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, December 30, 2012

Swamp Walking

Depression is an insidious thing.  It doesn't announce itself with loud sirens or flashing lights, no signs hailing its approach.  Rather, it creeps, slithers, drifts into the corners and lurks, slowly building.

An ache here.

A sigh there.

Lassitude.

Mental haze.

A person is moving along through life, unaware of what's happening, until they are up to their ass in murky swamp with no exit on the horizon.  Everywhere they turn, more swamp.

It's all mosquitoes and mist alligators and chiggers and lonely-voiced frogs calling out their melancholy messages.

Some people can lift themselves out of the swamp and find the sunlight again, either on their own or with medication.

Some people sink up to their necks, then disappear entirely, lost to car exhaust or pills or sharp edges.

Some people pick a direction and start slogging until they are no longer hip deep in the muck.  I am one of these.  Day after day I pick up my basket of stones and wade through the slime, hoping to find firmer ground, a place to put down my load and rest a while.

Lately I have the feeling that there's not any solid ground out there - just occasional hummocks on which I pause before the swamp swallows them.

I'm tired to the bone of making the effort.

I keep going, but sometimes...sometimes I wonder why I bother.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

It Do Go Fast

I received a bit of money as a gift from family.  As often happens, I thought about what to do with it and made a little mental list of things I'd like to get.  Kind of like I do when I fantasize about winning the lottery.

What I wanted to buy:
A second battery for the new camera so I won't run our of power when I shoot a bazillion photos.
A passport drive to store pictures on.
A new memory card for Someone's camera.
A sushi dinner date for Someone and I.
A few more pieces of winter clothing for Sprout.

What I did use the money for:
Filling The Black Hole (my poor bank account has been in the negative for months)
Feeding someone else's addiction.
Taking Sprout to play with Buddy (the Evil Genius) for half a day at Catch Air.
Takeout dinner from the noodle shop for Someone.
Cat food, cat litter, and other items from the grocery store that we ran out of all at once.
Groceries.
And I managed to keep some aside for the Evil Genius's birthday party.

I have a dollar left.

A whole dollar just for me.

Sigh.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Done!

I mentioned in a previous post that I was working on something for K2, a quilted something.  I was being deliberately vague on the off chance that the person for whom the quilt was destined might actually read my blog - a long shot, for sure, but why take chances?

Quilt finished and gifted, I can now post pictures - pictures that I shot with my shiny new camera, no less!

Here's the finished, slightly larger than crib sized quilt, held up by my lovely assistant...er...friend, K2:
 A detail shot of one of the special panels K2 ordered.  They were the most difficult aspect of the quilt for me - they were all slightly different sizes and cut alightly crooked, and the design goes right to the edge, so I had to cut very carefully:
 I held my breath.

Another detail shot, this time of the batiks bought to compliment the three panels:
 A shot of the quilt on the floor, showing the backing fabric, a nice, soft, nubbly bit of fabric that was actually the most difficult part of the quilt, but for Mum:
Since I didn't bat the quilt, we just put right sides together, stitched back to front, then turned it.  We?  No, really, Mum did that bit, and thank goodness because I would have been in tears.  That delicious backing fabric?  Stretchy.  I don't do well with that kind of material, and on top of that I don't have a walking foot for my machine.  Mum is talented AND has a walking foot, so she was nice enough to sew, turn, and top stitch, and then I could finish it by tying the corners of the blocks.

I plan to use the scraps to make a coordinating car seat blankie, too, but K2 really wanted to gift the quilt for Christmas, so I put a rush on it.

Whadaya think?


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thoughtfetti

The new camera is tremendous.  Boy, do I have some learning to do!
~~~~~
Living with an addict is exhausting.  It is painful.  It is unpleasant, especially when the addiction is not being met.  It shapes one, often in ways one does not like. It is depressing, and difficult and isolating.  It is lonely.
~~~~~
Wine fermenting causes a bubbler to rise and fall, which, when it is steady on and in full ferment, sounds a lot like a clock ticking in the silence.  Tick.  Tick. Tick.
~~~~~
Wine sending outgasses through the bubbles smells very much like the fruit bowl one left full of fruits and on the table before one went on a 30 day vacation.  It is...unfortunate...but oddly pleasant.  Or perhaps I am simply weird.
~~~~~
Our friend A made Sprout a DVD of 135 Pingu episodes.  Oh...dear...umm...thank you?  Sprout adores Pingu (a gibberish speaking penguin).
~~~~~
It was a penguin rich holiday for Sprout.  She got a 30" high papa penguin with its baby which are the cuddliest things ever, the Pingu DVD, and a baby penguin that came with a bottle and cheeps when it's hungry, makes a smacking sound when it has the bottle, and has garnered Sprout's love and devotion entirely.  Happy Sprout.
~~~~~
The Evil Genius is spending some time with his dad.  Casa de Crazy is oddly still and quiet.
~~~~~
I need a counselor who is willing to work for baked goods.  Anyone know one within reasonable driving distance of Redneck Central?
~~~~~
How much is enough?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Click, Click, Whir

I still feel kinda crappy this morning, but I haven't wet my pants, yet, so things are looking up!

Meanwhile, life rolls on, and however I may be feeling there are things to do, places to go, people to inflict mucous on.  Wait, strike that last one - I think I have some Kleenex in the van.

I finished the baby quilt I was working on for K2.  Well, not for K@, but on her behalf so she could give it to someone else.  I will be delivering it today, and will shoot some photos of it in her magnificent house (oh, yeah, I still have house envy more than a year later).

Shoot photos, did I say?  Why yes, yes I did.  My beloved Kodak Easy Share Camera of Amazing Photo Taking is finally cranky beyond my means to shake, smack, poke, blow, or bang on the pavement to make it behave.  It has decided that the whole world should be pink, possibly in an effort to make me get some rose colored glasses and join it in a delusional haze.  Or maybe the haze is from schmutz on the lens.  It also has trouble focusing, much like my son.

Also, on occasion, it does something very odd and sort of shoots in the negative, but in non-negative colors, giving the photo a sort of Warholian effect that has been interesting to behold, but not the desired result when trying to immortalize a precious moment in one's child's life.

You may imagine that such malfunctions as those would curtail picture-taking.  You would imagine correctly.  I have been doing my best to make it work, because I am still a would-be art photographer and do some shooting for K2's Etsy shop on the side, and using a phone camera just doesn't cut it.  Shooting several hundred photos to get a few good ones is something of a pain, but one muddles through.

Being aware of my plaint, Mum gave me a new camera for Yule.  I should mention that the Easy Share was a  Yule gift some many years ago, and it did yeoman's duty.  Anyway, new camera.  Sixteen megathingies, an LCD view screen that is bigger than a postage stamp, and lots of features I may never use but that look nifty.  It has been broken in with a few shots of family and fire, and even shot some video.  The zoom feature is terrific - I shot embers on a log from across Mum's living room!  It feels nice in my hands, and?  No pink where there oughtn't be!

It's not a Kodak, but I don't hold that against it.  It's a Canon, which National Geographic advertises and supposedly uses, so I have high hopes.  It has a nice, safe, well padded case to ride about in, so it may not wind up like the poor abused Kodak Easy Share which was dropped so often it should have had frequent flier miles.  With a lovely padded neck strap, the Canon should have a somewhat safer tenure as my shooter of choice.

I'll be photographing the quilt with the new camera, and if all goes well will post a picture on here sometime in the next century.

I'd better get moving.  Hey, what's your camera of choice?


Saturday, December 22, 2012

But the Days Are Getting Brighter

I am in a dark mood, right now.

I'm tired of anger and blame and fault-finding and feeling like all I can do is wrong, wrong, wrong.

I am tired of being held responsible for the well being of others, any others, adults, children, cats, plants...and that I am failing at it entirely.

While I'm whining, I would like not to feel like my sinuses are about to explode, making my molars ache, my head hurt, my eyes throb.  It would be lovely to blow my nose without experiencing deafness, earache, and dizziness.  I would like to be able to breathe freely, without fear that I am going to burst into paroxysms of violent coughing that leave me weak, dizzy, and useless.  Also, sometimes (and I hate to admit this), sometimes a little damper than I'd like because apparently there's some new cosmic rule that I have to pee a little when I cough, now.


What I would like is to be just sick enough to need to be put away somewhere restful, but not so plague-ridden that I can't come home again in a  little while, after maybe a few days of sleep and perhaps some pancakes that I didn't have to make and clean up after.  And, when I did come home, I would like to feel whole and well, not tired and worn.

I would like to be taken care of.

What can I say, I am weak.

Although my common sense and experience tell me no one's stepping up to make me soup or do whatever it is people do when they look after someone who wants/needs it, my dreaming self, the wistful part of me, kinda wishes...

I made my own soup and tried not to let Sprout do too much damage while I felt wretched on the lounge this afternoon.  Since no one seems to have noticed, I guess I did okay.

And yes, I am feeling sorry for myself.  I don't really care that there's someone who has it worse.  For today, at least, I'M the someone who has it worse.  Someone else can have the honor tomorrow.



Friday, December 21, 2012

Yule


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

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

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

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

Yep, it's that simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

End, Schmend

In three days the world is coming to an end, if some people are to be believed.

Me?  I don't buy it.  I figure if the world's going to end, we won't know until we've gotten to the other side of the ending.

Maybe the Mayans figured a few thousand years was far enough to chip a calendar into stone.  Maybe they figured if they were still around when it ran out, they'd make a new one.  Maybe they were playing a huge, far-reaching joke.

We've been teasing a little, here at Casa de Crazy, about all the frantic shopping that will happen on the 22'nd.  I think clever retailers should capitalize on that, have a "We Made It!!!" sale.  I feel sorry for the people who deeply believe that the 21'st is it, baby, and have spent up their money and their credit and will wake up one day later than they expected with a mountain of debt and no end of the world in sight.

Meanwhile, also in three days is Yule, Winter Solstice, the pagan holiday that inspired Christmas (because even biblical scholars are saying that Christ would have been born sometime in March).

I am not ready.  It sort of snuck up on me.  I don't know where the time has gone, but it sure went.  I am nowhere near beginning making some gifts, let alone finished.  Eek!  Today I'm going over to K2's place, sans children, to try and remedy that.  I also need her to help me pin a quilt so I can finish it for her before...something.

Thanks to Mum, gifts for the kids are ready to place under the tree at her place.  I have one gift started, another ready to put together, several more to start, and perhaps a day to get them finished and wrapped.  Nothing like working under pressure!

Of course, if I hadn't gotten partway through a project and decided I didn't like it and wasn't going to finish it, I might have been better prepared.  Hindsight.

It's all good.  We put more focus on time spent together than gifts.  All of us adults are aware that sometimes children, pets, and life in general nibble away at the hours until there's not enough left to finish what we started in the craft room.  And I'll stay up late and gitter done, by gum, because I really like watching people unwrap presents.  Warms my cockles, it does.

Meanwhile, we'll have good food, good company, a big fire (rain or shine, we do the burn), and a very good time.

The world will just have to end without us.  We're busy that day.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

After

In my mind is an entire world of possibility.  My imagination is powerful, fueled by years of dwelling in possibility and an endless faith in wonder.

As tremendous as it is, my imagination isn't always a happy, positive tool.  Sometimes it runs in another, darker direction.

Just now, it ran down a road I would rather not travel, but I believe in allowing my imagination free reign, letting it go its course until it winds down.  I believe this helps me to see how I would cope with...whatever.

In my mind, I saw a house.  An ordinary house in an ordinary neighborhood, decked with lights, wreath on the door, tree glowing in the living room window.  There should be smoke curling from the chimney, music playing, laughter, cookies baking, but except for the tree, which is on a timer, the house is quiet and dark.

Dinner sits cold on the table.

Under the tree, wrapping paper glitters, ribbon curls, gifts wait for small hands to hold them, tear off the paper, press the sticky bows to little foreheads, wrestle open packaging and gleefully exclaim over the contents.

They have a long wait.

Two days ago, a man made a choice that changed everything for the occupants of the house in my mind.

The gifts so lovingly wrapped and placed beneath the tree will never be opened.  They will sit, forlorn, until a broken-hearted mother or father puts them in a closet, unable to throw them away or return them.  They'll be a silent reminder of loss.

Every room in the house in my mind misses the echoes of one voice.  Every room is a little emptier, a little colder, because one person is not there to fill the space any more.

Under the tree are gifts wrapped by a mother who won't be there to see her child open them.  The child will carefully peel off tape, gently open a box that Mommy touched before she was...gone...and that child will treasure the gift, whatever it is, all through life, carry it as a reminder of the parent who was a target for wrongness.

In the house in my mind are beds suddenly too large, too empty, too crowded with memory and loss.  There is one too many places set at the table.  On piece of pie left where none used to be.  No one to bake that one special cookie or to throw the ball for the dog or hide their broccoli when no one is looking.  There is an unfinished quilt at the sewing machine, an unfinished puzzle on the coffee table, an unfinished book on the night stand.

One house in my mind, multiplied over and over again, far too real in a far away place that is not in my head at all.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thoughtfetti

I was a teacher, once.  Several times, in fact.  Children from birth to early childhood with a stint in a Montessori program for what we'd call 'Tweens today, but back then were just...kids...  At one point, I unofficially ran a daycare center with 112 children from infants to pre-K.

I ache, right now.  I bet most or you do, too.
~~~~~
Politicians are drawn to tragedy like buzzards to stink.  I wish I could believe it was because they hope to sooth hurt or help with the healing, but that's just not true, is it?  Like the buzzards, they hope to feed on death and will not leave off until they are glutted and have picked the bones clean.
~~~~~
I am so proud of the Evil Genius - he tried sushi and he liked it!  Sprout likes the sticky rice with soy sauce...preferably all over her...
~~~~~
I made a quilt top in two days, which was fun (yay, clean cutting table and somewhat tidier sewing room!) , but now I'm concerned that the end of the world really is nigh - all my corners came out square and properly aligned.  I know!  Hold me!!
~~~~~
I suddenly realized that I have less than a week to finish making Yule gifts.  Eek!  I think I can do it, if I can just break that pesky habit of sleeping...
~~~~~
If I build a fairy house, do you think the little bastards darlings will quit picking on us?
~~~~~
Sprout likes the holiday lights - she will point and say "LIGHTS!!!" when she sees them.  I can't wait to drive by the house up near Mum's that seems to have ingested tons of glass and vomited out thousand of lights all over their yard.
~~~~~
No blogs from me this weekend, maybe, probably, I'm pretty sure, because we have baking and sewing to do on Saturday and a friend's sixth birthday to celebrate on Sunday.  You'll be alright, right?  Cool.
~~~~~
What're you thinking about right now?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We Shall Sing

Sprout has taken to singing.

She doesn't have much of a repertoire, but what she lacks in scope she makes up for with volume and enthusiasm.

She likes her brother to sing along.

Her lyrics are not terribly sophisticated, but there's something to be said for simplicity, and since they're never in the same order twice, the song is always fresh.

We have dubbed it The Family Song, and it goes a little something like this, in a sing-songy fashion:  Mama, mama, mama, mama, papa, buddy, buddy, buddy, papa, papa, mama, buddy!

Buddy is what she calls her brother.  It sounds more like "buh-eeeee".

She likes to sing along to the music on the radio, and The Family Song is what she sings.  she also sings it in the car, in the tub, lying in her bed, dancing around the living room, and when we're holding her.

It utterly ruins us.  Turns someone and I into puddles, melts us all over the floor.  Good grief.

If I can manage to transfer from phone to computer, I will share a video clip some day.

Did your kids sing?  How 'bout you?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Truth Be Told...



...sometimes he is...

I don't claim to be the same kind of woman that fellow up there is singing about, though.  I think mostly I am tenacious, which is a nice way of saying I'm either too stubborn or too stupid to give up on a person even when they are pushing me so hard my figurative heels are leaving drag marks on the figurative floor and people wonder what I'm thinking.

What's that line from that movie about that guy who did that thing?  Oh, yeah - you don't give up on a life just because it's been knocked around a little, or something like that.

Pardon me, would you?  I'm feeling low and exhausted on every level, so I think a little Sprout tickling is in order, and perhaps some fabric shenanigans if a certain little girl will allow.

What're you up to, today?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Between

It's such an easy thing to take for granted.  We do it without thought until we can't do it, and then?  It's all we can think about.

It is the focus of many meditation methods, yoga, and exercise coaches often exhort their students to do it.

We do it consciously to help us calm down.

Breathing.

To draw breathe, exhale, repeat as infinitum, from birth to death.

The first thing I say in my track communications class is "Before you make your call remember to breathe, because oxygen is your friend", which draws a laugh and reminds people to quell the panic, be calm, speak clearly.  Breathing helps with that.

Asthma tends to throw a spanner into the breathing works.

I grew up struggling for breath. One good, honest, deep breath was a miracle to me.  On asthma days, I had to sit on the sidelines and watch other kids run and play.  I couldn't swing or climb trees or even walk very fast.  Some days I had to focus everything I had on putting one foot in front of the other, had to fight for every expansion and contraction of my lungs.  Some days speaking or even sitting up was out.

I was surrounded by smokers, so a clean air was at a premium.

I had three triggers for my asthma: stress, allergies, and extreme cold, of which there were plenty in New England.

I learned a lot about how my body functions with low oxygen.  I learned some non-medical things about how to forestall an attack if I was aware of the onset - breathe through a wet paper towel, keep a cool cloth on my chest, drink caffeinated beverages

I learned that I could swim even on a bad day, but nothing helped on the worst days except being very still and focusing on each breath as if it were my last.

I learned that asthma isn't the inability to inhale, it is the inability to exhale.  Put simply, the lining of the lungs swells and creates pockets that trap indrawn air.  If you can't get the used air out, you can't get new air in.  The wheezing you hear is air trying to push out of those pockets.  Sometimes, if you're one of the especially lucky ones, you also get crackling from mucous build up.  Guess who was a lucky one?

A couple of times, it almost turned to pneumonia.  Once, it did, double.

Once, in another country where I didn't speak much of the language, it put me in the hospital.  I'll tell you about it sometime.

When you are fighting with your whole body to just breath, you become very, very focused.  The world fades, and your attention shrinks to the simple act of making your chest rise and fall.

The most intense moment is the one between breaths.  That's the moment when you don't know if there will be another inhalation, if your chest will expand one more time or if it will fail.  That's where you're tired and don't know if you should keep fighting, or if maybe you could just quit and rest a while.  It is no longer an unconscious, involuntary act - without thought, without effort, the breathing will not happen.

That between moment is a doorway of sorts.  Standing at the threshold between two worlds, balanced, waiting.

With the advent of steroid inhalers and home nebulizers, it's easier to treat asthma, for which I am grateful.  You see, the Evil Genius has asthma.  Both of his grandmothers smoke/d (Mum quit when he was born, T's mother still smokes), and apparently that makes it exponentially more likely that a child will have respiratory issues.

When he was little and had an attack, I would sit up at night and watch him as he slept, still fighting with all his might, his tiny body exhausted but rigid wit the effort of breathing.  I would watch, and count, and wonder if this, this was the breath that send us to the hospital.  A few times I bundled him up and hauled him into the city to be plugged in, hooked up, poked and prodded, and finally given that asthma-easing vapor.  When I finally got the diagnosis of asthma and the prescription for the nebulizer I was delighted - I could save us the stress of the ER!

I hate that I passed this to my son.  I hate that he has had to fight the same battle that I did.  I hate that he has had to discover the between place and dwell in that timeless moment, and one of the few things I pray about is that unlike me, his asthma will not follow him into adulthood.  That and that Sprout will not be similarly afflicted.

I also pray that he won't get stuck in that place between, lost in the vast distance that spans from one breath to the next when the lungs have gone haywire.

Close your eyes and breathe.  Nice, isn't it?  Take one for me, would you?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Oh, Pooh

Sprout is besotted with Winnie the Pooh.  To date she has four Pooh stuffies, an Eeyore, a Piglet, and a Tigger.

She wanders towards the computer several times a day with the plaintive cry of "Uhhhh Pooooooohhhh", which, in Sproutese, means "I would very much like to view one or two of my favorite Winnie the Pooh clips on YouTube, if you please".  Usually, she watches with Someone, cuddled on his lap, feet kicked up on the desk.  She likes to point to things she knows on the screen, and when there are crows cawing, she caws along with them.  She keeps her papa pinned in the computer chair for clip after clip, melting our hearts.

She still likes Pingu (A Swedish claymation show about a little penguin and his family, it can sometimes be odd, is always entertaining).  She demands "Eeekooo, Eekooo" when she wakes up in the morning, and in one scene, where the penguin is lost, she calls out for him with his searching parents.

But Pooh is king of the visual entertainment world for her, right now.  She carries one or more of her stuffies around with her much of the time, especially the pooh that is almost as large as she is.

The big Pooh was Someone's score, found at Goodwill for a dollar. Best dollar spent, to date.  She will take Pooh by his arms and dance with him, sometimes singing "Eeeyah Pooh, eeyah Pooh..."

Piglet seems to be flung about a bit.  He's much smaller than the big Pooh, and apparently aerodynamically pleasing to Sprout, who likes to spin him around then release, or toss him high in the air (hoping to hit the ceiling fan, I believe) and watch him land higgeldy-piggeldy.

The funniest thing to see is when she bounces with Tigger (same size as Piglet, about 8 inches, give or take).  Sprout likes to hop, anyway.  She is a prodigious hopper, often hopping down the hall, around the living room, up and down stairs.  She has a good sense of distance and knows what's a buouncable gap or elevation and what's best to be careful about.  She shouldn't be able to spring with such confidence - at her age, balance is usually questionable at best - but what does she care for "supposed to"?  Not a jot. I am, of course, biased, but I think her sense of balance is superb - she thinks nothing, now, of standing on one foot and leaning forward like a lifetime practitioner of yoga or a dancer, and just...standing there.  Solid as a rock.

So, yeah, bouncing.  She will take Tigger by his paws, place his feet on the floor, hunker down in front of him, and bounce him, singing her version of the Tigger song.  She often looks to see if we are paying attention, coy little minx.

I recently tried to find a Pooh DVD online, but apparently people have lost their minds and Pooh DVDs are more valuable than gold.  I love my girl, but $120 for a DVD?  No.  Way.

YouTube will have to do until we unearth a bargain DVD somewhere, one not pressed from fairy dust or whatever it is that makes these things so costly.

Sprout is demanding I post the Tigger song.  Here ya go:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The One That Started it All

One evening, some years ago when T and I were still new, we were walking in a mall just before Christmas. Madness!  As we walked, I heard the strains of one of my favorite carols, The Carol of the Bells, a piece I had sung many times in several choruses.  This rendition, though...this rendition stopped me in my tracks.

I had to find it.

Into the Warner Brothers store we went, where a wall of TV screen showed a video set to the music.

Who was it?

Where could I find it?

The clerk at the desk managed to find the name of the group, if not the song, and we went straight to the music store (they used to have whole stores dedicated to selling music, children) and bought what we could find of them.

The song, happily, was on the CD.

It is, to this day, the first holiday music I play.

Trans Siberian Orchestra, Christmas Eve in Sarajevo. If you ever get the CD Christmas Eve and Other Stories, read the liner notes.  Powerful, beautiful stuff.

Bird and I love to rock out to Wizards in Winter, sing along to Christmas Nights in Blue, and jam to, well, Christmas Jam from The Lost Christmas Eve.  The Christmas Canon from The Christmas Attic is one of my holiday ringtones on my phone.

I want to sing with them some day.  Seriously.

I have all of their music up to Night Castle, now.

There may not be a tree at Casa de Crazy, and there may not be lights or decorations, but there will always be TSO in the CD player.  It wouldn't be the holidays without them.

Here, then, is that video, the one that started it all: