Archive for July, 2008

Monday through Friday, pen and ink and rubber stamps on graph paper, collage © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Such an ordinary thing. Days of the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on.

Each has its own significance.

Monday can be tough because it starts the work week for most people. Tuesday is the day before Hump Day. Wednesday, Hump Day. My daughter says Thursday is the best weekday day, and I somehow know what she means although I can’t explain it. Thank God it’s Friday. Then, woo-hoo, it’s the weekend. And let’s not forget, Saturday or Sunday is holy day for many. Finally we start over, which sometimes causes a case of Sunday night blues.

No wonder we get so tired out each week.

There’s also the matter of unlucky days. Friday the 13th in some parts of the world — watch out. You’re liable to use your denture cream for hair gel. Yet, when I lived in Spain, Thursday the 13th was the unlucky day. Which was a real pain, because as an American living in Spain, I was doomed both days.

And still, days are days. One comes after the other, and then another, and so the cycle goes. The days keep rolling by.

In English, most of the days are named for deities.

  • Monday: Comes from the Old English Mōnandæg, which means “Day of the Moon.”
  • Tuesday: Comes from the Old English Tiwesdæg, or “Tyr’s Day.” Tyr was a god of combat in Norse mythology.
  • Wednesday: Comes from the Old English Wōdnesdæg, meaning the day of Germanic god Wodan. (I wonder if he had a hump.)
  • Thursday: Comes from the Old English Þūnresdæg, meaning the day of Þunor, who is known as Thor in Modern English.
  • Friday: Comes from the Old English Frigedæg, meaning the day of Frige, the Germanic goddess of beauty. (Hmmm, is this where the term “frigid” comes from?)
  • Saturday: Named after the Roman god Saturn. This is the day of rest in Jewish and Christian tradition, although for many Americans, it’s hard to rest while standing in check-out lines with the mobs at Walmart.
  • Sunday: Comes from Old English Sunnandæg, day of the sun. This is the first day of the week in Jewish and Christian tradition, although the Western work week and the notion of the weekend tends to render Sunday as the last day of the week.

The seven days also correspond to seven celestial bodies, each of which it is said controls the first hour of the day it’s named after. For example, Mercury corresponds to Wednesday, and so Mercury is said to control the first hour of Wednesdays.

This system originated in Mesopotamia, where astrology was practiced for millennia and where seven was a lucky number. Here are the seven days and their corresponding celestial bodies.

  Day   Celestial Body     Latin 
  Sunday   sun   Solis
  Monday   moon   Lunae
  Tuesday   Mars   Martis
  Wednesday    Mercury   Mercurii    
  Thursday   Jupiter   Jovis
  Friday   Venus   Veneris
  Saturday   Saturn   Saturni

Which brings us to a Writing Topic.

Many a day I will sit down to Writing Practice and simply write the date and day at the top of the page then write. That’s it. For 15 minutes.

Simple. Thursday. Then write for 15 minutes, no crossing out, no stopping. See what comes out.

Do it again Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. After a while it becomes its own sort of No Topic — an easy way to pull a topic from the air and get your hand moving.

Try it. Let us know how it goes.

Days of the week links (for the over-achievers among you):

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Truck Cojones, pen and ink on graph paper, doodle © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

I see them swinging underneath the back ends of trucks here in town, and I gotta wonder, what’s up with the truck testicles??

I mean, don’t we have enough stuff on our cars? Calvin peein’ on this thing or that thing, naked woman mud flaps, and bumper stickers for every bent in life.

Why do our vehicles need to start wearing fake genitalia?

I’m serious.

Are the balls to compensate for something? The modern-day version of toilet paper in the bra or down the pants.

This source says they are expressions of “rural chic.” What happened to cowboy hats and denim shirts with the arms cut off?

I figure those oversized swingin’ cojones are another way of saying, Don’t mess with me! If so, I prefer the good ol’-fashioned bird. Flip me off if you have to, but for Pete’s sake, put your balls back where they belong!

p.s. I would have taken a photo, except I don’t want to get in a wreck (my daughters already got mad at me for taking the photo below while driving).

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pecos yellow (one), first in a series of yellow flowers from the Pecos Mountains, July 24, 2008, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

There has been a spate of articles lately about how gas prices and the state of the economy in general are forcing many Americans to spend summer vacation at home or close to home this year. There’s even a term for it: staycation.

I guess my family qualifies as stay-at-home vacationers. During one of my two weeks off from work, we managed to keep our miles down to a mere 300, all spent right here in our very own Land of Enchantment.

Here are highlights from our “trip-ette” and some of the ways we cut costs:

  • “Flower-watching” in the mountains (although we didn’t have guide nor guidebook to tell us the names of the flowers).
  • The girls made “$aver-enirs” by collecting tree sap, letting it melt in the sun, then forming the sap into objects.
  • We took Jim’s childhood boat out for a cruise along the river.
  • Used the swimming hole at Pancheula Creek (and swam in our clothes so we wouldn’t have to splurge on new swimsuits this season).
  • Harvested and sautéed exotic fungus (a puffball mushroom, not pictured), although I refrained from sampling any in the event it turned out to be poisonous; designated driver rule.
  • Weiners and buffalo burgers on the grill.
  • Fancy s’mores for dessert every night.
  • Antique collecting.
  • Fossil hunting.
  • Simulated day-spa (i.e., reading an entire memoir in one sitting while lying under blankets the day it rained, a fire glowing in the wood-burning stove).

Where did you go for your summer vacation?

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anXiety, pen and ink on graph paper, doodle © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

I want to write about anxiety. Not panic attacks, since I don’t think I’ve ever had one of those, but rather, the general sense of dread that covers me at times like a veil.

I want to write about anxiety, but not in a medical way. I want to write about the days I feel like I can’t possibly smile, can’t possibly let myself get into a good mood, so shellacked into place is my heart that if I allow myself to feel it pulsing in my chest I might just burst open.

I catch myself increasingly more in this predicament, anxious and paralyzed and becoming the impatient, often enraged woman I knew as…my mother.

Yes, my mother! She suffered anxiety for many years, and there is indication that, like brown hair or Diabetes, anxiety runs in families. As one article put it, “More often than not, anxious women grew up in anxious households.”


Mom must have been in a near constant state of anxiety. There was a 13-year spread between me—the youngest—and my oldest sibling, which means Mom was living and breathing children from the moment Patty was born until I moved out at age 18. That was 31 years of dealing with kids through every stage, and it doesn’t include my niece, who was six years younger than me and who Mom eventually brought into the fold.

I tell the story of being five years old and walking into my house one day after having spent a few hours across the street with my best friend at her grandmother’s trailer. My eyes were lined in black; we’d gotten into Suzanne’s grandma’s make-up bag. I came in through the back door just as Mom was getting up from a nap. Usually she made me take naps with her but this day I got to play with Suzanne instead.

I can see Mom now, making her way to the kitchen to find her cigarettes and maybe a glass of iced tea. I am happy and proud; it’s the first time I’ve put on make-up, the domain of grown-up women. Mom crosses the living room, I’m coming up through the den. She sees me and I am smiling, about to open my mouth and tell her “Look what we did!” but before I can get out the words she raises her arm. WHACK! In a throaty voice she screams, “COCHINA!” “PIG!

Later on, when I started school and life became more intense for Mom, it was hard to separate her meanness from her Meniere’s Disease. When I think of her during those times I see her in bed or on the bathroom floor or the couch, a wet washrag on her forehead and a glass of water by her side.

I remember one summer we drove to Juárez, pulled into the parking lot of the Camino Rael Hotel. Its pink stucco and turquoise swimming pool shimmered like a mirage just beyond the asphalt, and there went Mom, puking into a brown paper sack. The long road trip with three of us fighting in the back of the Caprice, plus the heat, set off an attack.

Always sick, always throwing out certain expressions: “I can’t stand you!” “You kids are driving me crazy!” “I’m a nervous wreck!” There were good memories, too, a flood of goodness, and I don’t want to make my mother sound like a monster. She wasn’t by any means. I’m just trying to understand the cycles of anxiety, what they transform us into, and how I might break the pattern.

Which reminds me, my youngest jokingly calls me Momster. Am I?

If not, I suspect I am on the road to becoming one. Like it did for Mom, my life seems to be getting out of hand. At times my emotions, even my physical being, are hijacked by anxiety.

I sometimes find myself driving in my car and thinking, I shouldn’t have become a mother, I shouldn’t have become a mother, and then I retract it all, convinced that God will punish me by taking away my daughters. This is anxiety talking, taunting in its urgent whisper, That’ll show you.


My friend Deborah calls it “middle-aged rage,” and maybe she’s talking about something different but I tend to think it’s just anxiety in its angry incarnation. Deborah says it stems from the pressure to be good – good mother, good employee, good partner. She also says it’s the mountain of responsibility that piles up daily – bills to pay, deadlines to meet, cans and bottles and paper to recycle.

“Passions unmet,” I chime in, giving away that for me the crux of the matter is almost always this balance between being the solid matriarch of my family and being myself. Artist, writer, and individual.

I do agree that middle-aged rage is a symptom of our inflated expectations. Disappointments taken to the nth degree. The bald realization that we’re not perfect. We’re smart women. We may or may not hold down well-paying jobs. We might be great gardeners, mostly solid friends. Our parents need us more than ever and we’re struggling to meet those needs, never mind looking and feeling good and meeting the pressures of being decent role models.

For me it’s gotten worse in the past year. It’s the perfect storm. Daughter in mid-school with those funky dynamics, another in elementary (and I can always find something to worry about in her life – too skinny, too sickly, too talky). Aging parents, stressful career, big house, new dog. You name it, I got it.

Anxiety becomes worse as women take the long walk toward menopause, and I seem to have been stuck on that trail for years now. Given the physical changes in my body (temperature changes, night sweats, weight) I think I’m heading deeper into the forest, but I wish this body of mine would just squeeze through the eye of the needle and emerge, with all the apparent downsides, into the desert of post-menopause. I will give up any day the last of my so-called youth for that long moment of calm.

I tell Deborah that we were stupid to wait until our mid-to-late 30s (her, early 40s) to have children, but she reminds me we would have simply had longer periods of rage and be less equipped to cope. I suppose she’s right.

I feel fortunate that she’s opened up this conversation. Over this past year I’ve felt the anxiety growing like yeast in my belly, yet I’ve kept a lid on it. But once I get something out in the open, exposed to air and light, there’s no hiding from it. I will talk, write, treat it to its pretty death. My submission will lead to its submission.

My annual check-up is coming up this fall, none too soon to get the medical help I need to get my calm back. Mean time, I’m exercising, cutting out the crap I’ve been eating, setting boundaries, and holding on tightly to daily practice and prayer. 

The girls still tell me I’m a nice mom. But I tell you, it’s a thin thread that holds me to that reality versus being Momster 24/7.

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Death, paper mâché skull by Raymond Sandoval, Contemporary
Spanish Market, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

what demon inside
makes me feel not good enough?
that’s a sort of death

-related to post: haiku (one-a-day)

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Live Oak, Epworth By The Sea, St. Simons Island, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

breathtaking live oaks
hold centuries of secrets
red sassafras skies

-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, July 26th, 2008

-related to post:  haiku (one-a-day)

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First, Rafael.

Oh, there’s the human taking my picture. Lemme give him this profile.

Oh no, my schauze looks big in that one. This side’s more flattering.

Wait, what am I thinking? Straight ahead is always the most dignified.

Next, Otis.

I’m here to save the day! Aha! I knew he’d love my Rin-Tin-Tin.

Finally, Sony.

Sony of the River. Strong, fast, deep. Wait, why don’t I get to stand in the meadow?

Way better. Man, mountain grass is good. Purple asters and daisies…yum-my!

I LOVE the mountains. Please, Mom, please, please can we move here??

Rafael, Otis, and Sony in the Pecos Mountains on July 22-24, all taken by Jim except for last two, photos © 2008 by Jim or ybonesy. All rights reserved.

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