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







Monday, May 31, 2010

This Post is Not For the Faint of Heart...

...or stomach.

Yes, we went to Baton Rouge, and yes, we had a fine time - no protesters showed up, so that fun was spoiled, but the concert was fun and we were well received, which is always nice. You can read a bit about it here.

This post isn't about that, though...it's about what we left and came home to.

We had planned to leave Thursday morning, but had to vacate Casa de Crazy Wednesday night instead because of this:Nice, huh? Last time I saw that, it was when I first moved in and the septic tank had to be pumped. We figured Wednesday night was not the best time to try and get it taken care of, and Mum wasn't going to spend the night in a house where we couldn't run water for fear of flooding the bathroom (her bathroom, might I add), so we hurried the packing and beat feet.

We came home a day early to deal with this: And this:
Had to call these nice folks: They were here in an hour, and didn't charge holiday rates - same price, no matter what day it is.

Kevin (on the left) and Matt (on the right) were truly awesome - they had to dig carefully because the builder thought it would be fun to put the concrete pad for the stairs on top of one corner of the tank. Sigh. What the hell, builders??
The tank was so packed , it was nearly solid - it looked like a huge poo pudding. Poor Matt...as he was the new guy, he had to use the giant mixer and stir up the pudding, into a sort of poo shake, so they could pump it up. At least he didn't have to do it by hand...Then he nearly fell into the tank while replacing the rear baffle.
The line from the house was plugged because of the back-up. They had to come in and plunge the toilet and the tub...and again, Matt had the honors. He reached into the tub full of poo water to remove the drain. Wow. That's some dedication to your work. He even cleaned the tub a little.

They pumped dug, pumped, rinsed, hosed, plunged, jetted, replaced, treated, pumped some more and...umm...'scuse me...
I needed a moment to check out those arms. Whoa. Pumpin' poo is better than pumpin' iron, I guess.

A few hours and eighteen-hundred dollars later, Casa de Crazy is no longer full of shit. Ahem. We are free to shower (which, thank goodness, because after unpacking the van and stowing gear in the trailer and whatnot, I was a bit...erm...ripe).

It was one heck of a way to start/finish the weekend. Oh, well...shit happens. Ahem. Now of you'll excuse me - I have to go clean that bathroom. Fire's a cleaning agent, right??

Remember

Photo found here and copied entirely without permission but not without respect.

I don't know if anyone I knew and loved fell in battle, but many of my family have served their country in the various branches. My brother was in the Army, but thankfully got out when yet another gopher hole tried to eat his ankle. Don't ask. My Uncle was in the Air Force, even flying Air Force Two for a while. My Grandfather was in the Coast Guard during World War II. I have a cousin in the Air Force. I believe he flies Airforce somethingorother from time to time. I have a friend who was in the Army during the Vietnam War (conflict, my ass!) - I never once resented the calls at three-o'clock in the morning; nightmares shy away from friendly voices, from reason and reassurance. Another friend was in the Army until it broke his back - literally. He survived, but not his plans for a lifetime in the military - they don't want broken people, no matter how useful or clever they are. Someone's family is jam-packed with folks who've served - mostly Navy, I believe - and deserve some respect and thanks. So...thanks.

For a history of this day, go here. Or here. Or here. In a nutshell, Memorial Day is for remembering the fallen. Veteran's Day is for honoring the living. That's why they get two days, and so they should. Men and women stand up and make targets of themselves to maintain our freedoms every day of the year, so the least we can do is take two days to tell them "Thanks. Thanks for acting against human nature and protecting me and mine. Thanks for losing an arm, a leg, a life so that I don't have to."

It's not about the politics. I'm non-violent. I don't think war is ever a reasonable response to conflict. I won't forget, though, that people have laid down their lives so that I may stand on a street corner protesting (I never would) them, or denigrating (never, ever!) them for their service.

Perhaps one day, we won't have any new graves to decorate. Until then, I remember and (as best I can) I honor.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Red Stick

I'm in Baton Rouge at a campground in the middle of a swamp. There's no computer, but the daily frog chorus makes for interesting Morse Code.

We're performing this evening, and again on Sunday afternoon. I'll let you know how much if it sucked or if it was adequate.

Have a good weekend. If you're a veteran, cheers. If anyone in your family died in the service, my condolences, and my deepest, most heartfelt thanks. Watch over the weekend for more on that subject.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Because I'm Drawing a Complete Blank, Here

I'm packing (well, I'm supposed to be packing, anyway)(but I can't get motivated)(bleh) for Baton Rouge, and I can't think of a dang thing to say that anyone but me might like to hear/read/contemplate, so I'm handing the blog over to Danny Kaye for a few. He's always good for a laugh!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Faire Play








Someone's mother was sufficiently entertained, and I'm forgiven for the horrifying state of Casa de Crazy. It was a fun day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Time

Someone's mom is coming to stay for the weekend. I do not believe she will be impressed with my mad housekeeping skillz, yo.

I could plead some kind of crazy-busy vortex that seems to have settled over Casa de Crazy the last few weeks - sewing, gardening, yard work, and...umm...stuff - but what would be my excuse for the rest of the year??

I can't even use blogging as an excuse since, hello? Have you seen the place lately? My writing is as sporadic as a politician's honesty!

To distract her from the dust menagerie, we shall whisk her to the Ren Fest if the weather permits. There, we shall ply her with enormous turkey legs, fried pickles and (if she's brave enough) country fried bacon.

Should be fun.

OK, enough foolin' around in the Blue Nowhere...time to get back to knocking the mess down to something less than horrifying - I don't have any Sherpas to lead Someone's mom through the mess to safety, so I have to relocate it (what, isn't that how you clean??). Heavy metal blasting, Evil Genius head bangin', cats scattering to the four winds in fear of the dervish that used to be their human, it's going to be an interesting day.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You Know You Want One

Ferocious:

Bandit:

Squeaky:

They'll be weaned in a few weeks, have been handled by humans since they were a few days old, and come from a healthy population. So...any takers??

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Some Folks Just Don't Have Anything Better to Do

Sigh.

My band is engaged to perform on Memorial Day, a new event at a new venue: Gryphon's Nest Campground in Baton Rouge. I haven't had occasion to speak to the owner/organizer - that lot has fallen to PJ (We take turns doing bookings so no one is overwhelmed with the responsibility).

Today I learned that the fellow in charge is under siege, both in the Mundane world and here in the Blue Nowhere. It seems that some folks in his area have taken exception to his holding an event, open to the public, that is pagan in nature.

These people have defamed his character, printed and spoken outright lies about this man, this event, and pagans in general.

Now, y'all know by now (I hope) that I am pagan. And y'all know by now (I hope) that I'm a basically decent person who does her best to be a good human. And y'all know (I hope) that I don't have any issue with Christianity as a spiritual way. I've seen and known a lot of good people who follow one church or another, a lot of kindness and compassion that have sprung from Christ's teachings.

I've also seen, and experienced a lot of ignorant hatred from people so blind they couldn't see my character, but only the pentacle I wear. I've been threatened, reviled, and called many interesting if unimaginative names because of my beliefs. It sucks, but if my belief in my spiritual way can't handle some name-calling, it's not much of a path, is it?

I wonder why the protesters, the people hacking websites and putting up their own misinformation, can't manage to feel the same way?

If you don't already have plans for Memorial Day and you'd like to help show support for spiritual freedom, music, and community, come on out and join us for the weekend; with any luck, the worst thing we'll have to fend off is a Louisiana skeeter!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sidewalk Chalk, Mother's Boon

I made a quick run up to the gallery today. The Evil Genius came with me so Someone could have a little peace and quiet at home for a change...poor man, the kid adores him and constantly follows him while chattering like a monkey. No kidding, it doesn't stop until the kid's asleep!

When we got there, the kid was climbing the walls...

...so I pointed out the sidewalk chalk they keep on hand, and all the lovely, pristine sidewalk around the outside of the building. Distraction achieved. For a few minutes.

Then, I had to come and see what he'd drawn.

First there was the sun and "...a whole mess of flowers, mommy..."

...and some fish on the moon.

Then there was his family. Daddy (with curly hair)...

...himself...

...me (complete with a flower in my long hair and an "I lov U floating above me. We'll be working on spelling this week)...

...and Gramlin, with her special boot (she's got tendon problems with her ankle, and the boot is to help fix them without surgery. I called her Gimpy Sue when I saw it. Nice, me.).

We're all connected by a line to show we're family.

Finally, there's a sunset...

...and four of us on the moon.
Hmm...does he mean to say we're loony??

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

But There's Always This


Upswing?

I keep hearing about an upswing in the economy. No, really - supposedly, things are getting better.

Supposedly.

Umm...yeah, about that...

Here's how much better it's getting in Redneck Central: Houses are being foreclosed upon in record numbers. Repo trucks prowl the roads like hungry wolves seeking weakened prey. Trash is piling up because folks can't afford a service or the ridiculously low local dump fees. Gardens are popping up everywhere, little patches of hope scratched into the earth.

More?

I have a friend who has a cyst on her thyroid...she has to squeeze the removal between shows (conventions, festivals, and whatnot - she sells bellydance things, clothing, jewelry, and her amazing art and fused glass), because she can't afford to miss one. She can't afford a short recovery, let alone a long one.

Another friend is so stressed about her business, keeping her home (imagine paying a mortgage for more than 20 years, being near the end of it, and realizing you'll probably lose the house anyway), keeping her Mum healthy, and dealing with her constantly flooding basement, she nearly had a stroke two nights ago and had to take an ambulance to the hospital. Her blood pressure was something like 220 over 120, her veins ready to pop. She hasn't had a decent night's sleep in more than a year, I think. She's uninsured, won't go to the doctor because she doesn't want to spend the money.

Me? I don't sleep so well, either. Food's covered, but utilities need paying every month, and while we're trying to minimize, it's still an expense. I've filled out job applications (much to the shock of most people who know me) and gotten no response...even when I'm proactive and call back. I'm considering a title loan on the van...but I know if I go that route, I won't have a van in a month, so it's just a thought right now.

I don't know anyone whose life hasn't been at least dented by this economic hammering...so where's the upswing??

How're you doing?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Small Wonders

I spent the morning inspecting our yard. I've gotten into the habit of checking on all the plants - I love watching them sprout, grow, flower and fruit.

Sometimes, I have to look carefully for signs of growth and change. They amaze me, these growing things.

There's something about the tendrils, so fragile, so determined...

I admire their tenacity.

The peas are shy in the beginning, hiding their first flowers.

A nascent cabbage.

The carrots, feathery and small, are finally coming along. Bird can't wait to pull one up and eat it fresh.

Sometimes I can see the fruit in the flower, hope and promise in a wee blossom.

The dill didn't want to be photographed.

The sage may not be very big, but it's strong...

...and the basil is promising. I am dreaming of fresh pesto and homemade pasta sauce.

We've had some berries from these plants, and there's nothing like 'em. Warm, sweet, succulent - we're already planning to expand the bed next year.

We have a Lima bean flower! I adore Lima beans.

I had never seen a bean flower before today. Pretty...

A pregnant pod...
How does your garden grow?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

One Day?

Mother. Mom. Mommy. Mama. Mam. Mum. Ma.

There's more than one way to refer to one's mater.

It hardly seems fair that someone who figures so largely in a body's life should get one day a year in her honor. Well...two if you count birthdays. Still.

I don't much care for mother's day, truth be told. It's not that I don't love my Mum, 'cause I do. I just don't love how commercialized it's become, how it's been made to be about presents and flowers and going out to eat. Hmph. None of the ads on TV or radio, or here in the blue nowhere, mention taking out the trash or doing dishes or laundry, or mowing the yard, or any of a number of things a mom might like better than trinkets or chocolates or clothes that don't fit.

I love and appreciate my Mum every day of the year, without the aid of Hallmark or Kay jewelers, or any other commercial concern, thankyouverymuch.

And the Evil Genius constantly tells me he loves me, plasters me with hugs and kisses, cuddles up and wants to be with me, so I'm good in that department, too.

I'm working the RenFest this weekend for my friend K. I imagine there will be mothers there, out with their families. I hope they have fun. I hope it's not the only day this year their kids pay them any mind.

Happy Mother's Day, y'all...every day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Braking, Glass

Do you ever have that dream where you're driving and you try to brake but no matter how hard you push the pedal the brakes don't engage, so you're hitting the floor with the pedal and you're not slowing down, but you keep trying because maybe they'll work?

I know what that feels like in real life!

Someone and I borrowed Mum's truck for a job and wound up needing it for two other jobs too, so we've had it here at Casa de Crazy for the week. Thursday, we went to the dump to drop off some flood damaged stuff that had been cluttering up a friend's yard, and then down to my ex-mother-in-law's place to remove her old washer, dryer, and water heater and haul 'em to the recycling place (40 pounds shy of the minimum weight required to get paid, dang it). I mentioned the brakes feeling soft.

Then they were really soft.

Then they were practically non-existent. At peak traffic hour, coming home. Near an exit that is notorious for backing up onto the highway, prompting sudden stops.

No matter how hard I pushed the pedal, the brakes wouldn't catch. Umm...yikes!

Luckily, we made it home.

So Friday we checked the brake-fluid reservoir and found it bone dry. Someone had some brake fluid in his truck. A liberal application of said, a few depressions of the pedal, and we eventually had working brakes. Hurrah!

So today we went to the DMV, now call the DDS (Department of Driver's Services, as if that changes anything about the process) and got Someone his Redneck Central driver's license (you can read his take on that here). The Evil Genius was with us. I told him to keep a lookout for rednecks.

Nope, no rednecks here.

We were going to the recycling center, too, while we were in the area. Is it wrong to show up at the DMV with a pickup bed loaded with empty beer bottles? In a Bob Marley T-Shirt?

The folks at the recycling center let us drive right over to the glass alcoves to make unloading easier.

It was empty when we started...

I kid! Actually, we didn't add much to the pile, relatively speaking.

I like this one - it looks like it'd make a nifty puzzle.

As a bonus, we found out we can get free mulch there on weekdays...score!

What's the recycling like in your neck of the woods?