Friday, June 29, 2012

Not Much Magic There

Herself has a thing or two to say today. Adult themes are involved.  You have been warned!

By now, I'm sure you've heard of the movie Magic Mike that arrives in the theaters this week.  The advertisements promise a plethora of almost unbelievably buff, gyrating hunks of manliness in various stages of undress, including (if one watches the red band trailer) hints of a view of a Man Package or two.  Women all over the internet, it appears, are swooning and drooling and exclaiming all about this movie.

To which I respond:  Meh.

I will certainly acknowledge that many women (and certainly some men as well) no doubt find the men of Magic Mike to be handsome specimens of humankind.  I admit that I watched the trailers and found the actors to be certainly well-muscled individuals. I do appreciate a man who can dance well.  All the same.... just no.

As we have discussed previously, attractiveness in men requires a certain amount of humbleness; however, the well-oiled look that is sported by the characters in Magic Mike -- and that could only be attained by hours and hours of daily workouts in the gym -- shows no such modesty.  Instead, it bespeaks of a "look at me" attitude that, in my opinion, would arrive hand-in-hand with a certain self-centeredness that would make such a man a very poor lover.  It would be all about him, how he looked, how much he could show off, how one (including himself) would worship his muscle-bound physique. 

That is not what desire is about.

What do women really want sexually?  That's a complex question.  I perused a very lengthy New York Times article that describes the scientific research addressing women's desire. There is no consensus or unifying theory.  One thing appears clear, though:  for women, desire is far more a mental event than a physical one. Bodily arousal is separate and distinct entity from desire itself. 

That certainly complicates matters for the ladies. And, no doubt, for the gentlemen with them.

One particular idea that I read seemed to be on point for me:  the thought that it is being desired, rather than desiring, that forms the basis for female arousal.  This makes quite a bit of sense.  Male strippers such as those depicted in Magic Mike are exhibiting themselves as objects of desire.  (Actually, come to think of it, female strippers could be described as displaying themselves similarly.) That is why I find Magic Mike to be unappealing:  I am not necessarily interested in lusting after a man. I am far more tantalized by the thought that a man yearns for me.

That certainly seems like rather a naked statement (no pun intended). I suspect I am not alone among women, though, in feeling this way.  Contemplate it.  And tell me what you think.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Motivation

Our motivation is missing.  Have you seen it?

Yesterday, we spent much of our time ensuring the floor was mopped, the carpets vacuumed, the laundry folded and put away, the kitchen tidied, and the food prepared in a timely manner, for we knew that we would have Excellent Company for dinner.  Herself was quite cheerful about the whole day.  Even a challenging telephone conference call for Work did not dampen her spirits.  When she knows that some of her favorite people will be gracing her with their presence, she is galvanized into action.

Today, not so much.  There is no adult company to be had. All is quiet.

Without the motivation of adult companionship and conversation, Herself lacks any incentive to tackle the household chores. There is no catalyst for activity.  And so, very little is accomplished.

The Offspring and the pets do still need to be fed, though.   I think we shall dig into the watermelon; even the dogs will enjoy a small slice.  Perhaps after some fruit our outlook will change for the better.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chicken Soup With Rice

What a glorious and unexpected pleasure, to have Herself's Father, her Beloved Husband, and her Cherished Friend all sitting at the kitchen table for lunch today. They were joined by Offspring the Third as well.  Such a delight to look after all of them together.



Monday, June 25, 2012

Desert Plant

Random late-night thought: I do love cacti.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Need To Know

Herself finds herself irritating once more a perpetual thorn in her side.  She knows she does it.  She cannot help it.  She hopes, somehow, each time that it will be different, and is disappointed when it is not. 

Herself's long-standing Acquaintance, about whom we have written before, oftentimes manages in many of the conversations with Herself, to cast aspersions on the various aspects of Herself's life: Herself's hobbies (for example, visiting the range this morning with Beloved Husband and Offspring the third); Herself's interests and small pleasures (guinea pigs, fresh crayons); what Herself does or doesn't do with the Offspring (when to obtain orthodonture or what lessons to provide); and other matters.  In addition, Acquaintance is frequently bleak or misanthropic.  The Acquaintance also provides Herself with unsolicited advice about mundane social niceties that -- even with a paucity of interpersonal skills -- Herself manages to remember to do without any prompting.  Every conversation contains at least one negative, disapproving, or didactic statement; if Herself is 'lucky,' more than one problem, dark statement, or advice-presenting opportunity can be covered in a single telephone call.

Herself has come to the conclusion that she can't really share any detail about her life with this Acquaintance.  It is just too frustrating when each chat devolves into admonition or pessimistic commentary.  It is sad, too, for the Acquaintance would like to be involved in Herself's life, and does not appear to realize the extent of the problem. At the same time, Herself cannot bring herself to have any kind of heart-to-heart conversation with Acquaintance to point out the issue in hopes of resolving it:  Acquaintance would be devastated, weeping and accusatory and defensive, and yet, ultimately, would likely not change. 

Herself chooses not to subject herself to the emotional fallout from such a conversation. Instead, she needs to try to break the cycle, to limit conversation to "need to know" information only.  Perhaps she will focus on asking Acquaintance more questions about Acquaintance's own life, so that she need answer none regarding her own.  That might work. It must be done, though - Herself cannot keep expecting a different result any more.  That is fruitless, and she must accept it.

She must acknowledge that she cannot have the relationship with Acquaintance that she would like.  It is time to let that hope go.

I do not want what I cannot have.

Photograph taken at Aden Crater.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Novel Ideas

Herself has begun working on her story again.

The writing proceeds at a glacial pace.  Still, it makes her happy.

Perhaps some day she will be brave enough to share it with you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hiding

It's been a long time since Herself had a migraine quite as crippling as this one:  nausea, dizziness, headache, run-over-by-a-bus sensation.  No Fun.  We'll be resting quietly and unobtrusively like a lizard on some bark until it passess.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thank you, Matt

I have never met Matt.  I know almost nothing about him.  All the same, I am tremendously grateful for him.

I first came across him on a difficult day, when a gap had turned into a void and sorrow threatened to overtake me.  His ebullience, his unrestrained and unselfconscious joy in his movements, the glimpses of the wondrous variety of our planet and its people, and most of all, the dance -- gave me hope anew.  It was a perfect gift, presented precisely when it was needed most. 

He has a new video out today.  It also gives me hope anew. 

Thank you, Matt.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mountain

A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain? - Kahlil Gibran

 Picture copyright 2012, Mediocria Firma


Monday, June 18, 2012

Stories

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world. - Philip Pullman


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Beast

This is the price paid
For my father's salvation -
My own sacrifice.

Fearful, curious
I go of my own free will,
Far from all I know.

Mysterious life -
I inhabit the castle,
Strange and enchanted.

All my needs met by
Unseen diligent servants,
I know only him.

Fearsome, barbarous,
Yet surprisingly gentle,
Beastly companion.

He, I, together
Weave lengthy conversations
Far into the night

Communion of words
Bring insight, understanding
Our souls intertwine.

A visit back home -
Sisters denounce him, scorn him
Scheming, delaying.

Magic looking glass -
Forlorn among the roses
His heartbreak, revealed

Turn the ring three times
I must hurry back to him
Wait for me, my Love

My tears in his fur
A life spared, a curse broken
Metamorphosis

Behold the changeling
Handsome prince, glorious man
Sisters fawn on him.

Parties, balls, dinners,
Host and lord of the castle,
Dominating all.

Vain and decadent
Licentious, haughty, careless
Social butterfly

Inane palaver,
Inconsequential parley,
He speaks not with me.

Riches, looks are naught
They feed not my starving soul
I yearn for his voice

My tears run anew
Lonely in the high tower,
Lost in the quiet

Under soundless stars
I despair, I howl, I beg,
Bring me back my Beast!

His silence slays me.
He has forgotten my heart
Was won with his words.

Illustration by Mercer Mayer
from Beauty And The Beast by Marianna Mayer

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Jawdrop

While waiting for her turn in the dentist's chair this morning, slightly dreading the :::scrape scrape::: of the pointy metallic instruments and the accompanying faint taste of blood, Herself picked up a dogeared issue of Cosmopolitan to peruse.  She is always vaguely amused by such magazines; she cannot imagine living in the world of designer labels, giant purses, and intricate makeup that is shown, page after page.

One article in particular caught her attention.  Though she did not write down the title, the gist of it was:  How to tell whether the guy you are sleeping with should be considered your boyfriend.

Sweet Fanciful Moses. 

Perhaps Herself is old-fashioned. Perhaps she has unrealistic expectations. Perhaps she's just silly.  For all she can think is:

SURELY one should be dating a man with mutual exclusivity, and have established a relationship that is sufficiently serious to be considered 'boyfriend-girlfriend,' BEFORE having sex with him?

She wonders what dating is like in this day and age. (And she feels like an aged crone even using the term, "in this day and age" - is it really so very long ago that she was dating?)  Are the women who read these magazines really so very comfortable and willing to let men whom they hardly know plow their lady-gardens, so to speak?  Is it expected that boot-knocking will take place merely because two people have consumed dinner and watched a movie together? She cannot even begin to imagine. 

If (Heaven Forfend) Beloved Husband were to meet an untimely demise, Herself is fairly certain that dating would never again be on her agenda.  It would be far too fraught.  She would just acquire a BOB and call it a day.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sheltered

Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person's soul.
- John O'Donohue

 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Waiting

The wait is long, my dream of you does not end.
- Nuala O'Faolain

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mus Musculus

Brave wee aqua mouse
Wielding your long sword of red
You make me happy.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Goodbye, Mr. Fish

Offspring the Third's pet fish, Mr. Fish, has gone to meet his Maker.  Mr. Fish had been hovering slightly sideways in the water for several days, and then ceased swimming entirely and rested, nose up and tail all the way down.  Finally, he expired and sank.  We have buried him At Sea.

Offspring the Third had been given multiple notices regarding the imminent departure of Mr. Fish:  "He's been swimming funny the past couple of days.  Remember how old he is - he might pass away soon. He's had a good, long life with us."  He handled Mr. Fish's demise well.  He was a bit sad, but knew it was Time.

As we marched solemnly to the bathroom to flush Mr. Fish, he stated plainly:

"Next time, we should get a gecko."

Oh, dear.

This handsome gecko, who will not be coming to live with us, was found at http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2008/oct/09/physicists-pull-off-the-geckos-feat.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Three

Three years ago today, the very first entry in this blog was posted.  It has been a marvelous, enriching, and incredibly wordy journey. 

The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them -- words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear. - Stephen King

Thank you, my treasured readers, for being understanding ears.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Optimist

My hopes are not always realized, but I always hope. - Ovid

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Whose Bright Idea Was This?

NOTE: Biology today. You have been warned!

Whose idea was it, exactly, to assemble human beings in the manner in which they are made?

Clearly, "intelligent design" is a fallacy.  There is nothing intelligent about the design, for example, of the human reproductive system.  Why would an Omnipotent Deity deliberately choose to subject women to cyclical ebb-and-flow for half -- or a greater fraction -- of their lives?  It's nonsensical.  

There is the follicular phase:  the world is rosy; energy is abundant even without a significant food intake; and the physical proximity of other human beings (particularly men) is enticing and welcome.  In contrast, there is luteal phase:  the glass is half empty; copious quantities of carbohydrates are absolutely vital in order to slog through the daily grind; and touch, which may oftentimes be necessary to keep unpredictable tears at bay, can be either a relief (aloe on a sunburn) or an irritation (sandpaper across tender skin).  Round and round, week after week, month after month, highs and lows.  It's a cruel merry-go-round.

Interminably, too, as women age, the spectre of menopause creeps closer.  Unpredictable bodily changes will surface -- hot flashes, night sweats, mood alterations -- and are additional indignities to understand and tolerate.  Though it may be a relief for some to know that the up-and-down of cycling is finally coming to an end, it can nevertheless be devastating for a woman to realize that she is irrevocably and completely biologically irrelevant.  Useless. Undesirable. 

Old.

Today, as Herself eyeballs that container of ice cream in the freezer and chews on her fingernails, wishing for someone to brush her hair, she recognizes that she has not yet hit the "change of life."  She knows that, given statistics, it is nearby on the horizon.  While she resents being held in thrall to her sometimes erratic biological rhythms, all the same, she dreads the unknown that she faces.

She fears that the first hot flash will incinerate her soul into naught but ashes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Woof

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog. --Sydney Jeanne Seward

Monday, June 4, 2012

Boots

Herself has a new pair of boots.  They are cream-colored, lace-up cowgirl boots.  Pretty! She very rarely purchases things for herself, but splurged an entire $69 (marked down from an original $190) on these boots.  She is very happy with them.

She wore them over the Memorial Day weekend in Tombstone.  They were comfortable and fun.  They are happy boots. 

Cherished Friend, who witnessed the boots firsthand, pointed out that they are reminiscent of the old lace-up ice skates.  They are indeed.  Herself remembers the winters of her youth, when she and other neighborhood children would go ice skating at the tiny pond a few blocks over from her house.  She always had hand-me-down "boy" skates in the traditional black.  How she longed for the beautiful, girly, white skates.  It is nice for her, even thirty-odd years later, to finally have the Western equivalent of those feminine ice skates. 

Herself showed a picture from Tombstone of the family all dressed up in 1880's garb to her long-term Acquaintance, who admired the handsomeness of the Offspring and Beloved Husband (who were indeed quite dapper in their costumes), and who also expressed admiration for the boots.  Herself informed Acquaintance that the boots had been advertised as "Western wedding boots" because of the styling and the cream color, and then quipped that if she ever attended a wedding in Tombstone -- say, for example, if she and Beloved Husband ever renewed their vows -- she'd have the footwear already set.

Acquaintance, somewhat horrified, emphatically stated that she wouldn't tell anyone if Herself did such a thing.  Herself, rather taken aback by Acquaintance's apparently serious rebuffing of an offhand remark regarding an extremely unlikely occurrence, responded that Herself would be sure to post such an event on Facebook so that everyone would know.  Acquaintance countered that to do such a thing would bring shame and embarrassment upon Herself's family. 

Herself sighed inwardly.  It seemed that Acquaintance was in fact serious about her position, even though she was attempting to be lighthearted.  Herself laughed it off, stating that it was her job to be a shame and an embarrassment upon her family.  They moved on.

Would her family really be so appalled?  Hardly.  Bemused, perhaps.  Indifferent, most likely.

We shall not allow Acquaintance to take away from the pleasure of the boots.





Sunday, June 3, 2012

5 Shades of Annoyance, Redux

Imagine, after suffering from ambivalence in writing, I have prepared this second lengthy post for today. I am glad that my writer's block has dissipated for now.

NOTE:  Adult themes again.  You have been warned!

You may read the first 5 shades of annoyance here.

I have finished reading Fifty Shades of Grey.  Good riddance. 

Although the titillation factor increased dramatically in the latter two-thirds of the book, with an abundance of pages dedicated to the carnal activities of Ms. Steele and Mr. Grey, the faults of the first third of the book remained and, in fact, were magnified as the story progressed.  Shall we dissect the issues? Let's.

1'.  The writing style. Again.   The mundane and repetitive language persevered, but was periodically interrupted by a rare polysyllabic word.  It is as though the author realized the prosaic nature of the text and attempted to enliven the writing by selecting an occasional unusual term.  Most often, it occurred awkwardly in conversation.  How many people use the word "mercurial" when speaking casually with a close family member? I would venture:  not many. At all. In addition, the use of the "inner goddess" metaphor to describe the protagonist's feelings -- which was mildly amusing the first few times it was employed -- quickly became irritating, and then distracting.  There must be a better way to express inner thoughts and conflicting emotions.

2'.  The protagonist.  Again.  Anastasia Steele continued to be a thoroughly irritating character, and also displayed new unpleasant personality traits.  She attempted to make Mr. Grey jealous several times by mentioning other men in a suggestive manner (which, without a doubt, was an extremely immature and most unkind thing to do), and yet was completely unable to control her own feelings of jealousy when provided up-front information from Mr. Grey regarding his former relationships, even when he offered earnest and thoughtful reassurances regarding his commitment to her.  Furthermore, she appeared to be completely unable to accept gifts from Mr. Grey -- performing many angsty, and ultimately selfish, refusals of his kindness and generosity.  She was thoroughly unable to see that he might genuinely care for her.  (Dense as a box of rocks.)  In addition, despite her allegedly conducting significant research regarding what a Dominant/submissive (D/s) relationship entails, she did not appear to try at all to explore or understand her role as a submissive.  Rather, she continually pushed back and tried to redefine the relationship more on her own terms.  She seemed to be held in thrall by Mr. Grey's physical form:  she wanted all the allegedly glorious (and nearly constant) sex, without the mental challenge of submission.  Perhaps it was too difficult for her tiny brain.

3'.  The confounding of D/s and Sadism-masochism. Again. Enough said.

4'.  The explanation for Grey's proclivities. Again. Ms. Steele spends quite a bit of time trying to force Mr. Grey to reveal information about his past and his involvement in the BDSM lifestyle, even though he is extremely uncomfortable and unhappy doing so.  She appears to have no clue at all that relationships, even intense ones, take time, and that her persistence threatens to derail everything that she desires.  And again:  why must his proclivities be due to some Terrible Dark Past?  Desire for unusual activities, and the need to maintain control as well as the wish to relinquish control, are parts of so many ordinary people. One need not be damaged to feel such things.

5'.  The sex. Again. Seriously, how may times can two individuals copulate in one twenty-four hour time frame?  It pushes all boundaries of credulity to read that Mr. Grey has such a short refractory period in between ejaculations; furthermore, Ms. Steele would surely have been walking like a horse-weary cowpoke after so much activity.  Contrary to what the story implies, most women's girly bits are not receptive to so much -- to use a word from the book -- pounding.  Even the descriptions of the spankings, Ben Wa balls, bondage and restraints and hair-pulling and positions-requiring-youthful-flexibility did not make me flinch nearly as much as imagining how fatigued her yoni must have been.

6 (new!).  The ending. Designed solely to ensure that the reader moved quickly on to the second book, it left Ms. Steele -- having fled from Mr. Grey -- in a puddle of tears in her apartment.  One hundred questions and moments remained unsettled.  That's a terrible way to stop a story.  Even if there are sequels contemplated, each book should stand on its own and resolve its own issues.

Plus:  I loathe unhappy endings, down to the innermost fiber of my being. Even flawed, poorly-written stories should have happy endings.

Especially when they involve love.


Dog Days

Ancient and decrepit Daisy Dog is ill.  Given the paucity of food entering at the front end, and the rather alarming results leaving at the back end, the most likely situation is the presence of a bleeding stomach ulcer.  The other possibility is that she has some form of stomach cancer. Right now, she is being treated for an ulcer.  If she does not improve, an ultrasound has been recommended to determine what is transpiring in her innards.

Cost aside (and it has been, and will continue to be, not an insignificant cost), it is a difficult situation. Daisy does not willingly take pills. She is crabby, arthritic and stiff and short-tempered. She has big teeth. She could be quite dangerous.

The possibility exists that the medication regimen -- one of this pill twice a day; one of that pill twice a day; two of those pills once a day; and one of another pill three times a day (in addition to her regular pill once a day) -- will resolve her issues and she'll do well.  The possibility also exists, of course, that this is a large step along the path of age that Daisy has been strolling down for a bit now, and that soon, larger decisions will need to be made.

An assessment of her Quality of Life.  A balancing of all the factors.  And, creeping ever forward steadily, a final goodbye.

Herself does not handle ill pets well.  She never has.  There is no reasoning with an animal; no available form of communication to discuss what is wrong and what can be done to fix it; no explaining why pills must be swallowed and why needles must be poked.  No possible words of comfort.

Between Daisy's complicated schedule of pills and lack of appetite, and twice-daily insulin and careful food monitoring for Ottoman-shaped dog, Herself is a wee bit stressed and irritable.  Adding in the ancient cockatiel who surely already has one foot in the grave; the rotund guinea pig who is also quite elderly and has taken to hiding more and more often (never a good sign); and the older-than-dirt fish that has been floating a bit sideways these past few days, and Herself begins to despair. So many creatures depending on her for their every need.  She wants to run away screaming from the responsibility for the pets' health, their lives, and their eventual deaths. 

She cannot do so.  They rely upon her.  The pets have given her and the family a great deal of happiness. She will not abandon the pets in their times of need. 

She hopes the Universe will forgive her for being a tiny bit relieved when the pets' ends finally arrive.

Friday, June 1, 2012

T-minus Two

It's just over two months until Herself's 45th birthday.  (For some reason, she always thinks of those 45 rpm records of yore when she contemplates turning 45.)  So far, so good; she's not dreading this relatively round number nearly as much as she did The Big 4-0.  Nevertheless, she has her eye on the day.  She has decided to make a concerted effort over the next two months to arrive at her 45th birthday in slightly better shape than she is now. 

Goal number one is dietary:  to reduce carbohydrate intake and to work harder at avoiding foods that are known or suspected to be migraine-inducing.  When she is annoyed or cranky, she tends to suffer from dietary indiscretion (food as stress relief - a Very Bad Idea!).  She needs to stop that. Even if there aren't any dramatic changes, knowing that she's succeeding in improving her self-control and limiting her ingestion of crapola will be a satisfying change.

Goal number two is exercise-related:  daily exertion in some form.  The physical therapy routine for her back and hip is a good place to start; it is helpful in decreasing her pain and increasing strength and flexibility.  Now that her back and hip are generally feeling a bit better, she is going to try her elliptical trainer again as well. The important thing here will be patience:  overdoing things might result in an unhappy setback.  Baby steps. 

These are reasonable goals.  I think she can succeed.  We will let you know in a couple of months.