Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Imperial Tendencies

Sitting at dinner the other evening and having made one of my numerous imperious proclamations, my younger sister turns to me with a wicked glint in her eye and says, “Nobody is making me very happy.”

Have you ever said something you wish you hadn’t? Of course you have. We all have. This statement, this “Nobody is making me very happy,” is the scarlet letter (or albatross, depending on your literary allusion of preference) that has haunted me since age six.

It was summer. I was visiting my uncle and auntie. My cousins – sisters, of course - had been fighting murderously all day and consequently no playing was getting done and no fun was being had. I can remember vain attempts at peacemaking and then switching strategies to throw my support behind whomever was winning at the moment. Nothing worked.

And so, I marched myself in all my indignant resplendence into the living room and, hands on hips, informed my dear auntie that “Nobody is making me very happy.”

You can imagine the laughter that followed, although I didn’t think it was very funny. And of course my aunt’s reply was something along the lines of, “Tough.”

I have never been able to live that moment down and certain family members delight in reminding me of it. Sigh.

The Importance of Becoming Oscar

I have always been a devoted Oscar Wilde fan. I can remember discussing The Importance of Being Earnest in one of my college courses and how shocked I was that the rest of the class had written him off as "amusing." "Amusing?!," I stammered in horror. How could they not recognize the scathing rebuke of the morals and ethics of Victorian society?

I have sense come to realize that very few take darling Oscar seriously. One shimmering exception is the writer/actor/director, Mr. Stephen Fry. Mr. Fry's recent blog post on Oscar Wilde touched me and I hope you enjoy it also.

Wallpaper, by Stephen Fry

. . . “Why, Mr. Wilde, do you think America is such a violent country?”

“I can tell you why,” he said. “It’s susceptible readily of an explanation. America is such a violent country because your wallpaper is so ugly.”

Now that seems, you might snort with laughter at first and say, “Well, how amusing.” Part you you may say, “Well this is just a typical peacocking primped camp remark from a shallow and trivial man who thinks it’s amusing to say things like that.”

But actually, to understand what the Aesthetic Movement is all about, one has to take that quite seriously. Instead of judging things as being good or bad, things are judged by whether they are beautiful or ugly. And we may say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but actually it’s a lot easier to judge when things are beautiful than it is when things are bad or good. We spend our time puzzling dreadfully over whether we can interpret something as being wicked or whether it’s virtuous. However, beauty, beauty, beauty acts on us in a very real way, and what Wilde was partly saying was, if we look out of the window into our world, we see things that are universally and entirely beautiful from nature. Whether they be palm trees swaying in an island, whether they be the arctic wastes, whether they be deserts, tundra steps. It doesn’t matter where you look in the world, we see nothing but beauty. Unconditional, remarkable beauty.

And what Wilde is saying is, imagine belonging to a species where all you believe that all you can do to the world is to uglify it. To make it worse. To despoil it. Which is what we do. We know that now in real and profound and terrible ways that Wilde couldn’t have known about because the science hadn’t yet discovered quite how harmful we are as a species to our planet. But he could see that we were harmful to our planet in terms of its aesthetics. That we were making the earth uglier. Uglier with bad architecture, uglier with badly designed factories, uglier with badly stamped out tin trays and cheap ornaments, ugly with appalling wallpaper. And if you’re someone who grows up in such an environment, who is surrounded by badly made ugly things, then you think ugly thoughts of yourself and world. You think ugly thoughts of your whole species. There is nothing for you to do but to, to, to crap in your own nest. It’s what we do when we don’t believe in ourselves. And so although it seems a cheap response to a question about violence, the aesthetic point if view is actually I think a very valuable one, a very profound one, a very extraordinary one. And it makes people think beyond the knee-jerk reflexes of conventional morality, of revealed texts, whether they be the Bible, the Koran or the Communist Manifesto. It doesn’t matter. You’ve got to think harder than that, Wilde was arguing.

Monday, April 28, 2008

State of the Nation.

I've been telling myself for days that I need to make a post, but in my defense the weather has been so pretty that the thought of spending more than a few moments indoors or away from a window wasn't very compelling. And then my sister has been visiting and that chucked any possibility of staring at a computer monitor.

Flowers are blooming everywhere and I have some beautiful pictures to post. My rose bushes are loaded with buds and the peonies are just starting to open. Lil' sis helped me plant a hydrangea and Easter lily that I had been given. Gerrard decided to dig the lily up and drag it across the yard, but after a severe scolding and some protective rocks it may survive the abuse.

I have been feeling much better. Even been in to work a bit which has been good for my mental health. I am very bad at doing nothing and if I don't feel productive I get depressed. So a few hours at work keeps me feeling useful.

I have read several books and watched tons of movies. Fever 1793 by Laura Halse Anderson was a huge favorite, as was And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander. The latter has to be one of the better mysteries I've read in quite awhile. I rented the movie Moliere and was enchanted. I remember reading The Misanthrope in my teens and feeling as though I had found my personal manifesto. I also saw Atonement (amazing story, terribly depressing), Charlie Wilson's War (charming characters, very enlightening), Juno (humane, insightful, clever characters) and lots of oldies but goodies.

Hope you all are happy and well!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Two steps forward, I step back

I feel pretty rough today. I had hoped to be off the pain meds by now, but I just can't. The nurse at my surgeon's office very sweetly called me in another prescription since I'd used up what they sent me home with. She's such a nice lady - unlike some nurses I have had to deal with. I hated calling and asking. I am down to about two a day: one in the morning and one before bed. I try to remind myself that it was a pretty major surgery and my muscles are not going to be happy about being sliced and diced. I just hate being dependent - on anything. :)

A big shout out to the The Fixer from The Lot at Mother's Pride. You definitely brightened my day.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Just a quick post to say thanks for all the well wishes and good vibes. I'm starting to sort of venture back out into blog land - between naps. :) You folks are wonderful!

All my best!
Mrs. Fox

Friday, April 11, 2008

Out of the Cave and Into the Sunlight

Wow! I kept meaning to post sooner, but I've been sleeping so much and I haven't really had the energy to do much but watch TV. I did finish a book but it took me forever because I'd get about a paragraph read and fall back asleep. I am starting to feel more like myself. My ribs are still tender and the incision itches like crazy, but it's worth it since they were able to take care of everything. I'm also pretty much off the pain pills. I've been taking one at night, but just taking ibuprofen during the day which is working pretty well.

My mom flew up to stay with me and has been a huge help. Although, I get guilty knots in my stomach watching her load my dishwasher and folding my clothes. She's helped me do my hair, which I gotta tell you, when you feel like poo the thought of lying around which your hair looking dreadful doesn't help. Mom's been quite the busy little bee. She even finished the tote bag I had started out of a pair of B's old jeans. I had gotten stuck with how to finish it, but mummy trimmed the top and slapped some handles on. She's also tailored Officer B's uniform shirts, helped me work on the curtains for the guest room (which actually was me sitting in a chair watching her iron the edges). And the doggies love her! Gerrard has been sleeping with her at night and tries to get in her lap when she sits on the sofa. That's a bit of a stretch with a 65 pound dog, but he still tries to get as close as he can.

Today was the first day that I really got out of the house and I did pretty good. Mom and I sat out on the deck for a long time just soaking up the sun after so many days of rain. We both ended up with a bit of sunburn but agreed that it was worth it. The rain has been terrible! Yesterday the creek behind the house was absolutely gushing and the tornado sirens went off although none touched down. After lunch, we went to the grocery store. I couldn't really lift things off the shelf so of course I bought tons of juice which mom had to lug around. Wasn't that nice of me? I didn't realize it until we were loading it all in the truck. Afterwards, I didn't feel anymore achey than I already do but I did take a nice long nap on the sofa.

It was good to get out and be amongst people. TV was starting to rot my brain.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Blog Therapy - Drug Dreams

Not to worry, I promise I'm using this as therapy. It is good for me to try and sit up for a bit and of course the chair in the office is quite comfy and - I promise I won't overdo it.

But I had to share the weird dream I had last night. I was just glad I could remember it because when I woke up at 4:00 AM I thought there was no way. I dreamed that I went on a frenetic London shopping trip with Keira Knightley (absolutely no idea where that came from). I bought a great little beaded cream cardigan and a velvet navy-blue jacket. And then there were these fantastic hats! Sort of retro, but made from molded soft leather rather than fabric. In the dream they were just the cat's meow, we were so excited about them and bought one of each kind, but I suspect in reality they would look like Lego fashions.

This is my subconscious on drugs. :)

Friday, April 4, 2008


Just a quick note to say that I am home from the hospital. Rather sore still and very tired, but mending quickly (those prayers of yours are something else!). There is nothing quite so marvelous as your first home-cooked meal after the awful stuff they feed you at the hospital, or being able to nap with doggies at your feet. Cheers!