Monday, August 23, 2010

Things Can Only Get Better, Right?

Not a very good start to the day. 

I found this floating in the toilet of my guest bathroom.

House centipedes creep me out almost more than any spider or insect or mouse. I can't stand how fast they run and how many legs they have. Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew. This is the second one I've found in the past few days. The other one had somehow gotten its head stuck in one of the little holes in the drain in my shower and couldn't get out. A friend of mine told me any time there's a head stuck in something, I should call the emergency people. I wish I would have. I won't describe what happened when I used a tissue to try to pull it out. You do not want to know. 

After I felt extreme guilt for seeing the critter frantically wave its legs around in the water as it was sucked into oblivion, I got out to my car and saw that I had an almost flat tire. Went to the shop and waited one and a half hours for my tire to be fixed! I had a nail in one tire and another was "leaking at the bead" whatever that means. Sounds uncomfortable...The good news is that they didn't charge me anything!

The rest of the day isn't too threatening but I'm cranky, bitter and angry so think twice if you wanted to get in touch with me today. I know normally I'm a sweetheart (I AM!) but right now I'm trying to stay out of people's way when I can. Luckily, I'm almost always able to dig up some empathy for my clients. Us common human beings, though, not so sure. I'm probably worse to myself than anyone else, though, so take heart. I guess I can identify with the house centipede as the funnel of water sucked it into an unknown future. I just wish I knew who was doing the flushing!! I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow....or the next day...or...  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly
that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul,
to the deep emotional self
and the wounds to the soul take a long, long time,
only time can help and patience,
and a certain difficult repentance
long difficult repentance, realization of life's mistake,
and the freeing oneself 
from the endless repetition of the mistake
which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.

--- D.H. Lawrence

I think I'm about to free myself from some of this endless repetition! Another turning point. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Solitude is fine, but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine.   -- Honore de Balzac

For you youngsters reading this entry, I need to tell you about the "old days." In the old days, we had something called file cabinets. In these file cabinets, we kept paper files, we saved every original because that was the only way to keep a record. If we got a copy of an article, we kept it because we had walked all the way to the library, looked it up in a card catalog and stood at the copy machine for hours at a time in order to copy every page of that article. No online access in the old days. 

One of the down sides of this record keeping format is that it takes up scads of space -- not bytes but inches, feet, yards. One of the things I'm being forced to do as I have less and less storage space in my life, is to cull my boxes and boxes of work files into more manageable linear footage. I suppose I could scan all these files and keep them on the computer like the kids today do but the idea of spending hours and hours at the scanner feels more unpleasant than piling the files on the side of my bed that's not being used. At least it wouldn't feel so empty! Hopefully it won't come to that. It could lead to some pretty ugly paper cuts. Can you believe that I found transparencies among my files?! Seriously. Transparencies. I need to ask Maddy if she even knows what a transparency is. 

Anyway, one of the things I found among these old files was one that was labeled "gifts." In this file were several dozens of cards written to me by clients, supervisees and, sometimes, colleagues over the years when I worked at the Counseling Center. I went through and read every one of them. I couldn't have found these at a better time. 

That people took the time to write a note to let me know that I'd made a difference in their lives somehow and that I was appreciated was so touching to me. It was quite an ego boost during an evening I've been feeling down and lonely. One of the cards had the Balzac saying I started this post with. I no longer remember the context of the quote in terms of the client's work with me but I'm sure it had a special meaning to her. 

One of the things I'm curious about is that I don't really get cards any more from clients any more. I stopped getting them a few years before I left the Counseling Center. I wonder what happened. Was I not as helpful to people because so much else was going on in my life or because I got burned out? Did people just stop writing thank you cards in our culture in general? Once I started in private practice, did people feel that paying me for my services was thank you enough? 

I certainly don't expect a special card for everything I do but I was struck by the difference between now and then. It's not that people don't express their appreciation. It just seems to happen in ways that are more transitory - a verbal comment or an email. I'm not sure there's anything to do with this observation. Just something I noticed. I used to be great at putting the little bit of extra effort in writing a card to someone. I, too, have let the lovely gesture of the unexpected thank you note fall to the wayside. 

I'd like to say that I'm going to commit myself to doing more of that but in truth, I don't think I will. I'm tired and busy and mildly (sometimes significantly) depressed about the state of the world around me just like everyone else so I don't know that I have the energy for it. Maybe it's just late and I'm tired and a little more depressed than usual but the world does seem like a more cynical, less grateful place these days. I'll just hold on to the "gifts" I received in the past and will use them as a reminder that there is appreciation out there whether it's written or not and, one day, when I have the energy again (which I hope I will) I'll begin to let people know in this lovely way how much I appreciate them.  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lovely Morning

Wow. It's been a while since I posted. I've had thoughts about some postings like "Is My Body Supposed to Be Doing This?" -- meaning, falling apart! I just can't work out and be active like I used to be. My joints ache, I don't get strong as quickly, etc. It's such a cruel irony that while our wisdom and comfort with ourselves seems to increase over the years (well, for most of us, I think) our physical selves deteriorate. Some weird universal balance? 

Tonight, I wanted to write about how lovely it was this morning. I'm sitting in my living room now with the screen door open, hearing the crickets. Earlier the katydids (or locusts? not sure which we have here) were making their racket. It's odd, too, I can just slightly hear the interstate which isn't horribly far away and it's actually kind of comforting. Maybe because when I was a child, our house wasn't too far from I-55 (Festus, MO). It must just remind me of childhood when we would play outside for hours and hours, well into dark and would hear the same sound. 

In the morning, I sat on my little patio and had breakfast. For a while after that, I just enjoyed the fact that my skin wasn't melting off my body. This summer has been brutal. I really, really dislike the heat and can't remember the last time I looked forward to fall (and maybe even winter) so much. Remind me I said that when I'm complaining about the rain and the wind and, eventually, the snow. I feel like I'm living in a tree house up here. I'm including some photos of the view from where I was sitting on my balcony. Much better than the last place! 

Other random things:
Maddy invited me to go see her friend Claire play at a coffee house in town. It was really great! Claire also showed up in one of my previous posts (with photo). 

I Went to Chicago last weekend with Norma. Doing the girlie thing -- we went to the Bobbi Brown make-up counter. I now have flawless looking skin, a healthy pink glow, huge eyes, and, you heard it here first, eyebrows! At least I have all these when I spend time in the morning putting them on my face. 

I walked around Lincoln Park while Norma and Don went to see a play at Steppenwolf. It was a great day! I also talked to my sister Lisa because it was her birthday. She was having a good day so that made me happy too. Here's a view of Lincoln Park -- you can see the Sears Tower (or whatever it's called now) right below the far, far street lamp. 

Finally, would this make the coolest painting or what? It was the reflection on the wall above my fireplace one morning. My hands were itching to grab a pencil and trace the patterns on the wall so I could paint it directly there but since this is a rental, I'll have to content myself with creating something separate. I'm not sure why it has that double exposure look. The shapes are from my balcony (sometimes the architecture of this place reminds me of a ski resort). The sunlight passed through a sliding glass door so maybe the angles of refraction on each of the doors made a difference. Who knows? I just made that refraction bit up. Sounded good. 

Those are all of my odds and ends from the past few weeks! As you can see, my life has calmed down considerably.

Friday, August 6, 2010


I really need to kill my tv. It took Comcast a while to get my cable account straightened out and my new cable connected. Now that I have tv to watch, I find that when I watch it, I just feel like a zombie. Because I feel like a zombie, I leave it on and watch  more! Kind of like when I eat spicy food -- I keep taking bites because somehow, after the immediate bite, it feels like it helps but in actuality, it just keeps the spiciness going. 

When I didn't have cable, I seem to have done so many other things around the house, I read more, and just didn't seem to get into that same zombie state. I'll have to think about whether I want to keep it or not. But do I have murder in my heart? Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Music Obsession

Geoff and I agreed that he would keep the shelf stereo system we'd gotten together so one of my tasks in setting up my new home was to figure out what I wanted to do about listening to music. I looked at shelf systems and just didn't know what I wanted to do until my brilliant friend Norma suggested that I get an i-pod (nano in my case - $$$) and get a docking station. What a great idea! 

So, off to Best Buy. Got a pretty little purple nano, a docking station for the living room and one for the bedroom. Once I got those set up, of course, I needed to add lots of new music to my library. One of the reasons I'd never gotten an I-Pod or other Apple product before is that it really bugs the shit out of me that they have such a monopoly. The arrogance. Every shelf system I looked at had a docking station for a damned I-Pod. That's almost as evil as a McDonald's or Starbucks on every corner. Not that I've never gotten Starbucks or the crack-laced french fries at McDonald's but still...

Back to the topic at hand, I have just spent about 4 hours going through I-Tunes to pick out additions to my musical repertoire. I  have my oldies but goodies, of course. Unfortunately, I-Tunes couldn't convert everything (some kind of digital protection on some of my tunes which is disappointing). I do understand a little more why everything "I" is so popular. It's a slick little program they have to get you to spend more and more money. I fell deeper and deeper into the consumer vortex of links and connections and recommendations. I was hyp-no-tized.

I've had a blast going through Grammy Award nominees and exploring related artists. Did you know that there's a Best Hawaiian Music Album Category, 7 Spanish language categories (Latin Pop; Latin Rock, Alternative or Urban; Tropical Latin; Regional Mexican; Tejano; Norteno; and Banda), and awards for package design (graphic design is everywhere!!)?

I now have music from a range of artists from Jose Gonzalez to Usher to Prince (had to get some of the Purple Rain tunes - memories of younger days) to Dave Matthews to Amos Lee to Yo-Yo Ma to, yes, I will admit it Jim Brickman (I find it soothing if a little dorky). I think I'll dock my little nano and go to sleep to Jim's soothing piano tunes.  Oh, no! I just noticed that he actually does a piano version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the album I bought. That song may have to hit the trash bucket. Does he have no shame?!

What are you listening to? I'd love to hear some ideas of more music to add to my library...