Sunday, September 14, 2014


Very early this morning, instead of sleeping, I was browsing this site and the other, ending with a closer look at some of the more marginal stories of the NYTimes. One caught my eye: the title is about self-control and how you can learn to exert it and yes, that's all very interesting, but even more interesting is a fragment of an interview in it with Prof Mischel (of Columbia U) -- the guy who once tested little kids for the degree of self discipline they had over something so simple as a piece of confection.

Prof Mischel is getting older now (84) but I smiled as I read that he still made a point of spending every summer with his girlfriend in Paris. And, too, that he still writes. I pulled out just one quote for you from the interview with him. I suppose you could view it as an answer to the question -- and how do you manage in life? He answers -- [You need to be able] to distract constructively; to distract in ways that are in themselves satisfying; to do things that are intrinsically gratifying. Melancholy is not one of my emotions. Quite seriously, I don’t do melancholy. It’s a miserable way to be (bold added by me).

It was immensely pleasing to know that someone who has actually thought more than fleetingly about these things has pretty much the same approach to the everyday as I've historically succumbed to. Makes me feel better. Maybe it's not so weird after all to perfect the art of blocking and smiling your way through the day and saying leave me alone to the naysayers out there.

All that was in the predawn hours. Subsequently, as the sun rose clear and bright, I dug in and, with Ed's help, conducted a massive farmhouse cleaning operation. Because I like to come home to a tidy space.

And so breakfast got pushed back. Significantly. Until some afternoon hour. Like maybe 12:30.  On the upside, we ate on the porch. True, the temperature reading was a scant 57 F, but by then I was plenty warm from scrubbing floors and, too, I realized that it may well be the last porch breakfast we'll have this year. (I thought this without a trace of melancholy.)


There were several walks through the yard in between scrubbing, folding, sorting, etc etc...

(toward the porch)

(ripening grapes on the sheep shed)

(the yellow nasturtium are crazy blooming right now)

(the beloved farmhouse)

And in the late afternoon we had a sweet game of tennis -- poignantly so, because this, too, may be our last one this year. Though who knows - when I return from my trip (three weeks from now), we may be hitting a warm spell... Something to look forward to.

The day ends as so many Sundays end -- with a delightful family dinner.


Tomorrow I set out. As always, there is the chance that Ocean postings will be disrupted. Certainly, for the three weeks I'm away, it all will follow a different pattern. Which, I truly do think is a good thing.