There is a story in the news right now about an accident aboard a Southwest Airlines plane, in which an engine ruptured, damaging the plane and killing a passenger. You can read a bit about it here, and particularly about the magnificent pilot who safely landed the damaged aircraft and prevented further loss of life. If you are inclined, you can find audio of the conversation between the pilot and the control tower in various places online. I cannot listen -- for it is one of my pet fears brought to life.
I do not like to fly. I'm not an anxious flyer (more likely, a prone-to-airsickness flyer), but I do occasionally fret about the what ifs of air travel. I know I am much more likely to be squashed in a car accident or suffer some untoward medical emergency than to perish in a plane crash; still, there is something more viscerally terrifying about being miles up in the atmosphere, and then plummeting to one's doom.
I'm not ready to slip the surly bonds of earth, yet.
Why? Because, I think: the Offspring, though nearly grown, still need me, as does Beloved Husband. I know they'd manage, certainly -- none of us can pretend to be truly indispensable -- but I am loath to leave them without the safety and help I may be able to provide in times of need. And what of my siblings, my parents, my friend? They would manage, too, no doubt. But still.
Perhaps my dislike of flying stems from the fact that I recognize quite clearly how much my life is enriched by these people, and I project my own feelings of potential loss onto any imagined disaster. I am not ready for the possibility of letting go of these people, just yet.
What if I don't get one last chance to tell all those who are so important to me, how much they really mean to me?
I hope that they already know.
And I hope, too, that I will have much more Time to show them.
I visited the new Whole Foods store in my area for the first time, and it was exactly as expected.
Although it is too pricey for regular shopping, it does seem like a very good place for unusual food items. Perhaps, when I am less busy, I will explore further and do some interesting cooking. I would like that.
It is straining my mental resources to keep all of the various tasks on target, and there is so little time for anything I enjoy. No evening constitutionals; only the barest minimum of cooking. No daydreaming. No reading for pleasure. Nothing except All The Tasks.
I know that the timeline and tasks will adjust within another month, and that I just have to hold on. I can do this, I know. I am mentally fatigued, though. So much at stake.
I'm not intentionally vague -- I wish I could divulge more, but for privacy reasons, am not comfortable doing so.
Your company in this time of difficulty, gentle reader, is much appreciated, and I hope that you will forgive me the dearth of meaningful conversation and noteworthy information.
Offspring the First -- witty, kind, charming, lovely -- turns twenty-five today. A quarter century. It was her arrival that bestowed on me the title of "mom," and it has been an honor to help her grow into the person she is today. Congratulations, Offspring the First, on achieving this milestone, and on your valiant efforts to make your way in this complex world in which we live.
A quarter century ago, I, too, was twenty-five. Though that was a lifetime ago for Offspring the First, I nevertheless remember so much of it clearly still. Perhaps it was somehow just yesterday, or last week. Or perhaps, it is because Offspring the First has had such a profound impact on our world -- making us a family for the first time -- that all of those young memories have been etched clearly, forever.
I wish for you, Offspring the First, a clear and well-lit path into the future, full of joy and successes both large and small. We love you. Godspeed, and onward!
I have passed this small herd of cows several times now on the way to one of my tasks. They all have a large circular window (door?) on their left side. Offspring the Third, who is taking an animal sciences course in college, informs me that the windows are used to analyze digestion and compare various feeds and such. It's fascinating, in a somewhat horrible way.
I will say, though, that these cows are fluffy, glossy, clearly well-fed, and allowed to freely roam in a grassy field on a regular basis (for that is where I always see them). They hang out together in a comfortable spot when they are not roaming, and appear to be enjoying the mild spring weather. As uncomfortable as it may be to contemplate use of cows in this manner, perhaps we can take comfort in knowing that they appear to be content.
I don't write much about my family and loved ones, for they are all very private individuals. Nevertheless, I will say that this past weekend, there was a moment when there was a medical emergency and we were very concerned about the wellbeing of the family patriarch. He is brilliant, kindly, thoughtful, responsible, generous, and an overall outstanding human being, and we are all tremendously grateful that all turned out well. I aspire to be like him. Perhaps, if I try hard, someday I will have the grace of character that he does.
I am my father's daughter I have my Grandma's eyes I am the product of such sacrifice I am the accumulation of the dreams of generations And their stories live in me like holy water I am my father's daughter
I was working at the kitchen table this evening, with Tiny Dog in my lap. She peered crankily over the edge of the table at Beloved Husband, who, amused, took a photo. He showed me the picture, and I was somewhat caught off guard to see that Tiny Dog really does look quite tiny, especially when adjacent to my cleavage.
I've resigned myself to the idea that I'll never be a tiny, dainty person; yet I must be in denial of my... ample-ness, since I am perpetually surprised/dismayed when I see photographs. I clearly need to work on my self-image. Or my diet. Or both.
Perhaps, someday, I'll be fine with what I see in pictures.
I can aspire.
Even two chihuahuas may be no match for the mammaries.
I saw a trailer for a documentary about Mr. Rogers today. And though I don't much enjoy documentaries, this is one that I will be happy to watch.
You can find all sorts of clips of Mr. Rogers all over YouTube. They are delightful. Look at him: his all-encompassing kindness, his thoughtful acknowledgment of feelings of all shapes and sizes. He seems almost too good to be true -- and I watch him, nearly fearful, half-expecting a piece of sarcasm or of dismissal or of anger to come from him. Yet it never does. He speaks soothingly and lovingly to all people, regardless of their age, color, abilities. It is beautiful -- almost as if a conversation with Mr. Rogers could somehow put the whole world right again.
Thank you, Mr. Rogers, for making the world a better place.
I was weeding through the pictures on my phone, and came across some that I took last time I was visiting my parents. Behold, my paternal grandfather's humidor:
Grandpa Hy would give us the bands from his cigars, and we would wear them like rings on our fingers. I always liked the smell of his cigars. Sheynah meydeleh, he would call me. Pretty girl. He was a generous man, for I was a somewhat plain and rather buck-toothed child. He always did make me special, just for being myself.
Within just over twenty-four hours, first Offspring the Second, then Offspring the Third, and finally Cherished Friend took their leave from the house. Now Beloved Husband has gone to run some errands, and so it is just the small dogs and I here.
Alas. Pieces of my heart, gone forth into the world once more.
Flowers, copyright 2018, Offspring the Third. Used with gratitude.
Physicist Stephen Hawking has passed away. So brilliant -- he described the universe to us in ways that we can only begin to understand. What a tremendous contribution to human knowledge. What has he learned now, as he has become one with the cosmos?
We are all stardust.
Offspring the Second, ever eloquent, stated simply: A lifetime is but a drop in the eternity of the cosmos, but that's all we get, and that's all we need. Enjoy the beyond, professor.
This week is spring break for Offspring the Second and Offspring the Third, and they are happily in the house, eating all the things, distributing their possessions about the house, and generally enjoying the luxury that is free time.
I envy them.
I need, more than anything, a break from Everything. For a week. For a day. For an hour.
Earlier this week, a woman with whom I work brought me this wee critter. She knows that I am overloaded with A Million Different Projects right now, and thought it would cheer me.
It did. Thank you, lovely coworker.
I confess that I have very mixed feelings when kindnesses are bestowed upon me. My first thought is to feel guilty that I am not the one delivering kindnesses; my second thought is to be concerned that I have let slip some sign that I am not handling all my Many Things as well as I should -- shown some sort of vulnerability -- that has occasioned the kindness, and that I might thus be in some sort of danger by virtue of such a display of vulnerability. There might be some background feelings of I'm not worthy floating in there, too.
Perhaps one day, I will simply be pleased and grateful, without all the clutter of negative feelings. I look forward to that day.
Happy birthday, Beloved Husband. I made you a cake from scratch -- it is a fudge cake, with mocha icing. The recipe seems surprisingly light despite the abundance of chocolate. We shall see how you like it.
Do you realize that we have known one another for 57% of your entire life? That is a long time, isn't it? Yet is has gone quickly.
I hope you enjoy your cake, and many, many more years of birthdays to come.
We went to see Black Panther this evening. It was an excellent movie, beautifully filmed, well acted, and entertaining. A refreshing change from standard superhero fare.
The best part, for me, was the female presence throughout the movie. It was magnificent: it was neither "token female" nor "look we are diversifying by making some characters female", but rather, women as an integral -- and natural -- part of the story. Whereas Wonder Woman was a solitary woman in the world of Men, in Black Panther, women are security, technology, and a driving force for aid and betterment of society, working together and as part of the whole of the world. Magnificent, indeed.
Once more, I did not know what was missing, until I saw this movie.
Offspring the Second turns twenty-three today. He is such a lovely person: bright, inquisitive, polite, thoughtful, kind-hearted and witty. It is always a pleasure to speak with him. When he shares his point of view with me, I see the world anew through his eyes, and I am made a better person.
Beloved Husband sent me a few pictures of Offspring the Second's first days. In one in particular, Offspring the Second slumbers peacefully in his fuzzy green onesie, resting in my arms like a wee green caterpillar, dreaming of the day when he will be a butterfly.
And in the blink of an eye, this once-tiny little person is grown and has transformed into an angular, delightful young man on the threshold of all sorts of wonderful possibilities. Go forth, Offspring the Second, and see where the winds of the world take you.
I have been watching old episodes of Kung Fu while exercising in the morning. Two of my favorites are the Besieged episodes (Death on Cold Mountain, Cannon at the Gates) -- though they bring a bittersweet reminder of my days of taekwondo, as well as an ancient remembrance of the kindling of first fire between two people. Awash in these memories, I feel the full weight of my fifty years.
Yet: I am still young on the inside.
In every winter's heart there is a quivering spring, and behind the veil of each night there is a shining dawn. -- Kahlil Gibran
I thought I had finally come to terms with the Unmooring of three-and-a-half years ago. I have moved on, have new projects, new tasks, new work. I am very busy; there is not much time to reminisce about anything, especially right now.
And yet, today in the course of different work, I came across a publicly available copy of a project from my former employment, and was struck by the signature of one of my coworkers on the document. It has been so very long since I have seen that handwriting. And yet, I would recognize it anywhere.
Suddenly, I am sad, all over again.
Perhaps I shall drop my former coworker an email tomorrow. For old times' sake.
Beloved Husband is away for business this evening, and so it is just I and the chihuahuas passing the time at home. I brought home a rotisserie chicken for them, and some mediocre grocery-store sushi for me, and we had a companionable dinner together. We decided not to clean the kitchen (I, because the dishes will still be there in the morning; and they, because they do not have opposable digits). Instead, we parked ourselves in the study, and I worked a bit on a longer-term project while they snored peacefully in the blanket in my lap. A not unpleasant way to spend an evening.
We've now paused the work for a bit, and are perusing the interwebs while listening to old 1980s "hair band" ballads. The music of that era will always have a special place in my heart, for it is the music of my youth and coming-of-age. It doesn't seem so long ago, somehow.
Right now, it is Bon Jovi - I'll be there for you. I think this is the first time I have listened closely to the lyrics. If one were to listen to only the chorus, one would think that this is a song of devotion:
I'll be there for you, these five words I swear to you When you breathe, I want to be the air for you I'll be there for you I'd live and I'd die for you I'd steal the sun from the sky for you Words can't say what love can do I'll be there for you
The verses, though, tell a larger story: that of bad behavior and regret:
I wasn't there when you were happy And I wasn't there when you were down Didn't mean to miss your birthday baby I wish I'd seen you blow those candles out
Well, that's sad.
Perhaps it was the underlying sadness of this song that made it appeal so much to the angst-filled teenagers of the 1980s. For when we are young, everything is so important, each heartache monumental; each promise kept was a slice of heaven, and each promise broken was a glimpse into the abyss.
All these decades later, the truth is: we do the best we can with what we have. We try, and we fail, and we try again. Sometimes we have behaved poorly; we have learned, and done better. Sometimes we have succeeded, and learned again, and done even better. And every moment is not the be-all, end-all as it seemed in our youth. With time comes the wisdom and the grace of understanding. Perhaps, after all, it is not unpleasant to have reached this point on the path.
And so, we will once more focus on the chorus, in our eternal optimism:
I'll be there for you, these five words I swear to you.
Over the past several nights, I have had some strange dreams.
In a first, I dreamt that I was preparing ingredients to go into the CrockPot for dinner, but there were too many vegetables and I could not put them all into the pot. They were all such good vegetables, though, that I wanted to find a way to include all of them.
In a second, I dreamt that someone had rearranged the furniture in my work office, and there were too many pieces of furniture -- a desk, a credenza, several round tables, a sideboard, and others -- and I could not figure out how to arrange the furniture to fit properly in the office. The desk and the matching sideboard were a lovely dark wood with intricate carvings, though, that I was working to find a way to ensure they were positioned just the right way, while still having room at a separate round table for people to meet and work together.
Oh, dear. What would Freud say?
It's quite clear that I have MANY things going on right now, and that they are all important, but that I'm having trouble making sure they are all adequately addressed.
For one of my current tasks (an enjoyable one, I must add), I drive 40 miles to and fro, twice a week. On the way home, the sun is just setting; it is a lovely time of day. Just Right for a little music, a pleasant drive, and contemplation of Things.
Sometimes I think about the Things I must do.
Sometimes I think about what I will do when I am done with the Things I must do.
Sometimes I think about what I might do, if I had time to do things other than the Things.
Sometimes I just think about the people in my life, and how grateful I am for them. That is the best time of all.
NinjaHead resides with a muffin-baking woman known herein as Herself. Herself has a Beloved Husband, with whom she shares three nearly-grown Offspring. When she is not writing Things, Herself nurtures a visceral fondness for small furry creatures. The household menagerie, which has varied in size and composition over the years, presently contains a minuscule middle aged chihuahua and a most mild-mannered senior chihuahua. Someday, there will be more critters, for she loves them tremendously.