Friday, October 30, 2009

Be Yourself

Thought for today:

Grasshopper, be yourself and never fear thus to be naked to the eyes of others. Yet, know that man so often masks himself. That what is simple is rarely understood. The dust of truth swirls and seeks its own cracks of entry.

- Master Po, Kung Fu

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Snow on the Franklin Mountains this morning. Beautiful.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Body Ugly

One of the few benefits of being disembodied is that I am blissfully free of most body issues. While I do acknowledge that my hair is thinning somewhat and my chin is a bit lopsided, I need not worry about weight, roundness of belly, or size of thighs.

Herself has been wrestling with her body image, and the longer she waits for the doctor's clearance to resume her regular exercise routines, the greater the struggle has become. She realizes that she is no longer anywhere near the blossom of youth, and that a few wrinkles, a smidgen of sag, a bit of extra baggage are to be expected. She well knows the platitudes, It Is What Is On The Inside That Counts and Beauty Is Only Skin Deep.

All the same, she is wistful for the times when the body machinery worked properly without effort, when calorie-counting and avoidance of migraine-inducing foods were unnecessary. Days when medical issues were rare and easily handled, when there were no surgical scars instead of the eleven, large and small, that now dot the landscape of her torso. Time when the marks of bearing three consecutive nine-pound babies had not yet arisen. Ages when she was not self-conscious about the height of her forehead, the jiggle of her arms, the heft of her breasts, the sponginess of her abdomen, the shape of her behind. She thinks of these things now, and curls inward on herself, wanting to hide away from those who might look at her and judge her. Appearance should not matter. And yet, sometimes, it does.

I would like to teach her that she is beautiful in her own way, and that her scars, both physical and otherwise, are to be embraced as part and parcel of her entire being. Once she is back on the mat at tae kwon do, she will slowly regain the sense of mastery over her physical self that she so desperately needs right now. She will, I hope, eventually learn to accept all her perceived flaws, and face the world bravely without care as to what others may think.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Soup of Satisfaction

After bemoaning her plight as a thwarted cook yesterday, Herself had three unexpected pleasures arise. First, she was able to foist a loaf of fresh cranberry bread upon a friend. Second, she discovered an upcoming opportunity to make muffins in celebration of a visit from an old tae kwon do comrade. And third, her Beloved arrived home early enough for Herself to make him dinner. At his request for light fare, she prepared egg-drop soup with noodles. Unusually, she worked freehand - without a recipe. Since Herself is a scientist at heart, she typically views cooking as a technical pastime rather than as an art. Every now and then, though, she throws caution to the wind and experiments. There are no leftovers, so I believe the soup was a success.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cookies of Despair

Herself and I tried out a new recipe for Halloween - chocolate-chip-pumpkin cookies. They are a lovely fall color, and quite tasty, I think. (Herself thinks so too, although she must pick out the chocolate chips to avoid migraine.) Alas, the Offspring were not interested in consuming the cookies. Instead, they ate drop-forged-store-bought-donuts. Or Pop Tarts.

Herself realizes that not all recipes will be successful. Yet, of the four humans in the household besides Herself, only 25 to 50% at any given time can be relied upon to try anything new or exhibit enthusiasm for homemade goods. Herself's Beloved is always game, but he works such long hours that he is not often home to consume whatever Herself has made, and so she does not often cook items specifically for him lest they spoil and go to waste. Of the Offspring, it is extremely rare that all will enjoy the same particular item. The three must be cajoled to taste something new, with varying degrees of inveigling depending on which child is most hesitant. The odds are, only one of the three will enjoy a new item enough to consume a noticeable quantity of it.

And so, Herself remains a frustrated and despondent cook.

Fortunately, the holiday season is swiftly approaching, and Herself will have an opportunity to satisfy her stifled love of cooking by providing baked goods as gifts to her friends. Maybe they will like the cookies.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Less is More

I dream of a tiny house with a large plot of land. Land in the desert, or land on the plains; land high in the mountains, land on the edge of the forest. Land close to nature, and quiet, and peace.

One of my favorite sites to peruse is the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company website. I try to envision what the houses look like, what it would be like to inhabit a small abode. Sometimes I imagine the tiniest of spaces, a blissful getaway for a few days. Other times I imagine one of the larger designs, a permanent home for myself in my solitude.

A refuge from the world’s chaos.


Saturday, October 24, 2009


My friends the tiny ducks are trying on their costumes. I especially like the unearthly sheen on ghostly duck.

I have not yet decided what to be for Halloween. Being disembodied is spooky enough.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Scales of Justice

I spent a very long day Tuesday with Herself at jury duty. Ultimately, she was dismissed and not asked to serve, which was quite a relief as the trial promised to be long, arduous, and grim. The few details provided concerning the case revealed that it concerned the death of a young child. Herself confessed to me that she was certain that no juror who heard the case would ever be quite the same again.

It is so very important to make oneself available as a juror, in order to ensure that each and every individual's rights are protected. Never have I felt the weight of the Constitution of The United States more than when I sat in that courtroom, listening to the prosecution and the defense conduct voir dire, and trying to parse the inscrutable look on the face of the defendant.

I don't know what the ultimate verdict in the case will be. I do know, though, that a man's life as he knows it hangs in the balance, and that is a mighty weight to bear. Be strong, jurors. Our freedoms depend on it.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Preparations for All Hallow's Eve continue. Gone, however, are the days of yore in which a trip to the local party store would yield a bonanza of appropriate costumes. With the advent of teenage years, dress-up has become a much more fraught affair. Any commercial costumes for girls are designed to display what Herself believes to be an inappropriate amount of flesh. Those for boys are, in Herself's opinion, either extremely gory or excessively juvenile. Encouraging creative, self-designed costumes is now necessary.

Then there is the question of, how old is too old for trick-or-treating? An offer has been made to host a party for the teens at the house, but it is unsure whether they will be interested in doing so (as we know, other peoples' homes are always infinitely superior to one's own abode). Herself will be trapped in the front yard as the hundreds of trick-or-treaters flow by. At least she is pleased with her costume. I will try to convince her to post a picture in due course.

My favorite part will always be the carving of the pumpkins.

Friday, October 16, 2009


During most of the month of October, Offspring the Second periodically rearranges a set of fake bones in the front yard as part of the Halloween decorations. He is quite creative, and always sets the pieces in their physically correct relation - leg bone near hip bone, arm bones properly aligned, and so forth. My favorite scenario from last year was one in which the bones stuck out from underneath a tipped-over recycling bin.

Can you see me? I'm in the eye socket. Boo!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Herself is struggling once more with a possible infection. This one is commonplace, but quite painful, and she feels rather wretched at the moment. Antibiotics should improve matters within a few days.

At the moment, she is full of irritation and disappointment at her own physical frailty. That, combined with the slightly invasive testing yesterday to determine the cause of her discomfort, has rendered her practically apoplectic with rage at the entire situation.

Anyone know a good joke to help cheer her? She needs help.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tick, Tock

Some days there just isn't enough time to accomplish all of one's goals. Fortunately, Ralph Waldo Emerson has a few words of wisdom for us:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely....”

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Secret Plan

Herself has a new goal. She just received an e-mail message indicating that the date for the local Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure will be on February 21, 2010. It is 5 kilometers. She would like not just to walk it, but to run.

This is quite an ambitious undertaking for her. She will necessarily start very slowly, as she is not fully medically cleared for all activities yet. I see her intense concentration as she fills out a calendar of intermediate goals, and I am pleased that I will be helping her train. Wish us luck.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is a cookie on each side.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Q: How many dinosaurs can fit in an empty box?

A: One. After that, the box isn't empty.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Moment of Silence, Please

The ancient, enfeebled, debilitated hamster of the household has finally shuffled off this mortal coil. He appears to have died peacefully, curled up in his nest and surrounded by his favorite foodstuffs. While we knew his warranty had expired quite some time ago, it is still the loss of a wee mammalian friend. May he find peace and happiness in the Beyond, along with all of the other beloved pets who have passed through our lives.

Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.
- James Cromwell

Useful Advice

Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lighten Up, Already!

Since last week's entries were quite serious, this week will be devoted to more lighthearted fare. I confess that I'm absolutely terrible at telling jokes, but I am optimistic that I will be able to elicit at least one chuckle along the way.

For today:

Q: What weighs 35 tons and sticks to the roof of your mouth?

A: A peanut butter and apatosaurus sandwich.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Loneliness and the Gallbladder of Doom

Otherwise known as, Another Answer To The Question, Why is She So Extraordinarily Fond of Her Friends?

One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, once divided love into four categories: affection, friendship, eros and charity. Of the four, he found the least natural yet the most admirable to be friendship. Today’s entry pertains to the miracle of friends, and to that end, relates details surrounding the Gallbladder of Doom.

Nearly two years ago, Herself had her gallbladder removed on a very quick basis. (She knew surgery was imminent when the first words out of the surgeon’s mouth in his office were not, “Hello, I’m Dr. So-and-so,” but rather, “How did your gallbladder get SO BAD?”). It was one of life’s mercifully few nadir moments. The primary difficulty, though, was not the run-through-with-a-hot-poker-type pain, nor the operation and recovery; rather, it was something much more elemental, and much more problematic to resolve.

Herself had only a short amount of time to go home, prepare herself, and return to the hospital for a 5 PM Curtain Call. Her instructions for her Beloved were to pick up the children from school – first priority is always the needs of the Offspring – and he was unable to arrive at the hospital before the appointed time. She telephoned her parents, and e-mailed her colleagues at work and her internet friends. And that was that. She was without any company at the hospital, save that of the pre-op nurses, for a couple of hours before being wheeled in for surgery.

Herself has historically been quite solitary. For myriad reasons, she had not formed any local friendships. She was mostly content with this state of affairs, until those long, long minutes of waiting by herself, in pain, desolate and forlorn.

The horror of being so very alone still haunts her.

Afterwards, as she spent the majority of her recovery without adult company while her Beloved was at work, she recognized that responsibility for those terrible moments and for her present situation rested solely on her shoulders, and that, as frightening as it might be, it was time to find some local friends.

Fast-forward nearly two years to the present time. Once more, Herself was scheduled for surgery. There were a few noteworthy differences this time around, though. Everything was planned in advance. Her parents had arranged to be in town to help care for the Offspring. Her Beloved was present throughout the difficult pre-op waiting. And most of all, wondrously, miraculously, Herself had found friends to help her through.

One friend kept her company via text message during many irritating moments, both before and after the surgery. Another stopped by the hospital to bestow good cheer and provided very sage and welcome advice about recovery. A third provided vital DVDs and a good book for distraction, which proved even more invaluable when her slight complications set in. They, and others in the tae kwon do family, provided hugs, encouragement and well wishes before the procedure as well as afterward. Even though her Beloved needed to work long hours, Herself still had good company. They made her laugh, and it was healing laughter. And she was never lonely.

She has a deep, visceral gratitude for the presence of these people in her life. She is also appreciative of them on behalf of Her Beloved, as they have relieved him of the unjust and impossible burden of being Herself’s sole adult companionship. They have enriched her world enormously, and made it a brighter place.

She hopes they know that she would do anything in her power to ensure that they never experience the isolation she once did. She would move Heaven and Earth to bring them happiness, if she could. They are kind to her. They bring her so much joy. They are her friends.

“A friend is one with whom you are comfortable, to whom you are loyal, through whom you are blessed, and for whom you are grateful.” – William Arthur Ward

Thursday, October 1, 2009


When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you, yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

- Kahlil Gibran