Zero to fifty-nine

Our heating system contains a timer. If I'm up past eleven p.m., which I often am these days, it's usually the chill in my toes that tell me of the drop in temperature. My hair—probably close to two feet long now—serves as a slight blanket of warmth around my ears and shoulders, but my naturally chilly toes (a feature, not a bug, my family assures me, though Jeff may disagree) require a bit of help in staying warm.

Last night I lay in bed, half-watching the softly-blue moonlight as it filtered through the slats of the miniblinds and settled over Edmund, who lay with me, snuggled in the covers of the guest bed. The light flowed, soft, indirect, over white whisker and orange stripe alike.I could not sleep. There was no point in tossing and turning in a bed shared with Jeff. He needed his sleep. Better to keep my insomnia to myself, and let at least one of us wake up rested in the morning.

whirlwind autumn

November. Just as I've celebrated the putting-away of shorts and other warm-weather clothing, along comes a day with a high of seventy-eight. The sweaters will have to live one more day in the back of the closet.

Attention Best Buy Shoppers

All these years, and I still don't like my eyes. Silly squinchy grayish-blue things. Mind you, a good portion of the squinch probably has just as much to do with my nearsightedness as it has to do with the genetics of small eyes, but, nevertheless, part of me wishes I'd been born with eyes that didn't practically shut themselves of their own volition every time I decide to crack a smile.

I know this much is true

I've decided that the best way to handle such a deeply bizarre situation as this one is to treat it like the ludicrous thing it is; something so dumbfounding and jaw-dropping that, well, all you can do is just laugh, because there isn't a rule in the rule book for this sort of special circumstance.

Everyone over the age of twelve likes to fancy themselves the keenest, most astute judge of human nature to walk this earth, myself included. Luckily enough, most of the time, the fact that you're deluding yourself only sends you out on a couple of bad dates or leads you to bet on the wrong sports team in the Super Bowl.

Eight tenths

Ever notice how much we crave understanding from others? It is one of the guiding forces behind our interactions with other people. Failing the ability to allow another to truly see through our eyes, we resort to words. When we talk, we take the best option available to us: we fence with words to (gently or forcefully) turn our conversation partner so that they see the world from a perspective as closely matching our own as possible.

Words aren't magic, though they sometimes might feel like it. For those of us unable to communicate through art or music, they're our best hope of closing the gap betweeen others and ourselves.Sometimes they just can't suffice.

That seems to be my theme for the year: words that just don't manage to say it all, despite my best attempts to make it so.

More trees

There's not much between Huntsville and Birmingham, except somewhere near an hour and a half of scenery that can be compressed into approximately three minutes of equally unexciting viewing:

"Look. Trees."
"More trees."
"Is there anything else to see?"
"More trees, I think."
"Are we there yet?"
"Given that we left five minutes ago, and it takes nearly an hour and a half to get there, I think that highly unlikely."

It's a pity, really; Alabama seems to be missing some of the out-and-out oddness that is the freeway scenery in Arkansas. Anyone who has driven I-30 has encountered one of the most famous (and enduring) billboards in central Arkansas:

Enormous capital letters, the billboard equivalent of a shout: