dijous, de desembre 30, 2004

Cleaning, a needful thing (English)

Why is it that so many people loathe cleaning. I find it to be a very meditative and internally cleansing activity. It could very well be the Pennsylvania German in me, with it's willfulness about arranging the home and the world, or perhaps it's the Welshman in me, for whom a modicum of anal retention about one's dwelling place is as natural as breathing, and therefore little to no thought is necessary to effect it. One thing I can say about both Wales and Germany us the general cleanliness of both countries. Graffiti is hardly present in either place, nor is general rubbish along the roads. People keep their homes neat and tidy, and where dross and debris are necessary parts of life, it is customary to secret them behind fences lined with plastic mesh. There is something in the wild American spirit that generally, through much of the country, in particular the rural areas, but not necessarily, permits a kind of decadence, not due to poverty, rather due to dereliction and sloth which result in utter careless abandon of the land and the towns and homes.

There are exceptions, places like San Diego or Pennsylvania German land. Still so much of the country I have seen so far relegates order and a sense or savoir-faire in regards to home maintenance to the wealthy classes. I adore New Orleans, but it really is like a third world country in many ways. My own home-city, Schenectady, witnesses a stark divide between the classes on the basis of home maintenance. I can think of no decent middle-class or higher class of person here who relegates their unwanted interior furnishings to the front porch. This appears to be the explicit purchase of the once so-called working or poor classes. There seems to be little to divided people in this regard among ethnic or color lines either, except where minorties are part and parcel of the class which entertains such behaviors.

I bring this up since today I set about the task of ordering and cleaning my domicile for the arrival of Tom, and the subsequent arrival of others to celebrate the Christian and calendar New Year. I began my work at around 10 AM, and it consisted of arranging various objects which had lost their way in the days since I had returned from Pennsylvania. Some were Christmas gifts, others were things needful at moments that I had neglected to put in their proper places. By 1PM my work was done, and I had cleaned and arranged various and sundry things in six rooms. The lion's share of my work was done in the bathroom and in laboring time on the floors, wet-swiffering them to bring back the shine. I also polished the dining room table and did two loads of laundry and ran the dish-washer. I also took out the trash and recycling, and even took my pretty car out of the garage and let it run for a few minutes. In three short hours I had regulated the minor flotsam and jetsam of life and cleaned and scoured nearly every surface in the house. It was hardly labor intensive, and it was certainly worth it. Moreover, the last time I did it was more than a week and a half ago.

A person might be tempted to ask how I, as a self-proclaimed hedonist, could be worried about dust and grime, disorder and general wretchedness. I, on the other hand, would counter by saying that to fulfill my Hedonistic intentions, I must do it. I feel the happiest when I am in a clean and beautiful place. I find my home very comfortable because I surround myself with beautiful things, at least I find them beautiful. I believe that basically people are happiest when surrounded by pretty things in pretty places. Some may argue with me on that point, and while I am not positing that happiness is solely to be found amid pretty objects, I do believe that they can go a long way to making one feeling better about the world. I feel certain now after more than a decade of having travelled there various times, that people in France are happier than people in America in part because in general there are surrounded by beautiful, and old, things.

On the other hand, people who live in simple concrete block subsidized housing, whether here or there, are less happy. What is worse for the American block-dwellers is that their prison-like homes are plunked sqaurely in the middle of blighted cities. Interestingly, France has little to no urban blight, at least not in the cities proper. They have poor and destitute, but have relegated them to the fringes of the city. French people to whom I have spoken admit their solution is not the best, but point out that at least they're trying to make things better, and maintain liveable cities. Having seen both the insides of HLM (Habitations à loyer modéré - subsidized housing) and the insides of low-rent or subsidized housing in both countries, I know the one in which I would rather be poor.

Clearly there is no simple answer, but the move to a modicum of order in ones personal life, and dare I say, pride, is a beginning...

And, I know that I enjoy sipping my $60 bourbon in a well-appointed and tidy room, more than in a slovenly hole :)

dimecres, de desembre 29, 2004

Dydd Tawel Cyn y Flwyddyn Newydd (Spanish / French / Welsh)

Fel doe, mae heddiw wedi bod yn ddydd tawel, yn godi'n hwyr yn y bore a wnes i. Mae'n iawn. O, mae'n siwr y byddai rhywun oedd yn darllen y tudalennau hyn yn meddwl taw y cwbl 'mod i'n ei wneud yw cysgu'n hwyr yn mynd allan i gymdeithasu. Yn fy myd perffaith, dyna sut y byddai, ond yn wir dim on ysbaid bach o heddwch cyn i'r titrwm-tatrwm ddechrau unwaith eto.

Bydd y penwythnos yn brysur, ac yn cychwyn yn gynnar hyd at hyn. Mae Tom yn cyrraed prynhawn yfory, felly does dim cysgu'n hwyr bore 'fory. Rhaid bydd codi yn ddigon cynnar i roi trefn ar y ty cyn iddo ymddangos. Fyddai fo ddim sylweddoli pe nad fyddai'r ty yn lan, ond gwybyddwn i, felly bydd yn barod cyn iddo fo ddod i mewn. Tu hwnt it hynny, dwi wedi treulio digon o amswer ar y ffôn yn sgwrsio. Un galwad oedd oddi wrth Th.

Th. c'est une ancienne étudiante qui est devenue une amie. C'est une personne extraordinaire, spéciale, et de temps en temps un peu pénible - pas dans le sens typique de l'être: elle n'est jamais méchante, mais quand même elle peut être un peu trop exacte, un peu trop ouverte, un peu trop énergetique, ce qui rend la relation entre elle et moi un peu stressée; cela veut dire que quelques fois, on peut être trop d'une bonne chose! Quand même, elle et son mari sont devenus de bons amis, et des amis intéressant en plus. La meilleure chose de Th. est son optimisme, ce qui ne se fatigue jamais. Même quand elle a perdu son pays et plusieurs membres de sa famille pendant la révolution iranienne, un triste évenement dont elle a eu la chance d'évader car son mari et elle ont été déjà aux États-Unis quand cela a eu lieu, elle n'a jamais perdu l'espoir, sa bonne vivance, sa joie de vivre. Et en plus, même quand son insistance sur un point tel quel peut être un peu agaçant de temps en temps, il faut admettre tout simplement qu'elle n'a jamis tort! Elle pense très soigneusement avant de parler ou d'agir, et ce fait rend que ses actions et ses paroles sont bien envoyées et bien reçues par ce qui peut les accepter. Malheureusement, il y a des gens, les gens typiques, et typiquement parasseux qui ont marre d'elle quelques fois. Tant pis, personne peut être aimée universellement!

Galwad arall oedd i Sandy, fy hen landledi. Siaradodd am tipyn bach o bob dim, ond un peth oedd yn synnu oedd rhywbeth a ddywedodd. "Rwyt ti'n seinio mor hapus," meddai. On pam lai? Does dim rheswm da gen i fod efo'm pen yn fy mlu. Como dice el buen picaro, he llegado a mi buen puerto. Mi vida no era siempre perfecta, pero la verdad es que he podido manejarla de modo de que ahora puedo disfrutar de cada minuto, de cada acción. Yo tengo suerte, y lo sé. ¿Perfecta? ¿Por qué tratar de tener la perfección? No vale nada al fin y al cabo. Lo que quiero tener es un estado de estar contento, y por el momento, lo tengo. Tengo un buen trabajo, un buen hogar, buenos vecinos, amigos y compañeros, dos buenos coches, ciertos familiares que todavía están vivos, mi salud, y un poco de dinero. No hay de ser infeliz. Es verdad que ya no tengo un amante de tipo que me apetece, bueno quiere decir que el amante que tengo me deja mucho a querer, por que ya no es amante en si, solo amante de ocasión, de cuando quiere venir para verme. Pues esto me gustaría cambiar, pero fuera de esta pequeña disfunción, no puedo quejarme de nada.

Pues sí Sandy, estoy contento. La vida es una ruleta de maravillas en que apostamos todos. Por algunos se termina mal, como esta pobre gente de Asia matada o dañida en el tsunami. Eso es un horror del primer tipo, una pesadilla viva. Pero mientras tanto no sirve tener miedo o de estar horripilado. No sé yo si existe un gran Díos como lo de la creencia cristiana. De verdad lo dudo, pero a la vez, sí imagino que haya algo en el universo, hay algo más - hay demasiadas relaciones entre cosas, personas, evenemientos, la misma sustancia del cosmos que todo pueda ser por pura casualidad. Lo raro es que a este momento no siento una gran tristeza a causa de lo que pasó en Asia, sino una alegría, y eso a un nivel intuitivo. Los que han muerto, yo siento, hand encontrado una gran alegría al morir, una alegría tan fuerte que suprimó y todavía suprime la tristeza y la agonía de la gente que queda. No sé... un científico diría que solo me hago sentir mejor en frente de un horror imposible a creer. Y aún no sé en que creo, si creo en algo. Pero de todos modos así es el sentimiento que me queda. Como ha dicho el druide al al futuro santo Gwenole, cuando pasemos por esta gran puerta, entonces es posible que descubramos que nosotros dos nos equivocamos! A ver...

dimarts, de desembre 28, 2004

Diwrnod i'r brenin (English / French / Spanish / Welsh)

Today really was a Diwrnod i'r Brenin, that's a Welsh expression meaning a day off. It was a beautifully lovely lazy day, in which nothing of any great consequence was accomplished. I was a real grand dormeur this morning, lounging in bed mostly asleep until 11:30. I refused to actually get out of bed though until 12:15. I really do love to faire la grosse matinée and just lay around and do nothing once in a while.

As I continue to read Michael Flocker's Hedonism Handbook, I realize that I am, with little doubt, a true Hedonist. It's really too bad that more people aren't. I am so fortunate to have a job that allows me five and a half months vacation! As it is, I only take 5 of them, and only 3.5 are really continuous, the other two being chopped up here and there amid holidays and what-have-you. Still, I think I take as many opportunities as I can, when there's not something more pressing or better still, fun to do, to sleep in and do only fun things, like eat fancy food and drink good booze, neu rhoi, neu gael, sugniad da.

I was coming home from Chinese last night when this great song came on the radio. I have a penchant (when I say, I do so with a totally American accent: I hate it when people who don't speak French pronounce French words as though they were French. I, who speak French, only pronounce them with a French accent when I'm speaking French...) for pre-1960 music, anything from the cakewalks and rags through the big-bands. Every once in a while I'm also up for a tipple of 1970's AM-schlock too, for example I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. At any rate, last night this song, Peggy Lee's Is That All There Is? In case you've never heard the song, I've cut and pasted the lyrics below, If you read the song or listen to it, you might think it's rather depressing, but I find it to be very positive. You know, really all we have is today, and when a rose moment comes along, we have to indulge it, and live even more within it.

Moreoever, all we can do is hope for rose moments, amid the less colorful, or downright unpleasant ones. In Spanish a common toast is: Al amor, al dinero, y al tiempo para disfrutarlos - to love, money and the time to enjoy them. Another great Spanish expression about life is: Hay que gozar de la vida - You have to enjoy life. Here, however, is a problem with translation. The real meaning behind the expression is much more colorful than it could ever be in English. The verb gozar is one of complete enjoyment, in essentially a sexual way. It's like say that you have get down and have wild sex with life. I think that's a very hard concept to sell to native English speaking people whose only thought form is this language. They're missing something.

In any case, ¡yo gozo de la vida tanto como posible!

By the way, since I'm on this bent of talking about expressions in other languages, diwrnod i'r brenin is another great one. Literally it means "a day for the king", although idiomatically it means "a day off", now how did a day for the king become a day off. Surely the king can take any day off. I will have to do some research someday to prove this, but my suspicion is that this in an ironic meaning reversal based in the Welsh "love" for the English king. More than likely, the English passed a law saying that on such and such days, the Welsh would have to work to pay their tithes, a typical arrangement in medieval Europe. The law probably said something to the effect that on days X, Y and Z, all the fruits of all the labor that day would go to the king. That being the case, the Welsh in their typical antagonistic way of interpreting English law, would have done nothing at all that day, and would have taken a day off!
Peggy LeeSong: Is That All There Is?By: Peggy LeeLyrics from: http://search.able2know.com

SPOKEN: I remember when I was a very little girl, our
house caught on fire. I'll never forget the look on my father's face as he
gathered me up in his arms and raced through the burning building out to the
pavement. I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go
up in flames. And when it was all over I said to myself, "Is that all there is
to a fire"

SUNG: Is that all there is, is that all there is If that's all
there is my friends, then let's keep dancingLet's break out the booze and have a
ballIf that's all there is

SPOKEN: And when I was 12 years old, my father
took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth. There were clowns and elephants
and dancing bears. And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our
heads. And so I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle. I had the feeling
that something was missing. I don't know what, but when it was over, I said to
myself, "is that all there is to a circus?

SUNG: Is that all there is, is
that all there is If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep
dancingLet's break out the booze and have a ballIf that's all there

SPOKEN: Then I fell in love, head over heels in love, with the most
wonderful boy in the world. We would take long walks by the river or just sit
for hours gazing into each other's eyes. We were so very much in love. Then one
day he went away and I thought I'd die, but I didn't, and when I didn't I said
to myself, "is that all there is to love?"

SUNG: Is that all there is, is
that all there is If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep

SPOKEN: I know what you must be saying to yourselves, if that's the
way she feels about it why doesn't she just end it all? Oh, no, not me. I'm in
no hurry for that final disappointment, for I know just as well as I'm standing
here talking to you, when that final moment comes and I'm breathing my lst
breath, I'll be saying to myself

SUNG: Is that all there is, is that all
there is If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancingLet's break
out the booze and have a ballIf that's all there is

dilluns, de desembre 27, 2004

The Long Journey Home (English / Cornish)

It's official, I'm pooped, nackered, kaput, tuckered out, done in, crevé, wedi blino'n llwyr - bring me my pillow and my blanky.

I know I'm getting older when I can't drive all day anymore without getting cranky and sore. Sign of the times I guess.

I got up bright and early this morning after not sleeping terribly well last night. The Indian food Theresa and I had at the Tandoor Palace was quite tasty, but something didn't go down the right way. I cannot forthrightly blame the Indian food; the entire day was a gluttonous tour of glutens, which is something I must stay away from, especially those in that nasty white over-processed wheat we like to eat in America. I had a doughnut at two meals and one in between yesterday, and then I also tempted fate by eating a turkey sandwich and some Amish macaroni salad. I ate more glutens in one day than I normally do in a month, and man was I bloated, oy vey!

Anyway, today I did right, met Suzanne, with whom I studied at East Stroudsburg University doing my Bachelor's. I ate a far healthier breakfast than I had the day prior, and Sue and I had a good long gripe about students, society, and other sundries. Then I hopped in my bagnole and zoomed to Binghamton to see the Toms, Thomas Austin O'Connor Sr. and Jr. The Senior was my professor at Binghamton University when I was doing my Masters degrees there, and in the process of doing them, as luck would have it, I met and befriended the Junior. Then zoom zoom some more later on in the afternoon, and I was home. The I called Carolyn, Tom Jr.'s sister who now lives over the river in East Greenbush, and got my belated birthday and Christmas presents from her!! Notably for Christmas she got me Yoga gear, since next week she and I are starting a Yoga course together in Albany, learning, not teaching. This time of year, the New Year notwithstanding, is high time for me to get my ass back in the swing over over all healthy living. That does not mean I won't still be a hedonist. I'm not giving up my booze and fancy food for a hell of a long time, I'm just adding more exercise, water, leafy greens and some food for the soul to round it out. A healthy life is a well balanced life after all ;)

My a vyn kysky lemmyn. Pur skwith yu vy! Mos y'n gwely wrav - Nos da!

diumenge, de desembre 26, 2004

The Day After, or the Aftermath (English)

Here we are, the day after Christmas. Is it only I, or do other people get sick of seeing and nearing Christmassy things after the day has come and gone? As an adult, I have found that I actually enjoy Christmas almost as much now as I did as a child, but after the event has come and gone, the meal eaten, the presents bestowed, the last thing I want to worry about for about 340 more days is Christmas. Unfortunately, it will be almost two months of snowmen and wreaths slowly withering amid the mid-winter weather, the feelings, good, bad, mediocre, will be largely forgotten in the coming weeks as we return to work, school, etc. These little symbols of the holiday will serve either to keep open old wounds or stir btter sweet recollections of something we can never repeat again.

Perhaps it's just something that I have a problem with...

It's the aftermath. I like the English word aftermath, by the by, we have such a negative association with it, but it's really one of those rare old complex Anglo-Saxon words that we still use in common parlance. The aftermath was the second reaping, after a field had been cleared, the farmers would return to collect the little left over bits from the first mathing, the first cut - they would go in and gather in the aftermath, not so nearly a negative term in that light. These days after Christmas are a little like the aftermath, in both the Anglo-Saxon sense and the contemporary.

Today has been pleasant. The first part was tranquil enough with only periodic old women outburst from my mother, now entering her dotage - conveniently this excuses her traditional bad behavior, now we can just blame it on her age and pretend it's almost cute!

In the afternoon family friends came by for coffee and doughnuts and a belated exchange of gifts. The husband, James, has recently finished a course of chemotherapy and radiation for esophageal cancer; inspite of the serious nature of thise disease, the doctors prognosis is positive; in the coming weeks he will most certainly undergo surgery to remove the cancerous section of his esophagus and replace it with a section of his intestines. Only a few years ago he suffered a significant heart attack and required a multiple by-pass. His situation bespeaks the reality of genetics and health. He has always been an active person, jogging, hunting, and working in a heavy labour job (a welder for a steel plant) . His behavior was not always perfect, for example he ate fairly poorly and smoked, but it seems clear that his active lifestyle helped offset this factor as well as what is a marked familial prediliction for heart related illness. Shortly after his heart attack and subsequent srugery, he was fully back in the swing of things. Likewise, now after his course of chemotherapy and radiaton, while bald and suffering from some sores related to the therapy, he is alert and active. His body is still quite strong. Of course, his relatively young age helps in this as well. Nonetheless, it was heartening to see him in such fine spirits, and I have little doubt that he will come back from this in flying colors.

Then in the evening, I went to visit blogger's own Tantrik chick, Theresa. Theresa and I have known each other for more than 25 years, since first grade. It was good to be able to spend time with her and catch up. You can read about her life in her own blog, so I won't spend time repeating it here; I'm just glad that she is so much closer to Schenectady than she had been when she was in Maine. We had a great meal of Indian food, and then I came home to find the neighbors here with my mother and brother playing Texas Hold'em. I joined in for a few rounds, and now I'm finishing up the night with the blog. Tomorrow I will rise at 7AM, so I can pack the car and head to Molly's on Main Street in Stroudsburg to have breakfast with another old friend, Suzanne.

dissabte, de desembre 25, 2004

Nadolig - erbyn hyn amser da (Welsh / Cornish)

Wel dyma'r Nadolig...

A Nadolig da ydyw hefyd; dwi ddim yn gallu cwyno amdano o gwbl. Codon ni am amser rhesymol y bore hwn, am 8 o'r gloch i agor anrhegion. Mi gefais anrhegion da oddi wrth fy mrawd a'm mam. Wedyn daeth y gymdoges am te'r bore efo mam, heb ddim merch. Wedyn am hanner dydd, aethon ni i gyd i Meadowbrook, i ogledd Tannersville, ty bwyta a gwely a borefwyd a fferm ceffylau. Mae'n lle sophestigedig iawn iawn. Mae gan yr ystafell fwyta paent beits a glas dwfn, efo tri alcof fel nythoedd bychain yn y corneli lle mae pobl yn gallu eistedd a chymryd pryd o fwyd.

Aethon ni yno y tro cyntaf dros Wyl y Dydd Diolchgar. Canfyddasai fy mam y lle trwy hysbyseb yn y papur newyddion lleol, ac roedd profiad da gynnon ni y tro cyntaf ychydig o wythnosau yn ôl, felly penderfynodd hi fwcio bwrdd dros y Dolig, ac roedd yn dda iawn unwaith eto.

Daeth Carol a'r ferch Susie efo ni y tro hwn, ond roedd Susie yn haws o lawer i'w sefyll, efallai oherwydd mi ges i martini Grey Goose mawr i'w ddechrau a gwydraid o win coch, Shiraz i'w yfed yn ystod y pryd. Ta waith, roedd bwyd da gynnon ni a chafon ni sgwrs da iawn yn ystod y pryd hefyd. Rwan, rydyn ni wedi dod yn ôl i'r ty i ymlacio trwy weddill y prynhawn. Fi, dwi'n cadw at yfed gwin coch a phrynais i ddoe i fyny yn Tannersville. Gwin coch o Slofenia ydyw o'r enw Avia. Gwin rhad iawn ydyw, ond ta waith â blas da, felly mae'n bleser i'w yfed. Dim byd arbennig ydyw, ond yn weddol ac yn ddigon da i'w fwynhau.

Heno, bydd y gymdoges a'i merch grach yn dod yn ôl i gamblo - chwarae yn unig y bydd, ond ta waith, bydd yn rhaid imi fod yn feddw tipyn bach i sefyll ei phresenoldeb dros lawer ta waith. Yfory, bydd cyfeillion y teulu yn cyrraed yn y prynhawn ac wedyn byddaf yn mynd i ymweld â'm cyfeilles hynaf, Theresa, rhywn mod i wedi'w hadnabod ers mwy na phump ar hugain blynedd!

Yn Gernyweg:
Nadelik Lowen ha Blydhen Nowydh Da 2005 dhe onan hag oll!!

divendres, de desembre 24, 2004

Crach & Memories of Bartonsville (Welsh / English)

Mae heddiw wedi bod gan mwyaf yn dawel iawn iawn. Codon ni yn y bore hwyr ac aethon i Billy's Dinner yn Tannersville, y pentref gerllaw...

Oh well, In Welsh pentref, village sounds so quaint, but the truth is rather something else. There are relatively few quaint villages left in the Poconos. When I was a child, Monroe County where I was born, had no more than 30,000 some odd souls; now there are more than 145,000, largely emmigrated from urban North Jersey and New York City. The change in the community has been vast and radical, and moreover, not necessarily all good. I grew up in the small village of Bartonsville, which as a child was no more than a sleepy four corners with two gas stations, a post office, a grist mill - cum - store and occasional gas station, a few houses, a truck stop a piece down the road toward Stroudsburg, the main town, and periodically, between suspicious burnings a so-called Adult Book Store. Even 30 years ago there was little about Bartonsville that was quaint, but it was home, and it held a special place in my heart. I learned a lot about the history of the village, founded by Joseph Barton in the 1830's, and found a collection of photographs taken of the village at the turn of the last century while volunteering at the county hisotrical association. In those photographs, Bartonsville was quite a lovely pentref in the Welsh sense, a self contained entity with post office, hotel, gristmill, creamery, freight station, tannery, iron smith, cobbler, dance hall, tavern, baseball team (my recollection was that the team was in fact called the Bartonsville Ballers, but that could be my twisted adult imagination rewriting history...), and a bass brand. No, I don't think that means the team had brass balls, eventhough the players would have to have been the same subset of men, the village was terrible small then, probably not more than 150 people.

Today, Bartonsville, like Tannersville, has lost whatever 19th century charm it had, and has given way to various manifestations of rural country life meets suburban or exurban sprawl. The main road, PA 611 which joins the two neighboring villages, is a three lane knot of taffic and pokey traffice lights punctuating a long and more or less constant strip of fast food places, strip malls and drive-in coffee joints.

Felly dyna le aethon ni, i Billy's Diner yn Tannersville, y "pentref" gerllaw. Roedd yn bwyd yn weddol, ond dim yn dda; er engraifft, roedd y wyau wedi'u potsio yn fechan, fel wyau piodyn ar dost sych. Roedd y coffi yn biso cath, a gweud y gwir. O wel, dydy pawb pryd o fwyd ddim yn gallu bod yn berffaith, ydy?

Ar ôl i ni fynd allan am frecwast, gwnaethon ni ychydig o siopa cyn dychwelyd i'r ty. Mae ty fy mam yn fach iawn, wedi ei godi mewn pant bach mewn coedwig bach ar hyd dyffryn tawel. Cynt, roedd yn hardd, wel yn dlws, ond rwan, mae fy mrawd yn gofalu am y ty, ac a dweud y gwir, dydy o ddim yn gwneud jobyn da ychwaith. Rhaid defynddio'r gair gofalu yn ysgafn, ohewrydd mae rwtsch ymhobman rwan, ac mae sefyllfa y ty yn ddrwg, efo pethau'n mynd yn wael, yn paent yn disgyn a'r glaswellt yn tyfu'n wyllt.

Ar ôl amser cinio yn y ty, daeth y gymdoges a'i merch Susie, hen graches fawr o fenyw sy'n byw rwan yn Maryland ac yn mynd i'r brifysgol i fod yn gyfraithyddes, a hi'n 45 oed. Wel a phan dwi'n dweud "mawr", mawr yn ei meddwl ydy hi. Benyw ddenau iawn iawn ydy, yn rhy denau o lawer. Gallai awel iach ddod ymlaen a'i chario hi i ffwrdd, wel dylai awel iach ddod ymlaen... Un o'r rhain sy'n meddwl nad yw ei chachu ddim yn drewi o agos hyd yn oed, a hi'n sy'n meddwl a, ei hun mor spesial oherwydd ei bod hi wedi gwneud ffordd dda iddi hun. Chwarae teg iddi, mae hi wedi cael swyddi da erbyn hyn, a wewdi gweithio'n galed, ond ta waith, dydy hi ddim yn gallu dweud pa mor enwedig ydy hi yn wir. Dim ond dynes fel pawb dynes arall yw hi, fel pawb bod dynol. Ond ta waith, dydy hynny ddim yn ei chadw hi o ddweud pethau mor dda am ei hunan pob siawn a chaiff. Ychydig o amser ar ôl iddyn nhw gyrraed, cyrhaeddodd y ferch arall, Julie, a hi hefyd yn ddynes lwyddianus, ac yn neisach o lawer na'i chwaer. Does dim llawer o Gymraeg (wel Saesneg yn yr achos hwn) rhyngddynt, ond dyn eflen gyffredin i bob plentyn y teulu hwnnw. Mae un hogyn hefyd, ac mae o hefyd yn meddwl ei fod o mor spesial bob tro, ac yntau yn arddïwr, a dim un mor dda ychwaith! Wel ta waith, dyna roedd y prhynhawn efo crachach Bartonsville, a fu sy'n cofio pan doedd dim digon o arian ganddynt yr oedd yn rhaid iddynt fynd i'r Salvation Army i gael dillad, ac wedyn mynd i'r llywodraeth i gael caws a llefrith, fel yr oedd yn rhaid i fy nheulu ei gwneud hefyd. A chwarae teg iddyn nhw, daethon nhw i gyd ymlaen yn ddigon da yn y byd, ond ta waith, adim rhaid iddyn nhw geisio bod mor uwch... dim ond bygars o'r bac of beyond ydyn nhw hefyd, a dim yn wir mwy llwyddianus na fi ychwaith.

Gweddill y dydd? Tawel, bwyd Tseina a'r teledu a gwrando ar yr hen fam yn cwyno am ei bywyd gwag. Hihihi, mae rhai pethau sy ddim yn newid. O wel, fel hyn, dwi'n cofio pa mor lwcus ydw i, a dwi ddim yn eu drwgddweud yn wir. Pobl drist yw fy mam a'm mrawd, o'u gwneud eu hunain. Yr unig beth a allaf i neud yw bod yn gyfaill o ryw fath iddynt tan y diwedd, eu diwedd neu'r un fi. Dyn hapus dwi, a dyn lwcus, a fi sy 'ma i ddathlu, i ganu, i yfed, i fwyta, i fwchio a rhannu hyn i gyd â phwy bynnag sydd eisiau dod ymlaen!! =)

dijous, de desembre 23, 2004

Yr Hendref (Welsh / German)

Wel dyma fi, yn ôl yn yr hendre efo'r teulu o fy nghwmpas. Roedd y dydd yn brysur iawn wedi'r cwbl cyn i mi ymadael i ddod yma. Roedd llawer o bethau bychain i neud cyn mynd, a daeth Randy i'r ty i drwsio'r seiding a'r teil ar y to. Yn lwcus, doedd hynny ddim yn rhy ddrud!! Dwi'n lwcus iawn mod i wedi canfod dyn trwsio fel yntau. Mae'n onest ac mae'n canfod pethau mod i ddim yn gallu gweld fy hun, pethau uwchben, ac yn y blaen. Ta waeth, daeth a gweithio, a gadael efo siec bach, yn well o lawer na siec mawr.

Wedyn ar ôl rhoi popeth yn ei le, dechreuais ar fy ffordd i Bennsylfania, lle cyrhaeddais ar ôl tair awr ac hanner ar y ffordd.

Das Wetter war sehr sehr schrecklich. Es regnete und gibte es so viel Wind, aber jetzt nach so viel fahren in Auto, bin ich hier angekommen, auf dem Hertzland, der Mutterland wo bin ich geboren. Hier wurde ich Weinachten passieren mit meiner Familie. Mutter lebt noch, und mein Bruder Marc ist immer noch hier und fur ein Moment, er ist gemutlich. Morgen ist eine Frage, aber fur jetzt alles ist gut und gemutlich, und glaube ich dass wurden wir eine sehr schone Zeit zusammen haben.

Und so fur jetzt gehe ich, bald zum Bett :)

dimecres, de desembre 22, 2004

Un long dimanche de fiançailles (French / Welsh / Breton)


Salutations de la Bretagne amoricaine virtuelle dans ma tête! En fait, j'ai vu le film du titre ci-dessus, un film avec la même actrice d'Amélie, et Mme Jodie Foster en plus, ce soir. Mon amie Nathalie m'a invité il y a quelques jours, et même que je n'avais pas trop d'avis sur ce film, j'ai accepté, et après tout, j'étais bien content de l'avoir fait. Le film a lieu principalement en Bretagne pendant la Première guerre mondiale. Les scènes et les plateaux étaient vraiment excellents, en tant que l'action. Ça vaut vachement la peine de le voir.

Ici dans le coin on a un cinéma «d'art», où on présente des films soi-disant indépendents et les films étrangers, notamment les films français. Il s'apelle Spectrum 8, et il se trouve dans Delaware Ave. à Albany, dans un quartier en voie de déclin mais toujours assez sûr.

Hors du film, il était bon de revoir Nathalie, la première fois depuis le mois d'août où on a pris un café ensemble à Starbucks. Nous nous connaissons maintenant depuis dix ans, et on a toujours beaucoup de bon matériel pour nos conversations. Nathalie vient de recevoir officiellement son doctorat de SUNY Albany, où moi aussi je fais le mien. Comme le monde est rangé, elle avait commencé un an après moi, et elle l'a terminé avant moi! Alors, tant pis, c'est la guerre ;). Elle, elle a trois enfants et un marié juif, et ils habitent tous les trois dans un pavillon de banlieue au sud d'Albany.

Et bien, maintenant il fait nuit, je viens de voir un bon film avec une bonne amie, et de manger de la chinoise ce que j'ai achetée chez le Chinois du coin.

Comme on le sait déjà, c'est la saison des fêtes, autrement dite Noël. Ce que j'aperçois cet an est l'angoisse de pas mal de personnes, ça veut dire que beaucoup de monde a l'air stressé, déprimé, généralement mécontent. C'est vrai que à cette époque une plus grosse portion de la population experimente des déçus, des déprimes, etc, mais cet an il me semble que plus de personnes sont plus désagréables. Partout où je me promène, je vois le même scénario, des gens de l'air triste, abîmé, etc. Alors, c'est peut-être à cause de la guerre en Irac? Ou bien quatre ans de plus de la grosse âne? Le déclin de l'économie. Moi, je ne sais pas, mais du moins je suis content. Le monde n'est pas parfait, mais moi je respire toujours, je peux jouir des moments roses, du vin, du bourbon, des steaks, des amants. Ma mère, la folle qu'elle soit, est plus ou moins stable, et elle vit encore. On va fêter Noël ensembles dans un bon restaurant élegant avec de la famille de bons amis familiaux, et avec un bon martini Grey Goose extra-sec (citron... agité, pas mélangé), et des «crackers» de Noël. Ma vie n'est pas parfaite non plus, mais elle est bonne. J'ai des amis, des biens, une belle carrière et le temps pour en jouir tous!

Alors, et en parlant de jouir, mon 23? Il m'a contacté ce soir sur YIM, mais bientôt je vais débrancher. Peut-être qu'on va se revoir après le Noël, ou il est bien possible que la dernière fois sera la dernière... le seul déficit de ma vie, et ma seule grande vice pénible...

ON. Rhoddodd Anna gopi o lyfr o'r enw Hedonism imi dros y 'Dolig. Mi ddechreuais i'w ddarllen, ac mae'n ddiddorol iawn iawn. Hyd y darllenais yn barod, dwi wedi bod yn Hedonistaidd ers amser maith yn barod... o Tri ar Hugain, hihihihi Pan ddoi di, der â photelaid o win hefyd ;)

dimarts, de desembre 21, 2004

Alban Arthuan - Winter Solstice (English / Welsh)

Today has been quite lovely, although not quite how I imagined it, or intended it to be. I rose much later than yesterday, eventhough it had been my intention to rise early and accomplish many different tasks. I can't imagine why I thought I would need so much time to do the things I wanted to do, but sometimes time has a way of getting warped in our brains.

In spite of the fact that I didn't really begin the day until 11AM, I still managed to square away all the needful things that needed doing. As evening approached I called my neighbor Judith to see if she had been planning on attending a Solstice obervance at the home of a mutual acquaintance from church.

A side note here for anyone who doesn't know me: I'm a Unitarian Universalist-Pagan, which means I am a pledge giving member of my local Unitarian Universalist Congregation who most closely identifies with Earth-based spirituality.

I had some trepidation about going, perhaps because it was in the home of someone whom I barely know, or perhaps it was the strange feeling I get around her when I see her at church. Nonetheless, I called Judith, and she said that indeed she would be going, so we decided to ride together.

At 7:10 PM, I collected her and we journeyed across the Mohawk to Scotia, the little village that sits like a lump on Schenectady's less seemly rump. The west side of the city is all brown fields where General Electric Land meets old American Locomotive Land, a little island of toxic waste and heavy metals between what had been the Erie Canal and what is now the Erie Canal where it now resides in the trough of the river itself. The only saving grace in this industrial era swath of rotting factory buildings is the original Schenectady, the Stockade, a beautiful city within a city with its collection of outstanding architecture dating from the 17th century to the 20th. Scotia itself is quite a charming little place, a neat and tidy main street that remains relevant and frequented by local shoppers, and nice treelined residential streets with homes ranging from the modest to the very nearly grand.

Melinda's home is on the west side of Scotia, right along the river. It was not what I had expected at all; although I must confess I am not sure what I was expecting. It is, however, a very lovely and stately home almost 70 years of age, well decorated and well organized. Melinda and her husband Dan have done a terrific job of making it feel like a well manicured, stately residence; indeed it feels more stately than it otherwise might given their choice of Christmas decorations and antiques and objets positioned around the house. Moreover, the vibe that I got from Melinda, a woman I would say in her late 50's, was quite different in her home to that which I had felt in other places, notably in church. This too was a welcome and pleasant surprise.

Our Solstice obervance was not organized in any real way, other than the fact that those of us who showed up wanted to do something, wanted to mark the longest night of the year and, in the time honored tradition of our ancestors, welcome back the sun. While the observance was free-form, Melinda is part Native American, one of the local Nations as I recall, and she came at the evening from the point of view of her ancestors, and provided us with a nice base for the evening. I should note also that Melinda is not a fly-by-night student of her tradition; indeed she is an extremely serious devotee of this traditional path, and has studied with many shamans and healers.

To begin, we gathered in their spacious living room and did a sage smudge (where each of us is consecrated with the smoke of burning sage), then cast the circle, as is traditional for Pagans in the world to do today. I was asked to call the center, and to do so in Welsh, which was a distinct pleasure. Next we lit a warm fire in the fire place and made prayer bags, filled with tiny amounts of tobacco which we then placed in the fire, the smoke of the tobacco symbolizing our prayers to the Great Spirit, to God, to the Mother and the Father, to whomsoever, spiraling along the length of the chimney and out into the great world. Finally we sang and chanted, and then opened the circle. We ended the evening with some tea and snacks, and all around good Unitarian conversation. All those present, but one lady, were members of the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady. In retrospect, while the number was small, it was significant for there were seven of us present and participating. There was nothing planned in this, since Melinda had invited a greater number than would have been able to attend. It was just that as luck would have it, there were seven present, and good and willful number to have to do rit.

All in all, while it was not the most moving or spriritual rit I have ever been to, it was nonetheless heartwarming and cheerful, and I will look forward to other rits at Melinda's home.

Ac am beth gweddïais? Do, gweddïais am rywbeth trwy roi y baco yn y cwdyn coton bach yna. A dweud y gwir, gweddïon ni ddwywaith. Y tro cyntaf, gweddïon ni dros rywbeth yn y gymuned; yr ail, weddïon ni am rywbeth mwy personol. Wrth gwrs, gweddïais i am serch fy mynwes, pwy bynnag y bo - os yw o'n bod o gwbl, tu hwnt i'm breuddwydion cùl. Oes ffydd gennyf am y peth? Yn nirgel ddyn fy nghalon, mae'n rhaid imi fod yn onest a dweud nag oes. Collais i bob ffydd amser yn ôl yn ystod yr ysbeidiau panico, felly ar hyn y bryd, dim ond mynd trwy'r symudiadau dwi, heb roi gormod o nerth i'r meddwl yn wir. Ond pwy a wyr? Efallai un dydd bydd serch fy mynwes yn dod ataf oherwydd rhoi cwdyn bach o faco mewn tân. Gobaith, dyna oedd yr unig beth ar ôl i Pandora ar ôl iddi agor cist y cyfrinachau, ond oedd?