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

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Leading Into Yule

I have been so busy...I can't even catch my breath!  Things are rough, here at the casa, but life goes on.  Yule is coming, and I thought I'd post some old videos I made and share a little music with ya.  Enjoy...or don't, your choice.  Whatever you celebrate, I hope it is marvelous.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Wee Hours

Sometimes the only time I have with my thoughts, the only time it is relatively quiet (except for the humming of the heat pump, the bubbling of the fish tanks, the creaking of the house as temperatures change and the wind kicks up, the dishwasher, the fridge, the cats...) is when everyone else is asleep.

It doesn't happen often...even when they're all in bed, sometimes I am back and forth to Sprout's room to shush her back to sleep when something disturbs her and she cries out.  Sometimes I am too tired, or feel guilty for wasting the little bit of time that Someone and I have together on the rare nights he stays over, or I need to fold laundry.

Once in a while, though...once in a while I am up late, like the old days, just me and whatever is rattling around in my brain.


Tonight is such a night.  Someone is staying over but her went to bed, worn slap out from a day of working out in the yard at his place.  I needed to stay up and work a bit, trying to get a slew of Etsy listings done for K2 to have up for Cyber Monday - look for Unleashthegoddess on Etsy  if you want to shop a talented artist and find unique items to gift or wear yourself (shameless plug).  I finished a few minutes ago, and I could go to bed, snuggle up to Someone, enjoy his warm presence...but I need...truly, need...a few minutes.

Week after relentless, sometimes grinding, week of being a single mother homeschooling her kids wears me out.  Week after endless week of noise and movement and chaos leaves me breathless and in need of just a little peace, and as it stands the only way I can get some of that precious peace is to snatch it from the wee hours.

I can sleep some other time.  Right now I am going to get my think on.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful.


I have a few traditions on this day. Not many - the menu, recording the Macy's parade so I can watch it and fast-forward through all the crappy pop music, commercials, and talking heads to see the twenty minutes of balloons, floats and high school bands I'm interested in hidden among all that junk  (although I will have to forgo that pleasure, this year, alas), and my list of some things for which I am thankful, in no particular order and in no way complete:

The house in which I live
The Evil Genius
Mum
Someone
Sprout
Gypsy, K2, Mizz A, Kit, Sam-I-Am, PJ, Mizz Beth, and all of my friends who put up with me when I am most myself and therefor least likable. They are the net beneath me when I fly and fall.
Bread
The scent of leaf loam and woodsmoke in the crisp autumn air
Books, music, and art
Clean, plentiful water
Clean air
Clean clothes
Freedom
Nature and the way she finds to show me something new of herself every day
Words
Song
Dance
Adversity, that joy is all the sweeter (Okay, okay, the joy is sweet enough, so basta with the adversity for a minute, please)
Every creature and plant that I consume to sustain myself, because without the life I take, there would be no life to live
Love - that it exists at all is a wonder, and I feel blessed to know it in many forms
Chocolate, gift from the Gods (yes, even the perversion called "candy bar") (Mmm...candy bar...)
Strong hands
Strong spirit
Strong will
Laughter
Cussed determination not to curl up and die just because life can sometimes be a succession of truly awful, bleak, and desolate days...but sometimes it isn't.
The Internet
You

I hope you have a blessed day, and that you the things you're thankful for outweighing the things for which you're not.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all, from us at Casa de Crazy to you out in the Blue Nowhere and beyond.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What's Fer Dinner?

Time for the annual posting of the menu!  You've been anxiously awaiting this post all year, haven't you?  I knew it!

Casa de Crazy presents:  Thanksgiving Dinner

Featuring: Mr. Thomas Turkey

Co-Starring:  Herb and Onion Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Turnips and Carrots and a special appearance by Can o' Cranberry!

Also Appearing:  Mrs. Smith's Dutch Apple Crumb Pie and Sara Lee Cheesecake along with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Reddi-Whip

Special Guest Appearances by:  Pitcher of Water and Stick of Butter

How's your Feast shaping up (if you celebrate, that is)?


Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Countdown Begins

Thanksgiving is in four days.  Four days!  Where'd my year go?  Gah!!!

Ahem.

Today I am baking herb bread so I can cut it into cubes and let it go stale.  Yup.  That's how I do my dressing, and so far no one's complained they don't like it.  The dough is on its first rising as I type.  I dig bread dough - it's alive!  Watching it poof up, slowly encroaching on the edges of the rising bowl, is kind nifty.

In a couple of hours it'll be in the oven, making Casa de Crazy smell fantastic.  I'm baking two batches, which will yield four loaves.  Not all of it is for dressing, but I have learned that I need to make extra - filling the house with that delectable scent and not having any to nom on is just about the height of cruelty!

I'll be doing little things all week to get ready for Thursday.  We're not having a huge crowd and I'm not cooking a huge feast, I just don't want to have a ton of work to do in one day, and some things do better when they've had a day or three to sit and mingle.

Tomorrow I am shooting photos at K2's place - this time of year she comes off the road and updates her online presence and I help by shooting pics and writing Etsy posts for her.  There's a link on her sidebar if you're interested in some fantastic art and wearables!

The rest of the week will have me in and out of the kitchen and tidying the Casa (which isn't as much work as it has been because I've been kinds sorta keeping up with it a tiny bit more).

How's your week shaping up?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Do You Know Him?

He's an alcoholic and a drug addict and he carries his demons under his shirt and close to his heart where they claw and rend and he bleeds out anger and hatred and misery and love.

He carries his demons close to his heart and inside his head and they whisper and taunt and tease and blend with the voices outside his head that tell him he's useless and worthless and wrong and bad and a drunk and no good and unwanted until it all turns into this big noise and the I Love You gets lost.

The I Love You gets lost because he isn't capable of understanding it, can't comprehend how anyone can look at him and his scars from the all the demon-scratching and his bleeding and anger and drinking and pot smoking and still say the words with meaning, even after he has spewed so much anger and bitterness out that they have coated everything, my heart, my soul, our home, his eyes and ears, and taken all the meaning out of his own i love you.

His own i love you has no meaning to him because he can't believe he has value, because he knows what he has done in this life and feels, behind the curtains of his eyes, deep in his mind, that he cannot have value because he has broken the law, broken hearts, broken vows, broken his word, broken himself down and down until he is tiny fragments, dust to be swept up and discarded.

He is dust to be discarded because that, in his mind, is all he has ever been.  In his mind, in his eyes, in his heart, in his experience, he has been tossed away like refuse when he turned out to be a disappointment, when his imperfections, so many imperfections, burst forth despite his best efforts to hide them and pretend to be the person he wants to be, and so tossed away he has drifted far from his better self and become this drunk addict who feels the scorn seeping through his walls and into his bones.

He is an alcoholic and an addict because he is trying to hide from, trying to buffer himself from, trying to resist what he thinks is real, that he is no good and no one could really want him and the hammer will fall, the shoe will drop, and he will once more be thrown out the door he is always halfway through.

He is halfway through the door because he has created a life that is untenable, taken the love he's been freely given and twisted it up, torn it to pieces, tossed it about, trampled it, all because he can't believe it is real and simply love and not some desire to change or turn him into what he isn't, that he can be loved for nothing more than himself and so must lash out at what he doesn't understand because love can't be love for its own sake but has to have a dollar value.

He thinks love has a dollar value because he has only felt loved when he was approved of, was only approved of when he had a job and was a good boy, did as others wanted him to, hid himself away behind blue eyes and a smile that never reached them.

When the smile reached his eyes, he was afraid, because that meant something more than a plastic existence of pretension, it meant he was opening himself up to an honesty for which he was not prepared, and that honesty burned and ate at him until he had to call it a lie, but in naming it a lie has only wounded himself more because he knows that the lie is truth and he can't hide from truth in the one place he wants to, inside his own head.

He can't hide from himself, and so...he is an alcoholic...and an addict...

And I love him.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Six Things

Some while ago, I took part in some memery called Six Things, wherein one listed six things one found in various places.  I have had it in my head to play again, so here goes

In my laundry basket:
One sock made with recycled cotton yarn of varying blues and purples.  Where the other is I do not know, and Sprout isn't saying.
One pair of not-so-frilly unmentionables that I should bin, but can't bring myself to because they are soft and comfy.
One t-shirt.  How I managed to wear it is a mystery, because I don't wear that kind of shirt any more and won't until another fifty pounds have gone the way of the Dodo.
A Peek-a-Block
Something that looks suspiciously like a petrified cat hork.
A spoon.

In my bathroom:
A mini Butterfinger.  Why?
Four dry-erase markers.  Again...why?
A jar lid filled with honey and borax.  I know why.
The spout to my bathtub...on the counter...
A ghostly spider that is wondering why the dearth of insect suppers.
Cat litter...on the floor...no matter how often I sweep.

In my kitchen:
A plastic baggie full of white powder.  Guess.
A bright pink charger cord.
A terribly empty cat bowl (it will be filled this afternoon).
One yellow Playtex glove.
A magnificent cobweb.
A frighteningly poofed up milk jug.

In my refrigerator:
Something green and furry that may or may not have been edible at one time.
Something orange and furry that ditto above.
Something liquid that should probably be solid.
Something solid that used to be liquid.
A piece of brie of indeterminate age but impeccable breeding.
A questionable brownie that could double as a brick, it's been there so long.

In the pantry:
A light bulb.
A box of club crackers with exactly six crackers in it.
Some stale oyster crackers that no one wants to eat, but we can't seem to toss into the compost.
A cat toy.
A package of Fig Newtons with two Newtons in it, both of which bear more resemblance to blocks of wood than cookies.
A sock...but not the mate to the recycled cotton one, alas.

In my van:
A handful of Froot Loops from the stone age.
A piece of beef jerky that is slightly older than the Froot Loops and twice as tough as Chuck Norris.
A flashlight that sometimes works.
Three different toddler shoes.
A small jug of chocolate milk that occasionally hisses at me.
An astonishing assortment of crumbs of varying sizes and ages that bids fair to take over the back seat.

So...if you want to play along, just pick six places and list six things you found there.  Easy-peasy.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Oooh, 'ku!

I've been playing with Haiku on Facebook.  I enjoy them.  Here are a few of my recent creations:

Sunlight pours whisky
Through shivering Autumn trees
Illusory warmth
~
Small girl wakes often
Nestles late in Mama's bed
Warm nest hard to leave
~
Small girl has bad dreams
Crawls into bed with Mama
Mama holds, girl sleeps

They're not exactly master class, but I'm having fun with them, distilling a head full of thoughts into seventeen syllables.  Do you 'ku?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

If you served, or if you are serving, heartfelt thanks.

If your feet walk foreign soil, I wish you a swift and safe return home.

If you came home broken, I wish you swift and full mending.

If you suffered loss, I wish you the softening of grief, and abundance in your future days.

Thank you Dad, Big Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Basque A, and all of those who step/ped up and put on a uniform.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

And I don't Even Have A Pilot's License!

Listen up, people!

I don't drive so much as fly low.

I like to go fast.

As fast as conditions allow.  Maybe just a little faster.

I am no Maria Andretti, but I do enjoy feeling my Astro hunker down, take the bit in her teeth, grip the road, and go.  It is probably for the best that I love my Astro and have no desire for a sporty car.  You're welcome.

65 is tolerable.  70 is nice.  75 is even better, and 80 is just lovely.  I am quite comfortable at 90, and I have learned to my sorrow that my Astro maxes out at 100...my sorrow because I was on a beautiful, long, straight stretch of unoccupied road that just begged to be zoomed.

I try to keep it safe and keep the cuss words down to a minimum.  I sometimes wish the other motorists sharing the road were a little more cognizant of their surroundings.  Sometimes that wish for awareness expresses itself in a stream of invective that makes my kids laugh and horrifies or amuses any fellow adults in the van.

If you're one of the right lane hugging people who have the misfortune to wander into the left lane when I am steaming towards my destination, some tips:

     -When you must enter the left lane, take a moment to assess the traffic in said lane.  Those handy makeup mirrors on the side of your vehicle, and the hair styling one in the center of your windscreen?  They are perfect for seeing what's going on behind you!  Note the speed at which the left-laners travel and try to time your entry into Speedsville with a nice gap that won't force anyone else to disengage their beloved cruise control, mash the brake pedal, and engage their profanity release mechanism.

     -There is a special Hell for people who drift into the left lane and then float along beside the vehicle they were thinking about passing until they noticed their speedometer indicating a two-mile-over-the-limit increase in velocity.  Don't ensure a place in that Hell by crawling along the left lane like you have nowhere better to be and all the time in the world to get there.  That steam in your rear view?  Isn't an engine going bad.  It's coming out of someone's ears.  Probably mine.

     -I am not afraid to pass on the right.  If you force me to, please don't be surprised when I stare at you as I go by, maybe even shake my head and look at you like a dog with a grape (if you don't know that look, give a dog a grape and watch him try to sort it out...is it food?   toy?  some other category of thing that is neither/both food or toy?  What should he do with it?  Confusion abounds!).  Please don't pretend to be surprised or offended when I move back into the left lane a safe distance ahead of you, and please don't slam on your brakes as if I have suddenly cut you off when I am a half mile ahead of you before I make the switch.

     -Turn indicators (also known as blinkers) have a purpose.  If you don't know what that purpose is park and take a bus until you have educated yourself.  Buses, by the way, stay in the right lane because they know that's where they belong.  There are people on the road who could take their cue from a bus.

We share the road, not always by choice.  I know there are people in the lanes who can't see well, are distracted, or are driving impaired or scared.  I know there are people who make it their business to slow everyone else down because they don't think anyone needs to drive that fast, should have left earlier if they're late, should slow down because speed kills.

I know there are people who think I am slow and who impatiently try to crawl up my tail pipe without so much as a by-your-leave.  They wish I would move out of the way and drive over there in the right lane where 80mph cruisers belong.

We all have to compromise a little.  I like to think that, despite my need for speed, I am conscientious, courteous, and really quite safe in my driving.  I don't ride anyone's backside like we're on some kind of kinky, automotive themed date.  I don't try to force anyone aside or wedge myself into a half-sized space when a lane is ending.  If construction signs are visible, I mind them, and if a lane is closed I make sure I move from it as soon and as safely as I can.  I don't cut people off.  I'm not dangerous...I simply like to move along at a low cruising altitude.  Do me a favor and let me, won't you?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Illusion of Normalcy

Today I must finish a quilt I've been working on for a benefit auction and then ship it.

I must take the injured kitten I've been caring for over the last few weeks to the vet to have her splint re-wrapped or removed, depending on how her bone is healing.

I must bake banana bread for a friend who just underwent cancer treatment.

There are dishes to do, and laundry.

There are floors that so desperately need cleaning, we stick to them.  I wish I was kidding.

I must prepare food for my children, hopefully things that will nourish them rather than convenience me.

What I must not do is give any sign that the ground beneath me (figuratively) is crumbling.  I must not let show the cracks in the facade, the hurt, the fear, the sorrow.  I will not cry where anyone can see me, there will be no evidence of tears if anyone takes the time to look.  I will have a pleasant demeanor, as always.

It is for myself that I perpetuate the illusion.  For myself because I just don't want or need to hear opinions about my feelings and what I should be doing about them.  I don't want to trot out my damaged soul one more time and show how tattered and worn it is, how it flutters in streamers smirched by shadow and history.  I don't want to talk about it.  Isn't it enough that I am experiencing it?  It's exhausting.

This slow disintegration is tortuous.  It's not a nice, quick cut of the psyche it's a long, horrible slide down the rusty edge of a cast off blade, itchy and painful and dull.

I am thinking things that are...unpleasant...things like why don't I just drive away and leave everyone behind and just disappear, because they'd all be better off without me.  Things like I could drink those two bottles of whiskey all at once and be catatonic in short order.  Things like why is my honor so bloody important that I let it get in the way of what I so desperately need.

And don't need.

Because not wanting to live and wanting to die are two very different things.  Worlds apart.  Huge distinctions.  I can not want to live without wanting to be dead.  I can look at the mess I have made around me and want to live differently without exactly wanting to walk through the other side to get to cleaner, less damaged ground.

This churned up muck that is sliding away from me while dragging me through itself is, at least, my muck.  It's my experience, and there's no escaping that.  Try and run away, it just follows, flows through lifetimes until the lesson is well and truly learned.  May as well endure and learn now.

So none of the turmoil will show.  I will look just like a fully functioning member of society with never a hint of the internal train wreck that's going on.  Perhaps you'd be surprised to know how many like me there are in the world.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Once Upon A Time?

There must have been a time, a place, some circumstance, when I was confident and felt like I had value to myself and the world at large.

There must have been.

I see my children, how they go so boldly about their lives as if they are the center of it all, and I know I must have been the same way, mustn't I?

No one's born into this life thinking they are without worth, are they?

So what happened?  Why can't I remember a single time or place when I felt like I was doing it right?  Why am I always so very aware of how I'm fucking things up, but if I am doing something good it's like I'm not there and can't remember it ten minutes later, like it never happened?  How is it that the positive, if it exists, is so quickly and easily drowned out by the horrid?

Why is it so easy to believe the ugly things people say, to believe the ugly things are deserved, even in the face of love and compassion?

My love and compassion feel battered, bruised, and trampled right now.  They feel...useless...pointless...unwanted...much as I feel I am.

Depression is a hard row to hoe.  It's no easier when one is volubly judged as a fuck up.  It is no easier when people think one should just get over it, or that it isn't real like cancer or the flu.  It isn't easy when it grinds and grinds and drags and darkens, sucks one into the mire.  It is certainly not any better when the best one can do is met with scorn, derision, indifference or apathy.

Days and days I wonder why I fucking bother.

Days and days I wonder why I don't matter.

Days and days I struggle with the idea that everything and everyone would be so much better off if I wasn't here to fuck it all up.

I can't remember a time when the idea of love, the words "I love you", didn't mean "I want something from you" or "Whatever I say or do you have to accept" or "I own you and you have to be who I want you to be"...when they haven't meant the speaker believes to their core that I have some obligation to them.  If that was all I knew of love, maybe I'd be fine, but I see others NOT living in that reality so I know there's another way and I'm just not allowed to join those reindeer games.

Yes, I am in a very bad place right now, and my head is full of shades and ugliness...but how is that any different, I wonder, than when I am NOT in a bad place?

I wonder if I will ever be able to touch a memory of feeling right, or create one in some distant future.  I wonder if I will ever be free of this doubt, the self-defeating, self-hating internal dialog that tells me to shut the fuck up and go away because really, how could I possibly think anyone is interested in my nonsense?

I don't think I ever had whatever it is that lets people go through their lives with grace, confidence, compassion, and love.  Deficient, me.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Who Wants Music on Monday?

I'm taking the kids to the park and running a few errands, so here's a little musical interlude for ya.


A blast from the past:

This one always makes me smile:
 

Another bit of musical yore:


 I hope you have a tolerable Monday!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cool Days, Crisp Nights

Autumn is coming on apace here at Casa de Crazy.  The light is changing in duration and color, and we are enjoying a delicious cool spell.  I have no doubt Summer will do his best to muscle into our lives for a brief spate of heat, humidity, and general uncomfortability, but for now we can sleep with the windows open and even eyeball the comforter with a thoughtful air.

I enjoy sleeping with the windows open, especially when the humidity has dropped from somewhere in the breathing-through-a-wet-sponge strata to the breathable-for-humans range.  I loathe feeling like I need to wring out my lungs, and it's nice not to wake up sodden from both perspiration atmosphere!

Windows open also means I can fall asleep listening to the woods-dwelling symphony behind the Casa.

Crickets make up the strings, tripping along their melody line from dark to dawn, blending perfectly together into a sustained whole note.

Then there are the Piccolo tree frogs, each one trilling his part with enviable earnestness, each of them vying to be heard first among the rest.

The bullfrog Timpani is sometimes off tempo, but one cannot blame him for becoming distracted - cool weather means he must turn his thoughts from his mighty calling out for love to finding a place to weather Winter when the season finally rolls through the wood and along the creek.

Sometimes in the darkness the French Horn owls hoot out their lingering notes, long and low, full of longing and mystery.

When it rains, we have the ticking of drops on leaves, a staccato click-tick-splat-hush that softens the rest like an auditory mist.

And the wind.  The poly-rhythmic wind.  Soft it flows from one pulse to the next, gliding from branch to branch, sky to ground, shaking leaf rattles and clacking twigs, ruffling the grass with a hissing, sighing exhalation.

When I lie awake in the deep hours of night, awakened by some unknown sound, I listen to the tuning of the orchestra and the weaving together of the sounds into one night's song, slipping slowly back into sleep and what dreams may come.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Apples to Oranges

My brother has bought a new house.  This is his fourth property - three in the US and a flat in England (near Brighton, I think) where they stay when they go over to escape Redneck Central summers and visit my sister-in-law's family.  He and his family wanted a place they could keep their horse to save boarding fees, so they found a nice place in the country on five acres with a barn.  I saw pictures this past weekend, and it looks lovely.

The other two houses have become rentals.

He works with computers, and I couldn't begin to explain what he does, except folks think he does it well enough to pay him to muck about with theirs, and some of it looks like he has to sacrifice a goat to the new moon to make it work.

Me?

Umm...

Well...

I can't help looking at my life, and his, and feeling a little...disappointing.  I know that we are two very different people with different wants, needs, and priorities, but at the heart of it I think we share something common to ALL people, which is a desire to succeed, to do well for ourselves and our families.  I can't help thinking I have failed, utterly.

I know I shouldn't compare.  It's a habit born in childhood, when some of the most influential adults in my life would ask, shaking their heads, "Why can't you be more like...?", with the person named clearly better at something than I.  My poor cousin Cindy was often the good example, and it's a wonder that I didn't grow up hating her...but it's difficult for me to hate someone simply because they are who they are - in her case, lovely, intelligent, and damned good at what she did/does.  Admire?  Respect?  Sure.  Hate or resent?  Not so much.

Today I could tell them "Because I'm not...  I'm ME!"

But "me" isn't enough.  Me has no value.  Me doesn't have houses and cars and horses and a bank account.  Me doesn't do much besides fail...and the voices in my head like to point that out regularly.

So this week while my brother and his family work out what needs doing in the new house, moving dates, and the like...I am staring at two letters telling me another way I have failed - one from the state proclaiming that the insurance on one vehicle lapsed and I must re-insure it and pay a fine, the other from the insurance company telling me the other vehicle will be lapsed because payment is past due and they will be informing the state next week, which means I cannot legally drive and may have my license suspended.

41 years old and I still can't look at anything I have done and say "Hey, I succeeded at something!"  Unless that something is fail spectacularly.  Then I'm coming up roses.

I often think I must be the bad example.  You know..."Eat your vegetables or you'll end up like...", or "Finish your homework or you'll wind up just like...", or "You don't want to be like...do you?

Sigh.  Good to have a purpose, eh?

All I can say is, at least Mum got ONE good one.  I'm glad he's doing well...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Gone to Pot...Holders...

Below are the pot holders I made for the Kickstarter campaign.  They're simple, pieced with scraps and backed with denim (I've had that red denim for ages, and I wish the photo could relay how soft it is - like suede!).  Not fancy, but machine washable and serviceable.  I hope the recipients like 'em!



Monday, September 9, 2013

A Load of Scrap

Lately I find myself rashly offering to make quilted things for folks.

First there was the quilt I offered to make if anyone donated a certain amount or more to the band's Kickstarter campaign.  That's still in the planning stages, since it's a big one.

Then there was the custom lap quilt for a raffle to help  pay for a young man's cancer treatments.  About halfway finished it would be done if my children would quit trying to help me with it.

Then there were the pot holders I needed to make to fulfill the Kickstarter promise of some kind of craft item from a band member for anyone donating at or above a certain level.

Now there's another quilt to be made for another fund-raiser, this time for a woman who has recently endured a string of misfortune that would buckle most folks - the loss of her husband to cancer followed by a devastating motorcycle crash that left her in pieces with staggering medical bills and the need to completely rearrange her house so she can simply get in and out and live her much-altered life there.

For some things, I buy new material, but for the pot holders, one of the lap quilts, and for a few future projects, I decided to rummage in my remnants box and make use of some scraps.  I have a lot of scraps in my life.  Sometimes I feel sorry for them, bits and pieces, odds and ends, just lingering in boxes bags and bins until I recall this bit or that which might be just what I need.

Hopefully the folks receiving these items won't be too disappointed.  I DO warn people that what I make is simple, meant to be used, worn out, patched, used some more - I don't do heirlooms, I do things for every day.  Scraps are good for that - little pieces of colorful cotton that might otherwise languish until I am long gone and some unfortunate heir has to wade into the craft room and sort through all that...er...priceless vintage fabric?  I hope I live long enough for my stash to become vintage, anyway...

Also, using the oddments means there's now room for more...because (and if you work with fabric, yarn, paper, or any craft medium, you understand this) there's no such thing as enough...even when it all looks like nothing more than a load of scrap.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

In Brief(ish)

So...Someone is moving out in the next week or two.

We're still together, still love each other, still want a life together.  His moving out won't change how we feel.  What it will do is give him some space of his own, space not full of noise, toys, cats, and mess.  Space where he can have silence, where things will be cleaned and arranged according to his whims, time, and efforts.  Space where things will stay precisely where he left them, not moved by toddler curiosity and hands, or cats, or my sporadic cleaning efforts.

That said, the move isn't by choice.  He would rather not have to pay rent and utilities and miss out on the day to day minutiae of our daughter's life.  He would rather not sleep alone at night.  It will be an odd sort of life we live, a stretched out family.  Luckily, he found a place withing easy walking or bicycling distance.  He'll take meals here and do his laundry, do yard work, tend the gardens.  His life is still here.  His address is all that will change...his address and maybe the things that have driven him to need his own place, things which I will maybe write about one day but not now, not when there's dinner to cook, children to bathe and settle in to beds, laundry to do, ants to vanquish from the kitchen, and a world of things to get ready.

I haven't mentioned it before now because it didn't seem entirely possible...but today he signed a lease, paid a deposit, found out about power and water.  Today it is real.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Just Wondering...

So many people ask "Why am I here, what's my purpose in life?"

What if there is no purpose.  What if the whole idea of purpose is a myth?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wherein I Do Go On A Bit

We begin with this:  I love my children, above almost everything.

Being "Mommy" or "Mama"* is not for the faint of heart.  It is not for the weak.  It is not for the self-centered, the one for whom ego is first and foremost.  Being a mother requires a relinquishing of Self that would make Buddha proud.  Tired, but the child needs feeding?  No rest.  Sick, but the child needs clean clothing?  Laundry it is.  Ready for a few moments of quiet, but the child wants to sing?  On with the show!  Need new shoes but the child needs nappies or clothing or shoes themselves?  The soles aren't worn completely through, yet...they'll last a little longer.

There are so many sublime moments of parenting, it's easy to understand how, from the outside, those not in the know would think it's all baby food commercials and Hollywood moments of wonder.  It's easy not to see the years of grinding noise, motion, need, want, crying, sleep deprivation, anger, frustration, filth, stink, hunger, and mental exhaustion hidden behind the occasionally vacant gaze and the slightly untidy appearance.  Easy to notice the once coiffed hair gone to simpler-to-maintain ponytails or cut short, the slow decline into denim clad easy-to-wash-the-yoghurt-from fashion but not the cause of the slow slide into nonentity.

Being "Mom" means, to so many, that one has lost any claim to one's self-identity.  We are, simply and ever, "Mom".  We have no name, no spark of our own.  For all intents and purposes, we are nothing more than a nurturing machine for our young.

Imagine, then, the guilt a mother feels when she just wants to have a few minutes of her own.  Imagine how she feels when she is irritated that, for the thousandth time, her child turns down offers of food only to demand to be fed as soon as Mom sits down to eat.  Imagine how she feels when she is sick and needs rest but her kids need caring for.  Guilt.  Tremendous, weighty guilt.  How dare she?

When I see stories of mothers who drown their kids, or leave them in the park or at the store or home alone, or who lock themselves in a room with their computer so they can escape to some fantasy world in the Blue Nowhere, I understand what has happened - the nurture instinct, the loss of self, the lack of sleep, the collapse of the Mother nature.  I don't condone it.  We know, always, that our children are ours to raise up, that harming or abandoning them is wrong.  But...but...it is sometimes easy to see why they would divorce themselves from that Mom drive.

Mothering is work.  It is tiresome, relentless, noisome, identity stealing and very often thankless work.  It is a riot of hormones unceasingly yo-yoing, running rampant through our bodies and brains and often rocketing us into depression or mania faster than a toddler can find the Oreos.  Our bodies become playgrounds for every germ our kids bring home (who says children must be taught to share?), our minds fester with the echoing refrains of countless children's songs, poems, stories, and television theme songs.  Our lives are suddenlt open to criticism and comment from any and every person who knows how to do it better.  We know how to make bee stings hurt less and kiss boo-boos all better, how to sew favorite blankies back together and mend clothing and hurt feelings.  We cook, we clean, we launder, and we bathe.  We drive and clothe and nurse and nurture, and through it all we sublimate ourselves, our needs our wants, and no wonder we are greying and softening and quietly becoming blurs in our own minds.

I love my children above almost everything else.

That said, I believe we've gotten it wrong.  Society, or at least the culture I was raised in, has gotten it wrong.  We should not after all, forget who we are.  We should not, after all, have to give up on our own precious Self.  There should be time in which we can be people in and of ourselves, not identified by our children but by who we are.

I am a writer, a singer, a photographer, and artist, and a mother.  I should not have to give up on any of the former to be the latter.  Who thought of that?  They should be shown the error of their ways.  It is a mistake to give ourselves away for the sake of parenting.  Too easy to resent.  Too easy to blame.  To easy to disintegrate and wonder what happened.  Too easy to snap and become the unthinkable.  Unnecessary.

I love my children and want to keep loving them.  I don't want to become an embittered woman snarling about how she gave up everything for her kids.  I want to be the kind of mother who says "I could have given it up, but how would that serve anything but some faded, out of date perception of what mothering is supposed to be?  No, I held on to who I am and raised my children to be strong, secure, loving, compassionate, fully realized people, in part because they knew that I loved them enough NOT to let go of who I am and to show them that one may love others and one's self in equal measure."

I have failed to hold onto me, and so I have a long road back, but I realize I need to make the journey.  My kids deserve better than the fractured personality I give them. They deserve better than a mother who only wants to escape, who yells at them constantly and who secretly wishes everyone would just shut the hell up for a few minutes so she can think.  They deserve better than a mother who wishes they'd leave her alone and feels sucked dry by their constant need.  They deserve to feel loved, nurtured wanted, appreciated, and safe.  They deserve patience and understanding, things that are in short supply around here.  They deserve to know, to feel to their roots, that I love them above almost everything else, even when I say "No, you may NOT have six more cookies for lunch."

*Or Daddy or Papa

Friday, August 16, 2013

I'm Workin' On It

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thoughfetti

I'm working at the track this weekend as a control communicator for the Peachstate Porsche Club driver's ed. event.  We're training someone to do the job that one of my oldest friends from the track does, because my friend is ready to hand it over to someone else and get some rest on her weekends.  Selfish.  Heh.

So the person we're training?  The person I suggested and heartily endorse for the position?  My ex sister-in-law.  Yup.

When T and I divorced, Mizz J told me I wasn't getting away that easily!  We call each other sister-outlaw, a phrase my mom coined for herself and HER sister-outalw when she and my dad divorced.  Divorce doesn't mean you have to sever ALL connections.
~~~~~
I spent Friday  running errands with K2.  We went to lunch after.  The kids were at her house with J.  It was lovely.  After we were done, I got to rummage through K2's jeans - I had bemaoned my lack of pants and how the two pairs of jeans I have are getting too big.  She had some hand-me-down-able things, so I tried 'em on.  Three pairs of jeans the richer, me, and they are two sizes smaller than what I have been wearing.  Woot!
~~~~~
I have had a sore throat for two weeks now.  Several nights I have taken pain medication because it keeps me awake.  One night was bad enough I cried.  For more than an hour.  I am tired of hurting...always something...
~~~~~
Sprout has taken to saying "Dammit!"  She uses it appropriately, and I am torn...it's freakin' cute, but...well...she really souldn't use cuss words...yet...
~~~~~
Since when do ten-year-olds act sullen, resentful, and backtalk?  I thought I had a few more years...
~~~~~
I was trying to save money for a bike...and bills and expenses kept foiling me.  I finally built up a few bucks and then?  Someone bought me Blue Beauty, my noble steed.  Now what?  Hmm.  I think...I think...I will be a little selfish...and maybe try to save for a cruise with my friend K2...maybe some other women...but no kids, no mens, just us chicas out on the waves.  At the rate I'm going we'll be able to set sail in...umm...2050 or so.
~~~~~
I am bone tired, soul tired, deeply in need of respite...but I am still kicking.
~~~~~
My band produced a new CD.  It's titled "Rise Up" and it's available on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.  I think it's our best one, and it's certainly the only one I have actually listened to willingly, on purpose, more than once.  For what it's worth...
~~~~~
I am slowly adding to my iTunes library.  I find that buying one or two songs at a time suits me.  I like the eclectic mix of noise I can shuffle and play at will.  When a friend plays something I enjoy, I find out what it is and add it to my library.  What are some of your favorite pieces to play?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Someone tell me...

...exactly why I have to get out of bed in the morning?

Dishes?  Pft.  Every time I clean them, more dirty ones pile up.

Laundry?  See dishes.

Floors?  See Laundry and dishes.

I am sore, tired, depressed, broke, and can't frelling breathe.

Two steps forward, one step back?  I don't think so.  More like no steps forward, one steep downward spiral with no end in sight back.

I see people happy and I wonder how the hell they did that.  I thought I was happy...may have been for a while...but it fell apart.

I have come to the conclusion that anyone who is romantically attracted to/loves me?  Is deeply flawed and all it takes is a little time with me to turn even the nicest person into an ass or epic proportions.  I am a curse.
Want to destroy someone's life?  Send 'em my way.  I can do it in record time without even trying.  Hell, the harder I try NOT to, the faster it goes!  Prodigal, me.

So, yeah...why do I hafta get up?  Pft.  I'm going back to bed...

...and if a man so much as LOOKS at me, I am running away as far and as fast as I am able.  It's for his own good...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Daisy, Daisy...

Okay, so it isn't built for two and I am not calling it "Daisy", but it IS a bicycle.

On Saturday, Someone and I went on a...gasp...date!  Our second, I think, or maybe third.  A friend came and watched Sprout and the Evil Genius was at his father's, and we were two adults at large in the world with nothing more than thoughts of sushi forming our prospective activities.

We ran a few errands first, then went for sushi at my favorite place - until Saturday, poor Someone has never been there, only feasted on whatever leftovers I brought him.  While even their leftovers are excellent, nothing beats fresh.

Afterwards we headed homeward, but decided on the spur of the moment to stop at our local Evil Empire to see if they had any shorts or shirts Someone could buy for working outdoors in.  He  has a job now, and it is a lot of outdoor work, and jeans and t-shirts are just too hot.

As we were heading over towards the hardware department to investigate oscillating fans, we passed the bicycle display.  The price on the sign gave us pause, caused us to stop and back up.  The bikes on the front rack were all touring bikes, the kind I have longed for for some time.  There, in the middle, as if waiting just for me, was the blue beauty shown above.  Half price.

No kidding.

Half price.

Someone had been paid Friday.  He told me "Grab the bike, you're getting it."

He bought me a blue bike.  The exact bike I have wanted for several years, now.  Sniff.

I rode her today.  Let me just say that when one has not ridden a bicycle for 25 years or so, one may be excused if one...wobbles...a little.  I did not fall off, anyway, and I imagine I will improve with more practice.

I am as excited as a ten-year-old at Christmas!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It Wouldn't Be Ours If It Worked Right

It's been a rough week here at Casa de Crazy.  More about some of that later.  Let's just look at today.

My neck and back are screaming at me constantly.  My head hurts.  I had to wait more than an hour past our appointment time (regular check-up, nothing dire) at the pediatrician's with a two-year-old that was NOT interested in being patient, let alone THE patient.  A cat barfed up a puddle of something delightful right where I stand to fold laundry.  Guess how I found it.  Hint: I go barefoot in the house.

I am still trying to get everything unpacked, washed, and put away from our Ohio trip, so I unloaded the dishwasher, loaded it back up, and ran it.

A little while later, I wandered into the kitchen to get a drink and...umm...I believe what I said was "That's not right."

It looked kinda like this, only more so:


I didn't take any photos of MY floor because it was flowing into the pantry...you know, where we store food?  Food that really doesn't need to be pre-soaked with soapy, bleachy, dishwasher water?  So I got busy finding towels that won't get all weird if they're bleached and sopping up the mess, which means you get Internet photos that approximate our drama.  

I checked downstairs just to be sure this wasn't because our septic tank had, again, overflowed into the house.  All dry, whew!  I ran water in the kitchen sink to make sure the pipe isn't clogged.  Drains fine.  So now what?

I decided to run the dishwasher again to see if it simply hadn't drained correctly.  It's running as I type, and so far, so good.  Every now ant then, I open it and check what's up. Seems okay.

I did not use the wrong detergent - I used the same stuff I ALWAYS use because I have OCD and some products are not negotiable in my home or the world will come to an end thankyouverymuch.  I didn't find anything in the drain or screen.  It just...overflowed.

On top of everything else (I know, I'm teasing, but some hings take time to write), we didn't need this.

Sigh.

Here's hoping there was a gremlin caught in the drain and it's now washed down into the septic tank and doing the doggy paddle with the scorpion I flushed last week, and the dishwasher will now go back to doing its job, principally not getting dishes entirely clean but usually draining properly...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

And Then the Bottom Falls Out

Earlier this week I read a story about a woman in Texas who fell out of an amusement park ride and was killed.  Seems she may or may not have been properly secured.  A child or children may have been riding with her.

I imagine they started out thinking things were fine.  Maybe it was a hot day and they waited a long time in line and things were a little unpleasant, but they were willing to stick it out.  I imagine they were relieved and a little excited when they reached the head of the line and it was, finally, their turn to enjoy some of the fun.  I imagine they had no idea that a few bad decisions would be life altering.

And then she fell.

I wonder what she thought.  Was she hoping to survive?  Did she know she was done for?  Did she think of the people she left behind?  Or did some stray bit of ephemera float across her mind, the phone bill or whether she turned off the coffee pot?

How quickly things change.  One weathers rough seas, make the best of things, endures, struggles, exults, patiently waits, works towards change...and then...the bottom drops out...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Go, Go, Go!

We got back from our Ohio trip on Tuesday afternoon.  I would like to say we've had a little time to relax, but...umm...about that...

It seems like I'm even busier now than before we left!

So I find myself neglecting Blogopolis once again...I hope you'll forgive these humongous lapses...I shall endeavor to do better when I have a moment to catch up to myself.  Meanwhile, have a music video to ponder:
 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Time Slip

I need more time.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could bank minutes, hours, days?  Save a little here, a little there, use it when we need to stretch time a little?

I have so much to do, and it must all be done by Saturday, because on Sunday the kids, our friend A, and I will be motoring up to Ohio for our annual visit to Wisteria Campground.  We'll be there ten days, then home again, home again!

Between now and then?  Trailer needs tidying and loading, sewing needs doing, van needs cleaning and organizing, then loading, clothes need washing and packing, groceries need buying, house needs cleaning, and I have a band rehearsal, a holiday, and tons of other things to attend to.

I used to be much more organized, less stressed about these trips...back before kids...

So I could use some of the time I've saved driving, finding short cuts, trimmed from chores...to get everything done well in advance of this trip so on Saturday all I have to do is buy groceries and get the food packed and stowed in the van.

Sigh.

Hey buddy, can you spare a ten-minute spot?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Distraction

I'm tired.  Got home Monday from PSG in Illinois, ten days of camping and music and all kinds of drumming and drama.  Lots of laundry, unpacking, and general cleaning to do.  Lots of sewing to do for the next show, which is in two weeks.  No singing this time, just selling and spending time with friends.  No time to write a real blog right now...the sewing, she will not do herself, so...here's a video of a song that is currently stuck in my head.  What're you up to?


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blargh!

I have had swollen glands in my neck since last Wednesday.

Sore throat started Friday.

Hurts to swallow.

Do you know how many times one may swallow in the course of the night?

Me neither, I quit counting around 100.

My temperature goes up and down faster and with greater frequency than a yo-yo at a Duncan exhibition.

I need a nap after going down stairs to do laundry and then coming back up.

I need a nap after getting a glass of water.  It can take hours to drink that glass of water if i manage to stay awake.

My ears throb.  My throat throbs.  My jaw aches.  Holding my head up is...unpleasant...

After three nights of zero real sleep because I drift off only to wake up whenever I swallow, then can't get back to sleep because I can't help swallowing, I finally caved and went to the doctor.

I have never felt like this.  Ever.

He swabbed my throat and pronounced a very slight case of strep.

Slight?

I feel like the sword swallower who hiccoughed on the way down!

Slight???

I have never had strep.  This is a new experience, and I can honestly and emphatically say I could happily never have known the joys of it personally.  Sometime it's okay to live vicariously.

Also, if this is slight?  I hope I may never know the full-throttle version.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Anatomy Of An Alleged Night's Sleep

9:00 PM - Pantyhose on an octopus pajamas on Sprout.

9:30 PM - warn Evil Genius it's almost time to wrap it up, attempt to rock Sprout (who has other plans).

10:00 PM - attempt to convince Evil Genius to heed parental authority and wrap it up, still rocking Sprout, who is writhing like she's being pinched, poked, and stabbed with hot needles while voicing her protest about sleep in general and being rocked in particular at the top of her lungs.

10:15 PM - make another pass at the Evil Genius, who is suddenly intent upon perfecting his impression of a particularly slow-moving Sloth.  Try no to drop Sprout on her head while she determinedly seeks solace in abrupt impact with the floor.

10:30 PM - Remind feline that caterwauling next to the head of the child I am trying to get to sleep is probably not such a good idea.  

10:45 PM - Tell Sprout she is going to be the entree for tomorrow night's dinner if she doesn't settle down.  At this point, the girl is so tired she cannot keep her eyes open, but she is still struggling.  Sleep?  Is for chumps!  The Evil Genius has now taken forty-five minutes to clean up two lego bricks and an army man.  Several hundred to go.

11:00 PM - threaten to kill and eat any child who is not in bed asleep in less than five minutes.  Sound convincing.

11:10 PM - deposit soundly sleeping Sprout in her bed, making sure her "nankie" (the blanket Mum knit her that has become her one and only Thing That Must Always Be In Sprout's Presence) is covering her.  Remind the Evil Genius for the umpteenth time that he will sleep better on a bed NOT covered in small, poke-y toys, then give up and wish him sweet dreams.

11:15 PM - crawl into bed with an exhausted Someone, cuddle up, drift to sleep.

11:48 PM - wake to crying Sprout noises.  Go and comfort her.

11:52 PM - back to bed.

11:58 PM - more crying Sprout.  Rock her, comfort her, finally peel her out of previously perfectly comfortable pajamas that are now, apparently, the toddler equivalent of shrink wrap dipped in acid and entirely intolerable.

12:43 AM - back to bed.

1:30 AM - rouse from slumber to go cover now-pajamaless Sprout who has managed to roll herself out of her nankie cover and finds a general house temperature of 76 degrees to be sub-arctic.

2:22 AM - repeat above step.

3:36 AM - repeat above step.

4:20 AM - wake from sound sleep to feel son tapping leg and loudly voicing his concern over his stomach burbling.  Remove to the hallway to discuss the nature and location of the burbles while reminding him that there are others sleeping and whispering will suffice.  Inform son that said burbles probably mean he will be needing to run to the bathroom with greater frequency for a bit.  Delight at the information that he has already had diarrhea once tonight.  Joy.

5:49 AM - wake to Someone angrily admonishing cat to quit scratching outside the litter box in which she has just made a deposit, because twenty minutes of covering it up with non-existent floor-litter is enough.

5:50 AM - out of bed and removing sheets, as a cat has peed on Someone's feet.  Again.  Start laundry, make bed, lie down.

6:00 AM - Turn off Someone's alarm.  Sprout whimpers.  Oh...no...

6:15 AM - hear thud as Sprout climbs out of bed.  Help her onto the big bed because she doesn't climb very well while holding her nankie.  Try to convince her that she wants to go back to sleep.

8:00 AM - wake pinned by snoring Sprout because Evil Genius's alarm is going off, and despite being mere inches from his head he has not heard it and is still asleep.  Call out to him with ever increasing volume to turn. that. damned. thing. off!

8:47 AM - Sprout is awake, again, and is now declaring the day ready to start, thankyouverymuch.

Spend rest of day in sleep deprived haze.

Repeat with variations on the theme.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

If My Ten-Year-Old Gets It...

The following conversation took place in Tess the Mule (our second Astro) while we were waiting at the dealership:

"Hey, Little Dude...?"
"What, Mommy?"
"If I have a bucket of popcorn and you want some, but I won't give you any, is it okay to help yourself?"
"No-o."  He says it like it's obvious.
"Okay...but what if you're really hungry and really want some popcorn?"
"No."  Duh, mommy.
"What if I tell you I have a chocolate bar and I'm going to share it, but then I don't.  Is it okay to take it from me?"
"No.  It's your chocolate bar.  You don't have to share it if you don't want to."
"How about if I have been telling you all day how I have this chocolate bar and we're going to share it, and now you really want some chocolate?"
"It's still not okay."
"What if I tell you I will share with you, but then I fall asleep?  Is it cool to take it then?"
"No."
"Why not?"
"Because it's yours, and you can't share it if you're asleep, it's just me taking it."
"How 'bout if I have a bucket of quarters and I tell people I'm going to share them later, but than I don't?  Is it okay to take them from me?"
"No, that's stealing."
'Suppose I am very drunk and say I am going to let you have my quarters, but then I pass out"
"Still no, Mommy."  He's impatient, now.
"And if you ask if I will share the quarters and I say no, but then pass out, is it okay to take them?"
"Uh, no."
"And if I am asleep and you ask me if you can eat 27 Kit Kat bars and I don't wake up and say 'no' does that mean 'Yes'?"
"No.  You have to say 'yes' to mean 'yes', Mommy."  Again, duh.
"What if I am asleep and someone else comes along and asks me if they can have my quarters and I don't say 'no' and they take them?"
"Then I would tell them not to, because you didn't say 'yes' and that's not okay, and they shouldn't take what isn't theirs, it's stealing."

I bet YOU, dear reader, understood where I was going with this.

"So the same is true for sex, buddy."
"Um, okay."
"Some day you'll be interested in sex.  Really interested.  And sex feels good.  And when someone says they will have sex and then changes their mind, it can be frustrating.  But...even if you really want to have sex, what does it mean if they say 'You know what?  I changed my mind.' and they don't want to any more?"
"It means no sex."
"What if you hear someone telling others how much they want to have sex, but then they are passed out, and you see someone taking them away because they're going to go ahead without asking?"
"Um...that's wrong, because just because you don't say 'no' doesn't mean you are okay with it."
"What if you say you want to have sex but then change your mind?  It is okay for you to say know after you said yes?"
"Well...of course it is."

So...we have never discussed rape.  We've talked about sex a little, about the biological imperative and body parts and the biological reason for sex, but rape?  Not yet.  I have not said the word "rape" to him or discussed sexual assault, rape, statutory rape, incest, or any of the like in detail...just made sure he knows that it's not okay for anyone to mess with his private parts or to ask or make him mess with theirs.

He simply has the good sense to know that when someone says "no", they mean "no".  Even when they said "yes" before.  And when someone cannot say no, it isn't consent.  Silence does not mean it's okay.  Unless there is a clear statement of "yes" in the moment, then...well...no.  And when you see someone acting like they were told "yes" when they were not, you step up and say something.

How is it my kid knows this when so many grown and semi-grown people seem to have no clue?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Do I Answer Like It Matters?

I had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, a sort of regular thing.

There was a medical student there, and as part of her training she had to do a patient survey with me.

The subject of my mental health came up and I explained that I have depression, pretty severely at the moment.  We talked about medication and why I won't take it, and she asked (as part of the survey) if I had suicidal thoughts.

Tricky question, that.

Answer it wrong and you get to stay in the comfortable padded rooms of the local psych hotel, complete with poorly fitting fashions and all the meds you can (whether you want to or not) take.

Sometimes?  That sounds kinda nice.  No kids, no chores, no pets, no one else's feelings or hurt or needs or anger to tiptoe around.  A whole staff dedicated to taking care of me.  Like a spa but less formal.  And then there are all the other crazies in there for entertainment - way better than reality TV any day!

Oh, well, yeah, there's that whole not-allowed-to-come-and-go-as-one-pleases thing...that kinda puts a crimp on my style, yo.

And the not having my daughter to cuddle up with for an afternoon nap, or my kids to wake up to in the morning.

And cafeteria food.  Oh, Gods, the cafeteria food!

So it's wise to consider carefully and answer as honestly as one can...but for me, that's a tricky thing because honestly?  Yes, I have suicidal thoughts.  Lately, it seems like they're a chorus, constantly humming in my head.  I am sick of life.  Sick of feeling flattened, worn down, worn away, worthless and useless, and if I could just shuffle off this mortal coil without having to do the deed myself I would be delighted.

I don't want to live.

I don't want to experience what the world has to offer, or my children's laughter, or how they grow up.  I don't want to be responsible for them or their well-being.  I don't want to sing.  I don't want to write.  I don't want one fucking thing to do with anyone or anything.  I want, with damn near every bit of my being, to be dead.

All.  The.  Time.

But...

But...

But I DO, in fact, want to be part of my children's lives...I just don't like feeling like I am screwing them up.

And life is amazing, even when I hate it.  Luckily, it doesn't hate me back.  Yet.

And I may not want to sing , but I need to.  It's part of the fabric of my being and, like oxygen, I cannot seem to do without it (even when I believe, absolutely, that no one wants to hear it)(my disease, my thoughts, and I can believe in pink unicorns but that doesn't make them any more real).

And I would very much like to feel like a writer again, if only there was time or opportunity and I didn't feel so overwhelmed by everything else that needs doing and so unnecessary to the writing world.

And, you know, there's that promise I made all those years ago...the one where I said I wouldn't off myself.  And I don't break my world.  Ever.  Even when I really, really, really, really, really want to.  A lot.

So.  I know that when medical folks ask about suicidal thoughts, what they really want to know is if there's any imminent danger of one acting on those thoughts...and in my case, there is not.  So I can tell them "No" and it's the answer that best fits the question even if it' not, entirely, honest.

Because in the end?  It doesn't matter what I am thinking or feeling or what I want.  And really, institutional Jell-o is all the motivation I need to smile and keep on as if nothing is wrong in the world, and since I cannot actually DO what I would like to about how I am feeling, it's all good.  Right?

Right.

F.I.N.E.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thoughtfetti

Went to the dentist yesterday, got a new crown.  Fun.  Went to the doctor as well, got a well-meant lecture on taking better care of myself and some new medication.  More fun.
~~~~~
The Evil Genius spent two weeks restricted from strenuous play while he healed up from his orchioplexy.  Restriction was lifted last Friday and we spent Saturday and Sunday at a friend's place on a lake.  He was in paradise!  We will go back again as soon as I've recovered from mass-people-exposure.  That is TOO a condition!
~~~~~
I think, maybe, possibly, perhaps, there's a slight chance...that we are well and truly finished with the recording part of making our new CD.  Whew!  What a haul...totally worth it, but if anyone ever tries to say singing isn't work, they've no idea what they're talking about!
~~~~~
Two of the three ring-neck snakes died.  I am sad about that.  Gimpy, the slightly bent one, is still kicking (figuratively speaking, of course, because how can a snake kick???), I believe largely because I hand feed him.  He's pretty spry for a bent snake, too!
~~~~~
I'll be gone for a little bit mid-June.  Wasn't planning on going anywhere this year, but the band was hired to perform.  I feel trepidatious about going.  Hey, spell check?  Trepidatious is TOO a word!  And I feel it.  About going on this trip.  I hate that I no longer anticipate fun, but rather worry about everything that can and will go wrong.  Sigh.
~~~~~
I started taking a B-complex vitamin because I am exhausted all the time, and who wants to live with that?
~~~~~
This blog could double as a sleep aide.  You're welcome.
~~~~~
What's on your mind?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Lo's Question

"What do you want?"

I'm not sure.

"Not good enough.  What do you want?"

I don't know.

"What do you want?"

I'm not...

"What do you want?"

I don't...

"You do.  What do you want?"

...

...

...

"I am afraid of the answer."

And then he was gone.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day






Photo found here and copied entirely without permission but not without respect.



Many of my family have served their country in the various branches. My brother was in the Army, but thankfully got out when yet another gopher hole tried to eat his ankle. Don't ask. My Uncle was in the Air Force, even flying Air Force Two for a while. My Grandfather was in the Coast Guard during World War II. I have a cousin in the Air Force. I believe he flies Airforce somethingorother from time to time. I have a friend who was in the Army during the Vietnam War (conflict, my ass!) - I never once resented the calls at three-o'clock in the morning; nightmares shy away from friendly voices, from reason and reassurance. Another friend was in the Army until it broke his back - literally. He survived, but not his plans for a lifetime in the military - they don't want broken people, no matter how useful or clever they are. Someone's family is jam-packed with folks who've served - mostly Navy, I believe - and deserve some respect and thanks. So...thanks.

For a history of this day, go here. Or here. Or here. In a nutshell, Memorial Day is for remembering the fallen. Veteran's Day is for honoring the living. That's why they get two days, and so they should. Men and women stand up and make targets of themselves to maintain our freedoms every day of the year, so the least we can do is take two days to tell them "Thanks. Thanks for acting against human nature and protecting me and mine. Thanks for losing an arm, a leg, a life so that I don't have to."

It's not about the politics. I'm non-violent. I don't think war is ever a reasonable response to conflict. I don't believe that wars are fought for ideal, but rather for political and/or financial gains. I won't forget, though, that people have laid down their lives so that I may stand on a street corner protesting (I never would) them, or denigrating (never, ever!) them for their service.

Perhaps one day, we won't have any new graves to decorate. Until then, I remember and (as best I can) I honor.