Regaining Our Balance

Happy Birthday to the BW

The beautiful wife starts her day walking with a few dear friends.  Depending on who’s there, they get in up to 10,000 steps.  They call it pavement therapy.  Their tongues must be tied to their quadriceps for they talk non-stop, chattering like the birds in the forest.  It’s a happy sound heard by many as they tirelessly circle the neighborhood.  It's amazing to me, how they never run out of words.    

The walk doesn’t tire her; in fact, she returns recharged, especially if they catch a pretty sunrise or someone has exciting news to share.  In contrast, I take my exercise at midday—hiking or cycling—for the vitamin D.  (The BW sunbathes on the patio for her "D".)  I do my workout alone, head bowed, deep in thought.  I stop here and there to do exercises.  When I return I’m sweaty, exhausted, and quiet.  See how different we are from each other?

Some years ago I read a short story that has stayed with me—The Visionary Maid and the Illusionless Man.  It’s about a girl who dances into the life of a rather dull boy.  The fellow is a steady and practical soul—a realist whose glass hovers below half-empty.  The girl is a joyful song who dreams a world of possibilities.  Her glass, of course, runneth over. 

The boy falls in love and they marry.  After the honeymoon the husband begins to puncture her dreams, one by one.  This isn’t done out of meanness; it’s just important, he feels, to be realistic about life.   Over the years this negativism takes its toll and one day the wife announces that as he doesn’t seem to appreciate or enjoy her, she’ll be leaving.  The husband, confronted by a world without her daily sunshine, begs her to stay and promises to change.  Funny thing, I can't remember how the story ended—whether it was, or wasn't, too late for him to change. 

You can appreciate why that story has stayed with me, can’t you?  It’s the beautiful wife’s birthday today and I’m on my best behavior.  Yes, that's her, the mom in the pix above.  The four children were joined by two more and all have their own families now but the BW remains remarkably unchanged. 

Catching Your Balance

Remember Eric Hoffer?  Hoffer was blind in his youth so missed the conventional education most of us suffer.  As a consequence, he spent his life in manual labor when his vision returned, working as a migrant farm worker, and then longshoreman in San Francisco.  Though he worked at menial tasks, his thoughts were large.  Here’s one that fits us today:

Action is at bottom a swinging and flailing of the arms to regain one’s balance and keep afloat.

We lost our food balance this last week, overtaken by events.  A grandson was born and we cared for his siblings for two days.  Rather than follow our menu, we ate what the grandkids would like and that started a week of drifting.  So this menu puts two weeks together and ignores some improvised meals.  There’s a lesson here:  You’ll lose your food balance now and them—that’s life, it happens—but it ‘s important to swing and flail about until order is restored.  This morning we wrote a good menu for the coming week—order's restored.

Past Menu (We started with a Costco BBQ chicken, with the idea to spread it over three meals.)


  • Roast chicken (We made 3 quarts of stock from the carcass.)
  • Roast potatoes.
  • Green salad


  • Chicken rice pilaf  (a meal in one dish using leftover chicken and vegetables—recipe to follow)
  • Dessert:  Cantaloupe. 


  • Chicken salad (last of the chicken)
  • Asparagus
  • Watermelon


Sunday (A family birthday dinner)

  • Roast pork tenderloin (yes, Costco)
  • Pasta salad
  • Mixed greens salad with pears, cranberries, and feta cheese.
  • Orange Jello salad (a birthday request—tasty but pretty unhealthy)
  • Skip’s Homemade Applesauce
  • Apple pie with ice cream (I should have baked a cake)

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Reader Comments (4)

Happiest of birthdays to the beautiful wife! I hope you are doing something fun and enjoying a little treat!
I'd love to have a guest post from you sometime :)

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDee

There was jello salad? How did I miss that?!

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

Sorry you missed out on the Jello salad Brooke. Your sister made it for her husband, whose birthday we also celebrated. It's a classic recipe from when he was a boy: Cool Whip, Jello, canned mandarin oranges. Food Inc was riding high in those days but we still have a little nostalgia for the old toxins. I even had some.

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterskip hellewell

Happy birthday to the beautiful wife! And yes, that is my favorite jello salad recipe from my youth, too, but ours also had cottage cheese in it for texture. Ah, I do still love it today. Yes, nostalgia. ;)

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTee

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