Wednesday, June 25, 2014


We will likely be a bit silent for a few days; we shall report on all the adventures upon our return. 

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving. 
― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Natural History


The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unfolds a plan of her devising,
A thin premeditated rig
To use in rising.

And all that journey down through space,
In cool descent and loyal hearted,
She spins a ladder to the place
From where she started.

Thus I, gone forth as spiders do
In spider's web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken thread to you
For my returning.

- E.B. White

Picture copyright 2014, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Music Lover

Tiny Dog is almost as fiercely protective of Herself's piano, as she is of Herself.  In Tiny Dog's opinion, no one except Herself need touch the piano -- and any attempt to do so will yield much shrill barking. When Herself sits down to play, though, Tiny Dog either chews thoughtfully on her toys nearby, or just listens under the piano bench.

Good girl, Tiny Dog.

(Herself was hesitant to use this photograph, as it's not at all flattering to her. 
 In the grand scheme of things, though, she'd like to remember the amusing habits of Tiny Dog, and so, the picture is here.)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mail All The Things

Herself had a a bunch of things to send:  a return of an ill-fitting piece of clothing for Beloved Husband, a gift for her brother's wife, a couple of thank-you notes, some books for one of her internet ladies, payment for a couple of bills, some random silly items for Offspring the First, and so forth.  She'd been putting off the chore because she finds tasks with many different parts to be too complex to handle after her newer lengthier workday; this weekend, though, she finally mustered the wherewithal and took care of all of the bits and pieces.  She even added a postcard for an old high school classmate.  Huzzah for handling All The Things!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Things That Are More Difficult Than One Might Expect

Typing after having played the piano for a while. TYPING IS NONSENSICAL.  Perhaps the music is still in the fingers.

Herself is working on learning how to play Sara Bareilles' Gravity.  New sheet music is always good.

Friday, June 20, 2014


We saw an interesting quote the other day, attributed to the television program Sons of Anarchy:

Only men need to be loved, women need to feel wanted.

Without delving into what men need (for about that, she has very little clue), Herself points out that there is a grain of truth to the statement - Women need to feel wanted.

What does it mean to be wanted?  It's easier to explain it in relation to other things. Let us compare being needed with being wanted

For people who enjoy being helpful to others (such as Herself), being needed is a gratifying, empowering and motivating experience. There's a great deal of satisfaction in tending to another person. 
(I will note that every now and then, being needed can be exhausting or oppressive, especially when the needed person neglects her own needs in favor of those of another.)

More particularly, though, being needed is not exclusive:  needs can be met by a wide variety of individuals. Almost anyone can cook a meal or do the laundry or run an errand. Being needed is not personal. 

Being wanted, on the other hand, is personal. And that is what a woman needs -- to feel as though it is she, specifically, for whom another person yearns. She needs to know not that she is indispensable, but rather, that she is desired. That is what sets her apart from the many others who could satisfy someone's needs. 

Desire me.  

Want me. 

That is a bit of what women need. 

Picture copyright 2014, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I Made You A Nest

A lovely internet friend of Herself posted this cartoon on Facebook recently.  I searched and found the original at, here.  It is marvelous, and it is perfect.

I shall build you a nest.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Let us pause for a moment, and listen to a bit of Roberta Flack. She certainly sings of love and loss beautifully.

I'd recommend the entire album, The Best of Roberta Flack, for the classics.  Perhaps listen to Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow or The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, should you want to hear the hesitation and the intensity of new romance; or, if you require musical accompaniment for heartbreak, try If Ever I See You Again, or especially, Jesse.  If you had to pick just one song, though, I'd suggest Killing Me Softly. It is just right.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


While rummaging around for a lid to match the bin for today's lunch, I came across this one.  We must have used it at one point to save a small bit of Thorbert's special diabetic food.

Ah, ottoman-shaped dog.  We miss your faithful wagging stumpy tail.

Monday, June 16, 2014


There was a point in my life when I had come to the conclusion that I would never have friends in the same way that other people have friends.

I have my husband and my children; they are the backbone of my life, my focus, my loves. I also have extended family, both that of birth and that of marriage, and they provide me with a social structure and a sense of belonging.  Plus I have my internet people, those with whom I e-mail or interact through electronic media. (These are lovely, supportive, kind-hearted and intelligent people, these internet people; never underestimate the power of connection through the computer.) I have high school classmates and college roommates with whom I communicate on occasion, too.

Yet, for many many years, there were no individuals with whom I interacted in person on a regular basis by choice, unless they were related to me either by marriage or by blood. I assumed that such people would never exist for me.

And yet, here I am:  the Universe has seen fit to provide me a friend.  It is a wonder -- a tangible, actual miracle for me -- to find that despite a lack of any familial or social obligation, another individual appears to be willing to spend time with me. To run errands, to watch movies. To walk. To talk. To play Scrabble. To just sit and be.

How could I possibly be so fortunate?  And how can I possibly express my gratitude to my friend for existing?

I cannot.  There aren't enough words. There will never be enough words.

So I do what I can to make my friend's life more pleasant.  Sometimes, that means providing food.  Other times, that means just listening. Every now and then, that means giving my friend space to be alone. (That's the greatest challenge for me -- but I'm learning.)  And I fold my friend into my family as much as my friend allows me to do so. It is a tremendous pleasure to have my friend among, and included in the group of, the people I hold most dear.

I know there will come a time when my path will diverge from the path of my friend.  Perhaps my friend will find a mate, and the amount of time my friend and I spend together will dwindle as my friend's own family begins. Or perhaps an irresistible employment opportunity will arise in a distant place, and geography will become a barrier to time spent together.  Or perhaps, something else -- we never know which way the winds of fate will blow.

Ever mindful of this, I am grateful every day for my friend. And no matter what the future holds, I know that I have had a friend, and I am a better person for it.

I wish for you all, a friend like my friend. You would be very lucky, indeed.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

It’s only when you grow up and step back from him – or leave him for your own home – it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. - Margaret Truman

Happy Father's Day to my magnificent, ever-supportive and loving Dad. I want to be just like him when I grow up. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Three weeks after having left her previous employment, Herself is still adjusting to her unmooring.  She knew, intellectually, that there would be a certain amount of  adjustment to make as she changed pathways.  For some reason, though, she wasn't quite prepared to tackle the grief. (I suppose no one quite knows how a significant change will feel until the change itself happens.)  It's been trickier than she thought it would be.

Sorrow creeps up when she least expects it -- while she's brushing her teeth in the morning, while in the car while out running errands. She's unwilling to give the feelings full flight, even though she suspects that a good cry might help; the grief is still embedded too deeply, like a tiny splinter that isn't ready to work its way to the surface yet.  Relief is not yet available. The wound needs more time.

She finds herself wanting consolation, and yet not knowing how to seek it. She is strained and easily frustrated; her energies are expended in adjusting, and she has little left to extend her usual patience and tolerance toward others.  She wants to be with her Safe People, even though she can hardly stand to be with herself. Oddly, she would like to lean on them, actually physically lean on them, to feel their solidity and their presence, to derive strength from their strength. It's inappropriate, though, to intrude upon their personal space in such a manner; her need for physical proximity does not trump their right to spatial autonomy. Therefore, she refrains.

She suspects, too, that they don't -- can't -- quite "get" what she's experiencing. Their days have marched onward as usual while Herself has undergone a tremendous alteration of her life path, and there's absolutely no way for her to explain exactly how she feels.  There just aren't enough of the right words.

She sees that people are trying to be kind to her, even though she's currently unusually obtuse, scatterbrained, and fatigued, and she is simultaneously grateful to them and angry at herself. So pathetic, so needy, pull yourself up by your bootstraps already! says the tiny voice in the back of her head -- and then it continues, but first just hold me for a minute.  Poor tiny voice, so sad and contrary. It will be OK, tiny voice.

This too shall pass, she knows. In time, her grief will wash away. The stream of life flows onward, and she will see where it takes her. In the meanwhile, though, she hopes that her Safe People will forgive her for leaning just a little bit -- both metaphorically and literally -- from time to time. She finds it very helpful.

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Picture copyright 2014, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hair Is Tricky

While Herself for the most part likes having long hair, she's at a bit of a loss as to what to do with it.  When it's hotter than the hinges of Hades (as it is so often in this desert land) having her hair out of the way is a necessity. Yet her braiding abilities are quite limited.  A ponytail -- whether by hair band or by barrette -- is really all she can decently manage.  She's working on learning to use a bun-holding contraption right now (it's quite lovely and a gift from Beloved Husband), but her hair is so straight and fine, it will not likely stay put for long.

She wishes that she had Hair Skills.  Or that someone could braid her hair for her.  She thinks that would be very nice indeed.

(Herself is a wee bit alarmed at the grey hairs that are becoming more numerous.  
She will not be able to ignore them much longer.  Alas.)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

No Turtlenecks, Please

Just lie down on the table with your shoulders on the pillow and your head past it, so your head is tilted back.

Today Herself went for a routine ultrasound to check on that (mercifully silent) thyroid nodule she's been harboring for several years now.  All was good - the nodule did not appear to be doing anything remotely remarkable, everything else looks fine.  The bloodwork also came back right where it should be.  Huzzah for properly functioning body parts! She's been cleared for another year, at which time she'll repeat the blood tests. She is pleased and relieved.

Herself doesn't even like to wear turtleneck sweaters, and close inspection of the thyroid is so much more than a turtleneck:  it requires significant exposure and vulnerability of the neck under the bright lights of the examination room, in combination with a fair amount of pressure and movement across the neck by the ultrasound wand. The examination is not painful; in fact, it's only a bit physically uncomfortable. Add to that, though, compression straight up the middle of one's abdomen and chest by the forearm of the doctor holding the wand, and the whole process becomes rather a tad unpleasant for those who have a heightened sensitivity for intrusion into their personal space.

Herself left the doctor's office just a bit twitchy.  Barring some unusual activity in next year's blood tests (or some kind of visibly noticeable change in her thyroid), though, no ultrasound or biopsy will be needed again for several more years. Thank goodness.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


My refreshing beverage is gone, and my brain is frozen.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Perks of the Non-Telecommuter

One perk of working outside of the house:  being able to wear Real Grownup Shoes. Fancy!

Another perk of working outside of the house: being able to take off Real Grownup Shoes at the end of the day.  Aaaaaaah.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Delicate Tuft

The appearance of things changes according to the emotions; and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves. - Kahlil Gibran

Picture copyright 2014, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Introspective Ruminations

Five years ago was our first post.

The blog, so simple at first, has evolved organically over time. It has become a haven for all kinds of thoughts -- both tiny and gigantic -- among which pictures (some trivial, some beautiful) have taken up residence. It has grown ever so slowly into an ecosystem unto itself   it is a garden of words, and I, timid yet hopeful gardener, have tended it with wonder and love. It has been balm for my soul when I have needed it most.

I am humbled and grateful for your presence, my treasured readers. You motivate me to write, and the act of writing -- although yielding frequently wordy and sometimes incomprehensible results -- has brought me a bit of understanding, acceptance of things past, and encouragement for what lies ahead. It is good.

I hope you will continue to walk this path with me, my readers. My step is lighter and more sure when you are here.  And when darkness occasionally descends on this garden of mine, you help me to see the stars.

Thank you.

Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in your life as you sometimes think. When you re-read your journal you find out that your latest discovery is something you already found out five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas and the same experiences. ― Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas 

The Big Dipper, the evening of May 23, 2014, in Tombstone, AZ.  
Picture copyright 2014, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Today's earworm:  Simple Man, by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I hope you enjoy.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Herself has taken on a new task that requires her to be out of the house for over 6 hours each weekday. After years and years of telecommuting, it's an interesting change for her to make the effort to be presentable and go in the morning. It's requiring more running around early in the day than usual -- is the kitchen tidy? Have lunches been made? Is dinner contemplated? Is the laundry under control? Are the pets all set? -- but Herself's productivity has increased accordingly. It's not unenjoyable. It is rather a bit tiring, but Herself supposes she will become more accustomed to the new, more challenging routine with time.

She has worried about the impact of her absence on Tiny Dog, who is accustomed to having Herself present all day long.  Would Tiny Dog be sad? Lonely? Angry or sulky when Herself returned?  Mercifully, charming Tiny Dog has adapted well.  She greets Herself at the door with enthusiasm and tail wagging, and after a snack and a potty break, she and Herself sit on the couch for a bit together. It is restful and soothing for both of them.

Good girl, Tiny Dog.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


One day last week, Herself provided transportation for her long-term Acquaintance, who needed a ride to a particular place at a specific time. Herself is always happy to give a lift (whether literal or metaphorical), and went about the task while en route to her other activities.  At the moment, Herself was dressed to attend to out-of-house matters; she was a tiny bit curious to see what Acquaintance -- who voices strong opinions regarding exactly what one should and should not wear for any and every occasion -- would say.

"You look quite glamorous."

That was unexpectedly positive, Herself thought, although she also supposed that anyone accustomed to seeing Herself in her usual yoga pants or jeans and T-shirts might indeed find slacks and a blouse to be rather on the glamorous side of things. Long-term Acquaintance further commented that she had seen a similar blouse at a particular high-end department store. Herself, contemplating the discount retail shop where she had purchased the blouse in question, was pleased not to have spent high-end prices on the garment.

At the destination, Herself hopped out of the vehicle to help long-term Acquaintance with her belongings, and Acquaintance commented, "Let me see what size that blouse is in case I see a similar one on sale."  She then reached up, grabbed the back of the neck of Herself's blouse, and wrestled out the tag to see what was printed on it. She then bade farewell to Herself and went on her way.


It was no use, Herself supposed, in just stating aloud what size the blouse was; Acquaintance never seems to believe Herself's statements about the sizes of her clothing.  That's not necessarily surprising -- it's hard to provide full coverage of a bountiful bosom without also having ample fabric present at the waist, and that oftentimes unfortunately results in a more voluminous silhouette than one might attain with a more tailored garment. In order to (hopefully) keep from appearing too dumpy, a woman with curves such as Herself's may wear differing sizes, depending on fabric, cut and style. "What size is that?" thus is a legitimate question.


Perhaps if Herself were three years old, it might be acceptable for an adult to take a quick peek at the tag in her shirt in order for the adult to ensure that any clothing gift would fit properly. Nevertheless, in Herself's opinion it is improper for a middle-aged (or any-aged) adult to be treated in such a manner in a public place.  It's needlessly invasive of her personal space. And it makes her twitch.  She wishes anew that she had an actual Personal Space Sphere to protect herself from such unwanted contact.

Perhaps someday she'll be able to shake off such happenstances without difficulty. In the meanwhile, though, she seeks out positive, unobtrusive physical contact with her Safe People (and her Tiny Dog) to counterbalance the transgression. That always helps her to feel better.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Nature's Secret Love

Nature loves her creatures, and conceals them (when necessary) with a precise and tender hand.

We delight in discovering her creatures in all their hidden beauty.

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

 ― Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Mysterious cricket in its lair of leaves. 
Picture copyright 2014, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy solitude. It's because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them. ― Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper

The more time we spend out in the world interacting with others, the more we realize that people are oftentimes incomprehensible.  Even with those individuals we know well, we are occasionally surprised to realize that they think or perceive in manners that are different from (and even opposite to) how we think or perceive.

It is disappointing. Frustrating. It tempts us to withdraw into solitude:  when we are alone, we at least have the comfort of knowing we understand ourselves.

It's sometimes a wonder that human beings can in fact find common ground -- but somehow, we do.  We try, with a million words and gestures, to impart to one another what we mean or how we feel or why we believe things ought to be a certain way.  It is a laborious endeavor.  Yet occasionally, someone close has an uncanny ability to say aloud precisely what one is thinking under specific circumstances, and it's both thrilling and terrifying to realize that perhaps, for that single moment, one is perfectly understood.

This magnificent photograph shows an ant lion larva in all its solitary glory.
Picture copyright 2014, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Channeling Your Inner Princess

Herself speaks.

I have not yet seen Disney's Frozen.  I'm usually relatively princess-averse; the all-too-common "princess needing rescue" theme does not sit well with me.  (I'm more of a paper-bag princess type.) I note that Disney has been attempting to provide female characters with greater strength and courage (see, e.g., Mulan and Brave). While I applaud that effort, I still resist Disney movies on the whole because of the tremendous amount of merchandising.  The princess-ification of generations of young girls in cheaply-made gowns and tiaras is not A Good Thing; positive messages are easily lost among the cheap plastic trinkets.

One day relatively recently, I accidentally heard the very-popular song from Frozen:  Let It Go. It's musically adequate - not earth-shatteringly musically interesting, certainly, but at the very least, it's rather catchy.  Earworm material.

And then there are the lyrics.  Well, those certainly resonated much more than I thought they would.

(I know, it's "just a song."  I ask you, though, to think of the songs you hold close to your heart, or those that you have tied in your memory with a particular time or place or event, though.  You might be surprised at the lasting effect that a song has had.)

Don't let them in, don't let them see.
Be the good girl you always have to be.
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know.

That's really rather close to home, not only for adolescents who are just beginning to figure themselves out, but also for me and for many women who grew up as I did.  We must behave, we must not cry or display emotion, and above all, we must excel -- work extremely hard, be ever so proper, do All The Right And Expected Things.  And we do, as we must; yet we have moments when we feel stifled, restrained, unable to reach for (or even think about) the dreams that we might have, because they are not strictly compatible with the path on which we have been set.

Let it go, let it go!
Can't hold it back any more.
Let it go, let it go!
Turn away and slam the door.
I don't care what they're going to say.

It's a beautiful -- and dangerous -- message for naive pubescent and adolescent princess-admirers. While it might give them the strength to reach for some tremendous goals and to tune out naysayers, it might also allow those who are particularly impressionable to turn their backs on well-intentioned (and perhaps sage) advice given to them regarding school or peers or their future.

It's a very different message for the middle-aged woman. So many of us, sandwiched by our responsibilities to our husbands and offspring and to our aging parents, boxed in by our employment and our activities, long to take a new path.  We have been defined for so long by our relationship to others -- daughter, wife, mother -- that we feel as though we have lost ourselves.  We want to find ourselves again, to be ourselves, not just to be the women people assume we are or are supposed to be.

Is Let It Go an encouragement to make changes and see where Life and the forces of nature will take us, or a gentle reminder that, pop-culture song lyrics aside, we must leave our dreams in our heads because we cannot turn our backs on our obligations to pursue selfish aspirations?  Can we somehow make our dreams one with our realities?  It seems an impossible, insurmountable task. Or is it? Food for thought, certainly.

It's funny how some distance,
makes everything seem small.
And the fears that once controlled me, can't get to me at all
It's time to see what I can do,
to test the limits and break through.
No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
I'm free!

Rules must be bent deliberately, purposefully, only after careful thought; we don't want to encourage young girls to do so willy-nilly. Yet this verse also contains a welcome reminder that a bit of perspective can aid a girl in moving forward even if she is afraid. Perspective is always helpful.

Let it go, let it go.
I am one with the wind and sky.
Let it go, let it go.
You'll never see me cry.

It's a bit disingenuous to suggest that no one should see a girl cry, for crying is part and parcel of existence; but if the intention of this verse is to remind a girl not to shed tears of fear or doubt or regret for attempting to forge a new path for herself -- that is a good thing, indeed.

Let it go, let it go.
And I'll rise like the break of dawn.
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand, in the light of day.

Motivation to arise and try anew, every day, and a reminder that one need not be perfect, are both excellent for everyone:  young girls, middle-aged girls, old girls -- and boys of all ages as well.

And so it ends.  Or begins.

I am curious now to see the context of the song. When I determined that I'd have a weekend evening to myself without adult company in the near future, I decided that I should rent Frozen and treat myself to a quasi-princess evening with Tiny Dog (girls unite!). I will let you know what I think of the movie.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly. 

― Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Picture copyright 2012, 2013, 2014 Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.