Learning: On my own at age 7, before 9 was 9 and way before Lily came to be.

Always learning- -that’s the way I roll. Last week two readers of this blog pointed out that I have something to learn about the offense/defense adage used as last week’s jumping off point. Major reversal on my part! It should have been “The best defense is a good offense.” Thanks to Martin and Erin for gently correcting me on this. Here, I think, is where I went wrong:


While the adage “The best defense is a good offense” is typically associated with military combat and sports (and is often attributed to Michael Jordan), it was first said by George Washington in 1799, “…offensive operations, often times, is the surest, if not the only means of defense.”


The above paragraph comes from my close personal friend the Internet. Somehow my thinking got cross-wired by the quote attributed to George Washington. It expresses the same sentiment, but instead of seeing that I glommed onto word order, “offensive” preceding “defense.” Apologies to anyone else troubled by my inaccurate quote!


And now, for more learning from my very close friends, Lily and 9.


Lily arrived July 1. 2019, the day my zest for life and curiosity about the world was abruptly renewed. It was pure magic, conjured from an everyday occurrence- -sharing a meal with a friend I hadn’t seen in over 40 years. A Pandora’s Box of memory opened, pointedly positive in nature, and suddenly I was back in the center of life again. From Lily, who is my inner fourteen-year-old, I’m learning how to keep that place at the center of life, with enthusiasm, confidence, and the unwavering belief in a grand future.


And it only took you forty-five years to find me.


She’s also giving me a refresher course in cynicism.


9 arrived just in time to rescue Lily and me from an early pandemic slump. She showed up May 5, 2020, and joined us on a half-day road trip to local, newly reopened State Parks. 9 reminds us both not to be too cynical or too jaded: though our slates may be full from the past, they are blissfully blank and full of possibility for the future!


You never would have made a PB&J for lunch that day or fearlessly worn your straw boater without me!


True enough, 9, and you have definitely surfaced as the culinary force of our trio.


You remembered the ingredients we need for the two brownie recipes, right?


Absolutely. Down to the bottle of chocolate syrup.

Learning: about using chocolate syrup to make brownies.

Frankly, I prefer vegetables to sweets.


I do, too, Lily, but sometimes it’s good to stretch. And don’t worry. Today we’re making a new vegan recipe for dinner, Kitchari. Yellow lentils, basmati rice, carrots, zucchini, avocado oil, lots of aromatic seeds and spices. It’s a dish that’s supposed to help reset the body and digestive system during seasonal changes.


And an onslaught of brownies. What are we going to do with all of them? Have you thought about that?


I have. Plan A: share some with local friends and neighbors. Plan B: our friend the chest freezer.


Speaking of the freezer and seasonal changes, it is, at the moment, 15 F and the snow is falling thick and fast. The forecast predicts over 5 inches today and another 7 or 8 more over the long weekend. I have a hunch the leftover Kitchari (recipe serves four) is going to come in handy.


Kitchari, a film noir double-feature (Double Indemnity, Anatomy of a Murder), brownies (both dark chocolate spelt and chocolate with peanut butter), and a trial run with Yaktrax (devices that fit over the soles of shoes to provide extra traction in ice) is our official weekend plan.


And a bubble bath.


Right you are, Lily.


Don’t forget the snow shovel.


Got it, 9! I’ve already shoveled a path on the deck so the cats can get down to the yard without undue fretting about their feet. A snow blower is clearing the driveway of the vacation rental kitty-corner from here. Guess I’d better strap on the Yaktrax and shovel a path for the Subaru, just in case.

Learning: to navigate in the snow with the help of Yaktrax.

Trying new things in a cozy, snowbound setting. The enlivening company of inner selves. Sleeping cats. If this isn’t the perfect way to spend a long weekend, what is?

Learning: I’m up to exercise #7 in the Hanon.

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