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







Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall for Meme

Well...actually...it's a meme for Fall that I ganked from that Sunday Stealing site. Play along if you like. Or not. I'm still cleaning house, and will be for a long time - there's so much crap in this cracker box, it's a little overwhelming.
~~~~~
It’s not really fall until... It's not really Fall until the air takes on that crisp, leaf loamy quality; that hint of frost and clarity; the touch of the wind stroking my face as it plucks leaves from the topmost branches and sets them drifting on their downward course; the scent of crimson and gold that tells me the season is turning.

What did you need to do in the waning days of summer for it to feel complete? Clean my house, top to bottom, rid it of the canned-air flavour of the A/C, sweep away the dust, the dirt, the grass and stones and twigs tracked in by weary feet and left in neglected corners.

A person I know was wrong for me but about whom I frequently thought after a break-up was... This presumes I dated or had serious relationships before I married...which I did not. I am now divorced and worry for my ex-husband's well-being...but I don't think that answers the spirit of the question. I was attracted to several people before I met my ex...and I still think fondly of one of them and wish him well. He was absolutely wrong for me, and it's just as well we were never together to begin with.

If you could only attend one major sporting event what would it be? Only one in my life? Hmm...I don't know. The Paris-Dakar rally would be awesome...but so would a number of horse races and a few sailing races. And then there's soccer, and hockey, and winter sports. I can't really think of any one that would choose over all others as my only event. Hey, how about the first Olympics? That'd be epic...

Assuming that you write an anonymous or partially anonymous blog, by what non-physically identifying characteristics might you be identified in a bar? This is a partially anonymous blog - except for one old photo of me buried in the archives (don't bother, I don't look like that any more anyway) and some recent pics of my poor broken toe, there aren't pics of myself on here. If I were in a bar, you might know me by my long hair (once blue at the tips, but alas now sadly washed out due to lack of funds for re-colouring) or by my tattoos if they're showing. Oh, wait, those are physical. I dunno. My laugh? The fact that I'm probably drinking water? That I'm sitting in a corner that doesn't have a window or walkway or another table behind me, facing all the doors/entrances/exits? Probably the best way to identify me is this - I'm the one who isn't there. I don't go to bars.

Most blogs cover some sort of niche – personal, political, dating, culinary, etc. What topic, if any, would you like to address on your blog but doesn't fit into your niche? I don't have a niche, I don't think. I'll discuss any topic that crosses my fevered little brain. Aren't you lucky?

If you could manipulate the time space continuum and give as many as three pieces of advice to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give and to what age of you? 1 (any age, really, this one is ongoing): Don't be afraid to love freely - not everyone wants to use your love to hurt, use, or abuse you. There may even be one or two people in this old world who value, even treasure, what you give freely, and will return the favor in spades. 2 (to my middle-teens self): Don't give up on horseback riding just because you aren't your cousin who made the Olympics that one year...do what you love because you love it and quit worrying that you aren't good enough and so don't deserve it. This applies to more than riding, by the way. 3 (to my pre-teen self who was just beginning to identify and struggle with mental illness and its attendant issues): You can't help how you feel - but you can help what you do about those feelings. Remember that.

Who among your friends do you really wish had a blog because their stories, or perspective on something ought to be shared? Most of my friends have blogs...but of the ones who don't? Sir Richard. Hands down. He doesn't even have a computer, and I wish he did...he's a writer, and his stories are amazing, beautiful, intelligent, challenging, and entertaining as all get out.

If you were to take an e-cation (vacation from the trappings of our electronic world,) and assuming that employment obligations would allow it, how long of a break could you take? Umm...none. I live as much in the Blue Nowhere as I do in Mundania, and I'm happy here. What's "employment obligations"?

What would you miss the most, the least? If forced to forgo my beloved Blue Nowhere and the burg of Blogopolis...I'd miss my e-quaintances the most. Seriously, some morning y'all (and the Evil Genius) are what keep me going...

On September 11'th of this year, I attended a couple of parties and was somewhat conflicted by the fact that this ignoble anniversary shall pass with it being just another day in the eyes of many (and in some ways my own eyes as well.) Thoughts? September 11 IS just another day...it falls between September 10 and September 12. What makes it special or important is how we remember events that fell on one particular September 11...and we aren't relegated to one date for that. We carry the memory with us every day and may celebrate or mourn it as we see fit.

How high are your walls? They are high, and wide, and deep.

Who was the last person to scale them? Ah...now that I am not at liberty to share, but he didn't scale them, really...I opened the gate and welcomed him in.

What tools should would-be climbers have on their belt? Compassion, understanding, empathy, and a very large bottle of the liquor of their choice. Unless you're speaking literally, and then they should have hammers, carabiners (carabeeners??), chalk powder, water, rope, and whatever else a climber needs - I really don't know, as I only ever climbed trees...

The sexiest thing a man or a woman can say to you (or has said to you) is: Nothing I can repeat on a blog my MOTHER reads! One of the sweetest things, though, was when Someone said "There's no excuse for you - the Goddess doesn't need an excuse for excellence." I know!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Word(s)

Mizz Holly had a nifty challenge on her blog and since I'm tired and out of sorts and love playing with words slightly more than I love playing with fire, I asked if I could have a go. She sent me these five words:

Loss
Presence
Evaporate
Highfalutin
Ritual

I am to define them in my own way, in a fashion that shows a little more of who I am to you. I am also to invite you to play along - if you'd like five words of your own, let me know in the comments please, and I'll hand pick five words at the peak of their ripeness and send them along to you post-haste.

Loss - oh, I know this one bone-deep. I've lost books, lost keys, lost money, lost games...but those losses weren't that telling. No...it's the innocence, faith, and trust that I've lost along my way that hurt the deepest and are the hardest to replace. What is loss, really? And is it irrevocable? Of all the things I've lost, I miss my sanity the most...who said that? Can you lose what you never had to begin with? Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by a sense of having lost something indefinable but missing nonetheless. Despite my other losses...I have never lost hope. Misplaced it sometimes, but never lost. Loss - what one once had but now does not due to mishap, misadventure, miscalculation...partners beautifully with "found".

Presence - sometimes I feel a presence in my soul...and I call her Goddess. Sometimes I meet or read someone and they have such a sense of presence, of being, that I am in awe. I tried to tell my now-ex-husband that he needed to be present, be here, in our marriage...but he didn't listen, didn't hear until it was too late and I was gone. Some people are not present in their own lives, and so they know loss. See above for that one. The only moment in which one may be present is this moment.

Evaporate - what usually happens to my self-confidence when I'm meeting new people.

Highfalutin - is that really a word?? I thought it was a Southernism! I've never had occasion to use it, preferring to say "cha-cha" or "pinkie up, darling". To me, it's a word denoting a negative sense of society, a putting on of airs...and makes me think of my grandmother and her ideas about society. I don't know anyone highfalutin any more...thank goodness.

Ritual - now here's a word rich with meaning, with depth, with more layers than a mille-stratta! There are homey little rituals like doing dishes or laundry...and there are the rituals that help calm us, like breathing deeply or watching a river flow past...and the rituals that help us focus on our inner selves and our gods, like lighting candles and incense or balefires and drumming. I love Ritual, love performing the motions, the spiritual dance...whether it's one I've made up on the spot or one that's based on centuries-old practices. Alone or in groups, it brings a sense of connection to the Presence, to everything and everyone around me...and that's all to the good, I think...especially when one has a tendency to be/feel isolated.

So there are the five Mizz Holly sent me...now, are you game??

Monday, September 28, 2009

Yep

For Sean and Cindy.



Sock it to 'em, Cindy!

Awake, If Not Aware

I am awake today, but still in a fog. I didn't sleep well last night and am rather cross this morning. My sleep was interrupted by dreams, odd ones - fleeting glimpses of stories that haven't happened yet, a parade of maybes and couldbes and nerverweres, all of them tense or distressing or frustrating in some way. I didn't sleep for more than an hour at a time last night because of this rat-a-tat-tat in my mind.

In one, I was in some sort of prison...tiny, grey, concrete, dark, cold and damp, the room I was in was smaller than a closet, barely enough space for me to sit on the floor with my legs stretched in front of me. I was chained by my leg to a metal bar and the chain was as thick and heavy as an anchor chain, links thicker than my wrist. In the dream, I was resigned to my condition, and oddly hopeful...although there was nothing in the scene to indicate a reason for hope.

In another, I am on a sandy shore. The sand is coarse, and it's either a river or a lake. Behind me is wilderness and across the body of water is a city. The city is a dark place, a place of shadows and sorrow and danger, and is overhung with a pall of gloom. I am cowering under a blanket on the shore, and I don't want to be there - something is terribly wrong over in the city, and I am troubled by it and don't want to see what is about to happen. Someone with a video camera is filming me as I hide behind the blanket and weep, begging to go away from this place.

Then I am sitting on a bench, still on the beach, still staring at the city. There are ants around my feet, millions of them milling about. I am worried they'll be crushed by the people who will soon be walking here, so I tell them to go away...and they line up and march off into the wilderness in formation! There is a sound...I feel as much as hear it...and an airplane flies over. Flames and smoke pour from its engines, and I can hear people on board crying out. It sinks lower in the olive grey sky as it flies over the city, then drops into the heart of the metropolis and explodes. I hear and feel all those lives, all those souls bursting outward from the epicenter. They wash over me where I sit trembling and weeping. I am a prisoner, still, and would rather go back to my cell but am not permitted - the people with me want me to do something, something with my mind, and I don't want to. They are evil.

Another scene - this time I'm wandering in a liquor store that is in what used to be a house, small rooms connected by a hallway, each room empty of furnishing save the shelves that line the walls. The bottles are not placed with any sense of order - rum with tequila and vodka, different sizes, different brands, all placed randomly so I have to search the entire place for what I seek. The lighting is poor, the bottles glow, and the selection is sparse as well as scattered. No one seems to understand what I want, and I can't find it in the right size - the whole layout is confusing, disorganized and off-putting.

I am used to having dreams full of frustration and unexpressed anger - the mind unburdens itself while resting in ways it cannot, ways we don't permit, in our waking day. I don't have nightmares - even the worst dreams that roil about in there are simply dreams, and I know that. Even while dreaming, I know I'm dreaming...so they may be unpleasant, but they're not nightmares. Still....they stick with me, leave a thin film of emotion and "what the hell" on my day until I can shake them.

For the next few weeks I'll be cleaning my house again in preparation for...I dunno what...but I feel like cleaning it from top to bottom and ridding myself of unwanted, unneeded things, making room, making space. Some people do Spring cleaning...I do Fall. Maybe that's what my head is doing, purging old thoughts and feelings to make way for something better.

What have you been dreaming, lately?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wait, What Day Is It?

Well hey there.

I didn't just get up...my hair always looks this frowsy.

Not buying it? Dang.

So the race is done. Whew. It rained again yesterday, rather a lot, and we made racing history. For the first time ever, they stopped the race because of weather. They were hoping to restart, but it wasn't happening...instead, they checkered it after letting the clock run out. Wet, chilly, and dark, and most of the spectators had already gone home, but there were still fireworks to be seen.



I stayed long enough to help get equipment sorted out and organize our final party, chat with some friends, and exchange a few e-mail addresses...and sip some Johnnie Walker Black before heading home...and find we had no power in my neighborhood. It had been out for several hours, and didn't come back on until long after I fell into bed. I had to get up in the middle of the night to turn off living room light and stereo, both of which turn themselves on when power is reinstated. Then I slept again until about ten.

The van is mostly unloaded, the house is a mess, and I'm still tired so the rest will have to wait until tomorrow. Right now? Time for a nap.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Snort

So tired. Today is the last day of the race week - 10 hours or one-thousand miles, whichever comes first. We've never done the whole ten hours. I am officially done registering people at ten this morning - I'll spend the rest of the day doing what I haven't been able to do all week...actually watching some racing! That or napping. It's a toss-up.

Go here for info on the race. If you happen to watch and see the people in white on the corners and responding to incidents, or the folks driving the wreckers and rollbacks...they're the folks I have been registering all week, making coffee for, bringing ice and water to, and chilling beer for. I know every one of them.

Or, if you don't much care about cars going 200+ miles per hour, go here. It's not race related, and you'll laugh.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ouchie

Warning - this post contains graphic images of horrendously dirty feet and some seriously offended piggies. That ought to garner some hits from the Google Pervs.

See?

I broke my right pinkie-toe on Tuesday night. It makes being on my feet all day on an uneven surface a real treat. Whee. Look how poofy it is. Good grief, even my little toe has a double chin!!

The bruising has spread but the swelling's gone down. It's achy, and walking about on a pile of aggregate isn't helping matters - I keep finding stray rocks to step on.

Sigh.

Oh, well - it's not the first time I've broken toes, and won't be the last. Meanwhile, you'd never know I washed my feet twice a day, would you??

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Let There Be...

For the race, we have upward of one-hundred-fifty volunteer workers register to serve as safety marshals, timing and scoring, technical inspectors, emergency-vehicle drivers, pit and grid marshals, and starters, as well as folks who act as general help running about delivering lunches, ice, water, and anything else that needs doing.

To facilitate our registration process and give us a place for our meetings and social events, the track provides a very large tent for our use. They provide the light fixtures but I have to run the power cords for our lights and coffee apparatus (apparatuses? apparatii??).

The lights are usually big, square, obnoxious spot lights. Honestly, I loathe them and won't turn them on if I can help it - I'd rather work in the dark...and anyway, it's not really dark there, ever, because there are plenty of light poles around to lend a little illumination from a distance.

This year? Check out our lights:

So - we have a huge tent full of sleepy volunteers drinking coffee that will peel the paint off a naval vessel (in the morning) or muddy, sweaty, tired volunteers drinking beer (in the evening)...and chandeliers to light them on their way.

Awesome.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's a Mud,Mud,Mud,Mud,Mud,Mud World

We may have had some rain recently.

And I may have an Evil Genius who is very much a little boy.

And where my registration tent is located at the track may be in a low spot.

And there may or may not be a little mud nearby.


What's a little mud among friends?
Who wouldn't want to play in this??
The Evil Genius has never even seen The Karate Kid...he's just a prodigy.
A little help here? Anyone?? Hello???
We may need a fire hose.
Or a mud puddle that's slightly less dirty than the others.
Oh, yeah, the boots did a GREAT job...

The little dude had a terrific time in the mud - and so did all the adults watching him play. Sometimes the best things in life really are free.

In the Middle of it All

I am busy this week and glad of it. It's a distracition, this controlled chaos at the track. I'm dealing with other peoples' needs, making certain they feel welcome and valued at this event. I like smoothing the way and the folks working this event are, like me, volunteers. They spend their hard-earned vacation time and dollars to come work safety for an international race and I think the least I can do is make 'em coffee in the morning, open some boxes of Danish pastries, and greet 'em with a smile.

I love Autumn. I love the turning of the leaves, the color and the scent, the feel of the air. I miss feeling the days turning crisp, watching frost etch the windows and turn the grass to a carpet of diamond dust. When I lived in NH, Autumn was a feast for the senses.

Here in Georgia, it's different. I love it here, don't get me wrong, and the seasonal change still happens...but it's muted, without the flare of a New England turning.

Every year, I feel a sort of joy combined with melancholy during this season. The days are cooler, and the leaves are turning, and...I miss the places of my childhood.

This week will pass the faster for having the race to work, for having something to do besides be reminded that I am fretful about things I won't discuss here, but that weigh on my mind. It will help to be surrounded by people from all over the world, to laugh at corny jokes, greet old friends, feed folks, and watch the Evil Genius charm their collective socks off (he does every year). Still...in the middle of it all...I know I'll have moments of yearning...moments of wistful thought...

Until someone asks me a question or needs something, and then I will paste the smile back on my face and see how I can help make their day, their race, a little better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Their Cousins Steal Underpants

Bird scraped his knee last week, a fairly good skinning on the pavement. He likes to keep a Band-Aid on his ouchies until they are completely healed, even in the tub.

Today, we noticed his bandage was no longer on his knee - it has somehow slipped down to his shin. When my friend B remarked on the new location, my evil spawn looked at his leg, puzzled. When B asked how it had gotten there, the Evil Genius replied "I don't know, maybe some sort of Band-Aid moving gnome came and put it there instead."

Yep...he's mine.

Mabon

It's the Autumnal Equinox - I'm working my butt off today (I wish!), but I wanted to pause long enough to wish you all a happy Mabon!
~~~~~
There were three men came out of the West,
Their fortunes for to try,
And these three men made a solemn vow,
John Barleycorn must die...

Summer is past. The grain stands tall and golden in the field, awaiting its fate.

They let him stand till midsummer's day,
Till he looked both pale and wan,
And little Sir John's grown a long, long beard
And so become a man...


Harvest came, harvest is done. This is the last of it. After the Autumnal Equinox, whatever is left in the fields is for the gods. If the harvesters were quick and conscientious, there will only be one last shock of grain or corn, bound carefully and placed with pride for the Gods of field and farm.

They've hired men with scythes so sharp,
To cut him off at the knee,
They've rolled him and tied him by the waist
Serving him most barbarously...


There is bread in plenty, and grapes for wine. Fruits and nuts are in and preserved, and meats and cheeses, too.

The nights are chill, but we have fires to warm us.

Winter is not yet upon us; we have time to make snug our homes before true cold descends.

It is Autumn, a time to rest, to look ahead and calculate our provisions - have we set aside enough? Must we look to the woods and our neighbors to make up any shortfalls? Must we call upon the sacrificial King, who will rise up again come spring and begin the cycle anew?

This is the last of the Earthen or harvest holidays as well as a solar holiday, a time for reflection on what we have reaped, on what we will sow. We don't have to plant, to weed, to worry and wait. We may rest, now, until Spring spreads her greening over the land. It's not yet the hungry time, not yet the lean time - it is the time of content, of plenty, of settling in and waiting without fear - we have enough.

And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl--
And he's brandy in the glass,
And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl
Proved the strongest man at last.

I wish you a full larder, a full heart, and a full measure of content on this Mabon day.

Blessed Be.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Everybody Complains About the Weather

Georgia is flooding...but Seattle's having lovely weather. What the hell??

Caught in a Moment

I have so much to do, yet, to be ready for the race. I should be bustling about, packing the van with tables, chairs, paperwork, coffee urns, power cords, and all that.

I need to get dinner started - crockpot roast, if you were wondering.

I need to fold my clean shirts and do laundry for the Evil Genius and unlock the front door so my friend B can come in out of the rain when she gets here.

But I can't.

I'm being held down by 1.2 pounds of limp, purring kitten.
Send the marines.

The Song Says It

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Let's Go Racin'

I won't be online as much as usual this week; the Petit Le Mans starts Tuesday, and I run worker registration and hospitality for the event starting Monday evening. That means eighteen hour days and no Internet while I'm over there.

I will be coming home from time to time - I live less than a mile from the track, and have a few hours mid-day when I don't have to be there, so I usually come home for a shower, a nap, and some quiet.

I plan to post daily, as always - y'all didn't think you were getting off that easily, did you??

I figured I'd tell you a little about what I'm doing over there (this week with the added bonus of lots of rain!) on a typical day:

4:30 AM - get up, get dressed, make sure the Evil Genius's clothes are ready for him, start the crock-pot if I'm using it to cook tonight's dinner, grab the handheld radio (it's been charging overnight) and cell phone and head over to the track. Everything else is already in the van, packed the night before.

5:00 AM - fetch ice from the cooler halfway across the property, 4 or 5 twenty-pound bags hauled out of the cooler, into the van.

5:15 AM - unload ice from van. Ice down water, juice, and soft drinks. Start coffee urns - there are three, but they have to be done two at a time and I can't turn on the lights until they're done or we blow the surge-protector and lose power. Unload registration box containing passes, car passes, waivers, pens, and schedules. Unload boxes of t-shirts to be given to the workers when they register. Put breakfast pastries and fruit out, and any snacks available for workers to take with them to their stations. Haul cases of water from the trailer and set them out for workers to take with them for the day. Set out flags, radios and communications equipment by station number.

5:45 - make my one cup of coffee for the day (this week, I will drink coffee or tea in the morning because otherwise I won't make it to lunch, let alone through the whole day) and tuck a danish roll away for the Evil Genius when he comes over with whoever leaves the house last in the morning.

5:50 - ready the registration area.

6:00 - Open registration, get workers and their guests signed in, hand out t-shirts and swag bags, check coffee, start new urns, place more breakfast pastries, fruit, and snacks out as needed.

10:00 AM - close registration, tidy up the tent area, fill coolers with water and soft drinks, fetch more ice and ice down drinks, turn off and empty coffee urns, load urns and registration gear into the van, wait for lunches to arrive, order lunches for tomorrow.

11:30 - sort lunches for delivery by zone, sort drinks for same, send them out with zone chiefs, make certain remaining lunches are enough to feed workers who report to the tent for meals, re-fill and re-ice coolers. Feed Evil Genius lunch and try not to notice how filthy he is from playing in the field that is out parking lot/hospitality area.

1:00 - tidy tent again, stow any extra lunches (hah!!), fill coolers one more time. Cajole, threaten, and bribe Evil Genius to get into the van, haul coffee urns and us back to the house. Clean urns. Fill water jugs - we don't have a water source at the track, so I have to come home for it. Load urns, water jugs, and afternoon/evening snacks into the van. Chivvy Evil Genius into the house, out of his dirty clothes, and maybe into the tub. Shower. Check on dinner in the crock-pot. Check e-mail, phone messages, and blogs, make phone calls. Nap, if there's time.

3:00 - load Evil Genius and self into the van, return to the track. Prep the coffee urns for tomorrow. Tidy the tent. Unload registration boxes, t-shirts, and snacks for the evening. fill and ice coolers.

4:00 - open registration. This is when most workers' guests will arrive. Update the bulletin board with tomorrow's hours, notes and menu.

4:30 - ice beer and wine for after-shutdown social.

5:30 - set out snacks for the social.

7:00 - close registration, load registration box and t-shirts into van.

9:00 - chase workers and guests away, close down social, tidy tent, turn out the lights, double-check the coffee urns (because coffee failure?? not an option!!), and head home with the Evil Genius if he didn't go back to the house earlier with Mum (who is working in the communications center for this event).

10:00 - load breakfast and snacks into the van fro morning, top up the boxes of swag bags so I don't run out, fill water jugs, bring in radio to charge over night, eat dinner if there's any left, visit with out of town guests visiting for the race, tidy kitchen, tidy living room, prep dinner for tomorrow, get Evil Genius bathed, read him a story, and get him to bed.

Midnight (if I'm lucky) - crawl into bed and die for a few hours.

4:30 AM - repeat above.

In between times, I'm usually running back and forth from the tent delivering ice and water to the workers or registering people who came in late (because I AM nice, damnit!!) and generally trying to help things run as smoothly as possible. It's chaotic, exhausting, and fun.

On Thursday, we'll have night practice and I'll be home even later, and Friday is the cookout and door-prize giveaway, so late again. Saturday is the final day, and I'll take the Evil Genius all over the track so he can watch the racing from every possible angle...and while we're at it, I'll haul water and ice around to anyone who needs it, fetch lunches and dinners for the workers, make sure Mum in the tower has whatever she needs, and nap once or twice. By end of race on Saturday, I'll have the tent tidied away for the last time, all the remaining drinks and snacks set out, and a bottle of Scotch ready to share with the event chiefs and my friends from out of town.

I may or may not get out of bed on Sunday. Or Monday.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Heart Versus Head

A conversation with a friend last night led me to thinking. I know, dangerous.

What do you do when your heart wants one thing and your head another?

When your heart says fly, do you slip from your earthly bonds and soar? What if your head reminds you that there are practicalities to consider before running toward your dreams?

Your heart says "Go!!" but your head says "Patience, bide a while."

Me? I'd like to be a romantic. I'd like to say I let my heart lead me. I can't, though. I'm too pragmatic - too prone to weighing options and considering consequences, considering loss and gain. Boring.

I so seldom let go and do what I want. Annoying, really.

How about you? When head and heart cannot agree, who do you listen to, and why? What have the consequences been, and were they worth it?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thoughtfetti

A number of my friends have had eventful days, lately. This thoughtfetti is for them.
~~~~~
My friend S's mum has had some trouble with her knees. She had a knee replaced. It got infected. They took out the artificial knee and treated the infection...MRSA. Put the knee back in. Infection came back. Took it out, treated for MRSA, put it in. Out, in, out, in, this woman who is the sole caregiver for her retarded daughter and granddaughter has spent more of the last few years in a wheelchair tethered to an IV antibiotic drip than out, unable to bear weight on one side. After the last surgery they told her if it came back, they would have to amputate. She has a table leg and the shade of stain she wants waiting in the wings. No kidding. She tough and funny that way. In the next month or so, she'll have to decide if she wants to try one more knee replacement surgery which, if it doesn't work, means amputation at the hip, or if she wants to amputate at the knee instead. She's trying to decide how to decorate the table leg. I hope I never have to make such a choice - but if I do...I hope I can have a fraction of her grace and humor about it.
~~~~~
Another friend just started chemo for cancer on his tongue. The doctors don't like to perform surgery on tongues - tricky stuff, that. They are treating aggressively. Chemo causes nausea, among other things. He has to constantly eat or drink to keep his swallowing mechanism in good order - stop using it, you may lose it. His tongue could fail him. Also? He's a musician. We've recorded together. He's a singer with cancer on his tongue. Holy crap. I am praying it gets better without all the complications of chemo.
~~~~~
Another friend's mum is in the hospital. The doctors don't know what's wrong with her. My friend has a leaking roof that she can't even get tarped until the rain quits...which the forecast says will be next week sometime...maybe. Meanwhile, her yard is flooding because the french drain can't keep up with this bounty of rain we're having, and the hospital's first floor flooded. She looked up at the heavens and said "Bring it on." Sometimes, that's all you can do.
~~~~~
There are more friends with more troubles that I just don't feel comfortable discussing here. It seems when it rains, it pours. I don't like feeling powerless to help them - it is in my nature to nurture, to offer aid and comfort, to smooth things over and help make it right again. To feel unable to do these things...it is frustrating. All I can offer them is love, encouragement, and such prayers as I pray. It doesn't seem enough.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Continuing Adventures of Flat Aunt Becky

When Aunt Becky sent me her cards, I bet she didn't know she was starting something...epic. Too late to get 'em back now, Aunt B - you'll just have to suffer...muahahahah...ahem.

So, on Thursdays I often spend the evening at Borders with a discussion group. FAB decided she had to come with me - she thought it would be a novel experience. Ahem.


We were hungry, so we wandered through the cook books. When we saw the picture on this one, we both swooned.
FAB said this next one was sacrilegious.

"There's life beyond takeout? I don't think so!"

Then we found the one that made FAB weep tears of joy...

...because obviously.

We finally had to repair to the cafe for reinforcements.

Poor little bagel, never stood a chance.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lego Dat!

I'm still sick. I had to borow some albuterol from the Evil Genius last night because whatever this junk is, it decided it wanted to check out my lungs, throw a party, invite the neighbors. Bleh. Anyway...my head is full of holy-crap-what-the-hell-IS-that?? and I don't feel very creative or lyrical or even human so I went trolling for unf on youtube and dug these little gems up for you. I'm nice like that.
~~~~~
I love legos. I love arcade games. How awesome is this??

~~~~~
Somebody had too much time on their hands...er...claws...

~~~~~
And one of my favorite comedians, done over in Legos.


Y'all have a good one.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Good Grief

Yesterday, while out running errands, the Evil Genius announced that he'd like a little brother, please.

A little brother would mean he would have someone to play with at home, he reasoned.

I told him brothers and sisters could be a pain, always stealing your toys and arguing with you.

Well, the arguing he could do without, he said, but still he wouldn't mind having someone to play with at home when his friends couldn't come over.

I told him I didn't want to have another baby because I didn't want to take away from his quality of life.

He countered that he wouldn't mind having less toys and he would share them with a brother.

I responded that I couldn't have another baby, anyway - I'm too old and I don't have a man.

Why do I need a man, he asked.

Because it takes a man and a woman to make a baby - we've discussed this aspect of biology before and to simplify things I'm sticking to the more traditional man+woman=baby method of it until he's much older. Like ninety.

Anyway, he added, you're not married any more, and you have to be married to have a baby.

No you don't. Marriage doesn't cause babies, sex does.

Oh. I thought you said you had to be married to have a baby.

No...I said it was best to be married or in a stable relationship to have a baby, because raising one alone sucks and anyway, if you're going to make a life you should take responsibility for it, and that's easiest when committed to a life with the other parent.

Oh. I thought you had to be married.

Nope. This reminded me of a conversation I had with my shrink a long time ago - he asked me "But don't you want to get married some day, have children?" I gave him a deadpan face and replied "Dr. S I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it isn't the wedding ring that causes pregnancy..." He laughed. Dang, I miss him - he was awesome. Anyway.

So you could have a baby now if you wanted to?

Well...if I had a man willing to help make one, yes.

Oh. Why don't you want to?

I told you - I'm too old and anyway babies are expensive.

You're not THAT old, Mommy, and you could sell some stuff or get a job to pay for it.

Uh-huh. Still don't have the man.

But you said Someone loves you and you love him, so maybe he would...

Hey, kid, how about a happy meal?

Sure!

Whew.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Meme on Monday

I don't write these things, I just compulsively fill them out.
~~~~~
1. The phone rings. Who will it be? Either someone I love or someone wanting money.

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? Yep...and often other people's as well. What the hell is wrong with people that they can't walk sixteen feet to return a cart? Burn the calorie, people!!

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? Depends who I'm socializing with.

4. Do you take compliments well? Nope, but I'm getting better at it. Try me!

5. Do you play Sudoku? No. I'm not that clever.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive? Yep.

7. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Yep.

8. What was your favorite game as a kid? Piggy, a sort of complicated, far-ranging, woodsy hide-and seek.

9. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew she was married, would you? Nope. I'm not into women that way. If it was a fella? Still nope, unless his spouse knew he was interested in me and was OK with that. I do have SOME boundaries.

10. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you? Been there, done that.

11. Do you like to pursue or be pursued? I think both have their merits...and detractions. I think a nice balance is the way to go.

12. Use three words to describe yourself?

13. Do any songs make you cry? A few.

14. Are you continuing your education? Every day.

15. Do you know how to shoot a gun? Yep.

16. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth? Nope.

17. How often do you read books? Constantly. I always have a book or three going.

18. Do you think more about the past, present or future? I tend to dwell in the now, flavored with some bittersweet past and mellow, hopeful future.

19. What is your favorite children’s book? Oh...tough call. I honestly think my favorite is whatever I'm reading to the Evil Genius at the moment.

20.What color are your eyes? They change depending on mood - they range from grey to blue to green. Only special people get to see green. On rare occasions they're violet. When you see violet? Run. Very fast.

21. How tall are you? 5' 10".22. Where is your dream house located? It's not, yet...and when it IS located somewhere, the where isn't as important as the who.

23. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed? Besides my son and the cats? Probably Bob the Wonder Computer, or my camera, or my red bag or...you know what? The house just better not burn down.

24. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden? I don't remember, but I think it was last year some time.

25. Where was the furthest place you traveled today? The kitchen.

26. Do you like mustard? On occasion.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The New and Ongoing Adventure of Flat Aunt Becky (Part the Third)...*

We checked out some sculptures, and FAB said she knew just how this one felt - every time she thought about going home to her three kids and The Daver (her husband), whom she'd left behind for her journey here to Redneck Central, Georgia.


"Oh, no, I cain't go on..."

She figured she'd need a double shot of vodka when she got back to her now feral family. I offered her permanent residency in my guest room. She's thinking about it.

She said she'd go blind and crazy doing all the bead work on this collar and had mad respect for the woman who made it, yo. She declined to try it on, claiming it was too big for her to pull off.



I thought she would look terrific in one of these hats, but she didn't want to muss her hair.


Poor FAB - all that art was wearing her out...so she took a little cat nap while we ordered lunch from a local restaurant.

She met TBF's partner in crime, The Other Bad Fairy, and they were immediate friends.

Isn't TOBF too freakin' cute??

I showed her one of my favorite displays to play with.

She played a few of them to test their sound. I bet you didn't know FAB can play flute beautifully!

FAB is all about being helpful, so when lunch was ready she offered to help go pick it up.


FAB has a good heart (plus it's all shiny and pink) and bought a couple of chocolate bars to help support the local high school. She doesn't even like chocolate - she shared it with me and Mum.


All she ate for lunch was french fries - I don't know how she keeps her figure!!


Lunch over, she wanted to check her e-mail and look at comments on her blog. I lent her Bob the Wonder Computer.


While she did that, I got busy working on my next project - I punched out leaves for an autumn tree using scraps of paper and a metal punch. I had them raked into a nice little pile on the table. FAB caught sight of it and had to run and jump into the pile.


Because they don't have leaf piles in Chicago.

We tidied up my workspace and left a little while later - FAB was worn slap out and wanted nothing more than a stiff drink and a place to rest her weary head.

I had other plans...
~~~~~
Here ends FAB's day at the GHCA. Stay tuned for more adventures...you never know where she'll show up next!!


*Thank you to the wonderful women of the GHCA for your laughter and art - I shot more than one-hundred photos of FAB in the gallery, exploring the art and the artists. The women were kind enough to let me interrupt their work, pose with FAB, and allow me to photograph their artwork. I didn't get everyone and everything into these posts because there just wasn't room! If y'all like FAB, I'll bring her back from time to time for more fun and games... Aunt Becky, Thanks for the challenge!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The New and Ongoing Adventure of Flat Aunt Becky (Part the Second)...

..in which FAB continues to explore the delights of the GHCA.
~~~~~
Once she'd proven her handywoman chops, FAB was ready to move on to the art. When she saw one artist's beads, she asked if she could play. You know those scenes in Loony Tunes when Daffy Duck sees a treasure and runs up to it, exclaiming "It's mine, mine, all mine, I'm rich, I'm rich, I'm a wealthy miser!!" as he rolls around in it??


I had to remind FAB that the artist was actually trying to work with those beads. She grumbled a bit until she caught sight of a third artist reorganizing TBF's CD collection (which is as varied and wonderful as TBF's talents!). FAB had to check out Bonnie Raitt, and wanted to know why I couldn't make her hair look that good. Umm...because I can barely get mine int a pony tail without needing help from the fire brigade??

I decided to distract her with some whimsy. Who doesn't love a giant chicken??

"Someone call the Colonel, let's fry this sucker up!!"

She said she wouldn't walk a mile for a camel...unless it was as sweet as this one:

She realized that I hadn't shown her any of my art yet and wanted to know what I was afraid of. I had to step up to the plate and show her one of my displays. She made herself at home, rummaging through some of the cards I'd hand made and telling me they didn't suck entirely, which I gather is a compliment coming from her.


FAB has some big brass ones - she saw the resident dragon and hopped right on - didn't even need a rope! That FAB sure is spry.


"Hah! I have three kids (two of them boys), seventy dogs, sixteen ferrets and a possum* - you don't scare me!!"

She really dug the little birds made from hickory nuts, and the intricate little boxes...

...but she actually said "Squeeee!!!" when she saw this wee fellow...


She tried to convince me that she needed this bag to live- it matched her boots and Amelia's baby blanket perfectly, and who doesn't want to accessorize their footwear and baby things together?? I told her she might want a smaller bag, but she reminded me how much stuff a mom has to carry when she's out with kids...and I started looking for something bigger, but there weren't any fluffy pink minivans on the rack.


We wandered over to a polymer sculpture display, but rather than get all rowdy she decided to let sleeping dragons lie...

To be continued...


* actual pets may vary

Friday, September 11, 2009

The New and Ongoing Adventure of Flat Aunt Becky (Part the First)...

...In which Flat Aunt Becky (or "FAB" for ease of typing) visits the Georgia Heritage Center for the Arts and finds herself fundamentally changed (as good art is known to do).

Aunt Becky* had a little contest thing for her blog. Being preoccupied with cleaning house, procrastinating and then having to sew like crazy, and trifling things like a divorce, I failed to even start my entry until yesterday, the day after the deadline. Typical. I decided to play along, anyway, because I'm like that.

*Not my real aunt, for which she may be eternally grateful!
~~~~~

I wanted to show Aunt Becky a good time. Unfortunately, I'm not really a fun-and-games, party type of gal. I know! So I brought her with me to meet some of the most creative, outrageous women I know, the Thursday group at the GHCA.

At first, Aunt Becky felt a little...square...around the gals. She was a wee shy, and stuck close to me and Bob the Wonder Computer, the only people she knew at the gallery.




She warmed up to The Bad Fairy, though - there's something about TBF that brings out the worst best in a person...she's sassy, delightfully sharp witted and is marvelously skewed - right up Aunt Becky's alley!

Aunt Becky was feeling a little under-dressed - her black-and-white attire just wasn't gallery material. "Come on, let's have a makeover!" she cried. I tried to warn her that I failed Girl 101, but she wasn't having any of it. She dumped my art supplies on the table and dove right in.

She demanded a boob job and asked me to shave a little off her hips. I told her I thought she looked just fine the way she was, but she scoffed at me and told me to get cutting. Hey, I'm no plastic surgeon, but she was so pushy I had to comply or risk her causing a scene.

"Quit fucking around and give me Kate Beckinsale's ass!!"


When the cutting was done, Aunt Becky was down to her essentials - transformed to Flat Aunt Becky!!

I did my best with her coif...but remember, I failed Girl 101 and my idea of highly styled hair is putting a flower in my bun. Still...she seemed satisfied, and was easily distracted from her hair-y musings when I pointed out her distressing lack of clothing. The gallery is, after all, a family-friendly place!

Fashionably attired in blue jeans, a t-shirt pimping her blog site, foofy scarf and hot pink boots, FAB was ready to jump into gallery culture.

She decided to help TBF put together a new rolly cart, meant to hold TBF's glass oddments - TBF is a stained-glass artist when she's not being a Bad Fairy.
To be continued...

Remembering*

Some were victims

Some were heroes

They are gone

But not forgotten.


No...
Not forgotten.


"Only the dead have seen an end to war." - Plato

Edit - I wrote the following as a response to someone else's memorial post, and I decided I wanted to place it here, too:

The place where they once stood reminds me of the child who, struck in the face by the schoolyard bully, has lost his two front teeth. It's an obscene and violent emptiness that demands filling, demands something to remedy that wrongness, that absence of once-present substance.

Whenever I see the skyline, I feel that empty place keenly, and I don't even live there.

I keep hoping that from the ashes, the phoenix will rise; all these years later, it isn't triumph I see, but division, sorrow, anger, and confusion swirling in a quagmire of indecision, derision, and the constant tug-of-war of "remember" versus "forget".

Shade and Sweetwater,
K (who wept when they fell, and prayed as hard as ever she did that the people had gotten out - because anything else was too horrible to contemplate)

* I wrote this post last year...and it still holds true today. I'd like to add - whatever I may think of military actions, of wars and violence...I am grateful to all of the armed forces who fight for freedom's cause, who do a dirty job under equipped, under supported, under appreciated, and under constant fire from all sides. Come home safe and soon.

*Edit - go here to see thousands of beautiful, poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting photographs of the WTC event, taken by people who were in the thick of it.