Thursday, June 30, 2011


One of Herself's greatest difficulties lies in assessing the emotions of other people.  While she can generally determine when someone is irritable, angry, or otherwise upset, she often lacks the understanding or the insight necessary to determine why.  She does not like to pry.  She knows that sometimes people do not wish to discuss the circumstances surrounding a bad mood, and she does not want to put another into the uncomfortable position of having to decline to discuss a matter.  Most often, though, Herself is afraid to ask. 

For reasons that I do not yet understand, Herself usually assumes that she is at fault -- that she has done something, or failed to do something, that has displeased or upset the other person, and that she is personally responsible for the resultant unhappiness in the other person. 

Her Beloved or her friends do not return a call or a text?  She assumes they are angry or annoyed with her.  A family member is displeased?  She wonders whether she has somehow inadvertently caused offense.  An acquaintance is distracted during a conversation?  She reconsiders all of her words and actions to see whether she has erred.

Intellectually, she knows that other people have their own thoughts, feelings, and concerns, and that nearly all of the time, they have absolutely no bearing on Herself.   On a more basic level, though, she worries about angering people.  She is afraid of the wrath of others.  She cannot assess the magnitude of potential blunders she may have made, and she cannot break free of uneasiness regarding her possible wrongdoing. Has she made an irreparable mistake?  And if she has - how will she survive the rejection by, and loss of, the other person?

Such a tremendous fear of abandonment.  I do not know its root, nor do I know why such trepidation seems to permeate her existence these days.  All that is certain is, she is far more fragile now than she reveals herself to be. 

Look after her, my intrepid readers.  She needs a bit of extra care.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gratitudes, one

Tonight, I am particularly grateful to have a teacher whose patient and enlightening instruction inspires and motivates me to try my hardest, every day.  I am an incredibly fortunate student.  It is my fervent hope that one day I will be able to repay my teacher by passing on to others all that I have learned.

I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.
- John Steinbeck


Strange, the desire for certain pleasures is a part of my pain.
- Kahlil Gibran

Monday, June 27, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011


Before Herself left to go on the five-day trip with Offspring the First, she was careful to prepare everything properly at home.  She washed every possible scrap of laundry, so that the menfolk -- her Beloved and Offspring the Second and Third -- would not have to do so during her absence.  She stocked the cupboards and refrigerator with easily prepared foods that would appeal to the menfolk.  She paid the bills that were pending.  She typed up instructions regarding care of all of the pets.  She reminded her Beloved as to the whereabouts of her will and of the envelope of letters to be distributed to her family and close friends in the event of her untimely demise.  She tidied up loose ends.

Finally, she compiled a list of phone numbers that Offspring the Second or Third, or possibly her Beloved, might require in the event of an emergency:  mother-in-law, Beloved's assistant at work, doctor, vet for the dogs, vet for the other small critters, a close family friend who would be available if needed.  And in an abundance of caution, she e-mailed the list of phone numbers to the family friend as well.

Excessive preparation?  Quite possibly.  Why?  The picture is becoming clear as Offspring the First's inevitable departure for college approaches.

Last night, Herself mentally prepared a list of mundane things Offspring the First will need for her dorm room.  Beyond the ordinary clothes, linens, lamps, computer, miniature fridge, and so forth, she will need a tool box (as Herself's father prepared for her when she went off to college); laundry supplies; a few cooking implements and snack food; and a first aid kit.

The first aid kit.  It makes Herself unimaginably sad.

Herself knows that she will be a minimum nine-hour drive away from Offspring the First.  It is incredibly far.  What if Offspring the First needs something?  What if she has a headache or a splinter?  What if she needs a band-aid?  Or what if it rains and she has no umbrella?  These are tiny things that Offspring the First will have to handle by herself from now onwards.  What if something harder to address happens?  In ordinary life, so many ordinary things can go wrong.  Herself wishes for a fleet of guardian angels to look after her beautiful, joyful, tender-hearted daughter.  Please, keep her from harm.  Prevent the evils of Humankind and the tragedies of the World from arriving upon her doorstep.  Look over her. Protect her.

 For Herself, the thought of being unable to assist the people who are so important to her, particularly if she is not nearby to help, is a fearsome, visceral horror.  She does all she can to ward off problems in advance.  Thus, the first aid kit for Offspring the first:  it is an "I am not with you but here is what will help you" kit.  Similarly, the emergency numbers list for the menfolk: it is, in effect, an "I am not with you but you can find help in these people" list.  

Herself understands that her loved ones, family and friends alike, are all smart, capable people, and are able to solve problems and enlist aid as required.  She knows that her presence is not really ever necessary; they manage perfectly well without her. Nevertheless, crouching in the darkest corners of Herself's psyche are bleak shadows from terrible moments in which she felt abandoned, alone, without help.  She would willingly make untold sacrifices to ensure such demons do not take up residence in the lives of her loved ones. 

Herself knows that she must conquer her demons.  Now that she recognizes them, she will be able to lay them to rest by embracing them with love and understanding.  Nevertheless, she assiduously erects barriers to prevent them from roosting elsewhere.  She does all she can to protect her loved ones.  She only hopes it will be enough. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Today is the third day in a row that Herself has not needed to feed, clothe, or otherwise maintain anyone except for herself.  She keeps the few possessions she brought with her nicely organized in the small room she is utilizing this week.  She has washed a couple of items in the sink and hung them to dry.  She forages for comestibles when she feels like eating.  She goes to bed when she feels tired.  She need not share the computer with anyone. She works without interruption. She entertains herself. There are no pets clamoring for food or barking at passers-by.  It is quiet.

It's extremely pleasant, this temporarily simplified lifestyle. 

Much as Herself enjoys looking after other people, there are times when it wearies her.  So much laundry. So many meals.  The cleaning. The reassuring.  The shopping. The consoling.  The transporting.  So many little things, tangible and intangible, that everyone seems to want.  It is exhausting, always trying to anticipate and facilitate the meeting of their needs. There are many times when she wishes that just for a day -- nay, for even an hour-- someone would look after her. 

Unexpectedly, she gets her wish:  she looks after Herself. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

No Words

Herself speaks:

I had planned to write copious things while peacefully alone this week.   In particular, I had hoped to put together a small booklet of advice and helpful hints for Offspring the First for her foray into collegiate life.  Yet, not a word has been written.
The enormity of her leaving home weighs almost unbearably heavily.  My beautiful little girl, how can I protect you from all of the Evils of the world when you will be so far away?  I will not be here to make sure that you have your favorite foods to eat, a special blanket to keep you warm, a hug when you are sad or happy.  You will have to put on your own band-aids, make your way to unfamiliar places, ask for help from strangers.   You will stumble and fall, and have to pick yourself up and try again. 
I know you can succeed.  I have enormous, shining faith in you. 
Godspeed, child.  May the Universe bless you with stalwart friends and a clear, smooth path into the future.  Work hard, and believe in yourself.  You will go far.
I will always be here for you. 


Thunder last night, rain this morning.  After the endless dry of the desert, it is a refreshing change. I hope that it will inspire many writing-worthy thoughts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The fat dog lies patiently by the front door.  He does not know when Herself will return.  No one can explain to him the concept of time; it could be in a few minutes, or a few days, or never.  Waiting, waiting, faithful fur companion.   Does he feel sadness when Herself is not there?  Or is it in his nature to optimistically wait, silently anticipating the reunion?  How she wishes she could speak Dog so that she could reassure him. 

Such unquestioning devotion.  It breaks her heart.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Ooooh, so fancy, the hotel!  Wee little soaps and bottles of shampoos, decorative throw pillows, unusual carpeting.  Free internet access.  What more could I possibly need?

Off to explore the university and town tomorrow.  Details to follow!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Road Trip!

Herself is taking Offspring the First on a pilgrimage to visit the college she has selected.  They are leaving at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning.  Hopefully we will be able to update from the road. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I have discovered a poet who speaks to me:  Hafiz.  I must find his books, and consume them.

Your love
Should never be offered to the mouth of a
Only to someone
Who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.

- Hafiz

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


There are many, many mundane errands that fill Herself's life to ensure the proper functioning of the Family Unit:  grocery store, pet store, bank, gas station; clothing store, school supply store, hobby store, hardware store;  dentist, doctor, pharmacy, hair salon; hither, yon, and back again.  There always seems to be a list of items that must be obtained or services that must be performed.  It is an endless circle, sometimes, to provide for the needs of the various members of the household. 

When the Offspring were small, pilgrimages to any store were frequently fraught with requests for this unnecessary item, that breakable thing, another sugary treat. Alternatively or in addition, there would be a carnival of complaining as errands inevitably seemed to take longer than the Offsprings' attention spans or taxed their capability for refraining from whining.  It was not much fun.  At all.

As a result, Herself learned to strategically coordinate trips during school hours.  She continues to do so to this day, even though the Offspring are older and capable of demonstrating good behavior when out and about.  They are frequently more interested in working on their own projects at home or visiting friends than accompanying their mother to deposit a check or purchase birdseed. 

Herself is a busy woman.  She plans her attack carefully, trying to maximize the number of errands accomplished and minimize the time consumed.  Things get done.

Every now and then, though, Herself has adult company on an errand - and what a remarkable transformation occurs then.  What was once a necessary evil, becomes a pleasure.  To contemplate the produce in the grocery store;  to peruse the home improvement aisles; to peer at the fish in the pet store -- all these ordinary acts are relaxing and enjoyable experiences when shared. 

It is in these occasions that she finds contentment.  She is not harried; she is happy.  Caught unawares by the presence of a sliver of joy, she counts her blessings and is grateful for the moment.  

For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. - Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


There are a great many subjects about which I would like to write right now:  Offspring the first's high school graduation; lessons learned about people; the risks of caring for others; and also, the second anniversary of this Blog, which passed by quietly in the storm of other happenings last week.  Alas, my plate is full with routine matters, and I cannot find opportunities to contemplate and to join together all the words in the way that I would like. 

There will be time next week for me to expound on all of the thoughts that are cluttering my disembodied head.  Patience, so difficult to find and yet so necessary to have.  In the meanwhile, know that you are loved, and that I am thinking of you, always. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Dead Bird Story

This tale was originally written to entertain a friend who was traveling.  I hope you will find it amusing.

The house I grew up in had multiple little rooms. The first floor had, walking in a circle from the back door, the following: the kitchen, the dining room (for company), the living room (also for company), the front hall with the front stairs, the family room, the breakfast room (which also had the back staircase), and back to the kitchen. The breakfast room is where we ate most of our family meals. Meals were usually pretty formal: the serving dishes would be on the table before we were called in from outside, or down from upstairs, to eat.

When I was in my early teens, my mother decided that the family room needed a woodburning stove. And so one was installed. It was exactly as you picture, that cast-iron, rectangular, black hulking box. It lurked menacingly at the middle-right of the room, nearest to the door that led into the breakfast room. We didn't use it terribly often, as the heat would dry out the piano.

For some reason, the chimney for the stove was inadequately capped when it was installed. And so periodically, some unfortunate bird would decide to take a look-see down that interesting blackened tube and end up flapping and bonking around inside the stove. Once in a while, an unlucky bird would expire and we'd have to fish it out of the stove. If we were really lucky, one of the little doors on the stove would pop open and the panic-stricken bird would flap around the house klunking into walls and fixtures until we could corner it, throw a towel over it, and fling it, relieved, into the back yard. This happened not terribly often, but often enough that we were all pretty good at trapping birds.

One day, mom was preparing dinner. She'd baked a chicken. She put it on the breakfast room table and returned to the kitchen.  

About five minutes later, I walked through the breakfast room. 


I went to the kitchen. "MOM. There's a dead bird on the table."

Gasp. Hasty hurrying into the breakfast room. And indeed, there was a dead bird.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Old Scars, New Wounds

Herself learned yesterday that a person she knows quite well had both knowledge and opportunity to assist Herself in a time of great need in the distant past, and did not do so.  She is stunned.  The idea that someone whom Herself expected -- and should have been fully able to rely upon -- to come to her aid did not, in fact, help her, boggles the imagination.  To have the issue raised twenty-four years later is incomprehensibly painful. 

Herself carries scars from that helpless moment to this day.  How can it be, that those wounds could possibly have been prevented, and were not?  Was it reckless negligence?  Or deliberate tort?  Unknown.  Herself does not wish to raise the matter with the person again; there is nothing to be gained, and possibly more hurt to be found.  Self-protection is paramount at this juncture. 

Herself has found some consolation.  She is in the unique position of being able to help another person, whom she loves tremendously, to address the same situation Herself was in all those years ago - and Herself is fully present and active in her assistance.  The knowledge that she can prevent this loved one from waking up in a cold, horrified sweat years from now, as Herself still does on occasion, lessens Herself's own pain.

Also, the Universe has provided the yang to that moment of yin, for Herself is blessed to have marvelously kind and helpful people in her life today.  She is able to think through, write through, and talk through this unexpected re-wounding in the safety of people who truly do care.  Such mercy.  Thank you.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Close and Far: Questions

Last night, Herself had dinner with a friend whose possible relocation is positively nauseating.  Such an enormous pleasure, is this friend's company.  When Herself came home, chuckling to herself as she remembered the evening's conversation, I asked her these questions: 

If you know that a person who is important to you is planning to move away in the relatively near future, why do you continue to spend time with that person?  Why do you not begin to distance yourself metaphorically before the actual physical separation? How do you balance the competing interests of protecting yourself from heartache, and wishing to enjoy the company of that person? Does being aware of the forthcoming pain of waving goodbye -- not knowing when you will see that person again -- change your behavior?

She answers simply:  it makes me that much more grateful for the time my friend and I spend together. 

She knows that the move, when it comes, will be devastating.  Nevertheless, that sorrow is a price that she willingly will pay in return for the joy that her friend brings her now.  To be aware of the forthcoming change reminds her to cherish all moments, large and small -- not only with this friend, but with the handful of vital people in her life.  She holds all those she loves just a little more tightly to her heart, and is thankful for the time together.

Carpe diem.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mysterious Reader

As many of you know, there is a SiteMeter at the bottom of the Blog's first page.  I installed it as a curiosity to see what kind of information it would yield; interestingly, the number of hits and page views calculated by the SiteMeter differs from the "Stats" provided by Blogger itself.  It is confusing to try to compare or combine the two sets of data, so I have given up trying to do so.

The SiteMeter provides little information:  a partially masked IP address, the ISP, location in the world, Operating System used, and browser - if any of those are available.  Sometimes all that is listed is "Unknown." Location is particularly strange, because it appears to vary; for example, if I access the Blog through my mobile phone, the location is different depending on how the information is routed, and may even be a different city from the one in which I live.

I have noted of late that there is one individual who has begun to stop by regularly.  The location is unfamiliar - it is a city here in Texas, although no one I know lives there.  Nevertheless, the information provided by SiteMeter is consistent for each day that the person opens the Blog.

I do not know who you are, Mysterious Reader.  I am truly grateful, though, for your presence.  I hope that you find some useful words here, and I will be honored if you continue to visit regularly.