Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

Tibi gratias agimus quod nihil fumas.

It says "...freedom of...", not "...freedom from...".

"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







Friday, August 29, 2008

Doin' the Bump(er)

I am almost out of buttons, so I'm going to move on to bumper stickers. Please, people, keep it down - I know this is exciting, but try to contain yourselves.

I don't have a photograph of the first one, although I'll try to get one soon. White background, black lettering, very simple, it says:

I don't know what your problem is, but I bet it's hard to pronounce.

I don't have it on my car - rather, it's in a notebook with a few other favourites. Aren't you just thrilled? I know, I know, you can't wait for the next one. Well...too bad

Now I'm off to a long day of motorcycle racing. Wee!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rain, Four Days, and a Mess

It has rained for three days, a lovely soaking rain that occasionally turns heavy. The wind hasn't been too fierce, although at one time it did blow the rain against the front of the house. Were I a better homeowner, I'd have gone out with a soapy brush and scrubbed the siding while the rinse was free, but...nah. The sun is broke through the clouds Tuesday evening - the world was painted with a thin yellow wash and the drops captured by the trees were glistening topaz cabochons in the gloaming. If it rains all weekend, I won't complain one little bit. We have months or dry to make up for.

If it does rain over the weekend, it'll be an interesting few days. Starting Thursday, I'll be working in the tower over at the track, running communications for the AMA motorcycle event. They don't run in the rain. I am torn between hoping the weather is fine (I like these guys and hate to see them lose track time) and hoping the rain continues and the lake once again fills. Not that I live near the lake, but our drinking water comes from there, among other places, and I actually like flushing my toilet once in a while without feeling guilty.

Rain or not, for the next four days I'll be at the track (Road Atlanta, if you're interested), up in the tower, juggling radios, emergencies, timers, and whatever else they throw at me - but mostly, course communications and dispatch for emergency vehicles. Sounds fun, huh? It is. I may bring Bob the Wonder Computer along every day, but won't likely be on the Internet until I come home at night.

While I'm working all day at the track, Mum (who has also done tower duty over there) will be hanging out with the Evil Genius at home. This is because T will also be at the track, working as a corner marshal (if you've ever watched a televised race and seen those folks in white who wave flags, run to wrecks and assist drivers/riders, put out fires, run across the track to retrieve debris, and generally look like they're hot, tired, and having a blast - that's a corner marshal).

Since Mum's staying for four days, I really needed to go clean her room. T and I were recently cleaning out the space under the stairs (no, not looking for Harry Potter, although I think we found a few hairy spiders), and before anything went back I needed to sort through all of it and toss some junque. No kidding, there were things that have been under there since we moved in - I'm thinking that we haven't missed the for eight years, so maybe I can toss 'em. Whatever else I did, I needed to get the mess out of there, because I'm pretty sure she won't want to sleep in the old port-a-crib or on the floor under the bed (the only two options before we sorted all that mess off the bed).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Scaredy...Things

A town near my home is attempting to garner a World Record.

They decided, I know not why, that having a record for Most Scarecrows Ever In One Place Besides An Oz Cornfield (and wouldn't those be scareflyingmonkeys, really?) would be a wonderful thing. Scarecrows are everywhere, and I must say I applaud the ingenuity and creativity displayed by the residents of Hoschton.

While I have known about the effort for quite a while, I hadn't had occasion to see the scarecrows until recently. I had to stop and photograph a few of the new residents.

A Georgia Bulldogs game, complete with onlookers:
Shade tree mechanics:

Ride 'em crowboys!

Gourd, simple folk:
There's nothing like a gourd solo:

The Nascrow winner's circle:

Town crowyer:

That's just a few of them - there was a nativity scene complete with scarecrow people dressed as animals, and entire scarechoir, brides and grooms, a grouping of Sheriff's Deputies, and more - about twelve hundred in all if the numbers are to be believed. They need four-thousand to make the record - I am kind of hoping they make it!

You can't beat small-town America for finding odd amusements.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Between Sea and Sky

When I was a girl, I loved going out onto the ocean, alone, to a place where I could drift between sea and sky without fear of interruption - no other boats, no people, no sound to disturb the song of water and wind.

I would drift, float, sometimes slip into the water, lay on my back, and just...be.

When I moved away from the shore, I missed it, and a place deep within my psyche still yearns for that place between places.

Land-locked, I would climb trees to find solace, making my way deep into the woods where cool shadows curled around each other, played tricks with the light, held secrets and mysteries, kept little stores of snow hidden away from the spring melt. Up high, nestled in the topmost limbs, I would feel the tree sway in the wind, let myself sway with it, listen to the hushing of air through the branches, smell the pine-and-loam of the forest below. With a book, bottle of water and an apple, I could stay up there for hours and just...be.

When I moved from New Hampshire to Georgia, I was bereft - no sea, no magnificent old conifers to climb, and surrounded by people who I didn't know and who thought me worth teasing and bullying because I was different from their norm.

Without the solace of the tides or the creaking embrace of the trees, I found Night.

Outside the house I shared with my Mum and Big Brother, I found relief from the heat, from prying eyes and wagging tongues, from television and telephone and The World. There were the stars above, and I fancied they were laughing, singing, dancing just beyond my reach. The moon would caress me with her light, wrap me in pale silver-blue coolth. I would lie in the grass, staring up and out, and just...be.

Throughout my life, for as long as I can remember, I have preferred solitude to company. A lonely old soul, am I. As a child, I did fine among people - I could laugh, play, socialize, and be content, but I spent more time alone, reading, coloring, or wandering the lanes of made up lands for hours on end.

The older I get, the more I value solitude, and the less I have of it. I wonder if the reason I am so often out of sorts is because I am so infrequently left to myself.

Sometimes my mind wanders down unfamiliar paths, and I catch myself wondering what like would be like if I were alone. Would I have a little house? A condo? An apartment? Would I have some sort of shop (a bakery, perhaps, or a fortune teller's den) and live above it? Would I write more? Would I feel myself struggling to breathe, as I sometimes do now, because my life is wrapped around me too tight? Or would I be content? What if I had Bird, but no T? What if...?

Don't get me wrong - I love Mum, and Bird, and even T (poor devil), and I love my friends, too...only, it would be nice if I could have days when I was alone with my thoughts and my madness and could just...be.

Rain on Me (and You, and Half the State)

Whew.

Drought conditions can make a body a little funny about weather - every cloud has the potential to be a terrific blessing, if only it would wring itself out over key places, like one's home or the reservoir/lake.

Last night, a few ragged remnants of Fay rolled over our patch of Earth and came to rest for a time, graciously bringing a hostess gift of rain.

Inches of it.

More than four inches, to be something more than vague but less than precise.

Again, whew.

Mum's home town made the Weather Channel for their four-and-a-half inch bonanza. Her pond went from pathetic puddle to white-water fed turmoil overnight, and she spent more than an hour first thing this morning cleaning out the overflow pipe so her pond could feed the larger pond nearby. Both ponds have suffered, in the last few months.

This morning, I looked out and saw a world gone green again. It has been yellowing, browning, wilting, fading, turning to a whisper of its former self, and now it is verdant (for a little while, any way)

We are expecting more rain, I am told. I'm glad for that - in the last few months, we've had...well, nothing, really. Dry, drier, driest, it's been.

If it rains later (forecast calls for rain through the next two days), I will go out and gleefully dance in it, maybe splash some puddles with the Evil Genius.

Wanna join us?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

All Good Things...

...must come to an end.

The closing ceremonies were stunning, but that's not a surprise.

I was delighted to see one of the people who has entertained me the most in film - Jackie Chan. Yeah, yeah, I like Jackie Chan movies. No, he's not exactly the height of Chinese culture, and what he has to do with the Olympics is beyond me, but it put a smile in my face to see him there.

The Chinese put their best foot forward throughout the games, welcoming foreign guests with dignity and grace - and if there were a few scandals along the way, well...at least they didn't have a giant blue sperm for their mascot, and no one tried to blow them up, so they are two up on Atlanta.

Ultimately, I am glad that I watched what I did - not everything, because my pesky family kept wanting to do things like eat, sleep, and occasionally leave the house so they didn't grow moldy - and I'm proud (for the most part)(and the ones I am ashamed of, well - they got a good dose of instant Karma every time) of the humanity involved with these games. People strove, and win or lose, every athlete was one of the very best the world has to offer. For two weeks, a mixed bag of my fellow Earth-dwellers didn't just get along - they cheered each other on, comforted each other through disasters, and gave each competition their very best efforts.

And now, on to London. I have a feeling they watched these game, the opening and closing ceremonies especially, and gave a collective "Aww, crap."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Boys With Toys

Warning: This post will offend anyone who hasn't experienced the joys of raising a small boy, or a teenager, or an adult male for that matter. Read at your own risk - the author takes no responsibility for any emotional scarring or blindness that may occur. It'll help to read this with a sense of humor. You've been warned.

OK, now that the disclaimer's over with...

If you don't have a son, or a small boy, teenager, or adult male in your life, you might not get this. If you grew up in a tribe consisting of only women, you really won't understand.

What is it with boys and their...erm...junque?

Really...the Evil Genius has to be reminded dozens of times a day (sometimes an hour) that he is not to have his penis out in public, most times "public" being defined as anywhere but his bedroom or bathroom (which I have deemed appropriate places for him to have the little feller out for...whatever), especially anywhere other people can see it.

Does he listen? Nope. Seconds later, he's at it again, pulling it out through the flap in his underwear, or out the side through the leg hole, or just walking around clutching the entire package through the fabric with a far away look on his face.

Y'all, he's five-and-a-half. Now, I know they play with in in the womb, and when they figure out their chubby baby hands can be controlled, they start up again once they're out in the world...but honestly, if playing with yourself really could make you go blind, he'd be wearing dark glasses and walking with a cane or a dog or something.

I don't have an issue with him and his favorite pastime - I get it, really. Still, every now and then I want to remind him that that thing is attached, so please quit pulling on it like it's made of rubber, and no, I really am not interested in how many ways you can make it bounce up and down or side to side, thank you, and if you keep doing that it's going to stay that way!

I had no idea they were so...stretchy. I didn't really want to know, to be honest - while I think the male anatomy can be an endless source of amusement for those who consent to get involved with it, I wasn't really game for enduring my son's marathon self-amusement years. Neither is anyone else. Our poor roommate, J, is afraid to look away from the television on the rare occasions he emerges from the troll hole his room to join us for an evening, because the Evil Genius is waving his penis around like a lasso. I swear, the kid's going to tie it in knots one of these days...

Last week, I had to utter a sentence I would never have thought necessary (and before I had my own kid, I spent nearly twenty years raising or teaching other people's children - you'd think this would have come up) - I had to tell my son not to play with his penis and then pick his nose. Unable to leave well enough alone, I went beyond the call of duty (and the bounds of sanity) and explained that was like sticking your penis up your nose. Yeah, he laughed until he nearly wet himself and I realized I'd made a tactical error. Sigh.

When it's just us at home, I'm not all that pressed - but he really needs to learn to keep his hands North of the Mason-Dixon when we have company or are out in the world. I'm considering one of those shock collars they make for dogs...but then he'll end up on the cover of some funky S&M/B&D magazine* when he's twenty, I just know it.

So what's a gal to do?

*Not that there's anything wrong with that if it's what you're into - but do you really think your mother wants to know she's the reason you all done up in a gimp suit?? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fish Story

T is out of town again - he left Wednesday morning before sane people are up, and just a couple of hours after I went to bed.

He leaves on Wednesday mornings because he has to be in the office on Monday and Tuesday afternoons.

On office days, I pack him dinner to take along (he works from four to midnight), usually a sandwich, some chips, a few cookies - you know, standard lunch/dinner-at-the-office fare. Once in a while, though, I pack him leftovers from the previous night's meal...especially on Tuesday, when he missed dinner on Monday and it's something I know he'd like.

Monday this week, I cooked a bit of salmon for dinner - and by "bit", I mean half a sockeye caught wild in Alaska. Mmm. While T has tastes that often run to Krystal burgers and whatever's on the dollar menu at the local drive-through, he does like my cooking enough to eat things he wouldn't have before we met - including salmon, and new potatoes with dill-butter.

Since he missed dining with us Monday, I packed it for his Tuesday dinner and gave him the usual microwave re-heating instructions - heat for thirty seconds at a time, turn over, repeat until food is warm enough for you, enjoy.

It usually works just fine.

Usually.

On Tuesday night, though, something went horribly (and hilariously) wrong. All I can say is, it's a good thing that T works alone in the evening.

He set things in motion, thirty seconds at a time, and left the room for a moment to check on...whatever.

Boom.

No kidding. Boom.

Apparently, I packed him a loaded fish.

Yep. It exploded. All over the interior of the microwave. With a boom.

He said he ran into the room thinking the microwave had exploded or something.

Heh.

It was fine, just redecorated with a salmon-pink interior!

He called me and wanted to know why I didn't warn him, but honestly? I've never exploded anything in a microwave. I don't use them often - just to re-heat the occasional meal when I'm in too much of a hurry for the oven or stovetop, and to make popcorn.

I'm kinda sorry I missed it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oy, My Head is Spinning

No, really. I may also be cross-eyed.

I have been reading, and reading, and reading, and eating a hot dog, and reading and reading, and downing twenty or so Twix miniatures, and reading, and eyeing the bottle of scotch...

Luckily I did some of this leg work last year, when I thought I was almost finished with one of my longer pieces. Yeah...almost finished...did you know that most writers get the first eighty-percent (should that actually be hyphenated?) done in fairly short order - but the last twenty can bumfuzzle 'em? Yep.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, dazed and confused on the Internet.

I did some legwork last year and found a few websites dedicated to helping aspiring authors. No, not to part with their money - I do know enough about this racket to know that legitimate agents don't ask for reading fees and one doesn't generally pay to publish one's own work unless one is OK with the vanity press [Hey, back off, I'm not disrespecting the vanity press...it has its place in the world...just not my world. Yet. I'm hoping I don't have to resort to that, but hey...I won't write (hah!) it off entirely, at least not for the children's stories - I even have (potentially) some artists that I believe would do some brilliant illustrations for me if I begged hard enough and offered up bribes of fresh baked cookies, muffins, and bread.] - but to find representation and (one hopes) be published.

There being so very many sites out there (it's mind boggling, truly), I narrowed it down to a couple that were laid out in a way I could navigate without requiring a map, Sherpas, or liquor.

I have spent the last few hours bouncing around one of those sites (Agent Query), trying to make heads or tails of this whole finding-an-agent/writing-a-query thing. Whew. At least they provide a tool to narrow down the list of people I might irritate to a few pages-worth of names. Twenty one. Pages, not names. And that's for the children's story/stories, because the not-a-mystery (yes, Kit, I know it's a mystery...but it really isn't a whodunit sort, because you know whodunit from the start) isn't quite done with the whole proofing/editing phase (thank you Kit, for being one of my victims/proofers. There are some other folks having a go at it, too, but Kit has actually read the dad-blasted thing once and is going through it again...that's yeoman's duty, y'all!).

It's taken hours because I'm diligently reading each agent's mini-blurb, then (where I may) link-hopping to read up on them and their agency, on what (or if) they are looking for in new authors/material, and (when they're kind enough to provide them) their thoughts on query letters.

Something that troubles me, though, is how many agents want you to be published before you contact them. Umm...hello? If I knew how to get bloody published, I wouldn't need help, now would I??

There are different guidelines for fiction, non-fiction, and children's stories. Send text, don't send text, e-mail, don't e-mail,...I mentioned a spinning head?

I remember why I gave it up last year - TMI. What, you thought TMI was only for personal tales involving unfortunate bowel activity or sexual misadventures?

Now I am sitting here with a bowl of orange Jell-O (there's always room for it, dontcha know?) wondering what the Hell I was thinking.

Still, I think I have enough information to have a go at making a couple of queries...and the names I found accept e-queries, so I won't be out postage or printing, so that's a bonus.

Tomorrow, I will try to write some query letters in preparation for e-mailing.

Y'all, why can't it be as easy as "I wrote a story, wanna see?"

Oh, Help

Y'all, I would rather light my hair on fire than put myself before strangers to be judged.

Hell, I'd rather let a stranger light my hair on fire than give them an opening to tell me how many ways my writing (or whatever) isn't good enough.

Still.

I keep saying I am a writer, albeit an unpublished one.

It's time to remedy that unpublished part, and for that...well, I need to grow a pair. OK, maybe not really, since growing a pair would make me a medical oddity, and while garnering my place in talk-show history might also make my fortune, it isn't exactly how I picture funding my retirement...or at least my kid's future education or some solar panels or the next run to the grocery store. I won't aspire to paying for fuel for the van - that would just be asking too much.

Sigh.

So I finally finished some things - one longish Not-a-Mystery and several short children's stories - and I've been sitting on them. Again, not really...that would hurt my bottom and make for some terribly wrinkly paper, and also I don't print hard-copy...but I have been letting them languish on my hard drive for a few days weeks months OK, for over a year. I have about a dozen more long ones and an equal number of short ones in half-finished limbo - hey, you try getting anything done when there's a five-year-old Evil Genius around all day.

The trouble is, while I enjoy writing my stories, and while I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I actually completed something longer than a few paragraphs or pages (90, 212 words, to be precise)(Yeah, have I mentioned that I sometimes can't shut up??), that doesn't mean anyone else will share the sentiment, and I haven't done anything with them.

I'm worried that they just aren't good enough. I'll keep writing no matter what, but...but I am just not interested in throwing myself in front of the bus - the bus, in this instance, being the publishing world in general and agents in particular.

Don't get me wrong - agents are terrific folks, from what I've seen, and they're eminently useful when you know bugger-all about getting published - but they're strangers, just the same...and querying them (to me) is like begging the cool kids in school to let you eat lunch with them when you just know you're not good enough - it takes guts, more than I apparently have.

So here's where you come in (no worries, you don't have to do anything difficult) - if you've got a kind thought to spare, send it my way...because for the rest of this week I am researching how to write a query letter, who is interested in representing the sorts of twiddles I write, and flinging myself under the fast-moving, twenty-ton, cross-town bus...

I know, I know, there are so many people out there with bigger worries, but I am feeling just a wee needy and self-centered at the moment - I'm tired of feeling like I don't contribute anything to my family's upkeep, that I don't have value because I don't earn my keep, and I really don't have any marketable skills except my ability to string words together in song or story.

So wish me luck, if you have a little to spare, please.

And that quaking you feel? It's not a tectonic event - it's me shakin' in my shoes.

Eek.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Just Ouch

I broke my pinkie toe on Friday.

You know how you can be walking along, maybe with your arms full so you can't see the floor, and maybe you don't have shoes on because you're indoors and it's hot, and maybe you move your foot and possibly your foot isn't quite where you thought it was, and you mash your pinkie toe into an impediment?

And maybe you're walking kinda fast? Like mach two-hundred?

And your toe kinda goes "POP!!" or something, and you dance around with your arms full and try very hard not to say cuss words and throw what you're carrying down because it's fragile?

Yeah, like that.

And last evening? My foot got tangled up with something (I have no idea what)(possibly an octopus or one of those carnivorous vines like in Jumanji) and yanked into something else (it could have been a book, or it could have been a granite block randomly placed where my foot would find it) and that same pinkie toe hit that something else (my vote is for the granite block) and I hopped around again and shouted a very rude word just about as loud as I could, frightening the cats, startling T and J, and making the Evil Genius giggle like a loon.

Now it's all poofy and turning colors and isn't speaking to me any more. Poor pinkie toe.

Ouch, y'all. Just ouch.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thoughtfetti

Speak(er)! I don't like speaker phones. I don't want everyone and their cousin hearing a private conversation, for one thing. For another, I have yet to experience the speaker phone that is clear, without all that cellophane-crinkling-noise static, and doesn't cut out every third word (I swear, there's an algorithm that phone manufacturers use to calculate precisely which words are most important in a sentence, and they're using it to drive me even more crazy than I already am - and y'all know I started out a bubble off plumb). I don't like having to repeat myself or listen to driving or household noises, or hear someone brushing their teeth or whatever they're doing that they can't just hold the stupid phone. Really? Call me back when you can focus on the conversation, OK? I especially don't like these new-fangled speaker phones that play through a car's speakers - if I wanted to be on the radio, I'd get a job in broadcasting or put in one of my CDs.
~~~~~
I never listen to my own CDs. I wrote the songs, rehearsed them, performed them, and sang them elleventy-million time to get the recording just right (OK, really I usually only have to do them once or twice unless there's an equipment problem or outside noise interference, but it feels like elleventy-million times). I don't need to listen to them - I know what they sound like. I wonder if other musicians feel the same way.
~~~~~
I don't read my own stories, once they're written and proofed and done. Same thing - I wrote 'em and they're done, and I may be a little tired with them. Think Dean Koontz gets that?
~~~~~
When I am angry, unhappy, or generally in a dither, I bake. Baking is therapeutic. Baking makes my house smell nice, makes my son happy, and provides me gifts to ply the neighbors, friends, and family with. Last night I was angry. This morning, I baked. I am still irked, but it is more manageable and the Evil Genius not only doesn't have to fear for his life, he has cinnamon-sugar muffins to munch. Win-win, from his perspective.
~~~~~
Apparently, once I get mad, I stay that way for a while. If I were a volcano, I'd be Mauna Loa - sort of slow to erupt, but relentless once I get going, with the occasional outburst to keep people on their toes. The funny thing is, I used to be such an even-tempered person...almost unflappable. These days, I find myself getting angrier and angrier about stupid shit like people who don't use their blinkers or drive while watching videos, texting, and chatting on the phone, or being put on speaker phone - rude behavior, in general, is making my eyes twitch. I may need to move to Montana, where there are more cows than people - and when's the last time a cow swerved into your lane because they were too busy texting to drive properly?
~~~~~
Vonage ads are a special kind of annoying.
~~~~~
My house smells like muffins rolled in butter and dipped in cinnamon-sugar. This is a happy smell. Mmm...
~~~~~
In the time it took me to write this post, the Evil Genius has inhaled (because I don't think he actually chewed them) three muffins, a bowl of blueberries (a big bowl) and asked me for an apple.
~~~~~
Bob Books rock the house; if you have a beginning reader in your vicinity, get 'em Bob books - they start with some basic foundation words and build up to sentences, complex words and sounds, and plots. The Evil Genius plowed through the first three sets in short order and is now plugging away at set four. War and Peace can't be far behind.
~~~~~
Why is DirecTV advertising on DirecTV? If I already have it, why do they need to sell it to me? My brain hurts...I need a muffin.

Button, Button


Friday, August 15, 2008

Here There Be Dragons

I am trying to let go of some anger right now, because it is making me physically ill; I've had a headache since Wednesday, my neck is seizing up, my stomach is roiling, and worst of all I am short-tempered with Bird, who deserves better.

I took him with me last night because he didn't deserve to be cloistered with Mad Mommy in Casa de Crazy all night. This evening we went out so he could play with a friend, because I didn't want to sit at home and snap at him until I got so pissed off I wanted to lock him in his room just for being a normal, healthy, active little kid.

I don't feel like explaining why I'm angry. Honestly, I started to - it got long. I mean, even for me, it was too freakin' long, and y'all know I'm all about some War and Peace type entries. It got personal, and it got hurtful, and I was just getting angrier, and I decided it just wasn't worth the effort.

So now I'm writing this instead. Really, we're all better off. Well, maybe not me - I still feel like shit.

I am seriously considering taking my kid, selling the one thing of monetary value I have besides my van (the family heirloom diamond engagement ring that my mother wore and passed on to me, the stone for which one of my ancestors dug up from an Egyptian tomb a bazillion years ago and had cut at Tiffany's - OK, long story I'll tell later), and going on a two week cruise where he's in child-care all day having fun with camp counselors and other kids and I sit on the deck and drink stuff I can't pronounce but that makes my face go numb, flirting unsuccessfully with bartenders, cabana boys, and anyone who doesn't run away in abject fear - all without a cell phone and without telling anyone exactly where we've gone or when we'll be back because I just don't think they'd miss us or even notice we'd gone. Maybe Mum would like to come along - after all, I'd be hocking her ring, it's only fair I buy her a ticket, too.

Oh, hells, I went long anyway.

I will end (at last!!) with this - it is difficult enough to go through life on the balance beam that is mental illness without having to dodge (figurative) wrenches flung at my (figurative) head by someone who should know very well what they're doing and either hasn't grasped it yet or just doesn't care...either of which means I am not worth the effort, which just brings me back to why I'm pissed off and don't need to write any more tonight.

Right now? Here there be things that even dragons fear.

Creepy-Crawlies

Hi, it's Bird again!

I went out with Mommy on a date last night because Daddy is not home right now and he said I was the Men of the House and In Charge, so I had to take care of Mommy and got out with her, so we went to Borders and Friday's and I had macaroni and cheese and mandarin oranges to eat and we colored on the kid's menu and I had lemonade to drink and only dropped a little of the macaroni and cheese from my spoon.

I like macaroni and cheese, don't you?

I watched the 'lympics with Mommy, and we told the Korean man to show the tall bar who's boss and he did and Mommy cheered because he didn't fall like he did from the rings, which Mommy was sad about because she said you don't want to win because someone fell or got hurt but because you did your best and it was better than their best, but I still think winning is the best thing.

Mommy was cleaning my room and I told her a story about a train and the aircraft carrier and the bugatorium while she was cleaning, and we looked for all my monster magnets but only found most of them but that's OK because I told Mommy to keep an eye out for them and she said she would, so they won't be lost.

I told her about the spiders in the garage. When we got home tonight, we saw a cricket in the driveway when we went to get the mail, and I had to investigate it and tell it about our night, and it sat still and listened very carefully until we went inside, and then I told mommy about the bugatorium and the spiders in the garage. The spiders start out as black widows but they turn into big-legged daddies and then they don't change any more. All the spiders start out as different ones and turn into big-legged daddies and then they can't change any more.

The bugatorium had little blue fuzzy bugs, but Mommy swept them up so now they aren't there any more, but that's OK.

Today we are going to Gramlin's house to bring her tables and now I have to go get ready to go because Mommy says we have to hurry up so we aren't too late and Rosie - Rosie is our van - has to have fuel and we don't go through the car wash any more because it's a waste of water but I really miss doing that so I hope we get to do it again soon.

Bye!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Drive-By Memeing

This one seems to have been written by someone over the age of twelve! Consider yourself tagged if you want - just let me know if you decide to do it so I can read your answers and see how much cooler than me you are!

Do you hold grudges easily?
Nope, I put a lot of effort into it - they're wriggly little things!

Do you suffer pain from a past hurt?
I don't suffer, I endure...and sometimes I even grow stronger.

Can you handle constructive criticism?
If it's truly constructive.

In this world what makes you the happiest?
The cosmic dance and the Evil Genius.

What are your thoughts on sex before marriage?
Before, during, after, without, whatever - as long as it's safe, sane, and consensual, it's none of my business.

Do you believe colors express your personality?
If I wish them to, yes.

Are you a private person?
On the surface, no. Deeper in, yes.

Who do you respect the most?
People who are active in their personal evolution, and fearless in the process.

What is an interest of yours that others would find silly?
Quantum Physics. I mean, I suck at math and scraped through Chemistry by the grace of a kindly (and somewhat insane) teacher, so how on Earth did I get hooked on physics? Ah, the delightful oddity of it all...

What are your thoughts on the world?
It's roundish, greenish, blueish, and rather messily kept by the dominant denizens. Also, I love it, and everything on it, deep, abiding, and absolute.

Do you believe there is a god?
Gods, Goddesses, it's one big pantheistic party 'round here.

Do you fall for romance movies?
If they're comedies, too...or the older black and whites...then I'm OK with them, but they're not my favourite cuppa.

Do you fall in love too quickly?
Hahahahahahahahahah.........!

Do you believe in destiny (fate)?
I believe that we create our fate, that we choose our destiny in the moment.

Do you often get annoyed by cell phones?
And their users, yes.

Do you catch yourself running from situations?
I only run when chased. I'm more of a face-it-as-it-comes kinda gal. Unless there are explosives involved.

What would you consider to be your best talent?
Naivete. Really, it takes a lot of skill to remain this clueless at my age. I work at it. What, you don't think that counts? Fine. Music. I can shake the earth with my song, and have changed lives with it, too. That's pretty good, no?

Which do you value more, family or friends?
They are all the family of my heart. yes, I know, that's a non-answer - but you should know better than to ask an Aquarian to pick a favourite or choose sides.

How do you define love?
Reluctantly - it's like defining Gods, they become limited to the definition you give them. I'd rather let love grow wild and free in its own way than restrict it to some narrow definition.

Do you like card games?
Some of them, very much. Ever played Fluxx? Fun!!

Have you ever made out on a couch?
Mmm...nope, but hope springs eternal.

Ever been swimming in a lake or river?
Often. I have much love for the water. If you've never gone skinny-dipping in the dark of night, when the moon is new and the stars are bright, dancing their light across the rippling water, or when the moon has silvered the surface with her fullness, then you have missed a truly wonderful experience.

Ever been to a bonfire party?
Yes - among of the perks of being pagan, we have lots of fires, drumming, dancing, and song.

Have you ever been on a horse?
Yep...and off when I wanted to be on, but the horse had other ideas.

What's irritating you right now?
The seeming self-involvement of the people who share this planet.

What radio station(s) do you listen to?
iPod.

Are you afraid of the dark?
Oh, no - I embrace the darkness, both internal and external. Without that darkness, without the shadows, I would not know the glory of light. Also, there is something welcoming about the star-stippled night, something primal, visceral, and other poetic words.

Do you get distracted easily?
That depends entirely on what I'm doing, and with whom.

What is the last thing you did before you went to bed last night?
Felt like an asshat.

Is this year the best year of your life?
I don't know, I haven't experienced them all, yet.

Do you have any strange phobias?
I don't think they're at all strange. No fear is a silly fear when it's the fear you are experiencing.

Is it easier to forgive or to forget?
The memory is long, the heart large. Forgiveness comes easy, but I do not forget - I learn.

Do you give out second chances too easily?
Too easily? No. Easily, yes.

Have you dated people who weren't good to you?
That would imply I dated.

Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance?
It depends on what they've done that created the need for one. I think sometimes one acts in such a way as to negate any new opportunities.

Where is your cell phone?
In the car, languishing.

What time did you go to sleep last night?
Sometime around two.

Are you excited for the future?
Hopeful, perhaps.

Your first ex shows up randomly at your house, what do you say?
"I'm sorry, but you must have the wrong address." I don't have any exes.

When was the last time you yelled at someone?
Last night, right before I felt like an asshat.

When was the last time you talked to one of your best friends?
In person? Yesterday evening. Online? A little while ago.

Have you done anything you regret in 2008 so far?
Of course.

Is there any emotion you're trying to avoid right now?
No - I'd rather just ride them out than avoid them.

Have you ever slapped anyone?
Nope.

What's your last text message say?
I don't text.

Have you ever been called Prince/Princess?
Nope.

Do you wear make up everyday?
Nope - I avoid it like the plague and usually wear it only when on stage or attending a formal event.

Who do you go to when you need someone to talk to?
The Goddess, usually, or myself - I try not to burden the people I love with my crap.

Oh, How Lovely Is The Evening

This is where we spent last evening:

Nice, huh?Bird played with Sweetcheeks, Littleman and Noodle in the fountain, then ran and played in the park.

I only took a few pictures before the batteries crapped out. Sigh. If I get permission, I'll post pictures of the other boys, too.


I wish we had a park like this near home - this one is a twenty minute drive away on a good traffic day. Worth the drive now and then, but not every day.


When we got home, I was informed by the Evil Genius that the light in his room had a power surgery and needs a new lightbulb. Heh...

On an unrelated note - does anyone else think the male Olympic gymnasts look like human exclamation points?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Teeny, Tiny, Itsy, Bitsy Torture Devices

Legoes.

Need I say more?

The Evil Genius decided that he wanted to build according to the directions today, rather than use his imagination. What that translates to is: Mommy gets to dig through elleventy-million Legoes to find the one the size of a sesame seed that goes in the right spot.

Or the one that's exactly like thirty-three others only it has a sticker on it.

Or the little hands that go with the Lego man, because someone is very thorough when he takes the Legoes apart, and they have to match and they can't be grey because this particular Lego man has on a white space-suit, and so his hands have to be white, too, but all you can find in the bottom of the Lego bin are grey ones. We won't even discuss the visor for his helmet. The orange one. One orange visor in the bottom of the bin, when all the rest of the visors are grey. Nope, not going to talk about it.

That howling you hear? Coupled with hysterical laughter? Yeah, that would be me.

Sigh.

Have you ever tried to type cross-eyed from Lego-rummaging? Oh, well...he's trying to help, anyway.

You know how helpful a five-year-old can be.

It's going to be a long day.

Monday, August 11, 2008

You Say "Muffin Top" Like It's A Bad Thing

Of course I had to make blueberry muffins. I have three quarts of fresh, lovely blueberries - you know I am going to have some fun with them!Look at them steaming in there - what on Earth could they be doing to fog up the container that way??

It must be nerves - they know I have plans, muahahaha!!

Ahem.

Muffins, anyone?

The cast:

3/4 cups mlik
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 egg
2 cup all purpose flour (I used unbleached, and you can use whole wheat if you like)
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder (yes, I know that's a Tablespoon, but work with me here)
1 teaspoon salt (see? This way you only dirty one measuring spoon)
1 cup fresh blueberries (picked through for bugs, weirdoes, or random things kids thought should go into the berry bucket)

Heat oven to 400. Hot stuff!

Grease the bottom of muffin cups or line them with foofy paper thingies. I like foofy paper thingies - look at the colors, aren't they festive?

Beat milk, oil, and egg in a bowl until they look like this:

Wow that looks really...unappetizing. Moving on.

Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt all at once.

Stir just until moist (batter will be lumpy), then add blueberries.
Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter equally into muffin cups. Try to actually get it into the cup and not, you know, all over the pan, the stove top, your shirtfront, and two of your three cats.

Sprinkle the tops with sugar if you like (I like). Bake at 400 for twenty minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from pan immediately.


Mmm. Fend off Evil Genius who wants a muffin NOW!!! because the berries are like little, sweet, blue lava bombs in there.

Brew some coffee or tea, or pour some juice, and breakfast is served.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

B-2 Bugs Find Me Irresistible

We picked blueberries today. Mmmm, blueberries, warm from the sun, fresh from the bush. Sigh. My friend Kit, her sons Little Man, Sweetcheeks, and Babyman, her husband The Music Man, Bird, T, and me (or I, take your pick), plus a guest appearance by Mum, made up the party.

Mum's neighbor, Kindhearted Blueberry Goddess, lets us come raid her bushes every year - she has so many, she can't eat them all and she's glad to have someone come take care of them for her!

A larger-than-a-bee-dear-goddess-that-stinger-could-go-right-through-me bug decided I was its friend. For once in my life, I didn't remain calm, cool, collected, and keenly interested in whatever critters has come in for a landing and a bit of the old Marco Pole routine. Nope. I didn't quite squeal, but I did finally scuttle away from the bush I was gleaning and ask The Music Man for a little help removing the visitor, since I had a bucket of berries in one hand and it was crawling around the neckline of my shirt looking for a way in. I don't mind visitors, really, even the stingish sort, but not down my top!

Of course the dadblasted thing re-launched itself and was long gone before The Music Man could see it and I felt like an ass. It was probably looking for its mother ship. I abandoned that bush for safer, less stinger-y ground and finished filling my three quart container.

The boys ate whatever they picked, probably got too much sun, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Giant stinging brutes aside, I had a lovely time, too, despite the knowledge that two of the boys (Evil genius included) may have discovered the joys of poison ivy!

We got home and T decided to clean out the cupboard under the stairs. I'm thinking of stashing a certain Evil Genius there until he gets an attitude adjustment (my kid has a sudden severe case of The Ass and he is getting on my last nerve). I cleaned the kitchen so this:

...would not be lurking to one side while I fixed dinner.

I have no idea how we get so many dishes in the sink on a day we're not even home...must be dish gnomes. Next time we go out, I'm leaving my giant stinging bug-friend on guard - the thing would frighten off a Marine!

Button, Button


Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Pickle Fairy

Hi! My name is (redacted by a paranoid mother) Bird.

I am five.

I go to school at home because Mommy says you don't inflict an Evil Genius on the unsuspecting public school system. I asked her what "inflict" means and she said I should look it up. I will as soon as I can spell it. I asked what "unsuspecting" means. She said I should guess. I know what Evil Genius means.

We went to the bank yesterday and Mommy gave me a quarter for the gum machine. There was a little kid there and he was first, so I waited my turn, but he couldn't do it do I helped him because you have to help little kids when they need it. He got a big gum, but I wanted the small ones so I got small gums - five of them!

Yesterday, Mommy let me have a cheeseburger from Burger King, and guess what? The Pickle Fairy been at Burger King! There were three pickles on my cheeseburger! Three! Mommy said it was a pickle estravi extravda extrvaganze a lot of pickles. I told her the mustard fairy been there, too. She gave me a napkin.

Mommy asked me if The Pickle Fairy was busy, putting all those pickles on cheeseburgers. I said she has a secret way to get inside when they're closed to get all her work done - she digs underneath. That's her secret - she tunnels under when it's closed and puts pickles on everything.

Mommy liked Burger Chef when she was little. She liked to peel the top bun off her cheeseburger and take the pickles off, then eat the cheeseburger and then the pickles. Mommy is weird.

She thinks pickles from Burger King taste like soap. She's funny!

She likes fried pickles, though.

I like the apple fries, too. I ate them first. There was a box and some sauce, but I didn't want them, just the apples. I like apples. Do you? I offered to share with Mommy, but she didn't want any, even though I bit them all to make sure they were good apples.

I have three loose teeth. One of them is wiggly, and I can move it a lot with my tongue. The dentist told me I should save it and The Tooth Fairy would give me something for it. Mommy didn't tell me about The Tooth Fairy, just the Pickle Fairy. And the Cheese Fairy. And The Poo Dragon who lives in the septic tank and so that's why we poop in the potty so The Poo Dragon can turn poo into earth and make all the trees happy. Mommy is funny. I asked her if The Poo Dragon ate the poo or was made of poo, and she laughed and said I had a funny imja imajin imagination, and could we not talk about poo while we ate?

Uh-oh, I have to go now - Mommy is awake and I'm not supposed to play on the computer in the morning, and I'm not allowed on the Internet because Mommy says I will reprogram it and crash the world. Or maybe she just thinks it's not safe, even though I'm the only one who can go on the Internet and be safe, but she really doesn't think so and so I have to go before she catches me. You won't tell, will you?

Bye!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Vote Or You'll Be Sorry

Hello, my name is K, and I'm a voter. I try never to miss a vote, although I was denied my right once when someone forgot to file the paperwork transferring my precinct and it wasn't until voting day that I learned of the snafu - one reason I am sometimes leery of paperless processes...how do I know it's really done if I have no proof?

I wish to remind you that you may have runoff elections in your area today.

Big deal, you say. Who cares? I'm busy.

Ahem.

I vote. Every time. If necessary, I pack the Evil Genius into the car and bring him along to charm the ladies (and occasional gentleman) who run the precinct. They are, for the most part grandmotherly sorts who love it when kids come along. I let him push the occasional button, and he is thrilled to be part of the process. It does not matter if it's raining, freezing, or hailing felines, canines, assorted rodents and aliens. I vote.

I am a pagan, well read, political Buddhist (middle-grounder, no party affiliation because I'm all about the cause, not the propaganda or the dogma)(yes, I said dogma)(and I meant it). I am half hippy, half redneck, somewhat politically conservative and fairly socially liberal. I give great thought to the issues that concern me, and slightly (but only slightly) less thought to the ones that aren't as pressing in my opinion.

I am clinically depressed, agoraphobic, a touch paranoid and a dash OCD.

And I vote. Every time.

Let me reiterate - I am not always happy about the fact I'm still kicking, often deeply miserable, don't like leaving my house, think you're all out to get me, and everything has to be just the way I think it needs to be or the world will come to an end. I am nuttier than squirrel poo! And I'm voting!!

So you can either take that as an inspiration - Gee, she makes it to vote, why can't I? or a goad - Oh dear god above, she votes and if I sit on my butt and don't do the same, she'll be making all the decisions about who runs what!! I don't much care why you vote as long as you get the hell out there and take part in the process.

Yes, even the runoffs, even if it's for some local position like Chicken Inspector and you don't care.

People died to secure this right. Don't waste it.

Remember - silence equals assent, and a failure to vote equals silence. If you don't vote when you can, you don't get to complain and I will tell you to shut up.

Get to it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

If I May

I'd like to point something out. You may not have noticed it because I may have tried to hide it a bit. Not that's it's easy to hide - it's huge.

Ahem.

I am speaking of mine arse.

No need to back away from the computer in an effort to save yourself the horror - I have not posted a photograph of the enormous thing, nor will I - I do not Have Mrs. G's fortitude in this regard.

A while back, I did put a thingie at the bottom of the blog (bottom, hah!) that shows weight loss. It's called "Getting Rid of My Fifty-Acre Ass". I have decided to join Mrs. G's 5K Ass Project, and so have made a new thingie that perches just above my fifty-acre ass thingie (oh, good grief) that will show how many laps I've swum or miles I've walked to date, these being activities I can be counted on to make at least a half-hearted effort at.

I am pointing this out so you can go look at the tremendous work I have done and laugh yourselves silly when you realize you do more before breakfast than I've managed in a week.

Cheers!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Thoughtfetti

Mmm...fresh bread, warm from the oven. Butter. Honey with nutmeg mixed in. A sprinkle of cinnamon. Oh, bliss! Thank you, oh gods of field and grain, for something so trenscendent and beautiful.

Amen, or something.
~~~~~
I may never sleep again - not because my mattress is crapping out (which it is) but because I have a new photo-editing program to play with. So many photos, so many effects, so few hours in the day.

Look:

~~~~~
I am excited about going to pick blueberries in the next week or so. How boring am I??
~~~~~
That's all I've got right now. Sad.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bzz, Bzz...

...busy bees, today.

A friend or two will be coming over to bake bread and fairy cakes today, so there's that.

I have a new photo manipulating program to play with, thanks to S - not Photoshop, but something similar, and boy was I up late playing with it!

We had a terrific night last night - we must have done a hundred readings...at least! We met early, had a lovely dinner at Mimi's Cafe (Holy crap, their servings are HUGE!!)(Also, the apple crisp? Don't get between me and that apple crisp...you'll lose a limb.), then hung out in the Borders cafe loading the new program onto Bob the Wonder Computer and plating with it. Eventually we set up our reading space, tricked it out all gypsy-fortune teller like, and got to reading.

We were there until one-thirty. In the morning. Yeah. After all the customers were gone, we were doing readings for employees!

Of course, when I got home I had to play some more with the new program, and didn't get to bed until three-fifteen.

I was awakened this morning by a butterfly landing on my shoulder. OK, not really, but that's what it feels like when Bird kisses my shoulder to wake me up. I wouldn't have minded about seven more hours sleep, but I really should get everything ready for our baking day - I want to get the bread dough made up si it has risen by the time guests arrive - don't want to keep them waiting. That said, if it turns out OK (I've never done this recipe before) I may have another blog post out of it.

Wait, what am I saying? If it turns out a disaster, I'll have a blog post, too!

Bzz, bzz, I am a busy bee today. I hope y'all have a good one!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho...

...it's off to work (but not really work, but sort of work because maybe I'll get paid)(Also, should it be "heigh-ho" instead of "hi-ho"?) I go.

Yep.

There's a book release at Borders tonight and my friend S and I were asked to come tell fortunes for the release party. The book is called Twilight, and it's part of a series of paranormal books.

S and I did readings for the last Harry Potter release party. People stood in line forty-five minutes for us. For us. Not the book, for us. Well...they stood in line for two or three hours for the book, but we were still a wee chuffed with ourselves about that.

It was kind of them to ask us back - this time, we have some business cards made up (thanks, S!), because we want to make ourselves available for parties. Hey, why not? Someone suggested we put out a tip jar, and if the manager doesn't mind, we will. we don't charge anything for the fun, because Borders is kind enough to let our discussion group invade the cafe every Thursday night, and they're always just as helpful as can be about finding or ordering books. I know it's their job, but they're terrific beyond the bounds of the job description.

I can think of worse ways to spend Lammas night than with a friend in a bookstore, giving people pause.

Lammas

Happy Lammas, y'all!

Wait, you don't know what Lammas is?

Well, you've come to the right place!

Loaf Mass, it was called long ago, a day to celebrate the first of the grain harvested and ground to flour. It's a day for baking, for sharing the bounty of the field with family and friends, for celebrating the hope of a Winter without starvation and the renewing of the cycle in the Spring.

Sharing bread is old, a tradition rooted back beyond religion to something so primal it didn't even have a name. Bread is life. Bread is a blessing. The wedding cake we have today began as loaves that were broken and crumbled over the bride's head for luck and fortune, fertility and abundance.

When you greet new neighbors, if you follow old traditions, you bring them bread or some other baked good. Houses aren't warmed until bread has been baked, or at least served in them. There are bread traditions in almost every faith.

Lammas, Loaf Mass, a day to bake, to break bread with friends and celebrate the wonder of grain and all its goodness.

It's also a day for beer and ale, if you're into those sorts of things.

Celebrate the harvest with me today. Take a bite of toast, or a sweet, tart, crisp apple, or a sun-warmed tomato fresh from the vine, or anything that smacks of "harvest", and savor it. The taste, the texture, the hours of sunlight and gallons of rain that went into the making of it. Taste of the wind and the earth, as well. Whatever you've planted, I hope it comes to fruition and will sustain you through leaner times, as the grain from the field carries us all through Winter.

Blessed be, y'all, and happy Lammas.