A Word on Words

Back in March, I sent the following e-mail to Stephanie.

“I am trying out some new fonts for the luncheon invite, so I typed up my typical alphabet line

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

And totally realized how teeny, tiny are the building blocks of language.  Seriously.  It looks even smaller on a full sheet of paper.  Seriously.  How do we communicate with that?

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

That’s not much to work with.  No wonder communication is so precarious.”

This lightning bolt of revelation and awestruck surprise was much like the day Tony and I were driving out to our building site (otherwise known as our house now).  I was holding a smallish digital camera in my hand and was suddenly overwhelmed with the thought that the images I took with that camera were immediately visible to me.  I could save it or delete it, and did I have the means and equipment at my immediate disposal, could go and get a copy of that VERY IMAGE at that exact moment to travel down the road with us in real, actual form rather than digitally alone.  I said something of that sort to my husband–gushing as I normally do when things like that occur to me–

“Can you believe that I can take a photo of our children RIGHT NOW and then HERE IT IS—in my hands.  It’s just information on a tiny little card the size of a nickel, but it JUST happened, and now I can see it.  They are THERE in the back seat, and they are HERE in this little camera.  It blows my mind!!!  Isn’t that AMAZING????”

“No.”

“NO?????????????????  You don’t find that AMAZING???  HOW can you NOT find that amazing?”

“I watch Star Trek.”

Thus is the mystery that is communication.

I haven’t communicated on this blog much this past calendar year.  It has been a busy year.  In fact, I can say in all honesty that I has been chock full ‘o activity and exhaustion on various levels until JUST the last week or so.  Our summer has been a busy one–and that is good in and of itself with memory making and travel and summer time activities.  But LIFE has been busy for quite awhile now, and it is good to have it slow down.

Tony and Thad are in the gameroom playing Mario Cart.  Victoria is in San Antonio with her Girl Scout troop.  I have a moment to think–to read–to write–to communicate.  What a pleasant thing.

I want to write more.  And so, I am.

 

 

Truths: Inconvenient and Unvarnished

“The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote – wrote, wrote…By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught.” ― Walt Whitman

I am not here to tell any inconvenient or unvarnished truths, but this thought has been coming up over and over the past few days.  Truth–truth of the moment, in one’s life story–is not always how we proceed.

I recently watched a documentary called “The Flat.”  It’s the autobiographical story of how a modern Jewish man, Arnon Goldfinger, in Israel begins to incidentally uncover his family history after the death of his 98 year old grandmother.  She was his maternal grandmother, and she and her husband and children, including Arnon’s mother, immigrated to Israel from Berlin at the outbreak of World War II.  As a mystery unfolds, he asks his mother, Hannah, questions.  Not only does Hannah not know the answers, but she doesn’t really care to learn them.  “Why?” she asks more than once.  This not asking why even extends to the fact that she doesn’t know what happened to her maternal grandmother, Susanna. When Arnon finds out what did, in fact, happen to Susanna, Hannah doesn’t believe him at first.

Later in the documentary he visits his grandmother’s last living friend in Israel, Gertrude.  She was also a German immigrant to Israel.  When he questions her about Nazi Germany she says that she and his grandmother “never discussed such things.”  Gertrude tells him that his grandmother, Gerda, never quite found a home in Israel and his grandfather, Kurt, certainly never did.  Gertrude, however, says that she was lucky to find such a home in Israel.  She could not forgive what had happened in Germany and was not “German in her soul.”  Gertrude says, “Why do only 3rd generation Germans ask questions?  The 2nd generation didn’t ask questions.”  Then she pauses and smiles at him as though he is very, very young (and to her 95+ years his 40+ years is very, very young) and says, ” You don’t understand, and I’m glad you don’t understand.”

The pain that the first generation endured was taboo to the second generation.  It is insinuated in the movie that Hannah was never directly TOLD not to ask, but somehow from a young age she got the message that you just don’t ask questions.  At all.  Ever.  Then, here comes Arnon who had never asked questions himself, until he begins to help clean out his grandmother’s flat and is faced with the evidence of a mystery.  He, of all of his siblings, is the only one interested in the why.

Here are two comments from others who watched it.

“This movie upset me, amazed me, and left me silently musing on just how complicated is the human heart. Our capacity for denial, for self-delusion, for both coldness and compassion truly make us a different kind of animal from any other. . .”

“This is so terribly disturbing… It’s not explicable by any terms. These were not bad people in any ways, they knew they had to go and they went yet they kept their friendship with the same couple they must have known somehow were part of the machine that killed so many and even their own. There are no words for this. The only question I have is why tell the world about this quite shameful state of past history of the family that could hurt for generations to come. It seems to me that this is the kind of thing one HIDES?” 

I agree with both of the comments.  The information that is uncovered is one that will only cause pain to those living who didn’t want to know in the first place, but it gives understanding and greater appreciation to those who didn’t live it in that first and second generation.  There are parts of the time I question why these things weren’t discussed, but then there is a section in the movie where Arnon is giving information to someone and want to stop him–I know that the information will only cause her pain and heartache that cannot be resolved in any way.

I know someone whose aunt has struggled with mental illness all of her adult life, and recently a distant family member asked to know the story.  As a child, this distant relation had been told that the aunt had “a lost love and just never recovered.”  While that is very true, it is the most passing version of truth.

So I have pondered on this as we all, eventually, want to be known by those who love us.  But the truth we share is not always whole.  Sometimes, I believe, it is because the whole, unvarnished truth is so painful that some people can’t handle it.  Other times I think it is because those who are involved face it head on, but then they must let it go.  Knowing the truth, accepting the truth, and then putting it to rest so one can get on with the business of living life seems to be how most humans deal with painful truths.

A little heavy for a Saturday night, but this documentary has made me think and wonder about my own story–the story of my life.  How much do I REALLY want others to know.  Am I brave enough to write the whole, unvarnished truth and set it aside for future generations–not just about myself, but about my family and friends?  Will it heal or hurt?  Will it inspire or overwhelm?  I think some of us are Arnons and some of us are Hannahs.

 

 

MORE Party Pictures

Animoto of the party

Click link above to see video.  Animoto just still amazes me.  It is SO easy to use and makes such a GREAT product.

iWhatevers: Kittens and Randomness

Awhile back, I was reading a post from this blog where the writer referred to smart devices an “iWhatever.”  I thought that was rather clever and have taken to using it with my kiddos the past two school years.  “Put your iWhatevers away.”  “You can use you iWhatevers IF you have earbuds.  You may NOT share with a friend.”  “Finish this assignment and you can spend the last five minutes on your iWhatever.”  They now ask, “Can we use our iWhatevers?”  I love that–aside from the fact that it should be “MAY we use our iWhatevers.”  Thanks for letting me high-jack your clever verbage (without your knowledge or permission.), El Commodore and Majesty.  It’s about the only thing my students find cool about me.

In keeping with the iWhatever, below is a photographic compendium of iWhatever technological output.  From our house to yours.

Bella Bath 5.12.14

This is Bella. She is beautiful as her name suggests. She is also (now) clean.

Bella Bath 5 Clean Kittens

Everyone of Thistle’s kittens is prettier than the next. Not an ugly one in the litter. One of the orange ones is Eddie–Bella’s litter mate that will be ours permanently.

Bella Bath 5 Clean Kitten Backs

They were, however, riddled with fleas from their mama. They are now washed, medicated, and asleep.

Bella and Siblings in Tub

The one looking on is who we call Scaredy Cat. Early on, my vote was for us to keep her, but she may be a little high strung. All of the kittens handled the bath well, though–even S.C.

Bella Bath Beautiful

More Bella. I TOLD YOU she was pretty.

Bella Bath Selfie

Victoria is not the normal teen-aged girl, but she DOES enjoy a selfie with her cat. In other news, my daughter is wearing my strand of (very nice) faux pearls that I received as a high school graduation present. Cool.

Lint Feather

When one finds a feather adhered to one’s lint roller, one can only hope it came from one’s chickens.

Thad Refreshment

I found this empty, jazzed up can of Some Boy’s favorite fruit punch on the table the other day. Dude knows how to enjoy a beverage.

***THIS JUST IN***  Victoria has e-mailed me from school to say that we CANNOT name the little, male kitten Eddie.  She and Thad FINALLY agreed on the name (her suggestion even), but it was not to be.  Her reasoning (after telling her friends the names I’m assuming) is that Bella and Eddie will elicit the whole Bella/Edward/Twilight thing.  She is vehemently opposed to the faintest hint of such.  She has come up with a new list:  Leo, Oliver, and Toby.  Toby being the likely candidate as it was suggested by Thad.  Oh my.

A Lovely Day

Blog Luncheon 5.3.2014 397This was our 12th annual Mother Daughter/Spring Luncheon.  The day could not have been more lovely–perfect weather, just the right amount of breeze, a temperature that was sublime (Victoria declared, “I LOVE this air.  I feels like NOTHING!”) and low-for-us humidity.  Top it all off with me actually having FOOD on the table when guests arrived and THINGS ready to go, and I got to sit down and eat WITH my guests this year.  Of course, I walked like a decrepit, old woman for the next two days, but as always, the effort is so very, very worth it.

We had many friends from many places come to join us.  Twelve pounds of chicken salad, sixty croissants, five gallons of punch, four gallons of tea, two and a half cakes, twenty-four cupcakes, and various and sundry other foodities (INCLUDING some WONDERFUL homemade eggrolls and fried rice from Tanya Nguyen) were enjoyed by all.  My sweet, friend Rebecca came again with her girls and one of two sons in tow to help.  I called her my “sliceista.”  I don’t need a BARista. . .but she sliced everything–tomatoes, croissants, cheese–and arranged pickle, veggie, and meat plates AND took over as main photographer until after I had finished my lunch!

My girl and me!

My girl and me!

View the slideshow OR click on thumbprint photos (many of them from Rebecca) below to see larger.

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Some FUN videos to make your day.

Tony and I used to watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Once he was gone, it seemed that we had other things to do.  I’m not particularly a Jimmy Fallon fan as I just haven’t every seen much with him in it, but I have had opportunity lately to see some of the music things he’s doing on The Tonight Show and they are VERY cool.

A new, hit song to begin with.  I’ve still not see the movie, but I hear it’s great.

One for those of us from the ’80’s.  I see a few wrinkles, but other than that, Kevin Bacon has not aged AT ALL.

And this shows the wonders of what iPads can do. . .

It’s That Time of Year!!!

Blog 2014 Invite

This year’s invite. . .I spent a large majority of the day making this in Word, and it was SO MUCH FUN!!!!!  I haven’t gotten to do much along the lines of creativity lately, so this was a much needed fix. They will be printed on craft paper card stock.  I might try my hand at lining envelopes to add some color.

I found TONS of great clip art and antique pictures that are free to use at this website, The Graphics Fairy.  There are SO MANY pretty things.