Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Galleria Adventures

So my Italian classes are every Tuesday night in the Galleria. In the hidden corner between the old Macy's and Sacks Fifth Avenue. So today and last week, I decided to go explore the mall a bit. Have some grand adventures.

Get my watch batteries changed.

Buy a few things I need.

There are so many beautiful things in the shops. Rich fabrics, sparkling jewels, fragrant perfumes. And so many beautiful people walking around wearing what they've bought shops like these. I'm easily the least expensively turned out person I saw the entire time. I think even the girl in a tank top and running shorts spent more on those clothes, the sandals, and the make up and styling products than I did on my ensemble.

And the shop people can see that about me. I was looking for a pair of Ecco sandals I've seen on line, and would like to buy. Funny how busy all the sales people are when I walk by. If I stop and ask directly, "Excuse me, do you carry Ecco shoes?" They answer me, but it seems to be a great condescension on their part to do so.

Empty, futile, pointless little snobs.

I know it shouldn't bother me, but it's disheartening, a bit. I want to wear soft, luxurious, beautiful clothing, but I can't afford the quality my tastes lean towards, and a lot of that stuff only looks good on sticks. I am not a stick, and I've always been given reason to be happy with my, ahem, shape. :-P

I feel like screaming that the emperor has no clothes. The only person who I think would have understood was the hired pianist in the Nordstrom's, who played beautifully and seemed bored out of his skull. Bored enough to start his next song in tempo with the service phone ringing over the intercom. I was the only one who noticed, and he noticed my noticing, as I almost stopped dead and laughed aloud, moving on with just a stutter-step and a silent chuckle. Nordstrom's doesn't seem to be the place to laugh aloud.

I was even more unsettled as I wandered into the corner between the Ninfa's Express and the Coldstone. I was overcome by the memory of standing in just this spot watching a CNN report on il conclavo, the conclave, after the death of John Paul II. I remember crying a little for the Pope familiar to me from childhood. A man who, in spite of his authority, seemed gentle, thoughful, loving, and open. Deeply prayerful, quietly wise. I didn't know him personally, but he seemed so much warmer and more fatherly than Pope Benedict seems to me now. Tonight I wept again a little inside.

After a while I got sick of the whole charade, and found a quiet corner to read in before my class started. And I wept a little externally for the unfairness of it all. Have you BEEN to the Galleria lately? Versaci, Armani, Kenneth Cole. There are people in this world who go hungry while these beautiful people buy their beautiful clothes, and the shoe sales man in the casual shoe section, who seems lower in the totem pole than the man selling women's dress shoes, sneers at my request for a $70 pair of sandals.

I'm not an ascetic, and I'm not an activist, and I don't think any of the people in the Galleria are evil heartless bastards.

There's just so much I don't understand, and it doesn't seem right, and it overwhelms me sometimes.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Andy Roony is Always Spot On

I'm horking this from someone elses blog because it made me feel good this morning.


If you will take the time to read these. I promise you'll come away with n enlightened perspective. The subjects covered affect us all on a daily basis! They're written by Andy Rooney, a man who has the gift of saying so much with so few words. Enjoy.......

I've learned.... That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned.... That when you're in love, it shows.

I've learned.... That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.

I've learned.... That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I've learned.... That being kind is more important than being right.

I've learned.... That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I've learned.... That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.

I've learned.... That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I've learned.... That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I've learned.... That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I've learned.... That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I've learned.... That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.

I've learned.... That money doesn't buy class.

I've learned.... That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned... That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I've learned.... That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I've learned.... That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I've learned.... That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned.... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I've learned.... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned.... That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I've learned... That life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned.... That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I've learned.... That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned.... That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.

I've learned.... That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I've learned.... That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned.... That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.

I've learned.... That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

I've learned.... That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. And just finished with the requisite sobbing my heart out. Oh, wait, not *quite* finished with that, apparently.

Book seven came in the mail today. I haven't even opened it. I didn't sleep well last night, and I promised myself I'd go to bed at a decent time tonight. Meaning, of course, right after I finish this blog. So I should probably leave it in its package.

Tomorrow I have my first Italian lesson, so I might take my book with me to read while I get myself some dinner in the Galeria food court and wait for my class to start.

Or, well, I still haven't seen the new movie. Didn't manage it this weekend. Maybe on Wednesday I'll go do that instead of hanging out at the Volcano. Even though I haven't played pool in forever. Who knows.

Somehow, this time as I read, Dumbledore's blue eyes became my father's. I saw Ruddygore on Sunday, and there's a song about a little flower that shelters under an oak tree until the tree is torn away.

That's how I feel right now. Five years after his death, these things remind me of him, and how he taught me and sheltered me and loved me.

And left me.

I'll be fine. Really I will. It's just... It never goes away.

A thought came to mind recently. Probably not original, but somehow it made sense. I was thinking about how this will never go away. It may smooth itself out, and become less jarring as the years continue to pass. It's already less acutely painful than it was. At least most of the time.

But it's not something I can eject from myself. I can't leave it behind, because it's now part of who I am. I can't live away from it. I can't live apart from it. I have to live through it, with it, around it.

And the image that came to mind was the grain of sand that becomes a pearl. How painful it must be at first. Sharp, jagged, a focused little dot of agony. And slowly time and faith and love and life begin to smooth it over, round it out. Sometimes it remains knobby and awkward, but maybe it can grow into a soft brilliance of perfection. Always lodged inside of me. It can't ever be comfortable.

But maybe it becomes a thing of incredible value and beauty. I've felt for a long time that Daddy's death wasn't something that had some absolute message, given to me from outside. I do believe in God, and I do believe he is here with me, and has a plan for me. But I do NOT believe that my God killed my father to open my blinded eyes, or to test my faith.

I do believe that God calls to me through this pain, though. And helps me to create my own meaning, gives me the strength and patience to slowly make my grief, and my father's death, something of worth. Something that happened not in vain. I'd still have rather it hadn't happened, of course.

But it did. And these things will happen. Life is as much about losing as it is about gaining. But you can turn the tables, gain a little with the loss, and you *can* beat the house, I believe.

And thinking of this brought me to one of those recurring ideas I have sometimes, and tend to bring here when I'm ready. The idea from John Keats' letter to George and Georgina Keats from February 14th to May 3rd of 1819. (You can tell I'm an English major. I always cite my source.) Keats' presents his ideas as an alternative to the Christian view, though the two aren't mutually exclusive. I've linked the entire letter above for anyone who's really curious, but I'll end with the essential passage, and leave you to ponder how this fits in with my pearls:

The common cognomen of this world among the misguided and superstitious is 'a vale of tears' from which we are to be redeemed by a certain arbitary interposition of God and taken to Heaven-What a little circumscribed straightened notion! Call the world if you Please "The vale of Soul-making". Then you will find out the use of the world (I am speaking now in the highest terms for human nature admitting it to be immortal which I will here take for granted for the purpose of showing a thought which has struck me concerning it) I say 'Soul making' Soul as distinguished from an Intelligence- There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions-but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. I[n]telligences are atoms of perception-they know and they see and they are pure, in short they are God-How then are Souls to be made? How then arc these sparks which are God to have identity given them-so as ever to possess a bliss peculiar to each one's individual existence? How, but by the medium of a world like this?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Smaller Magic

I took a walk this evening, and on the way back I saw beautiful things.

A rainbow, brilliant, lurid, like a heavy brushstroke across the gray sky, with a secondary bow, fainter outside the arc like an accidental smudge.

Clouds, bulbous and creamy, dipping down from the sky like giant fingers dimpling the air below.

Quieter enchantments after the storm has torn the sky with dazzling forked light.

But that was on my way home, with my heart already thrilled by a beauty closer and smaller. Granted, I do see beauty in the strangest things.

The sun hung low in the sky as I walked along the bayou. A lone sunflower stood beside the path like an unabashed eye staring down passers-by like myself. I stopped to admire it, stooped to put my eyes on its level. The sunlight shone warm and golden on the tall grass, rising off of it in a scent of hay and honey. I shaded my eyes and looked out over the gleam of tall blades and slender stalks gilded by the sun’s midas touch.

And everywhere I caught more brilliant glints, like diamonds stretched to silken strands, woven amongst the grass. And everywhere, suspended in the grass, were small movements, scurryings, dippings and dancings. I stood up and leaned closer, examining the minute perfection of a spider’s web, with the spider still working furiously, rebuilding after the storm. I took a few more steps gazing across the grass into the sunlight, as it sparkled and waved over more webs, and more, and more.

Everywhere, as far as I could see, dime-sized, narrow, pale green spiders were spinning webs no bigger than dessert plates between the grass stalks. Everything glimmered and trembled, shaking in the slightest breeze, and shuddering under the lightest little eight-legged touch. For a quarter of a mile I walked, and never saw an end of those webs and weavers, glistening in the light of the setting sun.

I’ve never seen so many. It reminded me of fireflies in the evenings back home, when they’d light the brush and the trees like strands of sparkling lights. But this was a warmer, homier magic. A labor of survival made beautiful in the minute and fragile symmetry of every close-woven web.


And humbling.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


The frogs are clacking
In the bayou
As the light fades.

The sparrows are done
Puffing and scuffling
In the dust by the road,
Shuffling their feathers
Into a deeper gray.

The sun has set,
The air is smooth and warm.

Evening has lain down
Beside the land.
Her head rests on the west,
Drifting softly into night.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Like a Peach, Still

Still bruised. Got the blood work back, and Doc looked at my X-Rays.

X-Rays look good. Blood negative for indications of arthritis.

But my white blood cell count is high.

"Looks like you have an infection. Does your throat hurt again?"

"No. I don't feel bad at all."

"What's that on your face?"

"Um... Acne."

"What do you take for it?"

"Uh... I wash my face."

"Okay, well, I'm going to give you an antibiotic for the infection. It should help clear that up too."

(Yeah, right, for the two weeks I take it, *maybe*. I'll have gray hair before I shake this acne.)

"And we'll see you in two weeks. We'll take some more blood and..."

"Oh NO! Not again!"

"Well sweety I have to check..."


I rolled up my sleeve and showed the fairly entact remains of my 2" across bruise from LAST time.

"Oh, Lord. Well we'll... then... we'll just see how your doing in two weeks."

Sigh. So I have antibiotics and no answers. And an ergonomic keyboard.

And Firefly and Serenity DVDs.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Bob: March 1-July 9, 2007

My cup of Monday is officially full and running over. I got home from work and found out that my last Bob was indeed sick, and didn't make it through the day.

Since neither tank of Bobs lasted the guaranteed two years, I'll be sending away for free replacements. And I'll wait until the weather cools off before I try to hatch new ones.

But the apartment feels a little more lonely tonight.

Good bye, Bob. I'll miss you.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Dangers of a 20-year-old Sorority Girl's Bathroom

So, my elbows have gotten kinda dry and rough. So I'm visiting my Mom's place this weekend, where my kid sister is living over the summer. Hell, I figure, she must have some moisturizer around here somewhere.

So after my shower I root around under the sink, and pull out a bottle that looks promising. Yay! Moisturizer.

I fail to appreciate the full significance of "Luminous Body Moisturizer" until I squeeze out some innocuous looking, creamy lotion, and start rubbing it into my elbows and forearms.

Oh. It has...


Tiny flecks of gold glitter.

Not that there's anything wrong with being sparkly and "luminous." It just seems, I dunno, a bit *much* for Smitty's Market, the BBQ shop Mom and I are hitting for lunch. And now hands to elbows I'm covered in a light dusting of... luminous.


But it does seem to have softened my elbows.

And I smell good.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Like a Peach

So, I had blood taken today. They're going to do an arthritis panel. I guess for rheumatoid arthritis.

*is skeered*

I didn't bruise as much as last time. But it's still a bit absurd.

The lab tech stuck the needle in, then snapped the vial into place and...

Nothing happened. There was that moment of, ummmm....

Then there was that moment where I could see her wondering, if she moved the needle around *reeeeeallly* surreptitiously, if *maybe* I wouldn't notice that she was fishing. Um, no. So she just fished. She never really got a good flow. It took forever to fill FOUR FREAKIN' VIALS.

I finally looked up, and said, "Oh yeah, I don't bleed."

She started lauging and said,

"Does this happen a lot?"

Ooooh yeah.

I also got x-rays. My bones are still all there, and that's about all I can tell. My finger bones are really little and narrow and pointy. They looked very sharp and poky.

I go back next Thursday to find out what's up.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rough Night :-(

So I had a blazing headache this morning around 4:00AM.

So I got up and started drinking water. That usually helps.

This time it didn't.

At 4:45AM I finally went and took some Advil.

Oooooh no. Bad idea.

The doctor told me not to. I forgot. Until around 5:15AM.

When I was awakended by my stomach turning over.

And I bolted to the bathroom.

Well, that didn't last very long, that Advil.

And my stomach has been off and on all day.

It feels pretty bad right now, after being livable all day.


The moral of the story? Well, you can probably glean your own.

God, there's nothing I hate more than throwing up or feeling like I'm going to. :-(