Cruel Summer?

Nearly a month ago, I sat at my computer looking for a clip of “June is Bustin’ Out All Over,” from Carousel, to post in my blog.


Sunflower | Click to embiggen

I never found it, as real life and other distractions caused me to give up the search (though I vaguely remember enjoying the process), but it doesn’t matter because June is nearly over – just over a week, and we’ll be into July.

It’s hard to believe that the year is nearly half over, but here we are, a few minutes from the solstice (which, I’m told, happens at 1:04 AM EDT on Friday the 21st (I’m writing this just before midnight CDT on Thursday the 20th. (Don’t you just LOVE nested parentheses?))), and in the morning Summer will be completely here.

I also meant to write a Thursday Thirteen today, but the day slipped away from me, and there are too many negative things that are circling my brain right now:
– the main company I write for has no work for me for at least a month
– a client that I initially wanted to decline disappeared without paying me
– my arm still hurts (though two massages in Mexico have shown me that the pain in my elbow is really radiating from my shoulder)
– the a/c in the car is not working
– I’m cranky and kinda hormonal.

Despite all this, I’m trying to find the positive. Like, not having a ton of contract work (actually none, at the moment) means I can rest my shoulder and elbow, and work on my own writing instead of giving my best hours over to other people’s tasks.

And then, of course, there’s Max and Perry and Teddy, who are the three best dogs ever, and who need me to help them figure out their new pack order.

There’s the sparkling pool in my backyard, and the sunny weather, and the luxury of not having a day job outside the house, so I can swim whenever I want.

So maybe the first couple hours of this summer are tainted by cosmic cruelty, but this all only reinforces what I said in yesterday’s post, and things are aligning the way I need them to be.

Lazy Leo Gets Wake-Up Call

Leo I’m not a hard-core believer in horoscopes, because, just as with most forms of prophecy and divination, we use our imaginations to make the predictions self-fulfilling. Mostly, I read them for entertainment.

Once in a while, though, a horoscope will be more than just a neat read. It will be a nudge from the universe, an echo of the smaller, less insistent voice of my own sub-conscious mind.

Today’s LEO advice from one of my favorite syndicated astrologers, Rob Brezny, is one of those cosmic nudges. For the week beginning tomorrow, he writes:

Renowned 20th-century theologian Karl Barth worked on his book Church Dogmatics for 36 years. It was more than 9,000 pages long and contained over six million words. And yet it was incomplete. He had more to say, and wanted to keep going. What’s your biggest undone project, Leo? The coming months will be a good time to concentrate on bringing it to a climax. Ideally, you will do so with a flourish, embracing the challenge of creating an artful ending with the same liveliness you had at the beginning of the process. But even if you have to culminate your work in a plodding, prosaic way, do it! Your next big project will be revealed within weeks after you’ve tied up the last loose end.

I spent a lovely ten days in Mexico, and have been pretty much avoiding the computer since I came home. But my brain and Brezsny’s can’t BOTH be wrong.

In the words of my favorite fictional American president, Jed Bartlet, “Break’s over.”

Time to get to work.

The Curviest Music in History

La Paz Music Statue

John Philip Sousa once said, “Jazz will endure just as long as people hear it through their feet instead of their brains.”

I’m not sure if it was jazz or some other beat that inspired the creation of these three curvaceous musicians, found in a plaza a block or so off the Malecon in La Paz, and since the descriptive tablets have either been removed or never existed, I may never know.

What I am certain of, is that the music that inspired this public art had to be the kind you hear, not just with your feet, but with every part of your body.

I imagine the sculptor hearing a street musician play a tune, while another joins in. I imagine a balmy breeze spreading the salt air from the bay throughout the city, and people out and about in the evening, listening to the combined voices of singers, instruments, sea birds, rustling palms, and ocean waves.

My friend Carmi says that this week’s Thematic Photographic theme is “curvaceous.” I’m pretty certain these sculpted musicians played the curviest music in history.

The Mess of Humanity


My friend Carmi hosts a photography meme on his blog, and recently (though I think it changed last night, or will change later today) his theme had to do with messiness.

What better mess is there than the one made of cookie crumbs, drips of coffee spilled over the edge of mugs, and crumpled napkins? This mess isn’t the result of a tantrum or a break-in, but is, instead, the natural by-product of good conversation.

It’s evidence of my trip to Mexico to spend time with my mother, who is one of the most generous people ever to populate Planet Earth.

Our adventures, this trip, weren’t terribly grand. We soaked in the sun and sipped lots of espresso, bobbed in her pool, floated in the ocean, and ate several excellent meals in restaurants and at her table.

If I didn’t get a lot of writing done, I came home feeling like my soul was well-rested, and my mind is brim-full of stories I’m getting ready to share.

There’s another kind of messiness, though, the kind that wells up from the place of our deepest emotions. While I was relaxing south of the border, my husband was here, and a skirmish among our dogs ended with the messy reality of putting Miss Cleo to sleep.

This was a decision that would have been made within the year, anyway, but a part of me feels like I failed her for not being here, and failed my husband for making him do it without me.

Human death, too, tainted my trip: My great-aunt Peg died last week. She was nearly 97, and died in familiar surroundings, wrapped in the arms of people who loved her, and comforted by her strong faith in God.

Oddly, that knowledge means that while I feel her loss, I’m less emotional about it than I am about my dog.

But all those tangled emotions, joy and sadness, grief and solace, pleasure and pain, are part of the Mess of simply Being Human. And, just as in improv, where there are no wrong answers, just high and low percentage choices, in life, there are no wrong feelings, just wrong actions people sometimes take in reaction to them.

My own mind is messier than usual right now – too much time, and too little being required of me, I think. I’ll be working, these next few weeks, to reorganize mentally as well as physically.

But not completely, because sometimes I think it’s the messes we make that keep us interesting.