Thursday, December 31, 2015

Out With The Old

Here we are, once again, at the end of the year.

Herself and Beloved Husband looked at one another these past few weeks and concurred that this was the first year in many years that they hadn't gotten to mid-year and said, "I thought this year was supposed to be better than last year."  We are all tremendously grateful that this was, all-in-all, a decent year. There were still repercussions from the previous year -- Herself still periodically feels grief related to her unmooring, and sadness and readjustments were regular features of the days of this year as we learned to cope with Cherished Friend's moving away  -- but everyone is healthy, bills are paid, and :::fervently knocking wood::: there have been no new dramatic or difficult changes.

In our relief, we feel that it might be greedy to ask the Universe for more and better for next year. In our eternal optimism, though, we breathe wishes into the ether for those we love: may they have health, contentment, satisfaction at school or at work, and flashes of Joy. May they know they are loved. And may Good Things, in whatever form they take, come to them, always.

Here's to a New Year.

Picture copyright 2014, 2015, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

On Top

Today's earworm: On Top Of The World, by Imagine Dragons.

I found this in some random internet list of Songs To Wake Up To. And though I won't be setting it as my alarm, it does certainly have that just-right degree of upbeat melody to perk up one's day.

I hope you enjoy.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Sun Dog

Elderly three-toothed dog likes to keep Herself company upstairs when she uses the elliptical trainer. (He is much like ottoman-shaped dog in that respect. And it is nice to have that company.) This afternoon, the sun streamed in just right, so we arranged a blanket on the chaise for him to rest. He was quite happy.

Good boy, Tio.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Snow Shovel

A few thoughts about the snow.

The snow started out mildly.
Just a dusting in the front of the house.

A bit more in the back of the house.

It was really rather poetic.

In the evening streetlight, it was lovely

And then, by the next morning, it was... quite abundant.

Eight-inch (or more?) caps of snow on all of the pots and plants.

The rose bushes were thoroughly weighted down by the snow.

The small dogs were most alarmed.
Even shoveling them a patch of grass was insufficient 
to console them.

It was nearly knee-deep to 6-foot-two-inch Offspring the Third.

He built a snowman.

He said, of the snowman:

"The dramatic snowman, built upon my likeness, is here to bid you all a late merry Christmas and an early happy new year. Also, a big thank you to Mrs. Clause, Jingle Bell, and Jangle Bell for talking to mother nature to get the heat miser to fork over some southern territory to snow miser to allow snow for his creation."

We spent the afternoon shoveling the driveway, lest it all melt-and-freeze. (Herself actually enjoys shoveling snow. I suppose it would be less enjoyable if it was necessary more often, but today, it was a pleasant task.) 

It was beautiful snow. We shall see how long it remains.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


It's snowing! 

I have browned the pot roast and put it into the crock pot, and we are all watching the Star Wars movies. It is Good, indeed.

Friday, December 25, 2015

What It Is

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. ~ Agnes M. Pharo

Picture copyright 2014, 2015, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

That Which We Have Loved

The holiday season can be joyous, complex, difficult -- sometimes, all in the same day. Our wish for you is that you find yourself safe and warm and healthy, and knowing that you are loved. 

Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. ~ Augusta E. Rundel

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Like a Pile of Puppies

Herself speaks.

Offspring the Third had a small horde of friends over this past weekend. (Another day, I'll write about how marvelous that is, especially when one considers how brutal his peers were when he was in grade school. Good for him, to have found his way and his Tribe.) They were a mixed group of boys and girls, all very cheerful and polite. They drank cocoa with marshmallows, and consumed pizza and wee little pumpkin pie tarts that Offspring the Third had made, and then together they all rolled out and decorated sugar cookies. (I played the role of house elf, invisible except for when requested by Offspring the Third to help find the rolling pin or to fetch the pizzas from the oven.) They all laughed and shared inside jokes with one another, and it sounded as if they enjoyed themselves mightily.

After they exchanged gifts as per a preordained name-draw, they sat around the Christmas tree and chatted. All nine of them were squished together on the furniture, deliberately putting arms, feet, heads on one another, each physically in contact with several of the others concurrently. It didn't have any overt sexual overtones; rather, they all just seemed extraordinarily comfortable with touch. The same behavior extended to when they moved to the kitchen, for they all crowded and jostled each other playfully, comfortably. A few of them even carried some of the others back and forth between rooms. They were like a bunch of puppies together.

I wonder: at what point do we lose that type of physical contact?

My physical contact with others -- except for my immediate family, where there is a bit more contact -- is limited to handshakes and occasionally the briefest of hugs hello or goodbye for a few people. It is difficult even to imagine draping an arm across someone else's shoulders, or brushing someone else's hair, or sitting close enough for a foot or a knee to touch someone else. It's a cultural barrier of adulthood, with building of invisible walls and assertions of broad personal space. It leaves us all insufficiently touched, I think.

Are trained to eschew any physical contact so as to avoid any possibility of offending someone else with touch? Are we so easily bothered by another's touch? Or is it that any touch is construed as possibly sexual, and thus we avoid contact so as to avoid misinterpretation of small gestures? What ever happened to physical without sexual touch?

This is how we end up with professional "cuddlers" - because common touch has been lost from our communal vocabulary.

There are times when I am very cognizant of having to avoid touching someone else, even though my first instinct is to reach out my hand. I am stifled. Or rather, I stifle myself. Because it is Not Done.


It does not seem right to me.

This adorable puppy pile was found here

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ugly Boy

Elderly three-toothed dog has taken a shine to Offspring the First, and begged to sit in her lap yesterday. She kindly obliged. Then she took a closeup of his wee little face.

Oh, dear. That tongue, in particular. And the photo doesn't even include much of the one permanently crumpled ear.

Tio, you are not handsome. Despite that -- or partially because of that? -- we are particularly fond of you and your funny-looking mug.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Just, NO

Really? No. Jeez Louise.
Available at the store today:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Family Game

Beloved Husband, Offspring the First, Offspring the Second, and Offspring the Third played a game of Scrabble, while Herself worked on various kitchen- and holiday-related activities. There was much laughter. It was Very Nice, indeed.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


EXTRA ambiance.

(I always thought it was spelled "ambience." Apparently it can be written either way. And now that I've typed it, both look funny.)

Regardless: fancy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


The marvelous Subaru has hit 10,000 miles. 

It makes driving a pleasure, and I am very happy to have it. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Today's earworm: Ends of the Earth by Lord Huron. (With thanks to Beloved Husband, who first introduced us to the song.)

It might be a sad song; I haven't learned all the lyrics yet. Still, it is lovely.

I hope you enjoy.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Santa Tio

I know dogs shouldn't wear clothing. I couldn't help myself.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Phenomenological Difference

There is a phenomenological difference in experiencing pain yourself and sharing someone else's pain and suffering. Your own pain is involuntary; you feel overwhelmed and have no control. When feeling the pain of others there is an element of discomfort, but there also is a level of stability because you are voluntarily accepting pain. It gives you a sense of confidence. - His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I was not entirely sure, at first, what the Dalai Lama meant.

First, I looked up "phenomenological" -- "relating to the study of the development of human consciousness and self-awareness."  Hmmm. That seems to require a million more words before I begin to comprehend.

Second, I looked up "confidence," for it seemed oddly out of place in the quotation. Confidence: "a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something." In this context, what does that indicate? That one has a feeling or belief that one can experience pain and suffering well? That doesn't make sense.

Let's just look at the middle part:

Your own pain is involuntary; you feel overwhelmed and have no control. When feeling the pain of others there is an element of discomfort, but there also is a level of stability because you are voluntarily accepting pain.

This part, I understand.

When I feel my own Darkness descend, I do feel overpowered and helpless. Afraid. I have to hold tight to myself and wait for it to pass.

To hear and acknowledge someone else's Darkness, though, does not frighten me. To bear witness to another's Darkness is to willingly take on a piece of it for oneself. It is to light a beacon for those in the Darkness. And sometimes, it is just to sit in silence in the Darkness, together.

This, I can do.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Prodrome Gremlins

It's one thing to read about the phases of migraine: prodrome, aura, attack, postdrome. (And I recommend you do read about the phases; it helps to understand that a migraine is not just a bad headache. No, indeed.) It's another thing entirely to live the phases of the migraine.

I'm currently in prodrome. It may not yield a full-fledged migraine -- sometimes things ratchet back downwards. Still, it's unpleasant: irritability, cravings for sugar, sleepiness; everything is too loud, too bright, too scratchy or too squeezy, too salty, too much. This phase includes watchful waiting for aura: nausea, dizziness, pins-and-needles, and then a run for medication when the aura kicks in.

(I would medicate earlier, during prodrome, but sometimes the ibuprofen can increase nausea/stomach pain. It's a delicate matter, pain relief.)

The hardest part about prodrome: the gathering of the Darkness in my head.

The Darkness seems to be a desolate fog, yet it is populated with ugly little gremlins who congregate and whisper and draw strength from one another.

There are gremlins of frustration and sadness: they shine a painful light on all my responsibilities, causing them to telescope unnaturally in length and grow in weight. There are gremlins of despair and yearning, who remind me about the things I want that I cannot have. Accompanying them is a small throng of gremlins who join forces to drag out bitter remembrances of exhaustion and loss and heartache.

And in the center, one particularly cruel gremlin stands solitary, arms crossed, and roars with a vindictive stare that I am completely alone, that no one will help, that no one cares -- and that if I ask for help I will be rejected, laughed at, abandoned.

This is the gremlin I fear the most.

It is somehow a relief when a migraine slams with its full force. It obliterates everything -- even that solitary demon -- and I am left in the soft light on the shore, soaked, shivering, and happy to be alive.

You know: if I could vanquish that solitary gremlin, I think I could banish all the others, too.

Picture copyright 2014, 2015, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Friday, December 11, 2015


How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it’s just words.
― David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

Sometimes, the words bubble up and out. Some distant emotive precipitation -- whether a quiet rain or a fierce hailstorm -- carries the words underground, a silent spring, until they find a point of access into the world and pour forth in all their multitude. You can almost smell the creosote in the soft humidity that breathes across the land.

It still surprises me when the word flood yields no verdant growth. No sprig to gain purchase in the newly-moistened soil. No small desert flower. Perhaps it is too much all at once, and the seeds of dialogue are washed away.

I gather the word water back into myself, then, and await next time.

Picture copyright 2014, 2015, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


We are having the hail damage to the house repaired. There has been a swarm of pleasant, capable, and very busy workers all over the inside and the outside of the house, fixing the garage doors, painting things, repairing the damage from the roof leak and the window leak. Poor Tiny Dog is quite agitated at having SO MANY STRANGERS in and directly outside of the house. (Herself is a wee bit agitated. She does not care for strangers in her Space. Nevertheless, these are polite and hard-working strangers, so they get a pass. Plus, they are incredibly tidy. That makes Herself happy.) It's always Good when work gets done in a swift and efficient manner. Bravo.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wizard Majority

Herself speaks.

Flashback: wee Offspring the Third, in his little bear hat, with his pacifier, tucked warmly into the baby sling. We were at Carlsbad Caverns, one of my very favorite places. I carried you throughout. Sweet baby mine, grown up now.

Today, Offspring the Third has reached the age of majority in the wizarding world: 17. These seventeen years have passed in the blink of an eye, and he has matured into a lovely young man: kind, funny, philosophical, warm-hearted. Bless you, marvelous child. I hope that the future brings you All Good Things.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Winter Sun

Elderly three-toothed dog likes to keep me company when I use the elliptical trainer. Sometimes, the sun shines in just right, and he can enjoy the rays on his cushion nearby. 

Ottoman-shaped dog used to do the same thing. 

Thank you, Tio, for taking on the canine role of exercise supervisor.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Winter Roses

A few of the rose bushes in the yard are still blooming. Nice.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I'm an Old Fart

Heard a very catchy tune yesterday:  Let's Marvin Gaye and Get It On, by Charlie Puth, with Meghan Trainor. I watched the video, and realized that I am an old fart.

The following were some of my thoughts during the video:

1.  The video is set a high school dance. Target audience therefore is high school students. OK then!

2.  How old is Charlie Puth? Good heavens, is he even out of high school? Babyface. (According to Wikipedia, he is 24. Still, LOOKS SO YOUNG.)

3.  How many high school students these days even know who Marvin Gaye was or how groundbreaking his music was? Would they know know that the song referenced is Gaye's Sexual Healing?

4. LYRICS ISSUE 1: "We've got this king-sized to ourselves/Don't have to share with no one else." Well, I would hope not. Unless you're in to that. Oh, dear.

5. LYRICS ISSUE 2: "Don't keep your secrets to yourself/It's kama sutra show and tell". Does the intended audience know that the kama sutra is and ancient Indian Hindu text that not only discusses sexual positions, but also provides information about virtuous living, and the nature of love, family life and other matters?

5.  LYRICS ISSUE 3: "You've got to give it up to me/I'm screaming mercy, mercy please." Erm, no. One never need give in sexually because one's partner says one has to do so.

6.  You know, I don't  actually need to see a closeup of any couple open-mouthed kissing. Ever.

7.  The chaperones: well, she looks appropriately mildly disturbed by the wave of teenage sexuality that has washed over all of the attendees at the dance. He, on the other hand, looks like the sort of man who is dressed up to be nerdy but really isn't, and is rather a lothario who is looking for his own opportunity.

8.  Meghan Trainor has SUCH a round behind. She's a lovely girl.

9. There's a guy feeding a girl a strawberry while she's lying down across the refreshments table: that berry looks rather large for him to be cramming it down her throat that way.  

10.  Well, by the end of the video, it's practically an orgy. Assorted couples all over the dance floor, the tables, in the bathroom stalls, in a car and in the janitor's closet (at least those couples attempted to find some privacy), everywhere. And I'll point out that on the floor of the gym, most of the couples have girl-on-top positions. Not sure if there's a message there -- perhaps it was just more visually appealing, since the girls' dresses and legs are more interesting than the back of various suit jackets would have been.

11.  Kudos to the video-makers for being all-inclusive; the players were various ethnicities, and among the standard heterosexual couples, I also spotted lesbian and gay couples, couples that included larger-sized individuals, couples of mixed race, and even more than one menage-a-trois, Oh, and an 'old' couple -- the chaperones who were similarly, um, overcome by the song.



Is it inappropriate for a high-school aged crowd?

I know that some high school students are embroiled in rampant hormones. Perhaps it's a good thing that sexuality is treated as something about which one need not be ashamed or embarrassed. On the other hand, does it add to the pressure that teenagers feel to be sexually active before they are emotionally ready?

Sex should be taken a bit more seriously, I think. Not so seriously so as not to laugh in the bedroom, of course -- but seriously enough that teenage casual-and-rampant-sexual-activity, as in the video, should not be encouraged.

I know, I know -- it's just  a video. Still. I think that my sentiments on this matter clearly make me an old fart.

Nevertheless, it is a catchy song.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

You Never Know

Today's earworm: Meghan Trainor, Like I'm Gonna Lose You, with John Legend. It's a sweet, melodic reminder not to take the ordinary days for granted.

We hope you enjoy.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Dewclaw Carry-You

Herself speaks.

Tiny Dog snagged her dewclaw on the carpet while running around with her toys. It broke. SMALL DOG BLEEDING, ALARM, ALARM. A minute or two of pressure stopped the flow of blood, but she needed to be kept still for several minutes to make sure it didn't start bleeding or get snagged again. Beloved Husband had just arrived home and needed to go change his clothes; I was in the middle of browning some chicken for Offspring the Third's dinner after theater rehearsal. What to do?

There, on the doorknob to the study, was the baby sling -- I'd gotten it out to show Offspring the First when she was home for Thanksgiving.

I stuffed a small fleece blanket into it, and then tucked Tiny Dog in as well. She was unsure at first, but then settled in comfortably. I could resume my activities and take care of her at the same time. Win!

I won't do it often. Or ever in public. (That's crazy-dog-lady territory.) Still, it was handy. And it reminded me of how very useful the sling had been with the Offspring, so long ago.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Terrible Legacy

There was a mass murder in San Bernardino, California, yesterday. Once more we are horrorstruck. So many shootings. So very many. Fourteen people were slain, with seventeen more injured. Unthinkable. And yet somehow unsurprising. Alas.

The perpetrators, a husband and wife, left their six-month-old baby with a relative before committing these atrocities.

The child.

Her parents have left her naught but a legacy of pain.

What happens to her now?  If her relatives try to protect her from learning too young the truth of what her parents did, there will nevertheless be some classmate who overhears the talk of the adults -- for adults often are careless about what is said in front of children -- and who will taunt the child on the playground. Children are cruel, and adults are cruel, too. There will be whispers and subtle (or not-so-subtle) shunnings for this child throughout her life. And perhaps not even whispers. There will be barbed words, or worse, for her: a lifetime of danger, not knowing who might know her parents' history and find her guilty by association.

And if people do manage to keep her history under wraps for a short (or even a longer period of) time: when do they tell her? What do they tell her? How can they possibly prepare her for such a terrible knowledge? "Your mom and dad are murderers." It would be nearly incomprehensible.

What can she do? Will she feel the obligation to atone for her parents' sins? What possible degree of abnegation would be sufficient? Will she find that people expect her to be a rigorously devout Muslim and to show herself to be very different from any radicalized Muslim who has wrought such crimes? Will she find it necessary to take the exact opposite path from her parents and throw herself into a lifetime of activism for gun control or for peace or for some other type of social justice? Will she feel she must deliberately put herself into harm's way, to demonstrate that she is Not Like Them? Or will she give in, knowing that she has been damned by people since her infancy, and follow in her parents' footsteps?

It is a terrible fate.

I am sorry, child, that your parents brought you into this world and then so mercilessly branded you with horror and abandoned you. I hope that as you walk the jagged path that is your inheritance, you will still find moments of happiness.

Good luck, baby girl.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Solitary Bear

Today, I both long for, and am disquieted by, solitude.

There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall. ― Colette, Oeuvres compl├Ętes en seize volumes

Picture copyright 2015, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Laundry Waits

I have finished all of the laundry from the Thanksgiving holiday.

Eight thousand or so dishtowels have been folded and put back where they belong; freshly-made beds are awaiting the next trip home by Offspring the First and Offspring the Second; and Cherished Friend's bedding is clean and carefully stored away until next time on the shelf marked "FUR-FREE LINENS". The Thanksgiving tablecloth is tucked in the sideboard until next year. The fall-themed hand towels are back in the linen closet, and the winter-themed ones are now making their appearance.

I feel as though the laundry is Anticipating. It waits, as we all do, for the Next Time.

Remain patient, Laundry. You will have your turn again.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Silent Within

I thought of writing more about Thanksgiving -- about the myriad pies, about the joy of having all three Offspring at home, about the pleasure of having companionship in the kitchen -- but I cannot. While some sentiments are best released through writing, others are best held wordlessly in the heart. And so it shall be.

Picture copyright 2015, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go. ― Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye

Home: we carry it with us.

It was collected here for Thanksgiving; and now some portions have dispersed once more. Such it is, when the Universe has called us to different places on this small blue planet.

My hope is that the pieces of Home that they carry with them will shelter and protect them, always.

Friday, November 27, 2015


So much food.
So many of my very favorite people at the table.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Thanksgiving will be at my house.

This evening's efforts included dry-brining the turkey.

Handling the turkey was enough to make me seriously consider becoming a vegetarian. Ew.

Much more enjoyable to make were the blueberry and cherry pies; the squash; the cranberry sauce; the zucchini bread; the pumpkin bread; and the Boston brown bread muffins.

Next up: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and the stuffing. And gravy, which is surprisingly tricky.

More details, and perhaps pictures, to follow in due course.

I am enjoying the cooking.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bank of....

Herself speaks.

'Tis the season... for holiday catalogs. So. Many. Catalogs. Some are interesting, some are filled with perplexingly expensive items that I can't imagine anyone actually purchasing. Some are pure schlock.

Today a catalog of jewelry arrived. Although I'm not enamored of large or expensive jewelry, I do like to thumb through those catalogs, just to see. This particular catalog was an equal-opportunity offering -- there were selections for men as well as for women -- that included the money clip shown in the photograph below (my thoughts follow the picture):



For so many reasons.

Primary reason one: if one is a father, one should expect to pay for items for one's offspring on occasion. That doesn't make one a "bank". That makes one a responsible (and occasionally generous) parent.

(I wonder, is it a thing of pride for some dads to be a "bank" for one's children? I can't fathom. But then again, I'm not a dad.)

Primary reason two: where is the "bank of mom" money clip? Is it that women don't use money clips, that it is not offered? What if they do?

I find myself thinking that this is some sort-of-sexist thing, where the patriarch controls the money. Perhaps that's ridiculous to think so. Yet it's a subtle thing that permeates so many things: for example, when we received the check from the insurance company to repair the hail damage to the house, the check was made out to Beloved Husband and the mortgage holder. I'm on the mortgage. I'm on the insurance policy. Why am I not also on the check?

Why is it so easy to dismiss or overlook a woman's involvement in family finances, even when in many households (such as mine) a woman is solely or primarily responsible for ensuring bills are paid and necessities are bought and gifts are purchased?

I may never know the answer. It grates at me, just a tiny bit, each time.

Monday, November 23, 2015


I'm a firm believer in refraining from anticipating things: experience has taught me that hoping for, or looking forward to, something far too frequently results in at best, disappointment, and at worst, an unfortunate cosmic "you may NOT have what you want" moment (or even occasionally, a "you may have the OPPOSITE of what you want" moment).

I bore this prohibition in mind while setting the table for Thanksgiving. Even though I don't want to jinx matters by imagining the pleasure of having some of my very favorite people sitting down to a meal together, I did, nevertheless, allow myself to enjoy setting the table. It looks nice. And that alone is enough to make me happy for now.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Scorpio/Saggitarius Cusp

I haven’t had a birthday party in a while, probably because I’m not really into celebrating myself. Especially not for an achievement (the creation of me) that I did not contribute to. ― Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not FOR SALE

We celebrate you, for our world is better for having you in it. 

Picture copyright 2014, 2015, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


This afternoon, I made all the beds for those who will be here for Thanksgiving, and I allowed myself a brief moment to contemplate the house full again. Ah, the joy.

Door's open, bed's made. Welcome home.
- Zion Control, Matrix Reloaded

Friday, November 20, 2015


For you
I have saved poems
under my skin.

― Sanober Khan

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sensory Trip

One of the things that strikes me the most about our trip to Phoenix for NASCAR is the overarching Sensory Experience of the event -- so distinct and quite particular. These are a few of the sensations I noticed most this time around (some have been present each year, and others were unique to this particular trip):

* Miles and miles of dry, wintry desert between here and there.
* An ocean of RVs.
* Chinese lanterns in the night sky.
* Fireworks.
* Beloved Husband relaxing - it's quite a novelty, to see him Not Working for several days in a row.
* Scurrying pit crews.
* Vehicles zipping by, again and again and again.
* Drunken, cheerful strangers.
* Cherished Friend's hat, a beacon in the mass of people.

* Roar of engines.
* Unexpected POP of random fireworks.
* Other peoples' music.
* Generators.
* The crunch of gravel in a bit of mud as I went for a morning walk.
* Quiet, periodic conversation with Beloved Husband and the subtle noise of tires on road during the drive home.

* The trailer's unique scent of adventure.
* The inside of Cherished Friend's truck, which, when I opened the door to put something inside it, had the same scent as his house.
* A fuel cloud blanketing the track.
* Cigarettes.
* Campfire.
* Adult beverages.

* Cold wet feet.
* Water accidentally up my nose as I bent upside-down to put my head under the water in the minuscule trailer shower stall to wash my hair, with my body fully dressed and outside the stall (both for warmth and for ease of use). A bit contortion-y, but it appears that the most efficient way to cleanse myself in the trailer is one section at a time.
* Flannel sheets and heavy comforters.
* Heat of the sun, chill of the shadow.
* Heat of the campfire, chill of the breeze.
* Weight of a sleeping child.

Ah, to be alive, and to sense All The Things.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


While we were away last week, we had an opportunity to spend time with a sweet wee sprite: a tiny 3 and a half year old girl with a sunny disposition and an impish grin. It has been ages since last we interacted with such a young child -- Offspring the Third is on the cusp of seventeen  -- and it was very enjoyable, indeed. Such a tender little bird of a child.

We read picture books, and colored in coloring books, and attempted to make various shapes out of Play-Doh, and we stuck stickers and built short towers out of dominoes.We sat by the campfire and looked for fireworks. And when she grew tired while perched upon my lap, I sang her a quiet lullaby and rocked her until she fell asleep.

As I held her while she slept, my arms grew tired, Still, I did not relinquish her to her bed until it was necessary. There is something about holding a sleeping child that nearly defies description: it is a visceral peace and contentment, a wordless knowledge that a small human being is comfortable and safe. As I held that tiny girl, I recalled those moments when the Offspring were young and I held them the same way. My heart sighed. So long ago.

Bless the wee bairn.

Monday, November 16, 2015


We've returned from a few days away. It was Good. We'll write more in due course about the adventures; right now, though, we'll just leave you with the song that came onto the radio as we pulled away to drive home. It was Just Right.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Treasured of Treasures

Herself speaks.

Beloved Husband and I have an opportunity to go away for a few days. Since we'll have housesitters (to whom we are grateful, for they will look after Tiny Dog and Elderly Three-Toothed Dog and Offspring the Third nicely), I've taken the precaution of putting away Things that are important to me.  My Treasured Treasures. Most would mean nothing else to anyone else (other than the passport, of course, which is clearly valuable item); yet they are some of the few material objects that I hold dear. While it's unlikely any harm would come to them, they are so very close to my heart that I do not want anyone except for those closest to me to touch them.

Stay safe, my Things.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Bat Heart

I wish that I could
Wrap you up safely
In my leathery wings

I would keep you warm
And comfortable
Near my ardent bat heart.

These lovely bats were found at the Australian Bat Clinic & Wildlife Trauma Centre, here:

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Despite knowing full well that the vast majority of all plants I have tended have inevitably perished, I have nevertheless purchased a Christmas cactus. I've put it next to the orchid, which appears to still be thriving despite being under my care. Good luck, cactus!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Into the Forest

He would eventually have to pass through the forest, but he felt no fear. Of course - the forest was inside him, he knew, and it made him who he was. ― Haruki Murakami, After the quake

Picture copyright 2014, 2015, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November Gratitudes

Herself speaks.

In honor of the month of Thanksgiving, many people on Facebook try to post a daily 'thankful' or 'gratitude' post.  Although some postings delve thoroughly into maudlin territory, others are humorous and entertaining. I try to walk the line. Sometimes I succeed.

One post I put up two years ago still rings true today. I'll share it here as well, so that I may visit it again. It is quite sentimental. I'm OK with that.

Today, I am thankful for the Offspring. I have sometimes joked that if one could have three polar opposites, that would describe the Offspring, because they have such divergent temperaments. Nevertheless, they each have an abundance of kindness and thoughtfulness, and their respective unique wits are marvelous to behold. They have shown me how to be a better person, and I'm grateful every day for them.


Picture copyright 2015, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ancient Rage

Warning: medical details ahead, involving certain aspects of childbirth. Those who are squeamish should read elsewhere. You have been warned. 

Herself speaks.

I read a magnificent version of the fairy tale about the woman with a ribbon around her neck the other day.  Beautiful, evocative, torrid, sensual. (You can read it for yourself here: It's lovely.

One portion of the story details the moment after the birth of the woman's child, when the doctor repairs the cut needed for the delivery, and the husband jokes about the doctor adding "that extra stitch." The doctor chuckles and comments that the husband isn't the first to inquire.

Oh, dear.

Years and years ago, I was in labor with Offspring the First for a seeming eternity (over twenty-four hours, although the first many hours were spent at home before things were serious enough to go forth to the hospital). She was so very stuck, with her round melon head. The doctor cut, and the child was finally, mercifully, safely delivered, though not without additional consequence -- I tore, too. Thankfully, the epidural kept me from feeling pain during the repairs. I remember the doctor saying, "fourth degree extension...." of the damage. I didn't know what that meant until later. Don't look it up. You may never uncross your legs again.

I had lost so much blood that they would not let me sit up after the repairs were finished. They wheeled me down the hall, and I had a glimpse of my firstborn in the nursery as we went by. Baby mine. Safely delivered. Amen.

Two years later, I was in labor with Offspring the Second. It was a mercifully short labor (perhaps 8 hours, start to finish), and was only really painful during transition. Once more, the doctor cut to ease that round melon head into the world. As the child was born, I heard alongside the pleased "here he is!" from the doctor, a muttered sound of dismay -- for Offspring the Second's shoulder had caught, and once more, I had torn, as badly as before.

The aftermath of a birth is hard to remember: so much work, so much relief wrapped with pain, the miracle and terror of being responsible for another tiny human being's life. And so you can understand why I cannot remember whether it was after Offspring the First's delivery, or after Offspring the Second's delivery, that the doctor, upon finishing his repair work, had jovially quipped about putting in "that extra stitch."



If that much damage had been done to my poor battered perineum while giving birth, what possible benefit would I have obtained from that Extra Stitch? All I gained was the risk of similar damage with any subsequent child. I couldn't imagine. I thought my underside might never fully recover. I couldn't even sit down properly. For ages.

A few years later, when we brought Offspring the Third into the world, my terror of a C-section quickly dissipated when he was safely delivered, and I then was ever so relieved, because I knew that I would be able, this time, to sit down properly.

I have no doubt that the doctor meant no harm. He was otherwise an excellent doctor, as I recall. Yet to know that he added that Extra Stitch not for me, but for -- what? Beloved Husband would never have even thought of asking for an Extra Stitch, and yet, the doctor must have presumed that he would like that my (slowly-healed) undercarriage would be extra tight.

Egads. I can't even imagine the thought process there.

And what of me? All that Extra Stitch did was pull the line between pain and pleasure to the width of an extra-fine thread, like a tiny row of sutures. Over two decades later, the scars -- healed and so ancient now, in the history of this body -- still, on occasion, remind me that they are there.

I am not sure why the beautiful fairy tale I read has triggered such a tremendous rush of anger about long-ago events. All I know right now is: this is MY body, and to think that it was altered -- even in so tiny a way as that Extra Stitch -- without my permission and purely (presumably) for the benefit of someone else, fills me with a terrible, tremendous rage.

The rage shall pass. But I shall always remember.

This body is my spirit's house and home. I am grateful for it. Extra Stitch, and all.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Today is the sixty-first anniversary of the release of the first Godzilla film. I have the date marked in my perpetual calendar because Offspring the Second, in his youth, was extraordinarily fond of Godzilla, and I like to wish him a happy Godzilla day. I'll always have a fondness in my heart for that giant destroyer/savior that is Godzilla, because of Offspring the Second.

I am very much looking forward to having Offspring the Second home for Thanksgiving.

This picture of the 1954 Japanese poster for the first movie was found here:

Monday, November 2, 2015

New Words

Today, I learned the word "lamprophony". What a great word.

I love words in all their shapes and sizes and complexities.

Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced. ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

If I were a fretful or worrying type, I would think about the possibility that some day, age or infirmity might steal all the words away from me. That would be a terrible, terrible thing. But then again, I think of my maternal grandmother, left with just four words after a life-shattering stroke, and it seemed to me that those four words were all she needed. So perhaps, with luck, I will keep just the words I need. 

Because even the smallest of words can be the ones to hurt you, or save you. ― Natsuki Takaya

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Neighborhood Decor

While out for a walk this evening, we spotted these very fine decorations leftover from Halloween.  Excellent.

Saturday, October 31, 2015