Tuesday, June 30, 2015


An article in today's Washington Post is titled: "New research suggests nature walks are good for your brain." Taking a walk outside decreases the degree of rumination ("a pattern of often negative, inward-directed thinking and questioning that has been tied to an increased risk of depression").

You can read the article here:

We inherently knew this.  It's always nice to have the backup of science, though.

Time to schedule a walk outside.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

All The Things I Cannot Say

Found this on Facebook:

I believe the original was found in the tumblr of To Write Love On Her Arms, an organization which I admire and support. 

These are fascinating questions. Complex, despite the simplicity of the words. And interestingly, there is likely to be overlap between the responses to the two questions.

I don't have plain answers. Do you? Tell me. I'm listening.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Simple Promise

Today's musical artist takes us to what seems like ages ago (twenty years, we had to check): Tracy Chapman.  Her music is beautifully simple.  In this era when pop songs are so often so very busy, Tracy Chapman's plain-poetic lyrics, acoustic guitar, and occasional violin are a welcome respite. Her lyrics always tell a story; oftentimes, it is a sad story, filled with longing and hope in the face of unhappiness. And she speaks of love, too. A broken heart still loves -- this, she knows, and tells us in her songs.

We remember many of her songs - Fast Car, Give Me One Reason, Baby Can I Hold You, Talkin' 'Bout A Revolution.  Today's earworm, however, is a song we had not heard before:  The Promise. It is quiet, and sad, and lovely.

Say you'll hold
A place for me
In your heart.

We hope you enjoy.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Love Is Love

Today, the United States Supreme Court found that under the 14th Amendment, states must issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex unions that were legally performed in other states.

Marriage equality for all.


(This banner found all over Facebook and the interwebs.  
I shall attribute it properly once I can identify its source.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Walking is also an ambulation of mind. ~ Gretel Ehrlich

One of the very best places for ambulation:  through the trees, amidst all the pine cones.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Herself had the pleasure of company of the full complement of Menfolk -- Beloved Husband, Offspring the Second and Offspring the Third, and Cherished Friend -- yesterday evening for a movie and dinner.  They saw Jurassic World. Ooooo! The dinosaurs (and, as Offspring the Second reminded us, the non-dinosaur species that flew and swam) were beautifully rendered. The actors did a solid job of portraying their characters as written: they valiantly plowed their way through the cheesy parts, and brought levity through the humorous bits. Well done.

The one quibble Herself had was with the characterization of the women in the film. So. Very. Cliché.

First, there was the emotional mother, brought rather inexplicably to tears (in the hallway of what was presumably her workplace, in front of a glass-walled conference room in which several people were meeting) by the idea that her children were momentarily with her sister's assistant rather than with her sister. Wouldn't a working woman be accustomed to maintaining her composure in the office, and be irritated, rather than tearful, under the circumstances? Hrmph. She also threw out the annoying "when you have children, you'll understand," as if only those who have borne their own spawn can understand why one would be worried about or protective of offspring.

Next, there was that aforementioned assistant, who rolled her eyes and sulked at the idea of having to chaperone the children, and spent the vast majority of her time on her telephone -- but her pouty and careless behavior was duly punished, as she rather needlessly [SPOILER ALERT] met a drawn-out and unpleasant demise.

There was also a token "techie" woman in the control room, who was reduced to tears at one point. Although she mercifully had a redeeming humorous point later in the movie, she appeared to serve primarily as foil or assistant to several male characters.

And finally, there was our protagonist, the cold, rigid, controlling, not-sure-even-of-the-ages-of-her-nephews career woman, who retorted with the standard "IF I have children" in response to her sister's admonitions. The career woman had not a single nurturing cell in her body, referring to the dinosaurs as "assets" rather than as live creatures with needs and biologically-driven behaviors. Only when the career woman was taught of the suffering by, and the intellect of, the dinosaurs -- by the Virile, In-Touch-With-Nature, Protective Manly Man, of course -- did her hair become disheveled and her humanity appear.


I realize it is difficult to portray the many facets of a single character's personality in a two-hour story.  Nevertheless, women are far more complex and subtle than the tropes displayed in this particular movie.  It might be much  too much to ask, though, to have the single-dimensional characteristics of these various women combined into a single person -- that would certainly have been too much realistic humanity for a standard summer blockbuster film.

On the lighter side, I do feel compelled to point out that the dinosaurs were all female. Girl dino power!

The Raptor Squad was found here: http://jurassicpark.wikia.com/wiki/Blue

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Today is Father's Day, and I would like to extend a special thank you to my father, for teaching me to quietly take care of all the little things for the people I love.

I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.  ― Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum

Friday, June 19, 2015

Bless Me

John O'Donohue speaks of cattle, in To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings:

On our farm in the winter, we put the cattle out on the mountains into the winterage.  There the grass has been preserved all year.  Even in the worst of weather, in frost and snow, the cattle still have fresh fodder.  Because the landscape is bleak, there is little shelter.  Every so often out there, one notices semicircular walls.  The cattle know them well.  These are the "sheltering walls" when winds and storms blow up.  Similarly, when you invoke a blessing, you are creating a "sheltering wall" of rest and peace around a person. 

Bless me, for I am weary, and long for a sheltering wall.

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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Seeking Grace

A favorite, for your your listening pleasure:  Amazing Grace.  This time, sung by the wonderful Judy Collins, with the Boston Pops orchestra, just because. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Chair

Here's a lovely poem by Jarod Kintz, from A Letter to Andre Breton, Originally Composed on a Leaf of Lettuce With an Ink-dipped Carrot. It reminds me of sitting and relaxing in quiet companionship, which is both rare and most pleasant, indeed.

The Chair

I’m writing to you, who made the archaic wooden chair
look like a throne while you sat on it.

Amidst your absence, I choose to sit on the floor,
which is dusty as a dry Kansas day.

I am stoic as a statue of Buddha,
not wanting to bother the old wooden chair,

which has been silent now for months.
In this sunlit moment I think of you.

I can still picture you sitting there--
your forehead wrinkled like an un-ironed shirt,

the light splashed on your face,
like holy water from St. Joseph’s.

The chair, with rounded curves
like that of a full-figured woman,

seems as mellow as a monk in prayer.
The breeze blows from beyond the curtains,

as if your spirit has come back to rest.
Now a cloud passes overhead,

and I hush, waiting to hear what rests
so heavily on the chair’s lumbering mind.

Do not interrupt, even if the wind offers to carry
your raspy voice like a wispy cloud.

Monday, June 15, 2015

When I Grow Up

Herself speaks. 

Although I don't speak much about my extended family -- to protect their privacy -- I would like to tell you this story about an exchange I had by text with my mother-in-law today.  MIL is a lovely woman: sweet, earnest, down-to-earth, caring.  She is the very embodiment of kindness.  She also, without a doubt, has a personal pipeline to God. I, who have little conviction in anything in particular, admire enormously the quiet strength of MIL's faith.

I had a favor to ask of her -- I wanted to ask her to intercede on behalf of someone I know. I briefly explained the situation to her, and then requested:

If you could say a small prayer... that things will work out well, I'd be really grateful.

MIL promptly responded:

Oh, mija, of course. I will pray with all my heart.

We bantered back and forth a bit more, and then we had the following exchange:

You're the best, Buela!

No, mija, YOU are.

I must've learned from you then.

You were so young when you started learning. I'm so proud of you.  You've done everything so well.


For that moment, the tiny voice of self-doubt that whispers, whispers in my ear was silenced. And I am ever so grateful for the quiet. 

Thank you, Buela. When I grow up, I want to be as lovely a soul as you are. 

And God bless you. 

You know -- I think He already has. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015


We had the tremendous pleasure of Cherished Friend's companionship for dinner tonight.  After the meal, Herself, Beloved Husband, and Cherished Friend sat out in the yard -- something Herself hasn't done in ages -- just listening to music and chatting. It was the most peaceful and relaxing evening since I can't remember when. We all have so missed Cherished Friend's company. 

Tiny Dog and elderly Three-toothed Dog spent the time outside as well. Tiny Dog chased bugs, and Three-toothed Dog stood (well, sat) guard, awaiting the appearance of the neighbor's dogs at the wall. He sat for a very long time, ever patient.  I wonder if his behind hurts from being parked on the rocks for so long. Super Dog, protector of the Home Turf. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Every time we pick up John O'Donohue's writings, we realize anew the magnificence of his words. It is necessary to be in the proper frame of mind to read his works, for to give them anything less than one's full attention would be improper -- some germ of a perfect thought might be inadvertently overlooked.

Tonight's thoughts, from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, speak of Kindness.

There is a kindness that dwells deep down in things; it presides everywhere, often in the places we least expect.  The world can be hard and negative, but if we remain generous and patient, kindness inevitably reveals itself.  
Kindness strikes a resonance with the depths of you own heart; it also suggests that your vulnerability, though somehow exposed, is not taken advantage of; rather, it has become an occasion for dignity and empathy.


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

Friday, June 12, 2015


Beloved Husband and Offspring the Second and Third had a project out of the house this evening, and so, Herself had a very rare evening to herself.  She cleaned the entire house and worked on the laundry, all the while listening to her own (rather appallingly pop-culture) music playlist at a rather loud volume. She had all her thoughts to herself, uninterrupted. It was pleasant.

Sometimes, it takes the luxury of some time alone in order to truly appreciate those around oneself. When caught up in the fray of every day life, it's difficult to sit back and reflect on the pleasant qualities of people, or think about the funny things they've said or the kind things they've done.  It's important to do so, though, lest the minutiae and petty annoyances build up. With a little bit of time to oneself, patience that has been worn thin has time to refurbish itself. It is necessary.

Now Herself and the canines await the arrival of the three Menfolk back at the clean house. She has enjoyed her evening of luxury. And the house is clean. It is good.

Three-toothed elderly gentleman canine enjoys his freshly washed nest. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Flashback to Flash-in-the-Pan Panic

Found this sign in the restroom at a doctor's office.  Remember when people panicked about :::cue ominous music::: EBOLA?  

Really, we should be far more concerned about things like diphtheria, pertussis, and measles, all of which are reemerging thanks to anti-vaccine movements.  I have many words about that. Many angry words.  We'll save them for another day, when we have a few hours to spare to expound. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Just a Few

Offspring the Third attended an end-of-school party yesterday evening.  When Herself went to pick him up, she opened the sunroof, turned up the music, and enjoyed the far-too-short drive. The few minutes' freedom, though, were Very Good Indeed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Summertime. The sun in this desert land is relentless and oppressive, rendering all the ordinary tasks -- work and household chores and even family gatherings -- somehow more exhausting. I dutifully march forward, and yearn:  Clouds. Rain. Trees. Reprieve.

Thus, today's earworm:  Cowboy Take Me Away, by the Dixie Chicks.

I wanna walk and not run
I wanna skip and not fall
I wanna look at the horizon
And not see a building standing tall
I wanna be the only one
For miles and miles

I hope you enjoy. And that you find your own reprieve when you need it most.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Now We Are Six

It is the sixth anniversary of the birth of the blog. Thank you, cherished Reader, for being here with me. I am grateful for your company on the journey.

“Wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
There's always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
"Where are you going today?" says Pooh:
"Well, that's very odd 'cos I was too.
Let's go together," says Pooh, says he.
"Let's go together," says Pooh.”

― A.A. Milne, Now We Are Six

Sunday, June 7, 2015


I would like to go for a constitutional. 

The true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking. The walking is good to time the movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred up and active; the scenery and the woodsy smells are good to bear in upon a man an unconscious and unobtrusive charm and solace to eye and soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk.
~ Mark Twain

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

Saturday, June 6, 2015


It's been a week now since Herself went to the stylist, waved her hands in the air and tried to explain what slightly different color she would like to try for her hair.  The stylist, who is MAGICAL, found just the right color.  It might be described as "auburn," or as has been said, "not too red, not too brown." It's good. I think this might be exactly the color Herself imagines her hair to be, when she imagines what it might be like to be pretty.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Half a Dozen Blooms

Beloved Husband's rose bushes are all blossoming: each a different color, with a slightly different scent. Herself is quite happy for him; she knows how much he enjoys his roses. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Send A House Elf, Stat

Herself gripes.

Two hours at the vet this morning, with three quarters of it waiting because of another pet's emergency. Good news is, elderly tri-toothed dog's intestinal woes can be managed with particular diet and occasional medication when it flares up.


An unexpected hour and a half meeting at the high school to be introduced to the band program, which Offspring the Third recently joined. The woman sitting behind me was cracking her knuckles throughout the presentation.  

The kitchen needs cleaning. Dinner? What's in the freezer?

Of course I picked today to wash linens, so the bed is unmade and thus I cannot get into it.

And my tailbone hurts something fierce.

I would so love for some of The Household Things to magically take care of themselves.

This lovely house elf was found here: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/House-elf

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sacroiliac is Back

Remember that hip problem from a while back?

It's back. Alas.

It's more sacrum than ilium, right now. Suffice it to say, Herself is displeased. And in pain. She'll recommence the pelvic exercises prescribed by the physical therapist last time, and see if they help at all.


Thank you once more, Wikipedia, for the pelvis.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Count's Beard

We're reading Italian Folk Tales, by Italo Calvino (one of our most favorite authors -- we've mentioned him before).  They have the same raw feel of the tales of the brothers Grimm, with odd little details here and there, and lots of witches, evil stepparents, and love-upon-first-sight followed by happily-ever-after.

Last night, we read "The Count's Beard," and the description of the protagonist, Masino, caught our imagination:

Concerned over how little he was at birth, his mother had bathed him in warm wine to keep him alive and make him a little stronger.  His father had heated the wine with a red-hot horseshoe.  That way Masino absorbed the subtlety of wine and the endurance of iron.  To cool him off after his bath, his mother cradled him in the shell of an unripened chestnut; it was bitter and gave him understanding. 


This lovely chestnut found here