Tag Archives: grief

Don’t let February sneak up on you

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I haven’t yet prepped for my Light Box month this year, even though I’m 4 days into it. Maybe it’s time to check out Light Boxes again. The trick will be to keep myself mentally and physically healthy in a month that is typically hard for me, on top of the extra stress that I’m already experiencing.

Meanwhile, I’m falling asleep at the keyboard again. Apparently my body is trying to keep me on my new weekday schedule (even though it had no problem letting me sleep in very late this morning). Signing off to finish up The Well of Lost Plots. So much going on that I’ve not dedicated too much reading time the last few weeks—it’s taking me forever to get through this one.

Remembering and missing my friend Deimos

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One year ago today I lost my friend Deimos. I’m reminded almost daily of his goofy, confident, noisy Presence.

I miss a herd of hounds rushing down the stairs to meet me at the door, Old Greybeard in the lead. I miss that he was so excited for walks or going anywhere in the car, that he wouldn’t stand still to hook up the lead. I miss having a buddy to say with strategic snout placement and that weird low greyhound woof, “Hey, you’ve worked enough, get off the computer!” I miss a not-so-secret 75 lbs of sneaking up onto the bed on chilly nights. Most of all I miss the individual soul that left such a gaping hole behind.

The story of Deimos:

Scalloped potatoes, orange globes, and funky claymation

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Red Orange Orb on a warm smokey September day

Pilot Butte: Smokey Orb

I had been craving Herbed Scalloped Potatoes since I saw the  recipe the other day in The 30-Day Vegan Challenge. They are in the oven, smell great, and hopefully will be done soon. (They are taking a lot longer than I expected.)

Recently, I heard a medical doctor reference an old study in which the subjects were fed only potatoes and B12 supplements for years and actually did quite well (he also mentioned how nobody would be permitted to do a similar study today). Not that I’d want to test it out myself. But as he pointed out, many Irish also survived for years on not a whole lot more than potatoes during the famine.

Late this afternoon after work, I sat outside and enjoyed the warmth while letting all four kitties run around the back yard. I love doing that. Only had one escapee over the side fence (Nevermore) and I was able to retrieve her pretty quickly. It’s been so nice—it was around 80° at 8p tonight.

In the early evening I hiked Pilot Butte. As I arrived, a wedding party was beginning their walk to the top. I know that people sometimes get married up there, but how fun to hike up first! Of course, I’m assuming they were getting married from the makeup of the group and the way they were dressed, and the fact that they were taking the road, not the trail. Plus, when I got to the top there were a bunch of other people who had obviously driven up for the ceremony and were waiting around.

There was a brilliant and fiery red-orange orb of a sun to greet them, thanks to a smoke cloud from yet another fire.

This evening, as the potatoes are cooking, I’ve been watching one of the first things that popped up on Netflix—this quirky claymation called Mary and Max with two of my favorite character actors, Toni Collette and Philip Seymour Hoffman, as the voices of the main characters. Normally, I don’t enjoy animations (especially claymations) very much, but this fit my mood well—it’s dark and odd.

Guilty TV, various shades of blue, and what to do with celeriac

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Ahh. Guilty pleasures: Biggest Loser and Parenthood on Hulu. I’ve hardly watched any TV at all this summer, but now at least I have a few things to watch other than The Daily Show, to shut my brain off once in a while. And soon: Glee.

We’ve had such a beautiful warm Fall. And we deserve it after the long, cold, crappy spring and subsequent very short summer. Today I hiked Pilot Butte at lunch and every time I got to the west side I was amazed at the clarity of the mountains against the endless blue sky. I should get out in it every day, because so soon it will be biting cold. And/or snowing.

I’ve been a little down these last few days. Not sure what it is: Change of season? Finally slowing down a little with no travel planned? Processing and reacting to the culture clash of the Portland vegan world versus my everyday world? Extra time on my hands and time to myself because the kids are back home? Something seems a little empty, a little off. It will probably right itself one of these days.

In the meantime, I’ll keep baking bread {like the aromatic kalamata olive bread that just came out of the oven}, and loving on my hubby and animals. Also, I bought celeriac at the farmer’s market today, just to try something new—it smells so good! Can’t wait to use it in a soup or maybe a slaw, which was a suggestion from the stand worker.

Persnickety audio files and greyhound ghosts

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It’s Saturday and I shouldn’t be so exhausted. But I spent hours last night and a giant chunk of my Saturday wrestling with a persnickety audio file and finishing up the rest of next week’s show. These things happen. The great thing about working on a radio show by yourself is that you get to make all the decisions. The bad thing about working on a radio show by yourself is that you have to make all of the decisions. Good thing that my co-host and I don’t go out of town too often.

I came home and totally tuned out by cooking some simple pasta and watching several hours of Hulu. Haven’t done that for a long time: I’ve hardly watched any TV this summer.

And tonight, I have nothing else left for the blog. I’m going to go read, and sleep, perhaps dreaming of greyhounds. Deimos has been visiting me lately.

Sunday recap: butte, goodbye twins, banana french toast, the show, upcoming blogging events

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Sunday recap: Walked the butte for the last time this summer with the twins, made french toast with leftover and slightly undercooked “banana bread,” made sure the twins were packed and ready to go and said goodbye to them for the summer {boo!}, read a couple of sci-fi short stories, and worked on the show for 4 hours or so {laptop, back porch, with cats} during which the sky clouded over and grumbled quite a bit, but never lost its temper and started crashing things around.

(I also spent a few hours Saturday and Sunday at the station working on the show with my co-host, who is going out-of-town. I’m trying to get ahead because I need to finish the show up on my own and it’s due in a week—I think I’m in good shape, though, especially since I have time booked at the station tomorrow night.)

I’ve been thinking about what’s coming up this fall blogging-wise: Vegan MoFo (Word is, it will be October, but I don’t see an update on the website yet), NaNoWriMo, Reverb. Wondering if I’ll have time to do both NaNoWriMo and the radio show? NaNoWriMo (plus blogging every day, kick-started by NaBloPoMo) was really cathartic last year, especially since we lost Deimos that month, so I hope to do it again.

I’m going to attempt early bedtimes this week, since work is going to be just as bad this week as last, with early morning meetings, long days, and high expectations. So, good night.

Saramago: run-on paragraphs and the art of translation

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Death With Interruptions by Jose Saramago

I recently finished Death With Interruptions, by José Saramago. This is my second Saramago book. I think I may have discovered him through Ursula Le Guin’s blog. The Notebook didn’t really draw me in, but I went on to read All The Names, which did. I found myself wishing the other day, as I was reading Death With Interruptions, that I could read Saramago in the language in which it was written—Portuguese. Long ago, I was living in Spain and was getting pretty comfortable with Spanish (mostly lost now). I will always remember how mind opening it was to read a book in its original language, that I had formerly read in English. Or more interesting yet, reading a book that I had formerly read in English translation, i.e., Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being—but this time in Spanish.

The art of the translator is not celebrated enough. To convey nuance, tone, and expression, to choose appropriate slang and context. It must be especially tough with an author like Saramago who runs on sentences and paragraphs for pages, who seems to only loosely follow punctuation and grammar rules. Or maybe it is just that he has his own rules, and quotation marks and paragraph returns are not included. I especially admired that in Death With Interruptions, there is a page in the book that says to the reader something like, hey, you remember that guy I mentioned on page X, yeah, that guy, well… And sure enough, if you flip to page X, it’s the page where that character was mentioned. It’s pretty cool to think they have to keep those two pages in sync throughout different versions and language translations! Hmm, the same person translated both books: Margaret Jull Costa. Nicely done. I think. I’ll never really know unless I learn to read Portuguese.

It’s like watching a foreign film. After a while, your brain stops trying so hard and you’re able to read the subtitles and follow the flow without consciously thinking about it. When I read Saramago, at first I’m annoyed that everything seems to run together, but after a while I find that I’m engaged and am able to follow different trains of thought, action, and dialog without all of the usual markers. And it is more intimate, somehow. What it lacks in clarity, it makes up for in feeling and perspective.

Do I get José Saramago? I doubt it. I don’t pretend to understand what the whole long metaphor means about death taking a holiday in a certain country and then changing her mind and giving everyone about to die a week’s notice with violet-colored letters, and then falling in love with somebody to whom she can’t seem to deliver his death notice… I can guess at the meaning, see a glimpse of what he might have been intending, and that’s it. But I love that both Death With Interruptions and All Then Names make me think about death in a way that I haven’t before. And prompt me to think about language in ways I haven’t before. That’s why I pulled this quote out the other day, and I don’t mind repeating it here:

It’s called metamorphosis, everyone knows that, said the apprentice philosopher condescendingly, That’s a very fine-sounding word, full of promises and certainties, you say metamorphosis and move on, it seems you don’t understand that words are the labels we stick on things, not the things themselves, you’ll never know what the things are really like, nor even what their real names are, because the names you gave them are just that, the names you gave them, …

Do you ever hear a word, and it just doesn’t sound right? You roll it over and over on your tongue, and it just sounds strange that day. Or you see it written, and you wonder why you never noticed the shape the letters make together. We rarely ever stop to separate out the sound or shape of the word from the meaning of the word. In fact, for me, the same words can sometimes seem like different words in my brain according to the context they are used in. This seems true to me—”words are the labels we stick on things, not the things themselves.” Of course. We do our damnedest but we have only brushed the surface of the truth of the thing that we are describing.