Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pass The Thesaurus

Sometimes, there are Things that cry out to be written.   Writing is a need that must be addressed; it is practically a compulsion, nearly an obsession - for Herself cannot rest until the clamoring Thing is satisfactorily set forth in words.

It is a struggle. A frustrating, ongoing battle. She will keep trying, though, until she emerges victorious.

Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters. ― Neil Gaiman

Saturday, September 29, 2012


What does one do with free time when one does not wish to do the household chores?

Why, color, of course.

Behold a previously-enjoyed page from the excellent microbiology coloring book.  Science AND coloring, who could ask for anything more?

Friday, September 28, 2012


Herself sat before the computer, waiting. Waiting for things out of her control:  waiting -- nearly eight hours later -- for confirmation from her office that a task that had to be finished today was, in fact, completed; waiting for information from Beloved Husband regarding his business trip, for which he left two days ago and for which he will not return for another two days.  Waiting on all the little things that were within her control, too, such as feeding feeding the pets at the appropriate hour and giving the ottoman-shaped dog his insulin, or folding the laundry.

Using the Waiting to avoid mopping the tile or making muffins or using the elliptical trainer. Or even showering.  For who cares? She thought. She did not. The Offspring, lovely people that they are, were content with their dinner and were enjoying the downtime of a Friday evening. They would not notice the spots of dirt on the floor or Herself's dog-fur-covered T-shirt. She chewed her fingernails, and berated herself internally for lacking the motivation to accomplish even the smallest things that are within her control.

She listened to Down (Jason Walker). It seemed to fit.

Progress.  Her work task has officially been completed; the pets have been fed.  She has decided to take a Friday off from muffin-making to collect herself better.  She also placed a telephone call, as requested by her father, to Uncle S. to see how he is faring.

She delayed the call as long as she could.  She is uncomfortable with the telephone, as you know, and she still worried about what to say to her widower Uncle.  Her worries were unfounded, though; she and Uncle S. had a very amiable conversation about the miscellany of ordinary life, dogs and walking trails and Thanksgiving plans.  Such a lovely man, is Uncle S.  Talking with him helped Herself feel a bit less lonely this evening as well.

She is still listening to Down, though it is now more of a comfort than a sorrow. She plans to put on her sneakers and go for a walk.  That will help, too.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

So Very Shiny

Cherished Friend has a new truck.  It is a magnificent marvel of technology and comfort.  I hope it brings him  happiness and adventures for years and years and years. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Loving's pretty easy. It's letting someone love you that's hard. 
― Rita Mae Brown, Riding Shotgun

Indeed:  it is so much simpler to love someone, so much easier to look after another, than to allow someone to do so in return. Why? What is it that makes one feel awkward, uncomfortable, or possibly frightened, by some displays of affection or care, even when it is clear that the intentions and actions emanate from a pure heart?  Let us dissect the matter.

To do so, we must leave aside questions about strings attached to exchanges in relationships. We have discussed that topic before.  If we brush away the strings, we can see more clearly that the roots of the issue here are at least twofold, and that they center upon nearly subconscious issues of control and safety.

In a relationship, it is the lover (in the sense of, "the one who loves") rather than the loved one, who has control. The lover feels, chooses, does. Acts with purpose. Gives.  The loved one, in contrast, must await and accept. It is an anticipatory, open (though not necessarily passive) state:  without control over the lover -- for who, in truth, can ever truly control another human being? -- the loved one can reach out and receive only what is freely offered. And therein lies the danger.

Should the lover cease (or decline) to act, the loved one will be deprived of that affection to which he or she is accustomed, or for which he or she hopes. The loved one depends upon, wants -- nay, needs -- that care.  Its absence can rend a hole in the loved one's universe: the chasm of heartbreak.  It may be a small, searing gap, or a dull, aching void. Look within the chasm, and you can see the dark shadows of despair, anger, unworthiness, and hopelessness. Abandonment. Why would anyone risk a wounding in such a manner? To be so vulnerable is unsafe.  How can one protect oneself?

A realization: perhaps this is why Herself is a nurturer - for protection.

Nurturing is a particular kind of loving that involves careful and extensive thought:  listening attentively, anticipating the loved one's needs, providing support in the manner that best suits the loved one's requirements and personality, being present when needed and appropriately fading into the background otherwise. Herself works assiduously to nurture her Important People, and looks after them in every way that she can. She certainly enjoys doing so; nurturing brings her joy and satisfaction.

Love begins with paying attention to others, with an act of gracious self-forgetting. This is the condition in which we grow. - John O'Donohue, Anam Cara

Nurturing is a deep green blanket of ivy that cloaks a protective wall, for even as it draws Herself nearer to her loved ones, it simultaneously closes them out. Nurturing is, in part, preemptive withdrawal:  when Herself is focused on the needs of others, she can avoid her own desires; when she is busy giving, she can avoid receiving -- and even moreso, she can avoid the possibility that no one will offer to her that which she wants or needs. She is safe from the chasm that way, because she is in control.

If she can find her satisfaction solely in loving others, it will matter not whether others provide anything more to her. So she hopes.  For despite everything -- and though she has loved ones with whom she is very close, and who she believes love her -- she is still, most of all, afraid of heartbreak.

Nevertheless, slow change is, as always, afoot in her soul.  The roots of her nurturing ivy infiltrate her protective wall, and sunlight begins to highlight the chinks that have grown.  The wall cannot hold indefinitely.  When it crumbles, she will finally be brave enough to relinquish control, open her heart more, and allow loved ones to nurture her, too.  That will be a good beginning.

When you learn to love and to let yourself be loved, you come home to the hearth of your own spirit. - John O'Donohue, Anam Cara


Fresh raspberries on sale at the grocery store.  My favorite. I shall consume the entire box by myself.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Te Amo

For the past few days, we have had Rihanna's Te Amo stuck in our heads. It is a sad song -- a tale of the end of, or the thwarting of, a desired love affair -- and has a rhythm that might inspire one to dance, if one is reasonably sure that no one is watching.

The video is not for those who might object to the depiction of a sensual relationship between women. I myself do not mind such vignettes. Rihanna and her inamorata are pretty and provocatively dressed, and move with a sinuous grace that is well worth watching. I hope you enjoy.

This still from the video was found at

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Carrier pigeon?

Recently, Herself and Offspring the Third were returning home from errand, when they spotted this bird strolling along the sidewalk.  Herself quickly pulled over the car, and Offspring the Third hopped out to take a picture.  He was unable to get terribly close to the bird, for it waddled quickly up the walk to a house and hid.  They were unsure how the paper was actually attached; however, the bird did not seem to be in any distress.  Perhaps it was on a mission?  Herself was reminded a bit of the Owl Post in the Harry Potter universe.  Pigeon Post, perhaps.

Letter-writing: a nearly lost art. Herself thinks back to the days when she wrote letters.  She enjoyed the ritual - selecting the right stationery or the right card; priming the pen on a scrap of paper; composing and inscribing her thoughts of the moment; re-reading the final words; sealing the envelope; placing the stamp; dropping the missive into a blue mailbox by the side of the road, or slipping it into the slot in the post office. Imagining the time when the receiver would discover the letter among the bills and miscellaneous mail, and hold it thoughtfully, anticipating, for an instant or two before beginning to read it. 

Perhaps she will begin writing letters again. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Briar Rose

Return of the fairy tale haiku.

My castle hidden
All the creatures slumbering -
Dormant, my kingdom

Tormented waiting
One hundred years' solitude
Shall it ever end?

Trees, brambles, dark thorns
Nearly impenetrable
My Prince, where are you?

Eyelids closed, restless
I hunger to awaken
I moisten my lips

My skin, so lonely
I offer my surrender
How long must I bide?

Desolation nears,
A kernel of hope remains -
Break the spell:  kiss me.

This haunting image of Sleeping Beauty was found here

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Herself had an appointment with Offspring the Third's math teacher this morning.  Offspring the Third is taking a pre-AP algebra course.  He works hard and diligently, yet his grade is a trifle low, so Herself arranged to meet with the instructor to see if any issues could be identified to help Offspring the Third do better.

It was a very pleasant meeting. They were joined by the math coach of the school, and went over Offspring the Third's grades and identified where they could help him improve.  The teacher praised Offspring the Third highly for his attitude and work ethic; talked about how everyone in the class is fond of him and knows that should they ever need duct tape, he would always have some handy; and underscored several times how she found him to be a thoroughly delightful student. It warmed Herself's heart tremendously.  Offspring the Third has come so far since the difficulties he experienced in grade school - it is marvelous to behold.

At the close of the meeting, the math coach -- who, many years ago, had been Offspring the First's math teacher one year -- commented that she had spotted Offspring the First this summer at a local restaurant.  Math coach recounted that she and a fellow teacher had been dining, and the fellow teacher had pointed out that a young lady nearby looked most lovely with an unusually short hairdo; math coach had looked and realized it was her former student, Offspring the First. She exclaimed to Herself and Offspring the Third's teacher that Offspring the First is a strikingly beautiful young woman. (Which she is.  Not that we're biased.) Herself was touched that the math coach would go out of her way to mention Offspring the First's beauty.

Herself has spent some time contemplating the Offspring over the past few days: Offspring the First, with her warmth and charm; Offspring the Second, with his witty, contemplative nature; and Offspring the Third, ever helpful and thoughtful. All three of them are remarkable young people. They are intelligent.  They are good friends to their classmates, and ultimately, to each other as well.  They are kind. They bring good humor and laughter into the house every day. She is lucky to know them.

Herself knows that they will have their moments -- for all people do -- but she is pleased and grateful to see the wonderful young adults they are becoming.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One Hand

In your entire life, you can probably count your true friends on one hand. Maybe even on one finger. Those are the friends you need to cherish, and I wouldn't trade one of them for a hundred of the other kind. I'd rather be completely alone than with a bunch of people who aren't real. People who are just passing time.
― Sarah Ockler, Fixing Delilah

Monday, September 17, 2012


Found this item at the sporting goods store.  I love the name.  Clearly, the individual in charge of packaging used a literal translation of the words -- or a strange dictionary -- for the label. 

I wish I were camping right now. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Non Nobis

Herself has an onerous task to accomplish. Pedestrian, tricky, frustrating, and not worth describing in detail here. It is to aid another, though, and so, it will be done.

Non nobis solum nati sumus.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I have some ideas for a couple of projects I would like to accomplish. They are arts-and-crafts-related, and so -- seeing as I'm artistically challenged -- I'm having a bit of difficulty in planning the execution of the projects. The details of each are buzzing about in my brain like tiny flies:  what materials will work, how best to organize myself, what should be included, what may be beyond my level of skill to attempt, and so forth. I'm hopeful, though. Ideally, I will accomplish them before the holidays, as they would make excellent, heartfelt gifts. We shall see.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Finally, after months and months of torridity and parchedness, for the past day it has been cool, cloudy, and windy.  (Perhaps even a bit too windy - but as it is such a relief to have a respite from the stale hot atmosphere, we shall not complain very much.)  Fall is finally in the air, and there is a tremendous sigh of relief at the change of season.

We daydream.

Of what?  Of building campfires, and sweaters and jeans; of puttering in the kitchen, and pie and fresh-baked bread; of carving pumpkins, and candy and costumes; of tromping through leaves, and birds and squirrels.  Herself's spirits lift a bit; without the oppression of the heat and the sun, she can breathe more easily, both literally and metaphorically.  She feels a little more kindly towards the people around her, and is looking forward to enjoying time with them - muffins, games, movies, a little bit of hiking here and there, and sitting outside the RV and looking at the stars.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


All I know is I make sense to me - it's other people who seem complicated. - Tara Kelly, Harmonic Feedback

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Solitude has soft, silky hands, but with strong fingers it grasps the heart and makes it ache with sorrow.  - Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Eleven years ago today.  What does Herself remember about that day?

I remember walking with Offspring the First and Offspring the second -- eight and six years old, respectively --  from where I had parked the car, toward the grade school.  Offspring the Third, not yet three, was probably in the stroller or in the carrying sling. A woman we saw sometimes while walking that block was just a few steps ahead of us, and she started saying things I didn't understand, about New York, about planes. Wanting her to stop talking, knowing something was very wrong, hearing words from her young children's mouths that couldn't possibly be true.  My phone ringing, and Beloved Husband's voice on the other end, breaking as he told me that someone had flown a plane deliberately into the Twin Towers. I tried to reassure him somehow, told him I'd go right home after I dropped the kids at school, I'd turn on the TV and try to find out more and let him know.  Then shielding young Offspring the Third from the news with books and toys, and afterwards sitting, tears streaming, watching the Horror unfold on the television while Offspring the Third took his nap blissfully unawares. Worrying about what Offspring the First and Offspring the Second were told at school.  Were they frightened? Were they sheltered? Did they feel safe?

Exactly one week earlier, my parents had gone to visit my sister and her husband who were stationed in Hawaii.  On September 4, they took a particular flight out of Boston. On September 11, that same flight -- same number, same departure time -- was hijacked as part of the attack.  It gave me chills knowing that if my parents had arranged their trip differently, they would have been irretrievably mixed with the dust of the twin towers.

The photographs, the footage, the printed words. Unimaginable, and yet, actual. Real. The world had suddenly became a wrathful, fearsome place.

I still cannot bear to think about the last terrible moments of those on the planes, those in the buildings, those on the ground.  So much was snatched from us that day. A piece of humanity, gone.  Innocence, forever shattered.

Godspeed, souls.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

That Sounds Painful

Seen at the local mall:  Prices impacted. With multiple exclamation points.  Oh, dear.

All I can think of are impacted bodily parts, like wisdom teeth. 


Saturday, September 8, 2012

And We Wonder, More

A companion post to And We Wonder.

Behold this second tiny tank top that I spotted at the local drugstore. This time (assuming heterosexual norms) it is for an infant boy. Again - someone, somewhere, realized that there is a sufficient market for such an item to justify producing these shirts and offering them for sale. Why?

Sigh, once more.

Even before they can read, little boys are clothed in a message of aggression towards the opposite sex:  "Lock up your daughters."  Girls are clearly in danger from such a tough tyke, and must be protected by sequestering them away.  Really?

Is it any wonder that the statistics for sexual offenses indicate that the vast majority of the perpetrators are male? Certainly, biology and physiology play roles; but so do character, mindset, what one has been taught about relationships between men and women.  What does this shirt reveal about the people who are dressing their infant sons? Are they displaying an attitude of "boys will be boys" to excuse poor behavior towards girls by their male children? Or even more ugly: are they encouraging an inclination to blame the victim (and the victim's parents) for not protecting her(self) from uncontrollable male urges?   Or, once more, is it intended as irony - because of course, a male child of such tender age could not possibly be a danger to any one?

I can't even begin to try to resolve my thoughts on this matter. If it is humor, it is again lost upon me.  I would like to say, once more, it's "just a shirt." Nevertheless, it is the germ of something appalling.  This particular garment brings me tremendous despair.

And We Wonder

Behold this tiny tank top that I spotted at the local drugstore.  It is for an infant girl, of course - it's pink. Someone, somewhere, realized that there is a sufficient market for such an item to justify producing these shirts and offering them for sale. Why?


Even before they can read, little girls are clothed in a fat-fearing message:  "does this diaper make my butt look big?"  Heaven forbid that her tiny behind, which has only just recently left the womb and currently serves primarily as a cushion as she learns to sit upright, be perceived as excessive.  Really?

Is it any wonder that the statistics for eating disorders are so high, particularly among women? What does this shirt reveal about the people who are dressing their infants, too?  Are they bequeathing their own issues onto the next generation as they wrestle tiny baby-plump arms into such a tank top? Or is it intended as irony - because of course, a diaper makes the nether regions of an infant appear bulky?

It seems to me that this message is a bit too close to the truth of our society to be humorous.  So many young women struggle with self-image and weight.  Perhaps if we focused more on developing good eating habits -- how about a green shirt exclaiming, "I love peas!" -- and regular physical activity -- an orange shirt emblazoned with, "Skip with me!" -- we, as a society, would be better off. 

I know, it's "just a shirt."  Nevertheless, this particular garment brings me despair.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Happy Three: Verbosity

Entry three for Finding The Happy.

Happiness is perambulating in the presence of a companion with whom one can unabashedly employ, without trepidation of teasing, a profusion of polysyllabic phrases. It is particularly pleasant, too, when one's companion comprehends such sesquipedalian ruminations and replies fittingly.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy Two: Small Dog

Entry two for Finding The Happy.

Herself is quite fond of Small Dog.  Initially, she found Small Dog to be a nuisance, an unwelcome addition to the family, a burden.  Two years later, Small Dog can still be quite annoying - that piercing bark, those scratchy claws.  Nevertheless, Small Dog is also a diversion, an entertainment, a tiny ball of mechanically-running canine.  She plays with her toys, frolics about, and is generally an adorable mix of tiny, fierce, and sweet. 

Small Dog likes to sleep atop Herself. It is quite endearing. It makes Herself happy.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Herself is experiencing the fading away of a few relationships. With changes in her activities and schedule, she no longer sees as often as she once did, some people with whom she used to enjoy a comfortable camaraderie.  Lives are busy; even when plans are made, they are superseded by more pressing things.  She sends e-mails or texts, but they remain unanswered.  It is like shouting into the wind, she thinks. A few 'likes' on Facebook cannot bridge the gap, and a distance grows, over which it becomes harder and harder to see the other person.

She is a bit sad.

Friendship has never been easy for her. People are tricky and confusing and hard to read, and social niceties are forever difficult. She questions and second-guesses her actions: has she not tried hard enough to maintain contact? Does she initiate contact too often and come across as needy or oddly persistent?  Did she say or do something that was annoying or insulting?  Is she as horrid a conversationalist as she suspects? Or perhaps she's just not that appealing a person.  Is she uninteresting? Embarrassing? Or just too ordinary?

She knows she's a bit of an odd duck. As a perpetual house elf, she is quite happy looking after others.  She recognizes, though, that people who do not understand this might feel uncomfortable. Without knowing that Herself finds joy in the nurturing, others may assume that she is attempting to render them indebted to her, or that she has some other maleficent motive. Perhaps they feel obligated to act similarly to her in return, even though she does not require -- or even want -- it to be so. Absolute parity is not necessary, nor is it even desirable:  she would probably be quite alarmed to receive the same amount of attention as she freely offers to others.  What she would like, really, is simply for others to initiate contact first on occasion.

Sometimes she reminds herself that she cannot take things personally. She understands that when life is complex, the effort to reach out can become too much work. Oftentimes when people are fraught, irritable, or depressed, they retreat into their mental caves and do not seek company.  Furthermore, people change and grow apart, and individuals in closer proximity fill their needs.  Loss of friendship through attrition seems to be inevitable.

Herself has always been terrible at interpreting absences of communication.  She cannot tell if others' silences are merely signs of busy lives, or hints to leave them alone, or wordless cries for help.  She knows what she would like under the same circumstances, but she cannot quite imagine what others would want. She is stymied and fatigued from trying to figure things out. She thinks that perhaps she will stop guessing, and merely wait to see what -- if anything -- transpires.

She needs a nap. And a hug.

Mimbulus mimbletonia

Or rather, Mammilaria celsiana.  Allegedly (thank you, Wikipedia), its name is derived from the Latin mammilla, "nipple," in reference to the tubercule features of many of the species within the genus.  

Somehow, associating such a spiny plant with nipples seems rather wrong. Not to mention painful.  

We'll just use the common name, "golden pincushion." That seems much more appropriate for a cactus. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Behold a picture on the box of snacks in the cabinet.  Look at that - write-on wrappers, to provide missives for one's little darling's lunchbox. For some reason, the message that is depicted seems a tad disconcerting to me. 

"Have the best day ever!" seems more like a command than a wish.  That's a lot of pressure to put on a child who is still young enough to have his/her lunch packed by Mom.  What if Child does not have the best day ever?  What if it turns out that little Billy pushes Child off of the monkey bars?  What if little Susie teases Child about Child's sneakers? What if there is a pop quiz, or Child's homework is accidentally crumpled, or the water fountain unexpectedly sprays up Child's nose?  Lots of tiny annoyances can occur in every Child's life.  Are we raising such a Child to have unrealistic expectations? "I was supposed to have the best day ever!" 

Oh, dear. It's just a snack food. 

All the same, if I were writing messages on the crisped rice treat wrapper, I would stick to something a bit more neutral, such as, "I hope you have a good day."  

And I do hope that you have a good day. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fixing, Perkily

The very blue computer has been shipped out to be fixed.  Mercifully, it is still under warranty, so it will not cost us; yet what does that say, that the computer is having issues even though it is young enough to still be under warranty? Herself chose this particular brand of computer for its known reliability. Her previous two computers -- a different brand -- had significant hardware reliability issues: three new motherboards between the two of them.  Very frustrating.  Herself is beginning to joke that she must somehow emit some kind of Computer-injuring Evil Waves. Oh, dear.

The computer shall be repaired.  Alas, it will be two to three weeks before it is returned.  That seems like a very long time.  Thanks to Herself's Beloved, a spare computer is available for Herself to check her e-mail and do her work. Access to all of our photos and compilations of quotes within the backup drive, however, may be a tad onerous, so postings might take a slightly different turn for the next fortnight or so.  We do have a small set of miscellaneous pictures stored within the Smartphone, and this is a good opportunity to use them for your amusement, entertainment, and contemplation.

Today's photo:  snack food with slightly bizarre nomenclature. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right. I need a change, or something.  - Bilbo Baggins, The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Saturday, September 1, 2012


“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”

“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

- E.B. White, Charlotte's Web