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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Jesus Wept

For this post to mak sense, maybe go read the old blog post, first.

He came for a visit last night.  The only dream I had, or at least that I can recall.  He didn’t want tea or cookies or banana bread or cinnamon rolls.  He looked...I dunno...shattered, maybe...?

He wanted comfort.  He never said a word, just leaned on me.  I held him as he wept, absorbed his tears in my shirt and let his sobs shake me.  I suppose even he needs a safe space to decompress.  In all the dreams over all the years, I’ve never seen him like this.  I patted and rubbed his back, cupped the back of his head like a mother does when comforting her child, and quietly let him know that I’ve got him, that he can let it all out, let it all go.

Near broke my heart.

After a long while, he straightened, sighed, gave me a brave, watery smile, and turned to go.

“I’ll be here”, I told him.

He looked back, smile a little steadier, then walked away into the darkness all around us.

Oh, how I wish I could heal his hurt.


Friday, May 15, 2020

3, 2, 1, Yum!


Wow, it’s been a while.

Here at Casa de Crazy, we’ve been keeping to ourselves as much as possible...so, pretty much business as usual.

I’ve seen a few folks discussing their sudden homebody status and its effect on their waistlines.  I can empathize - I tend to graze, myself.

If I’m being honest, much of what I’m eating is nothing like healthy.  It’s a battle that I lose as often as I win.  It’s easier to make healthier choices when they’re readily available, dontcha think?

To that end, I took a few minutes this afternoon and threw together one of my favorite snacks:  Asian Cucumers.

The first time I had these was as K2’s house, and it was love at first bite.  She gave me the recipe, but I forgot it.  Tch.

No problem.  Good excuse to play in the kitchen!

A few years back I finally found a combination that I like, and here follows my recipe:

Thinly Sliced Cucumber (I use one sort of fattish, mediumish one)
Some Thinly Sliced Onion (any onion is fine, I used red because I like the added color and pungency)

For the dressing:
3 Tbsp Rice Vinegar (I use seasoned with garlic)
2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp sugar

Things you can add if you wanna:  garlic, red bell pepper, red pepper flakes, shredded carrot, honey instead of sugar, green onion, ginger, or sesame seeds.

Mix the dressing ingredients in your container.  I used a Ziploc Twist ‘n’ Loc medium sized, which I think is 1quart.  Now shake, shake, shake!


Next, layer  sliced onion and cucumbers in the container.  How much of each is up to you.  I like onion, so I use about 1/3 of a medium onion.


Shake it up again.  Fun!


Stick it in the fridge.  Give it a shake from time to time.  You can eat them right away, or let them sit overnight.  I like them to sit and think about life, the Universe, and everything.

The most difficult part of this recipe is the waiting, but it’s worth it.


Monday, April 13, 2020

Thoughtfetti



Poor Sam is miserable.  Thousands of can’t-really-afford-them dollars in tests and medication and she’s still stuck in the cone, still trying to scratch herself bloody...and sometimes succeeding.  My heart aches.

~~~~~
I bought stamps.  The USPS is, in my opinion, vital.  I could expand on that thought, but I’ll spare you.  The moon landing stamps are purty!  They have lots of nifty designs, just in case you need to know that.

 ~~~~~
Today was errands day.  It was a little windy.
 ~~~~~
Storms rolled through last night.  I was asleep.  I’m told they were impressive.

I’ve been sewing masks.  Nothing fancy and I’m slow at it, but it gives me something to do.  I’m giving them away.  Like I said, it gives me something to do.  
~~~~~
How’re you doing?


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Kyd’s Cockeyed History of St. P

Another year, another repost.
~~~~~
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.  Mom is braving the wild world and joining us.  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.  Sprout may try a taste, or she may not.  She's trying to be more adventurous about food, but she can still be put off if it looks odd.

I'm planning on making soda bread, too, because we like it and any leftovers can be used to make a nice doorstop or cudgel.

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.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Community, Compassion, Cooperation

Please forgive me if this post isn’t as polished as you might like. It certainly is not as polished as I would like.

I wanted to put it out there into the world, though, as it occurred to me. This is something that I’ve been thinking about a great deal especially in the last few days.

COVID-19 has shown quite a few flaws in our social systems. I could go on about healthcare, scarcity, people with such low incomes that they cannot afford to miss weeks of work, children who will not get a meal of schools are closed, and a number of other things, but I am choosing one focal point here.

Community.

In the last few days I have, by necessity, gone to the grocery store. My particular market is not a large one. It is usually quite well stocked, and often not terribly busy. I know all of the staff members there, and they greet me like a friend. Even on days when leaving the house seems like an enormous chore, a burden that I cannot bear to carry, I can go to my Publix. They have always been wonderful to me.

Today when I went the parking lot was full.  Beyond full. People were circling. At the moment I have the use of a handicapped parking placard, but it did me no good. I had to simply take whichever space opened up first. Lucky for me, one opened up only three or four spaces away.

Walking with a cane is awkward.  I can only imagine how those with worse handicaps than mine are handling these crowded conditions.

I sat down on a motorized scooter and went about my business inside. It was strange, the things that were completely sold out. Bananas? Really? Plenty of other fruits - oranges, apples, grapes, and berries galore. Plenty of fresh vegetables. But no bananas. How odd. 

The rice and pasta were almost entirely gone. Macaroni and cheese, Ramen, wiped out. No toilet paper. No facial tissue. Paper towels running low. Absolutely no bread to be found. Well, not quite true, I did find one loaf hiding at the back of the bottom shelf where almost no one could see it. I suspect I only noticed it because I was sitting on a scooter, and not standing tall. I had to reach down and back to get it as it huddled shivering against the wall. Poor, lonely, a little loaf of bread. No hamburger buns. No hotdog buns. No buns of any kind. The only bread-type items remaining were English muffins and bagels, and I suspect those will be gone by tomorrow.  Tortillas were plentiful, but will likely be gone on a day or two.

As I rolled through the store, trying to wait patiently for other shoppers to continue down the aisles so that I could as well, the crowds intrigued me. Even during pre-holiday shopping season I have never seen so many people in the store!  A few shoppers seemed to be considering their purchases carefully, but more appeared to be grabbing whatever fell under their eye as possibly useful.  

I’m belaboring the point, I know, but I found it shocking.

The sense of urgency, bordering on panic, was palpable.

And now for the thought that this inspired.

If we were a compassionate, caring, cooperative society, I don’t think we’d be having this problem right now. Yes, we’d be worried about this illness sweeping the globe. I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of this. COVID-19 is nothing to play with. It’s more the fear of scarcity of which I speak.

I don’t think this semi-panic would be occurring if we were confident that our friends, family, and neighbors would all help look out for us as we would help look out for them. If we were a connected community, I don’t believe we’d be afraid of running out of toilet paper or going hungry even (potentially) under a two-week quarantine.

We would, instead, be confident that if we run out of something, someone, somewhere would step up and help us out, as we would help them under the same circumstances.

Instead, we are a nation of isolated souls living in crowded neighborhoods. We don’t know each other. Maybe we don’t want to know each other. We lock ourselves in our homes and remain separate. My neighbor doesn’t know that she can come to me for help if she needs groceries, or some other form of aid. She doesn’t know that I will give her a ride somewhere if the need arises. She doesn’t know that if they run out of something, she can knock on my door and ask, and if I have it I will give.

This lack of connection is what will do is in, in the end.  We are cells in a body, but we are cells each struggling in our individual ways and not working together to keep the body whole.

I find it distressing.

That separateness is what works very well for politicians, who seek to continue to divide us even as we struggle with a crisis. Politics as usual, fingers pointing, blame doled out, denial, denial, denial. Fight over doing what is simply right. Each side telling the other how wrong that they are, calling things a hoax, calling things an emergency, saying this side doesn’t care and that side wants to take away from you and give to another.

Meanwhile, those of us down here at the bottom of the power pyramid are struggling. When we reach out to help others, sometimes we’re punished, sometimes marginalized, on occasion lauded, but rarely are we recognized as simply being decently human.

Even monkeys take care of the entire troupe. They take care of those at the top and those at the bottom. The least popular monkey is still not going to be eaten by a predator because regardless of their place within the troupe, they are still a member. The troupe takes care of its own.

How is it that we can’t do something that even monkeys do?

You can see from the above that I am fumbling with these thoughts, these ideas. It’s difficult for me to boil it down, to place it in a nutshell. For me personally, it is a huge idea. It is a big deal. I see my fellow humans struggling, and my instinct is to reach out and offer a hand. I may not be the strongest member of society, but I don’t think I’m the weakest either.

I have something to offer, whether it be a ride somewhere, an extra bag of rice, or reassuring word and a warm, comforting smile.

If the least of us strive to have something to offer, why can’t those considered the greatest of us do the same?

If the least of us felt confident that they would be taken care of in times of great need, I believe we would be a stronger society as a whole.

If everyone knew, absolutely knew, that they would be taken care of, that the web would catch them, that they would not fall very far before society grabbed hold and held them up, how much better off would we be?

I truly believe that we would not have empty shelves that used to hold paper goods. That we would not have empty shelves that used to hold rice, or pasta. That we would not have people in grocery stores around the nation, around the world, fighting over resources, if we weren’t afraid of running out because we knew that we would take care of each other.

Whatever happened to cause this sense of separateness, this aloneness, isolation even in cities and crowded places, it is now showing it self to be devastating. The feeling of being on our own, unable to rely on our fellows, will destroy us faster than any virus can.

I apologize if this seems to be scattered, lengthy, or completely incoherent. It is simply a thought that has been rattling around inside my head, and I felt the need to get it out.

COVID-19, for me, is more than a virus. It is an opportunity to see where I need to reach out a little more, where I need to connect a little better, where I need to reassure, to show compassion and kindness, to show love.  If nothing else, I can drive to reinforce my part of the web. It is my hope that many others will do the same, and that we will emerge on the other side of this a little stronger for it.


So...how can I help?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Paranoia, Pandemic, Panic




Paranoia, Pandemic, Panic

I have paranoia.  It’s mild, as these things go, and oddly specific - I’m convinced that people see me and whisper cruelly, judgmentally, laughing at how fat, how ungainly, how poorly put together and ridiculous I look.  They whisper and giggle and watch me bumble through life and thank their deities that they aren’t me.  

Along that vein, Paranoia also tells me that people wish I would just.  shut.  up.  No one wants to hear it, no one cares, good grief would I please be quiet and better yet, go away?

I’m not worried that anyone is out to get me.  Instead, I know that people are judging me and finding me wanting in every way.

It’s the nature of the beast, and I struggle to gentle it - it’ll never be tame.

Then there’s panic.  Not like panic attacks or generalized fear (which are horrid in and of themselves), but more like targeted, herd panic.  Y2K was a struggle against myself.  Daily I had to tell myself not to give in to the hysteria.  The quiet voice of reassurance in my mind told me we’d be ok, but it was nearly drowned out by the noisy jangling of fear mongers and conspiracy theorists.  I avoided a tinfoil hat and a bunker, but it’s possible I stocked up on a few things, just in case.

These days, it’s COVID19.  Conflicting reports from experts in epidemiology, medical professionals, people inside the afflicted areas, combined with a media feeding frenzy, are saturating my world and poking the bear.  I’m fighting the rising tide of “Omg, I’m going to die because I’m older, fat, at risk, not worth saving!” created by tales of overwhelmed hospitals, sick staff treating sicker patients, limited resources quickly running out, and having to decide who to spend those resources on, who gets the respirator and who will have to wait.

Believe it or not, I’m high risk for complications if I catch this monster.  I know, right?  I meet several of the criteria for higher fatality risk.  Go, me.  I’m low priority on the treatment scale, though - middle-aged, non-productive, I don’t do or make anything necessary to society (by current standards) and am not considered terribly valuable in the grand scheme.  If a choice has to be made, it’s unlikely I’d make the cut.  Superfluous, me.  So there’s that.

Then there’s the concern over every day things like food, water, daily medications.  Stock up.  Don’t stock up.  Panic.  Don’t panic.  Wear a mask and gloves.  Don’t wear a mask and gloves.  It’s in the air, no, it’s on surfaces, no, it’s transmitted by touch.  It can survive for long periods without a host, no, it cannot.

The quiet voice reminds me that we have food and water in preparation for short-to-medium term disasters, and because of how Mom and I both regularly shop in bulk, enough toilet paper and paper towels for half the year.  We might run out of laundry detergent in a month, but if we WERE quarantined and had to stay home, we could just go nekkid so no laundry, right?  I have a backstock of some medication and enough of other meds to get me through a month before I really need a refill or rationing.  I am part of a large and widespread community in which we all help and support each other.  We will, together, be ok.

Poor quiet voice, trying so hard.

The cacophony is rising over the whisper, pushing the panic button, pounding on it with hammers, screaming at me to...what?  Act blindly, run this way and that, hoard, isolate, hide, hide, hide!

So easy to give in.  I’m tired, depression has its teeth deep into me, I hurt all the time; giving  in to the paranoia would make for a nice, destructive distraction.  But I can’t.  Kids, cats, Mom, friends, they’d get caught in the periphery.  It’s not right to inflict this on them...and grasping that sense of loverightnesscommunity helps me keep from letting go, dropping off the cliff, and landing with a resounding splat.

My armor in this war is simple - research coupled with faith.  Study, learn, ask, filter, process, repeat often.  Believe - in myself, in my ability to learn and adapt, in the people whom I love and who love me, in the basic decency nestled in every soul, in my immune system and my body’s remarkable ability to overcome and recover, and, yes, in my deities.  It’s flimsy armor, but it has worked in the past and it’s all I have, so I’ll use it.  I will survive.  WE will survive.

I.  Will. Not.  Panic. 

Now, where’s that tin foil?


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

Here followeth a Casa de Crazy Thanksgiving tradicion:



And a recent addition to our 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 day if not in the USA or not celebrating.