Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spectres and Phantasms

Herself has always been a vivid dreamer.  It's odd.  Even though she considers her imagination to be fairly pedestrian when she is awake, her subconscious -- or whatever mechanism serves to generate dreams -- is extremely creative, bringing forth complex, multilayered storylines while she sleeps.  She is more likely to have unusual dreams if she has a migraine pending or if she is ill, although even ordinary nights can yield dreams of exceptional detail. She always remembers her dreams, too.

Once when she was very tiny (probably three or four years of age) she had a fever-induced dream that she still can recall today.  She dreamt that her bed was made of sand; there was a warm yellow sunlit glow in the room and a soft pleasant breeze.  She was digging happily in the sand, feeling it flow through her fingers and patting it into piles, and was singing a song aloud to herself.  When she got close to the end of the song, the air in the room suddenly became still, a hush fell over everything, and the closet door flew open, revealing a paper grocery bag standing upside-down with the bottom toward the ceilling.  The bag mouthlessly sang the last line of the song in a loud, proud voice.  The bag was alive.  She woke up drenched in sweat, horrified.  

Nightmares of inanimate objects becoming cognizant have long since passed away.  Adult dreams tend to have a foundation in the mundane, such as being back in college and realizing she has missed a class or not studied for an exam, or needing to facilitate a complex homework project for one of the Offspring. There are the typical flying/falling dreams that most people have, too.  Even within those dreams, though, there are tiny details - heat and cold, sounds, smells, sensations of touch - that linger in her memory after she awakens.

More powerful than the sensory elements of her dreams, though, are the vivid emotions that occasionally come into play. Dreams generating anger, fear, or despair: the feelings bleed into the first minutes after she awakens, and she must actively douse the flames of the rage, the terror, the sorrow, lest they follow her into the day.

She had one such dream last night.  It was an unusually intricate nightmare, so very real in its details and so very horrible in its content, that more than once she asked another individual, is this a dream, or is it real?  She could not tell. She finally was awoken by a sensation of panic and was able to drag herself back to consciousness.  Such a relief.  She is still haunted nearly four hours later. I asked whether describing the dream here would help to release her from its hold, but she cannot bring herself to put it into words.  In truth, she says, this dream needs only a single word to describe its horror: 


Fascinating, what hides in the psyche.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Off She Goes

Herself took Offspring the First to the airport today to return to college. Alas. Such a short visit.

It was delightful to have her  home.  She was cheerful, patient, pleasant, conversational, and her usual witty self.  Wonderful.

As she watched her daughter ascend alone on the escalator in the airport, Herself was struck by how grown-up Offspring the First has become. Traveling by herself - imagine.  Making her own way in the world, one step at a time.  Exciting.  

Spread your wings and fly, child, fly. So many adventures await. I am happy for you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


James the guinea pig did not come out of his house to eat his lettuce yesterday evening.  For James, who heartily loves his veggies, this was a giant red flag of alarm. 

Herself took him to the emergency vet last night.  Given his age and condition, he is likely in kidney failure.  He was sent home for hospice care.  Herself knew, even before the vet's caveat that it could be hours or weeks, that the end was near.

And indeed it is.  While James took a syringe feeding well last night, but this morning, he was limp.  There is no point in trying further.  He does not seem to be in any pain - he periodically twitches and lets out a tiny piggy squeak, but it seems more like reflex than a purposeful action.  He is wrapped in a towel in Herself's lap, where hopefully he will be warm and comfortable until his last breath. 

Go towards the light, James.  Better things await you. Thank you for the time you have spent with us.

Update, one hour after initial posting:  James is gone. 
Godspeed, James.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gray Friday

Beautiful weather today - cool, rainy.  Such a pleasant change.

It would be glorious weather for hiking.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving of Thanks

Herself speaks:

I thought to write a note of thankfulness - yet I find that when I read last year's Thanksgiving entry, it says the things that I would like to say.

I will add only:  thank you, my readers, for the opportunity to be a part of your life.  I am enriched and rewarded by your presence, and am grateful for the momentary connection we share during the time it takes you to read.  You inspire me to write, and the writing brings me hope, consolation, and happiness. 

You make my life a better place.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Offspring the First arrives home this evening, for the first time since we dropped her off at college over three months ago.  HUZZAH.  How we are looking forward to her visit. Lovely child, now grown-up young woman, we have missed the presence of your smile, of your humor, and of your loving spirit.  It will be a pleasure to have you under our roof again, even if for only a short while.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In the Tree

Happy birthday, my friend.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Not Ready

Thanksgiving is in how many days?

Who is coming into town, and when?

What do I need to cook?

Where is my brain?

Breakfast first.  Then planning.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chastity Dog

Tiny Dog takes umbrage upon any attempt of an individual to touch the person whose lap she is currently occupying.  She frequently sits upon Herself, and the rest of the family members entertain themselves by attempting to poke Herself with a single finger while Tiny Dog snaps vigorously at their hands and growls menacingly.  (Well, as menacingly as a 3.5-pound creature can growl.)  Tiny Dog prefers most to drape herself across a person's crotch like a tempermental merkin. She is certain to keep one's virtue intact.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's The Little Things

Yesterday, Herself spoke at length on the telephone with her marvelous Sister; made chicken soup for her Cherished Friend and saw him briefly to hand it to him; had a short but lovely catch-up chat on the telephone with her Pea-in-a-Pod Friend; prepared a quiche for a relative's visit for dinner; and took a long walk with the dogs and her Beloved, who had unusually arrived home early enough from work to do so. 

It's these seemingly ordinary things that make Herself happiest.

For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. - Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Questionable Musical Tastes, To Some

Confession:  I like James Blunt.  Not in an obsessive, screaming-Justin-Bieber-fan kind of way, but in a "if he ever has a concert near enough, I am SO THERE" manner.  I have his three albums; two books of piano music of his songs; and even a commercial DVD of a live performance of his.  If a song of his comes on the radio or appears in the shuffle on the iPod, I will always listen to it.  One does not skip over James Blunt.    

I particularly enjoy Tears and Rain and Cry from Back To Bedlam; I Really Want You and Same Mistake from All The Lost Souls; and  Into The Dark, No Tears, and Best Laid Plans from Some Kind Of Trouble.  For dancing: I'll Be Your Man works quite well. I'm also quite partial to his cover of Crowded House's Fall At Your Feet.  

I know others may scoff. I do not care.  Do not mock The James, for I am fond of him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


If we were all hobbits, there would not be this enormous sock mountain on the kitchen table.  It is comprised of the various socks of the five household members; when Herself folds laundry, if a pair is not easily found, the leftover socks go into this basket.  Eventually the socks reach a critical mass, and a weeding-and-matching session is in order.  Occasionally, Herself tries to bribe one of the Offspring into doing so, with a (fulfilled) promise of remuneration for the effort.  The pile of socks in the basket grows much smaller, and then gradually larger again over time, until the whole cycle repeats itself. 

Wretched socks. 

I think that this time, we will stuff all of the remaining odd socks into a single big sock, and give it to the dogs to play with.  They love socks.  It will be entertaining.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mystery Muffin

Today's new muffin is:

the butternut squash muffin.

Slightly lighter in color than the pumpkin muffin, it is rather pretty, I think. 

Fairly tasty, too!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Guns, Again (CHL)

We've come quite a ways since our first post on guns.

This morning, Herself and her Beloved completed the range qualifying portion of the course that is necessary to obtain a Concealed Handgun License.  Herself was a mite anxious, but it went fine.  The primary difficulty for her was the requirement that the gun be .32 caliber or larger - the .380 that they used certainly packs more punch than the .22, with which Herself is most comfortable.  Nevertheless, a brief round of last-minute practice yesterday afternoon ensured that she was sufficiently familiar with the weapon so that all would go smoothly today.  And so it did.

It's still a wee bit odd to think of Herself handling firearms.  They used to be wholly outside of Herself's comfort zone.  Now, though, they are within the fringes of her comfort zone, and with a bit more practice, will become even more familiar.  She's come far. 

What will be next?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Purposeful Fishes

Herself is looking after Cherished Friend's fish for a few days. It cheers her to see the fish swimming about; they are small, colorful, and purposeful. There is one petulant piscine who hides just long enough for Herself to begin to worry that it has croaked, before it makes its appearance - ta-daaa. Can a fish be mischevious? What goes on inside those teeny tiny fishy brains?  I wonder.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Nights

Although Cat Stevens once sang about another Saturday night, it is Friday nights that are most problematic when Herself lacks adult company.  When the Offspring were small, such Friday evenings were not quite as difficult because there were still the labor-intensive child needs of entertainment, bath supervision, story time, and bedtime routines.  Now that the Offspring are half-grown, though, the evening no longer has much plan or definitive structure.

The Offspring take this day off from their usual homework and taekwondo, and have their own activities. Offspring the Third spends time hanging out with his neighborhood buddies, plays with the dogs, and watches television; Offspring the Second devotes a significant amount of time to his drums, and roams his favorite internet sites and FaceBook; Offspring the First, off at college, likely enjoys time with her friends.    

If Herself's Beloved comes home early enough on a Friday, sometimes they take the dogs for a walk around the block, and Herself might even have an opportunity to cook dinner for her Beloved.  Tonight, however, Beloved is out at a particular function -- the culmination of several late nights' work -- and will not be home until the wee hours of the morning.  And so, Herself is alone.

Without the motivation of adult companionship and conversation, Herself lacks the impetus to do much of anything.  She looks at the carpet, but is unmotivated to plug in the vacuum and drag it throughout the house.  She plays the piano for a bit.  She tidies the pets and makes dinner for Offspring the Second and Third.  She folds the laundry.  She grumbles at the dishwasher, which did not release the soap properly in the last cycle, and resets it to try again. The tile could use some steam cleaning, she supposes - maybe tomorrow.  Her elliptical trainer awaits; and it will continue to do so.  The small dog has tucked herself into Herself's hoodie, and they recline on the couch together, feeling the cold of the evening settle upon them.

Funny how, when there is so much empty time, so little gets done.

Perhaps I will send Herself to bed.  In the light of the early morning, all will seem just a bit brighter, and she will be able to get things done once more.

One Song

How many of you listen to the same songs, over and over and over again?  The same musician, over and over and over again?

I do. Herself does. 

Today, as on other days, the songs of Ben Harper accompany us as we write, as we clean, as we cook.  His music is direct, intimate, raw.  It speaks to us.

I cannot explain why his Amen, Omen fills the void as no other song does.  There was a time when this song reminded Herself of her friends; it still does, though it is now much more. It is a prayer, a sorrow, a remembrance, a call to strength, a wish and a question. 

It is perfect for right now.   

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Manning Up

Herself asks for your forgiveness and patience for her difficulties of late.  She is more fragile than anyone realizes. Nevertheless, she has tied a knot in her rope, manned up, and gathered herself again to resume doing what needs to be done. 

She reminds herself that self-pity is fruitless.  She tells herself that she wants, not that she needs.  She knows that she must find her own comfort and strength within herself.  It is there. 

In the depth of my soul there is a wordless song. - Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tying a Knot

Herself speaks:

There are days when I am tired of being an adult.  There are eight million little pieces of life that all require my attention.  There is this project at work, that deadline at work, this e-mail, that telephone call, these reminders, those concerns about clients paying and about having adequate amounts of work to do.  On the home front, there is the laundry, the food, the bills, the cleaning, the pets, the house -- an endless cycle of care and attention.  Added to that, is the delicate balancing act of handling the needs and wants of all the various family members.  Everyone needs nurturing. 

I do too. 

More than anything else, I would like someone to make me a snack, pat my hair, and tell me that everything will be all right. 

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


It is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it.
- Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, November 7, 2011

Clair de Lune

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.
Close the language-door
and open the love-window.
The moon won't use the door,
only the window
- Rumi   

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Herself thoroughly dislikes romance novels, romantic comedy and romance-based drama movies, and works of similar ilk.  Reading about or watching missed connections, misunderstandings, and failed relationships is discomfiting at a visceral level for her.  While she will willingly listen to the heartaches of her friends and attempt to offer them solace, she always vigorously declines to subject herself to the lovelorn sorrows of fictitious individuals.

It is therefore incredibly odd that there appears to be a subplot centering on an unrequited love in the story she is writing.  Although the overarching themes and story line have yet to be determined, this particular element in the story revealed itself early on while Herself was working on developing the main characters.  It likely will not be remotely central to the finished story; yet it does remarkably exist.

If I flew away tonight
Would you search for me?
Or would you glance at my empty perch
And forget me even before you turned away?
Unencumbered, wherever I would fly,
I would be free to think of you in peace.
In silence, I would reflect on the color of your eyes
And yearn for the tender strength of your hands.

I will be interested to see how this element of the story completes itself.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Just an Ordinary Saturday

It's remarkable how the crunch of metal in a car accident echoes in one's head afterwards.  That is a terrible sound. I hope you are spared from ever hearing it.

Onwards, and upwards. Today's projects:  exercise, clean, write.  In that order.  And daydream of happy places.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Almost As Good

There are times when one longs for human company, but it is not to be had. In those moments, I recommend a good book for solace.  I have just finished the first Percy Jackson book.  It was quite a good read.  Perhaps this weekend I will read another.

Wish I'd Gone to the Grocery Store Instead of the Gas Station

Note from Herself:

Minor car accident.  No injuries, thank God.

It really does all happen in slow motion just like on television.

Feeling just a bit traumatized by the experience.  The blog may be a tiny bit quiet until I regain my equanimity.

This, too, shall pass.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

National Novel Writing Month

It's NaNoWriMo!

Remember the story that Herself had begun a while ago?  She wrote two short scenes then -- approximately 400 words each -- and then stopped.  It seems, perhaps, that those pieces were crying out to be put into words, but that the full formation of the rest needed to brew slowly.  She has contemplated the story periodically since then, generating additional characters in her mind.  She has no distinct plot yet.  Still, with a bit of work yesterday, she now has just a hair over 1,700 words.  With the average novel being anywhere from 60,000 to 200,000 words (according to various searches in The Google), at this rate, it will take a mighty long time.  Nevertheless, the creative process is always a happy thing.

Character development is particularly tricky for Herself; she has rather a lot of difficulty putting herself into another's shoes, seeing through another's eyes.  She knows that the fictional individuals she creates will likely have qualities similar to those of actual people, for she can write best from what she has seen and felt, even if she adjusts, idealizes, or otherwise alters those experiences. She wonders whether people will see themselves in her book, or if they will erroneously attribute actions or motivations to her familiars by assuming that particular characters are modeled after certain real individuals. 

She will remind everyone:  it is fiction.  Those who know her well already know that her life is an open book.  This written story will be something else entirely.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


There were approximately 600 trick-or-treaters this year.  They came more gradually than last year, though, as we still had treats at 8:30 PM, in contrast to last year when everything was gone long before 8 o'clock.  There were many tiny pirates, the usual princesses, a few scary masks, and general good cheer all around.  Offspring the Second delighted in leaping out and frightening passers-by, and Offspring the Third was practically beside himself with excitement at the whole trick-or-treating bonanza. 

There was even a bit of pumpkin carving, too.  So impressed were they by the jack o'lanterns made by Offspring the Second and the Third and Cherished Friend, that Herself and her Beloved have already discussed decorating the yard for next year's Halloween with a great multitude of pumpkins. That will be excellent indeed. 

The most intricate, as well as carefully and patiently wrought, was the Star Wars Death Star.  Fabulous.