Thoughts destined to be washed away by the tides of life.
I've been studying my cover photo for a while now, and it seems to me that it is more than just a photo of what is there that can be seen, more than just three white rocks stacked on a beach. It contains an important question about the future, about what happens long after the photographer has gone. What will happen to our pile of stones when the tide comes in? Will it topple or has the architect built this structure at a safe distance? |
I don't know what will happen to these words that I stack here on the sand. They may prove safely distant, or they may be swallowed up by a rush of self-doubt. They may be here for a season. They may lose their balance and be scattered by the shoreline, or be hidden away under shifting sands. Perhaps someday, the tides of life will reclaim them.
Or maybe that's just a bunch of poetic, romantic nonsense. After all, this is just a blog.
|I used to believe that the internet was the safest place to be, that virtual friends are best. It can be as anonymous as you desire, hiding under pseudonyms and behind avatars. Or if you prefer, you can let it all hang out and chronicle every moment of your life on Instagram and Twitter, gathering followers, stalkers and admirers. But even when you think it´s safe, you can be reminded that we´re all human, even the digital people are just human when you strip away their virtual selves.
A couple of years ago, I was watching a cooking video on YouTube. There was a recommendation to make this other YouTuber's pie crust. So I sought out the video and watched it. The woman in the video had some solid tips on pastry and I definitely use her method now. But when I returned to her channel to subscribe to her videos, I discovered she had passed away. She had passed before I saw the first video. And her husband who had taste-tested her tomato pie was dead, too, having predeceased her by several months. I had met, grown to like and lost these people all at once. I still watched her videos, learning from her and about her. Her life had meaning to many, and now it had meaning to me. I don't make pie anymore, and I don't think I will watch those videos again, but I won't forget her.
Then, just yesterday, I discovered a crafting YouTuber who demonstrated her patterns for crocheted items. Young, blonde, pretty and perky, she seemed to break the stereotype of crocheters being old women with nothing better to do with their time once the cats were all fed. I liked her approach to patterns and tutorials and subscribed right away. The first video I saw pop up was her memorial service. She died in January of a rare form of cancer at the age of 36.
I can't explain how this news hit me. To see someone full of life one minute, then to find that one day not too long ago, without any warning, she was handed a death sentence. To see how cancer just steals lives....
I think it was the sudden nature of her death, at least, it was sudden to me. For one minute she was smiling and chatting happily - the picture of health - and the next she was dead.
I have changed my mind about the internet. The deaths of virtual people have too profound an effect on me. The feeling of helplessness is even greater due to the utter remoteness of these strangers. The connection to them isn't real, and I cannot even grieve a loss that isn't really mine. Virtual people often disappear suddenly without explanation. Virtual friendships are broken every day with nothing more than a change of user name.
The internet is crowded with humanity and yet, so empty.
|I dreamed about blogging last night.
Lately, I have been dreaming a lot about blogging.
Last night, I dreamed that I had an old blog that I transferred here to WDC. It was a recipe blog, but every entry was preceded by a long whine of my general dissatisfaction with life. They were good recipes, but I feel like I might have used them only to draw an audience. The recipes were just there to lure people to my complaint blog.
Or, I might have been feeling guilty about having abandoned this blog for five months.
Nah. I probably just want to complain.
|I've recently developed an addiction. I've become addicted to this minty chocolate tea. It's an herbal tea. I am not sure how they make something that tastes so good out of plant-type things, but it's delicious and minty and a bit chocolate-y and it makes a nice snack or dessert. It has no calories or sugar in it, so it seems harmless enough. But it's not. Not only does it taste far too nice, everyone else in the world has developed an addiction for it, too.
Therefore, it is almost always sold out.
I have left cheeky comments on the company's Facebook page about their inability to stock this tea and how disappointed I am. I have mocked them and taunted them. That's what addiction will lead to. It can turn you into an internet troll. And still no tea.
So, I have had to improvise. I have discovered that peppermint tea pairs well with almost every other flavor of herbal tea, and especially lemon.
What is a carnivore doing drinking a tincture of stewed plant leaves? Well, it's a way of eating, not a religion. Also, I hope that the bits of plants that disagree with me are the chewy parts and that steeping them in hot water doesn't affect me the same way. So far, so good.
So peppermint tea is a go for now. When the other tea is back in stock, I'll order some under an assumed name.
|Egg cartons are a marvel, the perfect blend of organization and compact storage. At least, when they are full. But remove an egg or two, and suddenly, all symmetry is destroyed. And therein lies the problem.
Is is just me or does it bother other people when the egg carton is enough eggs short of a dozen to leave it unbalanced and the spaces uneven? It drives me crazy.
Whenever I take out eggs, I feel the need to rearrange the remaining eggs to restore symmetry to best of my ability. I prefer for the majority of the egg weight to be in the middle of the container, with just the right number of eggs at each end to balance the carton. This is not just aesthetics, it is safety-related. Egg cartons are made of very lightweight material. An egg or two out of balance and it might tip when you reach into the fridge to retrieve it. Nothing worse than broken eggs on the floor. Breakfast is then delayed and clean-up is messy. Disappointing on many levels.
Of course, if you do drop an egg, do not attempt to wipe it up until after you have poured salt on it and let the salt absorb the slimy white. Then you can pick it up with a paper towel.
But if you take the time to rearrange the eggs, that might never be necessary.
|Raspberries have many excellent qualities.
Raspberries are low in carbohydrates, meaning that it's alright to have a few. You could have five blueberries, or a fistful of raspberries with less impact from the raspberries.
Raspberries hold their shape but are very soft. They don't put up resistance to being eaten the way crisp apples do. You could gum a raspberry to death, no teeth necessary. They are not as tart as strawberries and don't require slicing or dark chocolate to make them palatable. A raspberry is a fruit just begging to be eaten.
I love raspberries, even though the fresh ones must be eaten quickly before they start to shrivel and look ugly.
I would love raspberries even more if they weren't so furry.
|It’s been a long time. Feels even longer.
I had a bit of a slowdown with the hubbub surrounding the birth of a grandchild. So much need of me, so many demands on my time... I discovered that I am terrible at juggling. I have a tendency to hold onto one or two things and drop everything else. I don’t even hold onto the important things, necessarily. Sometimes I carve out huge swaths of time for things that are mildly entertaining and delete activities that are required for continued existence.
Then, I got sick. I stopped juggling even the brightly colored balls. Even the one with the screen that lights up when I open it. I had no interest in social media or even (gasp) writing. I have never done so little for so long.
The good news is that I survived and am recovering nicely. Even better, I had Covid and survived and am recovering nicely. I didn’t want to get Covid but now that it’s done and I’ve been through it, I feel a freedom from the uncertainty. I wasn’t living in fear of the virus, but it’s nice to settle that question for good.
Still, give me some time to settle back in. I have to re-establish a routine and make a plan. Today, I opened my laptop to do more than pay bills. That’s a start.
|I haven't been spending enough time on the WDC site. I have been struggling to find the time. My life has become hectic and I am growing too old to adapt to the increased demand for brain power.
Within the last year, my daughter moved back home, increasing the number of distractions in my life. In October, she gave birth to my grandson, which increased the number of demands on my time.
I offer this information as an excuse for my appalling lack of participation lately.
Today, I am going to use what is left of my dwindling brain cells to attempt catching up on my weekly obligation to the Promptly Poetry challenge.
Inspiration will be hard to come by.
|In the past week, I have had two people tell me that they have only just run out of the toilet paper they bought in the early days of the pandemic rush. I did not know that I even knew such people. I had no idea that I counted hoarders among my acquaintances. I was shocked, horrified - and a little jealous. While I don’t condone hoarding, it is a valuable skill in times of apocalypse. I know two people I am adding to my “best friends for the end of the world” list.
|Ah, the ‘80s. I didn’t appreciate how special that decade was when I was living through it. The movies, the music, the fashion - everything was exaggerated, shiny, new and flashy. Michael Jackson was the perfect musical artist for the era that saw the rise of MTV and the transformation of music video into short art film. And Thriller was one of the first and possibly the best of these highly produced story films that kept us in front of our TVs, watching music. I could go into a long discussion of the sad disintegration of MTV as it has devolved into reality television but that’s a rant for another day.
Thriller hit our television screens in late 1983 and nothing has ever been the same. It is the most iconic music video ever made. What other bit of filmed choreography has been duplicated and performed by so many groups, flash mobs, marching bands and even prison inmate populations over the years?
If anything will make you miss the entertainment value of music videos, Thriller will. It’s a story within a story, fear and horror that is alternately instilled in the viewer and then relieved with “it’s just a movie”. The inclusion of horror movie genre giant Vincent Price as voice over narrator brilliantly creates the atmosphere of fear and danger while also keeping us caught between the security of fiction and the concern that it might all be real.
While a fourteen minute video with long instrumental sections risks losing the attention of viewers who are used to short, snappy, bouncy music videos, Thriller is riveting throughout.
That said, the track is also highly listenable. It’s Michael Jackson. It’s from the ‘80s. The beat, the vibe, the irresistible invitation that it sends to your feet to move- it’s all there and it’s timeless.
Michael’s voice and his punctuation of the music with his squeals, grunts and other guttural expressions speak to a more ancient part of our brains where we understand the experience in deeper ways, way back in our genetic memory formed when our ancestors faced a dark and dangerous world filled with superstition, fear and shadow.
|Everyone loves Autumn. There’s a whole seasonal sub-culture of Autumn worshippers. There are rituals that they engage in to celebrate the changes in the weather - such as sprinkling pumpkin spice on everything they eat, drink or bathe with. Everything except pumpkin, of course, I don’t know many (besides myself) who are interested in eating anything made with actual pumpkins. A large majority of Autumn worshippers are simply anticipating the one day per year that they can play dress-up without seeming weird. It’s tough growing up and being an adult. Sometimes, adults just want to pretend to be someone else and on October 31st, it’s socially acceptable to do so.
And this season worship raises the simple change of the weather and the scenery, to something that has become so revered that it must be called “Autumn” now by everyone, even those of us who grew up calling it “Fall”. There’s a good reason we call it Fall where we live. Things fall. Fall is so simple and descriptive. Look out the window and watch the cascade of colorful leaves falling to the ground. The wind may grab them and twirl them in a frenzied dance as they fall, but fall they must.
I realize that Autumn isn’t the same everywhere. It doesn’t even come at the same time of year everywhere. But here in New England, the fiery festival runs from ‘ember to ‘ember. The first colors appear in September, heralding the beginning of the season. Autumn officially ends in December. But for me, the season is all about the Fall. And, I think that if you are lucky enough to live where the changing of the seasons is so beautiful, so dramatic, and so dependent on gravity, you ought to call it Fall, too.