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.