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







Saturday, February 27, 2010

About a Baby

My friend K had her baby yesterday. Oh, wait...did I mention that my friend, bandmate, sister-of-my-heart was pregnant? Yeah, about that...oopsie.

She had a boy, seven pounds, nineteen inches long, full head of hair, and (no kidding) sideburns. I'm calling him Elvis because that's not his name and hello? Sideburns! Awesome!!

I went to visit them in the hospital and took a bunch of pictures, but am not publishing them yet because I figure it's only fair that she get first crack at makin' the little feller famous in the Blue Nowhere, since she went to all the trouble of growing and birthing him.

Instead, I will regale you with photos of the little lad's room.

K likes to decorate her children's rooms, give them style and personality. She went with earthy colors for Elvis; chocolate brown, sage-ish green, and medium pale blue with forest critters were the main design points.

Because I'm broker than our political system (but far less shady), I offered to make her a quilt, as I did for her daughter The Bean. She gave me some fabric (seven different prints!) and the go-ahead. Here's a close-up of the quilt:

I love the owls.

I made a little pillow for Elvis's rocking chair...but it was too small to be a butt cushion, so I'll make another. Good thing he won't need it for a while!

Here's the quilt on the crib. I made a simple semi-random patchwork and backed it with coffee-ice-cream colored anti-pill fleece. No batting - the little guy doesn't need to roast! I didn't do any fancy quilting...just ties the corners of the squares. It's washable, portable, and cuddly, and as long as K was happy (she was) I wasn't going to get too fussy with it. I like making quilts people aren't afraid to use.

The awesome bumper that matches her color scheme? Another friend found it at Goodwill for maybe three bucks! Sweet!!

Check out the insanely cute baby biker boots! I want a set just to put on one of my Teddy bears.

K is an artist...she does wonderful things with glass, with mixed media, and with paint. One of the things I love about her kids' rooms is how she surrounds them with herself, with her love and creativity. Lucky kids. She painted these owls based on the fabric:

Don't you want one for your own?? She's hireable...although you might have to wait a bit...she did just have a baby.

And then these little guys, too, because why not?

And then got a little funky and linear and other artsy phrases:

This only looks like an empty canvas:

Really, it's an amazing piece of potential waiting to be fulfilled. She's going to paint it with a nest (I think) and fill the nest with photos of the people who will surround Elvis in his life - family, friends, people who will love him, tease him, and maybe occasionally give him presents. Cool, huh?

And then there are the Ugly Dolls. I love Ugly Dolls. I keep threatening to steal my son's...they are so full of the awesome.
Because K travels to sci-fi conventions a lot, she has access to vendors who sell the dolls, and she brings them home with her. When I win the lottery, I'm buying a whole set, just for me. Meanwhile, I will play with Elvis's when he's not looking.

Look at this doodad...it's got pockets for holding toys or nappies or bearer bonds in!

Bird has a dragon one that K bought him several years ago...I bet she got the frog at the same place. Ikea, anyone??

Finally (I heard that sigh of relief!), a last look at one of the little lamps in the baby's room:

Good grief, isn't that just fantastic?

I don't know where she finds half this stuff...but I do know there are few babies in the world that will come home to a room so filled with love and welcome - a room put together by his mama, his papa, his mama's and papa's friends and relations, everyone happy to welcome another life into the circle. We're all family, here.

Welcome to the circle Elvis!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Twenty Things That Nurture Me

Got this from Braja. Check her out (as if you don't already know her blog!)(and if you don't, what are you, living under a rock?? She's a blogging rock star, fer cryin' out loud!!)(No, really, she's at least eight kinds of awesome on a regular basis).

Blue - shades and shades of blue, from palest sky to deepest Atlantic. Contrary to what the psychology world claims, blue does not depress me..it calms, soothes, and even uplifts my spirit.

Music - I love making music for and with others. Drumming and singing together around a fire at night is magic in itself. In music I find peace, power, solace, joy, and connection.

Photography - capturing the world in still frames and showing my often skewed vision to others, sharing moments frozen in time, is a real pleasure.

Fabric - I have a stash of fabric that make my mouth water - colors, textures, patterns, things that literally made me drool. Some of them are grouped together to one day become...something. Some are simply pieces waiting to become...something else. I especially love cotton.

Water - drinking, bathing, swimming...water is a thing of nurturing for me. When I am ill, it's water I want, and no other medicine will quite do.

Moonlight - cool, blue-silver, gentle, her light casts shadows and brings strange life to things...and I love being out beneath her, soaking it all in.

Sunlight - warm, golden, pouring down in honeyed streams...since childhood I have loved the scent of sun-warmed skin.

Earth - rich, heady perfume rolls up from newly turned garden beds, and I breathe it in and am drunk from it. To bury my fingers in her, set seeds to root and grow, is an act of hope, a gift given and received.

Snow - cold, clean, whit, soft, hard, ever changing, ever different.

Someone and the Evil Genius - playing baseball on the driveway, throwing darts in the garage, teasing Rook, playing chess, gardening...there is something tremendously satisfying in watching two people I love being happy together.

Reading - I have had no more faithful, no truer friends follow me from childhood to today than books. I still have many from when I was young.

Cats - furry little contradictions, the wee darlings.

Flowing Water - the sound is a song that I will one learn to sing. I steep myself in that subtle music and am timeless.

Fire - fire runs in my family; we like to burn things. There are two rules of fire here at Casa de Crazy: Fire is always hungry, and fire is never safe. The crackling tune is a counterpoint to flowing water and blowing wind, earth's drums keeping time to it all.

Rain - the smell, the feel, of a summer's rain soaking through my clothes to my skin...sweet...

Flute - I can play or listen for hours.

Singing Bowl - mine is quite large, made of crushed quartz. It has a chip in it but that doesn't seem to make a difference. I will coax it into song, then plunge my head down into the bowl and feel the sound pulsing through me...ahh...

Words - well written, well spoken, well crafted words. Playful, charming, painful, sweet, I've never met a words I couldn't love.

Ancient Evenings Lotion - perhaps a bit shallow, but the smell makes me smile and it does keep my poor abused hands soft and smooth.

Seeds - little bundles of potential, hopes and dreams in tiny hulled packages.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thoughtfetti

More cruise stuff tomorrow or whenever I get to it...just takin' a little break.
~~~~~
Have you ever hear the saying "Madder than a wet hen"? Have you ever seen a wet hen? They don't look mad to me...just irritated. I wonder where that saying came from...
~~~~~
If revenge is a dish best served cold, and revenge is sweet...does that mean revenge is ice cream?
~~~~~
When people ask where I'm from I tell them "Redneck Central" but I wasn't born here. When I first moved here, I didn't have an accent, and resisted taking one on...until one day a few years ago I woke up channeling Callie Duquesne from CSI Miami and just gave in and went with it. People underestimate a gal with a Southern accent. Fine by me...bless their hearts...
~~~~~
A few days ago I was cleaning house, up and down the stairs putting things away, moving about quite a bit. I was hot. I actually said "Good grief, I'm sweatin' like a whore in church!" What the hell...am I now channeling PG-13 Hee-Haw along with Callie Duquesne from CSI Miami?
~~~~~
I won't tell you what I was shakin' like, but I will mention that the euphemism I used is one I recently learned from Someone, who is a font of colorful words and phrases. My vocabulary "improves" daily.
~~~~~
Do you think the guy in the back of the bobsled is worried that the fellow in front of him had beans for dinner?
~~~~~
Confirming my redneckery...I was chatting about investing with a very intelligent, investment savvy fellow on the cruise, and after making it clear that I am the opposite of savvy in this area, I said "My idea of investing is buying land, building a house, fencing it all in and buying a shotgun." Ohmuhgod, I can't believe I said that. At least I didn't say anything about my retirement plan...wining the lottery.
~~~~~
Does anyone else wish the announcers would just shut up and let them watch the figure skating in peace? Or are we no longer allowed to have our own opinions as to the performance of the skaters?
~~~~~
Does anyone else think Johnny Weir was hosed? Or that he should have been part of the exhibition skate because hello? Fabulous!!
~~~~~
What's on your mind?

Aww, Poor baby*

*Best if read while dripping with sarcasm.

I just read a headline that says "President's Hourly Pay Isn't So Great: If you factor in all of the time that he puts in, Barack Obama's salary works out to only $45.63 an hour."

Really? Is that all? Poor baby...imagine only making $45.63 an hour, with your meagre benefits being a large, fully furnished house, an on-call chef, personal security, limousines and aircraft of several varieties at your disposal, the best health care available in the world, Camp David for vacationing in, laundry service, and your every need and/or whim met almost before you know you have one. Let's have a fund raiser, shall we?

Pfft. And tch. And bah!

Dominica

Dominica (Domineeca, not Dominihca) is a beautiful little volcanic island. She doesn't have any beaches to speak of - most of her charms are wild, rugged - hiking in the rain forest, taking a canopy tram, river tubing, or taking a tour of the island in general.

And, of course, there's sailing...
We took a driving tour. The roads are bumpy as Hell, and narrow enough to cause more than one gasp as we cornered and faced oncoming traffic. Our driver has a future in rally racing. I didn't take as many pictures as I'd have liked - hard to catch anything while driving ninety-miles-per-hour over what feels like roads made of speed bumps.

I did learn a few things about the island - they are keen on Cricket: And they are poor. The median annual income is $1,500 ($US). Unemployment is at 40%. Crime has climbed from 1% to 4% in recent years, due largely to drugs (cocaine). Much of the housing looks like this:Or worse.

There is a definite difference between the Haves:And the Have-Nots: I thought the island beautiful. I thought the poverty heartbreaking. Boarding our huge ship full of every luxury imaginable, probably throwing away more food in one meal than a Dominican sees in a month...put things in perspective.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Short Visit to St. Thomas

On St. Thomas, we went to the beach...Coki beach, a place we've visited before and enjoyed immensely.

Look, I saved you a seat:

Ahh...what a view...

And the natives are a friendly lot...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Blues (In Half-Moon Cay)

"The Blues" takes on a whole new meaning in the Bahamas (where Half Moon Cay is located):

These blues I could live with:

Into deeper water, now - St' Thomas, here we come!
Nope, these blues aren't bad at all...I'd be happy to have 'em again and again...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Caribbean Hues (Cay Colors)

No, not really - not without Someone and the Evil Genius I wouldn't...but I can see why people would feel that way...

Colors everywhere, bright and warm, cool and breezy, delighting the eye...

Everywhere jewels, glistening in the sun...

I took nearly one thousand photographs. Don't panic - I don't intend to bore you with show them all here...just a few from each of the beautiful places we visited on our ten day quiltstravaganza.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Glimpses of Half Moon

Our ship, the Noordam:
A little flora greeting winter-weary travelers at the dock:
This reminds me of something...hmm...:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just a Tease


I'm busy today, getting back into the swing of things...so it's a short post. This is a view of our ship from Half-Moon Cay. Apparently the major cruise companies have all leased islands from The Bahamas and made them into private monuments to excess destinations.

More later...I have to get my arse in gear (speaking of arse - I managed to buck the trend and actually lose weight on a cruise! Sweet!!).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Guess What...

I'm home - bless Mums heart for pulling a marathon style drive and letting me bring us on in to Casa de Crazy instead of stopping for the night three hours away. Thanks to her, I got to spend an Evil-Genius-free night with my sweetheart and wake up with him on Valentine's day - the kid was with his father, and it's not like V-Day means that much to me, but it was nice...and I was beyond ready to be home. I had a lovely time (despite the lack of free wi-fi) and will happily bore you to tears tell you all about it later, when I'm done unpacking and have caught up to myself.

Also, I am rather chuffed to tell you that my modest little quilt square took second place in the challenge. Squee! I am no the proud owner of twenty of the blocks (including mine and Mum's) which I may one day even turn into an quilt of some sort.

While it was a lovely cruise and I visited and learned about some beautiful places, I am glad to be home with my family - the Evil Genius returned home this evening, the cats have almost forgiven me for my prolonged absence, and Someone and I may stop grinning and touching and kissing and other mushy stuff one of these days...but probably not.

Now if you'll excuse me...I have what seems like a half-million photographs to sift through, which is the perfect way to send a day forecast to be snowy. I wonder if it's too late to get back on the boat...I could fit Someone and the Evil Genius in one suitcase and the cats in another...

Flat Aunt Becky got in on the action...

The winning square...marvelous!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

That's Just the Way It Is

We don't have a lot of rules here at Casa de Crazy, although if you ask the Evil Genius he'll say we have too many. Still, I let him run in the house when no one else is home to be bothered by it, and we don't have set rise-and-shine or go-to-sleep times, and we generally don't dine by the clock but rather by when we're hungry.

We do have a few rules...well..policies, maybe...that we live by here.

1. Everybody eats. No one at Casa de Crazy goes hungry...even if I have to miss a meal to make sure everyone else is fed. We may not get all the way full, we may have some odd meals put together with whatever we can find, but everybody eats. We feed the birds outdoors (sometimes just the odds and ends of bread we didn't finish, or cereal that went a bit stale or was dropped on the floor), and the cats that have adopted us (one of them isn't really feral - she definitely owns us) and the cats that deign to live indoors with us. We feed the critters in the woods, too. Everybody eats.

2. Everyone has a place. No one goes without a home or a place to stay while they get back on their feet. It can't always be permanent or even long term, but no one is going to sleep in their car or on a park bench if I can help it. We offer refuge, sanctuary, to those we know who need it.

That's just how we roll, here. How 'bout you?
~~~~~
Cruise report: In port early in the AM, heading home. If we feel like it, we'll banzai all the way back to Casa de Crazy. If (more likely) we're tired, though, well get as far as we can and finish the drive tomorrow. I'll be sharing details and pictures for months to come, I'm sure - if I can get a week's worth of daily posts from a two day trip, imagine what a ten day cruise will produce...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Keping Track

There's a three-month calendar hanging on our kitchen wall. It's one of those erasable ones, and I color code things so it's easy to see who's doing what on which day with just a glance.

Look:
It's useful for keeping track of the important things in life. Like when to plant peas. And Birthdays. And stinky eggs...er...I mean...holidays like Ostara. I like to doodle things on holidays and birthdays...my Ostara egg was meant to have sun rays coming from it, but they look more like stink waves. Sigh. A sketch artist I ain't.

I mess with the names of the months, too...Janufairy, Feblueberry, Marchvelous...because I like a little silly in my life.

It can get a little crowded on there, when life's busy. I like that, though...seeing an empty month is something of a bummer for me. It means nothing's going on, and while I'm really a home-body, I DO like a little socializing from time to time.

Oddly, I tend to live day by day without keeping track of the hours. It's a dichotomy - living a timeless life with a big old reminder of passing days right there where I can't miss it. I'm like that, though...full of opposites. Suits me.

How 'bout you? Do you keep a calendar, or just let the days do what they will?
~~~~~
Cruise report: At sea today - lounging by the pool (not really - I don't tan, and a bathing suit in public is just more than I can do right now), reading, working on a craft project, napping, and NOT eating my way through the hours. Tomorrow - more of the same, chugging homeward...and I'm not sorry, because I miss Someone and the Evil Genius and the cats and Casa de Crazy something fierce!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fun Stuff

Want to see something neat? Go here: Websites as graphs. Type in your blog name (or any web address) and watch. Cool.
~~~~~
Cruise report: Today, St Lucia, being a tourist. Tomorrow, St. Maarten and the butterfly farm (and, with any luck, the open market where I got some fantastic shots of a spice-seller's table and wares...wonder what we'll find this time...)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mama Went On a Cruise...

...and left the Evil Genius behind!

Send the Marines!!

~~~~~

Cruise report: In Roseau, Dominica today - lots of photo ops today. Tomorrow, Bridgetown, Barbados and a photo tour led by a pro - should be fun!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Random Sky

Sunset at cassa de Crazy:
Far enough from the city to have clear skies. I wish I could show you our stars at night...clear, sharp, bright...well worth living out here in Redneck Central among the chicken houses and cattle farms and random weirdos. Oh, wait...I'M a random weirdo...there goes the neighborhood...
~~~~~
Cruise Report: At sea today, taking my one class for the cruise (it's a quilter's cruise...during our at-sea days, there are classes offered. I'm lazy - I only scheduled one): "Caribbean Sparkle". Should be...interesting... Tomorrow: St. Thomas and Coki Beach...feeding milk bones to the very friendly fish, drinking rum-laced beverages, swimming in clear blue waters and munching conch fritters. Mmmm...conch friters... And of course, snapping photos as we go...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Who Dares...

...disturb my slumber?? "Fer cryin' out loud, I'm tryin' to sleep in, here. This kind of cute doesn't just happen, ya know?"

I'm with the cat...burrowing under the covers for a day sounds loverly...

Who's with us??
~~~~~
Cruise report: Leaving Ft. Lauterdale today. At Half-Moon Cay tomorrow - sand, sun, pasty white legs blinding passers-by...ah, good times, good times.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

And They Say Hockey Players Are Superstitious

I've heard that hockey players are so superstitious, when they win a game they repeat everything they did before that game before every following game...until they lose. Some shave, some don't, some eat the same meal...and there are tales about underwear and socks that just don't bear thinkin' about.

I have a few pre-cruise traditions that I follow, and tonight I put one into practice.

I de-fuzzed my getaway sticks.

What, TMI? Whoopsie...should have posted a warning at the top. My bad.

Anyway.

I don't generally de-fuzz the gams...why bother? I'm not overly hirsute and Someone doesn't seem put off by my lack of razor application...and I'm lazy...so why be pressed?

Except I'm very self-conscious about being in public with legs showing...so I get busy with the triple-bladed instrument of de-Yetification the night before embarking on cruisy goodness. And, since I have not yet had a ship sink beneath me, burst into flames, or be captured by dashing, plus-sized-woman-adoring pirates, I think I'll stick with my superstition tradition.

The last time I underwent this transformation was before my last cruise...several years ago.

Yes, Someone really is a remarkable man, why do you ask?

Caught up in the spirit of the moment, I even removed the Muppets from the pits of despair. I nearly shaved my head, too, but took pity on the housekeepers who have to clean the motel tub. Poor things are already going to be wondering who Naired a Schipperke in there...and that's after I rinsed the tub!

At least now I won't both blind and traumatize all the other touristas on the beach if I opt for shorts (not bloody likely!) or Capri pants (maybe, if I'm feeling bold) rather than full-length jeans or a skirt over the bathing suit. Hey, if I could swim fully clothed, I would...but then the fish look at me funny...

Tomorrow I'll wash my hair so it's all clean and purty for the obligatory embarkation and identification photos. For once I'm glad I don't look like my passport photo - it was taken some forty pounds (the wrong way) ago, and I have fewer chins.

Since it's unlikely we'll have free wi-fi on the ship (and why don't they ge on board {hah!!} with other businesses and offer that amenity? huh?? huh??)(I'm lookin' at you, Holland America), I won't be visiting the Blue Nowhere until after I am back in the good old USofA...y'all try to have fun without me, OK? And just in case you can't survive ten days without my pithy wit, I've pre-written some things to post while I'm gone. Yep, I'm that vain thoughtful.

Imbolc

Imbolc...when we can see, really see, the light returning. Spring is coming. Perhaps not today, not this minute...but we can feel it in our bones, the slow warming of the Earth, the slow running of sap in the trees. Somewhere, Crocus are beginning to poke their way up through frozen dirt, slush, snow, desperate to fling themselves wide to the sun.

Life is stirring.

The Goddess, worn from grieving in late Autumn and birthing at Winter's beginning, is wakening to the warmth once more. She is growing stronger.

It's a time of fire, this holiday - lighting candles to welcome the sun's brightness, candles of orange, red, yellow, His colors.

Fire brings blessings, healing, and change.

Make and bless candles today for use during the year.

If the day dawns bright and clear, there will be a second (or longer) winter.

Weave Brigit's crosses from straw or wheat to hang about the house, invoking protection for the household.

The candle on our altar is burning, the flame that I will not let die, the light that guided Someone here and helps us find our way in the darkness...may it ever burn...

Happy Imbolc.
Oh, and? Happy birthday, K, sister of my heart!!!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Square

The cruise we're taking is a quilter's cruise. One of the activities actually happened before the cruise even began - they sent every registered guest a piece of fabric and some simple instructions; make a 12.5 inch x 12.5 inch square using this fabric and the theme "Life's a Beach".
The winner gets a prize (Mum won last time and got a discount on her next cruise) and their choice of the squares to take home and make into a quilt to remember their cruise by. I think second place gets to pick squares too.

I am up against women who have been quilting for longer than I've been alive, and sincerely doubt I'll even place in the top fifty...but I am game for the challenge. I decided to make a square after a collage card I did, a tropical scene made of bits of carefully cut and glues paper. Alas, it sold before I ever had a chance to photograph it. C'est la vie.

So below is my square. I cut and hand stitched each piece, making an appliqued square. The hammock? I had to take apart four-ply yarn t get one ply, just thin enough to match the scale of the square, and I crocheted it several times to get it right. Nothing like working on a project when you don't have any clue as to technique!

The challenge fabric is the bright blue that I used for the shallow water.

If you can't figure out what the rest of it is, don't tell me...I may cry.




I do hope whoever wins likes my square enough to claim it...

I'll let you know when I get home.