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frazzled and bedazzled
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I awoke approximately 15 minutes behind schedule this morning. I looked at my alarm and realized that instead of hitting snooze, like I usually do, I had turned the alarm off. I was thankful I had at least re-awoke with time enough to not be too rushed for leaving for work.

I gave my thanks too soon because some mischievous god decided to stir the pot a bit more and...

  • I opened the refrigerator and the breakfast smoothie I made last night (to save time this morning) fell out of the refrigerator. The glass shattered and the smoothie went EVERYWHERE: floor, inside of the refrigerator, inside of more nooks and crannies than I even realized existed in the refrigerator, walls, ceiling, my hair, my body...you name it, it was there.

  • I got ready for work and was only a few minutes behind schedule for leaving at my typical time when an eyelash got on my right eye and would not come out. By the time I got it out, I was definitely late for work.

  • I saw a penny next to my car and thought while picking it up, "Oh good, I could use some good luck!" I turned on the rinse cycle to get some tree sap off of my windscreen and found that a couple of pine needles were under one wiper, leaving 2 definitive streaks on the driver side of the screen, and the sprayer is not working on the passenger side so that half of the screen is a blurry, sticky mess.

  • I arrived to work and saw some things had developed Friday afternoon without me. For one of them, A SITUATION WHICH WOULD NOT EXIST HAD MY BOSS WARNED ME ABOUT IT, I had an email from him saying, "Next time keep me in the loop so I know what's happening, ok?"  I walked into a situation thinking I was doing one thing - a typical thing I do all of the time - then it changed and turned out to be something completely different.  HAD I KNOWN FROM MY BOSS WHAT IT *REALLY* WAS (he knew about it a week before me!), I never would have been involved.  Grrr!!!

I had a really great week-end, but things took a turn in a completely different direction this morning, that's for sure.  I guess some days you're the schadenfreuder and some days you're the schadenfreudee and today's just my turn to be the "ee".  Ugh!

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• Can I just say, “Salespeople: aaaarrrrggghhh!” and have you nod your head in agreement? I can? Great, thanks!
• I’m sure it’s the same in a lot of other parts of the United States so we’re not all that special, but in the Pacific Northwest the Memorial Day week-end is the generally accepted and “official” start of camping season. It’s such a popular thing to do that many people take Friday off because they have to arrive at their campground of choice on Thursday to secure a spot for the week-end (we have a mix of reservation only and first come-first served campgrounds in Oregon). Thanks to the popularity of camping over the long week-end, bottled water is already priced higher and more scarce than it would be in the middle of winter. Adding an E. coli scare to the mix, as happened in Portland starting last Friday, pretty much means Zombie Apocalypse-levels of bottled water scarcity. On the plus side, just like camping does, the E. coli ridiculousness helped me appreciate the fact that normal for me includes clean, great-tasting and easy-to-access water. It’s a blessing that a lot of people don’t enjoy. Still, I was not too thrilled that we had yet another pollutant scare for our water supply. (I don’t know if our recent experience means we just didn’t test water before recent years or if there’s an actual increase in incidents. Either option is scary to contemplate.)
• Since everyone around here knows that Memorial Day = rush to go camping and hence scarce employee counts at offices all over the state, I was doubly annoyed to get a call from a local lawyer’s office at 4:15 on Friday afternoon about something they had been working on for 2 weeks, but which they suddenly considered so urgent they wanted to get it done by the end of the day. I was annoyed because 1) 4:15. On a Friday. Before a major holiday. For something that hadn’t been urgent for 2 weeks, but they decided was urgent that day. and 2) they were completely shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that a colleague who would have wanted to have input into this issue was off for the day and unavailable until after the holiday. They were a bit pushy about it and all I could think was the equivalent of, “?!?!?!” Know your audience, dude. Know your audience.
• After much chore doing and errand-running and family funning and dog walking, I enjoyed the Memorial Day holiday (if “enjoy” is the right word – that’s an arguable word selection) by engaging in a tv binge of the series Apocalypse: The Second World War on the Smithsonian channel. Seven hours – six on the war, one about how they created the series – of never-before-seen footage taken during WWII from all over the world. Beyond the obvious things which I found amazing about it, such as the fact that the creators viewed over 600 hours of film that had never been seen on television (implying there’s many more hours of unseen film out there in archives around the world), was that the program was six hours long and barely scratched the surface. It was more like an illustrated timeline of events (with not much focus on the Pacific arena), and even a basic overview like that took six hours to accomplish. From a distance of 70 years I find it completely understandable for people to say, “Enough, already!” about things having to do with WWII. But, it was just so enormous, I can’t help but remain fascinated by it. Plus saddened that there are so many analogous situations ongoing in the world today. As my husband and I discussed, it really can feel overwhelming to realize that things such as the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur are as possible now as they were then, and for pretty much the same reasons. I fully expect militarized aggression to accelerate all over the world as climate change progresses and natural resources become scarcer in already borderline places. (It’s no wonder things like reality tv are so popular – we have to escape the madness somehow!)
• Semi-related question: has there ever been a 12 month period in the history of mankind when there hasn’t been a war at some place on the planet? (Or even, say, from the Victorian age to now when international communications developed enough for us to know what was happening in other places.)
• I was really, really, REALLY unhappy when I saw a commercial by a shampoo company (which I assume is running on national television) with not one, but TWO rogue apostrophes. Its and it’s aren’t the same thing. ‘60s and 60’s aren’t the same thing. (To name two recent nationally published examples). I know YOU know this, but dang, it really gets me that even national ads – where one would assume accuracy would be desirable – apparently don’t have proof readers any more. (/end grammar grumping.)
• On a more cheerful note, I’m cautiously celebrating approximately 6 weeks of breaking my caffeine addiction. Awhile back I saw a headline about a famous actress who had “accidentally” lost weight thanks to changing her diet. “Riiiiiight”, I thought, “’accidentally’. I’m not buying that bridge!” However, I decided to jump on the “accidental change”, or more accurately, “fortuitous change”, idea when I had that bout of ‘flu back in April. Since I had already been through the caffeine withdrawals, I figured there was no harm in keeping the streak going since the hardest part was already over. I have had the odd bit of caffeine now and again, but the morning-to-early-afternoon ritual of multiple cups of tea (and/or coffee) each and every day are gone. I have noticed that I don’t seem to have the same energy dips and spikes that I had before (they still come, but not to the same degree…I’d estimate their strength is 25% or less of what they used to be), so that’s a plus. On the other hand, I do miss the taste and the ritual of it. I read a National Geographic article about Darjeeling tea (by Andrew McCarthy – how did that happen?) and I wanted tea SO MUCH at that moment. Not for the caffeine, but for the beauty of it, the flavor of it, the joy of watching the hot water and the tea marry together until the perfect and lovely shade of golden tea-brown arrives, the small nervous moment of wondering if the steeping time was just right so that the tea is strong, but not bitter, and that ineffable something that a hot beverage provides that a cold beverage doesn’t which is utterly crucial to me when it’s cold outside... Obviously, I need to get going with finding some good decaffeinated alternatives. This is the longest I’ve gone without regular, daily doses of caffeine since high school, which blows my mind if I really think about it, so I’m mostly just trying to keep this low-key for myself and quietly go about retaining this new status.

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The meme on Crucial Movies that help explain who you are got me thinking. And not just in that way of finding it interesting what is crucial for others or the commonalities among people as respects choice of movies.

Growing up, my family didn’t go to movies. My parents had grown up during the Depression, so it was just part of who they were to be extremely conservative when it came to spending money on entertainment. In fact, the first and only movie I saw in a theater with my mom happened when I was in college. Consequently, it affected a lot of things, including how I saw the way popular culture is shaped by movies. My childhood was smack in the middle of the first three Star Wars movies coming out and it’s no understatement to say they were ENORMOUSLY popular with my peers. Talk about a pop culture explosion! Though I didn’t actually see them at the time, they were so ubiquitous that it was pretty much impossible to not know many things about them. Hence I was in a position to see just how far a popular movie can leak into everyday life even when a person doesn’t see the movie in question.

One outcome of looking from the outside in is that for me a big part of what makes a movie crucial to me is how much of the experience-in-common thing is at work. From referencing things from a movie to explain your own experiences to using a popular catch phrase, I think there’s quite a lot to the notion that the more widely known a movie, the greater the chances of it being considered crucial to many people – including me. (Yet, for all that, my favoritest, most crucialest movie of all time isn’t all that popular, so go figure.)

Anyway, having said all of that, here’s the list I can think of today (roughly in order of the sequence of when I saw them):
Charlotte’s Web: likely the first movie I ever saw. I still remember going to the drive-in with my birth mom and talking to her about the story and the voice actors on the drive home.
The Wizard of Oz & The Sound of Music: as someone who could only see movies that were broadcast on regular tv growing up, I’d say it’s almost impossible for these two (which were shown every year) to not be crucial, somehow. And they undoubtedly fed into my secret love for musicals.
Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Ark: the first big pop culture movie I saw fresh and in the moment. I joined the queue around the block with a group of friends to see the first two Indiana Jones movies and it was a blast to be a part of that communal experience. They also gave me an appreciation for the swashbuckling hero type, which I don’t think I had thought much about before Indy.
The Breakfast Club: this is one of those I wanted to dislike, but couldn’t. It just caught too many truisms about being a teen-ager, and since it came out when I was a teen-ager, it sort of snuck in there and became important somehow.
A Room with a View: this is the first movie I ever completely and totally, 100% and then some, fell into and didn’t want to come out of. I wanted to live in that world, smell those smells, have those clothes and Helena Bonham-Carter’s hair, know those people for real, get a Baedecker and go to that pensione, and live those lives. In fact, there’s one moment (a little bucolic shot when the story moves back to England) where I felt like I was home every time I saw it. I loved the humor and the social commentary and the locations and the costumes and the actors and the music. I saw this movie too many times to count at a little independent theatre. It was so popular that it ran for at least a year straight with showings every week at that location (I’m pretty sure it was more like 2-3 years, but I was off at college and not paying attention). There was even a little tv in the lobby playing highlights from the movie on a loop (the kissing scene in the field, Cecil’s fight with a bee while carrying a teacup and saucer, “Fifteen shillings and five shillings make one pound!”, George’s proposal to Lucy) so you could be entertained while awaiting the next showing. I loved going by myself and half paying attention to the other people in the room and their reactions to various scenes. I also coerced a number of people into going to see it with me. And of course thereafter read all of E.M. Forster’s books (conveniently located next to C.S. Forester’s at the main Portland library) and saw many Merchant-Ivory productions and checked in purposefully on many of the actors’ careers over the years (easy enough given who they are – what a cast!) In other words, if I had to choose only *one* crucial movie, this would be it.
Psycho: this was one of those experiences where I saw the movie so long after it had joined popular consciousness that it was almost like an anti-climax. But once I set aside my knowledge of the gajillions of ways this movie influenced a billion-trillion stories that followed, I came to appreciate it for itself. Anyway, this movie touches on some of the things I’m eternally fascinated with (plot twists, the psychology behind human behavior, well-told murder mysteries, etc.), hence its crucial-ness. Of course, this movie’s influence also comes into play every damn time I take a shower when I’m home alone. Every. Damned. Time.
E.T.: Still one of my favorite movie-going experiences. Everyone in my party of viewers was sniffling into a salty, buttery, popcorn-encrusted napkin by the end.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles: It’s kind of a perfect movie, I think, and endlessly quotable. But it’s the humor that makes it so important to me, obviously – so many different kinds and all of it so well done.
Star Wars: I didn’t see it until I was in my 20s, so it had a lot to live up to by then. By that time, the special effects were not *quite* as special as they had been back in the day, the sets and costumes were demonstrably of the “shoestring budget” type, I already knew that stories set in space could be just as human as any other kind, and the settings, characters, and plot was mostly already known to me. But it followed the classic hero-journey story in such a fun way, and played around with the low-budget things so as to make them part of the story’s strength, and didn’t take itself too seriously, and used that Saturday-morning-serial-story thing to such great advantage, that I couldn’t help but fall for it. My husband and I happily re-watched The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi on May 4th and we’re not ashamed to say it!


Honorable MentionsCollapse )

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Not much happening in the land of fiveandfour beyond the usual hamster-on-a-wheel routine.

We're well into the typical Pacific Northwest spring medley of sunshine, rain, sun breaks, more rain, warm one minute, cold the next, and allergies, allergies, allergies.

I stopped at a local grocery on the way in to work this morning, a time when - in theory - the shelves are the most well-stocked since the store had all night to fix things, and found the section for allergy medications half destroyed. Plus the prices were higher than they were a month ago (grrr!).

Had a lovely visit with family on Easter Sunday, though I felt about three minutes away from going into nap mode for most of the day. I'm finally starting to feel back to normal after last week's 'flu and plan to try exercise tonight. Man, the 'flu does take it out of you! While visiting with the family, there was a suggestion of us making an extra stop to visit my husband's grandmother, who is 93 years old and fighting her own health issues. All I could think was, "Seeing me is the last thing she needs right now!" - though the odds of me still being contagious were quite low, I didn't want to take a chance of passing things on to her. Plus again, there was my nap imperative. We ended up getting home relatively early and I used a great deal of will to keep myself awake until 7:15 pm. Why, yes, I *do* know how to rock a holiday!

I've been in a reading slump for a few weeks, but I'm not too concerned about it yet. I seem to go through one most springs. I can never really figure out why they seem to come on at this time of year in particular, because you'd think that cold, rainy days would be motivating as respects hanging out under a blanket with a book. I dunno, as we like to say in business, "it is what it is", so I've learned to just go with it. At some inexplicable time - say, when the sun is finally out and the weather is perfect for outdoor pursuits - I'm sure my yen for reading will return. Meanwhile, I'll just add to my TBR stack in a desultory manner.

All right, I guess it's time for this hamster to get back on her wheel. Now, if only I could get someone to bring me some treats to make this run more bearable...

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I had a glorious day last Saturday. There was lots of lovely sun, and visits to a couple of wineries with friends, and a stop at Oregon's only 5-star resort, and only a little imbibing during the early part of the day since I had to drive home at the end of the evening.

Thus it was a real shock to wake up Sunday and feel like death might be a mercy. There was fever, chills, full-body aches, skin so sensitive that even a little air movement hurt, weakness so bad I could barely lift a glass of water, and a burning and churning in my stomache that was downright painful.

I was utterly flattened. And a bit shocked, truth be told, to have gotten the 'flu now...I thought the season was over and I was safe.

Monday morning I could barely mumble out the words, "I can't work" before flopping back down into bed.

By Tuesday, I was at a stage where I could at least moan and groan about the unfairness of it all that I had to suffer with no medicine - prior to that, I was so sick that it never occurred to me that *anything* could help.

I still felt like something a rat would reject from a refuse pile yesterday, but worked for a good bad chunk of the day anyway because...well, you know, the world would stop turning and all western commerce would come to an end if I didn't move some paper from Point A to Point B (or so some people I work with believe).

The rat might consider me a better bet today. I'm still not "good", by any means, but at least I might regret death today.

Thank goodness for the Glove and Boots channel on YouTube. Re-watching some classic Mario and Fafa helped get me through moments when I felt so bad I wasn't even up to reading.

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While awaiting the convening of a family meeting, I showered, did the make up routine, blew my hair dry (which I HATE to do - I probably do it about 5 times a year), then put on comfortable clothes so I could clean the dishes and the bathroom floor with intent to change into better clothes once those chores were done.

The family meeting commenced while I was still in the comfy clothes. At the end of the family meeting my husband said, "Well, go have a shower then we can..."

I interrupted, "I already had a shower. I have make up on. I BLEW DRY MY HAIR. Can you not tell?"

My husband, possibly sensing an inescapable morass was one mis-step away, replied, "Well, I always say you don't need any of that stuff. You always look great to me."

Uh-huh.

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Had a lovely week-end. Not weather-wise, but as respects feeling good and getting a lot accomplished.

Next week-end is already kind of planned out with not a lot of free time for hanging around at home, so I wanted to get through a few Spring Cleaning chores this past week-end. And I did.

One of them was to clean up the barbeque grill because the time of outdoor cooking is almost nigh. It's kind of weird that my family seems to do nearly all of our outdoor grilling during the warmer times of year because the grill is located on a patio that's easy enough to access any time. (We did barbeque our turkey one Thanksgiving and it was one of the best turkeys I've ever eaten, so you'd think that would be motivation enough.) However, I guess when you take into account the not-fun aspects of monitoring your food while standing in the pouring rain, it's probably not all that weird after all. I know there are a bajillion things on the internet about cleaning the grates and I'll need to do that (last) bit next. I'd say I got through over half of my spring cleaning chores, so a nice bit of work is done even if I do need to tackle the windows still, which always looms large in my mind as an enormous pain in the rear of a task that inevitably gets left until last.

I felt really terrific all week-end, with lots of energy and an unquenchable desire to Go Go Go. In contrast, today I feel like I've been drugged, and even after having twice the amount of caffeine I normally drink, I feel as little above unconscious as it's possible to be. I slept fine last night and even had relatively good dreams that involved catching two men who were working together as serial killers AND avoiding a going-in-between-a-momma-bear-and-a-cub scenario. How are those things even connected? I don't know. All I know is they were the dreams I had just before waking up. An hour and a half late. Eeep. You'd think the "no way, it can't be that late!" jolt of adrenaline would be enough to get me up immediately, but no, I stared at the ceiling in a daze for ten whole minutes before the thought of moving even occurred to me. That of course spun my whole morning routine on its head, but despite waking super late and feeling like I was sleep-walking through a strong current of water that was flowing in the opposite direction, I still managed to leave just a few minutes late for work.

I can't figure out if this seemingly inescapable lethargy is all a mental thing and I'd be feeling as peppy as can be were I on a tropical beach somewhere or if it's a semi-legitimate spring cleaning hangover and I'd want a nap even in the most pleasant of circumstances.

Blergh. Mondays. Oh well, can't avoid 'em - so Onwards and Upwards. Or at least, up off my seat and onwards towards the tea dispenser. (<--Sadly, that is the best I can do as respects a pep talk right now.)
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I may have mentioned before that my family enjoys watching A&E's Bad Ink. It never fails to amaze and amuse us to see what people will put on their bodies. It's not the act of tattooing that gets us, it's what people choose as the subject matter. Many of the stories seem to start with, "Well, I was drinking..." or "Well, I was mad..." or "I had just turned 18...", so I imagine if one avoids making a permanent choice when in a truly transitory state of mind, you significantly enhance your ability to choose something you won't hate in 10 years. (Or sober up.)

Anyway, all of that was to say that when I therefore caught the Oh No They Didn't headline today having to do with fixing a tattoo, I HAD to click that link. That stuff is like catnip to me.

Amidst the chatter are lots of pictures of bad tattoos, a few of which had me howling with laughter. I've seen some of them before, but it's fun to have a nice collection all in one place.

So this is now saved for some future day when I can really use a laugh. And for you to enjoy today, if you haven't already.

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Am back from the funeral and some weird mixture of being out on a Monday-that-felt-like-a-Sunday and, I don't know, the moon's position in the sky or something, has my brain whizzing around in my head like a 3 year-old on a sugar high.

A combination of avoiding drama and travel to one of the most gawd-awful corners of Oregon meant it had been a lot longer than we realized since we'd been over to see this side of the family for a visit. The week-end was full of those lovely, embarassing moments that happen when you haven't seen people for 15 years and only hear about their lives second-hand and don't see pictures. Such as meeting a cousin and completely mistaking him for the spouse of someone else. (Which was fine because he completely mistook me for my daughter, so we were even. Kinda'. Because I really can't see how he could have taken me for a teen-ager even if he didn't remember me, specifically.)

For the most part, one of the cousins - the calm, collected one with whom we have the best rapport and spent the most time with when we did visit back in the day - was the one who arranged a lot of things and who we hung out with the longest. It really was great to catch up on his life, meet his wife, and get the reasonable version of his mom's illness and manner of dying.

It kind of seems like there's a possibility that future generations could be moving in a much more positive direction than past ones, provided a few things work out. We really are hoping those things work out. Sometimes it's extremely difficult to understand how people think through things and come to a conclusion that's the opposite of what you would conclude, but I guess so long as only the ones making seemingly terrible choices suffer the results of those choices, life feels like it has some fairness to it and you don't mind all the unfair aspects quite so much. (Still, I reserve the right to say, "Really?" to myself as I shake my head in exasperated confusion.)

The funeral service itself was pretty nice and included a military send off. I've been to a few services that include military bits and it always strikes me as a little weird to have a segment that's essentially the glorification of nationalism in the midst of a ceremony for death. I wondered if other countries do that - have speeches and flags and gun salutes for people who were in the military 50 years ago and didn't die as a result of their service - or if it's just the U.S. where you find that. But we need rituals of some sort to help ease us through big things like death, so maybe this is just the result of how a country founded on the concept of separating church and state handles death when there is no single religious ceremony that all attendees can use as a touchstone.

Theoretically, things are back to normal life today, but I'm really suffering from some sort of...I don't know...malaise or ennui or feeling of discontent because while I had a break from work and routine, it wasn't the right kind of break (and it wasn't nearly long enough to work through my I-need-a-vacation issues), so it's almost like I'm worse off than before as respects being able to successfully tell myself to just put my head down and work through it and think about planning a real break later.

It's as if I've had a tiny taste of getting away from home and work and now my brain is obsessed with having a full meal of it, whether that's convenient right now or not. My pre-existing restlessness, added to the thought I have every time I attend a funeral ("don't let time just go by and miss out on living while you can"), is kind of adding up to a recipe of a disaster of the drain-your-retirement-account-and-let-the-future-take-care-of-itself proportions.

So yeah, I really need to get on the vacation brainstorming thing. In the meantime, it would be fantastic if I could just get my brain to cooperate and just stinking concentrate on something for awhile. Pick a lane, brain, pick a lane!

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I'm at one of those phases where there's a plethora of projects to choose from, yet I'm having difficulty in choosing a lane and getting on with things. There are a few projects where I just need a little more info to be able to finish and be done with them, so I guess maybe I'm just nervous to get too involved in anything else knowing that I'll just have to drop it should what I need arrive.

I am too methodical for this multi-tasking world. I find it difficult to get fully engaged in many things at the same time - I work much better concentrating on one thing, then moving on when that thing is done. Through training, I've learned to be able to have multiple balls in the air at the same time. However, being able to juggle doesn't mean I *like* to juggle.

::Sigh:: I've probably been a 75 year-old codger in a younger person's body my whole life, so I can't say I'm surprised to know I'm out of step with yet another aspect of today's reality.

Meanwhile, there's a corner of my mind chewing on something unrelated to work. A friend discovered Chinese astrology and she's been introducing people to their element + animal. I found it much like other astrological descriptions I've seen - about 85% correct and 15% wrong. I know it's got to be like those mind tricks that magician's play where they ask the audience to think of a number, have random people stand up and say numbers aloud, then show you cards where he's written down the numbers the audience members say before he even asked people to stand up. So I know it's not "truth" in that way we like to know truth in this scientific age, yet I still can't see how it's done!

Anyway, the thing my brain latched onto was something about how my sign has a way of being secretive about the full extent of the things they are most interested in/passionate about and only letting others see tiny glimpses of those things. I had never realized it before, but that's totally something I do. I'd guess that my family is the most clued in as respects the direction or theme of the majority of my interests, but there really is no one person who truly knows about/shares all of the things I love to think about, read about, talk about, dream about, want to do and actually do... It's not necessarily that I intend to be secretive about things, it's that for the most part I figure it'd just be a bore to others.

I've become so used to having different groups of people satisfy those different sides of me that now I don't know if it's even possible to find all of the same interests aligned in one person. Even if it is possible, I don't know that I'd actually like it all that much because one of the things I like to do is find out what other people love - if I was with someone who only liked the same things as me, that could be fantastic fun, but it could also be a colossal bore.

I suppose marriage is maybe the place one expects to find "the one", but my husband and I both found early on that we liked one another better when we maintained a bit of space to entertain ourselves with things that were truly our own. I know some people can work with their spouse, do lots of activities with their spouse, and happily see them day in and day out at home and never get tired of it, but that's not us.

So. I don't know that there's anything to *do* about this new bit of self-knowledge, but that doesn't mean my brain will stop chewing it over when it would be better served just picking a damned project and working on it, even if I do have to stop 10 minutes later.

(Speaking of pre-occupied minds, this article about insomniacs gave me one of the biggest "Well, duh!" moments I can remember. People can't sleep because their brains won't turn off? You don't say! Sheesh!)
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Princess Strokenham
Name: Princess Strokenham
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We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography -- to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.

--Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
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