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

Tibi gratias agimus quod nihil fumas.

It says "...freedom of...", not "...freedom from...".

Nolite te bastardes carburundorum!

"It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint." - Penn Jillette

Friday, July 29, 2011

Catharsis

Dear Low Rent, Water Buffalo, Horse Teeth, 666,

As I held my daughter in my arms, rocking her to sleep tonight, I thought about you.

I wondered if your mother, your father, if anyone at all ever held you and felt such love, ever rocked you and crooned gently as you slipped from wakefulness to warm, limp, innocent sleep. I wondered if anyone ever felt protective of you, looked at you and felt hope, dreamed of your future, seeing it as a terrific brightness, a huge, happy maybe.

I wonder if that was absent, if perhaps the way you behave now is rooted in the lack of strong arms holding you while you wept and wailed and wriggled against inevitable sleep. I felt pity, imagining an infant unloved, perhaps unwanted, left to her own devices to grow into a woman.

Until, that is, I thought about who you are, what you do, all these many years later. Perhaps your roots are sunk deep into a dark history, but you are long past the days when you can claim ignorance or injury as excuse for the hurt you cause others.

I could have forgiven that you knowingly sought out my Someone and offered him what must have seemed like a haven at the time. I could have easily understood and gotten past the idea that you were both acting on the need of the moment, fully conscious of your actions and willing to accept such consequences as there were. He and I have an understanding, have an open, polyamourous relationship with a few simple rules. You were aware of that. You may not claim ignorance, because we discussed it openly and at length when you found out, to assuage your curiosity.

While I may question the depth of your intellect, I am not so uncertain of your ability to think, to process information, that I can believe you didn't understand the small, concise words I used to describe what our particular polyamourous relationship was like.

While some others may say you're brain damaged, that your intellect suffers from old injuries, I have seen the cunning, the sly calculation, in your eye, and I know better. You knew and understood what you were doing, and you chose to do it anyway.

Fair enough - Someone and I had some angry words and he convinced himself that I didn't want him to return to camp, to our shared bed, that night (perhaps ever). His other love was not there to offer succor (she had wounds of her own to tend to), and so he was, he thought, alone. Alone and hungry for touch, for sensation. You moved in, seeking to gain for yourself what I and Lady R had...and he, in a drunken, angry, hurt state, he responded.

Did you think I would not find out? When the community saw you, the community of which I am a part (albeit minuscule)? Though many saw, it was Someone himself who confirmed that you had spent the night together. We talked long and hard about it, about why, about the many things in our hearts and minds that led up to and followed that night. Perhaps you didn't think that would happen. I wonder if you are capable of even imagining a relationship in which there is such openness, such honesty.

So two people were left stung but still standing, both hoping, both trying to understand and to heal ourselves and each other. There was still anger, but it was simmering, cooling, becoming something Other. Our relationship took a direct hit and did not crumble.

But two people weren't enough, were they? You had to seek out Lady R and tell her all about your night's pleasure, about how wonderful it was and how you were going to have a relationship with Someone. You did so pretending you didn't know who she was, but again, I know better. I know better because I had introduced you to her at one point, mentioning casually that she was the Other in our poly relationship, and that we are friends. You knew that your words, your actions would wound, and you made your choice.

Someone spent much of the day looking for Lady R to tell her what had happened - his sense of honor dictated that he not hide, not shirk. He sought you, too, for a conversation of a different sort, but you ran like the low cur you are, hiding yourself from the consequences of your actions, from the light of day, from truth.

And so came night again, and Lady R and I had both spoken to Someone, who was willing to take his licks because he knew he'd broken our rules, knew he'd hurt us both, and was remorseful and determined never to do so again.

Lady R and I had occasion to pass by you in the night as we walked from one place to another. Had you not been rubbing yourself against her Primary, her man, her Husband J, we might have kept on. Indeed, we might have kept on, anyway, but you had to stop me to talk, to spin lies, to gouge deeper and create greater separation so you could...what? I think you actually believed that Someone would choose you, would bring you home and send me away, because you have no concept of Home, do you, nor that I am his Home as surely as J is Lady R's home?

You spoke like a victim, as though you did not know that we were together (despite the fact that we have a daughter, sleep in the same bed, share a house, a yard, four cats, and dreams), as if he'd said it was OK and that I wouldn't care (in a sense, that was right...although not as you meant it), as if he'd sought to be mean-spirited by making it clear he was in your tent in the cruelest way he could think of. You plead that you told him you were my friend (how could you be my friend? We'd only met two days prior...hardly time for acquaintanceship, let alone friendship, to flourish) and didn't want to hurt me, that you didn't want to go with him if I would be unhappy, and that he said he didn't care, that I didn't matter, that we were through. You told me that you'd made it clear to him that it was over between you. "It"? What "it"?? There was no "it". You were someone to touch, to fuck, when he needed contact and release. You weren't a person, you were a receptacle.

Lies, and more lies.

Even when I told you "We've spoken, and we're good", you kept trying. Fool.

You asked me how you could make it right. I told you "The next time you have a chance to go with someone who has an Other, you make certain the Other is OK with it. Ask them. If it takes three days for you to have the opportunity to speak to the Other, you wait until they tell you, themselves, that it's alright."

Three times, I told you that. Three times, as Lady R was talking to J, arranging to meet with him later, I told you that.

Later, when Lady R and I were walking back to her camp, you and J were gone, and we knew what was happening. They did not meet later.

The next day, as Lady R and I were spending time together again, J came to her. He was ashamed...and Lady R could not ask, so I did. "J, I am asking this from love...did you sleep with...?" Yes, he had.

You told him that you and Lady R were bosom friends...that Lady R said she didn't love him anymore, and that Lady R wanted to come and live with me and Someone. You told him that you knew all about polyamoury (funny, I had to explain it to you that first night we discussed it), and that Lady R was fine with you and J being together. You spoke poisonous words with a honeyed tongue and he lapped them up in his pain and confusion.

We talked, did J, Lady R, and I...we talked, and sought to be honest and true,...and Lady R was doubly wounded because with Someone, it could have been a mistake, but that you went after J, too? No, that was no mistake...that was calculation, pure and simple. You clearly thought us blind, or foolish...and you were wrong.

When neither Someone nor J professed their undying love for you, you found another couple having difficulties and enticed the man into your bed, this time a man who was not in a poly relationship (and you knew it).

Throughout all of this, you continued to make yourself out to be the victim, the innocent, the one who was hurt because you didn't know.

Bullshit.

Later, you told anyone who would listen that Lady R and I both decided we didn't want our men and were going to join you as lesbian lovers.

Should I ever choose to go with the Taco and not the Sausage, rest assured I will choose one that is not rotten, rancid, and ridden harder than Seattle Slew.

I have droned on with history because I want you to know, even if it's only in spirit because you will never read this blog (and if you do you will never recognize yourself because you can't bear to look that deeply into the mirror), that I know what you are and am not afraid to name it.

Now comes the part where I tell you what I think of you. I refrained in person because I didn't want to bring more drama into that community. Here, though? In my minuscule part of Blogopolis, far out on the edges? In this tiny little corner of the Blue Nowhere? Here, I will speak my mind openly, knowing full well that I am showing myself to be unkind, petty, mean-spirited myself. That's life, sugar. I can own what I am.

You are an odious toad. You are a liar, a disease, a blight. Where others seek to build, you seek to tear down. Where others seek to achieve, you seek to loot and destroy. You are rotten to the core, and more, you delight in your rot and seek to spread its filth as far and wide as you can. Your body, as well as your spirit, is an ulceration, a suppurating wound oozing infection on all you touch. You hide behind a veil of weakness, but no one is fooled for long, and so you must move on to prey on the next weak, blind fool until his eyes are clear of alcohol's fog (for only drunken men in a place of hurt or confusion go with you, and only after you have touched, rubbed, encouraged, and enticed them). You are toxic in every way, foul and vulgar. You are a thief, seeking to cast your thievery as need, and if others have and you need, they should give unto you, and if they won't give unto you, you have every right to take because otherwise it's not fair.

You demand your fair share of love, refusing to believe, to accept, that sometimes sex is just sex, desperately adhering to the idea that sex means undying love. When that love is not given, when they recoil in horror over what they've done, you tell all who will listen that you are a victim, that you were led astray.

Not content to rend individuals or couples, you attempt to divide entire communities.

In the past, you've had a measure of success, leaving a trail of devastation and mourning behind you.

Not this time.

This time, you fucked with community, and community will fuck (is fucking) back. You cast your malevolence into the water, and the ripples are spreading.

You are lucky that I and a few others who love her kept Lady R from killing you, or at least doing you great harm. You are lucky that I refrained from delighting in some petty meanness of my own because I had wit enough to know that small vengeance would feel good in the moment, but the consequences were lifelong.

You are a lesson that I am done learning. After this, I will give you nothing more of me. You are nothing, and will always be nothing, to me. Should we chance to meet again, I will give you what you are to me...nothing. Believe this: You do not matter. Your lies do not matter. I do not care. You are not welcome in my camp, nor will I ever offer you shelter, food, fire, or water. I do not give Hospitality to nothing.

I wonder...what would that oh-so-long-ago person who held you, rocked you, loved you, what would they think of the person you have become today?

I believe I hear weeping...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Whatta Weekend

I find myself wondering how I'm going to feel on Monday.

I am setting up to sell at a flea market Friday. Friday afternoon, when I'm don, I will be going to K2's house to do some sewing.

Saturday, it's back to the flea market, setting up at 6:30 (the morning one).

Sunday we need to try and go up to Mum's - her yard needs mowing in a bad way, and the garden need some love. I'll be nice and let Someone deal with that while I nap and fix dinner, if we go and stay the night. Hey, I'm thoughtful that way!

What's your weekend looking like?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Fact, I Can!

Look what I did last night:

Thanks to some friendly guidance from SciFi Chick, Casa de Crazy now has nine jars of home grown tomatoes - two with herbs, one with herbs and pepper flakes - for our stores. There would be ten, but one jar got a little excited and blew out its bottom. Dang.

Next up? As soon as the yard-longs start producing, I'm going to have a bash at pickles.

I am going to need some bigger jars...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Give

I'm not inclined to give up on things. To WANT to give up? Certainly. Even when I WANT very much to just let go, give up, give in...even when I think I must be fucking pathetic for hanging in, hanging on, for facing the wind with my teeth bared and daring it to blow, for shaking my fist at the sun and daring it to burn...even then, I'm still in it.

Y'all, I'm tired of turning in circles, of feeling hammered by futility, of feeling like no matter what I do, what I give, what I make, what I am...it will never be enough, never be even adequate.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum...and at the same time, nemo me impune lacessit....or some junk.

You ever have days like that?

I Need Shin Guards

I've had a knock-around kind of life. When I was a kid I swam in the sea, climbed rocks, trees, and mountains, sailed, biked everywhere, fell off of and into things. I played soccer and went skiing, rode horses and rambled in the woods.

There were bound to be some scrapes along the way, a few bruises and breaks.

I know they hurt in the moment, but I also know that I had (still have) a high threshold for pain. I always healed fairly quickly, too.

Lately, though...I don't know what the hell is going on with my body...but I don't like it. Check this out:

Sorry...I guess I could have warned you that I was about to show you a furry length of cream-cheese-white, caveman-club-shaped getaway stick. Oh, well, too late now.

The smallest of the three ouchies happened one night last week as I was trying to quiet a fussy Sprout - I knew the box was in the hall, and I knew where it was...so I stepped around it, but it wasn't where I'd left it and so I wound up actually stumbling into it. Hurt like a bitch, and I couldn't get a good cuss in because I didn't want to wake the baby. Dang. Then, Friday, I had a job and was getting ready to go. In order to close the garage, I had to move the Evil Genius's bike. It resented my interruption of its sunning and promptly fell over, causing the other two ouchies. Again, hurt like a bitch, but I needed to get going so I slapped a bandage over it and headed out.

Yesterday it hurt. Last night it hurt. I had to take my jeans off and wear a skirt all evening because the jeans rubbed (through the bandage, even) and irritated it. This morning it hurt. I couldn't even walk without wincing. I even gasped twice when I forgot to be careful and tried to move normally. What the...?? That's not like me at all, honest!

I finally decided to do a bit of home medical care, and turned to that old stand-by, peroxide. Am I the only one who digs watching that stuff fizz? Miracle fluid, that peroxide - it'll cure just about anything on the outside of the skin.

Check it out:

That was this morning, after I defuzzed the area around the ouch (because you know what exacerbates the ow factor? Bandages yanking out hairs, that's what), and then peroxided it a few times.

And doesn't it just figure that these ouchies are at the exact perfect height for everything. in. the world. to hit them?? Cats seeking affection by rubbing against a leg, Sprout kicking and wriggling on the floor, laundry baskets, chupa cabras...

Well, maybe not that last one, but if there WAS a chupa cabra and it WAS inside Casa de Crazy, I bet it would be shin height and I would bump into it.

I hope the peroxide did the trick because I don't want to have to resort to scrubbing the area and dousing it with disinfectant. You'll know if I do...you'll hear me holler...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Want To Do Some Good?

If you have a child or children, hug 'em.

Then go read this story.

Give 'em hell, Leah. Don't take no for an answer, don't give up, don't listen to anyone who tells you it's impossible. And mostly? Live.

Thanks for the headds up, Blogger Dad.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What About Bob*?

Somalia has is officially experiencing a famine.

We're giving more than $400,000,000 in aid to the area, and Hillary Clinton says it's not enough, that we have to give more.

Umm...

'Kay...

But...

Pardon me while I pitch a tiny little fit over here in the corner.

What the hell are you thinking, woman?? Where the hell do you think the money's going to come from?

And while I'm having my hissy...what about the people with no food, no shelter, no medicine, right here in THIS freakin' country? Oh, wait, they don't count because...umm...you know? I'm not sure why they don't count...no one has yet satisfied my curiosity in the matter. All I know is, from where I'm sittin', the people who have basic needs going unmet in this country mean exactly bupkus to our nation's so-called leaders and that alleged bastion of compassion, the UN.

There's a record drought going on right smack in the middle of our nation. People, livestock, and crops are dropping dead in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, as far north as Michigan and down into the Carolinas. At the current rate, in a few months you'll be paying a whole lot more for a bucket of the Colonel's extra crispy, or a pound of beef, or your Thanksgiving bird, if you can afford 'em at all. Corn? Tomatoes? Wheat? Ouch... The economy has tanked enough that people can't afford seeds for a garden to raise their own food, let alone being able to donate money to feed others. What does Clinton propose we do? Squeeze a little more out of the people who don't have anything left to give, I imagine...she's a politician, and that's how they roll. Considering what she makes in a year, she can reach into her own danged pocket and leave the rest of us alone.

It's not that I'm lacking in compassion...I hurt for the children who don't make it, for the people who wonder if there will be water, or food, this week. Please believe that if I could, I would feed 'em all. I can't, though...and while I feel deeply wounded that anyone, anywhere is hungry, and while I would feed them if they were in my house even though it meant going hungry myself (because that's how I roll), I also feel that it's crucial to take care of the people in our own back yard before we go looking around the globe for places to dump resources.

I will spare you my thoughts on indiscriminate breeding among humans, about reproductive rights and education and social programs that do more harm than good...they're skewed at best and more than a little likely to piss people off.

Right now all I can see, all I can wonder is why, why, why are we supposed to carry other nations when we can't even carry ourselves (questions the woman who has to be carried most of the time, herself, but that's a whole other kettle)???

I wish Somalia luck...but for now they're going to have to right themselves without my help...I'm worried about Treesong, Scifi Chick, Phelan, the Hermit, and scores of other folks right here at home who are facing hot, dry, and hungry times ahead without benefit of the UN or their own representatives giving a rat's patootie whether they make it.

*Who's Bob? No one. Everyone. The guy or gal who is struggling to get through today, tomorrow, the next day...you know...Bob...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quite Simply Mac and Cheese

I made homemade mac and cheese for the first time last night. Whoa. Holy carp. I had to refrain from eating all of it. I may never buy the blue box or that frozen stuff again (especially since the homemade can be portioned out and frozen)!

I used to be intimidated by the homemade stuff...cheese sauce can be tricky...but I got a burr under my saddle about making it. I'm glad I did.

Here, then, is a very basic, easy-peasy recipe:

The Players:
8 oz uncooked macaroni, or any pasta that has nooks, crannies, or hollows where cheesy goodness can nestle
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Paprika
Season Salt
2 cups whole milk
3 cups plus a handful of freshly shredded cheese (I used a combination of sharp yellow and white Cheddars and Monterrey Jack, this time)
1/2 cup minced onion

Ready? Go!

Combine flour, salt, pepper, and mustard powder in a dish. Sprinkle some paprika (or not) and season salt (or not) in - how much depends on you, and you don't need them if you don't want them.

Boil the pasta in salted water until not quite done...al dente is as cooked as you want it. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain thoroughly.

In a saucepan, melt butter, then add dry mixture. Cook over medium heat until slightly bubbly. Add milk, a little at a time, stirring thoroughly to prevent lumps. Cook until thick, about the consistency of gravy.

Mix in the three cups cheese, about a cup at a time, stirring constantly to keep it smooooth. By the way, you can use this sauce on veggies, or mix it with rice for a casserole, too...it's versatile!

Put the noodles back into their now-dry cooking pot, add the onions, then pour the sauce it all. Mix. Dump the mac and cheese into a baking dish and cover with the handful of cheese (or more if you like it gooey), then bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until it's all golden and bubbly.

Mmmm...

For some variety you could...

...add steamed broccoli
...add cooked ham
...mix in some Boursin or Allouette style cheese
...crumble some bleu cheese into it (bleh)(but hey, to each his own)
...caramelize the onions before mixing them in
...saute a few mushrooms in butter and garlic, then toss 'em in the mix
...add fresh, steamed peas
...add crab meat (I plan to try this very soon)
...add fresh steamed asparagus and shredded prosciutto
...add fried pancetta
...throw some fresh spinach in
...use a bit of shredded Parmesan
...add some sauteed squash and/or zucchini
...try some Gruyere, Asiago, Asadero, Fontina, or Romano for a different flavor
...stir in a can of tomatoes and chilies, drained
...add corn
...toss in some chunks of cooked turkey or chicken
...stir in some ground beef
...top with bread crumbs browned in butter
...use your imagination

Some recipes call for tempering in an egg before you sauce the noodles. Those recipes scare me - we often lose our temper around here, and broken or curdled sauces make me sad. If you really want to, go right ahead, but it's all you, baby.

If you want to double it up, go right ahead. If you want to freeze it, do so after adding the cheese sauce but before baking. When you want to nom, simply defrost and bake.

Trust me - I am not into difficult, fiddly recipes. This is a bit more advanced than, say, making toast, but it's no more challenging than that blue box stuff and it tastes soooo much better!

What do you like with your mac and cheese?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lookie, Lookie!

We had company over the weekend.

No, not these guys...
Handy J and his wife The Divine Mizz M came for a visit. Handy J is a glutton for punishment a nice fellow who wanted to help us with a few projects here at the Vortex of Doom Casa de Crazy, and his wife tagged along because who doesn't want to fall victim to the Evil Genius and his relentles quest for attention and someone to play with??

The Divine Mizz M accompanied Sprout, the Evil Genius and I to a drum circle on Friday. Sprout thought the tambourine shaker was tasty.

Sunday, Mum brought me some shirts that needed altering, and a prezzy:

Got any nice, easy dill pickle recipes??

I made macaroni and cheese tonight. From scratch. I've never done it before. Holy Hannah...the recipe will be up in the next day or so, as soon as I recover...

How was your weekend??

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Simple Economics

A package of seeds costs a whole dollar at the evil empire. Yeah, yeah, but any seed is better than no seed at all.

Hot house cucumbers are up to $1.49 at the market right now.

If we can get one seed to grow into one plant and produce one cucumber, we're up $.49.

We have several vines of several varieties growing, mostly heirloom/open polinated types. We still have plenty of seeds, too. It's a small saving, but the small savings add up. Not buying cukes means I can put that money towards meat for the winter.

At $2 - $5 a jar for pickles, I need to learn how to make my own...save more at the market, never mind that home grown/homemade is usually superior.

Tomatoes at the market ("vine"ripe my fat fanny) are upwards of $3 a pound. One plant producing one tomato would set me ahead almost a buck. We have a dozen or so, a mix of types, and they are loaded. Again with needing to learn how to can - water bath method as I don't have and cannot afford a presure canner at this time. I really should learn how to use the dehydrator to full advantage, as well - did some blueberries, but they went a bit long and are more crispy than raisinish...oh,well...

We haven't yet purchased okra at the market - no need.

Eggplant, onions, peppers, potatoes, squash, melons, beans, peas, lettuce, cabage, strawberries, blueberries, assorted herbs...on and on...it all adds up.

Considering today's economy, you can hardly go wrong investing a buck or two...

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Wanted: $250,000

How much does a dream cost?

I have a dream.

Ok, so I have a few dreams...but most of them are small things, or day dreams that are more "Wouldn't it be nice...?" and less the kind of longing, yearning, hopeful things that make one sigh wistfully in quiet moments.

But this one dream? It's kind of a big one...and it's not just mine - Mum and Someone share it, too.

I want to move.

I want to move out of Casa de Crazy and up to Mum's place - Dragon's Rest. In a perfect world, we would build a house up there, one all of us would share. In my mind, I call it the Phoenix Nest; we are trying to rise from the ashes of our former selves, constantly reinventing who we are, adjusting our sights to new highs, new lows, new unattainable distances. We burn so beautifully - why not a Phoenix?

That's such a diaphanous dream, though...so difficult to grasp, so easily rent and ravelled...

Easier, though only relatively so, is the dream of buying her neighbors place, the land adjacent to Mum's. It already has a house, a barn, and some really fine garden space. There are woods, and the house is within sight of Mum's if you know where to look.

It happens to be the place I pick blueberries every year, because her neighbor is a very nice lady.

It also happens to be off the market at the moment - she had it listed for a while,but there were no takers at the asking price...and as it was going for a song, I don't blame her for declining the low ball offers people made.

Given the right offer by the right people, though...maybe she would sell.

I suspect I'm the right people. She seems to like me. If I had the dosh, I would make an offer of exactly what she wants on the place.

I don't have the dosh, though.

I think about it every time we go up to, or come home from, Mum's. I'd like "go home" to mean a short walk down a hill rather than an hour in the van. I would like to have dinner with Mum more than once or twice a month, would like to share family time with her, would like to have a conversation with her that does not require a phone or computer, would like to be there when the day comes (and it will come) when she needs someone tohelp her with the little things, the big things, with moving into age and eventually beyond this life. I would like to be the one she calls to drive her to the ER when she gets crazy with the sledgehammer, the maul, or sharp objects (you'd be surprised how common that is...no, really, ask her).

I need a best seller, or sugar-daddy, or a patron, or a lottery win. They're all equally likely.

So, my fellow denizens of Blogopolis, my fellow floaters in the Blue Nowhere...anyone have some cash to lend? I'd pay it back...eventually...maybe in bits and pieces, maybe in chunks, but all of it and then some.

Wanted: $250,000.

What's your dream? What do you need to attain it?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Surprised? Hardly. Dismayed? You Could Call It That...

...but outraged would be a better description.

Gettin' a little political, here...

Y'all, I don't want to appear to be beating a dead horse...and I don't want anyone thinking I am against government or all about lawlessness, anarchy, and other social bugaboos...but if this shit keeps happening, how the heck can we call ourselves a nation of laws?

Go read the story...I'll wait.

Don't want to link-hop? Skip to mah loo (or to the summary below).

You may find it helpful to go read the original story if you don't want my hashed-up retelling...again, I'll wait...

OK, here's the summary: A man is sleeping in his home in a not-as-nice-as-he'd-like-it-to-be neighborhood. His wife and one of their young sons are at home as well. His wife cries out that they are being invaded by armed men. Home invasions are not uncommon. The man is an ex-Marine, trained to think and act quickly in combat/tense situations. Intent on protecting his family, he gets his (legally owned) weapon. The safety is on. He never fires a shot. The men breaking into his home fire a collective 70 times. He is left for more than an hour in his home, bleeding to death, his wife and child held outside and unable to offer comfort or say farewell, while the men who shot him will not permit paramedics to attend to him and possibly (although probably not) save his life. A man who served his nation and sought only to keep his family safe dies alone in his own home.

Had this been a movie, the men who broke into the house would be Bad Guys, and Bruce Willis would kick their collective asses for two hours, with a grand finale of several explosions and at least one gruesome but totally karmic impalement.

Instead, it had a rather different ending.

The SWAT team was exonerated of any wrongdoing. Never mind they lied about him firing the first shot (the safety was engaged, remember) or that they found absolutely nothing in his home to indicate drugs, home invasions, or any of their other cocked-up bullshit about why this man's home needed breaking into. Never mind that they let a man bleed to death alone, unsuccored, for over an hour. Never mind that they sealed records after the fact to keep the public from learning about what happened, and almost immediately started a smear campaign to villainize the victim. Never mind that they didn't even know his child was in the home and entered with guns blazing. Never mind that not one person has owned up to what really happened to an innocent man, the participants instead seeking to justify or shift blame rather than face the consequences of their actions. They were exonerated.

Again, I pose the question - is it any wonder that the majority of the people living in this country either distrust, dislike, or outright hate law enforcement? How can we trust law enforcement to self-regulate, when it is the norm to say that they are not to blame for raiding the wrong home, for destroying property and lives, that there is no accountability?

Who watches the watchers??

To paraphrase Goldie Hawn in Protocol...I'm watching...like a hawk...

And one day? The governed will no longer consent to give these people their just powers...and then what?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Am From

I am from blue jeans worn thin at the knees, ragged at the cuffs, dirt and grass stained, faded from indigo to near-grey, from Marshmallow Fluff and peanut butter sandwiches and long summer days at the beach beneath the hammered-bronze sun.

I am from the woods and shores of New England, clammy, foggy mornings redolent of salt and seaweed.

I am from the beach plum in hidden places, the sugar maple's blazing Autumn glory.

I am from lobstering and clam boils, stubbornness and fire, from Papa and Mum, Spousie and Dad, madness (Mary Todd Lincoln) and prose (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).

I am from sailors and lawyers, artists and musicians.

From "Sit up straight!" and "Suck in your gut".

I am from "God is a nameless stranger in the sky who we pay lip service to a few times a year" and "If you don't donate money, you're not a good Christian" and "There is no God" and much later "the Earth is my religion, my church".

I'm from many places, from Lloyd, Mason, and McRae, from swordfish and Jell-O.

From landing on Watupa Pond and losing a pilot's license, burning down the yacht club, and feeding a pig Ex-Lax before releasing it in a spiteful woman's house while she was away. I am from sailing ships, the Coast Guard, the Air Force, from sailors, fishermen, a silversmith, wealth and poverty.

I am from stairwells hung with massive oil paintings, stern faces watching up,down, transitory wanderings, from sun-filled niches and pastel softness, slight smiles and a face the was my great-aunt, but not, cheap silver frames around fading copies of old black-and-white prints and square photos turning sepia in forgotten albums. I am from attics and shoe boxes and the brass bed that has dulled with time but shines in memory.

I am from Zippo lighters, fine china, sterling silver, and champagne, from horses and tennis and sailing, from bologna and Kraft dinners and throw-the-leftovers-in-the-crock-pot, from fishing for crab, digging clams, shucking corn, digging potatoes, gleaning peas from their pods and moldy cheese. I am from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, from the United States of America, from places long gone save for my recollection of them, from nobility, statesmen, Gypsies, horse thieves.

I am the sum my ancestry, from long lines dating back to the beginning, diverging, rejoining, from past, present future. I am from primordial ooze and the song of the stars. I am from here and now...and I am where tomorrow comes from...
~~~~~
I found this exercise/Meme at Mizz Magpie's...

Where are you from?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How Sprout Grows

Boring baby-stuff post ahead...fair warning!
~~~~~
Just after her fourth month, Sprout had her first "solid" food - rice cereal. She took to it like a Swan to water, and it's been go for solids ever since.

Now, at five-and-one-half months, she is not satisfied with mere bottle feeding. Solids twice a day? I think not. We're up to four time a day. I am introducing new foods slowly, making them here rather than buying jars of flavorless paste at the store.

So far, she has tried and liked: rice cereal, oatmeal, banana, apples with cinnamon and ginger, and sweet potato.

She has tried and not very much liked: avocado. On the advice of a friend, I will try mixing some avocado with banana.

Next up: mashed turnips and carrots - if she won't eat 'em, I will. Lentils. Peas. Pears. Squash. Blueberries (bonus, I picked them last summer, so I know where they came from and they are definitely organic!), and spinach.

That should get us through the next couple of months, when I will introduce her to the wonders of yoghurt.

As soon as she has teeth...oy...I imagine I'll be busy in the kitchen, trying to keep up with her.

In a few weeks, we'll have her six month check-up, and we'll see how all this new found eating has treated our Sprout...but judging by the ache in my arms, back, and shoulders, she's growing like a weed!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Column 6 - New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton
~~~
If you've made it this far, thank you. To support out troops, go visit Any Soldier or Troop BeBop (I know this woman - she's a force of nature!). I wish you a safe, joyous, and happy Independence Day

Friday, July 1, 2011

Just Then

There was sunlight, warm honey pouring through the window, spreading across the floor. There were motes of dust caught in the sticky heat, glinting, winking, semaphore reminders of housekeepery undone. There were beads of amber catching the light, upping the ante with their stillness. There was the baby, frenetic motion shattering the Zen, beads clacking as they flew through the air.

Among the fey we drummed and sang "Fuck you, fuck you...", only she didn't, she stared up at the trees, green against sky, and softly babbled my secret thoughts to the unseen. She didn't mind that some of those thoughts included rocks and possibilities and finality. She was caught up in the trek of the transparent wee snail inching its way along her arm. I was caught up in promises and the way the sun shone on the blue stones.

I wonder if she knew, when she babbled and wriggled and snuggled in and slept deep and hard and limp in Jenny's arms, I wonder if she knew that it was the only, the last, time, that in a few hours Jenny would carry the memory of her weight and warmth beyond life and into what follows.

It's all now. There's no yesterday, no tomorrow. All she has is now...hungry now, wet now, tired now. She moans, whimpers, whines, eh-heh-heh-heh, until I find the thing that now demands.

The cat curled at her feet, but she slept on against me and I dozed wrapped in the coolth of cotton sheets and the warmth of content in cat form, both of us lulled by the quartet of purrs and little mewlings.