Alexandra the Great's Private Papers

July 1, 2008

The Pens

Filed under: Contentment,Enjoyment,For Fun — Alexandra The Great @ 12:49 pm

Well, Vanrensalier has posted and boasted about his beautiful pen. To see the thing for yourself, visit Saint Austin’s Pub. Though I am sure his intentions were not unkind, his post had the effect of dismantling Alexandra’s sense of well being and contentment. When I clicked on the fateful link for Goldspot a new page opened up, and with it a new world. I never knew this before, but fountain pens can cost a fortune! I had an inexpensive one years ago and enjoyed it, but now this new world of on-line buying and one-click shopping told me that I must again have that particular kind of writing instrument. I could not rest until I did. Vanrensalier must not be the only one with a pen.

As you know, on the Internet, link leads to link and before you know it, all innocence is lost as previously unknown things present themselves and disturb one’s state of mind; things such as $400 pens and nib repair. Did you know that nibs can be repaired? Neither did I. Well, since being pulled down this link trail I have learned not only that it’s all about the nib, but that steel nibs can sell for $50 and 14k gold nibs for $100. That’s more than I want to pay for the entire pen…at least at the moment. You see, I have compulsive tendencies, something I inherited from my father, I think, and if I yield to the call of the pen I shall yield with abandon and immerse myself in the subject. Soon I will not be able to content myself with pens, but will buy leather journals to go with them. Leather is what goes with fountain pens, right? This means that I will have to begin actually writing. As I mentioned in another post, I don’t write, I type, but I’ve been trying to change that which means I have not only the temptation to purchase a pen, but the justification as well.

I fully intend to buy a good fountain pen (Vanrensalier must not be the only one to enjoy such a pleasure), but until I do, to content myself I have purchased a package of Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens. The set of three comes with blue, black, and purple ink. They are pictured below with my moleskin journal, the only journal to open flat at any page. It was a gift.


My Varsity Pens

These pens write well and for $8 I had little explaining to do to Alexander. Simple enjoyments have proven to be the best. Not only can they be enjoyed repeatedly but they have the benefit of offering the biggest value for the cost. As it turns out, I am enjoying my small collection of fountain pens probably a much as I would a luxury pen. Alexandra’s sense of contentment and well being is no longer dismantled. Nor do I begrudge Vanrensalier his beautiful but discontinued pen. Really, it does not take much to bring pleasure, nor should it, for if one cannot enjoy simple things, one cannot truly enjoy anything. Though I still intend to procure a good quality pen, I am reminded that godliness with contentment is still great gain. With contentment, all things can satisfy, but without it, nothing will no matter what the price tag.



August 27, 2007

Too Much of a Good Thing

Filed under: Enjoyment — Alexandra The Great @ 7:12 pm

I should hope this is not a universal problem of mankind, though I suspect it is, but I notice that very often things do not turn out as planned. 

Several years ago my husband and I decided that in our back yard we would build a fish pond.  Please understand that I use the word “we” very liberally.  My part in building the pond was to embrace the idea whole-heartedly and to bring my husband lemonade as he worked in the sun.  His part was to dig for many hours, mix cement, and generally do whatever actually qualified as work.  The result hoped for would be a beautiful pond full of fish and lilies with other water plants, complete with a fountain and a redwood deck encircling the pond.  Also envisioned were wooden benches and tiki-torches to provide a warm glow by which to enjoy our pond on warm summer evenings. 

All my husband’s work brought about our picturesque dream.  Eventually, after many hours of his labor, we had what we hoped for.  In the center of the pond was a fountain surrounded by water lilies with large leaves and colorful flowers.  A stream coming into the pond had its source in the patio by means of another fountain which provided the sound of running water.  As well as lilies, we also had parrot feather and a third plant with pleasant, small, round leaves.  A couple koi and a few other pond fish completed the picture.  The combination of all these elements had a pleasing effect and we spent much time around our pond.  Our dream had been realized.  But that was the first summer and time has a way of changing things.

We soon found that the algae, which grew all too quickly, had a habit of clogging up the filter in the fountain causing it to stop flowing.  We were constantly cleaning it out and were eventually worn down by the project and defeated.  It now seemed a better idea to have no fountain at all.  We still enjoyed the second fountain that fed water into the pond via the stream, but that soon was to suffer harm (probably another dog incident) and quit working.

After several summers passed, the plants grew to dominate the pond, hiding the fish from view.  Not only did they overrun the water, but they also made their way up through the boards of the redwood deck which served as a barrier between water and lawn.  This was quaint for a while but soon the pond plants in the boards were competing with the bermuda grass which had overcome and annihilated the fescue and then sought to also overpower the pond as well.  Soon the deck was being overcome by plant life from within and without and even by kids who somehow managed to remove a board, causing a toothless appearance.  All this abounding goodness was too much of a good thing and we had to fight it back to regain lost balance. 

It takes a lot of work to have dominion over a small thing like a pond, or a yard or even an aquarium; but every other thing that is worthwhile requires work as well.  Not only must we work, we must have moderation.  If we have too much of a good thing, the goodness gets lost. Without moderation we soon loose our enjoyment of things.  What is meant to give pleasure can easily loose its gleam.  If every morning were Christmas, children would eventually cease to rise early in eagerness of ripping open presents and would complain of being pulled out of bed as though getting up for school.

Perhaps it is a mercy that the vast majority of us are unable to indulge every whim, for indulge our whims we would.  Most of us have to work pretty hard to earn the pleasures we enjoy and they are all the more pleasurable because of it.  It is true that much of what we work for does not come about as we plan in the end, but there is satisfaction to be found in our imperfectly realized dreams.

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