Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Summer Silence

Herself speaks.

I am once more listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks. There is nothing quite like the soothing intonation of Jim Dale's voice, the epithets and familiar phrasings of the works, the satisfactory "love and friendship always conquer evil" endings. Even as I wander in and out of earshot of the speaker while I clean the house, I know exactly what happens, and when, and can enjoy the stories, every time.

The plots of books do contain a few irritating quirks: the perpetual risk of Hogwarts being shut down; the fear of being expelled; the very black-and-white evil of those from Slytherin house (with the exception of Snape, who ultimately is revealed to be a flawed hero). These can usually be overlooked in view of the satisfactory nature of the books as a whole.

Today, however, a new annoyance struck me today for the first time: Harry sometimes has an astonishing lack of faith.

I listened to the beginning of The Chamber of Secrets while cleaning the kitchen this morning. In the first chapter, Harry has not heard from his friends for his first month at the Dursleys, and loneliness has crept in:

He gazed miserably into the hedge. He had never felt so lonely. More than anything else at Hogwarts, more even than playing Quidditch, Harry missed his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. They, however, didn't seem to be missing him at all.

Oh, Harry. You and Ron and Hermione have been through so much together already. Why do you think they would abandon you? Can you not have faith in them, and think about the logical reasons for their silence? I find myself impatient with your lack of trust, and cannot understand why you do not reason that there are other explanations besides they don't care about you, for your not hearing from them. You are annoying, Harry.

And yet: I think I may be judging Harry far too harshly.

The truth of the matter is that for so many years of his childhood, Harry did not have anyone reliable in his life: no adult upon whom he could depend, and -- given how his peers favored Dudley, out of fear or as allies -- no friend who stuck by him. No one to listen, to provide silent encouragement through their presence, to reassure him when things were strange or difficult. He was, so often, very much Alone.

It is no wonder, then, that Harry is so easily despondent.

To have faithful, helpful friends in Ron and Hermione must have been a miracle almost beyond miracles for Harry: he no doubt could hardly believe his good fortune to know that another person enjoyed his company, would count on him in times of trouble, and would be there for him even in the face of peril.

As he spends summers with the Dursleys, he once more questions his own worth and his place in the world (whether the magical, or the non-magical, world). It must be very easy for him to believe that previous signs of caring and concern from his friends were inconsequential and not of the same depth as his feelings towards them. And for him to convince himself that the bonds of friendship were one-sided, in his head alone. And for him to assume that he is, despite momentary feelings to the contrary, still very much Alone.

There is no one who can reassure Harry. He has to trust, to have faith. It will be hard for him to learn to do so; and it will be even harder, perhaps, to unlearn the habits of self-doubt and despair that he has internalized. He will need time. Fortunately, there are seven books' worth of time for him. He will succeed, we know.

I am going to listen to the audiobooks slightly differently from now on -- with perhaps a bit more sympathy for Harry's sometimes perplexing reactions. I think I understand a little better, now.

It will be OK, Harry. Have faith.

Image result for Harry ron hermione
The trio was found here
http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/File:Hermione-granger-ron-weasley-harry-potter-hp4-study-6x4.jpg

Photo: Lizard

She had studied the universe all her life, but had overlooked its clearest message: For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. - Carl Sagan

Picture copyright 2017, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Photo: Hummingbird

I can imagine, in some otherworld
Primeval-dumb, far back
In that most awful stillness, that gasped and hummed,
Humming-birds raced down the avenues.

Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chirped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.

I believe there were no flowers then,
In the world where humming-birds flashed ahead of creation
I believe he pierced the slow vegetable veins with his long beak.

Probably he was big
As mosses, and little lizards, they say, were once big.
Probably he was a jabbing, terrifying monster.

We look at him through the wrong end of the telescope of time,
Luckily for us.

- D.H. Lawrence

Picture copyright 2017, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Photo: Dragonfly

Eons and eons ago, Offspring the Second had a book of poetry about insects:  Insectlopedia. It was a favorite.
-----

I am the dragon,
The demon of skies.
Behold my bold 
Enormous eyes.
I sweep
     I swoop
          I terrorize.
For lunch I munch
On flies and bees.
Mosquitoes with
My feet I seize.
I am the dragon:
Down on your knees!

Douglas Florian, Insectlopedia

Picture copyright 2017, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Photo: Flower

I am in possession of several exquisite photographs. Let us find the right words to go with each one. 
-----
Today: the flower.

Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
--Kahlil Gibran, "On Pleasure," from The Prophet

Picture copyright 2017, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Words

Herself speaks.

I find myself struggling with writer's block. I think that perhaps I used up too many words elsewhere this past week.

Sometimes when attempting to explain things close to one's heart, it is quite difficult to find the right words. Perhaps such thoughts cannot be put adequately into words; or perhaps, to see or hear them actually put into words is to realize that they are too transparent, too revealing. The desire to self-protect is strong; what should one do when that desire is in contradiction with a burning need for comfort, for reassurance? Oh, the terror of appearing needy, emotional, inadequate. Weak. Thoroughly imperfect.

Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it. - Swedish proverb

If I had the time, right now I would go for a walk in the forest somewhere. The trees listen understand the wordless whisperings of our hearts, and provide consolation.

    

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Blessing

May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love.
― John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Am an Average Person

It is a joy -- and a relief -- to be heard, and understood. 

Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.

- David Augsburger

Stranger

Today's earworm: the eternal, ineffable, Amen, Omen, by Ben Harper.

What started as a whisper,
Slowly turned in to a scream.
Searching for an answer
Where the question is unseen.
I don't know where you came from
And I don't know where you've gone.
Old friends become old strangers
Between darkness and the dawn


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Doubts

Sometimes, one must sit back and remain silent while others make Decisions. It's not easy to do when one has Thoughts and Opinions -- and especially when those Thoughts and Opinions are accompanied by (and perhaps colored by) Feelings. It becomes more difficult still, when others nearby have different, and perhaps conflicting, Thoughts and Opinions.

Without full information, and without being in the Decision-maker's shoes, it is in essence impossible to imagine making a particular Decision oneself. And thus, silence is the best option. Ultimately, it is the Decision-maker who is important, and not the Decision itself; and so we wait, quietly, to see what must happen.

Never stop having doubts. If you ever do, it will be because you’ve stopped moving forward. On the other hand, you must be careful never to allow doubt to paralyze you. Always take the decisions you need to take, even if you’re not sure you’re doing the right thing. You’ll never go wrong if, when you make a decision, you keep in mind: “the Devil is in the detail.” Remember that proverb and you’ll always be able to turn a wrong decision into a right one.
- Paulo Coelho, Brida


Picture copyright 2017, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Ides of May

Herself speaks.

May is a difficult month.

One would think that the knowledge that May always brings transitions would be enough of a reminder to prepare myself, yet each year I am newly caught off guard. Perhaps someday I will learn.

(Oh, to be the kind of person who adapts easily to change. Alas, that is not to be.)

May signals the beginning-of-the-end of the school year; there are extra activities, extra expenses, and  transitions that are never easy. There are echoes of other changes, too, that are always at the periphery of May. Facebook reminds us of some of those: today in "On This Day," there was a flashback to the public announcement of the Unmooring, as well as a post regarding the diagnosis of ottoman-shaped dog's serious (and ultimately fatal) illness. Alas, again.

Twenty years ago in May, we were preparing to move to this desert land. That seems an eternity ago.

I have woven all those events into the fabric of my life, and do not dwell on them; yet occasionally -- and especially in May -- I find myself running my fingers across that part of the tapestry.

This May has additional wrinkles: there are looming future events that must be planned for and executed. I have been avoiding even thinking about many of them, but cannot do so for much longer. Alas, yet again. I must summon up the courage and meet things head-on.

Oddly, though, and for the first time in any May, I am more reconciled with the idea of change. I cannot stop the march of What Happens. And so, I will ride the wave and see what the future brings.

As long as there is a bit of hiking on occasion with my Safe People, it will all work out OK.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Journey

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you win then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

In the Wind

Today's earworm: In the Wind, by Lord Huron.

You've been gone for a long long time
You've been in the wind, you've been on my mind
You are the purest soul I've ever known in my life

Take your time, let the rivers guide you in
You know where you can find me again
I'll be waiting here 'til the stars fall out of the sky.


Picture copyright 2017, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Learn

We should learn from flowers, earthly stars which spend their entire lives shining, shining and growing despite all the difficulties they encounter. They know how to listen and understand the whispers of time, for it is an eternal friend that teaches the importance of friendship and sparkling hope. ― Nur Bedeir

Picture copyright 2017, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Under the Moon

Herself speaks.

While we were out camping, Offspring the Third told me that his girlfriend had sent him a text to tell him she missed him (aaaah, young love), and that he had replied to encourage her to go look at the moon, because he was looking at the same moon, and it would thus seem as if they were not so far apart. That was very sweet, I commented. (Perhaps, in our more jaded moments, a bit sappy -- but yet, heartfelt in the way that first forays into teenage romance can be.)

Besides: he has a point.
----
I love the moon -- her waxing and waning, as all women do; her comforting presence in the cool and the dark of the night. She is lovely. Changing yet consistent. And eternal, watching without judgment, and providing company when the world is still and one feels most alone.

Perhaps, in our individual solitudes under the moon, we are, in fact, together in our shared humanity.

I like to think so.

Picture copyright 2017, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tired Tiny

Herself speaks.

Tiny Dog did not care for camping much. She was on High Alert the entire weekend, after barking at passers-by and rustling leaves and questionable twigs -- not to mention incessant snapping at every flying insect. (I tried to get some footage of her insect-hunting; half of the time, she would stop whenever I turned on the camera, and the other half of the time, Beloved Husband and Cherished Friend happened to be talking in the background. Once I reviewed the footage, I realized that I cannot post it, as their voices, like their faces, are private. Alas. You will just have to use your imagination for the incessant fly-snapping.)

By the time we were ready to go home, poor Tiny was exhausted. She climbed up to her favorite perch in the car -- on my shoulders -- and promptly fell asleep for the entire two-and-a-half-hour drive.

She is a pill. But she is adorable, too.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Skeletal Tree

There will be a resounding thunder when this giant finally topples. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cone

Herself speaks.

I love pine cones. They are fascinating.

While we were out on the hiking path this past weekend, I spotted a pine cone that had fallen. Instead of joining the other myriad cones littering the forest floor, this particular cone was instead caught by young oak sapling. It was a striking contrast -- the brown of the cone, the broad green of the leaves. Soothing, in some undefinable way.

Whenever I visit this particular campground, I think about collecting a giant pile of pine cones. I have never done it -- perhaps it is just the concept of a giant pile of pine cones that appeals to me. Because pine cones. So many pine cones.

Perhaps I was a squirrel in a past life.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Manchild

Herself speaks.

Offspring the Third appeared to thoroughly enjoy exploring the woods and stream while we were out camping this past weekend. He found something he thought was particularly interesting -- a desiccated elk carcass --- and took me and Beloved Husband to see.

While he led the way through the woods, it was clear to me that he was in his element: he described the places where he had been previously and the best ways to cross the stream; he pointed out a striking, giant dead tree; and talked about the spiderwebs over the water and the quantity and types of spiders.

When we reached the point where we needed to cross the stream, he went first, stepping confidently across the flowing water using the narrow path of rocks. He paused while I followed him to check to ensure I had solid footing, and held out his hand to help me make the last jump back onto the bank.

It was genuinely touching. I did not feel self-conscious about taking his hand for the tricky parts, because he was so matter-of-fact and unassuming about his assistance -- a rare gift. I do not like to ask for help; and behold, because of his thoughtfulness, I did not need to do so. Yet still, I did receive that small piece of help I needed. It was lovely.

Sometimes, I still think of Offspring the Third as being very young. Yet seeing his confidence in the woods, and the way he explained the all that he had learned from his exploration and and how he patiently led us along his chosen path, I was aware more than ever that the last of my Offspring is now a young man, and that soon enough, his path will extend farther into the world than I have ever imagined.

Oh, Offspring the Third. I wish for you, that you and your kind heart will have have many, many enjoyable adventures in the years to come. Perhaps, if I am lucky, you will show me some more of your paths in the future.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Campground

Herself speaks.

We escaped briefly for the weekend: Beloved Husband, Offspring the Third, and I met up with Cherished Friend at a familiar, peaceful campground. Just what we needed.

I could see the stress and strain of Worldly Cares gradually fall away from the three menfolk. It was nice to see. They probably could have used more time away; this time, though, just the weekend would have to do.

I immersed myself in the quiet and the trees and read a somewhat weird but engrossing book. I could have used more time away, too.

Nevertheless: what a relief to be away from The Daily Grind.

It was Good.



Friday, May 5, 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Day

Herself speaks.

"It's a beautiful May Day." 
-- Ofglen, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Ah, May. The month of change -- plants sprout, school winds to a close, and we hear echoes of the anniversary of the Unmooring. New pressures and requirements and projects (which we cannot discuss in detail) have emerged, and must be tackled. I confess that I undertake them somewhat unwillingly, even if they appear to be for the best. 

For the best.
For whose best? 
What is best?
Depends on one's point of view, I suppose. 

The needs of the many in the household outweigh the needs of the one. I am the one; and so I carry a heavy load: a disproportionate share of the worry, of the compromise, of the listening and the reassuring and the encouraging and the helping and the doing. 

I am overextended. 

I want to crawl within myself, to hide. 

I cannot. 

All I can do is persevere, on this beautiful May Day.

M'aidez.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Final Word

Herself speaks.

I went to a funeral today, and it was, without a doubt, an utterly heartwrenching experience.

The deceased was a young man of 27, who succumbed to leukemia after an arduous five years of illness, treatment, remission and return of disease.  In what was no doubt a terrible irony, his father is an oncologist, and it is no doubt that the young man received the absolutely very best of care.

Even that was not enough. Alas.

There were at least 150 people there, perhaps more -- it was hard to tell, as it was quite crowded. The young man was native to this desert city, and so there was a multitude of old classmates, ranging from grade school through high school; in addition, roommates and classmates from college and from medical school (which the young man had begun before the return of his disease) had made the trip here. Colleagues of the young man's parents, and the parents' friends, were there, as were their fellow church members, and members from the ethnic community to which the young man belonged. So many people.

So many heartbroken people.

A dozen or so of his friends and classmates got up to speak about him, as did his sister, his wife, and even his mother-in-law. From each person's words, a picture of a tremendous young man, almost larger than life, appeared: he was described as a brilliant student and intellectual giant who challenged everyone around him to strive for their very best. A man who met his illness with good humor and vigor, and who continued to pursue his entrepreneurial goals and to care for everyone around him even in his most dire days. A devoted friend, brother, husband, son. A lover of truth, beauty, and goodness.

There was hardly a dry eye in the room. Yet there was laughter, too, as many people recounted tales of the young man's humor and sense of fun, and love of food, and mischievousness.

The celebrant who led the service spoke, as they so often do, about God and death and faith. As we sat and mulled over the too-brief life of the young man, as well as our own mortality and that of those we love, the celebrant said:

Death is not the final word. The final word is God.

All we can do, is wait for that final word. The young man has heard that word, and he is part of the word, as the word was part of him. I hope that word brings solace to those who knew the young man.

It is all a mystery.

Perhaps when we hear the final word, we will at last understand all of life's Why.

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with, what
seizes your imagination, will affect
everything. It will decide what will 
get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart, and what
amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love, and it
will decide everything.
-- Fr. Pedro Arrupe


Poem and art from the young man's memorial card. 

Precipitation

I cannot remember the last time it rained.



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Say Cheese...

...cake!
I do enjoy cooking. Even when I cannot eat the finished product.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

And Heart

Herself speaks.

Sometimes, we despair for humanity.

But then, you see footage of runners helping an exhausted fellow runner at the end of a race, and you think, perhaps, all is not terrible in the world.

(You can read about the event here: 
http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/runners-carry-fatigued-runner-half-marathon-finish-line/story?id=46398936)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Heartless

Herself speaks.

I succumbed to click-bait the other day, opening an article on Distractify titled, "Police Share Disturbing 'Stair Of Knives' Found At Home Of Domestic Abuse Victim." I couldn't imagine what a 'star of knives' would be. The picture in the article says it all, though; a homely set of stairs with chipped white paint -- and a sharp kitchen knife, each a good 10-12 inches long, impaled on each side of every step. Apparently the photo was taken by an officer who responded to a domestic assault call. The male of the couple was arrested.

It really does look like something out of a horror movie.

Even more horrible than the picture, though, is one of the comments in the article:

"Took true courage. Scary unreal scene - Alfred Hitchcock film. Hope female appreciative."

Look at that again:  Hope female appreciative.

Hope female appreciative.

Not: "hope female is alive", or "hope female is safe", or "hope female gets the help she needs to break free of this relationship".  Not a wish for the safety and health of the woman. No: hope she appreciates what the police did.

How heartless does one have to be to say that?

We cannot even begin to imagine what this woman may have endured with her abuser. And to expect her to feel a certain way after what was no doubt a desperate and frightening encounter with her abuser and police is, frankly, appalling.

How much do we, as a society, expect from women?

We already blame them for staying. Why didn't she leave?
(Here's an article on why leaving is not that simple, if you are interested.)

And then we have the nerve to expect gratitude.

(And still, we wonder why victims do not always report domestic violence. )

How about we open our hearts and our eyes and see the complexities and the dangers, and reach out -- not because we will receive appreciation from a victim, but because it is the right thing to do.

Photo found here:
http://www.distractify.com/trending/2017/04/05/1bnqax/stair-of-knives-domestic-abuse

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mothra

It was hard to get a picture since the moth was so high up on the wall. That is a mighty big moth, indeed.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Interpretation

Our friends interpret the world and ourselves to us, if we take them tenderly and truly. -- Amos Bronson Alcott

Picture copyright 2014, 2017, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Little Yellow Things

Success! I finally have a Picachu (well, a baby version of one) in my Pokemon Go collection. It hatched from the egg I was incubating.

Look how wee and cute. This pleases me.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Baby Blues

Herself speaks.

A young woman I know, who was married within this past year, has just announced her pregnancy. I am delighted for her and her husband, and wish them and theirs all the very best.

I was surprised by the depth of memory that her announcement brought back for me: the recollections of what it was like to tell my parents, my coworkers; the strangeness of all the body changes; the slow-moving fish sensation deep within; the anticipation; the rigors (and tremendous difficulties) of labor and birth; and beyond. I am glad I have experienced these things. I am equally sure I would not want to experience them again.

If I could pick one part of it all to relive, I would like, once more, to feel the deep-rooted desire that led me to become a mother -- that hunger for something more than the moment, for something beyond myself; the commingled fear and joy and the infinite question of being open to the possibility of bringing forth a new life.

To yearn. It is what drives the species. To be past the age for that yearning is a freedom in one sense, and a loss in another. It's strange place to be. A no-man's land (no-woman's land?) of invisibility, undesirableness, irrelevancy. Now what, I wonder?

We shall have to wait and see.



Monday, April 17, 2017

Pupils

I dislike eye appointments, because it takes an eternity for my pupils to return to regular size. And because I resemble a rodent even more with those black-appearing eyes.

.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Taxing

Herself speaks.

Oh, tax season. How I abhor you.

I reviewed all of the tax forms this evening; we received them from our tax preparer yesterday. (Apparently we all are waiting until the last minute. Good times.)

This year, for the first time, a return needed to be prepared for a neighboring state. (This was due to the Project, which was conducted in an adjacent desert state.)  That's fine -- income was generated there, income tax should be paid there.

Yet when I reviewed the form, it was patterned exactly like our federal tax return: Beloved Husband is the primary, and I am the Spouse.

I despair.

I do not object, per se, to the denomination of "Spouse": I certainly willingly identify as Beloved Husband's spouse, and have done so for nearly twenty-six years now. It is just the way it is presented on the tax forms: a stark second-class status -- a person who is a hanger-on, a mere appendage. And given that I was the only one who earned income in the neighboring state, it seems... insulting somehow to still have the return under his name with mine as the auxiliary.

Why must I be secondary on the forms?

I am not secondary.

I am the Rock, the Glue that Holds Everything Together, the One Who Takes Care Of Things.

I do not want accolades for what I do.

I just want not to be merely an accessory.

I want to matter, for myself.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

All the Headaches

Herself speaks.

In my experience, headaches come in two varieties.  The first is a nebulous pain, accompanied by a need to lie down and go to sleep immediately; the second is a deeper, harder pain which wakes me up and makes returning to sleep difficult. They come with different auras, too: a nebulous-sleepy headache sometimes comes with a vaguely amorous feeling and a craving for carbohydrates; a hard-wakeful headache is preceded by hypersensitivity to sound, to light, and to touch -- everything is too much. Both are unpleasant. Mercifully, the easier headache (nebulous-sleepy) occurs more often than the hard-wakeful headache.

It can be difficult to distinguish the triggers for the two types of headache. Indulging in chocolate will often bring a nebulous-sleepy ache; consuming cheese will virtually always bring a hard-wakeful pain. Dust, weather -- often hard-wakeful but sometimes nebulous-sleepy. Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason. Hormones? Stress? A hidden ingredient in something I've eaten? Who can tell?

Migraines are a different beast entirely They are usually preceded by an increase in both types of headaches; the headaches appear alternately, and grow, appearing more frequently until they coalesce into a full-blown migraine. Migraine comes with nausea, sometimes vomiting, and worst of all, a dizziness that makes it impossible to move my head a fraction of a millimeter in any direction without dire consequences.

I had a migraine earlier this week. It was thoroughly awful.

After the worst has subsided, the migraine slowly ebbs away, and in the ebbing, my brain frequently gets stuck: stuck on a thought, a worry, some kind of obscure obsession that takes the forefront of all thought. Sometimes it is an ordinary thing: the taxes are due.  Other times, it is a panicky sensation about something I did not do that I should have done, or something that I may have done that I should not have done. Why did I say that? Why did I not say that? Trying to deliberately focus on an alternate thought is unsuccessful. I have to wait it out. Ugh.

When in the throes of an impending headache (or an impending migraine), my temperament changes. I may be far more cranky than usual; or weepy; or despairing. I wish I could separate regular feelings from headache-feelings, but I cannot; perhaps, rather than differing in content from what feelings I might have normally, headache-feelings are merely a more extreme form of such ordinary feelings. It is all very strange sometimes.

The only silver lining to it all, is that on occasion, my brain will get stuck on love. Love. It is a fuzzy, yet intense, mysterious sensation, this headache-borne Love. It is rare, but welcome -- for to be able to feel love in its unbridled form, untainted by Ordinary Life, is most unusual.

Ah, Love. Even in the midst of pain, we find you. Or, perhaps, you find us.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Ed (2)

Today's earworm: Nancy Mulligan by Ed Sheeran. A lovely tale from the artist's family history, told in a lively, simple, beautiful song.

I hope you enjoy.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ed (1)

Ed Sheeran released a new album. I have not yet purchased it, though I will soon:  so many marvelous songs.

Today's song -- Save Myself.

It is rare that a song speaks to me the way this one does; the first time I heard it, I was in a particularly vulnerable state of mind, and it nearly brought me to tears.

I gave you all my energy
And I took away your pain
'Cause human beings are destined to
Radiate or drain
What line do we stand upon 
'Cause from here it looks the same?

For those of us who are inclined to be Givers -- who enjoy, more than anything, caretaking and helping -- we run the risk of running empty.

It is OK to look after oneself.
In fact, it might be important.

I hope you enjoy.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

574 to 191

I do enjoy a bit of Scrabble. It is not an easy game: despite all of the word games I play in an attempt to hone my skills, I am not good at visualizing high-scoring moves. I try and try to imagine my letters forming complex combinations (ideally, using seven or more tiles), yet do not often succeed. I rarely win -- but that is fine with me, because in truth I really gain greater enjoyment from watching my opponent(s) play.  A furrowed brow, a rearranging of the tiles, a glance at the dictionary, and then -- voila! -- a lengthy word spanning multiple point-enhancing squares. It is a marvel of human thought.

Especially when a single move yields two hundred and forty-eight points, for an ultimate score of 574. Magnificent.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Forest

Herself speaks.

As you may have guessed from the photos over the last several days, I was away this weekend: I went northward to visit Cherished Friend. It is always reassuring to see him, for despite time and distance, he is, as always, ineffably himself. Knowing that he is Constant, makes easier the thought that someday (and perhaps sooner rather than later), he may move farther away. I will not contemplate that possibility in detail yet; rather, I will take the future as it comes. That is all anyone can ever do, really.

While I was up north, we took the opportunity to do some hiking in a lovely state park. The trees -- oh, the trees. Living in the desert as I do, I forget how much I miss the forest -- until I am in the midst of the trees. There were mysterious birch trees: not quite the same as the paper birch of the New England of my youth, but still light-barked and stretching high into the air. There were evergreens, too. And moss, and lichen, and patches of snow, and leaf litter. A crow. Orange and black butterflies. A snowmelt-fed stream.

There is something so very soothing about the forest: the quiet, the distant woodpecker, the trickle of water, and the scent of pine. Time stands still. In this busy, busy world, the forest is transcendent. We should all spend more time there.

I did not take nearly as many pictures as I thought I had; yet I do not need many photos, for the forest was so permeating, it seems as though it soaked all the way to my core. If I close my eyes, I can be there again for a moment. And for now, that is enough.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Two Dozen

Lovely Offspring the First is two dozen years old now. As I check in on a very rotund April the giraffe, I am reminded of that last week when I was pregnant with Offspring the First, waiting, waiting, waiting, for her arrival. How can it have been so long ago?

She is a lovely person, Offspring the First: sweet, thoughtful in her words, witty, charming. She lights up the room wherever she goes. It it a privilege to be her mother.

Happy birthday, beautiful one.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Dashboard Light

A worthy sing-along, particularly after a long day at work: Paradise by the Dashboard Light (by Meatloaf, of course.)

I hope you enjoy.


Monday, April 3, 2017

In The Rock

I would enjoy being out in the desert right now.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Not Really Chivalry

Herself speaks.

Let's talk politics for a little bit. Tangential politics, but politics.

::: shudder :::  OK, here we go.

It has been revealed that in 2002, the current Vice President, Mike Pence, indicated that will not eat a meal alone with a woman who is not his wife. Nor will he attend a social event at which alcohol will be served unless the accompanies him. (We shall, for our purposes here, assume his rule remains in place today.)

One of the reasons touted to explain his staunch prohibition is something along the lines of, "to avoid temptation/the appearance of impropriety" -- a chivalrous thing, a respect-for-marriage thing.

Eyeroll. Sigh. And gnashing of teeth.

Pence is cutting off the possibility of any woman earning his confidence in the workplace by refusing to participate in the nearly universal business activity of a "business lunch" or "business dinner". What? Apparently he cannot trust himself (or her? which is it, anyway?) to be alone together with a woman-not-his-wife. Why? Must everything have some kind of sexual undertones (or overt overtones) for him? How weak-willed and hyper-focused-on-sex are you, Mr. Pence, that you are unable to work one-on-one with a woman not your wife, or even to be present in a room full of people if alcohol is also present? Does your mental acuity and willpower dissolve in a drop of ethanol, or with a bite of carbohydrate?

In a male-dominated field such as politics, it is nearly impossible for any woman to advance without occasionally having a business meal with a man, or attending a function at which alcohol may be served and men may be present. Imagine if a woman had self-imposed rules like those of Mr. Pence. How far would she get in her career, do you think? I think we all know: not far at all.

How many women's careers have you stifled, Mr. Pence, by your behavior?

I find myself thinking, too, what if I were in Karen Pence's shoes? I'd be horrified at the thought that my husband was limiting his dining partners and his social-function-attendance in such a manner. What of co-workers, individuals who share his professional interests, of women who serve in the same organizations or on the same boards as he does? Surely a working meal is an effective and enjoyable way to conduct business? And if he had to attend a social function at which there would be alcohol, would that mean that I -- regardless of my desire to be there (or even, for example, if I had a cold and were under the weather) -- would also be required to attend?

Is this really a highly controlling relationship, disguised as some kind of "chivalry"?

A close marital relationship is certainly something to be admired; a codependent relationship, however, is less admirable. Marriage creates a union; it does not, however, erase individuality. Every marriage is enriched when the spouses periodically enjoy activities without one another, including having meals with peers, and spending time with others, including -- gasp! -- others of the opposite sex, with whom they have mutual interests.

It is possible for two heterosexual individuals of the opposite sex to spend time together, even alone together, without being overwhelmed by carnal desires. It boils down to trust. I trust the individuals with whom I spend time alone, and they trust me. Seems quite simple, actually.

Are you not trustworthy, Mr. Pence?

Come join us in the 21st century, Mr. Pence. You will meet many delightful people, some of whom will be women-not-your-wife, but that is OK. Your life will be enriched. And perhaps politics will become ever-so-slightly-less of an Old Boys' Club.

I dream.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Whoops

In which Elderly Three-toothed Dog spooked himself and spilled his crunchies all over the place. Mmmmmmmm, floor food!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dueling Crockpots

I had a large chunk of pig, and decided to divide it and cook it overnight so as to have choice of lunch items tomorrow. On the left is cranberry pork; on the right, southwestern pork. We shall see how they turn out.