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

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Visit From the Doktor

Well, that was fun.

Yesterday was a total wash.  Sometime in the wee hours, our not-at-all-beloved-friend Doktor Barfnschitz paid a call.  When the Doktor comes around, it is never nice.  The kids were fine, but me?  Not so much.  I spent most of the day alternating between being horizontal on the big bed and dashing for the bathroom.  By mid-morning, I was as empty as a politician's promise.  By early afternoon I had several pulled muscles, a sore throat, and a deeply rooted aversion to consciousness.

Luckily, the Evil Genius was willing to step up and help with Sprout, and even more lucky (for him), Sprout opted to spend much of the day snoozing with me.  She was sick the day before, so I decided to let her snuggle rather than attempt, feebly, to chase her from the room.

Around midnight last night/this morning, I decided to take a chance and ate a fruit popsicle.  It did not make an encore appearance, thank goodness.  Right now I am eyeballing a cup of tea.

Meanwhile, my stomach and I have been having a back-and-forth.

"I'm hungry."
"No you're not."
"I AM!!!"
"I don't believe you."
"I've been empty for days!"
"Haven't."
"Have!"
"Haven't"
"Well at least since yesterday."  It pouts.
"Mmhmm.  I don't trust you.  You wouldn't even let me drink water yesterday."
"But I'm fine now, really.  Listen!  Hear that?"  It rumbles.  "I'm ready to eat!"
"I still don't trust you."
"I want Chinese food.  And french fries.  And ice cream."
"You sound like my children.  No.  If you're lucky you'll get dry toast as soon as you prove this tea is a keeper."
"Wha-a-a-a-at?"  It whines, grumble, and whimpers.
"You heard me.  Much like a politician's argument for anything, you couldn't hold water yesterday, so today we will go slowly until you can prove you are better."
"But...but..."
"No buts.  I have muscles that will ache for days because of your shenanigans."
"It's not fair!  I want pizza and sandwiches and chips and pot roast and..."
"Think about that the next time you invite Doktor Barfnschitz for a visit."

My stomach is mad at me, but I refuse to give in.  Feeling intense hunger pains is far better than yesterday's jolly sensations.

How're you today?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thoughtfetti

One of the casa de Crazy cats has a habit of sniffing our eyes.  Well, my eyes, anyway.  I find this deeply weird.  She does it when I am lying down and my eyes are closed, and it tickles.  It tickles in a twitchy, strange, cat nose near my eye kind of way, especially when it seems like she is sniffing each eyelash.

Today she was sniffing, sniffing, sniffing, and the static charge she'd built up when she walked across the comforter zapped us both - me on my eyelid, she on her nose.

I don't suppose it will keep her from doing it again.
~~~~~
This evening, Sprout wanted to help me with cooking dinner.  Despite the chill in the house because I refuse to keep turning up the heat, she wasn't wearing anything more than her undies.  She asked me if she could please have an apron on so that nothing would splatter her, so I put my denim one on her, wrapped the strings around the front and tied them.  I would post a photo, but it seems these days that's what passes for child pornography.  I thought it was cute as the dickens,anyway.
~~~~~
It seem that winter is reluctant to let go its grip on our world, and indeed is seeking to make up for lost time - we are experiencing record lows in temperature and expecting more ice, snow, frozen rain, what have you, in a few days.  The upside to this is that I do not have to suffer the glares and snarky commentary from my unpleasant neighbor, as it's too cold for her to sit on her porch and be judgmental/pollute the air and her body with cigarette smoke.  It's the little things,
~~~~~
Rook, the youngest of the indoor cats at about 5 years of age, is determined to catch one of the goldfish through the tank glass.  I swear they tease her, swimming nearest whatever side she is staring through, and they laugh as she fruitlessly bats at the glass with her paw.  I fully expect to hear a loud crash one day and find her having knocked the top off and gone swimming.  I suspect the fish will not be quite as amused about that.
~~~~~
Several times in the last week I was told I do not at all look my age.  A few people were shocked...seriously shocked...to learn my years and swore they though I was about a decade younger.

I don't know how the rest of me feels about that, but my ego seems mighty chuffed.
~~~~~
Wherever you are, I hope you are keeping well and warm.  I am constantly doing battle with my brain, and one of the things that helps me is to think of all of the people in the world who are also struggling, and wishing them well, wishing them compassion, mercy, a hand up, a second chance, a light to guide them.  I wish these things for you, too, if you need them.
~~~~~
How's your winter coming along?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Held Over

The ice remained, today, and will likely be here until Friday or Saturday.  We're expecting record cold tonight, and again tomorrow, with the forecast saying ten degrees tonight and 7 tomorrow night, with highs remaining below freezing.

I am not sorry.

I feel for those still without power, and I feel for those who have to be out in this chill, but it's so very lovely, and I am in sore need of loveliness.

Sprout and I were out running errands today.  It was necessary or I would have kept us home baking cookies.  I'm glad we had to go out.

While much of Redneck Central has largely thawed, for some reason our little corner of it is still glazed, with the added sugaring of a few snow flurries.  As I drove, the sun played hide-and-seek with the clouds, and from time to time light...glorious light...burst forth from the frozen landscape.

Opals, diamonds, rainbow moonstones, shattered light bouncing from every surface, every fractured piece of ice a prism.  I chanced to glance to one side at a grove of small trees and I wept.  There is no camera can do it justice, and certainly I couldn't.  We haven't words in our language to describe it.  A beauty transcendent.

All day the trees have gone from cloudy-day steel and iron to bright sun light and flashing icy fire, and all day I have been caught in the transformation that will disappear with the next warm day or rainfall.

Mandala-like, it is impermanent...held over for one more day.



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wonderland.

There was a storm yesterday.  Rain and cold became ice and cold, until everything that did not move was coated in a layer of chill light refraction.

How lovely the world seems, coated in ice.  The sun is dancing in and out of the clouds, great grey sky-veils floating on to new destination.  Our windows are high from the ground, looking out them we are in among the tree middles and tops, and the view is ethereal right now.  We can see the icicles dripping, lengthening, and finally falling to earth.

Crash!

Crunch!

Splash!!

Thud!

Ice falls in sheets and chunks, smacks the ground with a bounce before settling.  Considering the number of trees around the Casa, we have gotten of with little damage to our piece of the world - a few branches could not hold out for the melt, one tree suffered a greater loss - one of its larger branches is now in the yard instead of two stories up.  Had we fireplace or stove, next year would need no wood cut for all the smaller branches in the woods.  So far, our Popcorn Tree has limbs bowed, tips sweeping the ground, but is unbroken.
As the sun shines in fits and starts, twigs shoot sparks of light in every direction, almost but not quite prismatic.
We will eschew the outdoors for a while, today, in favor of not being pelted with falling chunks of ice.  Among the lucky, we didn't lose power in the night and perhaps will not lose it today, either, so I plan to make soup, bake cookies, and do things indoors while the children become wilder as the day wears on and they are trapped inside with all their endless energy.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Repost: If They Ever Ask

There are some things I'd like to tell my children if they ever ask for advice about relationships. I'm not holding my breath...but I figure I can post them here safely enough. I DID consider titling this "Things I know about relationships" and leaving it blank, but figured it's been done to death. So in no particular order...
~~~~~
How well do you get on in the kitchen? How compatible are you, in a culinary sense? If neither one of you cooks, how well can you do takeout together? Can you share dishes, enjoy some of the same things? Maybe you don't think it's important...but it is.

Do you cook together? Even someone who doesn't know how to cook can cut vegetables, make a salad. If they don't cook, do they at least help clean up after a meal?

Do chores together. Trust me - cooking, cleaning, doing laundry together strengthens your bonds. Unbalanced housework makes for imbalance in a relationship...and can lead to bitterness and resentment.

Learn when to let them be angry or hurt and when to step up and offer solace. Learn when you need to be angry or hurt and when to accept solace.

No matter how angry or hurt you are, offer them an opportunity to explain themselves, to make things right.

No matter how angry or hurt they may be, don't let them labor under misconceptions about your motive or meaning - clarify, make things right, however long it takes.

Don't be afraid or too proud to say "You were right."

Don't gloat or hold it over them if they have the strength of character to say "You were right."

Watch sports together from time to time, even if you aren't a fan - it's a way to show interest in THEIR interests...and you may find yourself enjoying the game after all.

Offer them the opportunity to share in YOUR interests, too.

Listen to music together, even if it's not always in your taste.

Let them know what interests you and give them an opportunity to watch, to listen, to participate.

Ask for, and give, time apart, even if it's only an hour or two. Absence can be as important as presence for a relationship.

Have common interests...and have a few things that you don't do together, too. Common interests give you opportunity to be close, disparate interests give you something to talk about later.

Everybody needs a little space of their own - a room, or even just a corner, to retreat to, to be broody or sad or creative. Respect that space, both of you.

Sometimes a body needs privacy. Respect that, too.

Never compromise (or ask for compromise) on spirituality. You don't have to worship the same gods...but you shouldn't have to stifle yourself spiritually to make someone else happy...and neither should they.

Make sure there's more than just sex. Don't get me wrong - sex is terrific...but it can't be the only reason you're together.

Be yourself, honestly and completely, and allow them the same honor. If you can't trust them with your secrets, your dreams and aspirations, your true nature...then something's not right. The same goes for them. Trust is key.

Let go of the past - the person you're with now is a whole new experience and doesn't deserve to be judged by another's actions.

Keep your word. If you can't keep a promise, don't make it. Nothing hurts like a broken promise, and nothing kills trust and love like constant let-down.

Be honest. Don't lie unless it serves the greater good. Your interests are not always (or even very often) the greater good. Honesty is frightening...but it's also a sign of love, respect, and trust. These things are key.

Don't make threats you cannot or don't intend to keep. Don't say things you don't mean. That's manipulation, and it isn't honorable.

Love, act, and live honorably. If you must lie, cheat, or steal, then it had better be for a very good reason...and your convenience doesn't count.

Sometimes sex is just sex - it isn't love. That's OK. Don't mistake one for the other.

Use condoms or accept the consequences. But use condoms.

Put the seat down (if your partner is female).

Take turns choosing what movie to watch, and try not to roll your eyes at their selections.

Read together. Discuss what you've read.

It's OK to have differing opinions. A lively discourse is a wonderful thing. Just don't lambaste them or tell them they're wrong because they don't agree with you

Turn off the TV, the computer, the distractions, and LISTEN to them.

Be involved in your life - this isn't a spectator sport.

Sometimes you will annoy each other. Try to get over it as quickly as possible, and don't be afraid to tell them you're irritated. Don't be offended if they do the same. It's not a judgement, it's a feeling.

Don't say "I love you" when you really mean "I'm sorry" or "I want..." You devalue it. If you mean it, though, say it as often as you feel it.

"I love you" isn't just words - it's actions, too. Don't just say it...show it.

Don't make them responsible for your well-being, and don't make yourself responsible for theirs. That's not love, that's co-dependence.

Learn how to kiss them. If you think you don't know, ask. If you tink you DO know, ask.

Support their dreams and aspirations, even if you don't fully understand or share them. They should do the same for you.

Dance with them sometimes, if only in the living room, and even if "dancing" is simply swaying in each other's arms.

Loving isn't owning. Don't forget that. People aren't possessions and shouldn't be treated as such.

Love isn't blind...but it accepts the flaws it sees as part of the whole. You're not perfect, either. Yes, your mother just told you you're not perfect. Adjust.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Oh. Muh. Goodness.

Once, long ago, for the span of a few minutes, perhaps a few hours, I wanted to be a ballet dancer.  My grandmother, being her usual kind, sweet, compassionate self learned of it and wasted no time in telling me why I could never...

Too fat...

Too slow...

Too clumsy...

Too tall...

Too graceless...

Too much of too many things that a dancer cannot be, and not enough of any of the things a dancer must be.

What made me think of this?  The video below...which prompted the sudden intense regret that I am not also a ballet dancer, if only so I could move with this man with such power, grace, and intensity.  Sigh.

I can watch him, though...over and over again.  Join me - I don't think you'll regret it.

Monday, February 9, 2015

If Only Catching A Lottery Win Was This Easy

I have caught yet another cold.  I must say, this is something of an oddity for me.  I don't usually catch colds, but in the last three months I seem to have had enough for a decade.  Every few weeks...

It starts in the sinuses.  They run.  No.  Not run.  This is to running what Niagara Falls is to a trickle down a rock.  A box of Kleenex, a few rolls of toilet paper, and then I move on to the towels.  I sleep with wads of toilet paper shoved up my nose.  Glamorous, me.

After a day or so, it decides to do the grand tour and works its way down my poor sore throat and into my lungs.  It likes the surroundings so well, it stays for a while.  This brings on the ceaseless coughing, spasms wracking my body day and night with very few pauses for breath.  It leaves me weak and slow and feeling more useless than usual.  Throat still raw, head full of concrete and Jell-O, I weave about like a drunkard and need frequent naps.  Need but don't often get.  Sleeping at night is either a patchy affair punctuated by sudden onslaughts of coughing, or a drug induced, NyQuil fueled weird-dream fest ending in confusion and a sense of what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-my-mind muzziness that can only be dispelled by two or three cups of strong tea and a nap.

My usual difficulty motivating myself to go outside, out into the world, is compounded by these colds until I am content to remain in the same clothes for days and eat stale bread with the bottom-of-the-jar scrapings of peanut butter rather than go out.

Don't worry, the kids eat regular foods...I won't let them do without just because I'm not feeling like life is worth the effort right now.

Sadly, I am now out of NyQuil or its generic equivalent and am left to my own devices until I win the lottery and can buy more.  Holy cats, one could make a house payment for what that stuff costs!  And?  At least around here, one must produce one's identification to purchase, and even then may be denied if it's deemed one has been buying too much of the stuff of late.  This isn't the same as showing ID for the stuff they make meth from...this is because some teens somewhere figured out that swallowing an entire packet of those little gel-capsules would induce some kind of moderately enjoyable, drug-taking effect...just before it causes all kinds of havoc on their body and possibly damages their brain or kills them outright.  Fun!

If I could win the lottery as easily as I am lately catching colds, I wouldn't mind so much feeling like a bucket of fresh-brewed hell.  As it is, I am simply thankful that Campbell's makes pop-top soup cans and my kids don't mind oven baked chicken nuggets more than one night in a row.

If you'll pardon me, dear reader, I have to go hunt down another roll of toilet paper...or a clean towel.  How's your health?