Blogging Award + The Law of the Garbage Truck...

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ Don't Worry - Be Happy !
Hi Folks,


Firstly, I must mention that Jo at Moodscape, one of my favourite bloggers has seen fit to present me with another blogging award - it was totally unexpected and I would offer her my gratitude and thanks.. . Hugs to you Jo . I must now check around and present the award to seven others so I will post the names in a couple of days.


~~~ The Garbage Truck Pledge ~~~

This next bit explains the story of the Garbage Truck which was something that David J. Pollay came up with. One of my blogging friends (Jo at Moodscape) told the story of it recently in her blog and I am retelling it today - Enjoy !

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital! 'This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck. 'He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. ~Copyright 2007 David J. Pollay Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so... Love the people who treat you right. Be kind to the ones who don't....

Simple message eh? a bit more difficult to do mind you - but the funny thing is, once you accept the message it seems to get easier ...




Laughter and Blessings from Scotland, The land of the Tartan and Haggis - Love Kate xxx.

Quiz +The Old Lady and her new Hat...



~~~~~~~~~~~ The Old Lady.....


Hi Folks,

Time to get the brain working. Pretty interesting. This is a quiz for people who know everything! I found out in a hurry that I didn't. These are not trick questions. They are straight questions with straight answers.

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.
2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?
3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?
4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?
5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?
6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters 'dw' and they are all common words. Name two of them.
7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?
8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.
9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter 'S.'

THIS IS PRETTY COOL

Answers To Quiz:
1. The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends: Boxing

2 North American landmark constantly movingBackward: Niagara Falls (The rim is worn down aboutTwo and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.)
3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons: Asparagus and rhubarb.
4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside: Strawberry.
5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle. (The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.)
6. Three English words beginning with dw: Dwarf, dwell and dwindle.
7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point,Quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis, braces, andEllipses.
8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh:Lettuce.
9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with 'S': Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

LIFE IS A JOURNEY. ROLL DOWN THE WINDOW AND ENJOY THE BREEZE...



The Old Lady
~~~~~~~~~~~

An old lady was standing at the railing of the cruise ship holding her hat tight so that it would not blow away in the wind.
A gentleman approached her and said, "Pardon me, madam. I do not intend to be forward but did you know that your dress is blowing up in this high wind?"
"Yes, I know," said the lady. "I need both my hands to hold onto this hat."
"But madam, you must know that you are not wearing any panties and your privates are exposed!" said the gentleman in earnest.
The woman looked down, then back up at the man and replied, "Sir, anything you see downthere is 85 years old. I just bought this hat yesterday!"



Cheers from Scotland the land of the tartan and the haggis, Love Kate xxx.

Things kids say about Love...

This is a photograph of my Mum and Dad - I always remember Mum saying that the face she was making was because to get this pic taken they sat in a make-shift boat made out of cardboard in a photographers studio and she was thinking - "what on earth this is gonna look like - Heaven only knows".. Dad of course is just turning on the twinkling blue eyes and sparkling teeth ... He is constantly on my mind at the moment as I'm in the process of doing a short story about him ...

Hi Folks,

I was tidying up my email system and deleting ones so that it was not as 'top-heavy' and came across this email which I had marked with a star and sent it to all my friends - I loved it and being a right soppy mare bubbled my way through it , as usual, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I had seen it before a few months previously - but it's still really good ! and it's a great one for turning on the water-works at least it does mine ! Talk about out of the mouths of babes , what great adults these kids are gonna be...

What Love means to a 4-8 year old . . . Slow down for three minutes to read this . It is so worth it. A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?' The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think ......

'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.' Rebecca- age 8

'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.' Billy - age 4

'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.' Karl - age 5

'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.' Chrissy - age 6

'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'> Terri - age 4

'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.' Danny - age 7

'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss' Emily - age 8

'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.' Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.'Noelle - age 7

'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.' Tommy - age 6

'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling . He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'Cindy - age 8

'My mommy loves me more than anybody You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.' Clare - age 6

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.' Chris - age 7

'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.' Mary Ann - age 4
'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.' Lauren - age 4

'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image) Karen - age 7

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross.' Mark - age 6
'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget. 'Jessica - age 8


And the final one -- Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child . The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said - 'Nothing, I just helped him cry' ... That is a perfect Angel and I hope that he gets to meet his life-partner and they get to spend the rest of their lives together in glorious happiness....



Cheers from the land of the tartan and the haggis, Love Kate xxx.

Funnies + Oil locations + Dipsticks + Poems + Blethers.





Hi Folks,


I saw this one in Judy's site and I snuck it on to my site, the only difference I would make in the wording would be to tell you that 'our' oil is located in the Scottish waters and our 'dipsticks' are usually found when 'parliament is in session' at the Palace of Westminster. All credit for this bit of the post - should go to Judy , the other side of the hill.. I really think this one is priceless and it appeals to my funny bone - I hope you enjoy it too.... Thanks Judy !

"A lot of folks can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in our country. Well, there's a very simple answer. Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn't know we were getting low. The reason for that is purely geographical. Our 'OIL' is located in Alaska, California, Coastal Florida, Coastal Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas - Our 'Dipsticks' are located in Washington, DC!!! Any Questions??? NO? Didn't think So "...

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Isn't it funny how some things you hear when you are not really listening seem to stick in your memory, just as I was falling over to sleep last night the radio was on - as usual . I remember the announcer at the end of his News bulletin saying that a Ryanair flight had had to be diverted to somewhere in the middle east due to the fact that an overhead cupboard had opened and the person underneath the cupboard had been dripped on from above her head... What do you think was in the cupboard ? Well apparently it was a boxful of Mushroom soups which was to be part of the meal onboard. The awful thing was the lady was allergic to mushrooms and she had a major reaction to the soup - thus causing all sorts of problems for all on board.... Blimey! you couldn't make it up could you ?

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another couple of wee ditties from my collection...

Plusses and minuses, roundabouts and swings
Life's full of ups and downs - It's just the way of things.
We cannot see the future, We move on - come what may.
But if we reach rock bottom - "Up" is the only way !

On looking back we ponder, On the things that we have done,
and we sometimes wonder - How the race is run.
For Life's a game of pitch and toss, we can't win all the way.
Don't count the cost if you have lost - You'll win another day !





Cheers for all from Scotland, the land of the heather and the tartan, Love Kate xxx.

Flying Penguins +How they did it + Helen Keller.+ Views

This is the view from our bedroom verandah on our house on the Island of Hundvag, near Stavanger in Norway - whether it was sunny, dull, raining or snowing - it was always beautiful ...
Hi Folks,

This is a follow up to a wee film that Belleek had on her blog a few months ago - which I thought was brilliant! It was done in the form of an April Fool joke by the BBC boffins - was great, loved it ... I checked around and I then found a video showing how the BBC had done it - I thought you would like to see it.... The only thing is it kinda ruins the thought that these lovely creatures could actually fly - it was a great thought that they could go and wallow in the hot weather rather than have to huddle together in that awful cold...

Penguins - BBC1 min 30 secwww.youtube.com

YouTube - Penguins April Fool - The Making Of ...2 min 56 secwww.youtube.com


I read this recently and thought - what a great idea, it's a pity more folk aren't able to have the benefit of being able to do this. Our surroundings are constantly changing and new buildings are springing up everwhere - when I read this I could picture the scene .

Miss Brown still lives in exactly the same flat where she was born, over her parents' greengrocer's shop. When she was a child she loved to look from an upstairs window to the house on the opporite side of the road, with its huge garden and rhododendron-lined driveway, where a well-to-do solicitor lived. As she go older, she began to help in the shop and one of her jobs was to deliver orders to the house acriss the road. So began a friendship between the elderly gentleman and the young messenger. In one conversation, Miss Brown confided that it gave her great pleasure to be able to see that garden from her window.

One day the solicitor said, "You need never fear you will lose your lovely view, my dear. My land will never be built on. When I am gone I have arranged that it will be given to the people of this town as a place of recreation, forever." Miss Brown can still enjoy her view today and look across to the river beyond - and all because of the vision and kindness of one man....

~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Will it happen?" he asks, "Like a flash in the pan, young one day, the next an old man." "Definitely not," I say in the know, "It comes so slowly, You don't see it grow."

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Helen Keller, a brave and remarkable lady, once wrote that when one door to happiness closed, another opens, but often we stand looking so long at the closed door we don't notice the one what has opened.


Cheers from the land of the Tartan - Love, Kate xxx.

All is well


From the Journal of Katherine Mansfield, her final entry before her death in 1923, of consumption.
Now, Katherine, what do you mean by health? And what do you want it for?

Answer: By health I mean the power to live a full, adult, living, breathing life in close contact with what I love -- the earth and all the wonders thereof -- the sea -- the sun. All that we mean when we speak of the external world. I want to enter into it, to be part of it, to live in it, to learn from it, to lose all that is superficial and acquired in me and to become a conscious direct human being. I want, by understanding myself, to understand others. I want to be all that I am capable of becoming so that I may be (and here I have stopped and waited and waited and it's no good -- there's only one phrase that will do) a child of the sun. About helping others, about carrying a light and so on, it seems false to say a single word. Let it be at that. A child of the sun.

Then I want to work. At what? I want to live that I work with my hands and my feeling and my brain. I want a garden, a small house, grass, animals, books, pictures, music. And out of this, the expression of this, I want to be writing. (Though I may write about cabmen. That's no matter).

But warm, eager, living life -- to be rooted in life -- to learn, to desire to know, to feel, to think, to act. That is what I want. And nothing less. That is what I must try for.

[...]

And when I say 'I fear' -- don't let it disturb you, dearest heart. We all fear when we are in waiting-rooms. Yet we must pass beyond them, and if the other can keep calm, it is all the help we can give each other....

And this all sounds very strenuous and serious. But now that I have wrestled with it, it's no longer so. I feel happy -- deep down. All is well.

All is well


From the Journal of Katherine Mansfield, her final entry before her death in 1923, of consumption.
Now, Katherine, what do you mean by health? And what do you want it for?

Answer: By health I mean the power to live a full, adult, living, breathing life in close contact with what I love -- the earth and all the wonders thereof -- the sea -- the sun. All that we mean when we speak of the external world. I want to enter into it, to be part of it, to live in it, to learn from it, to lose all that is superficial and acquired in me and to become a conscious direct human being. I want, by understanding myself, to understand others. I want to be all that I am capable of becoming so that I may be (and here I have stopped and waited and waited and it's no good -- there's only one phrase that will do) a child of the sun. About helping others, about carrying a light and so on, it seems false to say a single word. Let it be at that. A child of the sun.

Then I want to work. At what? I want to live that I work with my hands and my feeling and my brain. I want a garden, a small house, grass, animals, books, pictures, music. And out of this, the expression of this, I want to be writing. (Though I may write about cabmen. That's no matter).

But warm, eager, living life -- to be rooted in life -- to learn, to desire to know, to feel, to think, to act. That is what I want. And nothing less. That is what I must try for.

[...]

And when I say 'I fear' -- don't let it disturb you, dearest heart. We all fear when we are in waiting-rooms. Yet we must pass beyond them, and if the other can keep calm, it is all the help we can give each other....

And this all sounds very strenuous and serious. But now that I have wrestled with it, it's no longer so. I feel happy -- deep down. All is well.

It's Never Too Late...

Picture taken at 'just' the right minute - can you imagine being that girl and letting a gull do that? flippen nora ... these birds are attacking folk while they are shopping and stealing bags of crisps from shopkeepers.....


Can't you just hear the guy shout " Yeehahhhh " ......


These were apparently real humming birds being hand fed .....


I can't make up my mind whether or not this man is playing at skipping stones or fishing or what ?



Hi Folks,


Occasionally I hear people grumbling that it is "too late," for them to change their ways, or to try something new. However, I came across this short poem listing some things for which it is never too late:

It's never too late to smile at a stranger,
It's never too late for encouraging words,
It's never too late to pause and to savour,
The perfume of petals, the song of the birds.
It's never too late to say that you're sorry,
To offer your friendship, or bury your hate,
To send up a prayer, or simply say "thank you",
It just takes a second - It's never too late !
If you want to do a thing , then do it right away.
Start it - don't procrastinate, proceed with it today,
Just say the kindly words you feel and do the timely deed,
Tomorrow may be too late, to meet somebody's need.
Make an effort of the will, to make a brand-new start,
Mend all quarrels - cast aside , the fears that haunt the heart.
Resolve to make life work for you , don't question when or how,
Just put the wheels in motion - The time to start is now...

I just love these wee poems and sayings...




Cheers from Scotland - Love, Kate xxx.

Domestic




Just a quick note about a new friend. I adopted Anouk yesterday from the SPCA. She's considered a 'senior' cat at 9-10 years old (they're not sure), and had her front claws removed by a previous owner. She's a Burmese cross of some sort-- classic Burmese head structure but she's almost solid black and has bright green eyes. She talks to me constantly -- with that raspy Siamese sort of meow -- follows me around and, unlike the other black cat I've lived with, does not ignore my presence. It's going to be quite interesting learning to live with this creature.


Domestic




Just a quick note about a new friend. I adopted Anouk yesterday from the SPCA. She's considered a 'senior' cat at 9-10 years old (they're not sure), and had her front claws removed by a previous owner. She's a Burmese cross of some sort-- classic Burmese head structure but she's almost solid black and has bright green eyes. She talks to me constantly -- with that raspy Siamese sort of meow -- follows me around and, unlike the other black cat I've lived with, does not ignore my presence. It's going to be quite interesting learning to live with this creature.


An Amazing Man with an incredible voice + Sweetheart Abbey.




The distance between the taking of these two photographs must only be about 18 feet.. Both were taken at Sweetheart Abbey in Dumfries - One of the Abbey and while I was concentrating I was suddenly aware of a movement at my side .... This picture is what we Scots would call - " coos lookin' ower a dyke " ! and I could have sworn that I could hear the light coloured cow saying to me" and just what d'ya think you're doing Eh ?...


Hi Folks,

This is for anyone who enjoys listening to stories ... Jock Hunter is no more but his voice I think will live forever - it is incredible and I could listen to him all night - Enjoy !

I originally heard about 'Jock' by accident some time ago when I first got a PC and started Blogging - I was intrigued by his story. Please note that the original information on Jock can be found on "Bock the Robber's site" - which is where I got it and it is thanks to him that I am able to post Jock's story again . Jock seems to have been a great character and a 'one of a kind man'. This post is therefore re-telling Jock's story - I make no apology for that as I'm sure that there are folk who had never heard his great deep voice or heard of his sense of humour.

He was the black sheep of an aristocratic Scottish family, Jock turned up in Limerick ten years ago, searching for an old colleague from the Northern Rhodesia police. He was an extraordinary creature with the gift of instantly becoming beloved by all who met him. He settled there, he won a huge circle of friends and when he died he was one of the most mourned men ever known. When he became ill, he moved for a while to Castleconnell, a village outside Limerick, and he was astounded by the discovery of Paddy Guerin’s pub. I have found Heaven, he announced. A pub and a fishing-tackle shop all in one! Jock’s doctor promised him he’d see the Mayfly season and he was true to his word. Shortly before he left us, I managed to persuade him to record a couple of stories in Eamonn’s studio, which he did, and when we left the tape running we even got a couple of jokes from him. But his health was failing and he never did manage to record all the fairytales. He was a gentleman. The day before he died, he phoned and he said I’m terribly sorry, but I really feel I won’t be able to finish reading those stories. Please accept my apologies.

When he died, we held a huge wake for him. There were no priests or ministers or other witch-doctors. We laid him out in Johnny Thompson’s funeral home, in his beloved Munster rugby shirt, and people brought fiddles, whiskey, saxophones. Tom Murphy acted as Master of Ceremonies. People stood up beside the coffin, took the microphone, told stories, sang songs, told jokes and reminisced about their times with Jock. QJS threw back half of a naggin of whiskey and laid the remainder beside Jock. Somebody else donated a copy of the Times of London, open to the crossword, and a pen. Nicky Woulfe put in a rugby ball. Some kind person left smokes.
Jock had all he needed for the afterworld.
Johnny Thompson said it was the best funeral he ever saw, and that was how he wanted to go himself, which was a hell of a thing for an undertaker to say, but he wasn’t just bullshitting. I’ve met him at dozens of funerals since and he always takes me by the elbow. Jesus, that was a great funeral, he winks.

Jock’s Block
Jock was cremated. Most of his ashes were scattered on Thomond Park and with the remainder we constructed a white concrete block - Jock’s Block - which rests outside the White House pub. We set up the wet concrete on the back of a trailer and in the middle we placed his urn which contains, inter alia, a bookie slip, a pen, a pouch of tobacco, a pack of Rizla, a bunch of photographs and a sheaf of farewell notes from his friends. Everybody gathered to stir the concrete and the block is still there. You can see it any time you pass that establishment. It has a simple plaque that says -

Jock Hunter.
A proud Munster Man.
Born Duirinish, Scotland
6th February 1940
Died Limerick 12th July 2004
Made for him by his friends.

Heineken Cup Final 2006

In a final twist, Jimmy Griseto broke off a piece of the block and took it to Cardiff for the final of the European Rugby Cup last year. When we won, Jimmy had a word with the security people and explained the importance of the situation. They understood, and so Jimmy got to scatter the crushed stone on the field of the Millennium Stadium. We were all in Cardiff to see our team take home the European Cup at long last, and so was Jock. And so he remains.
It seemed only fair to give Jock the last word at his wake, and so we wired the room for sound.
This is what Jock said at his own wake.

The Sailor Who Drank The Sea
Read By: Jock Hunter Written By: Bock the RobberLength: 8:50Introduction: One of a series of fairytales written by Bock and Wrinkly Paddy for their children.


Listen and enjoy his incredible and mesmerising voice...




Cheers from the land of the Tartan - Love Kate xxx.

FAMILY and Slideshow Images.







........ "OK Bert, next time 'YOU' let the bear out " !


Hi Folks,

I love gathering wee bits and pieces of nostalgic sayings etc and saw this one recently.
I had never seen 'Family' shown like this -

FAMILY = (F)ATHER (A)ND (M)OTHER (I) (L)OVE (Y)OU




Cheers, Love and Laughter Kate xxx.


P.S. There is a huge yellow ball in the sky this morning and all in the land of the Tartan are looking upwards ...

Loo + Funny Facts + Why...

~~~A photo of a lady going into an outside loo in Houston (nothing wrong with that eh)?



~~~ The view from the inside out... Do 'you' think you could use this facility eh?


Hi Folks,

As I've got an over developed funny bone at times and there is someone or thing tickling me toes, I have to scratch ...


Why ?

Why, Why, Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting dead?
Why do banks charge a fee on 'insufficient funds' when they know there is not enough money? Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?
Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?
Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?
Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him? Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
Whose idea was it to put an 'S' in the word 'Lisp'?
If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?
Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?
Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?
Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?
Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?
Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?
How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?
When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, 'It's all right?' Well, it isn't all right, so why don't we say, 'That hurt, you stupid idiot?'
Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?
In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?
How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?


And my FAVORITE...... The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.......




Well, it's Cheers from the land of the Tartan for today - Love and Laughter Kate xxx.

Today



[mine -- more on my flickr]


Today I walked through Stanley Park to the beach -- I started at a lake where I saw herons and damselflies. And some propeller planes which kept passing overhead. I walked through the forest past all of the great roots -- almost indecent the way they were exposed (I know now about the storm that came and whipped them up two years ago). And there was so much moss -- so soft and springy and I kept thinking of the tiny little colonies -- miniature forests. And ferns and beautiful green light sifting down through the leaves. And every tree was a great tree -- like in To Catch a Thief when Grace Kelly tells Cary Grant that she's sure all his trees must be sequoias.

And then I suddenly heard gulls and voices and emerged from under the canopy and onto the beach!

I laid down on some drifted logs and read, then shut my eyes and watched the light on the inside of my eyelids change. The logs smelled a bit like mint and then I wondered if pitch smelled like mint. I brought a few seashells home. There were many many purple shells and much dried seaweed. It was all very crunchy underfoot. And there were vacant barnacles -- little clusters of abandoned homes. And I thought about that image I love of tidal pools -- and how the anenomes and the creatures living in them just wait for the tide to bring what it will. And then mid-way round the seawall, I started to see stacks of rocks -- like those cairns on quiet and dangerous mountain trails. They must have been stacked by someone, but there was no hand visible now.

But my feet began to hurt as I walked out of the park and then as soon as steel and glass and crowds came into view it was all gone -- but that's the way of things.

Today



[mine -- more on my flickr]


Today I walked through Stanley Park to the beach -- I started at a lake where I saw herons and damselflies. And some propeller planes which kept passing overhead. I walked through the forest past all of the great roots -- almost indecent the way they were exposed (I know now about the storm that came and whipped them up two years ago). And there was so much moss -- so soft and springy and I kept thinking of the tiny little colonies -- miniature forests. And ferns and beautiful green light sifting down through the leaves. And every tree was a great tree -- like in To Catch a Thief when Grace Kelly tells Cary Grant that she's sure all his trees must be sequoias.

And then I suddenly heard gulls and voices and emerged from under the canopy and onto the beach!

I laid down on some drifted logs and read, then shut my eyes and watched the light on the inside of my eyelids change. The logs smelled a bit like mint and then I wondered if pitch smelled like mint. I brought a few seashells home. There were many many purple shells and much dried seaweed. It was all very crunchy underfoot. And there were vacant barnacles -- little clusters of abandoned homes. And I thought about that image I love of tidal pools -- and how the anenomes and the creatures living in them just wait for the tide to bring what it will. And then mid-way round the seawall, I started to see stacks of rocks -- like those cairns on quiet and dangerous mountain trails. They must have been stacked by someone, but there was no hand visible now.

But my feet began to hurt as I walked out of the park and then as soon as steel and glass and crowds came into view it was all gone -- but that's the way of things.

Carry a song


The work I have so far done is nothing or not much -- as good as nothing. I will do better, Lisabeta -- this is a promise. As I write, the sea whispers to me and I close my eyes. I am looking into a world unborn and formless, that needs to be ordered and shaped; I see into a whirl of shadows of human figures who beckon to me to weave spells to redeem them: tragic and laughable figures and some that are both together -- and to these I am drawn. But my deepest and secretest love belongs to the blond and the blue-eyed, the fair and living, the happy, lovely, and commonplace.

Tonio Kröger

This story, and yes this passage -- tears surprised me. This is Hans Castorp, this is his dream -- he managed to be the bourgeois who created the great vision of humanity and joy -- he spun it out himself and saw it all -- with a secret lazy smile upon his lips. And he accomplished this after he decided to bow his head, shrug his shoulders, and give it all over -- heave ho and here we go -- all so that an answer might be supplied about the meaning and purpose of life -- to his prosaic, bourgeois little soul.

He saw to the bottom and he kicked over the traces. And when he was killed, he was killed rushing to battle with a song in his heart -- a song of nature and of love -- Der Lindenbaum -- a song of life.

Bernard, too, rushes into battle with a song in his heart -- a song of glory, and yes, perhaps, a song based on a fiction. But he too has decided to kick over the traces and, perhaps more importantly, to overcome the individual self -- to go beyond it? I struggled with that concept in Magic Mountain. What does this mean, that Hans has become:

the song’s best son…the young man who consumed his life in triumphing over himself and died, a new word on his lips, the word of love, which he did not yet know how to speak. It was truly worth dying for, this song of enchantment. But he who died for it was no longer really dying for this song and was a hero only because ultimately he died for something new—for the new word of love and for the future in his heart.


I thought perhaps that this song represented the 'significant object' that was for Hans a sort of talisman that allowed him to continue to see back to his moment of understanding (in the dreams, the vision of the homo Dei and after the snowstorm). I thought that this song made seeing to the bottom safe -- because this song somehow englobed both the fractured and fracturing truth of seeing things as they are, and not as some thing seen from a specific angle by a specific viewer -- this 'truth' englobed with the greater -- the outward, some sense of the all and the whole. I thought, after my initial reading, that this song was something that Hans kept close to his heart -- it was an answer about the meaning and purpose of life -- and it taught him the dangerous seduction of 'the rage to fill the world with oneself' -- it kept the sweetness of dissipation clear in his mind -- and it made light of these indulgent pursuits.

I don't know if that's accurate at all. I don't know and I can't quite figure it out.

I do know that there is a striking similarity between the end of M
agic Mountain, as Hans, the little bourgeois with a moist spot, helmet on his head, fumes and stench of war around him, charges into battle with a song in his heart and even on his lips -- and the end of The Waves as Bernard turns from his assessment of the world and to the battle -- the rush toward the battle, jousting with Death, heroic like Percival, with a song of glory --

Let me now raise my song of glory. Heaven be praised for solitude. Let me be alone. Let me cast and throw away this veil of being, this cloud that changes with the last breath, night and day, and all night and all day... Heaven be praised for solitude that has removed the pressure of the eye, the solicitation of the body, and all need of lies and phrases.


Yes, to let one's hand fall, fingers loosened, let the book of phrases drop, let the mantle of self crumple backwards. It's just the same in Magic Mountain -- rest backward into the chair, head back, eyes focused elsewhere, a vision of something larger floating before one -- a vision complete and yet so clear that every infinitesimal part can be picked out.

To shift slightly out of the realm I so easily fall into -- this question of music is an important one. During the lecture I attended, we spoke of the 'little language' -- the broken language that Rhoda prefers, the language of lovers : 'broken words, inarticulate words' -- the language that Rhoda and Louis use with one another. Bernard has lived much of his life existing in great rounded, snipped-off phrases. He exists in a world of alphabetically-organized phrases -- of large, meaningful, useful language. And this little language is new -- it is, yes, the language of gaps and spaces -- it is the language that one uses when there are no words.

Such was the case of Hamlet the Dane, that typical literary man. He knew what it meant to be called to knowledge without being born to it. To see things clear, if even through your tears, to recognize, notice, observe -- and have to put it all down with a smile, at the very moment when hands are clinging, and lips meeting, and the human gaze is blinded with feeling -- it is infamous, Lisabeta, it is indecent, outrageous -- but what good does it do to be outraged?

Tonio Krö
ger

And at the lecture someone commented that there was a similar concept of 'little music' -- those aspects of a piece of music which cause us to fall in love -- they somehow reach in and tug. Or perhaps its a resonance, a mutual vibration -- but whatever it is, the little music that dwells between the well-crafted bars. And this seemed right to me -- this little language is what we fall in love with -- it's what stands behind a phrase like 'to fall in love' which we all recognize is shabby with overuse and misuse, and yet we know what is there -- we know the substance behind such a phrase.

And when Bernard says he is done with phrases he says he has no idea how to speak now -- in the world without the self -- in this world that is eclipse-darkened -- strangely dark, eerie and frightening. Woolf wrote in the journals what it was like to watch the eclipse -- to see the world grow fallow and desolate and then that great suck of the soul when colour flooded back -- colour so vibrant that it was as if everything had been painted fresh -- or as if one's eyes had been switched out and polished up. This is, perhaps, what it is like to return to the world after seeing to the bottom -- after scrambling to one's feet, soaked with rainwater from lying in a ditch as a storm passed over.

And Bernard, at the end of The Waves has seen something, that is sure. Just as Hans Castorp had seen something -- and rushed, smiling, to his death. Just as Tonio has seen something -- seen a world unborn and formless -- a world peopled with laughable characters, with Hamlets and Horatios and even poor Yoricks. And he sees that this making tendency -- phrase-making or story-making or maybe even song-making, image-making, scene-making -- this tendency, it is what struggles back to the surface. To respond -- more than that -- to fight. To fight for something, maybe just for itself.

Carry a song


The work I have so far done is nothing or not much -- as good as nothing. I will do better, Lisabeta -- this is a promise. As I write, the sea whispers to me and I close my eyes. I am looking into a world unborn and formless, that needs to be ordered and shaped; I see into a whirl of shadows of human figures who beckon to me to weave spells to redeem them: tragic and laughable figures and some that are both together -- and to these I am drawn. But my deepest and secretest love belongs to the blond and the blue-eyed, the fair and living, the happy, lovely, and commonplace.

Tonio Kröger

This story, and yes this passage -- tears surprised me. This is Hans Castorp, this is his dream -- he managed to be the bourgeois who created the great vision of humanity and joy -- he spun it out himself and saw it all -- with a secret lazy smile upon his lips. And he accomplished this after he decided to bow his head, shrug his shoulders, and give it all over -- heave ho and here we go -- all so that an answer might be supplied about the meaning and purpose of life -- to his prosaic, bourgeois little soul.

He saw to the bottom and he kicked over the traces. And when he was killed, he was killed rushing to battle with a song in his heart -- a song of nature and of love -- Der Lindenbaum -- a song of life.

Bernard, too, rushes into battle with a song in his heart -- a song of glory, and yes, perhaps, a song based on a fiction. But he too has decided to kick over the traces and, perhaps more importantly, to overcome the individual self -- to go beyond it? I struggled with that concept in Magic Mountain. What does this mean, that Hans has become:

the song’s best son…the young man who consumed his life in triumphing over himself and died, a new word on his lips, the word of love, which he did not yet know how to speak. It was truly worth dying for, this song of enchantment. But he who died for it was no longer really dying for this song and was a hero only because ultimately he died for something new—for the new word of love and for the future in his heart.


I thought perhaps that this song represented the 'significant object' that was for Hans a sort of talisman that allowed him to continue to see back to his moment of understanding (in the dreams, the vision of the homo Dei and after the snowstorm). I thought that this song made seeing to the bottom safe -- because this song somehow englobed both the fractured and fracturing truth of seeing things as they are, and not as some thing seen from a specific angle by a specific viewer -- this 'truth' englobed with the greater -- the outward, some sense of the all and the whole. I thought, after my initial reading, that this song was something that Hans kept close to his heart -- it was an answer about the meaning and purpose of life -- and it taught him the dangerous seduction of 'the rage to fill the world with oneself' -- it kept the sweetness of dissipation clear in his mind -- and it made light of these indulgent pursuits.

I don't know if that's accurate at all. I don't know and I can't quite figure it out.

I do know that there is a striking similarity between the end of M
agic Mountain, as Hans, the little bourgeois with a moist spot, helmet on his head, fumes and stench of war around him, charges into battle with a song in his heart and even on his lips -- and the end of The Waves as Bernard turns from his assessment of the world and to the battle -- the rush toward the battle, jousting with Death, heroic like Percival, with a song of glory --

Let me now raise my song of glory. Heaven be praised for solitude. Let me be alone. Let me cast and throw away this veil of being, this cloud that changes with the last breath, night and day, and all night and all day... Heaven be praised for solitude that has removed the pressure of the eye, the solicitation of the body, and all need of lies and phrases.


Yes, to let one's hand fall, fingers loosened, let the book of phrases drop, let the mantle of self crumple backwards. It's just the same in Magic Mountain -- rest backward into the chair, head back, eyes focused elsewhere, a vision of something larger floating before one -- a vision complete and yet so clear that every infinitesimal part can be picked out.

To shift slightly out of the realm I so easily fall into -- this question of music is an important one. During the lecture I attended, we spoke of the 'little language' -- the broken language that Rhoda prefers, the language of lovers : 'broken words, inarticulate words' -- the language that Rhoda and Louis use with one another. Bernard has lived much of his life existing in great rounded, snipped-off phrases. He exists in a world of alphabetically-organized phrases -- of large, meaningful, useful language. And this little language is new -- it is, yes, the language of gaps and spaces -- it is the language that one uses when there are no words.

Such was the case of Hamlet the Dane, that typical literary man. He knew what it meant to be called to knowledge without being born to it. To see things clear, if even through your tears, to recognize, notice, observe -- and have to put it all down with a smile, at the very moment when hands are clinging, and lips meeting, and the human gaze is blinded with feeling -- it is infamous, Lisabeta, it is indecent, outrageous -- but what good does it do to be outraged?

Tonio Krö
ger

And at the lecture someone commented that there was a similar concept of 'little music' -- those aspects of a piece of music which cause us to fall in love -- they somehow reach in and tug. Or perhaps its a resonance, a mutual vibration -- but whatever it is, the little music that dwells between the well-crafted bars. And this seemed right to me -- this little language is what we fall in love with -- it's what stands behind a phrase like 'to fall in love' which we all recognize is shabby with overuse and misuse, and yet we know what is there -- we know the substance behind such a phrase.

And when Bernard says he is done with phrases he says he has no idea how to speak now -- in the world without the self -- in this world that is eclipse-darkened -- strangely dark, eerie and frightening. Woolf wrote in the journals what it was like to watch the eclipse -- to see the world grow fallow and desolate and then that great suck of the soul when colour flooded back -- colour so vibrant that it was as if everything had been painted fresh -- or as if one's eyes had been switched out and polished up. This is, perhaps, what it is like to return to the world after seeing to the bottom -- after scrambling to one's feet, soaked with rainwater from lying in a ditch as a storm passed over.

And Bernard, at the end of The Waves has seen something, that is sure. Just as Hans Castorp had seen something -- and rushed, smiling, to his death. Just as Tonio has seen something -- seen a world unborn and formless -- a world peopled with laughable characters, with Hamlets and Horatios and even poor Yoricks. And he sees that this making tendency -- phrase-making or story-making or maybe even song-making, image-making, scene-making -- this tendency, it is what struggles back to the surface. To respond -- more than that -- to fight. To fight for something, maybe just for itself.

Laughs - The Toyman - Harvest Festival...

....................................The Maid of the Loch on Loch Lomond.........

....................................The Armadillo (Clyde Auditorium).................
....................................Sailing along the River Clyde .........................
...........................Glasgow Tower, The Science Centre and IMAX Cinema
.....................................Our Flower - The Thistle..........................


Hi folks,

I have a friend with a very infectious laugh and she always seems to use it just at the right moment, and if someone is out of sorts she brings about a cure with that laugh of hers. Since I've know her I've really learned the truth of the saying: "Happiness is contagious - be a carrier". I try to be like her, but it isn't easy without that special laugh, a gift which can only belong to her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
My old father-in-law told me years ago about a man who worked at a disposal plant in Glasgow at the same time as he did - he was known as the 'Toyman.' His name was Dave Wallace and he used to say that it amazed him what folk threw away - toys, games, old annuals and cuddly toys. He used to retrieve them then give them a good wash, a lick of paint or a spot of glue so that they were quite usable again. For mechanical faults, he usually found an expert at the depot who could do the necessary repairs. When he had enough gifts, they were delivered to a resource centre or a toy library.

"Waste not, want not," was a saying my older relatives used a lot when I was young but folk don't seem to use that idea these days but Dave Wallace certainly put this adage into practice for a deserving cause.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is one of these wee gems I found in my Friendship Book yesterday which appealed to my giggle muscle - what do you think of it ?

It was Harvest Festival time and a teacher had taken her class to the church next door which had been decorated for the annual service. Back in the classroom they discussed what the children had seen that wasn't usually found in church, and hands shot up as they mentioned sheaves of corn, runner beans, peas, turnips and potatoes and so on.

"And can anyone think of one word to cover all these things?" asked the teacher. "Yes, Miss," said an eager young boy. "Gravy."

Awwww... Out of the mouths of babes huh ...


Cheers from the land of the tartan, the haggis and the Midge

Lots of Love Kate xxx.



A forgotten flower of paint



[Hammershoi - Interior]


Thanks to ReadySteadyBook, I clicked through to this exhibit of Hammershoi.

I've been mostly looking at illustration and graphic arts lately, but I do miss my quiet weekends at the Frick or, years before that, at the Courtauld or the Wallace Collection. I miss the paint and the frames and the sense of layers and time and work. I miss finding those spots of painted yellow wall. I miss DC's National Gallery and the Sargents -- and I miss the few, rare Brueghels I've seen in my short travels. Brueghel, Vermeer, Redon and Hammershoi -- subtleties and surprises.

A forgotten flower of paint



[Hammershoi - Interior]


Thanks to ReadySteadyBook, I clicked through to this exhibit of Hammershoi.

I've been mostly looking at illustration and graphic arts lately, but I do miss my quiet weekends at the Frick or, years before that, at the Courtauld or the Wallace Collection. I miss the paint and the frames and the sense of layers and time and work. I miss finding those spots of painted yellow wall. I miss DC's National Gallery and the Sargents -- and I miss the few, rare Brueghels I've seen in my short travels. Brueghel, Vermeer, Redon and Hammershoi -- subtleties and surprises.

YouTube - Irena Sendler -VS- Al Gore


Hi Folks,

I found this wee video yesterday by accident and was amazed when I watched - it is a story of amazing courage and unfortunately too is a story of what can happen when a person like Irena Sendler is pitted against a 'personality called Al Gore '. Isn't it always the case, the presenter of the video is quite satisfied that Irena would have had the grace to not be upset about it... but it just does seem so unfair - mind you, who said life was fair ?

YouTube - Irena Sendler -VS- Al Gore

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Lovely Story of a Lovely Flower.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Changing the tempo slightly I am retelling the story of a legend that says that the first chrysanthemum was created by a Chinese bride-to-be, who had been told that her marriage would last for as many years as the petals on the flower on her wedding dress.

She found a flower with 17 petals and carefully divided each petal into two, then four. It is said that her marriage apparently lasted 68 wonderful years.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This last entry I found while having a looksee in my Francis Gay Friendship book , it appealed to me and I have the feeling that it would appeal to others .

I admire the story of Sarah Breedlove whose parents were slaves in America in the 19th century. She was orphaned at six, married at 14 and widowed at 20. For many years she worked as a washerwoman, struggling to support herself and her little daughter.

Then she had a idea ! It was a recipe for a hair treatment. She worked away in her wash tub with soaps and ointments until at last she found a formula which would result in beautiful soft, shine hair. She moved to Colorado where she marketed her "Brilliantine" as she'd called it. Sales flourished, and Madame Walker, as she was then known after marrying again, became well respected.

Everyone knew of her Brilliantine, but she was best known for her contributions to the community. She worked hard and gave generously to help the underpriviliged - and spent time encouraging others to follow her example. A great deal of her fortune later went towards carrying on her good works.

Now that makes a change - me talking about something which happened in history, especially American history eh Judy ? She also sounds one of these 'special women'...


Cheers for now from the land of the tartan where the thunder and lightning is about to start and me being a real scaredycat is heading for hiding away. Love, Kate xxx.
P.S. The picture was taken when we stopped en route to Newark at Appleby (Northumberland) We sat at a picnic spot there and these ' darned ' birds were really cheeky and begging for crumbs the whole time we were there.

Oh Really ?


Hi Folks,

Well, I have heard some stay-young health tips in my time, but what about this one ? "Want to stay younger looking? Then join a choir. People who sing find exercising their facial muscles, prevents wrinkles."

Now, maybe we're not unduly worried about wrinkles but it did make me think and asses the value of singing in general. To start with, you cannot remain angry with someone while singing; it can stop you feeling lonely, and many of us do get lonely at times; it can raise the spirits on a rainy day, so sing along with the radio! The words don't matter, but the important thing is just to join in and sing, and you'll be surprised at the change in many a dreary day.

Blimey, if I'd heard that before I could have saved all the spondulux I have spent on flippen anti-wrinkle serums... (shhh don't tell Rob) !

Oh, but wait a minute folks, don't think I fancy raising any 'spirits' well, it could be dangerous, I wonder though? Oh what the hay.... "I'm in the mood for dancing, romancing tra la la la la la la laaah " .....



It's a richt dreich day here in the land of the tartan but I'm gonna sing out - I don't care !
Lots of Love , Kate xxx.

P.S. I realize that the song mentioned in the para above was an ancient one sung by 'The Nolans' ( I can hear you saying who) ? It was a loooong time ago but there again I am ancient what can I say - but now I'm gonna have beautiful chiselled cheekbones so I don't care.

Notes on a weekend

Yesterday I found my way through the woods to the outdoor pool that's only a 20 minute walk from me. This walk took me through a short wooded trail, down a rickety metal staircase which led beneath the bridge/overpass. From the staircase I had to step my way through the detritus a highway produces, down a narrow stream of rocks to the path that runs above the shore, alongside the granary and its railroad, all the way to the park. The pool is wonderful -- huge and level with the inlet. I swam myself to fatigue (doesn't take long these days), did my usual silent impressive laps -- swimming for an audience -- then kicked with a board for about 20 minutes, watching the mountains that rose just above the pool. I've never before watched mountains while swimming. It was a hot, clear day and I had strap marks down my back when I was finished.

Last night -- the glory of sport -- I actually cried -- remembering the glory and the pure thrill of that victory. Strange too to think about how much more vibrant the team victories were. Something maybe about how a personal victory is hard and small -- certain for one person only, like a rock slipped into one's pocket. But the team victory is something different, fuzzier because of the connections, and shared and so it can multiply itself through the others and grow larger perhaps than it would have otherwise. And I watched some of the sprints but, no, I cannot access that sport. I remember running track and never being able to shake the sense of something being wrong as I bent to take my mark. Nothing felt right without water in front of me.

And yesterday, while swimming, I tried to calculate how many laps I must have swum in my life. There's no telling. And I also thought of my fierce pride in the sport -- fierce to the point of exclusion -- strange that sense of righteousness I feel as I hear people speak of swimming, now, when it has been glamorized by this exceptional athlete. I always feel the pride first -- like a twist in a tangle, and then I feel the shame of being narrow and selfish and try to compensate -- and all of this happens in a moment and mostly silently.

Today I read, then ventured out just as rain drops started to fall and went to the used bookstore I had passed a few times thinking it was of the gospel churchy sort (Companion Books with a big sunshine painted on the side ...)

I was happily surprised and hauled home the following 8 titles for a grand total of 50 dollars:

Katherine Mansfield -- The Garden Party
Katherine Mansfield -- Bliss & Other Stories
Thomas Mann -- Death in Venice and Seven Other Stories
Italo Calvino -- Why Read the Classics
Pascal -- Pensees
Bertrand Russell -- The Problems of Philosophy
Kant -- Prolegomena
Plato -- Five Dialogues

The last two largely because a new Hackett edition is largely 5 times the amount I paid for them. They had a wonderfully varied selection of philosophy (though no Gilson which I have yet to find in a used bookstore).

The Mansfield is due mostly to my being swept up by her journals -- though I should make a note here that I have got to stop reading the journals of others -- or at least take longer breaks between journals. They tend to oppress my mind.

Notes on a weekend

Yesterday I found my way through the woods to the outdoor pool that's only a 20 minute walk from me. This walk took me through a short wooded trail, down a rickety metal staircase which led beneath the bridge/overpass. From the staircase I had to step my way through the detritus a highway produces, down a narrow stream of rocks to the path that runs above the shore, alongside the granary and its railroad, all the way to the park. The pool is wonderful -- huge and level with the inlet. I swam myself to fatigue (doesn't take long these days), did my usual silent impressive laps -- swimming for an audience -- then kicked with a board for about 20 minutes, watching the mountains that rose just above the pool. I've never before watched mountains while swimming. It was a hot, clear day and I had strap marks down my back when I was finished.

Last night -- the glory of sport -- I actually cried -- remembering the glory and the pure thrill of that victory. Strange too to think about how much more vibrant the team victories were. Something maybe about how a personal victory is hard and small -- certain for one person only, like a rock slipped into one's pocket. But the team victory is something different, fuzzier because of the connections, and shared and so it can multiply itself through the others and grow larger perhaps than it would have otherwise. And I watched some of the sprints but, no, I cannot access that sport. I remember running track and never being able to shake the sense of something being wrong as I bent to take my mark. Nothing felt right without water in front of me.

And yesterday, while swimming, I tried to calculate how many laps I must have swum in my life. There's no telling. And I also thought of my fierce pride in the sport -- fierce to the point of exclusion -- strange that sense of righteousness I feel as I hear people speak of swimming, now, when it has been glamorized by this exceptional athlete. I always feel the pride first -- like a twist in a tangle, and then I feel the shame of being narrow and selfish and try to compensate -- and all of this happens in a moment and mostly silently.

Today I read, then ventured out just as rain drops started to fall and went to the used bookstore I had passed a few times thinking it was of the gospel churchy sort (Companion Books with a big sunshine painted on the side ...)

I was happily surprised and hauled home the following 8 titles for a grand total of 50 dollars:

Katherine Mansfield -- The Garden Party
Katherine Mansfield -- Bliss & Other Stories
Thomas Mann -- Death in Venice and Seven Other Stories
Italo Calvino -- Why Read the Classics
Pascal -- Pensees
Bertrand Russell -- The Problems of Philosophy
Kant -- Prolegomena
Plato -- Five Dialogues

The last two largely because a new Hackett edition is largely 5 times the amount I paid for them. They had a wonderfully varied selection of philosophy (though no Gilson which I have yet to find in a used bookstore).

The Mansfield is due mostly to my being swept up by her journals -- though I should make a note here that I have got to stop reading the journals of others -- or at least take longer breaks between journals. They tend to oppress my mind.

Dovetail



I have been reading here in Vancouver -- mostly on the bus mostly as I am carted from one district to the next. I found a wonderful edition of Rock Crystal at the SFU library, the one with the 18 images by Josef Scharl. I love that the colors are so consistent -- washed out but still bright, over-exposed like the light of bright mountain-sides. I've also read Bruges-la-Morte by Rodenbach, First Love by Beckett, and the first half of the new edition of Cabinet. I'll probably have something to say about each of those at some point.

About Rock Crystal -- there's a quote in the introduction -- after he re-wrote the story Holy Eve as Rock Crystal, he apparently said:

Were I permitted to polish and reset this tale a third time, by the powers of heaven I believe it might become a diamond.


And yes, it is a diamond -- exact, bright, hard planes and bright, ephemeral flashes -- it is supremely controlled -- it has clarity, brilliance, precision. And yet that halo of flashing light -- the halo formed in the story out of associations, images, touching sentiment and simple portraits.

I read the bulk of this story while sitting on a stuffy, close bus, riding down an asphalt road from one mountain to a valley. To my left I could see the smooth blue planes of mountains that are foreign to me. Do we have a name for mountain-blue? Mountains are so impossible to know – I can see one from far off and span it’s breadth with my eyes and my mind, but when I approach it I don't approach a mountain, I approach foothills, then slope, then insurmountable rock -- I can only see vague gradation, individual trees, my own stumblings as I try to climb. I cannot climb the mountain I saw from far off because I cannot come close to that particular mountain – it recedes even as I approach.

And is it different to these mountain people? They know their mountains, but when familiarity is gone, when snow is tossed up and dark dashed through vision, they too are lost. And then there are clefts and plains of ice -- terrifying.

And of course I thought of Hans -- poor Hans in the snowstorm -- facing the hard, perfect force of the storm -- the snowflakes which threatened to overcome him, first with violence and then with the siren-song of the cold sleep.


Life shuddered at such perfect precision, regarded it as something deadly, as the secret of death itself.

That's the opposition in Magic Mountain -- the living, breathing, seeping life of Hans' homo Dei versus the cold, distant, terrifying force of the snow -- of the mountains.

There are two scenes in Magic Mountain which I still do not feel comfortable with -- the bloody feast in the temple and the final obsession with der Lindenbaum, especially the passage describing life pregnant with death. I'm not comfortable with these scenes for the right reasons -- these scenes are scenes where the mind, in order to deal with what it understands, must 'kick over the traces' -- that's a phrase borrowed from Hans, and which I only just now related to some thoughts on The Waves.

Let me begin again:

We speak some phrases easily -- we speak of eyes being the window to the soul, we speak of everything being relative, we speak of seeing to the bottom -- but how often do we explore what these things mean? Take that final phrase -- to see to the bottom of things, to see things as they really are -- to catch a glimpse, even for a moment, of something as it is really. I think many people have experienced this, but this is one of those experiences that is rewritten by memory, necessarily. You see, we have to kick over the traces. This is something Hans knows in Magic Mountain and this is something Bernard discovers in The Waves -- a lesson, I might add, that Rhoda refused to learn.

Rhoda represents the multitudinous, fractured self. She lives close to the world of reality -- she lives close to the bottom of things, close to the spaces in between. She lives in the present solely and does not participate in identity-making, phrase-making, storytelling. Rhoda is all gaps & space, all non-identity -- she is the foil to Louis' I, I, I. She does not throw a veil over the cracks and fissures in the self -- she does not participate with the rest of us in that voluntary re-telling. Rhoda inhabits the world where no fin breaks that leaden waste of waters.

Of course, she also sees all of our devices for what they are -- she does not refuse identity out of ignorance, but out of -- what, disgust? Authenticity? Will?

Rhoda is the embodiment of seeing to the bottom -- she goes under -- she dwells in the wasteland of nothing and everything -- with no distinguishing feature to grab hold of. And Bernard recognizes this -- he recognizes the desire to see to the bottom -- to throw away the self -- to have done with this world which can disgust and repulse. But -- but -- he kicks over the traces -- Bernard is very much like Hans for me -- both have seen things as they are -- Bernard has seen the darknesses in life -- he has observed people closely, he has observed himself closely -- he has told the stories, rewritten history to make it cohesive, to make it interesting. But he also has seen through it all -- and he sees through his own heroes, his own glories.

Bernard knows that Percival is no hero -- Percival died when his horse stumbled, not while jousting with Death -- and yet Percival is rewritten as a hero because there must be a hero. Bernard knows that the man in the restaurant is not listening to a word he's saying. Bernard also knows that Susan did not want to be comforted by him in the garden. He knows that he fabricated Elvedon and made the woman who was writing into a mythic figure that would watch over the story he worked on. He knows this and he also knows the grime of the knife in the cafe -- he knows the inconsistency of people, he knows his own incapacities and jealousies.

But is life very shifting or very solid?

Virginia asked that question in her diaries and she repeated it all throughout this book. She asks that question every time one of the memories is underwritten with uncertainty. Every "he said" and "she said" proves both the solid and the shifting. We are lucky to pull six little fish from that roiling cauldron -- we are lucky when we can make a phrase about butterfly-powder -- or like Trigorin's widow-scented heliotrope. We are even luckier when the "he said" happens to match the "she said."

But to dwell in the shifting is to dwell in the present is to dwell in the wasteland of nothing and everything -- the leaden waste of waters where no fin breaks the surface. And so we 'kick over the traces' -- we rewrite the experience -- we toss a veil over the cracks and fissures in the self, and we thus continue to press forward, lances couched, driving against Death, against nice, concrete, precise figures.

When Hans wakes from his mountain-spell, after seeing that vision of life born out of death --the bloody feast that is at the center of beautiful arcadia, he has seen what he set out to find -- a satisfactory answer about the meaning and purpose of life. But he can't remain in this knowledge -- he must kick over the traces of his understanding if he is to enjoy his roast beef and Maria Mancinis.

But there is one more element -- the significant object -- the music which appears in both the Waves and Magic Mountain -- and which I am still working out ...