Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Barbed Poem

A picture is a poem without words. - Horace

Picture copyright 2013, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dirt

Yesterday, after she had placed the chicken parmesan in the oven to warm, and he had parked the Suzuki and freshened up after a day spent four-wheeling with Offspring the Third, Herself and Beloved Husband found that they had a half hour to spare before the arrival of long-term Acquaintance and Spouse for dinner.  Herself and Beloved Husband enjoyed the time by planting a few more annuals in the pots in the front yard. It was nice to be outside with the flowering ocotillo and the fragrant yellow bush and the newly leafy trees.  Spring is quite literally in full bloom.

They were finishing just as Acquaintance and Spouse rolled up and parked in front of the house.  Herself planted the last flower, and, mindful of Beloved Husband's request to save any leftover earth from the pots to be distributed into the pots that were slightly less full, inquired of him:

"I have a little bit of dirt left over, did you want me to save it?"

Long-term acquaintance promptly corrected her:

"SOIL."

Herself let the word hang in the air -- a tiny supercilious reprimanding cloud.

What reply was warranted? She knew, of course, that only one response would do:

Absolutely none at all.

She asked Beloved Husband again, gesturing to the small bin:

"Did you want me to save this?"

He responded in the negative, and so Herself disposed of it. She collected the trash and removed her gardening gloves, and into the house they all went. And the evening went on.

Behold, Herself's trifling victory.

I shall use the words I choose.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

What A Day

Twenty-four years ago today, Herself turned in her Senior Thesis, and then went for a walk with Beloved Husband -- who, at the time, was Beloved Boyfriend -- across grass and under trees, where they eventually sat.  It was then that he proposed, and she, of course, accepted.

It was quite a banner day.




Saturday, April 27, 2013

Broccoli

When Herself was in graduate school, the dining hall associated with the school was not open on weekends, and so the students fended for themselves.  There were many food trucks parked in various strategic locations around the city, and they were frequented by the students.  The most delicious wonton soup ever could be procured at a truck just a few blocks from the dormitories.  It had fresh bean sprouts floating at the top of the take-home container. Tasty.

Street vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables also set themselves up on sidewalks.  They would weigh out the merchandise on hanging scales before putting it into crisp paper bags.  Herself would peruse among the vendors to obtain some broccoli and other ingredients. She would stir-fry everything in a minuscule electric frying pan in her dorm room.  Tasty.

Even all these years later, the smell of broccoli reminds her of that beautifully fresh broccoli and the tiny electric pan.



Friday, April 26, 2013

Rare Bird

Amicus verus est rara avis.

Picture copyright 2013, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Senior Prom

Offspring the Second's Senior Prom is rapidly approaching.  Herself was not sure whether or not he would attend this event:  he is an old soul, and has often eschewed the more pedestrian events of high school.  Slightly surprisingly, he seems to be pleased to attend prom. Appropriate vestments have been obtained and accessorized according to his unique sense of style.  He is going with friends. It appears that he is serving in the Prom Court as a representative of a student club for which he is president; the composition of the Court and associated individuals is rather a bit of a mystery to Herself, whose high school was far too small for such prom intricacies.

Herself is happy for Offspring the Second.  She hopes that his Senior Prom generates some fond memories upon which he can look back in the years to come.  One of her greatest delights:  to see the Offspring happy. Lovely people they are, deserving of joy and mirth and contentment.

Herself attended her own Senior Prom. Her escort was an earnest, polite and humorous young man.  They went together because Herself's friends knew Herself had no date, and her escort's friends knew he had no date, and so, all the friends connected the dots and provided the phone numbers for the necessary conversations to happen and arrangements to be made. It was a tiny bit awkward, partly due to Herself's difficulties in making small talk, as well as due to the fact that Herself was occasionally distracted by a former boyfriend -- who had broken up with Herself only the week before -- who spent what seemed like an interminable amount of time French-kissing his new girlfriend on the dance floor.  Ew.

(We've mentioned Herself's Senior Prom a bit before, here.  To recap:  Herself and the ex-boyfriend in question had a clear-cut difference of opinion: whereas he felt that the three weeks they had dated should have been considered sufficient time for Herself to have sex with him, Herself felt differently. And so, he moved on quickly, after proffering her some advice about her needing to 'put out' if boys were ever to be interested in her. Herself was offended and, truth be told, deeply hurt at the time. Alas.)

What is it about these Teenage Milestone Events such as Prom?  Why are they built up to be such tremendously important occasions? Are they? They are so very critical at the time, and yet, twenty-eight years later (how can it possibly be so long ago?), Herself's own Prom is just a minuscule drop in the bucket of Life.  It's an interesting perspective -- the view of Prom from the heart of Middle Age.

How time flies.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Offering

I made a poem going
to sleep last night, woke
in sunlight, it was clean forgotten.
If it was any good, gods
of the great darkness
where sleep goes and farther
death goes, you not named,
then as true offering
accept it.
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Picture copyright 2013, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Falling In

Ottoman-shaped dog is vaguely ailing.

He has had a urinary tract infection for a while; it is slowly responding to antibiotics, and hopefully will disappear completely by the end of the extra week of drugs.  In part because of the infection, his blood sugar has been iffy; he has needed to have his insulin dose adjusted several times in the past month.  And he is slowly losing some of his fur:  the tip of his stumpy tail, his nose, the inside of his back legs.  We suspect he may have Cushing's syndrome.  It will require a specialized (and somewhat expensive) test to make that determination; the drug regimen for treatment, while not terribly costly, is a bit fraught and requires very close veterinary supervision.  Depending on the cause of the condition, prognosis can be considered guarded. Alas.

We are unsure whether to test or not to test.  He does not appear to be suffering; and that suggests that perhaps we should leave well enough alone.  We do want to give him the best possible quality of life; but multiple frequent trips to the vet and tinkering with drug regimens does not necessarily mean the best possible quality of life.  We shall see how he fares.

Sometimes we think, he needs to either be fine, or pass onward.  We know, though, that life is not that simple, and that we all will likely face decline -- some of it unpleasant -- as we age. Herself hopes that it becomes quickly clear when it is time to help ottoman-shaped dog cross to the next world.

Last night, Herself had a nightmare.  She dreamt that she and ottoman-shaped dog were out in the yard of an unfamiliar house. There were little hillocks and pits, and they were investigating.  Ottoman-shaped dog suddenly fell into a hole; it was tremendously deep, and he fell and fell and then landed at the bottom.  Herself thought he got up and shook himself off, but wasn't sure if he was injured from the fall.  She knew that he would be distressed to be so far away from her, especially given how he waits at the door whenever she leaves the house. The rope she had was not nearly long enough to be able to climb down to him.  She knew she needed to help him. She did not know how.  He was unreachable.

She woke up with a start. It took quite a bit of time before she could shake away the fear and dread that had ruptured the dream, even though ottoman-shaped dog was there, sleeping quietly at the foot of the bed.  She gave him a pat, and he stirred just a little bit, and sighed the relaxed sigh of a content dog.

Good boy.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Marvelous Little Things

Behold a flash drive that was lent to us to transfer some pictures.  It is exceedingly marvelous.  Sometimes, it is the little things that bring a ray of happiness into everyday life. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

While You Can

Child, child, love while you can 
The voice and the eyes and the soul of a man;
Never fear though it break your heart-
Out of the wound new joy will start;
Only love proudly and gladly and well,
Though love be heaven or love be hell.

Child, child, love while you may,
For life is short as a happy day;
Never fear the thing you feel-
Only by love is life made real;
Love, for the deadly sins are seven,
Only through love will you enter heaven.


- Sara Teasdale

Picture copyright 2013, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Shelter In Place

I had never heard the term, shelter in place, until today, as four hundred thousand people in Boston and its environs have been asked to remain home while authorities search for the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. It is an astonishing and unimaginable situation.  We try to go about our business, and return again and again to the news, searching for updates, for explanations. None are yet to be found.

Again, we ask ourselves:  why? Again, we have no answers.

We bolster ourselves with stories about the emergency responders who jumped unwaveringly into action on the day of the bombing.  The helpers:  the EMTs, the doctors, the members of the military, and the ordinary people.  All hailed as heroes.

Heroes:  we crave them.  In times of darkness, when we do not understand why individuals have acted deliberately to cause mayhem and death, we long for visible signs that humanity is not yet lost.  We fear being left alone, confused; wounded, bleeding, grievously harmed. We yearn to know that if we are in the path of danger or destruction, someone will come to our aid.

To be abandoned: our most terrible nightmare.

Comfort us, protect us, help us.  Save us, our heroes.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Splendid

Let us take a much-needed respite from humanity, and contemplate nature. 

That is the earth, he thought. Not a globe thousands of kilometers around, but a forest with a shining lake, a house hidden at the crest of a hill, high in the trees, a grassy slope leading upwards from the water, fish leaping and birds strafing to take the bugs that lived at the border between water and sky. Earth was the constant noise of crickets, and winds, and birds. ― Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game

Picture copyright 2013, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lockdown

A pseudonym is used herein to protect the privacy of a local young man. 

Yesterday morning, there were helicopters flying over the neighborhood.  Many helicopters, close by.  The noise of the rotors began to be apparent mid-morning, and continued until just after 1 PM.  Herself wondered why they were there; yet she was busy with various tasks inside, and so, did not go outside to look or investigate.

Early yesterday afternoon, the phone rang.  It was a message from the automated system for the school district.  The local middle school -- which Offspring the Third attends, a half-mile from the house -- as well as the adjacent grade school had been momentarily put into lockdown earlier.  No reason for execution of the security procedure was given.  Herself thought of the helicopters, and checked the local newspaper website.  A brief article appeared, indicating that the lockdown had occurred, that one man was in custody, and that the man would be receiving a medical evaluation. Oh, dear.

Offspring the Third arrived home from school shortly thereafter.  "Did you hear about the lockdown?" he asked right away. 

"I did, I got the message from the school phone system, but they didn't say what happened. Do you know?"  

"They said a man was running around the neighborhood with a shotgun, threatening to kill himself.  They said it was a half mile from school, and I was worried about you because that is right where we live."  

"It's all OK now. He is in custody and they'll get him the help he needs."

Herself was surprised and dismayed at the thought of Offspring the Third worrying about her.  Children should not have to worry about their parents. The time for that should not come until they are grown and their parents are old -- not when they are barely teenagers. 

---

In the late evening, Offspring the Second came through the kitchen where Herself was sitting with Beloved Husband as he ate a late dinner.  Offspring the Second nudged Herself quietly and left the kitchen.  Herself understood and followed him.

He was sitting on a couch in the front room.  He looked stricken.  He said, ever so quietly, "The man who caused the lockdown -- was Guy."

Oh, Guy.

Guy and Offspring the Second were very close friends in grade school.  They have grown apart, as many friends do over time.  Yet they are still amicable.  Guy and his family live quite nearby, and Herself drives past their house a half-dozen times a week, if not more. 

Herself knew that she needed to offer comfort, reassurance somehow.  She told Offspring the Second that it's probable under the circumstances that Guy is having mental health issues or drug addiction issues, and she let Offspring the Second know that if it was allowed and if he would like, they could certainly arrange for him to visit Guy.  She told him that if there was anything he could think of that they could do for Guy's family, to just say the word, and it would be done.  Offspring the Second nodded, and then went back to his homework.  

Herself took Beloved Husband aside and quietly told him.  Beloved Husband looked devastated.  Heartbreaking, to see perpetually-upbeat Beloved Husband so distressed.  

Oh, Guy.

---

This morning, Herself weighed the odds that Offspring the Third would hear more about the lockdown.  It was likely that rumors or other information would be floating around in the student body at the middle school.  She knew she needed to talk with him.

She didn't want to tell him that it was Guy (whom he knows as an old friend of his brother) - she didn't know whether that would become public knowledge, and she certainly didn't want Offspring the Third to be the source of that knowledge being made public. So she let Offspring the Third know that the man is a young man who went to Offspring the Second's high school. She told him that it was possible that the man had been dabbling in drugs, and that he might have mental health issues as well.  She noted to him that there were two lessons to take from the situation:  first, to avoid drugs; and second, to remember that many people struggle with mental health problems, and that it is important to be understanding when they do.  

She further told him that individuals who want to kill themselves are usually in a great deal of mental pain, and that while some people think it’s selfish to want to kill oneself (to which he said, “WHAT? WHY?”) because they think the suicidal person is only thinking of themselves, it’s important to remember that someone in that much mental pain may genuinely feel the world is better off without them because they can’t see how much they are loved.

She asked him, as he strapped on his bicycle helmet to go to school, to keep an open mind and an open heart if he heard more at school today, and to try to set an example for his peers – not to judge, but to be kind.

That was a conversation that she never anticipated she would need to have. 

Later, when she and Offspring the Second were on the way to the high school, Herself let him know what she'd told (and hadn't told) Offspring the Third.  She wanted Offspring the Second to know that she did not judge Guy, that she looked on Guy with kindness and understanding.  She wants to be sure that if Offspring the Second -- or someone close to him -- struggles, that he knows she will be an ally.  Every teen should have faith that an adult will be there for them when the chips are all down.

---

When an anonymous man with a shotgun threatens to shoot himself near a school and the police swoop in, our thoughts go to dark and terrible places.  "Let him," we are tempted to think.  We remember Sandy Hook and we are still raw and fearful and wonder, what if the man's anger turned outward into the community rather than inward toward himself?  We cannot bear the thought.  The anonymous man is disturbed, unsafe, we think; thank goodness they took him away. 

And then, the anonymous man turns out to be an 18 year old man-child, the same age as one of Herself's own Offspring, a boy who once upon a time ate pizza and played his guitar in Herself's garage.  The impersonal is made very, very personal.  We are brokenhearted.

We think of Guy's friends, of his family, and cannot imagine the distress of seeing one's loved one suffer with inner demons that have burst forth in such a manner.  Herself thinks particularly of his mother, who is a smart, kind, no-nonsense, helpful and practical woman. She is a good person. A good mother. She loves him. We bleed for her, and for her child.

Not anonymous; rather, one of us.    

Every single person has at least one secret that would break your heart. If we could just remember this, I think there would be a lot more compassion and tolerance in the world.
- Frank Warren

Picture copyright 2013, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Edge

In the aftermath of yesterday's assault on the Boston Marathon, we try to parse the facts from the speculations. We tiptoe around graphic news reports on the violent dismemberment of the victims.  We are inundated with details of catastrophic injury and suffering:  photographs of sidewalks swimming in blood; footage of bleeding people, faces frozen in shock or mouths open in agony, being rushed from the scene in on stretchers, in wheelchairs, in the arms of strangers; descriptions of the multitude of severed limbs and tourniquets and gore and maiming.  And yet, we have absolutely no information at all -- who is responsible, why was it done?  It is the most brutal of contrasts, to know so much and yet so little.

One of the trickiest aspects of such a man-made disaster is to know how much to tell the young people.  Much as we would like to shelter them, it is unfair and ultimately unkind to do so, for they may then be woefully underprepared when faced with catastrophe. They must learn: though humanity can be magnificent, it can also be unbearably cruel.

Now, Offspring the First and the Second are legal adults, and are in charge of monitoring their own intake of news footage and of forming their own opinions.  Their heartaches at human tragedy will primarily be shared with their peers rather than with their parents.  Herself has faith that they will traverse the dust of this tragedy's fallout without allowing it to permeate their souls, and that they will be able to adjust their  viewpoints of the world without giving in to despair.

Offspring the Third is a slightly different matter.  At fourteen years of age, he displays all the affectations and pseudo-jaded attitude of a middle schooler.  Within his chest, though, lies a very tender heart. When he was small, he would be rendered tearful and heartbroken by small slights or minor misfortunes of other people or animals.  He has matured quite a bit since then, and taken on the bravado of teen boy. How much does he still take tragedy into his own heart? We do not know; our best guess is that it is still quite a bit, though.

The challenge now is to provide Offspring the Third with sufficient information about such disasters while he is in the safety of his home environment, so that he will not be surprised to hear tragic details from his peers at school.  At the same time, we must help him to learn to distance himself from the horror just enough to protect his heart from being pierced through.  It is vital that he retain his warm and generous nature: the world is a better place due to people who care.  Nevertheless,  he cannot let Evil eat him alive -- it is thus also essential that he build himself a suit of armor to avoid being paralyzed by the malignant spectres of the world.

It is a delicate balancing act.  We are all walking the tightrope of humanity, just above the abyss.  Who will catch us if we fall?

Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.  ― Andrew Boyd

Picture copyright 2012, 2013 Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Unanswerable

Sometimes, I wish I were a child again, aware of naught but fun math problems and sturdy crocuses pushing up beneath the moist leftover leaves and the excitement of a favorite food for dinner.   The family dachshund would sit in my lap and put his chin on my leg and be warm and soothing while I played board games with my siblings.  And if I had a bad dream, I could go to my father as he sat at his desk shuffling his papers, and he would tell me that it was just a bad dream and it would all be OK, and he would carry me back to my room and tuck me in with my favorite blanket and leave the hall light on for me.

I would not have to try to understand why bombs are placed at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Why one human being can be purposefully, deliberately cruel to another. Why Evil raises its ugly horned head and breathes death and destruction upon the innocents.  Why. Why. Why. 

I will never understand. 

It was important, Dumbledore said, to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then could evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated. . . . ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sine Qua Non

A little bit of adult content. You have been warned!

For movie night yesterday evening, Herself and the Menfolk watched Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It's a pleasant, entertaining film.  Not to mention, full of eye candy.

Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft is quite alluring:  clever, self-possessed, athletic, sensual and voluptuous.  Hooty hoo!  Her character is also a bit careless and reckless - not winsome characteristics, but traits which can be momentarily overlooked as we are mesmerized by her curves. Oh, my.

The movie also treats the viewer to the interesting sight of a nearly nude Daniel Craig. There are artfully arranged objects -- shower pipes, a table, Lara Croft's boots -- to prevent us from beholding his Manly Package, but otherwise, there is a great deal of his skin showing.  His character is rather two-dimensional, brash and money-hungry, with little else to round out any projected personality.

Herself thinks back to her contemplation of what makes a man attractive, and realizes that while Daniel Craig is physically a well-formed specimen of man, he's not particularly attractive in the context of the movie. In fact, truth be told:  Herself found Angelina Jolie far more interesting to view than Daniel Craig.  She'd much rather be Angelina Jolie than be with Daniel Craig in Tomb Raider.

Herself wonders whether it's a sign of her age that she does not find beefcake pictures or those types of movies (see, e.g., her assessment of Magic Mike) to be of much interest. Or perhaps it's just her? Is she odd in requiring mental characteristics such as intelligence and humor, as the sine qua non of attractiveness?

When she chats with her ladyfriends as they daydream about which Hollywood star with whom they'd most like to spend Quality Naked Time, Herself has nothing to contribute.  Yes, many of the men are easy on the eyes. They have carefully tended muscles and artful scruff. Still:  unless he's a man with wit and intellect -- and with both a sufficient modesty to be a tad concerned about taking off his clothes, as well as a yearning desire for Herself that renders him brave enough to do so -- he would not be for her.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Volume

After Beloved Husband and Offspring the Second and Third left the house at 4:45 this morning -- to go watch the demolition of an interesting structure in town -- Herself thought she might be able to go back to sleep for a while.  Until 7 AM would be wonderful. She fervently wishes for a few hours of uninterrupted rest.

Promptly at 6:30, though, the tiny dog began trampling, and ottoman-shaped dog, whose insulin is being adjusted, began stretching and yawning and performing his other pre-breakfast activities.  Alas.  They are up for the day.  Nevertheless, there is one thing to be gained:  because all the other humans are out of the house, Herself can listen to the music of her choice, at the volume of her choice.  The dogs do not mind.

And so, we listen to Praan. Rather loudly.  Because we can.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rock/Leaf

Some days I channel
Sisyphus and his boulder,
Pushing, once again.

Other days, squinting,
I spy flattened earth ahead -
The boulder will rest.

Face and limbs glisten -
Wet with sweat or wet with tears?
It does not matter.

Each drop of moisture
Feeds a tiny green leaflet:
Hope grows, despite all.

Picture copyright 2012, 2013 Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Grip of Rage

Herself spent some time recently conversing with an old friend - someone with whom she had essentially grown up (when the friend was not away at boarding school).  They have many things in common, including a similar upbringing. The two of them have, happily, grown closer, rather than apart, over the years.  Though they do not speak very often, they understand one another well.

Her friend -- whom we shall call B -- has had rather more than a fair share of trials and tribulations in life.  After an arduous, lengthy, and painful ending of a fifteen-year relationship, B has at last found a new partner (to whom B lovingly and amusingly refers as "Spouse 2.0"). Currently B and the partner are in a long-distance relationship, seeing one another a few times a year; nevertheless, they have pledged themselves to one another, entwining their hearts and their lives as much as possible until they can be together in the same location.  Herself empathizes with them; she recalls the years when she and Beloved Husband (then, Beloved FiancĂ©) were apart, and still to this day she feels the echoes of the visceral pain of yearning for someone across space and time.

B's Parent has been, unfortunately, less than welcoming to B's partner.  Initially, Parent would decline to use B's partner's name, referring instead to "THAT PERSON" when initiating conversation with B about B's intentions for the future with the partner.  Even after B and B's partner held the ceremony pledging themselves to one another, B's Parent still does not include, or offer consideration to, B's Partner.  For example, when B and Parent go shopping together,  Parent happily offers to purchase items for B's Offspring, but specifically states that B is to pay for things -- even trivial, inexpensive items -- for B's partner.  It makes B livid.

A couple of days ago, B's Parent sent an e-mail to B regarding various  items, but did not inquire regarding B's partner.  B wondered aloud to Herself whether Parent was deliberately ignoring B's partner, and could not fathom why Parent would not include any mention of B's partner.  "Am I being punished," B asked, for not choosing a partner whom Parent would have found more acceptable?  B was in an indignant, towering rage.

The answer to the one-word question -- WHY? -- is tremendously complicated.  It involves an analysis and an understanding of Parent's personality (for a good description in regard to narcissistic parent, you can look here).  It could take years to parse the details.  However, such a thorough understanding is not necessary, for regardless of the depth of comprehension of why Parent behaves in such a manner, one single overarching truth remains:  Parent is unlikely to change. Ever.

That's a bitter pill to swallow.

And thus, B's anger.

----

After her conversation with B, Herself contemplated Anger.  Why do we feel such a tremendous outrage? Under such (and similar) circumstances, there are many facets to the fury.

Part of it is a sense of impotence:  we cannot change what we perceive to be a tremendous unfairness, an enormous unkindness. We cannot make another person behave as we feel a Decent Person ought to behave.  Nothing we can do -- no matter how hard we try -- will make the other person sympathetic or thoughtful in the way we would be; for example, no amount of effort will cause Parent to spontaneously open welcoming arms to B's Partner.

Part of it is also a sense of being judged:  we feel as though our choices have been weighed and found wanting.  Thus, when B's choice of partner appears to be somehow insufficient to merit appropriate attention from B's Parent, it calls into question all kinds of other corollary questions for B: does Parent disapprove of me, my choices, my actions, my decisions? Of my ability to find worth and value in a person as special to me as my Partner? Of me? Am I inadequate?

Part of it is plain suspicion:  is someone being deliberately mean?  Is Parent purposefully excluding B's partner, and if so, to what end?  Why would someone who is supposed to love unconditionally be so cruel?

Part of it is, too, a sense of emptiness, of loss of something that, in truth, was never had:  we have a wish -- a wish that is forever unfulfilled -- to see that the people who are important to us (a partner, a close friend) are also important to others who matter to us. In the case of B, the thought is: if a Parent loves B, the Child, shouldn't individuals vital to the happiness of the Child -- such as B's partner -- also be important to the Parent? If not, why not? We are so very disappointed. Our hopes and expectations are trampled and left in the dust.

All of these parts can combine in a toxic way, yielding the fury that B felt - that we all would feel under such circumstances.

We are angry when we see that the people and things we love and find important, are not valued as we feel they should be.  We are annoyed and humiliated when when someone scoffs, when someone denigrates, when someone dismisses our important people and things. We shrivel when our choices -- in people, in activities, in careers, in all the small things -- are questioned, frowned upon, mocked; or worst of all, when they are baldly ignored, as if they are unworthy of any consideration at all.  We rage.

Anger is so much easier than sorrow.  Anger is directed outward, radiating, directing the pain away from our cores. Sorrow is directed inward, piercing, channeling the pain into our hearts.

We carry our anger like armor.  It protects us from grief.

And yet:  grieve we must.  We must mourn the loss of our hopes; we must let go of our expectations about other people.  Once we accept that we cannot change others, we can find peace.

It is a lonely realization, to understand that who, and what, is important to oneself, is not important to another.  Nevertheless, it is the beginning of freedom: freedom to follow our dreams, to love who and what we choose, and to find our happiness.

We need no one's approval to love.

All we need is to follow our hearts.

Picture copyright 2012, 2013 Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Loveliness

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up,
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be. 

― Sara Teasdale

Picture copyright 2012, 2013 Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Just One Piece Of What It Is

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.
― Robert Frost



Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pensieve

This? It is called a Pensieve. I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind. -- Albus Dumbledore

Herself's brain is full of many thoughts, rattling and klunking about together, interwoven and nearly unparseable.  Pieces of different puzzles, all in the same box. What would the completed pictures show?

Picture 1:  It is challenging to tolerate gracefully the inevitable occasional glitches and upkeep-requiring activities of that marvelous machine, the human body.  And the corollary: it is even more difficult to watch one's elders grow older and have to address the variant ills that accompany age.  For always, just out of the corner of one's eye, one suspects the appearance of a Grim. Impossible to imagine, yet equally impossible not to acknowledge, that we are all mortal - and that we never know how much time we have on this Earth.

To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. -- Albus Dumbledore

Picture 2:  There are so many aspirations and hopes of what to do, where to go. To walk through the Sequoia forest; to look at the glaciers and the geothermal features and the beautiful barren wastelands of Iceland; to sit under trees and to smell the campfire and to listen to the silence. To be in the moment, without worry, and with the people who bring calm to her soul.  Ah, yes.

I am not worried, Harry. I am with you.  -- Albus Dumbledore

Picture 3:  Behold, a marvelous, intangible yet nearly visible, omnipresent gratitude for the graces of friendship.  Some days -- many days -- actually, each and every day -- it seems a miracle to have others to whom one can turn for company, for solace, for laughter.  Would that we could take these people into our hearts and carry them with us wherever we go.  Wondrously, we already do so.  A dream realized, in this lifetime. So fortunate are we.

I believe your friends Misters Fred and George Weasley were responsible for trying to send you a toilet seat. No doubt they thought it would amuse you. -- Albus Dumbledore

Picture 4:  What do we do with dreams or desires that cannot come to pass?  Do we contemplate them like reflections in the Mirror of Erised?  Do we risk losing ourselves in doing so?

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that. -- Albus Dumbledore

Or do we hold those imaginings as fuel in dark times, knowing them to be remote and unlikely, yet having them serve as the thoughts to conjure a patronus in times of need? 

Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real? -- Albus Dumbledore

If only Herself had a Pensieve, she could organize and order all of her thoughts.  All the same, perhaps all of her fears, dreams, hopes, loves and desires are safest inside solely her head.  It's a busy place, to be sure.  Yet even in the bustle and commotion, there are quiet moments.  Grateful are we for those times. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Two Decades

Offspring the First is twenty years old today.  How time flies.

She is a lovely person - witty, charming, thoughtful. She is kind to animals, to strangers, to those who suffer. She has a good heart, and we miss her tremendously when she is away at college.

When we close our eyes, we can still remember quite clearly how she was rather afraid of the bathtub because it was too big, and so she was bathed in a round plastic bin that doubled as a sled for her first snowstorm.  We think about how she held her small stuffed bun lovingly by one ear while sucking her thumb, and how she loved when we would read books together.

She's almost all grown up now. Beautiful girl, so many exciting things await you in the future.  You will bring happiness and sunshine wherever you go.

Happy birthday, Offspring the First.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Time To Reflect

I think it is time to go sit in Nature again. 

We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

Picture copyright 2012, 2013 Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Cheese Stands Alone

After a few weeks of near-daily headaches of varying intensity, Herself is trying anew to avoid any problematic foods.  It's tricky.
She hasn't figured things out entirely yet.  It's frustrating, too, for it eliminates most (if not all) pre-packaged foods, and she must resort to cooking plain things just for her.  It's unrealistic, and unfair, to expect everyone in the household to eliminate items as basic as pork, bread, bananas.  Yogurt; nuts.  Citrus. CHOCOLATE.

Not to mention: cheese.

Ah, delicious cheese.  How you tantalize Herself.  How painfully migraine-inducing you are.  How much she misses you. 

Yet how much more would she enjoy being headache-free? It seems impossible. We shall see.

This lovely array of cheeses was found in an article on cheese microbes from Science2.0

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Favorite Things, Refreshed: A Book

Today, we resurrect the theme of Favorite Things that we visited some time ago. 

The other day while Herself was at the bookstore, she noted on a table near the cashiers, a marvelous book:

I Am A Bunny

It is a book from the beginnings of her childhood. Simple, lovely, memorable.  Her parents read it to her when she was small.  She read it to her Offspring when they were small.  She still has it nearly memorized, all these years later.

Thank you, Ole Risom, for your words, and thank you, Richard Scarry, for your illustrations. Together, you created a beautiful tiny work of literature, and we are grateful.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Beam Me Up

Our crush on P!ink continues.  We were delighted to discover that her album, The Truth About Love, was on sale this weekend on iTunes, and we promptly added it to the iPod.  Huzzah!

Yesterday we listened to Just Give Me A Reason.  It is perfect for singing along, particularly in the car. The harmony with Nate Ruess is particularly melodious, we think.

Today, it is Beam Me Up.  Simple. Longing. Lovely.

Could you beam me up
Give me a minute, 

I don't know what I'd say in it
I'd probably just stare
Happy just to be there holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter
I'm tired of being a fighter
I think a minute's enough
Just beam me up.