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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I Wonder...

I had occasion to stop by the Redneck Central General Horspital and Sock Emporium a few days ago, visiting Mum (she was in with a generally non-threatening by mighty unpleasant ailment). I drove around and around the parking lot before deciding to bend reality a little and park in the clergy spaces. Now, don't fret; I AM clergy, an ordained minister in fact. It's just that I wasn't really there for clerical purposes, unless you consider clean frilly-unmentionables as spiritually uplifting, which, now that I think of it, I do, so there.

The clergy spots are at one end of the lot, a goodly but not unpleasant or difficult walk to the entrance. Nearer the entrance were spaces reserved for doctors and then handicapped folks, and finally, closest of all, were these:
These spaces were full, save one. As I chanced to walk by, that one was filled by an SUV of enormous proportions. Once it was parked, out stepped two women who were easily in their fifties, perhaps sixties.

I wonder which of the able-bodied women was expecting?

I understand the frustration of finding a parking space at this hospital - it's a wonderful facility, but there's a dearth of parking in their lot, and folks often have to park across the street and hoof it, which can be awkward when bringing supplies or contraband nibblies in to their loved ones.

Frustration or not, unless those women were both illiterate or non-English speaking, and didn't recognize the meaning of the stork picture, what were they thinking? Women in labor don't need to be walking halfway across the lot to check in. Women who are lazy or rude, on the other hand...

And no, I don't give a damn that they were a bit older...they were both perfectly fit, walking quickly and without assistance, neither one on oxygen, neither one handicapped in any visible way. One's age does not privilege one to rudeness and selfish disregard for others and for posted signs.

I was sorely tempted to ask them "So which one of you is expecting?" or "When are you due?"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thoughtfetti, Travel Edition

Packing food, clothing, and shelter for two adults and two children into one Astro van? Cue the Tetris music.
~~~~~
There is a candidate for something political in Alabama named Twinkle. That made me smile. Politics could use a little more twinkle and a little less muck.
~~~~~
Gryphon's Nest (the campground where the band performed) is a one day drive from Casa de Crazy, unless you have two kids and the need to pee on a regular basis. We did it in two just to make it easier on us all. The owner is generous, good-natured, and thoughtful. The site is amazing, and inexpensive to rent. Anyone want to plan a group camp?
~~~~~
The drive to Texas was smooth, and bless Texas's heart for bumping the speed limit to 75. They must have seen us coming.
~~~~
We did not stop in Houston...the baby was sleeping, which means prime drive time. Sorry, Uncle Hermit and Nanny...
~~~~~
Hey, Texas? They're called "turn signals", and there's one on each side.
~~~~~
Met the rest of Someone's family in Round Rock. Nice folks.
~~~~~
Had a Round Rock Doughnut. Good stuff...but not dissimilar to a Krispy Kreme, so at least I won't have to drive that far for a doughnut fix.
~~~~~
Had a beef rib. It was alright, but if I'm being honest I prefer brisket, or pork ribs.
~~~~~
I have park envy - Austin and Round Rock are awash with amazing parks. The kids had plenty of play time and Someone got in some decent disc golf hours.
~~~~~
I met a new old friend, a woman I've known online for more than a decade but never met in person before. Beautiful lady...half a day was hardly a start, so I guess we'll just have to visit again.
~~~~~
Sprout started a fever the afternoon before we headed home. Travelling with a feverish baby and no fever meds? Not tops on the list of fun things to do.
~~~~~
When did motel rooms get so costly? Half our cash went into rooms, and we only needed a room twice!
~~~~~
Despite baby fever, we had a smooth ride home, unless you count the pavement on I20 in Mississippi...
~~~~~
It's good to be home. Thank you, Kit, for making sure we still had a home to come back to!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Westward, Ho!

In a few days we'll be packing the van with enough clothing, food, and portable baby furniture for a ten-day jaunt to the west.

My band has a gig in Baton Rouge so we'll head that way on Tuesday, then the following Sunday will find us wending our way farther, to Austin (with maybe a pause in Houston).

If you know where we live and are thinking of robbing us - you could only improve the place. Casa de Crazy is a dusty, cluttered mess (no kidding, I took down a twelve-foot cobweb the other night) and all I ask is that you clean up as you pilfer - I do like a tidy thief.

Also, please time your pillaging for when my dear friend K3 is NOT here watering the garden, petting the cats and telling them how marvelous they are, and feeding the beetle strawberries (I'll tell you about the beetle another time). She's a lovely woman and shouldn't have to put up with shenanigans.

The first leg of our journey is a nine-plus hour drive, not including stops. We're breaking it into two days unless Sprout is miraculously content to be in the car seat (I never met a baby who so loathed the car seat - you'd think I was dunking her in an acid bath, the way she reacts to being buckled in). We'll be sleeping in a loft with several other people we don't know - I'm thinking about asking the Voodouns there to sacrifice a chicken or something so she'll sleep through the night - bad enough when she wakes me up...

The drive from Baton Rouge to Austin is close to eight hours. At the end of that drive, I am hoping there will be a shower and indoor lodging of some kind (with air conditioning), and I will finally get to meet the rest of Someone's family, including his son! I will also, perhaps, get to meet a beloved friend whom I've never met in person - we've been e-quaintances since forever, and she lives in Austin, so why not take the opportunity if we can?? Meeting people aside, I have two goals while in Austin - attaining and eating a Round Rock Doughnut, and consuming a beef rib. I have never had either one, and I am told that's a shame.

On Friday the 20'th, we're heading home. We may do the drive in on day, or we may stop and do it in two - that depends once again on how well Sprout tolerates the drive. She's such an active baby, I know being bound up in that seat pains her.

As an aside, I think the people who made car seat laws should have to take my daughter on a cross-country trip. I bet they change the laws...

And please don't natter at me about how car seats save lives. Of course they do, and I am all for them, in moderation. I also think seat belts should still be voluntary - my life is mine, and if I want to risk it by not being belted, that's my choice and the government and society can go whistle (by the way, I always wear my belt on public roads and on most private ones, too). Meanwhile, when the baby is screaming and we're stuck in a three-hour traffic jam in the middle of nowhere, Virginia, and there's nowhere to stop, no exit, no pull-off, nothing, and we're almost out of fuel so I have to turn off the air and open the windows to an eighty-plus-degree day, I will take her out of the seat and hold her in my lap if that's what it takes, and no state trooper who is a parent would ticket me for it. The safety Nazis can kiss my capacious bottom.

So the next few days will be busy - there's laundry to do, a run up to Mum's to pick up some much needed yarn, grocery shopping, van cleaning, and packing. Luckily, the Evil Genius is spending Easter weekend with his father, so I have one less person to feed, clean, and entertain while managing all this trip prep.

Wish us luck on our drive, wouldja??

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shhh...

Sprout is growing and changing so quickly, it's difficult to keep up. She feeds herself quite well, now. She has definite moods. She babbles happily, and even has a few words - juice (shoose), cracker (khuhkhuh), bye-bye (buhbuh). She can sign "hungry", "more", and "all done" fairly reliably. She doesn't walk as much as she runs and she can climb - oh, Goddess, how she can climb! She has a good reach, too, and I am constantly having to move thing from tables, or move tables entirely, to keep her from getting the remotes, our phones, the hot sauce, books, and myriad other things she doesn't need, but wants anyway.

She's in an up-Mama's-butt phase right now, constantly following me around and demanding to be picked up. She loves her Papa and Big Brother, but most of the day she wants me. If I go outside to hang or take down laundry, she cries disconsolately until I come in. If I leave the room to use the bathroom or put laundry away, if I leave her sight, she wails. I never went through this with the Evil Genius - he was content to play and hang out with whomever was in the room.

The funny thing is, Sprout's just fine if I go completely away - get in the van and drive off. It's only when she knows I'm home but not in the room with her that she takes exception. Funny little monkey.

In the morning when she's just gotten up, and when she's tired or in need of some love, she will clamber into my lap, lean into me, and rest her head on my shoulder. Sometimes she will take my face in her hands and stare into my eyes before giving me a hug. She's trying to figure out how to kiss, but right now it's more of an open mouth on my should and a "bah" sound. I love it.

I often rock her to sleep in my arms. I know I shouldn't. I'm supposed to put her in her crib and let her get to sleep on her own, but I love her weight in my arms, how warm and sweet and soft she is. I love watching her eyes droop shut, hearing her breath change, feeling her relax and go limp. Soon enough she will go to bed on her own, with a hug and kiss from Mama and Papa...for now, I am okay with bucking pediatric experts' advice and holding my little girl until she drifts off.

It is almost time for her morning nap - I'll nap with her if I can, both of us nestled together, her breath on my cheek, her little hand on my arm.

Shhh...do not disturb this fleeting peaceful sweetness...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Down Among the Dead Men

I have a friend who is part of a paranormal investigations group. They look into hauntings and other assorted weirdness, and we chat about it sometimes. I, myself, would be useless to them - wherever I am, ghosts are not. No kidding, I grew up in a haunted house that was never haunted when I was there. I was so disappointed.

No matter how haunted a place is, when I'm there, nothing happens. not a creak, not a groan, nothing.

Dang.

So anyway, my friend mentioned that they're moving away from residential cases for a bit and looking into graveyards. I opined that the graveyard near where Mum lives could be interesting. It supposedly has at least one ghost, not that I would know (no, I'm not bitter or anything)...

I drove up there with my friend today to show her around. I was child-free thanks to Someone, so it was a rare bit of grown-up time. Mum joined us for our look-around.

I enjoy the graveyard there. It's old, and has people in it from the Revolution and the Civil War, and the graves of soldiers are usually marked with little plaques and flags, which I think is nice.
It's also quiet. I find graveyards restful places. Since the dead and I are not on haunting terms, I don't have to worry about odd noises, lights, or cold spots. No hands rising out of the ground to snag my unwary foot and drag me down to the zombies' feast.

Instead, there is quiet, and stillness, and a kind of bubble of Zen that surrounds the places where the dead sleep. There are trees in this graveyard, planted with the people to mark their graves. Long after the corporeal remains of the people are gone, the trees strive ever upwards until time, aided by wind and weather, pull them down.
Lately, the town has been trying to tidy up the place, making a pathway so people don't walk all over the graves, placing benches that make for more polite seating than tombs, and doing a bit of planting as well.
They've cleaned a few of the gravestones, but not all of them. I hope they leave some alone - I like the mossy stone.

While most of the stone markers are simple, often slabs engraved with names and dates, a few are fancier, reflecting a sort of Victorian sensibility about death.
Even in death we are not eternal. There is something about the oldest graves, sinking into the earth, stones rubbed blank by the passing of decades, centuries, anonymous after all.


I don't want to live forever, not even in death. I'd like to be cremated and scattered in a forest, or made into a reef ball and placed somewhere interesting. It won't matter when I'm dead - I sincerely doubt I'll care about the disposition of my carcass. It's for the living, this planning of burial, cremation, or whatever. It's for the ones left behind who (one may hope) mourn our passing. For them we make plans, and a little for our own comfort, too, I suppose. We like the idea of immortality, we humans, the idea that even after were are gone, something of us lingers.

At the graveyard, there are still living folk who come and look after the dead. Not kin, not any more - the kin have all died or moved on, I suppose, leaving the silent dead to fend for themselves, but townsfolk who like to hold on to a little history people who look with interest and maybe even concern upon what remains of the remains and the guardian stones that mark heads (and, in some cases, feet), and one or two ghost hunters hoping for the big score - a photo or sound recording of the dearly not-quite-departed.

As for me, I had a lovely walk among the toppling stones, begging the pardon of the people I may have inadvertently stepped on (I would hate to wake someone from a hundred-years' nap - imagine how cranky they would be!), reading names and dates and stories where I could see them, and wondering about the stones rubbed smooth, about who rested there and what they were like in life.