Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Magnetic Slices

Herself went off to have an MRI scan of her hip today, to see if they can better determine what is causing the ongoing difficulties with her right hip.

It was quite routine, all things considered.  After removing her glasses and any metal objects, Herself was placed in the standard supine position for the MRI. The technician taped her feet together at the proper angle and then set, adjusted and plugged in some equipment of an unknown type across her hip region.  She was warned not to move or to breathe deeply during the procedure, and then was moved into the machine. 

She had an  unexpected surge of anxiety when her elbows bumped the sides of the machine, necessitating the drawing of her arms even more closely to herself.  Being confined and immobilized, even in a safe environment, is still far more difficult for her than she thinks it should be. She closed her eyes -- it was disconcerting to see the edges of the machinery so close to her -- and thought back to the climbing of Guadalupe Peak.  If that could be accomplished, then twenty minutes in the MRI machine could be accomplished as well.

And indeed, a short time later she was done.  She promptly wiggled all her toes and stretched out her arms, and removed herself as expediently as possible from the confines of the machine.  Later at home, she viewed the images on the disk that she will bring to the orthopedist.  Fascinating, and slightly disturbing, were the black-and-white pictures.  She cannot determine what -- if anything -- was revealed by the MRI. 

We will find out in a few days' time.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Today, we are listening to the soundtrack from The Last Of The Mohicans.

I will never tire of this piece of music.  Listen to it.  It will call to you, too.

Monday, February 27, 2012


One day you will ask me which is more important?
My life or yours?
I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing
that you are my life.

- Kahlil Gibran   

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Look After Me

There are fewer things that a habitual caretaker cherishes more than the rare, tiny moments when someone helps her or tends to her needs:  a blanket when she naps.   A spoon for her ice cream.  Unsolicited help with the groceries.  Assistance with the small animal husbandry.  An offer to bring a coat for her.

These unexpected and unusual happenstances bring her a sudden small rush of joy.  She is nurtured, and she is grateful.

The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions -- the little soon forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimal of pleasurable and genial feeling. - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Friday, February 24, 2012


Friendship is a sheltering tree. - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Picture Copyright 2012, Mediocria Firma.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Drivers Ed

Herself dutifully sat through an online Defensive Driving Course yesterday in order to have her ticket resulting from the fender-bender dismissed by the court.  She learned a few interesting tidbits:  for example, it is now recommended that the driver hold the steering wheel at the 8 and 4 o'clock positions, rather than 9 and 3 or even 10 and 2 (as she had been taught, all those years ago).  It was useful to review the mechanics of What To Do In Various Difficult Situations such as hydroplaning, brake failure, skidding and so forth.  The Course was long and occasionally frustrating, but not wasted time, overall. 

The Course included, as required, a long segment on DUI.  It was the only portion of the course that used footage of actual people rather than Sim-like cartoons.  There was an interview with the parents of a teenage boy who had been killed in an accident because of a drunk driver, as well as an interview with the driver himself from his prison cell where he would be spending the next 17 years.  There were hospital scenes: a young man strapped to a back board and in a neck brace, bloodied, intubated, and brain dead; conversations regarding organ donation; quiet weeping.  It was appropriately horrifying.

Herself has a deep-rooted fear of losing someone she loves in this manner.  When she was expecting Offspring the first, one of her irrational-pregnant-woman fears was that her Beloved would be squished in a vehicular accident and would leave her to bear and raise the child alone.  That fear took root and grew slowly with the pregnancies and births of Offspring the Second and Offspring the Third, and then settled into a tiny nook in the back of Herself's brain. Every time her Beloved stayed at the office into the wee hours, or was out very late, the fear was there. Each occasion when he had a long drive for work, the fear was there. 

It still lives there today.

It is a tiny, persistent, quiet little fear:  not an obsessive worry, but a small lurking dark concern.  It surfaces whenever she knows that someone about whom she cares is out on the road at night or when the weather is inclement. She is restless and uneasy until they are home, even though she trusts that they drive safely.  She does not trust the rest of the people on the road to do so. 

She understands that a treasured life could at any time be cut short by the vagaries of fate, but her blood still runs cold at the thought of facing such a horror. 

Have mercy, Universe.  Look kindly on Herself's loved ones as they go about their lives, and protect them as best you can. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


No human relation gives one possession in another - every two souls are absolutely different.  In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.
- Kahlil Gibran

Picture copyright 2012, Mediocria Firma

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


She's more fragile than she seems. 
She needs your help. 
And your love.

- Diva Plavalaguna, The Fifth Element

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Enter Politics, Just A Tiny Bit

While Herself traditionally refrains from discussing politics for a wide variety of reasons, there is one issue that has surfaced lately that astonishes her so much, that she feels compelled to say a few words.  Thus, I turn the blog over to Herself.


Why has contraception become a sudden hot issue for this upcoming presidential election? The vehement and occasionally scientifically-inaccurate promulgations are appalling in one hundred different ways that I cannot even begin to put into words.  There's a very dangerous tactic emerging in which personal viewpoints  on contraception have been put into the forefront -- almost as if the politicians are implying that if they are elected, they will work to impose their stance on birth control upon the entire nation.  I say "almost" for two reasons:  first, because I cannot believe this is true; second, because I refuse to believe that such a thing might occur. 

Rick Santorum, Republican presidential nominee hopeful, had the following to say recently:

One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.”  It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.

Clearly, he has framed this as a religious position by tying contraception to Christian beliefs regarding sex:  sex is supposed to be procreational and within the confines of marriage only.  Isn't the suggestion that this particular dogma be promulgated, heading down a slippery slope to a direct violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.... Yes, technically it is not establishing a religion; yet, to impose a particular religious belief upon other individuals not of that religious faith is clearly a step towards doing so. Dangerous and disturbing.

While I'm expostulating, it occurs to me that I have a few questions for Rick Santorum, as well as any one else who holds his views regarding sex:

What about those among us who can no longer (or have never been able to) procreate?  Is any sexual union in which we participate -- even within the bonds of matrimony -- therefore somehow not "perfect"?  Is it therefore "diminished?"  Are we "deconstructing" the "very special bond" of which you speak by continuing to engage in sexual union while knowing that procreation is impossible? 

You imply that our actions -- and therefore ourselves -- are insufficient, missing out, imperfect.  Less special.  And we are but a mere fraction of the couples whom you seek to judge regarding our sexual activity. You tar and feather us all with one giant, judgmental brush.

In the immense and gloriously varied experience of humanity, the myriad motivations for engaging in sex cannot possibly be contained in the tiny box which you have constructed for them. People seek physical union for myriad reasons including, and far beyond, marital relations or procreation.  We wish for communion and comfort.  We long for release and respite from worldly cares.  We seek joy, and even, dare I say it, fun.  For pleasure, certainly.

Even for love.

Mr. Santorum, your views are not welcome in my bedroom (or anywhere else I may choose to have sex, for that matter). Or in my politics. Rest assured that I will not submit quietly to the imposition of your morality upon me or my fellow citizens. I do not know yet what action may be necessary; but I know I will do what is necessary.  I am watching, and I am learning.

For the first time in my naive, optimistic life, I begin to be afraid for the future of my country.


One last test, brought to you with a picture -- for your edification and amusement -- of the Poop Exhibit at the local zoo. I hope you enjoy!

Testing, testing... With a photo

Plain message was a success. Thor is underwhelmed, though I am pleased. Will this picture come through?

Testing, testing, 1...2...3

This is my first attempt to update directly from my current smartphone. (The phone is smart, but I may not be.) Let us see!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


The feelings we live through
in love and in loneliness
are simply, for us,
what high tide
and low tide are to the sea.

- Kahlil Gibran

Friday, February 17, 2012

Long Weekend

Loneliness can be conquered only by those who can bear solitude
~ Paul Tillich

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not A Wilderness

Without friends the world is but a wilderness. There is no man that imparteth his joys to his friends, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his grieves to his friend, but he grieveth the less. - Sir Francis Bacon

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Box of Time

Beloved Husband presented Herself with an unexpected Valentine's Day gift last night:  lovely earrings in her birthstone, accompanied by another tiny set (for her second set of ear piercings) in the shape of an animal that has significance for them.  She was truly surprised, and touched. There has been more than one occasion in the past couple of months that Herself has disintegrated into weeping because her Beloved is so very busy and has so little time to spare for her.  The fact that he went out of his way and used his rare and valuable time to find this particular gift, as well as to present it to her at a moment when the Offspring were in bed and he and she were both still awake (a rare occasion!), means a great deal to her.

Thank you, Beloved.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mechanical Success

Last Wednesday evening, Herself put the last load of laundry into the dryer, and turned it on.  At first, all was well; suddenly, however, the dryer began making a grinding/screeching noise with every rotation of the drum.  It was loud and alarming enough that Herself immediately sprinted over to turn off the machine and inspect matters.

She suspected that the root of the problem was the same as had occurred previously (a year ago, or more), when the dryer had begun to make a somewhat similar, though not quite as urgent, squeaking noise.  Back then, an appliance repair person was called, and he -- at great cost -- replaced two of the four tiny "drum slides" in the machine.  At the time, Herself was flabbergasted not only at the charge merely for the mechanic to set foot into the house, but also at the outrageous price of those two pieces of plastic that together would approximately cover an area the size of a single business card. 

She would fix this herself, she decided.

Step one:  determine where to purchase replacement parts.  Herself's Beloved kindly called the local hardware store to see whether they carried such items; they did not.  Rats.  Herself went to bed, resolving to take care of it in the morning.

Bright and early Thursday, off to the internet Herself went.  A brief perusal indicated that she would need the model number of the machine.  Unfortunately, however, the sticker with the model number upon it had long since worn off of the inside of the dryer door.  Miraculously, she located the instruction booklet that came with the dryer, and identified the model number based on the receipt that was attached to it.  Alas, that model number did not match exactly any of the model numbers at the appliance parts website; it was very close to four different model numbers, though.

She studied the diagrams for each of the four similar model numbers, though, and determined that they all used the same parts number for the dryer slides.  She ordered four (shockingly inexpensive) slides, and a new lightbulb for inside the dryer for good measure since it had recently blown out.  Total cost, including shipping, was under twenty dollars. 

Happily, the parts arrived midday Saturday, far sooner than the three-to-five-business-days indicated as the shipping time frame. 

Once more, Herself went to the internet.  She found a video detailing how to replace the dryer slides. She viewed the relevant parts, and then off she went to the machine.  The top of the dryer had to be removed, as did the front.  The slides needed to be located and replaced.  The front of the dryer needed to be fitted back properly with the drum afterwards, and everything else put back together.

With the top of the dryer back on, the screws all back in place, and the new lightbulb installed for good measure, it was time.  Would it work?

Herself turned the dryer on.  It hummed nicely.  There were no grinding, squeaking, or screeching noises whatsoever.  Success!

I know this may seem like small potatoes to some.  Nevertheless, Herself was enormously pleased.  Though she is not mechanically inclined whatsoever, she managed this repair.  And as a bonus, it cost about one-tenth of what it would have if the mechanic had been called.

VICTORY.  Huzzah!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


May I become at all times,
Both now and forever,
A protector for the helpless,
A guide for the lost ones,
A ship for those to cross oceans,
And a bridge to cross rivers,
A sanctuary for those in danger,
A lamp for those in darkness,
A refuge for those who need shelter,
A servant to all in need.

~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Friday, February 10, 2012


For this moment, I am wholly myself, unshaped by the needs of others, by their dreams or expectations or sensibilities.  But I am also lonely. With no one to shape me, who stands here, watching the moon, or the stars, or the clouds?
- Kij Johnson, The Fox Woman

Picture Copyright 2012, Mediocria Firma

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free. - Rumi

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Enemy Mine

Perhaps my greatest difficulty is that I expect too much.

You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you. ― Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon

Monday, February 6, 2012

In The Ladies' Room

Gentlemen, take note:  the following is a discourse on some of the inner psychological workings of women.  It may be particularly helpful when you are unexpectedly faced with a vent, rant, or meltdown from a woman in your life.  You may still not know what to *do under the circumstances, but at least you will understand a bit of what is transpiring. This is dedicated, with much thanks, to those among you who, unfortunately, have been on the receiving end of such Moments.  It is your listening ears and your earnest attempts to be consoling that make all the difference.   

Why, men wonder, do women so often visit the ladies' room together?

The men speculate that the women are talking about them.  On occasion, that may be true.  However, there are other reasons to visit the loo together, apart from taking a pee or checking one's makeup.

One primary reason:  girl bonding.

When women are together, they typically attempt to establish conversational intimacy.  To this end, the confiding of concern about a particular aspect of one's appearance is oftentimes used to establish a companionable rapport.  Women talk about their insecurities, for insecurities are commonalities that women all share.  Women then typically offer mutual support and expressions of admiration or care.  Thus reassured, the women leave the ladies' room, fortified and possibly ever-so-slightly more confident that they -- for the moment -- just might be sufficiently presentable human beings. 

Stereotypical conversation in the ladies' room may include such snippets as the following:

Woman 1:  "Ugh, my hair is being weird."
Woman 2:  "No, it looks great, so shiny."
Woman 1: "I like your jeans."
Woman 3: "I'm surprised I could stuff myself into them."
Woman 2: "No, you look tiny! I could only get half a leg into them!"
Woman 3: "Your shoes are fabulous."
Woman 2: "Thanks! I got them on sale."

And so forth. It is mundane conversation, and no doubt quite boring to an eavesdropper. Nevertheless, it is these tiny back-and-forth comments that fortify women and bind them together.

There are, however, occasional women who do not play by the unspoken guidelines of give-and-take in inter-female relationships. It is difficult for other women to know what to do with these rule-breakers.  They are upsetting.  

Herself has one long-term acquaintance who regularly diverges from the expected conversational patterns of the ladies' room.  This acquaintance has been this way for ages:  for example, a few weeks before Herself's wedding with her Beloved, Herself expressed concern to this acquaintance that Herself had not been able to exercise as much as usual due to work and last-minute wedding arrangements, so Herself was worried about fitting comfortably into her wedding dress.  The acquaintance, rather than reassuring Herself that she would look lovely and not to worry, instead stated that Herself's dress might in fact end up being too tight: "Well, so you won't be able to breathe on your wedding day."  

As it turned out, Herself need not have fretted:  she was comfortable and happy in her dress.  Still, as you can see from the fact that she recalls with clarity this conversation she had over twenty years ago, Herself was extremely bothered.  The rules had been broken:  rather than offering the reassurance that Herself needed, the acquaintance threw Herself to the wolves of self-consciousness and doubt. 

This acquaintance has not changed much in the two decades since then.  Whenever Herself attempts typical girl bonding conversation with this acquaintance, Herself frequently receives back-handed compliments, as well as instructions about what Herself should do to improve her appearance (and, occasionally as well, unsolicited advice regarding her housekeeping skills, her pet care, or even her parenting).  Herself is always surprised and disappointed, and newly self-conscious all over again.  Every time.

Perhaps Herself is excessively optimistic -- or overly naive -- in thinking the acquaintance will somehow, the next time, behave in accordance with the expected girl bonding conversation. Could it be that Herself is just being hypersensitive to what the acquaintance says?  Perhaps occasionally.  But, I think, not always; not often, even.

Is it time for Herself to give up trying to relate to this woman in the same manner as she relates to other women?  Perhaps yes.  Herself is saddened to do so, for she feels that she is giving up hope. Yet, Herself realizes she must not deliberately step before the targeting scope.  She will no doubt periodically find herself there; nevertheless, that is a different matter from purposefully placing herself there. Self-protection, once more, is paramount.

Herself is tired. And in need of some reassurance in the ladies' room.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Writer's Block: Pen and Paper

The pen averts his eyes from the paper,
Afraid that with a glance, he will reveal
The fiery longing he has so carefully hidden.
He dreams of inscribing upon her
Phrases as beautiful as her smooth white surface –
Making her his own through his words.
Ashamed of his unquenchable desire,
He is both terrified and exhilarated
By his fervor to be joined with her.

So cocooned is he in his yearning,
The pen cannot see
The paper
Trembling with anticipation and hope.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Our strength is often composed of the weakness that we're damned if we're going to show. - Mignon McLaughlin

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Lone Banana

Perhaps I should dispose of that?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What's In A Name?

Everyone has a name:  Firstname, Lastname.  Sometimes a middle name, or two.  Lots of people have nicknames as well - shortenings of names (your parent's brother Robert - "Bob's your Uncle!"), descriptive words ("Chubbs," "Beanpole"), suggestions of creatures one might resemble ("Lurch," "Oso"), diminutives  ("Little Dude") or endearments ("sweetie").  Endless permutations and possibilities.  

Herself frequently uses nicknames when addressing those around her; it is rare that she call people by their actual names when speaking to them.  In fact, the fonder she is of someone, the less likely she will use a formal name to address him or her. It's a bit peculiar.
Let's use the Ottoman-shaped, portly dog, Thorbert, as an example to describe this phenomenon.  Herself will refer to him by name during a conversation with another ("I was telling Thor about that delicious steak you and I had eaten"), as long as Thor is not within earshot.  If he is, she will likely use a nickname ("I told Ottoman-shaped dog about that delicious steak we had"), or include him in the conversation with a nickname or endearment ("Fatbert, remember how I was telling you about the delicious steak? You do, don't you, sweetie?")

Why is this?

Names are common property: an appellation for all to use.  Yet to her, there are aspects of certain close relationships for Herself that go far beyond that public identifier. The individual, to Herself, is more than solely a moniker; there is a form and substance to that person within Herself's mind that is much bigger than the few syllables of given names. 

It is difficult to find the right identifiers for these people because the shapes and magnitudes of their presence in her mind defy assignment of a single word.  Sometimes, she has her own unique appellations for these people within her head.  She employs epithets for them when writing; uses nicknames or endearments orally; and keeps her chosen appellations for them to herself.  (Occasionally, a serious comment will require use of one of those internal names aloud; their sparing use, solely in private, emphasizes their importance.)  It works well for her, most of the time -- until she must address these people aloud in front of others.  Then, she is stymied.  Mustn't panic! She tries to rework what she must say to avoid directly addressing them, and hopes they do not misinterpret her hesitation.

Should you happen to notice that Herself does not use your name terribly often, or pauses before doing so, do not despair.  Rather, realize that she feels a disconnect between your formal name and the appellation for you within her mind, and cannot easily switch back-and-forth.  You are important, far beyond your name.  She is glad to have you be so.