Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Close

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

We can quibble a hair about the occasional moments that were not in the book that were written into the movie, as well as about the important bits from the book that were left out of the movie; overall, however, the movie was quite satisfying indeed.  The classic lines that we all yearned to hear were spoken.  The deaths, though quite sad, were mercifully understated and not at all maudlin.  The heartbreak so long hidden in Severus Snape was finally revealed.  The Dark Lord was vanquished at last. 

All was well.

Surprisingly, Herself did not cry at all - in fact, her eyes did not even water.  Perhaps the act of writing in the blog about the anticipated hard parts of the movie was enough to allow her to view it in a detached manner. Perhaps the sobbing of the woman two seats away was sufficient distraction to allow Herself to remain serene.  Nevertheless, it was rather unusual for her to be so dispassionate.  What hidden strength did she find to remain so reserved?  That is a question that bears contemplation, indeed.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bring Your Hankies

We will be going to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 soon - probably this evening.  So many conflicting emotions:  anticipation; excitement; sadness at the closing of the series. A tinge of worry - how will the on-screen deaths play out? How emotionally charged will it be?

Will Herself cry?  I am uncertain.  While she is among the first to admit that she is frequently moved to tears, there are currently various circumstances about which she feels enough genuine sorrow that to cry because of a movie seems disingenuous.  Furthermore, she does not want to place her companion movie-goers in the uncomfortable position of feeling obligated to try to provide solace for her, when she herself cannot even determine what would be comforting at this juncture. She might even need solitude. She does not know.     

Just to be on the safe side, she will bring tissues with her to the theater.  And we will be certain to provide a review of the movie for you afterwards.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

HP A10

Q10: What form would your patronus take?

This question turns out to be nearly impossible to answer, for the criteria for ascertaining the characteristics of a patronus are unknown.  Is it an animal for which the person feels an affinity?  An animal that is traditionally known to have certain characteristics that are also shared by the person?  An animal that represents an individual who is important to the person, such as Harry Potter's stag or Severus Snape's doe? 

When Herself was small, she liked koala bears.  Also, like many young girls, she was partial to horses (and their magical cousin, the unicorn).  As a teenager, she also was a bit fond of llamas because they are slightly odd, rather wry, and serviceable animals.  Wombats were nifty to her as well.  As an adult, she has enjoyed the company of a rabbit, several dogs, and multiple guinea pigs; she particularly cares for the guinea pigs (as you will recall, she has even written about one here).  Is that sufficient influence for the form of her patronus?

What kind of animal is Herself?  Perhaps not a bird, for she does not particularly like to fly.  Not an ocean-dwelling creature, for sure - she is a land mammal.  Beyond those qualifications, though, I do not know what animal she most resembles. 

And what of important individuals?  There have been many people who have intersected with Herself's life; only a handful have been sufficiently vital to possibly have an impact on what type of animal might be revealed as her patronus.  Furthermore, it is impossible to quantify and compare the influence of these people - how can one weigh the import of a parent with a sibling with a husband with a child with a friend? It cannot be done.

For now, Herself's patronus appears to be non-corporeal. Only with time, more practice, and greater concentration upon her happiest memories, will Herself be able to conjure a fully corporeal patronus, so that we may learn of its true form.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Pause to Care

We interrupt the Harry Potter Ponderings once more to direct our thoughts and hearts toward two of Herself's favorite people, who are suffering from uncertainties and difficulties right now.  Alas, there is no magic wand that will help.  All we can do is provide an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on, and our love. 

We are thinking of you.

HP Q10

Back to our Harry Potter ponderings:

Q10:  What form would your patronus take? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Pause to Scratch

We interrupt the Harry Potter Ponderings in order to tackle a rather unpleasant issue in the household: 


There have been none found attached to any of the humans or the pets.  Nevertheless, we all panic ever so slightly each time we feel even a tiny itch.

We will resume other posting once we have followed all the instructions of The Bug Man and The Vet regarding eradication of the vermin.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Q9:  Severus Snape:  Discuss.

As we all now know, much-maligned Severus Snape ultimately turned out to be a heroic individual.  Only as he lay dying, when he imparted the essence of his critical memories to Harry Potter, did we finally learn of the sorrows and secrets that he was able to hide so well from everyone around him.  The ultimate revelations essentially required that we re-read the entire Harry Potter series so that we could view all of Professor Snape's actions and activities in the proper light.

The cornerstone to understanding Severus Snape is acknowledging the single force which the Dark Lord cannot comprehend.

If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. - Albus Dumbledore

There was a glaring absence of love in much of Severus Snape's childhood and years at Hogwarts.  His revealed memories alluded to the fractious relationship between his parents and their indifference toward the young Severus.  Their neglect was followed in turn by the cruelties of James Potter and Sirius Black (as well as other individuals) toward the awkward and reclusive teenage Severus Snape.  While Severus Snape no doubt contributed in part to his difficulties as a student at Hogwarts by dabbling in the Dark Arts, it is clear that the unrelenting bullying he endured hardened his heart and left him jaded and callous. 

Shining through the bitter darkness in which Severus Snape found himself was his friendship with Lily Evans.  Ultimately, his passionate yet unreturned love for her motivated his every action throughout his adulthood.  He placed himself in peril on innumerable occasions; he served as a double agent against Voldemort at great risk; and he worked covertly, continuously and consistently to protect Harry, who was a constant reminder of his beloved Lily's love for another man -- a man with whom Severus Snape had an unwavering, mutual enmity. 

How was Severus Snape able to hide so much from the Dark Lord?  Just as Voldemort could not anticipate or grasp the enormous, protective power of Lily's love for her child, he also no doubt could not begin to imagine, let alone fathom, the enormity of the driving force behind Severus Snape.  More potent and more wrenching than a love lost, was Severus Snape's unfulfilled love for Lily. 

The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned. - William Somerset Maughm

Unrequited love is a phoenix within the heart:  mythological and magical, it soars to impossible heights while crying out its terrible and beautiful song. It is consumed by its own flames and yet arises perpetually anew from the ashes.  Its tears can heal wounds that would otherwise be mortal injuries. It is idealized; irrefutable; incomprehensible.  Immortal.

Severus Snape:  not heartless, as so many believed, but rather, perpetually heartbroken.  Thankfully, Harry Potter ensured that the wizarding world ultimately understood Severus Snape's motivations and sacrifices.  Justice and understanding belonged to Severus Snape in the end.  We would do well to remember to be similarly kind to, and forgiving of, the lovelorn; for buried within their tortured souls may be the seeds of salvation for us all. 

[Snape:] "Expecto Patronum!"
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe:  She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window.  Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were ful of tears.
"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Q9:  Not truly a question - rather, a topic:

Severus Snape.  Discuss. 


Q8:  Which death(s) in the Harry Potter series struck you the most deeply?

So much terrible loss throughout the Harry Potter books.  Leaving aside the unique tragedy of those who were destroyed but not killed (Neville Longbottom's parents), there were so many heartwrenching deaths wrought during the ongoing battle of good and evil.  Let's look at just a few.

There is the sadness of the deaths of Teddy Lupin's parents, Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks.  Herself acknowledges that this is one of the darkest fears of every parent - to pass on and leave young children behind. Teddy's loss mirrors Harry's own orphaned state; however, even within this loss there is a kernel of redemption, for there will be an opportunity to right the wrongs suffered by Harry at the hands of his muggle relatives.  Teddy will be sheltered in the warm arms of an extended group of magical people; whether or not the individuals are related to Teddy by blood, they will no doubt ensure that he is well loved, always.

Dobby -- innocent, trusting, loyal magical creature -- felled during his greatest act of heroism, saving Harry and his companions from Malfoy Manor.  Dobby should have been able to enjoy his well-earned freedom for many, many years to come.  The cruelty of striking down an individual of such devotion and purity of heart generates a bitter loss. 

And Hedwig:  cursed into oblivion while shut helplessly in her cage.  Despite her inherent owl wisdom, here was no way to help her comprehend the dangers and intricacies of her unique position as messenger for the Chosen One.  She died without ever understanding -- a terrible unfairness that can never be remedied.  

There was another, most anguishing loss, though.  Reading of it was almost unbearable.  Watching it on film will be incredibly difficult. 

Fred Weasley.

Horrific for Molly and Arthur  Weasley, to have to bury one of their own children. I imagine, though, that the aftermath for George would be uniquely devastating.  To have to live on, severed from his twin who has been his more than just a brother -- bereft and devoid of his constant companion, his partner in all things, his veritable second half.  I have insufficient words to describe such a loss.  Despite the fact that Fred Weasley is a fictitional character, I nonetheless feel compelled to say:

Rest in peace, Fred.


Friday, July 22, 2011


Q8:  So many deaths throughout the Harry Potter series, particularly in Book 7.  Which one(s) struck you the most deeply?


Q7:  Into which house would you be sorted?

First, let us contemplate the relevant part of the Sorting Hat's song from Harry Potter's very first year at Hogwarts:

...There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you've a steady mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends....

I think that Herself and I would, in fact, be sorted differently.

My delight in multisyllabic words; the pleasure I have always derived from new classes and fresh textbooks; and my quest for deeper meaning and greater knowledge would place me squarely into Ravenclaw. 

When Herself was young, she might have similarly been sorted into Ravenclaw.  She immersed herself in her books.  She wrote complex essays. She thrived on learning types of cells, parts of speech, geometric formulae. She challenged herself to sight-read music.  She thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of conquering a difficult math problem and the challenge of a tricky Latin or Greek translation.  Education was her sole focus.

She is different now.  While she still prizes knowledge extremely highly, she recognizes that her education is not, in fact, her greatest asset.  Her strengths lie elsewhere. 

Time and experience have granted her an enormous well of patience.  She works diligently and redoubles her efforts whenever things do not come easily to her.  Fairness is critical to her in all matters.  And those who have earned her loyalty will find her devotion to be unquestioning and lifelong. 

She is a Hufflepuff.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Q7:  Into which house would you be sorted?

HP A2-A6

And so, we proceed to responding to the questions of yesterday:

Q2: What would be your favorite class(es) at Hogwarts?

Ancient runes would be high on the list.  Herself studied Latin and ancient Greek in high school, and I believe that ancient runes would be similarly enjoyable.  Herbology would be interesting as well, although Herself would be concerned that, given her penchant towards accidentally causing the demise of most flora, she would not do well in that class.  Perhaps she could enlist the help of Neville Longbottom.  Of course, Care of Magical Creatures would be most excellent. As shown by the variety of wildlife in the household menagerie, Herself is quite fond of all sorts of creatures.

Q3: What magical creature(s) would you most like to encounter?

The traditional unicorn, of course, would be pleasant.  The unusual winged creatures -- the thestral, the hippogriff, and even the phoenix -- would be truly fascinating.

Q4: What location(s) in the Harry Potter universe would you most like to visit?

Other than the most obvious -- Hogwarts, of course -- a trip to the Burrow would be lovely.  And even though it is off limits, the Forbidden Forest would be remarkable:  like the Sequoia forests, I imagine, yet populated by mysterious creatures and imbued with an almost palpable aura of magic.

Q5: Do you have a favorite Hogwarts professor, and if so, who?

This question is more difficult than I first imagined. Of the rotating Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers, Professor Lupin is clearly outstanding.  Of the regular staff, Professor McGonagall -- stern, brilliant, and witty -- is so very admirable.

Q6: Which of the three hallows would you most like to have in your possession?

Simple:  the invisibility cloak.

Later:  more difficult questions!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

HP Q2-Q6

So many potential discussion points, from the mundane to the difficult.  Let's set forth a few simple questions for contemplation first:

Q2:  What would be your favorite class(es) at Hogwarts?
Q3:  What magical creature(s) would you most like to encounter?
Q4:  What location(s) in the Harry Potter universe would you most like to visit?
Q5:  Do you have a favorite Hogwarts professor, and if so, who?
Q6:  Which of the three hallows would you most like to have in your possession?

Answers, followed by more difficult questions, tomorrow!


Today, we respond to yesterday's question:  Of all of the characters in the Harry Potter universe, is there one whom you would most like to emulate?

This is an easy question.  Those of you who know Herself, know that she aspires most to be like Molly Weasley. 

Molly:  a firm yet immensely loving mother and wife.  Patient, fiercely loyal, and kind-hearted; readily and willingly opening her heart and her home to those in need, whether it be Harry Potter, the Order of the Phoenix, or a wedding party.  She is homemaker extraordinaire - an excellent cook and good with household-y charms.  Simultaneously frugal and giving, she is a provider of thoughtful gifts, from hand-knit woolen jumpers, to homemade fudge, to her brother's watch.  She is enormously brave and never hesitates to fight for a just cause.  She always tries her hardest. 

Such an inspirational character.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Unless you have been living under a rock or have been otherwise isolated from the world of late, you are likely aware that the last movie in the series of Harry Potter movies was just recently released.  Reviews appear to indicate that it is quite good indeed.  I am looking forward to viewing the movie, although I am waiting a bit of time until the crowds thin.  In the erstwhile, I will be devoting a few entries to the contemplation of some Harry Potter-related topics.  Walk this path with me, readers:  I will pose the question and allow you time for contemplation, before posting my answer.  Your comments, and your own questions, are welcome. 

Question 1:  Of all of the characters in the Harry Potter universe, is there one whom you would most like to emulate?

Monday, July 18, 2011


So many aspects of Herself's life have been set by other people.  So many things Herself has done for others.  Often willingly, occasionally grudgingly; nevertheless, by and for others.  What is there that is truly hers?

College and graduate school were not hers - they were steps along a well-established path, laid out in accordance with the long-standing expectations of those around her.  The wedding to her Beloved belonged, in truth, to Herself's mother, who meticulously planned How Things Should Be.  (Herself cared only that she and her Beloved would be finally married, and minimally about locale, menu, or other accoutrements of the event itself.)  Herself's twenty years of employment?  She belongs to the company and the clients, not vice versa. 

People are not hers.  Her Beloved belongs to himself. He has his own work, activities, interests; committees, meetings; friends, relatives. While Herself is at the center of her Beloved's home, she is on the periphery of the multitude of complex actions and interactions that her Beloved has every day. He is his own man. The Offspring similarly belong to themselves, not to her; she was a mere conduit through which the Universe presented the Offspring to itself.  They are their own people. 

She has always risen to the occasion when asked to take care of things. Performed what has been expected of her.  Done what has needed to be done.  She is both driven and compelled to meet the needs and the desires of others. 

The one exception:  her black belt.

It was not expected of her.  No one required it.  It did not need to be done.  Yet, it was.  It is truly hers, for she has done it for herself alone. 

A unique and inestimably valuable gift to herself.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Black Belt

Herself speaks:

Seven months ago, when Offspring the Third was preparing for his black belt test, he wrote a composition describing what his black belt means to him.  I knew back then that my own test was somewhere on the horizon, so I began to contemplate my own essay.  I like to write, so I thought this assignment would be easy. 

I confess that I do not know yet what a black belt means to me.  I can only tell you what the journey to black belt has meant to me. 

First, it has meant perseverance.   This has been a very long journey, with pit stops due to injuries, illnesses, and occasional interference from Life in General.  There have also been countless minor moments when I have tripped over mat gnomes, made an ass of myself, or merely wounded my own dignity.  I have had to learn to pick myself up and try again, every time.    
Second, it has meant humility.  The closer I have gotten to black belt, the more mindful I have become of my own limitations.  I am fully aware of how much more practice I need and how much I do not yet know.   Clearly, I am still at the very beginning of my tae kwon do journey. 

 Third, it has meant a whole new appreciation for my family.  I bear an enormous debt of gratitude to my Beloved, who has patiently endured the hours and hours I’ve spent in class, sometimes even foregoing the rare and valuable time that he and I could have spent together.  I also appreciate tremendously that Offspring the First, Offspring the Second, and Offspring the Third have not only kept me company on the mat, but also helped at home so that I could consistently be at the gym.  Thank you all for your unwavering support.
Fourth, it has meant companionship.  My classmates and I have sweat together, suffered together, laughed together, and occasionally cried together.   They are more than just my fellow students - they are a pea in my pod; they are a common-law family member; they are my friends.  They are my motivation and my inspiration. I would not be standing here now without them.  

And finally, it has meant muffins.  Muffins for everyone!
Thank you, Master and my dojang, for preparing me during this journey to black belt.  I am grateful.  Hopefully, someday, I’ll be able to tell you what the black belt itself means to me. 

Thanks again.

Friday, July 15, 2011


You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair.  Then I thought 'Wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?' So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.
- Marcus Cole, Babylon 5

Life is hard.  Herself and those around her struggle with the mundane and the profound, the technical and the personal.  Water heaters burst; mysterious leaks appear.  Contractors fail to arrive.  Servers crash.  Knees hurt; backs ache; teeth need fillings. Patience wears thin.  Unexpected expenses appear. Clients fail to respond and are slow to pay.  Coworkers provide insufficient information, and ask questions for which the response is unknown or for which they already have the answers.  Blood relatives, who are expected to be kind, behave in a passive-aggressive manner.  Tires must be replaced.  Differing parenting styles yield complexities.  Fatigue.  Headache. Loneliness. Frustration.  Sorrow. 

Throughout it all, they all try hard to do their best.  They attempt to eat right, to avoid too much salt or fat or migraine-inducing ingredients.  They tidy up.  They try to go to the gym regularly. They call upon reserves of patience about which we were unaware until desperation arrived.  They apologize and make peace.  They resign themselves to paying a bit extra.  They take just a couple more ibuprofen to lessen the pain.  They wait.  They hope.  They try, again and again.

Sometimes, it is too much to bear, and a relief valve is necessary.  They curse.  They cry.  They throw things.  They turn to food, to cigarettes.  They avoid other people.  They curl up with a blanket and think bitter, despairing thoughts. They sit immobilized before the television.  They lose themselves in the vast expanse of the internet. 

While a critical person might scoff at their apparent weakness or look down upon them for their displays of emotion and forays into unhealthy and unproductive habits, the understanding soul knows better.  It is not a question of lack of willpower; rather, it is a matter of self-preservation.  They do what they must, for sometimes, that tiny piece of solace -- perhaps in the shape of a piece of chocolate -- is just enough to keep Life's Dementors at bay.  Only after allowing themselves that moment, will they be able to find their bootstraps and try again, once more. 

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
- Plato

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Homenum Revelio

I know who you are, and I am grateful you are here.


Herself and I were highly entertained by the following quotation, which, Herself wryly suspects, may be equally applicable to herself:

She is as wholesome as a bowl of cornflakes and at least as sexy.

- Dwight McDonald (on Doris Day)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Uneventful Evening

Herself has taken the night off from taekwondo in order to rest the hip that has been bothering her.  In the late afternoon, she occupies herself with preparing something interesting for dinner for a change:  chicken and lentils.  The recipe does have migraine-inducing ingredients, so she cannot consume it; nevertheless, she reasons, her Beloved and possibly the two non-vegetarian Offspring -- since they are not afflicted by food-induced headaches -- will enjoy it.

E-mail from her Beloved; he is working late.  Ah, well, his chicken and lentils will wait until tomorrow.  Offspring the Third politely declines to try the recipe; Offspring the Second is holed up in his room, playing his drums, and cannot be tempted out to eat.  Offspring the First is making plans to go out with her friends.  Offspring the Third enjoys some cartoons on the television.  Oh, the phone rings!  It is Herself's sister - huzzah, adult conversation.  Alas, sister's telephone time is short, for she has an appointment. The call ends quickly.

Herself sighs.  She does not feel like playing the piano.  She is not inspired to tackle the laundry, the sweeping or the vacuuming.  She could pay the bills, or tackle a work project.  Or clean the pets.  Unappealing ideas, those.  She waters the plants in the pots out front.  They are struggling with the intense desert heat and lack of precipitation; they look sad and slightly withered. 

She feels sad and slightly withered, too. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Florence Nightingale

Though we all suffer
In individual ways,
We have the same need:

For someone who cares
For someone who brings relief
For someone who helps.

I'd like nothing more
Than to have a healing touch
To soothe away hurt -

To provide comfort,
To ease physical pain, and
To lessen heartache.

I am most alive
When I care for others.
I am here for you.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Piano and I

Herself has some new sheet music.  It is rather difficult, and she does enjoy a musical challenge.  She has pulled out some of her older music as well, and has spent multiple hours in the past day at her piano.  It soothes her and makes her content. 

In her youth, Herself was required to participate in regular piano recitals.  They were always frightening, worrisome events, and the stress and anxiety generated by any public performance were hardly bearable.  It is a relief to have left those days behind. 

As an adult, she plays purely for her own pleasure.  In fact, she now considers playing for someone else to be a rather intimate act, and will decline to do so for anyone except for her loved ones.  If you, beloved reader, ask her gently, I know that she will play for you.

It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful.  It has the beauty of loneliness of pain; of strength and freedom.  The beautify of disappointment and never-satisfied love.  The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony.

- Benjamin Britten

Friday, July 8, 2011

Birds of a Feather

Friendship is a miracle by which a person consents to view from a certain distance, and without coming any nearer, the very being who is necessary to him as food.

– Simone Weil

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Unrealistic Expectations

Herself looks after the household.  Most of the time, she enjoys doing so.  There's always a certain satisfaction in the routines of tidying the house, taking care of the laundry, attending to the pets, preparing meals.  The pleasure is magnified when the tasks are separated rather than piled one upon the other; for example, cooking dinner while in the camper-trailer is usually quite enjoyable, because no other tasks require attention simultaneously. 

The tricky part occurs when multitasking is necessary.  It is irritating to listen to the guinea pigs wheeking and begging for vegetables while Herself is in the middle of grating zucchini for the zucchini bread.  It is annoying when the kitchen table is covered with toys and books, because the items must be cleared away before the steadily growing pile of clean laundry can be folded on that surface; yet using the couch as a folding area instead is an impossibility, because the dog fur must be vacuumed off of it first.  And how can a meal be prepared when the dishwasher is full and clean and there are dirty dishes waiting in the sink?

These are the times when Herself looks at the other members of the household and thinks, why cannot they SEE what needs to be done?  Do they not hear the dogs barking to be let into the house?  Do they not notice the basket of folded laundry waiting to be brought upstairs?  Why is that pencil still in that spot on the floor, a day and a half later? 

She understands that other members of the household (and particularly her Beloved) are quite busy, and frequently preoccupied with work or homework.  She wants to ensure that everyone has some time for relaxation and enjoyment, too.  Nevertheless, there are moments when she cannot understand why it is that there is no spontaneous initiative to perform that one tiny task that could easily be done. At the same time, she also loathes asking them to do things - as we all know, Herself would rather chew off her own leg than ask for any help.  So she is caught between the proverbial rock and hard place.

It is her problem, though, not theirs. They are not mind-readers.

She must come to terms with the fact that others will not spontaneously do what Herself feels needs to be done, and that she must, in fact, request assistance.  Perhaps she will start with trying to train them to ask, "What can I do for you?"  It always warms her heart when another poses that question, even if her answer at the moment is, "nothing, thank you."  It will require a concentrated change in how Herself handles matters, and that will be difficult for her.  It is a necessary adjustment, though.  Step by step, and with her consistent effort, she will get the help she would like. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Our life is a short time in expectation, a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment.  There is a quality of sadness that pervades all the moments of our lives.  It seems that there is no such thing as a clear-cut pure joy, but that even in the most happy moments of our existence we sense a tinge of sadness.  In every satisfaction, there is an awareness of limitations.  In every success, there is the fear of jealousy.  Behind every smile, there is a tear.  In every embrace, there is loneliness.  In every friendship, distance.  And in all forms of light, there is the knowledge of surrounding darkness . . .  But this intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death can point us beyond the limits of our existence.  It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall take away from us.

- Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Radio Silence

This past weekend, Herself, her Beloved, and the Offspring took the camper-trailer out for a short vacation.  The first day was occupied with a reunion of one of the many branches of Beloved's gigantic family tree.  The second and third days were spent primarily in the Davis Mountains State Park, where the family was joined by Herself's Cherished Friend. There was no cell phone signal, so calls, e-mail, text, FaceBook, and other contact with the outside world were not available. So lovely.

There was a tiny bit of hiking, some interesting wildlife, and a fair amount of relaxation.  The menfolk practiced knot-tying and discussed Manly Things; Cherished Friend conversed with, and entertained, the whole family; the teenage Offspring accepted the lack of communication with their friends and interacted more with one another and the family; Offspring the Third climbed trees and poked around; and Herself got to cook assorted meals without any interruptions.  There were deer, javelinas, and turkey vultures to admire.  It was quiet.  The Milky Way was visible at night.  So many stars.  

Herself got up extra early the last morning and went for a walk up the mountain view drive while everyone else was still asleep.  She could spy the family's camper-trailer and Cherished Friend's camper-trailer from far above.  She watched the sunrise.  She waited patiently while a herd of javelinas, including a wee baby, crossed the road.  So restful.

The trip was far too short.  Hopefully, another similar trip will appear on the horizon soon.  I am looking forward to it already.