Tuesday, January 30, 2007

doldrums

As usual, the end of January signals the beginning of the winter doldrums around here. After a month or more of unusually mild winter weather, we are now experiencing the usual freezing cold and snow that is our expected, but mostly dreaded, winter weather. The fact that we most likely have two or more months of this, is what precipitates the doldrums I find myself in now.

You would think that having lived in Wisconsin my entire life, I would be used to the cold and snow and seemiingly endless winters we have. But for some reason I always think that this time it will be different. You can call it ridiculous optimism in the face of unrelenting fact, but each year I hold out hope that it will be not just tolerable, but even enjoyable here in the cold. I am always dissapointed.

I know there are those among you who are saying to yourselves, "why doesn't he get his ass outside and go skiing or skating or ice fishing or anything to take advantage of the season instead of whining about it?" Been there, done that (except for ice fishing. I hate the idea of fishing under the best of circimstances, but to be outsmarted by a fish while having my ass frozen to the ice is the epitome of humbling foolishness). I just don't enjoy being cold. Give me 100 degrees and 99% humidity and an unrelenting sun, and I would be in heaven. Particularly if I had a golf club in my hands at the time. Can you say Arizona?

Of course I could use this time when I'm stranded indoors to good effect if I could only summon the ambition needed to spur myself into action. But knowing that I am locked indoors because of the cold and don't have the option of a sojourn outside, makes getting into anything indoors a chore rather than a pleasure to be savored. When you have only one choice, it is like having no choice at all. And while I have three different projects in the works in the workshop right now, I can't seem to convince myself that it is alright, even desirable and admirable, to descend those stairs into the workshop and lose myself in the creative process. I can't escape the feeling that to do so would be taking advantage of the situation, and that would be somehow sinful.

So instead of using this dictated time indoors to good effect, knowing there is no other option, I find myself dawdling at the computer, putzing around in the kitchen, lingering over a book at lunch time, squandering these minutes that in other seasons I try to steal from a busy day. I do little or nothing and so get little or nothing done and so reap little or no satisfaction from these winter days.

Hibernation seems a worthy choice. I feel a nap coming on. I willl dream of Springtime.

Friday, January 26, 2007

steak, cake, mistake

In my defense, Mary’s handwriting is at best barely coherent, at worst indecipherable. Whenever she leaves me a list, it is always a guessing game as to what she actually intends. Over the years I have become reasonably adept at figuring out what she has scratched on the paper, but sometimes even my best guess is far from correct. When possible I ask for an interpretation if she is aviailable to give one. Other times I am left to decode the hieroglyhics as best I can.

Today when I went to the supermarket to do the weekly food shopping I had in hand the list she had made out the night before. I’ll admit I should have reviewed the list with her, knowing how much trouble I’ve had in the past, but I didn’t, so sue me. I get to the store and think as I look at the list, ok that makes sense,”fine cabernet and steak.” I’m thinking that will make a nice birthday dinner for me. So I pick out a nice bottle and a couple of ribeyes and start looking forward to my birthday dinner.

When she got home this afternoon she asks if I got everything on the list and I proudly explain that I did indeed. As she usually does, since she doesn’t trust me, she starts going down the list from memory and when she gets to the birthday cake I start to break out in a cold sweat of dread, somehow knowing that I have screwed up again.
Apparently the list said “find a birthday cake. “ I told you her handwriting was terrible.

How was I supposed to know that I was expected to buy my own birthday cake? I don’t even like cake that much. Certainly not as much as a good steak and a glass of wine. So maybe my subconscious was at work, substituting what I really wanted.
I suggested that we stick a candle in the steak while she toasts my birthday with that fine cabernet I selected.

Luckily she forgave me (without admitting any fault of her own for sending me to the store with an unreadable list) and went out and selected a cake for me. So now we have the best of all possible worlds---steak, wine, and cake. What more could a guy ask for?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

birthday anticipation

Though my birthday is still a couple days away, I began celebrating today. Mary gave me a gift cirtificate for a massage which I used this afternoon. I am so relaxed right now that it is a wonder I can hit the keys on the keyboard. Never had a massage? Do yourself a favor and indulge in one. It is well worth it.

I also received a package today from my daughter. I literally stumbled on it on the porch as I hurried out the door to go to the massage appointment, so didn't have time then to open it right then. I was looking forward to opening it when I got home. Unfortunately Mary was home by then and she stopped me before I got a chance to inspect the contents of the package. I do know this: it is a calendar made up of some of Carrie's photos. But Mary won't let me open the calendar until my actual birthday on Sunday. She is being very difficult. I am being tortured by the anticipation of looking at that calendar. Knowing what a talented photographer Carrie is, I know it is going to be one very special calendar. I may have to sneak a look when Mary goes back to school tonight for parent/teacher conferences. I'll be careful to rewrap the calendar in the plastic wrapper so she doesn't know I peeked. I feel like a spy. Sneaky. If you don't hear from me again, you'll know that Mary caught me and exacted a severe penalty on my person. It'll be worth it.......

Monday, January 22, 2007

age to the nines

Stop and consider for a moment the numbers that represent our age at various times of our lives. Some of those numbers carry great significance, others are just a stop in the progression, or a hurdle we have to clear before landing on one of those more significant numbers.

What brings this number game to mind, you ask. Well, as I approach another birthday, I am faced with one of those hurdle numbers, one of the less significant numbers, one of numbers that simply stand in the way. Upon further contemplation of all those ages we pass through along our journey to the final number, I realized that the number 9 plays a big role in those nondescript numbers like the one facing me this birthday.

Remember when you were 9 years old and you felt like such a baby yet because you hadn’t quite hit those double digit numbers. Ten seemed like such a milestone, such a bold step into being considered a real person and not just the little brother or sister who got picked on all the time. At 9 you were just a wimpy little kid still playing with little kid toys. Oh, to be ten and step into the realm of the big kids.

Then, after suffering through your teens, you landed in Limbo at age 19. While technically still a teenager, you felt so much more than that. You couldn’t wait to get rid of the teen label so that you would be taken more seriously by everyone. Sure you could vote and join the army, but you were still a freakin teenager for God’s sake. Being lumped with all tose 16 year old punks was the height of humiliation. Twenty, and young adulthood, couldn’t come soon enough.

Twenty-nine was a rude awakening. This is possibly the only age with a nine in it that we might have wished would stay around for a bit longer. Graduating from the twenty-something-young-adult-on-a-journey-of-discovery to the real adult world represented by the number 30 has caused a lot of regrets about misspent youth and the wish for a do-over. But we all have to leave the self-indulgent twenties sometime and go through that gate into responsible adulthhood. Still, why does 29 have to be so short a year?

By the time 38 comes around we have been established in the real world, but often still lack the respect that comes with a nice round number like 40. At 38 we are ready for the long middle age years that add distinction to our lives and yet we have to endure that one more year, 39, in the waiting room of middle age.

At 49 we are entrenched in middle age and should be reaping the rewards of well spent life and yet “treading water” seems the most apt analogy. At 49 we are neither young nor old. We have neither the promise of youth to fall back on nor the stature accorded a respected old age. Forty-nine is near the crest of the middle age hill, but not quite the summit that will allow us to hesitate and take a deep breath before plunging down the far side of the hill.

So now 59 is looming, and though I have been careening down the far side of the middle age hill for nearly a decade, I can’t help but wonder if I can tolerate one more year of headlong descent before reaching the valley of Senior Status. Fifty-nine seems like one more year of waiting in line to get my senior card. According to AARP I’ve been listed on their roster as a senior since I bumped into fifty way back then, but that’s a marketing ploy senior, not the real thing. I just feel like I’m an advanced middle age codger, an AARP card carrying codger it’s true, but not really a full fledged codger yet. I have one more year in Limbo before being released into the world of respect inhabited by real Seniors. I’m assuming that at age sixty I will immediately acquire advanced degrees of wisdom and unqualified insight into the human condition. I might even get to play the lovable excentric if I choose to go that way. A whole new brave world awaits my participation. But here I am still stuck on this downward slide for one more year. I’m getting impatient.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

a scare

The phone message from the radiology lab on the answering machine was all the more frightening because of its terse simplicity.

“Mary, please call us at your earliest convenience.”

They don’t call you the day after a mammogram unless they see something that should not be there. Mary had gone for a mammogram, as she does yearly, on Wednesday. Thursday morning the message was left on our answering machine at about 9:30 AM. Mary was at school in the middle of giving final semester exams and I was at home as usual. When I heard the phone message I was immediatley paralyzed with fear. I couldn’t bring myself to call her at school and put her through a day of worry and the same fear I was feeling. So all I could do was spend the day fearing the worst, in deep anxiety, hoping she’d come straight home from school without running some errands and delaying her arrival.

When she finally walked in the door, she could sense immediatey that something was bothering me. I barely was able to get out the information that she was supposed to call the lab before my tears came. I wanted to be the strong one and tell her that there was probably nothing to get worried about, but I just couldn’t hold back anymore after the dread I’d felt all day. Mary, however, after a brief moment of expressed fear, simply picked up the phone and made the necessary call.

She was informed that they needed to take some more”pictures” to clarify what they said was a change from her previous mammography. Mary called her doctor to get his take on the situation and he was very positive that the situation was likely just a routine follow-up to make sure that there really was nothing to get upset about. So Mary made an appointment for Friday to go thrrough the mammography process once more.

I told her I wanted to go with her for the follow-up, but she was adament that she would go alone, so as not to have to put up with my anxiety as well as her own. She was also thinking about me and how worry and tension tend to exacerbate my PD symptoms. At a time like this she was thinking about me and not as much about herself. No need to wonder why I love her so much.

The result of the second go-around at the radiology lab was great relief. What was a suspicious “spot” on the xray was interpreted as “calcification” and not something that would require further investigation at this time. They put a “watch” on her for the next six months until another mammogram is taken to see if there is any further change.
Mary’s reaction was again somewhat selfless because she left the lab thinking about all those women who don’t get the good news she got, but have to deal with the harsh reality of possible breast cancer.

So while we have had a good weekend now that we know there is nothing serious to concern us, we will always have that anxiety whenever the time comes for the next mammograpy. Will there be another “spot?” Will there be an increase in size of the

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

rules

Bob’s rules for a happy marriage, #17.III.5.e : “never make fat jokes around a wife who is dieting.”

That rule seems pretty obvious. At least it should be to anyone who has his brain engagaed before he opens his mouth. That is a talent I have yet to master and it gets me in trouble often enough that you’d think I would have learned my lesson by now. So Mary and I were kidding around and commiserating about our slightly overweight and now somewhat flabby bodies, when I jokenly told her, with great exaggeration, not to try to slide through the door sideways. She might get stuck. It seems that now I will suffer an excrutiatingly painful death if her wishes come true.

I know, that was a heinous thing to say, but you have to know the circumstances before passing judgement. One of Mary’s concerns for the past month since we had the car accident was her inability to maintain her exersize schedule, which is a vital part of the nearly constant routine she follows to maintain her girlish figure. As a result of that lapse in exersize routine and the usual holiday excess, she has gained an extra ten pounds that she insists go away. Now. So she has instituted a radical plan of food abstinance and diligent workouts that would impress the toughest taskmaster in the fitnes field. To help her accomplish her goal, she has enlisted my reluctant participation.

I say “reluctant” because I don’t really need to diet or alter my usual eating and exersize routine much in order to lose pounds or maintain my normal wieght. If I gain a few pounds I simply ride the exersize bike an extra couple miles and skip the ice cream for dessert. Mission accomplished. The truth is, my weight has hovered within five pounds for the past 30 years or so. So the idea of a forced diet in sympathetic reaction to her dietary goals is not something I look forward to. But in the spirit of maintaining a happy home and protecting my husbandly rights, I agreed to participate in her effort to drop those offending pounds. We are eating smaller portions and following a nearly no-fat diet and getting back to our daily exercizing. And, man, am I hungry.

Bob’s rules for a happy marriage, #17.III.5.f : never tell her how many pounds you’ve lost in the past week unless you know for sure that she has lost more. Violate this rule and she will find all kinds of nasty names to call you. She will question your integrity and truthfulness and manhood. She will take your words and interpret them to mean you think she is fat and ugly and totally undesirable. She will claim that you’ve been secretly serving her larger portions than you give yourself. She will not be happy. And so neither will you.

I made the mistake of offhandedly remarking that I had dropped three pounds without really trying. Not a smart claim to make when she has just expressed her frustration at only losing one pound over that same period. Hey, I thought we were in this together. I didn’t know it was going to be a contest. The Biggest Loser turns out to be me in more ways than one.

I will have to be careful from now on to complain loudly about my flabbyness and inability to sculpt abs of steel. I will be careful to eat a little bit more than her in her company so she can see my struggle (good thing she is not here all day to see me raid the cookie jar). And I will be certain to remark often about how gorgeous and fit and desirable she is and how she is an inspiration to me and how I don’t deserve someone as fine as her. But if I manage to reach my weight goal before she does I will have to fake it until she catches up and passes me or I will be one very stupid and sorry sumbitch. Even I can learn from my past mistakes.

Monday, January 15, 2007

six and counting

Mary was pushing my buttons again the other day. She was ragging on me for not taking proper care of myself, not doing as I was told by my doctors and physical therapist. She scolded me for not pacing myself properly during the day so that by evening I am less a vegetable and more of a responsive human. I admit to some mild transgressions in that regard, but to call me totally irresponsible is going too far. I pace myself during my daily activities. It's just that my pace is not what they recommend. I don't like to stop what I'm doing to sit down and rest or take a nap because that disrupts the continuity and flow of the work I'm engaged in. If being in my workshop working on the latest sculpture or piece of furniture means being on my feet all day, then the backache and trembling that follows in the evening is worth it to me. That's my pace.

As a cornerstone of her argument about my disregard for the advice of my doctor, she trotted out the number of times I have interacted with the EMT's and the number of times I have been a passenger in an ambulance. She claims to have the paramedics on speed dial because she fully expects me to do something stupid--again--that would require their participation in saving my ass. Now I admit to having been attended to by the paramedics on several--ok, six--occasions, but insist that those occasions weren't all my fault. Of those six, only four required a ride in the ambulance. So is that so bad? And the fact that I have been ministered to a few times doesn't mean it's going to happen again just because I thumbed my nose at my doctor's advice.

Besides, only two of those amulance incidents were even remotely life threatening. The others were minor incidents of mild emergency. I would have survived nicely wihtout the intervention of the EMT's at those times. So it doesn't seem fair for her to threaten me with a call to the paramedics everytime I wince or groan because my back is sore or my tremors are more noticable than usual because I "overdid it" again. She's overreacting isn't she?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

what's wrong here?

Just this past Friday, at a local high school before a basketball game, there was a ceremony to retire the number of a former player who had died. He was a sophomore in college when he died. He had been a popular, well-liked student at the high school, but not the star of the team. He was just another player like the rest of his teammates. Normally a school would not retire a player's number unless he was an exceptional player or had been somehow inspirational to his classmates and community. Those criteria did not necessarily apply in this case. The young man's death was really his only claim to fame.

I got to thinking about all his fellow basketball players and all the other students just like him who are going about their lives without any special recognition. They are in college studying and working toward their future. Or they are in the work force already contributing to the community. Or perhaps they are in the armed forces serving their country. They are all still alive and doing what young people do at that age. They are not doing anything that might be considered heroic and their numbers are not being retired in a ceremony before a basketball game.

My point here is not to belittle the young man in question or to make light of his family's grief and tragic loss. It's just that knowing that the young man died because he got stinking drunk at a college bar, wandered outside in a drunken stupor, stumbled his way somehow to the shore of the river that runs through town, fell into the river and drowned, makes me wonder why they were celebrating his life and tragic death. There was nothing heroic in his life and certainly not in his death that would lead us to such a celebration.

Am I wrong in thinking that the wrong message may be sent to young people who are familiar with this story? That it's alright to drink yourself into insensiblity and die too soon so that everyone will think what a great guy you were. He did something incredibly stupid, risky, and iresponsible and is being feted for it. There is something terribly wrong with all this.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

multi-tasking and me

I am not a good multi-tasker. I tend to be too focused and intent on completing just one thing at a time. Granted, that means that I sometimes have to make two trips, or even three, to the hardware store instead of broadening my attention, but I would rather be sure of getting at least one thing right than maybe screwing it up by getting more than I need or getting the wrong something. If that sounds like a rationalization for forgetfulness, I don't care. I'm comfortable being tuned into one task at a time.

I can also rationalize that multi-taskers are those who juggle too many balls at once, or spin too many plates on sticks to really appreciate the balls or plates. Those are the same people who insult you when talking to you on the phone and then putting you on hold while they answer the incoming call that their call waiting beep says is more important than you are. Habitual multi-taskers are the store clerks who brush you aside when you have your money in hand to answer the phone and then talk to the person on the phone while ringing up your sale. Rude. And let's not forget those who type on their keyboard whole trying to carry on a telephone conversation--you can hear the clicking in the background--only to give nonsensical comments and answers during your "conversation." I think that multi-taskers are those who do a lot of things with marginal competence, but do nothing really well. I can go on and on, but you get the idea. Multi-tasking isn't all it's cracked up to be.

So imagine my amazement when I found what I think is the ultimate multi-tasking gadget. Being a gadget, of course, means that it is an inanimate object and not held to the rules of multi-tasking humans. But this marvelous appliance does three things at once and, miraculously enough, does all three with precision and a simplistic beauty that raises the bar for all would-be multi-taskers, both human and inanimate. The fact that it resembles a medieval torture device that only the Marquise de Sade could like, is irrelevant. Its beauty lies in its utilitarianism.

Allow me to present to you the Apple Pealer-Corer-Slicer.

I found this incredible machine while browsing a kitchen supply store (so I'm a little strange--I like to browse in kitchen supply stores. I'm sure you have some secret foibles that you are reluctant to admit to, too.) I was looking for a simple apple corer to make the preparation of fruit for my new food dehydrater (look back a couple posts here in Bobology land) less bothersome and more efficient. When I spotted the box with this beauty inside, my heart raced, I broke out in a feverish tremble, and I think I might have gotten at least a semi-erection. It was love at first sight.

I couldn't wait to get home with my new best friend to assault an apple and cement our relationship. Taking it from its box, caressing it with a touch of careful awe and holy respect, I quickly scanned the instructions for its use and then consummated our newly formed partnership with a sacrifice of a Granny Smith. It was more than I dared expect. It was a demonstration of multi-tasking at its most ethereal. Heaven surely has a place at the Right Hand reserved for this most incredible invention.

I watched with respectful amazement as the apple peel was carved off in one long 1/4" wide unending strip of precise beauty, while the core of the apple was surgically removed and the meat of the fruit was sliced into an intricate slinky-like spiral. Oh, the rapture! Eating the resultant fruit, stripped, laid bare, and sliced to perfection was nearly orgasmic. I am in love once again.

I have a new-found respect for multi-tasking, but know that few, if any, can ever live up to the standard established by my new best friend. And while I may never personally reach the state of multi-tasking perfection demonstrated by this awe-inspiring gizmo, I can revel in the fact that I can witness that perfection anytime the need arises to reaffirm the possibility that such perfection is possible and actually exists.

Yeah, yeah, I know, get a life.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

commocn sense

The following treatise on common sense was sent as an email to Mary recently and it seems to me it bears another look. I don't know the origin of the missive, so I don't know whom to credit for it. If anyone knows its origin, please pass that information along to us. And if you can think of anything to add to it, feel free to do so. And read it more than once so it sinks in. And then pray that, like Lazarus, it can be raised from the dead.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.  No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:  Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn't always fair; and Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash
after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Calpol, sun lotion or a band-aid to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 3 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on.  If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

it's drying time

I received a food dehydrater as a Christmas gift from my son. I know, that sounds like a wierd present for a son to give his father, but Jonathan knows me well. I'm the cook in the family and love kitchen gadgets and gizmos that help to keep the task of food prep interesting as well as more efficient. Not only that, I also like to eat a reasonably healthy diet, so the dehydrater fits my requirements on more than one front.

So far I've only tried drying bananas and apples and pears. The results were excellent. I sprinkled some cinnamon on the slices of fruit during the drying process and the end result was like eating candy. Healthy candy. Good stuff. Now I'm looking around the kitchen for other stuff to dry out and chomp on. Vegetables are the next on the list. Then I want to try some beef jerky. And the cat better stay out of reach.......

Friday, January 05, 2007

her proxy

For the past couple days I have taken on the role of Mary's secretary. She has recruited me to assist her in getting her exams for her high school English students retyped and brought up to date. So I have been a keyboard slave, tap, tap, tapping away at this computer making her exams look pretty. Or at least up to date.

In doing the typing I have learned a great deal about satire and science fiction, two of the classes she teaches. I think I could even pass the exams without ever actually reading the material. I wonder how many of her students are going to try that. It's not that the tests are particularly easy--I'm sure some of her students will have considerable difficulty with them--but that I am a pretty good test taker. It's a talent I have that I relied on too often when in school, instead of actually learning the material. I have an unusual knack for the essay questions--bobology rules!

In fact, telling the following story may get me in deep doodoo with my beloved, but it goes to illustrate my test taking prowess. Way back in ancient history--the late 60's to be exact--when we were both in college, Mary had to take a Political Science course to fulfill some arcane requirement for her degree. She had zero interest and too many other classes, as well as a part time work schedule to attend to, so she was hoping for an easy class that she could skate through with minimum effort. Being the hero I am, and being in love to boot, I jumped up and volunteered to take the class for her. (Don't get all ethical on me now, this was the 60's after all, and thumbing our noses at the establishment was required for remaining in good standing in our generation.)

It was one of those lecture type classes given by a droning, uninterested prof who recited by rote the same sentences he had droned out a thousand times before, to 300 students in an overheated hall, fighting off sleepiness while scratching incomprehensible notes in their notebooks. I attended the first lecture to get the syllabus and to get a sense for what the class required of its students. I attended the last class to make sure it was still the same course. The vast middle of the class was a wasteland of no consequence. The final exam was, of course, an essay exam with several questions. Right up my alley, as the saying goes.

I scribbled page after page of tangled discourse and obfuscation in my bluebook, weaving a tapestry of nonsense that only a political scientist could appreciate. The fact that what I wrote made no sense and that it was couched in an excess of verbiage, served to validate my standing as a budding politico. Today they call it "spin"; back then it was known as "bullshit." I knew I would pass the course simply because there is no way that the professor and his minions could possibly read and try to comprehend the pile of garbage that the students taking the class buried them under. I figured, rightly I presume, that as long as the bluebook was filled with English words that resembled sentences when arranged in a logical order, their meaning would be superfluous.

I/we got a "B" for the course. I think I was robbed. That was an "A" bobology if ever there was one. I'm still upset. Mary, however, is riddled with guilt and every now and then when the guilt has had time to fester, she will threaten to write a letter to our Alma Mater, confessing her sin and offering to return her ill-gotten degree. I think the statute of limitations has erased that crime, though.

So now I am paying for that long ago transgression in our academic careers by serving as a lowly typist, pecking out the words of another test. This time though I'm not answering the questions, just posing them, and it isn't nearly as much fun. The questions I've been typing though have piqued my interest. Maybe I'll actually get around to doing the reading and filling in the blanks of my education. I can't wait for the exam.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

new year's cane

Here are some pictures of the latest cane to emerge from the workshop. I call this one Grapevine. It's made of bent oak and maple balls with a handle of oak and pine.

I actually used this cane on Saturday when we went to the Art Museum for the afternoon. I got a lot of interested and curious looks from the people there who saw it.

I pretended not to notice them looking at my cane, but was secretly pleased by the attention. Envy was written all over the faces of those other cane toting patrons who were using their run-of-the-mill canes.

I admit I do like to show off a bit every now and then. I figure if I need to use a cane, I might as well do it in style. And this one is stylish.

til next year

We spent our time today dechristmasizing the house. That may not be a real word, but the activity it represents is very real. While Mary tucked away the inside decorations (at least most of them--I had to take the tree down after removing the lights. I refuse to allow her to take the lights off the tree because she has an amazing power that goes into effect whenever she encounters a string of lights or an extension cord--those strings or cords somehow become hopelessly tangled and tied in knots if she so much as enters the same room they occupy. Must be some kind of telekinesis thing or maybe an overabundance of hormones), I ventured outside to remove the holiday lights I worked so hard on back around Thanksgiving. The weather was wonderfully cooperative with sunshine and temps in the 40's. So there was no worry about frozen fingers or snowfilled shoes.

Every year there is a brief letdown when the Christmas decorations are put away yet again. The house has been overwhelmed with greenery and lights, and so our senses have become adjusted to the abundance of visual stimulation. We forget how restful the house can be the rest of the year when we inhabit this twinkling holiday environment. When the lights first go out, the sense of emptiness prevails for a brief moment, and then a sigh of relief escapes us as we return to normal. As much as we like the seasonal decorations and the goodwill and festive spirit they represent, we are always glad that the season doesn't last any longer than it does.

So, with packing away those decorations, one more year has come to a close and another is just taking its first tentative steps. Let's hope that when we take out the Christmas decorations at the end of this year we will have enjoyed a year of peace and abundance. So much to look forward to.

Monday, January 01, 2007

first time this year

Wake up! Sober up! This is the first day of the rest of your new year! I hope your year is not just happy, but prosperous, safe and peaceful. But if that's asking too much of the fates, then let's just make it through the next year so we can have the opportunity to say Happy New Year Once again.