Friday, December 31, 2010

the place time stays

The place time stays
and does not grow, each breath illumined
endways, endless
changeless, still.

The place a face
is held until
each thought crosses,
is redeemed,

The place we hold
and hold, and hold
and do not change,
fully unfold,

Where changes, if they come,
are counterpoint
to just the
the endlessness,

the place time says
we are---

Things have been moving too quickly for my liking. This year hardly seems to have been here at all, and my children are growing so quickly, and there are times when I look up at the bare branches of the sweetgum tree outside my house and could swear they were covered in flaming red leaves just a moment ago.

To remedy this almost panicked sense of ceaseless change, I moved really slowly yesterday. When I woke, I lit candles and did gentle yoga, and then sat in the garden to drink a cup of tea as idly as i could manage. I watched the steam curl up in long strands of early sunlight and let my eyes follow the first waking motions of the winter birds in the lemon tree.

As the day warmed I packed up my paints and my notebook and cycled down to the ocean, slowly, stopping to pick dandelions and watch herons and dip my toes in the suddenly furious waters of Ballona creek. I dug myself into the shelter of a dune and painted the ocean. I leaned up against the edge of a bridge and painted the San Gabriel mountains. I sat in a tea shop and wrote poetry and nursed a cup of hot cider for nearly an hour (breaking my record of 43 minutes with the morning tea!)

On my way home I stopped to do tai chi in my old neighborhood, drawing it out until the sun set. I walked to the grocery store, stopping to greet every single person I came across. I carried my groceries home, breathing in the crisp air and watching the clouds cross the first stars.

Time passes, whether I acknowledge it or not. It was nice to take one day to look time fully in the face. And to appreciate this place I am, now, whether or not it is my final winter here.

There is lots of other drama, but as this secret blog is becoming not-so-secret, I am finding it more and more difficult to adhere to the goal of radical honesty I began with. Sigh.

May we all find new understanding in the transformations of this new year. And may it take a little more time to pass than the last one.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

hitching a ride on the fashion train

(Yeah, I know, it's called 'trainhopping', but it didn't sound right: "trainhopping the fashion train". Too many "train"s.)

A lot has happened in the past week. Two men have told me they love me. My ex sent the police round at 3 am on Christmas to shine lights in the faces of my children. Plans for the future have been reworked. A broken relationship with my brother has been forged anew. I built a wood shed from scratch. The roof has sprung a leak.

But what I really want to write about is the outfit I wore this evening to the ballet.

You see, this friend and this friend and even this friend---basically all the bloggers I know---write a lot about clothes. And having recently purged my tiny space of every article of clothing I ever wore during my marriage, the few pieces that are left have taken on a special significance.

Years ago, when I was working at an organic farm and yoga center, the charismatic fellow who'd founded the place told me the origin of the word 'cosmetic'. It is derived from the greek word 'kosmos' and originally referred to the special paints, costumes, and jewelry that temple priestesses would put on to align themselves with the particular energetics of the day. I like that. I like thinking of the clothes we put on as a blessing, as a message, as a way to align ourselves with the seasons and our own internal landscapes.

So when my friend invited me to the ballet this evening I promptly put on my favorite purple tights from Target (girls size 14 tights---which will stretch to fit just about anyone---are only $1.99, as opposed to the quite boring ones in women's that cost $14.99).

I was feeling festive so I put on my candy-cane-striped strapless dress, found this summer at a yard sale for $3. But it is cold. So over that, like any good acolyte of Shelayna's, I layered two sweaters. One is a lacy sweater that I thought was a dress when I bought it at goodwill for $2 but later found out is a size 18XX top. So it gapes open a bit, which I fixed with my grandmother's cameo brooch.

Still cold, I added a sweater bought last week at yet another goodwill for $4. As for the necklace, that started life as a pair of leaf earrings that I bought at a yard sale. $1. My ears aren't pierced, so I detached the leaves and turned them into pendants. I gave one to a friend---the one I went to the ballet with!---and haven't taken the other off since I made it. I like the witchy way it makes me feel. The pashmina silk/cashmere scarf was another yard sale find for $2. Culver City. I tell you.

This concludes my blatant Shelayna/Laura spinoff. Man that was fun.

After the ballet my friend and I clogged for three hours to an old Gillian Welch album and she taught me to use her spinning wheel. Life goes on.

Monday, December 20, 2010

drawing down the moon

these cold days in north carolina:

xir, splitting wood with his grandfather

anainn, fearlessly feeding horses

crystalline light of solstice full moon spilling through branches of trees i had forgotten could grow so tall

strange conjoining of memory and reality, past and present, into one very confusing life

extraordinarily painful revelations

deep love from unexpected sources

"you are what makes life worthwhile"

guinea fowl with their strange, panicked call

the crack of splitting ice on a frozen lake

learning not to speak. watching how others live.

blue light travelling from the tips of my fingers through the balls of my feet: lady, lend me strength to be and do all that i might be and do this year

may we all find light in this longest night, and happy solstice to all

Friday, December 17, 2010

female rains

that's what the Dineh call these long, soaking, gentle days. as opposed to male rains, which are the lightning storms, sudden and dramatic, an onslaught that is quickly over.

i love the female rains. i woke early this morning and smudged the whole house with cedar, lit a candle, and took off on a walk through the low clouds. everything seems to be breathing on these days, rain-soaked and calm and alive. little touches of the sacred are everywhere. these are the days i remember to take a bath of salt as the evening winds down, to reconnect with the ocean and the womb and release anything but gratitude. these are the days i hold my children's hands and sing over dinner, bring out the guitar to carol together before they sleep, simmer the peelings and cuttings of vegetables to make broth for later. these are the days i remember to register where the moon is in the sky, how deeply i am breathing, which herbs are ready to harvest.

it takes so little--those flickers of connection here and there--to remember how deep life can go. i thank these rains for bringing it all back to me in their gentle, lifegiving way.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

moon time.

Have any of you ever stopped to wonder why we menstruate? It doesn't make much sense, when you think about it. It is, for one thing, dangerous, as I learned on my first solo wilderness expedition.

I was sleeping in my debris hut on my third day out, after a successful day of digging tubers and setting traps. A sort of snuffling sound woke me, and I was instantly alert, adrenaline coursing through my body. There was nowhere to go---debris huts are like little coffins, and once you've wedged yourself in you can't get yourself out in a hurry---and for this reason I'd carefully disposed of all the food I'd cooked and rubbed my skin with charcoal from the fire to absorb the food smell before going to sleep. But something was on my scent. In the next moment I knew who: a clawed paw knocked a new door into my hut and barely missed my thigh. It was a bear. I scrambled out of the new entrance, shouting, which confused the bear enough that it shambled away after a few more deeply interested sniffs at the leaves of my bedding.

It was a few hours before I could think clearly enough to wonder what had attracted the bear. You guessed it: I had begun menstruating, and the scent of the blood had drawn him to me. Might have been nice if my (male) survival instructor thought to mention this possibility! Though, really, it's a little embarrassing that I didn't think of it on my own.

So why on earth put every human female at an increased risk for predatory attack, every month, during her most fertile years? Doesn't that seem like a bad strategy for the survival of the species? There are a few other mammals who menstruate, though for most it is only a few drops, hardly noticeable. Lots of species simply resorb their ovarian linings every month instead of wasting the precious blood and energy reserves. Why don't we do the same?

There are several theories floating around. One is that the energy cost of keeping some lining in the uterus perpetually (as the resorbers do) is simply too high for such large creatures as we bipeds. Another is that menstruation signals the lack of a pregnancy so that swift action can be taken to remedy this oversight ( impregnate that sucker!). My favorite is the cleansing theory, or the idea that menstrual blood carries away harmful bacteria or disease organisms that might have entered via intercourse. There is a lovely poetry in the thought that this fluid, thought so 'unclean' by so many major traditions, is actually the opposite and might even account for the longer lives of females.

When I first moved to California, I was a young and strongheaded creature. I'd lived in my new home, a permaculture community in Pomona, for about 10 days when I calmly built a moon hut in the corner and stayed there for the duration of my menstruation, writing poetry and bleeding into a special sage-filled hole in the ground. I couldn't understand why anyone would have a problem with this. I mean, there weren't any bears around or anything!

I've grown some, and I no longer make a big production out of my moon time. I treasure it as a signal to retreat, to look within, to step back from all the activity and bustle of life. Perhaps, in the end, this is why we menstruate. Predators are out there! What a great chance for women to stay in the caves, and rest. Built-in rest days for the most put-upon gender. I get it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

wading through the hard stuff.

I was talking with a rather stunning friend of mine today about how quickly we can get derailed by others' opinions. I mean, there I was yesterday, preening about how doggone great I am, and here I am after one horrible phone call, sincerely doubting my ability to do....well.....anything.

Tonight was Xir's holiday concert. He's been practicing for weeks, getting the little hand signals down, adjusting his santa hat in the mirror. He wanted me to help him get ready. So I biked over after work to pick Xir up, as arranged, and was met instead by his father. Long story short, he summarily dismissed me and I had to leave before we caused a scene. I walked for a few blocks to cool off, then called to find out what on earth was going on.

The gist: according to him, I have bad energy. So bad that simply being around my children causes them to be sick and sleepless. So bad that if I wanted Xir to be able to attend his own holiday concert, I would need to BACK OFF (his emphasis) and let Xir rest all afternoon, free of my horrible influence, so that he could recuperate enough to go.

Crazy, right? Here's the sick part: all I have to do is hear this to partially believe it. I'm ready to assume the worst of myself, at any time. Oh, he has a point, one part of me muses, while the other is shouting classy obscenities into the phone (you know, like "weakminded buffoon" and "ludicrously unsubtle manipulator", that sort of thing. Better than "poopyhead" which is what I like to call him when I'm at home.)

Because, the thing is, all of us know our innermost dark secrets. I know, or at least dimly suspect, what evils I am capable of. I know that I have my weaknesses as a mother. I know that the boys sleep more when they are at his house. So I can easily find the grains of truth even in the worst insults. Which makes this kind of heavy-handed ladling-on-of-guilt an excellent tactic: suddenly the burden is on me to defend myself from his allegations and attention is shifted from the matter at hand...and also, from his own deficiencies as a person and parent.

But--bless that rocket scientist boyfriend of mine!--before I take all of that on, I need to look critically at the evidence.

1. What am I being asked to believe? That I am a bad influence on my children and they are healthier without me. That I am doing a bad job as a mother.

2. What evidence is there to support this claim? The kids don't sleep much at my house. I yell at them sometimes. I don't feed them as well as I could. They don't have their own rooms or a car or lots of playdates. I get really worn out when I'm with them and am not at my best.

3. Are there other ways to interpret this evidence? Yeah. Maybe they don't sleep well at my house because they are so happy to be around me and want to stay awake for it! And they sleep at his house because he's boring! And who said a mother has to be at her best all the time? That just proves that I'm tired, not that I have evil energy.

4. What additional evidence would be necessary to rule out the alternative interpretations? Let's see. We could isolate Xir from me for a while and see if he miraculously and spontaneously recovers and never falls ill again. We could make his father magically interesting and fun to be around and see if the kids still slept constantly at his house. Or wait, I know! We could give FULL CUSTODY to ME and see if eventually they began sleeping well because they knew I would always be there!

5. What is the most reasonable conclusion to make at this time? The boys' dad is a poopyhead.

If I could only remember to run through these five steps every time life cuts me down. (What am I being asked to believe? That I'm not pretty enough. What am I being asked to believe? That I need to own certain things to be a viable member of society. What am I being asked to believe? That I'm not doing my job well enough.)

If only I could remember to use it when my friends are hurting, or my children are confused, or I'm too hard on myself. It's so easy to believe the hurtful things. I don't want to do that anymore.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

this is what it's like.

Dear Lissa of 10 years hence,

Here is what your life is like right now.

4 am: 2-year-old is up for the day. There will be no more sleep for you. Finally you accept this and get up, tossing the bedding into a furious pile in a fit of pique when you realize it is keeping you from opening the refrigerator. Remember that? You lived in a really, really small house.

4:30 am: to keep from screaming at your exhausted, whiny, runny-nosed infant and his propensity for throwing various glasses of fluid all over everything after taking just one sip and then begging piteously for another glass of a different kind of fluid until finally you cave and yup, he tosses that one all over everything too, you stand in horse and do grim-faced kung fu, looking at yourself in the mirror and telling your purple-eyed saggy haggard face that all of this is your own fault and just deal with it.

5 am: wipe up large puddles of various kinds of fluids from floor. Throw cloths in a pile of similar cloths from yesterday that already smell mildewy. Add laundry to your list of things-to-do-ha-ha-yeah-right. Begin to wash accumulated dishes while child whines for attention. Giggle sarcastically to self as you remember what a Waldorfy fairyland mom you thought you were going to be, child playing with little lacquered acorns on a radiant-heated wood floor by the fire while you played lute to welcome the morning. Betcha never thought you'd be pretending not to hear your kid, green stuff running down his face, begging for a cookie at 5 in the morning. Or that you'd growl at him under your breath "you're supposed to be ASLEEP you horrid little beast. I can't believe you think it's okay to ask me for ANYTHING right now."

6 am: Cook egg that child does not eat. Make juice that child will not drink. Run a large bubble bath and plunk disgustingly green child in it. Sit next to tub with head in hands and try not to fall asleep.

6:30 am: ignore large pile of new dishes, large pile of toys, and pile of bedding. This is difficult to do because it is a small house and these piles are very prominent. So it takes a half an hour.

7 am: read story after story to child in hopes that he will take an early nap. No dice.

8 am: Anainn's favorite toy horse breaks a leg. Rummage through bin-o-toys and find dismembered plastic paw from some action hero or other. Hot glue it into place.

8:15 am: get out paints to finish painting holiday cards. child has lots of fun. change child's clothes for 3rd time in 2 hours and add to the accumulating lifeform in the hamper.

8:30 am: plunk child into stroller and walk to Target to buy bike pump to inflate tires so that I can ride bike to pick up Xir later in the day. (Old bike pump did not survive game Xir invented in which it featured as some kind of "bad dinosaur" that eventually gets its comeuppance via decapitation.) Get heebie-jeebies from horrible plastic-scented fluorescent-lit store but nevertheless buy a lot of things. (Warm clothes for the boys, on sale. Little toys and coloring books for a long upcoming plane ride. A garter belt. (it was on clearance!) oh yeah. A bike pump.)

10:00 am. Pump up tires. pack toys, snacks, water, rainclothes, reflective vest for when I bike home at night...have I forgotten anything? Pop baby into bike seat, adjust his harness, put his helmet on, lock gate. Oh no, I forgot my phone. Take off baby's helmet, unstrap his harness, lift him out, unlock gate, get phone. Repeat.

10:30 am. Stop by library to drop off overdue books. Read a few stories to Anainn, remind him for about 20 minutes, fruitlessly, that libraries are quiet places, finally give up and leave.
Bike across town.

12:20 pm. Reach Brentwood and stop to play in a park and have lunch. Exhausted child swings and sobs, slides and sobs, digs in sand and sobs. Staggers facefirst into a bench and I have to make him a plantain poultice. Why do I feel dizzy? Oh yeah, I haven't eaten or drunk anything all day. Shoot. Forgot to pack lunch for self.

1:15 pm. Burst into tears as I pull up at Anainn's father's house to drop him off. All my annoyance with his whininess and refusal to sleep is forgotten. I sit on the wall and hold him in my lap with his warm little cheek pressed up against mine. It is only a day, I tell myself. Only a day, only a day. "Do you want to go in and see your Baba now?" I whisper. "No," he whispers back.

1:30 pm. Pull self together and walk to Xir's school to pick him up. Put on lip balm in hopes that my shiny lips will distract those other, non-divorced mothers from my bloodshot snotty-nosed custody-transfer face.

1:40 pm. Walk to library with happy, chatty Xir. Manage to read him two books in the short time we have together, but on the way home he stops walking and won't budge. "My legs are too tired, Mama." Try not to panic. Have to be at school half-hour away to teach class in 25 minutes. Finally put my backpack on my front, put his backpack on his back, and lift that 80-pound sucker right up into a piggyback. Stagger the final mile back to his father's house under what has to be, total, a 95 lb. load. Xir is so happy. (In his defense, he's been quite sick for a few days.) Why am I so dizzy? Oh yeah, I've been awake since four, have been on the move all day, and STILL haven't eaten or drunk anything. Must remedy this. But first must have second breakdown of day when drop Xir off.

2:55 pm. Sniffle as I bike hell-for-leather into Santa Monica. I'll see him tomorrow, I'll see him tomorrow, I'll see him tomorrow.

3:14 pm. Sweating like a pig, I show up at the gate a whole minute early! My class of eight girls are raring to go. Total chaos ensues. Art is made. Room is trashed. It's by far the easiest part of my day.

5:35 pm. Finish cleanup. pop on reflective vest for ride home (thank goodness I remembered it, lo these many hours ago!) Bike home to culver city.

6:30 pm. Why am I so dizzy? Must be the 6 miles of secondhand marijuana I inhaled biking down Venice boulevard. Oh wait, did I ever eat anything?

7:oo pm. Decide to write down the course of the day in order to understand why it was that I went all day without eating. In writing it down, realize that my older self probably would never have remembered quite how involved life was in these days when the kids were small if I didn't take the time to write down even the insignificant details. In writing it down, realize that I FUCKING ROCK, even though I'm not quite as Waldorfy as I'd once hoped. I need to tell myself that more often. Oh yeah, and did I mention that halfway through the day I got my period unexpectedly? Fortunately we were still on the Ballona Creek bike trail at that point, where there are cattails, the down of which makes a lovely impromptu pad. Whew.

Now I am going to eat dinner.

Friday, December 10, 2010

the collective unconscious

I lost my keys a little while ago. I was on my way out the door to go and soak in wild hot springs with my young stud, so I didn't let it bother me. I knew they would turn up when we got back.

But as we camped and hiked and soaked I turned the problem over in my mind. I'd checked the drawer, all my bags, the table, the counter...I mean, come on, it's a 12-foot house. How hidden could they be? Of course, with Anainn around, 12 feet might as well be a series of echoing caverns. Those keys could very well be wadded up inside my favorite shirt, wrapped in cash nipped from my wallet, and buried under the floorboards with my cell phone on top. Dipped, naturally, in hummus. That's NOTHING to him. Would take him the minute-and-a-half I've pared my bathroom visits down to (any longer, and who knows what could happen! I'm going to break a minute by February, I can feel it...).

Then, one night, under the clear stars of the desert, I had a dream. Carl Jung was crooking his finger at me from a chair near a window.

"Pssst," he said, eyes gleaming with mischief. "I know where your keys are." He pointed to the wardrobe, which flew open, and I saw my grey corduroys there. of course! I had been wearing those cords the day before! The keys must be tucked into the pocket!

I was so excited the next morning. A personal message from Jung himself! I babbled excitedly to Stud about how Jung's theory of the collective unconscious and the mysterious synchrony of dreams was always taking flak from the scientific community for being "unprovable." Well here I had the means to prove it. Should I return home and find the keys in the pocket of my cords, it would PROVE that there is a collective wisdom larger than ourselves that can transmit messages in dreams!

"Or," remarked Stud calmly, "That some part of your brain remembered where you'd put them and, once the constant buzz of your consciousness was out for the count, was finally able to make itself heard." I narrowed my eyes at him. 'Constant buzz'? 'make itself heard'? What, exactly, were we talking about here?

He smiled at me and nudged my arm. "You have to think of all possible ways of interpreting the evidence, or you haven't proved anything at all." He's a rocket scientist. (No, really. He's a rocket scientist.)

Finally our lovely journey to hot springs by way of snowy mountains by way of thin-walled hotel rooms (THAT, dear reader, is story for another time!) came to an end, and I eagerly raced to my wardrobe to feel in the pockets of my cords. I was really rooting for Jung, here.

But--strike one for mysticism. The keys were not there.

I was disconsolate all day. So much for my personal connection with Jung. So much for being able to stick my tongue out at all those ├╝berrational pooh-poohers out there.

Finally I dragged myself to the table to study for my finals. I opened my Theories of Personality text to review the reading.

And there, tucked into the pages of the chapter on Jung and the Collective Unconscious, were my keys.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

the final final.

They are all over. And I'm pretty confident that I aced them all, so it seems my studying style of soaking in a bubble bath eating toast (with flashcards somewhere in the general vicinity) WORKS! Isn't this great news?

I sacrificed a lot these past few weeks, though. My daily meditation. My bouts of kung fu and hill running. Healthy eating. Equanimity with my children. So it seems that perhaps the benefits of taking so many courses at once do not outweigh the costs. I think I'll take on a lighter load next semester.

And by the by, in all of my research I discovered this interesting tidbit: a fully-functioning adult has, in general, only about 50% of her attentional processes free to devote to the needs of another. A young child, however, who is unable to care for himself, is hardwired to demand 100% of his caregiver's attention. Therefore, that niggling feeling that we can never give our kids all that they want---that we are never ENOUGH, somehow---is not a shortcoming in our parenting ability. It's biology. This is where those of you with caring and committed mates cash in---50% of you plus 50% of him/her is a pretty nice equation for your offspring.

There are certainly moments when I am utterly convinced that I am not equal to the task of raising my boys. Now I know why. And it helps, oddly.

This is getting long, but I wanted to relate this story:

This time last year, I had just initiated divorce proceedings from my husband of five years and moved out into a large sublet I could ill-afford. I had a barely-one-year-old and a traumatized, angry five-year-old and a daunting bicycle commute and a lot of emotions. I desperately wanted to create a memorable, warm, loving Christmas for my children. I needed to prove to myself that I could create a joyful family on my own.

So, when my then-5 year old begged for a Christmas tree (my ex had never allowed one) I was determined to make it happen. We walked a few miles to the closest purveyor of trees and I juggled a fussy infant while trying to talk my excited son down from the $80 eight-footer to the only one in my budget, a puny 4-foot fir. I paid for the tree and we started down the sidewalk, my son skipping with glee. That's when I realized there was no way I could carry my baby and that tree at the same time. Oh, I tried! I lashed the thing to my back---boughs scraped the baby's face. I rigged up a little towline---the friction tore off needles and branches. I alternated tucking it under my arms and hugging it with the baby on my back---too dangerous. Couldn't see. Finally I announced that we were going to take the tree on the bus. I got change from a very nice storekeeper and we waited a while at the stop. The first bus was too crowded to even think about shoehorning my suddenly multi-speciate family in there. The next bus didn't come for another half an hour. Baby was shrieking. Boy was restless and whiny. I stepped aboard the bus and put my change in. Then I went back for the tree, and the driver stopped me.

"You can't put that thing in here," he said, rolling his eyes.
"Please," I said, "It's our Christmas tree. I have to get it home. I'll just pop it in the way back and make sure it doesn't hit anybody and we're only a few stops away and it's their first tree..." I must have babbled for a few minutes at least, but the driver was unmoved. He drove away without us.

"Well, the next driver will be nicer," I said to the boys, mustering up some false cheer. In truth, I was near tears. That's when I realized I had put the last of my money in the Meanie's fare box. We couldn't afford another bus.

I don't know what I would have done next. I was at my wit's end.

(If you are wondering why I hadn't simply called a friend from the beginning, I can explain. It hadn't occurred to me. Remember, I wasn't sleeping---baby! new house! divorce!---and also, I was under the severe misapprehension that I had to prove, in these first few months alone, that I was TOTALLY self sufficient and could do EVERYTHING perfectly all by myself, or I would lose my kids.)

That's when the angel showed up.

She drove a blue SUV with a 4-year-old boy in the back. She pulled right up to the curb alongside me and called out "Do you need a lift with that thing?"

She helped me tie the tree to the top of her car. She made room inside for my entire brood and even shifted her son out of his carseat so we could put the baby in it. She told me she had seen me walking out of the tree lot and was shocked when she saw I was going to try to carry the thing home.

"Oh, were you buying a tree too?" I asked.
"No, we're Jewish," she laughed. "This is probably the only chance I'm ever going to get to tie an evergreen onto my car!" My heart spilled over. I felt like Mary being offered the stable. I felt like the beaten Jew who was helped out of the gutter by a despised Samaritan. All those holiday-good-cheer-fellow-man cliches suddenly seemed true and present and real. I did tear up, but she was nice enough to pretend not to notice.

They drove us right to our door, that wonderful family, and we waved goodbye with real warmth. I swept Xir up in a hug and said "Wasn't that AMAZING!"

"What do you mean?" he said. "We needed help and they helped us. That's how you be nice."

Thank you, unknown woman, for the kindness you showed that day. You cannot know how much it meant. May everyone "be nice" to you forever and ever, and happy Hannukah.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

empty love.

I have finals next week. Hence the dearth of posts of late.

My professor went on at some length last week about the importance of finding one's particular "studying style" (quotation marks his) and then sticking to it.

I am proud to announce that, as of this evening, I have discovered my "studying style". Here it is:

1) turn on the toaster oven (it's cold in my house and this is my main source of heat).

2) make and eat sequential toast (so as not to feel wasteful for running the toaster oven).

3) lounge in a hot, glittery bath with a wineglass of red cranberry juice (it looks like wine so I feel decadent, but does not make me drowsy or intoxicated, neither of which work for my particular "studying style").

4) have a box of flashcards in the general proximity of the bath.

5) from the bath, between sips of cranberry juice, organize a party for the post-bath evening.

I really like my "studying style". I'll let you know how I do on my finals.

That said, I wanted to share with you this rather interesting chart of Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love. This is based on longterm studies of healthy relationships (according to whom? why, white western men with psychology degrees of course, so naturally it's universal). The basic theory is that there are only three essential components to a healthy love relationship. And here they are:

Having lived most of my twenties in the "Empty Love" scenario---commitment for commitment's sake--I suppose it is not surprising that I now find myself in a "Romantic Love" scenario: physical and emotional attraction sans commitment, ot the other two points of the triangle. Prior to my marriage I was involved in a "Fatuous Love" scenario, in which the object of my affection and I had committed blindly to each other without giving ourselves the time to form any true intimacy. My marriage was, essentially, a rebound from that one. Fatuous love: I don't recommend it.

Of course, none of these three situations is ideal. Studies show that companionate love (a long term relationship based on friendship and commitment, and the model followed by countries in which marriage is arranged) and the infrequently attained ultimate (consummate love, in which passion, intimacy, and commitment unite) are the only two models that predict long term health and happiness.

What do you think? Does this fit your understanding of love?

As for me---- I'm just memorizing the stuff. I'll form opinions after the final!