Rod Stewart, Brad Pitt, Quentin Tarantino-you're really really overrated. Please go away for a while.

That's it-I really am done now. Sorry for the rant.