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, March 23, 2018

Dreaming of Dragons

I have been told, at various times, that discussing or blogging about dreams is...boring.

Ah, well, I have never made claims or pretensions to being non-boring.

My nighttime sleep has been restless, often shallow, and rather unsatisfying.  This lack of sleepage has me napping more than usual in the afternoon.  Yes, I am spoiled.  These afternoon naps are long and I tend to sleep hard, once I sleep. 

In sleeping, I chance to dream.

Lately, the dreams have been vivid, disjointed, and especially peculiar.  I know dreams are usually odd, but these have sent the weird-shit-o-meter into the red zone.

For one thing, they're recurring.  I have dreams that have followed me since childhood, but they don't usually happen night (or nap) after night (or nap) like these do.

I've been dreaming of flight, and of dragons, of flying with dragons.  One dream takes place in an abandoned world, once crowded with life but now frozen and empty.  I am myself, utterly, imperfectly human.  Flying low to the ground, dragons high above, snow covering the landscape, I swoop beneath drooping tree branches, scoop up the snow and let it trickle through my fingers, never melting, just a fine white powder swirling in the wind of my passage.  I skim over a lake, dip my fingers into the water, watch droplets fall from my fingertips and glint in bright grey light as they tumble back down.

The dragons are white, and they glitter as they circle above me, silent and watchful.  Guards?  guardians?  I'm not sure, and in the dream I don't care.

It's a chill, clear, quiet dream.

Then there's the other dream.

Flying again, this time between two enormous creatures.  One is a hot, burnished bronze color, the other the crazed, cracked, black and crimson of a lava field.  They dwarf me, and I'm no small thing.  I am a dragon, too, color unknown to me.  The sky in which we fly is burning but it has always been so, always will be so.  What a world we live in, breathing air that tastes of metal and scorched things, ash and embers, dry and dry and dry.  Even the oceans are thick and bubbling spans of red heat.  What we know of water, pure, clean water, is only legend.  Life is usually short, sharp, fierce.  We exult in our strength, our wings sweeping through the blazing sky; we own the wind.

This is a hot, thirsty, roaring dream.

Several nights/days I've watched these scenes unfold and fade into waking.  Not being one for interpreting such things, I simply view them like movies and wonder what the point is and whether something will change, if I'll move on to other scenes, other stories, or keep replaying these until whatever my mind is trying to tell me becomes clear.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Oh Kathryn, Our Kathryn

One week ago this afternoon, the world became a little more shadowed as a brilliant soul passed through the veil.

Kathryn Ann Fernquist Hinds.

She was a shiny person.  I never had a moment with her that wasn't brilliant.  Her smile, laugh, wit, intelligence, and vision made life a finer thing.

I didn't get to know her for very long, and we met because her husband Arthur is a musician (a damned fine one) and we used to play some of the same gigs.  Honestly, I can't remember when I met either of them.  They've just...always been there.  Arthur and Kathryn.  Kathryn and Arthur.  

For the last few years we've been neighbors at PSG, one of the events I regularly attend.  I liked listening to their banter and they tolerated my occasional interjections.  They shared space, let me feed them, Kathryn let me fuss over her and we shared water.  Seeing her in the audience when we played together for Bardapalooza was a treat.  She truly shared in the music in a way that was rare and beautiful.

Some relationships defy the odds, defy  definition or explanation.  Some relationships are just so...perfectly imperfect?  Imperfectly perfect?  So damned marvelous that when we see them, we can't help saying "There.  That's what is could be, what it should be, what I want it to be..." 

Those relationships are rare.  Arthur and Kathryn had what I aspire to.  Oh the laughter, the love...how it enveloped them, and everyone nearby.  They shared unstintingly.

I always told her that I adore her, that she is one of my favorite people.  She was.  Is.  Will likely always be.

Her heart, her magnificent, wise, kind, compassionate, fragile, dysfunctional heart, it couldn't survive the surgery she needed to keep it ticking.

One less drumming, thrumming beat echoing in the ether.  One less laugh reverberating in the circle.

I find myself wondering why, in a world full of horrid people, full of cruel, selfish, ugly-souled assholes, why did we have to lose one of the best people I have ever known?

It isn't right.  

Oh, Arthur.

If I who didn't know her nearly enough can hurt so...oh...I can't even touch imagining how those who knew her long and well must feel.

Me, I feel robbed of something precious.  

She belonged to a community vast and varied, and the hole she leaves is immeasurable.
I posted this on Facebook when I found out:

Hail Kathryn.

Your light will long linger.

I will carry you with me always, and when I shine I will shine with you, sending your light outward. You are one of the best people I’ve known in my lifetime, and I’m better for the knowing.

May your journey to the other side be peaceful and easy. May you leave behind all memory of pain, sorrow, and suffering. May you carry with you all memories of love and laughter. May you be met with joy and fellowship by those who went before you, and when you return to the circle, may we who loved you know you once more.

I raise a glass and toast you, feisty, kind, shiny, wise, compassionate, creative, encouraging, goddess of a woman.

Hail Kathryn. Hail the traveler

Thursday, February 1, 2018


The world lost a bright soul, a shiny person, earlier this week.  I'm still reeling, and I didn't have the honor of knowing her as well or as long as some others.  I cannot imagine the sense of bewilderment and loss that her family is feeling.  Right now, that's all I have in me to write about her.  There will be more in a few days.

It's February.  Cue the ominous music (dunh, dunh, duuunnnnhhh).  If I can make it through there's March after, and things are looking up for March.  Well, up-ish.

The month started in a hole, and it's getting deeper.

I'm going to get through February a week at a time.  And each week?  A day at a time.  Days will be cut into confetti-sized pieces and sprinkled everywhere.  I'll clean up the mess in August or never, whichever comes latest.
I thought the beginning of the week would drag on in an endless drone, a litany of death and sorrow.  It did, but now the week is nearly done and I have a date on Saturday to look forward to.  Not a date date, like with a fellow.  A date with Mizz A.  We're leaving my beloved spawns at home and going out for a few hours.  We both could use some cheering up.
Next week, I have a tentative date with K2.  We're hopefully going to have our combined birthday dinner, just the two of us.

Then there's a lunch date with my Mom two weeks on from that.
In between times, I am working on some sewing and quilting projects.
Distractions, people, I needs 'em.  Positive distractions, I should say.
Later in the month I'm doing a craft show with my mother.  We have fun, and it gets us out of our respective houses/ruts.  I like helping her set up.  We're both taking part in a soup cooking thing as well, on the same weekend.  I didn't say I was distracting myself with anything earth shattering.
The depression has been particularly bad, this winter.  It seems like I say that every year, and it's like my brain takes it as a challenge to make it worst next time around.  I mean, it's always here, it never really goes away, but some winter, it just piles on like tons of stones, and every winter I pick up the stones, put them in my basket, and plod along.  Maybe it's not getting any worse.  Maybe it's just that I have more stones in the basket and I'm not as strong as I used to be.

I'll make it up the mountain, all the same.
If I make the mistake of saying, or even thinking, that it's not so bad right now, it's like my brain think I've challenged it.  Can't win for losing.  Oy.
My house phone, a land line if you can believe that anyone still has one, is sort of fritzy.  The phone doesn't ring, but the answering machine still works.  I guess the battery in the handset gave up, and it won't charge.  Anyway, sometimes a voice will just float out into Casa de Crazy, mostly selling something or telling me I really ought to pay my bills, you know, on time, and every now and then it catches me off guard and I wonder how the hell someone got in the house.  Good times.
I have been re-listening to Eddie Izzard's audio book of his autobiography.  I very much enjoy it.  He's intelligent, which is sexy, and he's funny, which is also sexy.  In addition to his book, I've been listening to a Pandora station I created named - wait for it - Eddie Izzard.

It has a number of other comedians as well, and they have all, so far, kept me in stitches while I stitch (because I listen while I sew, get it?).

I highly recommend making making an Eddie Izzard station on Pandora, or finding a list of his clips on the YouTube.  You may even forget it's February for a minute!

Saturday, January 13, 2018


This morning I woke up weepy, and it hasn't let up.  Every damned thing makes my eyes leak.

I wish I had someone to lean on.

I mean, I have people to lean on, really terrific people who love me and put up with all of my bullshit on a daily basis.

But as wonderful as these good people are, they're not next to me in the small hours when the night is heavy, pressing down on me, stealing my breath and churning my thoughts into a froth of misery.

I wish I had someone to physically lean on.  A shoulder on which to rest my head for a minute when I'm worn out and feel like I can't pick up my basket of stones and carry them one. Step. More.

I'm tired of feeling alone.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Strange days.

Mum called me this evening to let me know that my grandmother passed through the veil at the beginning of the year.

Oddly, Isabelle (known to me as Mimi) has been on my mind of late.  I've been thinking about her, and dreaming about the house that I grew up in, where she and my grandfather lived for most of my young life.  I have been wondering where, and how, she was.

She wasn't kin by blood, but rather by marriage, wed to my grandfather for...umm...a long damn time.

After Papa died, Mimi returned to France and despite my efforts I lost touch with her.  She left our part of the family behind, and it seemed to me like she never looked back.  She moved, moved again, and I never got her new address.  I suppose I could have made more effort - there was a trust, there were lawyers who knew where she was - but why?  She made it clear through her absence and silence that she wasn't interested.  That hurt.  I had to let go.

Still, from time to time I would look for her online, a quick browsing of Google searches giving me nothing.  Last night, Mum found an obituary.

Mum and I talked about her sometimes, she relating news that had filtered to us months or even years after Mimi had come to the US for some reason, or perhaps whispers of where Mimi was living in France, me wondering if she was happy, if she felt loved and was content.  She wondered, once, whether Mimi was even alive.  I told her she'd know when the woman passed - the trustees would be in touch.  We laughed ruefully about that.  As it turns out, no one got in touch.  Mum found the obituary and talked to my aunt, who made some calls and found out what was what.  Without the curiosity and the drive to find out, who knows when we'd have learned of it?

She never told us when she was coming over the pond, and in fact seems to have instructed people who were in the know to NOT tell us.

She lived through the Nazi occupation of France.  She married, came to the US, found that her husband had lied to her about his circumstances and she left him (righteously, IMO), made a life for herself.  She was a terrific cook when she wanted to be.  She taught me to endure and even enjoy all kinds of foods I'd otherwise not have eaten.  From her I learned how to make vinaigrette dressing.  Until I was about 6, I spoke with her in French as easily as English. I can still read and sing in French, although I don't speak it very well any more and my understanding is weak at best.  Google translate has to do a lot of the work for me, these days.

Because of her, I learned exquisite table manners - I can, if pressed, still recall which utensil is for what and I have fond memories of high tea with her.  I still have the eggshell China teacups we used for such occasions. 

She drove like a maniac, but I would sleep in the car without fear.  She hated flying and would take pills and ride the Concord to minimize the horror.

In the evening, she and Papa would watch the news in their living room, and I would sit with her, leaning on her, and she would stroke my head.  She taught me how to pour and appreciate wine.  I can eat just about anything with a knife and fork thanks to her.  At Christmas she would let me set up the nativity scene.

She said horrible things to me with the best of intentions, never knowing how she devastated me.  Some of the the shadow demons with which I do battle sprang from her.

I wasn't much connected to her French family, but I adored one of her nieces (Christine) and found the rest tolerable.

She was a staunch friend and ally to those she loved and believed in.  She was opinionated and acerbic.  Her anger was terrible, her approval rare, her favor much sought after.  No one wanted to be left in the dark, arctic chill of her bad side.
She stuck with my grandfather through his end, and that was no small thing.  I believe that she loved him, and he loved her, even when they didn't see eye to eye (which happened a LOT).  She was relentless in making sure he was well taken care of.  A bulldog on his behalf.  It must have been exhausting.

She wasn't terribly interested in church when I was little, but she was Catholic and became more so as she aged.  I hope her God saw the good in her and let her in to his halls.  There are those who would say she deserved a place in Hell, but I don't think so.  I think she knew enough of Hell here in her earthly life. 

One of the last things I said to her was that she had hurt me, deeply, but that I loved her, and that nothing would change that love.  I meant it then, and ever after.

I hope she remembered that.

There's so much more that I could say, but she was too complex to encapsulate in a blog.

Rest in peace, Isabelle, Mimi, grandmother, force of nature.  Rest in peace.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


It's almost Yule - two days away and I'm almost-but-not-quite ready for it.  Here's the annual repost with alterations to make it current.
Happy Yule, y'all!

Wait, what? Yule - you know...Yule? The holiday that some people celebrated waaayyy before that poor wee baby was supposedly born in a pile of hay? Evergreens ring a bell? Holly? Ivy? Mistletoe??

OK, go get a snack and a nice beverage (eggnog on the right, pink punch in the center, pick a bottle from the high chair to spike it with)(yes, the high chair is our bar - the Evil Genius doesn't need it any more, Sprout has long outgrown the use of it, and it's an heirloom that I want to keep on display - so why not??) and get comfy. All set?

Yule, or Winter Solstice, is a celebration of the returning light.

Yep, it's that simple.

The God is reborn on Yule, and the days will lengthen with his growth, into the fullness of Summer. In some villages, way back in the past, hearth fires would be extinguished (a brave thing when you didn't have Zippos or matches or even two sticks to rub together). They would be relit from brands taken from a community balefire, lit by the sun himself with a little help from some glass (or a hidden coal or two - c'mon, we weren't above a little showmanship, back then), thereby bringing the sun (and, one hoped, his blessings) into the home. It also kept the community united, because everyone shared the same fire, the same light and heat. Cool, huh? Gotta love a religion that encourages playing with fire. Ahem.

The fir tree was (and is) a symbol of life lasting even through death, the promise of life and light renewed, and a reminder that beneath the snow, the Earth-heart beats on. Holly and Ivy were green, too, but they were also symbols of the Green Man, the Forest Lord, Jack o' the Green - the God primeval. The Holly King and the Ivy King, the old and the young, the constant, changing balance. Deep stuff, yo.

Mistletoe is still used in a fairly traditional way, although it wasn't always just kissing done under the stuff. I still use the leaves and occasional berry when I make love bundles for people (Note - a love bundle isn't a love spell, it is meant to strengthen what is already there, not coerce or sublimate the free will of another. I don't DO love spells, so don't even ask.)(I mean it.), and it's a terrific symbol. It was also a fertility and aphrodisiac herb, but only symbolically - even wigged out Druids knew the stuff was toxic!

We light a yule log, in our house one that's cut from the trunk of last year's tree (the rest of which is providing habitat and nutrients in the woods out back). Old tales say if it lights on the first try and burns for twelve hours, we'll have good luck...this year, I'm soaking one end in water, first. What? We need all the good fortune we can get...don't you??

This year, as we do most years, we are spending Yule at Mum's, lighting the burn pile, celebrating the returning light with a little spark of our own. We'll collect some of the ash and bring it home to add to the ash jar and sprinkle around the foundation for a blessing.

Sometimes a group of us will get together and just spend a quiet day nibbling snacks, enjoying each other's company, and taking a break from the holiday insanity out there among the English. If we exchange gifts, we try to make them ourselves, or give things that encourage and nurture our spiritual or creative selves. Things will be a little sparse this year, what with Someone being all in prison and whatnot (in case you didn't know, it can be expensive to have someone in prison, but that's a tale for a later time).  I want the kids to have a nice holiday, and we always have a nice time at Mom's.,Sprout is really excited about the holiday this year, as is the Evil Genius. 

But mostly, it's a celebration of the returning sun, the waxing light, the cycle renewed.

Happy Yule - When the days be cold, may your hearth be warm. When the nights be long, may your fire burn bright. When the wind blows, may you find snug shelter. When tree and field are bare, may your larder be full. May you never know Winter's chill a moment longer than you care to, nor hunger nor want, and should you find you have all that you need and a bit more besides, may you find someone who will gladly take what you offer and live better for the receiving. Blessed be.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Here followeth a Casa de Crazy Thanksgiving Day Tradicion:

We hope you have a pleasant, tasty, mellow, comfortable, not-at-all-contentious Thanksgiving day if you are in the USA and an all around good one if not in the USA.

Here's the link of you want to view full screen:  Alice's Restaurant