Evolution Of A Boy

I found this letter/ode I had written to my son in a bunch of old papers I was going through to recycle today.  I wrote it when he was twelve, and pulling further and further away from me – right on schedule!  But just because biology dictates a thing so, doesn’t mean it wasn’t terrible for me…

                                 Evolution Of A Boy

When you were born I held you close, rocked you, walked you back and forth while you screamed with colic – or was it protest at being out in this cold, drafty world from the temperature controlled, fluid womb?

You stayed in a crib until you were two and a half and began crying to me of your needs in the night, or in the morning, coaxing me with “Up, Mommy? Up, Mommy – peas.  Peas, Mommy?”  How could I ignore that?  You asked so politely, so pleadingly.

As a toddler, and ever since you were born, I read to you day and night.  It became the bedtime routine: books and a back rub until you fell asleep.  Often you would play with my ear – a throw back from your nursing days – a comfort habit that never bothered me.  Whoever held you until you were four or five would have their ear manipulated by you.

Nighttime was our time.  It was sometimes the only peace in the day.  I was really present most of the time for you then, and we both knew it wouldn’t be a struggle of wills; it was a time any outside observer wouldn’t question my parenting skills.

That nighttime routine when you wanted me to lay down with you after reading and rubbing your back until you fell asleep – or nearly – lasted until you were eight or nine.  I would sing Mockingbird – replacing Papa with Mama, of course – and Lily Of The Valley, three or four times each, and sometimes you would sing along.  Then we would always play the ‘I love you more than’ game.  “More than chocolate cream pie with ice cream and marshmallows, and a ton of whipped cream” – or whatever we would dream up.  A phrase we had read: “I love you to the moon and back”, began a long tradition of sometimes jokingly arguing over who loved the other more – “I love you the most – eternity, infinity!”

The mornings nearly always had me picking you up and carrying you into the kitchen for breakfast until you were about seven years old.  It seemed to help you wake up just that little bit more.

Sometimes you would jump up into my arms for a hug and you did that until you got too heavy for me to grab you up into a hug like that.

Now you’re twelve.  You are on that precipice between knowing you are not a dependent child to knowing you are not quite grown-up either.  It can be confusing, frustrating, and scary – but exciting too.

You are, at times and often, so much more than you think you are.  You have so much to offer this suffering world.  She needs boys and men who care, as you do.  Societies may seem indifferent or hostile to boys and men who care, but that is because societies are not grown-up either.  They don’t know how to accept the whole boy or the whole man – but they are learning.  Just as I am learning to let go – but I have built a path from my heart to yours – and there is a path from your heart to mine too – so that we’ll always know there is a home for us, especially when you find the need, or just to be reassured that it’s there.

I love you my dear child.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Kit-Cat Klock

kit-cat klock
Kit-Cat Klock (Photo credit: World of Oddy)

KitCat Clock

I bought a Kit-Cat Klock for my son one Christmas, nearly ten years ago now.  He had it hung up in his room, and when we moved, I was happy to see that he put it back up on his wall.  I really like the way its eyes and tail move back and forth, but it’s not the most accurate time piece.  This one is battery operated, but I think the original Kit-Cat Klock was electric.

When my son went to college, the clock remained here, even though I suggested taking it as a memento of home.  I removed the battery and put it with his things that I’m keeping in case he wants it in the future, which I realize isn’t likely, but you never know.  If he ever has kids they might enjoy stuff that was once their Dad’s, or at least having a physical connection from the past to the present.

I was cleaning the other day and saw the clock and decided to dust it off, put a battery in, and stick it up on the wall.  I forgot how much pleasure I take in simple things, and I’m so glad I decided to claim it, and went through the trouble to put it up.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Air Waves

I turn on my hometown radio station almost every morning.  I feel comforted hearing the DJ’s voice – a guy who’s been on that station since I was a teenager and the only way to hear the latest songs back then, besides going to see bands, or buying random CD’s to try out, was to listen to the radio.

The station had been family owned since its inception, but was sold, or became managed, by one of the larger market outfits a decade ago, when they tried to make the format more hip by adding a morning talk component with one of the DJs who’s still there, and a guy who did a regular sports spot and was a substitute DJ.  The new format was a clumsy intrusion, and didn’t change their listener numbers.  The format changed back over to the main DJ within a year, I think.  I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.

I’m glad the station is still there.  I don’t have cable, or get any stations on my television, so I turn to the radio and internet for my news.

This morning I turned on the radio and was transported back to the days of getting my son ready for school, the days before I woke in terrible pain every day, the days that I still wouldn’t trade for today unless I could be a different person.  Nostalgia colors the past in pastels so often.  But my life was harsh in other ways.  I was severely depressed, single parenting, in poverty, and don’t know how I got through, but I’m grateful because now is better, even if still somewhat desolate.  Back then I was assured that life would get better, I just didn’t know it would take ten years…

Radio is quaint now with our smart phones, tablets, and other electronic devices streaming music and video, our mp3 players shutting us out from collective experience.  I don’t have a smart phone and I don’t think I want one.  I think there are going to be a lot of neck problems in a few years, and I know firsthand how youth’s disregard exacts payment later.  I asked my doctor what causes our bodies to break down over such a short lifespan and her answer was: “Walking upright”.

The DJ is bidding his listening audience a good day as his shift ends and signals the shrinking time I have left to get out the door myself.  I realize that tuning into this station most mornings isn’t an unconscious habit, but part of my ancestral drive for continuity – for being part of a collective, even if the mode seems trivial.  It’s this DJ, this radio station, that has barely changed from my youth throughout my adult years.  I moved from Maine to California, and finally ended up back where I started, and that station remained mostly as is while much around me has changed, indeed, while I’ve changed too.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

What A Day, December 21, 2012

I picked my son up from Boston yesterday for our family Christmas gathering this weekend, and experienced torrential rain and blustering wind most of the way down.  Being December 21st, with all the hype of impending apocalypse, it was somewhat unnerving to drive through the deluge, but if the end were near, what better way to spend it than trying to get to my child?

When I visited my father in Florida many years ago, there were several days of intense downpours that I was caught in while driving, once so heavy that I had to pull over and wait for the storm to pass.  Yesterday reminded me of driving in Florida except I only considered pulling over once, and then the rain let up enough that I didn’t have to.  I’m sure people thought I was crazy as I passed them, but I could see well enough, and never got near hydroplaning speeds.  I did hit a patch of water on an overpass that made me veer to the left, but I was lucky to not be with other traffic then.

Just as I hit the four lane section of Route 2 outside of Boston, the wind died down, the rain subsided, the sun shone through patches of separating cloud cover, and I saw a northerly rainbow.  Coming into Boston proper, the sun was out in earnest, with only cumulus clouds floating in scattered clumps, as though the fearsome tempest had never occurred.

After getting my son, who was in a happier mood than when I last saw him, I had him drive back.  There was heavy traffic leaving the city, and Route 2 was bumper to bumper cars until we passed Concord.  As we headed into Western MA, the cloud cover grew steadily, and the rain picked up once more.  We didn’t experience any more downpours, but the steady rain and moisture kicked up from car tires, combined with the growing dark, made for a dismal drive home.  We rewarded ourselves with dinner out once we got back to town, and my son was vivacious and chatty the whole time, creating a stellar end to my day.

I realized that my son’s moodiness during the Thanksgiving break had far more to do with the slump he was in than not wanting my company.  It’s important for me to remember that I’m his safety in the sense that he’s completely himself when he’s around me, so if he’s non-communicative, it’s about him, not me.  My job is to love and accept him, regardless of anything else, which I’ve always done – even if I grumble about his attitude at times.  I have more information than I had before, and now I’ll have better suggestions next time I hear or see his discontent.

For now, I’m grateful he’s with me over the holiday, and I’m glad we’re all still here – even though there wasn’t any apocalyptic danger associated with yesterday’s date.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Holiday Events

The town next to me has a theater built in the late 1870s.  It has seen several revivals of sorts throughout the years, its most infamous use being when the Renaissance Community – the commune/cult I grew up in – owned it.  I spent many days and nights in that theater as a teenager, so it has a difficult history for me, but that history has become less overwhelming since 2000 when I auditioned for my first play at what is now the Shea Theater.  Its renovation removed the gaudiness that Michael Rapunzel (née, Metalica) imposed on the once beautiful theater, but the balcony was removed, leaving only a light and sound booth for shows, and tiered rows of seats down to the ground floor of the theater.

The other night, several community groups helped present a large screen showing of: It’s A Wonderful Life, for free, but people were encouraged to bring canned goods or monetary donations for our regional food bank and local food pantries.

I wasn’t going to go, but I wasn’t born when that movie was first shown in theaters, so I thought it would be fun to see on a big screen, even though I suspected I’d be in a largely empty theater.  Boy was I wrong!  The theater was packed and there were many families in attendance.  It was a festive experience to see the film with all those people, some seeing it for the first time, and probably plenty for the last as well.  I mean that last part to convey that it’s an outdated movie whose quaint filming and content don’t satisfy a movie going public in the way it might have when it was first released.

After the show, the crowd was told that the pub across the street was serving ‘flaming rum punch’, a drink that Clarence, the angel (second class), tries to order at Martini’s in the alternate world he’s escorting George Bailey through.  I decided to go over, and again, thought I’d be among very few, but the pub was crowded, with more filing in after me, and many there had just come from seeing the film.  It was a very jovial crowd, and it felt somewhat surreal, like we were all characters from the story somehow. I half expected a saxophone rendition of Auld Lang Syne to play over the pub’s stereo.

The rum punch was just spiced cider with rum, but it was warm and soothing on a cold, dreary night.  The people sitting next to me at the bar started chatting with me, and I asked them if they had ever seen the movie before, and they hadn’t.  They said they liked it, and thought it was a great idea to offer, and hoped there would be more community events like that.  A young woman related that she had always wanted to see the film, but her mother hated it, saying it was too depressing, and turned it off any time it was on television, so the woman just assumed she’d hate it too.  She was pleasantly surprised to find that it was more uplifting than depressing, even if set during the Great Depression and World War II.

It was a lovely oasis in a difficult time, not only for recent tragedies, but for this dark time of year that starts my yearly descent.  I hope this will be the year I fall no further.

Enjoy each other, tell those who matter that you love them, tell strangers you’re glad to meet them, be helpful, and kind, and you may receive no heavenly reward, but you will uplift humanity, and I think we can all use more gladness, even if momentary.   Peace.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Powerless

Will gun control help?  The argument goes that law-abiding citizens don’t commit crimes, criminals do, or the mentally ill do.  A twenty year-old who shot and killed twenty-seven people, twenty of whom were grammar students is also dead, so there’s no further discovery into his motives, his thoughts, his state of mind.  It should be obvious, I know: he was mentally disturbed.  He lacked empathy, he wasn’t rational – because who could shoot and kill anyone without being insane if you’re not on a battlefield or otherwise defending yourself?

But, what happened to him?  What did he live with that made him deliberately kill children?

There are many who disagree with me, but I think we need more restrictive gun laws including the types of guns citizens have access to, the types of ammunition, and yearly mental-health check-ups of registered gun owners.  That won’t stop the criminals, but it might limit some of the guns, or some types of ammunition.  I think citizens need the 2nd Amendment because a well-regulated militia is necessary for the people to defend themselves against enemies foreign and domestic, and we’re at a point in our history where we already live in a de facto police state as we’ve seen the police grow more militarized, and we’ve seen how police in America uphold corporate and government interests above the citizenry’s interest.

I’m brokenhearted for the families who lost a child, or children, today, and in my powerlessness, all I can ask is ‘why’, and ‘what can we do to lessen the chances of repetition’?

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

My Grandfather’s Birthday

Today my maternal Grandfather would have been 129.  He died in the Spring of his 102nd year.  My mother’s side of the family enjoys longevity, my father’s side, not so much.  My mother’s line comes from hearty French-Canadian farming family stock, and my father’s came from Scots-Irish and English fighting family lineage.  My father’s side carried the banner of anger and scrappiness, while my mother’s touted ‘get along and go along’.   My father’s ancestors were outwardly ill-fitted to society, while my mother’s forebears had more decorum, but certainly had their fair share of dirty laundry, so to speak.

I loved my maternal Grandfather, but never really knew or cared for my father’s father.  I remember him being a somewhat grumpy old man with a mean little Chihuahua named, Tippy, who would growl at you if it wasn’t trying to hump you.  That dog summed up my father’s side of the family to me.  My uncle, Chuck, was a burly man, like my father, whom I barely recall, but I do remember his wife, my Aunt Shirley, who was so kind, and pretty, having what my mother called ‘spanking blue eyes’.  She also had long fingernails and would chase my brothers with her hands curled, claw-like, toward them.  She was the only good thing about my Dad’s family, as far as I was concerned.  I don’t remember my Dad’s mother at all.  I think we visited with them twice, that I can remember, because they lived in another state, several hours away.

My mother’s family lived mostly nearby, which is probably why I have such a drive to stay near my siblings and mother as well.  I often think about my mother’s family in terms of how we all ‘turned out’.  My mother was the last of eleven children, all born in the depression era, five boys and six girls.  My mother was the surprise baby, born after my Grandmother thought she was fertile anymore.  My mother was born into a hard-working family, my grandfather and several of his sons worked on the railroad, while several others made military careers.  The women in the family mostly ran their families, and a few held outside jobs, or pursued passions other than domestic concerns, but they all fared well, mostly.

My mother is the only child whose marriage ended in divorce, the only child who married an unpredictable, angry man, and the only child, that we know of, whose first child was the outcome of a rape, that she was nearly disowned for keeping after being sent to a home for unwed mothers with the express purpose of giving up her child upon birth.  My mother stayed with one of her older sisters for a while, and her parents finally relented and let her go home with my eldest brother.  She flailed for some time, but found work, and an apartment, and shortly after met my father.  He was in the navy, handsome, and fresh out of a hellacious home life, and a disastrous first marriage.

I saw Back To The Future, when it first came out, and I remember thinking that my life would have been so much better if my mother had made a better choice to begin with.  Of course, were that the case, I likely wouldn’t have been born, so it was a moot point, but I would gladly not have been born to have spared my mother from my father.

My grandfather was kind to me, and used to call me ‘tiger eyes’.  He would also buy me Lucky Charms cereal, a treat my mother would never have approved of, but he also used to give me Jordan Almonds, which I hated, and still do.  I enjoyed visits from my Grandpa Brousseau, and vaguely remember my Grandma Brousseau, who died when I was just three.  It’s odd that I still feel connected to her even though I never really knew her.  I suppose it’s a testament to how much my grandfather meant to me that my grandmother means just as much.  My grandfather was kind to me, but he was also strict.  One of the first things he’d demand upon seeing us was to show him our fingernails.  It was important to him that we keep our hands and fingernails clean.  I guess that was his determination of good breeding.  Thankfully, we usually had enough warning of his visits to clean our fingernails before he arrived.

I remember visiting my grandfather in the last few years of his life, and he said how tired he was.  He could barely hear anymore, and was fairly blind, losing his two favorite pastimes: listening to baseball games on the radio, and reading the newspaper.  He said he didn’t know why he kept waking up every day, and that was one of the saddest things to hear.

It’s hard to see someone you remember as robust seeming so frail and lackluster.  During my last visit, when I was in my twenties, he asked me to come sit next to him on his bed, and then he asked me to comb his hair.  I wish I had the understanding that I do now.  I was so embarrassed because it seemed like such a silly request to me then.  I’d give anything to go back with the understanding I have now and comb his hair – and he still had a fair amount of hair even at a hundred.  I recognize his request as a way to connect with me, but I was too self-conscious then.  It wasn’t like when I was eight and would have combed his hair gleefully.  I can’t get that time back, and all I hope is that my grandfather’s spirit knows that I understand now, and that I’m sorry I was so awkward then that he took the comb out of my hand and said ‘never mind’.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa.  I love you, wherever you are.

Here’s a video link to a short video shot by one of my cousins when my Grandpa Brousseau was 101: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV-gmdb-w3A

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Streetcar Dreams

I brought a new character into the play, in my dream, last night – a child.  In the beginning of the dream, the child wasn’t known to me, but later she was a girl I have worked with on a couple of other shows.  She threw up in the rehearsal space/apartment the cast was staying at, and she threw up on the stage.  No one was cleaning it up, and I couldn’t find anything to mop it up myself.  I was so anxious about not stepping in it, and of getting it cleaned up before we would be performing that evening.

An old boyfriend of mine was outside in a parking lot, perhaps of the theater we were bringing the show to.  He was taller and broader than I remembered him, and was aged several years, as he would be, and I thought, ‘oh, maybe we’ll get back together!’, but when I said hello to him, and asked about his life, he looked somewhat disdainfully at me and told me he’s married, and works for himself.

Houses represent the self, so perhaps this show is helping my ‘inner child’ purge the emotional vestiges from my young life, or perhaps the opposite is true and I need to purge Blanche’s character out of me.  No matter what the similarities are, we are not the same.  I have options, and I am availing myself of those options.

This has been a lonely experience, but also a gratifying one in learning the lines, and being present to the other actors as best I can, bringing an excellent production to the community.  We have two more shows before the run is through, and I am looking forward to re-organizing my life once the play closes.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

First Show Weekend Done

The intensity of playing Blanche DuBois is slowly receding, but we have a pick-up rehearsal on Thursday, and then the last shows over next weekend.  I’ve been sad that we’ve had a sparse audience, but happy that we’ve got a great show – well worth the $12 dollar ticket price.

It’s been an interesting journey, and I have much more confidence that I can tackle most anything now.  I understand Blanche the way I was always going to understand her, but more deeply now.  She has much more depth, and even strength, than I’ve heard most people attribute to her, but Blanche is doomed, no matter what.

My dreams keep writing Blanche’s character differently.  She has more to say, and isn’t alright with her fate as written.  That’s good news, isn’t it?  My psyche isn’t willing to resign her to what’s been told.  In my mind, she heals in the institution.  Her psychotic break isn’t permanent.  The beauty of that ending is that I know it happens.  People go through horrific things and continue on, relatively intact.

I gave my best performances, and will continue to.  I have enjoyed evolving through each night.  I find a different nuance to Blanche’s character, or a better way to interact with the other characters.  Theater is beautiful because unlike life, you get to do the same thing over and over, and maybe not create different results, but bring something more to each performance.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Halloween Is Here Again, DPChallenge, I Wish I Were

I wish I were a child again – experiencing the night as I did all those years ago, the anticipation and fun.

I wish I were a young mother again – getting my son ready for Halloween night, and how much fun it was to roam the neighborhood with other moms and their children, witnessing the excitement, and helping create the sense of magic about to happen.

Spooky Halloween everyone! I hope you enjoy the day, and especially the night! Have fun and be safe. Cheers!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Abstractly Distracted

On Hallowe’en, when I was around five or six (maybe even the same year I split my head open), my older siblings were allowed to leave on their own to go trick-or-treating, but I had to stay home until I finished my supper, and wait for my mom to get my little brother in his costume.

I remember thinking how completely unfair it was that I had to wait for my baby brother, and be treated ‘like a baby’, when my next oldest sister was only two years older than me, and she got to go out with my other sister and brothers.  After enough complaints, my mother warned me that she could leave me home while she brought my brother around if I kept harassing her.  I don’t think I uttered a word after that until we finally went out into the chilly night.

We had split-pea soup…

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Scarecrow’s Night

The pumpkin was now a Jack-O’Lantern lighting up the night, a visage peering from the porch to give the kids a fright.  A scarecrow without a head sat listlessly nearby, he had no eyes to see with, so couldn’t even cry.

Little Gretel Gardner saw what needed to be done; she bravely picked the Jack-O’Lantern up, though it made her want to run.  She set it down upon the neck of the body filled with leaves, and then stood back, no longer afraid, and feeling very pleased.

She thought she saw the scarecrow wink, and release a happy sigh, but knew, of course, it couldn’t be, it was just the breeze passing by.

Gretel went upon her way – she didn’t see the scarecrow turn – and didn’t hear him say, “I wish she wouldn’t go, for now I want to play!”  The scarecrow did his best to rise upon his shaky legs, but found he wobbled much too much, so stayed upon his ledge.

Oh, but the sights he saw that night!  A skeleton, a witch, a vampire, and a ghost – there was even an angel walking with a heavenly host.  Each came by and admired him, and he felt flushed with pride, but a terrible monster frightened him – even worse than the monster’s bride.

The night grew late, the pageant thinned, and the Jack-O’Lantern’s candle began to dim. The scarecrow knew that his time would soon come to a close, and he sighed again, as a tear dripped into his nose.  It was a sad little sigh, a lonely sigh, but just before the end of his light, he saw one last wondrous sight.

Little Gretel Gardner had slipped out from her bed, with a thought to bring the scarecrow a pillow for his head.  She felt sad to see how dim his glow, and said how she would miss him so – then kissed his cheek and hugged him tight, and told him how glad he had made her, this very scary night.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Wild Wind

The wind has been stirred up all day.  Tonight’s temperature is milder than this morning’s was, even though the wind never let up today.  Today started with yesterday in its mood although not composition.  It was a summer-like day yesterday, temperatures in the mid-seventies, barely any wind, and mild until after I got home around 11pm.

I had a late rehearsal for A Streetcar Named Desire, last night, and wasn’t feeling well when I got home, but attributed that to the local Pumpkin Festival’s Thai food vendor’s fare I had earlier in the evening.  I woke up this morning still feeling badly, so I laid low except to retrieve some items from my car, which is when I noticed how cold it had become overnight, with the wind punctuating that discovery.  I felt better as the day wore on, and studied some of my lines, and eventually got myself together to make band practice in the later afternoon.

The ride to my band mate’s house involved several enchanting moments of swirling autumn leaf showers, and a visual feast of bright and muted colors as I passed russet colored oak leaved trees, red, orange and yellow-leaved maples, yellow-leaved birches, brilliantly red-leaved sumacs, and other dazzling autumn colors in the many shrubs and vines I passed on my way.

It was fully dark outside by the time practice was over, but the wind had persisted and rushed around me as I made my way to my car.  The quarter moon hung low and deeply yellow-orange in the starlit sky, and I wouldn’t have been surprised to have entered another dimension.  (It would have been horrifying if I’d entered another dimension, just not surprising.)

I lingered at every stop sign on the way home tonight to hear the wind while I watched the moon.  I was reminded of several nights when my son was three or four and we lived in South Portland, Maine, and I would sit in my wicker rocking chair gazing up at the moon, while listening to the night wind.  I think those moments reside more potently in my memory because of how difficult my every day life was back then.

Tonight, however, was a night of power.  This month represents possibility to me, even though its natural significance relates diminished, rather than increased, potential.  Nothing new can start without shedding the old, and if the ancient religions had any validity, this time of year heralds the meeting of the seen and unseen worlds more strongly than at any other time of the year.

At the very least, I felt somewhat transported by the whispering winds’ incantations as I sat entranced in the glow of a bright and low quarter moon.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

September 26th, 2012

Happy Birthday to my beautiful son.  He is the best thing I have ever done, although I take no credit for his amazing capacities and talents.  He is his own person; I just ate well while he was growing inside me, and then made sure I fed him good food, gave him as many opportunities as I could afford, or could imagine, and taught him to appreciate reading, which he now loves.  His cognitive intelligence exceeded mine when he was about twelve, but my emotional intelligence stills beats his – hah!

He is bound to fare better in his life than I did in mine, and that is the best a parent can ask for.  I love you, my dear boy/man.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Fair Days

Our fall harvest festival, The Franklin County Agricultural Fair, is here again.  I had wanted to enter some photography in their annual contest this year, but I always miss the deadline.  I also think there’s an entry fee, but I’m sure it’s not that much.

A dear friend gave me entrance tickets, and I’ll bring a sandwich, and my water canteen with me.  I don’t need to spend money on any attractions or food.  Just seeing so many people I know, and all the fair exhibits, is interesting enough for an afternoon.  It’s only a mile away from where I live, so I can even walk there.  Having no money doesn’t equal having no fun!

I look forward to seeing all the cows, sheep, goats, chicks, and ducks, and geese… and the surrey with the fringe on top!  Oh, sorry, I was in Oklahoma for a minute.  Maybe I’ll even find my very own Curly McLain there!  I played Ado Annie Carnes in The Country Players‘ 2008 production, and she is a far more interesting character than Laurey Williams is, even though Laurey is one of the main characters.  Ado Annie is the comic relief minor character, and it was so much fun to play that role.  As long as I don’t meet a Jud Fry at the fair, it’ll be a good day.  (I just realized I starting reading the words as I typed them in a mid-western accent.)

Maybe I’ll go around the fair using my Oklahoma accent and then switch to the English Country dialect I used for the Mutton & Mead Medieval Festival!  Well, the skies aren’t looking too friendly just now, so I better git while the gittin’s good!  Cheers!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Tale Of Antigone

Interviewer:  When did you know, or suspect, it all went wrong?

Me: There was nothing indicating that I’d failed until now.

Interviewer: Was there more you could have done?

Me: Clearly, I’d re-think my assumptions and take further steps, or not become so narrow in my thinking, and maybe even my objectives.

Interviewer: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to share?

Me: Whatever you create takes on a life of its own.  It no longer belongs to you, even if you’re credited – or reviled – for its existence.  Most of us know, or have read, Mary Shelley.  We understood, generally, that forces beyond our reference can intercede, but we also reason that that only happens when you’re careless, or evil.  I used my genetic code to create a better version of myself because I wanted to see what that would look like in the world.  What choices would she make?  What heights would she attain?  I believed all the variables were controlled and contained…  I deeply regret my arrogance.

That was the gist of the short and feeble phone interview I allowed after Antigone created and released a virus that was far more devastating than the Bubonic plague, Ebola, or AIDS combined.  She was everything I had hoped for upon her awakening.  Her human DNA combined with programmable memory – designed to interrupt inhumane or violent thoughts or actions, failed to take into account her ability to rationalize her actions.  Humanity was a scourge, Antigone reasoned.  Few were working toward sustainable life – and those could be inoculated against the virus before it was released.

She chose a swath of humanity to protect – so many scientists, leaders, philanthropists, teachers, and other forward-thinking citizens.  Antigone tiered the die-off.  There would eventually be four hundred million dead in the United States, and in all of North America; two hundred million in South America; two hundred million in Europe; three hundred million in Africa; three hundred billion throughout Asia, and Australia; and several hundred million throughout all other reaches of the globe.  The first wave of dead would be burned and buried before the second wave broke out, and before an antidote was released.  The third wave would not reach quite as many as intended because Antigone released the antidote shortly before her destruction.  Whatever humanity lived within her must have surfaced as she bore witness to her action’s outcome.

Why she spared me is something I continuously ponder.  She knew I would suffer, certainly, but did she feel some sense of connection to me as her creator?  I was not incarcerated because my scientific work was too valuable to the Government, but I was under house arrest.  My research notes, experiments, and coding work, revealed that I did not premeditate Antigone’s actions due to her fail-safe programming.  She didn’t override her programmed code, but circumvented it, which led to her demise.  I had coded an undocumented interval virus that I could remotely activate to shut down Antigone’s AI, and kill her body, if ever necessary.  I hadn’t considered the scope of Antigone’s thought process.

I had thought, of course, that she might try to undo, or act against her code, but that thinking was only as a series of precautions during her programming, or so I attempt to console myself with.  Her code worked, but her human brain, her DNA – my DNA – overcame her AI, and all other barriers to inhumane actions.  The virus, was, in a sense, humane.  It acted quickly – killing the brain before mutating to kill the body.  It worked within hours, and was stunning in its delivery.

Antigone came to see me at my Newport, Oregon, home soon after she released the virus.  She wasn’t emotion-less, but believed she acted justly.  It was a moment that changed me down to my very cells.  I had created a monster.  Frankenstein showing on a towering screen at that moment would not have construed the quake of shock rocketing through my being.

She left without further discussion, and after activating her internal virus, I notified the Center for Disease Control, whom Antigone had already contacted.  She had claimed sole responsibility, and stated her reason for her actions.  I owed the world my explanation, my regrets, and the end of my life, which will have happened by the time this tale is revealed.

Antigone is gone, and I go with her.  May the world never experience the like of us again – but knowing humanity as well as we do – I hope you’ll fare better then.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

A Passing Apparition

An apparition passed by the window next door as I stood washing my dishes, feeling thoroughly world-weary.  Was its presence a warning, or maybe it was attracted to my gloom?

The specter wanted me to notice it because the people chatting and laughing deeper in the room had their backs turned away from the window.

It was a simple act, the ghostly glide before my eyes.  No turning, no staring, no creepy tricks about it.

You are here, it implied to me.  You are here and you are wasting your life.  Look at me, I’m now a shadow and have no chance to act differently, to create a new path.

And perhaps what I thought I saw wasn’t there at all.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Is This Like The Guest Who Comes Late To The Dinner Party?

In April and May (of this year – thank goodness) I was nominated for three awards.  I did thank my wonderful fellow(ine?) bloggers at the time, and meant to post about them that week (what’s that saying about best intentions?)…

Time runs away, and while I didn’t forget about it, I’m lazy busy.  Ahem.  Please forgive me! :-/

My first two awards came from Emma at: http://emmabauer.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/sunshine-on-my-shoulders-makes-me-happy/ – The Sunshine Award, and the second, The Versatile Blogger Award: http://emmabauer.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/go-ahead-make-my-day/

I was bestowed with The Versatile Blogger Award by Renee Moore (http://pooterandboogersplace.wordpress.com/) last year, and feel I’ve fulfilled the requirements for that, so I shall fulfill the requirements for my other awards below.

My third, the One Lovely Blog Award, came from Diane at: http://hometogo232.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/one-lovely-blog-award/

I have updated the One Lovely Blog Award to: One Awesome Blog, because that encompasses more of what I like.

(You can view and copy these Award pngs here: https://seekingsearchingmeaning.wordpress.com/this-is-where-ive-written-something-about-myself/)  You need to scroll down past my introduction to find them.

Thank you so much Emma and Diane, (and Renee too!) for these kudos!

The Sunshine Award: Given to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.

Nominate and link to ten blogs/bloggers that you believe worthy of this award:

Streams Of Consciousness http://brendamarroyauthor.com/

Joe Mohr’s Cartoon Archive http://joemohrtoons.com/

Happy Valley News http://happyvalleynews.wordpress.com/

Clotilda Jamcracker http://clotildajamcracker.wordpress.com/

Photo Nature Blog http://photonatureblog.com/

FrizzText Flickr Comments http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/

Dean J. Baker http://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/

Bucket List Publications http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/

Corporate Skirts http://corporateskirts.wordpress.com/

The Good Greatsby http://thegoodgreatsby.com/

Then list ten things about yourself:

Ten things you might (not want) to know about me:

I can ride a unicycle.

I want to run a 5K as soon as I’m fit enough.

I have crossed off two items on my bucket list in the last few years: Kissing the Blarney Stone, and going to Smead Island (a small island in the Connecticut River near Montague City, MA).

Swimming with Dolphins, traveling to Greece, writing a novel/memoir, and singing with Bono/U2 are the biggest items left on my bucket list.

Orbit is my favorite chewing gum.

Scooby-Doo, Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, and The Jetsons, are at the top of my favorite cartoons list.

I had never heard of ‘Cowpunk‘ until one of my band-mates said that’s our basic genre.  I thought we were classic rock, uptempo-ed country and pop.

I recorded my first song when I was eleven or twelve.

I lived in a commune/cult for over half of my childhood.

Davy Jones was my favorite Monkee, David Cassidy was my favorite Partridge, and John Lennon was my favorite Beatle – although Ringo Starr was a close second.

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I’m only listing other blogs I like for the One Lovely Awesome Blog Award requirements because I’ve already said enough about me!

Gingerfightback http://gingerfightback.com/

The Dissemination of Thought http://disseminatedthought.wordpress.com/

Colddeadheart’s Blog http://colddeadheart.wordpress.com/

Stories About My Life, 92% True http://93percenttrue.wordpress.com/

Life As Modern Wife http://lifeasmodernwife.com/

Sue Healy [Craft Tips For Writers] http://suehealy.org/

Anita Mac and Travel Destination Bucket List http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com/

Thecvillean http://thecvillean.wordpress.com/

Ghost Cities http://anilbalan.com/

Life As A Publisher http://karensyed.wordpress.com/

I so appreciate the awards given to me, apologize for my tardiness in posting about it and giving out props to other blogs I follow.  I hope you enjoy them too – and happy reading!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Through The Years

My son is getting his first apartment with college friends.  I’m pretending it’s not a big deal.  I mean, he’s been away at college for two years now, so, it’s basically the same thing.  Except it isn’t.  He’s had his bed and most of his stuff here, and in three days and several hours, it will all be gone.  I’m trying to stay in the moment, and not trouble trouble until trouble troubles me, as the saying goes.

I was in my son’s room packing up what I can until he gets here and pares down what he wants to get rid of.  He already told me he’s not sentimental and doesn’t want his old school year books, or photos, or other keepsakes, but I am sentimental, so I’m keeping most of it.  He may have a wife and/or children some day who will actually enjoy seeing some of the things from his youth.  It isn’t exactly archeology, but it is history, and I loved seeing my ex-boyfriends’ childhood pictures.  It’s a way to connect the past to the present and beyond.  I so enjoy looking at my Mom and Dad’s pictures of their youth and childhood.  Ever since my Dad died several years ago, those pictures have taken on more meaning.  Even though I often rail against life, I also revel in life’s complexity and variety.  I embrace change as much as I loathe it.  I may not like changing all the time, but as long as I have company, it’s really not too bad.

I’ll be fine with this new life passage, I’m just not overjoyed.  I also know that many people are overjoyed to have their personal time back when their children get older and leave home, and maybe I’ll feel that way, eventually.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

BW (Black and Whitey) The Cat

When I was fifteen, I spent a lot of time with friends who had a couple of cats.  Shemee, and Black and Whitey, but we called her BW.  Shemee, a big black male, would often spray on the television (sometimes while we were watching TV – the brazen cad), and a couple of other areas, and BW was a slender girl who would also ‘spray’ in the same areas after Shemee had sprayed.  My friends had Shemee neutered shortly after he started spraying, but he continued to spray (although my friends seemed to think that the operation would end his spraying).  BW continued to ‘spray’, and would often try to mount Shemee, but Shemee would slap her down.

Both were indoor/outdoor cats, and my friends had hoped that BW would have a litter of kittens before they got her spayed.  BW seemed to think she was male, so I doubted she’d ever have kittens.  There was a big white Tom cat with one blue and one green eye who roamed the neighborhood.  He was usually sweet-natured to humans, but you could see from the chunk out of his ear, and other scars that he’d been in a few fights.

A few years went by and BW still did not have kittens, so my friends assumed she was barren.  One of my friends saw the big white Tom catch her later that year, and we wondered if she’d have a successful litter, and if she’d realized she was, in fact, a she.  The big day came, and BW was in labor.  She had a box in the closet lined with some soft rags, and was mewing piteously for a while, finally birthing – one kitten.  She was a good mama though, very attentive and sweet.  She stopped trying to spray the television, or mount other cats after that too.

Her kitten was an all white male, proving to have one blue, and one green eye as he grew.  My friends let BW get pregnant once more before getting her spayed, and she had a litter of six that time.

BW was a special cat to me, sleeping with me the times I stayed over my friends’ house, and always coming to me for attention.  My friends moved away a year or so later, and I never saw them, Shemee, or BW, again, but they remain fondly in my memories.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

2011 Christmas Day

It was such a lovely morning.  My son gave me a beautiful sweater, and he liked the few gifts I got him as well.  He really enjoyed his stuffed stocking, and it makes me so happy to see his happiness.  That’s the best aspect of parenting.  I don’t care how old your child/ren is/are: wanting for, and taking pleasure in, their happiness, and success, is paramount.

We had a scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast, and then we made our Gingerbread house.  We don’t have a good track record at that activity.  We’ve only made two of them before, both of which came out awful.  We didn’t name the first one, but we dubbed the second one: “Sucky, the Gingerbread House”, and this one my son named: “Mediocre, the Gingerbread House”.  We did have a lot of fun making it, and maybe any future attempts will give better results.

My son’s feeling mostly himself again, although he still has a cough, and he told me he woke up drenched in sweat in the middle of the night so he left his room and slept on the couch, where I found him this morning.

He left a little while ago to hang out with friends, and while I want him to stay well, it was really nice to have him home and wanting my help and company for the last few days.

Merry Christmas every one!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Christmas Eves

1989: I spent the evening with Joe; I moved in with him here in Vernon, Vermont, a few weeks ago.  I’m happy that there’s snow on the ground so it will be a white Christmas.  My brother, Scott, died in October, and I’m sad for my mom this holiday season.  I still feel nothing.  I don’t know why death doesn’t affect me directly, I guess that’s a coping mechanism.

1990: Our son’s first Christmas.  He’s only two months old, so it’s not really a big deal for him, but Joe’s daughter is spending Christmas morning with us, and she’ll be happy to get the Super Nintendo game system with, The Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt, and, Donkey Kong, games, and spend time with her brother.  Things have not been good between Joe and I, but we’re trying to work it out.

1991: My father and step-mother are visiting from Florida.  I’m happy that my father is getting to spend some time with his grandson, although it’s been kind of awkward when they’re here because my mom is spending Christmas here in my new apartment.

1992: I’m in my new apartment in South Portland, Maine.  My mom is here with me, and there is a lot of snow this winter, which Austen loves to play in.  My car broke down a few weeks after moving in here, and I can’t afford another one, but there’s a bus stop down at the end of the street, and a few of the Bahá’í‘s here in South Portland bring me to run errands once a week.  Joe is visiting over the holidays, and it’s been horrible and stressful – as usual.

1994: San Diego Christmas is quite different from what I’m used to.  It’s not really warm, about the mid-50°F’s, and rainy, but the air feels different, and I’m not sure I like it.  I’m at a 10-day program because I don’t want to live anymore but Tammy convinced me to see if this will help me.  I’ll get a counselor, and start an antidepressant, and I know it’s what I need to do, but I feel horrible being away for Christmas.

1996: Back in Massachusetts.  My mother is spending Christmas with me and Austen in our tiny apartment.  Things have been awful.  I’m still not getting child support, so that just makes everything tougher.

1999: It’s been a strange year.  I’m wondering if the Y2K thing is really going to screw up computers worldwide – I doubt it.  I told Austen that Santa was a real person a long time ago, and his spirit still lives on through all of us.  The other kids at school were picking on him for still believing in Santa.  He refused to believe me when I told him Santa isn’t still alive.  I don’t know if I did the right thing.

2001: I consider this the millennium year, even though I know many people considered 2000 to be the turn of the century.  I guess it’s both: 2000 because it’s no longer 19-something, but 2001 because CE started with year 1, so 2001 makes two-thousand years.  We’re still here, although a bunch of freaks were trying to convince whomever they could that the world was going to end.

2011: I think my favorite aspect of Christmas Eve is filling my son’s stocking.  When he was little, it was so gratifying to see his delight, and share in how fun Christmas was for him.  He used to love Christmas carols and we’d sing them together, and now he can barely stand them.  He’s feeling so much better tonight, but still coughing a lot.  I might watch, It’s A Wonderful Life, but I’m feeling tired, so maybe I’ll just go to sleep.  My throat is feeling a bit scratchy, and I hope I don’t get sick too.

This year has been so strange.  As I looked back through old diaries and read so much of where I’ve been, and what my life is like now, I appreciate now so much.  I don’t care if someone reads my old journals someday, but I sincerely doubt they’d read for very long.  I’m just grateful that I’m not as affected by the vicissitudes of life anymore.  I also did a great deal of healing work to get where I am now, and will most likely finish that work with my last breath.  I’m thankful to be alive, and hope I won’t die until I accomplish most, if not all, of my goals.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Festive Photos

I’m not sure if I wish I were a better decorator, or more into decorating, or if I wish I simply enjoyed the efforts of my friends and others, and leave it at that.  Decking the halls (any halls, in any season) is not my forte.  It never has been, and more than likely, never will be.  It’s so lovely when a home is made beautiful, and I can appreciate it, but I’m more of a minimalist.  That probably stems from having moved so often rather than any true life philosophy.

I know this looks like a sailor hat, but it’s really a Santa/Elf cap.  I didn’t realize how far back it had slid!

I like how my shaky low-light exposure picture-taking caused the lights to look like Christmas bells!  I should pretend that I meant to take the picture that way, but it would come back to me somehow.  I’d get asked to create more pictures like that, and never be able to replicate it! 😉

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

O Christmas Tree

I’m really enjoying my Christmas tree.  Part of me feels bad that a tree was cut down so I could bring it inside my house to decorate and light up, only to discard it a few weeks from now.  I’ve struggled with that dilemma the last few times I got a real Christmas tree.  I didn’t even have a tree last year, but it really cheers up the room.  I’ve bought artificial trees twice now, and used them until I became really allergic (because of all the dust they gather – and likely some mildew too from humid summer weather), and the best option is probably a potted live tree that I can plant in the spring.  Although, not only do I like a taller Christmas tree than is reasonable with a potted tree, I’d have to get permission from the landlord to plant it, or find some other land to plant the tree on.  Seeing the top of my tree nearly reach the ceiling is satisfying somehow, and no artificial tree has the lovely aroma of fresh pine – no matter how much they ‘scent’ it in the factory.

Many years ago, my next oldest sister and I, along with our younger brother, went to Florida to spend Christmas with our father and step-mother.  Our father didn’t want to get a Christmas tree, but we kids decided he and our step-mother needed one, so off my sister, brother, and I went the next day, while my father and step-mother were at work, and bought a beautiful potted Norfolk pine that stood about four and half feet high.

We also bought decorations for it, and after we adorned it, and lit the tree up, the house felt much more festive.  A year or so later, my step-mother sent me a picture of the pine, which they had planted in their back yard.  It had filled out beautifully and grown about six more feet.

I’ve always felt glad that we ignored my father’s ‘waste of time and money’ objections and got the tree.  Even though my father has been gone for several years, and he and my step-mother had divorced many years before that, I wonder about that tree every Christmas.  It must be fairly majestic by now, if it’s still there.

Maybe I’ll get a potted Norfolk pine for my Christmas tree next year, although I’m not sure it would take well in our frigid climes.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Trimmed Tree Pictorial Tale

It felt very odd to not decorate my Christmas tree with my son, but I didn’t want to leave it bare for two weeks.  I decided to put the tree in the corner by my bookcases, and I’m enjoying having one this year, even though I think I’m a bit allergic to it.

My lack of skill with a camera made this a kind of cool picture where the light trails remind me of Santa’s reindeer, flying through the air:

Christmas trees look so much better in the dark!

When I was four or five, until I was nine or so, I’d shimmy under the Christmas tree every year, looking up through the branches with un-focused eyes until the lights resembled something like this:

Almost every ornament holds a special memory, or marks stages of my adult life.  My first serious boyfriend and I bought frosted glass bulbs for our first Christmas together.  He got half of them when we broke up seven years later.  I doubt he kept his, but I’m glad I still have mine.

My son made a few ornaments during his grammar school years that bring back those Christmases to me when I hang them up.  A hardened dough, glazed, and painted bone he made in his sixth grade class, (the year my mother got a beagle from the animal shelter, and the dog was on my son’s mind when he created the ornament), and a variety of others from my son’s first Christmas, to this year’s ornament that the folks at the tree farm gave to everyone buying a tree, commemorating the volunteers who helped with clean up and salvage after Hurricane Irene’s flood devastation this past August.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Son Day

I’m so excited to see my son today!  I get to have him home an extra day for the Thanksgiving holiday, even though most of his time will be spent with his friends who are also coming home for the holiday.  Just knowing he’ll be here feels so good to me, although I know it feels nearly opposite to him.  It’s not that he doesn’t like being home and seeing me and his other family, it’s that his life is at school now, with his own group.  He told me he doesn’t sleep well when he’s home, and doesn’t know why.  I think it’s because he’d rather be in his world.  We will always belong to one another, but he has his own life now, one in which he sleeps better than when he’s here…

It made me sad to hear that, but I got over it.  It’s not personal in a mean way, it’s just life stages.  I had a really different childhood experience, and was separated too early from my mother, after her divorce from my father (which was a very good thing for all of us, but still disruptive and chaotic).  My son got to have a healthy, self-directed separation, and he’s so much less emotional or sentimental than I am, so it sucks for me…

We have the same sense of humor and like to talk about a myriad of subjects (when he’s willing to talk), but when he’s home and not with his friends, he prefers to spend his time reading or working on the computer.

I’m doing my best to find common interests to connect with him on, but it’s tough when our personalities and styles are so different.  Maybe if he ever has children, we’ll get to re-bond then.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.