cell phone self-portrait

cell phone self-portrait
things are looking up

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My Mother

Yesterday, the nursing home social worker called to tell me that Mom has become agitated and verbally abusive to her roommate, whom she has loved deeply and who has loved her in return. She and Mary have been the best of friends and depended upon each other, so this is a sad development. I'm not certain if the changes in Mom's mental state and behavior are due to the disease itself (Multiple Sclerosis) or the combination of medications she is on, or simply depression, frustration, and anger. She is being moved out of her room with Mary and will have a different roommate. In the meantime, I have begun the process of trying to have her moved closer to me, perhaps to Augusta, Ga --- but have just received a phone call from the first nursing home I contacted, and they have said they cannot manage her because of her behaviors. They suggested two other places that might accept Mom. All of this is, naturally, very painful. I will see Mom this weekend, and maybe I can make a difference in how she is feeling. I appreciate the prayers of anyone who happens to read this blog. I wish my mother the peace of a holy dove lighting upon her.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Genetic Memory

Those valentines are from the 1920's and 30's. They belonged to my maternal grandmother, and seeing the delicate penciled messages on the backs takes me back to a different time --- a time I haven't been to, at least not in this body. but a time from which I have a piece handed down. Now look at my face and the face of my daughter (above left) and mother (above right) --- both of them at about 15 years old, by the way. What has been handed down in our faces? In our mannerisms? In our tendencies toward certain illnesses? In our "natural" talents? Are we the living memories of our ancestors? This is how some theorists explain the uncanny natural talents and skills of savants --- their abilities which appear to come out of nowhere --- remarkable genius in some areas despite the failure to do something as simple as tie their shoes or feed themselves. Somehow these people have carried down their genius in their genetic material --- although other parts of their brains appear to be stymied or blocked. For more on this, take a look at the following link. http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/savant/genetic_memory.cfm

Somewhere in those features must be little pieces of my ancestors --- on my mother's maternal side, I know their names back to the early 18th century; on her father's side, I know at least some of their names. However, my father was adopted, so I know nothing about my paternal ancestry. Still, I carry in my body and mind their essence. I believe in genetic memory, and so it is possible that I "saw" these old valentines before --- through my grandmother's eyes. She processed the memories of them, and I supposed it makes a considerable difference if she moved the memories into long-term storage. I assume she did, since she kept a scrapbook with the valentines in it for about 50 years. So if scraps of her memories were carried down to me, maybe I simply remembered the valentines rather than seeing them for the first time. Posted by Picasa What a cool concept. This all gives me an idea for a short story. A mother is looking over her daughter's designs for valentines (she's an illustrator) when they begin to look familiar, so she pulls out her own mother's scrapbook and is amazed to find that they are remarkably similar. When she asks, she is dumbfounded to know that her daughter has never seen these valentines, or if she has, it has been years, and she certainly did not study them or memorize their design elements. She begins to explore the concept of genetic memory, attempting to separate that concept from psychic phenomena --- and along the way finds her way back to God and to spirituality: to the love of God, to His valentine to humanity.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

On Music in Public Places

I've just skimmed two articles that more or less claim music in public places is irritating. If you want to check them out, they are Fran Lebowitz's "The Sound of Music: Enough Already," and Andrew Mueller's "Can't Stop the Muzak. " You'll have to find Lebowitz on your own because my copy is in a textbook, but here's the link to Mueller: http://www.andrewmueller.net/scroll.lasso?ID=178&story=CAN'T%20STOP%20THE%20MUZAK_full_story

So anyway these two articles have got me thinking about whether I enjoy hearing music when I'm out and about, and I'd have to say mostly yes, I do. On the other hand, when I'm feeling down and blue and lovesick I don't want to hear the love songs --- so I probably pop out of a store more quickly than I would have. And when I'm in a music store, it's kind of hard to get the feel of the music I'm considering when I've got rap blasting in my ears. I think those stores in particular would fare far better by playing a mix of styles in fairly rapid success. You know, first 50Cent, then Barry Manilow, then Jack Johnson, then Carly Simon, then Disturbed, then Mick Jagger, then Travis Tritt. You get the picture.

One good point that Lebowitz makes is about other people's clock radios. Personally, I don't like to wake up to a morning show --- well, maybe if it's Rick and Bubba's "The 7 O'Clock Song." Nor do I want to wake up to "My Humps, my humps my humps my humps, my lovely lady lumps" or anything with vocals really. If I'm a guest at your house and you must have your clock radios set to wake me up with music, please make it classical or piano or acoustic guitar only, turned down very low. Now that would be kind of nice.

Music in restaurants? Only if I can talk over the music without yelling. And match the music to the atmosphere, the food, the clientele, the weather --- I mean, if you are going to be a d.j., make it mean something. Mexican restaurants nearly always get it right. It's nearly impossible to leave a Mexican restaurant in a bad mood --- if a spinach burrito with pico de gallo doesn't cheer me right up, the lively music does.

I'm going out to lunch now; we'll see what's playing.