What a woman does when her husband leaves for nine days…

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You go girl!

by cheribabu

As a teacher for over 43 years, I feel guilty when there is nothing for an eager reader to learn from my posts here on the blog, but sometimes, actually quite a bit of the time, I am tired of teaching. If someone wants to learn about gerunds or how to instruct a dog to “heel” or about writing that is as crisp as a pickle or about the psychology of women, well, he or she  should ask me. Then, I am happy to teach.

For now, my blog has deteriorated into my eclectic (a fancy way of saying  jumbled) thoughts that go with no apparent organizational thread in a zillion directions. Perhaps your thoughts occasionally have the same zig-zag trajectory?

For a multiplicity  of examples of my latent eclecticism, read on:

Within the next four hours, my husband will be arriving home after a nine-day journey to the outer reaches of the Aleutians in search of silver salmon. While he has been gone, I have been doing exactly what I want to do such as texting our neighbor, who has a “ranch manager,” who has a barking dog, which he leaves out at night (hence, the barking). In my stern text I write  that if I hear that dog rattling my peaceful sleep at 3:00 am one more night, I am going to call the police. She was attentive to this text and texted her ranch manager. Very nice.

My screen name for Words With Friends is Cheribabu. This name is an accident, one committed when I was trying to do too many things at once and didn’t finish my intended screen name: CheriBaby. Although Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons spelled their Sherry with an S, I had a deep affinity for the song from the moment I heard it and like to use it as a screen name. At any rate, I’ve been playing Words With Friends in between walking, exercising, drinking lattes on my patio, and nibbling small healthy crackers dunked in low-fat humus. Sitting around playing games on my iPad is not my usual affair. Shouldn’t I be doing something productive?

I heard gunfire at the end of our road today. Our neighbor up there is running a shooting range in the middle of one of the last havens of pastoral quiet in our city. I power-walked up to noise (about 1 mile uphill) when I could have driven, just to confirm for myself that the automatic weaponry was coming from his place. Then, I sent him an email, asking why we were not notified of this activity on a quiet Sunday.

Clearly, since my husband has been away, I am a woman with too much time on my hands. But that is OK. In fact, it is more than OK. For the first 60 years of my life I had too much work on hands ( I mean, plate). It’s OK to listen to oaks rustle, right?

I’ve checked and rechecked the olive fruit fly traps, hauled two heavy garbage cans and recycle bins up our driveway and out onto the road, I’ve made pickles, thrown all of our spices out and purchased $68.57 worth of new spices ( I did forget the oregano, however), have given the dog three medicated baths for her skin condition, have used the blower to clean off the driveway of oily acorns (otherwise the dog will eat them), and have vowed to stop yelling at the idiots on the Park District property that parallels our house when they hoot and holler at 5:30 am. I’ve renewed my driver’s license online (thank God), have supervised three men putting up a bat deterrent system, have observed that the ollalieberries need more water, and have gone outside at night in my soft robe just to look at the stars. Let me also add here that after ordering my customary “lime and cilantro chicken salad” at the Nordstrom Cafe, I discovered that the company has removed the limes and the red peppers, along with serving a smaller salad–all for a whopping $12.95. I called the store manager, Joanne, to discuss how a salad could still be called a lime and cilantro salad with no limes. Surely a salad with less lettuce, no limes or red peppers should be priced accordingly.

Yes, in four hours my husband will be home, so I am now going to cook dinner, an act of love I haven’t done in nine days. I’ve eaten yogurt, salads with fruit and granola, small bowls of low-sodium soup, and more salads. Tonight, I pulled raw meat out of the freezer.

I’m going to have to be back on my best behavior and get that meat in the oven (which needs cleaning but which I chose to skip in lieu of working the New York Times Crossword).

So much for the “education” part of the tagline by Notes from Around the Block.

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, People, Writing and Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to What a woman does when her husband leaves for nine days…

  1. Brighid says:

    I love this post, you go girl!

    • Cheri says:

      Why thanks, Brighid. If truth be told, I had just finished Nora Ephron’s book Heartburn and was trying to emulate her style. Now that book is a riot. That Carl Bernstein was a rotten louse, leaving her with a toddler and 7 mos pregnant for another woman. But Ephron got back at him big-time with Heartburn. Remember, Ephron is known for writing Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally. She has an eye for detail and an acerbic wit.

      • Brighid says:

        I have a large stack of to reads, both tree and kindle… and just ordered this one from the $1 used books at Amazon. Sounds like just what the teacher ordered!
        Always wanted an acerbic wit, but they are few and far between around here…

        • Cheri says:

          Let me know how you like it. A review in the WSJ about books of the year that we women should read about marital relationships included Heartburn, Euphoria, and the Photograph. I ordered all three. I have just started Euphoria which won many awards. It’s about Margaret Mead and a love triangle. Oh, those love triangles.

  2. shoreacres says:

    I was rolling along quite nicely, until I got to the lime and cilantro salad with no lime. Have they gone all post-modernist on you, and started deconstructing menu items? Surely not.

    How are the olives doing, by the way? And who was it who used the phrase, “My sweet little babu”? (I found it. “Peanuts,” and it was spelled Baboo.)

    Cheers to you and your beefy dinner. Enjoy!

    • Cheri says:

      The olives are holding their own despite the fact that our neighbor’s trees are covered with the olive fruit fly. All of her olives are stung. I had been checking the sticky traps and the McPhail traps while my husband was away (not that I could have done a darn thing had I witnessed an infestation…). He went with flashlight out the orchard last night. It appears that the pesticide is working although some of the trees’ fruit is less ripe than it should be for this time in the growing season. Other trees’ fruit is ripening as should be. The harvest will probably be in December (if we are lucky…)

  3. Let us hope the good judge will quickly restore order and discipline.

    By the way, what a magnificent example of courage, humanity, skill and swift action from the young American servicemen on the Amsterdam-Paris express. They are a symbol of hope and a timely reminder of what the world owes to American leadership and sacrifice.

    With men like that there is no need to despair of youth or of the future.

    • Cheri says:

      Thanks Richard.
      We are very proud of those three young men, especially the first one who led the charge up the aisle and took down the Islamic terrorist. Wherever there are those bent on evil will be those who stand up and do something to thwart it. American servicemen and women have been doing this sort of thing for over a century. The Brits are the same way. Now if only the French could step up and stop being so soft like croissants.

  4. ShimonZ says:

    Sounds like the good life. And though there is an indication of what a woman does… she doesn’t cook dinners and eats minimally… there’s also the very positive feel of anticipation towards the reunion, which is entirely different, I would guess, from the feeling right after he left… with nine free days to do what you would like to do alone. Perhaps that too could be an interesting post.

    • Cheri says:

      Welcome to my blog, ShimonZ. I loved the nighttime tour of Jerusalem on which you took your readers. I look forward to reading more of your writing which I found on Shoreacre’s fabulous blog. You entered my blog on one of my more frenetic posts!

  5. Christopher says:

    In the nine days your husband has been absent, you’ve been like a river that can’t find the sea.

    In four hours, you’ll feel again complete.

  6. wkkortas says:

    I asked my wife what she would do if I left for nine days, to which she replied that the time period in question was sufficient to change the locks, empty the bank accounts (such as they are), and leave no forwarding address. I’m reasonably sure the statement was made tongue-in-cheek, but I’m staying close to home just in case.

    • Cheri says:

      One does learn a great deal about oneself when one is by oneself for nine days. I, for one, enjoyed myself immensely. ( Thought I’d escape from 3rd person here and fess up…)

  7. Richard says:

    Must I now regard these these words of Burns, Poe, Wordsworth and Shakespeare and Ben Johnson as “cold and cerebral”, Christopher?

    There is a reticence, perhaps, but that is how civilised man is meant to be.


    O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
    That’s newly sprung in June:
    O my Luve’s like the melodie,
    That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

    As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
    So deep in luve am I;
    And I will luve thee still, my dear,
    Till a’ the seas gang dry.

    Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
    And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
    And I will luve thee still, my dear,
    While the sands o’ life shall run.

    And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
    And fare-thee-weel, a while!
    And I will come again, my Luve,
    Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!
    *******
    But our love it was stronger by far than the love
    Of those who were older than we—
    Of many far wiser than we—
    And neither the angels in Heaven above
    Nor the demons down under the sea
    Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    *********
    …..When in mine arms enchained.
    She unto mine her lips did move,
    …And so my heart had gained.
    This done, she said, ‘Away I must
    …For fear of being missed.
    Your heart’s made over but in trust.’
    …And so again she kissed.
    **********
    In a thousand valleys far and wide,
    Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
    And the babe leaps up upon his mother’s arm: — —
    I hear, I hear, with joy I hear
    *********
    And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
    Which watch not one another out of fear;
    For love, all love of other sights controls,
    And makes one little room an everywhere.
    Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
    Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
    Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.
    *****
    And she me caught in her arms long and small;
    Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
    And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”
    *********
    This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,
    May prove a bounteous flower when next we meet

    *****
    And then the greatest of them all:

    Drink to me only with thine eyes,
    And I will pledge with mine;
    Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
    And I’ll not look for wine.
    The thirst that from the soul doth rise
    Doth ask a drink divine;
    But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
    I would not change for thine.

    I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
    Not so much honouring thee
    As giving it a hope that there
    It could not withered be.
    But thou thereon didst only breathe,
    And sent’st it back to me;
    Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
    Not of itself, but thee!

  8. Cheri says:

    Dear Richard, Thank you for taking the time to include here so many lovely words about love and passion. I enjoyed rereading each passage.

    • Christopher says:

      Yeah, I suppose these poems are sort of all right. But, put them to music, and their monochrome would change to colour.

      The “…..drink to me only poem…..” was famously put to music, and is a hymn I sang many times in church (C of E) when a still a boy. I can hardly imagine this poem without the melody of the hymn it became.

      Here’s one of the very few poems (“Last Leave”) by an Eileen Newton, that I do really like (it touches me, actually). It’s about a night a wife (one assumes) spent with her husband (one assumes) who is home on leave from the WW1 front.

      Almost ineffably romantic I find it, and poignant, and…….dare I say…….erotic? Perhaps someone someday will put it to music……….

      Let us forget tomorrow! For tonight
      At least, with curtains drawn, and driftwood piled
      On our own hearthstone, we may rest, and see
      The firelight flickering on familiar walls.
      (How the blue flames leap when an ember falls!)
      Peace, and content, and soul-security—
      These are within. Without, the waste is wild
      With storm-clouds sweeping by in furious flight,
      And ceaseless beating of autumnal rain
      Upon our window pane.

      The dusk grows deeper now, the flames are low:
      We do not heed the shadows, you and I,
      Nor fear the grey wings of encroaching gloom,
      So softly they enfold us. One last gleam
      Flashes and flits, elusive as a dream,
      And then dies out upon the darkened room.
      So, even so, our earthly fires must die;
      Yet, in our hearts, love’s flame shall leap and glow
      When this dear night, with all it means to me,
      Is but a memory!

      • Richard says:

        One sinks into Eileen Newton’s words as into a mother’s protective arms. Yes, motherhood, the most giving of all love: to a man incomprehensible for he knows only how to take it.

        The familiar setting of Ben Jonson’s words, I find, is morbid and unsettling, almost sentimental. It does them a disservice, save to draw attention our attention. Eliminate the music from your consciousness entirely as you read. The poetry speaks of unselfish, unrequited love but rests transcendent and contented, as by Eileen Newton’s hearthstone.

        • Christopher says:

          “……..One sinks into Eileen Newton’s words as into a mother’s protective arms. Yes, motherhood, the most giving of all love: to a man incomprehensible for he knows only how to take it………”

          Somehow, somehow, I don’t think motherhood is what Eileen Newton’s poem is about!!!

          • Richard says:

            Womanhood is always about motherhood, even when rejecting it. There is no greater calling.

            A man who believes otherwise, as, say, in a devoted wife, is sadly deluded.

            • Christopher says:

              I do hope Cheri, and the female followers of this blog, will contribute to this conversational thread.

              That none have done so as yet, I find interesting.

            • Richard says:

              They are mildly amused by our futile attempts to understand them.

              Eileen Newton’s poem is a lullaby and could be set to music as such.

              These are reprimands:

              • Christopher says:

                Were Cheri and her female readers to discuss us men, and make sweeping statements about us, such as that we’re all just little boys, or that we think of nothing but sex, or that we’re all brutes, how would we react as men?

                Would we simply chuckle to ourselves, knowing these generalisations would say more about who said them, than about men? Or would we become choleric, and wade inchoately in?

              • Richard says:

                None of those, perhaps. You and they might be right.

      • Richard says:

        Unselfish love is divine in its origins, motherhood its nearest earthly form. Ben Jonson shows how close a man may approach.

        A woman does not have to bear a child to know motherhood.

        Warm yourself by the fire, by all means, but enter at you peril.

      • Richard says:

        Procreation is thus, in true love, barely conscious, almost incidental, and but one expression of heavenly love, despite a woman’s agonies.

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