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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Harmonic Convergience

When Someone and I were living far apart (he in Houston and I here in Redneck Central), we had standing date on Saturday nights to listen to Thistle and Shamrock together...he on his computer and I on mine, streaming from the same Houston radio station. We would settle into our respective listening posts, turn on the show, and one would call the other. We would listen together for the length of the program, not saying much but enjoying the music together.

Someone thought that it would be nice to listen tonight. We try to remember more often, but we've gotten a little distracted by life lately. We decided to cook dinner together and have a listen.

Someone has had a hankering for country chicken fried steak since he moved here, but there's a dearth of it in these parts. Whoda thunk it, this being Redneck Central?? Mum found out about his yen and found a recipe for us, and it's been sitting here waiting to be tried...so tonight, Someone had a go at it. I played a supporting roll, singing backup to his lead as it were, turning the potatoes he dug from the garden yesterday into mashed potatoes, steaming the green beans he picked and trimmed this afternoon, and whipping together a bit of gravy to accompany the lot.

We stood side by side at the stove, each moving in concert with the other, a dance.

How simple and grand a thing, to share a kitchen with another, preparing the meal we will soon share...

Here, then, is our dinner:

Can I begin to express how happy I am that we are not sitting far apart, listening to our computers and reaching through the aether to each other? No...I cannot...but there is one person, at least, who may feel likewise.

Thank you, love...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Snake

I have a friend named Snake. Well...no that's not really his name...it's his nickname. There's a story behind why, but I am told it's not safe for human ears. Heh.

I first met Snake when I was sixteen, back when Mum first started going to the track as a worker. He's been a fixture there since dirt. He once told Mum he'd like to take out his dentures and gum her. Yes. He did.

Snake has a mental lexicon of dirty Irish jokes that are knee-slappers. He's Irish by blood, American by birth.

I've worked turns with his kids and given his grandkids guest passes to the track when I had 'em. Our families have gone out to dinner together, camped together, and raised (just a little) Hell together. his Daughter C and my Mum used to tear up the dance floor (also known as the grass/dirt at Fitzy Park) together, dancing with each other because the fellas lacked the chutz to join in...or couldn't keep up.

For many years, Snake has been the caretaker of our radio equipment, keeping our aging and often ailing landline system going with spit and bailing wire and safe-guarding the handheld radios with the ferocity of a really irritated spitting cobra.

Snake is dying.

He's had cancer for...umm...wow, I can't remember how many years. A lifetime of smoking, drinking, sunshine and hard living caught up to him. Snake is a tough old bird, though, and hard to kill. Still...time and tide catch us all, and it is Snake's turn to dance the last dance.

He's in hospice care as I type this. There's not much hope he'll outlast the week...maybe not even the next day or so.

I'm not going to visit him. Not because I don't care - the idea of a world without Snake in it is disheartening, to say the very least. I'm not going because he's not there. Not the part of him that I know, not my friend. He won't care that I'm there, nor miss me if I'm not.

Instead, I am going to relate one of the racing stories he told me a very long time ago...to this day, it's one of my favorites. I've told it my way because I don't have the skill to capture Snake's style...
~~~~~
When I first started working turns, we had a fairly extensive "breaking in" period, with classes to help train us in safety and response and even a fire certification school. A popular pastime for more experienced workers was to tell us newbies horror stories. Snake liked to tell new folks about one particularly horrid incident, which may or may not really have happened and one incident that did happen. The story itself always elicited wry laughs...stick with it to the end and you'll see why.

During one event, there was a somewhat spectacular wreck, the kind that shuts down the session. Back then, we had a lot more workers on the turns, and we would run onto a hot track (hot meaning the session was still...er...in session, race traffic still on the go) if needs must. The incident was severe enough to warrant a call for medical, but it would take a minute to get there, so workers responded to the cars involved. One worker noticed a helmet on the ground by the track and ran to retrieve it - a helmet can tell the medical crew a lot about what sort of injuries to expect. Much to the worker's horror, there was a head in the helmet!

A few years ago there was a motorcycle event at the track. Motorcycles have always been notorious for spectacular incidents and more than a few bizarre injuries (and yes, deaths). New workers are usually given "quieter" turns where more experienced workers help them learn the ropes. At this event, one of the new workers had been initiated with Snake's head-in-the-helmet story, and was hoping that no such incident would occur on his turn.

All was well for the first day or so - good riding, very few riders going down.

Day two, however, was a zoo. Perhaps the riders had partied too hard the night before (What?? Never!!), or perhaps the gremlins were simply having a field day...whatever the reason, bikes were sliding all over the place, and workers were running response and calling for transport so fast and so often, it seemed more like an ambulance race.

Our new worker was sent to respond to one such incident. His corner captain couldn't understand what seemed to be a sudden fit of hysteria, the worker dancing about, waving his arms, signalling for an ambulance, and retching in the tire wall.

The rider was sitting up and seemed OK, so what was the problem.

Hmm.

Oh, wait...the leg still attached to the bike might be a clue.

Wait. Rider over here. Bike over there. Leg on bike.

And yet...the rider didn't seem all that concerned. Must be in shock.

Not so much.

You see, this rider had a prosthetic lower leg...a fact none of the workers knew at the time. While a prosthesis isn't particularly hampering to a racer, it can be a bit of a boor when the foot constantly slips off the foot-peg and hits the track - makes cornering a bitch.

Being a competitive fellow, and somewhat innovative, our rider decided that a judicious application of Duct Tape was in order. He taped the foot to the peg, problem solved.

Until he went down and the bike went one way while his body went another.

Ouch. And, erm...oops.

Eventually the new worker was made to understand the situation, poor fellow. The rider, with some assistance, reattached his leg, got back on his bike and limped (hah!) back to the pits. The worker returned to his station and was the recipient of some not unkind ribbing from his fellows, and the race went on.
~~~~~
So long, Snake...I'll miss you, you grumpy old cuss. The track just won't be the same without you. See you on the other side...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New (To Me, Anyway) Tunes!

Cheers to Anarchangel (who likely doesn't even know I exist) for turning me on to this lot...I like 'em!



As the Evil Genius is with his father for the weekend, Someone and I are (weather permitting) going to play in the park tonight - there's a drum circle, lots of good rhythm and dancing. Y'all have a good one!

Friday, July 23, 2010

But I Just Don't Feel Like It

I should...

...clean the bathrooms...

...clean the kitchen...

...do some of the laundry mountain threatening to avalanche and block access to the bedroom...

...clean the Evil Genius's room...

...clean off the kitchen and dining room tables...

...be sewing together the six or seven pair of pants I cut last Wednesday...

...be baking banana bread with the rather...erm...antique bananas in the kitchen...

...be writing query letters...

...be cleaning out closets and storage spaces in preparation for a yard sale...

...be cleaning out the trailer and garage in preparation for a yard sale...

...be clearing out the room we just turned into a play room for Bird in preparation for a baby...

...sweep and mop the floors before they cat hair collects into a cereal studded carpet (whoops, too late)...

...be modeling patience and understanding to my son rather than grumpily telling him that I don't know where his fracking father is or why Daddy didn't come get him this morning when he said he would, or this afternoon, or yet this evening, or when he may actually show up...

...just go ahead and crawl into my bed for a minute and have a good cry (pregnant gals are moody bitches...or anyway, that's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it) - it'd likely make this headache go away, help ease some of the tension in my shoulders, and would certainly relieve some of the mental pressure I'm feeling today...

...just shut the hell up because really, who cares...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I've Had a Song Stuck in My Head

So I figure I'll share the joy. The video doesn't thrill me, but it was the best one I could find. I blame my mother for this song - she's the one who introduced me to Spike Jones when I was younger...

What's been stuck in your head lately??

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Not Terribly Interesting Motorcycle Story

Homesteading Neophyte is doing a blogathon to support a good cause. I don't have anything to donate, but at least I can point you in her direction. Meanwhile, I'm going to be a moocher and write a post as an entry into one of her drawings. Should I chance to win the lottery before her blogathon, I'll do the right thing...
~~~~~

I've spent some twenty years working turns at more than one track in the Southeast. We work all kinds of races - vintage cars, club racing, enduros, international races, and bikes.

For the most part, we have a few minutes between sessions, and then a five minute warning is given to tell us the next group is coming out. Now, five minutes is five minutes, right? Umm...not so much, not with vintage cars or bikes.

A vintage five means we have time to make a sandwich, go potty, maybe read War and Peace. A bike five means they're already coming around and if you haven't cleared the course you'd best see how fast you can run the hundred.

I've worked quite a few bike races, back when the AMA was still the AMA and not the nonsense it's turned into lately. Never mind why I feel that way...it's personal.

I loved working bikes, especially at turn one when they did the standing starts - dozens of bikes stampeding down the front straight, all trying to make it through turn one first. Turn one at Road Atlanta isn't meant to be a four-wide turn, even for bikes...but on occasion they managed it.

On one such an occasion, the five minute warning was give, and moments later the race was on! I watched them head toward us, braced to grab a flag, call for emergency vehicles, or run and respond when if things went wrong. The pack made it around the corner and up the hill to turn two just fine...we thought.

Until we realized there was a biker standing in the middle of our track. It's hard to explain his position without visual aids, but I'll try. He was partly crouched as though he was still on a bike, hands in front of him as though he were holding the handlebars. He looked neither left nor right. I was on communications for that session, so I called him in. My responder ran to get the rider off the course. Meanwhile, turn two was calling in an incident of their own. It sounded a bit more urgent than our oddity, so I opted to hold the rest of my call (my worker, via hand signals, told me the rider was unhurt, so I didn't need EV).

Turn two was having some trouble up their way - they had three bikes down but only two riders. A missing rider is a problem - sometimes they slide off into the hay bales or end up in, under, or behind tire walls...or, Gods forbid, one had gone airborne enough to clear the catch-fencing!

I had the opportunity to help them.

When all those bikes came around our corner, they were packed rather closely together. Our rider was towards the front, jockeying for position in the top five. It seems his foot got caught in the spokes of another rider's wheel, and he was pulled off his bike. Somehow he landed on his feet, still in the "rider" position! His bike, being crammed in with all the other racers, stayed up and forward moving, at least until it was time to corner turn two. The bike had ideas about straightening the turn. The riders around it had ideas about taking a more traditional route. Things went a bit pear shaped, and two riders and our fellow's bike all went down, sliding into the bales and giving the crowd something to cheer.

The workers at turn two did yeoman's duty cleaning up the mess so we didn't have to stop the race (they hate stopping televised races!), and we got our rider a trip to the Quack Shack via the infield to get checked out.

It wasn't the most spectacular incident I ever worked (bikes or cars), but it may well have been the oddest.

Go check out Homesteading Neophyte - she's cool, and her blog is chock full of useful information and stories about critters almost as cussedly stubborn as she is!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Berried

Yesterday was a quiet-ish sort of day for us. We toddled up to Mum's in the morning, somewhat early for the denizens of Casa de Crazy - we had to be up before breakfast! Mum asked us to come up and help tinker with her decrepit mower so we could haul it home and mow our Serengeti.

While Someone and Mum busted their knuckles and said many bad words worked on the mower, the Evil Genius and I hung out in the AC eating bon-bons reading and playing games while some clouds obligingly rolled across the sky, making shade.

We needed the shade, the Evil Genius and I, because we planned to go over to Mum's Very Nice Lady Neighbor's (VNLN fer short from now on, because I'm too lazy to type all that more than once) and pick blueberries. The lad mostly eats 'em as we go, but there is such a profusion of berries, he hardly makes a difference in the harvest.

When it looked cloudy enough, we trooped off, each carrying our container to be filled. It was hot, even without direct sunlight!

Much to my delight, VNLN was not only home, but was approaching the bushed as we were, intent on a mid-day snack. How delightful, to walk out your door and grab a bite to eat! We chatted amiably about off-grid living, and green living, and our dreams of doing so; about gardening, about grass-fed meats, freezing and canning, and prepping. Turns out she has something of a prepper's mentality, although she'd never heard it given a name before. We'd stop now and them to pop some berries into our mouths. Have you ever had a blueberry right off the bush, still warm from the sun? Such a treat...

Bird took part in the conversation as only an seven-year-old little dude can, and he even contributed a few berries to my container! He and VNLN got on nicely, eventually coming to rest in chairs under her grape arbor, where they talked about grapes and what can be made from them, and listened to the thunder roll along in the distance.

Mum and Someone went off to the local lumberyard for some planks to use as ramps to get the mower up onto the truck, should it deign to ever start again.

I kept picking and dreaming about winning the lottery and buying the VNLN's land (it's for sale), putting green houses and gardens on it, letting her stay in her house, maybe the nascent beginning of an intentional community. She likes the idea, anyway, and I think she'd happily stay if someone was there to help with some gardening, preserving, and maintenance. She doesn't really want to sell...just feels like it's too much for her. I need to win that lottery.

We had an abrupt end to our idyll when a wasp rather...erm...waspishly...stung Bird on his thumb. He let out a yell and cried a little, but he calmed down fairly quickly, only asking that I make it better. VNLN offered us a ride back to Mum's, which made Bird smile a little (VNLN is something of an Andretti, and the driveways are bumpy, so it was quite a ride), and we soaked his poor thumb in warm and then cold water until it didn't hurt quite as much. It began to rain, so we read some more, then played Plants Versus Zombies, and he felt better.

Mum and Someone came back and had to run through a frog-strangler to get into the house - it was really coming down! They commiserated with Bird on his wounded digit, then went about their business with the mower - rain or no, that thing was being fixed!

Eventually, another friend came over and helped tweak the dang machine, and Bird allowed as how he could maybe come pick berries with me again. We left the others with the mower and happily frolicked among the bushes until it was time to go (which time was indicated when Someone drove past VNLN's driveway in Mum's truck, mower on the back,
and hollered "See you at home!").

Now I'm carefully sorting and freezing the berries, with plans to go back and get more, more, more. VNLN harvests 'em until she's sick of 'em, and is happy to share, so we'll have some nice summer-ripe berries come winter. Mmm...blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, blueberry coffee cake...sweet!

I like the idea of putting food by, and hope to learn how to preserve, make jellies and jams, and pickle in short order.

Speaking of berries...Someone hauled in a nice lot of tomatoes in the evening, and we made BLTs with some of our Yellow Jubilee darlings. I like 'em - they're mellow, a little tangy, and not as acidic as traditional 'maters. Someone threw together a salad with an assortment of red and yellow tomatoes and some fresh broccoli (store bought, alas, as we can't seem to get it to grow here, and anyway they aren't generally in season together, broccoli and tomatoes) and a bit of Italian dressing, and he's a happy fellow.

The little guy's thumb is just fine, by the way.

So what do you like fresh from the garden?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Telling Silence

It's been a couple of weeks since Someone and I announced, in various ways and through various mediums, that we're expecting. Yes, we...I didn't make this bambino alone, it's a group project.

We tried to call folks who ought t be told in person but don't live in or near Redneck Central, like Mum and Mum2 (Someone's Mum) and fathers and siblings. We e-mailed where necessary, either because phones weren't answered or because we knew the news would be faster received, and then chose a way that would announce it, with a bit of whimsy, to the rest of the world that might be interested - that silly bear photo.

We've had varying responses to the news, from stunned silence to grins and cries of "congratulations". One or two folks have been a wee grim at the idea. That's OK...I have concerns of my own that are being allayed as each test comes back normal.

What I find interesting...and, if I'm being honest, disheartening...are the silences. A few key people have said...nothing. No phone call, no e-mail...not even a "What the Hell are you thinking???"

I can understand disapproval. We're not exactly the cultural norm here at Casa de Crazy. A few folks have had the chutz to grow a pair and speak their piece, and I appreciate that. I'd rather really know what someone's thinking than be wondering if they're just making nice. I prefer honesty, honestly. But to say nothing? Weeks after receiving a call or e-mail? What the Hell is that about?

Is it a sincere case of "Eh, who cares?"? Is it supposed to convey some message? One case in particular, I know they got the e-mails. They would have had a phone call, but it went straight to voicemail and I know leaving a message is an exercise in futility. I know they've been online - thank you, AOL buddy list. So what's up?

Yesterday did not start well. I woke full of doubt. I decided, at one point, that I wasn't getting out of bed - why bother? At least if I didn't get out of bed, I couldn't fuck anything up. I cried...a lot. Pregnant women are already riding hormone highs and lows...couple that with depression and a few other factors and you have...umm...not much fun, that's what.

I was convinced that this poor little chickpea (cheers, Mizz Rene) would be damaged in some way, because of me.

And then I began to think about the resounding lack of response, the silence from certain quarters. It shouldn't bother me, but yesterday was the kind of day where it's all personal...and I told Someone (who was doing his level best to help me feel better about things) "It sure would have been nice to have hear from ___, even a negative response. It would be nice to think I had some value to them."

He didn't have an answer for that...who would?...but he held me and that was enough.

The day improved, especially after a phone call from the doctor's office, telling me that certain key tests came back normal. Whew.

As for the people who've said nothing? Their silence does speak. It tells me they can't be bothered. Their loss.
~~~~~
So here's where I am a pest. The contest is still on, and you can vote every day, so wouldja? Puhleeeeze?? Vote for me here: ...:Read my Medium Raw challenge essay: It's not always about the ingredients, is it? Thanks!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

How Unlike Me

Hey, y'all...I entered a contest. I wouldn't have, because I never win, but hey, the possibility of publication and ten grand can make a gal a little crazy.

Wanna help me pay for all the baby stuff I now need to procure?? Sure ya do! (Wait, was that manipulative? I'll be contrite later, when I have a crib, a dresser, and some actual clothing to put the bairn in.) Vote for me, wouldja? Puhhhleeeeeeze??

Click this thing:



and it should take you right to my entry. If it doesn't, search for "Sometimes it's what doesn't go into the food that makes a meal memorable." Yeah, I know it's long...concise has never been my strong suit, or hadn't you noticed. My blue flower is the avatar next to my essay (although I hat to call it that, it's so short), and right now I'm number 353, or DFL (as they call it in the racing world).

Thanks in advance if you go vote (you can go once a day, hint, hint), and I totally understand if you don't. Cheers!

*edit - this link should take you right to my thingy...I hope...:Read my Medium Raw challenge essay: It's not always about the ingredients, is it?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What Have We Here?

Ladies and gentlemen, we here at Casa de Crazy are pleased to show you what we've been up to for the last 11 weeks, 4 days:

It's a...it's a...umm...a bean? Well, I'm calling it Sprout until we know if it's an innie or an outie. Although, it DOES have something of a resemblance to a gummi bear. Hmm...

We invaded went to the perinatologist's office this afternoon, and they investigated the wee one as best they could, which was fairly thorough (I'll spare you the details). So far, they said, so good...but until all the usual blood tests come back and a few weeks go by (when they can take an even better look), we won't know for certain that all is perfectly...er...well, I'd say normal, but this IS my fetus we're talking about here, and normal is relative. And since s/he's my relative, poor bairn...

We heard the heartbeat. That's what drove home the reality when I was preggers with Bird - hearing that hummingbird whub-whub-whub and seeing the shadowy bits and pieces on the screen. The same with Sprout, up there...it became real when I heard the heart going along at a healthy 178 beats per minute, saw the little legs kicking about, saw the hands moving.

I don't mind admitting, I nearly cried.

I also don't mind admitting feeling a tremendous relief...and while I'll worry about the blood tests (for Down's and Trisomy-18 and a host of other things) and the next ultrasound (in five weeks or so), I feel much better about things.

I'm hoping that the next time they look at the little beggar, we'll know what flavor we've got in there.

Meanwhile, I have dinner to cook, and dishes to do, and a movie to watch with Someone, so I'll wish y'all a good-whatever-time-of-day-you're-reading-this and get to it.

Cheers!

Today's Mantra

Everything is always exactly as it should be, when it should be; the Universe is a perfect creation, and we are all expressions of that perfection.

So...yeah...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This Post Brought to You By: Hormones, Nature's Little (Mood) Swingers

I had my first real doctor's appointment yesterday, went to the OB. Woo-hoo, fun.

Eh, it's not all bad...a nice fellow whom I've never met reached in up to his elbow and felt around for aliens, then said he thought I was farther along than the 11 weeks I should be. Huh. I don't think so...I'm very careful about keeping track of...er...things.

He wanted to do an ultrasound, but after waiting forever about half an hour, there was still at least another half hour to go, and then labs to get, and I was hungry, thirsty, and needed to get home so K2 (who was sweet enough to come watch Little Dude) could get home, so I was disinclined to hang around counting ceiling tiles. They allowed as how it could wait, because they wanted to refer me to a specialist, anyway. Yay, specialist.

You see, I'm 38, unemployed, uninsured, overweight and diabetic. Not that the deck's stacked or anything. Anyway, apparently those things put me in the "high risk" category, so to a specialist I go. He will check for such delightful things as whether or not my blood sugar levels have damaged the baby's heart (now there's a guilt trip waiting to happen), and whether or not my age and the likely stale nature of my eggs has relegated the peanut to a genetically undesirable category of human. Sigh.

Cheerful, huh?

And you know, pregnant women cry at freakin' coffee commercials, for goodness' sake...so you KNOW that I'm going to be worrying until I KNOW what's going on down there in the mysterious otherworld of the womb. I'm not delighted at the delay in getting the medication I need to control my blood sugar - see, pregnant women can't take the oral meds. I have to go on insulin...and for that I have to wait until I see this new doc.

Fortunately, I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon. I wish it would hurry up and never get here.

Yeah, I'm scared. What if something I've done, or not done, has meant this poor little critter is all mangled up? What if I eat or drink or do the wrong things, and the wee mite gets damaged because of my carelessness, ignorance, or stupidity? What if this baby taxes my own system to the extent that I damage something I need to live? What if, what if, what if...

Sigh.

I've danced to this tune once before and came out fine...as did the Little Dude...and I know that whatever comes, Someone and I will deal with it together.

Despite my concerns, I must say...I get a goofy little smile when I think about this tadpole swimmin' around in the great, murky me. I'm hoping for the best and getting weepy at the same time, but hey, I'm pregnant, and that's the way the hormones tumble.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oh, My

Check this out:

That's a home grown, still warm from the sun tomato on that BLT I had for dinner last night. Oh, yeah, my mouth was happy...

Next time, it'll be on home baked bread...mmmm...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Say What?

It's time for another installment of "Say What?", where we take a look at what key words and phrases brought people over to my little corner of the Blue Nowhere. Weirdoes...
~~~~~
what to do with leftover cookies - eat them. Really, you need to be told this?

shades mangled and my head - umm...ouch?

cartoon people are cring - I'm thinking that "cring" should be "crying", poor things...

st simons iguanas remoulade - umm...ew.

pulling penis out in public - not advisable.

look up grannys dress - also not advisable, especially while doing the above...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

Yep, this is a repost, but why re-write what already suits??
~~~~~
In writing the Declaration of Independence, in ratifying it, in signing their names to it, the men named at the bottom risked the very things they hoped to secure for themselves and for future generations. They were performing an act of treason, and by putting their names to it they made of themselves targets for the man, for the nation, they accused. They fought for the principles they named, fought for their families, for their lives, and for the burgeoning life of the tender new nation they hoped to nurture into a great place, a free place, a place where anyone could hope to not just survive, but thrive - a place where anyone willing to put their all into it, to do their very best, could find success, no matter what their gods, their nation of origin.

Since that time, people have tried to follow their lead, standing up and making their voices heard to help secure their rights, the rights of future generations. They have added color and sex to the list of things that cannot determine success, cannot be used as an excuse to deny equal opportunity.

You do the same when you vote. You do it when you attend council meetings, board meetings, town hall meetings, and speak your piece; when you ask the hard questions, protest with signs, songs, shouts; when you show people who think they own this nation to the exclusion of others, people who think they have the right to amend your rights to suit them, that you are watching them, that you SEE them, that you know better.

You do it when you tell our armed forces "Thank you for your service" whether you agree with whatever conflicts we're embroiled in or not - because they are standing up for our liberty doing a hard, dirty, often thankless job - and they are there, ultimately, to preserve our nation and its principles (As an aside - thank you, men and women of the armed forces. Thank you, and blessed be, and come home safe to the families who love you, miss you, and hope only for your swift return.).

You do it when you teach the children in your life what it means to be free - freedom to fly means freedom to fall, and freedom to rise up again; freedom to succeed means freedom to fail, and to try once more; freedom to speak means freedom for dissenting opinions to be heard; freedom is not comfortable - at times, it is downright terrifying...but it is necessary to the human spirit.

Given a choice to be cold, hungry, ragged, poor, weary, worn and free, or to be clothed, fed, housed, succored, safe and bound - I will be free. Do not make the mistake of giving up your freedom for the illusion of safety - you will one day wake to find you have nothing left but the yoke you bound yourself to.

I could go on, but to what purpose? You understand or you don't - and my little rant won't sway anyone, I fear.

Here, then, is a transcript of our most essential document, the one that began it all, the one that first gave shape to our name, to our identity as a nation. Read, if nothing else, the first two paragraphs. They are as stirring, heartfelt, and powerful now as when they were first written.
~~~~~

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1 - Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Column 2 - North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Column 3 - Massachusetts: John Hancock
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

Column 4 - Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Column 5 - New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Column 6 - New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple
Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton
~~~

If you've made it this far, thank you. To support out troops, go visit Any Soldier or Troop BeBop (I know this woman - she's a force of nature!). I wish you a safe, joyous, and happy Independence Day!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ugh, Whew, Mmmm

I just finished cleaning the downstairs bathroom. Big deal,right? Well, yeah, kinda. Remember at the and of May, when our septic system decided to choke on itself and backed up into the house? No? Lucky you.

Anyway, the downstairs bathroom bore the brunt of the back-up. Today I finally had time to go down there and give it a good scrubing. Ick. And bleh. And ugh.

It looks like a new bathroom, now, and I need a vacation.

I am almost caught up with dishes and laundry after our trip. Whew.

Tomorrow we're going to a pool party at a friend's, our Independence Day tradition. I will spend the rest of today baking brownies - double-double Ghiradelli brownies with fudge icing - and cutting fruit for a salad. There will probably be a nap thrown in there for good measure. I can think of worse ways to spend the afternoon. Mmmm, brownies...

I Forgot...

...how tired pregnancy make me. I just want to nap, then rest up from napping by having a snooze, followed by a rousing siesta.

Yawn.

How're y'all doing??

Friday, July 2, 2010

Quick Pimp

We had some kind of crazy weird day yesterday and I didn't have time to post this...so you're getting it today. Better late than never? You decide...

My band, performing an informal set last week, one of our fans dancing with...erm...fans.



I'm off to watch help some friends move...