Monday, January 30, 2012

The Noise of Stillness

At the end of the evening—usually the beginning of a new day, I reluctantly give in to sleep.  Rarely in bed before my husband, I love turning off the television or computer and simply standing in the center of the room listening to the noise of the stillness.  No one is fussing in the kitchen, the cat is asleep somewhere, the dog is on the bed with my husband impatiently awaiting my arrival.  The sensation of quiet is palpable as I hold myself still in the darkness.  I feel wrapped against the night and force myself to move toward the bedroom with anticipation for that feeling of body between the sheets.  I gently nudge the dog to make room for me, moving against the contours of my husband.  Then comes that blissful release from the exertion of holding up my skeleton.  Ahhh, peace.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Modern Technology

When my father was a minister in upstate New York, I would regularly enter the sanctuary of his office where I got to help him prepare a mimeographed newsletter.  I was too young to type, but I could help with the correction fluid from time to time--that blue stuff that is daubed onto the stenciled template like fingernail polish.  It sealed the shapes made by the typewriter--and then Dad would type over the correction into the waxed mulberry paper.  He laid it on the drum and I turned the crank that spit the pages out.  I loved the smell of the correction fluid and the ink, the whoosh sound of the crank, collating the pages--all of it.

And now, I am one of six or so volunteers who edit my Sacramento church newsletter--the Unigram.  Unlike the creation of my father's newsletter, the entire Unigram is executed on the computer.  Articles are sent via e-mail, assembled in one document, and passed on to the one among us who makes the issue look good.  And then it's passed back to the church for the paid employees to distribute.  This is all done without putting ink to paper.  How times have changed.

Writing is what I love to do.  And while I might fantasize about the smell of ink on the paper or the stain of ink on my fingers, the fact is, I, too, tap at the keyboard without besmirching either finger or apron.  My recently-acquired iPhone is merely another reminder of the leap from ink to ether.  But that's another story.  And Thank goodness for modern technology. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Mysteries of the Mind

After years of chipping away at the French language in the hopes I would one day sound like Simone Signoret or the more au courant Marion Cotillard, I think I have picked up the pace.  What makes the difference?  I'm not totally sure but for the fact that I've added a solid hour of conversation per week with a friend who is fluent--in addition to my three hours a week with other friends with whom we slog through French novels.  Or is it the French radio station I just found on my iPhone? 

In any event, it feels more like the moment when all the puzzle pieces fall into place.  You all know what I'm talking about.  It can be found when the vinaigrette emulsifies, when the car reaches fifth gear, when you finish the last page of a book, when you capture that perfect photo--or even when you look at what would have been a perfect photo.  It's epiphanous, frankly. 

What a wonderful feeling it is to be challenged by the mysteries of the mind.

To add a note of reality, I don't really expect to sound like Simone or Marion, but you gotta have hope! 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sliding from Christmas Right into the New Year

Just in time for dinner, the last of my three sons arrived from San Diego to enjoy a repast with the family and to finish up the Christmas observances.  At the table, then, to welcome the first day of the new year were my three sons, their three belles femmes,* my father, my husband and me.  The late-arriving son had spent the entire day driving through Orange and Los Angeles counties, up through the endless central valley blanketed in fog and rife with traffic to arrive just in time to sup.  So we were especially happy to see them walk through the door without having experienced any untoward experiences--despite the near miss avoided as a result of Patrick's quick thinking.

Dinner with family seemed like the perfect way to welcome a new year full of promise and hope.  Putting aside the trepidation about the state of affairs in the Middle East and Northern Africa--not to mention other hot areas of the world--and the drudgery of another eleven months of presidential campaigning, I will always hold onto the expectation that things will be better in the world. 

The three dogs (l to r:  Milo, Winston and Jack) have enjoyed their weekend together.  Or at least Milo has enjoyed his weekend with Jack and Winston.  Jack and Winston aren't nearly as enthusiastic about Milo's energy as he is about their resistance to that energy.  The dogs will bid each other adieu, and we will return to our twice-daily walks to assuage Milo's mental health needs. 

I wish only the best for you, my loyal blog readers--the best travels, the best health, the best outlook for your year and beyond. 

*lovely ladies