It will come as no surprise to anybody who knows me that control is very dear to me. Control of one’s passions, control of one’s words, and actions, and really, pretty much everything else that can be controlled. As an aside, I find it beyond bewildering being upset at things not under our control. I don’t, by any stretch of the imagination, take a detached view of the world, I fight and fight hard for the things I believe can be influenced, I just don’t see much point in fighting the weather, so to speak (now, influencing said weather is another matter entirely and I am not opposed to doing so).

The thing with control though is that much of it depends on time, and even more of it depends on timing, so that’s what I will focus on today. Time is necessary to learn control, to learn what can be controlled, to practice gaining and keeping and relinquishing control when one needs to. Serenity prayer, anyone? 🙂

Timing is more difficult. Most of us, certain in our own mortality, still manage to plan (i.e. to assume that we will have enough time to get where we want to). And when it comes to ourselves, in most cases, in this part of the world called the first, we have that time. We buy it with medicine, and education, and relationships.

But timing does not depend only on us. It is not only ourselves that need to be taken into account, nor just our wishes, nor indeed our actions alone. Timing includes someone else’s time, and sometimes the time of the age we live in. It’s what we mean when we say “life (or s**t) happens”.

A financial crisis, a war, an illness… many things can crumble plans, and the control these plans imply. We are often too isolated, we believe ourselves too small to influence these big things. But they are not the weather. We should fight, and fight hard, to influence them, human or not as they are. And we do, with medicine, and education, and relationships.

We are not all teachers. We are not all doctors or scientists or in charge of financial institutions. But we can all have relationships. And if timing can come into its own, it is on the relationships that we need to focus our individual efforts. And by timing I mean making choices. Simple ones, like not saying the bad words we want to say. More difficult ones, like standing our ground when we could just go with the flow. And difficult ones, like acting on the values we hold dear rather than the things we believe in.

I have discussed my view of control in another article on this blog. See, control is not just reining in, a force that is restrictive of freedom.Control can be passive and neutral, negative, or positive in that it allows action. Sometimes going through life (or the s**t described above) is control enough for powering a small country. Sometimes life seems out of control, depending on which tooth of the tiger sinks into which sensitive piece of our flesh. Our abused children, our bullied youth, our neglected elders, the sick and the maimed, have enough on their hands just to make it through to another sunrise.

But if we are well, and whole, and reasonably functional… what is then our excuse?



Sated? Weary? Enough? Strange meanings for such a short word… and my heart is not in it anyway. The modern (if you call middle English modern) meaning is more than enough (there’s that word again) to carry wearily… ok, that’s it! I am giving up on linguistics for now, before I start agreeing with the definition. I am not in the mood to be cajoled out of what I actually feel, which is sadness.

You see, a friend is moving away for a while. That while is not forever and it is not even a very long time as these things go… what’s a season when time goes so fast I can barely recall where this year is up to?

So one puts on a brave face and talks about this and that because there is always so much to say and never enough time to actually say it and make the connections and explore your own ideas and find common ground and share oddments and tweaks. And one laughs and smiles and generally pays attention because, yes, that’s what this is all about, being present, with your friend and never mind that there are another million things you should be seen as doing.

But then the time is up.

And that while mentioned above is actually starting and it will continue to exist, encompassed in this lifetime, and you can’t really avoid it anymore.

Have you noticed how difficult it continues to be to cry? People might even ask what’s wrong and do you need a counsellor with your fries? No, no, no, better wait until you’re at home…. what? Cry in the bathroom under the shower? How very quaint! Let’s be adult about it, though, and defer all this emotional “stuff” until another time… an appropriate time for sadness… that’s sad, isn’t it?

And then, if you please, one realizes that sadness just is and won’t just go away and saving face by appearing brave serves no one. So one says “I’ll miss you” because really, why not? With whom should I banter over memories of a country I have not actually seen?

I will wait and keep busy and be an adult and all that. Distraction does work and so does social media and email and pictures. I will, as the saying goes, “deal with it” and I will not even need a counsellor.

But, my friend, there are so many things still unsaid… the strangely squat mists over the low lying fields that looked as if a faerie sea is slowly advancing towards you, and then driving through it the car lights make alien circles of pale rainbows and cattle appear like spectres out of the clearly delineated layers of earth, fog, clouds and blue sky… then there’s the realization that cloudy skies are always more interesting than the clear ones, and because of the humidity there’s a much better chance of actually finding that precise shade of blue eyes have… and then there’s that song, Piazzolla’s Oblivion, a saxophone solo you would have enjoyed…

I will need a good memory, to last me a season…



Not the time unit, but the adjective. Same origin and journey, really, but funnily enough you pronounce them differently 🙂 Don’t get me started!

It occurred to me while talking to some people that not only are the minute things the most annoying but they are also the building bricks of our lives. We live our lives (the good parts, and the bad) second by second, not day by day, and definitely not year by year. Even if we look at events that change lives, we realize that it’s what’s going on before and most often what happens afterwards that make the change, not the events themselves. So with a death, that is over quite quickly, but the lead up to it, and our grief afterwards, change the weave, the pattern and ultimately the fabric of who we are.

They are also the ones that we are not supposed to sweat, that we are supposed to pay attention to and that we are also supposed to be grateful for. Perhaps not at the same time, but the contradiction is there nonetheless. 🙂

So here are some of the minute things of my life, in no particular order:

Having a cat that doesn’t scratch, shed, rip or otherwise damage people and property.

Not having any carpet in the house that a spill would ruin.

A 4×3 cm edition of Pablo Neruda’s “Twenty love poems and a desperate song” in Spanish.

Wooden joinery that gets wet and then doesn’t close properly.

Potatoes that taste of something, a lovely casserole and the stories that go with good company and eating together.

Using a Niwashi Shark to tidy up jasmine – soooo satisfying!

Finding out what a morepork sounds like – I thought it would be a deeper sound… you know how we say to-wheeet – to-whooo when we read to children? Deeper, ain’t it?

Finding out how big your garden actually is when you get around to clearing up.

An app that actually works and does what it says it will.

Finding that exact perfect gift for your friend without even searching for it, just walking by.

Rummaging through the pile of bills and discovering the piece of paper on which you wrote the phone number of the person who’s going to make your life a lot easier.

Mentioning a problem you’re having and someone coming up with a solution that sorts out not only that problem but a few more as well.

Enough for now, I’ll pay attention to more as I go.



It’s one of those words with changeable meaning. Originally it meant clever, ingeniously unusual, something to marvel at. Nowadays it is used in an almost derogatory way: obsolete, old-fashioned. Sometimes though it goes further and means simply unobtrusive, nothing to write home about, and if relating to décor, to be changed to something more modern.

Kind of like us, then 🙂

Even if the Chinese didn’t say “may you live in interesting times” it remains a favourite wish of many to do so. Craving adventure, out of ordinary events, escapism, forgetting perhaps that we also need solitude, peace, a roof over our heads sometimes, security even. Not to mention the money that must be made somehow, relationships that need sustaining, books that are too heavy to carry in a backpack.

I am one of those people, you see. Railing sometimes at the routine I am told will make my life easier. Watching jet planes tracks across the sky and wishing I was on one of them. Wanting to go with the retreating wave.

It doesn’t mean I am forgetting the above. The small pleasures, the gratitude for so many things, the safety routines can bring to everyday life. Just that sometimes I am also aware that there is more to life than just the small circle in the sand I have been marking. That’s where the envy comes for those who travel, who create, who explore.

If I remember correctly, those anti-suffrage used to say that women who go to higher education will no longer be content with the life prescribed for them. It was true, too! 🙂 Whole systems needed to be changed to accommodate those women.

So what to do when life is prescribed and I am no longer content with it? When the soul demands that the eyes witness what documentaries present? When the spirit rebels against bedtime as night dreams can’t hold a candle to daydreams? When the body aches from sitting in the office and asks to be allowed to roam at will?

Reading remains a staple, sometimes to the point of obsession, but fiction can’t hold me anymore. If I am to be stuck on the couch then I want my brain to fire on all cylinders. I can find emotion and feelings elsewhere! Music, especially live, is another good way to escape routine. Walking, while useful, is no longer enough in the weekends, so gardening will have to take its place, especially permaculture where the brain is involved as well, not just the wonder at life appearing out of seemingly nowhere.

It seems to me then that the brain is the culprit then, so it’s the brain that needs to be pleased until the time will come for an escape from the routine. And stubbornness will have to suffice, until freedom is at hand. And if there is a sacrifice… well, I assume it will be sleep!



Now I am really disappointed with myself for missing two things, an important one and a possibly important one. The first was an event the little one participated in, Peace Day. I apologized and I think I may have been forgiven. It was total forgetfulness. I did not write it down to remind myself, so I will not beat myself over it (what with me being human and all that).

The possibly important thing was not forgotten, that was sheer procrastination. It could have led to a change in my life, so I had to think about it and the reasons for that procrastination. Part of it was, of course, life: I have plenty of time; I need to research this a bit more; I need to talk to someone about it. The other part though is a lack of purpose. A bit of burnout, a bit of disenchantment, a desire for change but without the urgency. So the result is more of a live each day as it comes rather than striding confidently in the direction of my dreams.

That’s not necessarily bad, but it does mean that I am not making the changes to my life that I deem necessary. I don’t act on the opportunities that present. I observe the status quo without giving it either direction or meaning and as a result I feel even more disempowered. Do I like it? Let’s not joke about it, I dislike it but, apparently not intensely enough to matter.

Sometimes the best I can do is let it grow, accumulate, until the dislike turns into a call for action. I know I am capable of that, I have done it many times.

I was wondering if I should really push myself harder and just get it done earlier. I thought really hard about it, not just overthinking it, but actually trying to figure it out so that I may use it as a template for other periods in my life. Would I benefit from doing it and, if so, how would I go about pushing myself harder? In other words, how not to be a procrastinator?

The answer to the second question, “how would I go about it?” is reasonably simple: talk to people as opposed to making the decisions alone. I use it sparingly as I am very impulsive so I rush into things. Making decisions alone takes a longer time (and, as you read above, patience is not my strong point) but chances are the decisions will be more considered.

The answer to the first question has a bit more nuance. Yes, pushing myself would benefit me (no one likes a procrastinator) but it would deny time its value in life. Some things need to be done slowly, in the fullness of time, for the right reasons. In effect, in answering the second question I answered the first one, too.

Or you could say that as a procrastinator I just found good excuses to procrastinate

Fine, I will give you that. I will say I am just going through a phase, taking some time out, and get back into it as soon as feasible. Work, parenting, assignments, gardening, travel, friends… my life is full and that’s the way I like it. Now I just need to live it a bit more efficiently. What to start with though?

Ah, I know…



No, it’s not Latin, at least not directly. It is Old Germanic and related to tide, much as it helps us, as we cannot actually define time without running around in circles biting our tails (Ouroboros or a frisky dog, depending how seriously you want to take the notion). We can devise tools, sometimes very precise ones, to measure it, but as to what it is, well, no one really knows for sure. Is it finite or infinite? Does it flow, jump, stay or renew itself? Is the future coming to you or are you moving towards the future? Is the past unchangeable? Can time be traveled other than in memory?

We know we try to manipulate the time continuum (is it a continuum all by itself or does space gather there as well?). St Augustine thought that we have all the tools we need for time: we simultaneously grasp the past in memory, the present by attention, and the future by expectation.

Remember that old Greek myth of Khronos (personification of time) eating his children and them remaining alive and unharmed (gods, therefore immortal, and bound by prophecy – which is therefore stronger than time?) in the vastness of their father’s reach. We seem to be in time, but are we time as well? Is time sequential or, like we can in memory, escape into possibility?

Time can also struggle along even if we seem to have lost a limb of it. An amnesiac still has a present and a future, someone with short memory loss will remember his childhood and can plan for the future, an infant seems to live in an eternal past-present, with nary a thought for the future.

So many questions, for something we take so much for granted and that seems such a simple concept.

A few things seem to be outside of time. An example would be the strong feelings humans can experience. We feel those, they relate to an extant object (person, country etc.), and yet they transcend time. It is as if that relationship makes and marks its own time, limited and yet wider than the usual continuum. When we feel strongly we can work, dream, eat, raise children and follow our pathway in our time, and yet a small part of us counts a different set of seconds, one that is not ours but belongs to that object and that connects us to that object when distance alone might not make it.

And should that clock falter, our very essence is at risk.



It is easy to talk about love when you’re happily in love. It is also easy to talk about love when you are not happy about it. But, ignoring click-bait articles like “if he does that he truly loves you” and “if she says this her love is gone”, how do we adjust our inherent bias to talk about love a bit more objectively? Is that even possible? Can we quantify and delineate the place love holds in our lives?

I guess the easiest way would be to go back in time and in love. I mean we must think about a love that has happened in the past, before another love. There are probably people who have been in love only once but in my experience most people have been in love several times. Some have even been in love at the same time with several people, but we’ll avoid that for the moment not because there’s something wrong but because we are trying to analyze something a majority of people can relate to.

If we want to get really picky I guess we could eliminate teenage loves as well, on account of hormones, inability to distinguish between love and lust, immaturity etc. I am reluctant to do so, for two reasons. 1. Sometimes it really is true love. You could try to think of your own teenage love and check your feelings about it. If you still feel warm fuzzies or very protective about it, chances are it was true love, despite the obstacles given above. 2. Maturity, difference between love and lust etc…. those are hindsight speaking. What I mean is that for each love we have felt, looking back, we can use the wonderfully frustrating thing called hindsight to say “it wasn’t true love, it was lust” or some such statement that implies we are now more mature and, going back, we would have done things differently.

Maybe this is what I am trying to do, use hindsight to objectify relationships, find a proper place for love. But isn’t hindsight our first line of defence when we’ve been hurt? “I should have seen the signs” is a common comment. “I was going through a rough patch” is another one. Both of them correct in essence, but can we reduce love to a mistake we have made because we were not mature enough? And are we ever mature enough to firmly say we will not make another mistake? Or even more extreme, saying that we will never love again? Or trying to use wish lists and website filters as a degree of maturity?*

I have always considered love as different from the person I love AND from myself. This is another way of being more objective when it comes to love. It is also a lot more rigid. If that person was loved by me then (worthy or not… hm, it took me the best part of ten years to admit I may have been at fault in a break up I could have sworn was the other one’s fault 😛 ) then that love is a given, no matter what happened in the meantime. This is probably why I consider love as selfish, as expressed in another blog article on the same subject. At the same time, this perspective holds love as the only thing that cannot hurt, ever. A break-up can hurt, unkindness can hurt, taking for granted can hurt, unrealistic expectations can hurt too. Relationships, huh? But love is not touched by those, doesn’t live or die by those either. It endures, unchanged, until time alone can fold it into the past.

*I have nothing against dating websites, in fact I know several couples who have met that way. I understand the need for those filters, too, and for the wish lists. It comes down to the distance between us, and in the era of connectedness that distance is enormous. We had to substitute something, right?