Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Friendship Blessing

May you be blessed with good friends.
May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.
May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where
there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.
May this change you.
May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you.
May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship, and affinity of belonging.
May you treasure your friends.
May you be good to them and may you be there for them;
may they bring you all the blessing, challenges, truth,
and light that you need for your journey.
May you never be isolated.
May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam ċara. 

— John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Monday, September 29, 2014


Our new older gentleman dog had a dental appointment today -- the vet believed that tooth issues were contributing to the poor pup's gastrointestinal delicacy.  It was discovered that the little guy had only eight remaining teeth, and five of those needed to come out.

Behold, the three-toothed wonder dog, still slightly sedated. That tongue is ridiculous.

He perked up when he got home, and consumed a light dinner with gusto.  He will no doubt feel much better in the future.

Good boy, Tio.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bootstrapping Myself

Strange as it may seem, I still hope for the best, even though the best, like an interesting piece of mail, so rarely arrives, and even when it does it can be lost so easily.  ― Lemony Snicket, The Beatrice Letters

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Grief Cleaning

In the past twenty hours or so, Herself has mopped the floor and steam cleaned the carpets downstairs; washed all the dog beds and blankets and scrubbed the birdcage; cleaned two bathrooms including using the pumice stone on all the hard water marks, and unclogged a bathroom sink drain.  She's gone to the grocery store and organized the pantry and tidied the refrigerator, and taken care of more laundry and used the elliptical trainer, too.  She might vacuum the stairs next.

This is Grief Cleaning.

So many transitions - the Unmooring, the losses of three well-loved aged pets, and several changes of the past year have finally caught up with her.  She must stay busy, or she will cry. And crying is not acceptable. Life goes on, and she must go on.

Some days it is harder than others. This evening is especially tricky, as she is alone. She feels invisible.  She desperately wants her Important People near her, and yet they all have their own lives to lead, activities in which she has no part. She tries not to impinge, tries not to need.  She fears that she will drive them away by needing, by wanting them to reach out to her instead of her having to reach out to them.  She is angry with herself for needing. She should be able to entertain herself -- she has her own hobbies and activities she could do. None of them interest her at the moment, though.

And so, she cleans.

She wishes that somehow, the Universe would hear her silent howl of grief, and come to her aid.

Perhaps, though, she should come to her own aid.

When she figures out how, at least she'll be able to do so in a clean house.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Forget/Never Forget

Fascinating science to share:  a study showed that Alzheimer's patients remember emotions even after they have forgotten what triggered them.  

In a behavioral study, patients with Alzheimer's disease were invited to watch either sad or happy movies.  The movies triggered expected emotions - sorrow and tears for the sad films, and laughter for the happy films.  Even though the patients retained less information about the films than the healthy individuals, they still reported sadness and happiness in accordance with the type of film.

The study noted:  Quite strikingly, the less the patients remembered about the films, the longer their sadness lasted. While sadness tended to last a little longer than happiness, both emotions far outlasted the memory of the films.  The fact that forgotten events can continue to exert a profound influence on a patient's emotional life highlights the need for caregivers to avoid causing negative feelings and to try to induce positive feelings.


Perhaps this is a lesson for all of us to treat one another with a little more kindness. 

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ― Maya Angelou

Hold my paw, Mom. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Love Letters

I think it might be time to work more on writing my letters.

A real love letter is made of insight, understanding, and compassion. Otherwise it's not a love letter. A true love letter can produce a transformation in the other person, and therefore in the world. But before it produces a transformation in the other person, it has to produce a transformation within us. Some letters may take the whole of our lifetime to write.

― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh: 365 days of practical, powerful teachings from the beloved Zen teacher

Behold, the letter touted as the "oldest love letter in history," found here:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

From the Inside Looking Out

Sometimes I wonder
Whether I might disappear - 
Forgotten when out of sight,
I am The Silence
(like the Doctor Who creature, 
only not evil),
Or a house elf, unobserved.
Would they draw a mark
To remember I exist?
Would they knit a hat
For me, so I could be free?
What would I do then?
I don't want to change the world
I just want to know
That yes, I matter. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hey Diddle Diddle

Yesterday's tidying and weeding bonanza included the closet in the master bedroom.  Ah, so organized now!  The special find:  the mobile that was over Herself's crib, approximately a million years ago.  If you look carefully, you can see the cat, the fiddle, the cow, the moon, the little dog, the dish, and the spoon.  And even Humpty Dumpty, for good measure.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Herself spent much of yesterday tidying and weeding the kitchen cabinets -- a task long overdue. She got rid of all sorts of things, and reorganized what was left.  Everything's neater. She's quite pleased with the results.

While taking care of the cabinet over the microwave, she came across a plastic container with a wide variety of colorful napkins.  That was an unexpectedly bittersweet find.

In days of yore when the Offspring were in grade school, Herself packed their lunchboxes every day. She would go to the local party supply store to see which napkins were on sale, and bring home a dozen different kinds.  In the leftover treasure trove above the microwave were ninja turtles, tie-dye, power rangers, Tweety Bird, flowers, holiday themes (Halloween napkins were particularly plentiful), and, of course, Harry Potter -- just a smattering of the napkins collected over the years. She would select a napkin specifically in keeping with the current interests of each of the Offspring for lunch every day.  It was always an enjoyment for her.

How did the Offspring grow up so quickly?  Herself is happy for them, knowing the world is wide open and full of possibility for them.  Her heart clenches just a bit, though, knowing her days of brightening a youngster's school meal with a special napkin are long gone.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Thaw A Frozen Heart

Only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart. - Frozen

We watched the Disney movie Frozen last night.  It was pretty good.  We do have some concerns about a few points, though. Let us contemplate.

NOTE:  SPOILERS.  If you are one of the three remaining people on the planet who have not seen the movie, you should probably read elsewhere.  You have been warned!

Let us start with the good points:

Sven the reindeer is adorable and amusing.

Olaf, though a tiny bit creepy, certainly lightens the mood.

Kristoff makes a good friend to Anna, respecting her status as a bethrothed person despite disagreeing with the speed at which she chose to become engaged.

The act of true love that thaws a frozen heart is a truly significant act between sisters, rather than a mere kiss between lovers.  That's quite a change from the usual Disney boy-and-girl-fall-in-love fare. Brava.

I have some issues, however:

First, Hans, who professed his love for Anna with a catchy song, suddenly (and actually, unexpectedly for me) turned into a bad guy, revealing that he manipulated Anna -- as well as fooled many other people with his apparently false fervor for protecting Anna and Arendelle -- in order to steal the kingdom.  I found that disturbing. It's a depiction of very adult (and in my opinion, rather evil) behavior, right there in a Disney movie.

Second (and this is a minor quibble), Elsa is rather... how shall I put this?  Woo woo, with her swinging hips and the above-the-knee slit in her dress when she sings the popular "Let It Go." Why must the princesses be curvaceous and wear such body-hugging dresses? I suppose no one wants a frumpy princess.  Still.

There's one more quite complex matter:  the thawing of a frozen heart.

Elsa shuts Anna out of her life for years and years, even though Anna tries frequently to rebuild their previously close bond; and Elsa (inadvertently) puts ice into Anna's heart.  Despite being metaphorically and literally hurt by Elsa, Anna's last act -- which ultimately saves them both -- is to sacrifice herself for Elsa.


We understand that Elsa has avoided Anna out of fear of (physically) hurting Anna again. What isn't addressed sufficiently is that her avoidance is emotionally hurtful to Anna.  Anna keeps trying and trying, even when Elsa runs away and sets up physical and verbal barriers against Anna. Mercifully, there is a happy Disney ending, when Elsa and Anna bond once more and understand one another. That's lovely.  It's also quite possibly an unrealistic and slightly dangerous message for young girls: "even though a person has wounded and rejected you, you should sacrifice your all for that person, who will then change and love you and you will both live happily ever after."

Granted, the message is softened a bit because Elsa and Anna are sisters -- it's a Family (with a capital "F") sentiment. As the trolls sing:

Everyone's a bit of a fixer upper, that's what it's all about.
We need each other to raise us up and round us out. Everyone's a bit of a fixer upper, but when push comes to shove,
The only fixer upper fixer that can fix a fixer upper is...

True, true, true, true, love. Love, love, love, true love.

That's well and good, but what of those whose families are rather far from ideal? What of the child who has an emotionally (or physically) abusive parent or sibling or family member?  Is the film inadvertently telling her to keep trying, that if only she tries hard enough, she can fix the family?  She can get the relationship that she craves, if only she sacrifices herself?

That's not a message we would want any child  -- or adult -- to take into her heart.

I know; it's "just a movie."

My final takeaway from Frozen? I do agree that the best way to thaw a frozen heart is an act of true love -- an act performed by the person whose heart is frozen.

Only by loving again -- newly, differently -- can we heal wounds of the heart.

And a wee bit of humor from a large-snouted reindeer or a rather peculiar animated snowman might help, too.

Olaf and Sven were found here: http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Olaf_and_sven.jpg.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Helpful Canine

"Why, yes, I would be delighted to give you assistance with the sorting of these winter accessories."

Thank you, Tiny Dog.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


A long time ago when the Offspring were grade schoolers, Herself and the family had a Refrigerator Episode.  The refrigerator clonked out, and although it was under warranty and could be fixed at no charge, there was no 'loaner' refrigerator to get through the time it would take to repair it.  In the interests of saving sanity, they purchased an inexpensive second refrigerator.  This second fridge took up residence in the garage when the first was repaired, and turned out to be an extremely useful appliance, particularly as the children grew into teenagers and food consumption (and the necessary storage) increased exponentially.

Now that Offspring the First and Offspring the Second are away at college, there is no real need for second fridge.  Herself unplugged it and cleaned it out.  It is quite empty.  It's a little sad.  At holiday time, though, we're confident we will be able to put it to use again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pat Me

Ah, the sheer joy of relaxing under the soothing touch of someone who devotes a wee bit of undivided attention to you.  We would enjoy that ourselves.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Herself is not particularly jewelry-oriented.  She prefers silver to gold, and simple pieces to anything ornate. At the same time, she is also fond of all things tiny and whimsical.  Behold, whilst perusing the interwebs the other day, she came across a lovely site that provides simple, quaint and fanciful ornaments for humans: enchantedleaves.com.  Run by a wife-and-husband team who create and market a wide variety of tiny and seemingly meticulously crafted pieces, the site's tagline is:  jewelry inspired by the land, sky & sea, + geeky things we love! 

Indeed! There are woodland items -- leaves, seeds, fruits and vegetables, and animals of all kinds; there are flying creatures -- birds and bats, and butterflies and other insects; ocean creatures -- seahorses and octopedes and squid and fish, not to mention miniature ships and anchors.  Best of all are the nerdy delights, from the realms of Lord of the Rings (leaves of Lothlorien, an Elven arrow, a Dwarf axe, and a Bag End hobbit door) and Harry Potter (an 'expecto patronum' stag, as well as an 'Always' doe, and snitches and the deathly hallows symbol, and such). There are also miniature instruments and tiny office supplies and tools, and a minute microscope as well as a TARDIS and a magic lantern. Silver and copper and brass and colorful glass.  Something for everyone.

Herself thought at first that she'd post a picture or two of some of the particularly noteworthy items. Choosing, though, is impossible.  There are too many tiny delights. She does think that she may well be able to find meaningful gifts for the Offspring there. That idea alone is enough justification to peruse the site at length and admire all the wonders there.

This one is titled, "Long live Hedwig!" 
Link here: http://enchantedleaves.com/collections/shop-by-interest-geekery-harry-potter/products/long-live-hedwig

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Alas, Avocado

Avocados are delicious.

They are also, apparently, on the list of migraine trigger foods.

Herself, increasingly frustrated, has just spent the past hour cobbling together a list of low tyramine (anti-headache) and low oxalate (anti-kidney stone) foods.  It's not an unduly short list, but it certainly will require a fair amount of diligence and self-control in order to adhere to it.

Alas.  As you may already know, given the periodic posts in which she tries once more to get a handle on matters, Herself is not particularly good about diligence or self-control when it comes to food.

She's thoroughly tired of having a headache, though.  So perhaps this time she will be a bit more successful about sticking to the plan.  We shall see.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Herself got up very early this morning to deliver Cherished Friend to the airport for a trip.  On the way home, she realized that this desert land is really quite lovely in the wee hours, when there is a speck of moisture in the air and the blazing sun has not yet taken hold. Perhaps we should consider arising before dawn more often.

So very early: 
It will be another two hours, still, before the sky looks like this. 

Friday, September 12, 2014


New Mild-mannered Dog was ailing this week.  He stayed in his bed, barely opening his eyes or focusing them on anyone or anything for long, for a couple of days.  It was Very Sad Indeed.  With some ministrations from the vet, though, he has now perked up. We are grateful.

Herself had originally planned that she would treat this dog a bit more at arm's-length.  She did not want to let a new canine too far into her heart; the grief of the loss of three elderly pets within the past year still pops to her surface on occasion, and it surprises her. Caution was warranted, clearly.

But then New Dog fell ill, and his illness brought Herself flashbacks of all the difficult moments with Ancient Decrepit Dog and Ottoman-shaped Dog -- the wrenching sensation of knowing that she did not know what was wrong, but that it was probably Not Good.  Her heart cracked. New Dog had put his faith in her, even though she was a new and unfamiliar human, and looked to her for help.  She rose to his call, and took care of him as best she could.

She was rewarded this afternoon with his small form peeking out the front door, wagging his tail, when she returned from work.  He stamped his little feet, too, and it was reminiscent of how Ancient Venerable Cavy would stamp his feet with delight at vegetable time.  Herself was tremendously glad.  His is a small and humble life, and it is a pleasure to know that he is happy.

This evening she made him a bit of plain chicken with a little macaroni, at the vet's suggestion. Hopefully he will enjoy that, too.

Be well, Mild-mannered Dog.  You are safe here.

Verily I say to you, inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dance With Me

Today's earworm: Bailando.  (The Spanish version, if you please, although the English version will do in a pinch.)

Yo quiero estar contigo, vivir contigo
Bailar contigo, tener contigo
Una noche loca (una noche loca)
Ay besar tu boca (y besar tu boca)
Yo quiero estar contigo, vivir contigo
Bailar contigo, tener contigo una noche loca
Con tremenda loca
(Ooooh, ooooh, ooooh, ooooh)

(Lyrics taken from http://lyricstranslate.com/en/bailando-dancing.html-0#ixzz3CxUWEv1e.)

Bailamos.  It doesn't matter where.  In the kitchen.  In the yard at dusk.  By the campfire under the stars.  Feel the music and let go. 

Baila conmigo.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Turn Left

Herself is slowly making her way through Dr. Who episodes as she uses her elliptical trainer. (She finds it difficult to justify solely watching television without simultaneously accomplishing something else, and so she only sees as many shows during which she has the patience and time to exercise.)  This morning's episode was: Turn Left, which centers around companion Donna Noble, painting a picture of how the universe would be if she had never met the Doctor.

Without going into details (say it with me: "Spoilers!"), suffice it to say, Donna seems to have a tremendous effect. It's a lovely sentiment/realization for a character such as Donna, who frequently seems to feel like a tremendous disappointment and failure to those around her.

Perhaps part of the mystique -- and popularity -- of Dr. Who lies in the message that any person can be extraordinary. As Rose and Donna discuss:

Rose: He was a Time Lord. Last of his kind.
Donna: But if he was so special, what was he doing with me?
Rose: He thought you were brilliant.
Donna: Don't be stupid.
Rose: But you are. It just took the Doctor to show you that, simply by being with him. He did the same to me. To everyone he touches.

I think we would all like to be brilliant, especially to someone as brilliant as the Doctor.

Perhaps, in some way, we all are.

"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

Donna and the Doctor were found here: 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Silent Waiting

Love doesn't ask many questions, because if we stop to think we become fearful. It's an inexplicable fear; it's difficult even to describe it. Maybe it's the fear of being scorned, of not being accepted, or of breaking the spell. It's ridiculous, but that's the way it is. -- Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Sunday, September 7, 2014


The struggle of literature is in fact a struggle to escape from the confines of language; it stretches out from the utmost limits of what can be said; what stirs literature is the call and attraction of what is not in the dictionary. ― Italo Calvino

Herself is trying to write Things.  It is difficult.  There are too many, and yet not enough, words.  It's a struggle.  Yet, a worthwhile one.

We shall keep you posted on progress.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Not a Scandal

Let's talk a wee bit about something thoroughly distasteful that his happening in the news lately:  the "celebrity nude scandal." Although I have deliberately avoided most of the reporting, my understanding is that some hacker apparently broke into the iCloud, and stole -- and subsequently made available to the world -- nude photographs of a variety of (as far as can be determined, solely female) celebrities.

This is not a "scandal".  It's a CRIME. And a violation of privacy.

The one thing that I find more repellent than the crime itself, is the shaming that has accompanied it:

"Why would anyone take nude photos of themselves? What a bad idea.  And if you did, why would you put them on a computer with internet access? Or in the Cloud? You take naked pictures of yourself and then complain when they end up published? Give me a break. They should have known." 

Let's just imagine for a moment that instead of a nude picture, it was financial information.  How many of you have credit card information stored somewhere? Or a pdf of your tax return?  Would the degree of "shame on you, you should've expected that" be the same?  Methinks not. People might shake their heads and wiggle a finger at you, reminding you that there are thieves everywhere and you need to be careful.  It would not have the same vitriol, the same schadenfreude, though.

It all comes back to sex.  It's as though the critics are saying: shame on these women, for being sexual creatures, for enjoying and appreciating their bodies, for -- gasp! -- sharing pictures of their bodies with a lover, a husband, a friend who would like them, or even just keeping the pictures for themselves.

Why is that so terrible?

There's nothing wrong with a nude photo.

What is wrong is stealing it and publishing it.

End of story.

Friday, September 5, 2014

That's What You Do

Herself, to Offspring the Third: "Do you think it's weird that I adopted a 10-year-old dog?"

Offspring the Third: "No. He needs love. That's what you do."


Thursday, September 4, 2014

That Bass

Today's very catchy earworm:  All About That Bass, by Meghan Trainor.

I know you think you're fat
But I'm here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

Yeah my mama she told me don't worry about your size
She says, "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night."
You know I won't be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that's what you're into then go ahead and move along

Ah, to have the self-confidence imbued in the lyrics, and the unbridled cheer of all of the individuals in the video.

Perhaps someday.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Madam Malkin Would Not Approve

No self-respecting graduate of the esteemed institution of Hogwarts would wear a crop top. Ever.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Spotted at the local Big Box Store this past weekend.  Yes, on August 30.  AUGUST.

All kinds of wrong.

Monday, September 1, 2014


We buried venerable cavy today.

Herself's in-laws, who are truly lovely people, readily assented to Herself's request to lay the last of the guinea pigs to rest in their yard.  When Herself, Beloved Husband, and Offspring the Third arrived in the morning to do so, Father-in-law had made a lovely little wooden box for the occasion. Herself arranged Moose carefully inside, together with the ashes of all six other guinea pigs whom she has had for different times over the past fifteen years -- Beach Boy, Harry Potter, Skittles, Rupert, Tobby, and James -- as well as the memorial items she had for other family pets ( two aquatic frogs, two Chinese hamsters, one small snake named Speedy, one regulation hamster named Spot, and a hermit crab). The box was just the right size.

She closed the lid.

She took the box out to the garden, where Father-in-law and Beloved Husband carefully nailed the lid shut.  They then lowered the box into a perfectly square, deep hole that Father-in-law had dug adjacent to the graves of Mother-in-law's cat and tiny chihuahua.  Herself and Offspring the Third filled in the hole. They placed a sign at the head, leaving it blank until Herself decided what words to put upon it. Beloved Husband put a few flowers on the site.

It was finished.

Everyone went inside and had breakfast. Mother-in-law fixed Offspring the Third's favorite breakfast burrito especially for him, and picked all of the yucky bits out of Herself's bowl of menudo before handing it to her.

Herself was incredibly grateful to her in-laws for their thoughtful kindness.


Herself is sad -- not only for Moose, but for the end of an era. When the Offspring were young, there were many small pets.  Now the Offspring are nearly grown, and the small pets are nearly all gone. (Of all the small animals, only the ancient cranky cockatiel remains.) It was as though Herself buried a part of her history right there in the garden.

She is once more aware that her heart is broken.

Yet the only cure for a broken heart, she knows, is to love more, and again.

 Be at peace, tiny animals.  Thank you for your time with us.