Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

To Myself

Even when I forget you
I go on looking for you
I believe I would know you
I keep remembering you
sometimes long ago but then
other times I am sure you
were here a moment before
and the air is still alive
around where you were and I
think then I can recognize
you who are always the same
who pretend to be time but
you are not time and who speak
in the words but you are not
what they say you who are not
lost when I do not find you

(Anonymous)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Quote.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
(Winston Churchill)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Monarch.


I was working in my yard this morning and early afternoon. My backyard is covered by an umbrella of tall oak trees and two smaller, lovely Japanese Maples who thrive in the shadows. Well, that's the way it has been. After Hurricane Irene, my smaller trees (the two Japanese Maples) were flattened by the massive falling limbs from the larger oak trees. The larger one came back to life and is absolutely amazing. It probably needs to be "trained" to stand up a little straighter, but other than that, it is thriving. The other Japanese maple also seemed to come to life. But it seemed to have some problems with its buds turning in to leaves.

I had a "tree guy" here a week or so ago to give me a price to remove the broken and damaged limbs from the larger trees (as many of these limbs are still sitting and waiting to come crashing down on me or my house, or both --- whenever it's windy, I stay out of the back yard). I showed Mr. Tree the small Japanese Maple, and he snipped off some of the nascent buds, and told me that the "trauma" of the hurricane had probably stunted it's growth process for this year, but the tree was still alive.

I'm a huge fan of pruning trees, bushes, what have you. My goal for the day was to prune a trio of gangly lilac trees/bushes that barely bloomed this spring. And some other miscellaneous shrubs that were in serious need of a hair cut. I spent some time looking at the sad Japanese Maple. I cut a few pieces off, looked at the buds, and it appeared to me that there was no life inside. Nothing green. Just that off-white center that ultimately becomes breakable. Was this a sign that this tree might be dead or dying? I just don't know right now. So, for the rest of the morning, I went into mourning mode for this once healthy young tree. I definitely plan to give it more time. I am not going to give up on it so fast. But still, I felt my tree was gone.

As I was loading my brown paper bags with miscellaneous and sundry clippings from my pruning-fest, I noticed a monarch butterfly alight upon my sad tree. I didn't get too close. But the butterfly was not at all started by the crackling of the bags or me packing them tight. He just sat on the tree. Was the butterfly aware that the tree may be dead? Or did my minor clipping open up some tree nector for this butterfly that I did not see.

I am hoping the arrival of this butterfly was a signal that my struggling tree will survive.

Memory.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Entitlement

"People are led to have a sense of entitlement because they falsely believe they are owed something based on the social roles that they have taken for themselves." ~ Francois Tremblay


"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." ~ Dwight Eisenhower


I admit it. I am an angry person. Lots of things make me mad. But I'm at a time in my life where fewer things make me mad, but the ones that do, enrage me. And, to top it off, these things that enrage me are things I can do absolutely nothing about.

On the top of my list of rage-inducing behaviors and attitudes is the concept of "Entitlement." Have you ever noticed that the people who are fighting to destroy the social safety net are the ones with the most virulent cases of the social disease I call "Entitlement?" Some people are safely ensconced in their entitlement. They can be that way and all the people around them are that way, and, for the most part they are inoculated from the rest of the riff-raff of the world.

Then there are those who feel that they are inherently (for whatever reason or reasons) "Entitled", but they see no fruit being borne from their Entitlement Tree. It's The Women. It's The Minorities. It's the Poor. All these people have slipped in, unforeseen, and shattered the dreams of our Entitled friends and neighbors.

More to follow ...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It's MudTime and Springy!

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious ...
when the world is puddle-wonderful

~ E. E. Cummings

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Looking for Mr. Marlowe

I decided this morning that what I TRULY need right now is my regular Raymond Chandler "fix" --- where I curl up and read two or three of his novels in a row, without barely removing myself from my cozy cocoon of comforters, blankets and pillows; rising, perhaps, only for the occasional cup of tea.

Chandler's Marlowe reminds me that there really is nothing, nothing at all, new in this world. He confirms that my profound cynism is not wrong, and that it is, in fact, a necessary survival mechanism. He reminds me, as well, that despite my cynicism, it is of utmost importance that I hold on to my (annoying to some, perhaps --- actually, annoying to many) avid curiosity about the 'who what when where whys" of situations I encounter. I have found over the years that most people prefer to be numb to the 'who what when where and why's' of life. And when you encourage them to look beyond the surface, they brush you off, they get mad and frustrated and they let you know that asking questions "isn't allowed." That's my experience, at least.

I've probably had far too much therapy over the years. That probably explains why I have to ask so many questions.

Anyway, in the end, Mr. Marlowe reminds that being aloof can be the one characteristic that will save your life, perhaps even your soul. Wait for it. Stuff is gonna happen. It always does. It may not be pretty; or the "pretty" will more likely be the just the shiny outer shell of a dead carcass.

Man has always been a venal animal. The growth of populations, the huge costs of war, the incessant pressure of confiscatory taxation – all these things make him more and more venal. The average man is tired and scared, and a tired, scared man can’t afford ideals. He has to buy food for his family. In our time we have seen a shocking decline in both public and private morals. You can’t expect quality from people whose lives are a subjection to a lack of quality. You can’t have quality with mass production. You don’t want it because it lasts too long. So you substitute styling, which is a commercial swindle intended to produce artificial obsolescence. Mass production couldn’t sell its goods next year unless it made what is sold this year look unfashionable a year from now. We have the whitest kitchens and the most shining bathrooms in the world. But in the lovely white kitchen the average [person] can’t produce a meal fit to eat, and the lovely shining bathroom is mostly a receptacle for deodorants, laxatives, sleeping pills, and the products of that confidence racket called the cosmetic industry. We make the finest packages in the world, Mr Marlowe. The stuff inside is mostly junk.

Raymond Chandler, from "The Long Goodbye"


Saturday, April 28, 2012

We've All Been There.



Breathe
(Waters, Gilmour, Wright)

Breathe, breathe in the air.
Don't be afraid to care.
Leave but don't leave me.
Look around and choose your own ground.

Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.

Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one.

For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave.


[The abrupt ending of this video is unfortunate.]

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Unfairness of it All ... A Friday Rant

Well, maybe not entirely.

But I do find it kind of strange that having worked in an industry (granted, a male dominated one ... probably the last bastion for the testosterone-laden crowd) for my entire professional career; having pursued all kinds of continuing education and having earned an MBA while working full-time in the process, no one will hire me. Yes, I've run my own business for close to 14 years; but, honestly, I would think that would be a plus in my column for a management position. Hell, I'm willing to take a job as a well-paid technical person.

But no. I am told that the "professionals" in the field at these companies will not "take [me] seriously." Why, I ask? Never a response. Then, when I see a friend of mine, a person of the opposite gender and older than me (whom I've actually hired to work for me on projects in the past and found him to be entirely timid about putting one number down on paper, or, as I've subsequently found out, not wanting to be associated with me professional basis, AND who is probably THE laziest person in the field that I have ever encountered), being offered a $150,000-year job with a substantial benefits package. His new job similar to the many (and believe me, I never, ever for a salary like that) that were denied me because of that entirely smelly question: "well, will the "professionals" take her seriously?" Hell yeah they will -- and Hell yeah they should. I have more experience under my belt than any person I know in the industry. My work stands up against any other estimator in NYC and beyond.

But, as we all know, it's those "intangibles" that get you the job. Who do you know? (Or, in NYC terms, or at least when I started out, one needed a "rabbi" [sic] to push your career along.) My one and only "rabbi" ultimately was indicted for bid rigging and a few other choice transgressions. So. Bye bye "rabbi." Which was good, for me, in the end. My career may be ending do to age and sex discrimination, but, hey, I was always the "good guy" ... I saw but never knowingly participated in any of the nefarious goings on. And my "rabbi" ... he was, despite being a sociopath and a convicted and jailed criminal, was quite good to me. He knew I was a relatively fragile soul fresh from the Jersey Shore, and kept me out of places and situations that would professional compromise me.

So, as I plan my future, 25-odd years later, I am looking at ways to redirect my career. I will be starting an MS program in Accounting at the university where I obtained my MBA. Adding accounting to my current skill set "might" open some new doors. Although, really, who wants to take a graduate accounting program when one should be at a point where one should be planning all those cool things that one missed out ... trips ... gardening ... reading poetry ... becoming fluent in another language ... volunteering.

But the bottom line is, why is that people like me, hard working, committed, entrepreneurial woman, are put into a position where it appears the only way to move forward is to get another degree? And even that plan is clearly dubious. People say, why another another degree? You are over-educated as it is. My response: I'm over-qualified and over-educated and I'm a woman in a man's field. In my early years I saw young men my own age being promoted right and left. And you know what, they're still stupid. I support myself, a house and two cats. Not willing to give them up. Is more education the answer? Perhaps not. But I like school. But, also, perhaps the contacts I make while pursuing this new degree will open some new doors. AND, as a minor anecdote, when I finished my MBA, I went to the school's "placement office" ... and they told me the only graduate majors they were placing at the time were Accounting majors. Well, of course, that was only after the placement director put his head close to mine and told me my hair "smelled nice." WTF?

Anyway, despite my obvious despair, I am NOT nor have I ever been, one to give up. Life is a never-ending challenge. Or at least that's how I see it. And one of the key drivers of my career has been when people told me that as a woman, I'll never make it. What drove me (for better or worse) was the "I'll Show You" attitude. And I did. I showed a lot of people. But right now, I'm not looking to "show" anybody anything. I am working to ensure that I can pay my mortgage and feed myself and my cats.

Rant Officially Over.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chaos - Partie Deux


Cet amour
Si violent
Si fragile
Si tendre
Si désespéré
Cet amour
Beau comme le jour
Et mauvais comme le temps
Quand le temps est mauvais
Cet amour si vrai
Cet amour si beau
Si heureux
Si joyeux
Et si dérisoire
Tremblant de peur comme un enfant dans le noir
Et si sûr de lui
Comme un homme tranquille au millieu de la nuit
Cet amour qu faisait peur aux autres
Qui les faisait parler
Qui les faisait blêmir
Cet amour guetté
Parce que nous le guettions
Traqué blessé piétiné achevé nié oublié
Parce que nous l'avons traqué blessé piétiné achevé nié oublié
Cet amour tout entier
Si vivant encore
Et tout ensoleillé
C'est le tien
C'est le mien
Celui qui a été
Cette chose toujours nouvelle
Et qui n'a pas changé
Aussi vrai qu'une plante
Aussi tremblante qu'un oiseau
Aussi chaude aussi vivant que l'été
Nous pouvons tous les deux
Aller et revenir
Nous pouvons oublier
Et puis nous rendormir
Nous réveiller souffrir vieillir
Nous endormir encore
Rêver à la mort,
Nous éveiller sourire et rire
Et rajeunir
Notre amour reste là
Têtu comme une bourrique
Vivant comme le désir
Cruel comme la mémoire
Bête comme les regrets
Tendre comme le souvenir
Froid comme le marble
Beau comme le jour
Fragile comme un enfant
Il nous regarde en souriant
Et il nous parle sans rien dire
Et moi je l'écoute en tremblant
Et je crie
Je crie pour toi
Je crie pour moi
Je te supplie
Pour toi pour moi et pour tous ceux qui s'aiment
Et qui se sont aimés
Oui je lui crie
Pour toi pour moi et pour tous les autres
Que je ne connais pas
Reste là
Lá où tu es
Lá où tu étais autrefois
Reste là
Ne bouge pas
Ne t'en va pas
Nous qui sommes aimés
Nous t'avons oublié
Toi ne nous oublie pas
Nous n'avions que toi sur la terre
Ne nous laisse pas devenir froids
Beaucoup plus loin toujours
Et n'importe où
Donne-nous signe de vie
Beaucoup plus tard au coin d'un bois
Dans la forêt de la mémoire
Surgis soudain
Tends-nous la main
Et sauve-nous.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chaos

You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star. (Nietzsche)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Quote

“It is not pleasant to experience decay, to find yourself exposed to the ravages of an almost daily rain, and to know that you are turning into something feeble, that more and more of you will blow off with the first strong wind, making you less and less. Some people accumulate more emotional rust than others. Depression starts out insipid, fogs the days into a dull color, weakens ordinary actions until their clear shapes are obscured by the effort they require, leaves you tired and bored and self-obsessed- but you can get through all that. Not happily, perhaps, but you can get through. No one has ever been able to define the collapse point that marks major depression, but when you get there, there’s not much mistaking it.”
~ Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mercy ...



45 Mercy Street

In my dream,
drilling into the marrow
of my entire bone,
my real dream,
I'm walking up and down Beacon Hill
searching for a street sign -
namely MERCY STREET.
Not there.

I try the Back Bay.
Not there.
Not there.
And yet I know the number.
45 Mercy Street.
I know the stained-glass window
of the foyer,
the three flights of the house
with its parquet floors.
I know the furniture and
mother, grandmother, great-grandmother,
the servants.
I know the cupboard of Spode
the boat of ice, solid silver,
where the butter sits in neat squares
like strange giant's teeth
on the big mahogany table.
I know it well.
Not there.

Where did you go?
45 Mercy Street,
with great-grandmother
kneeling in her whale-bone corset
and praying gently but fiercely
to the wash basin,
at five A.M.
at noon
dozing in her wiggy rocker,
grandfather taking a nap in the pantry,
grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid,
and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower
on her forehead to cover the curl
of when she was good and when she was...
And where she was begat
and in a generation
the third she will beget,
me,
with the stranger's seed blooming
into the flower called Horrid.

I walk in a yellow dress
and a white pocketbook stuffed with cigarettes,
enough pills, my wallet, my keys,
and being twenty-eight, or is it forty-five?
I walk. I walk.
I hold matches at street signs
for it is dark,
as dark as the leathery dead
and I have lost my green Ford,
my house in the suburbs,
two little kids
sucked up like pollen by the bee in me
and a husband
who has wiped off his eyes
in order not to see my inside out
and I am walking and looking
and this is no dream
just my oily life
where the people are alibis
and the street is unfindable for an
entire lifetime.

Pull the shades down -
I don't care!
Bolt the door, mercy,
erase the number,
rip down the street sign,
what can it matter,
what can it matter to this cheapskate
who wants to own the past
that went out on a dead ship
and left me only with paper?

Not there.

I open my pocketbook,
as women do,
and fish swim back and forth
between the dollars and the lipstick.
I pick them out,
one by one
and throw them at the street signs,
and shoot my pocketbook
into the Charles River.
Next I pull the dream off
and slam into the cement wall
of the clumsy calendar
I live in,
my life,
and its hauled up
notebooks.

Anne Sexton

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Triumph of the Infinite

I got up in the night and went to the end of the hall. Over the
door in large letters it said, "This is the next life. Please come
in." I opened the door. Across the room a bearded man in a
pale-green suit turned to me and said, "Better get ready, we're
taking the long way." "Now I'll wake up," I thought, but I was
wrong. We began our journey over golden tundra and patches
of ice. Then there was nothing for miles around, and all I could
hear was my heart pumping and pumping so hard I thought I
would die all over again.

~ Mark Strand (from "Almost Invisible")

Tuesday, April 10, 2012