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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

AWWWWWW


Apparently I am suffering from blackouts now. Osprey claims I sent this valentine photo of Enjah and Ivka, sittin in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g (well, sorta). I have no memory of it but maybe that is some form of amnesia, caused by eating too many drooly frogs?

Grasp the Mouse of Power!



I subscribe to a number of feeds, among which is Cabinet of Wonders, a wonderful compendium of essays on many different subjects. Today the post pointed to another post, titled Gin, Television, and Social Surplus, which is about how we are in the middle of a revolution away from passivity and into participation. The article includes a story about a young child looking for a mouse behind the television ... well, you will have to read it yourself to understand why, unless you intuitively grasp the reason already.

In the next room, while I am blogging, or involved in my Second Life, my husband sits and laughs on cue as his sitcoms play over him like water over stones in a stream. He needs this form of entertainment in order to recover from his brutal work days. I, on the other hand, need a participatory format to enjoy life fully, and that means blogging, researching information, reading other people's blogs, and as the avatar Enjah Mysterio, participating in "live" comedy routines in Second Life (aka The Show Must Go On).

I had an early childhood devoid of television (*gasp*), which was wonderfully active and imaginative. My later childhood included the tube and was fascinating. My sisters and I have seen all the horror movies from the early days, every Stooge short there is, Rocky and Bullwinkle (ah, the laughter still rings in my ears). Now, in my later years, I am a dedicated blogger, thanks to Osprey Therian, who was already doing all this sort of thing before I even knew there were blogs.

It is a participatory society once again, this time on a global level; we can communicate with people on the other side of the world, tell our stories, and hear the stories of others whom we may never meet in person. Information is whizzing back and forth across our blue marble at an unprecedented rate (listen to Beck, "Comin' to You a Thousand Beats per Minute"). It is a marvelous panoply of interwoven lives and thoughts. I applaud us all!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Petty Dispute


I went to the grocery store and parked next to a handicapped parking spot. When I came out, two extremely able-bodied young men were backed into the handicapped spot, cleaning out their trunk. Here is what I can recall of the exchange:

I: You don't look handicapped, either of you
Young Man 1: We are just cleaning out our car real quick
YM 2: I am waiting for my grandma
I: Well handicapped people need those spaces
YM 2: I am waiting for my grandma
I: I don't believe you for one minute
YM 1: What are you going to do, arrest us? (subtext: get lost you nosy old woman)
I: No, but I will report you since if you want to make such a deal out of this

YM 1: You made the deal out of it, speaking to us in the first place
I: It is not fair, or right

I went into the UPS store to ship something. When I came back out, their car was still there and they were gone. I reported them to the store manager and left.

My feelings were a mixture of:
  1. Being taken aback that they did not simply say "sorry" and then move their car once the trash was out
  2. Self-righteousness (not a useful emotion, but somewhat inevitable in the situation)
  3. Fear that they would do some sort of reprisal like key my car, which was right there next to theirs, or somehow track me down and do physical harm to me (unlikely)

Having had to use handicapped spaces with my parents and friends who truly needed them, I am sensitive to their use by people whose only handicap seems to be a missing heart.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BonAmi the Still Surfaces


Lately I found that I could remove the stains from my "stainless" steel flatware using Bon Ami, which claims it "hasn't scratched yet". This brought back the memory of Miss Peck. She had her hair in a 40s style (in the 50s), wore knit suits and big plastic jewelry, and as you can see, those rhinestone pointy glasses that have come back into fashion. During a lecture to the class, she would fondle her jewelry in a manner that suggested she was more interested in stimulating her mammaries than she was in the baubles.

She was my 7th Grade Home Ec teacher (Cooking). In the school kitchen there was a place for everything, and we had to memorize the place for each thing. We made broiled grapefruit, cheese fudge, and had to "bonami the still surfaces" to keep them clean and polished. That meant polishing the stainless steel counters and sink with Bon Ami, but her accent was distinct from ours (ergo, to us, SHE had an accent!), so her pronunciation of the word steel rhymed with will.

She ran the kitchen like Caine ran his ship, and would have cheerfully flogged us (we were not terribly cooperative) if the school had allowed that.

La Boheme


As all opera lovers know, but I did not, La Boheme is a dual love story set against the backdrop of the beginning of WWI. In the third act, the description is of the lovers meeting outside a cafe. In this production (I know nothing of other productions), the setting included a steam engine at the end of the line and a stack of wooden coffins, never referred to, but giving us signs of all the death that was occurring at that moment in time.
As always, Puccini pulls the heart out with exquisite precision and delicacy. What is it with him? Madama Butterfly (Aiiiiieeee), Tosca (double Aiiiiiieeee), always the love is tragic but each time in a different manner.
The cast:
Mimi - Ana Maria Martinez
Rodolfo - Garett Sorenson
Musetta - Albina Shagimuratova
Marcello - Joshua Hopkins
Their garret was a crooked box onstage, which did muffle the voices a tad, but gave great effect to the drama.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Illustrator at Work


This is a sketch of an illustrator circa 1982.

Portrait circa 1980


This is a somewhat idealized portrait from my sketchbook of a painter from 1980.

Poem ... circa 1980


This painting, "Dancing Trees", was not done at the time, but it illustrates the magic of the forest in the Adirondacks:

Adirondack Weekend

Secret caves and azaleas
Cranberry bushes
A fawn curled at the foot of a tree
Jack-in-the-pulpits everywhere
Tiny snakes and orange newts
Wild strawberries and thyme carpeting the hill
Slate slabs
Pollywogs as thick as sperm, wiggling their way
Goldfinch, bumblebees
A mud puppy floating still, hanging in the water
Slippery stones crossing a waterfall
Tree frogs singing all night
And us.

Portrait of an Ex-Husband circa 1980


When I was in therapy I drew this image of a vivid memory ... my ex grasped my wrists and hit my eyes with my own fists, then laughed and said I had hit myself. This is the only time he hit me, so it made quite an impression. This was after I had the affair, so it is less gratuitous than some spousal abuse. In the background are pale blue figures representing our children.

I had to wear sunglasses for a week to cover my black eyes.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Two Different Worlds, or A Closetful of Skeletons



Not too long ago, I heard from my ex-husband, about the death of one of his friends, and my best friend's ex-husband. I never cared for the fellow, so it did not mean much to me, but I tried to be polite in my email response to my ex.

His reply made me realize he was still feeling sorry for himself because I left him THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO. Now THAT is holding a grudge! I give him the championship, because I have never known anyone else who could hold out that long and never forgive or forget.

Looking back, I know that he and I were from two different worlds, psychologically. I was immature at best, lacking in self-confidence, and not ready for the responsibilities of a home and children. He was totally unaware of his effect on other people, perfectionistic, and emotionally unkind and manipulative. That is not a great combination of qualities to mash together in a marriage, and it was a disaster.

I would knock myself out cooking, cleaning as well as I knew how, and when he would come home, he would find fault, telling me I should have done X. No positive feedback whatsoever. He did the same with our children, and that was all he knew how to do, having been parented in that same fashion.

Then he decided to go back to school, and I supported that decision. I said but wouldn't it make more sense for me to go to school, and then when I made money, I could support him while he went? He said, "No, you can live in my shadow". I heard: "You will never grow as long as I have anything to say about it. I will always be in control and you will be my slave".
Along with attending school and working full-time, he got a night job, to build himself a boat. I did not want a boat, and was left caring for house and children alone 24/7. I was almost entirely isolated, while he met new people, did new things, and learned new information. I was in a world of cooking, diapers and dirt.
When I left him, I wanted to keep my children, but my ex insisted he would have me declared an unfit mother because my daughter once had a bad diaper rash. I did not realize that I had the upper hand, but I did know that if I kept them I would always be dependent upon him, and that he would spy on us and try to destroy whatever happiness I could find. So I let him have full custody (Big Mistake).
He proceeded to have a girlfriend move in within one month of my leaving. Hmmmm, you think maybe they knew each other before I left? Hmmmmm. That sealed the deal, and I was on my own. For 18 years I ran scared, never committing myself to a relationship, terrified that I would end up in another unhealthy marriage. I cried every night for many of those years, over the loss of my children.
After the children became teenagers, they sought me out and we tried to live together at various times and in various places. They questioned me about my adultery, and I told them the truth. I had had an affair, hoping my ex would leave me, but he did not, and I had to leave after all.
Now I see he never understood me at all. In his eyes he did nothing wrong. I was the culprit. I betrayed him. He never did a thing to me. When he beat our children, he told them I left because they were bad, and that I would not care one whit if they told me he was abusing them. So of course, they never said a word. He was an excellent liar and manipulator, and undermined their self-worth extremely effectively. They are still recovering.
If you have bothered to read all this, I applaud your efforts. I just had to get it out of me and into my journal, which is the function of this blog. Thank you.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Eggheads FOREVER!


Reading the Human Age Egghead private forums, I see that in Age 2 (Celtic) there is a long history of inter-tribal warring; I hope to evolve to that age soon. I dread this warring thing, but may not be able to maintain a peaceful way of life (slaughtering forest animals aside) ... but of course, I am a natural killer, and will charge into battle berserker style, nude with fat deposits flopping wildly, my body painted with symbols of death and destruction.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Not AT&T?


Last Saturday near Palestine, Texas, frustrated with my unreliable wireless laptop connection, I visited this SHAM AT&T store. You can see by its sign why I might think it was AT&T. I purchased an Air Card, which I then plugged in, but found that it was just as unreliable as the wireless connection.

This is the process that followed:
  1. tried to return ... not open Sundays
  2. tried to return to local AT&T store ... no, they do not refund things they did not sell
  3. tried to have the credit card stop the payment ... no, the store provided the service they claimed to provide
  4. called the store and offered to overnight the equipment ... no, they said to return it in person so they could swipe my card ... and if I simply kept the equipment, they would send me a bill for a further $231
  5. gave up and drove up to Palestine (pronounced Palesteeen for those of you unfamiliar with the Texan mangling of our language)

The Adorable Bear


What can I say? This is one photogenic dog.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Power of Music

At the risk of stating the obvious, I want to state the obvious: music itself can change my mood. Even if I can't understand the lyrics, or am in a different state of mind altogether, when I hear certain chord progressions, I am moved, against my will, so to speak. Sometimes, even in a genre I don't like at all, a voice sings a note or an instrument produces a sound that brings tears to my eyes, I am so moved. I may feel disgusted that I get teary over some song I hate, but I cannot prevent it.

Sometimes I feel manipulated by music, so I have to be very careful about what I listen to. Movie music is designed to manipulate, as most people know intellectually, but when I am immersed in the movie, the music tells me what to feel and I automatically feel that, unless I am able to remain outside the movie for whatever reason.

I remember when I was a teenager there was an Urban Legend claiming that people committed suicide after hearing "Gloomy Sunday". Who knows? If they had stopped the song, and played an upbeat tune, could they then have run out into the sunshine, frolicking in daisy fields?