Archive for February, 2010

WELCOME TO THE WORLD, OLIVIA!

As you can see in her latest post, my niece-in-law, Jessica, gave birth to a healthy girl, Olivia, yesterday.  And mother and daughter are in good condition.  Olivia is my second great-niece (Cassidy is my first, and Gabe is my first great-nephew).  I am overjoyed, of course, and also quite relieved!  Circumstances were especially precarious in this case– mainly because Jess carried this baby, and even had contractions, during two blizzards!  So I prayed alot about this birth, and am so grateful to the Creator!

I am also very proud of Chris (my first nephew)–and of my niece Laura, and my nephews Jeffrey and Jonathan!  Of the four, Chris is the only one married, as of yet.  And I am so pleased that he married Jessica–she is a blessing to my family!

And now I want to welcome my great-niece, Olivia, into this world–she is as precious to me as Cassidy and Gabe!  And for Cassidy and Gabe and Olivia:  May the Creator provide for all of their needs, and deliver them from all evil, all of their lives!

CURVES AHEAD!

Celebrity women are looking better–I think Hollywood’s finally getting the message about what we men really want!  I noticed a photo of Christina Hendricks on AOL the other night, and thought, Good God!  Now I just did a photo scan on her.  I still know nothing about her, except that she appeared on ER in the past (I didn’t watch that show).  And that’s all I need to know–I didn’t even look for her dress size. 

Is this shallow of me?  Perhaps.  But not completely–for the trend of underweight actresses and models has had a profoundly tragic effect on countless young women, and it looks like that trend may finally be fading.  Good riddance!

Christina Hendricks: Another Heroine of  Health!

VALENTINE SCROOGE

Damn, I’m glad it’s February 15!  Valentine’s Day is the only major holiday I dislike.  Because I’ve never had a Valentine!  Like Christmas, Valentine’s Day is wrought with expectation.  It’s heaven if you have a Valentine, of course (although you may expect too much from him/her).  But it’s hell if you don’t.  You expect love on Valentine’s Day–and if you have no significant other, you cannot help but be disappointed, at best. 

My favorite holiday is Halloween.  Why?  No expectations–you just get out and have fun, or stay home and give fun (in the form of treats).  In other words, your happiness on Halloween does not depend on anyone else–but your happiness on Valentine’s Day depends on someone else.  Of course this is not ideal–one should be able to love him/herself enough never to be lonely.  But that’s the ideal–not the real.  Never in human history have there ever been so many lonely people in the world.  And Valentine’s Day really rubs it in, if you’re lonely. 

For a little comic relief (though quite dark): There’s a Eurythmics song, Love Is a Stranger.  It’s on the back of the 45 for Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)–and is just as cool.  Anyway, the lyrics begin: Love is a stranger in an open car, to tempt you in and drive you far away…  And I add a line that’s out of tempo, but who cares: Love is a Stranger in an open car, to tempt you in and drive you far away…then dump you on the side of the highway!

As I recall Dickens’ Scrooge, part of the reason he’s so unhappy at Christmas is that he has never really had the love expected at Christmas.  Likewise, how can anyone not be a Valentine Scrooge, if he/she has never had the love (albeit romantic love) expected on Valentine’s Day?

ALMOST A SNOW DAY

Until Friday, I had never seen snow in Pensacola–and I still haven’t!  It just rained here.  There was some snow in Mobile, Alabama, and some in Florida close to the Alabama State Line, but it didn’t stick–just flurries.  Farther north, in Alabama, in towns like Chatom and Evergreen–it definitely stuck.  That’s only about 75 miles from here–if that much.  What a drag!  It’s obviously because Pensacola is so close to the Gulf.  If it has to precipitate, let it snow!  It happens to be pouring rain, at this moment, in fact!

QUOTE WORTH QUOTING

I saw a documentary about Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man) several years ago, and recently remembered a poem he used at the end of his letters.  The poem was actually written by Isaac Watts.  I think I wrote it down in my personal journal, but decided it would be worth sharing on this public one.  I apologize, in advance; I can’t figure out how to post poems, single-spaced, without them coming out split.  But here’s the poem, you may be as moved by it as I was (and am):

Tis true my form is something odd,

But blaming me is blaming God.

Could I create myself anew,

I would not fail in pleasing you.

If I could reach from pole to pole,

Or grasp the ocean with a span,

I would be measured by the soul,

The mind’s the standard of the man. 

HOLLYWOOD’S GEOGRAPHICALLY CHALLENGED

If you’ve never seen Identity (2003), and you like mysteries–see it!  And you may want to buy it rather than rent it, because you’ll probably want to watch it at least twice!  This evening, I saw the film for the third time–it was better than I’d even remembered!

But there is one little annoyance, in one scene.  I watched a Siskel & Ebert special once on things editors overlooked.  Many very good films were featured, including Chinatown–an ATM in one scene before ATM’s existed.  There are alot of such oversights, in some of the best films ever made.  And Identity is definitely one of the best, at least in its genre.  This one error, unlike the aforementioned, has nothing to do with time setting, but location setting.  I might have even missed it had I not watched it so intently (I noticed it the first time).  I don’t think the following is a spoiler, but I’ll be careful with it–here’s the unmistakable mistake:  In Identity, there is one scene of an orange grove.  In the background, there are mountains–this scene was probably filmed in California.  But in the plot, it’s clearly stated that the orange grove is in Florida!    

This error doesn’t come close to ruining Identity–it’s still one of the coolest movies I’ve ever seen.  But either the filmmakers (particularly the editors) thought they could slip that by–or honestly thought there were mountains in Florida!

TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED

My financial situation is straightened out now, so I’m no longer broke.  And I wrote the draft of the music-impression poem using Katherine’s jazz CD tonight.  Took alot of tea and coffee, but I got through the whole thing in one sitting.  The draft is terrible, but that’s why I call it a draft–after I’ve edited it on the PC, it may seem like a masterpiece. 

Also, Cathy stood me up.  She was supposed to meet me for lunch Wednesday, but didn’t show.  When I called, asking what had happened, she claimed to have forgotten it.  She was really apologetic-sounding–but who knows if that’s real.  Anyway, she said she could meet me Monday, but I said no.  I invited her to join me and the Singletons for dinner next Friday, and she said she would. 

Still I’m suspicious for this reason: She told me that she never writes down lunchdates on her calendar, because it would be too confusing.  I write down meetings with anyone, for any reason, on my calendar.  Obviously I’m not important to her, or she’d write down a lunchdate with me.  But like a typical male fool, I called her tonight (I’d missed the Singletons dinner due to a bit of agoraphobia I’ve recently picked up), and left a message that I could see her Monday, after all.  I was forgiving when I called her the other day–told her I’d done that before too (actually I’ve only stood someone up one time, because of a severe panic attack, but I didn’t want her to think it mattered to me, since it probably didn’t matter to her). 

I still have her phone number.  I’m tempted to discard it.  It’s an OCD thing with me–when a woman does something like that, I generally trash her number to keep myself from crawling back to her (like I did).  But now I try not to do that, since it’s giving in to OCD–and how can I ever recover, if I keep giving in? 

Anyway, pardon my whining, and thanks for reading–it’s therapeutic for me!  When I tell people about my problems (I’m unusually expressive for a male–always have been), they get frustrated because they can’t solve them.  But they don’t understand–they aren’t expected to solve them.  Whenever someone confides in you, all you need to do is listen!  You can’t solve his/her problems, he/she has to solve them.  But listening acknowledges the person, and this is all anyone really needs from you–simply to be acknowledged!  So thanks for listening, you’ve acknowledged me!

POET’S-BLOCKED

I begin seeing a new therapist on the 23rd.  It’s been years since I’ve seen a therapist, and I’m overdue for it.  And unlike the last three therapists I saw, this is an actual, licensed psychologist, with a Ph.D. in psychology (my most recent therapist had a Ph.D. in philosophy).  I look forward to it–she specializes in relationship issues, as well as personal ones.  And having a mild case of autistic spectrum disorder (which involves an inability to empathize with other people well), this should be quite helpful.

In the meantime, I can discuss problems here.  It’s more beneficial to share difficulties with strangers because they are more objective.  Of course, you’re not a complete stranger, but you’re distant enough not to judge and criticize me, as acquaintances and especially family members would.

It’s nothing major–just poet’s block.  There’s a huge difference between poetry and prose.  One must be far more clear-minded and relaxed to write poetry, probably because it’s more subliminal.  In the past several months, I’ve been writing music-impression poems.  Music is essential to my existence, I don’t think I could live without it.  And I listen to it every day, as much as I can.

To write a music-impression poem, I sit in my recliner, play a piece  of music, and write down all the images that occur in my mind.  I’ve always been this way–whenever I listen to music I automatically conjure all kinds of images.  I played music videos in my head long before MTV came along.  And though I’ve never had the patience or ability to master a musical instrument, I’ve always had a good ear for music (literally–my left ear has always been completely deaf). 

I first did this kind of poetry in 1992, while taking a music appreciation class.  Our instructor, Mrs. Youmans (one of the most beautiful, brilliant, endearing women I’ve ever known), assigned us to attend a performance of the Mobile Symphony Orchestra (free of charge for students), and write down everything we could about the performance–the instruments used, the tempo of the music, all the technical stuff.  I asked her if I could, instead, write down the images the music evoked.  She agreed, and I wrote a multi-page poem that had everything from a black panther lying on a branch at night to a businesswoman striding along a New York sidewalk.  And Mrs. Youmans loved it!

But this kind of poetry lay dormant until late last year, when I began writing it for my writers’ group.  The music can be any type, from anywhere.  It must be instrumental, unless the words are those of a language other than English ( if I can understand the words, I cannot write anything original, because the images are forced).

Last Tuesday, Katheryn, a lovely lady from my primary writers’ group, gave me a CD of jazz.  Generally I don’t enjoy jazz (except Dixieland)–it’s too mathematical-sounding.  But this homemade CD is nice enough–I’m beginning to enjoy it.  Still, I can’t write a decent poem for it.  I get alot of images, but I can’t put them into words, in an original manner.

The primary cause is the medication I have to take.  The psychiatric drugs interfere with my creativity enough, but the added blood-pressure meds aggravate this (such interference is known as cognitive dysfunction).  Simply put, I would be literally smarter if I didn’t have to take these medications.  But I’d also be emotionally dysfunctional, without the former, and dead or stroke-struck without the latter.

If you take blood-pressure and/or psychiatric medications, you know what I’m talking about–their side-effects are almost as troublesome as the conditions for which they’re prescribed.  And virtually every kind of psychiatric or blood-pressure drug causes cognitive dysfunction, to some degree. 

Furthermore, my financial situation is bad right now–not because of anything I did, but because of something my insurance company did.  I once saw a bumper sticker which read: I’M SO BROKE I CAN’T EVEN PAY ATTENTION!  Quite funny, if you’re not broke!  But it is literally true, at the moment–I cannot focus enough to write what could be my best music-impression poem yet, because I’m obsessed with this problem.

Yet now that I’ve written this post–addressing my poet’s problem (the title of a great Blondie song, by the way), I’m eager to start the jazz disc, and try again.  The first step in solving a problem is addressing the problem.


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