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, September 18, 2018

Not the Post I Wanted To Write

My cousin's husband slipped through the veil in the wee hours, when souls are restless and seem most likely to let go of their bodies and wander. 

She has not been silent during his long letting go.  She has shared the sublime, the gut wrenching, snapshots of their whole family's journey through his cancer.  From here, so far away from her, I've been a witness and I've prayed in my way.

Every day, every photograph, the same prayer.  "Oh, you gods of love and family, hope and healing, you gods of miracles and wonders, if ever there was a family that deserved a miracle, this is one.  Find one.  For them.  Good people, strong love, grace, transformation, determination, humor...find them a miracle."  The gods were silent.  There was no miracle.  When I pass through the veil, we will have words.

We don't talk a lot, my cousins and me.  We're kind of scattered, really, geographically, spiritually, philosophically.  Scattered, but how quickly we can coalesce when we want to, need to?  I like to believe there would be sonic booms.  Facebook has been our re-connecting point, and I'm grateful for it.

So.  What can I say about M?  Sadly, foremost is that I didn't know him well at all.  I think we spent a handful of minutes in the same room, long ago.  Never spoke after that.  No enmity, just...distance.  Just...life.  We were strangers, but in a distant, married-to-my-cousin kind of way I loved him.  He loved my cousin.  I love my cousin.  I want happiness...joy...for my family.  He made her happy.  For the sake of that alone, I'd have donned armor and fought dragons for him.

From where I sit, they had a good life, a good love, the kind of thing you can look at and maybe be wistful about.  Nothing is perfect, not even perfect love, but if there is love, and courage, perseverance, laughter, and an understanding that the rough times don't define, that things can be gotten through, wounds can heal...then perfectly flawed is as perfect as perfect gets.  They seemed to have that.

My cousin's strength and grace through the long, treacherous journey through his cancer have been incredible.

I can't write the details, the small things that they did to make each other crazy, to make each other laugh...I don't know about cuddles with their son, time spent with her daughter, or whether they danced around the living room in silly hats or any of the little things that make the larger part of a life.  I saw her photos on FB, her smiles and pride in her family, his struggle and determination to keep on fighting for what seems like a terrible, long time.  Photos of tender connection between the children, hands nesting in each other, smiles, and beneath it...sometimes...pain.  A sense of bone-deep weariness.  Struggle.  Will.  They didn't just give up, they had something worth fighting for.
Tiny glimpses of something marvelous, even towards the end.

He is and will ever be a part of the whole, always in my mind as her husband and father to their son.  Always and forever.

Hail, M.
Hail the traveler.
May your journey to the next world be swift and easy.
May you leave behind all memory of sorrow and pain.
May you carry with you all memory of love, of happiness.
May you be met with joy and fellowship by those who went before you,
And should you one day return to this life, may those who loved you know you again.
Hail, M.
Hail the traveler.

And FUCK!!!  CANCER!!!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Toss

Every day (I'd say morning, but sometimes it isn't) I get up.

I get up and drag my body through the motions of getting dressed, foraging in the wild of Kitchen de Crazy for something to eat, and expending the enormous amount of effort and energy required to eat it.

After that I...


That kind of depends.

There's spoon theory, I guess.

That works.

But I think, for me, maybe Dice Theory would be more apropos.

Every day is a toss of the dice.  Roll for skills, or saving throw, or whatever.  Which dice get tossed depend on a number of conditions.  I haven't quantified them, yet. 

There are occasional positive modifiers, pluses to my roll: a good night's sleep, less-to-zero aches and pains, mental health is up, stress is down, etc.

There are negative modifiers, too, and these are more frequent, almost constant:  poor sleep, stress, mental illness, discomfort-to-outright-pain, body going haywire because why wouldn't it?, etc.

These modifiers have to be added/subtracted from my roll.  Basic life functions require a minimum total, and most of the time I have to roll high (not natural-twenty high, but dammit close) just to scrape through.  Anything ambitious like going out into the world, interacting with people, doing more than a minimum washing of dishes in the housework department, even eating something that isn't pre-packaged and probably unhealthy, means I need to roll very high, have few or no minuses and a whole lot of pluses.  It happens, and it's glorious, but it's rare.  I eat a lot of cheese and crackers or pop-tarts on low-roll days.

Every day is a variable.  Some days I don't even have it in me to throw the dice and count the pips (or add the numbers, really, since most of my dice, metaphorical and real, are gaming dice and pips are impractical on a D20).  Many days, there's more than one toss - basic function, going out into the world, taking on a project, deep cleaning a room, taking a shower, combing my hair.  If the total falls below the required number (which is different every time), it's...er...no dice.  If it just makes or is slightly above the minimum, we have liftoff and may even have moderate success.  High rolls and lots of pluses mean it's a go, and it's pleasant and possibly not exhausting, maybe even energizing.

A poor roll doesn't have to mean failure, it just means I'll need to work a lot harder at something that should be easy...but just isn't.  A good roll doesn't guarantee smashing success, but at least it'll be easier to do the things and maybe I won't feel enervated at the end of it.

It's not fully fleshed out, my Dice Theory...I imagine it'll be a lifetime's project.  Still, it kinda works for me, and I'm used to things that kinda-but-maybe-not-completely work.

What'd you roll, today? 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Letting Go

I've been holding on for a long time.

Longer than maybe I should have.  Longer than maybe that most other folks would.  Longer than anyone else thought I could, or should.

Walking along the edge of a cliff, feeling the pull.

For a while I was balanced, poised, steady.  Things got a little...rocky...a little...rough...but I kept walking, kept going.  "Surely the path will smooth out eventually...won't it?" became something of a mantra for me.  I am tenacious (stubborn would be a more accurate description - tenacity seems to be more of a virtue, and I don't really feel virtuous), steadfast, determined to find my way along.  I don't like to give up!

Somewhere along the way, I skidded on some scree.  I teetered, reached for something to hold onto, found nothing but empty air.  Flailed.  Stumbled.  Slid.

And over I went.  Toppled into the sea of sky.

Somehow, before I joined entirely the wheeling denizens of the air with my own graceless, downward flight, I caught hold of an edge.  Only just, scrabbling for better purchase, stone gnawing at my flesh, tearing, tattering.  I sought better purchase, tried to pull myself up.  I was too weak.  My weight, the weight I carried, was too much.  Arms trembling, fingers slipping, I tried to call out for help, but I had no voice.  Perhaps I was too scared, but I like to think I was just too damned tired.  I am certain that some part of me didn't care to hold on any longer.  Why should I?  The damage being done was too much, and holding on hurt.

Eventually, the inevitable - I fell.

It was bad, at first.  Everything seized up and the air rushed past, the rock face blurred, creatures of the sky cast curious glances at my plummeting form.

Fall long enough, far enough, and you relax.  Did you know that?  You sort of accept what's happening, and one can only maintain that adrenaline rush for so long before the fearful becomes the norm.  It wasn't fun, and I kept looking for a rope, a root, something to grab and stop my fall, but there was nothing. 

I'm still falling.  It's a terribly long way down, after all...

...but I think my wings are coming along nicely.


Someone and I are no more.  We...I...have reached the point where there's no reconciling our differences.  Although I didn't want to, I found myself feeling compelled to call the police a few nights ago, pushed by his drinking, his anger, his verbal and psychological abuse of me, of the kids.  I'd asked him to move out some time ago, to give us some space and time to breathe, collect ourselves, patch up the worst of the damage and see if we could rebuild.

He didn't.

And then things broke down entirely, and I was dialing the phone with a stomach full of dread, a heart full of hurt, a head echoing with hateful, blaming, goading words and the sound of fists pounding on the glass shower door while I tried to wash my hair.  Enough. Was. Enough.

I will not be the supply for a narcissist any more.

He will not remove himself from this house, despite having been asked and asked, so I will be forced to begin legal proceedings.  I don't like this.  I feel that I must, though, because what happens to me makes no difference to me, but my kids?  Are another story entirely.

I did the thing I dreaded, never quite believing what I was doing even in the moment.

Here's hoping I finish building my wings before I go splat.

Monday, August 13, 2018

People Soundtrack


It's a large part of me, of how I feel and express, create and connect.

You've likely heard about the concept of a personal sound track, like in the movies but for your life - songs that are indelibly embedded with memories of places, times, emotions.  Songs that unfailingly remind you of your moments.

I have those songs.

I find that I've got a track within the track, too,

It's my People Soundtrack.

I'm feeling...things...and decided that I'd like to share some of my people with you.

John Watson

John was a dear young man.  I'd never heard this song  before his memorial.  It's sweet, and lovely, and when I hear it I always say "Hello, John Watson" and smile a little.  I miss him so.

Matt from PHP

He's married and has at least one child, now, but I knew him when he was sweet, painfully young, and attending a social group of which I was also a member.  He recorded a version of The Moldau for me when he learned that I adore it.  I believe that he is still sweet, if not quite so young (the years, they do fly).

Gypsy (not her real name, but excepting those passed through the veil or already public in persona, I don't tend to use given appellations)

One of my dearest friends, Gypsy.  Before kids and life and whatnot, we spent a lot more time together.  She played this lush song for me and my French brain struggled to translate to English, but whether I understand every word or not (and there's a lot of "not", these days, but thank goodness for translating programs and my hazy memory of youthful French), I enjoy it.


Sister of my heart, Godmother to my son, one of the dearest people in my life, this is but one of the many songs I found through her.  Decadent, dark chocolate song...


He's married to K2, and he's one of the very few people with whom I will discuss politics.  He's also one of my favorite tech wizards, and I appreciate how often he doesn't make me feel like an idiot.

Mizz R Green

Dear woman, Godmother to my daughter, we've shared a love for another that has brought us joy, pain, laughter, and commiseration.  With her I've learned lessons about polyamoury, some easy, some difficult.  She brought me this song during some dark days.


I've listened to s LOT of Neil Diamond in my lifetime, but until Manx did a karaoke version of this, I'd never heard it!  Now, when I listen to it, I think of my friend singing at the Starwood radio station by the road, waiting for others to come do some karaoke in the summer sun.

Mr. Grey (nothing near his real name, but it's the name he used when we met, and not, it's nothing to do with that awful book...as far as I know)

He didn't introduce me to this song, but I heard it just after we met and it struck me as sweet, and he's rather sweet, and somehow it stuck.  I'm rather fond of both Mr. Grey AND this song.  The video never fails to bring a smile to my face.  Lort, but how I wish I could dance!

Donna Donnovan

I am comfortable using her name because she is fairly public - she founded and is part of Appalachian Pagan Ministry, and they to good work.  She used this song for a video she did for the APM, and it stuck in my head.  I say hello to her whenever I hear it.  She is John Watson's mother, and I love her.

There are so many more, but I think it wise to stop here before a too-long blog becomes too-longer.

How about you?  Any songs that bring your people to mind?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

In Which I Hit the Kitchen, But Not In A Violent Kind of Way (Unless You're A Chicken)

Awake for hours in the middle of the night?  Physical pain?  Depression?  Relationship disintegrated?  Bad dreams? Ayuh.

What to do, what to doooo...

Cook, of course, after running a couple of errands.  I wanted chicken soup, but decided that I wanted more than one chicken carcass for the stock, so I bought a whole, cooked chicken at the market.  Which meant I wanted to do something with the meat since I didn’t need it for the soup.

Rosemary chicken salad with cranberries, it is!

 Purple onion, celery, and dried cranberries with salt (Some day I'll tell you about my salt mix.  I adore it.), freshly ground black pepper, and rosemary, getting happy in the bowl.

Chicken - since I wanted the bones for the stock but already had plenty of meat, I used everything this dear bird had to offer.  A couple of generous dollops of mayo and it was ready to get all riled up.

 I'm going to let it sit and think about life, the Universe, and everything for a while, let all those flavors mingle like they were at a cocktail party, only without the cocktails or spiffy duds.

One of the reasons I went out into the world today was to get a new jar to hold the Chex Mix (not according to their recipe) I made last night.  I have my beloved giant pickle jars, usually, but the're all in use right now and who couldn't use another nifty, pretty glass jar? 

Score, and at 75% off, to boot!

Yes, I washed it before filling it with all that buttery, crunchy goodness.

Meanwhile, the stock is on the stove, slowly coming up to a simmer.  I'm still feeling pretty rotten inside my head, so I'm going to go lie down and see if I can sleep away some of the grump.  If I can't, I suspect there will be more shenanigans in Kitchen de Crazy, probably dark chocolate chip brownie type ones, possibly accompanied by vanilla-mocha buttercream frosting (or icing, I'm not picky).

How's your weekend shaping up?

Sunday, July 29, 2018

So. Much. Nope.

Holy wow.  It's almost August?  How is it almost August?  I mean, I know how it's almost August, in theory, because time and dates and winged something and whatnot, but how the hell is it almost August???

Where have I been?  What have I been doing?  It was just June, just yesterday, really, just June, and now it's suddenly almost August?

My house is a mess.

How's that new?  It's not, really, I'm just thinking that it can't be almost August and my house is still the same mess it was in May.  At the very least, there should be a whole new mess, but this?  This is the same mess.  That candy cane was on the floor before I left for my father's memorial in June.  Why is it still there?  Why haven't I picked it up?

The glue on the dining table is the same glue, flecked with the same glitter, as it was in May.  Those sharp little Play-Dough shards are still scattered about the floor, months after they forgot what it is to be soft, yielding, pliable.

I've been here.  Haven't I been here?  I mean, I've been hither, thither, and yon, but also I have been here, in this house.  It's not like I've been held captive at some remote location, I have been here!  As much as I'm "here", anyway, because some days, a lot of days, I am not as here as I may seem to be because I can look really, really here but be far, far away behind my eyes.  But still, here, or "here", or whatever, how is it almost August and I'm still feeling the sweet, melancholy tug of June, the sense of "I'm not prepared for summer" still strong where "Hurrah, Autumn's coming" should be.

It is possible that I shattered a little in April, and the cracked, crazed pieces are still falling down, tinkling on the floor and crunching under foot and I'm not quite all the way caught up with myself, but I'm almost never quite all the way caught up with myself.  Hell, I'm usually so far behind me I can't see my ass in the distance, even with binoculars and wishful thinking!

I am filled with nope.  So.  Much.  Nope.  Acres, gallons, miles of nope.  It's everywhere, it gets all over everything, it's sticky and pernicious, like moon dust but less clean-up-able and way less precious and collectible and rare.  It's clogged up my thinking bits, so that music and writing and laundry and cleaning and people and everything are all lost and muddled up, and I'm lonely in a desperate kind of untouchable way, but that's so common, I'm used to it, like a cricket chirping quietly in the garage that sometimes I hear and sometimes I don't but it's always there, chirping, and it doesn't much matter any more.

That much nope.

I'd tell you I'll do better today, tomorrow, next week, but I don't know if that's true.  I kind of half-heartedly hope that I'll do better sometime sooner rather than later, but honestly, I'm in the middle of a massive nope storm, so I'm just going to keep ducking and covering and wondering how it got to be when it is when it was just when it was.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

Photo found here and copied entirely without permission but not without respect.
For a history of this day, go here. Or here. Or here. In a nutshell, Memorial Day is for remembering the fallen.  Perhaps one day, we won't have any new graves to decorate. Until then, I remember and (as best I can) I honor.
In Flanders Fields by John McCrea

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.  Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from flailing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields