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

Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm Late, I'm Late, I'm...

...Oh, wait, no I'm not. Whew.

I thought I was pressed for time today - guests coming over this evening and I am trying to prep as much in advance as I can. Our menu, you ask?

Polynesian chicken and (fresh)pineapple kebabs, rice, sugar snap peas (fresh ones, too), mixed berries (cream on the side if it's wanted), and cheese and crackers for the picky eaters. Also half-sweet tea (iced tea with half the sugar)(or less) and home made lemonade. Oh, and if anone wants it, we have watermelon. We'll dine outside while the kids run free in the yard.

So far I have the chicken marinating (my hands smell like lime, ginger, and garlic. I may never wash them!) and the tea steeping, and the rest can happen after I have a bit of lunch. Why does food prep always make me hungry??

C'mon over - we'll even have the kiddie pool full, although you'll have to duke it out with the nekkid five-and-unders over who gets the squirt guns.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Help Hopeline

The Natives Are...Partying

One of the first things I noticed at my first PSG was the drumming. It was constant - day or night, someone (usually several someones) was drumming. Djembes, dumbeks, ashikos, djun-djuns, tablas, bodhrans, and drums I don't have names for, all pounding away together and weaving intricate rhythms through the event.

In the past few years, the drummers haven't kept it up 'round the clock, but they do their best. This year, there was a camp behind us in the woods where a large group of young folks were settled in, and they would start in the evening and drum until the wee hours.

It's not always drums. Sometimes there's a flute, a whistle, a handful of percussion instruments, or even a voice. To be honest, I'm usually the voice when I sit in on the drumming, because my drum skills are...erm...only slightly better than non-existent. Sometimes I bring flute or whistle, but usually it's me and some shakers and my drum.

My drum is not huge, but it's heavy. I laughingly say that I bought the world's heaviest drum, that it feels like it weighs four-hundred pounds. She is solid, with a good head on her, and I named her Azuli. I have plans to dye her head blue one of these days. She has a deep voice (hmm, like a certain vocalist I know) and can be quite loud, if loud is wanted (again, like a certain vocalist I know).

There is a fire around which people are supposed to drum, giving the community a place to meet in rhythm and also offering the opposite end of the camp a hope of quieter sleeping if that's what they want. Sometimes the drums are frenzied, wild, on the brink of losing control; sometimes they are slow, sultry, inviting dancers to come take a few turns around the fire. Always, the sound carries through the woods, over hill and dale, reaching to the far edges of the vast camp.

There are a few folks at the event who don't like the constant drumming - but I'm not one of them. There's something deliciously primal about falling to sleep to the pounding of the skins, having that sound braided into one's dreams.

Heard while sleeping, they become a heartbeat.

Meme, Youm, Them

Just when you thought the Sweetwater was clear...bam! Another meme. Tag yourself if you like...I don't have the heart to do it.

*What holiday is closest to your birthday?
Valentine's Day, and sometimes President's Day

*Why did you go to the doctor for the last time you went?
I go to the doctor??

*How old will you be in 5 years?
Five years older than I am now.

*Where was the last place you went?
Borders and then Chiles on Thursday night.

*Is there a mirror in your room?I think there's one on the jewelry thingie, but it's covered by a piece of cloth.

*Do you have a twin?
Not by birth, but when I was little I had a friend that everyone thought was my twin brother - he looked just like me and we had the same birthday!

*When was the last time you were sick?
Always mentally ill, but physically? I don't recall...

*What was the last movie you watched?
Does the George Carlin HBO special count?

*Are you afraid of shots?
Nope.

*What color are the walls of the room you are in?
Plain, boring, standard white.

*How many letters are in your middle name?
I have a middle name??

*How many times have you donated blood?
More than a gallon's worth, at least. It has been a while...

*Are you wearing anything blue?
Hah! Only always!

*Have you ever dyed your hair an unnatural color?
Blue occurs in nature.

*Who was the last person to make you think?
Chris over at Wat da Wat.

*What is your current mood?
Tired, a little spirit-worn, tinged with blue, and slightly amused by my son.

*What's your dads' name?
Phillips.

*What color is your underwear?
Blue, duh.

*Angry at anyone?
Often irritated, rarely angry. My anger is slow to rise, burns long and fierce, and is slow to ebb.

*What do you want most in life?
To love as I am loved.

*What should you be doing right now?
Any number of housekeeping things, eating breakfast.

*Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?
Often...I love kissing my son.

*Ever kissed someone over 40?
I'm not over forty yet.

*Who is someone you wish you could work things out with?
Define "things".

*How did you and your number 4 become friends?
Number four? Erm...what's a number four?

*Regular Cheeto's or hot?
Nuclear fuel rods!! Woo-hoo! Regular, thank you. I called them nuclear fuel rods when I was a kid.

*If someone doesn't like you, its usually because...
They are deeply, deeply flawed. Hah! Really, why does it matter?? It's their right to dislike me for no reason at all, if they want.

*Do you like being around a large group of friends, or two best friends?
Both. Neither. I don't know.

*Do you think you'll be married in 10 years?
Unless someone dies or gets sick of it, yes. We muddle along.

*Are you afraid of the dark?
The dark is afraid of me.

*Can you handle the truth?
I prefer to - it weighs less.

*Are you taller than your mom?
Yep.

*Are you an emotional person?
Publicly, not so much. Privately, internally, yes, deeply.

*Has anyone ever spread a rumor about you?
I have no idea.

*Have you ever punched a hole in the wall?
No, but I accidentally broke a door once, when I slammed it open. I was seven.

*Do you think you are a good person?
I am the best me I can be, although the definition of "best" changes daily.

*You're sitting at home bored, who do you text?
I don't text. I open up a book and read to myself or my son, or crochet something, or bead or sew something, or write a story, a poem, a song, or do dishes, laundry, or other housekeepery, or take photographs or nap or blog. There is no bored.

*What woke you up this morning?
The Evil Genius.

*Is tomorrow going to be a good night?
It's full of potential.

*Do you wear clothes from Hollister?
What's a Hollister??

*You're stranded alongside the road, who do you call first?
Triple A?? No, wait, I don't have that. T, probably, or Mum, and then...I dunno.

*Are you blonde or brunette?
I'm darke blonde with Azule accents.

*Why didn't you answer the phone the last time it rang?
I was having some private time with Mrs. Murphy and the Yeti.

*Have you ever been in handcuffs?
Nope, and I don't care to be, thanks.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Lady Floats

PSG is a spiritual event, but it's also a musical one. There are constantly bands performing, either at the cafe (yes, it's a primitive campsite, but not so primitive that you can't get a large mocha latte on demand), on the main stage, at the morning meeting, or in their various camps. Bands invited to perform give three concerts - a nooner at the cafe, a midnight at the cafe, and a main stage event.

Wednesday was our main stage concert, and it coincided with the full moon.

The site has done a lot of work on the stage, raising it up higher, replacing the floor so that petite, delicate flowers such as myself aren't fearful for their lives when they walk on it, adding a sturdy ramp to one side rather than shaky stairs, and installing new lights. It's a huge stage, more than capable of handling our small number with room left over for a Vienna Boy's Choir or two. They hadn't gotten the roof on it yet, so we sang under a massive tarp, but it was a clear night and it that was fine.

Our concert started at nine-thirty and rolled right along. Lots of folks were up dancing, getting into the groove, and generally enjoying themselves. We always tell them "The better the show you put on for us, the better the show we put on for you!", and they were flamboyant about their dancing. We are blessed with a fan base (is there a minimum number that one may call "fan base", or is even one person enough?) that is as enthusiastic as they are forgiving - we make mistakes, and then we point them out and laugh about them...terribly unprofessional behavior, according to the "rules" of performance...but we don't care. I was chuckling over the fact that sometimes the crowd knows the words better than we do!

We introduced several new songs which were met with cheers and some terrific foot stomping, and the crowd was thrilled with our other new addition - we have a dancer! She does belly dance, veil and scarf dance, and fire dancing - dancing with fire poi, wands, and fans ablaze. She's amazing, and the first time she performed with us we got lost in a song because we were distracted. Important note to band - don't watch your dancer!!! She also leads the crowd in a spiral dance during one piece, and it's beautiful. I'd wager that close to a hundred people (maybe more, it was dark and I couldn't see everyone) took part in that, and it was...awesome.

As our concert was coming to a close, we had the pleasure of watching the moon rise up over the trees. The stage is at the bottom of a hill, and the audience sits on the slope with their backs to the road, vendors, and more trees. The moon was inching up behind the trees, rather like a late concert goer who is trying unobtrusively to find their seat. While the crowd was watching us, we were watching them and the moon.

We made the decision to sing one more song after we were "done", because we just had to. It's called "The Moon is High", and it's about people gathering together on the night of the full moon and celebrating the return of their spiritual strength, community, selves. It's rich in harmony, and powerful.

Just as we reached the heart of the song, the moon caught her cue and broke free of the entangling trees.

Who needs stage lighting when we have the best spotlight of all?

Friday, June 27, 2008

About A Wedding

Burlap Condoms has invited her readers to share their awful wedding tales, leading off with one of her own.

I haven't been to many weddings (should I feel unloved or something??) and they were all loverly, so instead of sharing something awful, I'm braggin'.

I was married on a Friday the Thirteenth in October, on the day of the full moon, in my Mum's front yard by a judge, wearing a Renaissance style dress. T was wearing a sort of Pirate/Three Musketeers getup, complete with sword. Geeks, we. Our guests were invited to wear Rennie-garb or "resort casual" dress, which was a phrase I thought I made up on the invitations (turns out I didn't, oh well) and did nothing to clarify to guests how they could dress if they didn't want a costume. I do NOT eschew obfuscation!! What I really meant was "Hey, as long as your are clothed and not wearing your rattiest blue jeans, it's cool", but that was way too long for our little created-at-Kinko's invite. Hey, the art on the front was an original piece drawn for us by an artistic friend, so it wasn't all bad.

The original piece of art is hanging in our living room. We had it on a table at the wedding, and friends and family wrote their well-wishes on the mat. Some of them are gone from this world, but their words still linger.

The ceremony was less than five minutes - seriously, it took longer for us to walk down the "aisle" (a pebbled path from the house to the arbor) than it did to say vows.

Words blathered, we stood for photos (taken by a couple of friends because I'm too cheap to pop for a pro. Photos turned out amazing) with our REAL flowers, then headed to the tent on the other side of the driveway, where our potluck reception was held. Yes, I AM that cheap.

The tables had linens, there was a dance floor, and the flowers on the bridal table were real. So were the floating candles on the other tables (best friend provided them, and they were lovely.) We didn't do place cards, preferring the informality and conformability of mingling, of folks sitting where they liked with whomever they liked, getting to know each other. We had scattered throw-away cameras on the tables so our guests could be our photographers. They did us proud.

The food was amazing - everyone brought out their best creations for us. We had plastic plates and cups - so many, in fact, that we are still using them when we go camping! The wedding cake matched my dress, white on white brocade pattern, entirely by accident. The Groom's cake (this has to be a Southern thing, as I never heard of it until Steel Magnolias and my move to the South) was a red-velvet, armadillo cake. Really. I still have the head and the arse in my freezer. Is that wrong?

We drank the obligatory toasts, but T had a secret - ginger-ale in his glass rather than champagne. He doesn't drink, never has, won't. I was fine with that.

We used the same DJ that played our SCCA events (Sports Car Club of America, for whom we worked turns as safety marshals). We danced for what would be the only time (so far) in our marriage, to an Eagle's song. Classy, no? During the dance, I was quietly trying to reassemble his wedding ring - he had a puzzle ring, and had managed to let it fall apart...and he didn't know how to put it together again! Lucky I did, and could do it without looking. His ring was back on his finger before anyone noticed anything amiss - we have some superstitious family members, and what on Earth would they have made of that?? Hmm...come to think of it...

I wasn't one of those little girls who dream about a princess wedding, pearls and crystals on the dress, twelve carat diamond on my finger, all that. I was happy with my Mum's engagement and wedding rings, a dress sewn by a seamstress friend for just about cost, potluck reception serving foods made with love by the people who fill my life with the best of themselves even when they're at their worst. I love that our invitation was drawn by a friend. I love that our reception wasn't catered, didn't break the bank, but gave our friends and local family a chance to shine. I love that our friends and family, rather than burden us with a bunch of household goods we didn't need (I already had one of every kitchen gadget known to man), tried to surprise us (well, me)(it's very hard to surprise me, but I bless them for the effort) by chipping in for a cruise for our honeymoon - we weren't going to have one, otherwise.

Our wedding cost less than many women spend on their gowns. I am proud of that - why spend your (or your parents') savings on a gown you'll wear once? On a hall you won't notice, on food you won't taste? I know it's the dream for some, and that's fine...I've been a pragmatist since I was a child, and it didn't make sense for me...and T didn't care, so long as we were married. Bless him.

At some point, T and I slipped into the house and changed into blue jeans - and so did a number of our guests. We eventually drove off to the B&B we were staying at. I offered to come help clean up the next day, but was firmly told "no". They wouldn't let me help set things up, either. Heck, I didn't even help cook the rehearsal dinner (steaks on the grill, corn on the cob, rocking on the front porch of Mum's house in the dusk). I was secretly glad to leave it to someone else.

Long as it is, that's a nutshell of the day.

So - how about you? Have a bad experience at yours or someone else's wedding? Have a good one? Tell me about it!

Strobing Clouds

One night last week, several of us were sitting around my little portable fireplace, relaxing. It had been rainy off and on during the week, and cool, so the fire was a welcome change from the damp chill of nightfall.

Mum was absent - I don't remember if she'd gone to bed (likely) or was off doing something (less likely). There was plenty of foot traffic past our spot - I put the fireplace in front of our booth so we could sit and be warm or roast marshmallows with folks rather than be cut off from our temporary community.

Our neighbors (stained glass vendors who are some of the nicest folks, and we're neighbors every year at this event) were sitting with me, enjoying the flickering glow. It was the night of the Tea Dance, which is a tough thing to describe - picture people who are camping in a tent city, dressed up in feathers, rainbows, shiny lame fabrics of every hue, and/or lights, glow sticks, or simply body paint. You have half a picture, now. Add in a sort of Hunch Punch of Doom, a "No one under 21, no ID no entry" ID checking policy, and loud dance music and you get a little more of an idea. It is...erm...festive.

I don't go to the Tea Dance. I don't have the strength.

So J, D and I were sitting around the fire, enjoying the night and each other's company, when we noticed strobes. "Tea Dance" we thought. We wondered idly how they managed to get strobe lights working in a primitive campground.

Not until we looked towards the Southern sky did we realize what it was - lightning. A tremendous, billowing, cauliflower of a cloud had blossomed above the tree line and was illuminating itself with pale blue flashes of pent-up static.

Above us the sky was clear, that deep, perfect blue of night, flecked with stars. To the south, rising high, obscuring the bits of light that were kin to those above us, was the storm. With every flash, it lit itself from within. There was no thunder, just the silent flicker of electric wonder. The brief strobes gave us tiny glimpses of the shape of the clouds, gave them definition, glazed them blue, peach, cream, grey. They lit the sky around the clouds, too. Lovely.

As the night deepened, we kept watch, happy to feed the fire bits of charcoal and wood, content to murmur our conversation and just...be.

The recently full moon began her ascent to dominion in the sky, wrapped in the gauze gown of cloud and storm. She peeked from behind the storm, glancing through misty veils of cloud, winking coyly before ducking back behind her ephemeral cover. She gave a touch of silver to the clouds, her light shimmering and spreading out along them, liquid luminescence flowing across the sky, contained by the slender lip of the horizon.

The lightning had long stopped, relenting to the Moon's superior brilliance. She reached her zenith, the storm rolled on to the south, and we eventually gave way to the length of our days, our nights of not enough sleep, and the hypnotic crimson in the depths of the fire's embers - we said out goodnights to each other and to the night's wonders, crawled into our respective beds, and slept well past morning's glorious dawning.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Red Eft

While we were packing out (groan) from our Ohio trip, I had occasion to look down at the ground and discover a little friend in the grass. I was later informed it was a Red Eft, the terrestrial/juvenile stage of the Eastern Newt. I am not much for knowing about lizardy critters...I liked his spots, though, and he was friendly enough to hang out on my hand for a bit before I hauled his (tiny) butt over to the woods where he wouldn't get mooshed into oblivion by my big ol' feet (or Mum's, which may be smaller than mine but are still enormous to a Red Eft!). Sadly, I didn't get a photo of my little friend, as I was busy chatting with him about the dangers of scuttling through a camp in tear-down mode, but I found one on the Internet and "borrowed" it. Take a look:

Isn't that just the cutest little thing? The photo doesn't do it justice, either - those spots really pop! There are club kids who wish they could be that bright and 3-D!

Mum tried to coax the little fella onto her hand, but he (it could have been a she - I didn't ask and it's rude to look) was having none of it. He was maybe the length of my middle finger, if he'd straightened out at all...which he didn't, being a touch interested in scampering about my hands and occasionally leaping down to the ground and trying to get under foot again. After showing him to a few other interested folks, I set him in some leaf-litter and watched him hurry away - probably formulating the tale he would tell his fellow newts about the stinky, loud, obviously not very hungry giants out in the grassy place.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Really? Really.

I was enjoying a snack of pistachio nuts a short while ago and, as is my wont, decided to read the nutrition information on the back of the bag. I like to know how I'm killing myself slowly, don't you??

There was the usual - serving size (not enough nuts to make a mouthful)(OK, am I the only one who thinks that sounds a little...funny?), calories (an astonishing number, considering the Lilliputian serving size), fat grams and types (Umm...don't read that on a pistachio bag if you want to keep enjoying your nuts)(Again, does that sound funny?), and grams of carbs (Nuts have carbs?? D'oh!!). The ingredients were even included, because someone might not know what's in pistachios: Pistachios and salt. Hey, wait - they didn't mention pistachio shells! Think I can make a case??

Also on the back of the bag, prominently displayed where anyone with a partially functioning eyeball can read it was a warning. The warning? "Allergen Alert: Contains Pistachios." Really.

Because someone buying a bag of salted, in-shell pistachios might not realize there are actual pistachios in the bag.

Y'all, what is the world coming to when we have to warn people that there might actually be pistachios in their bag of pistachios??

Well, Sugar Honey Iced Tea!

Yes, I said it...Sugar Honey Iced Tea!!

We are having a rough time here at Casa de Crazy. Actually, we aren't having a bad time at all but the people in our lives are certainly enjoying their share of challenges, and we're feeling it.

First there was Skidmarks. I know he was just a cat, but love anyone or anything long enough, and their sudden absence in your life will sting whether they had two or four feet.

Then Mum found out that someone we know has lung cancer - not a surprise given his chain-smoking habit, but still a bit of a blow.

Then there was our young friend who took his own life because he just couldn't see any other way to end his hurting.

Then, while we were in Ohio, T had to call and tell us that Mum's other cat was in congestive heart failure and the vet wanted to know if they should keep trying to save her or let her go. Mum let go - we have long agreed, we wouldn't keep a human on life support, so why would we torture a pet (OK, fine, animal companion, geeze) that way?? When she got home, Mum had to retrieve the husk for burial. Whee.

We just found out that another friend is in the ICU and has been for several weeks now...seems he has pancreatitis, kidney failure, and some side dishes to go along with that. They can't get his blood sugars down, and that's dangerous, so he's in for the long haul until they sort his innards out and everything starts behaving again.

And now this. I was looking forward to August - we had a family trip planned wherein all of us were going up to one of those Carolinas for a party...a birthday party. Mum's brother is turning even older, and we were all going to party on the beach and let all the new cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, and general weirdoes meet and greet. It would have been fun...a weekend at the beach with family we haven't seen in years. Look out, whichever Carolina it was in, the L family's comin'!! Or...not.

The trip's been canceled. My uncle's wife, my Aunt D, has cancer. Inoperable pancreatic cancer. Chemo, radiation, whatever...it won't matter. She can get treatment, but it's incurable...so die sooner but not ravaged by treatment or die later but have a really crappy time of it. Whee. Double whee.

I hurt for my Uncle, right now. His wife is funny, occasionally outrageous, a tigress for her children, thoughtful, and just a touch nuts...which makes her a perfect fit for our family. She loves to send cards to her family - Bird has received Valentines, Easter cards, Hallowe'en cards, and I think there's even been one or two for President's Day, Groundhog Day, and Talk Like a Pirate Week, too. The cards always, always have holiday themed confetti in them - we've learned to open mail from Aunt D and Uncle T with caution and a broom handy. But we always smile, and Bird lives to play with the confetti. Various holidays are scattered all over the house, under cushions, under chairs and beds, in his closet, in books - we'll be finding it for years. Aunt D had to put up with Mimi, too. She brought Pepsi and potato chips into a house that was usually stocked with fruit, vegetables, cheese, and water...or the occasional natural soda. I haven't seen her since before my wedding. I can't remember when I last saw her, actually. We talk via e-mail sometimes, but that's about it.

Now, I am hoping to see her one last time before she dies. I'd really like her to meet my son. Heck, to meet my husband, since she never has. August was going to be that time - the time for T to meet the woman who sends us e-cards regularly, never misses a birthday or holiday, and often sends patriotic, troop-supportive e-mails our way because she know T likes them.

So, shit. Shit, shit, shit, and more shit.

I really like Aunt D, and this sucks. I know, I know, she was going to die eventually from something, but I would prefer it was another twenty years from now from, say...an overdose of laughter. Not pancreatic cancer.

I really would like her to meet my son, who is so much like my grandfather, like her husband and son, like all of us. I would like her to see his jug-handle ears, blue eyes, evil genius. I'd like her to meet my husband, a man who has tolerated more crazy than Bedlam and is still here to tell about it.

OK, enough of the downers. She's still alive, still well enough to enjoy that...she's seen her kids married and having children and she has all summer to tan to her heart's content without worrying about wrinkles or skin cancer. We will find a way to go see her (whether she wants us to or not, I suspect) while she's well enough to enjoy it.

We get knocked down, but we get up again...

Later, I'll write about Ohio, and Bird's bee sting, and the cats on my back stairs. For now...I am going to finish mopping the floors and try to change the order of the Universe so that my Aunt doesn't have cancer and I am a lottery winner. I'm not asking for much...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

To Do, To Didn't

Before I left for Ohio, I sent T a list of things he needed to do while I was away - at his request! Here is the list with my returned-home observations added for fun.

Water the tomatoes every day. *He did, but they still looked thirsty when I got home. Note to self - plant tomatoes in the ground next time, not a pot!!
Water the little hanging plant thingie next to the stairs every day. *Isn't my technical English staggering??
Water the morning glories every other day. *As they are not brown and dead, I'm guessing he had some fun with the hose. The garden hose!!
I love you. *Yeah, yeah, shut up.
Water the Christmas Cactus on Thursday. *It isn't dead, so I guess he did.
Pick up Bird's book at Borders (It's a Little Einsteins book about space). *They made an outing of it and the Evil Genius was thrilled.
Feed the outdoor kitties. *Because wild things can't fend for themselves, can they??
Clean the cat boxes (poop on floor, ewwwwwww!). *No poop on floor when I got home, happy, happy!!
I love you both. *You'll get over it.
Feed the boy fruit or vegetables with every meal. *Not so much, but at least he was honest about their awful diet. He said "We were guys all week." Yep.
Take the boy to the Y (cards in van). *Again, not so much...but I didn't really think they'd go, and they DID manage to find other things to do.
Take the boy to the Nature Center. *They went and wore that place out. Best borrowed money (for membership) we ever spent!!
Take the boy to McD's to play. *I don't approve of the food, but it's the only playground-like place we have around here. They didn't go, and I'm not sorry. Now that we have a yard service, the lad can play outside and be free of the greasy air, leaky-diaper danger, and plague bearing children whose parents don't have enough sense to keep them home.
I miss you. *Well, once in a while I missed them...but if I'm being honest (and I try always to be honest) I was a little busy to be too homesick.
Read to the boy. *Well, they cruised YouTube together until dawn one night, does that count?
Get the boy to read some words. *Hmm...he's been remarkably quiet about this...
Get the boy to write. *Hmm...he's been quiet about this, too...
Let the boy run wild in the yard. *Mission accomplished!
Water the plants in the sun room on Wednesday. *It's a losing battle, but they don't look all the way dead, so I think he did...
Try not to kill each other while I'm gone. *Everyone alive and accounted for, so score one for the home team!
And did I mention I love y'all?? *Because I do, on alternate Thursdays when the Moon is waxing and it isn't raining.

They also cleaned living room, kitchen, and Bird's room, and someone did laundry because I am out of detergent (although I had to find that out the hard way - guess who's making a shop run later??)

If y'all can stand it, I'll be sharing bits and pieces of my week at PSG with you over the next few days - as soon as I get my thoughts organized. Oh, wait, that would be never. OK, so as soon as I feel like it and my feet de-poof!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Grooooaaaannnn.

Got home a couple of hours ago, unloaded van, hugged son many times, unpacked cooler, sent Mum home (she got home and found her house had been TPed while she was away, and it seems whoever did it may have walked in the house and used her TP to do it!! Thank goodness for neighbors who look in on the house for her!), made lunch for self and T, signed onto computer for first time in ten days and...HOLY CRAP!! One hundred and nine e-mails( and my Yahoo groups were all set to digest, too!)??? Who needs that badly to talk to me????

Now that I've waded through most of those, I am taking a nap. See you when I wake up...in three days!

Home Again, Home Again

Home.

So tired.

Home.

Ahhhhh...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Grunt, Sweat, Groan, Ahhhh....

Today we pack out in earnest - bedding put away, clothing packed, coolers consolidated, emptied, drying in the sun or iced down for the trip home, canopies coming down, everything going into the trailer, go, go, go from wake-up until we haul out whenever we're done.

The A/C in the van is going to feel sooooo good.

Bird man, I'm coming home!!!! I love you, my best good thing.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Button, Button


Pack-out begins today. We'll start this evening, packing up what's left (hopefully not much) of our merchandise and holing a potluck dinner with whatever food we have left - we really don't like bringing it home again, and even though we try not to bring more than we'll eat, we always seem to have many leftovers. The whole band will bring whatever we have, and we'll share a meal before getting back to the pack. By now, I am ready to get home - home to plenty of hot water for washing, actually being clean for more than two-point-seven seconds after I get out of the shower, and air-conditioning. Oh, and you guys, of course!

Bird, wait until I tell you about the mud people and the fairies!! I love you, little man.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Nooner

Our noon concert happens today. I like this one, because we sort of relax, hang out with the audience, and do everything by request. We sit on the edge of the stage and encourage everyone to bring drums, rattles, and other instruments so they can play and sing along...we call it "Be a member of the band for a day". It's always a blast.

Tonight is the candle labyrinth - the organizers of this event make a classic, seven pass labyrinth on a hillside, entirely of votives. They keep it lit all night so folks can walk it when they want. It's possibly one of the loveliest things I've ever seen, and I look forward to walking it every year. It's done in silence, only the sounds of the night and a few specially chosen musical instruments (flutes, hand drum, some small bells and a gone quietly played) at random intervals. There's a fire in the center where folks place offerings to burn - incense, bits of paper with hope, dreams, sorrows, songs, or poems written on them. It's deeply personal, and deeply beautiful. I like to walk it late, when most folks are asleep and I can contemplate the nature of life.

I always come away feeling refreshed, recharged, and very much loved by...well...the unnamed powers that are just beyond my ken - to call it God or Goddess would limit it to the label. It's a peaceful sort of feeling. I like to write my thoughts in a little book when I get back to camp - I have several years worth in one book, and I reread them when life feels too bloody chaotic.

I'll sleep very well tonight.

Hey, Bird, three more days 'til I'm home. I miss you, Evil Genius. You are my heart.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Heh...


Hey Bird, this reminds me...has Daddy been feeding the cats? All the cats? Really? Have a good cuddle night. Love you!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hump Day

Our main concert is tonight - hopefully it isn't raining and we don't suck. Hey, I'm a simple woman (hush) with simple needs - a dry venue and a good performance will do fine.

Meanwhile, have a little recipe:

I shall call this fat bottom dip - I mean, look what it did to the cat. Come to think of it, that cat's ass reminds me of something...hmm...oh, right...my fifty acre bottom!!

This is a simple dip, and I am fond of it.

The cast:
Olive Oil (cold pressed, extra virgin, organic if you can get it)
Rosemary, fresh or dried, chopped
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a saucer or bowl. Chop your rosemary and drop it on in there. Grind sea salt and pepper over the lot. Warm some crusty bread (slices or hunks, your choice). Tear into bite sized pieces, dip, and enjoy.

Easy, no?

Want to get complicated? Add some red pepper flakes. Warm the oil in a pan before adding the other ingredients. If there's any of the dip left over (hah!), you can brush it on potatoes before oven-roasting them. Use basil infused olive oil for a twist. Your options are limited only by your culinary imagination.

Let Daddy sleep in a little, Birdling - he's all worn out after four days of relentless you!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Button, Button

You know, I could get used to this pre-written post thing.

What day is it? Oh, yeah, Tuesday. I lose track, at this event. Here, have a button for the day:

Mmm...chocolate...did I pack any chocolate??

Hey, Bird, take Daddy to the Nature Center - on the really long trail! Muah!! Don't forget, our hearts are always connected.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Midnight Revelry

Tonight at midnight we have the first of our three concerts at this event. We'll be performing at the little (freakin' huge!!) cafe they have on site. This'll be a nice warm-up for our main event later in the week.

I am hoping that it's hot as all get out right now, as I'm selling (among other things) Cool Ties, neck wraps full of little crystals that soak up water and help folks keep cool. I keep a cooler full of ice water handy for folks to soak them in - total sales ploy, but it works. It helps that Mum and I made these ourselves - our booth is all about the things people make, nothing bought and resold. We have friends who send their art along with us, which gives our booth a really full, kaleidoscopic look.

Aside from the concert tonight, the band has two more this week, and I'll be leading or assisting with four workshops. We may have a handfasting or some other ceremony to sing at, as well - sometimes folks ask us to take part in their rituals, ceremonies, and the like, and we try to oblige when we can.

Whew, I'm already hot and tired just thinking about it...but in a good way!

I love you, little man - sweet dreams!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Here We Go

Today we will be setting up two ten by twenty canopies and setting up our booth and camp site. I could just come to this event and camp, hang out, and take care of band business, but I get bored. Also, the only level area to park the utility trailer I call home for the week is in the vending area - so it's all about me and my comfort.

I only come to the event if the band is playing - otherwise, I can't afford it. I love the people - the crowd is awesome, always getting into the music and dancing, laughing, and generally having a good time. George the Sound Guy is amazing, and he always manages to make us (me) sound better than we (I) really are (am). I couldn't afford the gate if I weren't performing, sadly. Lucky for me, they give performers free entry (hey, some places don't even do that, and you end up having to pay to play - that sucks!!), although we still pay full price for vend sites. Also, we don't get paid to perform - no one does - but we're working on that.

So today we arrive at the site, get set up, and fluff our vend/camp site. We live behind the booth so we can open early and stay open late.

I hope it isn't raining - it always rains at least one day during this event, and a wet setup is surpassed in suckiness only by a wet teardown. At least we are Evil Genius free, which makes it ever so much easier...

Which reminds me - I love you Bird, and I miss you. See you in eight days!! Try not to kill Daddy while I'm gone...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

And We're Off!!

But you already knew that.

This morning we're headed to Ohio, Mum and I, for our week long event.

We go every year, usually bringing the Evil Genius along with us. He's not coming this time, as I need a bit of time for myself. Oh hells, yes, I am that selfish.

Also, umm...a lad ought to have some Daddy time, don't you think?

Anyhow, this post was generated last week, on the sixth...and if all goes well, other posts were generated as well and will post throughout the week while I'm gone - a sort of preemptive blogging, if you will. When I get home, we'll see how well this worked.

See y'all in nine days!

Be nice for Daddy, Bird - I love you!! Don't forget - no matter where I am, I'm still with you in my heart.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mumble, grumble...

Was packing until two-o'clock (the morning one). Up before eight-o'clock (same morning). Think a nap is in my future? Hah! Have to go shopping for groceries and camp supplies, leaving tomorrow for a week. Ahhh...I can sleep in the van tomorrow...maybe...or not.

It's our annual trip to Ohio, and it's always like this the day before - tons to do, vans to rearrange, trailer to pack, secure, hitch up, food to buy, freeze, prepare for the drive. At least I don't have to pack for the Evil Genius, since he's staying home - that's a whole day in itself, excluding the time spent doing laundry! Why I bother packing clothes for him is beyond me, since he's usually nekkid before the sun's over the trees! Ah, well, this year it doesn't matter.

If all goes according to plan (and it will, or else!), Mum and I will be pulling out rather earlier than I want to be up in the morning. We'll stop in Charleston, W.V and finish the drive on Sunday morning. It's much nicer to make it a two-day drive instead of a one-day haul.

If I don't have time to log on again today, see y'all in ten days. Hopefully the auto-poster will do its job and there'll be something every day - I pre-wrote some posts for next week. Yeah, I know - I actually thought ahead about something! And I tested it earlier in the week, and it worked! The end in nigh!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thoughtfetti

It rained last night. We had some fantastic lightning, glorious thunder rolling through the woods and bouncing from the hills, and the sweetest fall of rain we could have asked for. Elsewhere in the nation, storms were not so gentle or viewer-friendly - tornadoes have once more shredded the heartland. I hope everyone's OK.

I always say I'm going to pack for PSG well in advance so I'm not rushing around at the last minute, more crazed than usual. Hah! I am not half there, yet, although I finally have all the sewing done and can take the machine in for servicing today. Poor machine, it needs the rest!

I realized this morning that I may have a wee addiction. It's all over my house, I spend an awful lot of money on it, and sometimes it affects the way I care for my family. Curse literacy!! Books! I crave books!! Right now I'm reading: The Bin Ladens (a history of the now infamous family), Faster Than the Speed of Light (Joao Maguejo's book about how Einstein may have been a bit wrong about relativity, among other things - and how excited was I when I stumbled across his Discovery special on the Big Bang??), Stiff (the funniest book about dead bodies I've ever read)(Non-fiction), several trashy romances to balance out all that learning, and I will probably read Milkweed, Sold, The Secret Life of Bees, and Odd Hours in the next week. I'm still waiting for the second book in the Kingkiller series...Rothfuss, you SOB, put the hurry-up on that thing!!

I don't know how my son sleeps in his bed with all those little die-caste cars, stuffed animals, games, cards, and possibly several different lost civilizations sharing the space with him.

Every time I get my hair re-colored, I get Smurf neck. That's when the blue rubs off onto my neck, and I don't always know it's there before I go out in public. Sigh. Dignity? What dignity? Although, I guess I'm not all that concerned or I wouldn't dye it blue to begin with.

I am about to see if I've really lost weight or of the scale is playing a horrible joke on me - just as soon as I get my pants out of the dryer. You'll either understand or you won't...if you understand, cross your fingers for me! Please?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

They Say the Sweetest Things

"I love you. Can I have a hug? You are the only mom I would ever want to have. "

"When I grow up, can I marry you?" (He was so disappointed to learn that he couldn't.)

"Mommy, I love you so much, you're the best Mommy ever." (Umm, not so much, but it's sweet he thinks so!)

And he didn't even want a cookie or anything. Oh, he has twined himself all through me, this child of mine. Powerful stuff.

And then? He farted on me. Ain't motherhood grand??

North Meets South

I wasn't born in the South - I moved down here from New Hampshire in 1986.

Before I moved here, I didn't give the South much thought, as a region. I was at home in the Northern woods, happy to be lost among the trees or half-buried in snow. I liked hauling wood to heat buildings, and had little experience with A/C - even my short stint in Florida didn't acquaint me with cooled air, since we were too broke to afford that luxury.

While I was at home up there in the wilds of New England, Georgia took some getting used to. People spoke differently, thought differently, moved differently, ate and drank differently. They ate grits, and they expected me to eat them, too. Umm...not so much. I find grits to be taste and texture fiestas for which I am never prepared. They ate barbeque (the real thing, not hot dogs on the grill) which looks like a horrible accident on your plate but tastes....mmmmmm. I like barbeque. They didn't understand clam boils or lobster bakes, and they cooked shrimp in fresh water or with giant tea bags full of...stuff. Bleh. Biscuits didn't mean Brittish cookies, and iced tea came two ways (and I don't mean with or without ice!).

I came to love my new home state, and I'm content to remain here for the duration. They may not have lobsters for a buck apiece fresh from the boat, or steamers, or snow up to my ass, or maple trees that turn flaming crimson in the Autumn and provide such sweetness in the Spring, but they more than make up for that with chicken fried steak (be still my heart...oh, wait, if I eat enough of this fried goodness with the white gravy that comes on the side, you will be still, won't you??), fried okra (I know, I know - I'll eat this but not grits?), fluffy biscuits with blackberry jam (oh, I could sing the praises of this delight for ages, but you wouldn't understand until you had some truly fine examples of the two culinary crafts put together for your benefit), barbeque that will make you slap your mama (so many delightful euphemisms), and sweet tea.

Sweet tea. Not that crap in a can with or without chemical lemon-flavored additive that most people mix at double strength. No, I mean real, honest to goodness sweet tea.

Now, everyone has their preference for which kind of tea to use, but the two most prevalent are Lipton and Tetley. I like Lipton because I grew up with it up North, so I know it hot - and it's just fine cold, too. There are special blends for iced versus hot tea, and different brewing methods, from jars in the sun to gadgets that allegedly do all the work from brewing to cooling with the push of a button. As long as the people drinking it are happy, I say brew what you like.

Me?

I take three large Lipton Iced Tea blend bags and three small (single cup size) Twinings bags of either Earl Grey or Lady Grey, and clip them to my one-gallon pitcher (plastic, utilitarian, standard kitchen fare). I clip the with a clothes-pin so I don't have to hold them or fish them out later. I'm lazy that way.

I boil a full tea kettle of water and pour it into the pitcher, careful not to hit the bags directly because a burst tea bag makes for some gymnastic tea drinking.

Let it steep for ten minutes or so before removing the bags and adding one-half cup sugar. Yes, that's all. I know, I know, the proper Souther ration is one cup to the gallon, but that's too freakin' sweet for me! Stir it up a bit to get the sugar to dissolve.

Now, if I'm in a hurry I top up the pitcher with a mix of ice and water. If I have time, I just top it up with water and put it in the fridge until it's cold.

Serve over ice, with or without fresh (for the love of all that's holy do NOT use that so-called Real crap!!) lemon or little sprigs of mint (fancy!).

Mmmm. Ahhh. Nice.

I Know That Place

I know that place.

I know that room, closed off from the world, darkened, light seeping in under the door, isolated, surrounded by family and the world but alone.

I know that place.

Hearing the laughter just a word away, hearing footsteps, or silence, feeling the presence of the people in your life close by.

Might as well be a world away.

Might as well not be there at all.

There's a storm brewing inside that room. Loud, fierce, harsh, angry, a storm crashing over the dweller-in-the-corner, isolated one, lost one, lonely one, angry one, desperate one.

There's nothing to cling to, there, no one to hold onto.

There's no hope of a brighter tomorrow, or even a brighter five-minutes from now.

Just noise, noise, noise in the head, noise, noise, noise and

SHUT UP!!!!!

So the dweller-in-the-corner, isolated one, lost one, lonely one, angry one, desperate one looks for quiet.

He finds it in the bottle of pills. The gun. The blade. Blessed silence.

It isn't that he doesn't want to live. It isn't that he doesn't see hope in the coming days. It's that he's surrounded by the clamor of his misery and is worn down, worn out, worn weak. He finds the silence because he just. Can't. Listen. Any. More.

When you are that tired, it's hard to remember sunlight, moonlight, the dance of the stars, the song of the Universe. When you are that tired, it's easy to believe that the sunlight, moonlight, the dance of the stars, the song of the Universe no longer exist, maybe never existed. It is hard to remember that the silence for you is nothing but hurt for the ones just on the other side of the door, the ones who would come if you called out, who would quiet the noise until you could find peace some other way, if only you called out to them, reached for them, let them in.

Maybe he didn't mean the silence to be so final. Maybe he just wanted a little while. Who knows? Who can say?

His rhythm is stilled and he has slipped free of whatever hurt him so deep, so complete, so final.

I know that place. The difference? The difference is a speck in the great wide nowhere; a promise. I promised not. Never broke a promise in my life, won't do it in death. He didn't have that, I guess. Didn't have the one fragile, tiny, tenuous, irritating thing. I sit in that room all the time, and want, want, want that quiet, that STOP to all the noise and miserable cussedness. I have to wait it out...because even if I hate how I am living, hate how I am being, hate, hate, hate...well, it's mine and I'm stuck with it and I can, when things settle down again (because they do settle down...or is it up?...again), I can think sensible thoughts and figure out a way to change or accept, to Zen it into submission, into a different sort of silence, a living silence, a silence of my son's laughter, sunlight, the heartbeat in my body and the heartbeat of the world and it evens out.

I do so wish I could have given him that silence, instead.

I didn't know him well at all, even when I knew him, but I wish...I wish I could have told him that it can be borne...not just now, but year after grinding year, it can be borne...and I know, I know you don't want to, that the idea of bearing it for all those years is enough to make you throw in the towel, that you want the happiness that looks so real, so easy, on others...I know...but it can be borne, and can even be beaten into some semblance of a life...contentment...joy all the more blinding for the shadows you've known.

I can't explain it, after all these years of trying; I can't explain to someone who hasn't lived it, what a crushing thing depression can be. How it touches, infiltrates, taints everything. How it wraps itself around you and squeezes until you wonder if you'll ever breathe free, breathe easy again. How it seems like it will never end and how it can be so difficult to see that life is worth living.

I'd like to help the people left behind find some perspective - help them understand that they didn't do anything wrong, the fault is not with them and what they said, didn't say, did, didn't do. They want to know why they didn't see, why he didn't give them a chance. They think they should have known!

When someone doesn't want you to know, you won't. No one is that prescient. To look at me, you'd never know what lives in me, devouring me from the inside out, gobbling up my psyche and demanding more, more, more, always more. As for why he didn't give them a chance...likely he couldn't. Likely he didn't have the voice, couldn't find the words, was just too lost in the moment. No one caused it...it ate him alive.

I do know that place...this place...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Stick 'Em Up

I had to edit the picture - can't post nudes on the 'net, y'all - but it's still pretty cute, I think.

Vignette

Little boy excited about prospects of going out into heat wave to play!
Because he's a child and doesn't know what "hot" means
And a friend is coming over to play in the rippling light waves, too
So little boy is excited
Getting dressed, he chooses a black t-shirt
But at least it's not long-sleeved - his usual choice
And overalls - long, but it's OK - fewer bug bites
The shirt is no problem, goes on without a fight
But the pants
Oh, the pants!
One strap fastens fine and dandy, no worries Mom, easy-peasy
But the other?
Oh, no, no, no. It will dangle down so!
It will slip out of his small hand, twisted behind him to catch the erring strap!
He is reaching behind, behind, behind himself
Turning in circles to catch that strap
Turning, turning, turning in circles, excited little boy.
Don't grow up too fast - Mommy needs a store of these little things
To remember when you're a surly teen
Who can fasten the straps just fine.

Once a Week is Enough, Right?

Going to the gym once a week should be fine, right?

Seriously, despite my hopes that we'd get to the gym every day, so far we've managed to go on Mondays, but that's it. Seems the remaining days of the week get eaten up and we don't get out there, dang it!

I am hoping we'll make it today, but it's looking grim. I need to start packing for my trip to Ohio - I'm leaving Saturday for a week-long event during which my band has three concerts and a number of workshops to perform. It's a blast.

At least I don't have to pack for the Evil Genius - he's staying home with Daddy this time, giving me a bit of a break. I enjoy having him with me, but it's tiring. When it's hot (at least half the week, and this year we're expecting several days in the hundreds) I worry about keeping him hydrated and out of the sun as much as possible. When it rains (at least once during the week, if not for the whole event), I worry about keeping him dry at least for a few minutes a day, and getting all the mud off him before bed time. Always I am concerned with making certain he is fed, clothed (or not, it's a clothing optional event and he usually opts out), and entertained. It makes for a long week.

This year, T is keeping him home, hurrah!! Mum and I are both looking forward to a PSG wherein we can go to bed when we like, rise when we like, and do as we like without concern for the child and his well being.

No, I'll just worry about what he's doing here at home while I'm away. He'll be OK subsisting on fast food and macaroni and cheese all week, right? Right?? Maybe he and T will get to the gym more than once while I'm gone...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

How Hot Was It??

It was so hot, the cake melted. It wasn't an ice cream cake, either. Also, we were in the shdae, and the cake was on ice. Think about that.

Bird, Noodle, Sweet Cheeks and Little Man and some other kids all had fun playing at the park, and they were all pretty good about drinking water and resting now and then. Towards the end of the party, someone broke out a water gun, and delighted/angry shrieks ensued. Most of the adults opted to hug the shade as much as we could, even following it around the picnic table.

I actually pre-started the van to cool off the interior before we left, something I rarely do - waste of gas, too polluting.

Bird is bathing as I type, splashing in a tub full of cool water, hopefully washing the sand off - I swear, he brought half the sand box home!

The thermometer says it is over 100 degrees. I have no idea how those kids played for two hours in the heat like that. Thank you, people who invented central A/C!!

Meanwhile, in White Horse, Canada, it is snowing.

More Than Salt

We play a game in my family where we tell each other that we love each other more than...well, here:

Me: I love you more than salt.
Evil Genius: I love you more than the ocean.
T (For a nice change, T was actually with us. Yay, new job!!): I love you more than the IRS (well, duh!!).
Evil Genius: I love you more than pickles.
Me: I love you more than flowers.
T: I love you more than pickled pig's feet (no stretch there).

And so on.

We were playing in the car a few days ago, and at one point I told Bird I love him more than Froot Loops. His response? "Ohhh, no way!" Because apparently love can't trump Froot Loops. A short while later, I told him I love him more than pizza. His response? "Yikes!" Yeah, I got crazy love.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thoughtfetti In a Hurry

I was up late sewing - Mum and I have a big stack of sarongs that I'm making into shirts. Most comfortable shirts ever, and if you ever see me, you'll see one, because they're the only top I wear. No kidding, year 'round, I wear these. To the gym. Gardening. To weddings and funerals. Black tie events. I live in these babies. Yep, they're that comfortable.

So I was up late sewing, until my machine started making a noise. Of course it did - I have all of these tops to do, then I'm going this morning to help a friend finish some of her sewing (she sells these tops and also some caftans we make from sarongs), and I just told another friend who sells these shirts that I'd do at least fifteen for her. Mum, being a die-hard sewer, has an emergency back up machine that she's going to bring me, in case mine decides to be done for a while.

Important note - one should have one's sewing machine serviced more than once a decade. Also, one should clean out the lint more often than...oh...never...if one want optimal function. I think I pulled out a fifty-pound lint Sasquatch from the recesses of the bobbin tray.
~~~~~
In a few minutes I am stuffing Bird into some clothes and rushing out the door to go sew for my friend S at her house - luckily, she doesn't need me to bring my machine after all...I can just use hers. She's making these shirts and gowns, and has a hard time with the necks (they can be slippery little devils, and have been know to cause more than one perfectly competent sewer to cuss like a lonely sailor with a pocket full of money whose Amsterdam leave was just canceled) . I can usually crank out, start to finish, twenty shirts and hour, maybe more...so I shouldn't have any trouble with her stuff, which is good because when I'm done I need to get home (read: fly low), get cleaned up, put on something appropriate for a memorial service, fly back out the door (minus Bird, who will hang with T, because T doesn't do memorial services, funerals, hospitals, or anything sick-or-death related) and drive all the way back down to where I was for the memorial service that I shouldn't have been attending for at least another sixty years.
~~~~~
My son woke up and started singing the theme from Star Wars. He's never seen it. Umm...should I be worried???
~~~~~
I figured out that smell. Yeah, umm...it seems that potatoes do interesting things if you leave them to their own devices for too long.
~~~~~
I absolutely did not feed my child Fig Newtons for breakfast. Nope. Didn't.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sorrow, Joy, and the Turning Wheel

There is a song running through my head. I wrote it a few (eleven!!) years ago for a friend who died of cancer and AIDS. He was young, and it didn't set right with me that he should die. Young people shouldn't die. No parent should outlive their child.

Twenty-eight year old young men who I knew as a child shouldn't suddenly be gone but last week, another friend died. Rumor has it, he was deeply unhappy, and that his sorrow may have influenced his mortality. Rumor also has it that his father is the one who discovered his state of non-life.

Well, shit. I would like to think the rumor is wrong, but have little hope of that. This lad was bright - beyond bright, he was brilliant. I knew him when he was a track brat, covered in Georgia clay dust from the bottoms of his feet all the way to his arm pits. I know his brothers. His mother and father watched my back on a turn many times, and I watched theirs. I watched their kids grow up. It keeps striking my in the psyche, that this young man is gone. I won't see him in October, registering to work the event or bumming a guest pass from me (of course I'd give him one!).

The song is called "Why Do You Call?" I can sing it without crying, but then - I wrote it. My band, my friends, the people who are the family of my heart, we've sung this song on more occasions than we'd like. We harmonize beautifully, four, six, eight, more parts, all weaving around each other, all looking beyond the here and now and into a place where Spirit dwells, and we mean what we sing.

It'll be running through my head tomorrow when I go to the memorial service for a twenty-eight-year-young man who heard the call so loud, so persistent, that he couldn't deny it - I don't think he necessarily wanted to die...he just didn't want to keep living as he was. If you can't see the difference, perhaps you've never been there...and thank all that's holy for that.

The song will be running through my mind as I greet other old friends who have come to pay respects. It'll deafen me while I hug his father, hug his mother, hug his brothers, listen to people wonder what happened - not everyone has heard the rumors, all they know is...he's gone. None of us may ever know - it's not the sort of thing you ask stunned, emotionally bruised, spiritually bleeding parents on the day they are bidding farewell to their child with his family and friends...or ever, really.

On Sunday, still touched by the gentle sorrow of a life finished too soon (from my perspective), I will celebrate a birth - it's Noodle's birthday, and we will go play in the park, have cake, milk, juice, chat, laughter. I will be reminded of life, of exuberance, of children and their delight in the world around them - they're not worn down, yet. It's all shiny and new.

The wheel turns.

The Song in My Head

Why Do You Call? (c) 1997

Why do you call me into the sky?
Why do I hear you sing?
Why do you tell me it's time to fly?
I'm not yet ready to take wing.

And why, why, why do I fly, why do I soar to the sun?
I've places to be, and people to see, and tasks I have not yet begun.
Why, why, why do I fly, why do I soar to the sun?
I cannot start to take my heart away from anyone.

Why do you call me into the fire?
Why does it crackle my name?
Why do you fill me with this desire
To join you and dance in the flame?

And why, why, why do I fly, why do I soar to the sun?
I've places to be, and people to see, and tasks I have not yet begun.
Why, why, why do I fly, why do I soar to the sun?
I cannot start to take my heart away from anyone.

Why do you call me into the water?
Why call me into the sea.
I've not yet finished raising my children.
There are lessons yet set for me.

And why, why, why do I fly, why do I soar to the sun?
I've places to be, and people to see, and tasks I have not yet begun.
Why, why, why do I fly, why do I soar to the sun?
I cannot start to take my heart away from anyone.

Why do you call me into the earth
Down where the roots all grow?
I'm not yet ready for my next birth,
I'm not yet ready to go.

And why, why, why do I fly, why do I soar to the sun?
I've places to be, and people to see, and tasks I have not yet begun.
Why, why, why do I fly, why do I soar to the sun?
I cannot start to take my heart away from anyone.
I cannot start to take my heart away from anyone.


Stay tuned to find out why this is the song in my head...

The Breakfast Of...uhhh...Weirdoes?

Is it odd that, for breakfast, Bird is having pancakes but I'm having whole-clove-Garlic bread dipped in a combination of olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper?

And that, eating things like that, I've still managed to lose ten pounds in the last month?

I was just wondering...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Testing

I am testing this "write now, post later" function that blogger has. Let's just see how it works, shall we?

OK, Then

My son is daft. No, really. He's an Evil Genius, yes, but also a bit odd. Just now, he stampeded into the dining room (yes, you can have a stampede of one, especially when that one is running hell-bent-for-election on a hard-surface floor) calling out "Screen saver!!!!!!!", eyes wide, grinning.

Why?

He likes to watch the screen saver on T's work computer, which is active right now.

See? Daft.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Because I'm Not Busy Enough

I started a new blog.

I named it Mainstream Green. It probably won't be as...erm...prolific as this one, but it might be worth a look once in a while. Ta.

As Green As I Wanna Be

Or not. It looks like solar power will have to wait a little while, because unless I manage to get the balls to write a query, mail it to a million agents, get accepted by some silly sod, get a book deal, and sell the crap out of my little trio of children's stories, I won't be able to afford solar panels any time soon.

Do you hear that, Universe? I thought we had a deal! I write, you sell my stuff, I spend the dough on solar. Right? Right!

Well, now I know around how much it would take to power my home with solar, and all I can say is...OUCH!!! Holy crap, y'all - if people are really keen on green, they need to start making it easier for us mainstream, middle of the road, lower-middle-income folks to get in on it.

My house would be just under seventy-thousand dollars to convert. Yeah, that's right - almost half its current market value! Chump change for Bill Gates, but years (maybe decades) of scrimping and saving for my little family.

So...umm...if when I finally do manage to get my crap stories published, y'all are totally good for five or six hundred copies each, right?? It's for the planet!!

Good Sweaty Fun

That ought to garner some interesting Google hits.

The fun I'm referring to happened yesterday evening. I took Bird outside so I could clean out the van and he could play. It was after six-o'clock, but it was still quite warm. I had hardly begun cleaning out the van before I was just dripping - it's true, you know, that saying 'It's not the heat, it's the humidity". While the temperature was probably only in the upper eighties, the humidity was quite high.

So I was all icky anyway, and irritated because some thoughtless lout had not only knocked my stage hat onto the garage floor, but also stepped on it...and this isn't a hat you can miss seeing. I was pissed. Luckily, it's a vintage hat, made of wool and sturdier than today's chapeaus, so I managed to mostly get it back into shape. Still mad.

Sorry, tangent.

Since I was already hot and sticky, I figured I could get in a little play time with the kid. We had a rousing game of soccer in the cul-de-sac, using his big beach ball. It was fun! I'm thinking that I'll be purchasing a proper soccer ball soon - that beach ball was a little unpredictable in its trajectory.

Y'all, it has been twenty-two years since I played any form of soccer - and I can still manage a decent kick! Bird had a blast because I was lofting the ball over his head and he could chase it down, and he loved trying to outrun me to kick the ball. We managed about half an hour before I had to call it quits - I am not known for my appreciation of being sweaty, and I needed to come in and make dinner, anyway.

Still, it was a lovely way to spend some time with the boy. Now that the days are getting brighter and hotter, we'll be indoors more...so we really need to maximize our outdoor time with more good, sweaty fun.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sweet

Last night, Bird and I were talking about...I have no idea, actually...and the conversation turned to my fast-approaching trip out of town. We've talked about it off and on for months, but he's only five, so his sense of time isn't quite the same as mine, and sometimes he wants reminding of things.

In a couple of weeks, I am leaving my Evil Genius to the mercies of his father while Mum and I head up to an event in Ohio - PSG is an annual event, and my band has been asked to perform there for several years running. We love the crowd, and they love us back, and when we make a mistake, they're very forgiving. You have to love a crowd that will laugh with you!

Usually, I bring Bird with me - T hasn't been able to keep him in past years, and unless Mum wants to stay home with him, I can't go without him. He's just gotten old enough to enjoy the childcare area that they so kindly provide, and last year he was delighted when it rained and I let him get covered in mud and leaves and other blech without yelling at him. Eh, it's a kind of pagan-hippie event, so stressing over cleanliness is low on the list of priorities.

Unfortunately, even with the eight hours a day of childcare provided, it's a hard week for me. I have band responsibilities - three concerts on different days of the week, and several workshops that I lead or assist with, as well as minding the booth that Mum and I set up. Whew. Also, we are usually asked to perform a few impromptu concerts, wedding songs, and the like. Busy week, all around. Add the care of a busy, active, bright little guy and you get one exhausted me!

This year, I harangued talked T into taking a couple of vacation days and keeping the lad home while I was gone. I need the week "off". It will be a vacation, despite concerts, workshops, and vending duties, because I won't have the added concern of Bird's care. If you're a mum, you will get this - even when someone else is watching your child, you are thinking about their care, planning the next meal, planning the next activity, worrying that they are behaving badly...so there's no relaxing while the child is nearby. Sleeping with the child isn't a picnic, either - he's a total bed hog, and he's too young for a tent of his own, so he must sleep with me or Mum. She's a trooper, alternating with me, but it means that every night, one of us isn't getting much sleep. Talk about grumpy!

T has never had a whole week with the Evil Genius alone, so this will be interesting for him. I think they'll do fine, although I may have to reintroduce the ideas of vegetables, fruits, tooth brushing, and bathing to the boy when I get home. Worth it, completely.

So Bird and I started talking about this trip, last night, and he started to cry. He doesn't want me to go...or at the very least, he wants me to take him with me. He would miss me, he said, and I would miss him, and he loves me so much he just doesn't want me to go. I told him he loves daddy, too...and he responded that he loves me more. Aww. So not true, but sweet, anyway.

We spent the next half-hour discussing how our hearts are connected so that, no matter where we are or what we're doing, we're always with each other, always loving each other. Again, sweet.

There are worse ways to spend part of an evening.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Button, Button

I'm off to the gym. I figure, if I'm about to smell offensive, I may as well be offensive!


I've never said that to anyone, but I must admit, there have been rare occasions when I wanted to!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Are My Feet Supposed to Look Like That??

No, really...should my feet look like giant potato dumplings?

Hmm...must be summer, finally. I always get a bit...er...puffy...when it's hot outside, especially when I go out into said heat, and more especially when I walk around in it for hours, spending most of the day on my feet.

I'll have to sit with my feet up for days to de-puff, but it was totally worth it. We had a lovely time at the Ren Faire. I'll tell you about it later - right now I am trying to clean off what used to be my dining room table, but has lately come to resemble a tragic mishap at the office supply store with a side of Toys 'R' Everywhere thrown in for fun, at the same time cooking a very later breakfast for the boys.

Yeah, I hit the ground hobbling today!