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

Tibi gratias agimus quod nihil fumas.

It says "...freedom of...", not "...freedom from...".

Nolite te bastardes carburundorum!

"It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint." - Penn Jillette

Friday, July 3, 2015

Independence Day

Yep, this is a repost, but why re-write what already suits??
In writing the Declaration of Independence, in ratifying it, in signing their names to it, the men named at the bottom risked the very things they hoped to secure for themselves and for future generations. They were performing an act of treason, and by putting their names to it they made of themselves targets for the man, for the nation, they accused. They fought for the principles they named, fought for their families, for their lives, and for the burgeoning life of the tender new nation they hoped to nurture into a great place, a free place, a place where anyone could hope to not just survive, but thrive - a place where anyone willing to put their all into it, to do their very best, could find success, no matter what their gods, their nation of origin.

Since that time, people have tried to follow their lead, standing up and making their voices heard to help secure their rights, the rights of future generations. They have added color and sex to the list of things that cannot determine success, cannot be used as an excuse to deny equal opportunity.

You do the same when you vote. You do it when you attend council meetings, board meetings, town hall meetings, and speak your piece; when you ask the hard questions, protest with signs, songs, shouts; when you show people who think they own this nation to the exclusion of others, people who think they have the right to amend your rights to suit them, that you are watching them, that you SEE them, that you know better.

You do it when you tell our armed forces "Thank you for your service" whether you agree with whatever conflicts we're embroiled in or not - because they are standing up for our liberty doing a difficult, dirty, often thankless job - and they are there, ultimately, to preserve our nation and its principles (As an aside - thank you, men and women of the armed forces. Thank you, and blessed be, and come home safe to the families who love you, miss you, and hope only for your swift return.).

You do it when you teach the children in your life what it means to be free - freedom to fly means freedom to fall, and freedom to rise up again; freedom to succeed means freedom to fail, and to try once more; freedom to speak means freedom for dissenting opinions to be heard; freedom is not comfortable - at times, it is downright terrifying...but it is necessary to the human spirit.

Given a choice to be cold, hungry, ragged, poor, weary, worn and free, or to be clothed, fed, housed, succored, safe and bound - I will be free. Do not make the mistake of giving up your freedom for the illusion of safety - you will one day wake to find you have nothing left but the yoke you bound yourself to.

I could go on, but to what purpose? You understand or you don't - and my little rant won't sway anyone, I fear.

Here, then, is a transcript of our most essential document, the one that began it all, the one that first gave shape to our name, to our identity as a nation. Read, if nothing else, the first two paragraphs. They are as stirring, heartfelt, and powerful now as when they were first written.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1 - Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Column 2 - North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Column 3 - Massachusetts: John Hancock Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

Column 4 - Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Column 5 - New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Column 6 - New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton
If you've made it this far, thank you. To support out troops, go visit Any Soldier or Troop BeBop (I know this woman - she's a force of nature!). I wish you a safe, joyous, and happy Independence Day.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Catching Planets

Jupiter and Venus are chasing the sun along the dusk horizon
Closer and closer to Earth they draw
Unheeding of their brightness
Their nearness
Pulling each other along and all
They laugh and tug at gravity's inhibiting drag
Reveling in the scorch of summer Sol

I shall take a net
A long handled net
A mighty net
And catch them up in it
When they are not looking
Place them in my largest jar
As we did with fireflies in bygone days
And call the little star cousins to come and see
Come and wonder

But I'll let them loose again before they falter

Because I am not cruel.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Early Return

I was to have been in Illinois at PSG (Pagan Spirit Gathering) until this coming Sunday, home the Monday after, but things did not go according to plan.

When do they ever, really?

It began well enough with our only-slightly-delayed departure on from Casa de Crazy on June 12 - I wanted us to be on the road by 5:00 in the morning but we wound up pulling out closer to 6.  We stopped for water then hit the highway and managed to avoid the worst of the city traffic and get well away before things got hairy.  I do not like towing the trailer in heavy traffic!

My friend A and I, along with the kids, managed to haul ourselves on up to Illinois in good time, stopping in our usual place in Effingham in good order, even managing to take the kids for a swim in the motel pool before dinner.

Saturday we got on the road in good time, but that was the extent of things going right.

First, the AC in the front of the van wasn't working.  Thankfully we had rear AC and the morning was overcast, but it was still not entirely comfortable.  The, we stopped for fuel and had to put air in the shocks because I was experiencing tire rub on the passenger side of the van every time we hit a bump.

On the road again.

Then the passenger side trailer tire blew.  It did not blow as spectacularly as it could have, nowhere near like the last time one blew out a few years ago and we lost a fender AND shorted the entire electrical system, but it blew.

Perhaps I should mention that I had never before changed a tire.  Ever.

I let K2 know what happened, and she and her crew generously turned around and headed back to rescue me.  Meanwhile, I thought it would only be polite to get the jack out, dismount the spare, loosen the lugs on the flat, and generally get everything ready for a change.  Just as I was jacking up the trailer with the marvelous jack that comes with the Astro van (just one more thing to love about them), an Illinois State Trooper named Shad (I asked his name, of course, because one does not simply call one's erstwhile rescuer "Hey, you") stopped, got his four armed lug wrench out, and lent a hand.  With his help, I was able to change the tire, save K2 a few miles on her turn-around, and get back onto the road.

About an hour later, we stopped for fuel and I checked the spare (which was, in fact, a full-sized trailer tire) and looked at the remaining tire.  I was not reassured by the condition of the original and resolved to change it once we were on site and had the trailer emptied.

Meanwhile, we needed to put air in the shocks again, because tire rub.
Putting air in the shocks was largely useless, because as soon as I did, it all hissed out again when the coupling...er...uncoupled.  I did not help it fall to pieces - like me, it did that just fine on its own.

That was A Very Bad Thing, and while I tried to fix it, I lacked the tools and time to get it right...so, no rear shocks, towing a terribly heavy trailer on the infamously horrid Illinois roads.  Okay, we could do that.

Then the driver's side trailer tire blew.  In all fairness, it was a marvel that the thing hadn't gone to bits ages ago.  That's the last time I trust the dealership when they tell me it's good to go - from now on I do as I have always preferred to do and inspect tires VERY carefully myself before I go anywhere.

This time, I was working on the traffic side of the trailer.  It was hot, relentlessly sunny now, and I was already sore and tired from the last tire change.  People were NOT moving over a lane, even when it was clear and they could do so easily and safely.  Cars and trucks blew past alarmingly close at high speeds.  Luckily, I have spent a few minutes working turns at the track and was...mostly...unflapped.

I got to work - first we had to unload part of the trailer to get the second spare (and I will always, ALWAYS, travel with two trailer spares because THIS!!!), then A watched traffic while I loosened nuts and got to jacking.

A kindly fellow named Benji stopped to lend aid, and I was not even the tiniest bit annoyed at his blatant sexism, because hello?  One does not lecture one's kind rescuer on feminism and the use of sexist language while he's sweatily, gamely, changing one's rather blighted tire.

And when he was finished (he INSISTED that I let him do the job, and who am I to argue in the face of heat exhaustion and the desire to bawl???), he plied us all with Gatorade because he was concerned about our well being.  How awfully sweet!

I didn't tell him I loathe Gatorade.  I think I made a weak excuse about waiting until I cooled off a bit to drink it as I was worried about the deleterious effect of an icy beverage on a hot body.

On our way again, we winced, clenched our various body parts, and prayed every prayer we knew to pray that the constant tire rub at every bump or change in pavement surface would not land us with another flat, this one considerably more difficult to change given the location of the van's spare underneath the fully loaded van.

AC struggling, shocks failing, van tires making a horrid sort of screeching, whooshing, dissonant noise every time there was a bump, and with no spares to spare for the trailer, we limped in to Stonehouse Farm.

We got signed in, pulled into our spot, and commenced to unloading and setting up what would eventually be a 10' x 40' vending/camping site, our home for the next ten days.

It rained a little.  We set up anyway.  Sprout shucked her clothes and frolicked in the rain and mud.  The Evil Genius spent the day alternately barfing and sleeping anywhere he could lie down (including in the emptied trailer on the hard wooden floor).

We continued setting up.

I rubbed the bottom of one of the toes on my left foot raw before remembering that wet feet and wet Crocs while setting up are not a happy combination.  Then I dropped a 6' grid panel on my right foot, on the middle toes, which broke one toe and cut me a little.  Ouch.

We ate something, I can't recall what because I was so tired but I know it wasn't health food, and went to bed.

Next morning, more rain.  I got the vending area and our camping area set up, working slowly and steadily all day.  A helped by keeping the kids out from under foot (don't underestimate the value of that!).  The camp and vendor's row grew up around us and it began feeling more like the event we know and love.

The food vendor across from us (Brandon, Big Guy's Sausage Stand) was  nice fellow and let me run a tab because I had no cash, and we had a lemonade and a few snacks and the kids found old friends and played and we endured the wet with hopes of a drier tomorrow.  He remembered my kids, and asked how Mum was doing.  He seemed sorry she wasn't there.

The constant rain in the area had saturated the ground, so instead of simply running off or draining, the rain formed puddles, rivulets, bogs, huge expanses of mud and muck.  Everyone on site took it in stride and accepted that there would be a lot of wet shirts, dirty clothing, and muddy feet, a lot of cleaning up to do.

Monday is didn't rain.  It monsooned.  It poured.  So much water everywhere.  Campers had to be relocated.  Cars had to be moved.  It flooded.  A lot.  Redundant?  Nope, not in this case.  We were in our usual spot, on slightly higher ground so we were fine, but so many people lost their gear, had cars totaled, had to rely on the community for which the event is known for places to sleep, food to eat.  So many more people pushed cars out of parking, out of the danger zone, and offered to help move camps, do what they could to get everyone to safety.

Half of the campground was submerged under many inches and sometimes feet of water.

On Tuesday morning, they announced that, for the first time ever, the event was shutting down early.  I believe it was the right choice - the water would be rising when the next wave of storms came through and it was already compromised by the contents of flooded port-a-potties, trash, runoff from other places.  It was absolutely the right thing to do, but it hurt.

They asked the vendors to stay open so people could distract themselves with shopping.  We had that one day of open business, and that was it.  So many vendors and musicians lost their butts on the week.

I admit, I cried a little - our beloved event was closing, and while I wasn't so worried about my business or family, what about my friends?  How would they pay bills, get home?

I had to ask Mum for help.  She came through like a champ, like she always does, like a mother would.

My band was there to perform, but with the cancellation we lost our concert dates.

We decided to perform anyway.

The other musicians at the event decided they would, too.

We joined forces and put on a four hour show that was almost entirely wall to wall music.  The two exceptions were the community meeting that took the shape of a few announcements and updates, and a story-telling by Janet Farrar.  Each musician/group performed two songs and acted as additional backup for the others.  We ended it with a tremendous jam session, just as we'd begun it.

It was quite possibly the best musical experience I have ever had, to date.  For me, anyway, it made all the prior hell worth the trip.

The next morning, we packed.  And packed. And packed.  My friend A did yeoman's duty because I didn't have a lot left in me.  Seriously, she saved my bacon - I'd still be packing if not for her.  

Phil's Grill made soup and gave it way to anyone who wanted it.  We wanted some.  It was delicious.  Everyone helped everyone and it was amazing.

By Wednesday evening A and I were exhausted in every way, but we were ready to go.  We decided to leave our other friends behind and head on to the hotel where we all hoped to stay for the night, perhaps letting the kids swim in the pool and certainly washing off a few of the many layers of mud we'd acquired over the last few days.

Our friends didn't make it to the hotel - they were far longer than we'd anticipated in their own packing, and didn't get as far as we did.

We decided to take an extra day to get home, take it easy on ourselves.  We started late and drove at reasonable speeds (yes, Mum, really).  Maybe our friends could join us that night.

They needed to get home, though, and pushed through, so while A and I played tag with the kids in the hotel pool, they kept driving.

Late in the night (or early in the morning, according to perspective), one of our friends had a trailer tire blow out.

I wish I was kidding.

They managed to deal with it and start home again today, but then their truck overheated from sitting in 100+ degree weather and Friday traffic in Atlanta and another friend valiantly drove out to rescue them, despite his own exhaustion from this trip.

Finally, finally, everyone is home.  Finally, finally, laundry is being done, feet are clean, clothing is dry, and we can look back with awe and wonder at what we experienced, what we did.  Finally, finally, we can begin the long process of cleaning, of assessing damage, of recovery.

All in all, I'm better of than many - while the loss of a week of business pains me, I won't lose my house over it (thanks, Mum) and we won't starve or even go hungry (I have almost all the food we brought to eat while camping).  I can turn my eye towards the next (and last) event for the year and make ready for that.  I hope I may be forgiven if I ask the weather gods to refrain from wetting us down quite so enthusiastically at THAT event!

I need to have the AC and the shocks fixed on the van.  I need to get two new spare tires for the trailer.  I need to tend to my infected toe (really, who knew that slogging around in muddy fields for days on end could cause an open wound to get infected?  Hush...)  I need to figure out how the hell I will pay the bills between now and then, and buy groceries for the trip, and wash the mud off of everything, and get all the sewing done.

But for now, for tonight, I need to rest, to sleep, to take tomorrow and use it as a day to simply breathe and find my composure again.

Blessings on those who acted as wardens for our collective safety at PSG.  Blessings on those who ignored their own flooding camps and helped rescue others.  Blessings on those who offered places to stay as we all made our weary ways home.  Blessings on those who lost much and on those who are even now trying to mitigate the loss.  Blessings on the people who pulled together and became the embodiment of what community is.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

This Day...

...is almost over, and while I wish I had more hours to do what needs doing, I can't say I'm sorry.

I woke earlier than I wanted, got a call from one of the roomies that they found some dogs on the side of the road, wandering about and nearly getting killed in traffic, so of course I said it was okay to bring the dogs to Casa de Crazy because we try to always take the opportunity to be kind to other living beings, and how heartless would I have to be to tell them to leave the dogs, anyway, so they brought the dogs home and I did a little sewing while waiting, then met the dogs who were...

...seemingly pure bred Anatolian Shepherds, big, big, big, huge dogs and so terribly thin and tired and worn and wanting love and rest and food, by golly, FOOD!!!, and so sweet, so very sweet, they didn't chase the cats or kittens, didn't bark or growl or brindle at any of us, just seemed relieved and bemused to be here, and we fed them and gave them water and found a place that would check to see if they were chipped for no charge - Petsmart for the win!!! - and we fed them some more, sorry about the cat food but it's all we have, and anyway here's some cut up leftover steak in pot roast juice/fat maybe that will help, and we tied the female to the tree (it seems a shame to call her a bitch when she is so sweet natured) and the male is so devoted to her he simply plopped down on the ground nearby and was content to let the children pet him and enjoy the shade and not walking alongside the road, and then the roomies took the dogs...

...to Petsmart while I did a little more sewing, where the technician checked for a chip and found one!, but it wasn't registered anywhere and maybe it's an international chip and only the male had one so I stopped sewing and made a few dozen phone calls while the roomies came home and I couldn't find the chip registered anywhere so I wrote a plea on Facebook and a friend said she could take them, would like to take them, and we arranged for her to come by and I did a little more sewing and the roomies tied the female out back and the male flopped down beside her and the kids went out to play and...

...the male stood at the bottom of the slide and kept watch while Sprout slid and pet him and slid, and when I came into the yard from the house, he barked a warning that he was there and I should know he would brook no shenanigans but when he saw it was me he woofed and wagged his tail and let me know all was well and I wanted to keep them, I did, but that can't happen right now so I pet him a little and went to the grocery store where I shopped and shopped for things for our upcoming trip to Illinois, and halfway through I felt really overwhelmed and just wanted to be home but I finished up and came home just in time for my friend to come and meet the dogs and fall in love with them because who wouldn't, they're big sweet marvelous babies, and she...

...sat on the ground beside the male and pet him and he flopped over and let her love on him and showed her he is gentle and tired and good, and she brought new collars for both dogs, and leashes, and they consented to go home with her and let her put the collars on, attach the leashes, and finagle them into her car and the human denizens of Casa de Crazy were a little sad but it's okay because she lives close enough by that we can go visit and pet and love and come home to the other four-legged residents who were just as happy to see the canines off, and once they were gone...

...I went back into the sewing room and after a while the roomies had to run an errand so I said I'd watch her son a bit so they could run errands in peace because we do that for each other, and never underestimate how amazing that is, and they went on out and the two little kids played together and were really good, and I sewed and cut and marked and eventually decided I should start cooking dinner so I went into the garage to get something from the freezer, and in three minutes...

...the two little ones managed to get into the roomies' room where I had JUST told them NOT to go and found the bottle of sparkly blue nail polish and got it open and painted themselves or each other or both, and they looked like they had some kind of blue-spot fever and I had to get Sprout in the bath and sent young H to wait for his mother in her room and disciplined Sprout and roomies came home and H's mom was so upset and she had to bathe H and get the polish off of him, and I cooked dinner and hoped the kids hadn't done too much damage and decided that we NEED cookies so...

...I got the frozen cookie pucks I've been saving out  and got some in the oven and kept on cooking dinner and decided to make a key lime glaze for the cookies so I did, and we ate dinner and I kept thinking about all the sewing still to do and I am so tired and feeling very stressed about time and money and kids and everything but it all will get done but I am also lonely which doesn't help, and I know I need to go down and finish sewing tonight because I will not have any more time this week but Sprout was on the potty and asked for help wiping but when I went into the bathroom...

...she had poop all over her hands, arms, legs, and feet, all over the toilet, even on the tub so I had to shower her, clean the tub, clean the toilet, and try very hard not to spank and spank and spank her because I am so angry and hurt and tired of it all, so I sent her back to her room and told her she can't come out, and now I wonder if I could just leave her in there forever or at least until it's time for us to head out of town next week because I love her but right now it's just too much, and meanwhile...

...there is still the sewing to be done, and I am going down now to do it, but oh, I am so ready for this day to be over.

Monday, June 1, 2015


I love the way she holds my hand and tugs me along to see whatever new thing she wants me to see.  I love the way she crawls onto my lap and leans into me with a sigh.  I love her kisses, the way she puckers up and smacks me and then asks for nose kisses, finger kisses, cheek kisses, even occasional ear kisses.  I love the way she clambers onto my bed in the wee hours and nestles into me, sighing and settling into sleep as only a child can.

I love the way he randomly hugs me.  I love the way he says, almost shy, that he loves me.  I love the way he wraps his arms around me and drops his head on me and tells me he could just sleep there like that, standing next to me, leaning on me.

I love the way they challenge me every day, and I love the way they absorb my fear, hurt, anger, frustration and turn it into love.  I love the way they listen, and the way the don't listen.  I love to hear them play together, despite the difference in age.  I love to hear them laugh, giggle, fuss, negotiate, and go a little crazy.

Every day is an opportunity to fuck them up completely or to be transcendent, and I love the way they love me just the same however the day went.
They're my kids.  Lucky, me.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day

Photo found here and copied entirely without permission but not without respect.

Many of my family have served their country in the various branches. I learned a couple of years ago (thanks to my aunt) that my father served in Germany, although I do not yet know in what branch or when.  His father was in the Navy, in the Pacific.  My brother was in the Army, but thankfully got out when yet another gopher hole tried to eat his ankle. Don't ask. My Uncle was in the Air Force, even flying Air Force Two for a while. My Grandfather (Mum's father) was in the Coast Guard during World War II. I have a cousin retired from the Air Force. I believe he flew Airforce somethingorother from time to time (I'm being intentionally obtuse so as not to make it easy to find him and cause shenanigans). I have a friend who was in the Army during the Vietnam War (conflict, my ass!) - I never once resented the calls at three-o'clock in the morning; nightmares shy away from friendly voices, from reason and reassurance. Another friend was in the Army until it broke his back - literally. He survived, but not his plans for a lifetime in the military - they don't want broken people, no matter how useful or clever they are. Someone's family is jam-packed with folks who've served - mostly Navy, I believe - and deserve some respect and thanks. So...thanks.

For a history of this day, go here. Or here. Or here. In a nutshell, Memorial Day is for remembering the fallen. Veteran's Day is for honoring the living. That's why they get two days, and so they should. Men and women stand up and make targets of themselves to maintain our freedoms every day of the year, so the least we can do is take two days to tell them "Thanks. Thanks for acting against human nature and protecting me and mine. Thanks for losing an arm, a leg, a life so that I don't have to."

It's not about the politics. I'm non-violent. I don't think war is ever a reasonable response to conflict. I don't believe that wars are fought for ideals, but rather for political and/or financial gains. I won't forget, though, that people have laid down their lives so that I may stand on a street corner protesting (I never would) them, or denigrating (never, ever!) them for their service.

Perhaps one day, we won't have any new graves to decorate. Until then, I remember and (as best I can) I honor.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrea

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.  Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from flailing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Saturday, May 16, 2015

What Gun Control Means at Casa de Crazy*

*Update below.

On Thursday afternoon, T was shot.

By a gun.

Not a water gun.

A .45, with a hollow point bullet.

He was in the car with his best friend, J.  J buys and trades firearms.  He is reasonably intelligent and safe, but on Thursday something went wrong.  While he was inspecting this particular firearm that (as I understand it) he'd just bought, checking the slide, the firearm...well...fired.  That was unexpected.  It should have been empty.  Who sells a loaded weapon?  And then doesn't tell the buyer it's loaded?

The bullet was one of the particularly horrid sort, a hollow point, designed to do as much damage as it can while it tears through flesh.

In T's case, it went into his abdomen, in one side and out the other.  Because of the very close range, it didn't have a chance to blossom into the little nugget of destruction it was designed to be.  Because it rocketed through soft tissue, it did relatively little damage, all things considered.

T took a helicopter ride to a level 1 trauma center and had some surgery performed on him.

There may be some long term repercussions - he lost some...er...to put it delicately...innards...and there's a concern of infection, but overall things are nowhere near as devastating as they could have been, and for that we are grateful.

So this happened on Thursday, as I was at Mum's sort of keeping her company and cooking dinner - she broke her leg on Monday and has been subsisting on soup and yoghurt, a home cooked meal was in order.  I received the call as I was slathering butter on the chickens I planned to roast.  My hands were all buttery and I almost didn't answer my phone, but a call from my sister-out-law is unusual so I picked up, butter and all.

I didn't immediately drive down - to what purpose?  He would be out cold for a while, and there were already people there with him, people who love him and would let me know if there really was a need to go NOW.  I didn't tell The Evil Genius about his father, because why let him worry all night?   We would go the next day, Friday, and I would let him know what happened while we were driving.  Had things gone bad, I would have told him what was up and driven us down to the trauma center, but they didn't.

With luck, T will be out of the SICU today, and perhaps out of the hospital next week.  The Evil Genius and I went to see him yesterday and will try to go again tomorrow if I can find a sitter for Sprout.

I wouldn't be me if I didn't turn this into a teachable moment.

So, on the way to see T, the Evil Genius and I talked about our "Rules of Guns".  These are OUR rules and may not mesh with other peoples' rules, but hopefully they will stick with him and save him experiencing what T and his friend J are experiencing now.

Guns are not toys.
Always maintain your gun.
The gun is always loaded, even when it isn't.
Never point a gun unless you intend to shoot,
Never shoot unless you shoot to kill.
Never take a life unless it is to feed your family or in defense of yourself or another.
Always honor the life you take.

My idea of gun control is to be in control of your firearm.  I don't like them.  I won't use them.  I'll cut a bitch, but shoot?  No.  I won't own one because at best it would gather dust and at worst it would arm an assailant because I wouldn't use it.  That said, I don't have anything against anyone else having one if they are safe and sensible with it.  I don't blame the hammer for smashing my thumb, I blame my use of it.  I feel the same way about firearms - I don't blame the object for the results of its use.

Speaking of blame - I don't blame J for this.  Perhaps neither of them were as cautious as they could have been.  Certainly the man who handed J a loaded firearm had an obligation to TELL him!  Everyone involved will very likely exercise more caution in the future, and life will go on as life does.  I am as worried about J as I am T - they'll both have scars after this.

If you'e the praying kind, the blessing kind, then sparing a bit of love, compassion, and healing energy for T would be much appreciated - I'm a damn good witch but I can only do so much.

*Update the first - T is out of the ICU and in a regular room.  He is in good spirits.  He should recover fully.  Tomorrow he may be given his first semi-solid food, mashed potatoes!  I'm bringing him some home made chicken broth and some chicken soup, with doctor's permission, later this week.

Update the second - T was rousted by the PT folks yesterday and marched up and down the hall in his terribly fashionable open-backed hospital gown.  Alas, I was not there to take photographs with which to blackmail him later.

Update the third - T is out of the hospital and heading home for the remainder of his recovery, woot!!!