Plague House

photo by Kar King - Flickr
This photo has nothing to do with today's post. Instead, it is supposed to cheer me up. The plan for today has flown out the window; as my uncle E. says, Life is what happens when we're busy making plans.

The plan: Z was to test for her green belt today (she studies Kwon Ryu Fu Chi Do, a mixture of five martial arts - Tae Kwon Do, Ryu?, Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Do? - and this would be the fourth out of eight belts). My nevvie C and niece S, from ~1 hr. away, plus her three best friends, planned to watch her test and provide moral support. Afterwards, they intended to repair to our house and play several hours of Dungeons & Dragons to celebrate her 17th birthday (which is tomorrow). Then nephew & niece were to spend the night, & their parents planned to come up tomorrow for the day.

HOWEVER: Z is still barely able to eat more than plain crackers, as the stomach virus going around the dojo continues to plague her. Add to that the fact that her brother C spent all night oopsing (as my grandmother used to put it delicately) and hasn't been seen since 5 a.m. (it is now 1 p.m.), and the outlook for tomorrow is rather grim.

N is her usual bouncy self; R has taken her to the grocery store to lay in a supply of seltzer, ginger ale, soda crackers and chicken soup - which both Jewish mothers and Chinese mothers swear by. We are assuming that the rest of us are not immune to this disease, so he's purchasing plenty.

And so it goes, tiddly-pom . . . .



The Mote in My Eye

I woke on Christmas morning with a small lump on the inside of my eyelid. For three days now, it has been itchy and uncomfortable, and by this morning it had progressed from "itchy" to "painful," from "small" to "large and puffy." Now this evening my entire eyelid is red and sore.

As I stood in the shower a few minutes ago, it suddenly occurred to me: I know what caused this! Not allergies, not some dread disease. It's my stupid face scrub, the one that smells so good but doesn't help my face at all. It has small grains of . . . something, and when I rinse it off in the shower, sometimes a grain gets into my eye & hurts like mad. This time, apparently, I didn't get it all out & now my eyelid has grown a protective coating around it, somewhat akin to what an oyster does. Only I doubt I will end up with a pearl.

As I steamed my face in an attempt to ameliorate the situation (didn't help), I debated whether or not to toss the remainder of the face scrub. On the one hand, there's hardly any left, it doesn't help my face, and it did this to me. On the other hand, it smells really nice, and there's at least enough left for one more application.

At which point, my good eye developed a twitch, and I realized that I had more than one mote, if you get my drift.

All of this led me to ponder motes in general, and how detrimental they are to our lives (not including the Motes who live next door and are quite pleasant neighbors - and mow their lawn about four times as often as we do). I try, I really do try, to find and rinse out my motes frequently. Since I teach comparative religions at a community college, I routinely discuss hidden prejudice, stereotyping, etc., and conduct exercises aimed at assisting my students in exploring assumptions they may not have been aware of holding.

But (to return to the metaphor) I am still often blind to my own. And this can be frustrating and embarassing. In this case, I find myself dwelling once again on the monetary and material aspect of the situation instead of the obvious health aspect: it doesn't work and is, in fact, bad for me!

Where has my common sense gone? How did this mote get in my eye?



Mid-Holiday Epiphany

It's midway between the end of Hanukkah/Christmas and New Year's Eve/Z's birthday. The 'rents have left for Pittsburgh to visit my brother and sister-in-law, and N's sister and her family won't be here for another 24 hrs., so we're betwixt-
&-between in the guest department as well. We've sent out all the holiday cards, but haven't gotten around to writing the thank you letters yet.

In other words, it's a time of reflection and assessment. I don't get many of these in my current lifestyle - when they do sneak in here & there, they tend to come around 2 in the morning. I am afraid to take advantage of these o.dark.early times, as too much reflection then keeps me from getting back to sleep.

What assessments so far?

The best card of the season, well, that's easy. It came from Brendan, one of my online students last fall, and made both R & me laugh like loons. I tried to upload an image of it, but my scanning skills proved unequal to the task. It shows Santa in a large group picture, with the caption "Due to a bizarre scheduling error, Santa spends Christmas Eve at the Borgenstein Chanukah Celebration." At first (before I read the caption), I looked through the family portrait to find Brendan - whom I'd never met in person. He'd described himself as having a shaved head and several earrings, but the only person remotely fitting such a description looked to be about 4 months old. Brendan's posts seemed to have been written by a somewhat older author, so I guess that the photo was not of his clan.

The most evil gift of the season, that's also easy. This seemingly innocuous little box:
was a gift to N from Z's godparents. One simply turns it on & sets it in a dark place, and soon after that, it begins to emit a high-pitched, mosquito-like buzzing.

I think it may be time to fill out some "please send me all kinds of junk" forms in the name of their cat, Spot. Again.

The most highly anticipated visit of the season is definitely tomorrow's visit from N's half-sister. N can't wait to see her, and the rest of us are quite fond of her as well. I've promised to take photos for their birthmother. Considering that the girls live many states apart, we've been pretty fortunate in how often they've been able to visit with each other.

The most angst-producing event of the season is Z's upcoming green-belt test. She is tied in knots about it. I am a little nervous, too, but more about her casual comment this morning that "I get weapons once I'm a green!" Oh, do tell! Supposedly, they only train with the weapons, and don't actually spar with them, but the temptation has got to be there, don't you think? She starts out with something akin to nunchakus.

Oh, joy.

It's taken me three hours to decide where to put this blog, and get it up and running. Only because of myriad interruptions. Each of the four other (human) household members wants me for something. It's nice to be wanted, I suppose, though there have been times lately when I've wished I could have a trial membership in the Untouchables.