Thursday, March 31, 2016


I follow the Portland Guinea Pig Rescue on Facebook. (I am very fond of All Things Guinea Pig, and organizations that look after neglected or needy piggies have a special place in my heart.) They recently posted some information about cuy guinea pigs, and it was especially touching, because it contains a good life lesson for everyone, including guinea pigs. I have reposted it below in its entirety; all credit should be to the Rescue.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Cuy Edition

We are giving you another opt-out/opt-in opt-ion for another long post today.

The long short: Cuy are a type of guinea pig that are bred for consumption. They are much larger than a regular pig, usually at least 4 pounds, but sometimes 7 or more pounds. Coloration and features vary, but mostly they're orange and white with smooth coats.

The long long: Poor cuy. People adopt these mostly-feral livestock pigs while they're young thinking they're mature guinea pigs and become dismayed when they (A) don't become tame and (B) grow to the size of small Tonka trucks. Who wants a pet that produces sooo much waste and triples your feeding costs, all while hiding and screaming when you are near?

Maybe some people, sure, but it takes a special breed to love a special breed, and most folks just want to share their home with a normal and even affectionate pet.

That's why when we take in cuy they're immediately granted sanctuary status. So few people are prepared to love and nurture a pet that, with a lot of patience on your part, might grow to come outside their pigloo and look blandly at you.

But if you lower your expectations and give them regular treats and lap time you will be rewarded with...not love exactly, but they'll be easier to catch and scoop up for hugs and kisses.

We cherish our cuy because it's an exercise in loving someone for all that they are and only what they are; for giving not what we want to give, but what they need to receive.

We think it's a good lesson overall.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

No Freedom

We are listening to Miley Cyrus again. Today's earworm: No Freedom. It's a simple, quiet love song. (Our favorite kind.)

We hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Neutral Party

Herself speaks.

When I was a wee little girl, I had two tiny ceramic farm animal figurines: a pig, and a duck. I loved to hold them in my hand. They were soothing, cool to the touch and so smooth. Once when my mother took me into the Big City to go to a symphony event, I took the tiny duck with me, in the pocket of my fancy dress. I remember that well.

That pig and duck -- like so many childhood toys -- have been lost to the sands of time. I was thinking of them the other day, when I recalled a book I read to my own Offspring when they were wee little. In Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, there is a disagreement between the farmer and the farm animals, and one creature was enlisted to serve as messenger between the sides. "Duck was a neutral party...." Ah, duck. Everyone needs a neutral party sometimes. Or to be a neutral party.

I have never seen a pig like that tiny figurine I remember. However, I recently found a tiny duck, just like that of years ago. Ah, duck. I am glad to have found you.

Monday, March 28, 2016


For a New Position, by John O'Donohue, from To Bless The Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

May your new work excite your heart,
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits 
Of all that has become wearisome.

May this work challenge you toward
New frontiers that will emerge
As you begin to approach them,
Calling forth from you the full force
And depth of your undiscovered gifts.

May the work fit the rhythms of your soul,
Enabling you to draw from the invisible
New ideas and a vision that will inspire.

Remember to be kind
To those who work for you
Endeavor to remain aware
Of the quiet world
That lives behind each face.

Be fair in your expectations,
Compassionate in your criticism.
May you have the grace of encouragement
To awaken the gift in the other's heart,
Building in them the confidence
To follow the call of the gift.

May you come to know that work
Which emerges from the mind of love
Will have beauty and form.

May this new work be worthy
Of the energy of your heart
And the light of your thought.

May your work assume
A proper space in your life;
Instead of owning or using you,
May it challenge and refine you,
Bringing you every day further 
Into the wonder of your heart.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

I See The Moon

Much as I find the new smartphone to be frustrating, I will note that it does, in fact, take photographs that are far more detailed than those of the previous phone. Behold, the moon this morning. Nice.


Even the tortoises that live in the yard were subjected to the cascarones. The cousins were very tender, though, crumbling the eggs carefully so that the confetti rained gently down upon the backs of the tortoises.

The cousins are all getting older. Where has the time gone? I am glad that they still enjoy spending time together.

Happy Easter.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016

Two Retirees Enjoy One Another's Company

Herself's parents are visiting for the weekend. Elderly three-toothed dog has bonded with "Grandpa" and enjoyed some lap time with him. It was very sweet.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hey Now

Today's earworm: Don't Dream It's Over, sung by Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande.

Try to overlook the unicorn suit, the chatting, and the general hippy-ness of the video, and just listen to the way Miley sings "Hey now, hey now...."

She needs to perform less, and just sing more.

We hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


My old smartphone finally gave up the ghost. Alas. I have purchased a new phone, and I dislike it heartily, because it is not my old phone. It is the wrong size. It has no keyboard, just a touch screen. I do not have time to adjust the sounds and the settings to my liking right now. I am thoroughly disgruntled.

I took one picture to see how the camera is. It does appear to provide a far more detailed photograph. That is good. 

I do not like change.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship. - William Blake

While out hiking near the Rio Grande Gorge this past weekend, a stunning bird flew by - a bird so blue, blue like the sky. When I sat at the end of the trail, I saw a bird of prey circle and soar near a cliff wall, and watched its shadow swooping in harmony with it. While I walked back along the path, I thought about the birds, and about birds' nests. And the quote above, as well as the blessing below, came to mind. The friendship nest - such an apt metaphor.  

A Friendship Blessing, from “Anam Cara” - John O’Donohue

May you be blessed with good friends.
May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.
May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.
May this change you.
May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you.
May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship, and affinity of belonging.
May you treasure your friends.
May you be good to them and may you be there for them;
May they bring you all the blessings, challenges, truth, and light that you need for your journey.
May you never be isolated.
May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam cara.

Picture copyright 2016, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Herself speaks.

I visited the Rio Grande Gorge bridge this weekend.

Picture copyright 2016, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

It is a beautiful structure, spanning a beautiful expanse of nature. The gorge is a testament to the power of water through time, carved into the flat terrain as if some supernatural hand dragged a giant stick across the landscape.

There are locks and mementos -- little pieces of lives linked to the bridge. What are the stories behind them, I wonder?

Across the bridge there are various spots in the railings where one can stand and look out across the gorge. And there, in the spaces, are these call boxes:

This simple box, with the handwritten scrawl of you are loved, is heart-wrenching. You can almost feel the despair surrounding it. And I wonder: who is there on the other side of that red button? And is that person's voice reaching out, enough to tie a soul to this earth, when the wind whips and the chasm yawns and hope seems to be lost?

Broken souls: I am sorry that the abyss called you to it, and I hope you are at peace now. And I wish for all of you who struggle, that you may find tranquility and solace when you need it most.

Fortunate are we who know individuals who, purely through their presence, allow us to feel repaired, at ease, and most ourselves. And grateful are we, beyond measure, for the time together. Always.

Blue October, Not Broken Anymore. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Old Hag

Herself speaks.

I've been invited to be part of a wedding. I'm part of the "court" - not exactly a bridesmaid, not the maid of honor, but instead, one of the people who are honored to be part of this momentous day for the bride and the groom. It's lovely and thoughtful for them to include me.

I went to the bridal boutique this morning, to select a dress in the bride's choice of color and my choice of design (among the available options). The salesgirl, a very young and sanguine woman, asked:

"Are you the mother of the groom?"


I tried my best to maintain my game face, but I'm sure a look of appalled disbelief momentarily crossed. Erm, no.

Well, that was horrifically awkward.

The choices of dress, unfortunately, were all either spaghetti straps or strapless.  I am a woman of Ample Cleavage -- neither wee little straps nor no-straps-at-all are remotely acceptable. So we had to look at the online options and select one. They also had wee little straps or none at all. Except one, which is not a bad dress, thank goodness. There was no sample in the store, though, so I'll see how it looks on me exactly two weeks before the wedding, when it arrives.  :::breaking into slight sweat:::

I'll likely be the only one with some shoulder coverage. And the color? A lovely pale pink. Blush. It's a beautiful color -- and is one of the least flattering colors on this already-very-pink-girl.  And Chiffon. Such an unforgiving fabric.

My suspicion is that all the other women in the entourage will carry this off better than I. I just don't want to stand out. Perhaps in the same color and fabric as everyone else, I can just fade quietly into the background.


I feel like the One Mandatory Frumpy Yet Sassy Bridesmaid in every chick flick. Except I'm not sassy.

Monday, March 14, 2016

We are not fooled

WE ARE NOT FOOLED, oh giant phallic artificial turf-covered cellular phone tower. YOU DO NOT LOOK LIKE A TREE. At all. And never will.  As far as giant phallic artificial turf-covered towers go, though, you are the very best. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016


Went shopping at the buy-in-bulk store today, and there were so many fabulous children's books. Makes me a little wistful that I don't have any wee ones to whom to give books any more. Alas. 

Bought myself a cookbook instead. And a bag of cheese that weighs as much as Tiny Dog. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Sometimes, in the rush of to and fro and work and life, we forget how beautiful the desert really is.  It is nice to have a reminder.

Both pictures copyright 2016, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.


Herself has a cold. :::coughhack::: :::sniff:::  We'll be back as soon as she can type without blowing her nose every 30 seconds. Ew.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Woman's Day

Herself speaks.

Today is International Woman's Day. I'll quote Offspring the Second from one of his social media accounts, because he has such a way with words:

A happy Women's Day to all my womanly associates on here, and their womanly associates as well I guess. Don't let anyone crush y'all's dreams of making it in law, STEM, technical and vocational fields, etc. And also don't let them stop you from doing that girly shit that you love doing. You shouldn't feel weird or wrong for doing things that are either "feminine" or not "feminine".

Now everyone go away, it's nap time.

This makes me just so very pleased. Bravo, Offspring the Second, for realizing that although women have come a long way, there are still societal issues and pressures we face. Thank you for understanding. 

I wonder, as a woman in a technical/specialized field usually populated by men, whether I somehow in some small way serve as role model. That would be an honor, indeed. 

Monday, March 7, 2016


It might be time to write some more letters. (In my free time.)

I do like to write. Especially letters.

A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend. ― Emily Dickinson

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Flap Your Hands

Herself speaks.

Yesterday, I watched the X-Files episode, Elegy, while exercising. Without divulging too many plot details, the episode centered around an individual with autism, Harold Spuller, who appears to have a particular psychic link to several other people. At several points during the episode, Harold Spuller becomes upset, and uses his various methods of self-soothing to try to cope -- for example, he recites bowling scores that he has memorized. He also flaps one hand in his lap or at his side, opening and closing it repetitively, as if trying to release the hold of his emotion by shaking it out of his hand.

And with a start of recognition, I realized: I do that.

What does it mean, that I'm a hand flapper? I do not know. I do know, though, that I will be particularly sensitive to hand-flapping in other people when I see it, because I understand exactly how it is used to try to cope with emotion. Flap away, people -- and I'll flap with you.

(I found this great image here

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Half a Century

Beloved Husband turns 50 today.
How can that possibly be? Where has the time gone?
He is eternally young at heart.

Happy Birthday, Beloved. I love your half-a-century face. May the future bring you many more years, and All Good Things, always.

Intelligence, goodness, humanity, excitement, serenity. Over time, these are the things that change the musculature of your face, as do laughter and animation and especially whatever peace you can broker with the person inside.

It's furrow, pinch and judgment that make us look older — our mothers were right. They said that if you made certain faces, they would stick and they do. But our mothers forgot that faces of kindness and integrity stick as well.

— Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith

Friday, March 4, 2016

High Hopes

We are once more listening to Kodaline. Today's earworm: High Hopes. It is lovely.

(Warning: the video contains themes of suicide and harm of others. If you're feeling sensitive, perhaps just listen to the music.)

We hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Herself speaks.

Yesterday afternoon, I ran a quick errand.  When I got back to my car and opened the door, for the briefest of moments I caught a scent reminiscent of the aroma of our camper-trailer. Aaaaah, the trailer - home to many adventures with Beloved Husband and the Offspring. Now the Offspring are nearly completely dispersed to their own adventures and we do not have the time or the togetherness to take a trip. There's a bittersweet scent-memory. 

In thinking about that scent-memory, I was reminded of one night late last week, when I was up until midnight or thereabouts working on the Project. I was nearly done with my tasks for the evening and was winding down, when I caught the very briefest of scents -- it was the aroma of Cherished Friend's house. It's a scent that we only rarely experience these days, now that he lives in a different corner of the desert. There's another bittersweet scent-memory. 

What to do when a scent-memory makes an appearance? (Besides wonder why.) The temptation is to inhale deeply, to capture as much of the aroma as possible. Yet to do so might dilute the scent-memory with too much air. And so instead, I hold my breath and remember as much as I can while the scent lingers.

I think my nose would like a vacation, with some of my favorite people, in some of my favorite places.

We shall see when we can take it out to find those joyful scents once again. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Raise Your Glass

A toast, to Offspring the Second, who turns of legal drinking age today.

It was early on a sparkling wintry morning, twenty-one years ago, when Offspring the Second made his entrance into the world. He is a thoughtful, intelligent, witty, reserved and kind-hearted person, and he has made me better person through knowing him. Happy birthday, Offspring the Second, and may the future bring you All Good Things, always.