Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pinewood Derby

First place champion, yeah baby.

Kudos also go to Dad's hard work polishing axles, meticulously drilling and scraping holes for the weights, and sawing and sanding by hand.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Blankets

These pictures are mainly for my mom, but also for anyone else who cares about my fledgling quilt-making efforts. I know many of my relatives regularly crank out multiple quilts (Tiff's recent blog as evidence), but this still took enough effort for my busy self to feel like a big deal. I've sewn plenty of clothes at this point but this was my first first quilt, so I was gratified that Nora loves it.

And I also finally finished crocheting a blanket I started in October of 2008, and dubbed it S.'s Christmas present.

Here's to feeling loved when wrapped in a homemade blanket -- love you all!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Shelter from the Cold

I was reading recently that loneliness, as a perceived state of being, exhibits many of the same characteristics as a contagious disease. When someone in a social network begins expressing feelings of loneliness or isolation, other people in the network start to feel the same way. The effects of this can spread as far as three degrees of separation. The theory is that people who feel lonely tend to turn even further inward, and thus will treat their immediate friends and family with less generosity. This leads to some perverse outcomes. Most lonely people I know are lonely for reasons largely out of their control, with the loneliest people often the ones least understood--those struggling with clinical depression, loss of family, socioeconomic differences, or simply not knowing how to fit in. It seems heartless to say that if they are lonely, they should not tell anyone they are. Still, the research might suggest that the best antidote for feeling lonely is to act as if you are not. To succumb is to make matters worse for everyone.

I feel some hesitation, then, in recognizing that both K. and I probably tend towards the lonely road. K. has a form of attention deficit disorder that makes it more likely that her first reaction to something will be negative, and makes it harder for her to pick up on social cues. According to the medical literature, those with this kind of ADD often find themselves in a lifelong struggle to make friends without understanding why. I come from a family of introverts and often sense my pool of kindred spirits to be relatively small. I don't know what charisma consists of, but I know enough to recognize it in other people and enough to know that we probably don't have it.

It sometimes seems to me that there are people who can move into a new place and immediately begin to attract close friends and peers with enviable facility. I don't think we have ever been those people, nor do I fully understand them. To me, they move with the easy confidence of people who know where they belong, but perhaps they too feel the tender ache of isolation. I couldn't say. I often admire these people, but I don't fully know their hearts.

This is all prelude, and what I really want to say is this: K. and I have now been married for eleven years, and there is not a day when I don't thank God for the privilege of knowing her and of being known. I have no list of reasons for loving K. I simply do. We fit. We are partners. She is my equal and my match. From time to time each of us will feel the sting of unrequited friendship, but never from each other, and always with the consolation that true, companionate love has never eluded us. Her love for me has never been conditional, and it never feels right to give her anything less than my complete acceptance. There may be more than one secret to marital happiness, but that has been ours. Happy anniversary, and praise all that is good.