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

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Soup, Why Not?

I woke up yesterday with a hankerin' for soup. I winged it. Didn't turn out too bad, at all.


The players:
1 lb Great Northern Beans
1 lb Chourico (spicy Portuguese sausage)
1 Medium Onion
8 - 10 Baby Carrots
2 Stalks Celery
4 Cloves Garlic
Liquid/Stock of your choice


Begin by soaking the beans overnight, or by quick-soaking (place them in a pot with 8 cups of water, bringing to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and let sit for an hour before draining and rinsing). I quick-soaked this time because it was a last-minute souping.


Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside.





Chop onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and sausage.





Heat some olive oil and butter in a pot. Saute onion/sausage mix until onions are softened.


Mix in the beans, then cover the lot with liquid - I used a mix of chicken stock and water, enough to cover the solids plus an inch or so over. Shake in a little cumin - maybe 1/4 teaspoon or so.



Cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for several hours or until beans are cooked.



You can healthy it up a little by adding spinach, Kale, or cabbage at the last minute if you want.




Salt and pepper to taste. I served with corn bread. It was nicely spicy and flavorful, and hearty enough that I only ate one bowl.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yule

Annual re-post freshened up with current info.
~~~~~
Happy Yule, y'all!

Wait, what? Yule - you know...Yule? The holiday that some people celebrated waaayyy before that poor wee baby was born in a pile of hay? Evergreens ring a bell? Holly? Ivy? Mistletoe??

OK, go get a snack and a nice beverage (eggnog on the right, pink punch in the center, pick a bottle from the high chair to spike it with)(yes, the high chair is our bar - the Evil Genius doesn't need it any more, Sprout is getting a new one that's a little more stable and able to handle her wiggling without that alarming creaking noise, and it's an heirloom that I want to keep on display - so why not??) and get comfy. All set?

Yule, or Winter Solstice, is a celebration of the returning light.

Yep, it's that simple.

The God is reborn today, and the days will lengthen with his growth, into the fullness of Summer. In some villages, way back in the past, hearth fires would be extinguished (a brave thing when you didn't have Zippos or matches or even two sticks to rub together). They would be relit from brands taken from a community balefire, lit by the sun himself with a little help from some glass (or a hidden coal or two - c'mon, we weren't above a little showmanship, back then), thereby bringing the sun (and, one hoped, his blessings) into the home. It also kept the community united, because everyone shared the same fire, the same light and heat. Cool, huh? Gotta love a religion that encourages playing with fire. Ahem.

The fir tree was (and is) a symbol of life lasting even through death, the promise of life and light renewed, and a reminder that beneath the snow, the Earth-heart beats on. Holly and Ivy were green, too, but they were also symbols of the Green Man, the Forest Lord, Jack o' the Green - the God primeval. The Holly King and the Ivy King, the old and the young, the constant, changing balance. Deep stuff, yo.

Mistletoe is still used in a fairly traditional way, although it wasn't always just kissing done under the stuff. I still use the leaves and occasional berry when I make love bundles for people (Note - a love bundle isn't a love spell, it is meant to strengthen what is already there, not coerce or sublimate the free will of another. I don't DO love spells, so don't even ask.)(I mean it.), and it's a terrific symbol. It was also a fertility and aphrodisiac herb, but only symbolically - even wigged out Druids knew the stuff was toxic!

We light a yule log, in our house one that's cut from the trunk of last year's tree (the rest of which is providing habitat and nutrients in the woods out back). Old tales say if it lights on the first try and burns for twelve hours, we'll have good luck...this year, I'm soaking one end in water, first. What? We need all the good fortune we can get...don't you??

This year we are spending Yule at Mum's, lighting the burn pile, celebrating the returning light with a little spark of our own. We'll collect some of the ash and bring it home to add to the ash jar and sprinkle around the foundation for a blessing.

Sometimes a group of us will get together and just spend a quiet day nibbling snacks, enjoying each other's company, and taking a break from the holiday insanity out there among the English. If we exchange gifts, we try to make them ourselves, or give things that encourage and nurture our spiritual or creative selves. Things will be a little sparse this year, and Someone and I have agreed not to exchange anything...we want the kids to have a nice holiday, although Sprout wouldn't know or care if she got a gift as long as there was a box and some ribbon to play with.

But mostly, it's a celebration of the returning sun, the waxing light, the cycle renewed.

Happy Yule - When the days be cold, may your hearth be warm. When the nights be long, may your fire burn bright. When the wind blows, may you find snug shelter. When tree and field are bare, may your larder be full. May you never know Winter's chill a moment longer than you care to, nor hunger nor want, and should you find you have all that you need and a bit more besides, may you find someone who will gladly take what you offer and live better for the receiving. Blessed be.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let the Caterwauling Commence!

Since we're so close to Yule, I thought I'd be ridiculous and re-post some videos of Yule caroling. They aren't top quality, but they're what I have - between cats meyowling along because they thought I might be injured, the clock bonging away, the TV randomly coming on, the Evil Genius randomly wandering through, and the phone ringing, I had to reshoot a number of times, and my voice went away after an hour or so.

Anyway, here are three for your amusement.







If you want the lyrics, I'll e-mail 'em to ya. As always, I shot these with my trusty Kodak Easy Share CX7525 (now with a new! rechargeable! battery!!). Kodak doesn't know I exist, do for FTC purposes, I ain't disclaiming anything.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pimpin' My Pal

Well hey there!

Ohmuhgoodness, look at the dust in here! I don't know what just brushed my face - it was either a cobweb or a gauze curtain.

Cough.

Is anyone still here? Looks like my little shanty in Blogopolis has been abandoned.

Is that...wildlife...I see creeping in the corners? Augh!

I need to get this place back in order, huh? M'kay - while I'm out renting a Blue Nowhere rated wet-dry vac, how about I give you a link to follow?

Trust me, this is a good link. I don't share it with just anybody. No - you're special!

Looking for a holiday/birthday/special occasion/no reason at all gift? Go see my friend, sister of my heart, and a talented-as-heck artist K2: Unleash the Goddess. She makes beautiful, unique, wearable art - and sometimes she lets me play with her glass.

Glass, people, glass!! Geeze...

Meanwhile, I am going to find an air filter and a giant incense stick - this blog smells stale...

I'll be back soon, just in case you have missed me...


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In case you were wondering...

...Bob the Wonder Computer has a full memory and can't get online. A friend has offered to try and help clear the hard drive, but until that happens I have limited online access, so not much blogging is going on around here. I miss the Blue Nowhere and y'all...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Just Hear Me Out

I am thinking about forgoing holiday decorations this year.

Trees are expensive. We have cats who view ornaments as their personal playthings, and a baby who will be eleven months old when the holidays roll over us in on us, and she's very...umm...grabby. And Put-it-in-my-mouth-y. There will be a tree and decorations at Mum's for Yule, and a tree and decorations at T's mother's house where the Evil Genius will celebrate Christmas. The Evil Genius will not miss out on sparkly wonderment just because there isn't any all up in our house. Sprout will not notice or remember - I love her and think her the cleverest Sprout ever, but right now she has the attention span/memory of a goldfish.

Half my lights, decorations, garland and bows for the outside of the house are trashed and I can't fix or replace 'em with wishful thinking. Wal Mart is so unreasonable - they actually want me to pay for that stuff. Imagine, a business wanting to make a profit - the nerve!

And, if I'm being honest? I ain't feelin' it. Usually, I have stuff started by now, if not done. Usually, I am feelin' it.

If I were to tart Casa de Crazy up to match my mood these days, I'd need an accelerant and an ignition source. Or a manure spreader.

Since I'm the one who puts up/takes down all that happy crap, I figure it'll keep until next year, or whenever I feel like dealing with it.

So general "poor me, I'm feeling sorry for myself" tuff aside, I can skip it, right? Does anyone really care??

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful

I have a few traditions on this day. Not many - the menu, recording the Macy's parade so I can watch it and fast-forward through all the crappy pop music, commercials, and talking heads to see the twenty minutes of balloons, floats and high school bands I'm interested in hidden among all that junk, and my list of some things for which I am thankful, in no particular order and in no way complete:

The house in which I live
The Evil Genius
Mum
Someone
Sprout
Gypsy, K, Kit, Sam-I-Am, PJ, Mizz Beth, and all of my friends who put up with me when I am most myself and therefor least likable. They are the net beneath me when I fly and fall.
Bread
The scent of leaf loam and woodsmoke in the crisp autumn air
Books, music, and art
Clean, plentiful water
Clean air
Clean clothes
Freedom
Nature and the way she finds to show me something new of herself every day
Words
Song
Dance
Adversity, that joy is all the sweeter
Every creature and plant that I consume to sustain myself, because without the life I take, there would be no life to live
Love - that it exists at all is a wonder, and I feel blessed to know it in many forms
Chocolate, gift from the Gods (yes, even the perversion called "candy bar") (Mmm...candy bar...)
Strong hands
Strong spirit
Strong will
Laughter
Cussed determination not to curl up and die just because life can sometimes be a succession of truly awful, bleak, and desolate days...but sometimes it isn't.
The Internet
You

I hope you have a blessed day, and that you the things you're thankful for outweighing the things for which you're not.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all, from us at Casa de Crazy to you out in the Blue Nowhere and beyond

Sunday, November 20, 2011

There's An Art to This

I know it's probably not as interesting to y'all who aren't in the mix, but I'm writing about the poly thing again.

Someone is learning that being poly doesn't mean a relationship and some extra nookie on the side - it's work that grows exponentially with every new facet added to the stone.

I am learning that each time there is a new interest, there's some adjusting to do. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not like there are new interests every day; so far, there are two besides me who have found a place into Someone's heart, and one of them is so new they've only met in person once. They don't know what their relationship is, yet, besides nascent.

You know how new love/attraction is, right? All that anxiety, all that drive to be together all the time, the drive to attract and hold the other - songs, flowers, poetry, prose, the showing off of one's best self.

The trouble with that is the attention and effort going into the new love/interest is time and effort NOT going into what's already there, and that can hurt.

I am woman enough to admit that, yeah, I want that kind of attention, too. I want songs carefully chosen for how they speak of the interest/attraction someone feels for me. I want e-mails or Facebook posts of flower photos gleaned from the Internet just because they're my favorite kind, or because they remind someone of me. I want the sweet words of longing, the poetic phrases the tell me how he sees me (which is always so much nicer than how I see myself).

It's not that I am not loved, or even loved the less because there's another woman catching Someone's eyes...it's that I am a known quantity. I am home, I am comfortable, I am the warm presence that never leaves him, wherever he may be. When he is hurt, it's I who gets the call or holds him close. When he's lost, it is I who he calls to guide him where he needs to be - usually home. If pressed to choose, there would not be a moment's though - he would choose me above all others. The others know this...not because they need to be "put in their place", but because it is the truth...just as we all know that if Lady R was made to choose between her J and our Someone, she would not think twice - it would be her J, hands down.

While I'm being honest, I wouldn't mind if I didn't have to be the one to deal with the meltdowns, the fugues, when his other loves don't call, write, message, or otherwise communicate with him when they say they will...or when they don't respond when he reaches out for them. Their silence always leads to the worst conclusions in his mind, and he is anguished, which turns to anger, guilt, and self-hatred, and those things are abundant enough in this house without others' carelessness adding to them.

So Someone had this new interest. I shall call her Lily, as that's her flower of choice and how he refers to her online.

I don't know her well enough to say if I like her or not, but I am leaning towards interest in finding out more about her, intrigue at her life and personality - she must be special to have caught his eye - and curiosity about her ethics, her ethos, who she is when no one's looking.

They can only communicate via Facebook right now as she is in an untenable domestic situation and can't openly have a love/lover, a complication that I don't like one bit because it violates our first rule of open, honest communications at all times. I understand her need for discretion, given her situation, but I am troubled by this lack of honesty that is mandated by her situation.

Through Facebook, they send each other songs all day long, songs of love and longing. They post photographs and artwork meant to express their yearning to be together. They send messages that keep the fires burning.

I was hurt by this. Was. I've had time to think about my response, and it's not that I grudge her the sweetness...it's that I grudge the loss of effort on my behalf. More than me, though, Lady R is hurting over this, and for much the same reason - all the effort he puts into Lily is effort we don't get. I hurt for Lady R...I have already been through this when she and Someone met...but she's not experienced what it's like for her lover to be interested elsewhere like this, yet.

Last night we were discussing Lady R and her pain (if I were to tally the hours spent discussing relationships, I think most of them would be dedicated to Lady R and her J, or Lady R and Someone, and lately, to Lily and her place in this puzzle, something both of us know we need to remedy - we have to work on US, too), and I told him my thoughts on all this mushy Facebook stuff: He thought he was making an effort for Lady R, but I pointed out that he's posting messages of love for all three of us at once (say, one photo addressing all of us in the post), but not individually. Individually, for every song he sends Lady R, he sends six to Lily. . For every picture of a certain color rose (Lady R's flower) he finds and posts online, he finds and posts a handful more lilies for Lily. Since we share so much music and art here in person, I am trying not to have ruffled feathers over the scarcity of such things on my behalf, but as I'm fighting social conditioning, I occasionally have a little sniff, snuffle, whimper myself.

I can't grudge them what little they get of Someone - after all, he is HERE, with ME, and happily so - but I DO think it's important to work equally at maintaining the established and the new.

It's a work in progress, this picture we're painting - sometimes, it feels like we're choosing colors in the dark, brushing them on blindly and hoping for the best.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

There Is No Prince Charming


I know, the song doesn't match the blog title...but it's the closest match I could find, and it may be apropos after all.

I can't speak for other cultures, or even for the male half of this one, but little girls in this country are raised to believe in a myth that (I believe) can be devastating - the myth of Prince Charming.

We are given frilly little dresses and shiny shoes and taught to dress up and pretend.

We are taught that our very own Prince Charming will one day sweep us off our feet, best any dragons, ogres, or sorceresses we face, and give us our happily ever after.

If we aren't popular, it's okay - Prince Charming will be along and all will be well.

If we are the girl in the corner, the one in the shadows, the one who is not invited to dances or parties, the one who is awkward or not as pretty as the others, the overlooked one, the shy one, the fat one, the gawky one, the tomboy, the one the boys walk past to get to her friend or the girl beside/behind her, it's okay - Prince Charming will see us and in his eyes we will be beautiful, wonderful, perfect.

So we wait for him. We sit in our corners, watch from a distance as others laugh and love, smile when the man we were interested in walks past us to get to another, try not to show our hurt when he doesn't even see us there, and we cling to the idea that our very own Prince Charming will soon be along and we'll get our day in the sun.

What we aren't taught is that we don't need Prince Charming to rescue us and the idea of happily ever after is a fairy tale, nothing more. Don't get me wrong - I believe that we can be happy in our lives, but forever? In that storied kind of way? No...no I don't.

We also aren't taught that sometimes Prince Charming doesn't come along...or that he, too, will pass us over...or that he's gay. We aren't taught that love comes along every day, in many ways...aren't taught how to recognize and honor it. We don't know what to do when we get older and older and our own Prince Charming is nowhere to be seen...so we sit and wait to be rescued and flounder in our lives and wonder what's wrong with us...why does everyone else have what we long for...when will we be seen?

I will not be teaching Sprout about Prince Charming. I will, instead, teach her that princesses (and Sprouts) can damn well rescue themselves. I will (I hope) raise her not to depend on some mythical One True Love, but rather to take joy and pleasure in even the smallest loves. I hope she will learn that she is visible, even if she's hiding in the shadows, and that it's okay to be seen and be different, to be her wonderful self without worrying about whether or not someone - male or female - comes along to notice her. I hope that she will believe that she doesn't have to have a partner, lover, husband, or wife to be fulfilled, that as long as she is living the life she loves, society's definition of happiness is moot.

If I can teach her those things, maybe I will come to believe them myself - but as for Prince Charming...I'm done believing in/hoping for him; I love and most of the time even manage to believe that I am loved, and that's more than enough for me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Work

These relationship things are work, I tell ya.

When you open them up to polyamory, it raises the stakes, and the workload, considerably.

This is why we need communication, even when we'd really like to crawl in a hole and lick our wounds. Silence fosters negative thoughts - it's the perfect growing medium for fear and doubt, kind of like the jack-o-lanterns on our steps are for growing funky red mold.

Add to that the fact that it is sometimes difficult to separate where we have issues - it it because of a new/other relationship, or is it something internal? And can we really separate them, after all? Is the issue mine, yours, or someone else's? If it's someone else's, are they working with us to find a resolution, or just dumping it on our laps and letting us do the work?

Sigh.

Open, honest communications at all time and with all involved. Not negotiable.

Part of what has caused some hurt around here in the last few days is a lack of communication, complicated by a veil of misunderstanding and hurt that alters everything we hear and experience. Because Someone and I both have quite a bit of negative history from before we met, we have to be aware of this filter and work extra hard not to take things at their worst. Most of the time, we do fine...but now and then one, or the other, or both of us, will be in a bad headspace and take everything wrong. It all becomes a judgement of how worthless we are.

We've had a sort of perfect storm of that kind of thing here at the Casa. We're recovering, but only because neither of us is willing to let anger or hurt break us. We're still a little prickly, a little sensitive, but we're getting better by the minute.

Even when we want to hide from it, even when we really don't want to get into the murky darkness and feel around for what's really hurting us, we put our big-kid panties on, hitch up our britches, and (eventually) wade in...because yeah, it's work, sometimes nasty work, but it's absolutely worth it to know that there is nothing left to question, that we know where we stand - side by side.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

There Are Not Words

I wish I had the words. I just don't. I'm out of words. They have proven useless, anyway, impotent. The words that were once valued, prized, lauded, are now ashes and dust to be swept away, unheeded. I wish I could convince you that I am honest, and true, that I do love you and that I am happy that you love - me, other women, our daughter. I wish you believed in me.

What hurts is not that you love others. Polyamory isn't the issue. I like Lady R, and I am sure that, given time and opportunity, I will like H as well. I don't think one should limit love, and I won't ask anyone to pretend that they can just because my feathers are ruffled.

What hurts is not that you seem to save your anger for me. I get it - I am safe, the one person who will face it, absorb it, stand toe to toe with you, show you your anger and what it does, and won't throw you out, throw you away, because you are feeling what you feel.

What hurts is not that the sweetness, the softness, are reserved for others, but not for me.

What hurts is something that comes from within me...from a place of envy, of wishing that I was the one who inspired the search for the right picture to post, for the right song to share, for the sweet words to flow. I wish I was the source for the anticipation, the giddiness, the excitement, the laughter and delight. I wish I was the one you were trying so very hard to make smile, that you so wanted to touch, taste, smell, be with. I wish I didn't feel as though all I have left is this tired old love that doesn't shine any more, but is staid and dependable and...boring.

And sometimes...if I am being honest (which I strive to do, even when it hurts and costs me dearly), sometimes I wish there was someone who looked forward to seeing me, speaking to me, the way you used to...the way you do with the new ones, but not, it seems, me any more. There isn't anyone else, though, and I don't believe there ever will be.

This is the down side to polyamory. The new beginnings that sometimes...okay, usually...leave me feeling left behind, dusty and dull and unwanted. I have no new beginnings. No one looks twice at me. Why should they when there are so many brighter blossoms to pluck?

It passes, this wistfulness. It passes when I remember that as often as you may take wing, fly away from me, you always come back...so there must be something worth coming back to. Maybe I am not exciting in that shiny, new way, but I'm where you want to be or you wouldn't return. If I can't have that new-love feeling, that bonfire conflagration, I have the long, slow heat of the hearth to call my own.

I Used to Believe That Could Be Me



I once posted this song with the admonition that one should not play it unless they meant it.

I used to hope that one day, someone would hear it and think that's how they felt about me...as if my dreams not only had meaning, but were inportant to themselves as well.

I believed. I thought music had power and meaning to it.

I loved this song...loved playing it, singing along, and I never once played it for anyone without meaning it - that I would be here, helping them reach for (and hopefully achieve) their dreams.

I still mean it...I am still striving to find ways to help people with their dreams.

I just don't think it's meant for me. I don't believe, any more, that my dreams matter. I don't believe, any more, that anything I do matters. I don't believe that anything I say matters. I truly believe, here in this moment, that what I feel absolutely doesn't matter in the slightest.

Such a happy place.

Pennies

I am sitting on the floor, surrounded by patina-ed copper circles. They click as I move them about. I am watching for any that may roll from the depressingly small heap - this is where the baby plays, and she thinks the world is something to savor in a literal sense. Choking hazard aside, I can't help thinking these little metal discs are crawling with who-knows-what kind of copper fed super germs.

Carefully I count them out, making rows of five piles of five. They're slippery in my fingers. Sometimes I drop one or two. See them fall? They land flat, or on edge. They thud, or plunk, or clack. They land back in the pile or they knock themselves into my neat rows and scatter my patient work.

They aren't all mine; I've had to raid my son's piggy bank, too. I asked him, first. He knows we're cash strapped, and we need things like nappies, wipes, toilet paper, and dish soap. He doesn't know what a maxi-pad is, but he knows Mommy needs some of those, too, because she can't quite make it through the week with six of 'em.

As I count, stack, and roll them, my fingers take on a grey tinge. I can taste copper in my mouth. It is an unpleasant tang on the edges of my tongue, and I imagine for the moment it's the taste of failure, of disappointment. It will linger long after the little rolls are spent, a reminder.

I remember when I was a little girl, going down the stairs into the living room of the town house in Florida (3522-B, Gardens East Drive, Palm Beach Gardens, Fl, I have never forgotten that address, place of so many experiences) and sitting at the low coffee table, helping Mum count, pile, and roll coins. I was in awe of her ability - she could scoop up the right number of pennies in her hand and slide them right into the roller, seemingly without effort. I couldn't manage it, and had to put one coin at a time in the paper sleeve. She always had to fold the ends, because I'd end up dropping all the pennies out one side while trying to fold the other.

I thought it was fun. I imagine she was hoping it was enough.

I love rolling change - it appeals to my inner accountant...or banker...or whatever it is that likes rolling change. I also hate it, because these days it means we're down to the wire, or well past it, and have no hope of paper money coming our way in the near future, or at least the near enough future.

So I am on the living room floor, wondering how much lower I will be sinking before I find "up" again, wishing I could just keep sinking down below ground where no one can see me or my shame at the rolled up currency that will make the cashier sigh, brighten her smile a little, and start weighing (they weigh the rolls to be certain they're right, no faith in my damned OCD and inability to mis-roll change. I've never had a short roll, ever) and cause the customer behind me to groan, sigh, shuffle their feet, glare, mumble, mutter, and give me the stink-eye because I'm slowing them down with my archaic method of payment.

The US Mint will be glad to have all those old copper pennies back, I'm sure. I hate giving them up...the new coins are not as nice, don't have the same weight or feel to them. They roll just fine, though.

Bye-bye, pennies. The jar is empty again. Time to wash my hands, try and brush the taste of this unhappy pastime from my mouth.

*In the end, I had enough fro nappies and wipes. I will have to improvise for the rest. Mother of invention, right?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time Travellers

We are all of us travelling through time. Generally, we're doing it in an orderly, forward fashion, although some folks manage to go backwards on occasion.

Waking from a long coma must feel like having jumped through a time portal. How strange to wake up and find everything different, including one's body, when one's mind is still stuck in a time long past.

It's a human construct, this "time" thing. I don't much like it.

Then there's this clock thing, this daylight savings thing.

I never have gotten it, not really. Oh, I understand the history of it, have heard the reasoning behind it, but...nope, don't get it. If people are so concerned about using daylight, then why can't we just adjust schedules instead of mucking with clocks? Don't want to miss out on afternoon daylight? Instead of working from 8 - 5, work from 6 - 3. Whadaya mean that's not practical? And changing clocks will-he-nill-he, is?

Tell the sun what time he's rising and see if he complies. Tell the moon when she may sail through the stars and hold your breath until she minds you. You look good in blue.

Babies don't know about time in the same way we do. Babies and animals have "now". There is no tomorrow, and yesterday is some kind of hazy memory that isn't the present.

I like the book Einstein's Dreams. It's a lovely little fictional exploration of time. My favorite piece is about how there are two ways to live in time - one may abide by the clock, each day regimented into hours, each hours with its appointed purpose, or one may wake when one wakes, eat when one is hungry, love when one loves, sleep when one is tired, abiding by the more fluid time of one's own rhythm. It postulates that the two cannot ever really meet - I disagree a little, because I try to live a timeless life but I have clocks and calendars to help me when I must take part in this odd fracturing of the day called "hours" and "minutes".

We took a little jump in time this morning, didn't we? Setting clocks back, we got an hour to re-live. Here at Casa de Crazy, we set the clocks before bed (because who wants to get up at two in the morning, bleary-eyed, to set a bunch of clocks, all of which have different means of setting?), so our "gained" hour was used for sleeping.

What if we could bank this "savings"? What if we could deposit it, earn interest on it maybe, spend it when we wanted. How much would you save? What would you spend it on? Would you use it in minutes here and there, stretch out a deadline maybe, or a special moment? Or a big chunk, a sort of vacation or addition to the end times? Could you borrow against it in some way, maybe make mid-life longer so you can enjoy it more?

Could you bank more, maybe take time away from unpleasant things like illness, sorrow, or incarceration, and shorten that experience, add the time to happier things?

Often, when people ask me if there's anything I need, I answer "a winning lottery ticket", but sometimes I say "more time".

How curious it would be if we could reach in out pockets, fish out a few spare minutes or seconds, and drop them in the hat of the man on the street corner who is staring at his end and hoping to stave it off a little longer.

So tell me - how do you feel about this DST thing, and time in general?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Samhain

Partial reprint with some new stuff mixed in, just to keep you on your toes.
~~~~~
Samhain. All Hallows Eve. Hallowe'en. Halloween.

While little (and not so little) people are out extorting candy from strangers (On the one night a year Mum and Dad aren't telling them NOT to take candy from strangers, and isn't that a mixed message?)(And if you don't think it's extortion, think about it - "Give me a treat or I'll play a prank on you" is exactly that - extortion), more than a few pagans are spending the evening in an entirely different fashion.

Samhain (pronounced "sawin") is sometimes called the Witches' New Year. It's thought to be the time of year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and so best suited for speaking with our dead, with those who passed on in the previous year.

On Samhain, our living God dies, and until he is born again on Yule the Goddess and all the world mourns him. Poor Goddess, carrying her child alone for the next two months - throughout eternity she must suffer this loss before she can know her joy once more. Don't worry if you don't get it - it's a cyclic thing, a nature thing, and a deeply, weirdly Pagan thing.

Some will have large meetings, solemnly chant and circle the fire, call upon the gods of old. Some will dance wildly around bonfires, drumming, singing, shrieking, leaping the flames, looking for all the world like the imps and devils we were once purported to be. Some will just hand out candy and let the night pass, and some will put out the lights, draw the blinds, and pretend not to be home. A few (Pagan and non) will look for and find trouble. Many will feast, drink, and hold the dumb supper - the meal placed out for the those who've gone through the veil - whether alone or in numbers. These days, none who are truly Pagan will sacrifice anything more than a glass of wine and/or a plate of food to the fire, the earth, the old gods.

This year it's just us Casa de Crazians. T will come get Bird after the boy makes the rounds in this neighborhood, and they'll go raid another neighborhood or two. We've carved pumpkins, one for each of us.

Of course we'll roast the pumpkin seeds because I adore them.

At dusk, we'll light the jack-o-lanterns and take the kids (or the kid, anyway) out for their bit of begging. If the night is fine, we may fire up the outdoor fireplace and sit out on the drive reminiscing about the past, about family and friends long gone but not forgotten. I may or may not mull some cider and have some cups to ladle out portions for the adults trailing the kids who will start coming around soon. Heh - come and drink my Witch's Brew - you won't fly or turn into a newt, but it'll take the chill off. I may or may not have a bit of whisky or rum to add medicinal value to the drink.

I will make a special dinner for Samhain night. I don't have anything traditional - this year it's spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and garlic bread. I try to make something that my ancestors or anyone I've lost in the previous year would like to eat. The first portion of each item is carefully plated and placed at the head of the table or on the altar. A bit of whatever's to drink will be placed with the laden plate).

Later tonight, after we've eaten, handed out candy, taken the kids out for some socially sanctioned begging, we'll take food and drink down to the woods and leave the contents for our ancestors. We may or may not name them. We may or may not sing a song for them. We will honor them, wish them well, and remember. We will ask their blessing in the coming year. It will be short, but heartfelt - we don't need a lot of ritual, these days, just a few quiet minutes with our Gods.

It's an odd hodgepodge of a night - some modern traditions that were founded in the old, and some straight from the days (and nights) when our people could be openly themselves, could worship the gods of field and wood, river and rock, without fear of censure or death.

Blessed be those who have gone before; blessed be those who live now; blessed be those who will follow after. The wheel turns once more, and blessed are we who turn with it. Blessed be.

This year, I celebrate: two years year ago, Someone made his first visit to Casa de Crazy, began the process of coming Home.

This year I honor: my friend Lo, who passed through the veil last November, and my friend Jenny, his wife, who passed through the veil this past June on the day we were to honor Lo and place his ashes; my grandfather, who passed many years ago but whom I still miss.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Shaving the Stove

I? Am sore. My arms ache, my elbows tingle when I straighten my arms up, my wrists are creaking, and my hands are alternately cramping, burning, and throbbing. My poor fingers...they may never be the same.

It's all because of shaving the stove.

Gripping a razor blade can play hell on the fingers, even when it's not a double-edged blade. After a while, it plain hurts, especially with the constant pressure and scraping. Shaving a stove requires a little brute strength.

Yes, I said "shaving the stove".

If you have been reading for any length of time, you know that this past Spring we had a tragic death here at Casa de Crazy - the drop-in stove/oven appliance gave its last gasp just as I was attempting to bake some brownies. After I drove like a loony to K2's house to borrow her oven, I had to figure out how the hell we were going to cook stuff here at the Casa.

Mum heroically offered to buy a new one, but that didn't sit right - we had a stove/oven in the garage acting as a shelf, one Someone earned with sweat equity when he helped K2' family move into their new digs. A perfectly nice ceramic top, in fact. Why couldn't we use that?

Well, because it was a slide-in, not a drop-in, and those are two different critters.

Luckily we had a friend (Handy Joe) who sweat, bled a little, finagled some wiring and a saw, and got her done.

The stove was a used one, but in fairly good nick...it just had some...er...schmutz around the two left burners. A bit of elbow grease would deal with that. Or would it?

Apparently, not so much.

For months, I have waged war on the stove top, scrubbing until I hurt, and the schmutz remained undaunted, unimpressed, and un-removed.

I remembered, finally, that Mum had a ceramic top stove, and she had a razor thingy with which she scraped it from time to time.

I have no razor thingy, but thanks to the card-making and photo-mounting I do, I have razor blades.

I grabbed one and set to, and wouldn't you know it? The schmutz came off. It came off in large, cone-shaped curls. It came off in powdery poofs. It came off as crispy flakes. It came off!

I spent a fair bit of time yesterday shaving the stove, and it is almost done.

As soon as I can feel my fingers again, I'm going to finish the job.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thoughtfetti

Someone was gone for nine days. I didn't get a lot done because one parent, two kids? not conducive to online productivity.
~~~~~
Sprout has a tooth, in case I haven't mentioned. Just one, but it's a mighty tooth.
~~~~~
I am doing battle with a raging case of the beiges. Since it hasn't managed to off me yet, I am winning. Baby love and Little Dude love are good stuff and help immensely.
~~~~~
AT&T charges an extra fee for paying at the store with cash. Using a credit card is free. I call bullshit!
~~~~~
I owe the bank a pantload of money (made a mistake, got overdrawn, whoopsie) so I have to use cash until I can pay back what I owe in fees and whatnot. Guess I'll have to suck up AT&T's little love bite. Sigh.
~~~~~
Sprout refuses to eat baby food. Baby food is for chumps with no tooth, she claims. She has a tooth, therefor she demands steak and lobster tail...or at least chunks of stuff she can pick up her own self. Corned been, loaded potato soup, helpless fruits and veggies that didn't flee fast enough...all fodder for the Mighty Toof!
~~~~~
There's been some bullying going on in the neighborhood. Little Dude is the prime target. The parents and I are working on it...peacefully. Little Dude is philosophical about it all, mostly, I think, because I am backing him all the way and he sees me working with the parents of the other boy. We'll see how this goes...I'm hoping for a positive outcome.
~~~~~
Spout has also decided that napping is for chumps. Sigh. I'm trying to convince her otherwise. Losing battle.
~~~~~
What's happening in your world?

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Not Exactly In the Oxford Unabridged, Now, Is It?

Got this from a friend:

Ineptocracy(in-ep-toc�-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Whatcha think?

Monday, October 17, 2011

But I'm Perfectly Me

I yelled at the baby last night. She was fussing and struggling, tired and fighting sleep, whining and making that half-cry of hers that just drives to the center of my brain, so I yelled at her. She stopped, stilled, stared at me with huge, wet eyes, and then her face crumpled up and she cried in earnest, fat tears rolling down her cheeks and onto my shirt.

Eventually I rocked her to sleep, and wondered what the hell was wrong with me that I would yell at a baby.

Yeah, I'm tired. Yeah, I'm stressed. Yeah, I'm struggling. Yeah, I haven't slept well the last couple of nights. Yeah, I have been a single parent since last Thursday morning (last Monday if you figure Someone was busy packing and getting ready for his trip), and yeah, I have been trying to catch up with housework that has been left undone for far too long (and is easier to do when no one else is home, like mopping the floors).

So what?

She's a baby. She laughs, she cries, she occasionally shrieks with fury or delight. She can't tell me she's hungry, or uncomfortable, or tired; it's a guessing game. She resents falling asleep. She fights it until the last moment, struggling until she drops off, suddenly limp and warm against me, and that's some of the best stuff right there.

So I yelled at her.

And I felt like crap for it, and cried right along with her.

I held her while she slept that deep, profound sleep that only babies know, and reminded myself that she will not remember, that she will not be scarred for life. When she woke up at three in the morning and wouldn't let me put her down, I carried her into my room and let her cuddle up to me until she dozed off and then woke again at eight. Much of that time, I was only half asleep, aware of the little girl next to me, aware of her breath on my neck, aware of her soft little sighs, aware of her warmth and weight...aware, and grateful.

I do my best, and I am so very aware of how often it is barely, or not quite, enough.

My poor kids...I'm not perfect...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Black and White Soup

Back when I was single and had spending money, I would occasionally have a meal at The Bridgetown Grill. My favorite thing on the menu was their Black and White Soup, a combination of black bean and white cheese soups, served in a single bowl. They would make a Yin-Yang pattern out of the soups and add a dollop of sour cream topped with a sprinkle of fresh salsa.

I haven't had it in a while, and I've missed it. Lately, it's been on my mind, so I finally decided to have a bash at replicating it at home.

It's not exactly the same, and there's some tweaking to do, but I do believe I have the gist of it. Someone liked it three bowl's worth, anyway!

Want to try it? Okay.


The players:

Black Bean Soup

1 pound dry black beans, soaked overnight
4 teaspoons diced jalapeno peppers
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Drain black beans, and rinse.

Combine beans, jalapenos, and chicken broth in a slow cooker. Season with garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, pepper, and hot pepper sauce.

Cook on High for 4 hours. Reduce heat to Low, and continue cooking for 2 hours, or until you are ready to eat. For black and white soup, blend before serving. I wish I had an immersion blender for this; the regular blender worked fine, but it was more to wash up.

White Cheddar Cheese Soup

1/4 cup butter
1 cup onion, diced small
1/2 cup celery, diced small
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
4 cups good quality sharp, white Cheddar cheese, grated (12 oz.)

Sauté onion and celery in butter in a large pot over medium-low heat.

Cook for 10 minutes; add garlic and sauté 1 minute more.

Stir in flour, dry mustard, salt and white pepper. Stir constantly for 2 minutes to prevent scorching.

Whisk in wine; the mixture will be thick..

Whisk in broth, milk and cream, scraping the bottom of the pot. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Continue stirring until cheese is completely melted.

Ladle equal parts of each soup into a bowl. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a bit of salsa. Yum!

Unless you serve this at a party or have a large, soup-hungry family, you may have a lot of leftovers. I imagine if you blend the two together, it will freeze just fine.

Let me know if your try it, and how it turns out for you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Aural Stimulation

I am far too busy to blog, really. There's the laundry (always the laundry) and the dishes (so many dishes) and the groceries and cooking to take care of for Someone's looming journey to our spiritual home in Ohio. There's flooring to clean, and there are cat boxes to clean, and counters to clean, and if I'm naming things I should clean but am slack about, there are a LOT of windows here at the Casa, and they would all like a good washing, thank you very much.

Instead I am blogging, because of sound.

Auditory input.

Beautiful noise.

Last night, it was the baby laughing. She was watching Maya climb the cat tree, and giggling at the kitty looking down at her from so high up. She loves to watch their tails swish, twitching back and forth, and her giggles rolls around the house and bumble into us from around corners, eliciting smiles as they go.

There was a light rain all yesterday afternoon and evening, getting heavier towards dawn. We've got windows open to let in the good, fresh air, and the soft, pattering whisper of the falling drops is pervasive, the pianissimo background song of Autumn.

There were coyotes singing last night. A few ridges away, over by the farm where the wild geese sometimes nest. There won't be any geese there now - our lot have flown to their fall nesting grounds and our winter lot have not yet arrived. The coyotes will run along the ridge lines, playing call-and-repeat until the wee hours. Last night was just singing. By their song, we can tell if they are playing, hunting, or have cornered their prey. Heralding Autumn this time, I should think, a few last choruses before high-tailing it to winter quarters.

The small breeze makes a counterpoint to the rain, causing the trees to shake their heads at this modern music - who can understand it? The leaves know what it all means, and they sigh and let go of their grip on what is, spinning and falling in graceful arcs towards what will be.

The Casa is humming - occasional heat flicking on, not cold enough for full-on rush, just enough to take the edge off early morning and late night.

More laughter as the Evil Genius dons his guise of Super Brother and distracts Sprout from parental absence - we're trying to get things done around here, a challenge when the baby wants company all the time. The Evil Genius likes to play with Sprout, and she adores her Big Brudder, and they laugh a lot as she scrambles to keep up with him with her crab-crawl.

The cacophony of her musical toys is silenced now, and the song of the Casa is down to the tapping of two keyboards and her soft breaths on my shoulder as she naps limp and warm in my arms.

How is your day sounding?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thoughtfetti

We had a visitor over the weekend - Someone's mom came for a couple of days. It was good to see her again, and we had, overall, a nice time. I was not online much - novel!!
~~~~~
There's a chill in the air and the sky's a little grey - soup season!! I am attempting to mimic a soup recipe from a restaurant. I adore this soup, and hope it comes out reasonable. It's called Black and White Soup. If it isn't horrid, I will post a recipe.
~~~~~
Broken people have to work hard not to break the people around them. Sometimes it's exhausting. Two broken people trying to sort themselves out can make for some awfully hard days. Not-broken people have no idea, and while that can be annoying sometimes, it's just fine by me...there are enough broken people in the world...
~~~~~
Sprout ate broccoli for the first time yesterday. The results today are...erm...festive. Still, she loves her veggies. Heck, like both her parents, she loves just about everything we put in front of her. I hope she stays that way.
~~~~~
Why do we celebrate Columbus Day? He didn't discover the new world; there were already people living here. Shouldn't we be celebrating Migratory Indigenous Tribal Persons Day instead?? Or, if we're going to be excited about Europeans tromping about the globe, perhaps Lief Ericson Day? Oh, wait...that's today. Well...at least it's in the right order - Lief Ericson ran into North America before Columbus, it makes sense his day comes first
~~~~~
If grilled cheese isn't on the top-ten list of comfort foods, I don't know what's wrong with the world.
~~~~~
Casa de Crazy will be a wee bit less Crazy for a few days - Someone is heading to Ohio for a festival, a bit of camping with his girlfriend, and some quiet time in the woods. I'll miss him, but at the same time, it will be good for us both to have a bit of time when we're not all up in each other's business. The next few days will pack in the madness, though, because we have a lot to do to get him ready for the trip.
~~~~~
You know the season's turning cold - I am practically wearing the cats around the house. I can't sit or lie down without being nested on by at least three of them.
~~~~~
What's a ghost's favorite food? Halloweenies.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And Miss Out On This??

I logged on to check e-mail and was smacked in the eye by some headlines.

First there was the woman who tried to sell her newborn for fifteen-grand o she could go to Disney with her other two kids. Oh, man, if I was Disney, she'd be banned for life.

Then the man who killed his pregnant wife.

And finally the guy who broke his girlfriend's baby's legs.

Y'all, sometimes I miss my time, sleeping in, independence, and sanity. Sometimes I get tired of the whining, crying, constant demands for my attention, laundry, and the smell of poop, pee, and other effluvia. Sometimes, I would give just about anything for some peace, to sleep late, eat something hot or cold rather than tepid. But if I had to trade in one of my children?

No way.

There's nothing on this Earth worth this*:

Or this**:

How 'bout you?

*I practically had to beg him to stand still for a picture. Suddenly he's camera shy. Oy.

**If you look carefully, you can almost see the vestiges of her tooth on the lower left center of her gums.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Underneath

"Thanks for your help. Is there anything you need? Anything I can do for you?"

"Nope, I'm good thanks." On the surface.

Or "Sure - I could use a half-million dollars or a winning lottery ticket I'm not picky."

Or "A clone could be useful."

But never "Yes, in fact, I could use my phone bill paid, or the trash bill, or even some nappies or cat food or toilet paper would be nice. Or a new mop head so I can clean my floor without having to use a sponge. I could also use some winter clothing for the kids, but I don't have the money for any of that right now."

And certianly not "Sure - I'd like it if I felt like someone, anyone, gave a crap about my dreams and actualy listened when I spoke of them, listened without wondering when I would shut up or they coul start telling me what they are thinking because I'm so very boring and really, who cares?"

And never "I need some time for myself, time when I know the children are looked after so I don't spend it worrying whether the children are looked after, time when I can write freely, time when I can just...breathe...without someone making a demand for my attention."

And not "I'm trying to figure out how to make sure the van's in good shape and there's money for Someone to take it to Ohio in two weeks."

And never "My computer is crapping out a little at a time and I can't repair or replace it, and my dvd player has frozen and I can't get it to turn on or eject the dvd in there, and every sink in the house has some kind of malfunction and so do all the tub drains. Also, the lights in the kitchen go through bulbs like the Evil Genius goes through gum and the downstairs fan makes the whole living room vibrate, and my camera is failing alongside the computer, and I can't get any of it repaired."

And never, ever "Lately I've been thinking it would be awfully nice if a truck crossed the center line and hit my van head on, as long a the kids aren't with me. I'd really like to think I have a life worth living, but while my external life is a good one and I know it, my internal self feels battered, bruised, and bleeding and I don't think it is ever going to heal and I'm tired, so tired, of the constant hurting."

No. No, better to say "I'm fine, thanks, have a good one" and leave the enquirer their illusions.

Whew

The race is over. I have no idea who won, or who even finished, or how many laps under yellow there were...but I can tell you within a few digits how many apples and bananas we went through, how many bratwursts and burgers, how many subs we put together, how many meals and drinks delivered, and how many tickets I signed away.

The tickets are my particular department - I sign in all of the volunteers workers (corner marshalls, timing and scoring, start, pit, and grid, tech, and race chair) and their guests. Each worker is given one guest pass, ostensibly so that a spouse or child over twelve can come watch. Not all the workers use their guest passes, so they usually let me give them to someone else who has more then one guest. I have to keep track of who's who, which can get complicated by Saturday.

In between registering, I made coffee, got breakfast out, helped with lunches and dinners, and tidies up the tent a bit. I had a lot of help, particularly from the Nut Brothers (one left nut, one right nut, both of 'em wing nuts) and Neal B. A lot of old friends were there, people I worked with back when I first started. It was good to see them, catch up, reminisce about friends who have passed away or gone away from racing.

I'm not a car gal, but the people? I love them, and will always do my best to make at least this one race as easy and enjoyable as possible for them.

Yesterday, there was no racing, just recovering from a long week. Sprout let me sleep until eight-thirty, which felt later because I've been getting up at five every morning. Speaking of Sprout, she cut her first tooth this week. It started showing under the gum on Wednesday, came through on Thursday. Now when she noms on my finger, it hurts - sharp toof!!

This morning, I gave her scrambled egg to eat along with the usual cereal and fruit. She ate the first bit of egg, blinked three times in slow succession, then grinned and grabbed for more. I told her when she has more teeth I'll make pancakes.

Someone had a nice time, too - a couple of times he came over and helped run the grill or fryer and get meals ready, and he got to watch some racing and meet some new friends. He heard a few old stories on Saturday night as the last handful of us, not ready for the event to be over, lingered in the tent sipping Laphroaig and taking turns telling tales and looking at old photos.

It was fun...ad I'm glad it's only once a year.

How was your week?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Petit

I haven't been writing much of anything lately. That's not going to change this week - I'm running worker registration for the Petit Le Mans all week, which means early mornings, late nights, a lot of cheerful grumpiness, and not much blogging.

If you're into racing, they broadcast bits of the Petit on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2, as well (I think) as online. You won't see me, but if you look for the people in white on the corners, the ones with flags, radios, and who respond to incidents (there are no accidents at a race, only incidents), I'm related to some of 'em and know all of them by name, having worked that job for nearly 20 years before finally giving it up due to health and performance concerns (mine - they'd still have me out there if I'd consent to work turns again). Those are the folks I'm registering, making sure they get the passes they need to get where they have to go. I'll also be helping make sure they're fed and have drinks and maybe snacks during the week.

Sprout and the Evil Genius will be coming over in the afternoons to help me hold down the fort. It's Sprout's first venture into the racing world, and I hope she digs it as much as the Little Dude does.

Y'all have a good week, and let me know if you watch any of the racing.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Don't Blame Her

Lately, Sprout has taken to crying in the night. Sometimes an hour or so after I've put her down, and every hour or so after for a while. Sometimes she sleeps for a few hours and then starts the cycle. Sometimes she'll wake once and then sleep the rest of the night.

Waking is too strong a word, really. She doesn't actually wake up. Not all the way. Her eyes are usually closed, and she'll settle right down as soon as her Papa or I pick her up and rock her a little.

Now and then, she'll be sitting up when we go on to her, but still seemingly mostly asleep.

As soon as I pick her up, she snuggles in to my shoulder, sighs, and settles into deeper sleep. A minute or two of rocking and she'll go down again.

I have wondered why she's going through this half-waking. It could be she's cold, or hot, or the light and noise of a household that continues functioning long after she's a-bed bother her, or perhaps she's dreaming and learning how to process it all.

Sometimes I wonder if it's just that, even in her sleep, she needs to be reminded that she's loved, protected, and cherished. Maybe she just needs to be held a minute. Maybe she just wants that warm comfort.

Don't we all.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yay, Big Brudder!

Hi there. Sprout, here. Big Brudder had a earache an' waked Mama up a bunch last night, so she's tired. I blog post!

I got two big brudders. I gots Big Big Brudder, who I never met yet and neither has Mama, he lives in Texas and is all growed up; an' I gots Little Big Brudder who I just call "Big Brudder" 'cause he is, an' he live with us here.

I love my big brudder.

He makes funny faces at me, an' pushes me inna grocery cart and makes me laugh. Inna car onna long trip, he tried to help me be a good girl an' not cry an' fuss, which is hard 'cause I don' like bein' innat travelin' chair for a long time 'cause I can't wriggle, an' I love to wriggle.

At home, Big Brudder will climb inna cage with me an' play. I like to watch him, and chase him around, 'specially when he is zooming cars, even though he don't never let me catch them. I like when he talks funny to me, too, an' sometimes we watch Phineas and Ferb togedder, an' that's good, too.

Sometimes Mama lets Big Brudder feed me. He likes to gimme a bottle, but he's not as good at it. Mama says it's 'cause he hasn't had practice.

Yesterday we went to the grocery store, an' Big Brudder pushed the cart and let me crunkle his face with my toes, even though sometimes he said my toenails were sharp and a couple times I kicked him by accident. When we was waitin' to check out, he danced and made silly faces and noises so I wouldn't cry, which was nice because I was tired of bein' inna travelin' seat and it was nap time but who can nap inna grocery store with all the lights an' noise an' big people sayin' I's cute an' stuff.

Last night, I didn' go to sleep very well, so Big Brudder hadda be quiet, which is hard for him 'cause usually Mama doesn't quiet the house for me to sleep. But Last night I was grumpy, an' woked up an' cried.

An' then Big Brudder woked Mama up a couple times, too, 'cause his ear hurted, an' Mama hadda get a warm cloth an' hold it o his ear an' I heard her say maybe we would have to go to the ER, which I don't what that is, or the doctor if we could wait until morning, an' she gived Big Brudder somethin' to make the ouchie go away an' he finally went to sleep, an' then it was time for me to wake up, so Mama's going to have a tired day but I hope Big Brudder is okay an' will come play with me some more, 'cause I love my Big Brudder, an' when he plays with me, I say "Yay, Big Brudder!" an' throw my arms up inna air an' smile.

Mama's comin' outta the kitchen, now - she made me a nice warm bottle 'cause it's a little cool in here an' I'm hungry an' maybe I'll be nice an' eat it all up an' then sleep on Mama 'til Big Brudder wakes up and comes out to play.

Bye!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vocabulary

kleptocracy
PRONUNCIATION: (klep-TOK-ruh-see)
MEANING: noun: A government by the corrupt in which rulers use their official positions for personal gain

So...yeah...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Soft He Creeps

Autumn began making his stealthy way across Summer's boundaries a few weeks ago. Barely there, he changed the light a little, casting shadows differently, gilding the edges of the evening.

Lately, he has gone deeper into the bones of the world, splaying chilly fingers out across the wide earth. Windows open, we let him into the house; here he scrubs clean the air even as he makes us shiver a little before the sun rises and sends him scurrying back to the cob-webby shadows in the corner to await shorter days, longer nights, and his time - the time between summer's passion and winter's cold shoulder.

Edging leaves with color in the night, he spends his days contemplating how he will paint the world during his brief span. His flamboyance is well known in Northern climes - people flock to see his spectacle, cluttering the highways with their cars and their litter, marring the very beauty they seek to witness.

Weary from his swift journey Southward, here in our part of the world he is more somber; his palette of vibrance spent, he switches to strokes of ochre, rust, and sienna spattered with occasional garnet and gold.

Of all the seasons, Autumn is the one I like best. I have endured the sweat-drenched heat of Summer, survived another season of stifling, breath-stealing days and dense, humid nights. I have endured the house holding in all the scents of people and animals, of cooking and waste, windows shut tight to hold in the paltry trickle of air conditioning and keep out the hard, stabbing rays of the bullying sun. Now, for a few days, a few weeks, for an all too brief span, I can throw open the windows, the doors, and let outdoors and indoors mingle freely. I can walk about the neighborhood and breathe a sigh of relief.

While some find this a season of darkness and depression, I find it freshening. I am alive in Autumn as in no other season. When he traces his fingers across the land and she shivers, I know just how she feels...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Solace

I'm holding my sleeping daughter, playing a hidden-object game with my son. I'm feeling rather beige just now.

I didn't write a 9/11 post because why? Who cares what I was doing that day? I wasn't in a plane or one of the towers, anyway.

Plenty of beautiful, stirring posts have been written, if you want one. I don't have one in me.

My children are a comfort, which is one hell of a burden on them. I hope they'll forgive me.

How're y'all doing?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

...Spamity Spam, wonderful Spaaaaaam...

Ahem.

We were out of town for Labor Day. Lots of fun, terrific drumming, wet pack-out, long drive, just now getting to the blog.

While I was away my Spambox (kind of like a boombox, but more Spammy) partied on without me. I returned home to discover that:

-My credit score is being updated - from abysmal to dismal.
-I can grow six inched bigger with an herbal supplement, which would make me 6', 4" and mean I would not need the chair to get the crock pot down, so I'm giving it some thought. Whadaya mean, they don't mean that kind of growth?
-I can make my penis harder for longer. Hmm...I have a penis? Won't Someone be surprised?!?
-A hitherto unknown relative of indeterminate gender in a country from which none of my ancestors hailed has died horribly and left me his/her fortune. All I have to do to collect is send my name, address, social, and bank account numbers to a Mr. Alphabet-Soup-for-a-Name and I'm rich! I'll get right on that...
-If I vote for a certain politician, all the world's ills will be cured, whereas if I vote for the other fellow, Fenris will swallow the sun and it's sackcloth and ashes all around...but no pressure or anything.
-The Popcorn Factory wants to be my BFF. Why else would they e-mail me so often??

Well...looks like I've got quit a a busy day ahead of me, huh?

What's your spambox doing?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ready, Set, Go, Go, Go!!

About six weeks or so ago, a friend asked me if Someone and/or I would be willing to go to Wisteria for an event, help her set up her booth. Usually her daughter would hep, but her daughter's in school and can't...so my friend thought of us. She knows we love the venue and are delighted to be there as much as possible.

She offered us our gate and space to vend with her.

How could we refuse?

We've spent some time since then trying to get ready - usually I have a year to prepare for my one event at Wisteria. This is a bonus, and I only had a few weeks...eek!

We leave on Wednesday morning at Ohgod:30 in the morning, and I AM NOT READY! I am not packed, the laundry is not all done, I do not have all the groceries, I have not cleaned out the van or loaded the trailer...halp!

Before you ask, Someone is busting his butt, too...sorting through all our gear is a full-time job, especially as we decided to leave some things behind that we didn't use...which means going through boxes and removing the unwanted items. He has also cleaned the garage so we can actually move around in there, which will make loading the trailer worlds easier.

I HAVE pre-cooked and frozen the things I needed to, and MOST of the laundry is done and just wants folding or packing, which I will do some of tonight and the rest of tomorrow. Bird has offered to help clean the van. Someone and I can crank out the trailer in short order once we put our minds to it.

Meanwhile, the baby needs feeding and loving and playing with, Bird needs much of the same, the garden need watering, the house tending, groceries need shopping, the cats reassuring (one of the cats, Ki, tends to meow plaintively when she sees the suitcases - it's kind of funny and sad at the same time), and at some point I will have to get some sleep because twelve hours is a long drive and only gets longer on short sleep - last time I did it, I drank a ton of coffee and my stomach gave me hell for it.

We'll be gone until Monday night/Tuesday morning. A wonderful friend is coming by to water the waterables, harvest the harvestables, and tell the cats they are marvelous. We're going to have a lovely time, even though I KNOW I'll forget something...

What's your Labor Day looking like?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What A Day

Yesterday I set up at the flea market. I was disinclined to do so, but decided to go ahead and show my support for the nice folks who are trying to make it a going concern - they are busting their butts, and it's not easy to run a flea market when your vendors flake and don't bother to call, or show up once and don't come back. It takes a minute to get a loyal customer base, you know? And part of that is having more than one vendor show up each week.

So I hauled my tired, sorry ass out there and set up.

Of course, the EZ-Up wouldn't open. I set it up by myself all the time, but it wasn't having any of it. After twenty minutes, I finally asked for help. Ugh, I loathe having to do that.

There was a good lot of vendors for a change, and a few customers. I didn't make much of anything (certainly not what I needed to make, nowhere close), but Sprout and I did our best.

I was invaded by small children whose mother apparently decided it was okay to let them run wild while she sat in the shade and ignored them. They wanted to see the baby and play with her toys, and it was all I could do not to lose my shit with them because they were filthy, snatching toys out of Sprout's hands, kept coming by and wanting to wake her up while she was napping, and said "her" instead of "she", as in "Is her awake now? Why is her awake? Her likes that toy, huh?" These are public school kids, by the way. You tax dollars at work. Were I you, I'd ask for a refund...

Towards closing time, one of the other vendors damn near scalped himself on the edge of a car port roof - the people running the market have a couple of metal-roofed, open-sided car port thingies for people who don't have canopies. He was ducking under the side and didn't duck quite low enough. It was a nasty scrape, peeling back a fair chunk of skin. Lucky he was bald. Sprout was sleeping in the back of the van, so I went for my first aid kit...and snagged my shirt on the rear door of the van, tearing a nice hole in it. Dang.

I cleaned and bandaged the fella's head and told him he would probably be okay, but that maybe he should go see his doc and have the skin flap taped, stitched, or removed so it didn't heal all funny and leave a nasty scar.

A little while later, Someone came over to pick up Sprout and bring her home. It's easier to pack up without her. Just as I was about to drop the canopy, an errant gust nabbed it. I grabbed the edge of the frame, but couldn't hold it...it was like hanging on to a huge kite!

Over it went, knocking down my tables and boxes, scattering clothing and sundry items in the dirt before landing upside down on a wooden table and a rusty metal stanchion, tearing several large holes in the roof and snapping the roof struts like matchsticks. The side rails were bent a bit as well. One EZ-Up, down the drain...and at what they cost to replace, we'll be shy one for a long while. Damn.

I wrenched my shoulders, neck, and wrist and offended my spine trying to keep the thing from going over. Sigh.

At least Sprout wasn't there - she and Someone had left a few minutes before.

And at least I was out on a clear, breezy day and not hunkered down awaiting a hurricane. So I'm a little achy - the roof I lost wasn't on Casa de Crazy, and we've about decided that we can use what's left of the frame for a trellis in next year's garden, so I call it even.

How was your Saturday?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Good Night, Irene

There's a storm a-comin'.

Meet Irene:

She's a beauty, big, bold, sassy, and ful of spunk. She's eyeballing the eastern US as a likely vacation spot, a popular choice as summer draws to a close. She's had a long journey, so it's no wonder she'd like to linger along the easterm seaboard.

It seems she's not terribly welcome, though - folks are abandoning the coast in droves. I guess they aren't interested in the kind of fireworks she's bringing with her. Huh.

We here in Redneck Central won't get much, if anything, of Iren's party - she isn't interested in our boring inland burgh. She want surf 'n' turf, man. We may get some rain, if we're lucky, but not much else.

If you're in the storm's area of influence, I hope you weather it well...and I'm wondering - will you stay or get out of Dodge??

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Preppies

No, wait, that should be "Preppers", shouldn't it?

Eh.

When I met Someone (goodness, it's only been a little over two years since we "met" online and then in person...wowzers), he was into something called "prepping". I'd never heard of it, but it turns out I was doing it a little bit, any way.

Preppers, to varying degrees, store essential items against future need. They store food, water, non-food but useful things, and even weapons and ammunition. Me? At the time I had a case or two of water around and I always like to keep canned, dry, and frozen foods on hand, enough for a month or so. That behavior was a throwback to two things - when I lived where snow could make going anywhere a non-starter, and when I was working sporadically and didn't really know if there would be steady pay...and I have this silly habit of eating every day, sometimes more than once a day. I know, I know...

Since I wasn't a gadget gal and really don't care about clothing, makeup, shoes, purses, or other money-sucks, I bought foodstuffs.

Thanks to Someone and his uncle and a few other folks in the Blue Nowhere, I learned about prepping. Seem like quite a few people think life is going to get ugly very soon in this old nation of ours, and they want to be ready, so they're acting accordingly. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't, but I see the sense in having a good stock of food and whatnot on hand just in case.

Several time I've been glad for my small buffer, using it when the money ran low or ran out, or giving it to a friend who was broke with an empty cupboard. It's not the fanciest of eats, but when you are looking at hunger from a very close angle, a can of beans sounds just fine!

So I'm building up our preps, lately. Someone put some shelves in a closet for me - originally, we had things in bins with inventory lists, in case we had to grab and go, but the bins were getting in the way, and hopefully if the end of the world as we know it comes along, we'll have a minute or three to box our life and haul it up to Mum's (where we hope to move before the world ends, anyway).

When looking at this idea of preparedness from the outside, it looks weird. When stepping into the mindset, it feels overwhelming - where does one start?? With an empty box or closet, honestly. Then...fill it.

But with what?

Oh, hell, don't look at me for that - I am trying to buy extras of whatever goods I usually use, and sometimes grabbing things I don't use, like, or particularly want but may come in handy or be good for trade if we enter into a new Dark Ages. I have some cast iron pans, a few sewing supplies (because I will use them), some tools, games, seeds, first aid kits, and of course, food. As I shop, I put new items in the preps closet and pull old things out to use, keeping our stock as current as I can. Can...hah!

I've been reading up and taking notes and have a list of things to add to the closet as I can.

So my questions for you are: If you are a prepper or were to begin stocking and storing for a questionable future, what sorts of things, food or non, would you have? What is essential? What extravagances would you include? Would you prep for bad weather, rough finances, or the end of things as we know them? Would you prep for a community, or more as a hermit? Would you include family, friends, trade goods? Would/do you prep for complete self-reliance? And for how long? Days, weeks, months?

Tell me...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sleeeeeeeeep...

So the baby has a new game.

It's called "Let's give Mama sleep deprivation!"

Here's how she plays: She goes to sleep and sleeps soundly for a few hours, usually right up until I go to bed. Then she wakes up and fusses until I hold her, rock her back to sleep. Then she sleeps until I am just about good and asleep myself, and she repeats the process. Sometimes for fun she'll wake up as soon as I put her down. Then she'll sleep for a few hours and start fussing in her sleep (because she is THAT talented, y'all), so I will get up and rock her some more. Finally, she'll sleep a few more hours and then it's time to start the day.

What's that? She's a baby, you say? Well, yes...and I agree that babies aren't notorious for sleeping through the night...but THIS baby has been sleeping through the night since she was a few weeks old, dang it.

I think she gets chilly in her sleep and wakes up just enough to complain about it.

I cover her with a blanket, but she wriggles out from under it. I've never seen a baby move around so much in its sleep - she's wriggling a freaking marathon, I swear - so the blanket winds up shoved to the side or the end of the crib, where a cat can get the benefit of it but Sprout? Who is at the other end of the crib, shoving herself into the bars and occasionally managing to turn on the musical aquarium thingy (which, by the way, has Rook bumfuzzled - she can't figure out how to get to the fish in there!) with a well placed flail? Not so much.

To add to the fun, Sprout doesn't play every night - only on the nights when I'm up late and/or need to be up early. I don't know how she knows, she just...knows. And if Mama and Papa want a little...umm...personal time? Forget about it.

I fooled her, though. Last night I decided that I wasn't doing the flea market today. Too tired, too much to do, not enough time to get it all done.

Thank goodness for naps. Now, if only I could train the phone not to ring when we're snoozing...

Meanwhile, when I went in to get her this morning, she was sitting up in her crib! Holy cats, what's next, mountain climbing??

Check out her picture in the sidebar - Someone has an Armenian Yard Long cucumber vine (it's trying to eat the house), and he got one from it a few days ago. He had to cut it into sections just to get it into the fridge. Yesterday, he gave Sprout a section to gum, and she loved it - nommed on it all day. No worries - since she doesn't have any teeth, she can't bite off a chunk and choke, and the seeds are such that she can't get them out, so it was just a big, tasty teether as far as she was concerned.

Today I am determined to get a few things done, small things that have languished for too long. There will be some housework and some baking and some sewing, punctuated with a modicum of napping.

What's your Saturday looking like?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Growin' Like A...

...well...like a Sprout!

Hey, Sprout here - Mama's tired an' have a headache so I blogging!!

I doctor today. They weigh an' measure me, an' admire my legs. I gots chunky legs wif good muscles in 'em 'cause I bouncy a lot in the day. Yay, bouncy!!

I like a bouncy.

Also, I like a roll around onna floor. Mama an' Papa call me Squidgie 'cause I roll around a bunch an' I like a wriggle. Mama say is hard to type when she holds me (I like when Mama or Papa holds me, an' I can kick and wriggle an' tell 'em what I'm thinkin', but they don't always unnerstan' so good what I say...somethin' wrong wif their ears, I guess).

So I 16 pounds, three ounces, an' I 27 inches long, and my punkin is more than 16 inches around, an' Mama says that means I'm tall an' maybe a little skinny an' I must have a strong neck.

I shots today, too. Big Brudder came wif us, an' he tol' me shots aren't very nice but they're better than gettin' even more ouchie an' sick later. I love my Big Brudder. I don' like a shots. I three shots, but it felt like forever, 'cause I only know right now, and they hurt! Big ones, inna legs! I try to tell the nurse "Ow, cut it out!!" but she didn' unnerstan' me at all, even when I said it louder.

Now I home an' Papa kiss and cuddle me, an' Mama made me a bottle an' some peas - I like a peas, Mama make 'em wif turkey stock an' carrots an' onions an' garlic an' she mashes 'em all up smooth for me, and I like a peas. I bouncy a little, then I eat, an' then maybe I take a nap wif Mama and make her head feel better. Poor Mama. I don't like a headache for her.

Whatchoo doin'??

Monday, August 15, 2011

The More Things Change...

...the more they stay the same.

Ready for a bit of irony? Here we are in the first post since my little Facebook rant, and what am I doing? Posting a video that my Aunt posted on Facebook. Hah!! I hope the folks who made it don't mind too much...I felt compelled to nab it because they filmed it where I grew up, rode my bike, bought lobster rolls and coffee frappes (pronounced "frap", not "frappay"), and got half-eaten by mosquitoes and deer flies. Ah, good times.

So, take a look while I blather on down below:

I was watching this and thinking about how very long ago I was back there, in those woods, biking those same roads, past those same stone walls. I was thinking about a time when I could look at the future and feel a sense of wonder, of optimism, that anything was possible.

And then I realized that yeah, I never felt much optimism about my future. I was too busy believing the people who raised me when they told me, directly and indirectly, that I was stupid and useless because I could never quite manage to live up to what they wanted me to be - the best I could manage was to be myself, and that just wasn't enough.

As with the town where I grew up, not much has changed in my internal landscape; the feelings are the same, I'm just living somewhere else among different people now. Still being made to feel I'm not wanted, and stupid, and useless...just by a different cast of characters.

Right now, today, in this moment, I am thinking I'm done answering anything but "fine" when anyone asks how I am. Right now, today, in this moment, I am thinking that it would be best for me to say "nothing at all" when asked what's on my mind. It seems like anything other than "Everything's wonderful"is something of an imposition. I already feel like a useless time/energy/resource suck - I don't need to feel it any deeper. Right now, today, in this moment, I am wishing that I could somehow manage to cease existing, cease being worthless and unwanted in my own life, cease being such a fucking burden on everyone around me. Right now, today, in this moment, I am wishing I didn't feel like a fat, feckless, pointless waste if matter who just does everything wrong and gets in the way.

This is not about you, it's about me and my stupid misfiring neurons, the mental illness that never gives me a moment's peace (like my children, but far less cute and cuddly than they are).

If I made you feel bad, sorry - go watch the video again, it'll make you smile. Anyway, it made ME smile...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Status: Quo

Dear Fellow Facebook User,

Hi, how ya doin'?? Enjoying that Farmville, are ya? Judging by the number of game updates scrolling up my screen, you're rolling in rutabagas right now. Congratulations on the birth of that green glowing cow - have you checked your water supply? Your new barn looks fabulous. No, I haven't built one. I know, I know, all I have to do is pester everyone I know on Facebook a few hundred times to send me weird parts so I can build my very own barn, but in case you haven't noticed, I'm lazy - three clicks per person is just too many.

About that Pot Farm game - it's just a game. Chill. Un-pucker your bits. I like watching my Hippie Farmer avatar run around harvesting stuff. Run, Hippie, run!! I am not attempting, via cartoon plants on a Facebook game, to make "connections" and build my own green, grassy cartel in Redneck Central. Relax, yo.

I see your Mafia Wars family is growing. Well done, you. Sorry I haven't been helping you knock over fruit stands, rip off drug dealers, or ice anyone. I haven't been playing in a while. This thing called "real life" keeps popping up in front of my screen. Tch, it's such a nuisance!

So hey, we need to talk a minute, Fellow Facebook User. I'm thinking about blocking you from posting on my wall. Now, don't cry - it's not you, honest! It's me - I just don't have the time to read all those game updates and quirky news stories, or watch all the videos of kitties and puppies and children doing Fun! Amazing! Things!! I know they're all fabulous, but they interfere with my ability to see what's going on with the handful of people on my friends list that I actually know, you know, in the real world.

What's the real world?

Umm...it's the place that starts to smell bad when you're on Facebook too long, cross-posting on Twitter when you have a minute. You know, where the pizza guy actually comes to your door and that big light in the sky keeps coming on, going off, coming on, going off at regular intervals. The place we're all trying to avoid because it is currently sucking. Yeah, the real world.

So, anyway...the thing is, I could probably handle the videos, the game updates, the links, and the weird "Post your shoe size as inches and a sad face but don't tell anyone why and hilarity will ensue" status games, but I just can't take any more of those chain-letter "post this if you love me/I'm sure no one likes me and won't re post/you're an asshole if you don't re post/you hate puppies and kittens and fluffy bunnies if you don't re post/you are Satan's sweaty armpit washrag if you don't re post/you're not a real Ahmuricun if you don't re post/you launch RPGs at soldiers if you don't re post/if you don't re post then you must want the baby Jesus to cry/if you don't vote left, right, or centrist, you clearly want the nation to fail and crumble into a communist, socialist, Zoroastrian* mess/re post if you think cancer sucks otherwise you must love it and want to have its babies/re post or you suck sweaty donkey balls/if you don't re post then an orphan in Somalia will be fed to a starving lion" status updates.

See, I don't do causes just because someone's trying to guilt me. I have no social conscience, in that sense. I do causes that I feel are actually worth my time/thought/effort/money, and I support them in person. I don't show my love by copy-and-pasting on Facebook. I show it by acting like I love people (you know, like not farting in bed and holding their head under the covers), and writing them, you know, personal messages rather than blindly pasting some anonymous, poorly spelled, poorly typed, nondescript status update that will quickly be lost among the newest cause-celebres. Causes-celebres? Umm...you know...fads.

So, dear Fellow Facebook User, I am giving serious thought to blocking wall access to anyone who bombards me with these pseudo-psychological, religious, guilt-inducing, manipulative, chain-letter statuses. I hope you understand...and if you don't repost this as your status then you don't grok where I'm coming from, and you suck**.

*No Zoroastrians were harmed in the typing of this post, and no aspersions were meant to be cast - Zoroastrians are lovely folks and don't deserve to be maligned in any way, I just think it's fun to say "Zoroastrian". Go on, try it. See? Fun!

**You do't really suck - that there was just a bit of ironic license.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hot, Hotter, Hottest

Holy cats, it's hot around here.

No kidding, I think the driveway is melting a little, and the corners and sharp angles of the Casa are softening a bit. I tried to fry an egg on the stoop, but it was cooked before I could crack the shell!

We could water the garden four times a day and it wouldn't be enough - the cukes, tomatoes, and eggplants are all petering out, producing fewer, smaller fruits. The okra are going great guns, though, and we'll have a fair bit over the winter. I may even have a bash at pickling some! Umm...does anyone like pickled okra? 'Cause I'll make it, but eat it? Thank you, no.

The thermometer and the weather dude say it's only in the nineties during the day. They lie. Cats don't ooze with that lethargic, boneless, graceless slink when it's only in the nineties. I think their paws have been sticking to the pavement. We're getting well into the one-hundreds around here, especially with the heat index. If the humidity is 99%, shouldn't it be raining?? Walking outside is like being full-body smacked by a steaming sponge and then trying to breathe through it.

The air conditioner is trying, bless its mechanical heart, to help us out, but it's too small for the house and is struggling mightily to keep us at eighty-one degrees, running all day and well into the night without stop. Believe it or not, eighty-one feels just fine after a minute outside.

Meanwhile, there's another plant doing well out there in the garden...the Thai Insanity Pepper, after a spindly and questionable start (grower error, not congenital defect), decided that Redneck Central is just fine, thankee, and decided to give the okra a run for its money.

Check this out:

This one's going to be a seed pod:

I've only harvested three so far...while Phelan told me they're edible at any stage, I want them to get all red and tear-inducing. Someone ate the least ripe of the three and pronounced it hot but not unpleasant, good flavor, nice spreading heat with a little ring of fire that traveled from lips to the back of the throat. His face flushed a little, but he didn't cry or burst into flames. I'm thinking of making pepper sauce with 'em - he likes pepper sauce, and I'll use a wee bit on eggs sometimes...I wonder if Tabasco would give me their recipe...?

How're you making out with the heat?