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

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?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I Woke Up Like This

Every day I face the world just as I am - no cosmetics, no form-shaping clothing, no hair products, not even nail polish.  Just me being me.

I am the same me every day.  I may have a few more lines today than I did last week, a grey hair or two that weren't there last month, but I am just honestly the me I am - always becoming, ever changing yet ever the same.

Some days I feel strong and beautiful.  More days I feel every pound, every fat cell, every line and wrinkle, every flaw, everything that is "wrong" seemingly spot lit, framed in neon blinking the message "Fat!  Old!  Ugly!  Yuck!"  I don't look in the mirror because I don't want to see - if I am feeling good, I don't want to know it's delusional.  The mirror tells the hard truth, hides nothing, and my eyes are all to eager to send the image to my brain so it can begin hammering me with criticism in my grandmother's voice.

The days I feel most fabulous, rare days and short, are the days I don't see myself, am not aware of the physicality of life, but am more wrapped up in creativity, being, doing.  Coming off of those days is rather like falling from a great height and landing without a net, thud.

I saw a little story about a photographer who has a project titled I Woke Up Like This.

Beautiful photographs of beautiful women just when they've awakened, simply themselves, living in their beautiful skins.  I want to tell them that I love them.  That we are all sisters.  That they are marvelous, glorious, inspiring.  I want for all of us to feel free in our own bodies, to feel beautiful and sexy and strong and powerful.

Meanwhile, I go about my day just as I woke up, honestly myself.  Who else would I be?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sixth Time Is the Charm, Right?

Sixth time I'm posting this, but why mess with perfection, eh? Yeah, yeah, I'm a lazy blogger.  You still love me, right?  Right???  Why do I hear crickets...?
~~~~~
 I'm cooking corned beef and cabbage tonight, much to my family's delight - there will be plenty for dinner and enough left over for hash tomorrow. I'll try to remember to take some up to Mum next time I see her...if there's any left... Bird opted out entirely, causing me to question whether he's really mine. I get not liking cabbage, but potatoes? Something's not right with the child. Someone would happily scarf the lot if he was here, because he's a good Irish lad.

I'm planning on baking soda bread, too, because we like it and any leftovers can be used to make a nice doorstop or stone axe.

Seeing as I'm Pagan, you wouldn't think I'd celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Better than most, I know what St. Patrick did to get famous and earn his sainthood. However, I'm also part Irish, and I happen to love corned beef and cabbage. Also, I consider it a reclaiming of the day for Pagans, or some junk.

A bit of slightly bent history (that has, I'll grant you, been mangled in my head over the years and is rather truncated because I'm not writing a book, here)(I'm writing a book somewhere else). When I was a child, we were told that St. Patrick's day was to celebrate his chasing all the snakes out of Ireland. It is an historically serpent-free bit of earth, and the church attributed this to Paddy and his efforts...kind of overlooking that there weren't any of the slithery things on the island to begin with, if you ask me. Which they didn't, because I was a kid and most grown-ups weren't prepared for my staggering logic and keen grasp of history but rather appalling lack of respect for theology.

 Many years later, people were saying St. Patrick's Day was a celebration of all things Irish, like green beer (wait, isn't beer German??) and green clothes, and green hair, and green mashed potatoes (which I won't eat on a dare because, really...green potatoes???), and rivers dyed green (I'm sure the fish are all so very thankful to be included...like Fridays and Lent weren't enough for them!)(that might only be funny if you're Catholic)(or not) and exclusionary parades, and funny little men waving their shillelaghs about (look it up you pervs!!) and that sort of thing.

 In none of the many different explanations for this seemingly random holiday did anyone mention pagans. A most curious oversight of you know what St. Patrick, who was just Patrick at the time (not really, I have no idea what his real name was. For all I know, it was Fred), was actually doing on the Emerald Isle.

He was born and lived sometime between 490 and 461 AD, give or take. Around age sixteen, he was either sent or stolen and taken to Ireland where he spent some time hanging out with sheep and being lonely. He talked to God a lot. You may notice that lots of shepherds do that. You would too if all you had for company all day was a bunch of mutton-heads. I'm sure the Pope understands...

Christianity was rolling along like a snowball in those days, spreading out all over the dang place. Good grief, it was getting so that a simple Pagan/Heathen (there's a difference between the two, not that the church cared much) couldn't get any peace any more. Everywhere they turned, there was a church being built where a sacred grove used to be, from the trees that used to be the sacred grove, or a church going up on a sacred hill, or someone bathing their dirty feet in a sacred stream. To be fair, there was a lot of real estate lumped under that "sacred" heading in the pagan world. We're like that - we just love our planet so. Plus, you know, all those gods needed housing, and they don't do the roommate thing very well. So the pagans were running out of places to have sex on the ground, in the woods, up a tree - they were big on the sex, those little devils - and to read entrails in their spare time.

I digressed. Sorry.

So there was this lonely kid, Patrick Whatsisname, hanging out with sheep and pondering life, the Universe, and everything. He got the idea, somewhere along the way, that maybe other folks should share his God. He got out of his contract (OK, probably slavery) and went around telling folks how terrific his God was, and how he reckoned they should convert. It seems that polite conversation wasn't doing it for the pagans, who tended to stare at him, or point and laugh. Rude beggars, huh? Now young Patrick (or middle aged Patrick, or old Patrick, I have no idea) decided he needed to be a bit more...persuasive. He had noticed something common among the pagan big-wigs. The guys at the top of the food-chain, magic/spirituality wise speaking tended to have a symbol on them somewhere...usually around their wrist. On the wrist that indicated their "hand of power", or the hand which they believed their "magic" flowed from. If it wasn't a tattoo, it was a torque. Guess what the tattoo/torque was? A critter called the oroborus. For them as what doesn't ken what that critter is, it's a snake eating its tail, and often represents eternity.
Pat realized that if he took away this "power", he took away their mystique and leadership ability. So he removed the snakes - often with something edged and unpleasant. Yes, he whacked off their hands. Or branded their skin. Or took their trinkets. Converting Heathens is such messy work!! It was for their own good, of course.

Some pagans today go on "snake crawls", a sort of pub crawl where they wear snakes and proclaim their paganism. I'm not quite that...er...proactive. I also don't necessarily think old Pat went around mauling everyone he met in an effort to build church membership and win a nifty prize. But it's the bloody aspect of what he did that earned his name in Christendom and for which his holiday is celebrated.

So again, why would I celebrate the day? Well, I'm all for a day when families get together and discuss history, theology, spirituality, and the like. Traditions are important - they give us a foundation on which to build our lives. People should discuss their history so they don't repeat it - whatever side of the issue they're on. Also, as I mentioned, I am part Irish. I can celebrate that heritage even as I acknowledge its imperfection. And I am Pagan - and I am celebrating the fact that I can be pagan today without (much) fear of having my (largely not visible when I'm clothed) tattoos painfully removed and other unpleasantness (except for the odd zealot who thinks I'm fair game, but I'm used to that. I live in the Bible belt, after all). Precisely because we didn't get wiped out, I celebrate. And have you ever had a really nice corned beef and cabbage dinner? I mean, yum! Oh, but I won't be wearing green. I wear blue. Don't even think about pinching me

Monday, March 16, 2015

Springy

It's the sort of day that makes even a non-gardener like me itch to go out and plant something.  I know, patience...but oooh, I'm itching to go play!  Until I can buy some seeds and soil and get busy with pots and garden beds, I am whiling away a little time perusing various seed sources.

Casa de Crazy doesn't have a ton of planting space right now.  We have a few beds for vegetables, an Iris bed, and a strawberry patch, plus a couple of blueberry plants.  There's a nice bit of earth in front of the house that wants amending and then it'll be grand for something.  I am feeling flowerish.

I want to plant my morning glories in the usual spot to the side of the stairs so they can climb their trellises and on up the house.

I found some cornflowers that I would love to plant, and some larkspur.  Hollyhocks.  Sweet peas.  Sunflowers.  Bells of Ireland look intriguing.  Nasturtium.

There are herbs I'd love to make a bed for, and of course the many vegetables and fruits...oh, I would love to have so many things, but as the summer comes on and the sun beats down, I will not be able to go out and nurture such a garden, so I'll have to keep it small and simply sigh over the catalog pictures, dreaming dreams of growing things, of fresh vegetables and vibrant flowers and a different life.

What would you like to be growing?

Some seed sources I like:  Renee's Garden, Baker Creek, Seed Saver's Exchange, Heirloom Seeds, Victory Seeds, Sustainable Seed Company, Mary's Heirloom Seeds, and The Monticello Shop, to name a few.

Do you have a favorite seed source?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Turtles

Terry Pratchett passed away today.  I am saddened by this.  I know we all follow Death through the gate eventually, but I would have liked it if he'd gone a bit longer on this side before crossing over to the next.

Monstrously unfair that it was the very mind that created the charming, engaging, intelligent, and often tart Discworld, that same mind, that turned on him and brought him too swiftly to his end.

He made me laugh.  That is one of the best accolades I can give, for all it's not worth much out there in the real world.  He made me laugh.

May his journey to the next place be swift and easy.  may he leave behind all memory of pain, sorrow, or loss but carry with him the happiness, pleasure, and love that he knew in this life.  May he be met with joy and fellowship by those who went before him, and if he returns again to this life, joins the circle once more, may those who loved him know him again.

Read Neil Gaiman's take on Terry Pratchett here.

Some quotes from Terry Pratchett here.

Terry Pratchett's take on what would lead him to the end of his days here.

There are some folks who, simply by being who they are and doing what they do, add a little lightness to the world.  From my perspective, Terry Pratchett was one such.  There will always be a place in my library for his work.