Archive for the ‘Everyday Living’ Category

Shifting Down

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Coming down from intense projects can be quite disorienting. I experienced that yet again this morning, when I suddenly found myself without anything immediate to do after several days of very long hours.


Juggling One-Handed

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

Summers are an interesting time for the Langford family. Most years — including this one — early in June my wife takes off for Utah to help take care of her mother, who suffered a serious stroke 8 or 9 years ago. From there, typically she teaches a summer class via distance learning. Meanwhile, I’m left here in Wisconsin with whatever children happen to be here during the summer — which right now is all three of them — doing my own work and supervising the children, more or less, up until the point when some or all of us take off for Utah to visit.

We’re now (as of early July) about a month into that. And it always makes me feel like I’m juggling one-handed, which is kind of an odd simile considering that I’m not actually a juggler at all in any literal sense. Only metaphorical. But metaphorically, it feels like what I imagine juggling with one hand would feel like. Same number of balls to keep in the air, but only half the hands.


Tightening the Gut

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

The first thing I do each morning is sit up in bed, then remove the mask on my CPAP machine. And then I tighten my gut and stand up.

Specifics can vary. Sometimes I may take off the CPAP mask first. Sometimes (especially when running behind), I may leap straight out of bed in a single motion, without sitting up first. But the gut-tightening is always part of the process, for unavoidable physiological reasons that also work nicely on a metaphorical level. Hence this post.


Fireflies for Memorial Day

Monday, May 30th, 2016

This Memorial Day, I spent most of the day editing a family history for someone while my wife did taxes. (We had filed a deferment, as we usually do these days, since tax time comes right toward the end of her semester and my busiest work time.) And then this evening, we went down to the river that runs through our town to listen to frogs and look at fireflies.


The Dividends of Cleaning House

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

This coming weekend, our oldest child is having some friends over. Which, for us, means that it’s time to clean the house. Or at least the living room. This time, though, it’s the end of the semester, coming up on summer, and the kitchen and a few other specific areas are really quite unpleasant, and so it’s house-cleaning time.

And so I spent about an hour and a half just now cleaning house, in the middle of the day, with no one keeping me company. Which is a thing I hate. But I think it’s worth it.


Tolkien and the Spirit of Amateurism

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Last Saturday, I had the rare opportunity of being interviewed about a topic people more often are attempting to shut me up about: that is, J. R. R. Tolkien and his influence on the modern world. (Requirement for someone’s college course paper, I believe.) No one reading this blog will be surprised to know that I had a lot to say, even in cases where I didn’t necessarily know a lot. But then, isn’t that’s what interviews are all about?


Root Canal

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Which kind of says it all, you know? Except, of course, that clearly I’m going to go on and say much more than that…

Last Friday night: intermittent toothache. You know, the kind of thing that makes you wonder if you got something stuck between your teeth. Except that after re-flossing for the fourth time, you clue into the notion that there’s something more going on. I wasn’t even completely sure what tooth it was that was bothering me.


Mortality as an RPG

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

1978. I’m a 16-year-old college freshman, living in the dorms. Struggling (and often failing) to muster the self-discipline to attend class and do my homework assignments.

And then I hear about this cool role-playing game. Dungeons and Dragons, it’s called. D&D. Really popular, especially among college students, especially among geeks. And I start playing with a group on my dorm floor.


The story doesn’t go entirely the way you might expect. I mean, yeah, I didn’t do terribly well in my classes that semester. But D&D is only partly to blame. Really, I was looking for excuses: something else to do with my time when I should have been studying or sleeping instead. If it hadn’t been D&D, it would have been something else. In fact, most of the time, it was something else: books, or long philosophical conversations with newly minted friends, or (on one or two particularly stupid occasions) sitting up all night watching other people play Risk without using cards. Let me repeat that: watching other people play Risk without using cards (which just about triples the length of a game that’s already fairly tedious if you’re not one of those playing). If that doesn’t show how far I went in my quest to avoid schoolwork, I don’t know what does.


Christmas 2014

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Author’s note: I’ve now officially given up on my occasional “columns” that I was sending out monthly, or at least quarterly, for several years. Sorry to those of you who were following these. In any event, the plan is for me to take up the slack with more frequent posting at this blog. So here we go.

Waking up at 5:00 a.m. Christmas morning with a pounding headache, after only 4 hours of sleep, is not the most promising beginning to things. Excedrin and a mug of homemade hot chocolate have taken the edge off, though at some point today I should probably try and take a nap.


Fake Persimmons

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Since my childhood, persimmons have been one of my favorite fruits. Soft, wet, sweet — almost slimy — and mildly spicy, with a brilliant orange coloring, they are — as I recall reading from a food writer, though the particular source is now forgotten — pretty much a dessert unto themselves. I still fall into reveries on occasion over the particularly large and delicious specimens from the fruit markets in Italy.

This, of course, is the classic persimmon (most commonly known nowadays through the Hachiya cultivar): roughly peach-shaped, flat with a dried calyx on one end and doming to a point at the other end, which is unbelievably astringent (puckery) when firm and only becomes really edible when it is so soft that you would swear it was spoiled and rotten, if it were any other fruit. (Note: If persimmons can become overripe, I’m not aware of it.)