Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I believe that I may have inadvertently used up all of my words in the flurry of posting, as well as correspondence and other works, in the past two months.  I have nothing to say.

Perhaps I will go clean the house, which is untidy and in need of vacuuming.  Perhaps I will play the piano.  Or perhaps I will go cook something. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Instrument (Favorite Things, Six)

Herself had ten years of piano lessons -- from second grade through senior year of high school. She remembers well the very first few weeks:  her family had not received delivery of the piano yet, and so she would go to the next-door neighbor's house to practice.  When she did not understand the music, Mrs. K, a lovely, kindly woman, would help her.  Soon, Herself's family's piano arrived; such a momentous occasion.  Thirty-five years later, that piano still resides in Herself's parents' living room.

Mrs. F was Herself's teacher for seven or eight years. Eternally patient, Mrs. F never raised her voice. She set down instructions and lesson plans in pencil in her beautiful cursive handwriting.  Herself and the other students would play with the latest crop of kittens in Mrs. F's downstairs room while waiting their turns for lessons. Mrs. F would make Rice Crispies treats for the students during the end-of-year Piano Guild individual grading sessions. 

Eventually, Mrs. F had an immense studio built over her garage to house her two grand pianos.  Herself would bicycle over to Mrs. F's house, enter through the back and go up the long staircase to the studio.  When new carpeting was put into the studio, during group lessons all of the students would quietly comb the carpeting and make small orange piles of carpet fluff in front of themselves.

Mr. U, a suave and cultured gentleman with longer flowing hair, was Herself's teacher for the last few years.  Herself's mother would drive her across town to the formal music school where he held lessons.  He would stride through the room, gesturing animatedly and occasionally smoking cigarillos.  He had an elderly dachshund of whom he was quite fond.  He would sometimes write instructions in the music in -- gasp! -- PEN.

Herself's mother required that Herself and Sister practice the piano for an hour a day. They usually did so.  Occasionally, they would bend the truth slightly about the length of time, since it was difficult to accomplish all of the homework and that hour of practice in a single evening. 

There were many recitals as well. Herself does not like to think about them, so she does not.  She chooses instead to remember the pleasure of learning a new piece of music, for that was marvelous indeed.

Herself did not play the piano much in college; access to an instrument was difficult to find.  After college, there was graduate school, marriage, work, and Offspring the First and Offspring the Second in quick succession -- she was far to busy to even think about piano.

The month before Herself's thirtieth birthday, she and the family moved to this desert land.  She left behind the state where she was born and raised, and all of her colleagues from the only job she had ever had.  Offspring the First and Second were still quite small -- Second was still in diapers -- and she knew no one except for her Beloved.   It was hard.  She continued to work part time, telecommuting, and the Offspring attended preschool. She was busy still, but there were pockets of time opening up.  Thoughts of the piano crept back in.

The month after Herself's thirtieth birthday, she and her Beloved purchased her piano.  Wonderful.

Fourteen years later, the piano graces Herself's study.  Some weeks, she spends quite a bit of time with it; other weeks, not as much.  Nevertheless, she is enormously grateful for all those years of lessons.  The piano provides exactly what is needed every time: occupation for the fingers and the mind; soothing and invigorating sound; the mental challenge of a new piece of music.  When she is fraught or sorrowful, the piano helps, for it brings her comfort.  A magificent instrument, the piano.

The piano entertains her.  It keeps her company.  It brings her happiness.

Piano:  joy and solace.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Potter Paraphernalia (Favorite Things, Five)

As you are likely aware from the series of Harry Potter-related entries in June of this year, Herself is extraordinarily fond of all things Harry Potter.  It is therefore no surprise that these two particular items are among her favorite things:  her wand and her Monster Book of Monsters.  Both are wonderful tactile objects -- the wand of smooth varnished wood, and the book of satisfying furriness.  When she holds them, she is reminded of the immense beauty of Harry Potter's universe. 

Friends. Family. Magic.  Such a magnificent world.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Garden of Zen (Favorite Things, Four)

Let us return to contemplation of a few of our favorite things.  (You may recall, that in late January and in early February, we contemplated a few favorite things.)

Today:  the tiny zen garden on the table in the corner of the master bedroom.  A gift from Herself's sister, it contains some marvelous sensory items:  fine white sand, smooth and colorful polished stones.  While Herself does not rearrange it terribly often, it is a soothing object of quiet beauty.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

String Theory

Herself has an acquaintance who has strings:  strings, strings, strings, stretching invisibly from everything that the acquaintance says and does, to try to bind others.  If one asks this acquaintance for a favor, one will suddenly find oneself obligated by a string to offer something return.  Performance is not strictly quid pro quo; perhaps a hefty serving of "thank-you-so-much-you-are-so-magnificent-for-assisting-me-and-I-am-appreciative-beyond-measure" will suffice, particularly if it is presented in the vicinity of others who will hear of the acquaintance's beneficence accordingly.

The acquaintance is quite concerned that things be EQUAL among people.  Once, Herself mentioned to the acquaintance that she was preparing various foodstuffs to bring to a friend's house for movie night.  "Oh?  And what is your friend providing?" was the inquiry.  "Friend is providing the venue, beverages, and Friend's valuable company," was the answer.  The acquaintance huffed slightly, as if this was not quite a fair exchange, but mercifully moved on to other topics.  Such an attitude rankles Herself, and thus, we are contemplating strings.

We have discussed previously our thoughts on the exchange associated with helping another individual.  Giving of help, in Herself's perspective, must not entail strings -- for string-laden help diminishes the person who is receiving the aid.  Herself extends the same sentiments to all human interactions:  in giving, one should never expect any particular return.  She wishes she could bring her acquaintance to understand this viewpoint, for it is quite liberating. 

With no strings, one need not keep a running calculation of who owes what to whom; with no strings, one is free to be grateful for all of the little things. 

Kahlil Gibran has beautifully captured the essence of giving.  My favorite words from his composition are:

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.

It is my joy, to give to you.  There are no strings.

Monday, August 22, 2011

So Far, So Good

A short FaceBook status of Offspring the First included the comment:

I love college.

Herself is so happy for Offspring the First.  While she is sure that Offspring the First will suffer the usual ups and downs of college life, she is very pleased that things seem to be starting off well.  We hope it continues.

Herself recalls her own college beginnings -- how monumental and difficult everything seemed -- and is relieved that Offspring the First has a much better foundation for success than Herself did.  Offspring the First is brimming with creativity and self-expression and a well-defined personal style; she understands herself and her abilities, her strengths and weaknesses.  She has, of late, also developed a cheery self-confidence.  She is witty, kind, outgoing. These characteristics, along with her ability to make friends easily (as well as the presence of one of her very best friends from high school), will lead her forward with confidence and optimism into the unknowns of college.

Godspeed, child.  Many adventures await you.  It is an exciting time.


New Year

Offspring the Second and Third commence the new school year today.  Much as Herself loves them (and Offspring the First), she is quite pleased to have a few hours alone in the house.  She will tidy up, do some work for Work, and perhaps continue forging her story.  Ah, blissful quiet.

If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers. 

~ Edgar W. Howe

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Soldiers All

Herself belongs to a small online group of lovely women of assorted ages, backgrounds, and locations throughout the country.  They are articulate, funny, and unfailingly kind to one another.  Of late, several of the members of the group have been experiencing trials and difficulties:  sorrows of love, remembrances of loved ones lost, tests of patience with family members, employment challenges and household problems.  The one constant that many of them have, is the unquestioning support of one another.  She thinks of them often and hopes they find comfort in the group as they struggle.

This man beside us also has a hard fight with an unfavouring world, with strong temptations, with doubts and fears, with wounds of the past which have skinned over, but which smart when they are touched. It is a fact, however surprising. And when this occurs to us we are moved to deal kindly with him, to bid him be of good cheer, to let him understand that we are also fighting a battle.

~ John Watson

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Writing, beginnings

Herself has composed a tiny fragment of the story that she has been contemplating. She idly worries that, like so much of her other writings, the story will be convoluted, maudlin and excessively wordy.   

Nevertheless, she is satisfied with the 399 words she has set down.

Perhaps one day she will share them with you.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.
- Joseph Roux

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tub Thoughts

Herself and the family have driven 550-odd miles to take Offspring the First to college.  They are all ensconced for the evening in two hotel rooms; tomorrow, they will deliver Offspring the First and her myriad possessions to her dormitory, bid her goodbye, and return home.  It is almost impossible to imagine what household life will be like without her daily presence.  Alas.

During the long, long drive, Herself spent time contemplating a story that is forming in her mind.  While she normally eschews writing fiction, she seems ready to do so now.  It may lead somewhere; it may not.  The only certainty is that she will enjoy the writing.

At the moment, she is reclining with a pillow in the hotel bathtub, for it is the only location where she can have a few minutes' peace.  Perhaps she will commence composing her story there -- an unusual location for what will hopefully be a most creative endeavor.

Turning Inwards

With the advent of the new school year, Herself must go through the routine paperwork and meetings associated with ensuring that Offspring the Third's individual needs due to his Aspergers are met by his teachers and the school.  Offspring the Third is doing remarkably well; he has learned many skills to cope with social issues, and on the whole he handles admirably his internal frustrations.  Herself is so pleased for him.  He has come so far.

Ever self-reflective, Herself contemplates her own middle school years, and methodicially mentally trudges through high school, college, graduate school, and on into adulthood.  She sees in retrospect all the hallmarks of her own issues and difficulties that are so very similar to those of Offspring the Third.  Was Aspergers even a clinical entity thirty-five years ago?  Would anyone have put all the little pieces of her oddness together into a coherent picture that would even yield such a label?  All the signposts seem so clear today.  Or is it all in her head?  Is it perhaps just an excuse to justify her failures?

She is quietly enraged at her own deficiencies: her awkward social interactions; her emotional tendencies; her difficulties at understanding, reading and predicting the reactions and motivations of others; her perserverations; her inability to place herself in another's shoes; her social mistakes.  She tries.  She fails.  Is she not trying hard enough?  Are her own needs and wants interfering with her ability to comprehend and successfully navigate all the social waters?  Why do those waters seem so calm some times, and so treacherous at other times?  

There have been some occasions, as we have written, when she is more accepting of her eccentricities. Other moments, she has looked for validation in the things she reads. Today, though, she is solely angry at herself.  She would like to retreat into solitude.  See no one, speak to no one.  Be obligated to no one.  Perhaps alone, she will grant herself a reprieve from self-criticism and locate a seed of her own self-worth.

The desert is calling.  She needs its tranquility right now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In The Blink Of An Eye

Twenty years.
Happy Anniversary.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hands On: The Sense Of Touch

Finally, part five in our pleasant diversion on the five senses: the sense of touch.

Touch is the most complex of senses, involving so much more than mere fingertips.  All skin, from the scalp to the soles, provides sensory input, with varying sensitivity depending on surface area and location.  There are different degrees of pressure, assorted kinds of texture.  Let us distinguish active from passive touch as well, for they are very different creatures.

Herself enjoys -- nay, needs -- to interact primarily with the environment through touch. Certain surfaces call out to her to be handled:  smooth or polished; watery; all things fuzzy.  She is also compelled to touch the people of whom she is most fond -- as we have discussed before, if she likes an individual, she does not hesitate to physically interact with that person by hugging them, patting them, standing close enough to them to feel their warmth.  She often must remind herself that other people may not appreciate so much physical contact, and she stifles her touch lest she be bothersome. 

She dislikes receiving a light touch.  Tickle her at your own risk, for she will quickly lash out physically in response.  At the other end of the spectrum, she similarly reacts strongly to being compressed or restrained.  She enjoys the rare occasion when she gets her hair cut, for the handling of her hair is quite soothing.  Certain textures are comfortable and comforting:  cotton, leather, the fur of a living creature, the plush of a stuffed toy.  Others are problematic:  wool, damp items, prickly materials, sticky things. 

The best tactile sensations? Smooth stones. Polished wood. Seeds. Chestnuts. Flowing water. A new book. Sand between her toes. The newly shorn heads of her loved ones after a haircut. A steady breeze. Gourds. Warm flannel sheets. Cool marble. Protective arms encircling her. The puppy.

What do you like to touch?

Delicious: The Sense of Taste

Today, part four in our pleasant diversion on the five senses: the sense of taste.

Taste is the trickiest sense.  Intimately associated with smell, it is difficult to parse.  For Herself, taste is difficult to assess because so many foods are linked with headache; what might be delicious may also be rather toxic (e.g., chocolate).  There is the component of texture, too -- what might have a tempting flavor may be lumpy, stringy, or otherwise have a strange 'feel' to it.  The sense of sight also plays a role: is the item sufficiently aesthetically appealing to consume?

Because it is so complicated, the list of favorites will be simple: the best possible tastes always involve plants.  Cold, crisp watermelon. Salad (even when it is primarily a vehicle for the salad dressing).  Cherries. Berries of any kind, whether fresh or jellied.  A mint leaf. Corn on the cob. Lots and lots of garlic.

What are your favorite tastes?

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Breath Of Fresh Air: The Sense Of Smell

Today, part three in our pleasant diversion on the five senses: the sense of smell.

Herself's sense of smell, like her sense of hearing, is often alarmingly acute.  She can sniff out the merest of scents.  She refrains from using heavily odoriferous products, such as certain air fresheners or laundry detergents.  A single mild incense stick or a small scented candle are plenty for her. Strong odors -- burnt food, tire rubber, new car -- will often give her a headache or nauseate her.  She heartily dislikes having to swim through another person's perfume or cologne cloud. 

There is a particular scent associated with water in the desert:  the creosote bush.  When Herself first moved to this dry land, the odor of the creosote was unpleasant, almost irritating.  Now, though, she recognizes it as a blissful sign of rain, and it makes her glad.

She prefers musk or spice to florals.  She abstains from body sprays as well as scented deodorants or lotions.  Of the several bottles of perfume she has acquired over the years, she uses only one, and solely for special occasions.

Certain aromas will remind her of particular people -- her grandfather's pipe smoke, her grandmother's apple pie.  She can readily sort the clothing of each person in the household by scent alone, and, in fact, can even identify the usual scent of certain of her friends. Other aromas will bring to mind certain places and times -- such as the fresh-baked rolls at summer camp when she was very young.  The scent of a "Pat the Bunny" book makes her feel warm inside.  A fresh package of diapers brings a wistful nostalgia.  A fresh tomato recalls the garden of her childhood home.  The puppy smells like a tiny package of furry joy.

Her favorite scents?  Tomatoes on the vine. Campfire.  Cloves. Wood varnish. Evergreen. The ocean breeze.

What scents do you like most?


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Interlude: A Few Thoughts

We pause momentarily in our discussion of the five senses to bring to you Herself's mental flotsam and jetsam of today.  She writes:

I am desperately anticipating the return of the school year so that the family will have a more regular schedule and so that I will have a few moments by myself in the house.  I need a few hours of uninterrupted quiet.

Even only one tick in the house is still too many.

What saddens me the most about delivering Offspring the First to college this week, is contemplating how sorrowful Offspring the Second will be; he and his sister are very close friends, and it will be very hard for him without her here.

I wish I had a house elf, for the kitchen is dirty and everyone else in the family has already retired for the evening.

It is so difficult to know what to do when those around me are frustrated, sad, or hurting. I do a terrible job of walking the line between being available in case I can be of assistance, and providing space in case they need to be left alone. I suspect I err significantly on the side of being irritatingly present.  I hope they understand that my clumsy efforts are well-intentioned.  And I wish I could do more to help.

According to iTunes, I have listened to the same song over 50 times today.

And finally, while at the mall with Offspring the First today, I was reminded that Victoria's Secret stores fill me with despair in one hundred different ways.

Those are my thoughts tonight.

Sounding Out: The Sense of Hearing

Today, part two in our pleasant diversion on the five senses: the sense of hearing.

Herself's hearing is often alarmingly acute.  She is frequently aware of the tiniest of sounds.  She can hear people chewing two rooms away.  She cannot turn her iPod low enough when she listens to it at night. She loathes balloons, because they have the potential to *POP*.  She has been this way since she was a tiny girl. 

Beyond the mere volume of sounds is their quality - timbre and tone; echo, reverberation; vibration, pitch, resonance.  Herself can tell when the appliances are having difficulty by the slightest change in their intonations.  She notices whenever the radio stations tinker, even ever-so-slightly, with the speed of the playlists.  Voices, too, are vitally important - when she and her friends contemplate which current actors are the most attractive, she always takes voice into consideration when casting her vote.

She loves some types of music, and, in fact, will listen to the same song over and over and over again if it has appealed to her.  Her iPod is never far away.  She has favorite music selections for all of her activities - chores, exercise, driving - and for all of her moods - cheerful, angry, sentimental.  There are specific songs that remind her of certain moments or of particular individuals. 

What does she like to hear the most?  Wind chimes. A gong. The silence of a snow-covered forest. Her piano. A quiet guitar. Muted sounds of the desert. The low voice of a loved one in her ear.

What do you like to hear?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lightening Up: The Sense of Sight

Ah, the blog, so full of angst and emotion. I thought it might be an interesting and cheerful diversion to contemplate the five senses.  Today, part one:  the sense of sight.

Herself lives in a household replete with individuals who have great visual acuity.  Her Beloved, in particular, can spot creatures and features from an amazing distance; the Offspring joke that he can see a sky-colored bird flying ten miles away.  Offspring the Second also has a very particular eye for detail, and Offspring the Third will notice small changes in the surroundings as well as tiny differences in individuals.

In contrast, Herself dislikes excesses of visual information.  She is quite adept at purposefully (and practically automatically) not seeing all aspects of her surroundings.  This is oftentimes beneficial -- as she can avoid becoming overwhelmed -- although there are moments when it hinders her, such as when she cannot easily identify the small furry creature or interesting leaf or other object that others attempt to point out to her.

She takes advantage of natural visual filters:  for example, her favorite time of day for walking is twilight, when colors and shapes are muted.  One of the reasons that she is so fond of the desert is because of its visual subtlety -- it does not have the complex, convoluted urgency of the rainforest or the cityscape.  She can view the environment at her own pace, rather than having to take in vast quantities of details simultaneously.  She enjoys caves (such as Carlsbad Caverns) for the same reason.

On what does she like to rest her eyes the most?  The starlit sky.  Moss.  A chestnut. The fuzzy ball of a dandelion or the petals of a single flower. The smooth lines of polished wood.  Rounded stones.  The eyes and hands of her loved ones.

What do you like to see?

Friday, August 12, 2011


Beautiful Sister resides so far away.

Brave Brother plans his move to another country.

Lovely Offspring the First packs to leave for college.

She awaits news regarding Cherished Friend's possible relocation.

In the long hours Beloved Husband spends at work, she hears echoes of the three years before they were married that she and he were hundreds of miles apart.

Sometimes, she suspects that she may have been destined to spend much of her life at a distance from those whom she cares about the most.

Nevertheless, in the words of Hans Nouwen regarding love: 
...the smallest distance is too great, and the greatest distance can be bridged.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Herself hates presents.

Well, let's clarify. 

Herself loves to give people presents.  Few things make her happier than an opportunity to bestow a gift upon someone.  She gives careful thought when selecting a present, contemplating the individual and trying hard to imagine what he or she would like.  Even when she is out conducting ordinary shopping, she keeps her eyes and mind open for potential gifts, just in case she spots an item that reminds her of one of the people of whom she is fond.

On the other hand, Herself is extremely uncomfortable accepting presents. She always has a vague suspicion that she does not, in fact, actually deserve any kind of gifts. Even more, though, she is unsettled by the thought that another person has spent time selecting a present specifically for her. 

Herself works very hard not to ask things of other people; she fervently wishes not to be a bother or an inconvenience, ever, to anyone.  (This is, in fact, one of the main reasons why she dislikes the telephone so much:  she is horrified at the thought that she might call at an inopportune moment and interrupt or irritate the person whom she is calling.)  A gift is directly contrary to her efforts to be as unobtrusive as possible - for it means that another person has gone through the trouble of imagining, choosing and offering the gift to her.  To accept a present is to acknowledge that she is visible, and the heat of such a spotlight, however small, is almost unbearable. Who is she to warrant such attention?  She is not worthy.

Thank you, gift givers. You make Herself feel valued.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


The situation was clear to Herself instantly.

She, her Beloved, and the Offspring were in the interminable line for check-in at the airport on Sunday.  The line moved slowly but consistently, and the travelers were generally in relatively good humor despite the crowds.  There were many small children scuttling about, shepherded between the line and other areas by attentive relatives attempting to keep them entertained during the wait.

It was the unique timbre of the noise that immediately drew Herself's attention.  It was a primal shout of anger and frustration; an overwhelmed and overtired sobbing.  She looked, and what she saw verified her suspicions:  a barefoot child, much older than one would expect for such a wordless anguished cry, writhing in tantrum upon the floor as his parents attempted to soothe him.

She knew. Autism.

She recalled the days when Offspring the Third was small and not yet diagnosed with Aspergers, and he would melt down in such a manner.  The distress of publicly attempting to calm such an enraged and overwhelmed child was enormous; the virulent glances from passers-by silently issued criticism of Herself for not being able to control her child.  She learned quickly to ignore others and focus on Offspring the Third's needs.  She hardened her soul to outsiders who would judge without understanding.  At the same time, that visceral desire to protect Offspring the Third allowed her to maintain a tender spot in her heart for those who similarly suffered.
The patient and fatigued parents eventually pacified the overwrought child, and joined the line behind Herself.  Herself smiled at them and quietly told the parents, "I have one who used to melt down the same way."  They muttered, "He has autism."  Herself acknowledged:  "Ours has Aspergers."  A tenuous bond of understanding was born.  They made a bit more small talk.  Herself did her very best to look them kindly in the eye and to convey as much compassion as she could in the few words they exchanged. As they parted to their respective check-in spots, Herself wished them the best of luck on their trip and told them that if they needed anything while in the airport, they shouldn't hesitate to ask her.

She hopes she helped them, even if just a tiny bit. 

She hopes, too, that their path becomes easier.  Perhaps someday, they will be standing peacefully in line at a different airport, marveling at how far their child has come, just as Herself does now when she looks at Offspring the Third.  "Remember when?" they will say to one another, and they will breathe a quiet sigh of relief and gratitude and love.

I hope so.

*Picture copyright Mediocria Firma, used with gratitude.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Herself turned 44 today.

She has never been one for a great deal of birthday fanfare.  It was a regular sort of morning, involving the typical work-related e-mails and much rummaging in the giant post-travel laundry heap.  She had a lovely lunch with her Pea-in-a-pod Friend and was quite pleased to have the opportunity to catch up with her and discuss matters close to their hearts.  She spent the late afternoon happily preparing a cake from scratch, complete with homemade caramel icing.  She set aside a piece for her Pea-in-a-pod Friend and delivered some cake to her Cherished Friend.  She enjoyed a dinner prepared by her Beloved, and provided cake to him and the Offspring as well.  It was good.

This evening, Herself and I revisited a blog entry from last year relating to her birthday.  She and I together marvel at how far she has come since then.  She has worked through so many difficulties and has at last found her footing; she understands where she is and where she has been; she knows herself.  Perhaps this coming year, she will look forward and be finally able to divine a fragment of what lies ahead. We shall see.

Tonight, she is content, and grateful for those whom she loves. They make each turning of another year worthwhile.  Cake for you, my favorite people.


We have just returned from Herself's family reunion, and are quite happy to be able to resume composing entries for the blog.  We have many things about which to write; where to begin?  Let us start with Herself's beloved Sister, whom Herself saw for the first time in over three years at the reunion.

Although her Sister is a few years younger than she, Herself has at times felt as though she has grown up in her Sister's shadow.  When they were young, Herself's schoolmates would frequently remark about Sister's noteworthiness:  "Your sister is so cute." "Your sister is just beautiful." "Your sister is adorable." "Your sister has the most beautiful hair."  All correct.  Even so, now as then, Sister's golden hair and her bright blue eyes framed by those impossibly thick lashes are but the smallest of her many shining qualities. 

Sister has a remarkable ability to attract people to her.  Sister makes friends easily and has a wide circle of acquaintances.  When Sister and Herself were teenagers, boys flocked about Sister, bestowing gifts upon her.  Sister was asked out on her first date before Herself was asked out on her own.  No matter where they went -- be it a different city or even a different country -- it always seemed as though they would run into one of Sister's many friends and admirers. 

Sister sings gloriously.  She is athletic -- incredibly trim and fit -- and admirably disciplined in her exercise and healthy eating regimens. She is intelligent, humorous, witty.  She is beautifully organized. She is kind and thoughtful. She is a superb and extraordinarily patient mother. She is a wonderful friend.

Sister is everything that Herself would like to be.

When thinking about Sister, Herself feels the same way she did as a child: homely, awkward, inadequate, painfully aware of her own limitations.  One might think that Herself would resent Sister for being so extraordinary, when she Herself is so very ordinary.  Yet, it is impossible to do so, for Sister's radiance shines upon everyone in her presence.  To know Sister is to feel better about oneself:  Sister inspires, brings hope, makes one feel loved. 

And more.  Because they grew up together, Sister has a unique comprehension of all of the metaphorical baggage that Herself carries with her.  Herself need not explain so many of her own eccentricities and failings, for Sister knows their roots. She understands. 

Now that Herself is home again, she is painfully heartbroken  - for she has been reminded once more of the cruelty of a Universe that allows her only such rare and short visits with her Sister.  Yet even those crumbs of time together are tremendous, for they bring a tranquility that is of inestimable value.  Herself will hold on to those moments for as long as she can.

This is the kind of Friend
You are -
Without making me realize
My soul's anguished history,
You slip into my house at night,
And while I am sleeping,
You silently carry off
All my suffering and sordid past
In Your beautiful

- Hafiz

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Please forgive the quiet. We are traveling and access to internet is scarce. We are thinking of you, my treasured readers.

Monday, August 1, 2011


A zillion things to do.  Where to begin?

Herself, her Beloved and the Offspring will shortly be making a trip out of state for a family function.  She has consciously avoided thinking about the preparations. I am sure she will be happy to see various family members once they arrive, but the complexity of preparing and executing the trip is quite daunting.  Ends must be tidied up at work; the house must be cleaned; the laundry and the packing must be done; care for the pets must be arranged; bills must be paid; and so forth. Are there enough suitcases? Does everyone have garments appropriate for all of the occasions of the trip?  So many little details.

Herself is further stymied because her brain is occupied with forthcoming changes.  Offspring the First will be leaving for college in mere weeks.  An adjustment from the summer schedule must also be made as Offspring the Second and the Third will shortly begin the new school year.  Herself also waits patiently for news regarding a close friend's possible relocation.  How can Herself accomplish anything right now?  She cannot.  She is such a creature of habit -- all these changes, whether temporary or more permanent, whether large or relatively minor, are tricky.  She is simultaneously unsettled and rendered immobile by the uncertainties. 

How to unstick Herself?  She will start small - one minor task, and hopefully the rest will be like dominoes, falling into place one after another.