The Frost of November at Daybreak Upon The Kale.

$+ StuartO))) attempts to compose a daylog in reflection of the aforementioned Title, but the plaintiful whining of his dog dispels the singing of the E2 muse as the wind would scatter the dust from an opened windowsill.

Dawn breaks over the fence and sunlight illuminates the rods of frost clinging to the thick dark green leaves of Kale. I turn and the facets of ice glow pink and blue and gold. Already warmed a little, the yellow and green leaves yet remaining on the trees rain down in silence. Without the slightest breeze present, they surrender and fall as if in celebration.

$+ StuartO))) 's dog continues to whine and yawn in frustration and to claw upon the doorframe to go out and play.

The dog is a relentless one-stroke machine. Again and again, I heave the orange-squeaky-squirrel Jolly Ball upon the icy lawn which twinkles like Christmas in the morning sunlight. He gallops, leaps and lunges in joyful pursuit, pouncing and scattering ice from the grass and retrieving his prize, huffing like a steam engine, his breath condensed and puffing in the cold morning air. Again and again, I heave the ball and he retrieves it to me until the icy lawn is scarred and bears witness to the effort.

My breath, too, hangs in the air. Tiny little particles of moisture condensed in the cold. Steam rises and twists from my coffee mug in ribbons, each little particle glowing in the sun. I scratch the frost from the face of the thermometer I have jammed in the railing. The needle rest five two-degree increments from the Zero mark. Twenty-Two degrees Fahrenheit

Satisfied from his morning play, and refreshed from a long slobbering, clanking drink from his bowl, the dog now flops on the couch. His paws dangle over the edge on lanky legs, glowing like dark exotic wood in the edge of a sunbeam. Specs of dust hover.

I am hungry now. In my pockets I have two peppers I rescued from the garden. They are frozen and will not get any riper now. I cut into the green one and it is not pleasing to the nose. The reddish-pale paprika does not offend so I chop it up.

The green seven-segment-display clock of the oven reads 9:11 now, but Daylight Savings Time ended last night and I have gained an hour. I have another forty-five minutes before I need to leave for practice.

The sun has now risen above the height of the tallest trees. As if the lawn were some field of battle, the sunlight begins to create beach-heads of thawing in the grass and the frost imperceptibly begins to retreat from it, now glowing lush green and be-dewed.

$+ StuartO))) makes pepper and egg tacos.

Last night I was carrying a wool blanket down the hall when a part of it fell down. I didn't notice that right away so I stepped on it, slipped, and hurt my shoulder, hip, and knee when I fell. I heard a popping crack when I felt my left big toe go to the side, and for a few minutes afterwards I propped my foot up on my desk, trying to figure out why it hurt so badly when there was no sign of redness or swelling. Fortunately the Fall Stars game was on so I was able to somewhat distract myself by tweeting during that.

I had a lot of fun watching the game. Partially because I love baseball, but also because it's fun for me to try and figure out whose footwear fits. You don't have a lot of time to make decisions, most of the time I'm aiming for an overall first impression, but there were some clear good fits and some that were just plain terrible. It bothers me to see people's feet suffer, and sometimes it bothers me that I'm handing out free advice, but I also feel as if this is a contribution I can make to society that isn't costing me anything as far as a cash outlay goes.

Today I have a circular bruise at the base of my big toe. There's a darker spot on the side, I don't think that anything is broken, but it is sore and puffy and painful. I'm very thankful that the fall was not worse, and I'm also glad that I'm going to see my chiropractor first thing tomorrow morning so I can get his advice. My arch hurts intermittently, I think I may have sprained my toe, but at least I can still walk around even if I'm not the most graceful of beings right now. 

I grew up in a home where we were forced to act like a family by both of my parents who chose to act independently of each other as far as most of their daily lives went. My mom would make meals that my dad didn't like so he would yell at his kids to eat what was in front of us, as would she, but he would then yell at her for not preparing better food that he liked. For many years my husband refused to sit down with me and the girls and that always bothered me because it seemed like the sort of thing a family should do.

There's a chasm in our family that I'm not sure how to bridge. I live independently of him, and the girls have learned that people are free to go about their own life without the bother of being forced to interact with others at meal times. Now when we try to include everyone, my youngest daughter wants to stay home, and she's at an age and a size where I can no longer just pick her up and stick her in the car so sometimes I leave without her. Today I took her iPad because that's an isolationist device that allows her to spend countless hours in her room by herself.

I have a book called The Adversity Advantage that I would like to finish reading as it teaches people how to view hardship as a way to grow stronger instead of something to complain about. My children have problems, but a lot of the things that they whine about are minimally tiresome tasks such as doing the dishes and sweeping the floor. They have no idea what hard labor is, they've been hungry on occasion, and my fridge has things they could be eating, but they prefer to grab an apple and peanut butter, or take money and go to the store to buy junk.

My girls have learned to find ways around systems they don't like, but I'm afraid that is denying them the chance to learn what discipline can do for a person. There's a dark and cold tension in our house that rarely goes away. The other day my oldest daughter was crying, and when I asked her what was wrong she told me I didn't care anyways so she wasn't going to tell me. It's pointless to tell her that I do care when she's going to see what she chooses to, I told a friend of mine that I needed a plan so I'm going to talk to my therapist about ways I can reach out to the girls and show them that their mother really does care about them and their feelings and the things they are going through.

I was very puzzled by my husband's antisocial behavior when I first met him. I didn't understand how he could spend so much time by himself, I wanted to go out and have people over, now those are things that I fear and avoid for the most part. The other day that I read that understanding the problem is part of the solution, and the problem right now is I really don't want to do a lot of the things that I need to be doing to get healthier in all aspects of my life. 

It's much easier to blame him and the girls and my parents than it is to stick a yoga DVD into the player and take charge of an area where I could improve. I buy a lot of vitamins, most of the time the girls don't take them anyways so I don't know how to handle that either. Today my husband found a vitamin on the floor and that made me furious to think about the time and money I wasted that they so carelessly tossed.

We're raising very immature, spoiled, and sly children, and it is very unsettling to realize that those behaviors were learned. Right now it seems like we will never get out of this rut, however, when I think about where we were even a year or six months ago, then I feel better about the progress that we've made. We've gotten rid of a lot of things, I've moved more things, and we can continue to clean cabinets, closets, and cars. I have money left over from last week, that makes me feel good, and I also feel good about having taken the girls to purchase food for the Thanksgiving drive at school.

While I'm still profoundly angry at my husband for not investing money in a retirement account twenty years ago, he still doesn't see the need to save for retirement, and that's also beyond foolish in my opinion, I know that I could be saving money for myself right now and have put off doing that. I have the account, but I need to set up something that will transfer money from one account into the other. My daughters want to go to a private boarding school when they're done with high school. In my mind, we can't afford it, and they haven't earned that, but he sees things differently.

There is a huge difference between being able to pay your incoming bills and being solvent. Inevitably something will come up, and the person who has no savings will all of a sudden realize that either you manage your money, or it will manage you. My husband's vehicle probably needs a new transmission. It has 250,000 miles on it so in my mind the money would better be spent on a newer vehicle, but this isn't my decision either. I don't understand the way he's thinking, and I'm getting annoyed that we have a vehicle sitting in my driveway that doesn't go anywere that represents a sunk cost we can't recover.

The sun is shining again. The other day I read that some people stumble into darkness and then stay there so long that they can't see anything other than their current surroundings. Visualizing things can be helpful, but a lot of the time I dismiss these ideas as too far fetched even though they are actually reasonable goals to be working towards. Discovering that I can't have eggs was difficult, but now that's another thing that I can avoid and I'm excited to have some of the books, people, and other resources at my disposal.

I want a partner, but I'm not sure if I want the partner I have. I feel like he's deliberately and covertly working against me, and being at cross purposes is probably worse than the underlying problems. He supposedly has energy to be doing things, but he doesn't do them, and I remember him telling me that I don't deserve a nice house, nice being a very broad term that means finishing projects he has started in the past that I would like to see finished before he goes off and starts something new.

I've let him and the girls treat me like this so I'm going to look into how to be more assertive. There are ways to do this that are not angry and offensive, and it is possible to teach old dogs new tricks, they just have to work harder than the pups whose minds are younger and haven't had time to pick up as many bad habits as I have. My chiropractor wants me to write a list of ten things I like about myself, I already did this, but someone threw away the paper I had used to make my list so I'm recreating it here.


1. I care. About people, the planet, and I strive to live in a manner that means there is less stress and strain on Mother Earth, and more joy and abundance for her inhabitants. I recycle, we have a growing compost pile, and I am conscious of packaging and trips that I make in my car.

2. I share. Whether it's my money, my time, or my talents, I am generous. Without adopting a socialist mindset, I believe that me and the people I know have a burden of possessions that could be cast aside. Living simply and embracing a minimalist approach to furniture and food frees me from certain bondages others continue to cling to, and I'm sorry that they can't see what they're doing to themselves.

3. I persist. Not in every area, but I don't let go of the idea that I can start a new project, lose weight, learn something I didn't know before, or keep going despite the knowledge that it wouldn't take much to leave this earth for good. I'm willing to talk about suicidal thoughts, and that has value because before I didn't, and it's very hard to share that, but I do anyways, for myself, and others who may also feel that way.

4. I create. The most public example of this is my Twitter accounts, but I love to play around with food and words and it's pretty amazing what I've been able to do with what we have. I'm very comfortable with the idea that constraints seem confining, but are actually forcing you to perform at a level you didn't think that you could previously. I once read something along the lines of needing a deadline and not quite enough resources, and I like that as I've seen evidence of that repeatedly in my own life. You're the limit, get rid of the idea that others are limiting you. Easier said than done, but a good reminder.

5. I focus. I can sit down and write or watch a ball game and totally lose track of time or the notions of food and drink. Writing and working are two areas where I feel very calm, very confident, and very in control of myself. I know that I can't make anyone else do anything in those arenas so I sit back and listen and let them come to their own conclusions.

6. I say no. To be able to achieve the things that I want to do, I have to say no to a lot of things that could be cool or fun, but are ultimately leading me away from my goals. I could write about a wider variety of topics, I could do fewer daylogs and add more fiction or prose to the database, but I did that in the past, and I now write more for myself than others. Really all writing is for myself, but I recognize this more than I did in the past.

7. I empathize. I'm better at this online, but I'm learning to be more empathetic in real life. I didn't grow up with empathy, and you'd think it would be easier to give my children this gift I longed for, but those learned behaviors are difficult to overcome when they've been ingrained in me for the past almost 40 years.

8. I take breaks. This may sound like a small thing, but it's actually been huge for me to give myself a break from the things. I wasn't allowed to relax when I was younger, I still have a lot of anxiety that freezes me, and I think that many in my life see inaction as a break when it's really me being so afraid to do the wrong thing that I'm paralyzed by indecision. So being able to tell someone that I'm having a chill day or leaving dishes on the counter on purpose has been wonderfully liberating.

9. I believe. In myself, in others, that things will get better if I don't give up. I believe in God and I'm ashamed of how often my life does not reflect that belief, but there are moments and blocks of time when I am comforted by that belief. I rejected him in the past, and I don't believe that he gave me some of the challenges because of that, but I know that he can use situations to turn people towards him again.

10. I love. Despite the jerks, the assholes, the brats, the bored, and the criminal, I still love. I remember the first time that I felt loved on Twitter, I had just finished a big shout out and there was this tremendous outpouring of love that was real. I don't know why people love me when I have so many issues, but I love my flawed friends because I believe that we're all in this together, win, or lose. I love celebrating when times are great, and it's really true that a burden shared is a burden halved as we recently saw when Oscar Taveras was taken at such a young age.


Whether you feel like repeating this exercise, I would encourage you to try it if you're seeking a cathartic outlet that makes you think about what you like about yourself. There's plenty I hate about the person that I am, but as you just read, there are good things about me too, and I have a tendency to forget those. I'm sure this list will change over time, maybe I need to do this daily, or at least read it so I can remember some of these points.

There is no bad time to start giving yourself the gift of self love. You may have to start very small, you might have to think about something you don't hate about yourself, but anywhere is better than where you were before. I feel better for having written this, and hope you will find this example helpful if you are struggling with some of the things I've written about earlier. My foot is now a weird purple blue color so I'm going to take a nice relaxing bath and hope that some of the normal color returns.

Until next time,


It almost goes without saying that last night I spilled my martini across my work laptop’s keyboard thus sending it into spastic stochastic scrollings, up and down, and thus banishing me to my old desktop in my basement office. If I want to get any significant amount of writing done, I’ll have to do it down here in this dim moldy dungeon. (I do write by hand in my journal, but it’s a slow and artsy process, ill-suited for iron noding.)

This mixologist mishap, compiled with other inauspicious omens at the outset of my first attempt at THE IRON NODER CHALLENGE 7, bode poorly for me finishing it. But then again, I know I won’t finish it if I don’t start. So start I shall, and thus proceeding, I need a plan.

So, here’s a napkin sketch map of how I just might make it to 30 nodes in as many days:

  • Daylogs. Mauler says I get five, and I shall use them. (This, obviously, being my first.) But I plan to spread them out so as not to grow too dependent on them.
  • Finished pieces, previously unpublished or posted. I have a few of these, though I’m not exactly sure how many. Some are nearly ready, some need significant polishing. But whatever the case, I’m only going to allow myself ten of these total. And I pledge that I will not post anything here that has been posted anywhere before, though I don’t pledge the converse. I may very well post to my blog pieces that I try out here first, and that is why I welcome any and all feedback from you, fellow noders.

Okay. So with five day logs and possibly ten nearly finished pieces that leaves me writing from scratch 15 more raw nodes. This looms as a huge challenge given that I'm also polishing my book this month, but I just might make it, if I hit a groove. A few ideas for how I could:

  • Book reviews. I have been taking notes on books I’ve read for a some years now. I have a bunch on file and I should be able to pull together some reviews based on these. I think this should be good for at least 3 nodes in the quest.
  • Nodeshells.
    • My own. Back when I was more involved here at E2, I created more than my fair share of nodeshells. I feel like it’s incumbent upon me to fill out some of these, and there’s no time like the Iron Noder present. How ‘bout I pledge to three for now?
    • One random. I think it might be fun to just find and fill one nodeshell at random, as a free writing exercise. We will see if this actually happens.
  • Upcoming performance pushouts. I have a couple of fun things coming up in November. I usually push these out on my blog, but this month I’ll push them out here first.

Okay, that’s approximately nine plus approximately 15. That leaves six fresh pieces to pull out of my proverbial whozzywhutzit.

I think I can do that. I think I can…. I think I can….

Believe what seems idiotic,” IceOwl instructs me. ”What do you have to lose?”

I honestly don’t know. And honestly I would ardently jump on board, if I didn’t find belief, in and of itself, so problematic. Icey thinks I’m having my mid-life crisis, and I am strongly inclined to agree with him. He was right about my vasectomy after all, which I got eight years ago, and still ranks easily in the the top five decisions I have ever made.

Let's give this "belief" notion a whirl.

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