Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Here followeth a Casa de Crazy Thanksgiving Day Tradicion:

We hope you have a pleasant, tasty, mellow, comfortable, not-at-all-contentious Thanksgiving day if you are in the USA and an all around good one if not in the USA.

Here's the link of you want to view full screen:  Alice's Restaurant

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thankful

I have a few traditions on Thanksgiving. Not many - the menu, recording the Macy's parade so I can watch it and fast-forward through all the crappy pop music, commercials, and talking heads to see the twenty minutes of balloons, floats and high school bands I'm interested in hidden among all that junk  (although I will have to forgo that pleasure, this year, alas, unless Mom remembers to record it for me to peruse at her house another time), and my list of some things for which I am thankful, in no particular order and in no way complete:

The house in which I live
The Evil Genius
Mum
Sprout
Gypsy, K2, Mizz A, Kit, Sam-I-Am, PJ, Mizz Beth, Martha 'n' Milo, Avalon, and all of my friends who put up with me when I am most myself and therefor least likable. They are the net beneath me when I fly and fall
Bread
The scent of leaf loam and woodsmoke in the crisp autumn air
Books, music, and art
Clean, plentiful water
Clean air
Clean clothes
Freedom
Nature and the way she finds to show me something new of herself every day
Words
Song
Dance
Adversity, that joy is all the sweeter (Okay, okay, the joy is sweet enough, so basta with the adversity for a minute, please)
Every creature and plant that I consume to sustain myself, because without the life I take, I would have no life to live
Love - that it exists at all is a wonder, and I feel blessed to know it in many forms
Chocolate, gift from the Gods (yes, even the perversion called "candy bar") (Mmm...candy bar...)
Honeycrisp Apples
Strong hands
Strong spirit
Strong will
Laughter
Cussed determination not to curl up and die just because life can sometimes be a succession of truly awful, bleak, and desolate days...but sometimes it isn't
The Internet
You

I hope you have a blessed day, and that you the things you're thankful for outweighing the things for which you're not.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all, from us at Casa de Crazy to you out in the Blue Nowhere and beyond.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Cookery

Every year I post the menu for out Casa de Crazy Thanksgiving extravaganza and every year I wonder why I don't just cut and paste from last year because it very rarely changes.

Oh, the people change, and the weather, but what goes down in the kitchen and gets laid upon the table are as reliable as...well...something very reliable.

I also wonder if anyone cares, but I kind of get a kick out of seeing what y'all are doing and I like to share, so without further ado, here're the eats for Thursday's T-Day dinner:

Turkey, a 13+ pounder this year because we have a couple of extra guests.

Dressing.  Not stuffing.  I like the stuff the gobbler with herbs and use the pan drippings for the gravy, so it's dressing.  No one has complained, yet.

Mashed potatoes (Mum usually helps with these and I let her because she is Mum and you don't tell Mum "no" when she wants to help with the taters).

Gravy, of the home made variety.

Green Beans.  Just plain old steamed green beans.

Seared Corn because I wanna.

Mashed Turnips and carrots, because Mum and I adore them and they're pretty in the fancy, cut glass bowl.

Can-o-Cranberry, because cranberry that isn't can shaped ain't right.

Desserts include Chocolate Silk Pie and Dutch Apple Crumb Pie made just for us by Marie Callender (her pie crusts are way better than mine and I'm fine with letter her do all the work) and Mrs. Smith, and a Key Lime Pie with a shortbread crust (crust store bought, pie made here).  Also Ice Cream and coffee.  And Tums.  Lots of Tums.

Whew, I am full already.  How 'bout you - what's traditional at your Thanksgiving dinner?  What's your favorite savory?  Favorite sweet?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Counting Down

It is Saturday of Thanksgiving week and there is much happening here at the Casa.

The kids and I are terrorizing the cats...er...tidying up a bit.  Poor Casa de Crazy is a right mess as a result of some serious depression, chaos, and stress, and it WILL BE CLEAN for Thanksgiving.  Or, at least, the parts our guests will see will be clean.  I hope.

This is a somewhat traditional post for me - every year I write a little something about this week, as it is the lead-off to The Silly Season and often one of my busiest here at the Casa.

So, here we go.

Saturday (today) - Bread baking for the dressing, and housekeepery. Oh, lort, the housekeepery.  Also washing all of the dishes, bowls, and platters for Thursday 
since they're the "good" dishes* and sit all year until I pull them out for Thanksgiving.

Sunday - More housework.  Lort, the housework.

Monday - cleaning, cleaning, more cleaning (I move slowly, the Casa is enormous, and I am not a good housekeeper so when we DO clean, it's a job).  Grocery shopping, because theres nothing like looking for obscure ingredients at the last minute.  Panicking about the butter - is two pounds enough for the day?  Gah!  Making sure the table linens are washed and ready to use and pulling out the "good" flatware**.

Tuesday - Quilt guild and pie baking.

Wednesday - helping Mom set up for the Mistletoe Market and making mashed turnips and carrots ahead of time.

Thursday - 
Turkey goes in to bake.  Dressing goes in to bake.  Green beans are steamed.  Corn is seared.  Finishing up any last minute cleaning.  Children are shooed outside to frolic.  Friends and family trickle in.  Set the table.  Fill the water pitcher.  Watch TV and baste the turkey.  Make food, food, more food.  Serve.  Eat.  Coma.  Dessert and coffee/tea.  More coma.  Play games.  Pack leftovers to go for guests.  Eat more.  Sleep well.

Friday - NO SHOPPING!!!  There may,however, be cookie baking.  Lots of cookie baking.  Certainly lots of leftovers eating and probably some Netflix watching.  Almost certainly crocheting.  Possibly attending a friend's workshop presentation.

Saturday - Start figuring out Yule stuff, maybe start addressing holiday cards, helping Mom with the Mistletoe Market.

Sunday - More Mistletoe Market, then packing it up.
How is your week shaping up?

*These are dishes that Mum and I bought one piece at a time from a grocery store a long, long, looooong time ago.  Service for fourteen including serving dishes, either free or bargain priced with purchase of a certain amount of groceries.  I love them.  Not fancy, but pretty and simple and I like them.

**Not sterling, but some rather lovely and solid stainless steel flatware from the Oneida Company, back when there was a Betty Crocker catalog and we clipped Betty Crocker points from boxes and saved them in a tin on top of the refrigerator.  Service for twelve, and some day I hope to expand it and add more serving pieces and other cutlery, but that'll have to wait a bit because it's a discontinued pattern and getting the pieces I'd like to have will cost a small fortune.  I adore my pattern, bought a few pieces at a time through the mail with little bits of cardboard and postage paid.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Thoughtfetti

My nose and feet are cold.  COLD!

It's 72 degrees inside Casa de Crazy and I have cold body parts.

Oy.
~~~~~
There is something deeply satisfying about crusty French rolls and salted butter.
~~~~~
I went for almost a month without turning on, or even plugging in, my computer.  Whoa.
~~~~~
I didn't realize that DST was starting? ending?  Luckily my phone and computer take care of that for me, or the next week would have been...interesting...
~~~~~
It's November, over 70 degrees inside my house, and have I mentioned that my nose and feet are cold?  because they are.  Cold.
~~~~~
Casa de Crazy is a mess, and I'm determined to have it clean for Thanksgiving.  That shouldn't be a problem, but I feel like I'm moving through Jell-O all the time, and things that should be quick and easy?  Aren't.  Oh, well.  It'll all get done, somehow.
~~~~~
Whoever invented the freezer deserves a medal or sainthood or something.  I can make soup, freeze it, and then share it or have it whenever I want.  My children won't eat soup.  I am not entirely sure they're mine.
~~~~~
My daughter has decided that it's her job to clean off the dining table.  With a sopping paper towel and a generous dollop of dish soap.  Bless her heart.
~~~~~
Next weekend begins the Great Casa Garage Cleanup of 2017.  It is possible that I could be able to park in that space before Winter is over!  Hurrah!  Mizz A is coming down to help me because she's an incredible person who never shirks helping out a friend, and I'm lucky to have her or the garage would likely never have another vehicle in it.  Also, the kids and cats adore her.

Goodwill and the rubbish company will be getting a bonanza.  I will be getting an inside parking place again.  Win-win-win.
~~~~~
I'm going to go tuck myself under a blanket despite the warm house, because did I tell you that my feet and nose are cold?
~~~~~
What're you up to, today?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Between Sleep and Waking

Between sleep and waking there is a place of half aware, half dream, where the mind weaves the input of the senses with threads of fantasy.

In this place conscious thought and imagination are jumbled jigsaw puzzle pieces haphazardly stuck together to make patchwork pictures that defy explanation outside the nebulous, wobbling incohesion between sleep and waking.

It is easy to get lost there, between sleep and waking.  Days dazed, not quite here, not quite there, scattered everywhere.  What was I doing in this room?  Why did I walk over there?  Why am I holding this dish, this broom, this piece of clothing, this book?  What was I trying to get done just now?  Did I see that, hear that, was it inside my head or out?

Walk through a door and forget, and forgetfulness becomes the wet woolen batting that wraps a body up from head to toe and makes everything heavier, sort of musty, slow, unfocused.  Walk back through the door, trying to remember, only to find that memory is elusive, a wisp within the mist swirling throughout the place between sleep and waking.

Minutes, hours, ebb and flow.  Liquid, undefined, gelatinous, oozing time slips through slack fingers, circles the drain, and is gone before it was ever there, life passing in stilted stop-motion muzziness like some old black and white movie playing on an endless loop between sleep and waking.

Somehow life goes on in tenuous moments pasted together with cobwebs, onion skin thin and brittle and always on the edge of becoming dust in the corners of the place between sleep and waking where it will remain unnoticed, unremembered, unremarked until the errant breezes of thought and consciousness send it swirling away to become motes on a sunbeam.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Pandora's Gift

Pandora.

Her name means "all gifts".

She was created as a punishment to men for Prometheus's gift of fire.  She was given to Prometheus's brother Epimetheus to marry, and along with her Zeus sent a locked box which was never to be opened.  Zeus gave the key to Epimetheus to keep, with stern admonishments to never, ever, under any circumstances, open that box.

So of course, Pandora wanted to know what was in there.

Of course she did.

Who wouldn't?

Humans are curious.

We want to know how things tick, and why, and if we can make them tick better, or fix them when they stop ticking.  We poke and tinker and futz and finagle, some by turning to gods and myths and some by turning to science, and we keep after trying to figure things out, down the rabbit hole and damn the consequences, until we have answers...or more questions.

Pandora kept asking Epimetheus to let her open the box.  Zeus kept reminding them not to open it.  Especially when Pandora had a handle on her curiosity, Zeus would whisper to her not to go bothering with that box, now, don't forget.

Eventually Pandora managed to get the box open.  I imagine the lock squealed dire warnings as she turned the key.  I imagine the lid creaked ominously as she lifted it.  I imagine there was darkness, silence, as the lid came to a rest and the contents were finally revealed.

The silence was shattered by the sound of every torment hitherto unknown to humanity cackling, gibbering, howling, shrieking, leaping into flight or clambering over the sides of the box, released from imprisonment and free to wreak their havoc upon the earth.  As they fled, each creature called out its name - war, hunger, hatred, death, fear, sorrow, pestilence, envy, need, and every other negative or unpleasant feeling and experience rushing forth, a box of angry hornets buzzing out to the corners of the world to sting and sting, relentlessly hounding us, our idyllic life suddenly changed in radical ways that we couldn't understand and likely never will.

Poor Pandora.

Reviled for her curiosity, her humanness.  I've noticed that no one ever gets mad at Zeus for being so petty.  He made the box, after all, and filled it up with all of those delightful presents.  He was the one who wouldn't let it rest, wouldn't let Pandora have any peace.

Pandora wept when she realized what she'd done.  She'd unleashed a kind of horror that would never end, could never again be boxed up, contained, again.

As she wept, she heard a whisper.  A soft rustle.  The barest hint of a sound.

It came from the box.

Pandora looked inside, thinking that maybe she could keep at least one terrible thing from escaping.

There, in the back corner, shining brightly in the shadows, was a tiny thing.  Pale, minute, and beautiful, it reached for her.  She lifted it from the box.

Hope, it said.  I am Hope.

I stand and face every dark thing, every shade, every nightmare, every misery, all of the things that drive you to the brink of madness and despair.  I am Hope.

Hope.

Was it worth it?

Before Pandora opened up that box of curiosities, we didn't know anything about how unhappy we could be.  We didn't hurt each other, take what belonged to others, seek to own or dominate or eradicate.

But...

We also didn't have hope.  Before Pandora, humans led a hopeless existence.

She didn't just curse us with all of those evils.  She gifted us with Hope.

We are the better for it.