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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Coming Up on the Witching Hour

I'm tired - it was a long day, with all the cooking, carving, and trick-or-treating we did...but I wanted to post a few photos from the evening.

These are the small pumpkins with which we lined the drive (thirteen pumpkins were out, but I didn't get a photo of one of them):












These are the large pumpkins that led up the steps:






I loved the way the driveway and stairs looked with all the jack-o-lanterns - it was totally worth the hand cramps - but I couldn't manage much of a photo of them from a distance.

And finally (for now), here's Bird in his ghost costume. Someone needs to tell his mother that it's too long and he'll probably step on it while going up stairs and be unable to see when the eye holes shift around to his ear. Of course, she'll probably reply that she already shortened it twice, and shepinned it to his sweatshirt hood so it would stay in one place, but I don't believe her one little bit.

One Last Halloween Laugh

This is my favorite of my halloween cartoon collection...

Samhain

Samhain. All Hallows Eve. Hallowe'en. Halloween.

While little (and not so little) people are out extorting candy from strangers (On the one night a year Mum and Dad aren't telling them NOT to take candy from strangers, and isn't that a mixed message?)(And if you don't think it's extortion, think about it - "Give me a treat or I'll play a prank on you" is exactly that - extortion), more than a few pagans are spending the evening in an entirely different fashion.

Samhain (pronounced "sawin") is sometimes called the Witches' New Year. It's thought to be the time of year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and so best suited for speaking with our dead, with those who passed on in the previous year. On Samhain, our living God dies, and until he is born again on Yule the Goddess and all the world mourns him. Poor Goddess, carrying her child alone for the next two months, throughout eternity she must suffer this loss before she can know her joy once more. Don't worry if you don't get it - it's a cyclic thing, a nature thing, and a deeply, weirdly Pagan thing.

Some will have large meetings, solemnly chant and circle the fire, call upon the gods of old. Some will dance wildly around bonfires, drumming, singing, shrieking, leaping the flames, looking for all the world like the imps and devils we were once purported to be. Some will just hand out candy and let the night pass, and some will put out the lights, draw the blinds, and pretend not to be home. A few (Pagan and non) will look for and find trouble. Most will feast, drink, and hold the dumb supper - the meal placed out for the those who've gone through the veil - whether alone or in numbers. None who are truly Pagan will sacrifice anything more than a glass of wine and/or a plate of food to the fire, the earth, the old gods.

This year I will have a house-load of folks hanging about - Mum, my friends A, Kit (sans kids, perhaps), M (also minus child), and maybe K(perhaps she, too, will be kid free), B, and S. I've spent the last couple of days hollowing pumpkins and carving faces into them. I roasted the seeds and ate many of them still warm from the oven - I have a mad passion for roasted pumpkin seeds and will be...erm...eliminating sandpaper for as long as the seeds last because I can't just eat one or two...no, I eat them by the ton- but a few managed to get stored for tomorrow. I'm not done carving - I'll be at it right up until dusk (I save the fancier carvings for last so they don't dry or crumple but will instead look their best), and with any luck will have enough smiling, frowning, scowling, laughing, creepy and funny faces and scenes to line the driveway and go up my stairs. Bird has carved a face or two, and T has gotten in on the fun, too. Mum will do her share today, and my friend A has taken the day off work and will come add her own flair to the faces. Anyone who gets here soon enough will be given a large orange squash, a knife, and the edict "Go forth and carve - but save me the seeds!!"

If the night is fine, we'll light the candles at dusk, fire up the outdoor fireplace, and sit out on the drive reminiscing about the past, about family and friends long gone but not forgotten. I may or may not mull some cider and have some cups to ladle out portions for the adults trailing the kids who will start coming around soon. Heh - come and drink my Witch's Brew - you won't fly or turn into a newt, but it'll take the chill off.

T may have to take our little guy out trick-or-treating, or maybe we'll both go. Either way, there will be photographs.

I will make a special dinner for Samhain night. I don't have anything traditional - this year it's a crockpot roast, whipped potatoes, carrots, green beans, bread and butter, and made-from-scratch pumpkin spice cake with made-from-scratch vanilla, cinnamon, ginger buttercream icing. I try to make something that my ancestors or anyone I've lost in the previous year would like to eat. The first portion of each item is carefully plated and placed at the head of the table or on the altar. Wine will be served, and a chalice-full placed with the laden plate.

Later tonight, after we've eaten, handed out candy, taken the kid(s) out for some socially sanctioned begging, we'll take the plate of food and the glass of wine down to the woods and leave the content for our ancestors. We may or may not name them. We may or may not sing a song for them. We will honor them, wish them well, and remember. We will ask their blessing in the coming year. It will be short, but heartfelt - we don't need a lot of ritual, these days, just a few quiet minutes with our Gods.

It's an odd hodgepodge of a night - some modern traditions that were founded in the old, and some straight from the days (and nights) when our people could be openly themselves, could worship the gods of field and wood, or river and rock, without fear of censure or death.

Blessed be those who have gone before; blessed be those who live now; blessed be those who will follow after. The wheel turns once more, and blessed are we who turn with it. Blessed be.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Don't Mind Meme

Merecat tagged me for a meme, and y'all know I can't pass one up.

As far as I can see, one names seven uninteresting things about one's self. Hmm.

Thing one - I sort my clothing by when and where I will wear it. Excepting at the gym (and sometimes even there) and formal occasions (and sometimes even then) I wear the same style of shirt every day...different shades of blue, different batik patterns, but all cut and sewn by me from sarongs. They are the only shirts I don't feel frumpy and fat in.

Thing two - I do not watch the news, because I don't want to become inured to humanity and our horrors. Odd as that may be, I still manage to keep up with current events...likely through osmosis, since T is pathologically addicted to talk radio and news television. He leads a frustrating existence, because I won't discuss it with him. Evil, me.

Tertius - I liked to climb trees when I was younger, and would like to do so again when I shed my fifty-acre ass. I miss being up in the crown, swaying with the wind, reading a good book and hiding in plain sight.

Vier - I can still outrun a racecar if pressed. I prefer not to be pressed. This is useful when trying to catch a five-year-old human version of Taz.

πέντε - I can sleep while floating on my back in a pool or the ocean. I have done many times; providing there are no large waves and no one feels inclined to jump in with a cannonball, it is most restful. I will not, however, sleep on a water bed.

Six - I intend to win the lottery any day now and form a free-thinkers colony. When this occurs, you are invited.

Septus - I broke my wrist when I was seven and still have a bone chip floating around in there. I also took a spear to the face and got seven stitches, and was most unladylike because I insisted on being proud of them and showing them off.

Well, Merecat, there you have it - boring, me.

I am supposed to tag others...but I am never certain of the reception of such a thing, so...please feel free to be tagged if you like; just let me know if you do so I can confirm that I am more boring than you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Kind Word

I have been following Fat Cyclist on his blog for a while now. His wife has cancer. She is near the end. I am heartsick for this man I don't know, and his family I've never met. I've been through so many cancer deaths...

I wish I could make it go away.

I wish I could manifest my chosen super-power, Mom's Kiss, and make it all better.

I don't often hate. Hatred is a waste of time, energy, and spirit. I hate cancer.

My aunt D will die of cancer...by year's end, or soon after.

If you have a moment and a little love or compassion to spare, go see Fatty and say a kind word...he and his children are dangling over a very dark abyss and could use all the hands that will reach to hold them up.

The Sautee Trail (another review that's useless unless you live in Georgia)

One of my favorite places to grab a bite while staying at Mum's is a local joint called The Sautee Trail Cafe.

Building the place was a risk for the owner - her location, while on a road frequented by tourists, isn't exactly high traffic; it's more of a back-roads tourist area than a main highway. Also, owning or operating a restaurant in the area is chancy - you absolutely must to have local support, because the tourist money won't be enough to operate all year, or even part of the year, and quite a few folks have closed their doors after only a month or so because the locals weren't interested. Kiss of death, that.

It's tiny - ten tables, nine of which seat four and the tenth seating six. When full, it's like navigating a maze to get from the door to a table or to the restroom - the waitress practically has to limbo or do the Watusi to get anywhere.

The Sautee Trail has your basic diner-fare - burgers, sandwiches, meatloaf...nothing fancy, nothing pinkie up.

I adore the place.

For breakfast, they have omelets. Oh, my, do they have omelets. Fluffy, cheesy, big-as-your-head, I swear the eggs come from giant, aerated chickens! They come with grits and a biscuit, but being the pain in the arse that I am, I ask for home fries and bacon instead; yeah, I still have half an artery that isn't clogged, and I'm working on it as fast as I can.

How they manage to make an omelet fluffy but crispy, I will never know. Or maybe I don't want to know. The potatoes are a product of nothing less than kitchen sorcery, I am convinced. I can make home fries, but not like that - I think one needs a deep fryer with well seasoned oil in it to make potatoes like that. I do wish they had onions in them, but I can understand why they don't - onions are hell on fryer oil.

The pancakes are insane - big as the plate and stacked three high, they could be sewn together for a blanket. I don't think I've ever seen a single person finish an order. Whole families can't finish an order!

Mum usually gets the pancakes and eggs, but the last time we breakfasted there, we smartened up - I ordered the cheese omelet (made with that delightfully melty, mellow, and almost entirely non-food based American cheese) as usual and she simply ordered pancakes and bacon. We shared, and there were still enough leftovers to feed a third person. So. Full.

I've had lunch there a few times, too. The first time I order at a new (to me) place, I am likely to order one of three things; a grilled cheese sandwich, a BLT, or a cheeseburger, rare. These are the trinity of diner lunch fare, and if you can't get them right, you fail. Fries are another test - there's little sadder in the food world than a limp french fry, or a dry one.

Sautee Trail passes all three of the sandwich tests with flying colors. Once the weather turns cold, they have a lunch special that you can't beat - a bowl of soup large enough to float a boat in with a grilled cheese (again with the plastic American cheese) sandwich. I defy anyone to eat the whole thing. Mum and I could have split one order - we ended up taking home about a bowl's worth of soup.

I've had their BLT before, and love it. The bacon is nice and crisp - none of that pre-cooked, plastic stuff, no sir, it's fried up on their grill. I think they have tomato fairies, because I've never had a bad one...you know, unripe or all mushy and mealy. The fries are decent, too...not the very best fries I ever had (that honor belongs to a bowling alley, of all places), but the Evil Genius likes 'em fine, and so do I.

The burgers won praise from my friend S, who was up there with me on a quick jaunt when we decided lunch was in order. She's picky about her beef, so when she threatens to stab you in the hand with her fork if you touch her burger, well - you know it's good stuff. Also, they'll cook it rare - do you know how...well...rare...that is?? Everyone's so afraid of mad cow or whatever that they won't cook less than medium. If I have to eat medium or well done beef, I may as well chew on shoe-leather, so any place that'll do rare is a prize.

They have the standard soft drinks, coffee, and whatnot, but I like their iced tea (I usually order half sweet, half unsweet). They will refill your cup as often as you let them and try to send you out the door with a full one for the road.

I'd like to tell you about their deserts, but...I've never had one. I'm always full before I finish my meal. Dang. I need to do something about that.

So - good food, more than generous servings with very reasonable pricing, family friendly, and well supported by the locals - I have hopes that the Trail, open for several years now, will endure.

The Sautee Trail
(706) 754-8040
Off Georgia Hwy 17

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mountain Apples

Yesterday was grey, clouds leaden, so heavy burdened that they hung low; low enough to touch the rising mist, mountain's breath lifting and settling in slow, easy respiration.

The rain came small, tiny droplets that shivered as they rolled down our warmth to find puddles on the pavement, or sink into a welcoming Earth. Remember the comics, when you were a kid, and the cartoonist drew rain in thin lines? Like that, looking through the window or standing out in it, thin silver lines punctuated with bits of crystal, slanting down almost like some great wet spider was creating an aqueous web.

Mum and I took our time - slow, lazy morning with coffee and Internet for breakfast, and then down to the basement where we played with wool roving, silk roving, yarn...and made the base for a project I hope to complete in the next two weeks. I'll post pictures when I am home again, as I have no camera dock here at Mum's place.

We went to the gallery, and then on Northwards to a little farm in hopes of pumpkins. Score! We have done our part to thin the herd of large orange critters, and even managed to get a fair lot of little ones, too, as well as a large glass jug of cider (the sort with the floaty bits in, the best kind for mulling) and an apple fritter as big as my head. We even got a freebie - a tremendous white pumpkin that will require help lifting (and I'm no weakling!) to get it out of the van. Seven large, thirteen small, and one giant - there will be plenty of pumpkin fun in the coming week!

We had to take a brief (eternal) detour to the Chevy dealership because mum's van was acting odd - turns out she needed a new alternator. Just as well our plans, much like the day, were fluid. We ended at an auction, which deserves a post of its own - suffice it to say (for now) that auctions in a small town are as good as a movie.

Today the sky is pale, deep, clear, the air crisp; it's a mountain apple, that snaps when you bite into it and leaves it's tartness in your mouth, a lingering reminder of the fruit. The sun, golden honey warmed and poured in a curtain, slanted through the trees behind the house and gently reminded me that day had come. A few dust motes, flecks of cinnamon and nutmeg, glinted in the honeyed curtain of light. It was a good morning to stretch, yawn, close my eyes again briefly, and feel the benediction of Earth and Sky.

Today, now that we are both up and have fed (on the banana bread I brought with me and our ever-necessary Internet), we'll be trotting out to: A tiny town that is celebrating its continued existence as only a tiny town can; an old mill converted to an antiques mall/shopping center because both the bookstore and the art store are having sales - how can we resist??; to another local purveyor of large, orange, globular vegetation to see if any punkins need a home. There may or may not be stops at the local artisan's shop where one may purchase socks or yard art with equal facility, popping in at my lotion purveyor (I am out, the heat is running in our home, and if I don't get more lotion soon I will be able to sand wood with the palms of my hands and sell my face as a replacement for alligator), and a jaunt to a graveyard or two.

Off we go to find adventure...

Friday, October 24, 2008

G'mornin'

I slept well, if not over-long, here at Mum's.

She is an Internet junkie, too, but nowhere near my epic scale, so I am clacking away on her laptop due to a dearth of wireless routers in her home. Bob the Wonder Computer is snoozing in another room, unaware of my infidelity. Shh, don't tell - he's a little sensitive about his size and speed, and I don't want to feed his insecurities; they can lead to refusal to perform, and when I want it, I want it NOW. The Internet, I mean...but you knew that.

I drove up here last night, had the road largely to myself. I enjoy driving at night, especially when it's just me and the wind claiming the lanes. No headlights blinding me, no one running up behind me and riding Rosie's tail before finally zooming over and passing with a roar of impatience. Nice.

I didn't go to sleep right away - different bed, not cats or kid or television, had to get used to it. I was up late reading, as is my wont.

I woke to a watery, grey kind of morning, Mum tip-toeing around her own home so as not to rouse me. If it's larger than a beetle and it moves, I will be aware of it, but it was sweet of her to try. I watched the trees shaking off the rain, listened to the wind chimes, enjoyed a good stretch, and got up.

Today we will go find pumpkins and cider, pop in at the gallery for a photo-op (I would like to request a mask and a place in the darkest corner, please) that will hopefully get some folks interested in the arts...or at least in buying the arts. Then it's off to visit some local sales (art store and bookstore, whoooeeee!!) and perhaps an auction this evening.

I though I came up here to rest. Hah!

Tomorrow, there may be a local tiny town (it isn't big enough to qualify as small) festival and some graveyards, and who knows what else - I told Mum we could do whatever she wants, I'm hers until Sunday afternoon. Why did I just shiver??

Now I shall bid you good morning, because Mum is patiently waiting for me to finish so she can have her Internet back we can go downstairs and work on an art project - her basement is better than a JoAnne's!

Oh, But I DO Know Jack

Jack o' Lantern, that is.

This morning I'm at Mum's without child, husband, or felines - they are left at home to fend for themselves for three days while I hang out with Mum, go photograph some old graves, seek out and purchase several million one or two gallons of the finest fresh pressed cider to be had in North Georgia, and buy pumpkins. I was afraid there would be no pumpkin purchasing, given the economy and our uncertain financial state, but Mum has declared that we shall have them...and one doesn't argue with Mum. In a perfect world, we will manage enough to line the steps and (not too long) driveway come Halloween. I love to toast the seeds and hoard them share their roasty goodness with friends.

I love to carve faces into pumpkins. All kinds of faces. And occasional abstract designs.

I like to make luminarias out of tiny little decorative pumpkins. I'd like to one day purchase a gigantic one , hollow it, carefully carve the very surface, fill it with water, and float candles in it.

I don't have a single unhappy memory about carving a pumpkin, and considering my remarkable ability to recall every nasty thing I ever experienced or saw someone else experience, that's saying something.

I often wonder if people know why (besides fun!) they are carving faces into the vegetation.

Read on if you'd like to know!

It wasn't pumpkins, at first. It was turnips. Yep. People would find great big ones to hollow out and place a little candle-end into, or some tallow and a bit of wicking. They used them as lanterns to shed a tiny bit of light on the path when they walked from their homes to...well, never mind that bit - it's all tangled up in a history of paganism that is way too long for this entry. The faces were added later as a way to frighten away evil spirits ( the thought being that evil spirits are too stupid to recognize turnip flambe) and eventually to scare gullible yokels away from private ceremonies.

So I carve pumpkins to honor the tradition, and to keep bad juju away (it's exhausting be hated for who I worship instead of for the perfectly valid reasons I give people every day), and because dang, it's fun (and the only sculpture most people are comfortable with trying, because the worse it looks the better), and to let the neighborhood know there's tons of candy right this way...and because I think I need pumpkin seeds to live. Yep. I bet I do...

Why do you do it?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Wind

Today is blustery. What a fun word to say, blustery. Blustery, blustery, blustery.

Ahem.

We haven't had the usual color change, this year. Granted it is subtler than a New England Autumn, even on a bright year, but it seems like most of the trees have gone from green to nude without any of the usual changing-of-the-gowns.

As bird and I made our way to the chiropractors, we felt the wind shove Rosie (our van), but she held steady in her traces and didn't mind the blow. Leaves skittered across the road - first one, then another, and then entire clans of leafy wanderers dashed across the pavement in search of new places to rest themselves in loamy contentment.

We drive across Buford Dam to get where we need to go - that's the dam that spans the Chattahoochee River, creating Lake Lanier and Atlanta's reservoir. On the lake side, the water is well below full pool (some twenty feet or so) but is still lovely for a lake that shouldn't be there in the first place. Around the lake, trees danced, bobbed, and bowed to the water. There were whitecaps on the surface, and choppy little wavelettes. I miss the sea, I thought, but the lake is lovely.

Once we were home, I let Bird play outside while I cleaned out the back of the van - Rosie was hauling a little extra weight back there and I need the room (I hope) for pumpkins, cider, firewood, and whatever else I find to bring back from Mum's neck of the woods this weekend.

He discovered the joy of crunchy leaves, of shuffling through the autumn grass and kicking up the brown confetti shed by the poplar at the foot of the drive. He brought one to me "Look mommy, a flag!", and it did, indeed, look like a flag. He chose one for himself, his "leaf shield". His old, beat up Tonka truck front-end loader became a mower to mow the leaves.

We both stopped to watch a whirlwind stirring the cauldron of our cul-de-sac, lifting and churning leaves and dust - a happy wind, twirling her skirts around and around, eyes shining, head tilted back, laughing at the brilliant blue October sky, merriment in her every swing and sway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Update and Heh, Heh, Heh

Update - after cleaning the Evil Genius' room last night, I let him back in. He was amazed and said "Wow, mommy, you did well cleaning my messy room. I'm going to play in here!"

Yeah, I figured it'd be a mess again in a few minutes. But no. It wasn't.

Instead, he played with one toy, put it away, played with another, until bedtime. It was still clean in the morning! He said it was easier to play when he did that. Hmm. I'm looking for the pod.

While I look for where the aliens hid the body, here's a cartoon for you:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Fine Mess

*Edit - I decided to play along with Marcy and join the G.I.R.L party, because why not??

Hmm. No, not fine. Not fine at all. Hateful and mean, that mess. Awful, evil, and probably inhabited by aliens.

What mess?

Oh, wait, I'll show you!


I shot this from the doorway because I couldn't figure out how to get in there. How does he get to bed??


To get this photo, I had to levitate over all that mess and hover in the corner.


This is under the bed, which is supposed to be a fort kind of thingy. We took it down because it made making the bed and cleaning too difficult, and the Evil Genius asked if we would leave it off so he had more room to play.

I think he really meant "room to make messes and not clean them up."

Not pictured? Under all of that stuff...under the toys, books, crayons, puzzle pieces and random other junque? Almost an entire box's worth of Cheez-Its crackers (a staple around here), smushed to smithereens. Smithereens that stuck to me as I sat on the floor, cleaning inch by inch all yesterday afternoon because apparently I am insane.

What, you don't clean when you're sick??

Now, don't you wish you could flip a switch and go from that horror above to the scenes below? Yeah, me too...I'd like my nearly five hours back.


Holy crap, is that a floor? Who knew that was in there?? I thought his bed rested on the Golgothan Mess Monster (second and lesser known cousin of the Golgothan shit monster featured in the movie Dogma).


I have much love for the dragon/toy hanger thingy - it was a gift from my friend K, who got it from her secret love Ikea during one of their brief, torrid affairs. Unlike much of what you get from Ikea, it doesn't matter if the toys aren't metric - they still fit. See the cat's face? She's all like "Ohmuhgawd, it's not all bumpy and shifty when I walk! Am I in the right place??"


Whew...no monsters, no mess, just an aircraft carrier - the same one the cat likes to perch on.

Yes, it took me almost five hours. I could say it's because I was (and am) sick. I could say it's because we had friends come over and I had to stop. Both true.

It would likely have gone faster if I didn't give a dang about sorting things into bins in some kind of order and just dumped stuff in there. If I didn't mind mixing up puzzle pieces and games, it would have been much faster. If I didn't have to sweep every few inches because I sit on the floor to sort and the crumbs were sticking to me and making me itch, it would have been done in half the time. I swept so many times, I think there may be permanent straw marks on the Pergo. Also, I was (and am) sick, my back hurt, and there was a hiccup in the space/time continuum. Yeah.

Or I could own up to the fact that my kid has too freakin' many toys, games, and general stuff and I am a crap housekeeper.

Nah...I'm going with the space/time thingy.

Oh, well - if our finances get bad enough, I could always open my own Toys-R-Us; we already have the inventory!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bwahahahah!

Some people have too much time on their hands - bless 'em!

Go here for a little Halloween fun!

*Edit - I have some kind of throat plague (sore throat, swollen glands, hard to swallow, fluctuating temperature, no appetite)(I'm not complaining about the no appetite - if I can't get to the gym, at least I'll still lose a pound or two!), so posts may be a bit sparse on words and heavy on links and cartoons for the next few days - it's not easy typing when you're having dizzy spells!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Juxtaposition

Inside the van, we were the center of our universe, me and Bird. Music playing, rain falling, flying through a veil of sparkling, refracted light, gliding, cocooned.

We sang and watched the world flash past.

At a traffic light, a man in a red hat...a fez. Shriner. Pavlovian, I opened the window, waved a dollar at him. I can't spare dollars. But he's a Shriner, and I have to. They did a good turn for someone I knew, long time ago, and I'm paying them back at the crossroads, one dollar, one handful of loose change at a time. He was a layer, spread thin, around our center.

Everything is slow, and we see it all at once, all the moments happening around us swimming through almost amber-thick time/space/perception.

At the light, a police car comes to a stop, middle of the intersection, even as I wave my dollar at the red-hatted man. I cannot understand why he is there, unless it is to ensure I cannot move on until the dollar has been taken. Curious. Lights flashing, all is quiet, except the soundtrack. Love Train, Big and Rich, from the Horse of a Different Color CD. Happy song.

Police car. Another layer, red and blue, pulsing. Rain still falling.

The funeral procession is another layer. It's all simultaneous, us, music, silence, police car in the intersection, police car leading the sad parade, funeral procession, hearse. Bird and I are laughing, the people in the cars passing by are weeping, the red-hatted man is trying to fund new lives, and the police officers are waiting.

Procession past, police care moves on to some the next intersection, leapfrogging another patrol car to someone else's final resting place, and I wonder if they are listening to a happy song or thinking about their own inevitable cortege. Maybe it's just all overtime. The unseen presences behind the strobing light are another layer.

I wonder who died, how old they were, did they like the rain, plan puddle-splashing with their purple-booted child while listening to happy music.

Light changes, we turn left, make for the first stop. Jeff Buckley, singing Hallelujah, from the album Grace. Apropos. I am crying. For this song, I sing, and I cry, every time.

In the parking lot, I hold Bird's hand, turn my face to the rain. I like to turn my face to the rain, pretend it is thousands of gentle kisses from the sky. Rain and tears mingle and are indifferent to each other. He splashes happily in a puddle I parked in (with purpose, mind, as I knew he would like it), wetting my cuffs. I wonder if anyone is witnessing our oddity, feels the joy he radiates, a little sun of happiness. I laugh. He laughs.

The funeral is long gone from sight, but I know they are there. I wonder if they'd like to share a puddle splash, would rather play in the rain than watch someone go down into the wet earth. Do they know he isn't really gone? That by seeing him, they made him part of themselves, took in the particles he emitted and carried them along, passing them about, until he was everywhere and everyone, as are we all? Nothing, no one, ever dies - they may pass from perception, but not from presence.

We are all in the same moment, being; all of us experiencing our multitude of realities.

Juxtaposed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cool...But Dang

Cool - I just passed gas station selling fuel for $1.89 a gallon.

Dang - I already filled up this morning.

Marathon staion at the corner of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Shadburn, if you live in the area.

Thoughtfetti

I didn't get to the gym this morning. I'll go this afternoon or tomorrow. It's all good.
~~~~~
A steady rain is falling, soft little kisses upon the earth, soft little kisses on my skin when I stood out in it, letting it wash something indefinable away. The Earth will take what I give her and make it green and alive. Wonderful stuff, metaphysics.
~~~~~
Today I am going to attempt making fresh pumpkin puree, so I don't have to buy tinned any more. I love adding a new skill to my lexicon.
~~~~~
Today I am also trying to figure out how to reclaim Thursday as my day for selfish me. Is one day a week really so much to ask? Why is Fate continually messing with my Thursday Shui? Watch it, Fate - I am not in the mood for your shenanigans.
~~~~~
Isn't the word "shenanigans" fun??
~~~~~
My son inherited my temper. Good thing he inherited my capacity for love, too.
~~~~~
I just spent half an hour trying to remember where I put a check I'm supposed to deposit today. I found it. Whew.
~~~~~
The light that touches you, touches me. The light that touches me, touches you. The air that I breathe is the air that you breathe, too. The air that you breathe has been my breath as well. Cool.
~~~~~
Do you think that we are all quantum singularities for our experience? Inescapable, drawing in our lives and compressing them to a density beyond measure? What would happen if we could let go? What would happen if the singularity unclenched and released all that light and matter? A new universe? A new reality?
~~~~~
I'm not on drugs, honest.
~~~~~
Play along:

Knock knock.

Boo.

Don't cry, it's just me.

Heh, Heh, Heh


Not At All Right

I should be in bed. I should be in bed, asleep, because tomorrow I should get up early-ish, go to the gym, and walk.

I am not in bed, asleep. I'm not tired. I am tired. I'm not sleepy.

I feel a certain heaviness of being that bodes ill.

Depression is an achy spirit. A cavity of the psyche. Psychological cancer, crawling slowly, inexorably along until it metastasizes and devours the bearer.

For several hours, now, I have tried to catch up on the blogs I usually read, but for the last few days have skimmed sporadically because I am restless, angry, weary, irritated, worn, and maybe a little at loose ends.

Today I asked at the gallery if anyone knows an illustrator. I have decided that maybe self-publishing my trio of children's stories is the way to go. Not because I value them...because I am certain they aren't good enough, and haven't the heart to find confirmation of the sentiment in my mailbox, in an e-mail, in resounding non-response, silence.

Restless.

I want something. I don't know what. I want to be valued. To have value. To have the perception of value. Perception is everything.

Angry.

Lies, manipulation, judgement, accusation, promises made, promises forgotten, promises broken - politicians practicing business as usual, people buying their bullshit spiels and propaganda, blindly following, lemmings off a cliff (did you know that's based on a lie? Disney made the whole thing up!), hauling everyone else with them whether they will or no. This pill can make you thin (in the small print - but only if you also follow our diet of twelve calories a day and all the water you can drink without puking), buy it now. This machine will give you a body like mine (in the small print - but only if you use it more than the twenty minutes, three times a week and are genetically predisposed to look like me, and only if you also follow our special diet of negative six calories a day and have a good plastic surgeon), buy it for fifteen easy payment of your entire paycheck (oh, that's how it works - spend all your grocery money on the new clothes rack).

Weary.

Since I was a child of about six years, I've carried this burden. Some days. the load is light, and I don't notice it. Some days it is heavy and stinks of rot. I don't get to choose which kind of days I have, or how many. Not without medication. I cannot take medication or I am cut off from the spark. Creativity and misery share the same well, and if I would drink deep of the one, I must taste the bitter herb of the other.

Irritated.

Messy house. Cat boxes un-cleaned. Phone ringing. Trash. Bills. Bills. Bills. Sigh.

Worn.

Since I was six. It is bound to wear on a body. I'd like a quiet corner to cry in, please.

At loose ends.

How do I shake off ancient history, my albatross? I'm trying to let it go. I'm trying to find the roots, so when I chop the kraken-tree down, I get it all, leave nothing to sprout anew. I'm doing it alone, because no one else can. I don't want a new Shrink. I am tired of forever explaining the past, the complexity of it. Tired of listening to trite, unoriginal responses and insistent refrains of "medication, medication, medication". Aren't they supposed to listen? Aren't they supposed to perceive? How then, if they listen and perceive, can they tell me to cut off what sustains me? Thanks, I'll go it alone (well, with you, dear Internet, because one is never alone in the Blue Nowhere, is one?). Loose ends - in that between state of one project finished, and now what do I do with it? In the midst of many more projects, clicking away, incapable of stopping but uncertain of worth. Where do I go from here?

Old song, old dance. I know it's all a bit much.

Pay no mind - I'll be right as rain in a day or two.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Punk(in)ed

Go have some pumpkin fun today!!

Thanks to M for this one.

*Edit - I am off to the gallery to demonstrate beading (its a condition of placing art there - one must demonstrate...although the art I have there is photography, not beading...but that's a story for another time) so I'll be out of the house all day...which means I won't be reading or commenting anywhere, aither...hmm...is there some kind of medication for withdrawal?? I think I feel the shakes already...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Please Excuse Me While I Have a Minor Meltdown

AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

Pant, pant...pant...

I am sick nigh unto death of this election and all the hatred, lies, manipulations, fear-mongering, anger, and even rage it has engendered in people. I would gladly chuck in this festering mess of a nation for a quiet island in the Caribbean (even if it didn't have a Starbuck's, I'm that serious!)

I am sick of my phone ringing, surveys or politicians asking about what I want in my leaders - it's a bit late for that, isn't it?? If you change now, you're just an asshole waffler who only wants my vote, not someone who genuinely cares that my family is barely scraping by and I'm seriously considering giving up medication and going to the chiropractor (but not the gym...yet) so we have a little breathing room in our finances.

I am sick of being told how wrong I am about my opinions...when other people were fool enough to ask for them!!

I am sick of being held responsible for the poor choices that others have made...and of fearing that my "fair share' of the bailout will mean selling everything we have that isn't nailed down.

I am sick, sick, sick of having to tell my son that he can't have or do the simplest things (like go to a friend's house to play) because we can't afford the fuel. Y'all...right now, I can't even buy bubbles. Bubbles!

I hate feeling trapped. I hate feeling like I am a deadbeat because I chose to stay home and teach my son rather than thrust him into the dubious care of strangers with their own political, educational, and financial agendas.

I'm sick of people who won't take responsibility for their actions.

On the other hand...my son is singing This Island Earth. How can I be unhappy, with that floating through the air?

Here's a version (a thank-you of sorts for sticking with me through the whole rant)(this isn't the version we have...ours is from The Vineyard Sound CD, but it's the same song...)



I know we can find our way...

A (not so) Little PSA

I was reminded over at Magpie Musing that today is blog action day, and this year's theme is poverty. Y'all, I am broker than a politician's promise, but I can at least tell you about something that may be helpful:

If you know or know of someone who is in financial straights and could use some grocery help, you can help them out by locating an Angel Food outpost at: http://www.angelfoodministries.org/
They are a Christian organization, but they never voiced any concern over the fact that I'm (definitely) not (in any way, shape, or form) a member of the church or even Christian (not even a little bit).

They (or you, on their behalf) can order a box of groceries that includes frozen and staple foods, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, and occasionally a surprise pie or box of cookies.

It's not organic, or even highest class, but it's filling and it's about $150 worth of groceries for $35 a box, with no income restrictions or limits on ordering. The menu changes from month to month, and it's listed on their website, along with ordering and pick-up deadlines.

And no, I don't work for them...but they're good people trying to help other good people who are hit right in the wallet by uncertain times.

Y'all, I know this would have been helpful when I was a kid...I would have been saved counting the school lunch my best meal of the day, hoping there was nutritive value in the glue on the back of green stamps, unending pasta dinners, and Kool-aid sandwiches..although at least we had bread, and plenty of folks don't even have that!

Although she never let on, I am fairly sure Mum missed a meal or two-hundred so me and Big Brother could eat.

Look around you, and ask yourself if helping a family eat this month isn't worth the price of a few double-lattes. I bet it is. Even if you don't know anyone in need, find your local outpost and offer to donate the cost of a box for someone in need - I bet they know a few folks who will weep for joy at the simple gift of sustenance.

What Say You?




Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Small Things

Bird was up in the middle of the night, sick. T took care of him - apparently my momdar wasn't on, because I slept right through it (a first in my little guy's five years - usually T sleeps right through whatever's got the little guy up and I'm the one who is up at odd hours).

This morning, the boy clambered up onto our miles-high bed, nestled between his two parents, and had a long, quiet cuddle.

One of the cats decided the kid would make a good nesting place and made herself comfortable on his legs.

I asked him if he could feel her purring and he said "Yes...it feels just like a bumping star."

Mmm...nice way to start the day.

A Very Small Joke

Q: What do you call thirteen witches in a hottub?

A: A self-cleaning coven!

Hah!!

Yeah, yeah, I'll hang my head in shame later.

Meanwhile, maybe this will make up for it:

Monday, October 13, 2008

In A Nutshell...

...our day.

Wake up before dawn, listen to T search for car/truck/thingamajig that keeps vrooming, screeching, and generally creating a ruckus in the still-sleeping Evil Genius's room.

Back to sleep.

Up earlier than I wanna be, greet Evil Genius, cereal for two.

Dress Evil Genius, wake T, gather gym clothes, family heads to gym.

Walk, walk, walk.

Home. Shower. Lunch.

Pile into van, chiropractor appointment, crunch, crunch.

Home. Want nap. No nap. Mum comes, collects Bird, takes him off to friend's house.

Dress for dinner. Drive to restaurant. Dine. Dine some more. Fondue, fondue, fondue.

Drive home, pounds heavier, dollars poorer, had a lovely time.

Internet.

Long day, going to bed soon.

Eight Years Ago Today

Eight years ago today, October thirteenth was a Friday. There was a full moon. We chose Friday the thirteenth, full moon, on purpose.

The day was beautiful, cool in the morning, warming to just a touch past tolerable in the afternoon.

I woke after a good night's sleep, nudged the woman sleeping next to me, got up, got dressed. It was early, yet, but we had much to do.

We enjoyed a lovely breakfast, prepared by the owner/cook of the B&B we were staying at. T joined us, although tradition frowned upon that. I often scoff at tradition.

We took separate cars to Mum's house, where a tent waited - tables decorated by the woman who had spent the night with me, because I am traditional enough to tell the groom he has to sleep alone the night before; dance floor taking up way more space than I think it will need, because I am certainly not going to be on it more than strictly necessary; flowers on the head table, sent by the uncle who couldn't make it but wished he could; DJ set up, ready to go; side tables at the ready for the potluck reception.

While our guests arrived and mingled on the lawn or insisted on finding something to help with, T dressed upstairs (the sword gave him some trouble, but he managed, and the boots he borrowed from me did just fine), in Mum's guest room. My maid of honor (the same woman who decorated the tables and slept with me for the sake of superstition) and I had the basement. It was a simple thing to prepare - makeup (which I hate wearing, but I'm glad I did for once - I can look at the photographs without wincing), hair pulled back, a flower or two and some blue ribbons from the bouquet twined in the knot (thanks to G, a woman I'd worked for many years past, still a friend), dress, rope sandals. Ready.

My friend A played his flute, the only music we needed. His (then) wife L was kind enough to act as our photographer.

Down the path we processed, first T and his best man (the brother we almost never see any more), then Dad and Stepmum (decked out in renaissance garb as part of the fun)(we specified renaissance or resort casual garb, but we wouldn't have minded jeans), then Big Brother escorting Mum to her place - she was resplendent in her plum gown and white chemise.

I made them wait a tiny bit. I'm evil that way.

Maid of honor, K, dressed in a green version of what I was wearing, only with different sleeves. Hey, we had them custom sewn, and I wanted to make it easier on the seamstress!

Finally, Dad walked me down the path to the arbor where T and I would say our vows. I wore white because T wanted me to (I told him we weren't fooling anyone)...otherwise, I would have been head to toe blue. I wasn't nervous, afraid, or even particularly excited - it was simply an affirmation of the lives we'd been living for the last few years, to me. T, I believe, was something of a wreck. I am fairly certain he was shaking in my boots. Dad was The Father of the Bride, and everything that went with that...and bless his heart for wearing the handsome slacks and shirt with a cloak over them, a combination of mundane and Renny garb.

Judge A (who had performed Big Brother's wedding in almost the same spot two years earlier, at the end of October, with only Mum and I attending) waited there at the end of the path, just in front of our makeshift altar that held candles, chalice, incense, holding the vows I'd written.

Our ceremony was wholly pagan, but made mundane friendly.

Under the clear October sky, blessed by the afternoon sun, shaded by the arbor Mum built, we said our vows, exchanged rings, bound our hands together, and were married.

We stepped over the (borrowed from the B&B because I forgot mine) broom, and it was done. Time for the reception, to drink a few toasts, dance the obligatory dances, sample the wonderful dishes brought by friends and family who were proud to bring their best to the wedding (I was too cheap to hire a caterer, and why should I when I have friends who can cook so well??). We laughed with the people who love us, danced once or twice, ate, mingled, celebrated. The cake matched my dress (a white-on-white brocade, satin lined Renny style dress with silver rickrack trimming the sleeves and the front panel)(in case you needed to know that). The Groom's Cake was a red-velvet armadillo, because T saw Steel Magnolias one too many times. I still have the head and arse in our freezer...I'm thinking if we make it to ten years, I'll burn the dang things.

Every year on our anniversary, we try to get away for a bit of quiet. Tonight, we'll go to a fondue restaurant, one of our favorite places we never get to any more.

We'll have a nice, adult dinner while Mum is minding the Evil Genius at home.

And one or the other of us will ask the question we ask every year, because I told T from the start I won't promise forever...so every year, we ask each other "Are we good for another year?"
In the last few years, it's been a dangerous question, and I know T didn't want to ask it...but here we are. Eight years is longer than my parents made it.

One year at a time, we remain.

I'm not the same woman I was, eight years ago. I have questioned T's love, and my own. I (or my madness) have come close to breaking this marriage more than once in the last five years. It has bent, given, creaked and cracked, but it's still sound. It still floats. It will carry us across the foam-flecked seas of another twelve months.

Happy anniversary, T - heaven knows you have gone through the wringer and deserve a lot more than some melted cheese and chocolate-dipped pound cake. You deserve more than the wife you have in me. I aspire to be the woman you think me, to be deserving of the devotion you have given our family, and if I rock the boat, well - you've certainly proven your sea-legs.

So how about it, T? Good for another year?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Got Memed!

Here, read this while I try to get it out of my hair...
~~~~~

GO WAY BACK TO 1993

1) How old were you? Old enough to drink. More than that, I ain't sayin'.

2) Where did you go to school? I was done with the school system, but I never stopped learning.

3) Where did you work? Umm...I can't remember - I think I was still a nanny.

4) Where did you live? Dunwoody, Georgia, with my Mum. You got a problem with that??

5) Where did you hang out? Home or Road Atlanta, and occasionally at the local college library, with forays into New Orleans because I could.

6) Did you wear contacts? Nope.

7) Who was your best friend? Bear, who isn't any more...people change and drift. I had just met K, who now has that questionable honor.

8) How many tattoos did you have? None, yet. Now, I can't get enough...sigh...addiction is a terrible thing...

9) How many piercings did you have? Just muh ears, same as today.

10) Did you drive a car? Finally, yes. 1979 Chevy Malibu CLassic with a 305 V8, grunt, snort. I loved that car with a madness and miss her to this day.

11) Had you been to a real party? What, a birthday party isn't real?? Nope...not the drunken crush I think this question implies, anyway.

12) Had you had your heart broken? Nah...I was already heartless.

13) Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced? All by my lonesome, and better off that way.

14) Any Kids? Not then, not my own - I was a nanny, though, and those kids were as good as mine...until they didn't need me any more. Sigh.

***10 years ago today: 1998***

1) How old were you? Ten years younger than I am now. Notice a pattern, here??

2) Where did you go to school? Hmm, let's do some math - If I was done with the system fifteen years ago, it follows I was still done with it ten years ago, no?

3) Where did you work? I was (for all intents and purposes) running a daycare on a part-timer's salary while the director was busy having a nervous breakdown.

4) Where did you live? Condo in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

5) Did you wear glasses? Nope, unless you count my freakin' awesome Gargoyles.

6) Who was your best friend? The same poor lass who occupies that place today.

7) How many tattoos did you have? Five, same as I have now. Want more. Sniff.

8) How many piercings? Again, just muh ears.

9) What car did you drive? Still the Malibu, but I would be letting her go, soon. Sniff.

10) Had your heart broken? Nope, still heartless.

11) Were you Single/Taken? Dating for the first time ever.

12) Any Kids? Only the four-footed, meowing variety.

*****5 Years Ago: 2003****

1) How old were you? Five years younger than I am today. See how this works??

2) What did you do? I was struggling to reconcile myself to my role as Mum (the Evil Genius was born in January of '03), wondering if I wanted to be a wife, and trying to keep a positive attitude about T's employment issues (not his fault, but rather stressful when you've got a new baby)(three jobs in five months? Ack!! That's no insurance for more than a year!!)(And we were a little light in the pantry area, too.)

3) Where did you live? Same place I am now, house in Braselton, Georgia.

4) Did you wear glasses? Nope.

5) Who were your closest friends? K, Michelle, S, Kit

6) Did you talk to your old friends? Sometimes.

7) How many piercings did you have? Still just muh ears.

8) How many tattoos? Still five...sniff...I need a sugar-daddy for muh ink...

9) What kind of car did you have? Same one I'm driving now, the ultimate mom-mobile - Chevy Astro Van.

10) Single/taken/married/divorced? Married.

11) Any Children? Just the one, and he was pretty new.

*****Today: 2008*****

1) How old are you? Really, you haven't figure this out by now??

2) What do you do? Write music, write stories, sing, record, take photographs, write some more, raise the Evil Genius, cook, avoid housekeeping, write a little, school the Evil Genius, crochet, quilt, bead, chain-maille, blog, answer an endless stream of memes, and generally muddle through as best I can.

3) Where do you live? Braselton, Georgia - but someday I hope to live just past The Back of Beyond.

4) Do you wear glasses? Nope.

5) Who are your closest friends? K, Michelle, S, and Kit. I should mention that Mum is always in this grouping, too, but I figured the question was aimed more at non-blood relatives.

6) Do you talk to your old friends? Sometimes.

7) How many piercings do you have? Still just muh ears, and not likely to change.

8) How many tattoos? Sam as before. Would you like to help change that??? I'm taking donations...

9) What kind of car do you have? Same ultimate mom-mobile, Chevy Astro Van.

10) Has your heart been broken? Yep (I am not sure how since I am STILL a heartless wench). Well and truly.

11) Single/taken/married/divorced? Married...

12) Any Children? Just the one...unless you count The Husband, The Roommate, and the three four-footed slave drivers...I need a vacation...somewhere with quiet, a private masseuse, handsome cabana boys who adore zaftig gals, and many, many rum drinks.

Heh, Heh, Heh


Saturday, October 11, 2008

To Dance With Life

I was an awkward, shy, frightened, uncertain, insecure child. I didn't know about normalcy, had no idea that the oddly dichotomous life of privilege and poverty wasn't the same life everybody lived.

In my early teens, I was sent to boarding school - it probably saved my life, if not my sanity. Honestly, I don't think anything would save the sanity, and I don't know that I've missed it. Others may wish I had a fuller measure of the stuff, but I'm fine with my crazy. It's comfortable, like the worn-to-my feet pair of pink flamingo slippers that live in my closet and come out when I want a laugh and have cold feet.

At the boarding school, I met and lived with kids who had a better grasp on normalcy. I thought them strange, curious creatures worth study if not emulation.

They wanted to have dances, just like other kids in other schools. There weren't many of us at the school, so it was slim pickings for partners. I'd never been to a dance, didn't know what they entailed. Except for one, I didn't go to any at the boarding school - I had the distinct impression I wasn't wanted at them, and only went to the one because I was desperately lonely and searching for...something.

I sat in the darkest corner of the building where the dance was held - the main class building, called The Hex because it was hexagonal (original, weren't we?) - and watched. I didn't know this kind of dancing, and I wished I did. I thought maybe I would be better liked if I knew how to move like the other kids moved. One boy took pity on me and asked if I would like to...and I tried...but in the end, I just drank some punch and left.

I didn't know that kind of dancing.

Later, I realized that I knew a different sort of dancing, one that doesn't belong in a building with electricity, rock music, low lights, the miasma of teen hormones, teen angst.

I know the dance of sea and shore.

I know the dance of mountain and sky.

I know the dance of tree and wind.

The rhythms of star and sky, sun and moon, the music of river and stone, the thrumming beat of the Earth's heart.

These are not dances that can be danced within doors - they need the flickering, uncertain light of fire, the shadows outside the circle of flame, the night sky and its diamond chip stars.

I never did learn how to dance properly...but I can still, when no one is watching, dance with life.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Gypsy Stirring

On the way home from the gym, Bird and I saw a flock of geese winging their way Southward, their ragged vee formation shaping up, lines smoothing, each finding its place in its line, each finding its rhythm.

Wings arching into parenthesis, they flew, driven by instinct and the wind.

The Gypsy wept and cried out, voice ragged,torn, almost lost in the grey: "Take me with you!"

Oh, how she wants to fly...

It is Autumn and the Gypsy stirs, begging to be released to wander with the wind, to be wild, unfettered. She yearns for I know not what, and she mourns for I know not what, and she sees the birds fly free and wishes she could soar with them.

Poor gypsy. She did not ask for this domesticity; she would have gone to the sea and run upon the waves, or risen high in a balloon and skated through the clouds on the wind, or walked the earth with her endless stride. I shackled her, and she is quiet in her corner, but once in a while she makes herself heard.

When the geese fly, or the wind blows just so, she calls out, stirs the wildness, breathes her feral exhalations and turns my eye to the life unlived.

Perhaps one day I will unchain her, fling her skyward, and let her carry me...away, away, for a year and a day...

Mulling Things Over

It's Autumn at last! We've had some nice, cool nights, and one morning last week I even wore my shawl until the sun came up. Hey, y'all may not know this, but I'm a human space-heater - if I want my shawl, it's dang chilly out!

I would like to share with you one of the simplest and most Autumn-y things I know - mulled cider.

Now, I know you can buy those pre-packaged spice bags at the store - some of them are like giant muslin tea bags, some are packets of powder that you mix right in and some (gag) are actually like a mulled-cider version of Kool-Aid, claiming that all you need is to add hot water and you've got cider. Puhleeze.

There's a mulling recipe for just about every family out there. This one's mine - I have been tweaking it for many years. I'd like to share, but know this - you can always tweak it yourself. That's the beauty of something as simple as mulling. Also, it works for wine, if you've a mind for it.

The cast:

A crockpot or large, heavy bottomed pot
One gallon of cider - not apple juice, cider. The stuff with floaty bits in it is best.
Cinnamon sticks - at least one, I usually use three or four (yeah, I live dangerously)
Whole cloves - a dozen or so
Candied ginger - three or four chunks

Please note, no sugar. no honey. No sweetener of any kind. Don't want it, don't need it.

Pour the cider into the crockpot. Turn on low. Add spices, cover. Leave it alone for a few hours. Stir from time to time. When it's good and hot, serve. The longer it brews, the better. You can do this ahead of time and re-warm it when you want it - just strain it into a jug and re-heat in the microwave one cup at a time, or on the stove top, or in that trusty crockpot.

Pour in a tot of applejack, rum, or brandy and whooooeee, you've got some fine Autumn/Winer sippin' goin' on.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

For the Birds

Today, while treading my way along on the treadmill (I recently - as in, on Tuesday - started back at the gym), I listened to my iPod and stared out the window. It was a cloudy morning, the ragged remnants of yesterday's rainstorm were slowly packing their bags and seeking new places to inundate. They would have been welcome to stay.

While others using the treadmills stared at the attached televisions, earplugs connecting them to the electronic network of news, reality TV, soap operas, stock reports, throngs of talking heads, oceans of vitriol, wells of soporific mind-Valium, I stared out and watched the clouds shape themselves to my observation.

Have you ever looked out into a grey, cloudy sky, one where some clouds are slightly more, some slightly less, some faster, some slower, than the others? And the light caught them just so, and you could see hazy, indistinct shapes slinking through the shadowy wetness?

There was a gryphon, and then a hummingbird. A dove, then a raven. I watched them, and they watched me.

The gryphon was crouched low, wings mantling, eye on some tiny bit of prey (the hill beneath him, I imagined). He was a darker grey overlaid on a bright little patch, miles long if I measured. He turned and looked at me, then went back to his intent contemplation of his hillside snack.

The hummingbird poked her head from a darker swell and sipped from the tallest pines before pulling back to wispy nothingness.

The dove spread her wings wide, sheltering the Earth beneath her from soul-staining darkness. She floated on, spreading herself thinner and thinner until she dissipated.

Finally came the raven. His eye was sharp, a great bright orb, and he saw all. Ravens are history keepers, as are all the Corvids. He watched, and he remembers, and if I one day find him and ask what he saw, he may tell me. Beak open, he uttered a soundless, spirit piercing cry before he flew.

Most days, I look inward while I walk - today, I am glad to have looked out.

Feh!

Bird and I spent last evening hanging out with friends at Chick-fil-A - they have a nice little play area that is enclosed with scream-proof glass, so the kids can be as loud as they like and we won't hear it. Nice!

M was working on a crochet project, as was I. The boys played with each other and anyone who didn't flee fast enough, and we ended up being there for more than three hours. Our kids will sleep well tonight!!

Coming home fun - a tractor-trailer was breathing down my neck most of the way, even though he could have gone around and I was ten over the limit (but I'll deny that if you try to write me a ticket, Officer Friendly). Sigh. I get being in a hurry, but that's what the LEFT lane is for. The RIGHT lane is for folks like me who don't feel like breaking the sound barrier at the moment.

Home again, and boy...my house stinks!! I need to open up the windows, take out the trash, clean he cat boxes, and find whatever floor-dwelling clothing and towels the beasties have whizzed on and get them clean, before someone walks in here and drops dead from allergies, asthma, or horror.

How did I not notice this before??

I guess y'all know what I'll be doing after the gym today. Hurrah for me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What Say You?

Susan over at Stop Calling Me That is heading into rough waters, y'all; pop over and give her some love, OK?

On with the show.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I Dreamed a Dream

My sleep was plagued with oddities, last night.

Cats seeking the comfort of their usual human (the one who hasn't been home much of late, leaving them bereft of lap or nooks to curl up on, in, near for a lovely long snooze and some well deserved petting) plucked cotton, made kitty-biscuits, promenaded up and down, over and around, purring at maximum volume and speed. I pet them on autopilot, in my sleep, but I was still aware.

I dreamed, of course. Such dreams. I won't describe in detail, because you still wouldn't get it if you weren't there - so much of it wasn't visual, but experiential. Frustration that someone would start speaking to me but not finish the thought. They wouldn't answer me when I spoke to them, asked urgent questions that required immediate answer. They wouldn't move fast enough when urgent action was required, and they kept asking me to make things right but wouldn't listen or mind when I tried to.

Most irritating.

It is a pet peeve of mine to ask a question and receive silence for an answer. At the very least, a person can acknowledge they've heard me and are thinking about their response. Worse, still, in dreams, when I know it isn't real but can't help the response.

Sometimes I wake still angry from a dream. Those mornings, it is more difficult than usual to refrain from sniping at T, the Evil Genius, the cats. Those mornings, I really need a little quiet to contemplate what my brain was about last night, sort through it, and reconnect with what passes for reality 'round here.

This morning, I took a shower, because it's one of the few places I can be left alone for any length of time. Fifteen minutes of me time.

The dreams are still rattling around my head, even as I type. I think they'll end up part of a story. That often happens - a dream becomes the kernel of a story.

I am scattered, right now, flying loose about the universe, dust whirling up and out to the cosmos.

I need to be collected, soon - I have an appointment with a chiropractor in a little while, and the kid needs to be dressed, breakfast and entertainment packed for him, and my hair is still wet and uncombed after my shower.

SO much to do, but I'm still caught in the grey, post-apocalyptic world of my dreams...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Thoughtfetti

I made a crock pot roast on Monday - it was the easiest thing I could think of to start off what would be a crazy-busy week. I was crazy, and busy, and crazy-busy. I will make the leftovers into vegetable-beef soup. I've never done that before, so we'll see how that goes.
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Starting Monday and ending yesterday morning (Saturday, for anyone reading this a million years from now)(as if) I got twenty two hours of sleep. That makes for a deficit of twenty-three hours (I usually try for nine hours a night because that's what I seem to need). No wonder I got up this morning, ate breakfast, read to the kid a little, fell asleep sitting at the computer desk, and then took a four hour nap.
~~~~~
I hauled almost a ton of ice during the week. Some of it was stuff I moved more than once, but I think that still counts. I also lost the four pounds I gained in the last month. Think there's a corollary?
~~~~~
The racing world misses Paul Newman; the team he sponsored had special patches and stickers that were beautifully simple - white background, black lettering, his initials PLN centered on a rectangle; there was a billboard that was clearly visible to fans and television cameras that was the same white background, black letters, PLN. Oh, how we will miss the man who raced with class, style, and more than a little cool.
~~~~~
I got to tell a whole passel of soldiers "Thank you for your service." and nearly cried when one of them told me they usually perform as the guard for funerals - so doing color guard for a race was a treat. If I live to see a world that can resolve conflict without killing, I will know the end is nigh, but I'll also rejoice.
~~~~~
Today is usually Atlanta Pagan Pride Day. I usually have to be up around four in the morning to drive down and set up my little booth (I tell fortunes)(shut up), perform, and generally show my support for the community. I can't begin to describe how grateful I am that they cancelled it this year. I should be sorry (and I am), but I'm mostly relieved - I love the event, love the people, and always have fun...but this week was exhausting, and I don't know if I would have made it through the whole day.
~~~~~
Eighty cases of water. I moved eighty cases of water. And more than a dozen cases of soft drinks. Oh, and probably a dozen or so cases of beer. More than once. Whew.
~~~~~
A little while ago, I told someone that I felt like I've been trod upon by a large pachyderm. That about sums it up.
~~~~~
I had more fun in one week than most folks have all year, and I'm already looking forward to next year's race. For right now, though, I think I'll take another nap - I just spent two hours writing this post, and you wouldn't believe the number of typos. Thanks, spell check!

Search Me

Yep, it's that time again - time for me to tell you how some folks found their way to my little oasis of festive delights!

~~~~~
Beautiful boys strip - no, no sugar...you want that seedy blog down the street from here.

Quote if wishes were chickens - I would, but I've never read it.

Stairs and vanister - umm...what's a vanister? Is that what happens when the stairs suddenly aren't under your feet and you go ass-over-teakettle??

Ayem een denser 2008 - huh?

Covert bake time bread mini loaf - How covert? Only slightly sneaky, or are we talking a CIA level of secrecy here? What's in these covert loaves? Explosives? Microfilm? Tiny little illegal aliens masquerading as baked goods??

Two dragons eskimo kissing tattoos - because french kissing a tattoo is just wrong.

Real soldier s&m - yeah, you want to follow the one looking for beautiful boys strip up there - this isn't that kind of blog!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Path - Our Walk Is Done


Just a few steps down - they're sturdier than they look!


There's a little friend waiting at the bottom.

Well hey there, friend!

You can't blame a body for pausing a moment, enjoying the scenery, getting a little Zen by the water.

Halfway across the dam is the stone cairn. I'd tell you how Mum got them balanced, but then the fairies would figure out what happened to all their dust.
That's all for the little surprises...for now...so we're done with our tour...

...except for the whole climbing back up to the house part. Groan!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Path, Almost There

I was looking for gnomes, but found their cafe table unoccupied.

A fairy and her bluebird steed found a lovely little garden to rest in.

Someone left their umbrella...good thing it's a sunny day.

Ah, here's a gnome after my own heart - hangin' out in the woods playin' his flute. Maybe we'll jam sometime.

Just the right amount of crinoline...