Monday, December 31, 2018

Out With The Old

Herself speaks.

Farewell, 2018. You were quite a year.

In truth, I hope not to have a year like 2018 again. While there were certainly some highlights -- including the unforgettable passing of the bar exam, and a visit northward to my educational roots --  there were many hard parts, too. There was the agony of the bar exam itself (which is not erased by the success at the end). And I held the hands, literally and metaphorically, of elderly relatives through their medical procedures. I worried about the trials and tribulations of the Offspring. I bade farewell to Rocky the Hamster, Tio the Elderly Three-Toothed Dog, and Ruth the Departed-too-soon Fish. There were many small moments, most unwritten, in which I made an effort to change my viewpoint, to try harder, to help more and need less.

It was a lot. I am tired.

Let us hope brighter skies are ahead.
-----
I try to make New Year's resolutions every year. Some I keep; some fall by the wayside (such is life). There are many things I would like to have happen in the new year, but I have no control over the majority of them -- and so I do not hope for them, but merely hope for the best. I can address only what I can change myself.

Perhaps I will start by looking after myself better. A permutation of, and an addition to, the Golden Rule: I will not merely do unto others as I would have them do unto me, I will take care of myself in the same way I would like to be taken care of.

No one else will do it for me. And if I do not look after myself, I cannot adequately look after those who depend upon me.

Perhaps I shall start with a nap.

Happy New Year, intrepid readers. I wish you warmth, and kindness, and Good Things.

Let us look ahead. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Those Questions

Herself speaks.

There are some socially acceptable, seemingly benign, questions, that I thoroughly dislike. The holiday season is positively rampant with such questions. We grit our teeth, smile politely, and move on through.

The one I dislike the most right now is:
Was Santa Claus good to you this year? 

Oh, dear. Where to begin? This seems like such a materialistic question to me, as if the person is asking: how much money did people spend on you? Furthermore, there are two components in there: money and people. The holiday season can be difficult both financially and people-wise. Some individuals may have a paucity of both. Let's not ask that question any more. Instead, let us simply say, I hope for the very best for you.

It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season - like all the other seasons - is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them, and that's the end of this particular story.
- Lemony Snicket

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Support

[Note: this was written several days ago, before the internet at the house died. It's not particularly pertinent at this very moment; nevertheless, since it has been written, it is deserving of being posted.]

Herself speaks.

Sometimes, I bump up against impossibilities.

There are times when I would like conversation, consolation, encouragement, or even just diversion from another person. There are very few people to whom I turn in those times; they are, each and every one, Good People. They are also Busy People; People who have their own agendas and their own activities and desires. They are sometimes just not available, and it is not possible -- for whatever reason -- for them to come to my aid.

Philosophically, I understand that there are times when they cannot support me in the way I need. A problem remains, however, because their unavailability does not negate my need. And though it is not their intention, I feel... abandoned.

I do not know quite what to do under those circumstances. There is that tiny voice inside that cries out, help me, and I do not know how to soothe that tiny voice. I am not Enough. And yet, when I am the only one who hears that cry, I must be Enough.

One of my goals for 2019: to learn how to be Enough for myself.
-----
Tonight's earworm:  Sia, Breathe Me.

Ouch, I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found
Yeah, I think that I might break
Lost myself again and I feel unsafe
Be my friend, hold me
Wrap me up, unfold me
I am small, I'm needy
Warm me up and breathe me

Just A Light Dusting

Friday, December 28, 2018

Sunset

Offspring the Third took this lovely photo of the desert sunset.  It is glorious.

I must spend more time in the desert.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Did You Know?

One of my favorite Christmas carols: Mary Did You Know? (Sung here by Pentatonix).

Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God.


I hope you enjoy.


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Place of Strawberries

We have no internet at the house. I shall be in this place of wild strawberries, in my head, if you need me.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Feliz Navidog

"Perhaps I have eaten too many Christmas cookies," ponders Tiny Dog.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Santa Buddy

I miss Elderly Three-toothed Dog especially now during the holiday season. He was such a good sport.

Good boy, Tio. Rest in peace.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Home

Herself speaks.

What is home?
Home is where the heart is. 
What if you have given pieces of your heart away to people you love?
Then wherever those people are, there is Home. 

Tonight's earworm: Home (Phillip Phillips).

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave (wave) is stringing us along
Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm gonna make this place your home


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Presents

'Tis the season of gift-giving. The most time-consuming part is the contemplation about what a person might like. Do they have hobbies? What would be useful for them? What would be something they'd enjoy, but would never purchase for themselves?  What do they like to wear? To read? To eat?  It all warrants careful thought.

I'm on track to be timely this year; I've nearly completed the acquisition of Things I Hope Other People Will Like. I look forward to wrapping and delivering the items that have not yet been distributed. I enjoy giving gifts, very much.

I confess to being a little weird about receiving gifts. I don't like to open them right away; rather, I like to hold on to them for a while first. In this world when it's very easy to feel taken for granted, a gift is an invaluable, tangible sign that I am sufficiently important to warrant a moment of consideration. And that is a tremendous comfort to me.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Stable Song

Tonight's earworm: The Stable Song (Gregory Alan Isakov).

and i ran back to that hollow again 
the moon was just a sliver back then 
and i ached for my heart like some tin man 
when it came oh it beat and it boiled and it rang..it’s ringing

I hope you enjoy.


Sunday, December 16, 2018

Zoo

Took a trip to the local zoo today. They've revamped it quite a bit since the last time I was there. The exhibits have been significantly improved, with more space and more interesting features for all the creatures. As a bonus, the day was cool and overcast, and the zoo was not at all crowded. It was nice.











Saturday, December 15, 2018

Patronus

Herself speaks.

Having a migraine is, in many ways, much like having an internal Dementor. In addition to the feeling of having one's brain squashed, there is also the unfortunate side-effect of having to revisit terrible memories: sad thoughts and angry ones; moments of loss and of impotent rage and of abandonment; hard times. Only with a bit of luck can escape be found in sleep. Even then, though, dreams are haunted.

My migraine Dementor, which makes an appearance far more often than I would like, enjoys occasionally revisiting The Task of the Bar Exam. Not the taking of the exam itself, though: that was such a highly focused moment, with organization of tasks and quick analysis and regurgitation of appropriate law, that it is difficult to remember it precisely. Rather, the migraine Dementor likes to contemplate the aftermath: driving the car homeward for six hours on an endless open stretch of highway, with ample time to wonder if the right bells were rung, if the proper answers were chosen. Contemplating the six months of preparation, including the ten-week preparatory course with the ten-hour-per-day studying goals. Remembering the questions, and wondering if the answers were sufficient. Finally allowing all the emotions -- that were so carefully suppressed during the preparation and the exam -- to leak out.

The open-mouthed scream that naught but the signposts by the side of the road could hear.
-----

The only way to tackle a Dementor, we know, is to conjure a Patronus. Although traditionally a happy memory is used to conjure a Patronus, I have found that mere happiness is insufficient to banish this particular Dementor. Instead, I use moments of intensity -- hellos and goodbyes with those closest to me, both ancient occasions and recent ones. There may be happiness in greetings, and sorrow in farewells, but the emotions are much more intricate than that: there is hope and joy and sorrow, wishes and dreams and plans and memories, all bundled together. Only the strength and complexity of such remembrances can generate a shield against such a formidable Dementor.

It does work.

Perhaps Dumbledore was right: it is love that saves us.

You are protected, in short, by your ability to love!" said Dumbledore loudly.
-- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Laundry Dog

Tiny Dog climbs into the laundry and makes a nest.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Mail Call

I am a little bit ahead this year on holiday what-not, at least as far as packages to be mailed. I must get a move on the things for under the tree. 


Monday, December 10, 2018

That's Unattractive

I had been looking forward to seeing the movie, Aquaman -- if for no other reason than Jason Momoa.

Aquaman Justice League GIF - Aquaman JusticeLeague Muscles GIFs
(gif found here: https://tenor.com/search/jason-momoa-gifs)

But then, I found out that he is a barbarian:
He tore pages out of  the other lead actor's books to get her attention on set.
So much no. No, no, no.
Alas, Jason Momoa. I have lost all respect for you.
So unattractive.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Twenty

Offspring the Third is no longer a teenager: he turns twenty today.

He is a tender-hearted, thoughtful and understanding young man. He is kind and helpful. He roots for the underdog. He is supportive of individuals of all walks of life, orientations, colors, and genders. He is a good listener. He is truly a lovely human being.

I hope the future brings you all wonderful things, Offspring the Third. Remember you are loved, always.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, people sleeping and baby

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Four

Herself speaks.

Yesterday on the 7th of December, I thought to myself, it has been four years now since Cherished Friend moved to a different corner of the desert. I checked back here in the blog to see what was written then, to discover that the day I went to his house at the crack of dawn to wave goodbye was, in fact, the 6th of December.

I am glad that the precise day is not fixed in my mind: that tells me that his move was not, in fact, so terrible as to be etched painfully on my mental calendar. I do not dread the anniversary of the day, because it was not an ending, as it could have been.
-----

Maintaining any kind of relationship with another human being, over space and time with sporadic in-person interaction, is not a challenge for the faint of heart. It takes patience, perseverance and effort. An understanding of silence. Communication. Reciprocation. A willingness to try.  Kudos to Cherished Friend, for taking the time to sustain our friendship over the miles and the years.

And more: knowing that he is an inherently solitary individual with a rather Vulcan-like stoicism, I am well aware of what it must cost him. It has no doubt been a challenge, given his temperament, to meet me in the middle the way he has. I am grateful for his efforts. He is a Good Man, and my life is better for his presence.

When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Up Close and Personal

Sometimes I think about getting another dog. Yet, Tiny Dog is happy not to share. So, I will wait longer, until I am quite sure that the time, and the dog, is just right. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Bravo, NASA

NASA has made their entre media library publicly accessible AND copyright free.

Go enjoy some lovely space, here: https://images.nasa.gov/

Thank you, NASA.

This is Messier 96, a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Leo. Lovely.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Yonce

Tonight's earworm: Yonce (by Beyonce).

Beyonce certainly knows how to turn up the heat.

::: fanning self :::


Monday, December 3, 2018

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Ruth

Herself speaks.

Ruth the fish has passed away.

A few days after I'd given her aquarium a thorough cleaning (there was a visible amount of detritus among the decorative rocks at the bottom of her aquarium, and I thought she would benefit from a cleaner environment), she started looking funny. Swimming funny. No longer interested in food.

I did some research. It appeared that perhaps she was suffering from swim bladder disease; the treatment was a few days of fasting. That did not seem to be a problem, as she was disinterested in food to begin with. I let her be, kept an eye on her, made sure she could reach the top of her habitat for air, and so forth.

She didn't improve. Instead, she died.
-----

Part of me will always wonder whether I did something wrong. I followed the 24-hour rule for allowing new water to equilibrate to room temperature; I used water conditioning drops; I fed her. I made sure she had gentle aeration and I changed her filter. I did my best. The truth of the matter may be, though, that I do not truly understand fish, and I inadvertently hastened her demise. I feel guilty. And think that I should not, for now, attempt to nurture more fish.

I do better with mammals. I should stick to them. Or perhaps just not get any more pets right now, because I cannot bear the thought of becoming attached to a new creature, knowing that it will inevitably go the way of all small creatures. My heart cannot withstand it.
-----

I couldn't bear to flush Ruth. I put her in a tiny box and buried her under the tree in the yard. I put the little artificial log that had floated in her aquarium above her to mark the spot.

Godspeed, Ruth. I am sorry our time was so short together. Thank you for your brief, shining presence.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Festive

The local airport is quite festive this time of year.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Special Pillow

My mother embroidered this pillow,  eons ago. Pretty.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"No"

Tonight's earworm: No (Meghan Trainor).

It's quite catchy. It's a young woman's song, though: a song for women who are pursued, and are disinterested. I am not sure I have, in fact, ever been in a position to tell a persistent suitor to leave me alone -- it's been a very very long time since I was pursued.

Call me beautiful, so original
Telling me I'm not like other girls
I was in my zone before you came along
Now I'm thinking maybe you should go
....
My name is no, my sign is no, my number is no
You need to let it go, you need to let it go

At first, the last verse of the song didn't seem quite right in context:
I'm feeling untouchable
Untouchable, untouchable

I had to look up the definition of "untouchable." because in my thought, untouchable does not mean "not desiring of being touched", but "one is not desirous of touching". However, the dictionary covers both intentions: "that may not be touched" or "too distant to be touched", as well as "vile or loathsome to the touch."

Untouchable. Let's assume the former, not the latter. We hope.


Monday, November 26, 2018

Autumn

Herself speaks. 

Thanksgiving has come and gone. It was heart-filling to have Beloved Husband, all the Offspring (plus bonus boyfriend of Offspring the First), my wonderful in-laws, and Cherished Friend around the table. It's so rare that I have so many of my favorite people in the same room. Lovely. 

In the blink of an eye, everyone has dispersed back to their respective lives. I am left with the leftovers, alone with my thoughts as I contemplate how much I miss having them here, knowing that while they are under my roof, they are safe and warm and protected. I cannot shelter them from the slings and arrows of life, but I can do my best to make sure they are well and content while they are here. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Holiday Hugs

Herself speaks.

We're quite close to the beginning of Holiday Season now: it kicks off with Thanksgiving in just a couple of days, and marches through the end of November into December, all the way to Christmas and then to New Year's Eve, trailing to quiet end at the beginning of January. It's a lot of activity for under six weeks. 

There are many things I enjoy about this Season: cooking a big meal; finding just the right gift for someone; twinkling lights, evergreens, and bows from the presents stuck all over the dog. There is one tricky aspect of the season, though:  all the hugging.

I would like to be a huggy person: the type of person who is comfortable with hugging, patting, casually offering affection in the form of touch to those around them. I am stifled, though, by two factors: a concern that certain people around me are most decidedly not huggy people in general, and a subtler, yet more problematic, concern that people do not want to be touche by me in particular.

I'm quite aware of this issue because I only like to be touched by certain people, and even then, it varies whether am comfortable if I initiate the contact, or whether I prefer the other person to do so. I don't want to intrude on the physical space of those who prefer to have a larger personal space bubble, and want to give them the opportunity to initiate contact if they are interested, and not to do so if they would prefer so. 

In addition, there are also specific people by whom I prefer not to be touched at all, even though social convention requires that we exchange polite brief physical contact. And I find myself wondering, are there people who feel the same way about me -- obligated, yet inwardly cringing? That would be terrible. I don't want that. And so I refrain from touching others more often than I might otherwise, lest I intrude into personal space where I am definitely not wanted. If I am brave enough to contact someone, I watch each tentative touch carefully for signs of annoyance or discomfort. And I worry that I offend. 

Behind it all, too, is the need to be touched with kindness. 

I wish the simple act of human contact were less fraught. 

I might need a hug. 


Monday, November 19, 2018

Lichens

One of my favorite parts of being out in Nature is finding mosses and lichens.

I want to go camping again.

Soon. I hope.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Preparing Ahead

Since next week will be a regular work week from Monday through Wednesday, there will not be too much time to handle holiday necessities; therefore, we are attempting to do the bulk of the shopping and preparation this weekend. Tiny Dog wants you to know that she personally supervised setting the table for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Keeping Warm

I spy, with my little eye....

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Thank You

Herself speaks.

This past weekend, I did some much-overdue organizing of various cabinets, including the pantry. I came across the bag of special dog food that we had for Elderly Three-toothed Dog.

Time to let that go.

And I had a momentary pang, because I realized that although he had faithfully sat with me for hours and hours each day for weeks and weeks while I prepared for The Task of taking the bar exam, I never had the opportunity to tell him that I passed.

It seems silly, I know. He would have had no idea what the significance of "passed the bar" was. Yet, I wish I could tell him that I appreciated his support, all those days.

Thank you, Tio. Good boy.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Goodbyes

Herself speaks.

While I was away recently, I had an opportunity to see my sister and her family for a few hours. It was lovely. And so bittersweet.

My sister is a truly wonderful person. I am reminded of a passage from the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour get married: Fleur's radiance shines upon everyone around her, and they are also made radiant because of her. My sister is like this: she shines on everything and everyone around her. It is hard not to feel completely insignificant in her company -- not because she makes me feel inconsequential (to the contrary, she is ever so warm and delightful), but because I cannot help but feel that I pale in comparison.

Sometimes I forget how lovely it is to be with her because I see her so rarely. We talk on the phone sometimes, and text often, but in-person visits are rare due to geographic constraints. And when I do finally visit with her, when we part it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the sense of loss.

She is one of the few people whose presence is a comfort to me. And I realize with every goodbye how much I have enjoyed that comfort, and I am bereft that I have it so rarely.

This is the way it is, though: the people I love most are often physically -- or metaphorically -- distant, due to time or distance or all-consuming employment or other natural, unavoidable reasons. I do the best I can to be in the Moment when I am with them, because I do not know when I will have such time and comfort again.

My heart.
Goodbyes are hard.

Perhaps that is why Goodbye to You (by Ben Harper) speaks to me so clearly.

Maybe tomorrow I can start anew. 
I just don't know how to say goodbye to you. 


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Oddities

Behold, three separate advertised products, all in my Facebook feed at the same time.

Why, Facebook, Why?

This one is highly specific: for Bob Ross lovers only.

This is kind of neat, actually. I would put this in my yard.

What in the everloving Pete is this about?
Where does one use such a specific decal?
In this strained political climate, am almost afraid to find out.