Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘Writing’


Sometimes it’s difficult, often impossible, to understand what other people are writing about, when my experiences and outlooks are so dramatically different from those of other writers.   I wonder where they’re from and how they came to be the way they are.  There’s no way to share in what they are saying, there’s no door, or window to climb through, to touch base with their words.  I don’t understand how they can believe that smiling, hoping and being nice will change the world on a grand scale. All I can do is accept what the authors have said as something that belongs to them alone and move on, knowing they would never be able to understand me either.   Sometimes there is no common ground. None at all.

Okay, so…

I’ve been inside and outside.  I’ve been eating and just looking around…anything to not have to clean.  I repotted a couple house plants and then had to clean that up because NO MATTER WHAT I DO I get soil all over everything, including myself.  I just ate Skinny popcorn but I don’t feel skinny yet.  Maybe I have to eat the entire bag or maybe the popcorn itself was skinny, I have no way of knowing.

My house faces east so, as I’m sure you know, the back faces west.  West is my favorite direction because that’s where the sun is the hottest and that is why we put the house here, so  we could catch the rays and tan until the very last minute…using a mixture of baby oil and iodine.     Now, of course, tanning is a no-no. Well, we did it for years and years and years and loved it.  Sizzling and baking on the rocks, a deck chair, in the grass on a boat…anywhere was just the right spot except for sand and I could handle it but it’s my least favorite thing to lay on.  Anyway, not the point.  The point is that I glue myself to the back of the house and my yard because of the sun.  I love west.  East is weak, sleepy sun.  Sun who hasn’t had her tea yet and is still tired from playing with the moon up until a few minutes ago.  You know how that is.  She’s big and bright in the west until she gets tired of being in this area and starts moving toward some new place to cheer those beings up.  Then we are left in darkness and have to wait until the planet does it’s thing.  Around dawn all the people in Chicago run outside and dance, hoping to make her burn through the clouds and shine on us.  Well, EVERYBODY doesn’t dance, some people are just lazy and some don’t believe in sun dances.  Their loss.  Even the cat joins in.  Emily knows how to dance and she loves the sun as much as I do…well maybe not as much but still, she likes it a lot.  She makes a nest and falls asleep on the bench, all snug and hot.

The weeds are back but they’re green so they can stay.  Besides, some of them have pretty flowers and they don’t cry when I pass by, like the more delicate plants who fear me and doubt my ability to care for them properly.  Yeah weeds are like, “BRING IT.”  I like that about them.  They laugh if I try to pull them out.  They bite too.  So, I just say, “Hi, nice day, right?” and they growl softly until they realize that I’m not going to bother them and then they are pretty much okay for the entire summer.  Hey, grow where you’re planted, as they say. I never did figure out who “They” was but it’s a truly unfortunate name.

I bought really cool dishtowels at William-Sonoma.  Sadly, they absolutely refuse to dry a single thing.  No matter what I do, they slide right over the water and remain dry while the dishes remain dripping wet.  They were on sale and I liked the material and color.  A lot I know.  Crate & Barrel towels are thirsty and I let them indulge as much as they like.

I just got a new washing machine.  A tiny load washing machine because the one I had could be used to raise dolphins and that was a bit much.  Echo’s of times past came out of it every time I raised the lid.  Yes it was THAT big.  I had to stand on my tiptoes to get the clothes out of the bottom and I’m not short.   Anyway, I cleaned Emmie’s house and have all her furry and dirty beds to wash but I hate the idea of putting them into the pristine washer.   Sigh.  The other one went off balance every two seconds and I started slamming the lid and threatening it.  So my son-in-law got me a different one and installed it.  Then he started to tell me how to laundry.  Seriously dude? Deb was telling me over the phone as well. I’ve been doing laundry for a thousand years.  He didn’t believe that the machine was the problem.  They had to replace the first one immediately.  They put new parts in the second one and only one setting worked but I don’t know how to do laundry?  It’s like the time they told me that I didn’t know how to pronounce Chicago.  WHAT?  I was born there, raised there, went to school there, worked there, got married there, had my kids there and I was the one who didn’t know how to pronounce it? I told them to listen to Frank Santra sing My Kind of Town.

My friend said that her daughter had her first baby and told her that she didn’t know anything about raising kids.  We just looked at each other.  She said, “Didn’t I raise my kids?”  I said, “Yes, but apparently that doesn’t count because you didn’t know how to do it.”

I don’t think we’re pack animals.  I think we each need our own space and can only take being together for short periods of time…at least in this country.  For the most part, depending on your cultural background, the days of generations living together are over in a big way.  That’s going to get worse, since people are less willing to put up with anything other than what they want.  Talk about stress.  I’ve heard horror stories about those who have tried to take in a family member.  They often end up with broken marriages, sickness, depression, crying and all the rest.  Not a good thing.   Life isn’t what it used to be…where every house had a grandparent living with the family.  Not anymore.  Not a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just the way things are.

I’m going to try and finish cleaning the kitchen unless the cat comes home early and wants to play.  When the mail comes I’ll have to stop cleaning to recycle the ten million pounds of junk mail.  Maybe the squirrel will come to the door and want peanuts.  But I’ll get things spic and span.  No, really, I will.  I will.  THE MAIL’S HERE…

Okay, so…

The sun’s out.  YAY!  I’m doing laundry and redoing the kitchen AGAIN.  I like to move stuff around, that way I get to see different things in different places and if I can get bored I suspect the stuff gets bored as well.  Right?  You THINK ceramic things and plants don’t know how to feel but you can’t really be sure.  Not in an esoteric sense.  Not really.  Some people don’t believe that stuffed animals are real either but they would also be wrong.  Hey if you live in my world then everything has feelings and needs to be treated with care and respect unless they’re human and then one needs to pick and choose.  When I was a child I was devastated when my father got a new car.  I was positive the old car would fall apart with sadness because we didn’t love her enough.  I knew she would miss us and I didn’t even get to say goodbye.  Still bothers me.  Poor thing.  People should take the feelings of small children into consideration when they do things like that.  I mourned her leaving. They tried to tell me it WAS JUST A CAR but I had a relationship with her that they didn’t understand.

The teeny-tiny ants came back to visit my kitchen.  I talked to them.  Told them I didn’t want to kill them and asked them to pleas leave.  They stayed.  I wrote them a note and told them I loved them and asked once again that they please leave.  They are gone.  We take too many things for granted.  Asking insects politely to do things has worked for me a couple of times.  They understand.  You just have to take the time to discuss things with them. Maybe not wasps but other bugs are good listeners and they often do as you ask. It’s all about respecting their feelings and being calm and logical.

Anyway, I planted flowers yesterday.  My neighbor was pulling out of her driveway and said that she was going to get more flowers because she planted too early and her flowers died a miserable death.  😦  She’s lived here all her life and knows better but we are desperate people.  I’ve done it myself and end up dragging huge pots into the garage and covering things with thick plastic garbage bags when frost hit.

Emmie and I walked around the patio this morning and moved a few things around.  The white cat with black spots was here a bit later.  I noticed he has a collar now.  He sleeps in the cat house on my front porch now and then.  I though he was a stray but apparently not.  So I’m happy about that.

I’ve been listening to Andrea Bocelli sing in Italian and don’t have a clue.  I need something like Queen if I’m ever going to finish/start cleaning.  My mantra is a Queen song…I WANT IT ALL AND I WANT IT NOW.  That’s the only way you get what you want in life.  You have to for it not sit around hoping things happen…ya have to make things happen, that’s why I have absolutely no regrets.  It’s not for everyone, of course, some people like to go slowly and hope for the best.  Yeah, that’s never gonna work for me.  I’ve always been excited about life because there it was…all of it…right in front of me and all I had to do was reach for it.  I’ve never stopped reaching and it can be delicious.

Life and death…yeah…it’s all about that

I don’t get why some people want to live forever no matter what condition they’re in.  I’m not sure if they are just terrified to die or if they love being alive so much that they don’t care if they are already hanging on by a thread, unable to actually participate in life.  I know someone like that.  He has said repeatedly that he doesn’t care if he’s unconscious and being kept alive by machines, he just wants to live…no matter what.  His spouse just cackles and says, “Not a chance.” He means it…so does she.  She is definitely gonna win. He knows that but doesn’t want to believe it.

I mean, come on, even vampires get bored, right?  Plus, getting older has “side effects.”   Sure I could have put on a bathing suit when I was in Hawaii and then had the entire beach to myself, once the people screaming and running away from me were out of sight. A long time ago I loved living in my bathing suit all day, swimming, water skiing, getting tan and everything else but not now.  It’s like that with a lot of things.  Some people don’t mind giving all of that up, they just keep truckin’ and don’t care or seem to notice what’s going on around them.  But that doesn’t work for everyone and the only fish that actually go with the flow are dead fish, so let’s clear that up right away.  Suddenly, tearing off your clothes and having a good time comes to a dead end and you even stop undressing in front of your cat and start reading more.  I didn’t reach that point for a long time but now that I have…yeah, not gonna happen.  I had a good run and I love to read, so I’m set.  Still, being alone and getting older sucks compared to being young and having a blast.  I just stare at people who tell me how wonderful later life is.  I actually got a degree in Gerontology because I was horrified that people GOT old at all.  I was so desperate that I GOT A DEGREE IN SOMETHING I DIDN’T REALLY WANT TO GET A DEGREE IN, just to find out if there was ANYTHING I could do to stop everyone from physically getting older.  It didn’t help.  There were a thousand, THICK books on the bad stuff about aging and a pamphlet or two on the benefits, one of which was,  “Your not dead…yet.”  So, I got another degree that was a lot more useful.  Oh, and don’t take anyone else’s medication. Spouses do that and then the ambulance has to come and it gets really messy.   I knew that BEFORE I went to school but it’s way too late to think about that now.  My minor was philosophy and that was fun because it was something to tear apart…but it didn’t make up for Gerontology…nothing could.

Ya know, it’s not about people dying either.  Like everyone else I’ve had family members and friends die throughout my entire life, so getting older isn’t only about watching those around you cash in their chips. Humans are FATALY FLAWED, we are a truly terrible design.  We’re weak, overflowing with errors and typos and glitches, not to mention being as mad as the Hatter and then some.   So yeah, I’m not on the the side of team “LIVE FOREVER.”  I’m on the side of put the hose on the exhaust pipe, close the garage door, turn up the volume and head for the exit…team.

No one knows what’s on the other side, NO ONE, so don’t bother about religion, those people don’t know anymore than you do and you can stop buying books on life after death cuz if you’re really dead you don’t come back and write books. We do, however,  know what’s here and even the most jaded person might miss something about being alive.  Cats, more cats, books, cats, chocolate, cats, books and of course, your spouse (if you have one), your kids, grandchildren, friends, cats, fast cars, jewelry, family (?), books, tea, art, chocolate, flowers, sun, cool clothes and shades, nests, cookies, swimming, trees, stars, food, chocolate shakes, brownies…well, you know what I mean.  Every list would be different so don’t judge. Sure my daughter and the kids would be the first thing on my list but they haven’t needed me in years.  I raised them to be independent and even though Deb and I are REALLY close, she would be fine without me and probably be sighing over all the stuff she would have to pack up and get rid of once I was gone.  That was the plan all along.  Make them strong and able to stand alone on their own two feet.  There’s a big difference between wanting someone in your life and needing them to be there.  Needing is always a bad thing.  And yes, of course, every list would be different than mine, since we are all different people.  Some may miss those they have met along the way, the community they lived in and things like that…all of us have had different lives and what’s meaningful to one is not necessarily meaningful to another, that’s the way life is.

Sometimes I think we have it backwards.  Perhaps we should mourn the birth of a child because s/he will have to go through life, and all that entails and we should celebrate death because we are being released from this life and it’s war, violence, cruelty, hatefulness, bigotry, racism, sexism and beauty.  It’s just something to think about.   I have noticed that the people who want to live the most are the ones who end up dying first.  I thought I would die before I was 22, because of the way we all drove and the things we did. I never said I wanted to live to be a hundred, or any age at all.  Those who did, are all gone.  I think that means something…but maybe not.  I’m not sure anything means anything.  We just make everything up so we feel better about not being able to control what happens to us. Nothing we believe is real except to us as individuals.  Not a single thing and yet people die for the pretend things they believe in.  If that’s not proof that our species is bonkers I don’t know what is.

Anyway, I’m thinking about throwing my bathing suit away.  Lately, there have only been six nice days in Chicago every year anyway, so I won’t miss it that much.  I guess I could always buy a plastic wading pool and position it on the patio where no one could see me and go blind.  And yes, I’ll make sure Emily isn’t in the yard.  I love that cat and besides, I’m thoughtful that way.  🙂    Hey, I’m just sayin’.

Ya know…

People who can’t see a way out
don’t get out

Okay, so…

There are so many things that fall under, “NO DO-OVERS.”  That means that no matter what we did, no matter when we did it, we can never take it back, we can never make it better, we can never change what was.  That’s a big thing.  So big, it’s hard to imagine until it happens and then, it’s too late.  But there’s nothing to be done about it.  We rarely, if ever, think about the true meaning of our words, or actions, and once they are set free, we can’t take them back.

Things like this can cause personal life-long suffering.  Things we can’t believe we did, or said, happened and we often don’t even know why.  Impossible to explain to ourselves, we can be left shaking our heads and wondering what happened, even years and years later.

It’s hard to forgive ourselves for those things.  Maybe it’s even impossible.  Seems as if we should be able to just tell ourselves that we did what we thought was right…AT THE TIME…and while that is the absolute truth, we still can’t believe we did what we did, or said what we said.

For some people things like this never happen.  For others it just happens once.  I don’t know what people do when they have a lot of moments like this.  It can be a heavy load to carry.  Even with the best intentions, things get screwed up and can’t be fixed.

There are people who can let things go and just shrug it off.  Some of us can do that most of the time but then, when we least expect it, the memory comes back and stops us dead in our tracks.  “How could I have done that?  What was I thinking?”

I believe it’s true that there is no hell because we are harder on ourselves than anyone else could be.  At least it’s true for some.  I don’t believe in heaven or hell anyway.  I believe in revenge, but that’s a story for another time.  We all have to believe in something, right?

I heard someone say that the only thing he hoped for when he died was to not have to think about all the stupid things he did when he was alive.  Other people have said they hoped it wasn’t just more of the same.  Life is messy.  Play hard while you’re here and just keep telling yourself that it’s all a dream.  Not a nightmare, just a nice dream, you know, the kind with unicorns and rainbows.  That kind of dream.

TED Talk about Addiction…

All three of my young nephews died from drugs and no one, no treatment, could save them from themselves. My uncle lost everything and couldn’t stop drinking.   My friend died from heroin.  Another one from smoking…lots of people from smoking.  In fact, my friend was smoking with the patch on her arm (the patch was to shut up her loving family).  She watched her father die the same way but she just wouldn’t stop.  I don’t know a single addict who was actually helped by their family, or by rehab.  The only ex-addicts I know are dead.

An alcoholic I know, one who went to AA for years, drinks bottles of wine everyday but thinks he’s cured because he stopped drinking martinis.  He starts drinking when he wakes up.  When he was younger he would just pass out while driving, or in the middle of a room. So, this is a nice talk and I hope it helps those who truly want to be helped but it’s hard for me to understand because personally, I’ve never seen anyone get better unless s/he decided to just do it.  A chain smoker I know stopped smoking because her son said she couldn’t be around his new baby as long as she smoked.  She stopped.  My dad, also a chain smoker, stopped flat out when his friend stroked out because of smoking.  My dad’s lungs were black when he died even though he hadn’t smoked in years and years.  I remember his doctor asking if he had ever worked in a coal mine.  The friend who died from her addiction to heroin found her mom dead in bed after coming home from the hospital to recover from having part of her lung removed because of smoking.  Her mom was smoking before she had even been released from the hospital.  Difficult thing, that’s for sure.

I don’t know how much others can actually help addicts.  I think it’s up to the addict.  Like everything else, what we do is up to us as individuals.  We can’t save other people.  We can be there for them but ultimately, it’s up to each person to save themselves.  Here’s the thing…how much of a person’s life should they give up to help those who don’t actually want help?  You might think the answer is, “You never give up,” but I disagree because families can be destroyed by focusing on an addict above everything else and that doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve seen lives ruined because of things like that.  It hurts the other kids/people, breaks and exhausts everyone.  Often causes divorce and even more addictions.  It’s something people need to take into consideration because the lives of others are involved in the decision one makes to spend years trying to save someone who won’t be saved.

I told my friend (heroin addict, speed, you name it, she took it), that it was obvious that she loved “doing drugs” and that she was never going to stop so she may as well just do her thing and enjoy herself.   She said that she did love them and her face lit up with joy.  She was accepted into the college she always wanted to attend, but she didn’t go to class, got worse and worse, started stealing cars, breaking into places, but she was happy.  Most of her friends were addicts. A couple were clean, they had been able to give it up, in fact, they tried to help her, but she loved the life too much to ever stop.  She died in her 30s, homeless, broke, hiding from the police, with sores on her legs. When her friend called and told me she was in the hospital, I told her they wouldn’t take care of her. She didn’t believe me.  She called me back and said, they wouldn’t take care of her. They won’t waste their resources on an addict like her.  I tried to tell her that.  It’s happened before.  So, she died.  She was funny, smart, generous, and kind.  But she was crazy about drugs.  Used them, sold them…all of it.  She lived her life exactly the way she wanted to live it.  She was happy, even when she called me and had that intense hyper real voice she had when she on speed and hadn’t slept for four days…but she was happy.  I knew, as soon as I heard her voice, that she had black circles under her eyes, was twitching and looked like death, but she was flying and that’s what she loved.  So, her choices were her own and she was satisfied. No one could make her see things differently.  Knowing her was like watching a slow, by happy suicide.  But she was really funny and I miss that.

Okay, so…

Am I the only one who thinks automated voices are evil and sent from demons on the planet we hate humans and want to make them go insane?  Maybe it’s just me.  My computer kept telling me I wasn’t connected to the internet.  I turned it off a million times, okay maybe three times, but still…and then I called COMCAST.  ”


“Let’s try that again…Press one for calming drugs, press two if you now feel suicidal, press three…”


“You can go on line…”


“Your internet doesn’t seem to be working,”


“Let me connect you with a person and the wait will only be four hundred hours, or you can press two and we can call you back within two or three years.”

“Hello, my name is Christian.”

The first thing I did was give him my phone number and make him promise, on the life of his first born, that if we got disconnected he would call me back.  After an hour in, we got disconnected and he called me back.  He was fantastic, patient, kind, sweet and he tried to calm me down from the automatic voice that kept repeating itself in my head.  Anyway, he told me to unscrew the gray, or blue, wire on the back of the modem.  I asked him what a modem was and I can only assume that the other people in the room had to take the rest of the calls for the evening, since he probably gave them a hand sign, signaling that I didn’t know what a modem was.  I know what it is NOW and I unscrewed things and unplugged things and then put them back and told him the top light was on and two were flickering, counting down from the top light, that would be light three and four.  He stayed on the line and if he was a religious man, I bet he was praying to some god or Goddess.

When we were finally finished, I make him promise to call me at 10:15, before his shift was over to check on me.  He said he would and I believe him.  I asked to talk to his supervisor and gave him so many compliments that the man probably thinks I’m his mother, well except for the accent, that would be a tell for sure.  I told the supervisor I hated the automated voices that didn’t listen and couldn’t let anyone talk to a person until the caller wanted to leap from a tall building.  He actually agreed with me and said he doesn’t like it either and hates to call places that make him do it.

So, if I don’t show up on your Readers, well, you know why.

This isn’t the way I expected my night to go but I don’t think Christian expected his night to go this way either.  You know those aren’t computer generated voices but real people who just love to screw with other humans.  They could connect us to a person immediately, and they know what we are asking for, it’s just that they are nasty off world strange beings who think what they do to is is fun.

By the way, a modem is a box with lights running down the front and things plugged into the back.   You can unscrew and unplug those things and, sometimes, when you put them all back,  ta da…there is internet service.  Sure, Christian did a lot of things on his end, but I feel as if I just made it through a bloody skirmish and came out ahead.

Do you think that in a million and a half years someone/thing will be digging us up and making casts of us to see what we were?


I’m ASSUMING (always a silly thing to do), that we will be gone long before that. The sun has another 6 million to go before it turns into a Red Giant and vaporizes everything so, maybe some other species will someday land here and their archeologists will sort of “dig in,” and see what used to live here.  Maybe no one will care, after all dinosaurs were a lot nicer than we are.  Maybe more fun as well.  They may have had lots of parties and gotten along well with some of the ones they didn’t eat.  No made up gods to fight over, no money, work or greed.  Might have been nice to live during those times, well, except for being trampled or turned into breakfast, I mean.

I read a great book that shows the picture of a shoe print, stitching and all, that was found in the same layer of stone as the dinosaurs.  No one knew what to say about that…but it was there anyway.  I love that.  Didn’t make front page news either…didn’t make the news at all.  I guess it just wasn’t important enough to tell everyone that a human had been checking things out and left a shoe print behind in a place where no shoe print should have been possible.  That’s the news for you…some things never change.

Do you believe…

…that love
is different
for each of us

…that adults
need governmental
“fathers” making decisions
FOR us

…that it’s okay
to buy cookbooks
just for the pictures

…that women
run the world

…that everyone is

…that we train
males to kill
because it doesn’t
come naturally

…that war

…that it’s okay for
eight year old child brides
to die on their
‘wedding nights,’
from repeated sexual
assault by old, grown, men
who rupture
their internal organs

…that this is hell

…that it’s easy
for those who have
to overlook those
who have not

…that our water
is safe to drink

…that playing football
causes brain damage
in children

…that chocolate
can stop

…that evil
is real

…that America
is isolated
from the rest of the world

…that everyone is

…that life
is just one
repetitive motion
after another

…that when someone
crosses over we should
have a rebirthday party

…that predestination

…that fate
is real

…that karma
is payback

…that we are
in control
of anything

…that we are
the ultimate

…that cats
are smarter
than dogs

…that malts
are delicious

…that everything people
despise about working
we do to animals
without thinking
or caring
how they feel

…that every five years
a different race should be
in charge of government

…that squirrels find
all the nuts they bury

…that schools destroy

…that creative people are
a danger to the government

…that interracial marriage
on a grand scale would
solve a lot of problems

…that people should mind
their own business

…that government should
be abolished and officials
put in jail

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