Thursday, April 30, 2015

Absence of Pause

Biological discussion of female midlife today. You have been warned! Herself speaks.

Thirty-three years or so of menstrual cycles, interrupted here and there by the incubation of the Offspring and a bit of ovulatory dormancy while nursing -- that's a long time of ebb and flow. With a six-week interval (and the concomitant problems of an extended cycle), it's been quite a ride.  Even now, a few years after divorcing my recalcitrant and troublesome uterus, my ovaries still dutifully perform their tasks, and I thereby continue bear witness to the cyclical ups and downs on a relatively regular basis.

Follicular phase: productive, energetic, cerebral, with an abundance of patience and a dash of cheerfulness. I find things to write about and have a willingness and an ability to do so. I get things done, and I am light on my feet. My brain is contentedly busy, and life is brighter.

In contrast, luteal phase:  slower, heavier, more primal, with a higher body temperature and a quest for caloric intake that is relentless and nearly insatiable.  I will eat anything not nailed down -- and sometimes to my detriment, for the amount of willpower to abstain from foods that are migraine-inducing is dramatically reduced during this time. Motivation to write (or clean, or exercise) is harder to come by, and must be dredged up from the very depths. I get things done, but the effort seems so much more. My brain is restlessly busy, and life is a darker shade.

And I wonder: what is in store once menopause -- which surely at my age must be somewhere on the horizon -- arrives?

Will it be a follicular-like state as the endpoint?  Will it be luteal-like? Will I wake up one morning, and think back about the past several months to realize that I have at last been released from cycling? Will it be announced by the advent of hot flashes, or not? Will I be oddly sad, as I was after the hysterectomy, to know that I have crossed a bridge and can never return to where I once was? What happens next?

I might be a bit afraid. And perhaps just a wee bit tearful. But then again, that could just be a sign of my current luteal phase.

Such a mystery, to be a soul tethered in an earthly, vulnerable vessel.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Side by Side

We have had the rare and great pleasure of having Beloved Husband, Offspring the Third, and Cherished Friend all at the kitchen table together for the past two nights.  We try not to think about the past and the future moments when they have been or will be busy or far away, but rather, to immerse ourselves in the now. We are grateful to have  this time with them. Together, we can reach a bit of happiness to remember when we need it most. 

No human relation gives one possession in another — every two souls are absolutely different. In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone. 
-- Kahlil Gibran

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

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Come Into The Light

Because the heart dwells in unattended dark, we often forgets its sublime sensitivity to everything that is happening to us.  Without our ever noticing, the heart absorbs the joy of things and also their pain and care.  Within us, therefore, a burdening can accrue.  For this reason it is wise now and again to tune in to your heart and listen for what it carries.  Sometimes the simplest things effect unexpected transformation.  The old people here used to say that a burden shared is a burden halved.  Similarly, when you allow your heart to speak, the burdens it carries diminish, a new lightness enters your body, and relief floods the heart. -- John O'Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us

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

Saturday, April 25, 2015

View of the Inside

The veterinarian who has taken care of all of the family dogs for years and years is retiring.  We went to pick up our files so that we can take them to the new veterinarian when we choose one. It was odd to hold the envelope containing X-rays; it contains images of Ancient and Decrepit Dog as well as Ottoman-shaped Dog. Ghosts of the past.

Godspeed, our faithful canine companions. You are missed.

Friday, April 24, 2015

What It Wants

Today's pop music earworm:  The Heart Wants What It Wants by Selena Gomez.  You can see the suffering in her face and hear it in her voice. Makes me want to pat her hair and give her a tissue for her tears.  From watching the video, though, I suspect that very little would bring her consolation.

Thank you, Selena Gomez, for capturing the intensity of young heartbreak. We have all been there.  We understand.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Camera Is Too Slow

We spotted three deer (does) at the park down the street last night while out for a walk.  Alas, the camera was too slow to capture them.  It was a lovely sight, to be sure.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Don't Sing

Offspring the Third has certain sensory sensitivities.  There were many more when he was younger -- particularly issues relating to clothing, food and loud noises -- but he has adapted over time, so that now he can tolerate certain noises/smells/tastes that he could not before. It is much easier, both for him and for the rest of the family, when he is able to abide the sensory input of his environment.  And he tries hard.  Herself understands; she particularly loathes eating sounds, whistling, and the presence of balloons. And so she tries hard as well to make sure that he is as comfortable as possible in his environment.

There is one thing he cannot tolerate, though, that Herself finds difficult:  he does not like when people sing along to music. Singing along to the radio in the car or in the house bothers him tremendously.

Unfortunately, Herself is particularly fond of singing along to the music. Fewer things make a solo road trip more enjoyable than belting out the lyrics to whatever tune, without anyone there to be horrified at her voice or the volume of the music. She also sings along when she's doing her chores or cooking.  It is soothing to have a soundtrack for her activities: to sing, even quietly, makes the music more pleasurable, the task at hand more enjoyable.

Yet because Offspring the Third cannot comfortably listen to singing, she does not sing when he is within earshot.

It makes her sad. She knows, though, that his need for something not to happen oftentimes must trump what she wants, and that the putting of his needs over hers is part and parcel of parenthood.

Part and parcel of life, really.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one. - Star Trek, Wrath of Kahn

Perhaps someday, when it is truly important, she will ask others to put her needs first.  Until then, though, she tries to let go of herself. Life is short, and life is tricky, and if she can make someone else more comfortable on the path, she is glad to do so.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Herself was brushing up on logarithms this evening to help Offspring the Third with his math homework.  She had forgotten how much she enjoyed this particular type of math.

logb a = x  is the same as a = bx
logb m + logb n = logb (m*n)
logb m – logb n = logb (m/n)
logb (mn) = n*logb (m)

Beautiful, rule-abiding math. You make us happy.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Solvitur Ambulando

A meandering constitutional over dusty paths and near the river, through trees budding for spring, with lizards sunning and skittering, and a young owl stretching its wings in its nest. Geese honking and turtles placidly climbing onto logs to bask in the sun. Fat tadpoles biding their time in the silt, awaiting transformation. This was Herself's afternoon yesterday with Cherished Friend.

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.

Conversation that could take its own pace and lapse comfortably into silence.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.

The occasional whoosh of a bicyclist. the murmured conversations of horseback riders. Students diligently measuring trees and scooping samples of river water with bottles attached to awkward telescoping poles. Small children delighting in the simple pleasures of nature.  And time spent enjoying the moment.

And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.


(Quotes by Kahlil Gibran, from "On Friendship" - The Prophet

Picture copyright 2015, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


A lovely internet friend of Herself posted this to Facebook the other day, and we are grateful, for we might not have seen it otherwise.  It's Just Right.

Life is a stream
On which we strew
Petal by petal the flower of our heart;
The end lost in dream,
They float past our view,
We only watch their glad, early start.

Freighted with hope,
Crimsoned with joy,
We scatter the leaves of our opening rose;
Their widening scope,
Their distant employ,
We never shall know. And the stream as it flows
Sweeps them away,
Each one is gone
Ever beyond into infinite ways.
We alone stay
While years hurry on,
The flower fared forth, though its fragrance still stays.

“Petals” by Amy Lowell, in A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass (1912), in the Internet Archive thanks to the University of Toronto Robarts Library.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Finding Humor Where One Can

Herself was contemplating writing a post about her frustration in dealing with a (minor yet extremely annoying) chronic medical issue, but then she found this picture below, and decided that it would make for a much better post.

We would so do this. Hee. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Alert and ready for action!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Love Your Appliances

Herself:  "Did I turn on the washing machine?"
Offspring the Third: "You have to tell it, it's pretty."


Monday, April 13, 2015


Sometimes, it is difficult to turn the brain off and rest:  one thousand thoughts, big and small, bouncing around the inside of one's skull. Too many things to contemplate. Too much weight on the soul.

We need a blessing for rest. John O'Donohue has one for us.


As light departs to let the earth be one with night,
Silence deepens in the mind, and thoughts grow slow;
The basket of twilight brims over with colors
Gathered from within the secret meadows of the day
And offered like blessings to the gathering Tenebrae.

After the day's frenzy, may the heart grow still,
Gracious in thought for all the day brought,
Surprises that dawn could never have dreamed:
The blue silence that came to still the mind,
The quiver of mystery at the edge of a glimpse,
The golden echoes of worlds behind voices.

Tense faces unable to hide what gripped the heart,
The abrupt cut of a glance or a word that hurt,
The flame of longing that distance darkened,
Bouquets of memory gathered on the heart's altar,
The thorns of absence in the rose of dreams.

And the whole while the unknown underworld
Of the mind, turning slowly, in its secret orbit.
May the blessing of sleep bring refreshment and release
And the Angel of the moon call the rivers of dream
To soften the hardened earth of the outside life,
Disentangle from the trapped nets the hurt and sorrow,
And awaken the young soul for the new tomorrow.

-John O'Donohue, Vespers, from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

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

Sunday, April 12, 2015


A nebulous heartache, wrought by the pecking of the thousand ducks. Despondency that is consoled neither by company nor by solitude. Melancholy that sends us searching, fruitlessly, to find a quotation that captures the inertia, malaise, and restlessness of the moment's sorrow. 

Writer's block:  such an ungraceful phrase.  Perhaps that's what makes it so apt.

And I watch my words from a long way off.

They are more yours than mine.
They climb on my old suffering like ivy. 
Pablo Neruda, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

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

Friday, April 10, 2015

Perambulation Wishes

Beloved Husband and Offspring the Third are out of the house this evening, working hard (as always) at a task for a small but well-loved side business of Beloved Husband.  Herself is enjoying a bit of leisure time this evening, as she has cleaned the house within the past few days and thus has fewer chores to do this weekend.  The small dogs keep her company, alternating which one gets to sit on her lap for a bit.  The weather is warm, with the hint of a breeze as evening approaches.  It's a very nice night for a walk.

These are the times when Herself most misses having Cherished Friend nearby. For even (and especially) when everyone in the family was otherwise occupied, she could still invite Cherished Friend for an evening walk. His company is always a welcome respite, especially on a Friday.


Perhaps next time we visit, Cherished Friend, we can go for a walk.

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

In The Air

Sniff.  Can you smell it?  Spring is in the air.  Everything is scented by fresh blooms, new flowers, and the promise of things to come.

It's a difficult time.  The heart is restless, waiting, hoping, like a seed searching for that last drop of moisture it needs to send forth its shoots and roots.

We need to be outside.

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

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Herself freely admits to enjoying a fair amount of pop music. She understands why so many teens adore the plaintive, longing-filled music of young adult pop stars, as the songs also appeal to her inner angsty teen. She listens to Offspring the Third's stories about the trials and tribulations of high school romances, and she understands -- everything is so very heartfelt when one is young.  And sometimes, even when one is not so young.

Today's pop song: Distance, by Christina Perri.

Please don't stand so close to me
I'm having trouble breathing
I'm afraid of what you'll see right now
I give you everything I am
All my broken heart beats
Until I know you'll understand

We hope you enjoy.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Herself speaks.

Lovely, witty, charming, and kind-hearted Offspring the First today celebrates the twenty-second anniversary of her entrance into this world.  Beloved child, you who first made me a mother, you brighten the path of all who encounter you. I am ever so grateful to have the privilege of being your Mom. I wish All Good Things for you, always.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Three-toothed dog wishes you a very happy Easter.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Big Lungs

Today, we're listening to Christina Aguilera.  Girlcrush moment: she is such a tiny, beautiful woman, who clearly is 90% lung, given how she can belt out a magnificent, heartfelt song.

Two selections for you: first, the slightly naughty, thoroughly enjoyable Candy Man:

And second, the heartbreaking Just a Fool.

We hope you enjoy.

Friday, April 3, 2015


Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers. ― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

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

Thursday, April 2, 2015

At The Car Wash

As Herself sat in the new vehicle, watching the foam spray over the glass of the moon roof, she reflected about how much she enjoys the car.  It's a pleasure to get into it, a pleasure to drive it, a pleasure to park it at her destination.  It's clean and tidy and reliable and readily holds all the things she might need. It will transport her to places she needs to go, and to places she wants to go.  Happy.

She might almost love the car -- except (she reminds herself) that loving Things can so easily lead to heartbreak. And so, she keeps her fondness for the vehicle quiet within her heart.

It is a good car, indeed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Big Girl Problems

Laundry time.  Let's use this bag for delicates to protect the new brassieres.  (Bras are expensive and need careful washing to ensure longevity of the investment.)  The label says that the bag has a two-bra capacity.

Or, let's not use this bag. Because the bag is, in fact, smaller than a single cup of the bra.