Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
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
Saturday, October 31, 2009
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. These days, 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), Gypsy (also minus children), K and her husband and daughter, and Someone. I've spent the last month cleaning room after room, and re-cleaning, and finally feel that the house is shaping up to be a home again and not a pen, a sty, or a storage bin. I have a few pumpkins to carve, one each for me, Mum, Someone, and Bird. In past years, I've had them for everyone, but things are tighter this year...so everyone else is bringing their own. They don't seem to mind, though.
Last week, I roasted several small pumpkins and made pumpkin puree - enough for three cakes, so I'm set for the holidays. I also roasted the seeds, because yum!
We'll carve pumpkins, the lot of us, and nosh the snacks I've put out. I'll roast the seeds and may even share them. At dusk, we'll light the jack-o-lanterns and take the kids out for their bit of begging. T will come pick up the Evil Genius and take him to his neck of the woods for another round of candy-garnering, then keep him overnight for some father-son bonding.
If the night is fine, we'll 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. I may or may not have a bit of whisky or rum to add medicinal value to the drink.
I will make a special dinner for Samhain night. I don't have anything traditional - this year it's shepherd's pie, corn bread, and pumpkin spice cake with cinnamon spice 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 kids 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 contents 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.
This year I honor: Aunt D, who passed this spring; Rich Shafer, a friend and staunch supporter of the racing world; my grandfather, who passed many years ago but whom I still miss
Friday, October 30, 2009
The Halloween Meme
1. What is your favorite written work of horror fiction? Umm...I don't know about that, since I don't really read horror...but I am rather fond of Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas books, and many of his more recent works, as well - do those count?
2. What is your favorite work of science fiction/fantasy? Oh, wow...ask me my favorite oxygen molecule and you'll more likely get an answer. Umm...Heinlein is a favorite, and Mercedes Lackey, Flynn Connolly, Larry Niven, Starhawk, Piers Anthony, Neal Stephenson, Simon R. Green, Jim Butcher, Orson Scott Card, Anne McCaffrey...and I just know I'm forgetting some...
3. Who is your favorite monster? Hmm...I rather like Frankenstein's monster, because he was such a tragic creature. I also like the critters in the Species movies, because they're freakin' heinous! Or would those be aliens? I am also rather fond of Snortimer, the monster under the bed, too.
4. What is your favorite Horror movie? Would you believe I've never seen one? bits of them, yes, but they bore me to pieces, so I don't tend to watch them.
5. What horror movie gives you the most chills? Again, I don't watch them, really, and the little I've seen never frightened me at all...just made me wonder what people were thinking, writing things like that.
6. What character from any horror film would you most like to play? Hmm. Eve, from Species 2, even though I am fairly certain that's not really a horror movie.
7. Freddy or Jason? The only Fred I know is Captain Martini from the track, and the only Jason I know was a very nice young man I went to school with entirely too long ago, so, umm...both??*
8. What is your favorite Halloween treat? I miss caramel apples. And popcorn balls. These days, even candy corn is rather sad, unless you get Brach's (made with real honey!). I don't have a modern favourite.
9. Ghosts or goblins? Elves and fairies, thanks.
10. Friendly-faced jack-o'-lantern or scary one? I like both, as well as those fancy scenic ones you can do with the paper patterns. Last year and this, I am more drawn to more traditional faces, though.
11. What is your scariest encounter with the paranormal? Never had a scary one. Honestly, I grew up in a haunted house where the ghost wanted nothing to do with me. He haunted everyone else, but not me. It was so unfair!!
12. Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not? Yep. Because too many people have had experiences that don't fit into any other rational explanation.
13. Would you rather be a zombie, alien, or psycho? Umm...Alien, if it's Eve from Species 2. Seriously - she's a hottie, smart, psychic, a hottie, fierce, and a hottie.
14. Favorite Halloween costume? You know...I remember having store-bought costumes when I was little...but otherwise am really drawing a blank. I suck at costumes. Really. These days I wear my own clothing and tell people I'm a witch...and like serial killers, we dress like everyone else.
15. Best thing about Halloween? Roasted pumpkin seeds. Oh, yeah, and family and friends hanging out, laughing, having a good time telling ghost stories and remembering our dear departed.
16. Person in your family who most likes Halloween (not counting yourself)? Hmm. I would think my son likes it, but he's only just getting into it. mum's fond of it, too. I dunno...
17. Are you superstitious? Yes. Yes I am.
18. Share an unusual Halloween story. Umm...I don't have one...
19. What did you do for Halloween as a kid? Went trick-or-treating, or sometimes to parties. Played Barn Door (a variant of hide and seek played at night with teams).
20. What's the best Halloween party that you've attended? I don't know that I've been to any as an adult...but as a kid, sometimes we'd go to one at The Stone House in Little Compton. It was fun...I remember costume contests, bobbing for apples, and pinatas...
So...how 'bout you??
*No, I'm not that stupid or socially retarded, I know what the question meant...I'm funnin' ya because I didn't want to be boring and say "I don't watch those movies..." again.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
He decided he would draw a picture for his father.
First, he drew a picture of himself and T, holding hands. In one corner, he put "By Bird".
Then he wanted me to tell him what to draw on the other side. He likes to draw on both sides of the paper. I don't know why. Makes it hard to display all his art, but it does save paper. Hoping to get him to write a bit, I encouraged him to write "I love Daddy". He drew a small "i", a heart, and "DADE". Too much Wall-E, I guess. Then he wanted to draw a picture to go with it. He decided he would draw his family.
He drew each of us in our favorite colors.
First, of course, himself. Then his dad (complete with facial hair). Then M, his dad's erstwhile girlfriend. Then J, her son. Then me. Then Mum. Then Little Man. Then Noodle. Then J (our roommate, T's best friend). he wanted to draw Someone, too, but there wasn't room. I figured that was OK...I don't really think T cares to have a picture of Someone, anyway, not even an artist's rendering.
We are all holding hands, and these are the people he considers his family.
Sometimes, my son astonishes me to stillness...the way he thinks, the fact that he isn't bound by traditional definitions but instead sees the people he loves...all of them...as his family. He knows these people love him, even if some of us don't know each other very well...we're connected through him, and in his mind, that's enough.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
My face hurts, I've been grinning so much. Seriously, folks, I'm more excited than a kid at Yule.
The house is almost clean - I've only got Bird's bathroom to do, and the rest is as done as it's getting. I do need to clean out the van, though, unless I plan to cart Someone home on the roof. While he enjoys fresh air, I don't think he'll want it quite like that.
Meanwhile, this day is dragging...and will do until tonight. The minutes will stretch and stretch and drag their feet across time's carpet and refuse to hurry along no matter how I cajole them...and the hours will stampede through, trumpeting their passing as they go. Isn't it funny how that happens? Perception truly is everything.
Well...I guess I'll go do something, even if it's wrong...
What are you waiting for?
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Well - he did get apples and milk with his corn-and-soy covered chicken parts, so it wasn't entirely unhealthy. C'mon, leave me some illusions, please.
The boys had a blast, with one melt down that was adequately handled in two hours of play.
After I had calmed Bird down from that, just before he went back to playing, I asked him if he felt better. he said he did. He ate a processed chunk-o-chicken. I asked him if the nugget helped him feel better. He said yeah. I asked if it was a Zen nugget. He said no, actually, the nugget didn't help him feel better. "You help me feel better Mommy, when you talk to me like this, it helps my heart feel better." Aww!
Just before the Evil Genius and I left, he ran into another little boy, hitting the lad's head with his mouth. The other lad was fine after a moment, but for some reason Bird lost his little mind.
He cried and and was angry and didn't want to talk to me or even let me look at him. I finally got him headed out, and he stopped in the middle of the dining room, sat down to put on his shoes, and cried "All I want is a few minutes alone and you aren't letting me. You don't understand me. No one understands me!!"
I turned to my friend A and asked "How old is he again?" because I figured I wouldn't get that line until he was at least fourteen!
Good grief, they do start earlier and earlier, don't they?
Monday, October 26, 2009
Several things have made "perfect love, perfect trust" run through my head lately.
My son...he brings to mind a mundane version of perfect love. He's a child and loves as a child does, without quantifying, without questioning, absolutely. All that matters to him is that he loves me and I love him, and that's just fine.
My ex-husband has not been very trusting. He wasn't while we were married, and he's still struggling with it now that we're not. I never gave him cause to distrust me, and had no idea the level to which the distrust went until we began the divorce and he was angry and saying things from a place of anger and uncertainty. He's trying very hard to let go of his distrust...and it's not easy. I am trying very hard not to take it personally and to be gentle with him in his process...and it's not easy.
I had a friend, some years back, whom I loved dearly. If not for him, I would not have met K, the sister of my heart, or any number of other folks who mean much to me and figure largely in my life...including the people I'm in the band with. We had a falling out. I had to take a stand on an issue, and he didn't like my position (neither did I, come to think of it, but it was necessary, if unpleasant)...so he chose to remove himself from my life. I still love him...but from a distance, because I must respect his feelings.
My friend Gypsy is a fairly recent addition to my life. She's beautiful, dynamic, and brilliant. I met Kit through Gypsy. Kit's another creative, bright, amazing woman. Gypsy and Kit have kids of varying ages, and between us we've got the whole range from infant to school-aged. I trust them with my child, would leave him with either of them (and have) without thought, without worry, absolutely certain that they'll look after him and do right by him.
I've asked many pagans to define perfect love and perfect trust for me. I usually wind up with an idealized definition, one that (to me) seems deeply flawed. In general, it seems, people actually think perfect love means perfect like, too - that the people with whom we share circle all get along and are nice and sweet and...er...gag... Perfect trust? Means no one makes mistakes and everyone behaves perfectly and...umm...barf...
Not that I think it's impossible to be perfect. But the few "perfect" people I've met in my life? Have been rotten at the core. They have a veneer of civility, or trustworthiness, that fools us all...until that one little slip.
I don't trust that kind of perfection.
Here's what I think (yep, I made you read through all that horse-puckey up there just for this - ain't I a stinker??): I love you for who you are and despite who you are. I love you with your flaws gloriously on display and your strengths there for me to wonder at. And I love you absolutely...even when I have to do it from a distance because that's the safest, healthiest place to be. I trust you to be yourself, utterly and honestly, without fear or shame or o'erweening pride. I trust you not to hide you fear and anger, your sorrow or hurt. I trust you not to hide your laughter and silliness, your whimsy and imagination. I trust you to be consistently who you are...even when that means you lie, cheat, and steal, because that's your nature. The person isn't the one who is perfect - the love, the trust are.
How about you? How do you define "perfect love and perfect trust"?
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
1. Is there anybody you just wish would fall off the planet? Wouldn't that be flying? Or does flying mean they'd come back down eventually? And how would someone fall off, any way? Doesn't there have to be an edge or promontory or something, to fall from? Or, if one person can fall off, wouldn't we all, because wouldn't that mean cessation of gravity? In which case we'd all have one heck of a ride...
2. How do you flush the toilet in public? I don't use the toilet in public - I'm not an exhibitionist. However, I flush a public toilet carefully, just as I would at home, by using the handle, lever, or button provided on the apparatus. Sometimes they flush themselves...it's spooky...how do they know I'm done? Sometimes they flush before I'm ready...disconcerting, that...because I almost always have a wet bum and the feeling that the potty is trying to hurry me along...which leads to a host of thoughts about inanimate objects being alive, and if they had Karma, what did the toilet do to deserve its job?
3. Do you wear your seatbelt in the car? Well, it matches my shoes so nicely...
4. Do you have a crush on someone? No. I find crushing people to be so messy. I love Someone, though...
5. Name one thing you worry about running out of. Time.
6. What famous person do you (or other people) think you resemble? I don't think I look like anyone famous, but someone once told me I look like that actress in that show about the legal firm...I don't think it was LA Law...it was popular a few years ago...she's a big woman...aww, Hell...never mind...I don't look like anyone famous.
7. What is your favourite pizza topping? Pizza.
8.Do you crack your knuckles? Well...it would be rude to crack someone else's...
9. What song do you hate the most? Anything sung by that horrid purple dinosaur.
10. Did just mentioning that song make it get stuck in your head? Nope.
11. What are your super powers? Mom's kiss - it can make anything all better.
12. Peppermint or spearmint? Wintergreen.
13. Where are your car keys? On a key ring. I'd tell you where that is, but then maybe you'd come to Casa de Crazy and steal my van...
14. Last song you listened to? Karma Slave.
15. What's your most annoying habit? I don't have just one, and many of them are annoying to one degree or another.
16. Where did you last go on vacation? Houston Texas...yeehaw, y'all.
17. What is your best physical feature? I'm bendy.
18. What CD is closest to you right now? The Ragbirds, Wanderlove.
19. What 3 things can always be found in your refrigerator? Pickles, some sort of cheese, and fruit.
20. What superstition do you believe/practice? Hello, I'm a witch...
21. What colour are your bed sheets? Blue.
22. Would you rather be a fish or a bird? Phoenix.
23. Last thing you broke? The side-view mirror on my van.
24. What are you having to eat tonight? I don't know...something healthy, I hope, especially if I really want to be rid of the remaining forty acres of my ass.
25. What colour shirt are you wearing? Blue.
26. If you could be doing anything else today, what would you rather be doing? Umm...well...nothing I feel like sharing publicly...
27. Do security cameras make you nervous? Nope.
28. If you wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? Yawn.
29. Last time you went to a cemetery? Hmm...I think last fall in Clarkesville...
30. Last concert you went to? I'm guessing this means attended and not performed...and I think that would be the Aerosmith/Cheap Trick concert a few years back...unless the Ragbirds counts, although I performed at that same event, so I'm not sure...
31. Favourite musician(s)/bands you've seen in concert? Sorry, can't name just one. Ragbirds, Kellianna, Sting, The Moody Blues, Bonnie Raitt...
32. Next concert you're planning to attend? No plans just now...unless performing counts, and then I am hoping there's one next spring...
33. Do you talk to yourself? Often. Sometimes it's the only somewhat adult conversation I have for days...
34. Have you ever adopted or purchased a pet? No. They adopt me.
35. Have you ever been present when an animal is being born? I'll go one better - I've reached inside the mum and pulled the baby out when it was stuck. Two words: texture fiesta.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I have a number of brooms here at Casa de Crazy. Several of them are of the practical sort, used to sweep floors and occasional cobwebs from the corners. I like sweeping...there's something Zen about it, and I prefer a broom to a vacuum or other power-driven apparatus.
I also have some brooms that look purely decorative, but they're working things, too. Just not in a mundane way.
Hey, I'm a Witch, whadaya expect??
There's the broom that hangs just inside the front door. That one's part of the house ward. It hangs by the door to help keep out bad things/people, and it doubles as the broom couples step over when I perform handfastings/marriages. I use it to "sweep" the circle clean, too.
Then there 's the broom that hangs outside the front door. It's the one the feral kitties were plying with/on earlier this year. It's smaller, and is meant to be a part of the whole house shui, adding to the general blessing of the place. I like doing house blessings, like feeling like I've made my home (or someone else's) secure in a spiritual sense as well as a physical sense. Well, you knew I was odd...
A few days ago, I hung this one up:
It's a blessing, too...for prosperity, health, and happiness in the coming Fall/Winter, the lean times. The broom itself it a bundle of twigs, scented with cinnamon oil, birch for growth and positive change, cinnamon for a warm house, a home.
The corn and wheat are symbols of abundance, of prosperity.
I know health, abundance, prosperity, and happiness don't just...happen...
I know I have to help them along by, you know, working at them...
But it doesn't hurt to have something to look at and remind me what I hope for, what I'm working toward...
Plus, I think it looks nice...
The last of this years batch of feral kittens is still hanging about. Probably because I'm feeding her. Funny how that works.
She is grey with tabby stripes, and in a fit of originality, I have dubber her Tiger. I don't know where I come up with these names, either.
When she's eating, I can pick her up and hold her for a bit. She'll even purr and cuddle a little before she remembers she's supposed to be wild and demand to be put down so she can continue the important business of devouring whatever cat food was cheap at the market this week.
She hunts rodents and birds, I hunt bargains. She eats whatever we catch.
Yesterday morning, I set some oatmeal to cooking and thought I'd go outside for a moment, enjoy a little of the morning and take some photos of the broom I decorated for my door but can't hang on the door because the summer sun turned the space between the door and the storm door into a furnace (I don't have a screen door - I had a screen door but it was rather mangled in a tragic door-removal incident that I'm still too traumatized to talk about) and melted my hangy-thingie, so I hung the broom from the flag holder that has no flag, because obviously.
As an aside - I would dearly love to have a screen door and to replace my metal front door (Seriously, who puts a metal door on a house in the Southeastern US? On a wall that gets 27 hours of sun a day? And the sun is about six inches from the door the whole time? Someone who wants to watch callers burst into flames when they knock, is who) with a wooden door...and even better, a wooden Dutch door. Sigh.
Where was I?
So anyway, today when I went outside, Tiger ran up to greet me as she usually does, by standing a few feet away and meowing, working up her nerve to get closer, then run past me up the stairs and around the empty bowl, telling me how wonderful I am until I feed her, shying away from my hand if I try to pet her before she'd had a bite or ten.
Yesterday, though, something was different.
Tiger let me pet her. Without picking her up first. And she came back for more. And she was purring!
Look (try to pretend that's not the biggest, most deformed hand you've ever seen in your life):
Yep. I have a way with pussies.
I was so enraptured by my little friend, I burned the oatmeal.
I ate it anyway.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I have come to the conclusion that I may never have a clean house. I may simply have to settle for cleaner or cleanish.
Yesterday I made chicken stock from some leftover baked chicken. I love making stock,and soup. It's a homey thing, simple, satisfying...and it makes my house smell amazing.
I have an opportunity to work this weekend, to get paid for doing something I love - control communications for a racing group. I hope I can do it - the money's nice, but being back at something I enjoy and am fairly good at, with friends I haven't seen/spoken to in more than a year...that's even better.
We're postponing the yard sale - this weekend is supposed to be wet and chilly, and I would rather not risk catching a cold three days before Someone gets here. Postponing will also mean I have more time to compile more
Of course, working at the track means I won't have the weekend to finish tidying up. I know I go on about cleaning - but it's not like I'm spending all day, every day at it - I clean for a bit, then write a little, then teach the Evil Genius a little, then clean some more, then cook, then play with the Evil Genius, then cruise the Blue Nowhere, then clean a bit more. For years, this house has been cluttered, dusty, and dirty because I haven't felt like cleaning it. My home really is a reflection of my internal state...and for the last few years, it's been a mess. I crave some order, a bit less dust and clutter, space to breathe and move.
I'm thinking of hanging some of my art photography on the walls - there's a lot of blank space, and if I can't sell the stuff I may as well use it...right? Or is that just the height of vanity?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I remember playing on the teeter-totters when I was a kid. When I had a good partner, one who wasn't too heavy or too light, one who knew how to balance with me, it was brilliant - up, up, up I'd go, rushing to meet the sky, and then down, down, down I'd sink, to thunk into the earth if I didn't catch myself first.
It was fun, too, to try and send someone flying by dropping my weight suddenly on the seat...and then stand or hop off and let them drop suddenly to the ground. We took turns, of course, being the one to fly.
No one told us we were learning lessons about levers, about moving disparate weights with minimum effort, about shifting the world...
We were children and knew nothing of how life, mood, emotion, could be like our playground toy, shooting up and hurtling down with sometimes frightening velocity.
If we closed our eyes, sometimes we became lost in the experience, set adrift in the spinning sensation that came milliseconds before the jolt when we'd crested or bottomed out.
Some days...some days I feel myself soaring ever higher. Head thrown back, laughing, I float upward and taste joy, taste blue sky, revel in that weightlessness, the elation of the rise.
Some days...some days I wonder if I reached the pinnacle and am now tumbling in a free-fall, down to the earth. I wonder, if I am falling, can I catch myself? Will my legs bear up under the impact of my landing? Or will I crumble this time, land on my ass with a bone-jarring thud?
Most days...most days I hope for content in my life. I know I'm in a state of transition, shifting from up to down, down to up, in constant motion, and I'm OK with that. Up a little, down a little, hovering around the balance point sounds just fine to me...
Of the three, I like balance the best. Oh, great joy is something to treasure, and sorrow is something to be borne, but balance...balance is what I desire, because the highs don't equal the lows, and the lows go ever deeper, and hovering near the middle sounds just fine to me.
I have nine days to get my house from a wreck to nice enough for visitors. OK...for one particular visitor, because I'd like it to look a bit less like a barn inhabited by rabid raccoons when Someone is here, ya know??? Also, next weekend I'm taking part in a multi-family yard sale, part of which is to help benefit a young woman who needs help paying legal fees so she can get her children away from an abusive ex-husband and into a healthy environment. So I'm taking the easy way out today and posting another dang meme. Aren't you lucky?
Got it from that Sunday Stealing site, natch.
A B C Meme
A- Advocate for: Freedom. And dust bunny liberation. But mostly freedom.
B- Best Feature: Oh...umm...I don't think I have one...eyes? Hair? Sense of humor? My mad skillz with grilled cheese? Pick something...
C- Could do without: Eighty pounds of extra me.
D- Dreams and desires: Dreams - to publish and sell my writing. Desires - nothing I'm going to publish on a public blog, thanks.
E- Essential items: For what? I mean...for survival, for a day at the beach, for baking cookies? The activity determines the list, people! Hmm...water. Water is essential no matter what. There.
F- Favorite past time: Umm...the Victorian Era certainly seems interesting, as does the western expansion/invasion of the early United States. Or do you think this should be "pastime"? in which case, words - reading, writing, singing and playing with words.
G- Good at: See pastime above.
H- Have never tried: Bungee jumping, hang gliding, or white water rafting...
I- If I had a million dollars: I'd spend it.
J- Junkie for: Candy bars...lately, Twix bars...damn things are going to be the death of me...
K- Kindred spirit: Hmm...I have several...they know who they are.
L- Little known fact: If I told you, it wouldn't be "little known", now would it?
M- Memorable moment: The birth of the Evil Genius. The world trembled.
N- Never again will I: Eat innards.
O- Occasional indulgence: Venti Mocha Frappucino from Starbucks. Or fondue at The Melting Pot. Or a lobster dinner. Or a new book or CD. Going to a movie.
P- Profession: Mum, although no one pays me for that. Writer, ditto. Singer/songwriter...which might make a few bucks here and there - enough to pourchase that drink at Starbucks - in a good year.
Q- Quote: No comment.
R- Reason to smile: Heh. Someone's coming to visit me in ten days.
S- Sorry about: Hurting another.
T- Things you are worrying about right now: Some of the same things most folks find worrisome - paying bills, feeding my family, and shedding weight. The well-being of someone I love. Why my washer and dryer are making funny noises and smells. You know...stuff...
U- Uninterested in: Anger. Blame. Excuses.
V- Very scared of: Failing my son as his mother.
W- Worst habits: Eating, eating, eating. Also? Sometimes I can't shut up...
X- X marks my ideal vacation spot: Oh, I am SO NOT saying what first popped into my head. The ideal vacation spot is the one which I'm sharing with the people I love...geography doesn't matter.
Y- Yummiest dessert: Erm...I make a wicked Key Lime pie...but I adore chocolate mousse...can't make it...but loooove to eat it.
Z- Zodiac sign: Inflate Here.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Well...we all do, don't we? I mean...is there such thing as "normal" dreams?
I like best the dreams that play like stories or movies in my mind, the ones I sit back and watch even as I'm part of them. Sometimes I wish I had popcorn in there - I love popcorn and a good flick.
I don't have nightmares - while I do have bad dreams, intense dreams, dreams where I am angry, and (rarely) frightened, I am always aware that I am dreaming. I am never so lost in the moment, in the visions or sounds or experiences, that I am unaware it's just a dream...and that takes away some of the power. It's less...visceral.
If I don't care for what I'm feeling in a dream, I can change it. I just say "Oh, it's just a dream, let's change the channel" and whatever I was dreaming goes away and something new takes its place. Like a mental clicker. I don't do it often, though...somehow, I just don't think it's healthy or wise.
Sometimes I shout at people in my dreams. Most often, my grandmother. More recently, my ex-husband. I shout angry words, things I left unsaid or unresolved in the waking world.
Once, I yelled "Bitch!!" at my grandmother in a dream...and woke to hear the word still echoing from the walls. I'd said it aloud and woken myself.
Sometimes I dream in another language. French (which I spoke fluently as a child, and can muddle through a sentence or two of now), German, Italian, and once or twice Latin. I speak smatterings of a few tongues...but int the dreams, I am fluent. Of course, my mind thinks it all makes perfect sense.
Sometimes I talk in my sleep, in other languages. I'm told I once said "Meep" repeatedly. I have no idea what it meant.
Once, I dreamed I was a French physicist...and when I woke, I knew in English what I'd been saying in french, so I looked it up and it was...well...physics! I don't know physics...I dabble in quantum physics because it's fun, but that's a different critter entirely. The dreams that follow a day of reading about quantum physics are especially interesting and peculiar - nothing is ever really certain what it is and often changes in the middle of itself because it is suddenly convinced its something else. I love the reality wobble.
I have waking dreams. I dream of my house, the one I would love to build. I dream of being a published author, of getting an agent's reply in the mail - they like my work well enough to represent me. I dream of hearing my music on the radio. I daydream about playing games with my son, about the life he may one day live. I have prolonged reveries about driving around the country in an RV with the people I love, seeing the beauty of the land we live in, learning its history, making memories.
Lately, I have more waking dreams than sleeping, since I don't sleep much.
I think that's why I'm so scattered all day, and why my dreams are deeper, more intense, and more deeply weird than usual, even for me. All day long, I am woolgathering...and at night, when I can finally sleep, I drop like a stone to the murky depths of my imagination and am surrounded by the strange fish that swim there.
What plays in the cinema of your mind at night?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
My entire day is set to music...the score runs through my head and sometimes erupts from me in fits and starts, snatches of song rolling through the house and bouncing from the walls and windows.
It would seem the Evil Genius has inherited my predilection for song. He loves to sing along with the radio, with my band when we perform, and in his room when he's plying he'll sing a mish-mosh of songs we've heard on the radio, movie music (he knows Darth Vader's music, for cryin' out loud), and tunes from the video games he's played (I know, I know). I love listening to him, especially when he doesn't know I'm listening.
Last night, we were driving to a friend's house, listening to a playlist I threw together on the iPod. Several songs came up that the boy knows, some better than others, and we sang along with gusto. I love looking into the rear-view mirror and seeing his head tilted back, hearing him belt out the big notes (sometimes a little off-key)(OK, most of the time a little off-key), grinning and bopping his little head to the beat.
We started with:
(From the movie Toys, and for some reason this is one of Bird's favorite songs from the CD. It's a little scary, how well he knows it)
(lately, this song has been on my mind - sometimes I am tempted to throw the kid, some clothes, and a case of water into the van and hit the road. I could make it to where I want to be in 14 hours if we don't stop...if we drove all night...)(yeah, SO not going to happen, though...this house won't clean itself, and in the battle of head versus heart...head is holding sway...for now...)(Oh, and Cyndi? When I grow up, I want to hit the big notes like you...woof, what an amazing, powerful talent! I could be Cyndi Lauper's and Annie Lennox's love child...)(I could also be tired to the point of ridiculous, right now)(But who wouldn't want to have talent like those two??)
And then this:
(Yes, I know it's a travesty...but it's also my favorite rendition of the song. I first heard it on Red, Hot, and Blue)
There were more, but I figure it'd be nice if it took less than an hour to load this page...so I'll spare you. What have you been listening to, lately?
Yep, grannies - plain, white, and big enough to double as the sail on a Schooner if necessary. You're welcome.
After that side trip, Mum required Chinese food, stat, so we popped in to our favourite place in town, a restaurant we've been going to for almost twenty years.
Of course, we had fortune cookies at the end of our lunch. Bird's fortune said something about a good piece of advice coming from a child. Cute. Mum's was...umm...I don't recall, actually. Mine? Yeah, I remember mine...because it nearly split my face with a grin.
Someone is interested in you. Keep your eyes open.
Oh, he is, is he? Hmm...how did the cookie makers know Someone is interested? You think they know he's coming to pay a visit at the end of the month - two weeks from today, in fact? Hmm...I guess he really is interested. Can't buck the cookie.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Bird, on the other hand, was interested in some sort of Halloween costume. In prior years, he's dressed in whatever I made/procured for him with minimal input on his part. This year, he professed interest in dressing as a bat. A bat was the only thing that would do. Not the baseball sort, either - he wanted to be the kind of bat that we've seen fluttering around our home on summer evenings. This was beyond my ability to sew, glue, staple or tape...at least in two weeks or even a month. OK, fine, so we'll go look at a costume place and hope for the best.
At Party City, there were certainly costumes. All kinds of costumes. Every cartoon character, major motion picture hero, villain, and comic sidekick imaginable. Animals, plants, and aliens galore. The little dude didn't know where to look first, and spun from one thing to the next like a mote of dust bouncing madly through a beam of light.
The he saw it. Awesome! There was the costume...the perfect one.
Only...it wasn't a bat. It wasn't even Batman. Nope.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Come to think of it, he didn't "discover" anything, since everywhere he went already seemed to have people happily inhabiting it. Doesn't "discover" imply that no one else has been there, done that??
It's been a while since I studied history, but as I recall, the first non-natives to "find" this continent were Vikings.
We discussed where the name "America" originated, and Mum wondered aloud whether kids in school today even know who Amerigo Vespucci was.
These days, it's just another day off from school, another day for the banks to deny us access to our money, another day to have a One! Day! Sale!!
We're celebrating by going in search of a costume for the Evil Genius for Samhain/Halloween. Ain't it grand to live in Vespucciland??
Sunday, October 11, 2009
That I could wind
When it feels slow
Return it to a swifter
More joyful rhythm
Oh, that my heart was a balloon
That I could fill with helium
When it is sinking
Return it to fullness
More joyful flight
Oh that my heart was a lantern
With a bulb I could change
When it burns out
Return to it some brightness
Let it shine
Oh, that I did not have this heart
This heart of stone
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Oddly, it wasn't raining yet - the night air was lovely and cool. It was raining where he was, though - so I had the storm rolling in overhead juxtaposed with the sound of rain hitting his roof...it was...nice. Oddly nice.
It did rain later, a sudden downrushing of wetness that sounded and rather felt like Nature was letting out a soft sigh of relief.
This is the beginning of a week of predicted rain. I guess it's a good thing I planned on cleaning house and moving furniture all week, huh?
Friday, October 9, 2009
1. When you go to Wowmart, what one thing do you get every single time, besides a funky-wheeled squeaking cart full of frustration? A headache.
2. What is something that people are currently “into” that you just don’t get or appreciate? Nipple piercing. Seriously, I will let a stranger pierces my skin thousands of times with a bundle of inked needles for a tattoo...but nipple piercing? Not so much. Hurst just to think about it!
3. What is something that really hoists your sail that other people might feel “ho-hum” about? Apostrophe abuse. Won't somebody please stop the horror?
4. Favorite song to sing in the shower or car? Whatever I'm currently writing/working on/polishing up for performance. Or whatever is playing in the moment. I love to sing, whatever the song.
5. A really great salad must have this ingredient: Me, eating it.
6. What advice in a nutshell would you give to new bloggers? Write with your own voice and give credit when you find fodder on another blog. Although how they'd read it if it was in a nutshell is beyond me. I'd have to write really small...
7. What was the alternate name that your parents almost named you? Do you wish they had chosen it instead of the one they gave you? There wasn't one. I used to wish they'd named me Katherine, but now I get too much fun out of my name to change it. If you know me and know my real name, you'll understand why - if not, trust me, it's hilarious.
8. What in your life are you waiting for? Waiting seems so passive - I'd rather be working toward a goal. That said, I AM waiting for Someone...waiting and hoping. I am also waiting to hear back from an agent (any agent) who thinks my writing is not only not crap, it may be worth representing. And waiting to win the lottery. Wonder which will happen first?
9. You get a package in the mail. What is it, and who is it from? A large bundle of cash from Bill Gates, because he loves my blog and doesn't want me distracted from writing it by such trifling things as bills and the need to feed my family.
10. Today–what song represents you? Hmm...I don't really know. I don't listen to much of today's music. Anyone have any suggestions?
11. What is one thing that blogging has taught you about yourself? Everything is a story waiting to be told.
12. How are you going to (or how did you) choose the clothes you’re wearing today?What do they say about you in general or specifically how you’re feeling today? I put on whatever is on top of the stack in the drawer. My clothing is about being comfortable, plain and simple. It may convey my fondness for the color blue...
Thursday, October 8, 2009
First he climbed onto the electrical box to see if he could reach, but as the disc hung some twelve feet up, it was a fair bet his arm wasn't long enough. So he wend and fetched a fallen branch and, well...
Don't worry - he ran for the hose and washed the ants off, and I went and fetched the disc from the ant mound and shook the little beasties free, and he was quickly at play again.
The Evil Genius has been pestering me for weeks to play Frisbee, ever since I told him that Someone said he likes to play. I am not very good at Frisbeeing (that is too a word), but I can at least teach the lad the basics, and he was desperate to have a go. Alas, our October skies have run more toward the grey and drippy rather than the boundless and blue, and Bird has been disappointed each day to see more rain, more drizzle, more chilly and damp days ahead.
Every night for a week he has asked me if tomorrow we could play, and every night I have replied "If the weather is fine, we will play."
"Fine" means sunny and clear, and perhaps not too cold or too hot.
Today, at last, the weather obliged - and the Evil Genius has been so used to staying indoors, it took him entirely by surprise when I suggested we run some errands and then finally, at long last, Frisbee.
He wriggled with excitement, in that puppy-like fashion that only little boys can muster, and his grin was both wide and bright.
We began with the basics - how to throw the bloody thing so it doesn't guillotine someone, how to get a (somewhat) level flight, trying for distance and something approximating aim, and that was the extent of my abilities. We also chatted about the origins of Frisbees, how they came from pie plates and college students with too much time on their hands, and how one throws better when one gives it a little thought and care rather than simply winging the thing any old way.
Fortunately, we managed to avoid broken windows and personal injury, although once or twice a wild throw may have come close to one face or another, and a certain recently broken toe was mildly offended at all the jumping, reaching, and running going on. We had fun.
After half an hour or so, the little guy was thirsty, so we paused for a water break and a quick trash run, then back to business.
We tossed it around a little more, and then a rogue throw by yours truly flew high and wide, clattered into the front railing and smack onto one of the feral cats napping in a puddle of sun on the top step. Oh, dear. Poor Little Bit - she was not at all amused, although Bird and I were both having fits of giggle over the incident. Little Bit vacated the steps with reproachful look and retreated to the relative safety of under the trailer beside the house...until a wild shot by Bird rolled too close for her comfort, sending her skedaddling back up the steps where she was vigilant but undisturbed until we were done.
Another wild throw on Bird's part had the Frisbee trapped under the roommate's car, right in the middle of a murky mud puddle and well beyond our reaches. A rake was employed to great effect, and the disc was bathed and sent sailing through the air once again.
Then we had to stop for even more serious business - Bird found a slug in the grass! He thought it was a snail that was looking for its shell, and I took the opportunity to give him a lesson in slugs, telling him about their shiny trail. This meant he just had to pick it up and place it on the driveway, then sit down and watch as it oozed along, bewildered and wondering what happened to the lovely cool grass and the shade of a fallen leaf it had been enjoying. The boy was enchanted, peering closely and pointing out the shiny trail it left behind. Finally, after a few minutes and my pointing out that Sir Slug might not relish being in the sun on the pavement, he placed it carefully (read: picked it up and flung it like a squishy Frisbee) in the grass, and we continued with our play.
He did fairly well, it being his first time with the wily disc. The lad needs to learn how to catch things. Honestly, I catch like a girl, cringing at anything that looks like it may come within nine miles of my face...but he's even worse. Once or twice, I practically threw it into his hands, and he didn't make the catch! Poor kid...
He didn't want to stop, but it was time to come inside and cook supper, and it's awfully difficult to play Frisbee by yourself.
He happily expressed his opinion that Someone wouldn't stand a chance when he came to visit, because Bird was ready to challenge him - the kid feels like the Frisbee champion of the world. I hope Someone is prepared to have his socks Frisbeed off!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Dear Matron of a Family of Four-Hundred Standing in the Hot Dog Line at the Greek Festival,
I think it's wonderful that you were out as a family - I know that, with so many children of varying ages, it must be awfully difficult to find entertainment that the whole family can enjoy.
Lovely, too, that you ran across someone Greek! At the Greek Festival!!
That you then had to stop and chat with the nice young man, who seemed to know you quite well and was enthusiastically and in great detail telling you all about his latest fifteen years' of escapades, I understand. Who doesn't want to catch up with what may actually have been a distant cousin because you both have Greek last names? At the Greek Festival!!
I really don't blame your enthusiasm for the conversation, but I would like to know one thing...
Is it a Greek trait, or merely a distinct lack of courtesy in your upbringing that led you to halt your large numbers right in front of the line for hot dogs (a distinctly non-Greek food that my Evil Genius would have happily killed your whole family to get, because it seems I only feed him when out in public, which is rare. Seriously, he would have used the edge of one of those Greek potatoes to cut you if that hot dog wasn't forthcoming)?
I'm going with rude on this one.
You see, I wasn't hovering behind your hoard so I could listen in on your scintillating dissection of the young man's brother's behavior at a baseball game (although kudos to the lad for scoring a home run). And when I waited ten whole minutes behind you until you ran out of breath and had to suck in some oxygen or die and so rudely asked "Umm, excuse me, but are y'all waiting in line?", there was no need for you to cut me such a glare and snottily answer back "Tch, no!" like I was some kind of mammoth-family stalker or something, looking to snatch one of your offspring and feed it to my young...although one of them did look remarkable like a sausage and may have tasted delightful dipped in ketchup/catsup.
Really, I don't think I was unreasonable in my assumption that you were in line, since you were standing in front of the register...although, in hindsight, you were a whole eight inches away, and clearly I was in the wrong for presuming you were possibly seeking affordable sustenance for you brood - who, by the way, were delightful as they gambolled about, running into people, pushing other children out of the way, screaming and tugging at you insistently because they had! To go potty! Right now! Honestly, I think that puddle was there before.
I do appreciate that you eventually moved the herd out of the line and granted access to the rest of the festival-attending public - I know getting that many people to migrate is like planning troop movements, and you have my utmost respect for your creative use of threats of bodily injury...and murmuring commiserating comments about some people being so unreasonable and too lazy to go around? Way to give the troops a common enemy and deflect responsibility for your discourtesy!
Wishing you all the best in your continued hunt for awkward places to stop and have lengthy conversations,
Dear Sir or Madam (whom I've taken to referring to as Honky McHonkerson),
I'm so sorry to irritate you with such a trifling matter. really, I know I'm just unreasonable, out of line, going beyond the pale in this, but I feel the need to share my distress with you. I'm so selfish that way.
I know your time is precious. I know it's awkward an annoying when you have to hang up your cell phone or use it to call the house you're parked in front of. I'm certain it's far too much to hope you might actually get out of your vehicle, approach the front door, ring the bell, and wait for someone to answer.
Really, I know, it's ridiculous I should even suggest such a thing. What am I thinking.
Of course it's better if you pull up in the neighbor's driveway and honk. Really, it's perfectly understandable that, when no one runs from the house in .064 seconds, you honk again, twice for emphasis. When no one has flung themselves from the house to answer your summons, I think you are showing the height of restraint to only honk twenty or so more times. Such patience! Such reserve!!
I wonder, though...do you think you might consider that your horn isn't directional, and so all of us who dwell in these environs will hear it? And...oh, I know, really, it's too much to hope...maybe you could consider that some of us may be a wee jumpy, and loud noises upset or offend us? Also...I'm certain no one has mentioned this or you would never continue the practice...but it's rude to simply drive up and honk. In this age of cell phones, you can call while turning onto the street, or into the driveway, although that might mean hanging up on your BFF and his/her dissertation on the latest office gossip (I know! How could I even think it??) Even better would be a polite knock on the door and greeting the parents who have been allowing your child to play with theirs. Oh, but wait - you might have to hang up and actually leave the vehicle. It's madness, I tell you.
Thank you, dear friends, for providing an object lesson for the Evil Genius, who has seen his mother wakened from a sound nap by your gentle reminder that you're waiting there. He now knows that the mother of whatever young lady he may choose to call upon will always have the opportunity to greet him at the door, because HIS mother will tan his ever-lovin' hide if he ever uses his horn for anything but a warning of danger to fellow motorists.
Rest assured, I plan on discovering where you live and returning the favor in some fashion. Your kids wouldn't need a lesson in how to remove acetone from a car's finish, would they??
Yours in cacophony,
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Well...it could be. But...nah. Not this time. I was over at Foolery's little corner of Blogopolis and took the little narcissism quiz she'd taken and below are my results. I guess even I don't think it's all about me!
Your score is
Maximum is 40. Average for Americans is 15. Highest tested celebrity is Robin Quivers, with 34.
Your score for Authority is LOW
Your score for Self-sufficiency is MEDIUM
Your score for Superiority is LOW
Your score for Exhibitionism is LOW
Your score for Exploitativeness is LOW
Your score for Vanity is LOW
Your score for Entitlement is LOW
Robin Quivers is, I believe, one of the people on the Howard Stern radio show...although I could be very wrong. Yes, I know I could Google search it...but I'm too lazy. If there was a laziness quiz I wouldn't even have a score because I'd be too lazy to take it.
I did take this quiz again because some of the answers could have gone both ways, and wound up with a 2, scoring low in every category. What I am wondering is, does having a blog negate/alter any of that? I mean...isn't the very nature of a blog an invitation for others to make one the center of attention, if only for as long as it takes to read and maybe comment on a post? Eh, whatever.
So, go, see how you do and share the fun!
Monday, October 5, 2009
Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?
If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?
Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
What do chickens say things taste just like?
Do drunk moths fly in straight lines?
What keeps you wondering at night?
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I haven't loaded in the pictures from the Greek Festival yet, so that'll be a post for another day. We had fun...well, Bird did, anyway. I enjoyed myself, but it was crowded and full of rude people and long lines for the overpriced children's activities ($3.00 for five minutes in an inflated play area? Really??). Still...the little guy had a blast, so it was worth the drive down.
I came home with a headache and some baklava, so I figure I broke even. I do like baklava...
It's grey here, may rain, may not. The air is still and cool, and I'm wearing socks because my floor is...umm...crunchy...and it's just chilly enough to warrant them. Bird thinks it's funny to see me in socks, I so rarely wear them. The kitten thinks they're an invitation to attack my feet.
I'm doing laundry, dishes, homey things. It's Sunday...but then, every day is like any other day, here - they're all much of a muchness. The best part of my day is when the phone rings and it's Someone calling to chat. Sweetness, that.
Earlier today, Bird was asking me about the people I love, ranking them in order of importance. He put himself first (natch) and then the kitten, and then asked me who else. I said I thought Mum should come before Rook. He agreed, and then reminded me of Someone and they should come after Mum but before Rook, and those were the four people I love the most. Good grief, I love that boy.
Nothing much of interest here - what're you up to today, fellow denizens of the Blue Nowhere?
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Me, while discussing someone who hasn't bathed in more than a month: "Seriously?? My skin would crawl off my body and bathe in the toilet!!"
Bird, while we were playing one of his convoluted, odd little games: "Why can't I be strange on a regular diet?"
Sometimes anger frightens me. Not because I fear I'll come to harm, or that the anger will be directed at me, or that I'll suffer for it. I worry that people will let their anger hold sway and bring them to harm. Sometimes I fear my own anger, that it will overwhelm me and drive me to say or do things that aren't real except in that moment of anger.
I bought a half-gallon of milk today. Big deal, right? I used to have to buy a gallon a week...now, a half gallon will last two. Some changes are really very small, but it stopped me in my tracks for a moment.
More than a week later, my toe still hurts, but the bruising is finally fading. Several people asked me how I broke it. I need a good story...like I was rescuing a baby from a burning building and broke my toe when I crashed through a steel door with the infant in my arms, or saved a busload of nuns from crashing into a bridge abutment by steering with my foot while wrestling with a nun-hating extremist, breaking the toe when I wrenched the wheel to the left in an evasive maneuver beyond even Hollywood's ability to recreate, because admitting I broke the dang thing running for the phone and kicking a suitcase just doesn't sound very glamorous. I need some glamor, people.
I'm not sleeping...again. My head won't leave me alone. No, not voices...just...doubts. Old pain, resurfacing. Old fears, paddling about in the memory pool. I don't have nightmares. I know my dreams are dreams. But they can still be rotten.
I'm taking the Evil Genius to the Greek Festival tomorrow afternoon (or would that really be later today??)(Saturday, then), with friends. We could use getting out of the house and being distracted. Maybe I'll get some good pictures...or maybe I'll leave the camera at home and actually participate in the day instead of distancing myself from it.
What's on your mind?
Friday, October 2, 2009
Little dude knew I was bummed about it, because I can't afford to buy a new needle, and so my serger sits gathering dust.
He decided to do something about it.
He fished around in his Legos and found the right parts and...
...he built me not one, but two sergers! The second one (with the green base) was in case the first one broke.
I've been informed that, should they both break, he will repair them for me so that I can still sew.
Dear Goddess, I love that boy.
And now for something completely ridiculous..and maybe a wee absurd.
The Evil Genius may or may not play the SNES on occasion. He may or may not play Final Fantasy II once in a great while. Ahem.
Lately, he may or may not have been heard humming something around the house when he's playing with his stuffed animals, race cars, or anything else that has his full attention. That something? This:
Yes. Yes, my son knows the Chocobo theme, and can sing it spot on.
Perhaps we need some more quality time up a tree.
We were on the road, headed for Borders and our usual Thursday meeting. Little Dude was with me because Daddy couldn't keep him. I saw the moon floating high in the blue sky and greeted her "Hello, beautiful Moon".
"Where's the moon??"
"Hang on little dude, she's behind the trees...there she is..."
"Oh, I see her!"
"Isn't she beautiful?"
"Yes, she is...but you're still the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
Thursday, October 1, 2009
(For the original story in full, go here. At the top if the story is a link to the audio of the performance - beautiful...)
Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
4 minutes later:The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the till and, without stopping, continued to walk.
6 minutes:A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
10 minutes:A 3 year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly, as the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced them to move on.
45 minutes:The musician played. Only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32.
1 hour:He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be:If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments...
How many other things are we missing?
One night, late, I was walking through downtown Atlanta, heading for the MARTA station and the last train to where my car was parked at the north end of the line.
I had maybe a few minutes before it was a long walk home.
Outside the station was a man with a coffee cup. He sang gospel and blues music, eyes close, head tilted upward, carried by his songs to some other place. He was older, dressed shabbily, and black - in other words, marginalized by society and the very person I was taught (as a young white woman) to fear, to ignore.
He sang beautifully, a little roughness on the edges of his notes, but the music was clean, and sweet. He happened to be singing something I knew, and knew well. The train was coming, I knew...but some things are more important. I stopped and sang with him, harmonizing his baritone with my alto.
I had train fare and a little more in my pocket, and that was it. I was young, constantly broke, and didn't have coin to spare for anything...every penny was accounted for, saved for rolling to pay the next bill, buy the next lot of groceries...but I could miss a meal or do without the phone for a day or two. I put everything but my train fare into his little Styrofoam cup, when we'd finished singing. I never asked his name, nor he mine, and we didn't exchange anything but the music and his soft "thank you, miss" as I walked on...
I like to think that maybe I wouldn't recognize the young man as Joshua Bell (because honestly, I don't know who he is)(but you can bet I'm going to look him up!) but I would recognize the music, and the beauty of the soul behind it, and I like to think that I would stop, smile, share the song, and empty what I can spare and a bit more besides into his violin case as a thanks for sending a little more of the song out into the world. I like to think I would not be in such a rush that I couldn't pause and let my child revel in the wonder of the notes pouring forth from the strings, catching them with his eager ears and storing them for later days in his memory's hoard.
I like to think I DO see the small things...that I DON'T miss the beauty and wonder that surrounds me...and I like to think I'm blessed with friends like you who notice, too, and share it because sharing makes it all the better.