Monday, January 31, 2011

Favorite Things, One

This week, I devote the blog to some select items of importance.  While Herself is not particularly possession-oriented, there are a few things that hold a special place in her heart. There is no particular order in which they will be posted; much will depend on what feels like being written on any given day.  

First up:  the iPod (a gift from her Beloved).  Herself is quite aural, and has significantly sensitive hearing.  The iPod provides a soundtrack to life, facilitating chores, motivating exercise, covering over bothersome noises.  Her usual habit is to listen to a few select songs over and over (and over and over and over) again, though occasionally she runs through a larger playlist for variety.  She would be lost without the music. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In a Nutshell

I found a picture from the Christmas holidays that I neglected to share earlier.  This is one of the "nutshell baby" ornaments from Herself's childhood.  While Herself doesn't care for dolls (she much prefers stuffed animals), she does like the nutshell baby.  The simplicity of a tiny figurine within a shell is quite appealing.   

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Half Full

Lunch yesterday with her cherished friend allowed Herself to regain a more cheerful outlook despite the many current petty annoyances.  The glass is half full once more.  Onwards!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Today, Herself is out of sorts.  Various people annoy her.  Various projects annoy her.  Various other things annoy her.  She is disgruntled.

She needs to look forward to something; anticipation of a pleasant event always smooths over the rough edges of daily life.  I think another trip to the desert is in order.  Hiking.  Strolling.  Just sitting.  That would be refreshing, indeed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Touch Me (No, Don't)

Let's talk about human touch. 

Those looking for a discourse on intimate caresses can look elsewhere for today.  Rather, I'd like to address common contact between people:  for example, hugs, the often short, but incredibly vital, connections among acquaintances and friends.  How do these interactions come about?  Who initiates them?  How do we decode the meanings behind them?

Herself is what would probably be considered a "huggy" person. If she likes an individual, she does not hesitate to hug, lean upon, pat, poke, or otherwise physically interact with that person.  Sometimes she even extends physical contact to the possessions of those about whom she is particularly fond:  she will fold their jackets, hold their hats, pat their fuzzy sweaters, hand them their purses.  She readily applies bandages to small boo-boos and touches scars when they are displayed.  She is sure to embrace individuals who are stressed or suffering.  She wipes away tears.  She brushes hair out of others' eyes.   

What others may not notice, though, is that Herself is usually very careful to be the initiator of most of these physical interactions.  Oddly, Herself is often wary and sometimes quite uncomfortable when someone else initiates contact with her.  She can easily enumerate the small group of individuals from whom she welcomes an initial contact:  her Beloved; her Offspring; her pea-in-a-pod friend; her cherished friend; a very select few others.  Herself acknowledges that an initial touch from anyone other than these few exceptional people often gives her an inexplicable "oogy" feeling. 

Herself noticed this in particular during taekwondo earlier this week, when the class was practicing self-defense techniques.  She served as a demonstration model a few times, ending up flat on the mat or rendered relatively immobile by an arm-bar.  She was not injured.  She was never actually in any danger.  Yet she left the mat feeling unexpectedly unnerved.

Why was that?  Was it the sensation of not having control over the physical interaction?  While she doesn't consider herself to be the kind of person who has a strong need to be 'in control', perhaps her customary tendencies to touch others first may, in fact, be a subconscious effort to govern or manage the physical contact. 

There is also the question of vulnerability.

Herself works quite hard to be emotionally strong, to be self-sufficient, to not ask things of others.  To be comfortable with another touching her first is to be vulnerable, and there are precious few people in front of whom Herself dares be so exposed.  She is at ease only with those individuals whom she trusts not to wound her, for her heart is fragile and easily bruised.  Yet, full circle, it is this tenderness that she carries within her that motivates her to nurture others.  For she understands -- painfully clearly -- the complex mixture of fear, hope, love and need that drives us to reach out to touch one another.

Next time she sees you, she will be certain to hug you.

Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, January 21, 2011


The site counter indicates that the blog has received its 1,000th visit. While I cannot determine who, exactly, all of you are, my readers, I am pleased and privileged that the few of you do stop by periodically and read what I have to say.  Thank you.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Monthly Love Letter, The Third

Herself speaks:

My Beloved,

Today I am thinking about how hard you work.  You have always been so diligent, so intelligent, so careful and thoughtful in all of your projects.  When you commit to a task, you always give it your all and see it through to completion.  I know you have made many sacrifices, large and small, for the good of your clients.  I hope they appreciate all you do.  I worry that the Offspring and I do not show you sufficient gratitude for all that you do. I hope you know that I am in your corner, always, and that I love you and admire you for the honest, hardworking man that you are. 

I see your stress creep to the surface sometimes, and I wish I knew how to help you.  All I can say is, try not to worry.  As you once told me when I was overwhelmed, it is like cleaning beans:  one at a time, and it will get done.  You will get through all the myriad things, one at a time, and I am behind you to support you in every way I can.

Now and always,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Cactus

Desert adventures again!  This time, Herself, her Beloved, and her cherished friend were joined by Offspring the second and Offspring the third for hiking in the Franklin Mountains.  The trails were rocky and steep, and there were a few caves to explore.  The going was quite difficult - everything was at such an angle - but they managed.  She is particularly proud of the Offspring, who worked very hard to get to where they wanted to go, without any complaining. 

She cannot remember a time when she was so physically exhausted at the end of a hike.  It was good.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fat Boy

An ode to the ottoman-shaped, relentlessly optimistic rat terrier who lives among us:

Thorbert, beloved fat dog,
I remember when we first adopted you from the shelter.
You walked into the house, displaying a mock confidence that hid your fear.
You were silent for the first few months you lived here.
Once, you escaped out the front door, and I chased you down the sidewalk as you looked back at me over your shoulder and ran.
You were afraid of hats and growled at men wearing ties.
You would nervously pee if you were scolded, or if anyone approached you too quickly.

Eventually you found your voice and now you bark shrilly at anyone or anything that deigns to move past our house, your domain.
If you accidentally find yourself outside of your domain, you wait patiently by the front door for us to welcome you back inside.
You follow me wherever I go, my shadow, even if I'm just taking a load of laundry upstairs.
You throw the cushions off of the couch to make yourself comfortable.

You will eat virtually anything, including lettuce, but you seem to enjoy most your morning carrot that I offer to you when I feed the guinea pigs.
You leap for joy when the word "WALK" is mentioned.
You wag your tiny stump of a tail whenever someone calls your name.
You have marvelous expressive eyebrows.
Your prodigious girth is matched by only the enormous warmth of your heart.

My fat little dog
How I do love you.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Herself had an uncomfortable conversation with an acquaintance of hers a couple of days ago.  This acquaintance has an adult child with certain issues; while the adult child has suffered various difficulties and problems at times, overall the adult child is a successful human being:  a devoted friend, a caring parent, a successful businessperson.  The acquaintance used a few choice words that did not sit well at all with Herself.  The words rankled and festered until Herself felt obligated to write a response to them.  I present her thoughts for you, with names changed in consideration for those involved: 

I was mulling over what you said yesterday, that Child is ‘well known for poor choices,’ and that Child's poor choices are related to Child's issues, and I had a few thoughts I thought I’d share with you.

Yes, Child has some issues. Yes, Child has made choices, some good and some poor, over Child's life. While having these particular issues certainly predisposes Child to be a greater risk-taker at times, we cannot attribute each and every choice of Child's to the issues. Like the rest of us, Child is also human. All human beings make choices, for good or for poor, throughout their lives. We all do the best we can with what we have at the moment.

Does Child wish that certain aspects of Child's life had turned out differently? Perhaps. I think we all do on occasion. The important thing, though, is not to be boxed in by past decisions, but to be able to learn from them and move forward. Child is working on coming to terms with Child's life as it now exists, as well as trying to make a fresh start in certain ways. The best we can do for Child, I think, is not to hold Child captive to the past but to come to terms with how things are now.

We can wish things had turned out differently, and we can be sad or even disappointed at times, certainly. Nevertheless, we cannot change Child's past any more than we can change our own. What is done is done.

As I am fond of telling my Beloved, if only we could mentally will other people (such as the Offspring!) to do what we think ought to be done, things would be far easier at times. However, we cannot. It can be quite frustrating to watch someone you love do things differently from how you think they ought to be done, or to make mistakes and have to live with the consequences. All we can really do with another adult, though, is to offer opinion when they ask, and otherwise stand back and watch them try to learn to fly. And, of course, to be there to prop them up and encourage them to try again when they fall.

I know this is all quite philosophical and much, much easier said than done. It’s a day-to-day process at times. But as Lao Tzu says, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We can spend time looking back at the footsteps of where we all have been, or we can keep those steps in mind and look out at the open space ahead of us and imagine the places our footsteps might go.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

In The Dark

Yesterday was perfect.

Herself, her cherished friend, and her Beloved made a pilgrimage to one of her very favorite places on the planet yesterday:  Carlsbad Caverns.  They participated in a guided spelunking tour, The Hall of the White Giant.  It was marvelous.

There were eight participants, plus two guides.  The passageways were squeezy at times, and it required a fair amount of balance and exertion and imagination to get to where it was necessary to go.  There was a point when all the members of the group extinguished their headlamps and sat in the obsidian obscurity of total darkness. 

It was like nothing Herself had ever done before.

Herself harbors some non-trivial aversion towards the dark and also towards tightly enclosed spaces.  Yet, with her companions nearby, she summoned bravery she was not sure she had.  She conquered.

It was with a great sadness that she left the Caverns.  The experience was sheer joy.   She must plan the next adventure soon.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Song of the Soul

Would that I could write like Kahlil Gibran, whose words reach into, and reveal, my innermost heart:

In the depth of my soul there is
A wordless song - a song that lives
In the seed of my heart.
It refuses to melt with ink on
Parchment; it engulfs my affection
In a transparent cloak and flows,
But not upon my lips.

How can I sigh it? I fear it may
Mingle with earthly ether;
To whom shall I sing it? It dwells
In the house of my soul, in fear of
Harsh ears.

When I look into my inner eyes
I see the shadow of its shadow;
When I touch my fingertips
I feel its vibrations.

The deeds of my hands heed its
Presence as a lake must reflect
The glittering stars; my tears
Reveal it, as bright drops of dew
Reveal the secret of a withering rose.

It is a song composed by contemplation,
And published by silence,
And shunned by clamor,
And folded by truth,
And repeated by dreams,
And understood by love,
And hidden by awakening,
And sung by the soul.

It is the song of love;
What Cain or Esau could sing it?

It is more fragrant than jasmine;
What voice could enslave it?

It is heartbound, as a virgin's secret;
What string could quiver it?

Who dares unite the roar of the sea
And the singing of the nightingale?
Who dares compare the shrieking tempest
To the sigh of an infant?
Who dares speak aloud the words
Intended for the heart to speak?
What human dares sing in voice
The song of God?

- Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tooth Fairy

The puppy lost a tooth.  She's growing up!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Turning Over

Ah, 2010.  Good bye, and good riddance.  While there were some shining moments within you, you were, on the whole, a difficult, draining, and sorrowful year for a great many people.

Welcome, 2011.  May you be blessed.  We wish for health, for financial security, for safety and for kindness.  We are ever hopeful.  The possibilities are endless.