Childhood sweets: Russian karovka & Greek pasteli induce circular rumination on parental love

What were the sweetest flavors of your childhood?

Candy Moo Korovka - 1

Pictured here is my husband’s favorite sweet. It’s a Russian candy our family calls “Moo.” Yes, like the sound a cow makes. My husband only likes the brands with polka dots on the wrappers.

It appears he isn’t the only one who yearns for cow candy to bring back memories of childhood and the act of chewing his cud?

I took this pretty picture of candy he received on Halloween because I knew it would be consumed immediately. While I don’t like the stuff at all, my sons have inherited their father’s fondness for this “milk caramel” or “gentle fudge” as I’ve found it translated online.

The candy is called “karovka,” which is the Russian word for cow. More specifically, it’s the diminutive word for “cow” in the Russian language. The Russians are masters of the diminutive!

Like Smurf-ette from Smurf, “karovka” implies a cute, dainty cow, not a regular old karova (корова), which might be a common dairy cow, or, God forbid!, a karovisha (коровище) which would be a gross, overwhelming cow-ishness!*

I knew a girl in college who was called Mary Moo.

When I met her as a wide-eyed froshling, I thought people were calling her “Mary μ,” with μ (mu) being a lowercase letter in the Greek alphabet. Its uppercase corollary, Μ, should be very familiar to all of us Westerners using a Roman alphabet. This casual use of Greek letters seemed very collegiate to my naive self.

Having just done the section in our Physics book about friction**, I felt very cool to have a new friend with a μ in her name. It turns out she was merely a vegetarian with rather bad manners who had often quite literally moo-ed at people while they ate meat in the dining hall the year before.

I learned the first of many lessons about the true nature of intellectual life at even a highly rated liberal arts college that day.

Now, as for candy, I’ll return to my starting point: the sweet memories of childhood. My husband loved karovka; I find myself reminiscing about the taste of sesame-honey candy.

One of my earliest memories of sweets is a sesame confection my mother would allow me to buy at our local, small city grocery store. A search online today tells me it was almost definitely a Greek delicacy, pasteli (παστέλι.)

I’m not sure I knew any Greek people as a child in our city. I wonder if the candy was there at the supermarket because its simple ingredients appealed to hippies (who lingered in Oregon long after they’d been supplanted by yuppies elsewhere), or if this is yet another Greek creation co-opted by the rest of the civilized world?

I’m almost positive that my mother was attempting to give me the most nutritious sweet possible without actually denying me a treat. In the 1970’s, when I was a tot, honey would have seemed a far cry from sugar. And with all those sesame seeds in the recipe? Pasteli is practically health food!

When Halloween comes around, I’m confronted in the sweetest possible way with all that’s different for my kids, here and now, and all that’s the same. My birthplace may be nearer than their father’s, but it’s still thousands of miles away.

The kids said, “Neener, neener, neener” to mock each other where I grew up; here, they tease each other with “Nana nana boo boo!” Don’t even get me started on how silly that taunt sounds to my West Coast ears.

People shop with carriages instead of carts. We get a driver’s license from the Registry of Motor Vehicles instead of the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles.) My kids are growing up in a Commonwealth, not a State.

Harrumph.

But here’s the sweeter side of these differences.

When I was a girl in the 1980’s, I sincerely believed that the USA and the USSR would destroy each other in a nuclear Armageddon. I worried about this. I lost sleep over it.

Sting released his song “Russians” in 1985. The lyrics always haunted me. They include these lines:

“We share the same biology/
Regardless of ideology/
What might save us, me and you/
Is if the Russians love their children too”

Politics are more polarized than ever. Our fears may have shifted from the Communists to the Terrorists, but it is still fear being peddled.

What has changed for my personal understanding of the scenario is the now constant awareness of the fact that, yes, the Russians did love their children, too.

They still do, and they always will. Just like we Americans love our kids, as do the Greeks, together with every other healthy human parent on the planet.

How sweet that is!

*Note that a native speaker of Russian says this would be a highly unusual word to encounter under normal circumstances. If it isn’t obvious to you yet, you should not be looking to me for guidance in correct use of the Russian language. I really enjoy this notion of turning words from diminutives into… what’s the opposite of a diminutive? I’ll go with grotesqueries.†I find them great fun.

†And now even my footnotes have footnotes. I had to look it up. The opposite of a diminutive is, naturally, an augmentative. Read more on Wikipedia if, like me, you must.

**μ is commonly used to symbolize the coefficient of friction.

Letting reality be good enough: enjoying travel in spite of chronic pain

Sometimes, reality intervenes between our ideal experience and one we can achieve.

Since being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, I’ve found myself having to adjust my expectations for many facets of life. That includes my hobbies, which can be hard enough to prioritize for a stay at home mother of two.

One of my favorite things is travel. I’m not a full on globetrotter like some, but my trips—planning them as well as taking them—are great highlights of my life.

In the past year, I’ve had to cancel much-loved annual jaunts due to flaring symptoms. I’ve had to “waste” money already spent on non-refundable tickets, and I’ve regretted going on excursions for which I was in no condition to participate.

I’ve found myself asking:

Should I even try to travel for pleasure anymore now that I’ve been diagnosed with autoimmune disease?”

My answer to that question—when the flare passes, and when the pain and exhaustion have subsided—is that I should. In fact, I must carry on.

If I don’t persevere, the disease wins. If I give up what I love, I’m choosing misery over joy. I never want to live that way.

I got dealt a bad hand this time around, but it’s the only one I’ve got to play. I can make the best of it, or I can quit the game. I could just watch the other players, but what fun would that be? That’s not the life for me. Nor would I wish such circumstances on anyone else.

With that said, here are a few tips for putting some of the pleasure back in travel for a traveler with a chronic condition. Continue reading

Playlist Shuffle Tag prompted by Julie Davide – Book Reviews and Other Musings

This was too fun for me to pass up.

Following an idea I read about on Julie Davide – Book Reviews and Other Musings, I put on the “My Top Rated” playlist from my iTunes library with shuffle selected, and I vow to honestly post the resulting list of 15 random songs.

music CD cases Vinyl records - 2

In keeping with Julie Davide’s retro artwork, I pulled out physical copies of albums where I could. Here’s Graceland, by Paul Simon, on vinyl.

I did limit shuffle to this one playlist because, as a parent, there’s a fair amount of “stuff I loaded to please other people” in my library. “My Top Rated” is all music that I’ve chosen for my own pleasure, much of which I can’t even play when the kids are in the car due to mature content…

My results are below this excerpt from—and link to—Julie Davide’s blog.

The Playlist Shuffle Tag Happy Thursday y’all. I’ve seen this tag around on other blogs and decided to join in the fun! I have a feeling that this will turn out quite the array of my musical taste as my musical palette has a wide range. Without further ado, and while avoiding any duplicates, I hope […]

via Tags – The Playlist Shuffle Tag — Julie Davide – Book Reviews and Other Musings

15 16 Really Wonderful Things that shuffled up from my iTunes Library.

  1. “Rare Child” by Danielia Cotton, whom I first heard being interviewed on NPR (i.e., National Public Radio.) She’s got a soulful rock & roll sound, and I enjoy the whole album, also titled Rare Child.
  2. “Taking a Liking” by Melissa Ferrick was included on my Out Loud compilation CD/album for the human rights and freedom of lesbians and gays. It’s a love/ wanna-be-in-love song for someone who admits her faults but also her desires.
  3. “The Lady in Red” by Chris de Burgh, a sentimental favorite from my pop radio listening childhood that now reminds me of my doting and superlative husband. I can’t help but assume his thoughts echo those of the singer of this love song. It helps that I heard de Burgh interviewed on the radio when I was a girl, and he spoke of how he saw his own wife across the room at a party and came to write this song. If they eventually broke up, don’t tell me: I love this sweet story.
  4. “Miz Thang” by SaffireThe Uppity Blues Women from their album music CD cases - 2Broad Casting; I saw them live in college. This song celebrates the powerful woman. My favorite lyrics: “It ain’t about an ego/ and I’m not being rude/ but Lord, Lord, Lord, I’ve got a new attitude/ If you like my peaches/ come on and rub my fuzz/ I’ll share with your the power, the wonder and the love…” Also consider checking out “Shake the Dew off the Lily” if you’re willing to hear another great bluesy song about a commonplace, slightly off color occurrence in the WC but draped in a lot of floral metaphors.
  5. “Fur” by Jane Wiedlin. She’s a former Go-Go, so it’s the bounciest song about protecting animals from cruelty and vivisection on the PETA organization’s 1991 compilation Tame Yourself.
  6. “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon. I doubt Mr. Simon needs further introduction, but this came from his album, Graceland, which was my re-introduction to his artistry post-Muppet Show guest appearances. He and Chevy Chase are hilarious in the music video for this song.
  7. “Money Changes Everything” from Cyndi Lauper‘s debut studio album, She’s So Unusual. This vinyl record was one of the first albums I ever purchased; I bought her greatest hits via iTunes to include these all time favorites in my digital catalogue.
  8. “There She Goes” by Sixpence None the Richer. It is a pleasant song. I rarely choose to search it out, but I almost always let it play through when it pops up. I didn’t know this band was a Christian one until I read their Wikipedia page for this post.
  9. “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds, because The Breakfast Club music CD cases - 3was absolutely my favorite Brat Pack movie of the 1980’s and this song made me feel like we could fight authority’s labels for us all and even break free from them. It still sums up that emotional climax for me. Maybe now I have more in common with the principal than the rebellious teens, but my heart doesn’t realize it.
  10. “Must Be Crazy For Me” by Melissa Etheridge. Her 1992 album Never Enough was one of the vital soundtracks of my college years, but I listen to it more from nostalgia than excitement today. This song always was my favorite from this album, but I find “You Can Sleep While I Drive* her most beautiful work.
  11. “Speed and Velocity” by They Might Be Giants. You could call Here Comes Science a kid’s album, but adult TMBG fans should enjoy it, too. I really do! Plus, it’s so educational: “Motion, direction, acceleration/ I’ve got speed—that’s how fast I am moving/ I’ve got velocity—that’s my speed and direction.” If either of my kids ever misses this question on a Physics test, they’ll be subjected to hours of non-stop listening to this tune.
  12. “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys. Slightly sheepish about this one, but I bought their Greatest Hits album last summer when I wanted to listen to… summer music. I bought a bunch of Motown singles that day, too. You feel like you should be riding in a convertible on your way to the beach listening to this stuff. And I don’t even like the beach!
  13. “San Francisco” by Brett Dennen is a catchy pop song I got for free from Starbucks back when they had those little cards on the checkout counter. My young son collected Starbucks cards like other kids collected Pokémon. It’s a catchy tune, and a helpful travelogue for visitors to the City. Our SF hotel concierge carefully cross-hatched over the entire Tenderloin district as a place to avoid at all costs, but Dennen had warned me “Deep in the Tenderloin/ you can have anything you want.” That does sound dangerous. Don’t tell the concierge, but I ate at a Tunisian place at the edge of the Tenderloin. The food was fantastic, and a bargain in an expensive city.
  14. “Little Red Corvette” by Prince. Here’s a conundrum: I’ve been meaning to reduce my rating of this song so I hear it less often. I like it, but… I’ll skip the track if I’m not busy doing something else when it comes on. For that reason, I’m going to list 16 tracks instead of the fifteen I promised up front. I hit the button to advance to the next track, which gives us:
  15. “Light My Fire” by The Doors. music CD cases - 1Does this one require any discussion? It’s an oldie, definitely a goodie, and remains a fun listen. Watching the film, The Doors, back in 1991 left me with a more melancholic reaction to all of the band’s songs, however, draining much of the counter-culture exuberance from the work. Jim Morrison and Val Kilmer are all tangled up in my mind. I’m left with a vague fear of bathtubs, at least when rock legends or hard drugs are present.
  16. “American Idiot” by Green Day. I wish I never felt a connection to lyrics that include “Don’t want to be an American idiot/ One nation controlled by the media./ Information age of hysteria/ It’s calling out to idiot America.” I’d like to be a more thoroughly positive person. I do find angry punk music a great balm for my existential crises, though, and this song rocks. I fundamentally reject the notion that this song is about the real America, much the way I rejected my older relatives dismissal of youth (in 1992! regarding my generation! X! <snicker>) as incompetent or wayward. There are incompetent youths; there are moronic Americans. All that being said, the future will be carried by the young, for as long as there is a future, and America has created and cultivated some awesome ideas for humankind. Perfection? Never. But I’ll keep working on that, along with a few million other do-gooders.

Continue reading

Exposé: My son’s moral protractor

Spoken by my younger son today:

“I don’t have a moral compass.

I have a moral protractor!”

protractor - 1

It’s moments like this that make a geek mother smile. Also, the fact that my neon protractor from eighth grade has somehow remained in my possession for thirty years is a point of pride.

Yes, the standard clear model is easier to use, but it’s less massively awesome. Like, totally.

If I were really cool, I’d have a slide rule handy to add to the math tool photo spread. Alas, I’m a product of the pocket calculator age. I did inherit my grandfather’s slide rule cuff links, however, making me capable of geek chic if I wear French cuffs.

The cuff links are purely decorative facsimiles of the venerable manual calculator, of course. That’s the first question everyone asks. Imagine how tiny those logarithm scales would have to be to fit on something that slips through a buttonhole!

°

That unforgettable Sci Fi story about a man who rediscovers how to perform calculations by hand

One of those works of fiction that I read innumerable years ago but I’ve never been able to forget was Isaac Asimov’s 1957 short story, “The Feeling of Power.” Set in the distant future when computers perform all calculations and design new technology without further input from man, it is the story of a humble technician who rediscovers the process of doing math on paper, by hand.

I had forgotten its author and the title, and was delighted to come across it in an old Science Fiction anthology I packed for pleasure reading on a trip.

While the narrative gist of a handful of stories and novels linger on in my memory, very few titles do the same. I’m one of those annoying people who says:

“You know, it’s that book about the guy who…”

Sometimes I follow up that gem with:

“I think the cover might have been blue?”

I may intrigue you, but I’m unlikely to be an efficient resource for putting the work into your hands. Unlikely, that is, unless I still own the hard copy, and the cover is, in fact, blue! If I find it (probably while you’re sitting at my dinner table), I’ll send it home with you, then promptly forget to whom I’ve loaned the book.

Returning to “The Feeling of Power,” I recommend it. It’s a short ten pages, and a quick read. I can see why it stuck in my mind so many years ago, but I also found much more to appreciate this time around. I remembered very strongly the tone of the ending, but had forgotten many details of the narrative.

It should be particularly appealing to anyone who loves math–or perhaps to those who find it hateful who would like to imagine it forgotten!–and to anyone who likes Sci Fi in general and Asimov in particular.

Here’s the particular anthology I brought on vacation. It was published in 1985.

Asimov was a prolific writer, and I’m certain “The Feeling of Power” appeared elsewhere in print. I actually thought I’d originally read this story in one of those elementary school reading textbooks full of disjointed works by a variety of authors. If anyone knows whether Asimov ever published in such volumes, I’d love to hear about it!

The “trivial” work of motherhood

I must write about trivial matters because my job is trivial. I am, after all, “just a mom.”

Of course, there’s more to trivia than the casual reader might suppose.

When the idea for this post came to me, I thought my point was a common one. That is, that without the mundane yet necessary chores done by the unsung, ordinary worker, the hungry and unclothed genius could never accomplish great things.

I was failing to grasp my own point.

Trivial has come to mean “not important.” Merriam-Webster’s definition for kids states just that: “of little worth or importance.”

A deeper reading of trivial‘s etymology—it comes from the Latin “crossroads”— underscores exactly what I sought to express.

excerpted from Merriam-Webster

Mothers are “trivial” because they are the only tangible link between every human being and all others. I am literally the crossroads between my husband’s family and that of my birth. My body made possible a new line of human succession, like that of every biological mother before me.

And, this is mere biology. Any mammal could do it. It hardly bears mentioning, let alone an acclamation.

Except…

We are the nodes in humanity’s network of biological interrelationships. We tie the web together.

Everyone bears a mother’s mark at the umbilicus, the scar where the physical tether was broken after birth. The rending of this vital connection must be followed by emotional bonding with some dedicated caregiver*, or an infant fails to thrive.

Everybody has a mother.

How trivial she must be!

*Though, at this moment, I am particularly in awe of the notion of birth mothers knitting the entire human race together, let no one read this post as a denigration of foster- and adoptive mothers and other parents-by-choice. Parenting is a monumental task; everyone who undertakes it with dedication earns an equal measure of my respect.

Gifts from the past

My mother visited a friend’s garage sale, and she sent me some little gifts plucked from the past.

There were several brand new linen handkerchiefs, including original department store gift packaging from the 1950’s. Her other find for me was an envelope with four Esterbrook pen nibs from a shop in North Platte, Nebraska, where our friend grew up.

Last year, Mom gifted me with a collection of hand-embroidered towels her mother had made and used in their home. Mom prefers non-iron terry cloth towels that match her bathrooms, and she knows that I love antique linens. During this minor downsizing, I also received the bulk of her linen and cotton hankies. They had been gathering dust in the bottom drawer of her vanity since I was young.

My father carries a neatly ironed and folded white cotton handkerchief every day, and I see it as one mark of a gentleman. Mom switched to the arguably more hygienic and decidedly less labor intensive option of a pocket pack of Kleenex before I was self-aware enough to notice. Her hankies and small collection of silk scarves only saw use in my dress-up play.

Because I’m a ridiculous packrat who also thrills to the textures of the past, I carry a packet of Kleenex for the yucky stuff and also an Irish linen handkerchief, generally poorly ironed, if at all, but trimmed with handmade lace. The latter gets pressed into service when ladylike tears threaten on schedule (weddings and theatrical productions) or eyeglasses want polishing.

The hankies from Mom’s friend included birthday cards she and her brother wrote to their grandmother as children. Don’t worry, the cards had been opened and no doubt appreciated, but their grandmother probably used sensible cotton handkerchiefs every day and saved these colorful linen confections for “a special occasion.”

Well, I, myself, have already laundered them. I plan to use them any day on which they appeal to me.

I spent my childhood wondering why my mother didn’t use the elaborately embroidered works of art her own mother had saved from her own wedding. I won’t make what I see as the same mistake.

Every day is a special occasion in my house. We can wear our finest garments, use our best china, and dry our hands on embroidered linen as we wish. Life’s pleasures are greater when we attend to our work using things that were lovingly crafted by human hands! I try to take every opportunity to do so.

In this way, mundane acts can become prayers of gratitude. At least, they do for me.

As for the nibs, some of you may wonder what they even are. The nib is the part of a pen that actually touches the paper. These are replaceable parts from old-fashioned, refillable pens, which were the norm before the advent of cheap, disposable ball points.

I collect writing implements, including fountain pens. My mother saw these and thought they might relate, somehow, to my hobby.

Esterbrook Pens, makers of the nibs unearthed in our friends’ old desk, has a website. I may just write to them and see if they can tell me when these nibs were made and sold. A quick browse unearthed a few digitized charts of Esterbrook’s nib offerings from my best guess as to their era, but no immediate answers to my mystery have presented themselves.

Contrary to my mother’s high opinion of my general knowledge, I don’t really know much about fountain pens. I own about a dozen. A few were moderately expensive. Most just delighted me with their aesthetics.

I have learned, by writing with many, that I prefer a fine nib and a fairly lightweight and narrow bodied pen. I get annoyed when a pen is too short.

My ink has to flow smoothly, but, if it does, I’m more concerned about its color after drying than any other behavioral quirk.*

Odds are, I won’t find a practical use for the nibs, but it’s easy to appreciate the gift. My mother was thinking of me. She sent me something that resonates with my favorite part of myself—the writer who cherishes carefully made objects that endure.

I’ll endeavor to make my gratitude so persistent.

*Drying time and permanence might be other considerations.

Full moon, full mind, fallow fields

What’s the best antidote for the heavily gravid sensation of a restless mind at the full moon?

After several days of exhaustion severe enough to put me to bed well before the little guy’s eight o’clock curfew, tonight finds me still physically debilitated but unable to settle into anything like sleep while the hours march on.

The ends of a few threads of thought have been teased out of my jumbled mind, but I don’t have the concentration to work on big ideas. I want to talk about the wonders of parallels discovered in my recent reads about Barcelona, Africa, and Churchill and Orwell during WWII. I simply haven’t the wits to show you the hidden shapes I find so exciting.

Personal stories keep fluttering into my attention, but none of them seem universal enough to share, or impersonal enough to be offered up to the world at large without serious reflection upon the living characters and my own motivations. The last thing I’d like to write is a gossip site, and one gift of my religion is a prohibition against lashon hara*, or telling tales.

This is the miserable agitation of the in between. I’m between absorbing projects, books that can’t be put down, trips to be taken, and demands powerful enough to dictate orders to my attention.

My next necessary steps are all menial errands I’m too addled to arrange whilst moonstruck. Being bathed in silvery light suggests time better spent on wonder or magic, neither of which flow from my fingers tonight.

There’s little left to do but stand by an open window in October’s mild chill and watch light clouds scud across the brightness behind the shivering trees. Ships may sail past on the ocean; witches may fly by on the breeze.

I’ll stand by, resting my fallow fields and taking in the scene, saving the contemplation for another time, when solar brightness makes ratiocination real and lunacy the dim threat in dark corners of silvered minds.

*Lashon hara, literally “evil tongue,” includes gossip of any sort–even if it’s true–as well as telling lies and using words for deception.

Media glory for villainous cowards who shoot innocent multitudes must stop

I denounce yet another pathetic, impotent coward hiding behind the false bravado of a pile of guns who tyrannized thousands, wounded hundreds, and murdered dozens of citizens peacefully partaking in the public life of my country.

Shame on the media for giving a sniveling traitor the fame that drives these base actions when he deserves nothing but ignominy.

I don’t want to hear a word about this Outis* or his playmates.

Sing the praises of heroes who protected others with their bodies, held the hands of the dying, and organized relief for victims.

Speak out with solutions to this mass hysteria—such as denying glory to recreant perpetrators—and use your power to demand action from laggards in government who found better things to do today than address egregious violence against our citizenry.

The value of the Fourth Estate is cheapened by producing clickbait at the expense of the public good and profiting from violence.

Newsweek story about media coverage encouraging mass violence

The National Review makes a similar argument

After Newtown, CT, as reported in International Business Times

*No one, as Odysseus called himself while battling the cyclops

24 hours in twenty years: marriage, discovery, and a matter of time

Do we ever really know another person? How long might that take? Twenty years can’t possibly be enough if my example is any indication of the scope of the discovery.

My husband took note recently of the fact that I opt to have the time displayed in 24 hour format when possible. He noticed this as the evening grew dark and visiting friends wondered about the prudence of getting their kids home to bed. I woke up my phone first as it was sitting rather rudely before me on the dining room table.

“20:12?” DH asked. “Your phone is set to military time?

Keep in mind that we’ve known each other for almost 20 years, and been married for most of those.

This becomes rather more amusing if you’ve ever visited my home, ridden in my car, or viewed any of my electronics. All of these conditions have been met by my husband, with most of them occurring on a daily basis.

Both of my children have had noisy arguments with me within DH’s earshot about my insistence that they learn to read a 24-hour clock and an analog one before I will buy them the digital watches they oddly covet.

In our kitchen, the microwave oven and a digital clock give the time in 24 hour format. Come to think of it, DH has always complained about being unable to find the time in our new house. Perhaps he thought those were kitchen timers in constant use?

time 24 hr clock face - 1

In the communal study the kids and I call the “workroom,” there is a digital clock set to 24 hour time displayed prominently on DS’s desk. You can’t walk through the room—which DH must do to reach his own office—without seeing its face.

The clock in my minivan displays 24 hour time and it has since I set it on the day I drove it home.

The sunrise clock on my side of our shared marital bed shows military time, too. To be fair, though, DH has his own clock on his side so he needn’t read mine with any regularity.

Are you sensing the pattern? I don’t think this is a subtle one.

I prefer the efficient notation of written time in fewer characters. I like the frequent tiny mental math problem of subtracting twelve. I don’t like the look of the abbreviations for ante- and post meridiem unless they are in small caps, and those can be annoying to implement (in WordPress, for example.)

None of these reasons matter in the least, of course, though it’s amusing that the same husband who teases me for clinging to the archaic Imperial system of measurement seems to have a similarly irrational preference for a less concise system for measuring time.

I pronounce the time in the standard twelve hour format, so, without his ears to help with the heavy lifting of comprehension, DH can be excused for never noticing what was right before his eyes.

It’s easy, after a decade and a half, to assume we know it all about a partner and a constant presence. It is very often true that I can predict exactly what DH will say, or choose, or prefer.

But, then again, human beings are awesome in their complexity, and my mate is no exception. Every day, each of us goes out into the world, changes it, and is changed by it. We grow. We evolve. Hopefully, we learn a little, too.

We aren’t the same young people who met online, like proper nerds, dated, and fell in love. We’re older, saggier, and otherwise more time-worn.

One of us prefers miles and military time; one of us is all metric, but goes to bed at 8 o’clock instead of 20:00.

The joy of it is being tickled by discovery this far in. The wonder is that we still have so much to discover, and so much desire to do so.