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

Tibi gratias agimus quod nihil fumas.

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

Nolite te bastardes carburundorum!

"It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint." - Penn Jillette

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Solace

Solace - allay, soothe
~~~~~
To borrow from the moody Blues, my boat sails stormy seas, battles oceans filled with fear.

I carry with me in my hold such delights as OCD, agoraphobia, xenophobia, paranoia, and last but certainly not least, depression. With these treasures I make my way through life's currents. I steer my vessel with care, but sometimes the currents carry me away, pull me off course, bring me to strange places.

Adrift, I am, some days.

Every boat hast a home port. The place where it may anchor, rest, restock, refresh. Where is mine?

I have found a sanctuary, a place of comfort and safety. When my spirit flags, when I falter, when I am worn and weary, there is a place...

There, wrapped in the circle of Someone's arms, I am safe, protected, cherished. Safe harbour. Whatever storms rage without, inside that sacred space, I am calm. A lifetime of uncertainty, of insecurity, of loneliness and spiritual bereftness fades, and I know I am blessed.

He gives me solace.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Conversation With the Evil Genius...

...an excerpt.

EG: When I grow up I'm going to learn magic and my children will not have to suffer the indignities that I have had to. I won't force them to eat and use up all their time. I won't treat them like Zombies or Mummies.

K: You mean you won't chop them into little pieces and light them on fire?

EG: No and I won't wrap them in bandages or make them hammer in a nail or anything, or be hurtful and mean like my mommy is being right now. I won't try to distract them when they're concentrating.

K: Dude.

EG: What? I can't hear you through my ignoring you.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Good Fences...

...need to be better fences.

Yesterday was rough, but it had some bright spots. Thank you. You know who you are.

This morning started with promise, but went rapidly down hill. I chanced to look outside and noticed something amiss.

See the dirt? See the void where a planter with sprouting lettuce or spinach used to be?

Note the pink scrap in the middle of the dirt. It used to be a Camellia, firmly attached to the bush.

Hmm. Where could it be?

Why, look there, in the yard. How'd it get there? I wonder...

Nothing left inside but the dirt that refused to vacate.

And another lonely Camellia bud. You can't see 'em, but there are puncture marks. Say...does the Chupa Cabra like salad? Umm...not so much.

However, the neighbor's dog does. Can you see the paw prints?

Look harder...they're in there.

Right there.

Hey, I'm no CSI with those fancy cameras...I'm doing my best, here.

Not shown? The white bucket Someone was trying to root a tree in - tipped over, part of the tree missing, dirt strewn. The 2 litre bottle we'd turned into a planter for the Evil Genius's find, an acorn that was sprouting, he wanted to watch it turn into an oak tree - dirt scattered on the driveway, acorn naked and forlorn on the concrete, bottle nowhere to be found. All of the planters dug through - sprouting spinach, lettuce, tomatoes uprooted, disturbed. The front garden bed full of hopeful little tomato seedlings - trodden upon, dug into, seedlings broken, crushed, killed. The back garden bed where Someone has been working so hard to double-dig, more tomato seedlings and other seeds planted with hopes of sprouts soon to be seen - full of paw prints, dug up, run through. The rowan sticks that Someone set aside for me to make wands with - dragged across the yard and to the neighbor's house. Camellia blossoms shredded and left in the cul-de-sac, our yard, the neighbor's yard. And one big pile of something that didn't come from anyone living in this house...because we have indoor plumbing, thankyouverymuch, and if one of the outdoor cats left that, we need to rethink their diet.

I had to go over to the neighbor's house, ring the bell, and have a chat. Y'all, I loathe confrontation. I don't like causing stress to anyone. But...Someone was ready to kill, this morning, and I can't blame him. These gardens aren't a hobby, they aren't for fun...they're meant to be a food source for our cash-strapped home, and whenever possible to help provide for family and friends, too, and maybe put up a bit for winter and, if we may dream big, to possibly sell via CSA or farmer's market. We (more he than I or the Evil Genius, but still...we...) put sweat, time, effort, hope, and money into these beds, these seeds. None of that can happen of the damn dogs are running loose all night, tearing it up. And only in our yard, it seems.

So I told the neighbor that there were clearly paw prints in the garden beds, and that we're growing our food here, and it has to stop. I also mentioned the big pile of something I didn't put there. I told him "I don't want to be a bad neighbor, but I can't afford this, and we need these crops. It's our food..." He was very apologetic. It was funny, in a horrid sort of way, because we weren't talking more than a few moments when the dogs escaped the back yard and were in our yard...where Someone made it clear they aren't welcome. It seems the back gate doesn't always close securely. He really did seem sorry, and I'm hoping they either fix or pay better attention to the gate latch.

It is tempting to ask the neighbor to send his kids over to help dig, weed, sweat a little, because I think they're the ones being careless. A little time spent trying to get this red clay to yield food should help them understand why it's important. Never mind that my kid is terrified of those damn dogs and won't go outside if he sees them.

Sigh.

I may have joked with a friend about having a Korean BBQ, with the dogs as guests of honor, if it happened again. I'm not violent, and don't blame a critter for being what it is...so please don't yell at me for that. I am fed up, though...and while I really, really don't want to call animal control, if it happens again, I will. Because otherwise, Someone will be forced to defend his bit of Earth in very primitive fashion, and I can't blame him one little bit.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Miscommunication

Pardon me, do you mind if I vent a bit? Thanks - sometimes a body just needs to let it out a little.

I got up before dawn this morning because I was scheduled to work communications at the track. I was very quiet, careful not to wake Someone or the Evil Genius. I packed the lunch I made last night, made sure I has plenty of water, kissed Someone goodbye and headed out.

I watched the sun rise and hoped for a pretty day. I even had a quasi-poetic thought about how the sun was gently brushing the pines, coaxing a bronze blush from them as he crept higher into the sky.

Then I was told that there'd been a mistake and I wasn't needed in the tower after all. It's no one's fault, really - the people running the event didn't know I was coming and offered to let me work a turn instead, as a safety marshall...but I can't do that any more, and may never again because I'm just not fit enough. The woman who arranges workers for the event has parents and in-laws with failing health and has a lot on her plate, so she may have gotten muddled as to which events they needed me for. The organizers felt bad...but what could they do? So I came home.

I tried to lie back down, hoping to sleep, but my mind wouldn't let me.

I wasn't going to be paid a tremendous lot for the weekend, but it would have taken care of my car insurance...which will now lapse Sunday at midnight, leaving me uninsured and with a suspended license (that's how it works in Redneck Central - your insurance lapses and they suspend your license) indefinitely.

I am a wee stressed about that.

I am feeling very low right now. Very useless, and rather like a burden. Woe is me and all that crap. I needed this boost. Not just the money...I needed to be doing something that felt useful, something at which I am rather good. I needed to hear people happy to know I was there, and needed to feel like I'm earning my keep a little. I needed NOT to feel like a freakin' lump of gristle, purposeless, disposable, pointless. I needed to feel proud of a job I was doing.

So here I sit with these thoughts scrabbling in circles around my head. I would very much like to crawl into bed and just not get up again. Let 'em turn off the power, the water, the phone and Internet, who gives a shit? If it was just me, I would...because no one would notice or care. But I have Someone (and thank the Goddess, because his love? Is a tonic.) and the Evil Genius, and four cats, and Mum might eventually figure out I hadn't called and wonder what was up...

Sigh.

And fuck.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tradition, Tradition...Tradition!!

So it was Someone's birthday yesterday. I'm funny about birthdays - I hate my own, but I love celebrating the birthdays of the people I love. I am glad they were born and want to let 'em know it.

Here at Casa de Crazy, there's a tradition - if you live here, I will bake (or buy if I can't bake) your favorite cake, and you get to choose what we have for dinner. If it's something I don't know how to cook, we'll order in or go out. You also get to spend the day doing what you'd like best to do.

Someone didn't want to tell me what his favorite cake was. I had to ask his mama. I had to twist his dang arm to get him to tell me what he'd like for dinner, because he likes to be difficult. Sigh.

I had rehearsal mid-day (the band has TWO gigs booked for this summer...woo-hoo!), and it was a gorgeous day, so I packed up the Evil Genius and left Someone at home to chill, play in the dirt, and throw darts at the garage wall his dart board.

I picked up groceries on the way home, made frosting for the cake I baked Tuesday evening, and got dinner cooked while Someone played in the yard, shadowed by the Evil Genius and sharing beers with Mum, who joined us for the festivities.

Bored, yet?

It was, I think, a good day. Someone scored some yard time, some funny beers (Sweetwater Brewery's Tackle Box is hilarious), and a halfway decent meal for a change (running joke around here).

Dinner:
Holy carp, we had Australia for dinner!!

One day soon, our salad will be home grown - Someone has been working hard in the garden.

I didn't want to set the fire alarm off...so I just randomly threw some candles at the cake.

Hmm...it wasn't supposed to be an upside down cake...

Happy birthday, Someone. Thanks for making Casa de Crazy home.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho

Sorry, not much of a post today - Someone and I are off to parts not-terribly-unknown to do some fix-it work for a friend's Ren Fest building. I sure hope it's a nice day...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health Food

Hey, y'all. It's raining at Casa de Crazy today, so we can't go outside to frolic in the dirt. No worries, there's plenty to do indoors as long as you like cleaning, laundry, and bleach related activities. Yeah. I decided the kitchen was my demesne today, and baked banana bread...but that wasn't enough. No, I wanted something meaty (hush, Google Pervs!), so I made Scotch Eggs (one of my Ren Fest favorites).

Much to my dismay surprise, they don't involve liquor. Huh. They are, however, a right handy way to use up your Ostara (or Easter, if you must) eggs besides the ubiquitous Dyed Egg Salad.

The players:
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and preferably chilled
1 pound bulk sausage
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten (great way to use up some aggression)(not that I need to or anything)(I'm just sayin')
3/4 cup bread crumbs
Oil. Lots and lots of oil.

I also hauled the Super Fryolator of Doom out for this recipe.

Here we go.

Start the Super Fryolator of Doom heating the oil - you want it to be between 350 and 370 (F, not C, because wow...) when you're ready to cook these babies.

Evenly divide the sausage into 6 parts. I know! Division! Math! but...but...this is cooking!! Sigh. It's also how I teach the Evil Genius his chemistry, but don't tell him that.

Dredge the peeled eggs in the flour and gently brush off the excess - you just want a light dusting on 'em.

Take one portion of the sausage and flatten it into a vaguely circular/oblongish shape and wrap the egg in it.
Make sure to cover the whole egg and try to keep an even layer, but don't make yourself crazy over it.
Roll this texture fiesta in the egg, making it even more fun to handle.

Roll the ball in the bread crumbs, making sure to coat the whole thing.

Drop that sucker Carefully place the croquet-ball of cholesterol egg in the oil and fry for 4 - 5 minutes or until a loverly golden brown all over. Don't rush this step because you want that sausage to be cooked.

Drain well.

Mmm...crispy...why isn't "crispy" a food group??

Serve warm or cold, with spicy mustard on the side.

For a little extra oomph, you could add some sage, thyme, and/or cayenne to the sausage. You could also add salt, pepper, onion powder, and/or garlic powder the flour mixture. It's your Breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner/midnight snack...go crazy.

Nom, nom, nom...uh...is that my artery hardening??

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring!

Happy Ostara, y'all. Wait, what? Umm...Ostara is the Vernal Equinox to them what's not pagan. You know, when the days are no longer shorter than the nights and it warms up and we thaw out and rabbits lay chocolate eggs in plastic baskets because that's what bunnies do when...oh, whoops...sorry.

It IS the equinox, though, and we're dying eggs and enjoying the day here at Casa de Crazy. I scored some hockey tickets from a friend, so I'm dragging Someone out on an actual date tonight...score!

Usually I'd explain what a pagan holiday is all about, but I'm kinda tired from telling fortunes at the New Moon release party at Borders (gaggles of giggling girls, good grief)(but also awesome), so I'll just leave you wondering and wish you a happy Spring.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Letter

Dear The Internet,

Thank you so much for your kind offer of a share in the Spanish National Lottery. While I have no recollection of having been to Spain, there was that one bout of sleep walking when it is, in theory, possible I drove to the airport, boarded a plane, passport at the ready, flew 15 hours, purchased a ticket for the lottery, got my passport stamped, again boarded an aircraft, flew another 15 hours, drove home, and crawled back into bed all without waking, I sincerely doubt I would have done so without purchasing even one souvenir postcard. That would be terribly unlike me, even in my sleep. While I would happily collect my share of the winnings, I am afraid you have me confused with some other "Kyddryn" who even now is awaiting news of her windfall, hoping it will come in time to pay for the kidney she hopes to purchase from you via an underground live-organ-donor website...not that she needs one, but she's starting a collection.

Thank you, too, for your generous offer to sell me Viagra and other medications via a Canadian pharmacy, no prescription needed. I had thought to drive to Mexico for my performance enhancing drugs, but ordering them through you for delivery right here to my home seems so much easier and safer. Everyone knows that Canadia* is polite, clean, and honest, and I know you couldn't possibly be exaggerating when you tell me I could "go all night" and "please her for hours". I was unaware of my Lesbian leanings until you told me I needed your supplements to make her happy. I am wondering, though, about entering her "like a bull". Why would I enter a bull...to what purpose, and how? Also, I'm sure that some folks are keen on that sort of thing, but it sounds uncomfortable and like it might chafe, so I'll pass.

Not to be indelicate, dear Internet, but I believe you may have mistaken me for an outie, not an innie, with another of your missives. It happens, especially when I wear my hair up, so I won't hold it against you. However, I do think it would be awfully nice if you'd stop sending me offers to lengthen, enlarge, or otherwise alter my penis in some fashion. While I've been to an adult toy store more than once** and found them fascinating, I never brought home my own penis. If I had I'm fairly certain it could not be lengthened or enlarged without serious damage to the structural integrity...and some of them? Don't need it! I like the one attached to Someone*** just fine the way it is, thank you, and don't consider that one "mine" anyway. On the one occasion you offered me an unguent to enlarge my breasts, I had to decline as well. My back aches enough with my tiny ta-tas, I don't need enormous hooters weighing me down and causing havoc to my spine. I have consulted Someone and he assures me that, should he wish larger gazongas to play with, he'll go fondle someone else instead, which suits me fine. My mazulagallagawongas shall remain petite (unlike the rest of me).

I would take it as a kindness, too, if you would refrain from asking me to perform acts of questionable morality and legality by accepting funds from your African bank into my American one so as to hide them from authorities, or secreting stolen Iraqi treasure in my crawlspace, or things of that ilk. It's not that I'm afraid of getting caught or anything - I'm a shockingly good liar, in fact - it's just that my crawlspace is full of evidence holiday decorations at the moment, and I am loathe to disturb the spiders. Black Widows can be so testy.

Finally, dear Internet, I thank you for your solicitous interest in my weight loss endeavours. Shedding my fifty-acre ass has, in fact, been a struggle, and your lotions, pills, and diet plans all sound like a breeze. I am sorely tempted. Honestly, all this eating less, eating fresh, natural foods, and taking more exercise are such a bore...why wouldn't I rather take a pill that makes my heart pound like the timpani at the beginning of 2001, A Space Odyssey? Arrhythmia is fun! Still, I can't even be relied upon to take a vitamin pill on a daily basis, so I fear your wonderful medicines would just be wasted on me, so could you please stop offering? I do so hate to waste the time you've spent personally typing each e-mail to me.

You're a good friend, dear Internet, always looking out for me. Some day I hope to return the favor.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

*That's not a typo, it's a joke. If you don't get it, no worries - some jokes are just for me.

**Sorry, Mum. I'll bring you some mental floss next time I visit.

***Sorry Someone, Mum, Mister Hermit, sir, and anyone else who is now in the throes of TMI. With enough time and therapy, the scars will fade and you may even be able to lead a somewhat normal life.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Pat's, A Slightly Edited Redux

This is a (slightly edited) repost. You'll survive.
~~~~~

I'll be cooking corned beef and cabbage and soda bread for dinner tonight, much to my family's delight. Mum may come down because she, like me, loves the stuff. Bird likes the bread and meat fine, but not the cabbage, and he doesn't want the potatoes, which leads me to wonder if any of the one-quarter Irish in my veins made it to him. I get not liking cabbage, but potatoes? Something's not right with the child. Someone will happily scarf the lot, because he's a good Irish lad.

Seeing as I'm Pagan, you wouldn't think I'd celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Better than most, I know what St. Patrick did to get famous and earn his sainthood. However, I'm also part Irish, and I happen to love corned beef and cabbage. Also, I consider it a reclaiming of the day for Pagans, or some junk.

A bit of rather bent history (that has, I'll grant you, been mangled in my head over the years and is rather truncated because I'm not writing a book, here)(I'm writing a book somewhere else). When I was a child, we were told that St. Patrick's day was to celebrate his chasing all the snakes out of Ireland. It is an historically serpent-free bit of earth, and the church attributed this to St. Pat and his efforts...kind of overlooking that there weren't any of the slithery things on the island to begin with, if you ask me. Which they didn't, because I was a kid and most grown-ups weren't prepared for my staggering logic and keen grasp of history but rather appalling lack of respect for theology .

Many years later, people were saying St. Patrick's Day was a celebration of all things Irish, like green beer (wait, isn't beer German??) and green clothes, and green hair, and green mashed potatoes (which I won't eat on a dare because, really...green potatoes???), and rivers dyed green (I'm sure the fish are all so very thankful to be included...like Fridays and Lent weren't enough for them!)(that might only be funny if you're Catholic)(or not) and exclusionary parades, and funny little men waving their shillelaghs about (look it up you pervs!!) and that sort of thing.

In none of the many different explanations for this seemingly random holiday did anyone mention pagans. A most curious oversight of you know what St. Patrick, who was just Patrick at the time (not really, I have no idea what his real name was. For all I know, it was Fred), was actually doing on the Emerald Isle.

He was born and lived sometime between 490 and 461 AD, give or take. Around age sixteen, he was either sent or stolen and taken to Ireland where he spent some time hanging out with sheep and being lonely. He talked to God a lot. You may notice that lots of shepherds do that. You would too if all you had for company all day was a bunch of mutton-heads. Christianity was rolling along like a snowball in those days, spreading out all over the dang place. Good grief, it was getting so that a simple Pagan/Heathen (there's a difference between the two, not that the church cared much) couldn't get any peace any more. Everywhere they turned, there was a church being built where a sacred grove used to be, from the trees that used to be the sacred grove, or a church going up on a sacred hill, or someone bathing their dirty feet in a sacred stream. To be fare, there was a lot of real estate lumped under that "sacred" heading in the pagan world. We're like that - we just love our planet so. Plus, you know, all those gods needed housing, and they don't do the roommate thing very well. So the pagans were running out of places to have sex on the ground, in the woods, up a tree - they were big on the sex, those little devils - and to read entrails in their spare time.

I digressed. Sorry.

So there was this lonely kid, Patrick Whatsisname, hanging out with sheep and pondering life, the universe, and everything. He got the idea, somewhere along the way, that maybe other folks should share his God. He got out of his contract (OK, probably slavery) and went around telling folks how terrific his God was, and how he reckoned they should convert.

It seems that polite conversation wasn't doing it for the pagans, who tended to stare at him, or point and laugh. Rude beggars, huh? Now young Patrick (or middle aged Patrick, or old Patrick, I have no idea) decided he needed to be a bit more...persuasive. He had noticed something common among the pagan big-wigs. The guys at the top of the food-chain, magic/spirituality wise speaking tended to have a symbol on them somewhere...usually around their wrist. On the wrist that indicated their "hand of power", or the hand which they believed their "magic" flowed from. If it wasn't a tattoo, it was a torque. Guess what the tattoo/torque was? A critter called the oroborus. For them as what doesn't ken what that critter is, it's a snake eating its tail, and often represents eternity.

Pat realized that if he took away this "power", he took away their mystique and leadership ability. So he removed the snakes - often with something edged and unpleasant. Yes, he whacked off their hands. Or branded their skin. Or took their trinkets. Converting Heathens is such messy work!! It was for their own good, of course.

Some pagans today go on "snake crawls", a sort of pub crawl where they wear snakes and proclaim their paganism. I'm not quite that...er...proactive. I also don't necessarily think old Pat went around mauling everyone he met in an effort to build church membership and win a nifty prize. But it's the bloody aspect of what he did that earned his name in Christendom and for which his holiday is celebrated.

So again, why would I celebrate the day? Well, I'm all for a day when families get together and discuss history, theology, spirituality, and the like. Traditions are important - they give us a foundation on which to build our lives. People should discuss their history so they don't repeat it - whatever side of the issue they're on. Also, as I mentioned, I am part Irish. I can celebrate that heritage even as I acknowledge its imperfection. And I am Pagan - and I am celebrating the fact that I can be pagan today without (much) fear of having my (largely not visible when I'm clothed) tattoos painfully removed and other unpleasantness (except for the odd zealot who thinks I'm fair game, but I'm used to that. I live in the Bible belt, after all). Precisely because we didn't get wiped out, I celebrate. And have you ever had a really nice corned beef and cabbage dinner? I mean, yum!

Oh, but I won't be wearing green. I wear blue. Don't even think about pinching me

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Best With Lots of Butter

In honor of the rapidly approaching festival of all things green (and not at all because I am lazy and have run out of blog post ideas for a minute), I give you...Irish Soda Bread. Sorry, no pictures this time...I couldn't be bothered to take any the Internet must be broken.

The cast:
2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour (King Arthur rules, yo)
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (if you're not certain they've been rolled, get 'em drunk and send 'em down to central park around 2 AM. That oughta do it)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 ½ cups buttermilk (frankly, I think this stuff is nasty...except in soda bread, biscuits, and okra breading. Oh, and pancakes. But other than that, nasty.)

Heat the oven to 400°. Combine everything but the buttermilk in a large bowl and stir the ingredients with your hands - kids love doing this part. For the love of all that's holy, make 'em wash their hands before, though! Make a well in the mixture and pour in 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk.

Continue mixing with your hands - again with the kids loving to help. Let em get gooey...it's good for their inner ear development or something. Add the remaining cup of buttermilk as you combine the ingredients. The resulting dough will be wet and very sticky.

Dust your hands with flour, shape the dough into a ball, and place it on a floured cookie sheet (we used a nonstick baking mat or Release foil). With a knife, score a deep X in the top of the ball, widening it with the sides of the blade as you cut.

Bake the bread until it's golden brown, about 50 minutes. Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Makes a crusty ( I know some folks like that), dense (I know some folks like that, too) loaf about 7 inches in diameter. Slather with butter and mmmmmmm...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Futility?

I had a lovely compliment form a fellow blogger, on Friday. She told me she thought me a "...kick-ass writer".

That's a fine thing, especially when the person in question is themselves a kick-ass writer.

A small voice in my head, the one that's always waiting in the wings, said "So what?"

That led to a run of thoughts, pouring through me like so much polluted water.
~~~~~
I am a writer
Whose words go unread.

I am a singer
Whose music is unheard.

I am a photographer
Whose pictures go unseen.

I am an artist
Without an audience.

So what's the fucking point?
~~~~~
And that's just it...I keep wondering why the hell I bother. There are insanely talented people in the world who struggle to earn their crust...and there are vacuous twits who blink and giggle, no talent hacks who make millions, are famous and well known simply for existing. I'm not insanely talented (just insane), but I'm no hack, either. So why the struggle...and is it worth it, really? I don't know about you, but I don't like feeling as though I have to beg , to chase after people to get them to see or hear. Maybe I should quite doing what suits me, take some classes, learn what the commercial world tells me to. Maybe I should stop doing what pleases me and just do what everyone else does or wants. Maybe there's a reason I'm not being noticed...and maybe I should take the hint and give it up.

So...what do you do when you hit this great big wall?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Stalking the Endangered Dust Rhino

It all started so innocently - a lovely day, some open windows inviting the fresh air to sweep through.

With the breeze came insect life of some sort. Not much...a bug or two.

That night, the cats took it in turns to stare intently at a spot on the wall. Rook and Maya were especially enthralled. Someone and I watched them track the blurry wee shadow on the wall. Finally, Someone decided to step in - he brushed the buggy visitor off the wall. Rather than obligingly landing on the floor for kitty amusement, it flew up into the living room light fixture. The cats resumed their staring.

Someone took pity on them and unscrewed the light cover, encouraging the critter to obey the law...of gravity...and visit out lovely Pergo floor - it's where all the "in" people go.

Then Someone took a good look at the fan/light fixture. Umm...have I mentioned I'm a crappy housekeeper? Because, yeah...

First he wanted a new light bulb because one of them has been burned out for a while. Then he wanted a dish towel because it seems the Rare Fan-Dwelling Dust Rhino has been rather more active than he'd like up there.

He brushed down a few Rhino turds.

Rook was curious. "If I did something like that on the floor, you'd swat me!"

"Seriously, people - who does this in the house??" It was something of an epic Rhino leaving...

The Rhino tried to leave a deposit on Someone's head, but he wasn't having it.

I think he got some in his mouth...
Bless 'im...he's better than Mike Rowe for getting a dirty job done. Wait...what am I saying?? I didn't mean it Mike...I'm still your number one fangirl, honest! C'mere and I'll prove it!!

Even Rook got covered in Rhino remnants.
"Why, Mama, why?"
I guess I need to thin the herd a bit. I hope Someone doesn't notice the bedroom fan any time soon...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How I Found Out I'm Not As Bendy As I Used to Be...

...and why I have a spine like a question mark right now. With pictures!

That ought to get the Google Pervs all happy.

Now for the rest of you. Warning - photo heavy post follows.

Rainy days can be hard on the Evil Genius, especially when he's been spending time outdoors, running wild and acting like a little monkey. Today was rainy, and he was bored and wanted attention and was grumpy. He wanted to play with something he'd gotten from Grampa LW at Xmas, a toy I've been avoiding because it is complicated, has many parts (739 million, to be precise-ish), and requires batteries, a USB cable, and almost infinite patience to construct.

An engineering degree wouldn't hurt, either.

The project? A K'Nex Extreme View Video Roller Coaster.

K'Nex, for the uninitiated, are something of a cross between Legos and and Erector Set, batteries not included.

We opened the box and my spine began to twinge. I knew this was a floor-sitting kind of thing.The parts came in bags. We counted them all before we began, because nothing quite compares to getting halfway through 739 million steps only to find a key piece is missing.
The instructions (Bird still calls them "constructions") were clear, concise, and easy to follow. Yeah. 54 pages of them. My spine curved a bit to the left and creaked.
We got started. I told Bird which parts we needed, then helped him figure out how to assemble them. Once or twice (or fifty times) he got distracted and wanted to play with the cats or the roller coaster cars, or the tracks, or some lint he found in his navel, and I did a step or two to keep things moving. Seven or eight (or one-and-a-half) hours in, we had about a third of it done. My legs, neck and shoulders were burning, and I needed a hoist to get up from the floor.
The Evil Genius didn't really get distracted too much, and he seemed to enjoy sorting out the pieces for each step.
Someone helped, too, reading instructions and showing the Evil Genius how to read the blueprint.
After another day or two (or maybe it was only another hour or so), my spine was curling nicely around itself and another third of the frame was done.
The Evil Genius did a few steps on his own, dictating which parts he needed to Someone, then assembling them. He was all Zen and focused. His spine had no problem with the whole floor-sitting thing.
By the end of the framework, he was pretty good at reading the diagrams.
Finally, we finished the frame and could start assembling the tracks. I could no longer feel my arse and my spine had a pretzel knot in it.
There were miles of tracks. Each piece of track needed special clips put on it. Someone was helping with that. After a few feet of track-altering, he had dents in his fingers.
Luckily, we had the proper lubricant for roller coaster building. Can't stress how important that is.
Finally, it was time to add the chain, more little plastic pieces we had to click together. 104 of them, not that I counted or anything.
Someone did the honors.
A little test run...

...and we were ready to add the car.
Car on the tracks, Bird flipped the switch.
A good time was had by all.
All kidding aside, it took a good six hours to build. It's meant for ages 9 and up. Bird's 7. I still can't feel my arse, and my spine may never be the same...but it was worth it. Bird learned about spacial relationships, reading charts and diagrams, counting, math, patience, precision communications, focus, and persistence while we played. I will pass the word on to family and friends that K'Nex, like Legos, are welcome at Casa de Crazy.

Hello, the word "Crazy" is right in our home's name, so yes, I am nuts. Why do you ask??

Mother's Little Helper

Well...mother's sweetheart's little helper, really.

The Evil Genius is right fond of Someone. He mimics the man - if Someone is playing darts, the Evil Genius wants to play. If Someone puts on a jacket because he's going outside and it's cold...the Evil Genius does the same. If Someone eats spinach...well, let's not get carried away, here.

So when we (yes, WE - I helped, too) worked on putting in a garden bed in the front yard Sunday(Casa de Crazy is going to attempt growing some of our own food this year, to eat fresh and put up for next winter)(seriously, have you SEEN the price of tomatoes lately? They're like little red balls of gold!) , the little dude wanted to help. He moved some sod clods with me, and raked a little, and helped Someone measure the finished bed to make sure it wasn't all crooked.


And when Monday saw us out front, amending and improving the bed in front of the house, Little Dude was right there.

He was careful to use safety equipment.
I wish I'd gotten a photo of him in his "safety goggles", a pair of sunglasses so dark, they may as well be drywall for all you see through them.
When tools were needed, he was on the job.

When Someone asked for some stones to help prop up our timbers, level them up a bit for back-filling, Bird fetched 'em in a hurry.

He didn't hesitate when it was time to stake a vampire, either, grabbing one of the monstrous nails we were using to secure the timbers and getting to it.*

He even hauled wood, and a four-foot length of landscape timber is no laughing matter.
I wasn't helping him, either...he carried that thing himself. The shot's all cock-eyed because he wasn't stopping for a mere photo - he had work to do, by gum, and if I couldn't shoot on the fly I wasn't getting my shot!

He learned how to measure and mark wood, and about cutting carefully.
We got it done, all of us.
Not bad for one very talented, hardworking Someone, one Evil Genius, and one completely out of shape nutter who is more marshmallow than human.

*No vampires were harmed in the making of this blog.