OK. Now you are really wondering if I am completely off the rocker? I have no connection whatsoever to any branch of the U.S. Military, and only one to the Canadian Military. I am not sure of the exact numbers, but I believe there are approximately 3,000 Canadian troops in Afghanistan and 80,000 or 90,000 U.S. (and some still in Iraq... ). I believe there are 9,000 British and numbers from Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Poland, Denmark, and many other countries over there. There are plans for troop withdrawals in 2011, ten years after the war was started, but who knows?
Pardon me I'm going to be blunt here. Maybe every once in a while you catch the news and hear about a soldier from some such country being killed. Maybe you pay attention, maybe you don't. You very rarely hear about the two or three guys next to him who didn't die but were wounded. There is a reason why you don't hear about them right away, but this is also why we tend to forget about them. I have read a fair bit about Soldiers Angels and the great things they do. When I read about Project VALOUR IT the other day, I figured "why not." The next question was, do I just put a little button saying "learn more" or "give now"? or something a little more "in your face"? So, I determined to read more and ponder on it. When I decided I would go the "in your face" route, I then had to decide Team Army or Team Marines? The thought of the Air Force or Navy never even crossed my mind, until I looked at the number of bloggers on each team and the money they had already raised. The Navy Team only had three blogs listed at the time and had raised only $425. Then I clicked on a couple of the blogs to check them out, and the one that turned my vote to Team Navy was Boston Maggie. I have other reasons, but I'll get to that in a sec.
I know I have very few visitors here, but if I can get even one person to donate in order to enable some wounded warrior to communicate with his or her loved ones, to diarize his or her thoughts, or even blog like the man himself (read more here), then I have at least accomplished something, however small it may be. I know I can't afford to donate myself, but I hope to help in some way. So to the five people that visit here, please do read a bit more or just go for it (donate) and then let someone else know about it. Also, I would be extremely pleased IF you do donate, please drop me an email or comment to let me know (sign in anonymous if you wish), not how much, just that you did, and it will make my day.
I had been thinking about my other reasons for going with Team Navy. I like water? The colour of their campaign thermometer widget thing matches my blog? They live in cramped quarters and hardly get out? (Who does that sound like?) I like the ocean? Navy SEALs? I went canoeing once? They seem to be overlooked? One of my grandpas (the one that didn't talk) was a fisherman with a boat before WWII? Done deal. Go Team Navy.
There you have it. I have gone soooooo far outside myself agaaaaiiiiinnnnn.... please help make Team Navy at least respectable. (Put your hands on your hips, throw your head back and laugh.)
Come on people of BC! ...and the four people from Ontario, if you ever come back, and anyone else that stumbles over here.
So anyone who actually knows my identity outside of Spockgirl, if you are stopping by to read at all, you may perhaps still be wondering what the heck is going on with me, or maybe not. Only two of you ever email or comment here! Just so you know, it is very much appreciated. So, as I write this, I am thinking that technically, I have been moving as slowly as the antiques, which is indeed a scary thought. Soon I will begin collecting dust myself, and next time you visit, you just might find my frozen, cobwebbed corpse sitting in front of the laptop. Halloween is one of my two favourite times of the year, so it would be appropriate I suppose. The spirit seems to have left me and I haven't even pulled out the two trunks of stuff yet. I do however have a rather nice-looking.... pumpkin, which may provide the inspiration I need. I've got two days to get my sorry ass moving or my Halloween is going to end up looking like my standard New Year's Eve. Wouldn't want that.
Now, since I have actually been writing about my personal life on the blog, which is something that I did NOT want to do, I'm just winging it now. What the hell, eh? I've come this far, why not?
It would appear that I am now making up for all the sleep I didn't get and all the food I didn't eat for those two months during the summer. Just the perfect time of year for hibernation, especially with all the extra tiny morsels of chocolate and whatnot that are just sitting around here, saying... eat me. And to boot, the house is freezing, even though it hasn't even gone below zero yet. But, at least I can bundle up and am actually sleeping. Wahoo.
As for the blog, you may or may not have read this, which provides further background. So, since I decided to continue blogging, I have added a few new things to the sidebar, which might seem odd, but hey, I figured, why not? I'm not searching for these things, but for some reason I am finding them.
"Z" - mom's second to last cat went shortly after Sasha.
The only reason I am able to post these photos without having the benefit of a scanner, is because they were taken in the '90s when I actually had a real camera, and the resolution was good enough such that I was able to get them enlarged to 11 x 14. When I found the enlarged photos, I took pictures of them with the cell phone camera, et voila... here they are.
I have made so many departures from the norm this year, and in the past two years, which I do believe to be a good thing, but, of course I realize that a departure with no destination is rather counter-productive. This reminds me of a quote by an author I used to read:
It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. Ursula K. Le Guin
So it seems, further to writing this, that I shall continue to blog and do things blog related for the time being. I had lost my balance, my bearing and my brain for a while, and, well, I'm still working on regaining one or all three in their entirety. I'm not quite sure where exactly I am at this point, but while life in general remains elusive, this at least can still keep part of my mind occupied. All I can say is that if my life is an unwritten book, then I've had writer's block for almost nine months now. It is definitely going to be a long, cold winter, so I have got to get moving on something soon. I just don't know what yet.
This is another big departure, as I'm sharing a little piece of me that seems slightly "fluffy" when you look at it. However, I like to think of it as a little corner of "zen". Weird combination I know. I wrote the poem last October, but I took the photo this October, just last week, whilst mowing the lawn for what should be the last time until spring. With the cell phone camera, it is pretty much hit or miss when taking pictures (as you can tell by a lot that I have posted on the blog), and when the sun is involved, even moreso. In this one, the light from the sun was shapeless, with the pink aureole which I wasn't particularly fond of. I was going to post the photo with the poem beside it or under it, but decided to try it out this way. Strange thing is that the poem fit right into the shapeless form of the sun. Who would have thoughtI could get a half decent photo and a sunburn in late October.
The trailer for the latest incarnation of “Robin Hood”, which was directed by Ridley Scott and starred Russell Crowe, looked great, which isn’t always a good sign. Often, if the trailer seems fabulous, then it has taken the bestest bits of the movie and crammed it into a few minutes for a quickie version.
This movie on its own merits was a good show, with the screenplay having been written by Brian Helgeland, who also wrote LA Confidential, A Knight’s Tale and Man on Fire, among others. The supporting cast was well done, and included Cate Blanchett, Kevin Durand (looks surprisingly hot as Little John, compared to his role in Wolverine), Mark Addy (who else but Friar Tuck), Mark Strong (playing yet another bad-ass), Danny Huston (didn’t even recognize him) and William Hurt (almost didn’t recognize him – he looks ancient!).
I must say that Ridley Scott has directed a few of my favourite movies and some that I am quite fond of, the list of which includes Aliens, Bladerunner, Legend, Someone to Watch over Me, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom of Heaven and A Good Year. For some reason though, Robin Hood seemed to have a “been there, done that” feeling to it, due to its texture, tone and style being a blend of Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and a Knight's Tale, with a touch of King Arthur and Lord of the Flies thrown in. If you have enjoyed Mr. Scott’s prior movies, there is a possibility that this one might be perhaps a little disappointing. Some things that did help it along were the twist on the traditional tale, the strength of Cate Blanchett and her character, and the writer’s sense of humour as evidenced by the three “merry men”. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the look, feel, and the meat of the movie, and I’m all for skirmishes and castle sieges, but it just seemed to be lacking... something. Hmm... I am still wondering what it was. All I can think of is that although the twist in the tale helped the movie, ... the turn that followed later in the story seemed a tad too contrived, for lack of a better word.
As for Russell Crowe, who has been on my “like” list since I first saw him in “Romper Stomper”, “the Quick and the Dead” and “Virtuosity”, he seems to have lost a bit of his former spirit... his “je ne sais quoi”... Maybe it’s just age catching up with him, maybe it’s just me. Now, another thing. It has been a while, maybe ten days, since I started writing this, and now I can't even remember if there was an actual final "man to man" fight sequence. Not a good sign, all around. Hey, didn't I say that already? As a point of interest, I would probably watch it again.
When I took this picture today, I thought about this which got me to thinking about this kid named Billy, (yeah he's 26 and I'm calling him a kid... jeesh) who I do not know, but that is neither here nor there. Thinking of him lead me to think about Bill in PG, because his mom in law stopped by for a chat on the porch today. PG lead me to think about Ms. T's sister Joyce and mom, Terry. Since Terry lives here, that made me think of neighbour Ted, Erica up the street and Linda at the bank. Billy, Bill, Joyce, Terry, Ted, Erica and Linda. I do not know them all that very well, but one thing I do know is that they are fighters, all. Their battles are different, but their enemy is the same.
Now, I am not a touchy, feely, huggy sort of person, and I lean away from sappy mushiness, but I may be softening up some as I get older. That being said, I stand by my words: Fight, Pray, Love.
I don't believe I have ever had a ladybug land on me before this year. This summer it happened three times. I also don’t remember ever having seen so many white butterflies flying around. The oddest thing is that on three separate occasions this summer, one white butterfly fluttered in front of me, only to be joined by a second, and in all three instances, they flew off together. The ladybug situation I could attribute to the fact that I may have had the scent of lavender on my skin. The pairing of white butterflies, however, remains a mystery. I like to think that these were signs of good luck or hope for the future, because, as it stands now, this year has sucked... big time.
He whom a dream hath possessed knoweth no more of doubting For mist and the blowing of winds and the mouthing of words he scorns; Not the sinuous speech of schools he hears, but a knightly shouting, And never comes darkness down, yet he greeteth a million morns.
He whom a dream hath possessed knoweth no more of roaming; All roads and the flowing of waves and the speediest flight he knows, But wherever his feet are set, his soul is forever homing, And going, he comes, and coming he heareth a call and goes.
He whom a dream hath possessed knoweth no more of sorrow, At death and the dropping of leaves and the fading of suns he smiles, For a dream remembers no past and scorns the desire of a morrow, And a dream in a sea of doom sets surely the ultimate isles.
He whom a dream hath possessed treads the impalpable marches, From the dust of the day’s long road he leaps to a laughing star, And the ruin of worlds that fall he views from eternal arches, And rides God’s battlefield in a flashing and golden car.
To honour the fallen...
Utah, Va, Wis, Mo, Ore, Cali, Ga, La, Fla, Pa, Nev, Ill and Poland in the past six days
In a drafty old house there is a table. On that table there sits a completed jigsaw puzzle. One day an invisible hand brushes by the table and the jigsaw puzzle slowly starts to slide off. As it falls, the pieces begin to separate and land quietly on the floor. Some of the pieces are still connected, some are not. Some are lying face up and some face down. It is possible that one or more of the puzzle pieces may have fallen down a vent and will not be recovered. The house is empty and silent.
So, how does one deal with this? Should we sweep up the pieces and put them in a box? Or do we attempt to restore order? Should we put the puzzle back together? It might be quicker and easier to simply put the puzzle back together on the floor to at least have some semblance of completeness. However I would question this “quick fix”, and suggest picking up the pieces of the puzzle and placing them on the table before starting to put the whole thing back together. If we put the puzzle together on the floor, we would have a much more difficult time lifting it intact and back onto the table. There is a chance that, as it is being lifted, the pieces may fall apart again. Further, if the puzzle is completed on the floor, there is a possibility that it may remain there indefinitely, and never be placed back on its original foundation.
So... what is the solution?
a) sweep up the pieces and put them in a box?
b) put the puzzle together on the floor?
c) spend a little extra time and effort to pick up the pieces and put the puzzle back together on the table?
I went outside to sit on the front porch and enjoy the last bit of warmth from the late afternoon sun as it made its way across the clear blue western sky. Such beauty, such peace, such calm. My thoughts drifted to a young man lying in a hospital bed a few thousand miles away, in severe pain, battling infection, fighting for his life. His family and friends are by his side with as much love and support that their hearts can give. I sat outside thinking about him. He will celebrate his 26th birthday today, fighting for his life.
Last year, this vine had one cluster of grapes. I wasn't too bothered as they were the most sour grapes.... ever. This year there are considerably more, so I'm not quite sure what to do with them, considering that they are very tart and NOT seedless.... blech. Last year the sweet red grape vine had tonnes, but this year some sort of dastardly creatures ate them ALL before I even had a chance to taste one. Same with the blackberries.... just gone. Oh well, c'est la vie.
The clematis was loaded with blooms this summer and then pffft... that was it. Quite a surprise on an October day to find this... one last late bloomer. Like it, clinging to the lingering sun and the last remnant of summer, I want to keep wearing flip flops, but the reality of fall keeps the boots ready and waiting.
An old friend of mine had checked out my blog, but didn't post a comment. However, in reference to my "Bad Day?", she did email me a message with this tacked on at the end:
"P.S. Perhaps we could find a blow-up Harley that you could shove over once in a while....Even better if it was like those Bozo the Clown things that used to pop back up. "
Um... I just had to share that. Hmm... I pondered... it is a great idea, but alas, there is no inherent danger. Although now that I think of it, slapping Bozo the Clown around has a slight charm to it. Oops, did I write that?
(Disclaimer: Please take note that this is humour. I would never intentionally harm a clown.)
Yes, I was tired and yes I was having a bad day. I know I am not one of those shiny, happy people, and I won't pretend to be something I'm not. But the comment I got today was just... funny. A rough around the edges biker dude said to me something along the lines of... you walked in here and I half expected you to pull out a double-barreled shotgun. So... hmm... what exactly does that mean? Did I look that pissed off? My immediate come back was: "Yeah, that's what I feel like". Then I added for his benefit, "or I could just go kick over a harley". Needless to say he objected to that idea. Oh, but I have thought about it before. Of course, I would never do anything even remotely close to that.
When the first Iron Man movie came out, I questioned Robert Downey Jr. in the role, however after watching it, I couldn't really picture anyone else in it. I rented Iron Man II this past weekend and I have to admit, Robert looks old... really old. Granted, in the movie he is technically dying due to the degradation of the "battery" keeping him alive, so him looking old fits well into the looking tired and decaying.
As with all sequels, the theme here is more, more, more. More characters, more G.U.I., more chases, more blasts, more suits... basically more of everything, even more S.H.I.E.L.D. references. Mickey Rourke does well as a bad-ass Russian physicist (hmm)/welder dude Ivan Vanko, Gwyneth irritates with her high pitched hysterics, Scarlett Johansson pouts and preens her way as N. Rushman and kicks ass as Agent Romanoff (I still can't get over comic-book action sequences where the female characters deliberately have their hair down - it looks really pretty, but not very practical I assure you) and Don Cheadle... I just can't buy him as a Colonel... despite whatever other roles he has had, I picture him as the be-suited vampire from Buffy. Oh... and Sam Rockwell. He reminds me of Gary Oldman mixed with Edward Norton, but in my head, I see him from his role in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Of course, as I thought about it a little more, it hit me that the Gary Oldman resemblance stems from the weapon demonstration from "The Fifth Element", as well as his role as Commissioner Gordon.
Now there were two things that caught my attention. One was right after Ivan blows up his jail cell and dispatches of the first guard he encounters, when he casually brushes off his shoulder. Nice touch. The other is the footage reel of Howard Stark. Great line "What is and always will be...." made me tear up. Oh, two chuckles: the "exit the donut" line, and the inebriated Tony Stark making a fool of himself in the Iron Man suit (hey, he looks familiar...).
This seemed to be a long movie (hence the long review), although I didn't check the running time. I did fast forward past the credits at the end to check for a crumb, and sure enough it was there at the very end. Kind of a cheesy little throw in, but I guess it works.
TWILIGHT, a blossom grey in shadowy valleys dwells: Under the radiant dark the deep blue-tinted bells In quietness reïmage heaven within their blooms, Sapphire and gold and mystery. What strange perfumes, Out of what deeps arising, all the flower-bells fling, Unknowing the enchanted odorous song they sing! Oh, never was an eve so living yet: the wood Stirs not but breathes enraptured quietude. Here in these shades the ancient knows itself, the soul, And out of slumber waking starts unto the goal. What bright companions nod and go along with it! Out of the teeming dark what dusky creatures flit, That through the long leagues of the island night above Come by me, wandering, whispering, beseeching love; As in the twilight children gather close and press Nigh and more nigh with shadowy tenderness, Feeling they know not what, with noiseless footsteps glide Seeking familiar lips or hearts to dream beside. O voices, I would go with you, with you, away, Facing once more the radiant gateways of the day; With you, with you, what memories arise, and nigh Trampling the crowded figures of the dawn go by Dread deities, the giant powers that warred on men Grow tender brothers and gay children once again; Fades every hate away before the Mother’s breast Where all the exiles of the heart return to rest.
by: A.E., aka George William Russell, Irish poet 1867 - 1935
(Latest casualties (I do not like that word) from Afghanistan: Georgia, Romania, U.K., U.S. (wounded: Poland). Note: It is understood that most countries have a policy in place such that information regarding the wounded is not released immediately for security reasons. For example in Canada I believe a report is issued annually.)
Someone recently presented an interesting thought, which was... perhaps I was in the midst of an identity crisis. I replied that it was more likely I was being double-teamed by mid-life crisis and some sort of hormonal imbalance, but then I got to thinking about personal history and family background and realized that it might be closer to an identity crisis than she or I thought.
I have very few complete memories of any part of my life. All I can say to that is whatever I am not remembering is what has helped define who I am as a person today. But going beyond my lack of personal memories, there is a bigger picture to take into consideration. In regards to family history, ours goes back only 70 years or so. I could probably add on another 25 years from information we can piece together, but that's about it. How is that possible? For a little extra background, you can read this. My mom would have been 75 this year, my dad is 78. I never knew either of my grandmothers as they died during or just after the war. Both grandpas have been gone for close to thirty years now. I vaguely remember what they looked like, but I don’t recall ever speaking to either of them. As far as I know, one didn’t speak English and one didn’t speak at all.
I know that if you grow up without something, you never know that you are missing something. At least that’s how I feel, but, it might be different for the younger “it’s not fair” generation. I never questioned the fact that I didn’t have a grandma or two. I didn’t even think about it much until I got older. Oddly enough, there were four women in my life whom I have called “grandma” at some point. One was Scottish, one was Irish, one was South American/Native Indian and another Ukrainian. Go figure eh? Multi-culturalism at its best, Canadian style.
We, or at least I, do not have any cherished family history, no treasured heirlooms, no grand stories, no “big fish” tales, no smiling photos of mom or dad with grandma and grandpa... nothing. It just dawned on me that my life actually mimics my family history. I have no past and I have no future at present. Odd isn’t it, if you think about it. Growing up I always felt different, but then don’t most kids?
I may feel or look like this, but without the beer.
Always liked this song by Incubus. "I Miss You"
HAVE I GONE TOTALLY DAFT and SAPPY? Nope. I found this video on YouTube and it made me smile. i.e. "If I promise not to kill you, can I have a hug?"
Need a smile?
I have had the Minions "Banana" clip here for a few years, but lately it has switched to "Autoplay", when the blog is loading, but I don't see it in the embed code, so I've just removed it today. Dec 11, 2016