Friday, May 31, 2013


Beloved Husband is on the road with Offspring the First, delivering her back to college since she will be taking summer classes for the next few months. It was marvelous to have her at home for a few weeks.  She was cheerful, kind to her brothers, helpful with the Tiny Dog as well as the aged and decrepit other dogs, and generally amusing and witty as she always is.  She's a lovely person.

Beginning this month, Offspring the First will be living in her own apartment instead of the dorm.  She and Herself spent a fair amount of time at the local megasuperstore, picking out linens for her new bedroom and bathroom, collecting a basic set of kitchen implements, contemplating vacuums, and obtaining various necessities.  They visited the food warehouse and purchased giant quantities of rice and pasta and other carbohydrates for her pantry.  Offspring the First carefully researched inexpensive and practical furniture and made her few selections.  A mattress/box spring will be delivered next week.  Then, her new nest will be complete.

Herself is very happy for Offspring the First.  She is also, she admits, just a tiny bit envious. Herself had always wanted to have her own apartment, and to choose her own furniture and decorations and bits and pieces, to have her own space.  As life would have it, though, her domiciles post-high school were a succession of dormitories and apartments with apartment-mates, up until the time when she and Beloved Husband were married.  Many of their pieces of furniture were inherited/offered from family members -- very kind offers for a couple starting out with nothing.  It was all fine, and good, and still is, even now.  She has no regrets -- just an occasional sense of wistfulness, of what would it be like.  The road that could not be taken.


When Herself was a child and a teenager, she was not particularly neat (as most children/adolescents). On the occasions when the disarray in her room became more than Herself's Mother could tolerate, Mother would take action.  Herself would arrive home from school or come in from playing outside, and discover -- smack in the middle of the floor of her room -- a pile made of all of the items that Mother had found to be out of place.  Herself's job then was to put the items back properly, in their correct places.

Herself does not think that Mother intended to be mean -- Mother was probably just trying to facilitate the efficient cleaning of Herself's room in the means she found most expedient.  Nevertheless, Herself was a sensitive child (as Mother would freely admit); Herself remembers crying, in a boiling impotent rage, as she pulled items out of the pile and put them away.  There was such a sense of an intrusion:  a feeling that what was hers was not really hers, that there was no safety or security or privacy in her bedroom. A violation of her space.

Because of her memories of those times, Herself tries very hard as a mother to respect her Offsprings' personal spaces.  It's a fine line to walk -- allowing them to live in rooms of disarray, reminding them (chastising them, nagging them) to clean in order to maintain a certain level of hygiene and tidiness, and yet not intruding.  She feels very strongly, though,  that they should have security and privacy in their spaces.  Without any grave suspicion of untoward activity (drug use, furtive dangerous secrets), there should be no need to pry into their habitats.

She feels the same way about other people's spaces.  On the occasions when she has fed Cherished Friend's fish while he has been away, she has made a beeline from the front door, to the fish tank, and then back out again.  If she has had to leave a note for Beloved Husband in his office when he is not there, she has made every effort not to disturb his papers or open his desk even just to retrieve a pen. Any time she steps into someone else's space, she is hesitant to walk around, or even to look too closely -- she does not want to intrude. Ever.

Her bright-line rule:  no trespassing.  It's a matter of respect.  One does not enter another person's room or open another's storage spaces without specific permission.  Sometimes, even a small safe space of one's own can be most important, indeed.

Even the bower bird likes a space of his own.  Photograph found here

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Place

While we normally are briefly amused by, and then glide right over, the myriad various internet memes and photos of adorable animals and pithy sayings, this one struck a chord with us.  Perhaps it is the wooliness of the dog, or the warm donut in which he is circled, or his eyes and ears, both restful yet half-alert.  Or perhaps it is the look of purposeful, thorough sleep on the kitten's face, or the image of warmth and safety of giant dog for small kitty.  

Everybody should have a place where they feel absolutely safe:
a place where they can rest, unencumbered by cares, encircled protectively.  A place where nothing is needed of them, where nothing is asked of them.  A place where they are not required to deliver anything - where, instead, serenity and quietude are delivered to them.

A happy place.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Letter in the mail -
Testing performed: Mammogram
The result:  Normal

Relief. I shall raise
A pink girly beverage
In celebration.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Note:  we were away several days on vacation.  A few details will follow in due course.  In the meanwhile, I present you with the following conversation, which actually happened:

Herself (noticing a scrape on her elbow which was being irritated by the armrest of the car's seat):  I need a Band-Aid.  [rummaging in purse]  Oh, look, I have an orange zebra-striped one.  Neato!

Offspring the Second:  Orange zebra-striped?  Do you mean...

Herself:  [cringing]  Um.  Yes.

Friday, May 24, 2013

In the End

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you. — Buddha

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Right Now

In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility. ― Victoria Moran

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Today, we have Paul Simon's Mother and Child Reunion stuck in our heads. It's an odd song that suggests a multifaceted situation of loss and closure, grief and hope for completion, love and sorrow. It is open to interpretation; it can apply to myriad occasions, and can speak individually to many people. We do not know why it is running through our minds -- it does not appear to be applicable to any particular circumstance in our lives right now -- but somehow, it fits the mood of the moment. 

Monday, May 20, 2013


"You may not see it now," said the Princess of Pure Reason, looking knowingly at Milo's puzzled face, "but whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else, if even in the tiniest way. Why, when a housefly flaps his wings, a breeze goes round the world; when a speck of dust falls to the ground, the entire planet weighs a little more; and when you stamp your foot, the earth moves slightly off its course. Whenever you laugh, gladness spreads like the ripples in the pond; and whenever you're sad, no one anywhere can be really happy. And it's much the same thing with knowledge, for whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer. ― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Today we return to our musings inspired by Anam Cara.  

There are days when we search and search for just the right words: a quotation, a poetry fragment, a lyric, a written thought that captures the sentiment rattling around in our brains.  Sometimes, we meet with no success, and the emotion remains trapped, unnamed.  Other times, a bit of language leaps out to convey exactly what we feel.  We are tremendously grateful to those who have gone before us and inscribed the words for us to find when our own words are insufficient.

It is odd to think that each human's experience, even with the use of particular words, is unique; and that though someone else's words may speak to us, the truth remains that their mental picture and the composition of their feelings behind those words may be very different from our own.  We have only a glimpse into their inner world through their words. We can parse, and study, and assume or guess or imagine, and yet, we may never understand.  All we can do is try.

Words:  like little boats, rowing between the shores of souls. Words, sometimes as obscure as omens and portents in the stones or the bones.  Words, at other times as clear doorways, through which -- although we cannot step -- we can glimpse others' inner rooms.  If we had words enough to propel us across those thresholds, would we be brave enough to do so?

Words are like the god Janus, they face outward and inward at once. - John O'Donohue, Anam Cara

This Janus coin was found through the interwebs, here

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Ottoman-shaped dog's medications to ease the course of his illness -- an NSAID and a stomach-protecting agent -- arrived in the mail today.  It was carefully packaged with a magnet with the pharmaceutical company's contact information, a leaflet on side effects of one of the drugs, and a dog biscuit.  For some reason, the biscuit was heartbreaking.

Herself has been debating when to start the medications.  There may be side effects to them, most notably gastrointestinal effects.  Should she wait until after next weekend, to avoid possible issues while they are taking a previously-planned trip with the dogs in the camper-trailer?  That might be wise.  Yet she does not know how aggressive his bladder tumor is; what if it is developing quickly and starts interfering with his kidney function or (a horrible possibility) his ability to urinate at all?  Those are medical emergencies.  She'd like to avoid having to find a veterinarian while she is taking a short and much-needed vacation. So perhaps she should she start the medications now, in the hopes that any side effects will turn up promptly so they can be addressed as needed prior to the trip.  All the same, side effects may not be immediately apparent.  Or the tumor may advance anyway.  Who knows?

She chose to give him the first dose this evening.  She is watching him carefully.  Waiting. What will happen?

It is quite difficult, this not knowing.  Noble dog has seen The Grim.  How long? How short? Will it be a quiet slipping away, or a painful crisis?  There is no way to tell.

He is such a faithful and devoted canine companion, rejoicing in his spot near the front door whenever he sees Herself returning home, lying down next to her comfortingly when she is ill or sad, following her around the house to be nearby while she does her chores.  How heartbreaking it will be to return home when he no longer waits patiently by the door for her. She can hardly bear the thought.

Right now, it is enough to know that he is nearby, snoring softly.

Friday, May 17, 2013


She was trying to sound tough and impatient, but she knew that vulnerable desire to be wooed was still brimming in her tone. 
-- Anna Godbersen, Envy

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

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Piece of Corn

To many people's delight, Hyperbole and a Half has posted a new entry after (except for a pre-post transition post) about a year and a half of silence. And as always, author Allie Brosh has captured beautifully in the new post, the intricacies of tremendously difficult topic:  depression.

Depression: not "depression," as in "oh, I'm depressed that my favorite sports team didn't win that big game" or "I'm depressed because I can't find these shoes in the right size," but rather, depression that is a soul-shriveling, emotion-sucking black hole of despair and darkness and spiders.  Depression that is a medical condition, brought about in the complex biochemical machinations of the brain.  Depression that colors and shapes the entire world-view of an individual, and causes even the most mundane tasks of existence to be extraordinarily difficult at times.

Herself knows several individuals who struggle with depression. She wishes she could help; yet she knows that it's oftentimes a very private matter, an internal struggle that they do not wish to reveal.  The best she can do, she thinks, is to listen when they want to talk, and to be silently present when they do not want to talk. Hopefully, like Allie Brosh, they will find that one piece of corn that turns things around.

May you find your way through the darkness, my readers with depression. And may you know that you are loved.  Truly.

Picture belongs to Allie Brosh, of Hyperbole and a Half. It is so beautiful. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


No one worth possessing
Can be quite possessed;
Lay that on your heart,
My young angry dear;
This truth, this hard and precious stone,
Lay it on your hot cheek,
Let it hide your tear.
Hold it like a crystal
When you are alone
And gaze in the depths of the icy stone.
Long, look long and you will be blessed:
No one worth possessing
Can be quite possessed.

― Sara Teasdale, Strange Victory

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bodice Rippers

As we roamed through the used bookstore a few weeks ago, we were struck by the sheer volume of romance novels available for purchase.  They occupied a full half of one wall, it seemed.  Related books were even packaged together in brown paper bags - 15 volumes, only $3.  A bargain!

There is no wonder why such novels continue to be popular, despite their formulaic plots, pedestrian characters, and humdrum language.  There seems to be an inherent human need -- possibly (though not necessarily) primarily a female need, given the target audience of the vast majority of romance novels -- to imagine oneself in the throes of an all-consuming passion.  From teenagers to aged crones, the sentiments are the same:  we long to be cherished; to be treated unexpectedly tenderly; to be rescued when in distress; to be loved for who we are.  And also, to feel the flutterings of desire:  the desire to be touched; the desire to be held; the desire to be desired, slowly, carefully, and completely.

An occasional escape into such a world is most welcome. Perhaps we should pick up one of these books and see whether it suits our fancy.  Or perhaps, more interestingly, we should try to write our own.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Problem With Heroes

Ottoman-shaped dog had suspicious lab results after he completed his antibiotics course, and so, he had an ultrasound today to see whether something was amiss.  The conversation during the ultrasound went, in part, as follows:

Vet:  Thor is a very heroic name for a dog.

Herself:  He's actually very wimpy.  He's my hero, though.

Vet:  The trouble with heroes is, they never live very long.

That's when she knew.

Thor's bladder tumor is rather extensive.  It does not (yet) encroach on his ureters, which is good.  Prognosis is, however, rather guarded.  We shall contemplate our options once the full report is available.

In the meanwhile, he can enjoy a new cushion especially for him.  His days are numbered; we would like to make them as comfortable as possible.

We love you, Thor.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Let us contemplate, for just a moment, a few marvelous Men:

Beloved Husband used his extremely valuable time yesterday to drive 550 miles to help Offspring the First move into her first apartment, and then to bring her home today for a visit before she starts summer session at college. Herself's father has generously provided tremendous assistance in making college feasible for all of the Offspring. Offspring the Second and Offspring the Third cheerfully looked after the dogs and themselves so Herself could go out last night; she had dinner with Cherished Friend, whose company is always valued and whose conversation is both entertaining and thought-provoking.  And just for good measure, ottoman-shaped dog -- who, more than anything, resembles a small, humble man trapped in a dog suit -- was waiting by the door for Herself when she got home last night. 

Herself is extraordinarily fortunate to have these men in her life.

This lovely depiction of the Y chromosome was found at Quirky Science, here

Friday, May 10, 2013

Glitter In The Air

We continue our crush on P!nk.

We hope you will enjoy Glitter In The Air as much as we do.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Shadow

     Upon a June day the grass said to the shadow of an elm tree, "You move to right and left over-often, and you disturb my peace."
     And the shadow answered and said, "Not I, not I.  Look skyward.  There is a tree that moves in the wind to the east and to the west, between the sun and the earth."
     And the grass looked up, and for the first time beheld the tree.  And it said in its heart, "Why, behold, there is a larger grass than myself."
     And the grass was silent.
- Kahlil Gibran

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

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Flutter by

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. 
 ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

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

Monday, May 6, 2013

Internet Tidy Tips

Herself went on a tidying spree last week and rearranged the contents of her dresser, removing any items that were worn out or ill-fitting.  Taking a tip from somewhere on the internets, she folded her T-shirts differently and put them back into their drawer vertically rather than horizontally.  Now, she need not rummage through a pile to find the one she wants, but rather, can see enough of the design or pattern of each one to be able to find the desired item easily. It makes her oddly happy to have an orderly corner in her world.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Great Shoes

Herself attended a required social event with Beloved Husband yesterday evening. It was not too bad, all things considered; the program was brief, the speakers were earnest, and the rather large crowd included a dozen or more familiar faces.  The food was fairly tasty.  Plus, it was an opportunity to dress nicely:  in particular, to wear fancy shoes.  Herself is rather fond of the pewter high heels of last night, for they are comfortable AND attractive - a somewhat rare combination in women's footwear. Plus, she has a matching evening purse. And she even had an appropriate Little Black Dress. Success.

Towards the end of the evening, as Herself and Beloved Husband were chatting with a small group of people, a rather inebriated fellow leaned over and slurred winkingly to Herself:  "great shoes."

Why, thank you.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Hand of God

Twenty-five years ago this evening, Herself and her Beloved went on their first date.  (We have recounted the story of The Beginning before, here.)  She and he were discussing the date, and the subsequent twenty-five years, this morning.  He mused about their very different backgrounds, and commented that the establishment of a relationship between the two of them seemed almost random.

ran·dom [ran-duhm]
adjective  1.  proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern: the random selection of numbers.

No. Not random.

Herself is not a firm believer in a Higher Power, an overarching scheme, or some kind of Cosmic Life Force.  Nevertheless, there have been rare occasions when she has had the sensation that a person or a place is one of tremendous (though enigmatic) importance:  a feeling as if all of the pieces of the Universe purposefully aligned in such a way so as to make an event -- such as a meeting of a particular person, the formation of a relationship -- come to pass.  A poet might call it the hand of God.

What is the Reason in the Universe for Herself's relationship with her Beloved?

Perhaps, for example, their relationship has been necessary in order to produce the Offspring in their unique forms at their unique times. Perhaps one of the Offspring -- or even perhaps one of the Offspring's future Offspring -- will be instrumental in another person's life. Or a world event.  Or neither - perhaps they will quietly, in their own beautiful ways, make their corners of the world a better place.  

Or on a more mundane level, perhaps their relationship is necessary in order for Herself to learn certain lessons:  how to be patient, how to be forgiving, how to see the world from a different point of view.  How to understand herself and what she wants and needs.  How to be the kind of person she wants to be.

Their relationship has been the vital skeleton upon which she has fleshed out her adulthood, and she is thankful for this foundation.    It has made it possible for her to learn and to rise to her challenges.  She has needed to meet certain other people, overcome particular obstacles, and put the puzzle pieces of her Life together.  Like Harry Potter, she must come to understand that not every monster is truly monstrous; she must come to know the true value of magic and house elves, of children's stories and wandlore and the power of words; she must learn to cherish a friend and be grateful for their unbreakable bonds of friendship; and ultimately, she must conquer her fear of death.  As must he, as well.

Many of these things they will learn together.  Some of them, too, each will learn alone, like parallel lines, or twin trees. As it should be.

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. 
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness, 
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow. 
- Kahlil Gibran

Perhaps, at the end of Time, they will learn why the hand of God placed them together. 

Friday, May 3, 2013


Whilst at the used bookstore last week, we encountered a lovely hardcover book: A Treasury of the Familiar.  Copyrighted in 1942, it has a wonderful conglomeration of all sorts of well-known bits and pieces of literature, from short speeches of Abraham Lincoln, to Macbeth's soliloquy, to nursery rhymes and songs, to Edgar Allan Poe, and on and on and on.  Marvelous.

One poem in particular caught our attention:  Evolution by Langdon Smith.  It is vaguely reminiscent of Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics -- one of Herself's favorite books, that includes the romantic fantasy, The Distance of the Moon.  (We have mentioned this story before, here.)  Evolution is a lilting look at love over time, through cycles of life, death and rebirth over eons and eons.  It appeals to both the scientist and the romantic within our heart.

When you were a tadpole and I was a fish
In the Paleozoic time,
And side by side on the ebbing tide
We sprawled through the ooze and slime,
Or skittered with many a caudal flip
Through the depths of the Cambrian fen,
My heart was rife with the joy of life,
For I loved you even then. 

Mindless we lived and mindless we loved
And mindless at last we died; 
And deep in the rift of the Caradoc drift
We slumbered side by side.
The world turned on in the lathe of time,
The hot lands heaved amain,
Till we caught our breath from the womb of death 
And crept into light again. 

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

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. - Eleanor Roosevelt

A woman whom Herself knows is dying.

The woman -- we shall call her Em -- is part of the "family" of individuals who formed the core of the gym when Offspring the Third (and eventually Herself, and Offspring the First and Second) began taekwondo.  Em is a remarkable presence; she lights up a room. Her lovely hair, pristine skin, and quick smile have always shone despite the rare and difficult medical condition that has plagued her for a very long time.  Em has a certain kind of serenity, likely brought about by her needing to pace herself carefully lest she wear herself out. She is occasionally cynical and ribald; we have never seen her angry or in a panic. She makes people laugh.

Em has a beautiful young daughter, talented in martial arts, with eyes and a charming smile that are quite similar to those of her mother. A marvelous legacy, her daughter:  Em's lasting gift to the world.

When we think of Em, we immediately think of Em's giant heart for her friends:  amigas, so tightly knit, never hesitant to help one another, present for one another through times of difficulty, understanding one another so well. It is a rare gift from the Universe, to have a close friend such as Em has been to hers. She will leave behind tremendous footprints in the hearts of so many people.

We will remember you, Em.  Rest well, and find peace and joy. Godspeed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Both the teardrop and the tempest are made of water, making it the most yielding and most destructive force on Earth. -- Fiona Paul, Venom

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