Sunday, October 26, 2008

This blog invests in long posts sometimes

I received this award last week from my friend at Don't Feed the Pixies, and was really touched by the honor and by his accompanying remarks. The deal is that each recipient must select eight bloggers to receive the award, and on it goes. The unknown words on the award drove me nuts and after keying in all the words and running a general translation query I learned that the original language is Portugese and the words literally mean: This Blog invests and believes the Proximity. I googled the award language and found a blog titled The Daily Dose of Toni, in which the blog author - a recipient of the award - wrote:
This award, known as the Este Blog investe e acredita na Proximidade (have no idea what it means) but here is the little paragraph that comes with it

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Personally, I could do without the "cleverly-written text" attached to the award and prefer the concept derived from the name of the award. It indicates that, in the blog there is an investment of time, care, talent, insight, art, inspiration, humor, information, and other key ingredients that build an esprit de corps among bloggers, thus highlighting the proximity between you and I, that country and this country, them and us. It is this community that has been my biggest surprise in blogging, having had no idea it existed when I began this blog....

In making my selection of eight blogs for the award I decided that I won't pass it on it to any blogs that were named along with my blog by Don't Feed the Pixies (or Pixies himself), although there are a couple there who would have been on my list. I also won't name Writing to Survive, although the blog is highly deserving of this and the other awards it has received, because I know the angst that they cause in Jennifer's blogging life. Along that line, I will include another deserving blog whose author needs at least one more reminder that he deserves his following of fans, curmudgeonly though he may be in his acceptance of notoriety. In fact, I'll begin with him but the list is in random order (and suddenly I wish I was supposed to name 18 instead of 8 because some of my favorites aren't listed below).

Yoga for Cynics
Sampling: my usual window seat...though they still haven’t gotten me the promised nameplate... at the near-mythical High Point Cafe, located conveniently on the mean streets of downtown West Mt. Airy, State of Near-Erotic Caffeination, USA, having just passed the usual sardonic remarks back and forth with the counter staff—who I need to go bug for a refill now...and maybe a piece of that damn pumpkin bread I can’t seem to resist...can I make it through the darker, colder months of the year without gaining thirty pounds? Time and the tightness of pants will tell....aaaah, but coffee, my dark mistress, how you taunt me with your fine aroma and chilling warmth...and that guy just came in—the guy who I call Jerry ten years from now—though I’ve never met him—Jerry’s a friend from various’s a long story...and not a very interesting I won’t tell it here...but I’m pretty much positive that, due to some kind of time warp, this guy is him ten years from now....
this neighborhood exists in between city and known for its seemingly effortless yet imperfect Philadelphia and yet not...listening to Thelonious Monk and the Velvet Underground and Nico through headphones that make my left eardrum ring incessantly...I may not have gotten to be a rock star, yet, but at least I’ve got rock star ear problems...and, if I manage to get through this entire post without saying anything of consequence whatsoever, at least I didn’t mention the election....

Much as I try to create a space of grumpy negativity, twisted screeds born of hurt feelings and too much cheap w(h)ine, barbed whispers, gnarly pissed-off elegies of unfettered nihilism and endless caustic sarcasm here in my grey, isolated, misanthropic corner of the worldwide web, people keep seeing goodness and light in it...what can ya do when people like your best efforts at being disagreeable?

Francessa's Thinking
On Saturday, we went to the Icebar in Vienna. It is one of the few icebars in Europe - I know only of those in London and Stockholm, but had never been in one before. It was a very hot day, therefore all the more exciting! The temperature is kept at minus five degrees Celsius. It is beautifully designed and everything is made from crystal clear Swedish ice - the counter, the decoration, the sofas, the tables, the sculptures, even the glasses. One gets chilled alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. They provide you with a thermal cape with hood and mittens, so you're kept warm. The atmosphere is wonderful, the blue light reflecting every colour, for example the cranberry juice in my drink. It was soo relaxing, a very pleasant experience! We thought, it would be very hot when we got outside, but it wasn't. The body had obviously cooled down and there was no heat-shock after all.

(Re: Bob Dylan concert)
I thought it would be like the last time, about one year ago.
Yes, I have seen him twice! The concert was in Vienna’s Stadthalle (one of about 70 concerts between February and September). The location was not a good choice – huge hall (up to 16.000 persons), acoustics in need of improvement, not even a large-format screen for those at the cheaper seats – and above all, chairs! Who needs chairs when watching a rock legend??? Lots of young and enthusiastically applauding young people around, by the way.

So, during the first half everybody was sitting and listening in a very civilized way, but somewhere around Highway 61 you could observe a constant flow of people towards the stage, approaching the heart and centre of the evening, dancing, rocking, moving and finally almost storming the area around the stage.

That’s when the evening started to change from a first-rate rock-evening to a vibrating event, to the real thing!

And the big man himself? Relaxed, almost cheerful. At the end he said (so I’ve heard, couldn’t hear it myself so far away from the stage): “Thank you friends” which, compared to other concerts, sounds like a very long speech.

A Tidings of Magpies
Being around people who have been delivered bad news is not new to me. I was talking with my patient, Ms. M., this weekend. She was supposed to have been in the middle of a cross-country road trip with her husband, destination northern California. Instead, she was lying in a hospital bed, paraplegic after falling from her horse. I was asking about how her family was handling all this and I asked about her horses-who was caring for them?

Her horse's name is Ephraim. "I was going to change it, but after a while it grew on me and seemed to fit him. He's a sweet, sweet boy. So gentle. Goofy. A big galumph."
I said that I bet he missed her.

"My daughter went down to the barn the next morning to feed him. When she got there he just lowered his head and buried it in her chest." My patient and I were quiet for a moment, and we wept.

This is the person I called first when I read an article in PEOPLE magazine years ago about Safe Harbor locations to leave unwanted babies. There had been two dead infants found recently at that time in our very own River City. I called Mr. Portune. I called the chief nursing exec at our hospital. I gave out phone numbers and copies of the magazine piece, and voila--the right folks got in touch with one another and a program was up and running in a matter of weeks.

Todd Portune has been a huge advocate for nurses and patients, and for that, I LOVE him. I have not yet begun stalking, but you just never know when the impulse control will snap, and then Bob's-your-uncle, there I'll be sitting in a non-descript rental car outside his campaign headquarters with a life-size cardboard likeness of the man sitting next to me in the passenger's seat and the police knocking on my window. Again. My poor frontal lobe has an enormous amount of work to do every day trying to keep me coloring inside the lines. It's a damn dirty job.

Project 365
after work i went to visit my grandpa for the first time in a few days. his room continues to have the most beautiful view of the sunset, and in combination with all the flowers everywhere, it made everything seem much more peaceful. i was scared that going back to visit him would be too difficult, but i'm glad that i went. i miss him so much and just want him to come home, but he's still very sick and needs a lot more treatment before that can happen. i'm not giving up on him though. everyone else seems so quick to say that he probably won't make it through this, but i refuse to believe that right now. i'll never give up on him....

there's no picture for today just yet, because it's 11:49 and i just finished spending my entire evening doing 150 close-reading entries for frankenstein, and frankly (no pun intended) i would like to sleep tonight. and i know that plugging in my camera and importing things into lightroom will not speed that process along whatsoever (; but speaking of light/darkrooms, i have big news! well, sort of. it's still in it's infancy, but i have big plans in the works involving building a darkroom at my school! i've been in contact with kodak, fujifilm, and now ilford for the past day or so and i'm finding out what exactly they'll be willing to fund and donate. so definitely more details on that soon, along with the space i'm hoping the school will let me use. i need to schedule a meeting with our principal.


today was a great way to basically end my summer. even though i still have 17 days until i go back on august 18th (dreadfully early, i know), i can feel summer coming to a close.
i went down to sound advice amphitheater in west palm tonight to hear heart, journey, and cheap trick! the show was absolutely fantastic, and it didn't rain. there was a fistfight two rows in front of us, so that was .. interesting, to say the least, especially because it was between these two older couples. the whole crowd was a very different group of people than what i'm used to seeing at shows. i've been to more than 20 concerts in my sixteen years, and i've never been among so many people that were the same age as my parents! it was cool to be among an entirely different generation, listening to their music and watching them relive a concert that they probably attended 15 years ago with the same bands. heart and journey have been around since way before my time!
usually when i go to shows, i bring at least one of my friends with me. but this time i went with just my mom, who hadn't been to a concert in a few years. so it was cool to show her around a venue that i'm almost more familiar with than my own home, and point out all the places where i've had meet & greets and taken pictures with different bands. i realized today that i never really post about my mom, i guess because we're always at odds over something. sometimes i think it's just because of the age i'm at, and because it's more than typical for mothers and daughters to have their differences, but i also think that it's because of our contrasting personalities. my mom is very reserved and poised; always composed, always practical and organized in everything she does. i, however, am almost the complete opposite, always dreaming, designing, working with my art, and always up for something exciting and different with my friends; i'm almost never concerned with organization or practicality. needless to say, we hardly ever agree. but tonight was different, and i'm glad we had a chance to actually spend some time together without fighting. this isn't to say that i think we'll never disagree again, but i think that tonight was a great chance for both of us to understand each other a little more. and truly, that's what every relationship should be about.

Embodied Aging
Are you a Renaissance Soul? According to Margaret Lobenstine you are if you have too many passions to pick just one. I imagine blog readers to be a bit like me, flitting from blog to blog, drinking deeply or just sipping from lots of different sources. And if you are a Renaissance Soul AND a perfectionist, Lobenstine has a great antidote. She suggests you perfect perfectionism by scoring your level of perfection for different projects. Here is an example from my own life. I am willing to weed around the giant sunflowers in my backyard at 50% perfection. I will tackle clearing out our car port at 75%. Maybe 10% for clearing my mind of all thought during meditation (some mornings it could just be .01% perfection! LOL).

My daughter, son-in-law, two adored grandchildren plus son and daughter-in-law are arriving this afternoon. I was surprised to find that, along with my excitement and anticipation, I felt a vague fatigue. Since I had no physical reason to be tired, I decided to do a self-guided Focusing session to see more about that. By listening more deeply to myself I discovered this: I could enjoy their visit 100% IF I would just do the hostessing at 25% perfection. Plus, I'd feel more present with them if I finished and published this post. Energy back on line. Blog post underway. Anticipation flowing.

Would you like to learn Focusing? For a limited time, I am offering one free session per week as part of my training to be a Certified Focusing Professional. Contact me from
this site.
(Note that Sharry at Embodied Aging said "limited time" and this post was from August 2008. I'm leaving the links, however, should you be interested in contacting her for more info or her fee schedule. I am going to have a phone Focusing session with her after November 4th and I'll probably write a post about it afterward.)

Here is Sam, off on his his radiation treatment! What a guy! He bikes most days to Rogue Valley Medical Center, a 30 mile commute round trip. Fortunately the weather has been just beautiful since he began treatment four weeks ago. I wrote about my worry over all this in an earlier post. Things haven't been perfect, for sure, but he's half finished and still biking.

Plus, I saw something really dear on my walk through Lithia park this morning: a doe with two fawns nursing!

Wayfaring Wanderer
In one short month I have been through so many different phases. Some of those moments I would be on top of the world, and others, well, I was stuck in a rut. This constant flux of balance and imbalance is something I have learned to deal with. Especially since my physical state plays an enormous part in how I am able to handle these ups and downs. Pain is very humbling.

When I look back over the course of a mere months time, I am reminded of the tiny tidbits - good and bad - that have escaped my mind. I have these souvenirs of astounding beauty I have beheld, and a record of the goals I/we have accomplished, some of which may have seemed insignificant at the point in time they took place.

This project of taking a photograph everyday for an entire year has worked wonders for how I see with my eyes, mind, and heart. My goal of turning nothing into something never ceases to surprise me. Before me is proof that practice makes 'perfect', all the while emphasizing the fact that I have so much more to learn, and a long way to go! I'm also beginning to recognize a path that is undeniably mine to follow laying right beneath my feet. I have never been more sure or passionate about anything in my life. However refreshing that revelation may be, it still scares the tar out of me. Bring on the ADVENTURE!! ......

......As people and/or artists we are constantly evolving,
and it's so exciting to see how much our ideas and styles change with time and experience.
I have gained a much greater perspective and appreciation for who I am, what I am capable of, and what I have the potential to become as a person, and a creative individual.
Coming to terms with all of the changes and expectations aren't always easy, but are required.

Along the way I have come across many people who have inspired and encouraged me to do what I love, and if it weren't for them, I probably wouldn't be doing this now. But I am, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Create the Journey. Capture Adventure. Get Going!

Barcelona Photoblog
Resuming Barcelona as a topic, here I leave you with a view of carrer Petritxol at Barri Gotic. Some people come and some other go for time immemorial. Streets remain but they will also disappear some day and Barcelona will not be the same. History is caged in this part of town and without it we will be dehydrated, decaffeinated or whatever "de" something you may think of. So let's protect our history and restore the Gothic quarter! ....

....I was trying to think of a better title for today's post. We were standing on Plaza del Rey waiting for the steps to empty and sit for a group photo during Europe Photobloggers Meetup 2008. A man, obviously her partner, was taking pictures. We were camera in hand, more than 30 considering how many we were and some of us started shooting over the man's shoulder. To keep her identity unknown I decided to include this one with her head turned up. So I reckon all the attention deviates to her beautiful dress and legs. I have to say that this subject made me recall some interesting comments under another photo including legs at Chromasia. We were having an argument on whether a picture of just women's legs is somewhat degrading. Of course I haven't changed my mind. Legs are just legs and if beautiful they are to be admired.

Decorative arts, architecture and other forms of artistic expression lived an authentic ecclosion by the end of XIX and the first years of XX c. in Catalonia as part of a cultural and political movement known as Renaixença which was spurred by the new spirit of the wealthy local bourgeoisie and their quest for industrial expansion, the influence of Paris and other industrialized European countries as the new model to follow in opposition to the retrograde, stale Castilian yoke. The cultural side of this renaissance, this art nouveau and the way it manifested in Catalonia is called Modernisme. A lamp was just a lamp but all of sudden there was an urge for innovation and new trends, an outburst of creativity that said hey this is our art, it is Catalan, we borrowed some elements from the most modern and fashion countries in Europe and Asia, we improved it and lifted it to the category of divine, we are educated, passionate for art, powerful and basically we don't need your Royal Majesties anymore, in fact we never did. Of course this is history in a very personal and simplified way...

And now this last award goes to Dex. I began this blog in February 2008, and found Thirty-Thousand Fishes in the first couple of months of blogging, in those early stretches when the blogosphere opens a whole new world to the unsuspecting neophyte.....when this one, then that one catches your fancy and some of them win your favor, and a few your devotion. A comment here and there, shared interests and mutual admiration, then friendships are formed.

But then there was this: a whisper of recognition soul-to-soul, a son-mother kind of recognition, tender openings, filmy reflections, a vulnerability I feel now in sharing these words that are only a glimpse into something I am not able to fully express just now.

The sampling from Thirty-Thousand Fishes posted here simply shows how complex life's pain can be, how, if expressed honestly, it moves beyond personal to something universal, and how complexity sometimes collapses into pure heart-song. Mom? he wrote in April. Yes, anak, I will be Mom to you, or at least one of them.

Thirty Thousand Fishes
Whole week has passed. It has not been hard for me to adjust to a new environment as I have thought. I am lodged here at an unknown flat, an unknown place where different modes of nuisance abound yet comfort and silence play intercourse like fighters drawn to dripping blood.

There’s not much to talk about a community of illegal settlers. They’re here to have roofs above their heads like anybody else. Houses here are a lot more decent than what you might think. Here in my rented space I have my own sink, my own bath, my own bed, a foldable table, a chair, an antique bed to look and gaze at when my eyes get tired of looking at words ad infinitum. Outside my dwelling is a garden where two tall trees stand. Their fruits and leaves occasionally fall and litter the ground.

Am always reminded by my portly landlord who always catches his breath to lock the gate and have a separate padlock for the front door. Just to be sure that my belongings will be secure from thieves. As long as thieves won’t learn to eat books I will definitely survive. I brought three big boxes of books from Baguio and they’re now lined up waiting to be read by this slacker in me who’s more interested in reading fiction M & M
Murakami & S. Meyer. Thank God they’re nowhere to be found.

The Bar, yes the Bar. Thinking of it gives me feverish thoughts. I want to believe there’s such a thing as sadism by way of loading your brain with too much information. But, the painting of Michael O’Toole remains an icon. It’s entitled Racing the Wind. A sailboat on a tough spot amidst rough waters. The strong wind drawn through high waves in a deep blue shade. I bought it three years ago. It now found its place on a barren white-washed wall. It would always follow its owner’s changing sanctuary.

A drifting message in a bottle has found its way to the shores, west. Thanks to you Lydia for filling something in me that’s long been empty. It’s just that I couldn’t find the right word to describe that filled space. I hope you continue to pursue your interest in learning to play the violin. A teacher once told me that it’s never too late to bow the strings and produce the most sacred sound on earth. I enrolled as a beginner back in December 2006 only after years of planning and yearning. It’s a joy to realize a childhood dream. Follow the beat of your heart always and you’ll find happiness.

(May 2007)
thirty thousand fishes is a working title of a current pastime where I try to recollect all the memories of a past that had probably inked into my consciousness forever. That past was so powerful and vivid and I thought it was worth coming up with a story initially but the experience had seen me writing a good number of words, paragraphs, chapters and so on. . . am posting the pambungad of an experiment I started for about two years now. . .an experiment which seems to last a lifetime. . .

What about the death of thirty thousand fishes?

It marked the end of a smooth sailing passage into life’s tumultuous moments.
The bulwark of water coming from the water pump reflects the silver moon that hanged in the night. It was way past midnight and my father and I were busy salvaging the repugnant breathing of every fish that’s populating the pond. The froth created by the endless panting by the little fishes was creating an enormous white island in the middle of the pond. My father was standing still at the bank which made me chill more with the damp and cold wind passing from the north. He was a resolute man; resolute and firm. This was summer and he knew very well the danger that is brought by the season.



Don't Feed The Pixies said...

I think this posting really underlines why i wanted to pass it on to you in the first place - you always write so well and put so much thought into your research and details and i love the fact that you pasted highlights from these blogs - i will definately visit a few when i'm back up to speed after last week :(

Words alone cannot say how much i enjoy your blog - great stuff :)

Wayfaring Wanderer said...


Thank you, dear friend......I am so happy that we stumbled upon one another (thru robin) so many months ago. I have always viewed your insights as a breath of fresh air, thank you for that.

p.s. When I was reading those passages you found on my blog....I was thinking who wrote that!?!? haha

p.s.s. "self-aggrandizement" That word is soooo going into my vocab. hahahaha

sharryb said...

Wow! What an honor. I am looking forward to reading the other blogs you named. Some I know, but most not yet.


distracted by shiny objects said...

It's late and my eyes are fading, but could not rest without thanking you with all my heart. You have been a lighthouse for me--you know the days when you feel "Does anyone but me really get this??" Your beacon passes around again and I realize that there are other souls out there beyond the breakers. Thank you:>) I'll read and write more tomorrow .

Lydia said...

You are so kind and, as you can see, what you started has struck a chord with other recipients now. I'll be over to see your blog in a bit. In the meantime, I hope you're doing ok with all you've got in your schedule right now. :)

Wayfaring Wanderer,
I loved those words of yours and it was difficult to place them here without one of your so beautiful photos. Your short essays, haikus, etc. are always so meaningful. And your photography is a gift to all who visit. :)

I'm really looking forward to our Focusing session, although I can't quite imagine what it'll be like! You were my first blogging friend, the first to compliment my blog. It meant so much to me, still does. :)

Distracted (Who, everyone reading this, is the author of "A Tidings of Magpies" blog),
See what you do even with the wording in a thank you message? You paint with your words. I'm humbled by your comments about me, and it tickles me to think of your enjoying the blogs of those other souls....

Jennifer said...

Lydia -- Congratulations! It's wonderful to be recognized, and it is clear that you invest time into your well-written and often wide-ranging posts.

I love this approach, giving a little taste of the blogs you've passed the award on to.

And thanks for not passing it on to me, because it does cause me angst. :) But I am funny that way.

YogaforCynics said...

To think I was flagrantly ripping off poems from your blog today without even knowing there was an award waiting for me here--and you even include my misanthropic grousing (somewhere 'twixt earnest and joke) about people liking my blog and giving me awards. I do like your blogs, though, and am honored. Thanks you so much...and check this shit out: one of the other honorees is writing about a Dylan gig....

rachael said...

Well, didn't this just make my day!
Congratulations on receiving the award yourself, Lydia! You're definitely deserving of it. Your blog is so inspiring, both in writing style and content. I find that I come to catch up on one or two posts, and end up re-reading others from weeks past just because they're so fun to revisit.
To be entirely honest, in starting project 365, I never thought I would meet anyone new by way of blogging, let alone make such a great friend! I'm so glad that I did, though (:
Enjoy your week!

Lydia said...

Yoga for Cynics,
Flagrantly ripping off poems...? I sure don't see it that way! First of all you credited the latest blog sources, and secondly, that particular poem at this particular time should be passed all along the blogosphere for consideration.
Thanks for supporting both of my blogs! O, about Dylan....he probably doesn't have a stronger fan than Francessa.

Rachael (who, everyone reading this, is the author of "Project 365" blog),
Thanks for your compliments about my blog; that means so much. What's interesting is that I, too, am prone to revisit your earlier posts when I'm there to read fresh ones. I'm one of your biggest fans and it's great having you for a friend.

Carlos Lorenzo said...

Oh Lydia, I am truly sorry I missed this award and read your excerpts after 4 days. Tell you how I feel? Flattered! I like the way you chose different fragments, I like to see what you deemed relevant in my posts. You know, blogging sometimes is a lonesome task and most of the times you tend to think people tiptoe over your musings. You think no one will give it too much thought or importance. So reading myself quoted by you makes me look at myself in the act of writing. It is a curious experience. Now I have to check the rest of the awarded bloggers! On the other hand, I can feel when someone is really interested or not (or so I think). When I read your posts I notice I can feel the person behind it, your feelings and your intellect. Basically I like reading you. So it is great being recommended and awarded by you. I will try to pass it on in a suscint way given that I have to stick to my local topic. Thank you very much Lydia.

Lydia said...

You are so very welcome, of course! I'll be really interested to see who you pass the award on to.
I take your compliments to heart and appreciate them. Since I discovered your blog I have determined that Barcelona is one of the truly beautiful cities of the world. You've opened my eyes and imagination to a place I knew nothing about, and I'm grateful.
Have fun checking out the other bloggers I named, especially the photographers: Wayfaring Wanderer and Project 365.

deus ex machina said...

dearest nanay,

the value you've shown to our relationship has been so overwhelming to me. it cracked the mirror that prevented me for a long time to venture into enriching relationships such as what we have. To each his/her own experience but in our desire to learn and enrich such experiences, they tend to become universal. And what a better world it would be if all have the same mindset: that each of us is working in our own limited spaces and consonantly within the comfort of the same universe.

thank you for everything nanay. your love has been etched in my heart and memory forever.

Lydia said...

Dearest Dex,(who, everyone reading this is the author of Thirty Thousand Fishes)
It's early in the morning and I've stayed up late -again- and am so glad that I did so that I could read your beautiful message just as it came through ("Hot off the press" they used to say in the time when newspapers reigned). My life is so rich with you in it and it's all mysterious yet natural the way our relationship developed. I just know that we will meet in person one day, my anak.

francessa said...

Lydia, congratulations to the award and apologies for responding that late! I think, my streak of bad luck has come to an end today.

Your award is the fruit of hard work - comprehensive research, creative choice of topics and photos, an exciting and interesting style, and concern and commitment for the topics you consider important -what more can one hope for?

But it's not the writing alone, you also listen to the voices of other blogs and let yourself immerse in their topics and problems!

Thank you for mentioning and awarding my modest blog. I certainly don't deserve it!

Lydia said...

In describing your blog a modest blog you're really being way too modest! I've learned so many interesting things at your blog (Bloom Day for one).
Thanks for your compliments. Most of all, thanks for your wonderful friendship!



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