Saturday, March 31, 2012

tick tick tick

As you all know, blogger is getting ready to make some changes which will take effect tomorrow.

As some of you may know, the new user interface was available months and months ago.  If you didn’t like it, you could change back to the old blogger but you knew, in the back of your mind, the change was coming and someday the powers that be would force the new UI on everyone.

As some of you may or may not know, the new blogger and I do not get along.  Specifically, it exacerbates my condition and literally makes me sick. 

So clearly I have a dilemma.

I am hoping that between the time I tried it before, either I have become stronger (which is quite possible) or blogger has made some changes (highly unlikely) and I will not find the new UI as challenging to my well-being as before.

We won’t know any time soon, regardless.  I have bad days without even using a new interface and I won’t automatically assume that my feeling nauseous means the new blogger is upsetting me. Instead, I’ll be giving it a week or two before I determine one way or the other.

I honestly don’t know what I will do if it turns out that I can’t really use the new blogger interface without making myself sick.  I’ll either have to stop blogging, which is an option.  Or I will have to migrate my blog to another site.  Also an option.

I don’t like either of those options.  So I’m going to cross my fingers and hope for the best.  In the meantime, let’s have some fun.  Me, I’ll be Bibisitting and supervising the baking of the Birthday Cake.  What do you have going on today?

Edit:  Bibi won't be coming over to play today but she will be tomorrow so all's well that ends well.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Weekly Quotes 2012-4

[W]e all need the reassuring and healing messages that treasured rituals provide.  (December 14)

Quoting Sue Bender
Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to give myself a gold star for being ordinary, and maybe one of these days I’ll give myself a gold star for being extraordinary—for persisting.  And maybe one day I won’t need to have a star at all.  (December 16)

Oh, how I wish that I knew from where the author read this quote.  I think it's a great one and I would love to share it properly.

Quoting Joseph Campbell
We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.  (December 26)

This is one of those ubiquitous quotes. Practically any website that features quotes from Joseph Campbell includes this one.  

Quoting Sheila Graham
You can have anything you want if you want it desperately enough.  You must want it with an exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the energy that created the world.  (December 28)

One of the problems I had with reading this book was that I knew too much about what happens to the author after she wrote this book, after she achieved her dreams and found the writing success that most writers can only dream of having.  Because I knew "too much," I couldn't read quotes like this one without feeling a mixture of sadness and a touch of self-righteousness.  I didn't want to feel either of these things for her, however.  Even after reading Breathnach's last book, where she describes some of  the surprises life had in store for her, I had a sort of trust that her life would still be full of creativity and some success.  So maybe life had to make her desperate enough again to get enough back, not all but enough, to where she would feel content and fulfilled.  

[A]n occasional memento of past folly, however painful, might not be without use. (190)

She was ashamed of Isabella, and ashamed of having ever loved her. (207)

I read this book at a time when I was hurt by someone so these two quotes sort of resonated for me.  I tend to be seemingly unforgiving.  If someone tries to hurt me by hurting someone I love, I tend to cut them out of my life altogether.  A few times, I've had these people try to come back into my life but I choose not to be open to them any longer.  I would like to think it is because I don't want to risk seeing someone I love being hurt again by the same so-called friend.  The truth is, I probably can't bear the responsibility of seeing this friend hurting someone I love and knowing I am the one who let them get close enough to do so.  It hurts too much to see someone I love hurt.

It is strange, but when you’re dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.  (317)

If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.  (525)

I use the Pensieve.  One simply siphons excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure.  It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.  (597)

The first time I read this novel, I immediately thought of journals and how they gives the writer a means of stepping away from the experience, to be objective about even the most subjective of things, and find meaning.  

‘If I thought I could help you,’ Dumbledore said gently, ‘by putting you into an enchanted sleep and allowing you to postpone the moment when you would have to think about what has happened tonight, I would do it.  But I know better.  Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.’  (695)

In our society, we are so eager to numb ourselves to pain.  As a result, the lessons that come through pain are lost. I certainly am as guilty as the next person.  But the older I get, the more I appreciate the depth of feeling that comes with all of life's experiences, even the ones we think are killing us at some level.  I can think of examples, of a friend who lost herself in a hopeless relationship because her father was dying, of another friend who used xanax to get her through a divorce and then a widowhood and probably another divorce, and another who still uses alcohol to quiet her internal demons and holds anger so close that she feels little else.  For me it is sleep.  It's always my drug of choice.  I also know that there are times when one is feeling so much that it all becomes numb and the only way to feel anything at all is to use something to stifle the overwhelming flood of feelings.

. . .  Our parents see us through the distorting filter of their own history and life circumstances.  . . .  When parents get intensely focused on some aspect of a child’s behavior, they typically have no clue about what force from their own past is driving them.  (96)

Families are not fair, and we do not choose the family we are born into.  Our parents, being human, cannot create the perfect climate, like a garden greenhouse, to foster the blossoming of our true, authentic selves.  (96)

What a huge challenge it is to arrive at a place where our wish to understand the other person is as great as our wish to be understood!  (99)

. . .  I hold values, beliefs, and goals that may transcend the impulse to ‘be myself’ or to ‘be honest,’ without invitation, at any particular moment.  I do not, for example, wish to hurt another human being unnecessarily.  I value kindness and compassion.  Sometimes the very urgency or intensity of my emotions is the red flag that signals me to stop and think, to separate out fleeting reactions from my more enduring and significant feelings.  (105)

Truth-telling obviously requires us to ‘be ourselves.’  But it may also require us to exercise restraint, as we consider matters of timing and tact, and what we hope to accomplish in a relationship.  (108)

Her spirits wanted the solitude and silence which only numbers could give. (87)

I literally snorted when I read this. It is so anathema to me.  I seek solitude so often.  I am fortunate in Rob's being understanding, even patient, with me when I am withdrawing.  He is as likely to remind me to meditate as I am to say, "I am going to sit for a few minutes."  Now if only he could be as conscious of my need for uninterrupted time when I'm writing.

One man’s ways may be as good as another’s but we all like our own best.  (125)

Good or evil must be seen in terms of relationship with others, not absolutes of action.  (36)

I read something online recently about how there is a difference between those who live their faith and those who merely follow their faith. The former uses the teachings of their chosen path and considers them in light of societal changes; so when the Bible tells slaves to obey their masters or the Qur'an speaks against homosexuality, there is a space created within the conscience that acknowledges that slavery is never justified and homosexuals are not worthy of death.  Those who follow, ignore all scientific and even moral evidence in favor of using their sacred text, removing all need of questioning and, too often, reasoning.

Claiming the self is always an act of heroism.  (63)

Buffy and Harry [Potter], unique in their own powers and ordinary in their insecurities, have one major strength in common:  their friends.  (75)

There is always the danger that you will reflect what you oppose, that you will become the thing you fight.  (77)

Power must be balanced with the mercy borne of human connection.  (77)
[T]hose who are conscious of self are also conscious of death.  (120)
What we laugh at tells us who we are.  (130)

Sex and death can be inspiring.  (155)
My quotes are down to 61 pages now.  Perhaps next week, I'll begin adding in the quotes from my morning books.  I haven't even counted how many pages of those quotes I have on top of the other quotes from the late-morning/afternoon/evening/bedtime books.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday


These words are also brought to you by 
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Image from this site.
Catherine assented—and a very warm panegyric from her on that lady’s merits, close the subject. (101)

panegyric (noun)
a eulogistic oration or writing, also formal or elaborate praise
Definition found here.

I've seen this word before and always assumed I understood it but I didn't quite grasp it.  I think that the merging of praise and eulogy is interesting and adds a layer of significance I would have overlooked otherwise.  The etymology is especially interested.  It comes from pan meaning "all" and agyris meaning "place of assembly," a variation of the word "agora."   And finding the perfect image for this word was easy.  Naturally, upon reading the full definition, I could not help but think of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.  
Image from here.

I remember too, Miss Andrews drank tea with us that evening, and wore her puce-coloured sarsenet; and she looked so heavenly, that I thought your brother must certainly fall in love with her; I could not sleep a wink all night for thinking of it. (109-110)

sarsenet (noun)
a soft silk in plain or twill weaves; also : a garment made of this
Definition found here.

If nothing else, reading Jane Austen has introduced me to a myriad of different fabrics.  Sarsenet is one that I've never read before.  The problem with looking up a word that defines a fabric is that it rarely gives you a full appreciation of the cloth itself. How it feels between the fingers, how it moves, the weight of it against the skin while wearing it.  When it comes to fabric, I'm extremely tactile and I recognize silk even if I merely brush against it with the back of my hand.  I'm the same ay about wool and can easily tell the difference between 100% wool and a wool blend.

Image of metal and wooden pattens dating from the early 19th century.
Image found here.
Wherever they went, some pattened girl stopped to curtsey, or some footman in dishabille sneaked off. (174)

Wearing pattens.
Any one of various types of wooden-soled footwear, such as a sandal, shoe, or clog, worn to increase one's height or to keep one's feet out of the mud.
Definition found here.

Needless to say, I immediately thought of patent leather shoes but I was mistaken again.  Not that the definition helped a lot.  When I looked at the images, however, I had to laugh.  It makes sense. These pattens would elevate the person which would keep the hem of a woman's dress from skimming the muddy ground.  Still, imagining myself walking in a pair of these things is enough to keep me shaking my head in bemused dismay.

Image found here.
Catherine read too much not to be perfectly aware of the ease with which a waxen figure might be introduced, and a suppositious funeral carried on. (180)

Suppositious (adjective)
fraudulently substituted : spurious
Definition found here.

In context, this quote is hilarious and even ironic.  With that said, the definition didn't surprise me in the least.

Image found here.
She saw a large, well-proportioned apartment, an handsome dimity bed, arranged as unoccupied with an housemaid’s care , a bright Bath stove, mahogany wardrobes and neatly-painted chairs, on which the warm beams of a western sun gaily poured through two sash windows! (183)

Dimity (noun)
Dimity is a lightweight, sheer cotton fabric having at least two warp threads thrown into relief to form fine cords. It is a cloth commonly employed for bed upholstery and curtains, and usually white, though sometimes a pattern is printed on it in colors. It is stout in texture, and woven in raised patterns. Originally dimity was made of silk or wool, but since the 18th century it has been woven almost exclusively of cotton.
Definition found here.

Once again, I was utterly baffled, clueless about what "dimity" is but the word is almost as much fun to say as tuppity.  The image shows dimity cloth in the canopy because the bedspread is clearly chenille.  And I love that bed but our teeny-tiny bedroom would be overwhelmed.

When I was a little girl, I went to summer camp one year and, when I'd come back, my mother had redecorated my bedroom. The walls were a pale blushing pink and I had a frothy white canopy bed.  There were shelves on the wall and, to hide the brackets holding the shelves up, she had cut out felt flowers in bold colors, with large teardrop-shaped green leaves.  It was an amazing bedroom.  We only lived there for another year and the next place we lived, the bedroom was tiny.  Technically, it was the "servant's" room.  It even had it's own half-bath. I assume this was so the servant wouldn't use the master bathroom.  There were two entrances to the apartment as well.  The building had two elevators and one let you out to a small foyer with entrances to only two apartments while the other elevator let people out to a corridor that led to more apartments, including, of course, the ones that were also accessible through the other elevator.  I assume this second elevator was for servants and deliveries.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eleven Weeks Into 2012

It is so funny, coming down from being so busy with studying and all. I’m still trying to get my bearings. There was a chance I might be doing more studying, jumping right into the next level of certification. But that idea seems to have been nipped in the bud.

So what, pray tell, have I been doing with my free time?

Green Anole, Anolis carolinensis carolinensis, also called American Chameleon, Carolina Anole, Red-throated Anole, and Tree Lion
Image found here.
Well, for one thing, I’ve been trying to meet our new neighbor. Rob has seen him hanging around our deck a couple of times sunning himself. One time he was feeling threatened by some bees and puffed up his neck to display a little territorial antagonism. The neighbor, not Rob. Rob never puffs up his neck unless it’s absolutely necessary. So far, I haven’t seen the neighbor, however, and if Rob hadn’t taken a picture with his cellphone, I’d swear he was making the whole thing up.

To learn more about our new neighbor, and to see some lizard porn, go to wikipedia.

For another, I suffered through all three Paranormal Activity movies. Why do I do this to myself, suffer through insufferable movies? What is it I’m hoping to find? I thought about this a lot and realized that I am trying to see if any of these so-called scary movies will ever live up to their hype. Apparently the answer is a resounding “no” and yet I keep giving it a try. What scares me most about these movies is that people actually paid hard earned cash to see them. Maybe I can understand a movie audience being suckered into seeing the first one in the theaters (and I would have probably walked out and demanded my money back because I don’t think it would be possible for anyone to make a movie more tedious than these three are). But then there are sequels. Not one but TWO and, unless I miss my guess, there’s going to be a fourth movie made because the only reason I watched them at all is that I kept hearing the third one was really great.

If by “great” someone means incredibly boring and inane, then they are absolutely right.  I really tried to just watch the movies and not do anything else but I simply couldn't do it. But I managed to get a few things done in spite of my mental burnout.

Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G Android Smartphone (T-Mobile)While I was torturing myself with tedium, my daughter was destroying yet another phone. So she had to get a new phone and now, because we still share the same phone plan, we now have data on our cellphones. Shhhhhh . . . I refuse to use data on my phone. I already think that having a cellphone is intrusive and the thought of people thinking I can access my email or whatever from anywhere at any time is not something I want to encourage. Of course, I’d have to actually see if the data was added to both phones or just hers but I abide by the truism “ignorance is bliss” and for now I’m blissfully content believing my phone is data-free. Forever, if I have anything to say about it.

One week from today, we will be celebrating my birthday (although my birthday is actually on the 4th). I’ve narrowed down my cake choices to three—all are sugar free or at least no sugar added. After all, milk has sugar in it and if I choose a cake that has nuts or fruit (or both!), it will have still more sugars. Not necessarily “added” but definitely some sugars. We also plan on making our own ice-cream although don’t ask me what kind because until I decide on a cake, the ice cream is undecided.

It’s a good thing I have a whole week to figure these things out.  What I choose, it will be delicious.