Saturday, January 09, 2010

Calm and changeable seas

Pepper crusted pork tenderloin and red potatoes, green beans, red peppers in a butter sauce with hot cocoa to drink. Simple, but warming meal for a cold winter evening. It's a night of peace and quiet wrapped in a warm shawl and reading Terry Pratchett and watching I, Claudius. It's freezing outside, but very warm inside, and it is to this warmth my friends keep coming, like Bob.

Bob is one of my best friends and has been for many years. We talk about everything. He's happily miserable, or miserably happy, in his marriage.

He is married to a wonderful woman, an intelligent, talented and successful woman, and often he wonders how he managed to get so lucky that she agreed to marry him. He doesn't see himself very well and is a very good man, quite wonderful in his own way. There is one big fly in the ointment--the lack of intimacy. Everything else is perfect, but sex once a year is untenable. She isn't interested and doesn't have any desire at all and Bob has far too much desire. She refuses to discuss it and he considers looking elsewhere to fulfill his needs. I proposed a different solution, one I've proposed for many people: talk it out openly and directly. "I don't like confrontation," he said to me this afternoon.

I'm always amazed that people see confrontation in a negative light. It is basically honesty and honesty does have its uses.

I suggested Bob lay out the situation to his wife, tell her sex once a year is not acceptable and either they seek counseling and she be tested and treated for a hormonal imbalance and depression. The signs and symptoms are clear even at this distance. I explained that he need not lose his marriage over this because so much of it is good and, if his wife refuses to go to counseling or get treatment for the medical and emotional issues, he propose an alternative -- an open relationship that allows him to fulfill his desires as long as he doesn't bring anything home that can't be gotten rid of. He said he'd see. I've heard the same thing from any number of friends and acquaintances. I don't understand why people insist on making things so difficult.

All life is not so complicated or so sad. I received a lovely -- and late -- Xmas card from Ted with his witty and funny crèche. This year's subject was Tiger Woods and it was quite beautiful and funny. I do agree with Ted that it's difficult to tell one blonde waitress from another.

I also received a thank you card from Laura and Jeremy, daughter-in-law and son of the fascinating and lovely Mary Ann, for a little something I sent for their first Xmas together. They were married last summer and appeared quite delirious with happiness in their pictures. I think they are a good match. Laura wrote on real stationery with a distinctly Victorian theme. I do so enjoy getting letters and cards in the mail. This may well be the beginning of a revival of the old art of letter writing, at least in a modest way.

The mail was full of the usual snail mail spam and a catalogues. Included among the debris was a box, my copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. My day is complete. Videos, books, cards and thank you notes on Victorian stationery, definitely a good day.

Even with the trials and tribulations of my friends and family, a dose of ancient Roman intrigues and the fun of Terry Pratchett, each day is a surprise. Sometimes the surprise is not pleasant and sometimes the surprises exceed my modest and meager expectations. I'm easy to please. I ask nothing of the world but peace, quiet and the occasional adventure to make things interesting. I don't mind living in interesting times, even when the times take on the dark tinge of betrayal, lies and ill wishing. Life is much like the sea, moody and often dangerous, but well worth the trip.

That is all. Disperse.

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