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.

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.




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.