Thursday, July 30, 2015

Soggy Hop

Monsoon season continues here in the desert, with marvelous thunderstorms and nightly rainfall. It was still sprinkling this morning when Herself made a trip to the grocery store less than an hour after sunrise. The parking lot was spotted with many bedraggled grasshoppers; some were squished, some were clearly waterlogged, and some were jumping as if to try to dry themselves off. Hop, hop. Rest. Hop, hop. Rest.

It really is fascinating, the effect of rain on all the creatures of the desert.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just a Wee Night Snake

The most recent late-evening-walk-appearing creature was this wee little snake.  (It was indeed quite wee, about eight inches long, and no thicker than a finger.) The interwebs seems to suggest that this critter was a Texas night snake. The diet of such a snake consists primarily of lizards -- and given the population explosion of minuscule lizards that occurred after the hailstorm, it's unsurprising that the snake was out and about, looking for a meal. Good luck, snake, and let us hope that any humans you encounter will appreciate you and leave you alone. 

Giant snake?

No - teeny snake. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Ah, interwebs.  Thank you for sharing this haka (a traditional ancestral war cry, dance, or challenge from the Māori people of New Zealand), performed by a group of boys/young men in honor of a deceased teacher. What a magnificent way to pay tribute and to express communal grief in the face of the death of a well-loved and much-respected teacher. Well done, and godspeed,  Mr. Tamatea.

This haka was found here:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Call Me

Herself was sorting the bin of hats at the kitchen table.  Offspring the Third sat with her.  Tio, the three-toothed elderly chihuahua, rested in his nest nearby.  The following conversation ensued:

Offspring the Third:  Who is going to keep you company when you do these things when I go off to college?

Herself:  :::looking over at the elderly dog::: Tio will.  I'll talk to him. 

Offspring the Third:  I talk to Tio sometimes.

Herself:  Me too. Only trouble is, he doesn't talk back.

Offspring the Third:  You can call me whenever you want to talk.  Unless I'm in class. But if I'm in class and you call, I'll just explain to the Professor that it's my mother and she's really lonely so I'll have to answer.

Herself:  That's very thoughtful of you.

Ah, child. Thank you for your words. You are a blessing, indeed.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


I've been watching Farscape. It's entertaining; the characters are well-developed and interesting, the special effects are decent, and I'm invested enough (at just halfway through the first season) to want to continue watching.

I am particularly fond of one charater -- Zhaan.  She is blue and bald, and exceptionally beautiful in her blue- and bald-ness. Much of the character's beauty comes from within: she serene, capable, nonjudgmental. and patient. She exudes warmth and intelligence and sensuality.  Because of her training, she can literally share others' pain to help them. And yet, she recognizes her flaws, acknowledging that she has a ruthless and savage side deep within.

I'll be interested to see how her character develops. Perhaps I can seek to be a little more like her, too.

Zhaan was found here

Saturday, July 25, 2015

King of the Salmon

I am reading a book of Irish fairy tales (author, James Stephens).  The first tale is the story of Tuan Mac Cairill; it is laden with beautiful imagery. So very poetic. 

I became the king of the salmon, and, with my multitudes, I ranged on the tides of the world. Green and purple distances were under me: green and gold the sunlit regions above.  In these latitudes I moved through a world of amber, myself amber and gold; in those others, in a sparkle of lucent blue, I curved, lit like a living jewel: and in these again, through dusks of ebony all mazed with silver, I shot and shone, the wonder of the sea.... I swam on the outermost rim of the great world, where nothing was but the sea and the sky and the salmon; where even the wind was silent, and the water was clear as clean grey rock. 

 Ah. I would like to see the ocean. It has been far too long.

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

Friday, July 24, 2015


Pleasure is a freedom-song, But it is not freedom.
It is the blossoming of your desires,
But it is not their fruit.
It is a depth calling unto a height, But it is not the deep nor the high. It is the caged taking wing,
But it is not space encompassed.
Ay, in very truth, pleasure is a freedomsong.
And I fain would have you sing it with fullness of heart; yet I would not have you lose your hearts in the singing.
- Kahlil Gibran, "On Pleasure," from The Prophet

Thursday, July 23, 2015

In the Pot

It's much too hot to use the oven, or even the stovetop, these days. Crock Pot to the rescue. Although Herself is exhausted from Summer Stuff, she still can find the energy to attempt a few new recipes. They look so satisfying when they are first arranged. And Beloved Husband and Offspring the Second and Offspring the Third have consumed enough of them that they probably are relatively tasty (or at least solidly edible).  

Cooking. It restores the tired soul. 

This one is a pork-based recipe. Pretty lemons.

And this one is poultry, with sliced baby portobellos and thyme. Lovely.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


It may be midsummer in the desert, but the small dogs still enjoy their cocoons.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Songs That Break Your Heart

I listen to a lot more country music these days.  There's something about the simplicity of the songs and the stories of the lyrics that I am finding to be Just Right.

This morning, while I was prepping dinner to go into the crock pot for the day, the country station played Tim McGraw's I'm Already Home. Thank goodness for the onion I was chopping at the time. It was a built-in explanation, should anyone see me.

If you're reading this halfway around the world
I won't be there to see the birth of our little girl
I hope she looks like you
I hope she fights like me
And stands up for the innocent and the weak
I'm layin down my gun and hanging up my boots
Tell dad I don't regret that I followed in his shoes

So lay me down
In that open field out on the edge of town
And know my soul
Is where my mama always prayed that it would go
And if you're reading this
I'm already home

I think about those who find comfort in this song, and those whom they have lost. So many sacrifices. Heartrending.

Godspeed, our fallen soldiers, and thank you.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Roots and Wings

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings. ~ Hodding Carter, Jr.

Offspring the First is having a tremendous adventure right now, seeing new things and exploring new places as part of a three-week school program. I couldn't possibly be more delighted for her. I'll provide some pictures in due course; she's sending them on occasion, which is very kind of her considering she's probably quite busy thoroughly enjoying All The Things.

Mudita, child. I hope your adventure is spectacular, and that you can relive all the marvelous moments when you tell us all about it on your return.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Plenty of 'Room

They really do sprout overnight. This is a mere 24 hours' worth of growth. Impressive. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Things Of Which I Approve

Took Offspring the Third for a physical this week.  Bless the child, he has grown ginormous, and is now 6 feet 1.5 inches tall. Astonishing to think that once upon a time, Herself carried him everywhere in a baby sling or a toddler backpack. For years.

In the doctor's waiting room was the sign depicted below.  In case it is too wee to be read, it says:

In 1952 there were over 21,000 Americans that needed this device 24 hrs/7 days a week just to stay alive. If you don't know why this child was encased in this metal monster, you can thank vaccines for that. This clinic does not support non-vaccination without a legitimate medical reason.  The USA is starting to have deaths from diseases we have not seen in 30-40 years due to unreasonable non-vaccination of children. Who wants to return to this??

There are few things about which my opinion is thoroughly fixed and -- short of dramatic new scientific evidence -- unchangeable. The benefits of vaccination is one such thing. DO IT, PEOPLES. 

Thank you, clinic, for protecting both my Offspring and the offspring of others through supporting vaccination. 

The Iron Lung. A magnificent invention. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ominous Fungus

Tiny Dog did not know what to make of the enormous mushroom that has sprouted after all the rain (and hail) of late.  She approached it tentatively several times, backed away, and then began barking at it.

Good girl, Tiny Dog. Save us from the ominous fungus!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pocked Shed

Herself, being of rather short stature, did not find anything amiss outside after the recent hailstorm.  Yesterday, though, Offspring the Second -- who is a good five inches taller than Herself -- was out doing some yardwork, and called everyone's attention to the roof of the shed. 


At least the roof is two-layered; only a few holes punched all the way through, which means that the tools and things inside the shed were relatively well protected. Still, this might be the last straw for the exhausted shed.  It's flooring needs replacing anyway, and now the roof.  Perhaps we shall retire it.  Thank you for your decade of faithful service, Shed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cookie Meme

We saw this meme last night:

(This image found here:

This is very sweet.  It's also not how the original song sung by cookie monster went.

What Is Friend?
Sometime me think,
What is friend?
And me think,
Friend something very special....

Well maybe friend somebody
You give up last cookie for.

Yes. That's right. 

(If you like, you can read the full lyrics here

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sweeping Out The Inside

I've  been doing some mental housekeeping. Out with the old, in with the new. It is good.

I'm inherently somewhat suspicious of self-help books; there are so many of them, and they are so often touted as being life-changing, spectacular, this-is-the-answer-you've-been-searching-for-all-your-life manuals for perpetual happiness. Life is a wee bit more complicated than that. Still, occasionally there is some helpful information to be had. This weekend, I read a book that has been useful. It's not terribly complex, nor is it all-problem-solving. All the same, it validates a few things. And that is good.

Sometimes, we really need another's voice to say, it is OK to feel the way you do.

[T]he only way I knew to get what I wanted was to give up what I wanted and hope that someone else would give it to me.  And what I wanted was to know, with a conviction as unshakable as Sally's redwood tree with the trunk that is twelve feet around, with the leaves that cut clouds in two -- what I wanted was to know once and for all that yes... you have a right to need, to want, to ask, to have.  You can bloom now. 
- Geneen Roth

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Went for a walk early yesterday morning to see what the damage was in the neighborhood following the Great Weather Bonanza of Friday. It was still cloudy (and, in fact, more thunder clouds rolled into the area in the afternoon, although there were only a few sprinkles thereafter), and it was the most humid I've ever felt it to be here.

First, the plant in the pot out front: alas, naught but stems remain. 

At a neighbor's house, it was clear that the thin-leafed trees -- mesquite, willow -- took the hardest hit. 

A lot of yard landscaping had washed into the roads. 

The silt and detritus in the man-made arroyo was several inches deep.

Oh, dear.

Even the natural arroyos were carved afresh.

It's awe-inspiring to see the force of nature at work.

I love rain in the desert.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Holy Weather, Batman

Giant RAIN and THUNDERSTORM and ENORMOUS HAIL, with flash floods and inches of debris in patches the entire breadth of roads and feet of flooding water washing down the streets and leaves and decimated plants and arroyos flooded with dirt and rocks and incredible flowing rushes. 

This is water in the desert. It is magnificent.

I would have liked to take some pictures of the arroyos, but it was unsafe to do so.  Here are a few at home.

Out front, by the flower pots:

The back yard.

More back yard, with angry storm clouds.

A poor bedraggled bird. "I'll just sit here for a few OK thanks."

Just a handful of the piles, for size reference with a penny and a quarter.

I love this weather.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Have Mercy

Herself posted the picture of yesterday's vinegaroon on Facebook, because fascinating bug to share. She was amused by the multiple cries of some variation of "no": nyet, nope, nopenopenope, a BIG FAT nope, neaux, nah, NO.  She understands completely; it's certainly not the type of creature one would want to encounter in an up-close-and-personal manner. She was surprised, though, that more than one person expressed an opinion that the vinegaroon should die -- and more specifically, that Herself should have killed it.


A wild animal, minding its own business, out in its environment.
Kill it? Why?

Perhaps Herself is biased because she knows a vinegaroon by sight and knows it is harmless? No. Even if she had never seen one before, there was no reason to cause it harm.  She could certainly outrun the creature; and at any rate, it had its own agenda that clearly did not include attacking a passing human being.

What if the vinegaroon had appeared in her house? That would be a bit more alarming, certainly.  The best tactic for such a large intruder would be to trap it with a plastic container, slide a piece of cardboard under it, and remove it as expediently as possible to the out-of-doors.  She's done that more than once with other insect life in the house.

Suffer the creatures. Even the 'ugly' and misunderstood ones. Especially those.

Will we kill the vinegaroon?


Go to the Harrell House Bug Museum in Santa Fe, and you too can hold a vinegaroon. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Evening Stroll

A vinegaroon enjoys a late perambulation in the neighborhood. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Suffer the Creatures

Today while roaming the interwebs after work, I came across a link that contained a video of an orphaned baby skunk who would lovingly follow a Roomba vacuum cleaner. Then, my Facebook feed contained its usual panoply of discarded and abused puppies and kitties, needing homes and funds for medical expenses. Orphaned bats, koalas struck by cars; articles about endangered beasts both large and small. The last straw was a link (which I did not click) proclaiming that it contained pictures and/or video of a snake that, when decapitated, bit its own body.

I just cannot read any more.

The creatures. They suffer.  And so often, at the hands of Man.

People speak sometimes about the "bestial" cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel. 
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

We do our very best to make sure the creatures under our care do not suffer.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dalai Birthday

Today is the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday.  Happy day to you, venerable sir, and I hope for many more.

I am just one human being. We are all part of humanity. We are all the same and our future depends on others. Each day I dedicate my body, speech and mind to the welfare of all mother sentient beings. I say my favourite prayer:
        For as long as space endures
        And for as long as living beings remain,
        Until then may I too abide
        To dispel the misery of the world.

- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, July 6, 2015 (quote found here:

This festive cake-and-candle picture was found here:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Angel on my Shoulder

After several days of melancholia and rumination, Herself's present internal storm appears to have passed. Yesterday she spent several hours on a thorough cleaning of the house, including the tidying and reorganization of the cupboard under the stairs, the cabinet under the kitchen sink, and the pantry shelves.  Because all of the others were out of the house, she listened to her own choices of music and sang along without concern about irritating anyone. (The dogs do not seem to mind the noise.)  She rounded out the chores today by restocking the pantry and weeding several containers of miscellany that were cluttering the garage. She picked out a few new recipes to try in the upcoming week.  She caught up on some Science magazines while lying on the couch with the dogs.  Aah. Much better.

As she drove to and from the grocery store today, she had a most unusual feeling; it was a particular mindfulness -- not something even as concrete as a thought or a physical sensation -- that carried with it a molecule of contentment and peace.

If she had to describe it, she would say: it was as though someone was thinking of her, with love.

We wish this for you, too.

She shall keep this molecule of comfort in her heart, where it has quietly taken root. Perhaps it will grow.  And if she is very lucky, perhaps one day she shall learn what it is.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


"Every one of us is losing something precious to us.... Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That's part of what it means to be alive.  But inside our heads -- at least that's where I imagine it -- there's a little room where we store those memories.  A room like the stacks in this library.  And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards.  We have to dust things off every once in a while, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases.  In other words, you'll live forever in your own private library."

-- Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

This screencap from Doctor Who, in the particularly magnificent library, was found here: 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fish Wishes II

The first Fish Wishes is here.

If wishes were fishes
The shoals would be great 
With silvery flashing
Part hope and part fate

Beneath the grey ocean
In water twilight,
A unified swimming
Or could it be flight?

Both hopeful and fearful
Of landing a wish --
The sharp rays of daylight
Would injure the fish

These wishes are wild
And cannot be tamed
So I shall but watch them
And leave them unclaimed. 

Swim free, silver fishes
My heart goes with you
And someday I'll join you
In ocean deep blue. 

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Family medical emergency yesterday -- not life-threatening, but serious enough to warrant immediate medical attention.  The involved person is fine, thank goodness. Herself has not had more than a few breaths to herself; posting may be a wee bit scarce for another day or so until a equilibrium is reestablished. We'll be back as soon as we can.