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

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Friday, May 20, 2016

For the Dead

I have been dreaming of the dead.  Of?  With?

They've been with me.

We talk.

Not ghosts.  Ghosts don't bother with me.  No, really - haunted places are suddenly not haunted when I'm around, and I have plenty of stories to back that claim.

They're kind of oblique, slippery, like they've forgotten how to say things.  They feel around for words and meanings and try to catch a hold of what they want to say, but what's clear to them is mud to me.

Mostly I like sitting with them and remembering good times.  We laugh.

Shayne's been around, and John Watson, and my grandfather.  Someone who is either my father's mother or Amelia Earhart dressing in old-timey flying togs has come to call.  Tom Swirble.  Even Miss Pat, my father's step-mother.  I really liked Miss Pat.  I never got to say farewell to her - I was in boarding school and no one told me she was ill, and when she passed I wasn't given the option to go to the funeral.  At the time I felt like no one wanted to be bothered with me, and I was left to mourn at school.  I mourned quietly and never let anyone see my tears.  That wasn't the beginning of a trend, but it certainly helped cement the behavior into place.

So, yeah, the dead are on my mind and I felt like posting some of my thoughts/rituals regarding the passing from one world to the next.
~~~~~

I believe that we honor the dead by living.

To me, Death, that incarnation of immortality, the archetype, is no one to be feared or hated.  Death is the final lover,  the last dance.  The kiss of Death is what carries us away, and that embrace is the ultimate comfort.  I don't seek Him (for me, he is male.  It is what you need it to be) but I won't run from him when it's my turn.

Prayers for the dead:

May the waters receive her gently,
Wash her clean of all sorrow,
Heal her spirit
Carry her home
May the fire burn brightly for her
Turn her burdens to ash
Warm her spirit
Light her way home
May the winds lift her softly
Clear away her confusion
Help her spirit soar
Help her fly home
May the earth embrace her
Wrap her in a loving embrace
Transform her once more
Now she is home
~~~

May her journey to the next life be swift and easy.  May she leave behind her all memory of sorrow or pain.  May she carry with her the memories of love and laughter and all that was good in her life.  May she be met with joy and fellowship by those who went before.  If she returns to the circle once more, may she be known by those who loved her in this life.
~~~

I'm the one who will laugh at a funeral.  I will tell the outrageous story.  I will remember how their eyes lit with mischief and how they taught my children inappropriate things.  I will not likely weep where you can see, but laugh?  Oh, yes, I will.  I remember the living.  The dead, I honor, but they are gone and what is left is a distillate of recollection.  I wish it to be more sweet than bitter, and so I invoke Giggliata, goddess of mirth and merriment, and I send my beloved dead away on a tide of happy tales.  I hope when I die, if anyone mourns, they'll mourn with jokes and stories full of warmth and humor.
~~~~~

What about you?  How do you feel about death and dying?


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day at Casa de Crazy

I'm a bit late in the day writing this, but I haven't had a chance to open up Albino Bob the Wonder Computer until just now.

Strictly speaking, most of Mother's Day wasn't actually at Casa de Crazy, as we opted to haul our little gaggle of chaos on up to Mom's to celebrate there.



Sprout decided that for other's Day, I should have her company in the big, comfy bed at about 3:00 AM and enjoy her thrashing about and general covers-hoggery.  She's a giver, that one.  She also decided that I needed to have her little squeaky toy version of Grumpy Bear of Care Bears fame (Mizz A will understand better than most what a big deal that is). 


We slept in, if "slept in" means I was thrashed by my daughter, walked on by cats, and had to pee twice, all before 10:00.

After giving up on any more sleep, I decided to give the mama cats in the garage a Mother's Day treat - they're being such wonderful mamas, especially for first-timers, they deserve a little something special.  I mixed up some cat food with drippings from the chicken I roasted last night, and then added a little chopped chicken meat.  They appreciated it, and I loved on the babies for a while.  Oh, lort, these kittens are freakin' cute!

Then it was off to the grocery store to get lunch, some flowers, and a cookie cake, and on up to Mom's.

Mizz A joined us.  It was nice, laid back.  We had lunch, the kids and Mizz A played out in the yard and Mom and I played in her garden, then we enjoyed some cookie and came on home.


Home again, I've been doing dishes and drying laundry and am now about to fold a couple of baskets of clean clothes for the kids.

For me there were no flowers, no balloons, no breakfast in bed or spa day, none of the things that are supposed to be the usual Mother's Day...but I'm good.  I enjoyed my Mom, I enjoyed playing in her garden and chatting with her and Mizz A, enjoyed listening to my kids play, and I even enjoy (maybe just a tiny bit) folding the laundry and getting the dishes done.  I'm going to enjoy the fried chicken I picked up on the way home, and the mashed potatoes and caramelized canned corn I'm making for dinner, and I'm going to enjoy watching a movie of some kind after the kids and I come in from playing outside/watering the garden.

Simple gifts, yo.

Happy Mother's Day to any and every person who mothers, in whatever fashion.  We're pretty freakin' amazing.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy Beltane (another 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.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dark Matter

A murder of crows..

A murder?  Who thought of this?  Who decided to name these avian historians such a dark and angry name when they group, as if the fault is theirs?

These crows, they fluttered, feather askew, ruffled by the capricious wind, flapped and fluttered like ragged scraps of Death's cloak torn free from his regalia and flung skyward with little heed for up or down or any compass points.  Scattered into the dusking sky, harbingers of another soul parted from form.

Soul, or spirit?  What's the difference?

It was a deer, doe, unwary, perhaps not understanding the huge and forceful mechanical monster that bore down on her with speed she couldn't comprehend or calculate, catching her mid-leap then tossing her aside and roaring onward with no consequence save maybe a chipped tooth and a shaking driver who has somewhere to be, can't stop, stupid deer should've known better, on a timetable, dammit I hope she didn't wreck my front end.

The crows are brave, hopping to the side of the road and then back to her bounty.

Soul or spirit?

She's an animal.

Ego would have us believe that she has no soul, for animals are dumb in more than one sense.  But spirit they may have, for spirit is that little bit of the divine that all living things carry.

Soul, well, soul is for humans, only for humans, only for us because we are thinking, reasoning, self-aware, and more than that, aware of what is beyond us, of the indefinable.  We are uniquely able to see through the light into the heart of darkness, if we dare.

Beautiful dark.

I love the dark,

I hate it.

Cold and slick, it slips around me with sibilant whispers and intimations of what should.

What should?

This and that and anything that isn't.

I love the dark, the night pierced by stars and streaming light and the inexorable dance of the planets into entropy's embrace and the music that dayfolk tremble to hear in all its ecstasy.  Fearful, beautiful, loathsome, beloved dark.

I love the crows.  Tell me a story, cousin.  Harsh cries of "Aww!  AWW!!" back and forth and sometimes they land and turn their heads this way and that, staring at me and wondering what I am asking, what I am trying to tell with my hoarse, coarse mimicry of their tongue.


The crows don't know what should.  They only know what was and what is.  Something dies and they feast and remember and tell the tale and it carries from generation to generation from beginning to end, and in the end when the final darkness folds itself around everything, it will be the collective "Aww!  AWW!!" that rolls out and slowly dies into a near imperceptible vibration that shakes the single point loose and bursts outward into the new being, rooted in the old and ringing with that corvid call.

But we're the ones with souls, I'm told, immortal souls that mark us as more and better and other and all that, and certainly the deer was beautiful in her life, and graceful, but I with my clunky motion and graceless form am the better?  She provides life even in death and what do I do, in life, that is her equal?

I'm surrounded by death - dead eyed people staring at me because maybe I shine too bright within my darkness and maybe I don't care what they see with their flat eyes and cold gazes, dead spirited people who claim to have more soul, better soul because they pay lip service to something they don't believe, really, or at least they act contrary to the thing they worship.

All those shadows and shades, they don't like anything that isn't them and they claim soul as theirs alone and curse anything else.

The soul is immortality and so we are immortal, but that deer, she'll live forever in the crow's tales and in everything that feeds upon her carcass, certainly live long past the time the driver who hit her shuffles off this mortal coil and is buried in some vault where his body will never rejoin the whole and his precious soul will find itself astonished at suddenly being a deer wondering what that strange black surface is and if it can be crossed to find sweeter grass on yonder side, and what is that whistling, roaring noise?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Gettin' Grilled

Waaaaaah!

My beloved blue grill/portable fireplace bit the dust.  Literally - it lost another of its legs and tumbled to the ground, never to rise and burn again.

It happened when Sprout moved it so she could watch the roofer...er...roof, but I'm still sad about it.

Now I have no grill/portable fireplace, and I rather miss it.  I suspect I will miss it even more as we enter into grillin' season.  I know that Someone will be disappointed when he comes home and there's no way to char meat over burning stuff.

Sigh.

I still have the little grill we use for camping, but I kinda use that when we're camping which means it lives in the trailer and isn't awfully handy to the Casa.

I'd like to get a new grill for Casa de Crazy, one more suited to the use we put it to here, but it's not a priority.  Meanwhile, I am thinking about knocking the last leg off of Old Blue and placing it in the fire pit...okay, hole in the yard...and grilling at ground level for a while.  We're nothing if not adaptable and maybe a teensy bit redneck around here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Whoa.

I found out this evening that the sheriff who lives two doors down was fired from his job because he allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a detainee he was supervising.

The mind immediately leaps to conclusions, rather unflattering ones.

Mostly I feel sad for him and his family.  If it proves to be much ado about nothing, his reputation is forever sullied.  You can't wipe this kind of stain clean no matter how false the origins.  Just ask the McMartin family.

If it proves true, he faces some pretty serious consequences.  I don't know the family well, but if they're typical of this area, he faces losing his marriage, his kids, his job, perhaps his freedom and his future.  It is unlawful to have relationships with detainees, even consensual ones.  It is considered to be rape, regardless of the circumstance, and is treated as such.  It's considered a gross abuse of power.  A detainee cannot, under the law, consent.

I wonder if the horrid woman next door, the one who takes such a smugly superior tone with me when she hurls her judgement at me and my family, knows about this.  While she still discourages her children from playing with or even speaking to mine, she hasn't kept them from visiting with him and his.  I admit, this puzzles and galls - here I am, living openly and honestly and trying awfully hard to maintain my integrity and live a compassionate and loving life, and I'm snubbed and chastised...and there he is, accused of an egregious abuse of power and of breaking what are supposed to be vows so sacred that it offends them and their church to contemplate letting anyone outside their rather narrow norms take them, and he is still more acceptable company than my children.

Sigh.

Que sera, sera, but it is likely that I will keep watch from my distance, watch and wait and reach out to catch his family if they start to fall, make sure they are fed and can find solace if the worst occurs and the life they've always known disintegrates.  The children are not guilty of the sins of the father, not that I believe in sin.  He himself deserves compassion no matter what he has done, because he is human and may have lost his way, and being lost like that can be devastating to the human soul.  I've wandered lost, myself, far too often and too long to let anyone else suffer for want of light.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Seventh Heaven

Seventh 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...?
~~~~~
With apologies to my friend Mizz D.D. who has a far better grasp of Irish history and much stronger Google Foo than I.

I'm cooking corned beef and cabbage tonight, much to my delight - there will be plenty for dinner and enough left over for hash tomorrow. Our friend Mizz A will be joining us, and maybe T.  I'll miss having Someone here, making appreciative noises and poking his beak in the pot from time to time.  The man is not patient when it comes to our corned beef dinner!  Bird opts out of the feast 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.  Sprout may try a taste, or she may not.  She's trying to be more adventurous about food, but she can be put off if it looks odd.

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 am supposed 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...often 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 supposedly 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.