Winter Visit

A spot of color to brighten my winter day.


State of the King's Realm

"The Gentry are all round, stand up now, stand up now,   
The Gentry are all round, stand up now;  
The Gentry are all round, on each side they are found,  
Their wisdom's so profound to cheat us of our ground.  
Stand up now, stand up now…"
~ The Diggers Song 

I am not by nature a political creature. The daily comings and goings of Lord Obama and the Gentry are best left to the warbling imagination of far-wing dogmamongers. On occasion, per my want, I take notice.

The proletarians and petit-bourgeois of the Realm can’t help but question our Queen’s recent activities, especially as they seem to contradict the King's Will.

“Everyone must sacrifice for the greater good… Everyone must have some skin in the game,” His Majesty proclaimed ere He signed His ineffectual $787 billion stimulus bill into law in 2009.

What shall be sacrificed if not creature comforts? Does everyone recall Thermostatgate?

The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House, President Obama was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat. ~ Dave Burdick , The Huffington Post 

Lord Obama is best known as our Traveling King, oft departed from New Camelot in a bid to find the Holy Grail. He has visited all fifty-seven States of the Realm, treating his subjects to upbeat speeches and blue promises, and He has visited those States several times over. During his reign, the Royal Family has enjoyed lavish trips to Europe. There have been delightful vacations in Hawaii. His Majesty once treated His admirable Queen to a romantic dinner in Chicago. And now our beloved Lady has taken the Royal Princesses to ski.

How can we begrudge the Queen her respite? The strain of New Camelot is great, and the King's “personal fiscal prudency” proclamations only apply to peasants and their snot-caked brats. Surely the subjects will not mind treating the Princesses to a ski trip. It allows them to get out of the castle and mingle with the subjects. Exposure at a young age can lead to lasting positive impressions.

The petit-bourgeois, already straining to make ends meet, are not pleased with these arrangements. Their mortgages oppressively hang over them; they did not spend beyond their means and thus they do not qualify for the King’s “assistance”. Their elderly and their disabled are slowly starving because the King would not bend his mind towards an increase in their promised-pensions. Their wounded soldiers suffer from the same oversight. The price of a Royal Skiing trip would equate to several house payments, more than three month’s groceries and perhaps a new winter coat for the missus and children. The petit-bourgeois have cut back on their spending, per Lord Obama’s command, but to what end?


King Barack, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Michelle, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The Royal couple visited the Court of Lilliput before moving on to Brobdingnag.

My thanks to Steffanie Lochim for the "oil paintings". I could not locate the artist to give them proper credit.


The Bemused Muse was launched 21 Feb 2006.

“Wood is the traditional five-year anniversary gift.”


Phipps Trip

I don't have the energy to properly journal anything but I did upload photographs from yesterday: Phipps Conservatory.  Blogger fought me during uploads. I'll try to upload the missing pictures later.

Phipps Conservatory (complex in background) as seen from the VAMC parking garage

Bonsai Collection

Bonsai in flower

Closeup of flower

This was donated from a private collection. It is one of the oldest on exhibit in this room.

Orchids are tucked into every nook...

 ... magnificent on display.

Very tastefully aranged

I found these glowing along the trail

These kept modern art company beside a tiny koi pond

Whimsy meats stately

The butterfly room is a winding tropical path

This would be a perfect place to sit and read a book

Vibrant clusters

Red puffs (this one was plucked by gravity and discarded on a bench)

Yellow pollen with vibrant red comet tails

 Marble carving

"Laughing" bird of paradise


Roly poly strikes a pose


Phipps has art tucked throughout their exhibit rooms. 
This beautiful statue bids visitors farewell at the end of their tour

The conservatory against a winter sky

We were behind a railroad vehicle on our way to the Ft Pitt Tunnel. This Chevy lowers small wheels that are directly behind the rear wheels (and directly in front of the front ones) and are designed to run on the railroad tracks. You can see the rear ones under the back bumper. 

Nutmeg was very pleased when we came home and fed her.


Better Half and I explored Phipps today. I'll add a better blog entry later this week (with photographs). Tonight it is all about Schmedly the Gargoyle. He was part of the summer exhibit in 2009 and was dejectedly sitting in the foyer this afternoon. We had to take him home. (I was a good girl and did not beg for his companion, Purrkins the Wall Lizard-Cat.)

Schmedly circa July 2009

And, Schmedly circa tonight

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: INTJ

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely used personality inventory, or test, employed in vocational, educational, and psychotherapy settings to evaluate personality type in adolescents and adults age 14 and older.

I first encountered the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) more than ten years ago while working in Colorado. It is an eerily accurate personality assessment, if the person is honest when answering questions. It can be used for adults age fourteen and older and is an invaluable tool when teambuilding.

The MBTI evaluates personality type and preference based on the four Jungian psychological types:

  • extraversion (E) or introversion (I)
  • sensing (S) or intuition (N)
  • thinking (T) or feeling (F)
  • judging (J) or perceiving (P)
Intrigued? You can take a basic version of the test here:

Skip the INTJ information below unless you have nothing better to read.

I’m an INTJ - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging. In a snapshot: Introverted Intuition with Extraverted Thinking; the Scientist. I’m amazed that this profile hasn’t changed in over a decade. Surely some experiences or changes would indicate something fresh?

An in-depth explanation of the INTJ personality:

"As an INTJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things rationally and logically.

INTJs live in the world of ideas and strategic planning. They value intelligence, knowledge, and competence, and typically have high standards in these regards, which they continuously strive to fulfill. To a somewhat lesser extent, they have similar expectations of others.

With Introverted Intuition dominating their personality, INTJs focus their energy on observing the world, and generating ideas and possibilities. Their mind constantly gathers information and makes associations about it. They are tremendously insightful and usually are very quick to understand new ideas. However, their primary interest is not understanding a concept, but rather applying that concept in a useful way. Unlike the INTP, they do not follow an idea as far as they possibly can, seeking only to understand it fully. INTJs are driven to come to conclusions about ideas. Their need for closure and organization usually requires that they take some action.

INTJ's tremendous value and need for systems and organization, combined with their natural insightfulness, makes them excellent scientists. An INTJ scientist gives a gift to society by putting their ideas into a useful form for others to follow. It is not easy for the INTJ to express their internal images, insights, and abstractions. The internal form of the INTJ's thoughts and concepts is highly individualized, and is not readily translatable into a form that others will understand. However, the INTJ is driven to translate their ideas into a plan or system that is usually readily explainable, rather than to do a direct translation of their thoughts. They usually don't see the value of a direct transaction, and will also have difficulty expressing their ideas, which are non-linear. However, their extreme respect of knowledge and intelligence will motivate them to explain themselves to another person who they feel is deserving of the effort.

INTJs are natural leaders, although they usually choose to remain in the background until they see a real need to take over the lead. When they are in leadership roles, they are quite effective, because they are able to objectively see the reality of a situation, and are adaptable enough to change things which aren't working well. They are the supreme strategists - always scanning available ideas and concepts and weighing them against their current strategy, to plan for every conceivable contingency.

INTJs spend a lot of time inside their own minds, and may have little interest in the other people's thoughts or feelings. Unless their Feeling side is developed, they may have problems giving other people the level of intimacy that is needed. Unless their Sensing side is developed, they may have a tendency to ignore details which are necessary for implementing their ideas.

The INTJ's interest in dealing with the world is to make decisions, express judgments, and put everything that they encounter into an understandable and rational system. Consequently, they are quick to express judgments. Often they have very evolved intuitions, and are convinced that they are right about things. Unless they complement their intuitive understanding with a well-developed ability to express their insights, they may find themselves frequently misunderstood. In these cases, INTJs tend to blame misunderstandings on the limitations of the other party, rather than on their own difficulty in expressing themselves. This tendency may cause the INTJ to dismiss others input too quickly, and to become generally arrogant and elitist.

INTJs are ambitious, self-confident, deliberate, long-range thinkers. Many INTJs end up in engineering or scientific pursuits, although some find enough challenge within the business world in areas which involve organizing and strategic planning. They dislike messiness and inefficiency, and anything that is muddled or unclear. They value clarity and efficiency, and will put enormous amounts of energy and time into consolidating their insights into structured patterns.

Other people may have a difficult time understanding an INTJ. They may see them as aloof and reserved. Indeed, the INTJ is not overly demonstrative of their affections, and is likely to not give as much praise or positive support as others may need or desire. That doesn't mean that he or she doesn't truly have affection or regard for others, they simply do not typically feel the need to express it. Others may falsely perceive the INTJ as being rigid and set in their ways. Nothing could be further from the truth, because the INTJ is committed to always finding the objective best strategy to implement their ideas. The INTJ is usually quite open to hearing an alternative way of doing something.

When under a great deal of stress, the INTJ may become obsessed with mindless repetitive, Sensate activities, such as over-drinking. They may also tend to become absorbed with minutia and details that they would not normally consider important to their overall goal.

INTJs need to remember to express themselves sufficiently, so as to avoid difficulties with people misunderstandings. In the absence of properly developing their communication abilities, they may become abrupt and short with people, and isolationists.

INTJs have a tremendous amount of ability to accomplish great things. They have insight into the Big Picture, and are driven to synthesize their concepts into solid plans of action. Their reasoning skills gives them the means to accomplish that. INTJs are most always highly competent people, and will not have a problem meeting their career or education goals. They have the capability to make great strides in these arenas. On a personal level, the INTJ who practices tolerances and puts effort into effectively communicating their insights to others has everything in his or her power to lead a rich and rewarding life.

Jungian functional preference ordering:

Dominant: Introverted Intuition
Auxilliary: Extraverted Thinking
Tertiary: Introverted Feeling
Inferior: Extraverted Sensing"

Having said that, I'm going to bed.

February Musing

The stark grey sky outside my living room window is silhouetted by moisture-blacked branches; both blizzards have bypassed us, leaving only ice and freezing rain in their wake. It is a dreary scene that will be remedied with the arrival of spring.

I love every season, but winter brings with it a penetrating reality unfettered by warmth and leaves. The world is crunchy, a perilous environment with a seemingly brittle coating. It ranks all men as equals despite their social or economic status. A naked Obama running swimming in the snow is just as prone to die from exposure as a naked factory worker. The difference, of course, is the ease in spotting Obama: he’s the one surrounded by five or six naked Secret Service agents.

Today is Ice. The weather moved in yesterday morning, set out before noon, and then the temperatures dropped. All that charming, pliable slush became reflective rivers. The encased streets were rather treacherous. This is the sort of weather that one enjoys from home, in a clean house, with the kettle on and a warm blanket draped across the lap.