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In memory of my son Daniel, part of one of his favorite sutras, which he recited daily in his meditations:

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings never be separate from unconditional happiness,
where there is no suffering.
May all beings live in great impartiality, free from
attachment and aversion.

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This is frustrating me! I typed an entry and went to post it and it refuses to post, saying my post is too long. So I tried to delete some stuff and put some of it behind a cut and it still says it's too long! I cut and pasted the entry directly to my lj and it posted it all with no cuts, no problem. And I know I've read fairly long entries of others on here; so what am I doing wrong, why can't I post anything more than a simple paragraph here on dreamwidth?!!

Kind people

Jun. 2nd, 2017 07:11 pm
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Checking in this very windy Friday evening to say that, despite a week fraught with depressing political news and violence/mayhem on the global news, there are still lovely people in the world, some of them right on my own doorstep, so to speak. Just a few minutes ago a UPS driver who delivers packages to our home quite often stopped by with a wrapped gift for my daughter; over the course of his time delivering to us, my daughter has informed him more than once that she is a huge Nickelodeon tv fan, most especially a fan of the Nickelodeon '90's cartoon "Rocko's Modern Life." She fixates obsessively (she has autism) on ordering a new set of the complete series practically every time she turns around, sigh; it is one of her top two obsessions (the other being her calico cat), and she has close to 20 copies of that show right now. This lovely UPS driver is always nice enough to take a few minutes from his busy delivery schedule to join in a quick discussion of all the old Nick shows--my daughter was beyond impressed and delighted to find out that this delivery guy was a huge Nickelodeon fan himself as a kid-- and last time he dropped off a package to us he sang the theme song from "Hey Dudes" to her and had her grinning ear to ear. Anyway, this evening there was a knock on my door, and there was this same UPS delivery guy, not at work but driving his own private vehicle and on his own time; he was holding a wrapped package and said he wanted to give something to my daughter if I didn't object. So I called her to the door and we unwrapped it, and it was a glass-framed cartoon poster of Rocko, Spunky, and Heffer from "Rocko's Modern Life." She was so so happy, and that was so sweet of him to buy her that on his own dime and take time after his work schedule to drop by and give it to her. My daughter functions on the level of a 6 year old child even though she's 29 (but due to a genetic defect she still mostly LOOKS like a child as well), and it brought tears to my eyes that this UPS man was just so kind to her and made her day so much nicer for her. What a lovely person! 

In other news, my poor nephew Chris has had to have yet another emergency surgery due to a nasty infection in his latest dialysis port graft, but thankfully he came through it okay. I'm not sure if he will have to use that old tunnel catheter port in his chest again for his dialysis or what, but he is pretty much running out of feasible places to find a vein able to acommodate his dialysis treatments. So we are all just keeping him in our prayers; this is like the 7th or 8th surgery he's had on his grafts and ports because all of them keep clotting up and clogging up or getting infected.
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Well, my youngest daughter Lisa has been a nervous wreck the past 2 weeks or so trying to get her piece of crap car fixed (it died, she had it towed, they said it was fixed, she drove it off and as soon as she parked it, it was dead again; another tow, another promise it was fixed, and of course after she parked it and went next time to start it...it was dead. ANOTHER tow, by this time she was beyond fed up, as she'd already paid over $600 in tows and repair costs. FINALLY this third time she crawled under the car herself and found a sheared battery cable that they'd messed up the 3rd time while fixing her starter and alternator, so they fixed that and they at least didn't charge her for the other 2 tows or the rest of the repairs. But geesh!...) Anyway...she was so stressed from days of dealing with that car while also trying to repaint the interior of her new house she was about to move into and waiting for new carpet to be installed in the bedrooms, etc. They kept having to reschedule till it ended up they wouldn't be able to install the carpet till today, and she had to move YESTERDAY. So yesterday she moved all day and had to just stack all the bedroom stuff in the living room cause she had to wait till today to get her bedrooms carpeted (when she bought the house those 3 rooms only had concrete floors while the rest of the house has wood floors and tile in the bathrooms). She finally got her new washer/dryer delivered today as well (she was living in an apartment and had to use their washer/dryer so she had none of her own when she moved). She called me this evening exhausted but in the best mood I've heard her in in weeks; just so tired but relieved that the move is done and she has at age 28 her very first house and a yard for her big lab/husky mix named Tristan. So...a bit ago she called me again, sobbing hysterically, and I was freaking out not knowing what she was even saying; she had told me she was going to go pick herself up some dinner and try to relax, so I was thinking maybe she got in a car accident or something very bad because she was so, so upset. But she finally managed to explain that in the 20-30 minutes she was out, her dog freaked out completely and basically ate a big hole through her back wall by her sliding glass doors; he chewed a big metal strip right out of the wall, ate most of the plaster and drywall there and was down to the wood next to the doors when she got home and found him. She has moved 3x since she's had this dog, always to apartments, and while he does have terrible anxiety about thunderstorms, he's never had separation anxiety or torn up any of her apartments when she left him alone. Even when they were new places to him, he never freaked like he did this evening with the house. So she was just so tired already and seeing the damage he did in just 30 minutes sent her over the edge. So I feel terrible for her; she loves that dog to distraction, he's almost 11 now and she rescued him from a shelter over 6 years ago and he's gentle with everyone and gentle with other animals and has till now minded her very well, etc. But he just completely freaked today, even though she's brought him over there a few times while she was painting, etc to get him used to the place and to the yard; he does tend to jump fences and run off if left alone in a yard, so she didn't want to put him out back while she was gone. She just had no idea he'd destroy her wall like that. So now she has to fix that and she has to go back to work Monday and is hysterical that he'll totally destroy her house now. She doesn't want to crate him all day while she's at work, but till she figures out a way to help him get used to the new situation and calm down and not try to eat his way through the walls to escape, I guess she's going to have to just crate him. She also has a cat, but the cat didn't help his anxiety at all as a 'companion' to distract him while she was gone. I just feel bad for her, she worked so hard to even get that house and then to repaint it inside and everyting, and now all that damage from her dog.
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Wow, it's been like 6 years since I made a post here; I was just more devoted to lj I guess. But my long, lovely friends list there has dwindled basically to a very small number of people, so here I am again, hungry I suppose to read more posts here by people who are active here, many of them old friends from lj (waves to you all!).

Anyway...brief update--since my last. long-ago post, I no longer teach prek but for almost 2 years have been caregiver to my adult autistic daughter. Her older brother, my beloved and only son Daniel, was her main caregiver while I taught prek but tragically he died of a heart attack (cardiomyopathy) in Sept 2015. His death has been the most traumatic, difficult event of my life and I of course have had to move on with life but will never get over losing him. I miss him so much every single day. Since 2013 I have also lost my beloved mother, my sister-in-law, my ex father-in-law and ex brother-in-law (I am still close to my ex's family so to me those losses hit hard as well). Life nowadays is comprised of a much smaller circle of daily events and interactions with the greater world as I focus on taking care of both my autistic daughter (currently she is awaiting surgery for a nasty but thankfully non-malignant tumor in her right ear) and my 87 year old ex mom-in-law. She broke her hip a couple years ago and also has vision issues, so I'm happy to drive her to her many dr appointments, buy her groceries for her and clean her house and change her bedding, etc. I am also just working through my overwhelming grief over my son (I'm the one who found him in the living room floor and did cpr and tried to rescusitate him, which sometimes replays over and over in my head). I also miss my mother a lot, she passed from multiple myeloma at age 78 in 2013 and sometimes I still want so badly to pick up the phone and call her and just hear her voice.

And that is my somewhat depressing update. I originally joined both lj and dreamwidth because of my eager interest in and love for various fandoms--Stargate, The Sentinel, Supernatural, The X-Files, Sherlock, etc-- but fandom and its methods of interaction have changed faster than this old-fashioned lady can keep up with, and sadly so many of my old 'connections' with fandom have fallen by the wayside. But I will be pleased if even a few of my older links to my beloved fandom days are reforged here at dreamwidth.
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I read my reading page here and so on, but I never seem to remember to post any entries here. My life is so dull, anyway, it's like, "What's the point?" Sigh. Had a very quiet 4th, and today I have to drive my daughter to the next town over for her appointment with her rheumatologist. Which is always followed by a visit to Barnes & Noble so she can buy books; we don't even have a book store in our crappy town (save for a very disorganized Hastings), so any time we go to Midland we stop at the book store. My auto immune crap is really acting up today and I feel very weak and shaky, which will likely trigger an anxiety attack at her stupid dr's office; but that's the way I roll. I can't afford any anxiety meds and the herbal/otc stuff never helps me, so I guess I just deal with it best I can. 

On a different note, I can't believe how quickly summer is rushing by and how much I DREAD going back to work August 1st; I do NOT want to, sigh. The longer I'm home, the more agoraphobic I get, which I know is not good; I NEED this job, even though it's only part time prek teaching, just to get me out of the house and interacting with other people and doing something useful. But this will be year #10 of me working there, and I am really really sick of the way they run things. With each passing year I have more and more issues with my director, sigh, and it's really getting to the point that I hate working there; it's killing my soul. But I can't deal with a full time teaching job because of my health problems, and the one thing my director IS good to me about is working with me and my health crises and my need to take off at certain times, even just working part time, when I have to take Marissa to dr. appointments or therapies or whatever. Anyway...I've been off work since June 6 for summer break and that's without pay, so it's rough financially right now; I won't get paid again till August 15, sigh. So we're basically surviving on a shoestring budget right now, and by August I should be glad to get back to work just to start earning my measly paychecks again. But it's so difficult to try to get my mindset back into working and manage my increasing anxiety levels. The longer I stay home, the harder it is to even leave the house most days, much less get back into the swing of things and deal with a whole new class of rowdy 4 year olds.

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I survived my parent conference with the mother that I was told was TERRIBLE by the teacher who had her child last year; I had no problems with her or the conference and we both seem to want to work on and achieve the same goals for her little girl, so hopefully today's completely cordial meeting is a good omen for any future dealings with this parent. I felt ill all morning, as I always seem to do these days, but I slogged on through and was rewarded when I dragged home around 1:20 pm by the sweet gesture of my son having made a lovely lunch for us; he made NY strip steaks with a lovely bread crumb topping that he'd mixed with several delicious seasonings/spices, plus he also made baked potatoes and steamed asparagus spears with butter...so that was a lovely, peaceful lunch he and I had before he had to go back to his afternoon classes (he's taking culinary arts, so yeah, he is a better cook than I am!). It was nice to just sit and relax a bit before going to pick Marissa up from her grandmother's, and happily she is calm today and hasn't had any meltdowns and not too much pain from her arthritis.

If I can just get through two more parent conferences tomorrow and get my lesson plans for next week turned in by Friday, then maybe I will be all set Friday evening for the season premiere of Supernatural, which I am approaching with some trepidation after last season's very uneven mix of episodes. I think my number one misgiving for this new season lies with my continuing fear that the writers will NOT write the brothers' relationship in a way that I will find emotionally satisfying, as well as canonically logical. I mean, sure they have had a lot to deal with and now this added length of separation, but if they remain rather emotionally detached from each other all season and if Sam's character is TOO cold and analytical, I will be so disappointed I'm not sure I will be able to watch the show any longer. I know, everyone has their own opinion about the boys' bond together and how they should interact, and some will be quite happy with a new, changed dynamic between them for the season. I'm not saying NOTHING should ever change, because people DO change due to life's circumstances and I wouldn't expect season 6 Sam and Dean to behave exactly as they did in season 1. But I'm just saying, there are certain immutable elements of their relationship that--for me, anyway--are pretty much set in stone in my heart and soul, and if THOSE are erased to the point that the brothers don't even seem like brothers or like themselves at all anymore, then I can't take that. Sighs for caring so obsessively about two fictional characters, argh!!

Well, no new word on my nephew Chris, so I hope he's feeling better and his test results tomorrow won't be anything really bad; he's been through so much in his life and has such a sweet spirit, but more and more lately he has to struggle harder to recover from each new illness because his body is just wearing out.
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At least THIS particular Monday, grrr. I have hated pretty much all of September thus far, come to think of it; and I am sick and tired of being so gloomy-grouchy but just can't seem to help myself. Got up this morn feeling like crap as usual, going on week 4 of useless antibiotics and coughing my guts out and blowing out yellow snot, yum, plus my blood pressure has been all over the board lately and I get dizzy spells and irregular heart beat, etc. Sucks. Then there's dealing with Marissa's health crap and doctors and now the one dr wants her to see yet another doctor to confirm the diagnosis he himself made months ago but she's deteriorating so fast with her arthritis that he's worried it could be something MORE than that, yet another foul disease or condition she might end up having on top of or instead of the psoriatic arthritis he diagnosed and has been treating her for...we were at his office FOREVER the other day, and I felt so ill and was so stressed, and my car battery had died earlier that day and I had no time to get it started again because her doctor appointment was in the next town over, so my son had to drive us to her doctor in his car and we didn't even get home till 6:30 pm and then still had to go back for my stupid car in the supermarket parking lot and jump the battery...which died again TODAY, yay. And I get paid in two days but I will STILL be flat broke cause that's just the way I roll, whoo hoo, and how the hell will I be able to buy a damned car battery EVEN on payday when I'm two months behind on my electric bill and just had to pay her doctor and refill a ton of her prescrips and she only gets x amount 'free' on her medicaid per month, sigh...and I am rambling nonsensically today, I know, but that's exactly where my brain is today.

So I get up, manage to get to work, the prek kids are BEASTLY all morning, I mean fangs and claws and evil beady eyes kind of beastly pretty much, to the point that by midmorning I was ready to just walk right out and go away from there FOREVER. I am so so burned out right now on 4 year olds, especially 4 year olds who do not mind, will not listen, cannot sit still even 2 minutes, who love to hit and slap each other and just generally drive me INSANE. Geez.

So... I survive the deadly combat that is prekindergarten, with a parent conference and a vomiting child thrown into the mix, and I get home only to have my son show up from culinary arts class with a bloody rag clutched tightly around his hand where he'd chopped the crap out of his index finger earlier while cutting a roast in class and then spent over 2 useless hours dripping blood in the ER as they ignored him in favor of the really sick/injured/whatever. So he got fed up and just left and came home and we had NO first aid supplies for some ungodly reason, so I had to borrow his car (curse you, dead battery piece of crap car of mine!!!) and go buy liquid stitches and butterfly bandages and antibiotic ointment and those finger cots which look like miniature condoms that you slide down over a cut finger, ha. It took us forever to get the gap closed enough  (ugh, still makes me feel weak and pukish remembering it
) to even get the liquid stitches gunk to hold and to dry, and he was ranting about how he's quitting cooking school cause his gingersnaps also turned out for crap today and he cut himself and felt like a failure, and it was all just par for the Monday course as I tried rather lamely to convince him not to drop out over one cut finger and some flattened, rock-hard cookies, sigh.

And THEN...I get a cut-off notice in today's mail for my electricity, even though I had scheduled an automatic payment at the end of August, and I had to call the electric company and the guy who took my irate call was less than friendly and kept asking me accusing questions about my bank account balance and saying my debit card had been declined that day in August even though I KNOW I had money in my account that day to pay it. That is the second time this electric company has declined my card when it wasn't really insufficient funds at all, sigh, and that is so annoying. So I had to go back over my bank account and yeah, that scheduled payment never went through, so no WONDER I thought I had too much money left over right at the cusp of the next payday--in other words, I still show I HAVE some money, which is NEVER true right before payday. But in my own defense I HAVE been sick sick sick and tired tired tired and stressed stressed stressed and so have not been as attentive to my bank balance and debits as I usually am. Oh, and I also just discovered the blank check I gave my son for HIS dr visit 5 days ago (nasty throat infection) has NOT cleared, either, so there goes another chunk of money I have to figure in. I HATE my life, I just effing HATE it lately.

So this week I still have to take Marissa for a ton more blood work, and she gets HYSTERICAL over blood work even though she gets it done every freaking 6 weeks; and I also have to call this NEW doctor that Dr. K wants her to go see and try to get her an appointment and she also has to go to her diabetes/thyroid checkup later this month...we JUST saw her neurologist for her seizures plus she had a mild stroke a few years back so he keeps up with all that brain business for us, sigh, and she had to have another cardiac ultrasound over the summer, and Lord, I am so so sick of doctors even as I know we are BLESSED that she has all of them and is receiving all the care her poor, puny body needs to keep it running.

And that is pretty much my rant for this Monday; today my daddy would have been 79 years old, but he died at the sadly young age of 35, when I was only 4, in a car wreck. So even though I don't really remember him that well, I still feel a bit melancholy on his birthday and wonder sometimes if he is SOMEWHERE out there watching his 3 kids and all his grandkids and now GREAT-grandkids as we all move through our lives down here. I do remember he used to call me his 'sugar booger' and I would ride in the car standing up in the front seat next to him with my arm around his neck as he drove (no seat belt laws back then and big old boat cars made of real steel, ha!), and I would sing to him and we'd make up silly songs together and bellow them at the top of our lungs as we went down the road. I just couldn't understand when he died why he wasn't ever coming back home again and can still remember days and days after he died of my mom just lying on the couch crying all day while my older bro and sis were at school. So, I hope my daddy found peace and is in some wonderful place and if he DOES know me at all as I am now, I hope he isn't too disappointed in the way I've turned out and how damned GRUMPY I am.

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Ugh, I do NOT like the cold, with my vascular problems cold weather makes my hands and feet hurt so bad, sigh. Woke up this morn to a chill wind and gray skies, and I just feel slow and sluggish and vaguely depressed today. Gotta drag myself back to work tomorrow after a whole week off, a week in which I did nothing more productive than a bit of laundry and cooking and finished 4 of the gazillion books I have lying around the house. My son did most of the cooking for Thanksgiving; he made delicious yeast rolls and rosemary potatoes and we already had a fully cooked smoked turkey that my dear friend Ed sent to us for the holiday, so we had a nice meal with the veggies we also fixed and pecan pie. I missed having my youngest daughter home for the day, but she is a six hour drive away and had college classes right up through Wednesday and couldn't make it for Thanksgiving; at least she will be home for Christmas break in a bit over two weeks from now, so I am looking forward to that. She's adopted a dog, a yellow Lab mix with one blue eye and one brown that she's named Tristan, and she will be bringing Tristan with her for her month long Christmas break, so I hope he will get along with our dog, Zero, and our four cats and our rabbit!

Anyway...I also missed my sis and her family and my mom and little brother and seeing them on Thanksgiving, as they all got together at Mom's house; but I just couldn't get it together to drive the three hours there and another three back that day, sigh. My sis was depressed cause our older brother and his family didn't come; used to, we would have these HUGE gatherings for both Thanksgiving and Christmas because I have a lot of nieces and nephews and they are mostly grown now and having families of their own (my nephew Quinn already had 5 kids by the time he was in his late 20's!), and we would ALL come together for these two holidays and there would be at least 40 relatives in the house, a ton of them children. But sadly our extended family unit has gone through some internal strife and struggle and factions dividing and religious views clashing with others' moral and political views, and so now we have family who refuse to be around other family and fractured bits of the whole huddling stubbornly alone or in their small camps at holidays rather than everyone coming together as we used to in a big, noisy, rambunctious but utterly lovely chaos of family and love. It's very sad and depressing and part of the reason I myself just couldn't work up the energy to go to Mom's for the holiday; I know I am not exactly helping the problem by keeping myself and my family away, too, but perhaps at Christmas things might go a bit better. I just feel like I'm too old now, too displaced in the midst of a family of younger people who don't hold to the same idea of family that we older ones always clung to. It makes me feel very sad and lonely and cut off from some core aspect of myself and my soul, but I don't know that there's any going back now; you can't recapture some things again just because you want it that way, sigh. So, I need to let it go and wish the best for all my nieces and nephews and their kids and their lives and love them with the bittersweet recognition that to them I'm just their outdated, clueless old auntie heading for the half-century mark. Sigh.

Well, enough of my maudlin whining today. I got up with a sick tummy and am just not up to par either physically or emotionally today, I guess. So I will leave off with two book recs, one which deals with disturbing subject matter but which turned out to be a grimly compelling read and the second which made me laugh and cry and fall in love with Henry and his insane family and be drawn into their world till their woes and travails became as my own and I found myself weeping openly at certain parts of the novel. Here is the title and author of book #1--The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison, which is a memoir of her screwed-up, incestuous relationship with her father and her dysfunctional emotional bond with her mother. Yeah, not exactly fun reading, eh, but for me, coming from a childhood in which I was molested by a stepfather for most of that childhood, I found the book fascinating because it addressed some of my own emotional issues and devastation concerning the whole subject; and this was her biological father, so I can't even imagine the repercussions for her soul as I had enough trouble just dealing with my abuse by a stepparent who was not biologically related to me.

And the second novel is called Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb; I LOVE this book. It is told from the point of view of Isabelle, one of Henry's three adult sisters (Henry being the sole brother in the family and a young man with mental disabilities but a heart bigger than the world). Together they are the Bommarito clan, three half-crazy sisters with all sorts of dysfunctional quirks and habits, their equally screwed up and interesting mom, a grandmother with senile dementia who thinks she's Amelia Earhart, and an absent father who returns unexpectedly after many years. The book is full of quirky, outrageous humor and pathos and angst and oh, the terrible things that family has gone through both individually and collectively! But Henry, wonderful Henry with a wise soul to offset his mental retardation, is the glue holding this family together and the only one able to patch together the broken pieces. I couldn't get this book out of my head and Henry is a character I will long remember and cherish. Maybe partly because my own daughter is autistic and I have a soft spot for special people in the world; but I think Henry will capture the hearts of almost anyone out there. Cathy Lamb's story of this crazy family with its OCD daughter and one sexually promiscuous daughter and one fat one hung up on her weight and self image and the mother who was once a stripper and Grandma zooming around the house with her old-fashioned pilot's helmet and goggles plotting her next Atlantic crossing and the abashed, hopeful dad returning to the mostly unwelcoming bosom of his family held my rapt attention throughout the novel.

And now I am off to put some socks on my frozen feet and check my daughter's blood sugar and fix something for lunch; pay day isn't till tomorrow so we're down to the absolute dregs of food in the kitchen till then, sigh. Hope everyone has a good, peaceful Sunday.



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My son got bad news this morn; a young man named Frank, part of my son's circle of longtime friends, was walking home late last night and was struck by a car and apparently killed instantly. Frank was only 23 years old, and my son and the rest of his gang who were all mutual friends with Frank are all in shock and grieving the unexpected and senseless loss of their friend. Frank's closest friend had tried to give Frank a ride home last night and Frank had laughingly declined, saying he'd be fine and was only walking a short distance to his girlfriend's house; he never made it there. So so sad; my son was in a rock band with Frank for awhile and as I said, these kids all hung out together from way back in their high school days (my son is 25 now). Another mutual friend in this core group of friends committed suicide a few months ago, and they were all still trying to come to terms with that when this happened. So today my son is off with all his friends and Frank's devastated girlfriend as they try to make sense of a senseless tragedy. I just feel so sad for them all and for that young man and the loss of all he could have been and done and had in his life. Right now I don't know if the driver who hit him was drunk or just didn't see him, or what; but the street he was walking on is one of our larger streets and very well lighted at night, with traffic lights and numerous signs, etc warning about all the pedestrian crosswalks, as this road runs right in front of one of our high schools. So I just feel so sad for Frank and his parents and family and for my son and all his friends. My son is pretty devastated right now.
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Tonight, two movie recs and not much else; it's been a meh kind of week, sigh. Had my 47th birthday two days ago, got some nice gifts and took a trip to the bookstore with one of my daughters, which I always enjoy, followed by Chili's take-out for dinner. Still couldn't find the parts I need for my stupid car to fix the parking lights so it will pass vehicle inspection by month's end, so that annoyed me muchly. Finally ordered them online and I hope I chose the correct sockets sigh. Anyway!....on to the recs.

The first one is for a movie called "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." This movie upset me so much and yet was also beautiful in one sense; it was difficult to watch and to be reminded of man's terrible inhumanity to man, but it was also a soul-stirring tale of a pure, simple friendship that knows no race, color or religion as well as offering a view of the priceless innocence of children juxtaposed alongside the heinous, willful blindness of adults. The story revolves around a young boy whose father becomes an SS officer in Germany and moves his family to a house right outside a concentration camp; while the boy's mother maintains a stubborn blindness to the horrors taking place basically right outside her door, unable to reconcile the image of her beloved husband as a genocidal monster,  and while his big sister becomes an ardent follower of Hitler's Youth, the young boy, eight year old Bruno, is merely lonely and isolated in his new home and chafes at being forbidden to explore beyond the yard of his new home. When he sneaks over the garden wall one day and stumbles upon the barbed wire fencing of the concentration camp, he discovers an 8 year old Jewish boy huddled on the other side of the fence, clothed in what Bruno calls striped pajamas. Bruno innocently strikes up a conversation with the little boy, asking his name and why he's dressed like that and can't really understand why his new friend Schmo (sorry, I don't know the proper spelling) can't just come over and play with him. The friendship that springs up between the two boys is a beautiful but oh so poignant thing to see, and Bruno begins sneaking food to his half-starved Jewish friend  as well as bringing toys he wants to share. As the movie progresses and Bruno sees how his father and all the SS officers coming and going mistreat the few Jewish prisoners who are picked to serve inside Bruno's home pretty much as enslaved workers, Bruno can't reconcile his former view of his father as a hero with the things he knows now. He asks Schmo what HIS father does for a living, and the young Jewish boy sadly explains that once his father was a watch maker but now he just slaves in the camp all day; when Bruno asks if he always respects his father, Schmo replies of course, don't you admire and respect YOURS, not realizing that Bruno's father is the head of all the SS soldiers Schmo finds so abusive and terrifying. When Schmo's father is taken off on a 'work detail' and never returns, Schmo shares his worry and grief with Bruno, and by now Bruno, though only 8, knows something horrible is going on within the walls of the camp. He can smell the horrible stench of burning bodies night and day, a smell his parents stoically and staunchly refuse to acknowledge when Bruno asks about it; when Bruno's mother finally admits to herself what is going on within yards of their new home, she can't take it anymore and demands that her husband allow her and the children to move back to the city. Bruno doesn't want to leave his litlle friend from the camp, and what happens next is a tragedy that had me clutching my stomach and crying and feeling ill to the depths of my soul all during the last part of the movie. So, as I said before, this is a very emotionally ravaging film but I think a very important one; as our children move further and further away from the 20th C and the last survivors of those infamous, heinous concentration camps, we need to never let the awareness of this dark, horrible time of unimaginable human cruelty fall from our collective consciousness. I can only pray, as  unspeakable atrocities and suffering continue to take place in various countries around the world, that upcoming generations will someday, somehow, move beyond this lowest, darkest, most evil part of human nature into something closer to what I'm sure God meant us to be. 

The second movie is a foreign (Asian) film  with English subtitles called "Eternal Summer", a small gem of a movie (imo) which tells the story of a sort of love triangle between a girl and two young men who have been best friends since childhood. The blurb for the movie reads as follows: "Studious Johnathan and rebellious Shane first meet as elementary school classmates. Years later, when a new girl arrives in school, she quickly falls for Johnathan, but he rebuffs her, and she turns her affections to his best friend, Shane. A love triangle develops, leaving Johnathan questioning his sexual identity and his true feelings for Shane in this sensitive coming-of-age film." Basically Johnathan discovers between high school and college that he has fallen in love with Shane, but by the time he comes to that realization Shane has begun secretly dating Carrie, who first made a play for Johnathan but when she tried to get amorous Johanathan couldn't go through with it. Carrie is aware that Johnathan is in love with Shane, so she doesn't really want Shane to tell Johnathan that they are now 'together'; she doesn't really do it in a jealous or vindictive way but actually is trying to keep the boys' friendship together because she is unsure how Shane might react to the knowledge that Johnathan has sexual/romantic feelings for him. So it's a complex, layered movie and you feel for all three characters caught up in this triangle that revolves around Johnathan and Carrie's love for Shane and his need to have both of them with him. There are no menage-a-trois scenes, sorry folks, ha, just one scene with Carrie trying unsuccessfully to seduce Johnathan and another, quite lovely homoerotic scene between Johnathan and Shane. I don't really know why, but this movie just touched me and pointed out how complicated and messy and painful even the closest of relationships can be. I don't recall the rating for "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," and this second movie has no rating (NR).


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Haven't posted in awhile; was busy last weekend helping my daughter move from one on-campus apartment at UT Dallas to her new one for fall, and boy was that a killer weekend, LOTS of backbreaking labor moving zillions of boxes and heavy furniture up a flight of stairs over about 13 hours in high heat and humidity. Bleh. Then Tuesday the same daughter had her cardiology appointment and sonogram to find out about her irregular heartbeat; more on that later, but for now she's fine. Friday my other daughter had her neurology appointment, she's gonna stay on her same seizure meds since they are working well and will need another heart sonogram within a year or two as her genetic defect makes her at risk for a VERY serious, often fatal condition called aortic dissection, sigh. And that is the short summary of my past week. So, on to the book rec!

The book is called The Devil's Rose; it is the story of a damned soul, a former Texas Ranger from the 19th Century, who goes to Hell and becomes a ranger/hunter for Lucifer. Fitted with living serpent cuffs to track and monitor him and keep him from trying to flee Hell himself, Cole (the ranger) is sent on trips to earth to retrieve escaped, damned souls and return them to Hell. There is also a tragic romance in Cole's past, the ill-fated Rose from which the book takes its title and the driving impetus for what Cole has become. The book is filled with the macabre and fascinating artwork of Brom,who is also the author, and since my fave show on tv is "Supernatural," this book was right up my alley. Once you pick it up, the story and the artwork just draw you in. The book lists for $22.95 but I found a used, like-new copy on amazon for $4.99, so good deal! I could actually envision this book as a movie.

And speaking of movies...my movie rec today is a gay-themed film called "Lilies." I watched it this morn online through Netflix's 'watch instantly' option and really liked it. It's a very unusual movie in structure and how the flashbacks are done, and as in the olden days of original Shakespearean theater, all the female roles in the movie are played by men. It is the tragic story of two young, beautiful gay men in love in late 19th Century Canada and of the soul-eating lust and jealousy and hatred of a third young man whose zeal for the church clashes with his own closeted desires for one of the two lovers and ends up destroying lives. The two young men playing the lead characters in this movie are indeed lovely to look at (imo, ha!), and I just loved the period setting and the way the film moved back and forth from the end of the 19th Century to the movie's 'current' moment (listed as taking place in 1952). There is some boy-on-boy kissing and caressing and one brief shot of full frontal nudity when one of them is climbing into the tub, but nothing too explicit. I rather liked the love scene between the two characters that takes place in that same bath tub, so lovely to watch imo,ha! The story ultimately is tragic, sigh, but I do recommend this movie.
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I'm usually quite happy to putter around on the weekend, reading voraciously and surfing the 'net and doing a bit of desultory housework and catching up on all the Netflix movies I've left lying around during the week and never had time to watch. But today I'm too restless to pay attention to anything on screen, sigh, and both my inbox and my ljs are DEAD as can be...not even much news yet coming from the big SPN convention in England this weekend. The few youtube vids that are up are so raucous and chaotic sound-wise that I can barely understand what is being said on them, so I will just wait for someone who was there to translate it all, ha. I've read a lot of complaints about how disorganized it's been and how the lines were so horribly long for everything, but maybe that's all been sorted out by this point. Jensen's hair is definitely longer, he looks younger that way and less Dean-like, ha, but I confess I like the Dean look better!

Anyway...since I am so bored, sigh, I have decided to list ten books that I am currently reading (I read like a zillion books all at the same time, drives my daughter nuts cause she says I can't possibly keep up with all the plot lines from each, but I am too ADD I guess to just stick with one book at a time); and along with listing the titles, here are the first sentences or paragraphs from each one, behind a cut since I've already used up so much space...Read more... )
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Wonder why that is, that a day off work rushes past so much faster than when I'm on the job, sigh...Don't have much to show for my day off, either; organized my undies drawer, cleaned out the rabbit's cage and changed the cats' litter and potted some flowers for the front porch and did the laundry. Oh, and I actually COOKED food for lunch instead of fast food or frozen dinners, sigh...made seasoned chicken breasts cooked in olive oil, smushed some potatoes and had spinach, too, and breadsticks...this evening my daughter Lisa and I are making an Italian creme cake with raspberry/cream cheese frosting, yum. Drank too much coffee today, read too many angsty, made-me-weepy Supernatural fanfics (post-4.22, most of 'em) and am now listening to classic rock on my cable dmx channel. So far I've enjoyed Joe Walsh, The Eagles, Elton John, Steely Dan, Allman Brothers Band, Deep Purple, Boston...good good stuff, people. My son got good news today, as well; the 'suspicious' mole on his face is NOT cancerous, hooray, so that's a relief. And that is the exciting state of affairs round here today. I don't know why exactly but I feel very melancholy and nostalgic and weepy, a bit sad and forlorn and a bit old and bedraggled and wistful, for what I have no clue. Sigh...
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Work has been hectic, not just this past week but the week before THAT was wild, too; our prek Mother's Day tea that Friday started out well but in the middle of it one of the cafeteria ladies collapsed with chest pains so we had to call an ambulance and keep three classrooms of four year olds and their mommies distracted and calm while we relocated all the tea party things upstairs and moved all the kids and moms so the EMTs could get downstairs and tend to the poor lady (she went home but since then has ended up in the hospital AGAIN with heart trouble); then this week...Cut for length )
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Here are some truly gorgeous bits of poetry from Rumi, the Sufi mystic who lived oh, about 800 years ago (born Sept 30, 1207!); in the angst-ridden, loving-the-boys mood I've been in of late, these poems just spoke to me today of Sam and/or Sam and Dean's bond, sigh; so I wanted to share them with you peeps.

SAM:

Quietness
Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Escape.
Walk out like somebody born into color.
Do it now.
You're covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you've died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.
The speechless full moon comes out now.

(To me this speaks of Sam needing to 'die' not only to the person he was in season 1 as he was still immature then and has seen and experienced so much since, but to die as well to the darkness now inside him and to in a sense be reborn to his true, innately GOOD nature, found inside the stillness of his true soul.)


The Diver's Clothes Lying Empty
You're sitting here with us, but you're also out walking
in a field at dawn. You are yourself
the animal we hunt when you come with us on the hunt.
You're in your body like a plant is solid in the ground,
yet you're wind. You're the diver's clothes
lying empty on the beach. You are the fish.

In the ocean are many bright strands
and many dark strands like veins that are seen
when a wing is lifted up.
Your hidden self is blood in those, those veins
that are lute strings that make ocean music,
not the sad edge of surf, but the sound of no shore.

(This one speaks to me superficially of Sam now being, in Dean's words, something to be hunted almost, but on a deeper level it speaks of the intense depths and complexities of Sam's spirit and how he is not just the blood--ie, the DARKNESS--within those exposed veins but the strands, the veins, themselves, mysterious and beautiful and limitless as the ocean. Other hunters want to see him as merely the dark edge of the surf, to confine him into a box of being purely evil now; but I think Dean still sees within the tormented figure of his brother that infinite, sweet sound of pure ocean waves rushing with the sound of no shore, free and unbound by darkness and in a way eternal.)

~~ ~~
Who sees inside from outside?
Who finds hundreds of mysteries
even where minds are deranged?

See through his eyes what he sees.
Who then is looking out from his eyes?

(Sam feels villified and misunderstood as the demon blood slowly takes hold of him; he only wants Dean to understand, but who can truly see from behind Sam's tortured gaze? And as he grows darker in his soul, who really IS looking out now from his eyes?)

~~ ~~
You have said what you are.
I am what I am.
Your actions in my head,
my head here in my hands
with something circling inside.
I have no name
for what circles
so perfectly.

(To me this speaks of Sam tired of Dean's black-or-white diatribes against his powers, Sam thinking back over Dean's selling his soul, Sam dropping his head so wearily into his massive hands as he tries to make sense of the shattered pieces of his bond with his brother and of how both have changed since Dean's deal. And what is it that circles so perfectly inside Sam's head? That could be so many things, from his growing powers to his stubborn sense that he IS making the right choices to the still-strong love he has for his brother.)


SAM AND DEAN
(and yes, these could definitely be construed as wincesty, ha, unless you want to make them just really really spiritually close! I just find the following selections to be gorgeous and I DO delve into wincest sometimes so for me these are just gorgeous affirmations of their bond.)

~~ ~~
We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain, both. We are
the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.
I want to hold you close like a lute,
so we can cry out with loving.

You would rather throw stones at a mirror?
I am your mirror, and here are your stones.

~~ ~~
When I remember your love,
I weep, and when I hear people
talking of you,
something in my chest,
where nothing much happens now,
moves as in sleep.

All our lives we've looked
into each other's faces.
That was the case today, too.

How do we keep our love-secret?
We speak from brow to brow
and hear with our eyes.

~~ ~~
We are the night ocean filled
with glints of light. We are the space
between the fish and the moon,
while we sit here together.

~~ ~~
We have this way of talking, and we have another.
Apart from what we wish, and what we fear may happen,
we are alive with other life, as clear stones
take form in the mountain.

~~ ~~
IN THE ARC OF YOUR MALLET
Don't go anywhere without me.
Let nothing happen in the sky apart from me,
or on the ground, in this world or that world,
without my being in its happening.
Vision, see nothing I don't see.
Language, say nothing.
The way the night knows itself with the moon,
be that with me. Be the rose
nearest to the thorn that I am.

I want to feel myself in you when you taste food,
in the arc of your mallet when you work,
when you visit friends, when you go
up on the roof by yourself at night.

There's nothing worse than to walk out along the street
without you. I don't know where I'm going.
You're the road and the knower of roads,
more than maps, more than love.

~~ ~~
A secret turning in us
makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.

~~ ~~
I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside me?

~~ ~~
Something opens our wings. Something
makes boredom and hurt disappear.
Someone fills the cup in front of us.
We taste only sacredness.

~~ ~~
Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you're perfectly free.
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