Monday, May 31, 2010
I like this monument above. You could sit next to the little angel (although is it totally weird to sit on someone's headstone?) or sit below her (but then you're sitting ON the grave) to visit your loved one. I found this on a site called ArtisanMemorials. They list their angel moments "starting at $2,899.00." Since I picked one of the biggest ones, I bet it's like $4K. Easily.
No one I know has died recently (knocks on wood), but since it's Memorial Day, I was thinking about the beauty of graveyards. My family's stones in neighboring cemeteries are lovely and all, but they are kind of boring. When my folks die, I'd like to give them a beautiful monument. My parents are always talking about the simplicity of their deaths: "Just throw me in a pine box" or "When I die...blah blah blah." They've told me about their wills, where all the important documents, codes, and keys are. Like 1,000 times.
They've been preparing me for them to kick off since I was a small child. In fact, I often tease my mother that she is obsessed with her own death because she's always talking about what I will say to her at her funeral. Her little attempts at humor have often backfired when I suddenly become obsessed with her mortality and have slight mental breakdowns at the thought a future without Ma. And then recently, I looked at Pa and said, "You don't have it written in your will that you want to be cremated, do you?" Because Pa has always mentioned cremation as a good idea. It turns out this is not actually in his will. Good. Cause it ain't gonna happen.
I was also thinking about monuments recently because I had considered burying part or all of King's ashes in the woods by my parents' house. As I watched all of the trees in those woods get torn down this week, I sighed in relief that Kingie's ashes are still safe and sound in my bookshelf. That would have been... awkward. Especially if he had been intact. I wonder how many people break ground on farmland for a new building and end up unearthing old pet cemeteries?
When I moved back home from Chicago, my father offered me a cemetery plot at no cost. Free plot! Sure, I said. Why not? It turns out my family had purchased some plots nearby where the family is mostly buried and thought I might like to join them. I have no idea how much a cemetery plot costs. According to a recent article in the Omaha World-Herald, it's about $1700 for a plot in Omaha (not to mention about $8K for the funeral arrangements). Dude. It's expensive to die.
Knowing my parents, they've already prepaid for their funerals or have some fund somewhere that will cover them. I'm sure they will slap my hand for not remembering this information--which they've probably told me 1,000 times. And Ma will probably say, "I don't want a big angel on my headstone! I already picked out my headstone. It's carved and filled out and sitting in the hog house!" Something like that. But the thing is, they are the ones that will be dead. I will be the alive person going to visit. So I should have some say.
Personally, I'm put off by headstones that have real or lifelike photographs, so that won't be happening. When enough time passes, the images look so dated. I'm also not a fan of teddy bears or other decor for lost children. But that could be because I'm not a parent. I like the old-school children's memorials that have tiny lambs on them. I like old-fashioned statues of beautiful angels, flowers, or trees--symbols from my youth of archetypal images.
I don't know where my Gran and her husband are buried. Ma said it's somewhere in Illinois, where they were living when her father died. Gran lived in Arizona, but her cremains were shipped back to be with her hubbie. I've never visited the grave, and I wouldn't know how to find it. This makes me sad. I wish she was closer. I wonder how many graves are so long forgotten by family members. Someone important is buried somewhere in west Montana and nobody knows. My family will probably always have roots around Farmsville, but if Ma, Pa, and I die and get buried here, where will Dorothy, Beloved, and Little be? It's so strange, isn't it?
I love to visit cemeteries to take photos, and the most beautiful memorials are always so large and luxurious. I wonder how much they cost back when they were created? Considering the amount of them in certain cemeteries, certainly they must have been somewhat affordable at one time? Is the cemetery/burial business just another victim of inflation? An untapped cash flow that got really, really tapped? Or was it always this way? I don't know.
I'd prefer to be able to plant fresh flowers at graves of my loved ones, but usually that is against cemetery rules. The mowing dude doesn't want to have to mow around them. And buying a gravestone with flower pots already attached leads to scores of tacky, fake flowers that blow away in the wind. I'm sure when the times comes, I'll find the right solution. But of course, my first goal upon moving back to Farmsville was to buy Ma and Pa a really nice washer/dryer set, and that hasn't happened. So they might end up with one of those little metal signs. Or a gravestone shaped like a giant washing machine. It seems like my mother is always doing laundry, so that might actually be quite appropriate. If it's a really BIG washing machine, maybe we could all fit inside...
Saturday, May 29, 2010
This is a bad cell phone image, but I didn't have my camera with me when I went to work on my side project and do some laundry at my parents' house yesterday afternoon. When I got there, I was very, very, very shocked. The trees were missing. A lot of them.
I knew this day was coming because my parents had been talking about it for a while. The side of their little hill has been covered with what seems like a billion trees for as long as I can remember. Cottonwoods, ash, maples, elms, pines. Many of these have fallen victim to a variety of bug infestations. So for the last few years, we have watched helplessly as these brave giants dried up and lost their luster. And then came storms and a horrible winter, and many of them crumbled into a big mess. The big, bushy pine trees that stood outside of our childhood rooms withered away until they resembled Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. I could see straight through them.
Despite all this, I remained in denial. The trees will be fine. That's just a flesh wound. But I also had a heavy dose of reality when I really looked at them each time I came over. The pines were brown, the cottonwoods were thin and creaky. They were mostly dead. Still nothing could prepare me for the shock of seeing open sky on the side of the hill that has kept me safe and snuggled from the world for so many years.
My father designed and built Nerdtopia sometime in 1974-1975. An upstairs addition was built later on. I still remember walking around on the bare wood frame of the living room and kitchen--and being stunned when a stairwell mysteriously appeared in the middle of the downstairs living room. I also remember the yard and hill as a child. I remember baby trees my Gran gave to my parents going into the front yard. I remember a time when there were fewer trees and they were much smaller. But the bulk of my memory involves tons of trees.
There is a little creek running past my parents' house. As children, my sister, cousins, and I would go play under the bridge by the house. We would wade in the creek and make mud pies and wander through the trees. It's been a long time since I've walked the farm lane that leads from the road to the fields behind the house. As I got older, it became scarier. There were raccoons and deer and badgers all over in there. And ticks. So I admired the area from the comfort of the house and yard instead. In the spring, the cottonwoods would fill our window screens with little puffs of happiness. In the fall, all of the trees turned beautiful shades of yellow and orange. The trees were like a cocoon. Living in the wide open space of the country can be unnerving. The trees worked as a barrier keeping out unwanted eyes and strangers. They made me feel safe.
As I watched some dude I don't know knock down hundred foot trees with a giant claw yesterday and drag them--root balls and all--over into a pile for burning--my heart ached. I looked at Ma and Pa, "I'm not comfortable with what's going on." They both scoffed: "The trees are dead." Yes, yes, I know they are dead. That doesn't mean I have to like it. I wandered outside and took photos with my father's camera. I winced when I saw the guy drag off the last pine next to the house--exposing the view from that side of the house for the first time. I felt queasy.
We all know I don't like change, so Ma and Pa thought I was just freaking out because it was so different. Yes, that's part of it, I suppose. But I also felt like a part of my childhood was being taken away. There was the tree that Dorothy slammed into while sledding and we thought she'd broken her leg. There was the Witch Tree that had been struck by lightening long ago where I believed witches lived. There was the tree that was low enough for me to climb up in (we actually kept that one). There were the pine trees that were the backdrop for the winter morning when Dorothy and I crawled in Ma and Pa's bed because there were 5 deer outside rummaging around in the snow. There were the trees that housed the owls I would hear hooting in the night. The sounds I remember the best from my childhood are the owls and the train rolling by in the distance. I have such fond memories attached to each of these trees. It made me so sad to see them go.
After the man had left for the night, I stared out my parents' window wondering how many bird nests had just been displaced. Yes, there are a TON of trees still down by the creek, so they can find another roost. But all of that destruction looked so horrible. But then I noticed the robins having a feast in all of that dirt. Worms, worms, everywhere! And suddenly, 3 deer appeared for their nightly journey into the fields. They walked cautiously across the open space. Each deer seemed to be saying: WTF? Wasn't this a bunch of woods just yesterday?! I called for Ma to join me. She loves seeing deer. She sees God in them. So we watched them together, and I felt happy for her that she will be able to easily see them right out of her bedroom window for the first time.
Recently, I signed up to support the Arbor Day Foundation. They sent me 10 free tree saplings that came in the mail last week. I wasn't sure what to do with them since I don't own property, so I offered them to my father. I suppose we can go out to the hillside together when the work is done and plant them one by one. And in another 30 years, the trees will be back in all their glory. Tall, beautiful, comforting. A barrier from the world once again.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Last week, I noticed a strange odor in Farmhouse Villa after I'd been outside gardening. I sniffed my armpit. Nope, not that. I went about my business, but I kept getting a faint whiff of it whenever I came in and out the front door. And then it dawned on me--I have mouse traps at the top of the basement stairs.
I caught exactly one mouse in a trap right around Christmas. It was in the basement terrorizing my Christmas decorations. I set out a bunch of traps after that, but no other mousies ever appeared, so I kind of forgot about them. Until the odor...
Getting the basement door open without attracting kittehs like bees to honey is really hard. I snuck over to the door, quietly turned the handle, flipped on the light switch, and opened the door. Fuuuudddddgggggeeeee. Big, fat, dead mousie OVERTURNED in the trap. I could see his little belly poking out at me. Here came the kittehs! No! I slammed the door shut. The foul odor breezed past me. The meows stood outside the basement door meowing for the next 15 minutes solid.
That evening, my parents were coming to get me for my birthday dinner of crab legs. Nothing was going to ruin my appetite. Not even a dead, decaying mousie. But I knew I couldn't just leave it there. The master plan: make Pa get rid of it. So when he showed up, I handed him a garbage bag and told him the bad news. Ma distracted the kittehs and I guarded the basement door while Pa went in. (If kittehs get into the basement, they never return. It takes hours. I once had to leave King and Webster down there for a whole afternoon after they snuck down there when a furnace guy had visited. I don't even want to THINK about what Gretchen would look like covered in mouse traps.)
It took him a few minutes, so I knew it couldn't be good. He handed me the bag, and I took it outside and dropped it in the garbage can. I asked, "Is it all gone? I can clean up the rest later." He said, "You're going to need a paint scraper." Or something like that. It turns out the mousie had been there a while. Longer than I might have suspected. Pa told me it was Stuck. To. The. Floor. I opened the basement door and saw a little stain of remains. Sick. And then we left and I ate a pound and a half of crab legs anyway.
So then yesterday morning? At like 10am this hot, young thing shows up to service my air conditioner. I was wearing one of my ex-boyfriend's old band T-shirts (which does NOT have an appropriate name), a pair of shorts, and my hair was sticking out in all directions when I opened the door fresh out of bed. Lovely. I had forgotten he was coming and was sleeping in a bit after a night of darts. I had not washed my mascara off before I went to bed. Getting the visual?
He smiled and asked to see the air conditioner. It's in the basement. I told him to mind the mouse traps on the basement stairs, cranked the air conditioner, and ran into my bedroom to put on, you know, a bra. And some clothes. He tinkered around for a while and then went outside to clean out the outside unit. I went out there to ask him how things were looking. And then, because I can't keep my mouth shut, I asked him if he smelled anything "dead" in my basement. He eyed me curiously. So I told him the whole freakin' story about the dead mouse that was stuck to the stairs. He laughed as he jet-sprayed the contents of the air conditioning unit. Then I picked up a giant tree branch from the yard and walked away.
Why did I share? Nerves. To compensate for any other dead mousies that might be lurking in my basement. To ensure him that I'm aware of the situation. Oh yeah, I know all about the murder scene in the stairwell. I'm all over it.
I'm not embarrassed about having a mouse in my basement. Farmhouse Villa was built in like 1648 or something, so it's old and full of cracks. This is part of living in farmhouses. If they were upstairs, it would be a different matter entirely. And Gretchen would totally kill them. Basement mousies are somewhat normal. And, I suppose, car mousies. But maybe I should not tell the air conditioner guy about them, eh?
So now that I know we might have more mousies on our hands, I will rebait the remaining traps with fresh peanut butter. Mice are drawn to the top of my stairs because I keep birdseed on the other side of that door and sometimes a few pieces fall and lure them in with their tantalizing scent. I will NOT let the kittehs down there. Gretchen has never seen the basement, and she won't until a tornado whips through and forces us all down there. I don't want her getting obsessed like Webster is. He weekly stops to howl outside the basement door, begging to go down and explore all of the little ledges and bookshelves and OH MY the boxes down there!! I will not allow Gretchen to succumb to this addiction. I will go downstairs all by myself with gloves, peanut butter, and a garbage sack.
If I never blog again, it's because the mousies got me.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I was (obviously) feeling very scared and pessimistic about my ear whooshing appointment yesterday. By the time my parents picked me up to go, I was vibrating with tension. I started leaking out some tears as we made our way to the doctor. I confessed my fears--that there would be no solution, no victory, no silence. When I feel afraid, I prefer to just get it out--say it out loud. Then somehow the fear seems smaller.
I popped a trusty Xanax and reminded myself that Dr. Whooshsaver wouldn't just leave me hanging. He's a great doctor, and I had decided to trust him. By the time we got to the hospital, I was feeling pretty good.
Dr. Whooshsaver is a high-ranking fellow. He is a big deal. So I was amazed and so grateful to learn that he was going to come and personally check on/help with my doppler ultrasound. There are highly-trained techs that do these things, and my girl was no exception. She was preggo, so it was kind of funny to see the preggo person doing the ultrasound to someone else.
Dr. Whooshsaver was in surgery, so he was a couple of minutes late. The tech went all over my neck, taking photos, showing me the images, watching my blood flow on her little monitor. My parents stood by, looking at me anxiously--is that the sound? See, I'd explained to them that I wanted them to hear it. Not the sound I can make with my mouth that imitates the sound. I wanted them to hear the real deal. When she moved to the left side of my neck, we heard the heart sound in all its glory. Loudly. I said, "That's what I hear!" Whoo hoooooooooo!
But even though we could see my blood and hear my blood, that didn't mean we could necessarily find a problem with my blood. Of course.
Just as I was getting ready to bawl my eyes out, Dr. Whooshsaver appeared fresh from surgery with his hat, scrubs, and booties. He greeted my parents, grabbed the doppler wand, and worked his magic. I could hear other doppler noises in the room, so it was hard to hear my own whoosh. We tried cupping my ear. I turned my head to the right, which makes the sound infinitely louder. I thought I was never going to find the sound. Seriously, after all this I can't hear you in this noisy room?
But there it was. And so Dr. Whooshsaver pushed and let go and pushed and let go all up and down my neck. And at some point, he said, "Look at J....." It was a vein with a J and a number--can't remember which one (although I wrote to him to find out because I have to know). The tech said she hadn't noticed that. I couldn't see the screen, but my parents watched as he pushed and let go again and moved all around that area. And then we were done.
He explained that I most likely have a bad vein--not sure what caused the problem, could have been born with it. It might have a tear or something we just can't see on the films. The 3 MRIs, the CT--all of that was clean. But we can try to do something about it.
(pauses to let that sink in)
He said he took this same vein out of a whoosher's neck, but the guy woke up from surgery with the whoosh still there. So what he wants to do instead is something he's done for other whooshers.
(pauses to let it sink in that he knows so many whooshers)
He's going to admit me to the hospital, go into my groin/leg artery and up into my neck. Then he's going to place a balloon while I sit there and wait for the whooshing sound to go away. Once we think it's in the right place, he's going to leave it there and have me stay at the hospital for a couple of days, walk around, and make sure it really got rid of the sound. Once we feel like it's gone for good, he'll go in and cauterize that vein to permanently close it off. Whoosh = gone.
Right about then, I started freaking out about:
a.) a balloon next to my jugular
b.) randomly bleeding out and dying from the hole in my leg
c.) the whoosh not really going away
d.) being in the hospital for two days (what about the kittehs???)
Dr. Whooshsaver saw my panic and reminded me that he has drugs for these kinds of things. He's very good at making me laugh. So I'm going to trust him.
I am going to trust him!
I told him that even if he can't fix me, I'm just so happy that he's going to try. I'm so grateful that he's been listening, studying, talking to other doctors, and working out the plan that would work best for me. Blondie Blonderson, a nobody from a small town. He actually gives a sh*t. Can we saint him?
He said we could do this in a few weeks, but I begged off until August. I want to take my summer to play and fish and garden and ride horses and do all kinds of things that do not involve being in a hospital. Plus, I have a heck of a work schedule right now. So we'll wait. I've been whooshing for four years--a few more months won't hurt.
Dear Fellow Whooshers,
Have you tried seeing a vascular surgeon? I'm thinking my biggest mistake was going to see ENTs all this time. It's the blood we hear, so the blood has to be the source, right?
Thank you for all of your support and emails about this. I know you are all out there whooshing with me. You're not alone.
For all of my posts on ear whooshing, click here.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I've been a little confused by the peonies in my yard and town this year because they decided to open early. I was told when I moved back here that peonies open on Memorial Day, and they did for the last two years. This year, they opened up a full week before.
Yesterday, I put a photo of a peony bud on the blog. Sea Wee sent me an email to tell me about the peonies in her yard and the ants her daughter was pestering. I learned a while ago that peonies don't actually need those ants--the ants are simply drawn to a sweet substance in the bud. We both agreed that the ant/peony reliance is a better story.
Then, as Sea Wee sat down to read the paper, she came across an article in the Des Moines Register called Peonies inspire peace and patience. She copied the article into another email and sent it to me. I thought it was so lovely that it actually made me leak out a few tears:
"I recalled my mother's daily strolls through the yard when I was young. She paused occasionally as she looked at her flowers. She did nothing else; she simply gave her presence in return for a peaceful interlude in her day.
My mother understood nature's repeating lesson. Flowers respond to the year's nourishing conditions; they unfold to divine timing. Mom did not control the natural growth of her peonies, just as I do not for mine...
The word "rhythm" popped out at me. Yesterday, my ear whooshing was going full blast. I never know the conditions that will make it louder than it usually is. It will be incredibly loud one day, softer the next. But my own little rhythm is always there--driving me insane.
Today I'm going to Dr. Whooshsaver for what I assume will be The Final Exam. I'm having a doppler done on my carotid arteries, which is basically a baby sonogram on my neck. I've invited my parents in the naive hope that they will be able to hear the sound. I just want someone to hear it. To understand it.
I'm not very hopeful about today's visit. While I am still very excited about my team of doctors, I had a little hiccup regarding results. When the woman from the doctor's office called to set up this appointment, she said, "You are turning out to be quite the mystery." My heart sank. They don't know what it is.
I know I should be happy about this possible outcome. Nothing is wrong! No tumors! No strokes! You will be fine! But at the same time, I wish there was some flashing red light: this causes the sound. It's a vein, an artery, a wonky eardrum--anything. A cause. Even if there was no cure. Given, I haven't spoken to the doctor directly about the results of the 3 MRIs, CT scan, etc. There might be something lurking in there that I don't know about. But I feel like he would have called me by now if he found something remarkable.
Now that I'm working again, my visit to Dr. Whooshaver is very inconvenient. I have a lot of work to do! I am busy and important! Hurry up and figure me out! Which I think is why the peony piece hit me in such a tender way yesterday:
"My introspection uncovered a sustaining layer of the peony watch, akin to the proverbial, 'Stop and smell the roses,' or, in my mother's words, 'Remember the peonies.' Savor today's moments, for life breathes today. Rushing by without notic[ing] dulls our senses and deprives us of peaceful pauses.
...With newfound patience and renewed respect for life's tempo, I wait for more petals to unfold."
So perhaps today I will discover the source of the ear whooshing, or perhaps not. It might take years or decades for this story to fully unfold. And so I dig deep inside and gather up my biggest peony ball of patience. Because I'm pretty sure I'm going to need it.
Let's hope I'm wrong.
For all of my posts on ear whooshing, click here.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Last night, I was reading Entertainment Weekly magazine while drifting off to the dreamtime. It was the May 21st issue focusing on the new Sex and the City movie. In an interview with the cast, the man who plays Stanford (Willie Garson) had this to say about the legacy of the show:
"What's important for people to remember about SATC is it's about love. It's always been about love. That's the emotion behind the whole piece. There are going to be a lot of articles written about this movie, about what it means and who's back and weddings and whatever, and it all comes down to one thing: Hold on to your friends, hold on to your families, and find and keep love."
I finally got Webster to come cuddle with me in his usual way for the first time in months last night. He snuggled up in the crook of my arm and purred and purred until we both fell asleep. Ah yes, love.
I am fairly good at holding onto my friends. I'm wicked good at holding onto my family. But finding and keeping love, you say? That one is a little more difficult for me. I know what good love looks like. I know this might sound a little odd, but Kendra Wilkinson and Hank Baskett are the best example of public/celebrity love I've ever seen. Except for that whole little sex tape thing right now with Kendra which will pass. Come on, she lived with Hef for crying out loud.
Anyway, I've been through many loves. Losing my most recent love has made me take a step back and look at the big picture. I dug out a book I read in college called The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm. Even though this book was written in 1956, it's still the best one I've ever found about love. The book studies love in many forms: romantic, brotherly, familial, etc. It's not just about a guy and a girl and what they can do to find each other. It really is about the "art" of love and how it affects us as a human race.
Why we need love:
"Man is gifted with reason; he is life being aware of itself; he has an awareness of himself, of his fellow man, of his past, and of the possibilities of the future. This awareness of himself as a separate entity, the awareness of his own short life span, of the fact that without his will he is born and against his will he dies, that he will die before those whom he loves, or they before him, the awareness of his aloneness and separateness, of his helplessness before the forces of nature and society, all this makes his separate, disunited existence an unbearable prison. He would become insane could he not liberate himself from this prison and reach out, unite himself in some other form or other with men, with the world outside."
This is why we need family, friends, fellowship, and bar darts.
We go on to learn:
"Love is an activity, not a passive affect; it is a 'standing in,' not a 'falling for.' In the most general way, the active character of love can be described by stating that love is primarily giving, not receiving."
Fromm goes on to discuss what giving really means--and what it does not mean. I love how he gives examples on both sides. This is what to do and what not to do. Things like that. After a few pages, he makes it clear:
"Beyond the element of giving, the active character of love becomes evident in the fact that it always implies certain basic elements, common to all forms of love. These are care, responsibility, respect and knowledge."
To explain what he means by that last quote would take copying down his whole book. You will have to read it for yourself. But I can tell you that these elements are intended for yourself, your romantic love, your familial and friendly love, and the society as a whole. This is how love works best.
But as I learned in those same college courses, you can study all you want and make your brain as big and fat with theory as you want, but you still need practice. I have loved the wrong men and the right men. Numerous times. I've casually dated and been solid for years. I've had lost loves I only reunite with on really odd occasions. I've rolled up my sleeves and worked at it, and I've learned when to walk away. All of this has brought me closer to recognizing the right kind of love for me--just for me and no one else. Your black is my red. My orange is your purple.
I truly believe that you get from the universe what you send out into it. My focus is to radiate the energy that I want to be surrounded with--happiness, joy, curiosity, peacefulness. I was on this path when I moved back from Chicago, but I got distracted by all of the newness/familiarity around me. I lost my way for a while and lost touch with myself.
I can live a very complete life without ever attaining romantic love. I've learned that love can be more powerful and fulfilling when it comes from family and friends. But I do want to find a partner. I'm not afraid to admit it. I'm not desperate for it, however. I won't settle just to fill space and time.
Sometimes, my mother gives me this very sad look. I see it in her eyes. She wants me to find a mate in a life--a perfect Blondie-partner-in-crime who will appreciate me and spoil me and nurture me when I'm sick. That is what all mothers want for their children. At times, I get moody and stubborn about this: No, I will just be alone. Deal with it. But that kind of attitude just comes from the secret hurt that it's true--that I really will live the rest of my life without my very own sweetie. I am my own worst enemy that way.
So it's time for a refresher course on life and love. I will reread my Fromm book and hold my head high. I will watch bad summer TV and adore on my kittehs and go for horseback rides. I will explore new passions and blog about my adventures and go bowling. I will garden and work and play my darts and giggle with my friends. And perhaps, in the midst of all this, I will find love--and keep it.
Monday, May 24, 2010
How to even begin to tackle this? I feel kind of funny writing a post about this finale without reading everyone else's interpretations first. Usually, I just go with my observations, gut instinct, and perhaps a few pieces I pick up from a blog or email. Today, I feel very alone in my posting. But I'm going to just do it anyway.
It took me about a year to appreciate the significance of the ending of the Sopranos. I was p*ssed when that show ended. I was all WTF? and totally thought there was something wrong with my TV. I didn't feel that way last night. I felt elated, happy, sad, moved, and exhausted. I came home from Ma and Pa's with a massive weather/Lost related headache. I drifted off to sleep with questions swirling around in my mind. I can't possibly discuss EVERYTHING that happened. I know it will take me a while to hammer it all out, but here are my initial thoughts:
- I thought the writers did an excellent job of moving us into the cave of light very quickly. If that would have drug out to the end, I would have been p*ssed. I sat there wondering: Why do both Locke and Jack think they are right about what will happen to Desmond? Working as a team, they sent him down there to do whatever it is he was going to do. The blind faith of that moment was one of the key elements of Lost as a whole--having faith, believing, and acting based on those beliefs despite potentially catastrophic results. Desmond was sent there because he could resist the electromagnetic energy of the pool. I found it fascinating that we saw a sort of catacombs area down there--as if people had been trying to interact with the light for thousands of years and had failed. It was an abandoned shrine of sorts. When MIB tried to touch that light (or swam into it while unconscious) 2,000 years ago, he was zapped by the electromagnetic energy and became Smokey. Desmond? No problem. But he did uncork the island, which led to the heat and earthquake madness. I was waiting for a huge volcano to come out of that thing--weren't you?
- Loved seeing Rose, Bernard, and Vincent again. But why did Flocke send Sayid to kill Desmond when he needed him? This one is kind of bugging me. Perhaps Flocke knew deep down inside that Sayid a.) wouldn't kill Desmond or b.) that Desmond couldn't be killed by anyone. I'm still a little baffled by that one.
- I felt the moments of "awakening" were awesome. I cried at each one. Sun and Jin blew me away. I loved it that Juliette really was Jack's ex-wife. I swooned when Juliette and Sawyer found each other again--which leads me to...
- Going for coffee/"It worked." Here is where things get sketchy for me. If everyone is dead, when did they die? When the bomb went off? That might be the most likely explanation, but Christian said that some had died long before and long after the sideways world stuff. And then, really, some of the continuing island time doesn't make sense--like fighting Smokey.
- Here is my official theory, for now: Juliette died when the bomb went off. The rest of the Losties lived. They died at some point in their island storytime. Claire died when the house exploded on her when the freighter people blew her up. Kate died when she got shot in the chest by Widmore's men. Lapidus died in the submarine. Richard died when Flocke "necked" him. Sayid died when he drowned in the special water. I don't exactly know when Sawyer died. There are a few others I would have to really think about, like Ben. Some might say that Ben really died when he was shot as a child. But I think Ben was really alive until he died as an adult on the island at some point. Because without them living out the island storyline, I just can't buy it. I do NOT think they all died in the plane crash. The shots at the end of the crash scene slightly suggest that--I'm not sure what to think of it. Was that to remind us how it all began or to hint that they really died on the island? Some might say they died there and then began a journey to give their lives meaning before they went to "heaven," but then the sideways storyline makes less and less sense. I buy into Jack dying right at the very end. That is why he had a mysterious appendix scar in the sideways world--that was really where Flocke knifed him. That is why his neck kept bleeding. So the plane flying away overhead while he lies with Vincent? I think the people on that plane were dead, too. They just didn't realize it yet. Or they were alive and then crashed and died. Or died much later after returning to the real world. Something like that. I am a little baffled by Aaron. When did he die?
- The fight scenes on the edge of the cliff were awesome. Once the island was unplugged, all bets were off. Jack and Flocke were suddenly mortal, and they both could die. Flocke took a tumble off the edge and smashed to oblivion. Then Jack had to get back to the plug and save the island. I was so happy that he actually did. When that water started flowing, I felt the magic with him. He had fulfilled his purpose as the island's guardian and saved them all. Now it would be up to Hurley to protect the island. (That was a little WTF? to me, but it also made sense. And I can totally see Ben as a good, redeemed #2.) So that means that in the sideways world, Hurley is arriving a little late to the party. Perhaps 2,000 of his own years? We'll never know what happened after they all left. I'm OK with that. I have my own imagination to work with.
- Ben didn't want to join the party at the end. Even though he knew he was dead, he still had some things he needed to work out or say to Alex, I'm sure. I don't think he wanted to work it with Danielle so much as he wanted to come to peace with Alex. Nice touch.
- I called it that Christian wouldn't be in his coffin, but I was quite shocked when he appeared in person. Loved it. I need to go back and rewatch his whole speech, but I clearly remember all of the religions being represented in the room (awesome) and the explanation that they created the sideways world in order to find each other again to move on peacefully. The real question is: Where did they go?
I'm sure there will be many disagreements about what really happened there in the media and around water coolers all day. Sadly, I just have myself and a large work assignment, so I leave it to you to bring me the other theories.
For one last time...sigh...
Sunday, May 23, 2010
It's only supposed to be like 8,000 degrees today. Surely a little gardening won't be hot at 8am. Right? Um, no. It's freakin' hot out there. But after two hours, the garden is full, the pots are potted, and the bird feeders have been refilled. All is well at Farmhouse Villa. Above, you see the flower bed as it looks all together (click on it to make it bigger). Now I will show you the little bits and pieces.
Featherplume correctly identified this plant as a poker primrose. There are two of these right under the gutter, which makes me a little nervous because that area gets an extra dose of water. But I read they like some shade and a lot of water, so they're going to get it. Next to that is the already-existing red lily:
On the far left here, you can see the other already-existing lilies that are somewhat out of control and badly leaning. I tried to mush them into a holder thingie, but I just ended up breaking off some of them. Now they will lean against salvia and red yarrow. Bottom right is the centaurea:
Ma went and bought me some lovely zinnias, so those are the reddish-orange and white beauties. Next to them, you can see the red/yellow lantana. Then there are dianthus, celosias, and snapdragons. The end of the row has one hosta. My feelings about hostas have recently changed. I've gone from hating them to thinking they are pretty cool. I was going to give this one to Ma, but it rounds out the end of the garden so nicely that I think I will keep it. (Sorry, Ma). Pretties:
This isn't a very good picture of the rose bush, but it was the best I could do. I was dripping sweat at this point:
Ma was also kind enough to go get me a new hibiscus:
And a new passion flower:
I had some celosias left over, so I put them in little pots and hung them off the side of the house. I don't think they are going to stay up because the nails are really flimsy, but I gave it whirl. First big storm = these on the ground:
And I wanted to make sure I showed you the progress of Mother's Marigolds. Once again, they are coming to life:
A big thank you to Ma and Pa for my birthday flowers. I'm so happy to have them in the ground. Now I just need to haul my yard swing out of the shed, and the area will be complete.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Star rocked it for my birthday yesterday. Not only did she come pick me up and drive me through Culver's for a butterburger (I LOVE CULVER'S), then she drove me up to Omaha to buy new dart parts. I thought I was just going to get some flights, but I decided to go whole hog in the presence of such a dart bonanza. The Dart Dude was very knowledgeable (though he lacked a sense of humor), so we learned all about the different parts of our darts and why some were better than others, etc. We sent darts into the board with fearless abandon until we found the ones that were just right.
Star prefers 16 gram darts, so she got some new pink ones. Note that her flights say "Dart Bitch." Love it:
I went for some new red skinny ones at 18 grams because I like darts that are a little heavier. Then I added blue ends to my previous darts and some peacock flights:
And of course, we got awesome new cases.
So then we went to the watering hole and met our friend...um...we haven't named her yet. So we met Our Friend. She also loves darts, so I think we might have convinced her to buy her own set and join us in our nerdiness. Hey man, I can own it.
So because it was my birthday and all, I drank entirely too much Guinness, but I did rock out my new darts anyway. I hit way more bullseyes than I ever have before. It ruled. And I didn't have to worry about digging around for new tips in my big jar thing because my case comes with little vials for dart tips. Score!
All in all, it was a wonderful birthday. I realized long ago that birthdays will be very disappointing if you build them up too much in advance. I went into the day expecting nothing, but ended up having one of the best birthdays I've had in years. Good friends, good darts, good times. I loved all of the well wishes from my readers--made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And a HUGE thank you to Star and Our Friend. XXOO
Friday, May 21, 2010
A rare sighting of some love.
Today, I am 33. I clearly remember when my auntie (Kira's mother) was 33. That is when my memories begin to really solidify in childhood. I recall suddenly understanding that there was a year, a date, and that time passed. Before that, everything was kind of mushy. So my entrance into the world was not so much at birth, but sometime in the early 1980s when I began to write the date and year at the beginning of every single piece of paper and my auntie was 33 years old. I thought it was such a magical age. And it is. Oddly enough, Little is roughly the same age I was when my auntie hit the double 3s. So this reminds me that all of my actions are truly in the spotlight with her now. Since I don't have my own child, I often think about what life lessons I can pass on to her. Here are a few I hope to accomplish:
- It's OK to do things in your own time. Even though we are built for competition from the moment we pop into this world, it's OK to be the tortoise and take it slow and easy. You don't have to marry at 22, have children by 25, and make your first million by 30. You will probably be brainwashed into believing this at some point (I did), but try to ignore it.
- There are no Prince Charmings. There are good men, but there are no true heroes. We are flawed--all of us. You can love more than one person over a lifetime--probably many. A few people find what are defined as "soulmates," but that seems to be an odd, lucky circumstance--like when a vending machine accidentally gives you two Snickers bars. It's OK to find love and lose it. It's OK to mourn love and be a mess for a while. It's OK to get a divorce. And it's OK to fall out of love and feel nothing. Obsession with rings, engagements, and large weddings might hurt your chances of finding the right person. The right one has nothing to do with those things--just the marriage itself. Never compare your relationships to another person's because you don't know what happens behind closed doors. And if you never find love, that's OK, too. Because your friends and family will love you. It's OK to be Princess Bubble.
- You can do whatever you want to do in life. If it is your dream, rise to catch it. This means work and struggle, but it is well worth it. Take pride in your work, and it will show. Earn it. This takes time. Slow and easy wins that race, too.
- When people you love die, you can still feel them. It takes a while, but they continue to live in your heart. I still have my grandparents and friends who have passed away living inside of me.
- It's never too late to start over at a new job, in a new town, or with a new love. I learned this lesson from my own 33-year-old auntie, who went on to start her very own (successful and awesome) business in her 50s. She taught me that it's never too late to discover your true calling and make it work.
- It's important to reward yourself for a job well done. And to buy yourself birthday presents, Valentine's Day presents, and Christmas presents when you're single. I have a whole slew of these from over the years, and they are some of my prized possessions.
- Read and learn as much as you can--it will open the world to you.
- A happy life involves doing well at work, but also learning how to say no professionally.
- Always know at least one man who will empty baby possums out of your garbage can or help you properly drill a hole in the wall--even if it's just your dad. Then learn to do the rest yourself.
- Take time to truly look at nature. You will find God there. It's OK if your definition of God is a little different than anyone else's because there aren't any confirmed photos of He/She/It.
- Have at least two good friends. That's all you really need. These friends should be able to a.) listen when you cry b.) congratulate you when you've done something well c.) make you laugh so hard you almost pee d.) know your favorite drink and bring you one when you need it.
- Remember that it's OK to not be fabulous. Life is boring sometimes--well, most of the time. Reality TV isn't real. It's OK to lose. Or to never even compete. It's OK to go out into the world and then come back home to your nest.
- If your gut tells you something is wrong, it is.
- It's brave and beautiful to seek professional help if you ever need it. You might be amazed at what you learn.
- Bad things will happen, but they won't actually kill you. If your house burns down, it turns out that life keeps going. You expect it to stop, but it won't. And slowly, you will learn how to breathe again.
- Everyone has debt somewhere. Except Grandma and Grandpa Blonderson. But they are really weird anyway, you know?
- Just when you least expect it, you will overcome your fears.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Yesterday, I just couldn't take it anymore. I had to have some flowers. Ma had already made a journey to a greenhouse that day, but she was still willing to swing by in her pickup and take me shopping. My parents told me they would populate my garden as my birthday gift this year, and I couldn't be happier. I lurve flowers. Sadly, my rose bush didn't survive the winter, so above you can see rosebush #3. It's raining outside, so I forgot to check the label as to what kind it is. It has creamy pink and white roses, which are big and full and lovely. I will pull the dead rosebush out of its grave and replace it with this one when the sun comes out:
They all got tossed onto the potting table to rest through the storm. I haven't decided exactly how I will lay them out in the flower bed yet.
The first two plants in front here are salvia on the left ('east friesland') and primrose on the right. Ma and I both had a WTF moment with the primrose. I thought those were just tiny roses. In fact, when I google primrose, I don't see the flowers on the right with the little purple and red cone things. Do you think it was a printing error? I got these at Walmart, so maybe it was cheapo printing gone wrong? Anyway, they're cool as hell. Got two:
If you can solve the mystery of what this is, please do:
Then I got some red yarrow. I've only seen yarrow in yellow and bright yellow is very jarring to my eyes, so I always pass. I think the red will look nice. Next to that is a centaurea, which knocked my socks off. It didn't have a label for me to swipe and bring in, so I can't tell you its exact type. And underneath that I have a lantana because those rock. The one small lantana I bought last year grew into a monster, so I knew I only needed one of those puppies:
I got a whole bunch of red celosias! And then I got some red dianthus. Obvious, I somehow ended up with a red/purple theme this year. I also have some red snapdragons tucked in there:
Check out that centaurea up close:
I still want a new passion flower, so I need to get that. And I always love having zinnias, so I'm going to get some of those. I can't seem to find them--do people only grow them with seeds? Same with cosmos. I think I would like to have cosmos again. Oh, and a hibiscus!!!
And then I have to drown all of this in coyote pee to keep deer and raccoons away. Good times.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Last night, my parents and I watched last week's episode of Lost to prep for the new episode. And let me tell you, I felt kind of bad for bashing it. After having some time to think about it and separate myself from the extreme anxiousness I felt last Tuesday at seeing the origin story of the twins, I found myself very engaged by the episode--even Mother, who I originally was distracted by. The second time around, I really liked the episode. Lost has always been truly about character development. Seeing the childlike natures of MIB and Jacob throughout their early adulthoods and the chaos that was their birth/raising, I better understood why they are the way they are today. I connected with them in a way I hadn't before. I feel like I kinda "get it" now.
Moving on to last night's epi--loved it. I've decided that I will love whatever happens here at the end of this long journey with Lost because every time I rewatch an episode (with the exception of the Nikki/Paulo one), I find new things about it that I didn't see before. Overall, this series has rocked my freakin' world.
- Jack wakes up with a cut on his neck. In the premiere of this season, we saw Jack with a cut on his neck when he was in the bathroom on Oceanic 815. That cut was also unexplained. Is he literally coming apart at the seams? Will his outer body eventually rip off to show a V-like creature underneath? Or is this just one of the effects of living in two worlds at the same time?
- The kids all have lunch together at the same time when Desmond calls to inform Jack that his father's body has been located. Gotcha! I'm not sure how Desmond plans to get Jack, Claire, and Jack's kid to the concert (a la Faraday), but I'm sure he will figure it out. We all know that Christian Shepard is at the bottom of the ocean with the island in the sideways world, right? I think he got sucked down there when the plane passed overhead.
- Jack sews up Kate just as Kate sewed up Jack in the pilot episode. Nice touch.
- We finally run into Ben, Richard, and Miles. Ben is getting the sh*t kicked out of him in the sideways world, but on the island, he's still going after C4. In his special closet. I think the fact that he walked over Alex's grave put that whole experience back into his mind in such a fresh, raw way that he couldn't help but kill Widmore when he saw him.
- The little baggie mystery is solved! It WAS Jacob's ashes. And now he just has a little time to explain what needs to be known about the island in order to keep it going.
- What are Widmore's true intentions? Did Jacob REALLY come to see him? I don't think so. Or maybe he did. Widmore still baffles me. To be honest, I loved seeing him get blown away. Widmore has always driven me crazy. But Ben? What's up with Ben? Does he really just want the island for himself, so he'll help Flocke? Or is he totally playing Flocke, just as he did the real Locke back in our hatchland experiences? I kinda bought it for a while that he was with Locke, but at the end of the episode, Locke said he was going to destroy the island. Why would Ben help him now? Knowing that his prize will be lost? Yeah, I'm pretty sure I believe we have a Good Ben on our hands. We'll see.
- I was SO sad to see Smokey kill Richard, but it was pretty cool at the same time. Goodnight, poor Richard. You've had a long battle. Now you can be with your wife stuck on the island as a whispering apparition.
- I loved seeing Danielle again and WOW she is hot without all that crazy going on. A romance with Ben? Who woulda thunk it?
- Apparently Widmore told Flocke that Desmond is a fail-safe. We have heard this term tossed around with Desmond for a while. What makes him so special?
- In true, good, classic Jack form, he accepts the responsibility of taking care of the island. It's a choice. Free will. (But I still think it was a little fate and destiny laden.) Jacob gave Jack "time" to think it over, and he realized it was the right choice. I don't think Jacob needed to tell Jack that much info because once he drank from the cup, it would all become clear. I used to think that the island "needed" both MIB and Jacob as a balancing tool to exist. Now I see that it truly only needs a Jacob-type person. MIB is just a "mistake" that now also needs to be controlled. HOWEVER, the water in the magic springs at the temple went dark when Jacob died. So is the light even still around?
- I found two possible translations for the Latin incantation on thefuselage. Here they are: Nam non accipimus hoc quasi vulgarem potionem, sed ut ille sit quasi unus mecum.
Because we don't accept this as a simple potion, but so that he shall be as one with me
non accipimus hoc quasi vulgarem potionem, sed ut ille sit quasi unus mecum
We do not accept this as a common (vulgar) potion but so that it becomes almost as one with me
- It appears that drinking the wine/water is simply a way of accepting the responsibility of caring for the island in a very direct and clear way.
- So then Desmond breaks everyone out of jail and decides they should all go to Daniel Faraday's concert. WTF?
- And Flocke finally says it: He wants to destroy the island. ACK! The end really is here!
Thoughts? How do you think it will end?
Monday, May 17, 2010
It's taken me a long time to get here, but here I am. In the last few weeks, the layers have been peeled back to show me something I didn't fully understand. I still don't really understand it or my place in it. I thought I was smarter than this. But the thing about it is that it doesn't matter how smart you are--these things sneak in slowly and progress over time. I've been in denial for a long, long, long time.
I want my power back. I want my life back. I want to feel good about myself again. Because right now, I feel helpless against this. Even though I have ended it, there are repercussions. And it will only get uglier from here on out.
It's a cycle. A Siren song. A manipulative pattern of confusion, hurt, and guilt. I can't do it anymore.
The first step is acceptance. If you think you might be in an emotionally abusive relationship, click here. Recognize anything? I sure did.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Last night, I met Featherplume in Omaha for some girl time. We were going to play darts, but after a few cocktails and some yummy food, we headed upstairs to discover that the dart boards had been removed. Instead, we sat at a window and overlooked the Old Market in Omaha and watched people and talked and giggled and did all of those things that girls need to do together sometimes. Featherplume has an extremely calming effect on my soul, so it was a perfect night.
I made it back to Farmsville and got all tucked into bed at a decent hour because today Sea Wee is visiting. She has an engagement in the area, so she's rolling through town to visit with a brand new baby and her adorable 2-year-old daughter. I invited Featherplume to come down as well with her daughter if she can make it. How funny it will be to have my two crazy besties sitting on the couch while their daughters all co-mingle with the kittehs. They both asked: How would Gretchen react? They've both met Webster and know that he is so skittish that he will flee if a small child freaks him out. This will be an interesting test because, honestly? No babies have been around Gretchen. Little came to meet her, but Little is 6. Gretchen curled up on her lap and purred. I assured them that Gretchen is only monstrous with her brother. If they don't have tails, they should be OK.
I'm so excited to see my girls. I'm not even worried about my house being spotless (which is something that usually keeps me from inviting people over--an irrational fear of judgment about my little rental house with "character"). I just want to see them and their adorable offspring and giggle and catch up. I love that I still have these girls in my life after 10+ years. I've made friends all over the country, and it's far too easy to lose touch (especially since I'm not a Facebooker). So being able to retain quality friendships is something I treasure above all else. We've been there for each other through thick and thin. And it just keeps going.
So now I will sign off and straighten up the place a bit and wait with eager anticipation for my sweeties to appear. I warned them my home isn't childproof and the only real toy I have is a set of Lincoln Logs I bought because all my local friends have boys. But I do have one thing that other people don't--goats. Nothing really can compete with the goats. So I will run into town and grab a loaf of bread. And then the little girls can watch a true feeding frenzy. Fun Farmie-style, baby.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Just now, Gretchen and I saw our first farm kitten of 2010. I was sitting here at the computer when BAM it jumped onto the screen of the window and hung there staring at her. She had been making her little chirping and clicking noises, but I thought she was just looking at a bird. Wrong.
It was gray and looked like part of its ear had been gnawed off at some point, but it was small and perky and had frisky, beautiful eyes. And then it fell off the screen and disappeared into the hostas. I went outside in search of the kitteh and refilled the birdbath with fresh water in case it came back, but it was long gone. Farm kittehs are so feral.
Seeing a fresh kitten made me happy, but its color jarred me. Its random appearance jarred me. It wasn't surrounded by a momma and other kittens like the farm babies usually are. It was just all alone.
See, a few nights ago, I had a nightmare/good dream--I can't really tell which. I was at this little hotel in town with my parents and some other people. I don't know what we were doing there. I went outside and found Kingie. Yep. Kingie. Just hanging out behind this old hotel. He was perfectly clean, still chubby as ever, and when I picked him up, he tucked his head under my chin and hugged me like we had never been apart. The dream was so real. I felt him, felt his heart beating, felt his little grasp around my neck. Like this:
I realized in my dream that Kingie was dead. I remembered putting him to sleep. I remembered what he looked like when his pupils dilated out and he was gone. So I had a very realistic moment of wondering whether or not this was some kind of Pet Sematary moment where he was going to rip my head off. But he just hugged me and purred. I looked at Ma and asked her if I should bring him back home. She said, "You might as well," in this really nonchalant way, which was totally weird because Real Life Ma would say, "No. He's fine." (She and Kingie weren't exactly BFFs.) But I just stood there not knowing what to do. Totally shocked. Thinking of Webbie and Gretchen and how this was all going to play out.
And then I woke up.
Oh, how I miss my Kingie. I wanted to fall back asleep and feel his warm body all tucked up against me again. I think it's truly taken me until now, two months later, to realize that he's actually gone. He's never coming back. I will never hold him again. Webbie and I have been very distracted by our new, wild angel. She rips through the house like a miniature, yellow Lost smoke monster. She amuses us and pisses us off. And then sometimes, she cuddles.
I think Webbie has been so distracted that he's stopped licking off his belly fur. I can see new fur growing in, which I hope continues. I don't want Webster to go down the dark road of depression and end up with no belly fur at all. By the end of his life, Kingie had licked off not only all of his belly fur, but also the fur on both of his legs up to his hips. I remember truly seeing him after he passed away--seeing the missing fur, the weary body--those things I chose not to see when he was alive. In his death, he looked like a child's stuffed animal that had been loved so much it fell apart.
And so I called my parents last night and cried to them about King. I still feel like I killed him. I still live with guilt that he is gone and I made that decision. Ultimately, I know it was the right one. He was old and sick. His belly hurt. He needed peace after a long life of issues. Pa suggested that maybe Kingie came to me in my dream to tell me he was OK. I hope so. I hope he is so happy in Kitteh Heaven. Because I sure miss him back here on Earth.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waitin' for me
My lover stands on golden sand
And watches the ships that go sailin'...
My instant reaction to last night's Lost episode? Halfway through, I looked at the clock and said to myself, "Seriously?! It's already halfway over and this is IT so far??" Then I sighed, readjusted the kitteh on my lap, and gave in to the inevitable: this episode was going to be a huge disappointment. Once I had that in my mind, I was willing to just get through it already.
The problem with the episode is that it was too much, yet not enough. At this point, I really don't care if I never find out the origin of the island. I think I would prefer it that way. My imagination can take me wherever it wants to go with that. I felt some things were forced. That the kiddos playing and running around took too long. That MIB really needed a name. That Lost--the most incredible show EVER--could have done a better job.
But since we got this episode, I will try to find the good in it. After a night of sleep and a wild dream where Sea Wee and I wandered around an old building in Iowa City because I was pregnant and in labor and desperately trying to give birth and it was taking waaaaay too long, I have a bit more patience with the epi.
- We are introduced to Claudia, a woman who is floating in the ocean after a shipwreck. She is preggo, and washes up on the shores of the island. I was truly hoping that the story would just start there. No one else on the island. Just Claudia. She would give birth to the twins and it would all begin mysteriously. But no. Claudia is rescued by Mother (who I couldn't take seriously because of her role in Juno--love her, but she was too much for Lost methinks). Claudia and Mother are speaking in Latin, Claudia gives birth, and Mother kills Claudia. And so we have Jacob and MIB. Who apparently doesn't need a name since they all speak in Latin and don't know what "dead" means anyway.
- From childhood, we see an intense rivalry between Jacob and MIB, which is not uncommon among siblings. When a game of senet washes up on the shore, MIB and Jacob try to hide it from Mother, but she knows better. Mother later confesses to leaving the game for MIB, but I think she lied. I think the game came from "across the sea," and she was just trying to save face. The interesting thing about senet is that its rules are highly debated. Wikipedia claims it's the oldest game in the world, going back to 3100BC. I can buy that. I can also buy that the rules are sketchy, given that so much times has passed since its creation. This in turn gives credence to the fact that Jacob and MIB have their own wish-washy rules about how they can live or not live on the island. So it's a little hazy for all of us. I can buy that. Kinda.
- Mother's plan to teach the twins about the island is prematurely ruined by some shipwreck survivors. The question remains: how long would she have taken to tell them the truth? When would have been the right time? How were these lessons taught to her, and who taught them back then? How long has Mother been around? Apparently, drinking from the cup and getting the incantation (which I would love a Latin translation of) stops the aging process, so Mother was chosen at whatever age she is now. When Jacob drinks from the cup, he also stops aging. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
- We learn that the watery cave leading to the heart of the island is where life, death, and rebirth are stored. All of the beautiful and horrible things about life are somehow contained within the island. If men get to it, they will always want more. I like this idea because it's an honest one. I have a good life, but I still want to buy a house. If I bought a house, I would want to fix the house. If I fixed the house, maybe I would want to sell the house and buy a bigger house. It's true that human nature is filled with longing for more more more more more more. Success begets the need for greater success. And so whatever that is down inside the Cave of Mysteries--it needs to stay there. Be protected. Because if everyone ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, the world would fall apart.
- MIB is visited by Claudia, his original mother. She wants to show him his people and tell him the truth about where he came from. This part was very curious to me. Why could only MIB see Claudia? Why did the producers feel the need to put a spotlight on her? If dead people are truly only Smokey in disguise, how is it that Claudia showed up BEFORE Smokey was "created"? This leads me to believe that Flocke was totally lying when he told Jack that he was disguised as Christian back in Season 1 and that whoever is visiting Hurley might not be Smokey. And then--how did the shipwreck people come to have a relationship with MIB? Did he just show up and get assimilated? Did he tell them the truth? I dunno.
- Jacob was pretty disappointing in this episode. He comes off as being extremely insecure, mushy, and bashful. He has NOT been this way when he visits others. He usually comes off as quite cool and collected. Given, he had a LOT of time between these events and when we first saw him waxing philosophic with MIB as the Black Rock sailed up in the distance. He seems terrified at the very notion that other people could exist--that anything could be out there beyond the island. Which--SCREEEEEEEEECH--makes no sense because we've repeatedly seen Jacob off the island. I'm going to go ahead and just give that one a WTF?
- Mother has made it so the boys can never hurt each other. I can buy that. She has some powers. (Except for that one exception if they toss each other in the Cave of Mysteries.) Which means in order for them to hurt each other, they're going to need the Infamous Loophole. (Loophole = MIB gets someone ELSE to kill Jacob) But they seem to get along OK, even up through adulthood. When (insert Jaws music) Mother finally realizes that MIB has discovered how to get to the Special Light and therefore must destroy all of his friends. Somehow, just in the time of knocking him out, she's able to burn the village to the ground and fill in the well. Right? Riiiiight? But then again, Mother has special powers. Maybe she just had some help from the island. Origin of Donkey Wheel = Solved. Who Ended Up Putting the Donkey Wheel Together at a Later Date = Still a Mystery.
- So then MIB gets really p*ssed and kills Mother. She seems to welcome it, really. Kind of like Jacob did when he finally got offed by Ben. But she had already chosen her successor. She had already given the incantation and passed her torch to Jacob. He is now the island's protector. And, sadly, he's going to have to figure out how it works and most of the rules himself. Which begs the question: How did he get stuck in the cabin? Was it him in the cabin or MIB? And WTF is with all the ash and how does it work?
- So then Jacob gets really p*ssed and tosses MIB into the Cave of Mysteries because Mother has told him it will lead to a fate worse than death. Hello, Smokey! I have to give the writers props--it's an interesting way of creating a smoke monster. MIB's real body is "dead"--as John Locke's body is really "dead" (and being eaten by crabs on the beach before it is finally buried). So it makes sense that we can still see MIB's "body" when he's not in his smoke form. I did think it was kind of lame that MIB and Mother ended up being Adam and Eve. And I thought it was TOTALLY lame that they suddenly cut to scenes from Season 1. If you don't know who Adam and Eve are by now, you shouldn't be watching the show. But the writers did want to solve that great mystery for us. OK. Solved. Moving on.
- To what?
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
You know when you start a new project and you don't know what you're doing so you spend a LOT of time just reading specs and flipping through excel documents that contain like 100 worksheets and redoing everything because you're nervous? Yeah, that's me. I worked from roughly 8am to 11:30pm yesterday. It will probably happen again today.
Welcome to my new project.
(shakes head in effort to fully wake up)
Monday, May 10, 2010
This weekend, while spending the day with my family, I bought some Tibetan prayer flags in Omaha. I stopped in to a place to ask about Tai Chi classes. While I was there, I picked up the flags. Then I swiftly shoved them into my purse to hide them from my family.
My plan? To hang them outside by my garden. Or perhaps outside of my home office so I can see them all the time. But then I got home and realized how long the string is. I haven't unfurled it all the way, but it looks really, really long. Sigh.
The problem? Well, people in Farmsville aren't exactly comfortable with religions other than Christianity and its various branches. Some do yoga because it's trendy, but I don't ever catch a whiff of incense on someone unless they've been smoking weed. I like to believe that everyone is accepting of different cultures and belief systems, but... yeah. Not so much in Farmsville.
I think Tibetan prayer flags are beautiful. I first saw images of them on top of Mount Everest (not personally, but when I saw a photo long ago). They are hard to properly explain, so I'll let an expert do it:
"To me there are few things more beautiful than colorful prayer flags fluttering in the wind- sometimes waving gently, sometimes raging; a dance of shadow and light. There is perhaps no simpler way to create good merit in this troubled world of ours than to put prayer flags up for the benefit of other living beings. Prayer flags are not just pretty pieces of colored cloth with funny writing on them. The ancient Buddhist prayers, mantras and powerful symbols displayed on them produce a spiritual vibration that is activated and carried by the wind across the countryside. All beings that are touched by the wind are uplifted and a little happier. The silent prayers are blessings spoken on the breath of nature. Just as a drop of water can permeate the ocean, prayers dissolved in the wind extend to fill all of space...
The Tibetan word for prayer flag is Dar Cho. “Dar” means to increase life, fortune, health and wealth. “Cho” means all sentient beings. Prayer flags are simple devices that, coupled with the natural energy of the wind, quietly harmonize the environment, impartially increasing happiness and good fortune among all living beings..."
"The Prayer Flag Tradition"--by Timothy Clark
I love the idea of stringing up my prayer flags and sending warm wishes and love to my neighbors, friends, family, and town. But I also get the sneaking suspicion that without the knowledge of what they mean, a small crowd with shotguns and torches might show up. That's only a slight exaggeration.
Normally, I would totally not care what other people think. I would hang my flags with pride. But I have to take into consideration that I don't own this house. Because I don't own this house, I refrain from staking political signs in my yard like everyone else in town. I don't have large get-togethers because "parties" are strictly prohibited in my rental agreement (I think people used to rent this place and then trash it). And even though I've always had a plan to make a small Zen garden with a Buddha in it, I've tabled that little nest of peace until I own my own plot of land, which at this point might be never. And no, I'm not actually Buddhist. I just take elements of the religions I like and mush them into my own version of spirituality. Again, not something I enjoy discussing locally.
Hmmm. What to do?
I suppose I could go back to the store and get the smaller prayer flags. I did see some tiny ones there that would probably go unnoticed. Or I could just get over it, wait for a beautiful, sunny day, and string up blessings for the wind to carry across Farmsville. What do you think?
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Lately, people have been pressuring me to get on Facebook. Like all the time. People I haven't seen in decades (literally) have asked me if I'm on Facebook when I run into them at the grocery store. I hear juicy gossip about people from other people who are on Facebook. It's all Facebook all the time--which is exactly why I'm not on it. Same with Twitter.
I know my limits. I've always known it would be an extremely bad idea for me to dabble in recreational drugs because I would get hooked. I smoke cigarettes. I drink massive amounts of Diet Mountain Dew. When I a see a new addiction flashing in front of me, I run. Because of this, I missed out on Friendster, MySpace, and I'm hoping Facebook as well. The problem? It's taken society.
Even though I write extremely personal information on this blog, I'm a fairly private person. The problem I foresee with Facebook is that once I'm on there, the roller coaster ride will never end. And say all you will about how I can "make it private." If I'm going to make it private, why would I go on there? I do not want to have to choose to friend or unfriend someone in a public forum. I do not want to see my bosses or old coworkers bantering about their lives. And the good thing about NOT being on Facebook is that I can't see Facebook. I can't look at people or read their walls or do anything remotely stalkerish. Because, yeah. I would totally become a Facebook stalker. 110% And because I know this about myself and can be completely honest about it, I choose to not give in to that temptation.
But because of my resistance, I do know that I'm missing out on things. Announcements, photos, juicy gossip, relationships that come and go in the blink of an eye, etc. I get a healthy dose of the insanity on the Failbook site. It makes me giggle. And cringe.
When I moved to Oregon back in 1999 with Kira, we actually used walkie talkies to communicate between our cars on the long drive. She had a cell phone, but I didn't. I resisted getting one like the plague. I claimed I would NEVER get one. 20,000 cell phones later, I moved to Iowa. Where I promptly claimed I would NEVER text message people. Then I got a $200 cell phone bill because all of my friends texted me forwards about how we were such good friends and they loved me and if they didn't send it to me in the next 10 minutes, they would die. I don't respond to these texts. My friends know this. But then I learned how to text, so I actually do use that system of communicating now. Including saying things like, "I luv u!" I can own it.
So even though I tried to get my father to take back the laptop he bought me for my high school graduation present because I would NEVER use a computer, I sit typing to you now on a blog that I said I would NEVER create. I truly do have a love/hate relationship with technology. It befuddles me. But I still know myself enough to know that I really would much rather see my friends in person than on a computer screen. I think it's because I work from home, so after a long day, I want to see people up close. I want to laugh and hear their voices and give them hugs when the evening is done. After they tell me all the Facebook gossip.
And seriously? If I got on Twitter, I would become this:
And we just don't need that, do we?