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.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

What if...?

“What if…?”

It’s a question to play with, a question that children like to ask.  

Today, the “What if...?” was about the kids, a sudden thought that struck me as I watched a show about people building their dream homes, either by rehabbing an already established building or from scratch.  

What if I didn’t have kids?

Hmm.

Maybe I’d live with Mom.

Maybe not.  

Probably I would travel more.  I’d have less laundry, fewer dishes, less cleaning.  I’d have fewer expenses, maybe fret a good deal less about paying bills.  Less work at events and fewer costs associated.  I wouldn’t have to plan as far in advance, could pick up and pop off at a moment’s notice.  Lower grocery costs.  Things would stay where and as I’d put them.

I might write more, create more, have fewer distractions.

I wouldn’t be responsible for or to anyone but myself.

I also wouldn’t have constant snuggles, hugs, laughter, runs of puns, heaps of horrible jokes.  There wouldn’t be the endless opportunity to teach and learn, the exhausting, exhilarating privilege of helping shape two extraordinary people into the final framework that will carry their ever-evolving selves through life.  

There wouldn’t be the same sense of wonder at the world, the beautiful rediscovery of life, the universe, and everything, the drive to try all of the things, all of the time, the unceasing why.

It would be different.  It would be emptier.  I’m not one of the mothers who identifies herself only by her children, but they’re certainly a tremendous part of who I am and how I live.  They shape every choice that I make.

So I can imagine with great clarity a life without them, but from a distance, like watching a show about homes in far-off places and wondering what it’d be like to have the resources to build that dream while making the most of and being content with what I have.    

Monday, July 15, 2019

Cecily


How long did I know you?

I can’t remember.

Not long enough.  Always.

I can’t remember when we didn’t actually meet but we met.  Back in the dark ages of Yahoo groups, anyway.

The lot of us, “sisters”, migrated over to Facebook eventually, but it was Yahoo groups first.

We all had babies, relationships, sorrows, joys.  We were honest, open, vulnerable, trusting.  We leaned on each other despite mostly never having been in the same room.

Fey.  You were fey.

Warm.  Sweet.  Funny.

We watched our children grow together, apart but connected.

Now what?

You will not see my Evil Genius and Sprout as they become amazing people.  How will we see your W and D grow up if you aren’t here to share them?

You were quiet, gentle.  What did your voice sound like?  I don’t know, really.  Just snatches on video, not the same as in person.  You meditated daily in support of the water protectors at Standing Rock.  I didn’t always watch.  I was busy with my own disasters. 

Our last conversation was about my son’s hair growing back after a drastic cutting...in 2017. Why did we fall silent?

That man, why did he kill you?  Gentle soul, what could have made him bring an instrument of violence and death into your home and use it on you before turning it on himself?  Why couldn’t he just take his own hateful life?  His life, his choice...your life wasn’t his to steal.  Why couldn’t he quench his darkness and leave us your light?

I want to drag him back from the other side, drag him away from whatever his punishment or peace may be and make him pay.  I feel, my dear, sweet Cecily, I feel such anger, such...hatred...for that horrible, odious,  evil, twisted, tortured man.  I want to hurt him.  I want to make him pay.  I want to punish the people who made him and raised him up to be a murderer, who shaped him into the kind of person who could be so rotten, so selfish, so...

Damaged.

But you wouldn’t, would you?  Sweet Cecily.

You fell silent and all I knew was what little you’d shown us, that your love was brilliant and deep and dizzying and...I never saw it devouring you.

Why didn’t you reach out?  Why didn’t I notice?  Why?  So much why.

My friend in the Blue Nowhere, sister of my soul, gentle mother, persistent light in the cloying dark, you will be sorely missed by so many.  

Hail the traveler.

Hail Cecily.

May your journey to the next world be a peaceful one.

May you leave behind all memory of pain and sorrow.

May you carry with you all memory of love and happiness.

May you be met with joy and fellowship by those who went before you, and should you return to the circle once again, may we who loved you in this life have the honor of knowing you again.

Hail Cecily.

Hail the traveler.

“Other people’s solipsism is annoying” - Cecily

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Thoughtfetti

On my way elsewhere I decided to get some lunch.  I chose Zaxby’s because they’re fast-ish food and at least seem healthier than other drive-through options.  Being possessed of a large dollop of weird sentiment, I chose to try the Shazam related ( I have no idea how) Honey Butter Bacon sandwich - chicken filet, bacon, and honey butter sauce.  So much potential to go wrong, but it was pretty good!  The honey butter wasn’t too sweet or overpowering, and the chicken was crispy.  I peeled the top part of the bun off halfway through because I didn’t want the bread.  It’s something I might order again for a change of pace.
~~~~~
The end is nigh.  I know this because I worked on weeding the iris bed yesterday evening.  It only makes sense that the apocalypse will follow.
~~~~~
I find myself thinking, once again, about hate.  Hatred is a cage, fear the bait that draws us in, anger the lock that keeps us trapped, hope, compassion, and yes, love, the keys that will free us.
~~~~~
I’m struggling, but my head is just above water and I know that I will float again if only I can keep treading a little while longer.  It’s a painful, dreadful kind of hope and knowing because right now, just the idea of it all is exhausting.  So much easier to just relax and let the dark water swallow me.  Still, I keep on.  It does get better.  
~~~~~
What’s new in your life?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Gone to Pot



Lort.

I would still be asleep but for the very nice sheriff’s officer who rang my doorbell this morning. In his defense, he couldn’t possibly have known that I did not sleep much or well last night and I only really fell into a deep slumber just as the sun was beginning to peek over the horizon.

You may wonder why a sheriff’s officer was ringing my doorbell.  I certainly did.

It turns out that “someone” called in a complaint about empty flowerpots all over my yard.

Imagine my surprise to hear that I have empty flowerpots all over my yard.

Before ringing my bell, the nice young man looked around the yard, confused, seeing no empty flowerpots. There are some flower pots filled with soil lining several of my garden beds. The garden beds are fallow as I have chosen not to plant anything this year.  I am pondering whether or not I should remove the garden beds entirely. I can’t keep up with it anymore, and if I should decide to garden in the future I can always put more beds in.

Flower pots? Really? The officer did point out that there were a couple of things that maybe I could relocate because they are scrap and shouldn’t be where they are, but he wasn’t terribly pressed about it.  He mentioned that he was expecting to see empty flowerpots all over the yard, not neatly placed around garden beds and filled with soil. He seemed rather disgusted by the person who called it in.

He’s not the same fellow who has been called out here before on other bogus complaints, and I explained to him that yes, they do get called out here sometimes by someone (eye roll towards neighbors house) who seems intent upon harassing me because they don’t like me or the way that I live.

I told the officer that I was sorry that he had wasted a trip, and that it was likely that they would get more calls throughout the year. If they call ahead I’ll bake a cake.  I have to admit, I thought that the harassment via law-enforcement was over. While I cannot prove that it was the unpleasant neighbor up to her regular shenanigans, it certainly fits her pattern.

I was happy to learn that I cannot be cited for any code violations because of yardwork, or lack thereof. There is no code for grass height, nor is there any code for fallen branches or deadfall in the woods.  I’m thankful for that, as I do not own a lawnmower and I’m disinclined to do yardwork even on my best days. I wouldn’t mow this early in the year, anyway, as leaving the grass and flowers to grow as they will is helpful to the local honeybee population.  He nodded approval and understanding.

All in all, he was a very nice fellow. Kind of cute, if I’m being honest. I caught myself glancing down at his left hand to see if he was wearing a ring. Oh my goodness, but old habits die hard! He told me he hopes that I won’t get too much trouble from whoever it is that’s calling me in and smiled at me. I told him that I thought that he was awfully pleasant, and while I wouldn’t like for him to be called out here again it wouldn’t be terrible to have another conversation. I don’t think I was flirting. No really. Why are you rolling your eyes that way?

He mentioned that he really likes the banner on my door. I told him that it is something that I strive for, and although I may not succeed every day I never stop trying. We chatted about his ink (I will notice tattoos), exchanged pleasantries, and he was on his way.

The upshot of this visit, for me, is a new acquaintance in law-enforcement (I must admit, for all of the bitterness that I have towards certain law enforcement individuals, I have not had many bad experiences with my local constabulary. They have mostly been pleasant, professional, and even downright friendly throughout most of our dealings), and a little more empowerment regarding the state of my home and the laws surrounding us.  Oh, and I got a blog post out of it!

I do wonder. These supposedly Christian people never approach me, never ask me nicely to take care of anything that concerns them. They never offer to help me. They know that I am a single mother with two children on a large property (3/4 of an acre is quite large where I live, although small in comparison to other rural areas). They know that I do not own a lawn mower or other yardwork equipment, just some small hand tools.  I know that they have never seen me out doing any kind of yardwork. I have always tried to remain pleasant when dealing with them, even when they were unkind and even downright rude to me. Why is this? Why do they feel that it is not only acceptable, but necessary, to harass me to live my life the way that they deem fit? 

I may not be Christian myself, but I do know Christ’s teachings.  These people who claim to follow him do not seem to understand what he tought. I wish I could say that this was isolated, an anomaly to the religion, but it isn’t. Before anybody gets their feathers ruffled, I know there are good Christians in the world. Just as I know that there are good pagans and bad pagans. It’s not really about what gods we profess to follow, it’s more about how we choose to behave and embody their teachings. In this neighborhood, there seem to be a lot more people who speak one thing, but an act another.

I know that my neighborhood is no different than many neighborhoods in this area, and in fact in this nation.

I find it distressing.

While I can think of many ways to be ugly to the unpleasant neighbor who seems to think that harassing me via law-enforcement will get her what she wants - my living a life that she thinks is proper, or moving away - it simply won’t. There is a very specific set of circumstances that will allow me to leave this house and move to another property. Those circumstances haven’t been met, yet, and likely won’t be for a very long time. She is simply going to have to deal with her frustration as I have no intention of changing anything.

I will continue to endeavor to live a good life. I am human, and I fail, but I never stop trying.  I will let the unpleasant neighbor live her life without addressing her. Frankly, aside from writing a blog post or two, she’s really not worth my time. She has to live with herself. She has to think the thoughts that are in her head. She has to live with the consequences that her ugliness bring into her life. I do not. 

Now that I have written this account of my morning encounter, I’m getting on with my day. I have things to do, things that make me happy and that will hopefully make others happy as well. There’s a stack of sewing as high as my head to be done. There are cats to be pet and fed and otherwise loved on.  There are music lessons and cooking to be done.

I may even go out and trim the Camillia bush. Not because of my neighbor, or for any other reason than that I know it needs doing, and was already planning on getting to it in the next day or two.


Flower pots. She called the sheriff because of flower pots. Maybe I need to go over there and offer to teach her to quilt or crochet. She clearly needs a hobby.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Lemon-Garlic-Parmesan-Cream-Something



I can’t recall if I’ve already shared this recipe.  If I have, sorry for the leftovers.  If I haven’t, abundanza!

This is a “some” recipe.  No measuring, just some of this and some of that.  Add and subtract ingredients to suit you.

What’s in it:

Chicken or
Shrimp or
Scallops or
Crab or
Lobster or
Any or all of the above

Garlic.  Lots and lots of garlic.

Salt and pepper

Capers, when I remember/have them

Lemons

Chicken stock or broth or bullion paste

Heavy cream

Artichoke hearts (frozen) or
Asparagus or
Spinach (fresh) or
All of the above

Wine, sometimes

Some variety of pasta cooked to desired doneness, hot

How to make it:

Mince fresh garlic cloves into teeny minced cubes of mincedness.

Cut up some chicken or get the seafood components ready to cook.

Heat some butter and olive oil in a pan.  Salt and pepper it.  When it’s hot enough for you, toss in the garlic and some capers.  Stir ‘em around a little and add the meat.  Cook until pretty much done.

Pour in some chicken stock or broth, or stir in a goodly spoonful of the bullion paste.  If you use the paste, add a little water.

Stir it up and bring to a simmer.  Squeeze in some lemon juice.  I usually use one lemon’s worth, or so.  Pour in a little wine if you want.

Simmer a bit and then add in asparagus or artichoke hearts.  If you’re using spinach, hold off.

Cook until vegetables are almost done.  Add cream.  Simmer a little more.  Shake in grated Parmesan and stir it up.  Turn off the heat when it’s thick enough for ya.

Put a handful or three of spinach in a bowl.  Scoop cooked pasta on top.  Ladle sauce on top of the lot.  The heat of the sauce will just cook the spinach.  Good stuff!  Sprinkle more Parm on top, if you want.

Mmmmm...


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Lou



A light has gone out.

Yesterday, another friend passed through the vei.

Lou.

How to describe her?  

Salty.  Tart.  Spicy.  Sweet.

She was a force of nature, a tiny dynamo.  Took no prisoners.  Spoke her mind.  Cussed like a sailor.  Grinned like an unrepentant imp.  Hugged long and hard.  Laughed loud and often.  Gave no quarter.  Made art with verve.

I only just met her last year or so, when I started going to the gallery with Mom.  She rolled her eyes in ecstasy over my pesto chicken tortellini soup.  She generated smiles in others.

Feisty.

She kicked cancer’s ass.

She bought a cake and sang happy birthday to me just last Friday.  We had a show over the weekend.  She seemed fine, maybe a little tired on Sunday but who wasn’t?

She decided to pack up later in the week, hugged me and said she’d be glad when my mom was home from her vacation, and headed out.

Some time Monday night or Tuesday morning, she slipped across the boundary between worlds.

Fuck.

Hail, Lou.
Hail the Traveller
May your journey to the next world be swift and easy
May you leave behind all memory of pain and sorrow
May you carry with you all memory of love and happiness
When you reach the next world, may you be met with joy and fellowship by those who went before you
And should you return to this world, may those who loved you know you once more
Hail the traveler
Hail Lou

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Lasagna Rolls

Today is my ex-husband's birthday.  He's 46 again.  He said when he hit 50 he was going to start going backwards.

As is my wont, I asked him if he had any birthday plans, and when he said he didn't, I invited him to Casa de Crazy for a birthday dinner.  Since he likes lasagna, I thought I'd make lasagna rolls.  I like to make rolls rather than a traditional pan of lasagna because a traditional pan never gets finished and I wind up throwing half of it away, which makes me sad.  Rolls I can divvy up, freeze, and give away.

This is a pretty simply, not really home made dinner.

The players:
Lasagna noodles.  I use a box of Mueller's, cooked in salted water until almost-but-not-quite-done, and lay them out on paper towels to cool and dry.

Cooked ground beef, Italian Sausage, chicken, or whatever meat (or no meat) you want.  I cooked ground beef and added chunky garlic paste and Italian herb paste along with salt, pepper, and onion powder.

Ricotta cheese, into which I mixed ground Parmesan, chunky garlic paste, more Italian herb paste, and shredded six-cheese-Italian cheese blend and seasoned with salt, pepper, and onion powder.

Sliced mozzarella and sliced, non-smoke-flavored provelone.

Canned tomato sauce (I used Hunt's Garlic and Herb) and canned tomatoes (diced tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano.


 Lay out a noodle on a paper towel, preferably patted dry so the cheese doesn't slip around.

Spread some of the ricotta mixture on the noodle, leaving the ends empty to make rolling them up a little easier.

 Sprinkle some of that six-cheese-Italian mix on top, because cheeeeeese.

Next come the meat, if you're using any.  Hey, I happen to know that spinach goes nicely in here, and while I'd rather burn my hair while it's still on my head than eat tofu or mushrooms, you are welcome to use my share in your lasagna rolls.  Now...roll 'em!


I put six in a loaf pan, because that's more than enough for us, and any extra rolls go in foil pans to freeze for later (I like to give them away).

Ladle tomato sauce (I mixed 2 cans of sauce with one can of tomatoes) over the top.
Top with mozzarella and provolone (or whatever cheese you want - you're cookin', it's all about you, baby!).

Bake at 350 until it's all bubbly and gooey and swoon-inducing.  I have no photos of that stage because we...we...we couldn't help ourselves!!!

I did get a photo of the to-go thingy that I'm sending home with T because I can't help it, I like to feed people and happy birthday, T!

We had brownies and ice cream for dessert, but I forgot to take photos of that because brownies and ice cream, man!!!

I am pretty sure dinner was enjoyed by all.

What're you up to, today?