Saturday, April 30, 2011


In rereading and reflecting upon the blog entries of the past few weeks, Herself is rather dismayed and just a trifle embarrassed to see so clearly the truly sad undertones that are present in so many of the posts. She has been unable to hide the fact that her soul has been considerably challenged of late, and the only way I have been able to help her is to allow her the opportunity to describe her distress here in the blog.  It has been useful - I can see that when she no longer has to carry her anguish silently within her, she is able to see better the path that she must take to keep moving forward.

She asks me to apologize to you for her being so visibly raw.  So I do.  Yet, I hope that rather than generating pity or discomfort, her openness will instead bring you to a better understanding of your own humanity.  Know that in your own moments of sorrow, solace can be found, and that you too can draw upon your own inner strength and persevere.  Know, too, that she and I are here for you, and that together, we can get to where we need to go.

By perseverance, the snail reached the ark.
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mediocria Firma

The internet is an enormous, sprawling organism.  Much like the giant fungus, Armillaria solidipes, it extends through, under, and beyond the expected boundaries.  Sometimes its reach is so vast that it is difficult to identify the worthwhile parts; one can easily get lost in an endless, mind-numbing stream of clickhere-clickthere-clickclickclickclicketyclick where has the time gone?

It gives me great pleasure, my intrepid readers, when I am able to separate the wheat from the chaff and point you directly to a worthwhile corner of the world wide web.  And so, I happily encourage you to consider Mediocria Firma.  It is a newborn site, still wet behind the ears, and yet it holds tremendous promise.  I hope you enjoy.  I know I will.

 Picture copyright Mediocria Firma, 2011.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

And a Glimmer of Hope

Herself adds:

A quick lunch with my Beloved, and helpful words with my pea-in-a-pod friend and my cherished friend, and I am able to find my bootstraps and pull myself back up.

The Universe is merciful in granting me these people in my life.  I am able to smile again.

A Small Moment of Despair

Herself writes:

I am grateful for what I have.
I don't want to be a complainer.

I am trying so hard.
I am struggling.

I need an attitude adjustment. 
I need to adapt to what I cannot change. 

I wish it were easier to do so.
I wish I knew how.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Young Love

As we watch the Offspring endure the slings and arrows of crushes, the difficulties of teen (and preteen) romantic angst, and the exhilarations and sorrows of their first relationships with those who have attracted their attentions, Herself and I are simultaneously amused, heartened, saddened and nostalgic.  

It is endearing to hear how they demonstrate their affections, and it is delightful to see them happy to make another person happy.  It is hard, though, to watch them struggle with unrequited love. And it is difficult to know what to do when their hearts are broken - a tissue and a hug cannot possibly adequately address wounds of the heart.

Herself remembers how enthralling, and almost physically painful, it was to be first captivated by someone's presence as a teenager.  The surge of hope -- does he like me back? -- followed by the depth of realization -- no, he does not -- were like waves on the ocean, rising up, up, and then crashing down again.  Excitement, disappointment.  Phone calls and crossed fingers.  Friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who has information. Glances across the dimly-lit gym at the school dance.  Yes? No? Maybe?

It was torturous, to be sure.  Yet these are rites of passage each person must endure.  It is a life-long quest:  to find others whom one loves, and who loves one. 

The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief-
But the pain of grief
Is only a shadow
When compared with the pain
Of never risking love.

- Hilary Stanton Zunin

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Today, vital people are missing.  Or rather, are being missed.  Some are far away; some are here, but are (or may be) departing; and some are here, but not here.  So many people, close in thought and in heart, despite actual, possible, or metaphorical distance.  It is hard.

Herself's siblings are so dispersed.  Herself hasn't seen her younger sibling for over three years, not since the birth of that sibling's youngest child.  Herself's Beloved has never seen that youngest child.  How sad Herself is, that this sibling who is so important to her is so far away.  Also, Herself's older sibling is working on obtaining a job overseas - and that would mean that Herself would see that sibling with even less frequency than she does now. She is again sorrowful. Alas.

One of Herself's friends from the gym is moving away.  This friend is a lovely, witty, and incredibly flexible woman who has been Herself's inspiration for many a class.  Herself aspires to be as talented, patient, and quietly humorous as this friend.  Godspeed, my friend, and I hope that New England brings you many new and wonderful things.

Herself still waits patiently for further news regarding another friend whose job may require relocation.  She is actually physically nauseated at the thought of this friend leaving.  We cannot bear to contemplate it, until we know whether it is truly inevitably happening.

We try not to think about Offspring the First's forthcoming departure for college, for that will forever change the dynamics of the Family, and we are not yet ready to think about such a change.

And finally, there is Herself's Beloved.  So near, and yet so far - so dedicated to his job, so diligent and persevering, so patiently bearing the immensely heavy workload he carries every day.  The long hours, the faraway look that indicates he is thinking about work, the circles of fatigue under his eyes.  Herself has so little time with him, and it breaks her heart every day, for she cannot help him, and she cannot spend time with him when he does not have a spare moment to spend.

She is grateful for each brief moment she has with these people. 

Today, it is all too much to bear. She cries.

Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.

 —   Charles M. Schultz

Friday, April 22, 2011


I went to the grocery store with a friend today.  It was the most ordinary of errands, and yet there was a quiet happiness in having company while perusing the aisles.

Yes we are [friends] and I do like to pass the day with you in serious and inconsequential chatter.  I wouldn't mind washing up beside you, dusting beside you, reading the back half of the paper while you read the front.  We are friends and I would miss you, do miss you and think of you very often.  I don't want to lose this happy space where I have found someone who is smart and easy and doesn't bother to check her diary when we arrange to meet. 

~ Jeanette Winterson

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Just when the shadow of the beast of loneliness has coalesced and separated from the night, tiny pinpoints of light from a few incandescent sparks of love have driven the creature back towards its lair.

Messages from her close friends, and ten minutes' uninterrupted conversation with her Beloved, have whispered a breath of kind air across the embers in her heart.  They kindled the warmth within her anew, for they held enough words to let Herself know that she is not alone. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Words are loneliness.

- Henry Miller

Amen, Omen

Amen, Omen.

I must practice my guitar, so that I can learn to play this song.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Boys and Girls

Yesterday, Offspring the Third received a telephone call from a classmate, inviting him to go down the block and meet at the local park for a half an hour.  He bicycled off cheerfully and returned later, happy to have spent time with his friends. 

Later, Herself’s Beloved asked Offspring the Third who the classmates were.  Offspring the Third hesitated for a moment, and then named their names.   The reason for his hesitation was immediately apparent:  the friends are GIRLS.
In middle school, as we all know, the relationships between boys and girls are tenuous, evolving, and an endless source of mockery.  Whether one child likes another, or LIKE likes another, frequently becomes a topic for debate and discussion.  Offspring the Third was clearly concerned that by revealing his friends to be girls, he was opening himself up to teasing.  Herself promptly reassured him, however, pointing out that she and her Beloved would never make fun of Offspring the Third for his female friends.  It is quite possible, Herself states, for boys and girls to be friends – good friends, even.

She asked him, “Do you know any women who have friends who are men?”  He promptly answered:  “You do.”  Satisfied, he wandered off to use his Wave Board.
Indeed, she does.  Herself is blessed with a small handful of truly wondrous people as her close friends.  You have seen me mention a couple of them before:  Herself's pea-in-a-pod friend, Herself's cherished friend.  Herself's pea-in-a-pod friend is a woman, and Herself’s cherished friend is a man.

Herself knows that adults are just as prone as middle-schoolers to wonder and whisper when a man and a woman are friends. To defend Herself against malicious talk is to imply that the gossip needs to be addressed in the first place.  At the same time, it is difficult for her to remain silent, because the suggestion that physical attraction is the sole reason a woman and a man would spend time together denigrates and diminishes an immensely valuable and treasured friendship.  Still, many people would see any attempt at an explanation as, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” 

There is no way to clarify without feeding the rumor mill.  So she does not try.  Those who know Herself well know the nature of her relationships – and the opinions of those who do not know her well do not matter.  (Herself's pea-in-a-pod friend taught her that, and she is ever so appreciative for the lesson.  Such a blessing is her pea-in-a-pod friend.)

Ultimately, Herself is grateful thrice over:
first, to have such a cherished friend;
second, to have the wise and understanding Beloved as her partner, for he is not uncomfortable with Herself’s friendship with her cherished friend, but instead, also chooses to be friends with her cherished friend;
and third, to have such shining examples of friendship and of partnership for her Offspring to see. 

A fortunate woman is she.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Partings, anticipated

This morning Herself spent some time with Offspring the First, planning the necessary trips to install her at college in the fall. 

In the fall.  That makes it sound like there's plenty of time because it's so far away.

Reality is, it will be in a mere four months.  That's so very close.

Herself has only begun thinking about the inevitable moment when she drives away and leaves Offspring the First over 500 miles from home.  Offspring the First has never before been away from home for more than a week, and yet it will be months and months at a time now.  And home is forever changed, for "coming home" is very different once one has been away at college. 

Herself is excited for Offspring the First.  New adventures, new discoveries.  New people, new places.  So many worlds open up in college.   Herself focuses on that, rather than thinking about how much Offspring the First's absence in the household will be noticeable.  Yet in the wee hours, when she cannot sleep, Herself mulls over how to console Offspring the Second and Offspring the Third when they miss Offspring the First.  And she cannot even begin to fathom how she will console herself.


There is another possible parting in the back of Herself's mind, too:  there is a chance that one of her favorite people may move away from this desert land.  The future is uncertain.  Herself waits for further news, and holds her concerns in abeyance for the moment.

I encourage her to keep in mind a few words of wisdom from Kung Fu:  "What will happen, will happen, whether one is afraid or not."  She understands, and she is patient.  Still, she sees the creeping shadows of loss and change, and is fearful.   

Change is hard.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Egg Nostalgia

Childhood memory:

My family had a collection of egg cups.  Some were shaped like little chickens, as I recall, and we even had a small chicken-shaped cozy to keep an egg warm. When I had a cold and was too germ-laden to join the family at the table, I'd get a tray in my room with a soft-boiled egg in an egg cup, ideally with toast (cut in triangles) so I could crack off just the top of the egg and stick the toast points into the still-runny yolk.  Add to that the special treat of being temporarily allowed to use the family's small black-and-white TV so I could watch The Banana Splits or some painfully wholesome PBS show, and it was a happy experience despite my being under the weather.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Herself has something to say today:

Yesterday evening, my Beloved and I took our dogs for a walk.  As we chatted about this and that, I told him about what was going on in my friends' lives.  When he and I returned home, I spent some time thinking about my friends, and about how very grateful I am to know them and to have them in my life.

My Beloved and I have mutual obligations - we are bound together not only by the vows we exchanged nearly 20 years ago, but also by the common life that we have built together and the children whom we have brought into this world.  I expect certain things from him:  if I am lonely, sorrowful or hurt, I expect him to try to console me.  If I have difficulty, I expect him to listen to my words and to try to help if I ask him to do so.  If I have happiness,  I expect to be able to share it with him and that he will be happy in turn.  And I, in turn do the same for him.  I expect him to come to me with his needs and his joys, so that I may help him or rejoice with him.  For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.  So it is.

My friends have no such obligations to me - not by any vow, by any duty, by any promise.  And yet, they are here for me.  They are happy when I am happy.  They console me; they listen to me; they help if I ask.  They keep the spectre of loneliness away from my doorstep, even when my Beloved works long hours and is not here.  They tell me of their happinesses and their successes, and I am ever so pleased for them.  Even more:  they turn to me in their own times of need. They let me feed them and look after them.  If they need a hug or a word of cheer, they provide me the opportunity for helping them.  They care about me, and I care about them. So it is.

It is marvelous indeed, that a bond of friendship alone has given rise to these relationships that bring me so much joy.  It is my honor and my privilege to be here for my friends as they are for me.  I am enormously grateful, every day, for them.

Thank you, my friends. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Desert Longings

Every trip into the desert is marvelous. 

The low that follows the high, though, is brutal.

Such a tremendous longing to be out again.  Almost a physical discomfort.  Ordinary days pale in comparison to the bliss of the adventures.

Yet would we truly appreciate the beauty and wonder of the desert outings, if we did not have such a clear contrast between them and our ordinary lives?

We will go again.  Soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Not Minor

Yesterday, Offspring the First reached the age of majority.  She is delighted; Herself and Herself's Beloved are quite verklempt.  Where did their baby go?  It seems just yesterday that they lined up her first pair of shoes with theirs.

She has grown into a lovely, kind-hearted, witty young lady. So much life ahead of her, so many wonderful possibilities.  She is making her plans to go away to college next year.  We are already bereft at the thought of her absence from our daily lives. 

Godspeed, child.  You are an adult in the eyes of the law, but your journey is truly only just beginning.  We will be here, to walk with you when you need company, to catch you when you fall, and to cheer when you soar.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Crater, Round Two

Yesterday, Herself had the pleasure of visiting Aden Crater, New Mexico, for the second time.  (The first adventure is described here.)  She, her Beloved, her cherished friend, and Offspring the Third spent an entire day at the Crater. 

They drove out -- Herself and her Beloved in the Suzuki, and Offspring the third together with Herself's cherished friend in a Jeep -- and bumped over the lava rocks up close to the Crater.  Herself made everyone sandwiches for lunch (she heartily enjoys preparing food for them).  Then they hiked up into the Crater, and explored numerous small caves and other rock formations.  They found rat skulls and saw owls swooping past.  They admired the giant ocotillos and took pictures of the cholla fruit. They returned to base camp for a snack, and watched the sun set and the stars come out before they packed up and headed home.

Offspring the Third had long expressed a desire to visit the Crater and poke about in all of the caves, and was thoroughly prepared with his CamelBak and numerous light sources for the darker recesses.  He enjoyed himself immensely.  As an added benefit, he spent a significant amount of time with Herself's cherished friend. He admires Herself's cherished friend enormously, and the cherished friend is unfailingly kind, conversational, and patient with Offspring the Third.  It warms Herself's heart greatly to see the two of them interacting with one another.

Herself's Beloved has been working extraordinarily hard of late, and it was such a pleasure to see him take the day off from work and spend it in the out-of-doors doing the kind of hiking and exploring that he loves.  He was also quite satisfied with the performance of the Suzuki.  Herself understands now how much that vehicle means to him, and is happy that it pleases him so. 

It's impossible to explain the joy that Herself derives from these desert trips.  To leave behind all of her ordinary cares and spend time in the desert wilderness with some of her very favorite people, brings her an inexpressible gladness that permeates her very core.  Blessed is she -- doubly blessed, in fact -- for she is eminently aware of, and simultaneously grateful for, the beauty and delight that these moments hold.

On the Vine

One of my favorite scents: tomato on the vine. Mmmmmm. Lovely.