“If you were alone you would cut yourself in two so that one part would shape the other.”

“If you were alone you would cut yourself in two so that one part would shape the other.” -Elias Canetti, via Mikko Kuorinki

My sleep has been semi-disturbed so I’ve actually been remembering my dreams vividly for the last week. Normally I do remember my dreams, but not with such clarity.

Last night I dreamt I was some sort of superheroine, or someone with Jedi powers, and I was the sister (or cousin)? of the queen of the planet. Her name was Agrippina, and mine was Ingressa. We were very close, although my life was much more mundane–I think I was a cabinetmaker or something similar. Someone was trying to kill Agrippina (whom I called “Tissa” for short, not certain why), and I had to stop her. The last thing I remember from the dream was standing in a seaside fort, looking out over the ocean. The waves were brilliant and blue and huge. Actually, the fort was not so much on land as it was built up in the middle of the ocean–there was no beach; there was nothing but water in front of me. I knew that if I wanted to save my sister, I had to leap out into this giant, churning swathe of water. There was a tiny figure in the wave–I think it was someone that I had to kill. In the end I lept out, and did battle in the ocean.

This was much better than the one I had a week ago, where the town was going to hang three of my friends, along with a man from the crowd that I see in the halls at community college on occasion. He was screaming too much during the hanging so the mayor gouged out his eyes out with his bare hands.

My subconscious needs a vacation.

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“Pleasure may come from illusion but happiness can come only of reality.”

“Pleasure may come from illusion but happiness can come only of reality.” -Nicolas Chamfort, via Mikko Kuorinki

A rare sunny day on the bay. We’ve been having an Indian summer!

Four things came in the mail today: an umbrella, a bar of soap, a red sketchbook and Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things.  I had ordered these things separately, yet they arrived together; should I take that as a message? If I were to extrapolate, my new acquisitions suggest that I am dirty, and rain is falling, I could use some good advice, and I should get all of this down on paper. Okay. I can get behind all of that.

In spite of the postcard-perfect weather in the photo above, San Francisco spent most of the night and half of the day storming. Carter got up in the early hours to use the bathroom and then fairly bounced back into our bedroom, exclaiming that it was raining! A few hours later, Beast sprinkled our entryway with water after his morning outing, and I remembered to drop an old umbrella into my purse.

Beast is a funny little dog. My forty-five pounds of living, wiggling jokester. On a walk this weekend, he picked up a stick to gnaw on, and then paused in front of a telephone pole to deliver his liquid message, still chewing on the stick meanwhile. It stuck out of his mouth like a cigar. Winston Churchill came to mind, if you can imagine Winston Churchill to be a black dog peeing on a telephone pole. The next morning I was walking him through the park, where a pack of elderly Chinese ladies were doing tai chi. (Now, if you know Beast, then you know that he has a deep and abiding hatred of tai chi. It unnerves him to no end, and usually ends in a barking, frantic, unhappy panic attack). The ladies stared through the tennis court fence at us. Beast stared back at them. I picked up my pace. I prayed that Beast wouldn’t do anything untoward.

He stopped, squatted, and took a huge dump a few feet in front of the tennis court. The women, arranged in neat diagonals across the length of the tennis court, looked on. He kept his gaze fixed on them, untrusting and unwavering, until he finished and trotted off.

“I hate those ebooks. They cannot be the future. I will be dead. I won’t give a shit.”

“Fuck them. I hate those ebooks. They cannot be the future. They may well be. I will be dead. I won’t give a shit.” Maurice Sendak on the Colbert Report

negative space drawing project. I think I did the inking wrong. Oops.

I actually disagree a smidge with the mighty Maurice Sendak regarding ebooks. Still, there is something irresistible about the feel and the texture and even the smell of a real book in your hands. Nothing will ever quite replace it. And as for picturebooks such as he produced, I feel that print is the only honest format. For the mass market paperback, though, I think an ebook is a perfect substitute.

The other reason I picked this Sendak quote is because today has been a doozy. I’ve had a number of work emergencies and family blowups (coupled with a flu shot and some other mild bodily ailments) that have made it one of the objectively worst in recent memory. I say “objectively” because I am oddly unaffected. I took care of the emergencies, went about my business, laughed with my coworkers, and ate and walked as usual.

Let me explain: I’ve never been the panicky sort. In fact, I think I thrive in emergencies; it forces me to focus, cut out excess, and get things done in a brutal and efficient manner. Having rather emotionally unstable family members has always made me the stable one; I always have contingency plan upon contingency plan, and very few things come out of left field at me. It’s when things are going well (for too long) that I get suspicious: something is going to happen and I have no idea what it’s going to be! How can things be going this smoothly? Do I have diabetes? Did I forget to turn off the stove? What if Carter turns out to be a space gremlin and has been fooling me THIS WHOLE TIME with a mind control device?! 

When bad things happen, then, I feel like things are, well, going as I’d expected. It’s perversely reassuring. I’ve thought about getting trained as a volunteer for the Red Cross, because I feel like I’m on good terms with disaster anyway, so…why not get some use out of it.

In the grand scheme of things I’m no pessimist, but I do understand how pessimists deal better with catastrophes than optimists. So, the Sendak quote felt right because it starts off with a negative sentiment, but then a realistic and sorta-optimistic caveat at the end about being dead.

Day to day I’m on a fairly even keel. I like being mellow and generally happy about things. I’m generally happy about things because a catastrophe hasn’t, and isn’t, happening. So what’s not to be pleased about? Then, once calamity strikes, ah, okay. Hello, I’ve been expecting you.

It’s perhaps a wee bit strange but it means that I’m mostly nonplussed and delighted that life is simple and intact, with the occasional stripes of the grimmer, c’est la vie variety of calm when the bad times roll through. I do feel mildly guilty about not feeling more hysterical/sad/passionate with feeling when bad things are happening (especially when it involves family members), but I can’t shake this blue calm. I end up being the rock. Always. Not much I can do to change myself that way.

Maybe it’s not normal, but there are worse frames of mind, I think.

“And as the old Greeks said: live as though all your ancestors were living again through you.”

“And as the old Greeks said: live as though all your ancestors were living again through you.” –Ted Hughes

San Francisco city street in one point perspective.

The vertigo has faded into the occasional headache and lurch. It means I’ve gotten a fantastic rush of work done over the weekend: a midterm for design class, and art projects for both design and drawing. Moreover Carter and I made two trips to IKEA, where we intended to spend $50 and ended up spending +$1,200. But it was for equipment to do a renovation project long desired-for, so it’s not excessively upsetting in terms of final costs.

I love this rush after a fallow. I’ve picked up my sketchbook and my journal again, so I’ve been happily doodling and writing manually for the weekend. I even tucked my sketchbook into my work purse this morning, and squeezed out a quick gesture drawing of the street intersection in the five minutes where I waited for my bus. It was scribbly and not very detailed (or correct, perspective-wise), but just managing to get it out made my morning glow.

“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”

“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.” -Kurt Vonnegut

orchid contour drawing, 5 mins.

Life is not as wrecked as I thought it would be last week. The issue at question was dealt with, more or less, and now I am getting back to living life as sort-of usual; I’m not quite there yet. Keke moved in a week ago, which required rather massive reorganization of our closet space and the way I store my clothes. Well: I made a mighty big pile for Goodwill. That’s a good thing. It will be a good and healthy thing for me to keep my wardrobe to a small and manageable size, until I’m finished losing weight (sometime next year!). By then, Keke will have moved out and I’ll have my closets back. Then I can rebuild a new, fabulous wardrobe. I already have some in-between sizes (10s, 8s), and I think I’ll ultimately end up around 6.

I’ve also been awhile away from this blog because I’ve been sick, with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.  It hit pretty hard on Friday and even harder on Saturday; thanks to the wonder of Epley maneuvers, the vertigo’s gone down. I’ve been left floating in a fuzzy lurching world of gentle nausea and almost-tumbles.

I’ve been nibbling on crystallized ginger to settle my nausea and pondering my diet, which has been put on hold thanks to vertigo. All I wanted to do when the vertigo was to eat soup and noodles. Once I’m recovered I’m back to it. I’d like to amp up the protein, although I have no expectations of eating low carb. Impossible, for a person like me who loves carbs. I had whole wheat raisin bread and almond butter for breakfast. It was wonderful eating, and only 250 calories.

My blood pressure is excellent, based on the doctor’s visit this morning: 114/68. Blood tests forthcoming, and then more adjustments from there.