Monday, May 21, 2018

Places That Seem Very Relaxing

Picture copyright 2018, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Like A Postcard

Offspring the Second is in such a beautiful corner of the world right now. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Hum

The day after Offspring the Third came home, he made hummingbird nectar and put out the feeder. Less than twenty-four hours later, the hummingbirds arrived. 

I think they were waiting for him.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Panic

Herself speaks.

I am on the cusp of full-time, hard-core preparation for The Task. I have finished the pre-pre preparation packet, and commenced the pre-preparation packet. Regular full-on preparation (more a Project than a packet) begins Monday, and continues for two months.

I am currently in a state of horror at all I do not know, and am thoroughly dismayed by the Task before me. Those who know me in person, have told me, "you are so smart, you can do this, no problem." I am grateful for their assurance, but in truth, no amount of being 'smart' is going to compensate for the highly specific knowledge I need to cram into my head and regurgitate in the proper way at the right time. 

I am terrified of disappointing not only myself, but all the people who have every confidence that I can surmount this challenge. I want to cry. But I do not have time for that. 

I do have some hope that work of preparation will relieve some of my concern. Time will tell.

And now: I begin. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Haven

I love you" sounds best spoken in quiet acts of kindness. 
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Slaying Dragons

Herself speaks.

My recent short trip was to points northeastern-ly, to collect Offspring the Third upon the end of his first year of college. Huzzah! Congratulations, Offspring the Third, on your successful navigation of this first and ever-so-important step in life.

Though I do not mention it often, a decade ago Offspring the Third was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. He has made tremendous strides -- he has learned to understand people and how they work, and in fact has a significantly better grasp on the motivations of others than I tend to do. He has actively stepped out of his comfort zone on many occasions, managed to pick himself up when things don't go according to plan, and befriended others. He has kept his kind and tender heart, despite the harshness of the world. Bravo, Offspring the Third.

It was clear when I arrived at his dorm room -- based on the level of disarray of his possessions and amount of detritus accumulated --  that he was close to the end of his patience and tolerance for the new, difficult and strange environment that is college. He went off to take his last exam, and I set to packing up. After initially feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the task, I formulated a plan, carved out some space, and managed to get things mostly in order by the time he was done with his test. We finalized, crammed everything into our respective vehicles, and after a short but peaceful night in a nearby hotel, drove the six hours home the next day.

When we arrived home, he looked more exhausted than ever. I took care of moving his bins of belongings into the corner where they will live until they can be sorted, made sure he had food, responded to his need for inclusion in mundane conversation. Eventually, he settled in, though I can see that it will still take him several days to unwind. Welcome home, my Man-Child.

-----
It has been said to me by more than one adult man (and it is always men, never women), that life is hard and he needs to do things for himself. He needs to figure things out alone. Needs to handle things for himself. "Suck it up."

Well: yes, and no.

Yes, I know that life is hard. He managed, and quite marvelously given his unique view of the world, to navigate all kinds of complex, anxiety-inducing situations over the course of his life and especially this past freshman year, with no more than an occasional supportive conversation by phone or by text. He has figured out all kinds of things alone. Handled matters. Sucked it up when necessary. This I know, from the talks he and I have had. I am immeasurably proud.

That being said, it is not my job to remind him that life is hard and that we all must go it alone. He's aware of that -- how many times has he said to me, "Well, I knew no one else would take care of it for me, so I figured it out for myself"?  More times than I can count. It makes me a little sad, even though I know that it is a bitter truth he has learned.

What is my job, is to be Haven.

Yes, he *could* pack and move all his bins of possessions alone; he could fend for himself in all matters large and small. Yet while I am here, he does not *have* to do so. As long as I am able, I will lend a hand. I will get him a beverage. I will help with the laundry. I will provide supportive words. And I will reassure him of his value and his worth as a human being on this planet. Life is hard, and if I can shine a light or ease a burden for him, I will do so, always.

I will do so, too, for his siblings as well. Children of my body, central in my heart -- this is the best I can do for you. It is my great hope that the warmth of these moments of care will carry you onward in the cold world, when you must go forth alone. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

And Away

Offspring the Second is off on an exciting adventure -- two months in a different country, with a different currency and a different language. I put aside my worries about his health and safety and well-being, and hope that he has a magnificent time. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

How Dark

Tonight's earworm: How Dark Is Gone (Ben Harper).

We hope you enjoy.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Transition

Herself speaks.

I have finished one Giant Task. It is a task I do enjoy, despite it requiring a fairly large time commitment with carefully-planned increments, and it is a bittersweet ending. Nevertheless, I am relieved. And so very tired.

I spent the day organizing my desk at Work, to try to lay out my next projects. And on the horizon, is a bigger Task yet. A daunting Challenge.  I will begin that in earnest within the next two weeks.

For now, though: the laundry awaits. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Turtles

Ah, to sit in the sun by the side of the water. That would be lovely.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Wrangling

Herself speaks.

I went to the local outlet mall in search of proper supportive undergarments. I was expecting the excursion to be horrid; there are fewer things more agonizing than shopping for underthings when one is An Ample Person. 

I eventually landed in the Lane Bryant store. (I try hard not to think of it as a "fat girls' store", even though it carries larger sizes. I clearly have self-body-image issues; I'd never fault anyone else for shopping there, so why is it somehow shameful for me to do so? I need to do better inside my head.)

I found surprisingly helpful advice and assistance from "Jennie", who measured me for proper size and provided recommendations. The selection in the store was remarkable:  a lovely collection of cute and patterned underthings.  It has been SO LONG since I've seen anything pretty in larger sizes. It was quite astonishing. 

There was one moment when Jennie said politely, oh dear, you are probably bigger than a DDD  You're quite full.  Oh, dear. Yes, Jennie, I am. We settled on a G cup, or an H cup if it was a lower-cut style. I will admit to being a tad horrified at G/H. Yet, what can I do? Such it is. Alas. 

When all was said and done, I went home with a variety of properly-sized new underthings, and now the mammaries are properly wrangled. Even better, I know what size to choose, so I can shop online for all the pretty dainties. And bonus -- no tears were shed. It's a near miracle, I tell you. 

Since I must live in this body, I should, at least, give it something pretty to wear. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Beautiful Trauma Redux

Although I had been quite annoyed by the name of P!nk's new album, Beautiful Trauma, I have had a change of heart after watching the video for the title song. It's whimsical, colorful, and beautifully addresses a serious subject matter in a lighthearted manner. Excellent.

I hope you enjoy Beautiful Trauma, too.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sunspot

Herself speaks.

Dermatologist today. After the second MOHS surgery for basal cell carcinoma, I was advised to have a skin review every six months instead of once a year. Alas. And this was, in fact, slightly earlier than originally scheduled, because there was A Spot Of Concern.

As I filled out the standard check-in information, the following question popped up:

"I would like to discuss Botox or fillers with my provider today."

And I thought: SWEET FANCIFUL MOSES NO, I DO NOT WISH TO DISCUSS BOTOX. I DO NOT WANT ANYTHING APPLIED TO OR POKED INTO MY FACE THAT IS NOT MEDICALLY NECESSARY BECAUSE I HAVE ALREADY HAD FAR TOO MANY UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCES.

Perhaps the check-in program heard my thoughts, because I was then asked:

"I am NOT interested in discussing cosmetic services."

Indeed.

Truth is: I am in the demographic that might want Botox or fillers. Alas. I feel... so middle-aged.

The good news is, the dermatologist felt that the Spot Of Concern was merely "pre-cancerous". (How strange, that "pre-cancerous" is a Good Thing.) Actinic keratosis; easily treatable. A little liquid nitrogen, and I was on my way. With a little luck, that will be the end of that particular spot -- for if it returns, I will go down the biopsy-possible-MOHS road again.

I won't think about that now, though. For now, I am grateful that the skin in which I live has passed muster for another six months (as long as nothing untoward pops up). Here's hoping.

Such is the life of a pale person in the desert.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Tasks

Herself speaks.

I am very close to finishing one of my many Tasks of this year. This particular Task is one that I enjoy, and so it is a bittersweet ending -- for I know it will be quite a while (perhaps up to two years) before this Task rolls around again. Alas.

At the same time, though, I will be relieved to have one fewer thing to do. I have a much larger Task on the horizon: one that will require quite a bit of time and effort and brainpower, and that I am not sure will be successful. We shall see.

The hardest part of this Time of Tasks is that I feel as though I have given up so much of what I do for enjoyment: trying new recipes; playing the piano; reading for pleasure; voyaging northward to visit Cherished Friend in his corner of the desert; planning camping trips; taking a stroll around the neighborhood at night. All these joys are on hiatus. On hold. And if I pause to think, I am sad.

I try not to be frustrated or bitter; I cannot help but feel a sense of loss. I have a distinct feeling that I am missing out on opportunities -- chances to laugh and to enjoy the outdoors and to relish the little things; chances to just be, in the moment, without worry.

It is difficult.

I shall get through. And hopefully, when all is done, there will still be plenty of time to do all the lovely things I have missed.

Picture copyright 2015, 2018, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Batty Batty Bat

There was a bat flitting through the air at twilight. No way to take a good picture, unfortunately; however: HOORAY FOR BATS. Because bats.

Apparently there are several species of bats here in this desert area (for more information, you may read here:  https://www.desertusa.com/animals/bats.html). I am not sure what type of bat it was -- other than small. Or perhaps very young.

Whenever I mention bats, I think of an old Sesame Street clip in which the Count sings about a bat-related dance. Batty batty bat. Those old childhood memories -- revisited and reinforced when my Offspring were small and consumers of Sesame Street -- are strong ones.

Enjoy.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Stroll

I would very much like to duplicate the stroll I took here, once upon a time. It was not that long ago, yet it seems eons. Alas. Perhaps someday, when all the Many Things are Done. 

Picture copyright 2015, 2018, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sing

They say the nightingale pierces his bosom with a thorn when he sings his love song.
So do we all. How else should we sing?
- Kahlil Gibran

Picture copyright 2015, 2018, Mediocria Firma. Used with gratitude.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Cat People

Some people are, apparently, actually cats.

Though I consider myself thoroughly a "dog person," I do know some people who are actually cats, and I will admit that I am extraordinarily fond of them -- perhaps, especially, because they are cats.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

I Cannot Hear You

Herself speaks.

It's quite clear these days that Elderly Three-toothed Dog is increasingly deaf. He does not come to greet me when I arrive home, even though Tiny Dog makes a bit of a ruckus -- instead, I find him sound asleep in his nest, and have to touch him to wake him.  He looks up at me, all bleary eyed. OH HELLO MOM, YOU ARE HOME. 

This explains why, when I am out of his line of sight, he promptly gets up and looks for me:  he cannot hear me moving around the house, so he does not know where I am. I'm starting to change what I do and where I go in the house to accommodate his need for proximity, by bringing him with me on occasion (especially when I go upstairs, since stairs are hard on his bad knee). We'll figure out how best to keep him comfortable.

Bless his tiny furry heart.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Havana

Today's earworm: the ever-catchy Havana by Camila Cabello.

This is my favorite version, in particular because of the lithe background dancers. Excellent choreography and marvelously synchronous movement. I wish I could be that skilled on a dance floor.

Enjoy.

SquashDog

I miss having time to make pie; and having Offspring the Third's company in the kitchen. Alas. Perhaps someday over the summer, I will have time, and company.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Plane

There is a story in the news right now about an accident aboard a Southwest Airlines plane, in which an engine ruptured, damaging the plane and killing a passenger. You can read a bit about it here, and particularly about the magnificent pilot who safely landed the damaged aircraft and prevented further loss of life. If you are inclined, you can find audio of the conversation between the pilot and the control tower in various places online.  I cannot listen -- for it is one of my pet fears brought to life.

-----
I do not like to fly. I'm not an anxious flyer (more likely, a prone-to-airsickness flyer), but I do occasionally fret about the what ifs of air travel. I know I am much more likely to be squashed in a car accident or suffer some untoward medical emergency than to perish in a plane crash; still, there is something more viscerally terrifying about being miles up in the atmosphere, and then plummeting to one's doom.

I'm not ready to slip the surly bonds of earth, yet.

Why? Because, I think: the Offspring, though nearly grown, still need me, as does Beloved Husband. I know they'd manage, certainly -- none of us can pretend to be truly indispensable -- but I am loath to leave them without the safety and help I may be able to provide in times of need. And what of my siblings, my parents, my friend? They would manage, too, no doubt. But still.

Perhaps my dislike of flying stems from the fact that I recognize quite clearly how much my life is enriched by these people, and I project my own feelings of potential loss onto any imagined disaster. I am not ready for the possibility of letting go of these people, just yet.

What if I don't get one last chance to tell all those who are so important to me, how much they really mean to me?

I hope that they already know.

And I hope, too, that I will have much more Time to show them.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Grassy

Elderly three-toothed dog is delighted that the spring weather has brought back the grass.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Pynk

Today's earworm: PYNK, by Janelle Monae. She is magnificent, and this is marvelous.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Whole Foods

I visited the new Whole Foods store in my area for the first time, and it was exactly as expected.

Although it is too pricey for regular shopping, it does seem like a very good place for unusual food items. Perhaps, when I am less busy, I will explore further and do some interesting cooking. I would like that. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

List

Found on a white board in a meeting room.

I have so many questions about this list.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Sign Bird

I tried to photograph a glossy black bird perched atop a sign today -- 


But it flew away.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

Maxed Out

Herself speaks.

I have too many things to do.

Well, perhaps not too many. Perhaps just so many.

It is straining my mental resources to keep all of the various tasks on target, and there is so little time for anything I enjoy. No evening constitutionals; only the barest minimum of cooking. No daydreaming. No reading for pleasure. Nothing except All The Tasks.

I know that the timeline and tasks will adjust within another month, and that I just have to hold on. I can do this, I know. I am mentally fatigued, though. So much at stake.

I'm not intentionally vague -- I wish I could divulge more, but for privacy reasons, am not comfortable doing so.

Your company in this time of difficulty, gentle reader, is much appreciated, and I hope that you will forgive me the dearth of meaningful conversation and noteworthy information.

One step at a time.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Friday, April 6, 2018

Quarter

Herself speaks.

Offspring the First -- witty, kind, charming, lovely -- turns twenty-five today. A quarter century. It was her arrival that bestowed on me the title of "mom," and it has been an honor to help her grow into the person she is today.  Congratulations, Offspring the First, on achieving this milestone, and on your valiant efforts to make your way in this complex world in which we live. 

A quarter century ago, I, too, was twenty-five. Though that was a lifetime ago for Offspring the First, I nevertheless remember so much of it clearly still. Perhaps it was somehow just yesterday, or last week. Or perhaps, it is because Offspring the First has had such a profound impact on our world -- making us a family for the first time --  that all of those young memories have been etched clearly,  forever.

I wish for you, Offspring the First, a clear and well-lit path into the future, full of joy and successes both large and small. We love you. Godspeed, and onward!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Holey Cow

I have passed this small herd of cows several times now on the way to one of my tasks. They all have a large circular window (door?) on their left side. Offspring the Third, who is taking an animal sciences course in college, informs me that the windows are used to analyze digestion and compare various feeds and such. It's fascinating, in a somewhat horrible way. 

I will say, though, that these cows are fluffy, glossy, clearly well-fed, and allowed to freely roam in a grassy field on a regular basis (for that is where I always see them). They hang out together in a comfortable spot when they are not roaming, and appear to be enjoying the mild spring weather. As uncomfortable as it may be to contemplate use of cows in this manner, perhaps we can take comfort in knowing that they appear to be content. 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Daughter

Herself speaks.

I don't write much about my family and loved ones, for they are all very private individuals. Nevertheless, I will say that this past weekend, there was a moment when there was a medical emergency and we were very concerned about the wellbeing of the family patriarch. He is brilliant, kindly, thoughtful, responsible, generous, and an overall outstanding human being, and we are all tremendously grateful that all turned out well. I aspire to be like him. Perhaps, if I try hard, someday I will have the grace of character that he does.

And so, today's earworm: My Father's Daughter (Jewel).

I am my father's daughter
I have my Grandma's eyes
I am the product of such sacrifice
I am the accumulation of the dreams of generations
And their stories live in me like holy water
I am my father's daughter

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song. ― John Paul II

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Beetle Black

Offspring the Third thoroughly enjoys photographing insects.

Copyright 2018, Offspring the Third. Used with gratitude.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Spring Has Sprung

The first lizard of the season!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Inspirational Rock

Seen while out today on a regional college campus. I hope it inspires many people. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Fatigued

Much to do. Only so much me to go around.

A clone would be handy.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Beautiful and Good

It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are still alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them. ― George Eliot

Photo Copyright 2018, Offspring the Third. Used with gratitude.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Tracts of Land

Herself speaks.

I was working at the kitchen table this evening, with Tiny Dog in my lap. She peered crankily over the edge of the table at Beloved Husband, who, amused, took a photo. He showed me the picture, and I was somewhat caught off guard to see that Tiny Dog really does look quite tiny, especially when adjacent to my cleavage.

Alas.

I've resigned myself to the idea that I'll never be a tiny, dainty person; yet I must be in denial of my... ample-ness, since I am perpetually surprised/dismayed when I see photographs. I clearly need to work on my self-image. Or my diet. Or both.

Perhaps, someday, I'll be fine with what I see in pictures.
I can aspire.

Even two chihuahuas may be no match for the mammaries.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

In The Neighborhood

Herself speaks.

I saw a trailer for a documentary about Mr. Rogers today. And though I don't much enjoy documentaries, this is one that I will be happy to watch. 

You can find all sorts of clips of Mr. Rogers all over YouTube. They are delightful. Look at him: his all-encompassing kindness, his thoughtful acknowledgment of feelings of all shapes and sizes. He seems almost too good to be true -- and I watch him, nearly fearful, half-expecting a piece of sarcasm or of dismissal or of anger to come from him. Yet it never does. He speaks soothingly and lovingly to all people, regardless of their age, color, abilities. It is beautiful -- almost as if a conversation with Mr. Rogers could somehow put the whole world right again. 

Thank you, Mr. Rogers, for making the world a better place. 


Friday, March 23, 2018

Humidor

Herself speaks.

I was weeding through the pictures on my phone, and came across some that I took last time I was visiting my parents. Behold, my paternal grandfather's humidor:


Grandpa Hy would give us the bands from his cigars, and we would wear them like rings on our fingers. I always liked the smell of his cigars. Sheynah meydeleh, he would call me. Pretty girl. He was a generous man, for I was a somewhat plain and rather buck-toothed child. He always did make me special, just for being myself.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Leaf

Copyright 2018, Offspring the Third. Used with gratitude.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Contemplative Spider

Copyright 2018, Offspring the Third. Used with gratitude.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Fly Guy

Copyright 2018, Offspring the Third. Used with gratitude. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Whirlwind

Herself speaks.

Within just over twenty-four hours, first Offspring the Second, then Offspring the Third, and finally Cherished Friend took their leave from the house. Now Beloved Husband has gone to run some errands, and so it is just the small dogs and I here.

Alas. Pieces of my heart, gone forth into the world once more.

Flowers, copyright 2018, Offspring the Third. Used with gratitude.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Bit Chilly Up North

I have several family members who are currently experiencing a great deal of snow.

It is beautiful -- especially from this warm desert perspective.