Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tiny Love

While Herself was away over the weekend, Tiny Dog pined for her.  Tiny Dog would not eat (an unheard-of situation), and kept primarily to herself.  Sad Tiny Dog.

Now all is back in order.  Dog dinners and breakfasts have been vigorously consumed, and Tiny Dog makes a nest upon Herself whenever she can. Content Tiny Dog.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Sheltering Tree

Friendship is a sheltering tree. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Saturday morning in the quiet and the dark of pre-dawn, Herself loaded a few things into her car and went to visit Cherished Friend.  The drive north was a magnificent expanse of Alone Time (such a rare commodity these days), in which she could listen to whatever music she desired and sing along as loudly as she wanted, without fear of annoying any passengers (or or of criticism of her eclectic and occasionally pop-music driven playlists).  The hotel in which she stayed was agreeable, the pillows fluffy, her solitary night's sleep lacking any trampling by Tiny Dog. Sunday afternoon, as the sun faded from cheerful afternoon glow into solemn dusk, Herself drove home. She was greeted warmly by Beloved Husband, Tiny Dog, and Three-toothed Dog, and all was well.

And what of the time with Cherished Friend? It is difficult to find words to describe the contentment of doing even the most ordinary of activities -- having lunch, visiting a bookstore, taking a walk, or just sitting in silence -- together. Suffice it to say, it was consolation and joy to find that he remains our same Cherished Friend, as always. 

But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. ~ Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Unthinkable

The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, which (in the words of the headlines) was "obliterated" in the French Alps yesterday, appears to have been deliberately caused by the co-pilot.

One hundred fifty souls on board -- stolen from us, in the blink of an eye, by one man.

In the face of this unfathomable act, this incomprehensible loss, we cry out: Help Us, for our hearts are broken, and we know not what to do.
-----

As you huddle around the torn silence,
Each by this lonely deed exiled
To a solitary confinement of soul,
May some small glow from what has been lost
Return like the kindness of candlelight.

As your eyes strain to sift
This sudden wall of dark
And no one can say why
In such a forsaken, secret way,
This death was sent for...
May one of the lovely hours
Of memory return
Like a field of ease
Among these graveled days.

May the Angel of Wisdom
Enter this ruin of absence
And guide your minds
To receive this bitter chalice
So that you do not damage yourselves
By attending only at the hungry altar
Of regret and anger and guilt.

May you be given some inkling
That there could be something else at work
And that what to you now seems
Dark, destructive, and forlorn
Might be a destiny that looks different
From inside the eternal script.

May vision be granted to you
To see this with the eyes of providence.
may your loss become a sanctuary
Where new presence will dwell
To refine and enrich
The rest of your life
With courage and compassion.

And may your lost loved one
Enter into the beauty of eternal tranquility,
In that place where there is no more sorrow
Or separation or mourning or tears.

- John O'Donohue, "For the Family and Friends of a Suicide," from
To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bowl of Rocks

Today's treasure: the bowl of rocks.

The bowl resides near the miniature zen garden that was a gift from her sister. Herself loves the feel of the stones, the colors, the polished sheen.  Perhaps it's time to select a stone each morning to keep in her pocket, to soothe as the day goes by.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Left and Right

The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

This expression so often is used in reference to a business or organization in which different individuals, usually at the higher levels, work at cross purposes to one another. There is a different, deeper meaning, though, that stems from religious verse:

But when you do merciful deeds, 
don’t let your left hand know what your right hand does.

- Matthew 6:3 (World English Bible)

This metaphor, open to a variety of closely related interpretations, generally is understood as meaning that one should not openly seek praise or notice from others for one's good deeds, donations or piety. Avoid self-congratulation, and do not feel smug, but do not call attention to -- and even forget -- one's own good deeds.

She was reminded of this verse this past weekend.  When she mentioned to her Long-term Acquaintance that she and Beloved Husband and Offspring the Second and Third had the opportunity to go to Cirque du Soleil, Acquaintance promptly mentioned how she and her spouse had gotten tickets for certain people two years ago to attend a Cirque du Soleil event as well. It was not a statement of, "we went to Cirque du Soleil," or even "we enjoyed Cirque when we went," but rather, a reminder, an announcement -- that through the largesse of her (and her spouse), certain people were able to see the show.

The most interesting facet of this conversation to Herself was not what was said, but rather, what was unsaid.  Acquaintance's Spouse was not in the room; even if he had been, the words that Acquaintance spoke would never have crossed Spouse's lips.  For Acquaintance's Spouse is the very embodiment of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, in the best possible interpretation.  He quietly takes care of things and of people, from small gifts, such as purchasing what they might need or want or picking up the tab in restaurants, to much larger events, including arranging family reunions and helping those who might not financially be able to attend to do so.  He donates his time to education and scientific purposes, and sets up scholarship funds for those who need education.  He does all he does unobtrusively and kindly. Beautifully.

Herself sees the acts of this wonderful, quietly generous man, and knows that this is the type of person she wants most to be.

Such a blessing, to have this shining example of the left and right hands in her life.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Do All The Things

Yesterday can be summarized as: getting things done by avoiding things.

Herself had many mundane things to do yesterday - clean the house, do the shopping, exercise, take care of the laundry, cook dinner, and so on and so forth.  Not a monumental list, but a long enough list of not-terribly-enjoyable tasks that it was difficult to find the motivation to begin.

She started by avoiding exercising.  Instead of using the elliptical trainer, she cleaned the house.  She mopped the floors to avoid cleaning the bathrooms.  Then she cleaned the bathrooms to avoid vacuuming.  Then she vacuumed to avoid folding the laundry.  Then she folded and put away the laundry to avoid exercising.

Once the house was clean and the laundry handled, she avoided leaving the house to go shopping by exercising. Then she avoided leaving the house further by emptying the dishwasher and putting in more laundry. Alas, there were more avoidance techniques, and so she went shopping.

When she got home from shopping, she avoided cooking that night's dinner by putting away the groceries and placing new toilet brushes (thank you, shopping) in each of the bathrooms. Then she avoided chopping up the chicken for that night's dinner by putting together the beef stew for tomorrow's dinner.  Then she avoided making the cookies by chopping up the chicken and putting together the lemon rice to go with it for that night's dinner.  Then she put in the stew and baked cookies to avoid rummaging in the closet of miscellaneous gift toys and gift books for a gift for the child of Beloved Husband's friend, who would be stopping by momentarily.  And finally, she rummaged in the closet and -- miracle of miracles -- found just the right gift.

After a brief but enjoyable visit with Husband's friend, Herself avoided sending e-mails by paying the bills.  Then she sent some of the e-mails.  And she avoided the rest of the tasks by making herself a To Do list for tomorrow.

At that point, it had turned out to be a productive day.  The house was clean, the laundry was done, dinner for that day and for the next had been prepared, the bills were paid, and most of the things were done. And so she avoided doing the rest of the things by going to bed.

What can we accomplish by avoiding things today?


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Come A Little Closer

We have a soft spot for sentimental/romantic country songs. Today's tune: My Eyes by Blake Shelton.

There's a million stars dancing in the sky
A picture perfect moon so bright
But I don't care, I'm looking at you
From where I stand you can't beat the view

We hope you enjoy, too.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Wee Bit Of Meatloaf

The evening's activity: a flock of tiny meatloaves. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cirque

We had the pleasure of attending the Cirque du Soleil last night. The music, the costumes, and the incredible acrobatics -- all outstanding. Afterwards, I am left with an acute awareness that I am not remotely as supple, strong, or talented as any of the performers. Alas. They are magnificent specimens of humankind. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Drapetomania

Drapetomania: a word sprouting from pseudoscience, yet encapsulating a particular sentiment:

the overwhelming urge to run away.

It is time for a respite from All The Things. Let us try to find one.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Knock, Knock, Knocking

Today's musical interlude is brought to you by a classic song, covered by RAIGN:  Knocking on Heaven's Door. Apparently this particular version is used in a television show -- "The 100"? -- at some point; since we don't watch much TV at all, we're not sure about its use in the program. Regardless, it's a great version. (And please excuse the slightly cheesy portrait associated with the video -- although it is not our choice for type of art, we will say the work appears to suit the vocalist.)

We hope you enjoy.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sign of Spring

The patio lizard returned last night.  Spring must be on its way!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Whole Shelf

In the kitchen, there are several decorative shelves.  One of them is chock-full of treasures of the whole nuclear family.

If you look closely, you can see Veggie Tales characters, shells, desert roses, a small plastic skull, a wooden tulip, a clay model of Texas as well as a labeled model of a slice through the earth, a glass bottle of multicolored sand, wooden and metal animals of various sizes and colors, and so much more.

So many treasures.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Necklace

Today's treasure: the charms of Herself's necklace.

First, her mother's mother's wedding ring, to remind her of family roots;
Second, a silver pacifier, which she bought on Martha's Vineyard as a teenager, to remind her of childhood;
Third, a white and silver charm bearing the word "sister," to remind her of the comfort, understanding and love that her sister brings;
Fourth, a column bearing five tiny amber blocks in a range of beautiful colors, to remind her of the simultaneous commonality and uniqueness of the members of her nuclear family;
Fifth, a Celtic knot charm, to remind her of anam cara; and
Sixth, a Tibetan prayer wheel, to remind her to let go, and to find the middle path.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lesson

One of Herself's internet friends is an artistic and tremendously loving soul who fills her Facebook feed with beautiful photos, interesting articles, and philosophical and witty commentary. There is always food for thought among her posts. Recently, she posed the following query:

Posed for the sake of debate, this posit: the essence of who we are, our spirit, is transcendent, and we take corporeal form here on this earth, only gradually coming to our material senses (if ever) to learn something. Based on your experiences thus far, what is your lesson?

This is a magnificent question.

It requires a great deal of contemplation.

It took us a day and a half, but we have found our reply.

This is the one overarching lesson I have had to learn, over and over again, in so many different ways: People are the way they are. I cannot, through my own actions or through mentally willing things, change how others behave. I have to accept that they may not do as I would do under a particular set of circumstances, no matter how clear a choice of action would be to *me*. I must remember always, that what most people do, is the best they can do. 

It's a hard lesson. 

And I haven't finished learning it.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dishes

Today's treasure, while not a small item, is nevertheless an important one:  grandmother's dishes.

These once belonged to Herself's paternal grandmother. Herself  loves the pattern. She does not use the dishes terribly often, because they are almost too exceptional to hold mere ordinary food. Perhaps she should generate more special occasions to use them.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Broadchurch

Yesterday we finished watching the first season of the BBC show, Broadchurch.  It really was outstanding. Beautifully acted and suspenseful, it is a well-wrought description of the intertwining of the lives of the residents of a small community, and a wrenching display of how things unravel in the face of a terrible crime.  Nearly all of the characters have their own hidden sorrows and mistakes which are slowly and painfully dragged into the light by the investigation. While at times the tiny details are nearly overwhelming, in the overall arch of the story, they all eventually fall into place quietly and naturally. In the end, we are heartbroken for so many of the characters, and yet we see how the characters manage to move forward even in the face of betrayal and loss and terrible heartache.  It is the most human of shows we have watched in a long time. Well done. 

This photograph was found here
http://www.bbcamerica.com/broadchurch/guide/season-1/episode-1/

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Wombat

Today's treasure: wombat.

When Herself attended childbirth preparation class before Offspring the First was hatched, one of the many suggestions -- in addition to the ultimately rather useless breathing exercises -- was to have a focal point on which to concentrate during contractions.  For reasons that Herself cannot remember, they chose a small stuffed wombat that had been a souvenir from Herself's parents' trip to Australia.  

Wombat attended the labor and births for all three Offspring (although he was not in the immediate room at the time of the emergency C-section for Offspring the third). He was indeed helpful.

Good job, wombat.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Binkie

As we were tidying, we came across various small items dispersed throughout the house, and thought that we should perhaps return to treasures.

Today's treasure:  Herself's childhood blanket.  It is translucent in its threadbare thinness, and the pastel kittens and flowers are so faded as to be barely visible.  Ah, binkie.







Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blue October

A little musical interlude for you: let us listen to some Blue October.  A lot of Blue October's lyrics are a bit heartbreaking, and the lead singer's frank revelations about his struggles with drug addiction and failed relationships provide some bittersweet context to his songs. Ultimately, there's peace and love within the raw emotions. Bravo, Blue October, for channeling pain and difficulty into music that can speak what others cannot say. 

Here are three of our favorites for you:

First, Hate Me, which is the first song we heard from Blue October.

While I was busy waging wars on myself, 
you were trying to stop the fight.


Second, Congratulations

My words they don't come out right
But I'll try to say I'm happy for you


And third, Not Broken Anymore.

You're the touchstone my complete
You're the ship that kept me afloat.


We hope you enjoy.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Trial in the News

It's been nearly two years since the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and the trial of the surviving suspect is now underway. Pieces of the testimonies of survivors are being released, detail after detail of horror and pain and suffering. The stories are impossible to read -- a terrible reliving of events that no human being should have to endure.

Herself wonders whether testifying empowers the survivors; perhaps to recount what has happened helps them to move forward, knowing that they have passed through the flames and have arisen like the phoenix. Or perhaps they want to stare down the defendant, to tell him and to show him that they are strong, that they are unbowed. That they have won, and he has lost. Perhaps, there are pieces of all these things, and more.

Herself has not read all of the news reports. One yesterday caught her eye, though, and although she did not read the whole story, the headline was more than enough.  It was a summary of the testimony of a father who had to leave his dying child in order to try to save his critically injured child.  What clearly must have been an unspeakably terrible moment -- there, spoken aloud.  We can only begin to imagine how it must be for this father; it is a nightmare from which he can never truly awaken.

What world is this, that one individual can inflict such cruelty on others? How can this be?

We will never understand.

This photo was found here: http://luvinthebubble.com/boston-strong/

Friday, March 6, 2015

Fragmentation

Such a marvelous way with words, he has.

God's malcontent rains down invisibly from the heavens and manifests itself in the form of taco shells that fragment with the first bite. - Offspring the Second

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Not Yet Half A Century

Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years. - Ausonius

Happy Birthday, Beloved Husband. 


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Anemone

Like a clownfish in a sea anemone, Tiny Dog peeks out at the world from between Herself's feet.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bring Me

Bring me your suffering.
The rattle roar of broken bones.

Bring me the riot in your heart.
Angry, wild and raw.

Bring it all.

I am not afraid of the dark.
 
― Mia Hollow


Monday, March 2, 2015

Droplets

Rainy day moonroof.  Nifty.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Twenty

Early on a sparkling wintry morning in New England, two decades ago today, Offspring the Second made his entrance into the world. It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to experience his intelligence, his quiet thoughtfulness, and his wit as he has grown into the marvelous person he is today. Happy birthday, Offspring the Second, and may the future bring you All Good Things, always.

This enigmatic and intelligent crow - one of Offspring the Second's spirit animals, no doubt - can be found here: 
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/474x/3a/2f/0d/3a2f0d9c1dac34cf90d1ecf853bd8769.jpg