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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just Remember It Was My Idea That Saved the World

So there's this global warming thing going on - have you heard of this? Apparently all the cow farts and car exhaust we're generating (don't get me started on the cow farts happening at Casa de Crazy - and we don't even have any cows!) are turning up the heat around the globe, and I guess that's a bad thing. What? You'd think people would be happy they don't need four pair of socks in January!

Well, I have a solution. You can thank me with cash - don't be shy of handing out large denominations, I'm a big girl and can handle 'em. I'll take my Nobel prize in blue.

Here's my fix, and it's so simple I bet you kick yourself for not thinking of it first:

Paint everything white.

No, seriously, that's it.

You see, dark colors absorb light/heat and make it hotter. Light colors reflect light/heat and make it cooler. As the snow and ice sheets melt, there is less to reflect sunlight back into space and out of our greenhouse, and it gets hotter and hotter, melting more ice and therefor reflecting less sunlight, and...umm...viscous cycle.

Want a graphic demonstration? Oh, c'mon, this is fun! Get two Popsicles (flavor doesn't matter - just use the ones no one else wants). On a fine, sunny day, place one Popsicle on a white car and one on a black car. See which one melts fastest. Make sure you use the neighbor's cars...neighbors you don't like. Or have a hose or some wet-wipes handy.

So - think about what it would do to paint everything white. Everyone can wear white or reflective clothing. All cars could be white. Houses, sheds, barns, and roofs could all be white. Roofs could be white or mirrored.

Brilliant, right? Right!!

People could be given rewards for not tanning...or would that be unfair because some folks can't help they've got naturally environmentally unfriendly skin? George Hamilton would have to pay fines. Lots of fines.

Imagine the difference it would make in a very short time - why, we could be using the back porch for cold storage in no time, and the fur industry would be back to a booming trade! Oh, wait...maybe not so much on the fur, because wouldn't that sort of negate the whole effort to be nice to the planet and future generations by nixing man-made global warming effects? So the Thinsulate industry will take off again. Thinsulates aren't endangered and are cruelty free, aren't they?

I am aware that not all warming effects are man made. I am aware that the planet is naturally cyclic and has patterns of warming/cooling that take eons to complete. I am aware that some folks don't think global warming is a matter for humor and won't appreciate my idea. Oh, well. The thing is, my idea is simple, safe, and based on sound scientific principle. There is no reason it could not work...and probably make a lot fewer people unhappy than if we banned beef or automobiles or industry or electricity...but I bet any one of those latter things will happen before anyone ever thinks to simply, literally, lighten up.

Meanwhile, I am going to corner the market on white tarps before anyone jumps on my brilliance.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Even In Cartoons...

...there are preppers.


Also, just so you know, I love this movie...it makes me giggle.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

'Tis the Season

Gathering season is coming upon us in a hurry. My band has a couple of gigs lined up for April and June, so we'll be rehearsing on a weekly basis and hopefully not sucking. We wanted to make a new CD over the winter, but that didn't happen...sigh...

I will be glad to make some music again - I'm usually really ready for winter's respite, but once spring rolls around I'm glad to get musical again. As much as I am disheartened by the process, I am invigorated, and in the end it's really less about performing and more about getting into what is, for me, sacred space. I so rarely feel powerful in my life...heck, usually I feel powerless...but when I'm singing I feel strong. That's good stuff.

What gives you that sense of strength in your life?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Apollonian

Serene; harmonious; disciplined; well-balanced.

Yup...almost exactly what I am not. But I'd like to get there - I hear it's nice...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Birthday Eats

I know it was a few days ago, but I had to wait to post this until I could invade K2's house and glom onto her Internet to post these - birthday eats:

We worked together in the kitchen, something I adore. Country/Chicken (depending on where you're from) Fried Steak, mashed taties, white gravy, and fried, homegrown okra for dinner - yay for death on a plate! The potatoes were from a box, the gravy from a packet, but the rest was home made. I was at the stove with the meat and whatnot, and Someone ran the fryer.

Meanwhile, I made my new favorite cake, a many-flavored pound cake with many-flavored glaze. I got the recipe from Someone's mother, and I adore it. She gave me the bundt pan - it's got a family history - and the first time I used it (for Sprout's birthday), I didn't flour it and there was something of a cake tragedy - but it tasted just fine and everyone liked it. This time, I used Baker's Joy and I am a convert...look at how nicely it came out:


Y'all have no idea how freakin' amazing this cake tastes...the glaze soaks in and makes a sort of uber-moist, slightly crunchy, intensely flavored outer edge and bottom. Whooooeee.


For the most part, it was a quiet day - the Evil Genius was with his dad until late afternoon, Someone got up with Sprout so I could sleep in (which was awesome because I was up with her for four hours in the middle of the night), there were a few phone calls (the Evil Genius called and sang to me - awesome!!), and we watched random movies and chilled.


I don't feel any older...but one of my hips is acting like it's twice the age of the rest of me, and we need to have a serious heart-to-hip about that...


So what kind of day/dinner do you like for your birthday?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Can, Can

I've been recording a show at Mum's, something on National Geographic about Doomsday Preppers. More on that some other time - I only mention it here so you have some idea why prepping has been on my mind of late.

We don't have a shipping container, or a building, or even a whole room dedicated to our preps. We have a closet. Hey, it's a start!

I wish I had some of those wonderful steel shelves - the shelves that Someone put into our closet are good, but they are wooden and are beginning to bow under the weight of canned and dry goods.

Canned and dry goods are at the heart of many a prepper's stores.

Which leads me to a big, fat, hairy minor complaint.

When I was a child, I remember stacking cans in the pantry. The bottom of one can fit neatly into the top of another, making it easy to keep them orderly.

What the hell happened??

These days, I have to perform a small animal sacrifice and chant a cantrip to get the soup cans to stack (I'm lookin' at YOU, Campbell's!)! The same with vegetables, fruits, broths - you name it, it won't stack nicely. Who decided it was a good idea to make cans un-stackable?? I'd like a word with that person...a word in my preps closet where I have to worry about unevenly stacked cans crashing down on my toes when I accidentally brush them with my elbow as I try to stack more cans.

If they won't change their wicked ways, I wonder if I can talk canned foods manufacturers into giving me a few dozen of those nifty can holders - you know, the ones where you drop the can in the top and it rolls down to the bottom where you pull it out when you need it? So you always use the oldest items first? Then I might be mollified...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Love Letter

Dear Publix,

Long ago, in my misspent youth, I shopped at any old grocery store. I didn't care if it was national, local, or international - I was all about the convenience. If it was close, I shopped there. I am mortified to admit that sometimes I didn't even care how clean it was. The horror! I often wandered thoughtlessly through the local Kroger, Big Star, or Food Lion without giving a though to you, humbly waiting in the next town or a few blocks away for a token visit.

O! The time wasted with other, inferior stores! Alack! Alas! Ahem...

I started shopping with you when you built a store near the track. How convenient, to be able to buy groceries when I got there instead of carting them from home! Then, when I moved up to the area, that store was the closest, and it was familiar to me, so it became my default.

A few years ago, Ingles and Kroger both tried to woo me away from you by building huge monuments to excess, also called "super stores", between you and I. I admit, I paid them visits - especially Kroger, who sought to tempt me with a Starbuck's kiosk - but they weren't you, dear Publix.

Since our beginning, you have gone far beyond mere customer service. Your pharmacy has been stellar, and your cashiers and stockers are wonderful - kind, cheerful, helpful without being intrusive - so much so that I now drive past Kroger and Ingles and eschew the Evil Empire for you. You even accept their coupons! Marvelous!

Why, I didn't even complain - much - when you rearranged the entire store to meet a nationally standardized layout. I simply wandered about, lost, until I was familiar with the new product placements. Now I can once again shop in my sleep, blindfolded, should the need arise.

I have mourned when the people I know have quit, retired, or been fired. Your employees are so nice to me, I feel valued, special. You may not know this, Publix, but an agoraphobic like me takes comfort in familiar places and faces, and even on days when I didn't want to walk to the end of the drive to collect the mail, I could come visit you without too much effort on my part. Your people have made some of my bad days better simply by being their wonderful selves.

Recently, you held a promotion - buy so many dollars or more of groceries, get a gift card for x-amount. I bought well over the minimum amount and figured I'd get a card. Your employee, though, asked the manager if it was one card for the whole order, or one card for every so many dollars. You, dear Publix, despite the careful wording of the promotion to make it clear a shopper got ONE card, you said "Eh, give one for every time they reach that amount", netting me several cards which ultimately let me buy a few luxury items like toilet paper and cat food. You are awesome that way.

Some day, hopefully in the near future, I will be moving up to Mum's place. There is no Publix here. There are only a rather inferior Ingles and an Evil Empire. Not to worry, beloved Publix - I will be loading coolers and bags into Rosie the Mule and driving down to visit you for my grocery needs. Yes, really - I would rather make a forty minute drive than have to tolerate anything less than you, Publix.

Thank you for not becoming one more in a string of retail disappointments - your constant drive to remain service-oriented is a wonder to me in an age of chains that seem to think I am here to serve them, not the other way around.

I love and adore you, Publix...

Yours as long as you'll open your doors to me,
K

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day

A bit more than two years later, I'm still very much in love with Mr. Someone. Crazy in love. Want-to-spend-ninety-more-years-with-him in love. Whew. It's exhausting and exhilarating. Happy V-Day, lover...*




*sadly, he can't read this because we have no Internet and I'm pre-posting this from a friend's house, but the sentiment stands.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Muice

While I was pregnant, and then after I had Sprout, I was urged to join WIC (Women, Infants, Children), a federal program geared towards low/no-income pregnant women and children up to the age of five. It's supposed to help ensure proper nutrition all around. I resisted until after she was born, then signed up...because have you SEEN the price of formula? Holy carp, you'd think it was liquid gold! WIC involves classes, vouchers, and visits with nutritionists, and I must admit it has been a boon given our struggles.

The variety of folk who utilize the program fascinates me. That I seem to have more than the average number of teeth alarms me. I don't mean to sound uppity, because I DO call my region of the world Redneck Central, and I fit right in...but there really is a stunning lack of dentition in the WIC waiting room. There is also a marked lack of English spoken, but that's par for the region as well - there is a booming Latino population in the area thanks to both agricultural and industrial concerns. I am one of the very few people in my neighborhood who does not bad-mouth immigrants of legal or illegal status. I am learning Spanish, bonus for me!

At our one-year visit, the nutritionist declared the end of formula for us, and on to solids and milk drinking. I didn't see that as too much of an issue, as Bird had been weaned from the bottle on his first birthday and never looked back.

Sprout, on the other hand, took exception - not to the lack of bottle, but to the milk. Milk, it seems, is beverage-non-grata in her lexicon. Oh, dear...now what?

We decided what the heck, we'd mix in a little juice and see what happened.

We call it Muice (sounds like moose), and she thinks it's just fine. She'll drink up to three cups of it in a day. The ratio, at the moment, is four ounces of milk to two ounces of juice. We'll start using more milk, less juice, as time goes on. I wonder how anyone expects a baby to drink 24 ounces of milk day - good grief, she won't have room for food!

Odd combinations are the order of the day, for our Sprout. She changes her mind about what is good eats on a regular basis, keeping me on my toes. Some things make a good hiding place for less popular foods - you can hide a world of food-sins in mashed up apples, pears, or blueberries.

Our vouchers permit us to purchase a certain amount of produce ($6.00), bread-type foods (up to two bread, tortillas, brown rice, or whole-grain sandwich buns), beans (1 pound or four cans), a dozen eggs, and four gallons of milk and two jugs of juice a month. The milk is insane - we can't use it all up! I'm actually drinking milk - and I loathe milk. Bleh! My bones have a different opinion, though, so I man up and drink the vile stuff...

So thanks for the groceries - if you pay taxes, you're buying food for my baby, and I appreciate that. She's raising a cup of muice in your honor.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Help Wanted (SO Series)

There's a sign in the window - "Help Wanted, Apply Within".

He's seen it for a few days, finally made up his mind to go inside and see if...

He's wearing his best shirt, button-down denim, and his best pants, the jeans that don't have holes or stains and the zipper still works fine without help from a safety pin.

His hands are clean, his hair cut and combed neatly, no dirt under his fingernails. He trimmed his beard and shaved his stubble this morning. His face is carefully set in an expression of pleasant neutrality - if he is hopeful, it does not show, nor does the weariness that has dogged him for the last few years. It's just an application, nothing more. He keeps telling himself that.

Before coming here, he drove around the area, checked out the nearby neighborhoods and businesses. He has to be careful that there are no churches, daycares, schools, parks, bus stops, playgrounds, or other amusements, businesses, or attractions for children within so many feet of the business.

He takes a steadying breath and walks in. With the economy still in the tank, he figures there will be plenty of people lining up for a job, but he's the only one in there at the moment. There's a man at the register, looking bored. There are motes of dust floating through the air, tiny glinting reminders that the sun is still shining in the world. Sometimes he's surprised by that light, as if the shadows that envelop him must surely have devoured the whole world by now. When they part and let the brightness in, it is almost painful to his dark-adjusted heart.

"Help you?" the man at the register asks?
"Saw the sign..."
"You able to do heavy lifting?"
"Yes, sir." He is always polite.
"You able to work weekends?"
"Yes, sir."
"You have transportation? Can you be on time?"
"Yes, sir."
Okay, then..." he waves a handful of paper in the air before slapping it on the small counter. "...fill this out."

It's the usual thing - name, date of birth, tax information, work history, on and on. He wonders, as he always does, about the thirteen year gap. Will they notice? Will it matter?

Then there's the question that he dreads most on job applications. "Any felonies?"

He is honest. It's a matter of pride for him. Plenty of people lie, and some of them don't get caught, but he won't do it. He writes "Yes", signs the application, hands it to the man at the counter.

Sometimes they look over the application right away. Sometimes they say "We'll call." Sometimes they do call. Usually they don't. This time, the man looks over the papers while he stands there. He pauses and looks up.

"Long time out of work."
"Yes, sir."

The man at the counter finishes, looks up again.
"Got a felony?"
"Yes, sir."
"What for?"
"Sex offender." He doesn't give details. They never care.
"Sorry, can't hire you. Wish I could, we you're the best applicant we've had, but there's a home daycare one block over."
"Thanks anyway."

That's it, then. Another waste of time. Maybe there's really a daycare, maybe not. The man at the counter seemed genuine, but you never can tell. They've lied, before, to avoid the awkwardness or because they don't think he deserves the courtesy of the truth. He's not sure what's worse, the ones who look him up and down and purse their mouths like he's dragged some kind of stink in with him and they want to block the smell with their upper lips, the ones who lie and don't care he can see they're lying, or the ones who are honestly sympathetic.

He used to try and get jobs in his old field. He's educated, skilled, should be a good hire. No one was interested, though, when they saw the felony staring at them from the paperwork. He looked for work in other fields, other industries, crawling down the ladder until her reached the bottom, always hoping that someone would give him a chance. He's had some odd jobs, a few cash-under-the-table things, some construction clean-up and floor sweeping work, but nothing steady, nothing that pays the bills when they need paying or feeds his family. He's taken up, and then quit, drinking several times. It's an expensive habit (although cheaper than many others), one that helps kill the hurt and resentment for a little while, even as it fuels them.

Sometimes a friend or family member will tell him about a job, a place where they hire ex-felons. He applies, but there are so many men and women like him, it's like one drop in the ocean hoping to be noticed.

Fifteen years ago, he made a bad decision. He was young and high and she was flattering with her attention and admiration. He knew she wasn't adult, but he didn't know she was considered a child by the law. She looked like that in-between age that isn't quite woman, isn't quite girl, that age when they're legal, just. She liked his attention, like touching him and the response it engendered, and he liked the way she looked up to him and made him feel strong, capable, and even wise. When she asked him up to her room, he didn't think about it, just said okay and let her take his hand, lead him up the stairs and into a shrine to the years between child and adult, a place where adolescence is just beginning to give way to more grown-up things.

Fifteen years ago, he was caught with a girl who was not, it turned out, seventeen two weeks ago. Her parents came home early, saw his truck in the driveway, walked in on them cuddled on her bed. So what, he was fully clothed and she was mostly dressed? So what, they never got to anything more than a few tentative touches, a little exploring? So what he was little more than a kid himself, four years older than she said she was? So what? No one cares.

No one cares that he isn't interested in children. No one cares that he would put a child molester under the ground in a heartbeat. He's lumped in with the rest of them, top of the list every time a child goes missing or is found harmed or dead in the area. DNA sample, fingerprints, and has to prove it wasn't him, he's never again innocent until proven guilty.

He climbs back into his old, beat up car, cranks it up, prays he can find a job before he needs gas. Someone, somewhere will see more than that "SO"...won't they? Before he gives up entirely and lets himself sink into the quagmire of drugs, alcohol, and self-loathing that is always there, always happy to suck him in and hold him under...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pulse

Being disconnected from the world as we are, the denizens of Casa de Crazy aren’t exactly up on the latest news and world events. I had to call a friend just to find out what time and channel the Super Bowl (or, ad-stravaganza, as I like to think of it) came on!

Bless her heart, Mizz B was kind enough to oblige me, and we chatted a bit before she found the info I needed. She mentioned something about an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse, likely caused by detonation of a nuclear device in the atmosphere), and I laughingly said something about not being worried, I have a large umbrella.

Then I asked if there was actually the threat of such a thing, and she told be about the tests in Iran, how the Iranian government is working on/has a missile that can reach the continental US.

Hmm.

We discussed, for a moment, what an EMP can do, how it could affect us as individuals and a nation, and talked a little about prepping. It reminded me of the show coming on Discovery in the next week or two – Doomsday Preppers. It also reminded me that I need to be re-stocking our preps, as we’ve had to tap them a bit during our own personal recession.

Preppers.

I’m a prepper, he’s a prepper, she’s a prepper, we're all preppers, wouldn’t you like to be a prepper, too?

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

I’m not an Alfred E. Neuman, “What, me worry?” type, but neither am I a Chicken Little, “The end is nigh!” type – I tend towards a middle ground of “It’s just a good idea to have a little extra put aside”.

I suspect that the whole Mayan Calendar, Iranian Missile confluence is going to inspire a great deal of prepping in the next few months. Companies will spring up like mushrooms selling everything from food-safe storage bins to complete food supplies, from assorted seed packages to build-a-bunker-in-the-woods. Shoot, companies like that already exist – surf the Net and you’ll find ‘em by the score!

I grew up in a bad weather area – everything from hurricanes to blizzards were on the menu – and we didn’t have the Internet, or pizza delivery, or SUVs and the like. We knew we could go days or even weeks without access to stores and supplies, so it made sense to have a few cans of soup and some crackers around. We had fireplaces and wood stoves, so cooking wasn’t a concern, and since it got mighty cold in winter, if there was no power the porch became our refrigerator.

These days, my own prepping habits center around three concerns (in no particular order):

1. Our finances are so uncertain as to be non-existent. Buying storable food when I can means I’ll have it when there’s no money for groceries. I’ve had to rely on stores/preps in the past when I was between jobs, and my squirrel-hoard meant I didn’t go hungry.

2. While I no longer live in blizzard/hurricane territory, one snowflake can bring major metropolitan areas to a screeching halt around here, and tornadoes fancy our landscape for their sinuous dance of destruction, so weather can affect one’s ability to dine – keeping things on hand that don’t need cooking, or can be cooked over fire means not having to go out among the bewildered when foul weather strikes.

3. These are socially and politically unstable times. While I’m not one who believes the end will come on 12/21/12, and I don’t believe we’ll be nuked/EMPd/Drugged/Mass Hypnotized out of existence, I do have some concerns about the availability of basic goods and our ability to fetch them home when they can be gotten. Soaring food prices mean that the money that used to feed my family for months now lasts a couple of weeks – and while we may eat better than we deserve, we’re not living high on the hog either. Having a stock of staples like flour, sugar, corn meal, and salt (to name a few) is useful now and a hedge against the possibilities of later unavailability.

An EMP could certainly rearrange our lifestyle for a while, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster – as I understand it, electronics not in use/turned on when a pulse hits are largely unaffected, so as long as there are back-up electronics and systems waiting quiescent in the corner, and auxiliary hardware for the grid, we wouldn’t be too awfully stressed. Think of the jobs generated by the need to get things back up and running in a hurry! All the folks who love their good old cars and trucks would be mighty popular, too, since the strictly mechanical vehicles wouldn’t be effected at all. The Amish and Mennonite communities probably wouldn’t even notice.

Am I worried about an EMP? Not really.

That Mizz B and her husband are concerned enough to have begun prepping themselves tells me something…they’re pretty level-headed folks who don’t jump on the End of the World bandwagon every time there’s a saber rattled, so if they’re genuinely concerned then it’s worth worrying about…but I just don’t see Iran or any other nation being that stupid.

The threat of a strike has long been a popular tool in international politics. The use of violence is a whole other critter, though, and while something like an EMP or nuclear strike would certainly put a hitch in our gitalong, it would also deeply piss us off as a nation – and while we appear weak and unwilling to strike back, that’s an illusion. We have a deep reserve of anger, irritation, and resentment to draw upon, and a sub-strata of society that is well armed and happy to have a target to focus all that agita on, so it won’t take long for us to rally and (to sound a little redneck) git to whompin’.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How Dry I Am (Or the Laundry Is, Anyway)

Our electric clothes dryer bit the big one a few weeks ago. Yeah, it never rains but it pours at Casa de Crazy, and old Aunt Entropy decided to remind me that she's boss, I'm her bitch, and I better mind her or she'll smack me around some more. Sigh. I love you, Aunt Entropy...

So the dryer went caput...quietly, without a hum, a buzz, a fizzle, a pop, or a wisp of smoke. It just...didn't dry. We think maybe a new heating element will right the poor thing, but given our current economic status, that'll be a while in coming.

Luckily, last year Someone installed a solar dryer for me. Yay, Someone!! I've been wanting one for a long while, and he obliged.

A solar dryer, for those not in the know, is also known as a bit of rope and some trees or posts. You know, a clothes line?

Even my better-than-well-off grandparents had one when I was a kid. We dried sheets on them, mostly, especially in the summer time.

Ours has been somewhat patchy in use - after all, a solar dryer can only work when there's sun. With no Internet and no television, and no radio reception in the house (I'd give just about anything for an old-fashioned transistor radio in the kitchen), we don't get a weather report unless we call a friend or family and ask for one, so I have to look out the window in the morning and determine if I think it's a laundry day.

I can get four or five loads washed and dried on a good day - the solar dryer is faster than the electric one, hands down (when it's working, that is). It's been quite warm and sunny lately, rather spring-like, so I've been doing laundry like mad and hoping for no sudden onset precipitation.

I like the way clothes and linens smell when they've been dried on the line. Sometimes they're a little stiff and raspy, but I don't mind. The only things that really want drying in a machine are Someone's socks. Socks dried on the line are not so comfortable - so socks come with me to Mum's once a week for a run through the machines. I'd use a laundromat, but Mum's machines don't demand quarters...

Luckily, Someone has lots of socks, so he doesn't have to recycle dirty ones or go without. I never knew anyone so fanatical about his socks!

When the sun is not obliging and I simply MUST have something washed, we hang it over the Evil Genius's shower rod and turn a fan on it to dry. Not exactly optimal, but it works in a pinch.

Things will get back to what passes for normal around our place one of these days...but in the meantime, we'll muddle through somehow, just like we always do. It's not so bad...except for desperately missing the Blue Nowhere and you folks, that is...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shrimp Curry

Someone's mother brought us a blast from his past last year - curry mix. She used to make it when he was a kid.

Last October, a friend brought me a whole mess of shrimp he'd caught, as a gift. They've been lurking in the freezer.

Last week, tired of soup, tired of rummaging through various remnants in the fridge and freezer, Someone said "Shrimp curry..."

And so we did.

We peeled and de-veined some shrimp together - he peeled, I de-veined - and I chopped some onion, carrots, and celery as well. I adore cooking with him - and I love the fact that he's an adventurous eater, will try anything once, and doesn't complain about my often cockeyed cooking. This time, I followed the directions because curry is a little out of my element in the kitchen. I've eaten it, just never made it before.

We had saffron rice and something called "Japanese Blend" vegetables from the freezer section to go with it.

May I say "Yummy!!" Because...yummy!!

We will be having it again.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Bench (SO Series)

Her head hangs down. She seems unaware of her surroundings, unaware of the children laughing and playing a few yards away, unaware of the dappled sunlight that plays across her hair, unaware of the people moving through the park in their various orbits. If anyone notices her, they don't show it.

She's been crying. Look closely enough and you'll see the scant evidence - wet eyelashes, a hint of red around the outer edges, a slight pinking of her nose. She isn't loud, or showy, but she doesn't try to stop the tears, either. She knows no one will see. No one ever does. She is gifted at being unseen. Gifted and cursed.

She got a phone call from her brother yesterday. He told her he doesn't want his family associating with hers. He found out her partner is a sex offender, did an Internet background search, and that's that. It doesn't matter that it looks worse than it is, that her partner didn't do the things the charges would have one believe he did. Her brother doesn't care, isn't really interested in knowing what did happen. As far as her brother is concerned, her partner is a bad person and is not to be associated with - as if it's a stain that will spread.

So now she can choose - go to family events without her beloved or stay away and not see half her family ever again. Her children will not meet her cousins. She will be a stranger to her nieces and nephews. Her kids won't know their uncle or aunt. It's an untenable position to be in.

The crime for which her partner was convicted looks awful, on paper. In reality, a girl lied to him about her age when he was a young man, and he was foolish enough to believe without questioning. Her father saw him driving away one afternoon, didn't want to believe that his sweet baby girl would behave that way, wouldn't hear anything but that the young man was older and had kissed his little girl, touched her breast, didn't matter that she said she liked it. Daddy called the authorities, who knew this girl, knew this family, had been through this before with other young men.

The courts don't care if the alleged victim invited the attention. She's too young to know what she wants, the courts say. You can't show that she's had a pattern of this behavior - that would be blaming the victim for the crime, wouldn't it? You can't say she lied, and even though she's willing to say so, she's not allowed to speak because she's too young to understand what's happening. The girl will suffer no consequence for her serial behavior, will simply go on with her life careless of the lives she's shattered all around her.

So now the woman's partner is punished every day for a crime he served a prison sentence over - a sentence that should have ended it, should have been his punishment, except people won't look beyond what's on paper or their own prejudices.

The woman sighs, wipes her eyes. It doesn't matter. In the end, there's no choice, really - she won't abandon her partner, so she'll add one more name, one more family, to the list of people who want nothing to do with her. It hurts, but the hurt is less with every repetition.

She takes another deep breath, plasters a smile on her face, and calls to her children. She has taken some photos for her partner - he can't come to the park with her, the law won't allow it, so he has only seen their child swing, go down the slide, and ride the see-saw on a screen at home. He has seen swimming lessons and play dates through her lens. Sometimes she would like to just uncomplicatedly enjoy her children, but she can't bring herself to deny her partner this little bit of joy.

She thinks life can be awfully difficult, and that people can be cruel, but what can she do? Hide her tears, wear a false smile, and get on with it...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, K2!!

So, yeah, happy birthday to K2, sister of my heart, who is 13 days older than me, so for the next two weeks I can tease her mercilessly about how she's forty and I'm not. Yeah...

Also, happy Imbolc - the sun's visiby growing stronger, the god is thriving, the goddess is happy, and Spring is showing signs of emerging from winter's rest. Yay!

What're y'all up to?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Three Things

Three names people call me: I'm guessing nice ones are in order so...hmm...Kyd, Flower, and Mommy.

Three places I've lived: Misery, Confusion...oh, wait...Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Florida

Three places I have worked: Work? Me? Hmm...At a Montessori school (teacher), Michael's (framer), and Denny's (world's worst Denny's waitress).

Three shows I love to watch: No TV right now, but I WAS fond of Man vs Food, Dirty Jobs, and Any of the Blue Planet/Planet Earth type shows on Discovery.

Three places I have been: Hell (and back). Okay, really...hmm...Bunker Hill, Kennesaw Mountain, and Normandy.

Three things I love to eat: Food, food, and more food. What??

Three things I look forward to: Having the Internet back some day, being able to pay bills without wondering if it means going without toilet paper, shampoo, or cat food.

Three people I get regular e-mails from: Mum, Kerri, and Rachel.

Three places I want to go: Australia, Ireland, and Hawaii.

Feel free to take a turn...