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, September 27, 2010

The Calm Before

In about an hour I'm heading over to the track to set up my registration area. It's time once again for the Petit le Mans, and one of my busiest weeks of the year. Whew. I'm running worker registration again, but a few other kind folks are helping out with the hospitality aspect of things...although given the seriously truncated budget this year, hospitality won't be what it has been. Sigh.

I've got a corned beef on the stove for tonight and a relatively easy menu for the rest of the week. Bless him, Someone has offered to help with cooking and to take on the Little Dude each morning so neither Mum (who will be in the communications tower for the week as liaison, logger, and communicator for several groups) nor I have to wake, dress, feed, and transport the little fellow to the track at Ohgod-thirty AM. Whew.

Luckily, we at Casa de Crazy tend to rise a bit later in the morning when left to our own devices. There's a chance I'll be home from my morning stint before the guys are up...which means maybe I can have some fun waking Someone up catch a nap and perhaps even head over and, oh, I don't know, do something novel like watch some racing with Someone and the Evil Genius before I have my second round of registration for the day.

Bird likes to come over and "help", so I told him he could hang with me in the afternoons. If he gets tired or wants to come home, he can come back with Mum or me when we're done with our respective jobs for the day.

There's usually quite a bit of heavy lifting involved with this job, but I've told 'em that this time, I'm not doing it. I'm also going to jealously guard my time to rest. I'm not as young as I was when I was pregnant with Bird...that year, I tossed cases of water and fifty-pound bags of ice over eighteen-foot fencing and worked twenty-hour days. Not this year. I'm takin' it easy...maybe I'll have long days, but no hauling for me, thankyouverymuch.

Ah, well, time to go throw a few last minute things in the van, get the Evil Genius dressed, and then get movin'. Calm's over...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hush

I'm enjoying a rare bit of quiet here at Casa de Crazy.

Well...almost.

I can hear the clicking of the keyboard and the creaking if the ceiling fan. Then there's the compressor in the fridge, which is barely audible. There are the birds outside and there's the rustle of cats rearranging themselves into furry little Gordian knots.

But it's quieter than usual.

Everyone's asleep. Late nights make for late mornings, and we don't operate on a schedule around here unless we have to.

I realized that quiet like this is rare enough...and in a few months, it'll be all but gone, what with a baby around and all. They tend to be noisy little things.

In a few minutes, the rest of Casa de Crazy will be stirring. I'll unload and reload the dishwasher and start running loads of laundry, maybe dismantle the train table for transport to Mum's, and the silence will be dismantled in bits and pieces by rushing, whirring, clicking, clacking, swishing, clattering...life.

So I hope you'll forgive me if this is all the post you get out of me today...because I'm going to sit and breathe in the peace while it's still here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Some Days

Chew.

Chew.

Swallow.

Ugh.

Don't get me wrong, it's a perfectly nice apple, and there are worse ways to begin the day than with a lovely, juicy, Honeycrisp.

But today, I don't want to eat. I'm not sick...to my stomach, anyway. I just don't feel like going through the motions. My heart's not in it. My heart's somewhere down near the floor, rolling around between my feet when I walk anywhere, and completely disinterested in trifling things like sustenance.

But I don't have a choice.

Every morning, I have to inject myself with enough insulin to get me through the day. Then I have to eat. Not eating is not an option, even when I don't feel like it.

You wouldn't think someone as overweight as I am would have any trouble with the simple act of breakfasting (breaking fast?). Some days, though, I don't want food. It's all sawdust in my mouth. Swallowing takes more effort than I have in me.

But like it or not, I have to eat. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. At night, there are two more injections, and sometimes I have to eat before bed, too.

It wouldn't matter if it was just me. I could do without the medication and without eating for days on end if I didn't feel like 'em. The thing is, it's not just me. There's this poor baby, who made the daft decision to plant herself in my womb. What I want has no bearing right now.

So I'm eating this apple which deserves some reverence because it's a very nice apple and went to all the trouble to grow and ripen, to gather sunshine and rain and earth and wind and shape itself into something quite wonderful...and it may as well be a piece of wood.

You ever have days like that?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

His People

I was listening to some country music a few days ago (hush), and one of the songs provoked a few thoughts.

The song?



I've had this conversation lately, about Jesus and the nature of his life, his purpose, and what he'd think if he popped in for a visit right now. Yeah, I'm still pagan...but some of us don't entirely pooh-pooh the idea of a man name Jesus who was an extraordinary man, a teacher, a healer, and an all-around decent guy. We just don't view him as the one and only son of a particular God, sent to earth to redeem us.

I don't think he'd like what he sees being done in his name. He didn't seem to be the sort of fellow who'd give a fig about who one slept with, or how often, or for what purpose. He didn't seem awfully concerned with marriage, or money, or status symbols. Temples weren't his sort of thing. He hung out with his generation's version of hippies, bums, and prostitutes. He didn't care who you worshiped - if you were hungry, hurting, in need...he answered. He embodied loving compassion and enacted it constantly.

If Jesus came back today, I think he'd be hanging out with us pagans. Yep. I think he'd be bangin' a drum at the fire, hangin' in the woods, eating, drinking, and smoking whatever's being passed around, howling and singing to the moon and stars. He'd share what he had and take what is freely given. He'd join in our potlucks, our community meals, our tent cities. If he needed shelter, it would be there. Shoes, no worries. Pants, socks, a toothbrush? Someone will have a spare to lend or give (I don't care if he is some God's son, once he uses the toothbrush, socks, or undies, they're his to keep...although the market on eBay would be incredible..).

We're not perfect...we squabble, flake, and judge as much as any group...but even when we don't particularly like someone, we won't let 'em do without.

I think Jesus would dig that.

I'm not saying there aren't any Christians who fit the bill...I know a few truly good people who happen to believe in Jesus as their redeemer. They may not always understand my paganism, but they don't throw rocks at my head, either. It's sad, though, that so many more members of his father's church, supposed followers of his path, are anything but Christian.

They judge harshly, seek to punish all who do not believe as they do, turn their backs on their fellow humans, and mistake wealth and its trappings for godliness. They scorn the natural beauty of the world they've been given, raze trees and hilltops to build monuments to the god to whom they pay lip service, edifices of brick and mortar that resemble nothing as much as prisons for the soul. They pour money, time, and other resources in these churches rather than using them to help build their community. They are focused on appearance, not substance.

I don't think they're his people.

Honestly, sometimes I think the folks who claim him as their own would lock him in the booby-hatch if he came back today as he was his first time through. You can perform miracles? Sure, sure...here's a nice room for you, and some pills that'll help with that...

Yeah, I think if Jesus should happen to return, he'd be camping in the woods, dancing at an old, reclaimed strip mine in Ohio or out in the desert in California or leaping the fire at an African bush camp. He'd be losing himself in the silence of the Never-Never, surfing the wild waves of the Pacific, climbing an ancient tree to bend with it in the wind. He'd sleep beneath an overpass, on a steam grate, in a shelter, and he'd eat at a soup kitchen, out of a dumpster, at a stranger's table where an extra place is set.

He wouldn't look at what church one claims, or what name one gives their god/s...he'd see us for who we are, down deep, where labels can't stick...his people...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thoughtfetti

Preggo edition.
~~~~~
Why do people think "pregnant" means "incapacitated"? I am perfectly capable of lifting a bag (or ten) of groceries. When I was preggers with Bird, around this time I was two months recovered from an emergency appendectomy and still tossing cases of water and fifty-pound bags of ice over a twelve-foot fence while working twenty-hour days running worker hospitality for an international auto race. Trust me, if I'm tired, I'll rest...meanwhile, let me go about my business...please?
~~~~~
Why do people think it's OK to touch the belly? First of all, right now the only folks who can tell I'm knocked up are the people who know what my middle usually looks like on a daily basis. I still fit in my regular britches, for the love of Pete! You wouldn't usually wander up and fondle a random stranger's parts, would you? Why does a baby bump change that? It's not that I'm trying to be a bitch about it...but I'm a depressed, OCD-ing, agoraphobic, claustrophobic xenophobe...it's a kind of Hell to be out in public, let alone to have people I DON'T KNOW freakin' touching me!!
~~~~~
I'm not sleeping well at night...not because of heartburn or illness or because I can't get comfortable....no....it's because knocked up women aren't supposed to sleep on their backs (and I don't like to, anyway). So I sleep on my side. And lately, when I sleep on my side...I lose all feeling in my hands. Sleep on right side, numb right hand. Sleep on left side, numb left hand. What the Hell??
~~~~~
Why can't I remember things? It's related to pregnancy...my friends and I have all laughed over it and named it "preggo brain". I've missed several doctor's appointments because I wrote them on the wrong day in two calendars (not one...two!). I've had to reschedule several other appointments because I've made them for days when I'm going to be out of town or otherwise busy. If I don't have a comprehensive list, I will bring nothing useful home from the grocery store. If all I need are eggs, apples, and toilet paper, without a list I'll bring home Oreos, catnip, and balloons. Why? You should hear me fishing for words. I draw blanks constantly and have to play a sort of word-charades to find something as simple as "sponge". Again...why??
~~~~~
Got a call from the specialist this morning - second round of tests came in normal, chromosomes all bright and shiny and in the right places in the right numbers, so small baby is just...small. Considering a baby's usual method of egress, is small really such a bad thing?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Things I Learned in the Last Few Days

One of the feral cats isn't a "she", after all, but rather a "he". Huh.

Jackson EMC is full of the awesome and has the best customer assistance personnel (Utility Company) ever.

There is a reason I will drive straight past two other supermarkets to shop at Publix. Their pharmacy folks are part of that reason. I heart my Publix Pharmacy. They don't know who I am, online, and haven't asked me to plug 'em - they're just that terrific.

There's a church in New Orleans wherein the dedicants worship their own beards. They meet in a bar. I wonder...if someone has a prosthetic beard, are they worshiping a false god??

The first round of tests came back from the amnio and are normal. Second round results in a week or so.

The baby is, without a doubt, a girl...unless the genetic testing is wrong. There is joy in Mudville, and the Evil Genius said he was OK with it, too...he can still teach her things.

Bees do no care for lawn mowers.

Especially when said mowers park on the entrance to their below-ground hive.

Things that sound drastic and expensive to fix on Rosie the Mule (my beloved Astro van) aren't always drastic and expensive to fix. Whew.

I don't bounce back as well as I used to from long weekends and nights with short sleep.

How've you been?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Looking Forward

It's September 11, and all over the Blue Nowhere folks are writing about what happened on this date in 2000.

While I remember clearly what I was doing when I found out, and how I felt, and how the nation reacted...I'm not writing about it beyond this opening.

We've moved past our sense of unity over the tragedy and have become fractured once more by opinion and politics, and I'm just not that into those games.

Instead, I'm cleaning up the Evil Genius's toy room, bit by bit, to make a room for the baby.

The space began as a spare bedroom, morphed into my sewing room, then was transformed only last February into a room for all of the Little Dude's playthings. How did he get so many dang toys? I clearly recall asking both families to please, please not give him a bunch of toys, but rather to give books, educational items, contributions to his savings account, or playthings with some kind of skill involved (Legos, K'Nex, that sort of thing)(which reminds me, did you know K'Nex has a DNA model you can build? Holy carp, I want one!!).

There was also a ban on things that run on batteries, make noise (especially without volume control) and video games. Branded items were right out, and I made it clear that if it involved Veggie Tales, Barney, or Wonder Pets, it would never make it into our house - I would burn it without hesitation. Few listened, it seems, and now we have a room full of...erm...crap, really. Cheap plastic crap that breaks easily but can't be thrown away because he loves it and cries and it breaks my heart, so I have to wait until he's not home for a few days (rare) and bin things, then hope he doesn't notice.

He's been helping me today, sorting through train things (and a huge thank to my Mum, who said we could bring the GeoTrax up to her place and let him play with them in her loft since there's nowhere in Casa de Crazy for him to set them up, any more) and taking apart the K'Nex roller coaster. I can't convince him to let me get rid of the train table, though...sigh...it may have to have an unfortunate accident...

While I don't have anything to put in the room yet, it's only because we haven't collected the things generously offered by friends and family. There's a crib waiting in Something Carolina, and a stroller/travel system and possibly a pack 'n' play here in Georgia waiting to be fetched home. If I can manage it, I will get new dressers for both rooms - the Evil Genius's has been on the receiving end of some serious little-boy play and isn't terribly steady on its feet, but it was the perfect height for changing nappies. I'm tall, and most changing tables are too short for me to use over the long run. I'd like to give him a new one and maybe find one for the baby's room that'll suit our needs.

I want to make a space in our home for this baby.

I'm worried...and will continue to be concerned until s/he is out and squalling his/her lungs out, running us ragged and being a perfectly healthy, normal little beast.

I'm trying to curtail the fear by being proactive, by focusing on something positive, by looking forward. The past is behind me. I cannot do anything about it. I have no choice but to dwell in the here and now...but tomorrow? Hasn't been shaped, yet...so I can look at it in whatever light I choose.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Waiting Game

The following is a letter I sent out to friends and family today. I figured it could serve as a blog post, too. Lazy, me...and in need of a nap...and as I can't seem to win the lottery or do any other essential things at the moment, lazy and a nap it is.
~~~~~
I went to the doctor's today for an ultrasound...hoping to find out if we have a lass or a laddie goin' on. They wanted to check development of various parts, as well - standard stuff for higher risk pregnancies.

What we have here is a stubborn little beast. Not shy, just refusing to show us his/her bits and pieces. Grr. Yep, this is my kid.

Meanwhile, what we also have is a deficiency of amniotic fluid and a small baby. How small is small? They couldn't/wouldn't really say...but mentioned that small could mean that it's just small (I was small, my mother was small, Someone's mother was small), or that it's not getting enough nutrients, or it COULD mean chromosomal abnormalities (comforting) or developmental issues (whee), although the first trimester tests came back normal. So...I was offered the option for an amnio, which carries its own risks.

The doc wasn't going to press one way or another for the amnio. When I asked Someone, he said he didn't think anything was wrong...but that he knew I would worry and be unhappy if I thought there was something wrong and for that reason, perhaps it would be a good idea. I have to admit, he's right...I would fret...

I opted to have the amnio, because if I didn't, I would worry...and worry...and worry...because I do that. They had to sample the placenta because they couldn't find a big enough fluid pocket to draw from, and hopefully I'll know on Monday if there's anything to worry about. Not that I'll keep from worrying, because did I mention that's what I do?? Plus, how can I help it when they start throwing around words like "congenital deafness" and "trisomy..." and "retardation" and "not survivable" and "deficient nutrient absorption", even if it's just because there's a one in a million chance and they feel that they have to offer the information, just in case...?

We did find out that head, spine, and heart look fine, and that maybe, possibly, we could be having a lassie (although the angle of view and my stubborn little Sprout's refusal to make this easy meant the doctor wouldn't commit to one or the other possibilities)...and the amnio will tell us that definitively as well...

So I have to make it until Monday...and I'd be lying if I said I was calm and Zen and believed my instinct that all is well...because I'd really like to just curl up and have a good cry and then be told everything's alright. I'll have to wait until Monday for the first bit of news, then another week or so for the next round of info, and go back in three weeks for more measuring and testing and...sigh. Double sigh.

If y'all have any good thoughts or a bit of love to spare, I sure could use it right now. My Someone is calm, steady, and certain that all is well, and I am allowing myself to hope and to trust in his instincts while simultaneously being a bit scared inside (where no one can see).

Thanks for being here...
~~~~~
If the nap succeeds in perking my butt up (that's a LOT of perking)('cause it's a LOT of butt)(never mind...), I may bake cookies later...because nothing says healthy living like chocolate chip cookies...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Holes

I've been called cold-hearted before. Unfeeling. Uncaring. Distant.

I suppose I can understand that.

I'm not awfully demonstrative. I never learned how to put my feelings on display for others to see, and have always felt a bit...I don't know...ashamed, I guess...when I've let things slip. I don't mean in writing...written words are different. I can write 'em and walk away and leave 'em to their own devices. While there's an air of permanence to them, it's a more distant permanence, one I can leave behind for others to mull over at their leisure. Spoken words and actions are so immediate and tend to linger in unsavory ways long after the sponsoring emotion is spent.

Also, when I was kid, visible strong emotion was frowned upon. It smacked of histrionics and bids for attention.

Nature and nurture have combined to make of me a woman who does not wear her feelings on her sleeve...not readily, anyway, and certainly not in public. Given my druthers, I'll just keep myself to myself, keep from dragging anyone else into my nonsense.

The problem with internalizing things is...people tend to think one isn't feeling anything at all, or that one doesn't require commiseration or comfort when one is hurting. Hell, most of the time, folks can't tell that I'm hurting. I'm usually OK with that...who needs all the fuss? Life goes on anyway, doesn't it?

This isn't going where I thought it would. I was thinking about my grandfather and how I mourn him in odd moments. Some twenty years after his death, I still miss him and find an emptiness where his silent, stern, huge presence used to linger. I talk to him, to my Papa, just about every day. When I greet the sun, I say "Hey, Papa" and half the time I don't know if I'm talking to the sun or my grandfather. I never mourned him with tears and wailing and the wearing of black clothes. I've just...missed him...every day since he died.

I imagine that's how it'll be for Snake. I didn't cry at his funeral...not much, anyway, and more for the folks he left behind. But on odd days, in odd moments, I'll remember that my grumpy curmudgeon of a friend isn't here any more...that when it's storming during an event, there won't be a phone call to the tower and a gruff voice lecturing me on the proximity of lightning and how it's bad for the net and (not inconsequently)(although secondary to protecting the communications equipment) for the workers connected to the net by wires...workers who'd probably prefer not to have their brains fried via their ears due to lightning strike.

There won't be a battered old blue truck parked right next to the Emergency Vehicles base, blocking half the drive and sometimes the doorway in. No stern lectures at the beginning of the Petit le Mans about charging the handheld every night and don't forget to bring the charger back at the end!

It'll take years, probably, for me to get used to his absence...if I ever really do. And probably no one except the few of you who're reading this (bless you for your tenacity) will ever know that I do miss him...and all of my dead...deeply. There's a Snake shaped hole that won't ever be filled again...right next to Papa, and Bart, and Fred, and my other grandparents, a host of other friends, and even a few cats, some birds, and a dog or two. I'll mourn quietly and in out of the way places, unseen and unnoticed because that's how I am.

And life does go on, whether we will or no...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So Long, Snake

My friend Snake died on Sunday. I had a post quasi-written about it, but I'm not feelin' it.

I'll miss the crusty old fart.

WHen I found out, I was knee deep in Dragon Con business, helping friends with their booth, and didn't have time to dwell on mortality.

So I said a prayer and got on with the day.

Since I'm not feelin' much like anything of note, I thought I could share my prayer, for what it's worth.
~~~~~

My roots go down to the heart of creation
My branches reach high into the heavens
I am steady as the oldest stones, unmoved by time and tide
My leaves dance in the winds of fate
The music of the stars sings through me
I am strong
I am eternal
I am alive