Saturday, March 31, 2012

Devotion

A living room full of nine different people - all of whom might, if they had been inclined, have given a small dog a pat or a crumb - and yet ottoman-shaped dog chose to lie before the front door and await Herself when she stepped out briefly this evening to feed Cherished Friend's fish.

Such a devoted creature, is ottoman-shaped dog.


Spontaneity

Herself is no good at it.

Her in-laws are coming over tonight, rather than tomorrow as expected.  They are lovely people, there's no doubt.  Nevertheless, Herself likes to plan everything out in advance.  (This is probably why she is terrible at conversation, particularly on the telephone.  She never knows quite how it is going to go.)

The house is relatively clean.  She did not have time to cook anything, much to her dismay, but what she has on hand will have to do.  They will be gracious and consume everything regardless.

She desperately needs a day alone to herself to tidy the house, to do the filing, to tackle the laundry,to accomplish all the little things without anyone interrupting or needing anything. 

She sighs, and off she goes to hostess.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fruitless

Effort spent, stringing
Various words together
What is the result?

Maudlin poetry/
Angst.  Am I a teenager?
Unpublishable.

I might need a nap
Or a respite from the world
Perhaps a hug, too.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

All The Little Things

Differences between yesterday and today:

Yesterday, Offspring the Third was still breaking out in hives associated with his bronchitis/walking pneumonia/garden variety middle school plague that he has had for nigh on two weeks now.

Yesterday, the washing machine was tempermentally refusing to drain/spin because of some odd problem with the timer (it apparently thinks:  "Look, I'm done!" instead of "I need to drain and then rinse now.").

Yesterday, the computer was doing something odd.  It has been heating up more quickly than usual, and when it was turned off yesterday, it tried to restart but could not load Windows, and then the repair program was unable to solve the problem.  EGADS.

BUT:

Today, Offspring the Third awoke sounding less phlegmy than he has for a week, and actually consumed his usual minimum number of waffles (four) for breakfast.

Today, the washing machine remembers to drain and rinse properly.

Today, an inexpensive cooling pad has been installed under the computer, which kindly booted properly and without incident.  Even as we write, backup copies of things like music and pictures and Writings are being put onto a Passport drive.

Huzzah! 

And as an added bonus, a trip to the Brown & Scratchy Food Store has yielded dried fruits as well as certain nuts, which Herself will happily make into energy bars this afternoon.

It is most pleasant when all the little things are cooperating.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Games (Hunger)

The movie, The Hunger Games, is currently rampaging through the theaters. Based on the first book in a trilogy by Suzanne Collins, it is a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age tale rife with social commentary and teen angst.  It has been hyped almost as extensively as the Twilight series, and although it lacks the devoted following of the Harry Potter Universe, it does have a steadfast stream of readers and admirers.

After ages of encouragement from various individuals, Herself grudgingly picked up the Hunger Games book.  She plowed through it diligently, and found it to be a mildly entertaining, if somewhat made-for-movie, story.  There was one aspect to the plot, though, that annoyed her greatly, almost to the point where she was unwilling to finish reading the book. 

**SPOILER ALERT:  Though there's nothing revealed in the below discussion that one could not easily guess from the previews of the movie or any most basic conversation regarding the book, if you would like the book or movie to be as much of a surprise as possible, you should stop reading here.**

Are you still there?  Onwards.

A brief synopsis for context:  heroine of the book Katniss Everdeen is a sixteen-year-old girl whose best friend is Gale, a strapping young lad a couple of years older than she, with whom she has learned to hunt and has built a mutual strategy for survival of their respective families.  She leaves him behind in her hometown when she volunteers as one of two 'tributes' from her district for the Hunger Games -- a nationwide televised spectacle in which male and female tributes from each district compete to the death for a single winner.  The second tribute from her district is Peeta, another comely youth the same age as Katniss. 

Early on in the story, Peeta reveals publicly that he has long harbored a crush on Katniss, who (under the duress of the Hunger Games) uses this information to her advantage, pretending to be enamored of Peeta in order to ensure her survival. The book describes Katniss's ambivalence toward Peeta as well as her deliberate actions to depict a budding love affair with him for the television audience.  Ultimately (and after a few fairly predictable plot twists and turns), both Katniss and Peeta survive and return to their district, where Katniss must come to terms both with her deceit towards Peeta as well as her confused feelings towards Gale. 

Curtain, DOWN, for The Hunger Games: the next book in the trilogy will presumably address such matters, among other things.

Argh.

What is it that disturbs Herself so? 

It is the purposeful deception of Peeta by Katniss.

Intellectually, Herself can understand that the character of Katniss was solely doing what needed to be done to survive under extreme circumstances.  Emotionally, though, she has tremendous difficulty with this scenario.  It is so very wrong to mislead another in such a manner.

Would it have been less wrong somehow if Katniss's deception of Peeta was private - a quiet, desperate manipulation?  Perhaps; but only a hair less wrong.  The public nature of her deliberate, and untruthful, demonstrations of affection towards him does make her behavior all the more painful to observe.  Either way, it's cruel to Peeta.  It is wrong. 

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Herself knows it's "just a book."  And she knows, too (in a vague, philosophical way) that she's lucky she would never find herself in circumstances that might warrant employing such behavior. It's not worth overthinking.  All things considered, though, she found this plot point so intolerable that she could barely finish reading the book. 

She's not sure she can get through the other two books in the series. Or whether she even wants to try to do so.  We shall see.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Subtlety

Dear Sir waiting in front of Herself in line at the pharmacy yesterday evening:

If you feel compelled to visually inspect a particular part of a stranger's anatomy (say, perhaps, her breasts), do try to be less obvious. For example, when you turn around, consider pretending you are looking for a shopping companion or at the display of humidifiers before your eyes fix (briefly, please) upon her assets. Or even -- imagine this -- speak a few words of polite conversation to her face ("The line is always so long here") before dropping your eyes and taking a quick peek at the body parts in question as you turn back around. She will appreciate your attempt at subtlety and will feel less like punching you in the kidneys.

Signed,
Crabby Woman worried about her ailing Offspring and not at all in the mood for blatant ogling

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hair

When Herself was little, she wore her hair in two braids, with bangs.  People would tell her that she resembled Elizabeth from The Waltons.  She did, actually.

In seventh grade, she gave up the pigtails of her youth, and had her hair cut in the style popularized by figure skater Dorothy Hamill in the late 1970's.  That was likely a mistake.  Herself was a late bloomer; a short haircut in an era in which boys tended to wear their hair slightly long rendered her rather androgynous.  She endured an unfortunate year in which many people assumed she was a boy.

In her high school and college years, she experimented with her hair.  She was never quite able to achieve the height or proper feathering of hairdos of the girls in the early 1980s, for her hair has always been incredibly straight, fine, and stubborn.  Even perming it would only yield a slight curl and a bit more body that would quickly grow out and fade. 

She gave up perming her hair and allowed it to grow in straight, long, and bangless in her early 20s. Once the children were born, though, she reverted to shorter hair, under the presupposition that shorter hair would be easier for a busy working mother. She kept it short for many years.

Around her 40th birthday, right at about the time she started taekwondo, she gave up cutting her hair short.  In some ways, it was an outward expression of an inward change:  she would no longer have the Mom Hairdo that was expected of her, just as she would no longer sit back and do exactly what was expected of her.  She could have long hair, and she could learn taekwondo, even if women her age didn't normally do such things. 

About a year ago, she briefly contemplated cutting her hair short once more. She was close to deciding to do so, and solicited advice from those close to her. She ultimately chose to leave her hair long, and is grateful that she did so. She would have missed it tremendously. 

She loves the long hair.  She finds the texture and the length to be soothing and comforting.  It's like having Linus' security blanket with her always.

This past Saturday, Herself had her hair in a loose ponytail to keep it out of the way while assisting with the taekwondo belt test for the gym.  One of her tasks was to keep the younger students contained -- belt testing can be long and tiresome for them, and she fielded questions from them regarding progress of the test, what to expect next, and whether they could be excused to visit the restroom.  She very much likes working with "The Littles," as she thinks of them. They are lively and enthusiastic, even though they do not have full control of their bodies or comprehension of all that is asked of them.

One particularly tiny little boy spoke in such a soft voice that she had to lean way down to hear his question; when she did so, her ponytail dangled over her shoulder in between her and the boy.  He paused, distracted.  He then reached up and delicately touched the very end of her ponytail while slowly completing his sentence. It seemed to settle him. She found it endearing. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Words words words

Herself still has the box of vocabulary words that her mother gave her in high school to study for the SAT.  While many of the words seem commonplace (metamorphosis, scurry, rationalize, placid, corpulent, prolific), others are a bit unusual (calumny, sedulous, extirpate, shibboleth).  She'd like to review the whole box. There must be some in there that she has not yet learned or has forgotten. Marvelous unusual words waiting to be used.

Strange to think, though, that with all those words at her disposal, she still somehow cannot find the right ones on occasion. Odd. 

Perhaps she is erroneously looking for complex words. 

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple. - Jack Kerouac

Or perhaps there are not big enough words.

All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind. - Kahlil Gibran

Or perhaps there are things that cannot be said, and so the words hide deep within.

One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter. - James Earl Jones

Or, perhaps, some things are meant to be experienced without reducing them to words.  For how can one possibly describe all that is felt in an instant -- the reaching of the mountaintop; the sensing of another's triumph or sorrow; the human yearning for places, people, moments in time past or in future yet unseen.  These things cannot be frozen into words.  They can solely happen.

In the erstwhile, though, we do have some wonderful words.  The best ones, I think, are those that make us laugh.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dog Barometer

It is surprising that the dogs seem to understand human emotions so well.  They hear anger, and they rise silently and tiptoe out of the room.  They hear grief and sorrow, and they spring up from where they are resting and rush over to inspect the situation. 

Their serene furry presence is always helpful in soothing the overwrought.

Good dogs.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Piece Five: Starry Night

It is always a joy to see the night sky away from the city.  I wish I had a picture to show you. We could see so many things: the Pleiades; all the features of Orion rather than just the stars of the belt; Big Dipper, Little Dipper; planets and moons of planets.  The sky was quiescent and humbling and beautifully lit with uncountable stars.

Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and look at the stars. This practice should answer the question. - Lao Tzu

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Piece Four: The Wind

At the petroglyphs site on Sunday, the wind was astonishing.  Gusts up to 50 miles per hour, or more - on the drive home afterwards, the visibility on the road ranged from fair to poor to occasionally nonexistent.  It was possible to see walls of sand and dust traveling across the terrain, both at the site and on the road. 

Although the path through the petroglyphs was not particularly strenuous, it nevertheless was tricky to navigate because of the wind, and photographing the stones was difficult because it was impossible to hold the camera still. Standing upright was next to impossible - everyone hunched and leaned into the wind, lest they blow over.

The wind blotted out sound with its roar.  It eliminated vision when eyes needed to be closed against the flying sand.  It left molecules of grit in the mouth and yet passed to quickly to leave scent in the nose.  It pressed vehemently on every inch of skin, slicing through clothing with ease, and tangled hair into incredible knots. 

All sensory input other than the touch of the wind was diminished, eliminated, erased.  Time and thought were suspended.  There was naught but the wind.

It was magnificent.

Piece Three: Omelet

One of Herself's favorite activities is preparing meals in the RV.  That probably sounds odd.  It is quite enjoyable, though, for her to be able to cook without the distractions that are omnipresent in the house:  laundry, bills, phone, e-mail, cleaning, this, that, everything else.  If the kitchen in the RV were a tad bigger, cooking in it would be even more satisfying.

Sunday morning, she made omelets for the first time.  She was a bit concerned that they would come out funny -- despite years of cooking, she had never attempted to create the specific shape of an omelet.  Would it fall apart?  Would it cook all the way through, or would there be icky runny bits in the middle? What temperature on the pan would work best?  And would the final product look, and be, edible? 

Beginner's Luck:  they turned out just fine. Hooray!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Piece Two: Mutts

Aged and Crabby Dog and Ottoman-shaped Dog accompanied Herself and the family on the trip this past weekend.  The reasons for this were twofold:  first, there was not a lot of planning ahead involved, so finding someone to take care of the dogs could not be done on short notice; and second (related to the first), both dogs have medical issues that make it difficult to find care. Aged and Crabby Dog has severe arthritis and has of late been experiencing some digestive issues that have decreased her appetite and rendered her difficult to feed.  Ottoman-shaped Dog, as has been mentioned before, is diabetic and requires twice-daily insulin shots.  Right now, Herself takes care of the special needs of all of the pets.  She has found no one else to do so yet.

Herself was a bit concerned about handling the dogs during the drive and in the camper-trailer, but on the whole they behaved well.  The best part for the dogs was the mountain stream.  Herself thought that Ottoman-shaped dog would not like the water, since he has always been afraid of hoses in the back yard.  She suspected that Aged and Crabby Dog, however, would be pleased, for she has always enjoyed water, snapping at the sprinklers and such. 

When the dogs were brought to the streambed, both were fascinated.  They sniffed and splashed and poked around on the streambed and had a marvelous time.  They were wet and filthy by the end, and couldn't have been happier.

Herself knows that the dogs' lives may be short because of their medical issues.  She is very glad they had this experience.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Piece One: The Stream

I had thought about writing a long post about this past weekend's adventures, but it was difficult to draw together all the fragments cohesively in my mind.  I will dole out the most memorable moments, one by one. 

After breakfast on Saturday morning, Offspring the Third had wandered off to investigate a stream nearby the campsite.  When he had not returned after a while, Herself became a tiny bit concerned.  Her worry then grew when her Beloved came back from exploring and stated that he had not seen Offspring the Third upstream.

It was a lot of desert and woods and wilderness, and Offspring the Third had not worn his backpack or his usual "Utility Belt" of various knives and other gadgets that might be useful in case he ran into difficulty.  Herself put the dogs into the camper-trailer with Offspring the Second, and went into the woods, moving downstream towards the edge of the wash where she could look out and try to spot him.

She stood and listened carefully.  She thought she heard voices, but was uncertain as to the direction from which they came.  She waited.  Somehow, she felt as though Offspring the Third was safe.  She hoped.  Then, she spotted Offspring the Third (the bright blue of his jacket is quite noticeable).  He was further downstream with her Beloved and her Cherished Friend.

Relief. 

She watched the three of them moving their way back upstream together.  After a few minutes, she hiked down to join them. They, soon joined by Offspring the Second as well as Aged Crabby Dog and Ottoman-shaped Dog, spent a very enjoyable morning down by the stream.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Petroglyphs

Nifty!

(3/20:  edited to add:)  Herself, Offspring the Second and Offspring the Third, together with Beloved Husband and Cherished Friend, did some RVing and visited the Three Rivers Petroglyphs this weekend.  It was lovely. Herself had desperately needed some time 'away from it all,' and was very pleased to go.

Details to follow.

.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Winding Down

We are approaching the end of Spring Break week.  It has been quite busy indeed.  There have been physical therapy appointments, veterinary appointments for Aged Crabby Dog and Ottoman-shaped Dog, grocery shopping, organized meals, and so forth. There is also Herself's Work and payment of the bills and laundry and cleaning of the kitchen and transporting both the van and the truck for repairs. (Herself took those opportunities to walk the 3.4 miles home, and then bicycle back. The chain fell off the bicycle halfway there. She put it back on successfully.  Woo!)   

Yesterday, Offspring the First and Beau made multiple pies in honor of Pi Day (3/14). The pies were, without exception, delicious.  It has been lovely to have Offspring the First and her Beau here.  They plan to leave tomorrow morning, after a flurry of laundry and pie-consumption today.

There has been great deal of cheerful and boisterous noise throughout the house, with barking, more barking, chirping, chattering, video game noise, television, Nerf gun popping, guffaws and hiccups and the guinea pig hissing.  So much activity.

The highlight for Herself was Tuesday evening.  All three Offspring, plus Beau, Herself's Beloved, Herself's Cherished Friend, and Herself enjoyed dinner and a movie together.  All of Herself's favorite people together in one room at the same time. HUZZAH.

Yesterday, in contrast, was rather draining. Aged Crabby Dog has been faring poorly lately; Herself is rather concerned. She's 11, but seems older.  Is it almost Time?  Herself does not know, and the not knowing is the hard part.  When Aged Crabby Dog was tranquilized to go to the vet (as is necessary, given her Crabbiness), she tolerated it poorly. Poor old girl could hardly walk. Afterwards, Herself tucked Aged Crabby Dog in to rest on the couch, where she remained, immobile, for hours.

Later on when the doorbell rang, Aged Crabby Dog propelled herself towards the front door to bark before she realized that she still couldn't stand up properly.  She collapsed in the front hall, exhausted, and lost her bladder control.  Herself had to steer her mother (who had rung the doorbell) around the scene of the Dog Wreckage in the front hall and take care of cleaning up Aged Crabby Dog, and then had to complete preparation of dinner. Offspring the Third was concerned and kept hovering near Aged Crabby Dog, so he had to be redirected frequently, and he was also inadvertently irritating Offspring the Second, who needed a buffer from those who were annoying him. 

Everything was managed somehow. 

Herself is tired.

She has not had any opportunity for quiet time or solitude.  While the Offspring and Beau are all old enough to be fairly self-sufficient, it has been far more activity than Herself can normally tolerate.  She yearns to be alone in the house in order to tidy it up and get everything back into its place; to do her filing and organize her study; to play the piano for a bit.

In time. Shortly, the house will be bittersweetly quiet again.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Slim

Herself's Hip Issue has been formally diagnosed as hip flexor tendonitis.  Good news:  it's not a mechanical issue such as a tear in the labrum.  Difficulty:  the tendonitis is intransigent, and the anti-inflammatories disagree with her gastrointestinal system.  She's working on finding the best medication combination of anti-inflammatory and acid reducer to maximize success and minimize discomfort. Ice helps, too.

We shall not discuss the first appointment in this round of physical therapy, for it was of such incredible uselessness as to make Herself nearly apoplectic with rage.  (She is grateful to those individuals who listened to her rant regarding that appointment; how lucky is she to have them.)  Herself went off to her second physical therapy appointment fully ready to do battle, if necessary, to obtain acceptable therapeutic help and to verbally chastize those who failed to meet appropriate standards.  Fortunately, no dramatic action was necessary; the second appointment was more constructive. 

This physical therapy has been different from the first round Herself had in January, in that it has included  therapeutic massage.  Herself was inwardly quite squeamish about the idea of therapeutic massage since she does not like to be touched by strangers.  The therapist was professional and courteous, though, and the massage did seem to be helpful.  The most noteworthy thing about it was Herself's discovery that the discomfort in her hip flexor, while being tolerable most of the time, was surprisingly significant with all direct touch.  OW.  We shall see how  it goes.        

The session also included ultrasound therapy.  Herself's research has failed to show that ultrasound therapy has ultimately been scientifically proven to be helpful, but she is willing to try for a bit.  The ultrasound technician chatted amiably with Herself, asking about the hip problem, martial arts (it is in Herself's chart that one of her goals is to get back to kicking on the mat), and other mundane matters.  The topic of one particular type of food came up, and the technician commented that she likes to eat. She then asked Herself: "You are slim; do you watch what you eat?" 

Whether the technician was being truthfully complimentary, or just has a habit of making small talk in such a manner, we do not know.  Nevertheless, although we know that Herself has been struggling with weight and self-image issues lately, the technician did not; and the technician's unsolicited use of a positive adjective was, in Herself's experience, an unusual and kind thing to do.  While Herself knows she must continue every day to try to do better with her eating and exercise habits, all the same, for a little while, she was hopeful that perhaps she might be on the right track after all.

Herself has been reminded, too, that she can also speak the same way to others.  A few honest and encouraging words can sometimes make a world of difference.  Wouldn't it be lovely to be able to do so? 

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo F. Buscaglia

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Break

Offspring the First and her Beau are visiting from college during spring break.  Right now, all three Offspring and Beau are sleeping late.  Ah, to be young again.

So very lovely to have Offspring the First here; she has been sorely missed.  Offspring the Third marched in the door at the end of school last Friday and the first words out of his mouth were, "Is [Offspring the First] here YET?"  Poor child had to wait until Sunday afternoon.  Every twenty minutes all day Sunday, he inquired as to whether we'd gotten an update on where she was on the road.  He spent the last hour before she arrived waiting outside for her.  He is delighted by her presence.  She bought him a vuvuzela yesterday and he, she, Beau, and Offspring the Second went bowling; he couldn't be happier.

Beau seems like a very kindhearted young man.  He carries Offspring the First's belongings, looks after her lovingly, and is helpful around the house.  He taught Offspring the Third how to play World of Warcraft, and chats amiably with Offspring the Second. He brought flowers for Herself.  He is off to a very good start with the Family.

As busy as the house is with all these teenagers home from school, it is quite heartwarming.  Herself is happy they are all here, and that they all get along so swimmingly.  It is Good.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Plans/Waiting

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
- Joseph Campbell

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Caverns Haiku

Once more, a trip to one of Herself's favorite places on the planet:  Carlsbad Caverns.  There really are insufficient words to describe all that it holds.  We will try to give you a sense of it, though, through a few haiku.
-----

Eyes adjust to dark:
Marvelous speleothems
Here, there, everywhere.

Restful for the ears:
Footsteps echo, water drips
Rocks absorb the sounds.

The nose can rest, too:
Pure scent of ancient rock, and
Faint smell of guano.

Soothing to the skin:
Cool, moist air; no baking sun,
No freeze, and no wind.

Wish to stay longer
And just sit within the earth -
Calming, quiet space.

Let's pause together
To enjoy this wondrous cave -
Haven underground.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Milk and Cookies

Eons and eons ago -- well, thirty and a bit years ago -- Herself attended a sleepover summer camp on a lake in the woods of Maine.  It was an all-girls' camp, well-organized and strictly run. There was a uniform:  blue camp shirts and blue bloomers for all days except Sunday, when a middy blouse and navy shorts were required.  For Sunday Services, the matriarch of the camp would read a carefully selected moral-teaching book -- such as The Giving Tree -- while the campers would fidget in the pine grove and surreptitiously create tiny designs in the fallen pine needles.

There were many camp activities, ranging from water-based (canoeing; boating; sailing; and swimming - in the uniform bathing suit, of course) to artsy (drama; music; arts and crafts), to practical (campcraft, which taught leaf-identification, campfire-building, and so forth).  Badges could be earned by completing a variety of tasks for each particular activity.  Herself was fond of archery and canoeing. 

There was rather a regimented schedule, though it was not unpleasantly so.  After breakfast and morning meeting on the big rock, campers would attend sessions at various activities.  There would then be lunch, followed by a mandatory rest period.  Afternoon activity sessions were followed by dinner and evening projects, and then lights-out. 

Meals were all held in the large dining lodge. Tables were assigned, with campers rotating to new tables each week in order to get to know girls from cabins other than their own. Everyone was required to try each food, even if it meant requesting a "no-thank-you helping." On Sundays, dessert after dinner was special: mud pies. Everyone would get a vanilla cupcake, and there was chocolate sauce provided. Each girl would carve a small well in the top of her cupcake, and spoon in a bit of the chocolate sauce. It would ooze over the edges like a miniature volcano. It was always delicious.

At the beginning of the summer, each girl would visit the camp nurse to be weighed and measured as part of routine procedure.  The nurse would assign certain plump girls to what was quietly known as the diet table.  Although there was no overt sign at the diet table, the campers could all tell which table it was, because the same girls sat at it every week instead of rotating to other tables.  There was more salad at the diet table.  The nurse would also assign certain skinny girls to "milk and cookies."  All those slotted for milk and cookies would dutifully tromp back up to the dining lodge after the mandatory rest period, where they would be offered milk and cookies.  It appeared that the mission was to fatten these girls up a bit.

The pressure to be thin has always existed, even for prepubescent and barely-pubescent girls. It was a whispered shame to be put at the diet table, and there were always little jabs and behind-the-back criticisms directed at those girls.  On the other hand, if one was skinny enough to require additional nourishment during the day -- that was an accomplishment, somehow:  the milk and cookies girls were to be envied.

Herself was one of the milk and cookies campers.  She remembers being secretly pleased about it.  Plus, she did like the milk and cookies.

-----

All these decades later, Herself thinks back to the milk and cookies and contemplates how things have changed.  Gone are the days when she could eat as much as she pleased without thinking about the bodily consequences. The accusations of an eating disorder, hissed sotto voce by a family member, have long since disappeared (though she can still remember them:  "You must have anorexia! I wish you'd get help!")  She has turned into what one might call a well-rounded middle-aged woman.

What *should* a woman of her age, height and build look like?  She tries to convince herself that her shape is socially acceptable since she is within appropriate weight boundaries according to all the usual charts, and yet she still fears that she is overweight and unpleasant to view.  When she looks in the mirror, she is dismayed.  She sees lack of discipline and slovenliness in the tightness of her jeans, and berates herself for not having greater self-control with her eating and exercise habits. Interestingly, she does not look at other people the same way:  they are who they are, whatever their shape.  Nevertheless, she judges herself, and finds herself lacking. 

Yesterday, she had her first opportunity to look at the pictures taken at the extended family reunion this summer. Her sole thought was:

Fat girl. Time to sit at the diet table.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Midlife Crisis Shoes

First off:  my apologies for the paucity of posts of late. Nothing dramatic has occurred; things were mundanely busy. Onwards!

Behold a new addition to the closet:  blue suede shoes.  (You may all commence humming along with Elvis in your head.)  These particular shoes have a 3-inch heel.  Herself has never had a pair of shoes quite as... HIGH as these before.

Herself is is not particularly girly; things like fashion, complex hairstyles, and makeup tend to annoy and confuse her. All the same, she does like to dress up on occasion, and he has felt an odd inclination towards high heels lately.  Why? I do not know.

These shoes seemed right.  They are not weirdly patterned, beaded, or strapped (unlike many of the others). They do not have the gargantuan platform sole that seems to be omnipresent on women's shoes these days.  They were not expensive. They are relatively comfortable.  The color is pretty.  

She is a little concerned about actually attempting to locomote in them.  Perhaps she will practice while the family is out at work and school.  Nobody watch!

Now, she just needs an opportunity to wear them.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rescue Me

I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you.

- Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope
____

What is rescue?

To rescue another is to deliberately take action to assist one who is in peril.  Peril itself can take many forms, ranging from embarrassment, to physical discomfort, to danger of grave injury or death.  Literature and film are replete with rescues -- from traditional fairy tales to modern movies. Everyone, it seems, likes to see, hear, or read of a successful rescue.

At least two individuals form the basis of a rescue:  the Rescuer and the Rescued.  The Rescued may be a single entity; a group; or even more (a planet, for example).  Some of the Rescued may be unaware of the identity or even the action of the Rescuer. Others may deliberately attempt to draw a particular Rescuer to them through deliberate steps into danger. Still more may seek to remain independent of the (or any) Rescuer, and only inadvertently or though actions of another find themselves in a position of needing rescue.

The focus is not, however, on the Rescued; it is in fact on the Rescuer. Rescuers place themselves into the same peril -- or even greater peril -- as the Rescued, in order to bring the Rescued to safety.  The Rescuer thinks not of himself:  he acts courageously and selflessly for the benefit of the Rescued.

The Rescuer himself.

Certainly there are exceptions, but if one compiled a list of Rescuers, it is quite likely that male Rescuers would vastly outnumber female Rescuers.  I wonder why it is so.  I suspect (though I have no scientific basis at the moment) that there may be some type of evolutionary component.  The Rescuer is brave, caring, helpful; he is willing to endanger himself for the good of another.  Such characteristics are highly desirable in a mate.  The Rescuer, by taking that extra degree of risk, may thereby gain not only admiration and grateful compensation, but also potential partners.

Biological imperative aside (or sublimated), though, there is always something marvelous about the Rescuer.  He is a hero. Heroes are in short supply in this world, and it warms our hearts and uplifts us to see heroes in action.  They give us hope that, should we be in need, a Rescuer will deliver us as well.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wit

When Offspring the Second was a toddler, he did not speak much.  His wide eyes, hardly blinking, would take in the whole world around him, and oftentimes, Herself would wonder:  "What is he thinking?"

When he began to talk, he used lengthy, complete, grammatically-correct sentences.  Millions and millions of them.  Herself realized:  clearly, he was thinking a Great Deal of Things.

He has now reached the age of wizard majority; his trace, if he had one, has been removed.

Offspring the Second is an old soul.  Mature and stoic, his silent, long-haired demeanor conceals his tender and thoughtful side.  His intelligence and wit are marvelous to behold.  I admire him so.

Happy birthday, Offspring the Second. May your continued journey through this world be filled with love, humor, and all of your favorite drum sets.