Anatevka

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I am a natural born reader, a natural born bon vivant, a natural born hugger, a natural born consumer of chocolate, but I am not a natural blogger / journal keeper / diarist. In August I saw a lone yellow leaf and I was so moved by it; I thought “oh, that’s the sort of thing which spurs one to write.” But that’s as far as I got. I still remember seeing that yellow leaf on the way to Little Angel’s craniosacral appointment and the excitement concomitant to melancholy it inspired, mais, c’est tout. I couldn’t be bothered to preserve my thoughts.

When the HJ (Hirsute Japanese, aka my husband) and I went to see the MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow Chris Thile a few months back I was so delighted, so amazed by the artist, his adorable personality, his folksy humor, and holy freaking cow his mandolin playing (!) that I thought “oh, I should document this.” Sure. You bet. We were positively charmed by this young man, who reminds me of someone … maybe the Big Angel’s violin teacher? It was an experience I didn’t and don’t want to forget, even if I never get to see Chris Thile perform again, I got to see him this time, and it was fantastic. I loved the sense of community with all the other patrons: we were all blessed to be there that evening, together, basking in Chris Thile’s performance.

Stay Away is an original composition with which I was especially taken.

And then a few weeks ago we saw Momix, which we’d not seen since, well, I’m not sure since when. Since before children were born, that much I know. I had so many thoughts during the evening — I adored the props, puppets, and surely the props / puppets designer, who should be considered a genius (although I do not proffer my own Genius Grant, shoot), but I also felt so quintessentially ME, and alongside the HJ I felt so US. I wore multiple enormous and h-e-a-v-y copal (African amber) necklaces, which surely added to the ME ME ME feeling; some people sitting next to us asked us about my necklaces and I let them feel their substantial weight, to which I added “but [the pain] is so worth it!” On the considerable drive home the HJ and I again talked nonstop about what we’d seen and our reactions to it — I’d thought he would’ve found the performance pretentious, and in part we both did, but he surprised me, still after all these years, with some of his observations.

This was the HJ’s favorite piece. It’s not dancing — the movement is clearly hypnotic, but that’s not dance.

I’ve been reading like mad, although that’s not new. One book I read with which I was enamored surprised me as the characters are quietly LDS, at least I assume they’re LDS and not Christian as the book takes place in a small town in Utah: it surprised me as I am both an atheist and anti religious proselytizing. Running Barefoot is not a grand book, not particularly complex or intricate, however I was moved by how quiet the characters are, how small their lives are and how much and how deeply they feel, how much I connected with their journey. The lead character will bake a cake for self-succor, if her mood is foul, and of course I adored that. I’ve not been in particularly bad spirits but I was suggested by the book to do so, so I baked a chocolate layer cake with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. The cake was supposed to be two layers, but I wanted to get as much frosting in there as possible, so I cut each cake in half, making them four mini-layers, shoving cut-up pieces of leftover Halloween candies into the frosting layers. When the HJ saw the finished cake he couldn’t understand why I even bothered with the cake so I patiently explained “for structure, duh!” Two parts frosting to one part cake is just about right.

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For Halloween the Little Angel went as Prince Valiant, again: a few years ago I had a “chainmaille” tunic made for him out of grey felt with a coat of arms appliqued on the chest. With his long hair and the fact that the tunic doesn’t interfere in his activities it is perfect.

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The Big Angel chose to be a French sniper, which means it is pronounced /sneep-air/ and he adopted an ennui affect, first offering a “croissant bee-fore I keell you.”

A romance author whom I quite like, Rosalind James, and I have been having an e-conversation about invisible wounds; I always think of the magnificent line from CS Lewis: “The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.” We all have our tender spots about which others might not know, so they can easily hurt us by blithely referring to X without having an inkling the damage they’ve incurred. Because of our dialogue I suppose I’ve been more aware of it, more sensitive to others’ wounds. We had some windows replaced recently and one of the installers and I were chatting; turns out he has hemophilia which is a different sort of invisible wound, but the care he has to take is real and by looking at him you cannot tell. A darling friend of mine has fought infertility for years; she works with children and she desperately wants to be a mother. Another woman cavalierly mentioned that she was “accidentally” pregnant and it tore my friend up. To look at my friend you could not see her deep pain but it’s there. It’s real.

I’d like to think I’m a caring person and recognize others’ frailties but the truth is, a lot of the time I don’t care and I selfishly prioritize, place in hierarchical order who’s got it worse. The HJ and I routinely roll our eyes at some of the “woe is me” tales we hear from others, and that’s when he barks “suck it up!” Even though I know everyone has a full plate, I definitely feel that some of the most offensive whiners have doll house-sized plates. And even we, my family, compared to many in this world our plate is not Brobdingnagian: we have clean, potable water whenever we want; we have indoor plumbing; we have running cars and can afford to put gas in them and maintain them; we have a kitchen filled with food, and we have access to the best healthcare in the world. We have to pay for it, but we have access to it.

Suck it up!

I am trying, I am really trying, to suck it up: I am not even at fifty percent because j’adore playing my wee violin (cough cough).

I’m going to make popcorn and cocoa for the boys and myself; that’ll be an excellent sucking it up!

xo

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One Response to Anatevka

  1. Johanna GGG says:

    nicely said – I like the image of people in the audience talking about your beads and I love looking at your gorgeous cake – though I prefer more cake than frosting – and I like your invisible wounds discussion. I had a discussion with someone today about what to say to someone who had a recent stillbirth and was saying no matter how aware of it, it is still so easy to say the wrong thing. It can be hard to strike the balance between being so sensitive to all that you can say that is wrong and starting a conversation – I don’t know the answer, I just know it is hard.

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