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, March 30, 2012

Dawn Chorus

As night slowly slides into day, light seeping through cracks in the curtains and blinds, it begins; the dawn chorus.

Cough.

Cough, cough, cough, achoo!

Cough, cough, hrrrrm, cough.

Cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, hack, cough, wheeze, more cough.

All four of us have a cough of one kind or another. All day long we trade spams, back and forth. As Someone said, if aliens were listening to us, they might think it's our own peculiar form of communications! At night, when we're sleeping, it stops for a while - but as we leave the depths of sleep and skim along the surface, it starts up again.

I'm thinking we should start a chorus.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sprouting in the Spring

On Ostara (vernal equinox), we were at Mum's. Last year, Mum and Someone fenced her garden space with a sort of invisible-to-deer fencing. Turns out, it's terrific for containing Sprout as well, which means we can take her outside at Mum's and let her wander a little. Mum decided to start turning one of her beds, so we grabbed a quilt to sit on, occupied a non-garden patch of ground, and kept her company.

Of course, Sprout was not content to sinply sit on the quilt - she had to help. She wandered about, then went to see what her Gramlin was up to.

As soon as her toes touched the freshly turned earth she wriggled them, then had to hunker down and get her hands into it and give it a feel. She ate a bit, crumbled clods in her hand, and generally had a good old sensory experience. She approved.

And yes, that's a headboard in the background - it's a garden bed, sillies.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Whoa...

I know it's been a minute...I've been sick and not much feeling like being online for any length of time, and then the van went in for an oil change and had to have substantial work done, but since I thought it was only going to be in the shop for day, I left Bob the Wonder Computer in her and it took a week to fix her, so I was Bob-less. Sigh.

So Sprout isn't a baby any more. She'll always be my baby of course, but she's a toddler (and occasionally a stumbler, and frequently a runner and climber, too) now, although I wouldn't call what she does toddling - she is steadier on her feet than some adults! I was looking through some photos and thought "Holy carp!!" Look, just born:

And then a year later:

And a few days ago (at 14 months-ish):

See what I mean? Holy carp! Time flies...

The photos are all of her sleeping because that's just about the only time she'll sit still.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Pat's x Three

Third time I'm posting this, but why mess with perfection, eh? Why do I hear crickets...?
~~~~~

I'll be cooking corned beef and cabbage, much to my family's delight. I'll try to remember to take some up to Mum on Monday...if there's any left... Bird likes the meat fine, but not the cabbage, and he doesn't want the potatoes, which leads me to wonder if any of the one-quarter Irish in my veins made it to him. I get not liking cabbage, but potatoes? Something's not right with the child. Someone will happily scarf the lot, because he's a good Irish lad.

Seeing as I'm Pagan, you wouldn't think I'd celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Better than most, I know what St. Patrick did to get famous and earn his sainthood. However, I'm also part Irish, and I happen to love corned beef and cabbage. Also, I consider it a reclaiming of the day for Pagans, or some junk.

A bit of rather bent history (that has, I'll grant you, been mangled in my head over the years and is rather truncated because I'm not writing a book, here)(I'm writing a book somewhere else). When I was a child, we were told that St. Patrick's day was to celebrate his chasing all the snakes out of Ireland. It is an historically serpent-free bit of earth, and the church attributed this to St. Pat and his efforts...kind of overlooking that there weren't any of the slithery things on the island to begin with, if you ask me. Which they didn't, because I was a kid and most grown-ups weren't prepared for my staggering logic and keen grasp of history but rather appalling lack of respect for theology .

Many years later, people were saying St. Patrick's Day was a celebration of all things Irish, like green beer (wait, isn't beer German??) and green clothes, and green hair, and green mashed potatoes (which I won't eat on a dare because, really...green potatoes???), and rivers dyed green (I'm sure the fish are all so very thankful to be included...like Fridays and Lent weren't enough for them!)(that might only be funny if you're Catholic)(or not) and exclusionary parades, and funny little men waving their shillelaghs about (look it up you pervs!!) and that sort of thing.

In none of the many different explanations for this seemingly random holiday did anyone mention pagans. A most curious oversight of you know what St. Patrick, who was just Patrick at the time (not really, I have no idea what his real name was. For all I know, it was Fred), was actually doing on the Emerald Isle.

He was born and lived sometime between 490 and 461 AD, give or take. Around age sixteen, he was either sent or stolen and taken to Ireland where he spent some time hanging out with sheep and being lonely. He talked to God a lot. You may notice that lots of shepherds do that. You would too if all you had for company all day was a bunch of mutton-heads. Christianity was rolling along like a snowball in those days, spreading out all over the dang place. Good grief, it was getting so that a simple Pagan/Heathen (there's a difference between the two, not that the church cared much) couldn't get any peace any more. Everywhere they turned, there was a church being built where a sacred grove used to be, from the trees that used to be the sacred grove, or a church going up on a sacred hill, or someone bathing their dirty feet in a sacred stream. To be fare, there was a lot of real estate lumped under that "sacred" heading in the pagan world. We're like that - we just love our planet so. Plus, you know, all those gods needed housing, and they don't do the roommate thing very well. So the pagans were running out of places to have sex on the ground, in the woods, up a tree - they were big on the sex, those little devils - and to read entrails in their spare time.

I digressed. Sorry.

So there was this lonely kid, Patrick Whatsisname, hanging out with sheep and pondering life, the universe, and everything. He got the idea, somewhere along the way, that maybe other folks should share his God. He got out of his contract (OK, probably slavery) and went around telling folks how terrific his God was, and how he reckoned they should convert.

It seems that polite conversation wasn't doing it for the pagans, who tended to stare at him, or point and laugh. Rude beggars, huh? Now young Patrick (or middle aged Patrick, or old Patrick, I have no idea) decided he needed to be a bit more...persuasive. He had noticed something common among the pagan big-wigs. The guys at the top of the food-chain, magic/spirituality wise speaking tended to have a symbol on them somewhere...usually around their wrist. On the wrist that indicated their "hand of power", or the hand which they believed their "magic" flowed from. If it wasn't a tattoo, it was a torque. Guess what the tattoo/torque was? A critter called the oroborus. For them as what doesn't ken what that critter is, it's a snake eating its tail, and often represents eternity.Pat realized that if he took away this "power", he took away their mystique and leadership ability. So he removed the snakes - often with something edged and unpleasant. Yes, he whacked off their hands. Or branded their skin. Or took their trinkets. Converting Heathens is such messy work!! It was for their own good, of course.

Some pagans today go on "snake crawls", a sort of pub crawl where they wear snakes and proclaim their paganism. I'm not quite that...er...proactive. I also don't necessarily think old Pat went around mauling everyone he met in an effort to build church membership and win a nifty prize. But it's the bloody aspect of what he did that earned his name in Christendom and for which his holiday is celebrated.

So again, why would I celebrate the day? Well, I'm all for a day when families get together and discuss history, theology, spirituality, and the like. Traditions are important - they give us a foundation on which to build our lives. People should discuss their history so they don't repeat it - whatever side of the issue they're on. Also, as I mentioned, I am part Irish. I can celebrate that heritage even as I acknowledge its imperfection. And I am Pagan - and I am celebrating the fact that I can be pagan today without (much) fear of having my (largely not visible when I'm clothed) tattoos painfully removed and other unpleasantness (except for the odd zealot who thinks I'm fair game, but I'm used to that. I live in the Bible belt, after all). Precisely because we didn't get wiped out, I celebrate. And have you ever had a really nice corned beef and cabbage dinner? I mean, yum!

Oh, but I won't be wearing green. I wear blue. Don't even think about pinching me

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wave, Pulse

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

~~~~~
I miss the sea.

I grew up in New England, on the coast, with a stint in Florida for added flavor. Not until I moved to Redneck Central in my middle teens was I ever land-locked - there had always been the sound, the scent, the sight of Mother Ocean somewhere nearby.

Summers spent on Martha's Vineyard with family (hold-overs from whaling days and times before the island became a playground for the rich and supposedly privileged) meant weeks on end of beach and boat time. My father's small house had one bedroom, a bath on the hallway, a wee living room, a small kitchen, and a constant sound track provided by the ocean that I could see from his back door - if distantly. A twenty minute or so motorboat ride would have my feet on the sand, feeling the rhythm of the water as it met the land.

I slept in what could loosely be called a shed, separate from the house and largely weather proof, my own little haven that today might be called child neglect but at the time I loved beyond measure. At night, rather than use the house toilet, I would find a patch of poison ivy to pee on. Thunder storms were rare, and awesome when experienced in a garden-shed sized space made of MDF and shingles.

Calm or stormy, I went to sleep hearing the susurus of surf in the distance. No sleep can compare to one accompanied through the night by that lullaby.

I cherished those summer weeks because they were the only time I had with my father and the ocean.

On rare occasions, he would take me out on his boat. I loved that. On one journey, we were floating out in deep water, relatively motionless, and we were joined by a basking shark. The shark was longer than the boat (32 foot, as I recall), and still in the water. It was almost surreal. I wanted to get in the water with it - they are vegetarians - but my father wouldn't hear of it. Captain runs the boat, so I stayed dry and encounterless, but I'll never forget how beautiful and terrible it was.

While I very much enjoyed swimming off a boat in deep water, the beach was where most of my polliwog time was spent. I would swim in water that could keep beer perfectly chilled and be sorry when it was time to come out. I would swim in glass calm seas or dive through waves that kept more timid swimmer on shore. I was pulled under and pounded in the washing-machine plenty of times, but never got out of the water because of it. I never met a wave I was afraid of. While others would be on the sand eating lunch, I swam. Building sand castles? Nope - swimming. Tanning? I was the only kid in our town who could spent weeks at the beach and still be fish-belly white.

Water, particularly the sea, is sacred to me. It is a place of healing. It is, I truly believe, where I will die in the distant future, swimming home at last.

I miss her, Mother Ocean. Don't get me wrong - I love Redneck Central and am happy to be living here...but my heart and soul are salt tinged and my pulse thumps to the deeper songs she sings, and I will always be most peaceful, most serene, most whole when on or near big water.

What about you? Where does your heart yearn to be in the quiet moments?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Here We Go

Click, click, click, click, click, clickety, click, click, click...click......click...

Clank...

Clicketyclackityclickclickclickclackclacketywhoosh!

For thirty seconds, maybe a minute, of free falling, stomach rolling terror, people stand in line for hours. Bone rattling rumbles, hip bruising turns, hands clutching the paint peeling, germ-and-sweat-and-fear-covered safety bar, or flung high and wide in a show of bravado and faith in the maintenance man over entropy, they clench their teeth and scream silently, scream aloud, laugh and puke and wonder how long until it ends.

Guess what?

Sometimes it doesn't.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Umm, Guys...

...I don't really need Reader's Digest to tell me which one I am...

Anticipayayshun...

...is makin' me wait...

And wait.

And wait some more.

Still no modem. AT&T cannot explain it. We get the telephonic equivalent of a shrug when we ask about it. When Someone called late Wednesday, the customer-no-service person could only say "Oh, no, it's not supposed to be on today - it will be on Friday."

Y'all, I wouldn't mind if I didn't KNOW that all anyone has to do is flip a figurative switch! We don't need anyone to come to our house, don't need any special equipment - just need the modem turned on at their end.

Sigh.

So far, no Net today, either. I am not holding my breath, but I AM cradling my aching head...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Around the Ass to Get to the Elbow

Have you ever been working with a company to attain a product or a service, and the representative of that company can't seem to get the computer system to understand what's wanted, so you spend more than an hour trying every damn thing, only to find that the system isn't having it and now you have to start over and instead of just using the old account, you have to create a whole new one and instant gratification is denied?

No?

Just me then...

As I mentioned recently, we at Casa de Crazy have been without land line, cell phone, TV, and Internet for a while. We were managing to keep the land line on sporadically, but eventually AT&T decided that they were tired of our sporadicality (is too a word!) and decided that we couldn't turn the house phone back on until we paid them ALL of what we owed them. Imagine!

A few tears, a phone call or three, and another chunk of debt added to the pile I already owe my Mum, and things are slowly coming back on.

We could not just turn our cells back on - something about being deadbeats for so long that the numbers were now back in circulation, no longer ours. We had to get new cell phones, but once they arrived I could, if I liked, have the new number transferred to the old phone. I wondered why that couldn't just happen without the new phone, but apparently some mystical force won't let the computer do that sort of thing.

Once the cells and house phone (which is still the same number, thank goodness) were restored, I set to work on the Internet. In theory, it should have been on when the house phone came on, but for some reason their computer didn't recognize that the bill was paid and so would not turn on the modem. No matter what we did, it wouldn't work...so we had to open an entirely new account, get a new number for the modem, and are now waiting for new cables because they are apparently a greater power than the AT&T computers can resist and will magically make the modem work again as soon as they are in the house - we don't even have to use them!

Today is the projected "your modem will now work" day. I am running the children to the Pediatrician for their annual poke and prod, and then have rehearsal, so I won't know if it's on until I get home.

With all the things that can be done remotely, we still have to go around our ass to get to our elbow...hopefully this time we can reach, because I really would like to avoid jumping through any more hoops for a while. I'm exhausted...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fifty Cents Was Never Better Spent

We've had financial difficulties, as I may have mentioned. As such, there isn't any wiggle room in the budget. Every cent is accounted for and spent almost (and sometimes) before we have it.

On Saturday, T brought us a bit of cash, bless him. I know it's in short supply for him, too, so I don't like to be bitchy (although I've been told I need to be bitchy...but tell water to be dry and see if you get a better result) about it.

It couldn't have come at a better time - we were in dire need of a few items, so while the Evil Genius ran wild in the neighborhood, Someone and I snagged Sprout and headed for the Evil Empire. We were really good, eschewing anything not on our list...until Someone walked down one isle looking for...something...and found the balls.

He handed one to Sprout, and she smiled. Huge smile. Then he found a green ball. I looked at the price. Fifty cents. I decided that it wouldn't break the budget.

Holy carp, you have never seen a smile like Sprout's when she is playing with it. It's her ball, man, her ball! So I figure it's okay that we went off budget. Honestly, it's the best fifty cents we've ever spent.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Thank You, Downtown Redneck Central

Here in Redneck Central, we have to pay our tag fee on or before our birthday. I believe it is an unfair taxation, but so far the State is refusing to see things my way. Sigh.

As I did not have the money, I didn't renew mine when I should have, which meant I was, for a few days anyway, a scofflaw. Rebel! Fighting the good fight!

I borrowed the dough from Mum (poor Mum) and pottered over to the one remaining tag office in our county. This is a big county, and the satellite offices sure were nice. One of 'em was only a short jaunt from Casa de Crazy, and I was quite sorry to hear it had closed.

So off to the city I went, oddly childless as Someone elected to keep both spawn with him rather than subject anyone to Children at the Tag Office Hell.

The only remaining tag office is, it turns out, part of the courthouse complex where T and I got our D-I-V-O-R-C-E, so I knew where the parking deck was and didn't have to turn around and get lost a whole bunch. Score! The parking deck is (gasp) free. Yes, you read that right - a municipal parking deck that's free. And it's usually not very full. I got a terrific spot near the stairs and I didn't even have to run over any little old ladies for it!

The tag office was busy - they were calling for number fifteen when I walked in and I drew number forty one from the little number dispenser. Good thing I had my i('m not a)Phone with me - I put on the ear buds and listened to tunes while I waited and people-watched. Tag offices and DMVs are such splendid places to people-watch. I had several occasions to bless Someone's soul for keeping the children at home.

I was fined for renewing late, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been - I drive an old van and the trailer isn't considered very tax-worthy, I guess, so after handing over a handful of green and getting some bits of silver and a couple of stickers in return, I was done.

As soon as I got to Rosie the Mule, I redecorated the license plate. Now I'm tagged and legal again...yay...

Getting out of the parking deck was as easy as getting in - they have made the streets one-way so there's no turning against traffic.

I so appreciate when a city government acts the way it should - as though it is there to serve the people and not the other way around, don't you?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

And Out We Come

So February is over and I have survived. It wasn't even as horrid as it has been in the past. Not that I plan on making friends with February or anything...it just wasn't as awful as it's been, is all.

We lost home phone service, got it back, and lost it again in the span of days that made the month. It's on again, for now, but if T doesn't pay child support in full and on time (which he hasn't been because he's only working sporadically and you can't squeeze blood from a turnip), I can't pay the phone bill on time, and it all goes down hill from there.

We have no cell or Internet services, but that may soon change. I will be glad to have a working cell phone again, because being on the road without a phone isn't fun...especially given how often things go wrong for us when we travel.

We have no TV. Actually, we have two televisions, but cannot watch anything on them, as the satellite was turned off and it's a luxury anyway and we have friends and family who are letting us borrow movies so we can watch something if we want, but I must admit it's a bummer not to be able to watch current events on the rare occasions I care to.

I have been dealing with a nagging illness - just when I think I'm okay, my throat gets sore and I start coughing, and I sound like I've been crying or am upset because it gets all rough. Sometimes I HAVE been crying or am upset, but really, I don't need to constantly reassure people that no, really, I'm fine, just have aliens in my lungs.

A few days ago I had a truly awful day, the kind of day that makes me feel like crawling under the bed and crying until I am shrivelled up and the world is nice to me again. One of those days when I feel useless and stupid and pointless and like I'm a great, fat lump of worthlessness that would be doing the world a favor if it melted down the drain. Usually I start feeling like that around February 1 and don't feel better until mid March.

It isn't a nice feeling to believe, utterly and to the bone,that one has no value...that one's children would be better off with ANYONE but one's self, that one has nothing to offer the world and even if one did, the world doesn't want it.

There are so many people who write it better, who handle it with better grace. I'm not them. I just muddle through until I'm out the other side and hope this isn't the time that kills me.

One long tunnel of misery, it is...but there's the other side...