Sunday, November 27, 2011


Black Friday brings this to my mind……..

There must be more to life than having everything.
(quote by Maurice Sendak)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

American Author #2 Nathaniel Hawthorne

Young Hawthorne
American Author #2            Nathaniel Hawthorne 

I remember reading the House of the Seven Gables in high school and I also remember not really understanding it too well. So I decided to re-visit some of this author’s work to try and get a better picture of what he is all about. To finish this particular quest of mine, I suppose I will have to read Seven Gables again, from an adult point of view and see if it makes any more sense to me now. But, I started off my study this time with some of his stories that I found on Gutenberg, to broaden my horizons a bit.

Hawthorne was born on July 4th, in Salem, Mass. His writings centered on the New England portion of the U.S. Being in Salem, in and of itself, would be good fodder to stoke the imagination but he also approached writing from a Puritan point of view and wrote about moral allegory. His works can be classified as dark romanticism and generally have a complex moral undertone or meaning.

When he was 16 yrs old, Hawthorne started a handwritten newspaper called “The Spectator”.  He was a contemporary of Emerson, Longfellow, Poe, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Thoreau. He knew Franklin Pierce and Melville dedicated Moby Dick to Hawthorne. That’s quite a powerful list of important acquaintances and friends!

 The Scarlet Letter is supposed to be one of the most important works by Hawthorne. Other works include Twice-Told Tales, Young Goodman Brown, many others not listed, and the stories I recently read Chippings with a Chisel and Buds and Bird Voices.
Here are some vocabulary words I learned while reading these two stories:

Exuviae- something stripped off the body, cast off skins or coverings of various organisms.
Penurious- stingy, scanty, yielding little.
Lugubrious- mournful or gloomy, dismal, especially to an exaggerated or ludicrous degree.
Bedizened- to ornament or dress in a showy or gaudy manner.
Torpid- dormant, numbed, lethargic or apathetic.
Verdure- vigorous greenery, the lush greenness of flourishing vegetation.
Seine- a fish net that hangs vertically in the water (also the name of a river in France).

I feel so educated now my eyebrows are going way up!!!!! Ha!
In Chippings with a Chisel the author muses over conversations he’s having with a skilled workman who uses a chisel to fashion decorations and titles on headstones. The subject matter discussed is likened to life and ponderings about the meanings of sometimes everyday things, joys and sorrows and short stories about peoples loved ones who have passed on as they come to the skilled chisel-man to pick out gravestones. I loved the author’s descriptive language and enjoyed the story.

A few quotes to illustrate the descriptive language: In spite of his gray head and wrinkled brow, he was quite like a child in all matters…

Soul clings to soul; the living dust has a sympathy with the dust of the grave…

A comely woman, with a pretty rosebud of a daughter, came to select a
gravestone for a twin-daughter…
"They are not under the sod," I rejoined; "then why should I mark the
spot where there is no treasure hidden!

In Buds and Bird Voices the author is describing his native New England and the gardens and citizens of nature that he is observing. He muses again about what meanings these things he is observing have to everyday life and uses personification to give human characteristics and emotions to non-human things. I enjoyed this story and would like to read more by Hawthorne in the future.

But who can estimate the power of gentle influences, whether amid material desolation or the moral winter of man's heart?

The moss-grown willow- tree which for forty years past has overshadowed these western windows will be among the first to put on its green attire.

In the garden are the dried bean-vines, the brown stalks of the asparagus-bed, and
melancholy old cabbages…

Along the hither shore a row of trees stood up to their knees in water; 

The blackbirds, three species of which consort together, are the noisiest of all our feathered citizens. Great companies of them--more than the famous "four-and-twenty" whom Mother Goose has immortalized--congregate in contiguous treetops and
vociferate with all the clamor and confusion of a turbulent political meeting.

Older Hawthorne

Hawthorne Quote:
 “Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nov. 14, 2011

“Life isn't about waiting for the storm to end; it's about learning to dance in the rain.’

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Broadsword" by Jethro Tull

I see a dark sail on the horizon set under a black
cloud that hides the sun.

Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding.
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.


Get up to the roundhouse on the cliff-top standing.
Take women and children and bed them down.

Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding.
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.

Bless with a hard heart those who surround me.

Bless the women and children who firm our hands.  

Put our backs to the north wind. Hold fast by the river.


Sweet memories to drive us on for the motherland.


Friday, November 4, 2011

How not to itch!

Itching is my enemy! It will bring me down into the depths of itch h-e-double toothpicks. I’ll get all upset. I’ll cry, and then because the itching feels so good and I am super frustrated, I will itch until it bleeds. Then I will suffer for a few more weeks while it heals and hope that I do not get a secondary staph infection from so much itching. Then the vicious cycle will repeat itself over and over again. Discomfort and hopelessness, itch until it hurts, regret it and be extra uncomfortable, hope and hopelessness. It’s the story of the last 8 years or so of my life. If the Middle East terrorists had my vasculitis, we’d have no trouble putting them in their place!! This misery is something I would have a hard time wishing on my worst enemy because it truly has been a torture test.

How not to itch?? Well, having a bit of hope goes a long way towards giving you the motivation to even desire not to itch. When you are in survival mode and lose hope you think of all kinds of unconventional ways to relieve yourself of the itching burden and just scratch like there is no tomorrow. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with God about this whole thing. If I am not supposed to have to bear more than I am able, why does this keep happening to me? I am slowly being driven crazy and losing my faith…but that is more reason to grow more faith and endure to the end. It is a rotten dilemma sometimes. Now I can say the hate has subsided and I have more hope but don’t ask me about it on an especially itchy day!!

How not to itch……how not to get a secondary infection from your itching…take a bath with vinegar in the water, take a bath with ½ cup of bleach in the water and soak until you are wrinkly. Yes I bleach myself a few times a week! Get some Vanicream, some sort of eczema crème, non irritating crème for sensitive skin, and slather it on morning and evening. If your crème is in a tub use plastic spoons to get some of it out. DO NOT stick your staph laden fingers in the tub or you will have a recipe for torture next time you use it as the staph will quickly multiply and grace your skin with their irritating presence once again. Use some clean socks as mitts and cover your hands when you go to bed so you can’t itch while you are laying there in bed. Cut down all your fingernails so they are less dangerous to your skin if you do happen to absent mindedly do a bit of itching. Beautify your freshly cut nails with a manicure and polish so you are motivated not to ruin it if you itch!! Remember your nails are not weapons of mass destruction, they are an asset to your beauty, lol!!!!

Change your bath towel every time you use it, and never, never, use it after you have dried your staph ridden footsies! No matter how much you lather them up and clean them, they are still filled with nasty staph buggers waiting to wreak havoc on your itch damaged skin. Normally you would be able to fight the staph off, but when the docs are suppressing your immune system because of vasculitis it’s a different story and you are vulnerable. Why do feet stink so? Well, that is the smell of staph, I worked in a microbiology lab for 12 years and I know the smell of a petrie dish full of staph better than your average person!

Lastly, don’t let your Chihuahua, loving as she might be, lick you up and down where you have been itching!!!!! You might think it is cute that she is so affectionate and is grooming you but…she really has a taste for your blood…mohaahaahaaa!