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, April 18, 2015

A Letter to A Certain Part of My Anatomy

Dear Back (especially Lower),

I know, I know, I have not been very kind to you.  There was all the horseback riding (and falling off), the swimming, the sailing, the skiing (and more falling).  There was the tree climbing (and, did I mention falling?) and the occasional ass-over-teakettle down the stairs.  There was that car accident.  And the hot-air-ballooning incident.  And all that slouching, all those extra pounds.

Really, it's a marvel you've been as good as you have.

I tried to take care of you - occasional soaks in a hot tub, sporadic visits to a chiropractor, every now and then a massage.  I lost a few pounds (not enough, I know), and tried to remember to stretch every day and keep up with my posture.

We've been together a long time, and I hope we can continue to have a healthy relationship.

But you're going to have to step up to the plate, back.  Some parts of you are just not up to snuff  (I'm looking at YOU, lower back!) and it's really hampering my ability to do anything useful.

What happened to the days of lifting and toting boxes about like they didn't weigh a thing?  Of moving tables and bins and relocating huge pieces of wood in the garage?  Of bending down and standing up without a care?

Seriously, back, I can fell my spine.  FEEL it, every inch of it.  What's up with that?  And the muscles in your lower bit?  Stiffer than the giant board I had to struggle with today because you were all "Ah!  Heavy!!!" on me!

Good grief, I can't even roll over in bed without you twinging and reminding me you're in a snit.

This has to stop, back.  Things have to change.  We can't go on like this.

How about if I get some nice liniment?  Maybe start doing some slow, easy stretches?  Help a girl out, wouldja???

Sincerely,
Feeling Old and Crippled

Friday, April 10, 2015

Cabs

Apparent;y it's Siblings Day?  What does one gift for that?  Noogies?  

I should miss my brother's presence in my life.  No, he's not dead or anything, we're just not terribly close.  I don't miss him, really...difficult to miss what was never really there, isn't it?  I adore him no less, and sometimes wistfully wonder if we couldn't be closer.  He is older and for a while when I was young I thought he was the best person in the whole world.

Our history is complex, and I suspect I have put far more thought into it than he has, our natures being what they are.

For all that our lives had the same beginnings, we certainly went different ways.  He was in the military, got out when gophers ate his ankles (long story), and now, lots of years and a few kids later, he's got his own business, his own house, travels with his family, keeps busy.

Me?  Er...well...ahem.

Our mother loves us both as we are, bless her.  Strange how very different we can be, and yet have a sameness to us that makes folks say we look like twins despite years between us.

I love my bro, unconditionally.  If he called and told me he needed me, I wouldn't hesitate to help him.  Even if it meant burying a body.  I like to think he may feel somewhat the same about me.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Isabelle



I am trying to live a creative, honest, compassionate life.  It is no easy thing to struggle against myself and all the years of lies that I thought were my story.  It is no easy thing to be open, always open, so that I may pierce myself to the core, or allow others to pierce, because being open is the only way I can be honest, because closing off, hiding, protecting, defending, these only cut me off from myself and from whatever it is that lends me creativity and lets me see beauty.


I'm not the story you told me, but I am not the story I've been writing, either.  I'm changing the plot an inch at a time, a painful, slow, impossible inch at a time and I wonder how many more inches until I am living the life I seek instead of the life I let you shape out of stone and bars and thorns and shit.

I am trying to see more than what is commonly seen of this world, to look beyond the flat, hard, ugly surface to the rippling, effervescent, ever changing maelstrom that is the heart of the speck of the great big bang that rushes out into a Universe before it curls up into itself and re-imagines its creation, poor old Micheal Finnegan, begin again.

I am trying to see that the angry people are tender and sore and fierce about their soreness and the bitter people are frightened and lost and angry about their lostness, and that we're all of us feeling out of control and cut off and cut loose and like we missed out on something better, some vague something better that we keep hearing about everyone else having but can't quite grasp ourselves.

Because despite what you tried to make me over into, I AM a compassionate being, an angry and scared and hurt and scarred and lost and beautiful and damaged being, so much more than you could have ever imagined me to be and so much less than I may once have been when I was sound and whole, but that's not the me I am any more, you tore her to pieces so you could remake her into the image you thought she should be, into what you imagined she ought to be, all the while telling her how imperfect she was without also mentioning that it is our very imperfections that make us so mighty good and powerful and wonderful and godlike.

I wasn't my one cousin, blonde and perfect and pretty and smart and graceful and stylish,  I wanted to sail boats and climb trees and ride horses, but not how she rode horses with precision and poise in a top hat and the Olympics wanted me, no, I wanted to ride horses in the woods and along winding roads and into the dining room and without saddles or bits or anything but the agreement that we were going together in some direction, both half-wild and completely free to chase the wind if we pleased.

I wasn't my other cousin, well behaved, demure, slender, elfish.  I was an amazon, wide and tall and strong and you convinced me I was fat and ungainly and couldn't dance because I had no grace and couldn't wear those pretty dresses because I was too round in the middle and my shoulders, my world-holding, good-for-crying-on shoulders, were too wide to be feminine and I should hide, hide in closets and under tables and behind big, fake smiles so no one would see how ugly I was, such a shame, what an embarrassment to you, a let-down.

So I am trying to shed these stones you piled into my basket, but I have to be careful because some of them became part of my foundation and prying them loose could shake me to pieces, and some of them I want to keep and hold and love, yes, love, because they are precious and opened my eyes in a heavy, hurtful, roundabout, transformative way.  They showed me something you never wanted me to see, would never had accepted, which is that I am, as I am, all of me, brilliant and I am not bound by the ropes you wrapped me in, I can slip free of them, make them into a hammock and take my ease in the breeze under the trees and forget your face set in disapproving lines and imagine you happy.

If you still want to shape someone into your paragon of feminine humanity, it is never too late to look in the mirror and see what you can see.  As for me, I do not look into mirrors because I don't know what I am seeing - who I am or who you convinced me I was, and it's all too confusing and I'd rather look into the sky and ride the wind on a hawk blessing or lose myself in the heart of a flower where the color becomes something beyond sight and turns the world on its ear, or watch my daughter play in ways I never could with a freedom you would never allow, and perversely take pleasure in knowing you would hate the dirt and noise and realness of my force-of-nature children, and I am, after all, human, and I can forgive and still enjoy the idea of your discomfiture and it's only dirt or paint or marker and will come off eventually but the happiness that stains their souls is forever and it stains mine too and that's worth more than your approbation ever was.


And because I AM a creative, honest, compassionate being I can know what you did, look you and your monsters right in the eye and tell you that I wish you well, that I love you, and that I am and will only ever be myself, and not your piece of clay.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Water, Agua, L'eau, Wasser, Vερό, पानी, Acqua, 水, Agua, Води, المياه, Vand, Вода

Photo yoinked from needlestick.org

Water is on my mind this morning.  Back pain or no back pain, I need to clean my home, and that requires water.  Water I have a-plenty, hot or cold on demand.  Water I have, liquid or solid, and I can make it vapor if I so desire.  What a luxury, water like this.  Water for bathing, water for laundry, water for drinking, for flushing, for dishes and mopping.  My children don't know what "thirsty" really means.  We are rich in water.


So many people are not.

Hardly seems right, that in so many places the bounty of water available here, taken for granted here, wasted here, would be a miracle to others.

In the recent past, Detroit threatened to turn off the water for a large number of residents for unpaid bills.  The UN had to step in and stop it or the city would have created an urban desert.  Seems Baltimore is planning to do the same in the next week or so, millions of unpaid bills and delinquent accounts hurting their bottom line.  California is calling for a 25% water use reduction statewide due to drought, denying the Central Valley region the ability to irrigate crops and leaving many residents fearful that there may be no water at in a year.

In Africa, people are being told they cannot drink river water without using purification tablets they must purchase, as it's contaminated, but they cannot use wells dug by cities or the state (corporations, really) without paying a hefty fee.

Colorado has banned rainwater collection - no rain barrels or cisterns allowed.

The CEO of Nestle says water is NOT a basic human right and that people should have to pay for it or go without.

Think about that last.

What are we made of, for the most part?  And it's not a basic human right?

For many years, I have thought about where the water is.  There are plenty of maps and charts available to show where water is used by whom, where it is over used, and where it falls as rain and snow.

What those maps and charts don't show is all the water that is captured, imprisoned, unable to be part of the cycle.

What am I talking about?

Imagine a convenience store.  It doesn't have to be one of the biggest ones, even a smaller one will do. Imagine the shelves and coolers in that convenience store.  Imagine all the soft drinks, juices, beers and other adult beverages, energy and sports drinks, and yes, bottled water.  Bottled.  Can't evaporate, condense, fall as rain or snow.  One small store.  Now multiply that, magnify that, take it to a larger store, a super store, one of those buyer's club stores.  Now go city-wide.  Hmm.  State wide.  Umm...  Nation wide.  Holy crap, that's  LOT of water.

Companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and everyone else who bottles, ships, and sells water or other water-using beverages?  They have taken a natural resource, an elemental thing, a necessity, and made it their commodity.  All that water sitting in bottles on shelves, in tanks in factories.  Water taken from Florida and transported to Ohio.  Water bottled in France or Switzerland and sent to the USA or Asia or anyplace but the place it came from.  Water that used to fall in drops upon the earth, flow through the soil into streams and rivers, filling ponds and lakes and flowing onward to the ocean and always, always going through the cycle.  Now it can't.

And people wonder why there is scarcity, drought.  Release all that bottled water, just sitting there waiting to be used, and see what happens.

You can't own water, any more than you can own fire, or earth, or the wind, or the human spirit.  These things, they are everyone's.  We can claim the rights to use them, but own them?  Absurd.  Water IS a basic human right.  It is necessary to life, and no one should be able to deny to others in the name of profit.

I'm thirsty.  I think I'll get a drink of water.  I raise my glass to the world and hope that we get our collective heads out of our asses and start doing right by each other - that includes recognizing that all beings should be able to drink freely, drink their fill, without fear of penury for the pleasure.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Thoughtfetti

Auditory chaos.  That's what it sounds like here at Casa de Crazy.  If you close your eyes, the noise is almost schizophrenic in nature - music flowing forth from the desktop computer as the Evil Genius plays a game, music of another sort rolling out of the television as Sprout watches a show, voices floating through the air as the Evil Genius talks to a friend on Skype, cats meyowling for no reason whatever, fish tanks bubbling, burbling, and tinkling, and various electronic beeps, boops, and bloops giving punctuation to it all.  There is a background hum, too, of various appliances, the ice maker groaning, even the wind making the Casa creak.

I am trying to view this as an opportunity to work on filtering out the distractions, but right now I am supremely aware of every little noise, and I wonder how people don't go mad with it all.

Sometimes I have to step outside once the sun is down and listen to the peepers chirping out their love songs, the beetles ratcheting out their clicking counterpoint, the wind soughing through the upper branches of the tallest trees, the quieter, softer sounds of nature making a restful change from the noise pollution going on within our walls.
~~~~~
I guess I won't be doing business in or with the state of Indiana until it gets its head out of its ass.  Same for any other state that thinks it can tell people it's okay to refuse service based on religion.  You are free to worship as you please, but you are not free to discriminate against someone because they don't worship as you please or act according to your religious precepts.  Indiana is about to learn some expensive, painful, and probably embarrassing lessons.  Redneck Central WAS considering one of those damn fool laws but has suddenly decided not to have that conversation right now, likely because when word got out what the politicians were getting up to, a number of conventions and businesses cleared their collective throats, made stern faces, and shook their fingers in that gesture our mothers now so well.  Money talks, and bullshit laws aimed at denying rights to part of the populace based on one group's discomfiture with their sex life?  Makes money walk.
~~~~~
Every time I eat a bowl of cereal, I am surrounded.  Sprout always wants to share, and when I'm done the cats are circling like aircraft waiting to land, waiting for the leftover milk they know I won't eat/drink.  One of the cats is quite bold and sits by my bowl, watching the spoon go from bowl to mouth and back, occasionally letting out a little mewl if I am not eating fast enough or she is worried that there won't be any milk left for her.
~~~~~
I wish I could sell tickets to my dreams, they're as good as a movie and sometimes better.  I just can't figure out how to eat popcorn in my sleep.
~~~~~
If I ever meet the person or people responsible for the game Five Nights at Freddie's, I will commit mayhem on them, and no jury in the world will convict me.  Oy.
~~~~~
If the Easter candy industry is feeling a little pinched this year, I apologize - I didn't fall victim to the delicious sugary goodness as hard as I usually do this time of year.  Sorry you'll have to wait an extra year for your latest luxury vacation or condo in Vale, but I'm kinda attached to having all of my toes staying on my feet and diabetic skin ulcers ain't purty.
~~~~~
Riddle me this, dear reader - why is there so much anger, so much hatred, so much fear holding sway over the people of the world?  Compassion and love, it seems, have been bound, gagged with duct tape, and tossed in the dungeon for the duration.  What's up with that?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mother's Lament

Sung in the key of Exhausted Minor and with as few breaths as possible because who has time to breathe?

My dear children, oh, I love you, you know I do, and I cannot imagine life without you

BUT

Sometimes when I am tidying the lounge for the umpteenth time today, or wiping something sticky, ohmygoodneesIdon'tknowifIwanttoknwwhatthatis, from the floor or window or table or chair or wall or television or bed or sink or toilet or stair or telephone or your hair or face or nether parts,

Sometimes when I am washing, drying, folding, putting away laundry or re-folding, re-putting-away, stepping on what was just washed, dried, folded, put away, refolded, re-put-away,

Sometimes when I am cleaning up toys that I just cleaned up that you played with for a few seconds before spurning them for more toys with even more, smaller parts that get lost under the furniture and you NEED those parts, those very parts, need them like oxygen, need them with an urgency surpassing all else, need them to live, now, Now, NOW!!!! and I fish them out and you barely look at them before tossing them aside and moving on to the the next future mess...er...plaything,

Sometimes when I step on, trip over, stub my toe on, sit on, run into, fall on top of, lie down upon, find in my shoe, find in my bed, find in my clothing, fish from the toilet, pull out of the dishwasher or laundry machine, remove from under the brake pedal, fish out from under the van or move out of the driveway some toy, beloved plaything, or tiny little torture device cleverly disguised as a children's toy,

Sometimes when I am telling you once again not to chase the cats, thump the fish tank, torture the cats, lock the cats in the closet or your toy box, drop the cat in the toilet no matter how much you think she needs a bath because you got her all sticky, don't play with the cat box contents, pull the cat's tail, what are you a sociopath, please be nice to the kitties they're old,

Sometimes when I am following behind as you do your paltry chores listening to you grumble about how unfair life is because doing chores means you can't Skype, play Nintendo or PSwhatevernumberitis, or play on your iPhone, or read one of your library of books or play one of your thousands of games or surf the Internet or watch TV and I am re-doing your chores and admonishing you to do them right please, and taking away your privileges because you insist on doing them wrong or not at all and telling me you DID do them,

Sometimes when I am sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, wiping, sand blasting, napalming, using dynamite, opening a portal to a nether dimension and using demonic incantations, and trying to figure out what is so sticky because I could market it as an adhesive and make a fortune so I can hire maids, lots and lots of maids,

Sometimes when I am reaching into a box or bag or container for a cracker, some cereal, a treat, some fruit, and find it empty, or worse, with barely a bite's-worth left in that box, bag, or container,

Sometimes when you are whining, fighting, aggravating each other and screaming, hollering, complaining to me that HE TOUCHED ME, SHE BREATHED NEAR ME, THIS ONE ATE MY FAVORITE GRAPE, THAT ONE TOOK THE LAST PIECE OF BREAD THAT I HATE BUT SUDDENLY WANT BECAUSE THEY HAVE IT,

Sometimes when I am putting away groceries and you are shadowing me begging for whatever I am putting away or just following me around like dingoes stalking a crippled goat and planning how to get at the food because you are clearly starving,

Sometimes when I ask if you are hungry and you tell me you are not so I make myself a sandwich and sit down for a moment and before I can take a bite you suddenly realize that you have never eaten, ever, and are incapable of so much as opening the bologna package yourself because you are so very weak, and can I give you chips with than and do you have to eat the fruit or veggie sticks and can you have dessert even though you didn't eat your meal because you were too full and any time I try to take a bite you need a question answered or a glass of milk or you don't want the milk I poured you but could I get you some water,  or juice, and you leave your half-eaten food, crusts peeled from the sandwich and ketchup (catsup) or mayo everywhere and how come there wasn't any mustard because you used it all up four days ago and didn't tell me when I asked if we needed anything at the market, had you used the last of anything, and I didn't notice because I don't use that mustard and you keep putting it back in weird places and never the same places,

Sometimes when I am finding bowls, plates, forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks, and other dishware and implements of destruction under cushions, on chairs, under the tables, on the couch, on the computer keyboard, in the refrigerator, in the hallway, in your beds where you are not supposed to have food at all,

Sometimes when I am talking on the phone and you start playing a game or video or message from outer space full blast or asking me questions that are not about why your leg has fallen off or why we are in dire peril from a raging house fire, but rather concern things like don't I think that potato chip looks like a mushroom and what's this yellow stuff and can I make your sibling stop doing whatever innocuous thing they are doing that is clearly against the Geneva Convention and I cannot hear what the person on the phone is talking about and if I try to find a quiet spot you follow me and try to climb me and pull on my clothing and want to know who I am talking to and why and can you have a sucker and why does cat hair stick to your hands after you've eaten a sucker and there's an ant in the kitchen and it's not like all the other bazillions of ants in the world and I must come see it right now or you will explode,

Sometimes when I am telling you to go to bed, please go to bed, it's time to go to bed, it was time to go to bed an hour ago, two hours ago, yesterday, please stay in your room, why are the sheets off your bed, how did you get gum in your hair while you were sleeping and I would have sworn there is no gum in the house but there it is, please get out of my bed, why did you import a pound of cat litter into my sheets, why are you awake at this hour, no you may NOT have another Popsicle, Drumstick, three layer cake, please dear goddess make them sleep or make me deaf I don't really care which right this moment,

Sometimes,  my dear, darling, beloved children,

Sometimes although I love you to the ends of the Universe and back,

Sometimes I do not like you very much at all.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ostara, None Too Soon

It's Ostara, the vernal equinox, first day of spring.  We could, theoretically, still have a freeze, but it's less and less likely with each passing day.  The flowers in the tree line, narcissus and daffodil, have been riotous, and the yellow Kraken that is our forsythia is busting out with blooms.  The ornamental plum tree is already sending scattered showers of delicate pink petals over our heads with every errant breeze.

The kids and I are decorating eggs.  They found that the Ostara Hare paid us a visit in the night and left them a few little treats, and I make sweet rolls for breakfast so they're about as calm as a cricket on a hot plate, so the egg decorating should be a hoot.

Welcome, spring.  Welcome mellow days and blossoming things and green shoots poking up from the earth.  Welcome lengthening light and fireflies in the night.

Welcome pollen, too, and thank heavens for allergy pills!

If you celebrate Ostara, how do you?