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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Remembering Vivian, Part 3 of 3

Mum used to go and visit our friends at least once a year, often more.  July 4 was the preferred date.  They would get up to things.  All kinds of things.   Mum would dabble in glass.  Vivian would ask Mum for quilting help.  They would make forays to the local galleries and crafty places.

I know Mum will miss those visits.  Me, too - I like hearing about what they'd been doing.

Vivian's house in out in the country.  The doesn't mean she doesn't know the city - I like the colorful buildings.



Oh, a nice place to rest, dip your feet, listen to the song of the falling water...



Purple mountains, so lovely.



I don't know if Vivian was particularly fond of horses, but I like the way she depicted them.  With crayon, ink, or paint one may create the illusion of motion...Vivian did it with glass.



Chiaroscuro in glass...



This piece...oh, how I love this piece...

This piece is large.  It is the window at the end of the house, in the master bath.  I have nothing to show size, proportion, but...yeah...big.



The light shining through the dragon window makes puddles of color on the oposite wall.  Ever the artist, Vivian had beautiful tiles in the shower.



Light shields - nothing needs to be ordinary when you're an artist!




Here ends the photography - there was so much more I could have shown you, but the light, my camera, and my lack of skill didn't always capture what was there.

There will be a memorial.  I am hoping I can go.  Whether or not I do go, I will remember my friend, her smile, the time we shared, and carry her with me.

We never die, really.  We reflect our light and others take it in and carry us with them, part of their light, on and on, just as we carry the sun, the moon, the stars.  I regret carrying some people with me, but Vivian>  I am proud to know that her light still streams forth, from Mum, from me, form everyone who knew her.

Safe journey to the other side, Viv - may you be delighted by what you find there, and may I know you should you return for another round on the wheel.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Remembering Vivian, Part 2 of 3

When you look at the world around you, what do you see?  I wonder if Vivian saw things as bits of colored glass fitted together.  I wonder if she looked at beautiful scenery and her mind broke it down into planes and angles, shades of color, cuts and fittings.

She was a marvelous stained glass artist.  When I lived in the condo (before casa de Crazy, a very long time ago), she made a window for me.  I drew a few basic rune for her as a guide, measured the space where it would go (a transom window on the enclosed porch) and trusted her judgement.  When we moved from the condo to the Casa, I took the window with me.  It wants framing before I can hang it here...perhaps this winter I will manage that.

Her house...her daughter's house...is bedecked with stained glass pieces.  So many windows letting in light, how could she not hang her jewels to glow in the sun?

So many colors and textures...


So many ways to depict the world in glass...


It's the reflection that fascinates me, here...



Oh, the hummingbirds!  She loved to fill the feeders and watch them bob and weave from place to place.  When Mum visited, they would take their breakfast out onto the lanai and watch the cheeky hummers zip around, chipping and pipping at the humans who dared intrude on their domain!  I could NOT get a truly good photograph og this piece - the light resisted me.  



She made all sorts of things with glass - here's a candle holder.



Clever way to use bits and bobs, huh?



Here's another kind of candle holder.  I have one in...surprise...blue.  I keep it in the glass case most of the time because my kids respect nothing and I would be awfully sad if it was broken because they knocked it to the floor.  I bring it out for holidays or when I just want to have a candle going and watch the light through the glass.



Another candle holder...can you see the moon faces?  Lovely and dusky, and for some reason it put me in mind of New Hampshire and the birch trees in the woods there.



Hello, Moon.



Landscape photography I can do...but landscape glass?  Not so much.



There are quite a few transom windows in the house, perfect for playing with...Vivian and her daughter spent the summer making inserts for them all.  This was the only one that was in place when I visited.



Oh, such color...twisting ribbons rising upwards...




The rest tomorrow...


Monday, October 27, 2014

Remembering Vivian, Part 1 of 3

I celebrate my friend and her life, and if I mourn it is not for her, who has left behind cancer and pain and a slow and steady fading of her self...it is for Mum, and for me, and for her daughter, and for everyone who knew and loved a vibrant woman and are saddened by the loss of her.  Even mourning, I smile and smile and think how lucky I am to have had a bit of her, to carry her with me as part of my memory's hoard, and to have some of her here with me in the form of a few pieces of her art gifted me over the years.

Funny, one of the few photos I have of her is in black and white.  Why funny?  This was a woman who surrounded herself with color - plants, stained glass, people, all colorful, befitting a woman who was, herself, a gloriously creative and richly hued soul

Her home, now her daughter's home, is beautiful.  More than once I have told them with a wink and a smile that if their house ever disappears, I didn't take it and they should not come look for it here in Redneck Central.

I have so many photographs I want to share.  None of them show Vivian in person; they show tiny bits of her world, more revealing than any portrait.

We begin outside the house.  She had...has...had...flowers everywhere - it's impossible to walk anywhere in her yard and not see some flower shouting its joyful presence into the sunlit hills in which she lived.

Here I am!


Look at me!



Not your average plant hanger - I'd hate to see the mosquitoes it eats.



There's an entire pathway of stepping stones that she made.  I have a set she made for me years and years ago, depicting the four elements.  They will, eventually, be set into the circle at Dragon's Rest.  Every time I see them, I smile.  I considered a midnight requisition of this morning glory one...but nah, it's happy where it is.



Ah, a dragon, watch your step!



I adore these little flowers.  Viv told me when we last visited that if she was still alive when they went to seed, she would see that I got some.  Whether from her flowers or a catalog, I will get seeds and plant them and think of her when they bloom.  She told me what they are, but I can't remember right now.



Nothing is ordinary...even the outdoor coffee table receives its measure of talent and glass.



These caught my eye...I adored them.  Such fun flowers, another plant that made me grin.  The remind me of a party favor, and I think they're called Cat's Whiskers or some such.







Well, hello there bright pink, how do you do?



Vivid.  Vivian. 




Tomorrow and the next day, there will be glass.  Lots and lots of glass. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I'm Not Ready To Write This, Yet

A beloved friend died today.

I am not ready to write about her.

I am not ready to write about her friendship with my other, and to a lesser extent, me.

I am not ready to write about our shared pastime, working flagging and communications at the track.

I am not ready to write about her beautiful heart, her beautiful home, her beautiful art.

I am not ready to write about her poor old cat, who will surely wonder where she has gone and why there is no more lap for her to rest her weary bones on.

I am not ready to upload photographs of the glass she transformed into marvelous creations, some of which grace my home, among my most treasured possessions.

I am not ready to write about her husband, also my friend, left behind in the quicksand twilight of Alzheimer's disease.

No...I am not ready to write this yet.

Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wherein Sprout and I Go In Circles

"Mama?"
"Mmph..."
"It's morning time.  You hafta get up."
"I'm not getting up."
"But you have to get up!"
"Why?"
"Because it's morning time!"
"What if I don't want to get up?"
"But it's morning time, you hafta get up?"
"Why?"
"Because...mmm...it's morning time!"
"I see that it's morning, but that doesn't mean I have to get up.  I'm not getting up.  Maybe I will stay in bed all day."
"But you can't!"
"Why not?"
"Because you hafta get up, it's morning time!"
"But I can sleep in the morning time.  I can sleep any time I like, and I like to sleep all day today."
"But you can't!"
"Why not?"
"Because it is time to get up, Mama."
"Why?"
"Because it's morning time!"
"What does morning time have to do with getting up?  Some people work at night and sleep during the day."
"Because you hafta get up inna morning time!"
"Really?"
"Yup."
"I have to?"
"Yup."
"May I have a few more minutes to snooze?"
"No, Mama, you hafta get up because it is morning time NOW!"

She won.  I'm up.  Dang.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Inches

Casa de Crazy is huge.  I don't know if I have ever written about the dimensions of this house, the denizens being my usual blog fodder.  I lovingly - and sometimes not so lovingly - call it a giant cracker box; the house doesn't have a lot of character in its architecture, being a product of the times it was built in, when houses were large, utility bills were lower, and entire neighborhoods were built in a matter of months using a handful of floor plans and whatever paint was on sale by the tankerful.

Strictly speaking, this is a five bedroom, three bath, split foyer house.  We had the back deck enclosed and a room built beneath it that extended the bedroom downstairs into a two room suite.  We can't call it two bedrooms because there's no closet in the addition, but a suite?  You betcha!  Right now, that pair of rooms is kind of a catch-all for everything we don't want upstairs, and that's driving me nuts because the original bedroom was/is the library and my boos are a cluster fuck, to put it mildly, with boxes everywhere and no way to walk into or through it without dodging...umm...crap.

The second bedroom down there is my craft room and we'll just scream "HOLY CARP WHAT A MESS" and leave it at that.  The closet in that room is our preps closet, and it's the neatest part of that space.  There's a bathroom down there, and the laundry closet, plus the door to the two car garage that we cannot, right now, park even one car in.

Up stairs we have kitchen, dining area (it's not a room since it's open to the living room), living room, a hall bathroom, the kids' rooms, and the master bedroom with its own bathroom and a small but very serviceable walk-in closet.

This huge house is stuffed to the gills, crammed with crap, packed beyond reason with knick-knacks and doodads and things that might be useful later, and it's killing me.

The dust hurts my lungs.  I am constantly barking my shins or stubbing my toes or wheezing or coughing or wrenching my back avoiding things.  My spirit is stifled.  My mind is numb.  I do not clean, do not even attempt to clean, anything but the kitchen and upstairs bathrooms, because it's overwhelming to me.

The time I lived here with T was a time of collecting, hoarding, pack-ratting.  I was the only one doing any housekeeping, but not the only one making the mess, and I rebelled, often not cleaning anything for months because I was in a snit.

When Someone moved in, he brought very little with him because he had very little...which, as it turned out, was a good thing because there was no room for him to put anything,  As it is, he's only just recent;y gotten two whole shelves and half the hanging space in the closet because I finally sorted through and got rid of a whole mess of my old t-shirts.

It is still overwhelming to me, to even consider cleaning this whole house.  I need to purge a lot.  Years of accumulation, mindless accumulation, hoard-type accumulation has to go.  I can't afford to be sentimental about things, or I will never get rid of anything and one day you will read about how they found my dead body crushed under the weight of boxes of unidentifiable crap labelled "Stuff That May Be Useful Some Day" or "Thing People I Love Gave Me".

Since I can't deal with thinking globally in this house, I am doing it by inches.

A shelf here.  A counter there.  A drawer or cupboard somewhere else.

Saturday I tackled the master closet floor and the linen shelf that goes around the top of it.  I folded all the sheets and tucked each sheet set into one of its pillow cases.  Got rid of a few things.  Tossed a bunch of old pairs of shoes that I haven't worn in more than a decade, and even some moccasins that I was keeping for sentimental reasons (I had them in boarding school).  Swept the floor.  Tidied up my ridiculous slippers and got all the duffle bags combined into one bag which will go downstairs so its out of the way and neatly stowed in a closet.

Sunday I took out all of the clothing I had hanging in the closet and tried it on or assessed whether I really wanted to keep it.  Gone, now, is the blue outfit I wore when I receiver the Worker of the Year award back in the '90's from the SCCA.  Gone the black dress I wore to the Festival of Trees preview party.  Gone several dresses and skirts, shirts, and many pairs of jeans - I tried on almost thirty pairs - and button down shirts.  I also cleaned off the tops of the two small bookshelves, culling the stuffed animal herds, dusting, relocating a few things from my too-cluttered night stand, putting other things away.

Today I cleaned off my wooden chest, putting things away that I'd haphazardly stacked on it in a rush, tossing other things, sweeping the floor around it, tidying.

Tonight or tomorrow, perhaps I will manage to clean off my night stand.

An inch at a time.

I hope that by the end of next year, I will know the lightness that comes with having less because I want to have less, and the lightness of having a body not wracked with pain or plagued by discomfort because I have wrenched, broken, sprained, banged, or stubbed a body part on another box, bag, or pile of crap that I didn't have a place for.

Inch by inch...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fire

We have a fire pit dug into the little hill behind our house.  It's not pretty or especially large and it's a little lopsided, but it is dug into the red clay and serves its purpose and contains fire well enough that I don't worry about setting the woods alight and causing havoc among the neighbors.  We are slowly improving it.

We burn as much paper trash as we can to keep it out of the landfill.  We also burn dead fall, cardboard, and the occasional candle end or wax spill.  The ash goes into the compost from time to time.

One of Sprout's favorite things is to help her Papa with the fire.  She helps him pile on the paper and then twigs and larger sticks, and once it's lit she will toss on a stick or two (supervised, of course).  She dances about in the yard and sings a little, and sometimes they carry drums down the back steps and have a little jam session.

This evening, we had a burn - that's what we call lighting our little fire - and I went down, too.  I often miss it because I am busy indoors with cooking or cleaning or napping or something.  Tonight, the flame would not catch and Someone was getting frustrated.  I happened to have finished cooking dinner and it was something that could sit.  I took down a small candle, some papers, a butter wrapper, and a what we call a "god stick", a flame stick style lighter.  With a few carefully placed splashes of wax, some strategic paper and cereal box additions, and possibly an incantation, we finally got it lit and had a lovely little burn.  Sprout cavorted about, urging her Papa to swing her around and dance with her, and Someone and I sang while he played with our girl.

Sometimes I am caught in the middle of a moment and I want to absorb it with every bit of my being, every sense, brand it into my memory against some future need when he is absent and I am feeling forlorn.

Right now, Sprout is nestled against her Papa on the big lounge, leaning against him warm and content.  She has been his shadow all day, intent on working where he was working in the yard, riding her bike in circles around him, always questioning what he was doing, and why.  They just shared a bowl of ice cream, one of her nightly rituals with him that I couldn't curtail if I wanted to.  She has her head on his shoulder and is droopy-eyed, watching some cartoon or another but not really paying attention - all she knows is that she feels safe, loved, warm, and comfortable cuddled up to her favorite man in the whole wide world.

I know just how she feels.