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







Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Guess What


Semi Homegrown Dinner

Since we got home so late on Sunday, Monday was a day to rest, unpack a bit, and recover. Whew. I didn't make it to the grocery store, though, so dinner was something of an improv.

It started when a silly Swan was both unloading the van and gleaning from the garden. Like the hat? It's mine, but dang it, I think it looks better on him!

We had a goodly pile of green beans, a zuke, some cukes,

and some little green peppers.

I thought the peppers would be neat stuffed with something...so I cleaned 'em out...

...and stuffed 'em with frozen meatballs.

Then I chopped up the zuke and some green beans, added a few more meatballs...

...and covered the lot with marinara sauce from a jar (forgive me Angelo, for I have sinned...but dang, it's good sauce).

I baked it at 350 for a while, then remembered that I have a couple of string cheese things lying around, so I chopped those up and added 'em into the mix...
...along with some Parmesan, because there's no such thing as too much cheese. Just ask your cardiologist.
It baked a little while longer, then I threw some freezer-section garlic bread in the oven to go with it.
Yummy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

What the Hell

I have a Swiss cheese memory - it's full of holes. Sizable chunks of my childhood are just gone, never to be retrieved. Also my teen years, and some of my young adulthood. These gaps are partly the normal process of aging - not that I'm old or anything, mind - and partly because of drugs (hush, I'm referring to the years I tried to be a good little doobee and took anti-depressants to make the mundanes in my life more comfortable with my crazy, one such medication making a hash of my memory storage and retrieval)(I'm lookin' at you, Prozac), and partly because of memories that my mind simply didn't (and occasionally still doesn't) want to think about, and so were stashed away in dark corners until they dissolved, or at least softened enough so as not to hurt when handled.

What I do recall, however, is with crystal clarity.

I remember Easter egg hunts at my grandparents (I wasn't always pagan), and going out on Papa's boat - he was my grandfather - and Mum making quiche for some friends who were visiting she made her own crust and good golly, it was tasty). I remember helping her crush pretzels for Margarita pie.

I remember nearly puncturing my eardrum with a Q-tip, and the hours spent in the hospital while doctors assured Mum that I wasn't going to be deaf because of it (although I have scar tissue that makes my hearing the tiniest bit fuzzy on that side). I remember breaking my wrist because I fell off a rainbow, and how charming the doctors thought that was. I remember the brown dress with the bells on the hem that would float up when I spun in circles. I loved that dress. And my patent-leather shoes that shone. Yes, I was once girly.

I remember, too, how Mum struggled to be a single mother with two kids. I remember wondering what this "father" was that other kids had but was absent in my own life. I remember the occasional gift from someone who called himself "dad" and wondering who that was. I remember hanging out down at the docks with him and his cronies from time to time, mostly ignoring them and staring far out to the horizon where sea and sky embraced.

I have not forgotten some of the things that helped fracture my mind, events and people that a child endured and a now (allegedly) adult woman still does battle with on a regular basis.

I also remember Mum struggling to make bills and feed her kids and pay for housing and trying (and sometimes failing) to maintain her sanity.

I remember her sitting up late into the night, alone in the living room, cigarette smoke curling above her head as she stared out into the vast nothing of the wandering mind, lost in trying-not-to-think.

I remember nights when she didn't eat dinner because she wasn't hungry...only I think it's really because there wasn't enough for two growing kids and her.

I remember her calling my teacher to get the recipe for candy cane cookies because we made them in class and I loved them, and all these years later she surfed the web to find 'em again because I waxed nostalgic about them one year.

We're so much alike, Mum and me. Different, but also much of a muchness.

I don't smoke.

I also can't sleep, sometimes, because I worry about how I will meet my obligations. Mine are different than hers were, but they weigh no less heavily.

Sometimes she had to ask her parents for help. They always did, but their assistance came with a heavy toll, one exacted in emotion, manipulation, and judgement...but she did what she had to to make certain Big Brother and I didn't need. Maybe we wanted sometimes, but we didn't need.

Sometimes (heck, most of the time), I have to lean heavily on Mum. I don't want to. I want her to breathe freely and not worry about what I may have to ask for next. She pays my mortgage - technically Casa de Crazy is my home but her house.

I can't work. Not a regular job. This makes paying bills a wee difficult. I try, though. So does Someone, now he's here. Occasionally, we try and fail. Life goes on. We're stung, our pride dented a bit, but we keep on keeping on.

When I have to ask Mum for help, she doesn't exact her pound of flesh - she won't do to me what her parents did to her. Still...I hate doing it. I think, sometimes, she feels a little guilty about how I turned out, and maybe secretly disappointed too. I think she wonders if she'd done things differently, would I be successful like Big Brother, rather than muddling along in a mire of mediocrity as I do.

So when I get a little behind here and there, I try not to say anything. I try to take care of my big-girl responsibilities without a crutch. And often I fail.

She understands my frustration, my Mum...how many times was she saving up for this or that, only to have to use the money to pay a bill, fix her car, put a cast on her daughter's broken arm? How much did she give up for her kids' sake? There was always something...

So I'm thinking about maybe considering giving some thought to pondering possibly applying for disability. I have ethical concerns about it...but if I cannot work (and please believe that I have tried, dear Internet) and I cannot manage to sell my stories or art, then I must do something to keep from having to ask Mum for help on a continual basis.

I hate the idea, frankly, of asking others to carry me...but isn't that what I'm already doing??

Sigh.

What the Hell, Internet? Considering everything she's given to her kids, to me...maybe giving up a little of my pride, bowing my head and admitting defeat, isn't such a big deal, ethics be damned.

I Came Home Why?

Oh, yeah...because Ohio was hot, the Internet failed mid-week, and the cats were getting lonely.

Sigh.

It was a good trip, I just got in, have to get the Evil Genius settled. My feet are poofy from the heat, humidity, and what felt like several years in the van, driving home.

I may not have Internet for a while - the phones are already turned off (how lovely to come home to that) and the Net is sure to follow...but tomorrow I will try my dangdest to get things rolling again. If AT&T isn't willing to work with me, though, it'll be a while before I'm cruising the Blue Nowhere again.

Double sigh. Anyone have a rich uncle who'd like to adopt??

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

SO we're in Ohio.

You'd think Ohio would be pleasant this time of year..

You wouldn't think it would be hotter than Satan's sweat socks.

Ahem.

We had a lovely drive up, although I wondered if South Carolina was ever going to end. Please don't be offended, SC - you're a perfectly nice state, but when the kid in the back seat is anxious to get to Ohio and keeps asking if we're in a new state yet...well...maybe you could put yourself on a diet, skinny up a little?

Friday night we stayed at a local motel, and wound up watching something tantamount to COPS outside our room. Ahh, small town entertainment.

Yesterday we set up our campsite. To say it was warm would be to understate severely. I could have wrung out my top! Someone was sans shirt almost immediately. We had a nice day - even the Evil Genius was happy because there were scads of other kids his age to play with. He's off with them now, I have no idea where.

Last night I fell asleep to drumming.

I would post photos, but I forgot the camera dock, so it'll have to be words until I get home or think of an alternative.

I am sweating just sitting here typing, and it's not even the hottest part of the day. Whew. Ohio, what's up??

I'm waiting for some others to arrive so we can set up the vend site. Grooooaaaaannnn. Hot...whimper...

For those interested, my band's concert schedule for this event:
Wednesday, 5 - 6 at the cafe
Thursday - 8 PM, Main Stage
Friday - Noon at the cafe

We may be broadcast live, and if so it'll be through PaganSpace.net.

Now, whether you'll excuse me or not, I need to go corral the Evil Genius, apply more sunscreen, and figure out how to get a new air mattress...ours died beneath us as we slept last night, and that trailer floor is not notoriously comfortable!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Holy Carp, It's Friday???

Whew - how'd a week go by? I'm still trying to get everything packed for our trip. We leave in eight hours for Ohio, ten days camping, singing, and generally being pagan in a reclaimed strip-mine. I'll have Bob with me and hope to post now and then. I have, for once, NOT pre-written any posts. Whoah. Life's hectic just now and I didn't have the time.

I HAVE arranged for a friend to water the garden and houseplants, and to play with all the cats and tell them how marvelous they are so they won't feel completely abandoned. I'm blessed with some amazing friends, I must say.

OK, enough foolin' around...I am almost done loading the trailer and van, just a few last-minute odds and ends, and then a few dishes to do, and then a shower and bed.

Did I say whew? Yeah...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's Only a Movie

Last night, Someone and I watched The Village. Have you seen it? I am rather fond of it.

The two characters around whom the human story circles are Ivy

and Lucius,although there are plenty of other plot lines to follow. Ivy's a strong character, well written, well played. Lucius is also well written and well played. They are believable together. She is sharp, sweet, gentle, kind, tart, and capable. He is quiet, gentle, altruistic, and strong.

There's a scene wherein a warning bell is ringing, and the villagers are running for safety. Something has entered the boundaries, and they have bolt-holes to hunker down in. In this scene, Ivy is standing in the doorway, on the threshold between light, warmth, and safety, and the mysterious, chilling dark. Hand outstretched, she waits. She is blind, so she cannot see the creature, blurred in the background, approaching her. She is waiting for Lucius. Her sister is begging her to come inside, not to let "them" in, but Ivy insists that Lucius is out there, in the night, and she won't back down.

At the last possible moment, just before the creature can touch her, the camera is focused tight on Ivy's strong hand, held still and graceful out to the darkness. Lucius's hand is suddenly there, grasping Ivy's with a smack. He has run to be with her. He pulls her into the house, bars the door, and goes down into the safety of the bolt-hole, all while holding her hand. A viola plays in the background, sweet, soaring, urgent. Lucius never lets Ivy go.

I cry every time I see that scene or hear the music (I own the soundtrack because? Beautiful.). Every time.

There is something primal about it, about the urgency, the steadfast faith, the need to protect and be protected, the connection of the hands, connection of body and spirit, of joining fates.

If you have never known a moment in your life where you wished someone would take your hand and lead you to safety...then I envy you. If you have never known with a surety that soemone would be there for you...then I pity you.

Yeah, it's just a movie...but I'll watch it again, and cry again...although perhaps not as wistfully as I once did...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Say You?


Scattershot

Ten days until Wisteria.Solstice Nine if we leave a day early because we can get in a day early, which is a bonus because it means we can take our time setting up.

Wait, what's Wisteria Solstice? It's our annual Solstice event, the one we go to in Ohio. It used to be PSG, but PSG moved elsewhere and Wisteria booked the band first, and sometimes it's about timing and commitment and patterns. Wisteria is part of the pattern of my year - the place, not necessarily the event. I love PSG, too...but can't afford to go to an event I'm not performing at. Not that I get paid much, if anything...but at least I get in for free, so all I have to pay for is fuel and food, and in the end it's not bad for ten days camping, singing, and hanging out with like-minded folks.

Anyway.

The point is, I have ten (nine) days to: clean the house (including the poor bathroom that bore the brunt of the septic tank hilarity); do laundry and pack clothing and entertainment for the Evil Genius (how many AA batteries do you think we'll burn through on our trip??); clean out the trailer, unpack, organize, and repack all the camping gear; grocery shop, prep, and freeze cook-ahead food items and meats; grocery shop at the last minute for fresh foods; clean more house; clean the van; rehearse with the band; figure out a time for the Evil Genius to see his dad since our plans for this week fell through and I'm worried the kid won't see his father again before July, at this rate; get the oil changed; pay bills so things don't get shut off while we're gone; learn to make pickles so the lovely cucumbers on our vines don't go to waste; make cards and mount/mat prints to (hopefully) sell at Wisteria; refill a prescription an hour from where I live because I didn't think to do it when I was up there yesterday; a ton of other things I'm too tired to articulate just now.

Whew.

I'll get it all done or I won't...either way, we're leaving in ten (nine) days for a week of camping, music, pagans, free spirits, and hopefully some relaxation. I may have Bob the Wonder Computer with me if I can manage to squeeze a new power cord out of my budget - the current (hah!) one has a break in the wire and won't power the machine unless it is in EXACTLY the right position and the planets have aligned. And it whines while it's at it. It's being held together with a rubber band. So yeah, I'm a little leery about traveling with it.

So what are you up to/planning these days?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thoughtfetti

I spent the weekend working communications at the track. It's fun, but the headset gave me a headache yesterday and today.
~~~~~
Someone did yeoman's duty this weekend - he looked after the Evil Genius, which deserves a medal of some sort.
~~~~~
Someone also cooked a fabulous dinner last night - homegrown cabbage leaves stuffed with sausage, homegrown baby zucchini, homegrown onions, a few tomatoes and some cheese. Spoiled, me.
~~~~~
We've been eating a bit from the garden, and I am enjoying it. The Evil Genius has even devoured more than a few raw peas and green beans. He ate our first cucumber a few days ago. Cool.
~~~~~
Lots to do in the next few weeks, and it's a little overwhelming to think about - we have to get ready for our Ohio trip. I don't feel at all prepared.
~~~~~
Lately I'm tired a lot. I don't like it. I have started stretching again, limbering up...soon, I will walk, and then perhaps run. If you feel the ground trembling, sorry 'bout that.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Little Perspective

I ran across this on Magpie Musing. It gives one a bit of perspective on the scope of the mess in the Gulf. Have a go yourself, if you like. She managed to get the map to show on her blog, but I'm not that slick, so...hit the link and see what happens...

If It Was My Home

It lets you put in where you live and shows the spill in relation to your home...and when I punched in Redneck Central's real name, it covered most of Georgia and some of Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. Wowzers.

The Evil Genius, when told that tar was washing up on Florida beaches, wanted to know why. I explained about the oil spill and how it will affect things. He said "Holy cow, how do we clean that up??"

Exactly.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Walled Off

Casa de Crazy is nestled down in the middle of Redneck Central. One of the things about living here is, the place ain't exactly crawling with pagans. Oh, sure, there a few here and there, but they're difficult to suss out what with the fear of cross-burnings in the yard, ostracism, stoning (not the fun kind) and job loss. Georgia's a right-to-hire/fire state, so yes, we can be fired for our religious leanings. Heck, just mention you're Catholic around your Baptist boss and you're likely to get your walking papers before you finish your cup-o-noodles lunch! They don't have to say why, and it's not so easy to prove religious persecution.

There are lots of churches around here, of every flavor, although the Methodists and Baptists seem to have cornered the largest part of the market for souls.

Some of the churches haven't changed much over the decades - built generations ago, they're quaint, brick and white clapboard with lovely steeples and stained-glass windows and columns out front, with gracefully arching doors and wide, welcoming porches.

Some of the churches, though have grown...and the growing isn't pretty. There's one in town that spurs a great deal of thought on my part. It was once a lovely brick building surrounded by lawn and old oak trees, their branches wide and welcoming.

Not any more.

No, their numbers grew , and rather than add more services, they decided to enlarge the building. Now, I've seen churches grow, build additions that match the existing structure. I know it can be done. These folks, though...that wasn't good enough for them. They had to build a whole new structure. Huge, featureless brick walls without windows, a steel-beam bell tower with a bell that never rings. Paved over the lawn, cut down the trees, put in a parking lot.

In the front corner of the parking lot is one of those new-fangled flashing electronic/digital marquis signs, in full color.

Maybe you're asking "So what? What's wrong with growing and expanding to better serve your spiritual community, Kyddryn? What, do you want all the church-goers to be in the dark about basketball camps, Bible study groups, and Weight Watcher meetings? Are you evil??"

No, I'm not evil (at least, not that anyone can prove...) and I don't have anything against an informed populace. I certainly don't object to a strong spiritual foundation. Yes, I'm sure I'm pagan.

But...I can't help thinking, when I see this building that looks like a prison with its ostentatious, flashing sign...

What happened to God?

I wonder how their God feels about all this. Is he fine with it? Is he happy, even? Is he really good with people cutting down his lovely old trees, building huge edifices in his name, blocking the air and light from his worshipers, closing them into what amounts to a large coffin, cutting them off from his creation? Wouldn't he rather they had a smaller building, maybe worship under one of his trees while the grass tickles their toes and reminds them of his kind and loving presence in their life? Wouldn't he rather they used an old-fashioned church bulletin or marquis sign and used the money for that digital contraption to feed, clothe, and house people who need it? Those signs aren't cheap, you know.

I mean...if I was a god and I made a beautiful planet for my people...I might be a mite irked when they dug it up, plowed it under, cut the tops off the hills, knocked down the trees, ripped stone from one place and forest from another to put a building up that would keep my people from seeing my beauty and cut them off from me, then paved the rest of it...all in my name.

Adding another service or two would have done the trick...but god forbid (hah!) anyone should have to get up earlier or perhaps have a later lunch in order to worship. That would be inconvenient.

So there they sit, spending all that money on frippery while people all around them are jobless, hungry, soon to be homeless, struggling, and not terribly interested in the latest full-color, flashing notice about the next musical group to grace the auditorium, tickets on sale for only $29.99...there they sit, behind thick walls, cut off from the sun, the wind, the world in general, walled off from everything real.

I feel sorry for them.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fireflies

Fireflies hang low in the trees, flashing their lonely, hopeful signals into the dusk. Drifting through the gloaming, always seeking that answering flash, the one light that is perfectly synchronized to their rhythm, the call home.

In the not-too-distant past, in a darkened room, a still form was silhouetted against the glow of a computer screen. The flash and flicker of page after page lit his face. Scrolling along, blog after blog devoured, words absorbed, he read and wrote, hours spent seeking.

His own words were calling, weaving through the Blue Nowhere, every letter an electronic pulse flashing along the wires, reaching for the unknown.

There.

Something...

Words that sang out the harmony to his Song.

They circled each other, typing, clicking, pulsing, two tiny lights in the vast and murky otherworld of Online.

They met and found that Reality did nothing to dim the brilliance, did nothing to dull the shine. Parting, meeting again, parting, and finally, finally, closing the distance for good. She welcomed him home.

They are sometimes incomprehensible to those who see them, synchronized, uncanny. They face difficulties, all is not easy, but they face what comes together.

Fireflies hang low in the trees, flashing their lonely, hopeful signals into the dusk. Drifting through the gloaming, always seeking that answering flash, the one light that is perfectly synchronized to their rhythm, the call home.