Saturday, March 05, 2005

A full plethora of sensual and intellectual activity

I recently told someone that it’s not all in how things look. One scene tells many stories on many levels. Still, our eyes have become so efficient, what with all the corrective lenses and laser surgeries, that we are happy-happy to under-use just about every other sense and processing device available to us.

Maybe nature intended us to use our vision less over time, so that we would appreciate the world more fully. Maybe our eyes were meant to fade, as our brains wisened up. Maybe over time touching and smelling were to rekindle within us feelings of comfort and serenity. Maybe. In light of these majestic possibilities I think training our other senses and experiential devices is very much in order. No need to immediately read Plato or search for fields of lavender. All you have to do is open a brand new container of Illy espresso, dark roast, fine grind. Visually? Take a look below: not much. But oh, that rush of coffee aroma! And what intellectual component follows cracking open that lid? Writing a post about it. [Not that easy, believe me.]
what's in a can... Posted by Hello

Where Ocean yet again endorses the polite and the thoughtful

Last Sunday I stopped by a house with two little boys. One of the things I miss tons about having little ones under foot is that I don’t have many opportunities to browse through children’s books anymore. In the way I can’t resist lattes now, I once could not resist picking up books, and more books, and even more books for my own little ones. And so now I jump at excuses to go to places where there are little kids who would not mind an extra book on the shelf. To entice them into the project I’ll throw in a piece of chocolate, especially when I am told that a particular kid is a chocoholic. One has to promote good taste for desserts at an early age.

And it is perfectly wonderful to then pick up in the mail a note like the one below! I know, it’s ridiculously hard sometimes to get the kid to slow down long enough to write something down, but know that the effort is worth it. It is SO NICE to receive this, especially because one knows that it required more effort for an 8 year old to do it.

Thanks, Evan. Also for generously including your three-year old brother so that he’d look good too!
how often do you get this kind of treat stuck in among the bills? Posted by Hello

Cup half full: what a great set of days! Cup half empty: it’s warmer in South Dakota.

I’m with the half full this week-end. Who cares about South Dakota!*

True, I found no snow drops yet and walking through Owen Woods was like navigating a slippery river bed. But at least it wasn’t muddy! And the birds – where do birds hang out in the winter? Suddenly they are everywhere. Too shy yet to be photographed. But so wonderful to listen to. Sun’s out. Life’s better than good.

*all in jest – no emails please!
The one sign of color: a birdhouse. How pretty! Posted by Hello
Like foaming champagne... Posted by Hello
Water, snow, ice and sunshine. So slippery. So nice. Posted by Hello

Oh may I squire you round the meads And pick you posies gay?---'Twill do no harm to take my arm.'You may, young man, you may.' *

In planning my May trip to Poland, I have been jumping around my preferred Polish sites, checking up on what people are gossiping about these days. One of my favorites is the news daily, Gazeta Wyborcza. There is a “forum” on the front page where a question is raised by a reader and others weigh in with brief answers and opinions.

Today’s forum really made me smile because I imagined how differently the thread may have proceeded had the same question appeared in a Madison paper. Let me do a translation. [Background info: in Poland, March 8th has always been celebrated as “Women’s Day,” with flowers and special recognition being given to…women. But as so many of customs and holidays have been revamped under western (aka American) influence, questions are starting to crop up as to whether the time has come to put this holiday to rest.] Here, then, is today’s little discussion (I’ve omitted some repetitive comments to save space):

Q: Each year in my mind a dilemma arises: should I give flowers or not? Will she get miffed at me? At times it’s best to forget that it’s THAT day again and at other times, dear God, you better not forget! Will someone finally settle this one?

A1: I can’t think of a single instance where a woman receiving flowers would have gotten miffed!

A2: And not only on March 8th :-)

A3: Oh, I know of some! :-))))

A4: In my opinion, give, give and give more flowers! I think that most women like getting flowers…Anyway, our culture demands that we behave well and treat this as a special day. What would we do without the beautiful gender?

A5: I’m not giving. Why? Because my sister and my women friends have already reminded me that March 8th is coming up and that’s why they’ll get nothing… I’m not going to give anything because it is expected of me. I’ll give a flower or a whole bouquet on one day, maybe everyday, but it has to be my decision.

A6: So I gather that presents and birthday wishes and holiday greetings you give out also when you feel like it, not when the calendar demands it. You should be congratulated on your good manners and self-satisfaction.

A7: What would we do without the beautiful gender? Live normally at last!

A8: Why don’t you instead give her chocolates …or a kiss…

A9: So stupid to even ponder this…Doesn’t a woman in today’s world deserve just a smidgen of gratitude? She’s supposed to only slave away at work, in the home? Unfortunately, I have never received a flower without any occasion and neither has any woman that I know of…

A10: You deserve not only a smidgen but whole lot of our gratitude. We’re just jealous. See – the men are on your side, even on the Internet!

A11: Let’s please not make an issue of this! March 8th has always been Women’s Day and we have always received flowers and presents! And it was nice! We can’t count on getting anything on other days. We go to work, we leave work, we get groceries, we cook dinner… I await March 8th!

A12: My husband doesn’t observe Women’s Day. But my work colleagues do and I get flowers from them…I take from this that I am more of a woman to strange men than to my husband. A wife is an institution – someone to do the laundry, to take care of HIS sick mother. From such small things [no flowers] begins the end of love as one as felt it on the wedding day.

A13, 14, 15, etc: (from the vast majority:) Give the flowers! We love them! Yes, please continue to give flowers, on this day, on other days! Long live March 8th!

* A.E.Housman