Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Second HNT

Well, dear readers, here is my second attempt at HNT. Enjoy.

P. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Peaceful Christmas

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. It was pretty quiet this year. The kids are older and don’t make the trek to the tree in the dark wee hours of the morn anymore. In fact, they are probably just going to bed at that time.

Santa’s getting older too. The kids complained that he came too early this year because they could hear him shuffling around upstairs muttering to himself as he went about his mysterious business. They thought he should have waited until they went to sleep. Santa explained that he gets bagged by the Sandman long before the over-caffeinated whiners in question hit the hay.

It was a quiet morning anyway. We gathered round the little fiber-optic tree (no real one this year due to C’s delicate condition) and slowly opened gifts in rotation. There have been other Christmases with bigger trees, more colorfully wrapped packages stacked higher, more frenzy when little fingers tore into said wrapping, louder screams of delight, but I must say that I prefer the one we just had.

There was a sense of family and real appreciation for what we had. Both K and J wound up with lots of books. They also received gifts of CD’s lovingly prepared by those who knew how much music means to both of them. There were bits of technology passed along as well. J received a new hard drive for his computer to augment the one that he has completely filled (with music for the most part), and K unwrapped a slightly used keyboard to signify the pending receipt of the current family computer as soon as the bugs are worked out of the one that J and I just built. Oh, and let’s not forget about the creature comforts – socks to warm the feet. It doesn’t get much better than that.

As for me, the best thing was that we were able to have this time together once again.

Merry Christmas everyone, and Happy Hanukkah, Kwanza, Solstice, Ramadan, Tet, and Chinese New Year

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

First HNT

Was inspired by all of you. Had to get in on the game. Happy HNT.

Phaedrous Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 11, 2005


I rub the cream between my palms, warming it with the heat of my body before gently reaching out to touch your back. As I slowly rub the cream into your cracked and broken skin, you shiver. You chill so easily these days.

It has been days since we have made physical contact skin to skin. Last night, you moved up against my bare body for warmth and wrapped my arm over your arm and around your chest. Your poor, sad breasts, shrunken and diminished, barely touched my arm through the layer of flannel that is your nighttime skin.

It was not always thus. When we were in the spring of our love, we could not get enough of each other’s skin. We lay in the loft, under the eaves, making slow love while the gentle spring rain played on the leaves of the birch trees. I looked down to see my cock disappearing deep within you.

Touch. How I miss it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Jekyll and Hyde

The theme of this blog is the effect of cancer on one family's life. It came into being because I needed a place where I could put down some of my darker thoughts. I suppose this would be the "hyde" side of this story. The "jekyll" part is laid out on a Caringbridge site that was set up shortly after my wife was diagnosed. The story told there is rated PG-13 for some depressing content, but is still suitable for family and friends to read. It is a means of keeping our extended family in touch.

Because of the nature of the Caringbridge site and its audience, I must be careful what I write there. I generally try to keep it as positive as possible while still being honest. It tells of our trials and tribulations, our victories and our defeats, our funny family stories, and the milestones of our cancerous journey. It does not tell of our sexual loss, of my occasional bouts with depression, or of the constant worry about money (no jobs and constant co-pays).

So, this is my ink pit, my sorry refuge, my cry zone. Cheers.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Pots and Pans

What defines a relationship? Is it your friends? Your church? Your children? Your house? Your jobs?

In our case, it is cast iron frying pans.

Last night, I was cleaning up after dinner and was working on one of the pans. It is the oldest of our collection, a Griswold, eight inch, that I inherited from my grandfather. I brought it into the relationship and for a long time, it was our only cast iron pan. It is a beauty. It is so cured that it is slick and smooth, the color of ink. It takes very little oil on the post clean cure. Nothing sticks to it. It is strong and rich. It is everything a cast iron pan should be. It was old when it came to me and I cherish it.

After we had been together for several years, we decided to buy another cast iron pan - a Dutch oven this time. We were in Duluth at the time and there was this old, funky hardware store across the bay in Superior that was a place out of time. It was run by a couple of old Jewish brothers that had grown up there. They were both deaf and partially senile. The store had everything. There were boxes of hardware dating back into the 1800's. There were two-man crosscut saws left over from the lumber boom in the 1880's. There were draft horse collars hung on the walls with one hundred years of dust on them. There were shelves and bins of boat builders stuff that covered everything from the days of multi-masted wooden sailing vessels up through the triple-expansion steam engine powered lakers of the mid-nineteen hundreds, to the diesel engined 1000 footers of today. The main floor was covered with those eight-by-two foot tables that you always find in the basements of churches on food days and they were covered with boxes of stuff. Some was new junk like you would find in the back room of a 5 and dime. Some was salvaged from some where on some other planet. You could go in there and spend a whole day and come out not knowing what you had really seen. That's where we got pan number two.

It is a Dutch oven as I said. It came with a glass lid that now has a big chip out of the under lip (the part that hangs down on the inside of the pan and keeps the lid from sliding off sideways) from a time when I got careless. It has taken a long time to get out of its childhood. It was a rambunctious pan in its youth. It would drink oil after every use and still look like it was a virgin. When I would clean it up and cure it, the paper towel would come off stained with remnants of the meal that still lurked in the pores of the iron. I yearned for the day when Number Two would clean up as slick as Number One. It has been about fifteen years now and it is finally starting to show some maturation. It is developing character and depth. It is my spaghetti pan and handles that job with panache. I love cooking with it. Its deep sides contain the most robust recipes. I can simmer stews all day with the lid cocked just slighty ajar. It is a pan that has great potential. I would love to see it in fifty years.

Pan Number Three is a baby, but the biggest of the bunch. We bought it last summer to take over for a large but shallow non-stick that was scratched and warped beyond usefulness. This pan is too new to really take seriously. It is like having someone in middle school who has a crush on you. You try to allow them the room to grow, but the difference in experience prohibits any kind of meaningful relationship. If this guy sticks around another ten or twenty years, perhaps then there will be something. In the meantime, we will nurture him as best we can.

Our relationship is somewhere between Number One and Number Two. It is mature and deep. It takes regular care, cleaning, and curing, but it is so well seasoned that it is easy to maintain now. We have passed through the early rough spots where bits of the world would stick to us and require concentrated effort to clean up. We know each other now. We know how to care for our pans.