happiness is for pigs


Eileen has been telling me that I don’t seem all that happy lately. It’s tricky to consider one’s own happiness. Happiness doesn’t seem to be an end in and of itself. To seek it is to miss it entirely. But one can certainly think about one’s situation and whether it’s aligned with one’s perceived intentions.

I think I miss large amounts of unstructured time. I have the happy self image of being a bum. My first wife’s grandmother was polish. She was a large woman who I remember as always sitting in a chair. I can hear her saying, “He’s just a bum.” She wasn’t necessarily talking about me but this memory makes me smile. I liked being a bum.

Now it’s hard for me to honestly (or even dishonestly) think of myself in this way. I am working more hours than ever at the ballet department at the local college. I am also doing more at church. Plus I do some stuff to keep my Mom afloat in the nursing home (weekly tasks like bills and take her books and chocolates).

Yesterday I had an honest-to-god unstructured Saturday morning. I organized the kitchen.

It felt good. We are planning to revamp our house so that we can live here for the rest of our lives (before we get carted off to a nursing home).

This involves converting the main floor into a living space: renovating the bathroom, installing a washer/dryer on this floor, and making what is not the chaotic library our main bedroom.

The kitchen will lose a significant storage area, a little closet we call the pantry. I have been in the process of emptying it out so that the contractor can tear up the ceiling and see what the heck is up there.

This has meant reorganizing the kitchen significantly, reducing and cleverly storing stuff. That’s what I did yesterday. I listened to Benjamin Britten on Spotify and goofed around in the kitchen. Eileen likes to call this “putzing” around. It amuses me that she says this. And it seems to fit.

Anyway,  by the time I got around to my tasks for the day (grocery shopping, picking up Mom’s books to take back to the library and getting her new ones, practicing organ, treadmilling) I realized that the morning spent in the kitchen doing what I wanted to do had left me feeling relaxed and satisfied.

It was the first day off in two weeks since last Saturday Eileen and I drove to Muskegon in the morning.

So there you have it. The whole morning put me in a good mood. Not exactly the same as being a bum, but close.


Illumination by Natasha Trethewey

This is the last poem in Trethewey’s Thrall. I like it. It’s about reading someone else’s annotations in a second hand book. I relate.


The Library and the Architect Respond to a Critic – NYTimes.com

I find it interesting when people reported on respond with letters. In this case, both of these letters are subjective and not terribly convincing, but fun to read in especially in light of the initial reporting.


In Senate, Traditional Decorum Gives Way to New Discord – NYTimes.com

I suppose it’s inevitable that old fashion etiquette is abandoned in every nook and cranny of life.


Ethnic Tensions Arise in Timbuktu After Islamists Leave – NYTimes.com

Complicated relationships between Islamists and historical secularists.


German Legislators Vote to Outlaw Bestiality – NYTimes.com

Learned a new word in this article: Zoophile.


Italian Court Convicts 3 Americans in Kidnapping Case – NYTimes.com

C.I.A people breaking other countries’ laws.


Zoom views of Hagia Sophia and other Byzantine Monuments

All you can do is zoom in on this pics, but what the heck, it’s still cool.


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