sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 16, 2005

wish me luck
posted by soe 7:53 pm

I’m going to try to do a whole season’s shopping and baking all in one weekend with a holiday party (and maybe some pool) thrown in for good measure.

I’ll try to surface periodically to let you know how it’s going, but I make no promises…

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December 15, 2005

lessons, expressions, and sleeping through the night
posted by soe 11:15 am

It’s been a roller-coaster of a week, with most of it feeling like I was heading down a big hill screaming my head off (or wanting to, at least). These are the weeks when it’s hard to find the beauty — and probably the ones where finding them is the most necessary:

1. I went to a mass held in Facundo’s memory at Catholic University this morning. The priest gave a nice sermon about how in the literal darkness of winter, the Advent candles are lit to remind us that there is light in the world and that that can be translated into the more figurative light of love within the darkness of our grief. He also said that when looking back no one says they would have preferred not to have loved a person in order to avoid the pain of grieving. These are good lessons for me to keep in mind, as I am prone to dwelling more on the depth of the darkness and less on the love that makes the darkness worth slogging through.

2. Phillip was really excited about getting to see Butterstick. When he talks about him, he gets a little kid expression on his face that expresses pure joy.

3. Since getting sick last week, I haven’t slept terribly well (which impedes getting better). But last night I slept through the night without coughing myself awake (or being awakened by Jeremiah dumping stuff on my head from the shelf above the bed). Can recuperation be far behind?

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December 13, 2005

posted by soe 6:55 pm

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love, —
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

Our friend, Facundo Montenegro, died yesterday from lung cancer. He was a young man, and this loss is a sad one for all who knew him.

A year doesn’t seem like an especially long time. I saw Facundo a year ago. He seemed fine.

I don’t understand. I don’t want to understand. But I do want to understand. I want this to be categorizable into some neat little box that will enable me to put it away on a shelf where I won’t have to contemplate it suddenly in the middle of the night or when I’m thinking back on a fun day. I want to be able to say that if only this had happened or that hadn’t happened, his early death could have been avoided. I don’t want people to just die. I want there to be a reason.

When I was small, I saw a movie in which two children died. Why, I sobbed to my father later that night. Why did they have to die? And he explained why. That’s the nice thing about literature — characters aren’t allowed to die willy-nilly. There has to be a purpose to furthering the plot or the character development of your protagonist. It can be the result of choices the character has made. But there’s an unspoken bond between the author and the reader that there is, in fact, a reason for each death.

That’s the problem with real life. There’s no agreement. We try to pretend that there is one, that people just don’t die for no reason. There has to be a purpose. A graspable, understandable cause for the untimely demise of a loved one, anyone’s loved one.

But there isn’t. And that’s so hard to get my arms around.

Facundo, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to wish you well on your final journey. My best wishes and intentions hurry after you along the path you’ve taken.

And my grief remains here to bind me to the others who have been left behind in the shadow caused by the absence of your immense light.


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buttery goodness!
posted by soe 11:07 am

Saturday morning Rudi and I awoke early and headed up to the National Zoo to wait in a line.

A line to see a bear.

A cute, cuddly baby bear…

That’s right — it’s Butterstick time! (more…)

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December 12, 2005

how totally weird
posted by soe 6:56 pm

Rumors have been flying for a while about who would replace Theo Epstein as the general manager of the Boston Red Sox.

Well, turns out the rumors are true: Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington have been named co-general managers.

Why is this weird or particularly noteworthy, you ask?

Because I actually know Jed Hoyer!

He and I worked at Wesleyan in the same division for a couple of years. We hardly knew each other well enough to have lunch, but we knew each other well enough for me to attend his farewell bash when he left the university to head up to Boston.

I guess it really is a small world.

And, for the record, that makes two Wesleyan alums heading up major New England sports teams. Wherefore art thou, Williams?

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back in the land of the living
posted by soe 12:25 pm

I’m still not feeling 100%, but today I felt like I might be able to concentrate on something, so I came to work. (Plus, timesheets were due and if you’re out more than three days in a row, they want a doctor’s note — I don’t need to shell out a $15 copay to be told that I caught a bug and will be better in a few more days.)

Illness did not stop me from seeing Butterstick, as I’m sure some of you feared it might. It just kept me from being able to concentrate long enough to post photos. Maybe tonight after work. More likely tomorrow.

It also did not stop me from going to a chili cook-off (which the host’s mother won) Rudi was participating in. People seemed surprised that a bean-free, meat-free chili was a) good and b) spicy. Clearly a carnivorous crowd…

Pretty much the illness just made me feel tired and grumpy and congested. There was nothing especially wrong with me (except the need to trail tissues behind me wherever I went), but as I wasn’t sleeping well I wasn’t terribly useful and hung around in a malaise for four days.

It also slowed my knitting progress. Knitting four rows at a time seemed like a huge accomplishment, but two Christmas projects are within sight of being finished (especially now that I have the rest of the yarn necessary to finishing Christmas project #1).

Christmas cards also suffered. Luckily, most people I know have last names congregated at the beginning of the alphabet. Unfortunately, that means if your name starts with a letter after “D,” your card will probably be a few more days.

What has suffered most, of course, is Christmas shopping. When you don’t have any interest in even your most favorite activities (I didn’t pick up the novel I’m reading the whole four days I was home) and your head is filled with goo, it’s hard to convince yourself that it really is necessary to go out to the stores or sit in front of the computer and get some presents purchased. I did manage to get some done last night, so I’m hoping I’ll ramp back up to speed on that front shortly.

In the meantime, I’ll be the one hopped up on store-brand Sudafed severe cold formula (apparently people only buy name-brand drugs to turn into crystal meth…), which allows me to function in a somewhat normal (for me) fashion.

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