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#PureSchmaltz #OtterChristmas

OtterChristmas 1.10-Absence

Who, which one of us, speaks with authority about absence? No less of an authority than the Roman poet Sextus Propertius provided an early explanation in his Elegies, insisting that, "Always toward absent lovers love's tide stronger flows," or, in modern translation, 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder.' Not everyone agrees. Some insist that absence encourages the heart to wander. To whom does this heart increase its fondness for, the absent or whatever stepped in to fill the void?

The Grand Otter hopped on an airplane yesterday, which took her away, leaving what behind? Slip over here for more ...


OtterChristmas 1.9-Cold

I suspect that I had been coming down with a cold for the last several days. I can never tell. For me, illness amounts to an extended period of increasing denial, followed by an exhausted acceptance. I accepted the obvious this morning. A slight fever guides my hand.

The Otter arrived with a sinus infection which seems to have cleared up during her stay. The Muse rode her like a cowboy shadows an untrustworthy steer, ensuring she took her antibiotics on schedule, and whatever the case, she's pretty much all better now. I don't think I'm 'getting' a sinus infection, but I do feel the old internal elevator heading downward, and I'll most likely spend most of the day supine with a novel.

The Otter leaves this afternoon. Slip over here for more ...


OtterChristmas 1.8-InvisiBull

invisible (1)
We say that The Grand Otter's staying with us over Christmas, but more than half the time she's here, we don't really register her presence. She's a very private person, used to spending a lot of time by herself, hardly dependent upon us to entertain her. When she was very young, she'd trail along behind The Muse or I almost wherever we went. Now, often as not, we need to go pull her out of her lair to invite her to engage or to go anywhere with us. Slip over here for more ...

OtterChristmas 1.7-Anticipation

Christmas seems about 110% anticipation, a gas giant of a holiday with more appearance than substance. The anticipation, though, might just be plenty. The run-up features all the drama of any reality show: a definite deadline, heavy expectations, mysterious components, long-standing tradition; history, mystery, and competition. It's no different at our place. Slip over here for more ...

OtterChristmas 1.6-PieHard

The Muse has become a master pie maker. She does not, however, ply this trade casually. The anticipation of pie-making seems to drive her into a careful and calculating place where good enough isn't quite good enough, where ingredients and conditions just have to be perfect, and where otherwise normal distractions become a kind of encroaching evil. She prepares as scrupulously as any star athlete. She can be difficult to be around when she's making pie.

I love pie, in sparing and occasional spurts. Come the Fourth of July, I'd much rather eat pie than watch fireworks. My birthday cake? I always ask after pie instead. Thanksgiving? It's always all about the pie, so The Muse and I, in terms of this single metric, might be perfectly matched companions. Slip over here for more ...


OtterChristmas 1.5-ElkHeard

The hottest rumor in our neighborhood shows up on the local listserv most every morning. Someone will declare that they have family visiting and ask if anyone knows where the elk are congregating. Somebody will always respond within a minute or two. This time of year up here in the foothills, the elk watch gets more interest than the NORAD Santa Tracker. Unlike children, elk tend to be heard about but only rarely ever seen.

The Grand Otter really wants to see the elk this visit. So far, they've eluded her every attempt to spot them, Slip over here for more ...


OtterChristmas 1.4-Mac&Pleased

The GrandOtter arrives with menu suggestions. Much of our history was written in the kitchen. Our fondest memories seem to hover close to supper. Since she was little, The Otter has accompanied me on my foraging excursions. Then, she considered a bowl of ramen adequate fare. Now, her palate has broadened considerably. She responds to my pre-trip query about what she eats these days with a fairly narrow list which she quickly expands once she see's what's on offer. Mac and Cheese, "David's way" heads every list.

My way doesn't involve macaroni. Slip over here for more ...


OtterChristmas 1.3-Frankly

No matter how deeply I might feel about the importance of straight talk, the bulk of my talk seems fundamentally crooked. Not deliberate lies, more like tacit misrepresentations. Stuff not said often dominates my narrative, usually for the best of all possible reasons. The time rarely seems right for full disclosure. Much of what I mean to say never finds voice, thank heavens.

I question the quantity of deep delving any quality relationship demands of its participants. Shallow suffices for most situations, with infrequent, heart-felt deeper dives serving as welcome respite from a certain satisfactorily sustaining superficiality. I mostly skim along the surface. Slip over here for more ...


OtterChristmas 1.2-DarkMatters

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How little we perceive. Humans have so far managed to observe not quite five percent of the matter the universe contains. Curious terms like Dark Energy and Dark Matter serve as placeholders for these significant unknowns. Whatever constitutes them are not simply unknown, but presently unknowable. I figure that this knowledge of what we cannot yet perceive might serve as insurance against self-importance. Mr. Know-It-All doesn't know all THAT much, cosmically speaking, and should shop for hats in the more modest sizes. Slip over here for more ...

OtterChristmas 1.1-Goeths

goethsI suspect that life amounts to little more than coming and going, with almost no presence involved. I seem in transit, either in motion, recalling past excursions or plotting upcoming ones, eternally between here and there, and not solidly anywhere at all. I share my address knowing it's hardly more than a way-point along some not yet defined journey, which will most likely only be known, if ever understood, considerably after the fact, as if anyone would find more than an ounce of anything tangible in any odd ton of my experience.

I am more verb than noun, a streaking blur in the foreground, hardly distinguishable from my shifting surroundings. I goeth far more than I ever cometh. Slip over here for more ...


OtterChristmas 1.0-NestingInstinct

birds-nest-flowersThe Muse and I have been empty-nesters since we met, twenty years ago. I suppose one never really gets over an empty nest. No matter how large the house, regardless of how many cats cohabit, the nest feels rather hollow inside without some regular injections of kid energy. The single-generation place always seems more house than home.

Sorting through alternatives for this holiday: should we drive to South Dakota, perhaps trundle off to Walla Walla, or just stay at home?—The GrandOtter's request to come visit easily skunked the competition. It offered the only opportunity to feather the beleaguered old nest, Slip over here for more ...


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