Thursday, June 30, 2005

Lullaby by W.H. Auden

Lay your sleeping head, my love
Human on my faithless arm
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral
But in my arms 'til break of day
Let the living creature lie
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant, enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy
Universal love and hope
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit's carnal ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic, boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost
All the dreaded cards foretell
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find our mortal world enough
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Which Harry Potter character am I?

I scored as Albus Dumbledore.

Strong and powerful, you admirably defend your world and your charges against those who would seek to harm them. However, sometimes you can fail to do what you must because you care too much to cause suffering.

Shoot, I was hoping for Hermione.

Here's the link if you want to check it out:

A Few Questions For You

What's your favorite word? Generativity - according to Erik Erickson, this is the ability to look outside oneself and care for others, to do things that satisfy our "need to be needed"
What's your least favorite word? Paradigm - ugh, this word brings back bad memories of grad school, during which I looked in my closet one day and realized I no longer owned any item of clothing that wasn't black or navy blue (what does that say about my state-of-mind at that time?). I remember interchangeable professors droning on and on, endlessly: "Blah-blah-blah PARADIGM blah-blah-blah..."
What turns you on?
Intelligence & humor - an unbeatable combination, IMHO.
What turns you off? I'll quote Crosby, Stills & Nash, who wrote these lyrics to Suite Judy Blue Eyes a couple of light years ago: "...fear is the lock...and laughter the your heart..." This week there was a news story that there's now scientific evidence to support this idea: New research indicates the parts of the brain that govern fear and anxiety are switched off when a woman is having an orgasm, but remain active if she is faking. In the first study to map brain function during orgasm, scientists from the Netherlands...found that as a woman climaxes, an area of the brain governing emotional control is largely deactivated...Deactivation was visible in the amygdala, a part of the brain thought to be involved in the neurobiology of fear and anxiety." (Quoted from a story by Emma Ross, AP Medical Writer)
What sound or noise do you love? I love the soft sort of rif-rif-rif sound made by palm fronds moving in a breeze.
What sound or noise do you hate?
I always hate the sound of bad music blaring out of tinny speakers at restaurants, but I especially hate it when it interferes with my hearing the soft sort of rif-rif-rif sound made by palm fronds moving in a breeze.
What's your favorite curse word? My mom (whom I never heard swear) would be VERY upset about this, but I have to admit it's...hands-down, the f-word: FUCK!!!
What profession other than yours would you most like to attempt? Singer - I love to sing, although it's only fair to admit that I'm always encouraged not to.
What profession other than yours would you least like to attempt? Accountant - what's up with working with numbers all day? To me, this would be like watching paint dry.
If heaven exists, what would you most like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You made it!

word of the day: choosy

I've been reading David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and this afternoon I was feeling defiant. Dunno why, but reading DS does that to me. However, I'm unemployed and not in a relationship right now, so these days I'm sort of limited in what I have to be defiant about - mostly it's my adherence, or lack thereof, to the SB my defiant/bad woman mode I went to Gloria's and, defiantly eschewing the sub-thermal AC temperature inside the restaurant, I sat outside, at a granite-topped table near a potted palm, in the 96-degree, ozone-alert Dallas weather (which I kinda like), and downed a frozen margarita (defiantly drinking alone) with some spinach quesadillas (definitely, defiantly, not the SB lunch I was supposed to have, and therefore, in my frame of mind, a very satisfying lunch).

I was reading a chapter DS had written about hooking up (my phrase, not his). He wrote that he'd begun to wonder if he was going to be alone for the rest of his life, in part because of his long list of standards. That made perfect sense to me (having a long list of standards for Potential Boyfriends) and it got me to thinking about my own long list of standards. Recently I had a date with a guy who sounded promising, but 5 minutes into the date he asked me to tell him something "a little crazy" about myself. Of course, in retrospect I realize that my response should have been to ask him to tell me something a little crazy about himself, "so I can understand what you mean", but I'm not that smooth, so I answered honestly. I said, "Well, I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but when I was going out to my car this morning, I saw an almost-dead dragonfly on my doorstep..." I explained, "It was moving a little, but it was covered with a zillion tiny ants, so I picked it up and took it inside and rinsed the ants off with cool water, and then I put it in a glass bowl with some saran wrap on the top, so I could look at it later, because it's really if we were in my kitchen right now, that bowl with a dragonfly would be there, on the countertop...and I guess a lot of people might think that's a little crazy." He smiled at me and said, "That's CUTE! That's REALLY CUTE!" Aaaaarrrgggghhhh!!! Just like that, he went from Potential Boyfriend to Toast. He could have said it was interesting, or weird, or made any other number of comments, but I agree with DS, speech IS important, and like DS, I have a list of Disqualifying Words, and cute is on that list. Other Disqualifying Words on my list include (but aren't limited to) feminazi, paradigm, irregardless, world-class; Disqualifying Phrases include, I-don't-have-any-baggage, I-don't-have-much-time-for-reading; also, although age, race and weight are unimportant, they can't listen to smooth jazz or drink zinfandel or quote the Second Amendment...

MIT weblog survey

OK, I did the MIT weblog survey - what can I say? Having spent 5 1/2 years working in research (pediatric psychiatry, psychopharmacology) I have a soft spot for do your bit, here's the link:

Patrick's Saturday Six

1. What store do you associate most with your childhood in terms of happy memories and why? I grew up in a small college town in Minnesota in the 1960's, and a block from our house there was a one-room, Mom & Pop grocery store called "Leone & Lloyd's", coincidentally owned and operated by Leone and Lloyd. I visited that store at least once a day most weekdays from the time I was 10 (when we moved into the neighborhood) until I was 15 or 16. I'd stop in after school for a bag of chips, or my mom would send me to pick up a loaf of bread, or my older brother, who was 15 when I was 10, would send me to pick up cigarettes. He smoked Lucky Strikes and later, Pall Malls, each of which cost 25 cents a pack, and I'd charge him a nickel tip for running the errand for him. Yep, they sold cigarettes to minors back then, in the dark ages. I loved going there because Leone was almost always cooking some wonderful, fragrant soup in the back of the store, and I liked hanging around and sniffing and trying to guess the ingredients. Also, I was a talker and Leone and Lloyd had no kids, and maybe because of that they were patient with my chatter. Those were different times; I remember that Leone kept boxes of Kotex modestly wrapped in plain brown paper, which seemed a rather pointless endeavor to me even when I was 10, as nothing else in the store was wrapped up and everyone knew what you were buying when you walked up to the register with one of those boxes. The store is long gone, as are the 60's, and Lloyd, and Leone.
2. What song makes you the most emotional and why? Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton, for all the obvious reasons.
3. Take the Quiz: What year were you born under, and what year should you have been born under?
According to the Quiz, I was born under the Year of the Ox: You are solid, methodical, and you do things right the first time. Uh-huh, sure, could you tell that to my former boss, and while you're at it, to my ex? Even when no one else does, you always believe in yourself. Actually, being 6th of 7 kids, I have to admit I'm prone to self-doubt...LOTS of self-doubt. You tend to see the world in black and white, right or wrong. Sheesh, I have a graduate degree in PSYCHOLOGY, for Chrissake! I spend all my time looking at various nuances and infinite shades of grey... A good memory and eye for details means you tend to thrive at near impossible tasks. This is true; no need to go into detail here but this should also be mentioned to my former boss and my ex. You are most compatible with a snake or rooster. Um, I think this is supposed to read that I'm most compatible with those born under the year of the snake or rooster - see, there's that eye-for-detail thing rearing it's ugly head...)
According to the Quiz, I should have been born under the Year of the Ram: Your (sic) most comfortable inside your head (wtf? as opposed to outside my body?!?!?) and often daydream the day away. Alright, alright, guilty as charged - and btw, I've been accused of this (by my former boss and ex). You have an artistic temperament that makes you seem creative to some (e.g., friends and family) eccentric to others (e.g., former boss and ex). You avoid conflict at all costs, and you have a difficult time with relationships. Who, me? Um, dunno if it means anything, but I think I've gotten this same message multiple times in various fortune cookies. Attractive and with good manners, you tend to shine in social situations. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are most compatible with a Pig or Rabbit. Wellllll, I've been with my share of Pigs, thank you very much, and as for that Rabbit, as in Rabbit, run?
4. What time do you typically wake up each day? Aaaaarrrggghhh, left to my own devices, for the past few months I've had the luxury of waking at about 8:30 each morning, and I like it. What is the latest you're normally able to sleep? 10:30, and I feel like an absolute slug when I do - unless I'm not alone, in which case, like a pig in clover, I'm pretty happy about it! ;p - but I have to admit that hasn't happened since January. How many hours of sleep do you get in an average night? 6.
5. What frightens you the most about getting older? The thought of becoming dependent on others.
6. Reader's Choice Question #56 from Debit: If you found the house of your dreams, right price, then discovered that a murder or suicide had taken place in the house, would you still consider buying the house? No way.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Word of the Day: Class (or lack thereof)

I wrote this this morning in response to a letter from a cute guy from one of the internet dating sites asking where I'd lived in Colorado.

I lived for a while in Aspen, where my ex's family had a house for 50 years. I took my kids (I have 4) and went out there for a semester in the winter of 1991-92, partly as a sort of trial separation, and partly to clean out the detritus of 45 years left in that house after my father-in-law died. The house was in town, in the west end, overlooking Hallam Lake if you're familiar with Aspen. I'd put the kids on the bus for school (kindergarten, junior high and senior high), and then I'd work on the house. I was often rather grubby, in jeans and a sweatshirt, but a few locals had known me for 20 years and accepted me as a transplant and I didn't give a damn about the tourists. My father-in-law, a sophisticated Chicago patent lawyer (think John Houseman in The Paper Chase, right down to the bowtie) had enjoyed describing the house as "just a little Victorian miner's house", and so it was, sort of, but it was on 5 lots (we had the last horses in town) and had historical status (a pain in the butt when it comes to fixing anything) and there was a rustic looking guest house remodeled by a local architect in the '50's that looked like a red barn and was called, coincidentally, The Barn. And there was this amazing view of the lake, visible from both the deck of the barn and from the patio on the main house.

One morning when I walked out onto the patio I discovered two well-dressed women sitting there, quite at home, looking out at the lake. My father-in-law had never turned away anyone who simply asked if they could enjoy the view for a bit, and I'd always followed his example, but these women were chattering away and looked at me as if I were an intruder. When I said, "Excuse me, may I help you?", they exchanged a look, and then one said, "I don't know, maybe some coffee?" the risk of being as rude as they were, I told them it was my house, and they'd have to leave.

Word of the Day: Canary

I've spent the evening trying to think up a clever title for this blog; this being Dallas, and June, and 98 degrees or some such temperature, I've also spent approximately an hour watering various plants, front and back (front and back of house, not front and back of plants)...this after spending almost an hour planting 4 guara (guara lindheimeri),2 bougainvillea, a couple of shasta daisies and some moss roses that were languishing in their nursery pots; I've made myself a decent margarita that I drank while watching Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel, to wash down my SouthBeach-compliant dinner of green olives with slices of Extra-Sharp Cheddar (I know, I know, the margarita is NOT SB-compliant); and, having done all that...I've been thinking about dating at 50-something (I'm 55) and more specifically, internet dating...of which I've done (and may continue to do) my share...

I've had a couple of long-term relationships that came about as a result of internet dating, the most recent of which ended in January...anyway, by long term, I mean 18 months...18 months seems to be a sort of watershed mark for me in terms of dating; so far, since my divorce, after 26 years of marriage, in December 1999, I haven't had a dating relationship that's lasted longer than 18 months...although I've made some good friends, and the friendships have lasted considerably longer than 18 months...anyway, I have a profile up on 4 internet dating websites, nevermind which ones...and I get my share of responses...but to my dismay, I always seem to attracted the Walking Wounded...

I'm currently Unemployed (defnitely a subject for another entry)...and it's occurred to me that there's a job that I never see listed on for which I'm Made in Heaven, and that is, the 21st century equivalent of the Mine Canary...for those of you who don't catch this reference, canaries were used in coal mines as recently as 1986 as an Early Warning System to warn miners of Toxic Gases, e.g., carbon monoxide or methane...perhaps you've seen this on old black and white movies; a miner would walk through a darkened mine with his headlamp shining faintly on a happily singing canary...but if the canary suddenly stopped singing or, even worse, dropped DEAD...then the miner knew he needed to get the %*%#! out of there....I'm like that with guys: doctors, lawyers, architects, captains of matter how high-functioning they appear, if they're attracted to me, they're about to have a breakdown/midlife crisis, etc...maybe Donald Trump or President Bush could hire me (Note: I'd never actually, under any circumstances, consider working for the Shrub, in any capacity). I'd get all gussied up and walk through Trump's offices or The White House (see disclaimer, above)...and they'd know, whoever's attracted to matter how stable he appears...he's Not Sound, and he needs to be given a Leave of Absence while he sorts it out...

Word of the Day: Canary