Sunday, December 31, 2017


Thus ends 2017. It has been an arduous year.

I have hope that next year will be better, even though there are a great many exceptionally busy tasks ahead which will require rather intense concentration to get through. Time will pass, though, and eventually, we will arrive where we need to be.

We can do it. One day at a time. And together.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Night Creature

Offspring the Third requested a camera for Christmas. He is quite happy with it, and took a long evening walk yesterday to see what he could photograph. During this season in the desert, there is not much animal activity -- yet he did manage to find some interesting insects.

Well done, Offspring the Third.

Friday, December 29, 2017


Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

- Kahlil Gibran, On Pain, from The Prophet

New England Tree, from February 2017.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Sometimes I think,
I need a spare heart to feel
all the things I feel.

― Sanober Khan, A Thousand Flamingos

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Monday, December 25, 2017


Herself speaks.

Tiny Dog and I wish you a season of peace, comfort, and snackies. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Herself speaks.

I don't always answer the phone if I do not recognize the caller ID number, but did today, because I was expecting to hear from the doctor about the results of the repeat mammogram and ultrasound performed on Monday. It was indeed the doctor's office. All appears stable. The tests will need to be repeated in another six months, but for now, all is considered to be fine.


I hung up the phone, and contemplated the call just briefly. There was, momentarily, a catch in the back of my throat; I hadn't realized how worried I had been about the results. Perhaps it was the long wait in the mammogram room -- "I'm going to just check with the radiologist and see whether we need any more films" -- or perhaps it was the time-consuming and distinctly uncomfortable ultrasound -- "I'm going to have to dig in here to make sure there's nothing unusual" -- that fed into my quickly-suppressed concerns. Or perhaps it was just a visceral fear.

At any rate: safe, for now.

I hope the next six-month marker is equally uneventful.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017


You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.
― Miriam Adeney

Monday, December 18, 2017

Divergent Needs

Herself speaks.

I have said oftentimes that the holidays are not about the self, but about others -- we do the things that we feel obligated to do, not because we necessarily enjoy them, but because they are important to other people. For example, we go to a particular gathering, not because we like to make small talk with a dozen different people, but because the host/hostess will be glad to see us, or because other attendees will be relieved to see our familiar face there. 

It becomes trickier when we think about what other people do. Whose shoes do we put ourselves in -- those of the hostess, who will derive pleasure from seeing a guest, or those of the individual who longs for nothing more than a social-obligation-free evening, even if it means declining to attend an event? And are our feelings about the best course of action tempered by projection of our own feelings? (We must admit, yes.)

Perhaps, despite our most well-intentioned efforts, we are in fact selfish. We select presents not only to please the recipient, but also to warm our own hearts through the pleasure of gift-giving. We want others to join us not just to share the events of the holidays, but also because it brings us joy to have them with us.

It is hard -- nay, impossible -- to make everyone happy over the holidays. Furthermore, taking care of oneself in this time of external demands is important. Is it selfish to choose to do what we feel will be best for us, even if it differs from societal expectation? Or is it, rather, an important act of self-preservation? There are times when we are exhausted from doing what we think is best for Others, rather than Ourselves. How do we find a compromise that will protect Ourselves, and yet still take Others into Consideration?

The answers vary, from person to person, from day to day. We shall see how everything unfolds.

However you spend your holiday time, my intrepid readers, know that I wish for you peace and joy, and the comfort of company when you need it, as well as solitude when you crave it most.

Snoopy and Charlie Brown found here:

Sunday, December 17, 2017


As fatigue from the omnipresent obligations of the holiday season sets in, we imagine the occasional escape from It All. And thus, tonight's earworm: Night Train (Jason Aldean)

We hope you enjoy. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017


Perhaps I should have mopped the floor, for it is rather dirty. Instead, though, I did half a dozen loads of laundry, and got out the wrapping paper. 'Tis the season. 

I like to wrap presents: it is an opportunity to reflect on the presents' receivers -- what they are like, what might be meaningful to them, whether they will be pleased with the offerings. It brings me hope and joy.

This is my favorite part of the holidays: giving gifts. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Introvert Hangover

Herself speaks.

As we go into the third day in a row that I have attended scheduled social gatherings, I find myself longing to just stay home and mop my kitchen floor.

The people involved all are quite pleasant; and there has been enjoyable conversation and plenty of good humor. Nevertheless, I am tired. I can only use the "small talk and careful attention to unfamiliar people and conversations" portions of my brain for so long, before they become fatigued. It has been described as Introvert Hangover, and I want nothing more than some Alone Time in familiar surroundings. 

Alas. 'Tis the season.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sights That Warm The Heart

Offspring the Third's truck in the driveway. Welcome home for winter break!

Image may contain: night and car

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


The small dogs helped me put fresh sheets onto Offspring the Third's bed. He should arrive at home for winter break tomorrow. Huzzah!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Winter Country

Herself speaks.

This December, the country music station has been more appealing than the Christmas music station. While normally I enjoy holiday songs, I am not quite in the mood right now.

Perhaps it is because the nest is so very empty. Offspring the First spontaneously ventured forth and obtained her own apartment recently; and Offspring the Second and Offspring the Third are still away at school. And when Beloved Husband works late, as he frequently does (we admire his dedication and perseverance), it is just me, the chihuahuas, the elderly hamster, and the voice of Jim Dale narrating the Harry Potter audiobooks, as we dine alone in the kitchen. I do like to imagine what the Great Hall of Hogwarts would look like with its twelve Christmas trees, magically adorned.

In these times, we tune in to country music. (It is, I realize, much like disco for heartache.)  I prefer the sentimental songs and the sad songs, right now. There might be a touch of winter melancholy creeping within the silence of the house.

Tonight's earworm: a quiet song from Miranda Lambert: Over You. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Saturday, December 9, 2017


Herself speaks.

Today marks the beginning of the final year of there being a teenager in the nuclear family, as Offspring the Third turns 19. Kind of heart and generous of spirit, he brightens the world around him, every day. Happy birthday, Offspring the Third. I love you.

Once, on a family trip, a bird sat atop Offspring the Third's hat. 
He was quite pleased. 
The picture tugs at my heart, now that he is all grown up. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

What Is That Noise?

Apparently, it is fireworks. Why? I do not know.

The small dogs object to the noise.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Suddenly: winter! 

Monday, December 4, 2017

One Step Forward

Herself speaks.

I have received results from the first step of the Task. I am relieved to report that it went better than I expected. Relief.

I think back to the moment a month ago when I finished the first step. I sat in my car, thoroughly dismayed. As I contemplated breaking my general self-imposed taboo against making phone calls -- so much was I in need of a reassuring voice -- I cast my mind forward to the larger steps of the Task, and was overwhelmed by the difficulty of it all. Could I even express my doubts and fears without my voice breaking? So uncertain, the future. So tired, my mind.

I allowed myself a half day of sorrow and dismay; a further day of non-thought; and then it was time to move forward. So much to do.

Today:the results came in. On a strangely calculated scale scored between 50 and 150, I needed a minimum of 85 to move forward.

I received 127.


I will not rest on this success; there is much work yet to be done. For a shining moment today, though, the future of the Task seemed to speak of possibilities, rather than of impossibilities.

We shall see how it goes.


Sunday, December 3, 2017


It has been a long time since I have picked up John O'Donohue's writings. I think it is time to visit them again. They contain a serenity and a depth that is welcome in these ever-changing days.

Where you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person's soul. 
― John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Life's Heart

A fragment from On Love, by Kahlil Gibran (from The Prophet)

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Country Dance

Tonight's earworm: Your Man (Josh Turner).

When the world is complicated and work is mentally exhausting, I do enjoy a deep, kind voice, and an invitation to dance. (The smiling people in the video make me smile, too.)

I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Herself speaks.

I feel as though I ought to talk about all the somewhat complex yet mundane happenings of the past few weeks -- yet I do not feel up to going into detail, somehow. I shall give the nutshell version.

There was a lot of physical minutiae -- the recovery from the MOHS surgery (which is going well, I am glad to say); endoscopy and colonoscopy to investigate and ensure nothing more sinister than IBS is brewing in my innards (the results did not reveal anything significant, mercifully, and so we assume IBS and proceed accordingly); plus additional doctor visits to address other uncomfortable issues (which are improving, I am happy to report). I am mentally exhausted from the necessary physical invasions, and still experiencing occasional flashbacks of previous unpleasant medical occasions. I need more quiet, tender touch, to balance out the unpleasantness.

Also: there was Thanksgiving, which entailed some very enjoyable cooking, and a house full of my very favorite people. Lovely -- yet also a wee bit mentally taxing, as each person has their own individual needs to which to attend. I now need some quiet, alone time, in which to reflect fondly upon my favorite people, to appreciate them, and to miss them.

I am not sure how to self-care right now. I would spend some time organizing my abode to quiet my mind, but there is much work at Work to be done. Alas.

One step at a time.

A little rest with a companion can help

Monday, November 27, 2017

Tiny Sad

Tiny Dog is sad that Offspring the Second, Offspring the Third, and Cherished Friend have left. As am I.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Big Anemone

Tiny Dog takes refuge with Cherished Friend.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


Offspring the First quipped that Elderly Three-toothed Dog was thinking: I remember when root beer was a nickel.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017


I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think. -- Rumi

Picture copyright 2017, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Holey Moley

Although I was not able to capture a picture of the wee critter who dug a new back door adjacent to our campsite, Cherished Friend did. Behold, that lovely little furry face. BEHOLD. Lovely.

Picture copyright 2017, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude

Mole Hole

Some wee little rodent-like animal chose to dig itself a new back door immediately adjacent to our campsite this past weekend. We enjoyed watching it pop in and out of the ground, throwing piles of earth and dragging the occasional bit of plant matter back into its lair. I wish I could have gotten a good picture of the varmint, but alas, it was far too speedy to do so.

Good luck wintering in the wilds, wee critter. Thank you for your amusing and entertaining appearance.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


It was difficult to capture the complexity and variety of the lichens in a photo. 
Simply fascinating. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Roughing It

Herself speaks.

Beloved Husband, Cherished Friend, and I spent the past weekend camping in the wilds of New Mexico. It was decidedly... primitive camping. with not even an available latrine. The temperature dropped significantly at night, to the point that I actually took a warmed rock from the campfire ring into my tent to keep my feet warm. (It was decidedly helpful to do so.) The campsite was wonderfully remote -- hardly another person to be seen or heard -- and the night sky was just lovely.

Part of me feels I might deserve a small round of applause for managing to maintain a pristine surgical scar, as well as to follow the low-FODMAP (anti-IBS) diet suggested by the GI doctor and to take care of all associated bodily functions in the woods, for the weekend. Yet another part of me needs no applause, but rather is quite satisfied that we did not treat me as a fragile incapable flower, but instead went about our business and pursued simple adventures in spite of my temporarily-increased physical neediness.

I did not go for a hike -- though I would have enjoyed it -- because I did not want to push myself too hard at that time. Instead, I took a close look at all the lichens and trees in our camp, and surveyed the number of small animal burrows in the vicinity. Simple pleasures.

I also enjoyed watching the two Menfolk make their way up the side of a big hill as they hiked. Snatches of their conversation drifted over the valley, indistinct, yet clear enough for me to hear the comforting tenor of their voices. It warms my heart to see the two of them together, taking some time to relax and enjoy the out-of-doors. Good for them.

It was a welcome respite from It All.

If you look closely, you can see them. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Small Nose

"You have a very small nose," the doctor said, as he put in the sutures. Apparently a larger nose is better for such things, but he managed to work well with the small nose just the same. 

As expected, MOHS surgery was necessary for a second time. It was not terrible, all things considered, though the sensation of having skin manipulated this way and that was distinctly unpleasant. It is a two centimeter line, and in time, it will likely fade just as the first one did.

My face hurts. There was only one day of significant pain last time, though, so I am hoping that by this time tomorrow, things will improve. 

(I was warned that my eyes might swell shut two to three days later. Oh, dear. Let us hope that does not happen.) 

I am glad it is finished. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Office Visitors

I am the designated Remover of Insects at work. Just the other day I relocated a very pretty spider from a stack of papers in the copy room to a bush outside. 'Twas a pity I did not have an opportunity to take a picture of it first. Perhaps next time. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017

A Dog and His Boy

Elderly three-toothed dog is happy that Offspring the Third is home for the weekend. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Task

I have taken on a task (henceforth known as The Task) - it is a lengthy, challenging, onerous task, but for reasons that are best left unexplained, it must be done. It will take a full year before we know whether I am successful at The Task. We shall see. 

Tomorrow is a small step within the much larger Task. Am I sufficiently prepared? How will this piece of The Task go? I will be glad when this piece is (momentarily) over, at any rate.

All will be revealed, in due course. Have patience.

Have mercy, Universe. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017


The intake form for a doctor I saw today included a spot to check if one is a housewife.

What century is this again?