It’s a Small World…

Since the election of He Who Shall Not Be Named (HWSNBN) the word “narcissism” has probably been “googled” millions of times. As for me, I had already a deep understanding of narcissism long before HWSNBN appeared in the political limelight.

The Evil X (of song and legend) was a narcissist. Watching HWSNBN debating Hilarity, and seeing him speak, sent shivers of “America, for the love of god, don’t vote for this guy!” down my spine. I saw everything the Evil X had done to distort my perception of reality and turn me into his slave.

But the Evil X was not my only experience being the slave of a narcissist. My mom…

She’s been dead since 1996, and almost every day since that equivocal event I’ve had one more realization about her, us, even her childhood. One of my mom’s favorite refrains was, “You’re so selfish. You need to learn to think about other people.” This, over and over and over and over…  Now I know I was hearing echoes of my grandma admonishing my mother. I’m not selfish. I’ve never been selfish. Besides, what does that mean to a five year old who’s barely discovered the external world?

Like all narcissists, my mom tapped into the mentalities of others very quickly, and she saw right away that I am a peace-loving, very sensitive, creative person who wants to get along with and please others. And, my flaws. Narcissists are very good at identifying those, too, and amplifying their size and importance in order to cast blame. Narcissists are also very good at convincing others that they’re the shit.

My mom’s world was very small as a result of this. Everything that happened happened to HER. That her sisters’ husbands hadn’t died in their 40s, and they were still couples doing things together, was not my aunts’ good luck, but my mom’s bad luck. Rather than be happy for them — and join in as she was always invited to do — she resented them. She didn’t look at them objectively and see their struggles. Over time, her lonely hole got deeper, smaller, darker, and then she was buried in it.

The narcissist has a very hard time being sure of his/her basic existence because they don’t have an appropriate relationship with the external world. Deep down they have a vast pool of insecurity. My mom knew there was something missing in her connection to the world and needed constant reassurance from others that she was there. Narcissists cannot find their own happiness; it must come from others, and, in my mom’s case, when this wasn’t coming, she became a sadistic bully.

I’m amused watching some of the players on the international stage dealing with the Narcissist in Power. Macron kisses up, holds hands, does all zees French sings that feed the bottomless ego of HWSNBN then, in a speech to Congress, contravenes the policies of HWSNBN. Macron KNOWS that the policies exist not from a deep core of beliefs but the need of HWSNBN to please his power base and stay on top. Merkel just gets it over with and goes back to her life. Asian cultures revolve around “saving face” so pandering to the ego of a narcissist is natural for them.

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Hip surgery update: Healing continues. It’s pretty boring around here without the dogs, but I still don’t feel safe about having them around and all that means (Bear on my lap, protective pads on the floor, walks). The staples come out day after tomorrow. I have to figure out a way to take a shower — just the the quotidian annoyances of the process that require patience and faith. I’m so glad I live in this FLAT, pretty, friendly, redolent with lilacs and iris little city where, if I go outside to walk, someone will wish me well. It is immensely cheering. ❤

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/narcissism/

Dating Advice from a Reliable Sources

“Absolutely. Gorgeous, but serious drama.”

“Maybe not. Maybe we’ll do great.”

“Life is short. You want to bring known complications into your life on ‘maybe’?”

“It’s just coffee.”

“Ha. Let’s see how that goes.”

“How do you know Juliette, anyway?”

“You really want an answer?”

“Well, yeah. Maybe you’re a legitimate source, you know, not just fake news.”

“Ha ha.”

“So how do you know her?”

“You know Lucretia?”

“Only by reputation. She’s the insane virago that made your life hell for three years, right? The one who totaled your classic 911 in a jealous rage? The one who called your poor house-bound mother an ‘antiquated relic who can’t die soon enough’? The one who set fire to your suits so you couldn’t go to work? The one who called the Humane Society alleging you kept her tied up in the backyard? The one who showed up at your office bare-breasted and challenged all the women to compete with her tits? That Lucretia?”

“‘Lucretia’ isn’t her real name.”

“Whoa.”

“Yeah.”

“Thanks buddy. Thanks. You want to go get a beer?”

“What about the coffee?”

“Like you said. Life is short.”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/complication/

Lamont and Dude Discuss Smilodon Ambitions

“Dude.”

“‘ssup?”

“You’re famous among the feline races. Did you know? They want to be smilodons or think they might have been smilodons in the remote past. There’s such a house feline in Switzerland, Tabby T. Cat and one in Colorado named Lucy.”

“It’s just a suit, Lamont.”

“I know that. You know that, but it appears that some of our feline neighbors are manipulating their humans into writing blogs for them in which they express smilodon dreams.”

“What are you on, Lamont? You know today’s marijuana is not the marijuana of any of your youths, right?”

“I don’t think you should be asking me that. Maybe the humans who transcribe the thoughts of their cats need that warning, not me.”

“Remember our non-human lives, Lamont? We DID communicate without language. There was always the fear that the prey would read our minds and know our plans. Who’s to say the felines AREN’T communicating with their people? Maybe these cats, tell all this to their humans. I don’t think we should reject the whole idea prematurely.”

“But why a blog?”

“That is a good question.”

***

Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/premature/

Infectious Rigidity

We humans get set in our ways. My attachment to some things I do is almost superstitious, maybe a sign of incipient OCD, or an unconscious longing for ritual. Last night as I was slammed to sleep (Percocet), I had a couple of seconds to think about the changes in my life wrought by the hip replacement. Changes that have NOTHING to do with the hip, mobility, pain. Sometimes you have to let go. And there you are, doing things differently.

Until this, I had never given anyone — let alone myself — an injection.  Tracing the circle of injection points around my belly button I can see how much better I am at it now than I was a week ago. Yay blood thinner.

PJs, I hate them. Have not slept in the damned things since high school. Now I’m sleeping in a purple satin night shirt. Not because of IT per se, but because it’s slippery on the sheets making getting in and out of bed easier. I don’t even mind it. My objection to Pjs is that they get tangled around one’s body when one tosses and turns, but, as I’m sleeping locked in place at this point, that problem is solved.

I’m an inveterate side sleeper now sleeping on my back.

Privacy. I’m neurotic about some things that are part of being an animal on planet earth. I’ve spent the last week without one bit of that and so what?

I even went one morning without coffee, and didn’t die as a result.

A more profound change — and thinking about it brings a lump to my throat — I’m very very very very self-reliant. Now, here I am reaching out to friends for help. The result? A crystaline, icy casing of fear cracks, breaks, falls. The little being inside steps out, looks around, dazed and hesitant, but there’s no going back. ❤

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/infect/

“You have such a pretty face”

As for thin, I’m not. I have been a couple of times in my life (very, very, very bad times in my life), but generally, I’ve always been what you might call “solid,” a compact, little person with a high specific gravity. I think the original design was for a mountain dwelling, trail navigating, sheep and goat following humanoid.

But… “You have such a pretty face. It’s too bad you’re so fat. ”

Too bad“? Not hardly. I’m probably so gorgeous that IF I had had the ideal body along with “such a pretty face” no other women would have had a chance in the romance lottery. Ha ha.

The times in which we live have brought this thing called “body image” up to the front of our attention in the form of an actual “movement.” I think that’s really strange. The same people who say that judging a book by its cover is superficial and wrong want to change the way their covers are judged. I truly can’t wrap my head around it. The goal (in my opinion) should be health and ability. Beauty is transitory and subjective. Never in my adolescent dreams did I imagine a big butt would be considered beautiful.

So, I dunno. It’s all the zeitgeist, really, that ineffable, constantly changing, whimsical, mysterious force that drives fashion.

Hip Surgery Update: The swelling has gone down a LOT. I’ve stopped using the oxygen (got a finger oxygen meter so I know it’s OK), my wonderful friend is finally getting her freedom from Martha’s Hospital and heading back to her family. I had physical therapy yesterday (here at home), and my therapist helped me get up on the bike-to-no-where though I can’t really pedal yet. He is going to help me walk the dogs when they come home. Thursday’s mission for physical therapy is helping me learn to get behind the wheel of my car. The only problem is that my car is in the garage and my restrictions make it impossible for me to open the garage door. But once the car’s out, it’ll stay there, I guess. Lois and I went out to visit Dusty and Bear yesterday afternoon and I was so happy to see them. ❤ They’re doing very well and getting lots of care from Lori, the kennel owner, who really loves them.

 

1 Bear and me at Noah's Arff

“I miss you, Bear.”

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/thin/

Retroactive DNA Specificity (What?)

A few years ago I wanted to know my pedigree. When Groupon offered a discount on a fly-by-night-marginally-accurate DNA test, I jumped at the chance.

I learned from it that I am 18% Native American. Because I’m a research kind of person, I had to figure that out. It seemed that the similarity between Northern, Northern, Northern Scandinavian DNA and Native American DNA sometimes yielded this result. Reindeer or Wapiti? I’m good with chasing ungulates across ANY region of the frozen north.

Left with more questions than answers about my pedigree, I forked out MORE money, this time to Ancestry, to get a clearer picture. Why? Because, at the time, it seemed to matter. Now?

Well there are just those times in life you want that $100 back.

Having invested the money in order to get pretty maps and charts explaining what I already knew, it has been kind of fun watching the whole DNA/ancestry thing evolve. Since I went into this looking for Swiss ancestry in particular (because of my novels) I was a little disappointed when, originally, all I got was a vague gesture toward Southern Europe. Ancestry keeps updating its ancestry stuff as they learn more. Today (in my relentless search for a compelling featured photo) I saw the latest changes and they pleased me. Switzerland is now on the map as is the migration of the Schneebelis which is, ultimately, all that matters. 😉

Hip Replacement Update: Doc ordered muscle relaxer for spasms, but the pharmacy didn’t get the prescription yesterday. Still, last night went much better thanks to Percocet. There is a lot of swelling with this surgery, mostly on the operated leg, but all over. It has been slowing diminishing. The best thing is that every single day, something is better than the day before. I think I might actually be able to drive to my staple-removing doc appt. next week.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pedigree/

Marble Notebook

“France was filled with emptiness.” OK, that’s bad writing, but noticing it this morning in my Facebook feed made me happy. “Wow,” I thought. “I’m noticing bad writing again. Things are improving.”

The article from which it came isn’t bad writing, and I get the dramatic effect the author was going for in his faux paradox. The article tells about Paul Landowski’s Les Fantômesa very different WW I memorial.

My editor has gotten back to me with her opinion about The Schneebelis Go to America (working title). She sees pretty much what I saw, that the novel needs to be longer and give the reader a more satisfying conclusion. What that will be I still don’t know. There are a couple of possibilities that I’ve already thought of, and there might be more. She has more feedback to give me and godnose my brain isn’t as clear as it could be, so

I write for myself, mainly, but I still want my work to be the best it can be and an aspect of quality is the ability to hold a reader’s interest. Beyond that there’s Aristotle.

What?

A long, long time ago in a faraway land known as Colorado Springs, in a distant era known as the late 60s, in a (for then) fancy pants suburban high school, a feisty little teacher taught her AP English class Aristotle’s Poetics.

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In this little book, Aristotle has described what makes an effective tragedy. It wasn’t written as a prescription; it was written as a description, but it’s pretty hard NOT to turn it into advice since those ancient Greek trajedies still have the power to inspire “pity and fear,” leading to a dramatic climax which, in its turn, must give the audience a chance to resolve the emotional jolt in catharsis. The Schneebelis Go to America doesn’t offer any chance at all for resolution. The audience would leave the theater bewildered. I’m not Samuel Beckett, so I can’t live easily with that.

The featured photo is of my new Stone Notebook. The pages are made of calcium carbonate made from Carrara marble dust. The paper is washable. Greenstory is a small Dutch company started by two Dutch high school students

Slight hip surgery update: Excruciating muscle/spasm/leg cramps last night that terrified both Lois and me. Research, research, research, common side effect of the entire process. OH WELL

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/slight/

As If…

SO… Lois and I took three walks yesterday and went to the grocery store, a distance that ended up totaling a whole mile. Otherwise, I’d put the day up against “Most boring days in my life in which I was 1) an adult and 2) it was not Christmas Eve. We took a photo for the blog of one of these events, but ultimately, I wasn’t in that photo. Instead there was a chubby old lady leaning on a cane. This pitiful creature has giant bazooms inside her Life is Good t-shirt, enormous thighs and one severely bowed leg. I don’t know who she was, where she came from or if that was supposed to be a joke, but it wasn’t funny.

 

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Who TF is this?

 

Damn the only thing on my mind is my hip surgery. I’m so sorry. Well, maybe this is useful…

Advice Section: The BEST thing I did maybe in my WHOLE life was train seriously for the sport of total hip replacement. If you find yourself approaching that event, get on the bike-to-nowhere, ride as “far” as you can. Find a pretty place to walk and walk as far as you can as often as you can. Don’t get daunted because the bike isn’t fun and you can’t walk far. Do exercises to strengthen your core because that’s actually what holds you upright. Complain occasionally because you’ll need some moral support from friends and blogging buddies 😉 AND you’re going to be a little scared. The big fear? Well, there’s the death thing, but even bigger is

“What if I go through all this and NOTHING gets better?”

It’s a possibility, I guess. Pretty unlikely, though. The fifth day after my surgery I walked a mile and have essentially no pain, that’s pretty amazing.

Drugs… Pain management is serious, but, at the same time, the pain drugs have some nasty effects like constipation and mood changes. I wonder, also, if the medical professionals realize that anyone with this problem has already been living with substantial pain, and post-op pain might be nothing in comparison. BUT pain can keep some people from exercising and that’s a problem. Anyway, I pretty much stopped the prescription pain meds the second day I was home. I have so much less pain than I had before I had surgery.

I hope this is the last post for a while on this subject but who knows.

Happy Mothers Day to all among you who are someone’s mom! 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/core/

A Day of Adventure…

Yesterday was a big day on the hip replacement front, mostly because I walked 1/3 of a mile. Not all at once. I walked 2 blocks on the sidewalk in front of my house and various stray bits of distance in actual stores (!). Still and all, I did that. We had to go to the store to pick up a prescription AND we wanted shorter TED hose. The thigh high compression socks they sent home from the hospital are NOT “thigh” high on me. They’re crotch high (sorry).

We tried going to Three Barrels Pizza and Brewery in Del Norte for supper, but instead of eating pizza in this friendly little brew pub, we ended up going home. I had not been on oxygen for four hours, and it was cold in the restaurant. I learned that if you’re low on oxygen, your body’s resposes are skewed and maybe you can’t generate heat. My lips were turning blue and I was starting to see green lights around stuff.

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But at least Lois was able to get her favorite local beer which is peach flavored. We headed home, but as soon as I was warmer, I began to have better color (lips turned from blue to lavender). I thought of possibile newspaper headlines, “Woman dies of hypothermia in local pizza joint.”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/skewed/

A Challenge

I don’t “do” blogging challenges much any more, but as Denny from “The Ceaseless Reader Writes” I don’t really have a lot else to do right now 😉

The challenge is to post three quotations from the works of a 19th century author and say something about him/her. As it happens, the 19th century was “my” century when I was writing my masters thesis, but in the meantime, I’ve traveled back in time six hundred years, I’m having a hard time thinking of a favorite 19th century author. I used to love a lot of them — it was the golden age of the novel. I loved Victor Hugo. Balzac, and Dostoyevsky. I loved Denny’s fav, Thomas Hardy. I was in school back before Women’s Lit was a thing, but we still read Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Edith Wharton, George Eliot and others. Between us, I don’t think “gender” should be a designation for genre, but no one asked me and no one cares now about my opinion.

SO… I will offer Ralph Waldo Emerson because I once liked him a lot and view myself as a type of transcendentalist.

This one is for Denny from Emerson’s essay “The Poet”: ”

Doubt not, O poet, but persist. Say ‘It is in me, and shall out.’ Stand there, balked and dumb, stuttering and stammering, hissed and hooted, stand and strive, until at last rage draw out of thee that dream-power which every night shows thee is thine own; a power transcending all limit and privacy, and by virtue of which a man is the conductor of the whole river of electricity.”

This one is from Self-Reliance an essay I LOVED teaching because it is so meaningful and has so much to say to post-adolescents. “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.”

One more from Self-Reliance: “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

Emerson was an essayist — a very popular one — from New England in the 19th century. Now that I know Goethe, I see how completely derivative Emerson was. Some of his most famous ‘sayings’ simply paraphrase Goethe. I was disappointed when I realized that, but there is really little that is truly new anywhere ever. AND that fact doesn’t make many of the ideas held by Emerson wrong or their expression without beauty.

Oh, I almost forgot:  I have to challenge other Bloggers, too.  Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to post about your favorite 19th-century author.  Other than that, feel free to make your own rules, but please do challenge a few of your own friends.

I challenge:

Tracy of Reflections of an Untidy Mind so maybe we’ll get some Australian writers!

Teddy (or his person) from Teddy the Dog Talks

Cara from Another Good Dog

via Daily Prompt: Forest

https://theceaselessreaderwrites.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/a-poem-a-challenge/