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, 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!!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Low

Dear Goddess, I am low tonight, very low.  I miss my Someone, and my body aches, and my spirits are flagging, and my psyche is weak and trembling, and yes, I am low tonight, very low.

I yelled at my daughter today and she was wide eyed and frightened and even though I told her and told her not to do that thing and she did it, I didn't have to yell but I am low, very low.

My mother is hurting and I want to protect her but she WILL be spry and active and insist on doing the many things that want done and I want to make her all better but I can't kiss it away and I worry about her and I am low, Goddess, very low.

Someone I know was shot, it was an accident, the person who shot them is devastated, and to respect their privacy I am not talking about it or naming names but still they are hurt and teetering on an uncertain outcome and I believe they will pull through but there's nothing I can do but look to you, Goddess, and ask for compassion, for love, for mercy, for healing, for comfort for the people watching and waiting, and I am quiet and worry you won't hear me because I am low, so very, very low.

Tomorrow I know I will get up, get moving, get on with it because life doesn't stop, life doesn't hesitate, life goes one and on and even the low, the very low, the terribly low must continue on, too, or be rolled over and left behind, but for tonight, Goddess, give me sleep and dreams of sweetness and take away the anger and hurt and fear and let me wake, if not raised up, then at least not so low, Goddess, so very low.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

Thanks for never taking a sick day from possibly the most difficult job a body can have, Mum.  I love ya!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Rambling

Last weekend, Sprout and I went to visit her Papa in prison.  I know I haven't much talked about his arrest and the experiences following it.  There's not a lot to say - he was arrested, he had to use a public defender who was more interested in getting rid of the case than actually defending, who lied to Someone about what he would ask for regarding leniency, sentencing, and where Someone would serve his time if Someone would just plead guilty instead of taking it to trial.  Someone pleaded guilty and the defender said NOTHING to the judge, simply accepted the full sentence from the prosecutor.  He didn't ask for any of the things he said he would.

I am, perhaps, a little bitter about that.

Someone was finally sent to his "permanent" facility, where he will be until next April.  Sprout and I hadn't seen him since last December, and we hadn't had physical contact since October.

All this time we have been waiting to be told we may visit.  I filled out 14 pages of paper work - that's 7 pages two time, since they said they never got the forms the first time.  Someone hounded every officer and official he could find inside the facility, begging to see his family.
Last week, on Friday, we finally found out we could go see him.  At the last minute, on a shoestring budget largely funded by my mother, we drove four hours, checked into a motel, and went to see Someone.  Contact visit!

Sprout launched herself across the room and clung to him, hugging him close and fierce.  She kissed him.  Throughout the two visit periods (up to 5 hours Saturday afternoon, and again on Sunday morning), she patted his face, held his hand, kissed him, hugged him, stared at him, smiled at him, leaned on him, played with his shorn head and his cold hands, shared cookies and chips from the vending machine with him, and generally orbited him like a sweet little moon.

I got to kiss him, and hug him, and occasionally, surreptitiously, hold his hand.  We're not supposed to have that much contact, but it seems the guards are marvelously near-sighted as long as folks don't get too out of hand.  They also seem to be especially understanding of children wanting to love on their family members.  I appreciate the leniency - we are touchy folk, tactile.

I didn't realize how fully I missed Someone until I was there, looking into his eyes, touching him.  I felt shy, awkward, as if we were meeting for the first time all over again.  There was a place in me that was empty, a place that is only filled when we can touch, share light and air and space.  I think he felt the same way.  The place in me where he should be was dark, and I had been having difficulty seeing him in my mind.  That part of me is a little renewed, a little refreshed.  My gauge isn't on empty any more.

Leaving my home and going all that way, going through what we have to go through to see him, wasn't easy.  My psyche doesn't like it one little bit.  I told Someone that I will do things for him and for the kids that I would never do for myself - they make me brave in a way I don't think I would be if it was just me.  Left to my own devices, I'd stay in bed most of the time and never hit a lick at a snake.  I'd hide from the world, hide from the light, try to hide from myself.

I've never been as good at doing for myself as I am at doing for others.

Despite having been out in the world every day this week, I'm taking Sprout back down to see Someone this weekend.  We'll go whenever we can, when we have the time and finances.  It will help us speed the time until he finally comes home.

Until then, I'll be worried about him, about his safety, his well-being.  I'll be lonely.  I'll struggle with everything and want to give up, but I will keep on keeping on because he needs a home to come home to.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy Beltane (a re-post)



Happy Beltane, for those who celebrate.

If you'd like to know a bit about the holiday, go here. Or here. Or here. Or Google search Beltane and duck before your computer spits out a load of links. When you're done reading, come back and giggle because I said "load of links". I won't tell.


Meanwhile, perhaps I will find something to burn and roast marshmallows over this evening, the closest thing to a Beltane celebration I'll have this year. Sigh.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Let me...

Every morning, before I even get out of bed, I say what I guess passes for a prayer - "Goddess, let me do good today."

That's it.  Simple, but heartfelt.

Goddess, let me do good today.

There is so much unhappiness, so much pain, so much suffering.  I know that those things serve a purpose, that pain teaches, suffering teaches, unhappiness shows us the way to a joyful life, but it seems so unnecessary.  It seems like we cling to our misery, even knowing we are miserable and seeing another way to be.

Why are we so afraid to be happy?

Why am I so afraid to be happy?

I can't do anything about my wiring, about my chemistry.  Depression isn't a matter of choice.  Even so, even deeply, darkly, indelibly, severely depressed, I see the beauty in the world, I see the beauty in my fellow humans, I see the worth and the nobility and the struggle and the vast potential for joy, and it pains me that we hold ourselves back, hold each other back, from that joy, from that beauty.

Goddess, let me do good today.

Let me feed someone who is hungry.  Let me give a steadying arm to someone who has stumbled.  Let me give a hand up to someone who has fallen.  Let me give comfort.  Let me bring a smile.  Let me raise up one who feels brought low.  Let me give fellowship, let me give someone the knowledge that they are not alone on their journey.  Let me give of myself, and by giving, receive.

Goddess, let me do good today.