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, January 27, 2014

Der Schnee, Der Schnee!!

Here in Redneck Central (somewhere south of Blogopolis in the Blue Nowhere), we don't get a lot of what you might call Winter Weather.  Sometimes it gets chilly, and on rare occasions I will put socks on.  I don't actually own a winter jacket any more, although I have a shawl and a trench coat looking thing that will do in a pinch.

What usually happens is, the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and once in a while it rains, sleets, dips below 30, and people go inside and build roaring fires to warm themselves by.

I grew up in New England, in a state where snow sometimes started in October, got serious by the end of November, and didn't think about thawing until March or April some time, if then.  I am comfortable going barefoot in the stuff, providing there's a stove or fireplace on hand for later defrosting if needed.  Or at least a nice pair of socks.  I am familiar with how to heat with and cook over fire, and how to use the great outdoors as a fridge if the power goes out and the indoor icebox can't keep its cool.

When I first moved to Redneck Central, I didn't know about the Winter Panic that set in at the merest hint that a snowflake could possibly consider thinking about flying over the state on its way to somewhere else.

The Winter Panic includes but is not limited to:  filling the vehicle's fuel tank, buying gallons and gallons of water and milk, purchasing bread and eggs as if they may never be available again, and paying usurious rates for a few sticks of wood bundled in plastic webbing and sold outside convenience stores.  People will get violent if they see someone else get the last jug of milk or the last half dozen eggs (cracked and pre-scrambled for your convenience)!

No one around here wants to drive anywhere, and if a single. solitary. snowflake. should fall, they will huddle inside their homes until the weather guru declares the all clear.

Sometimes people die because they lose power and freeze to death, or asphyxiate on fumes from their propane or kerosene heaters.  I am always saddened by these deaths...most especially the children, because children don't know better than to burn heating fuel in an improperly ventilated place...the adults should, though.

I am often unaware of what the weather is supposed to be doing...if I really need to know, I look outside or open the door, so it was news to me that we're expecting Snowpocalypse tomorrow.  We could get as much as two whole inches of snow!  And it could last (gasp) as long as Wednesday morning!  When it will melt!!  And cause...umm...moistening!!!!!

I do understand feeling concern about winter weather when it's rare.  I don't blame people for trying to be certain their families are cared for and safe.  I understand wanting to be prepared.  What I don't get is why the panic?  If you're afraid of ice on the roads, stay home unless you have no choice but to drive,  and then?  Keep to the right and don't slam on your brakes every few feet because a snowflake twitched at you.  Don't take it upon yourself to be the traffic warden and slow everyone else down by pulling into the left lane and crawling along - not everyone is unable or unwilling to drive in foul weather, and that kind of behavior causes accidents that can be fatal.  Your smug does not trump my need to continue living.  Bread, eggs, and milk do you no good if you can't keep them stored properly or cook because there's no power.  Think about what you CAN do if the electricity goes out - do you have gas heat and oven?  A fireplace?  A wood stove?  No alternate heat, but a camp stove or one-burner?  Nothing but electricity?  Do you have blankets and warm clothing?  Batteries and flashlights?  Can you safely store refrigerated foods outside or in an unused, unheated room or porch?  Do you have candles and matches, or Coleman lanterns and proper ventilation?  If you have no way to keep warm and no way to store or prepare food, can you shelter elsewhere?

The best way to avoid panic is to have a plan and be ready to implement it...and be flexible.

Remember, it's winter - there may actually be winter weather.  I know!  It's crazy!  but it's true - there could be snow every few years!

It's okay, though, because together, we will survive...and when it's over (in twenty minutes or so) and we dig out of the inches of snow, we'll smile, nod at neighbors, and have stories to tell for generations to come.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fiddle-de-dee, Sprout Is Three!

My baby girl isn't such a baby.

She talks like she's always known how, even if sometimes I'm the only one who understands her.  She walks and runs like gravity is for mere mortals, even if occasionally she gets tangled up in her own feet.  She sleeps through the night like an old pro, even if sometimes she wakes up and want rocking again, or to crawl into bed and budge up against me with a soft sigh that fades into a sweet little snore.

She argues, bites, pinches, throws toys, hits,loves, hugs, kisses, pats, and cuddles.

I call her "Little Heart" and her brother is "Big Heart".

Her laugh comes from somewhere deep within her and bubbles up like an auditory artesian spring, and it is marvelous.

She wants to help, or do for herself, fiercely independent and angry when she can't.  She can count to two, sometimes as much as five.  She knows she does not like fresh pears, and apples with peanut butter are coveted.

She loathes the shoulder straps on her car seat and wriggles free of them whenever she can, until I catch her and sternly admonish "Put your arms back in!", which she does reluctantly, protesting.  No matter how tight I make them, how secure I make the chest buckle, she can get free.

Sometimes she like to spend hours just mashed up against me, snuggled as close as she can get.  "Will you sit on the lounge with me?" she asks, and when I do she sits, lies, sprawls on me, one hand absently holding mine or patting me, staring at the television or out the window or at nothing at all.  Maybe there is a book, or two, or a dozen.  Maybe there is conversation.  Maybe there is just us on the lounge, warm and content, covered in cats and a sheet or blanket, still for a time.

She knows how to scream.  She has lungs and volume like me.  She can scare the crap out of her father and I when she cuts loose out of the blue.  She likes to sing.  Sometimes she sings all day long, and sometimes just a little here and there, mostly songs she makes up on the spot.  There is no rhyme or reason, but it is a happy noise.  Occasionally she dances, too.  She may entice one of us to join her.

My little wild, sweet, strong, smart little girl is three.

How glad I am for having her.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Isn't, Is (SO Series)

He isn't a pedophile.

He is a sex offender, caught by a pretty girl's lies about her age, caught by her Father's anger and denial of his daughter's serial behavior with men.

He isn't a pedophile.

He is terrified of touching or being touched by children.  He is afraid that even a hug will be misconstrued by people who don't care about anything but labels.  He is careful not to hug, pick up, pat, or come in contact with children who aren't his.  He doesn't even want to push them on a swing or pick them up and offer comfort if they fall or get a boo-boo.

He isn't a pedophile.

He is concerned about changing his daughter's diaper, even at home, concerned about cleaning her bottom or her vulva too carefully, the way they should be cleaned, because he worries that people will think the worst of him.  He worries about giving his daughter a bath or letting her shower with her Papa.

He isn't a pedophile.

He is a graduate of his home state's prison system, and a product of his experience there.  He is angry, lost, hurt, resentful, bitter, confused, and damaged, and he doesn't know how to find his way to a healthier self so he is mired in it all, feeling isolated, abandoned, unwanted.

He isn't a pedophile.

He is angered by the very idea that anyone would attempt sexual activity with a child, disgusted, horrified.  He does not find children of any sex attractive in that way.

He isn't a pedophile.

He is afraid to go to the park, the Y, the indoor play places with his family, afraid it will give people the wrong idea, that he will go back to prison just for climbing on the play structure with his daughter.

He isn't a pedophile.

He is hemmed in, hampered by the laws surrounding his crime, laws that do not differentiate between his foolish mistake and the man who raped a little girl, the laws that say all SOs are the same and get the same treatment and are SOs forever.

He isn't a pedophile.

He is on the receiving end of bitterness, assumption, the consequences of his own actions and the anger of others.  He is struggling with his identity, not quite sure of his place in this world, of who or what he is.

He isn't a pedophile.

He is the man I love, the father of my daughter, the person I see disintegrating even as he is trying to rebuild himself, so much more than the indelible label that he's been given.

He is a lot of things, but he isn't a pedophile.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Watermelon in Winter

I am eating watermelon.  It's January, and I am eating watermelon.

It occurs to me that my children may experience the loss of this forever-season of fresh fruit and vegetables.  They may see an end to the grocery stores we take for granted, now.  They may lose the variety of foods we have now.

My grandchildren may never know what it's like to have fresh fruit in winter.  They may never know what a lemon or lime tastes like, an orange, certain types of grapes and apples, bananas.


There's a threat to the banana.  Some kind of blight.  The banana our great-grandparents ate is not the same one we eat - theirs died out.  If this blight spreads, there will be no more.  No more banana bread, banana muffins, banana pops, banana smoothies...all that will remain is artificial flavoring, fake banana that doesn't taste right, but when the real thing is gone, who will know?

GMO plant life is contaminating heirloom varieties, and the companies that manufacture the GMOs are suing and winning over this contamination, forcing farmers to destroy their seed stock, pay fines, even shut down their family farms because wind and pollen don't recognize field boundaries.

People treat this planet like a giant rubbish bin, tossing their trash wherever they stand without even a twinge of conscience.  They treat our Earth like Gurgi's bag of endless crunchings and munchings, like there will never be an end to our finite resources, and if there is, who cares as long as it isn't during THEIR lifetime?

Fresh water is a joke.  What fresh water?  It is ALL polluted, ALL full of the medication our neighbors upstream peed out, ALL full of crap to one degree or another.  What passes for fresh has been treated with chemicals and additives, made "safe", but its still full of what's put there and what gets int it as it rushes through plastic pipes to our homes.

The oceans are so polluted, so over fished, they can't sustain life.  Will my children, my grand children, know what wild salmon tastes like?  Cod?  Tuna?  Crab?  Lobster?  Farm raised just isn't the same, and besides, we NEED life in the ocean.  Imagine all that vast expanse, dead.

Red meat is a nightmare.  So many diseases, now, and contaminants, drugs and chemicals.  It's not meat, it's a chemistry experiment.  What is it doing to us?  Chicken, too.  Wonder why your 7 year old is developing breasts?  McNuggets.  All that chicken.  All those hormones.

Our government has all but declared war on raw foods, local sourcing, untreated, unpasteurized, untainted meats, fruits, vegetables, grains, products.

A great deal of what is called "food" isn't - it's chemicals, fillers, artificial this and FD&C that.  It's processed and treated, pulverized into paste, rolled out, and reshaped to be a more perfect version of itself.

Here I sit, eating watermelon in winter.  I paid a few bucks for a small container of ready-to-eat chunks.  I wonder what the real price is?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Peace in Pieces

I am wondering how it is I can feel both immensely heavy and entirely empty at the same time.  Every movement is leaden - I feel as though I am striving against some sort of invisible force, an insignificant little bug fighting its way through a sea of resin even as it hardens into amber.

Only I find the results less lovely than amber, which I always want to lick or suck on as if it were some sort of candy.  

At the same time, I am poking around inside myself and find...nothing.  Well, perhaps not nothing.  There are the children, a suffusion of love drenching every part of my psyche.  My mother.  My friends.  If not nothing, then certainly there's a great deal more emptiness than fullness, and there is a veil both ephemeral and impenetrable between me and what/who I love.

If I could be still and quiet for a bit, a statue of myself stowed in some dark corner, disregarded, I feel I could perhaps reach within and twist things around a bit, remove or bore through the veil and energize my limbs so that I am human again, not shambling stone.

There is no peace.  I am, for all intents and purpose, a single mother with two children who don't know or understand the value of a few minutes of peace or silence, who both feel the need, are driven, in fact, to speak every thought that goes through their heads whether the listened wants to hear them, and both insist not only on pouring out their nattering thoughts in a ceaseless tumble of words, they require interaction and response to even the most inane things.

They do not respect meditation, reading, conversation with others, or even sleep.

This adds to the heaviness, to the emptiness, because I feel I should want to hear them, want to interact, should feel delighted and honored to have two articulate, creative, imaginative children.

There's a thumping refrain in my head...like the bass thudding relentlessly from some trendy club, spilling out into the streets and causing nervous twitching in passersby.  Peace.  Peace, peace, peace...

In bits and pieces, moments, minutes, I just want a little peace, and then a bigger peace, and then a surfeit.

Perhaps then I will find what I need to set aside this dense nothingness, this heavy lightness of being.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


He is holding me, face buried against my head, arms around me.  He is telling me how sorry he is that he hurts me, that he loves me and doesn't know why he doesn't always show it.  I am thinking how nice it is to be held, and I wish it was enough, but I can't forget the hurtful things he says when he is not showing me he loves me.  I wonder if he will ever understand the damage he has done and that it cannot be undone, that it cannot be erased, that it may one day heal over but it will always be a knurled, twisted, ugly scar and that the healed over places will never, quite be what they once were.  I wonder if he realizes how torn and tattered I am inside, and how little "I love you" does to mend that when there's still the other, the not-love, happening.
I am holding Sprout.  She has her back to me and is leaning into me, standing in front of where I sit.  I bury my nose in her neck and smell her Sprout scent, and clean pajamas, and the spicy pungency of the diaper ointment, and the sweetness of the juice she is drinking.  Her arms reaches back and wraps around my neck, holding me to her, her little hand alternating stroking my hair and patting my neck.  She does not want to let go just yet, and I am content to be held onto, to hold her warm sweetness to me.
The Evil Genius scrambles onto the lounge with me.  He smells faintly of wood and something a little sour, and he needs a haircut.  He is warm except his feet, his toes, which make me jump when he tucks them under my leg.  He leans on me and I am surprised by how solid he is - so often he is a ghost in our home, in his room playing some electronic game or building imaginary realities with Legos and other toys, honestly sometimes it's like he's not real himself, but some kind of imaginary son who is no less loved.  He leans against me and closes his eyes and smiles and tells me he loves me, and it's still the best thing ever, and he is still my best good thing, my heart.
It's so easy to feel lonely.  It's so sad to feel...removed...from warmth and love and life.  The cats pile up on me when I sit down.  They want to be touched, loved, and I oblige them.  They purr and make painful showings of their happiness with their paws, claws slightly extended, kneading me.  They seem to know that their warmth is a balm, their weight on my lap an anchor, that I feel like I need something solid to hold, to touch, or I will fly right out into space because gravity has stopped working for me.
I do not make very good choices.  I'm a decent enough person, and I try to be loving and compassionate, but I know people who know me look at me and my life and wonder what the hell is wrong with me.  I could tell them, if they had a lifetime to listen.  There's no nutshell version.  Unless...the nutshell is "Me."
I am having the dream again...the one with the man who wraps his arms around me and I feel...what?  Home?  Safe?  Loved?  Wanted?  Accepted?  Nothing real.  It isn't real. It doesn't exist.  There is no man.  There is no guardian, protector, cherisher, and there never has been.  He's a figment of my imagination.  If he exists, he does not exist for me.  The sooner I can get my subconscious to accept that, the better, because that dream?  Is a kind of torture.  And I can do without it.
Sprout often wanders through her day singing.  She sings everything - requests for juice, what she'd like to play with, what color she sees.  I remember being told that I used to sing my way through the day when I was a little girl.  My grandmother called it "K's day at the Opera".  I don't remember.  I must have been happy, or thought I was happy, or at least content, to sing that way.  I don't sing, now.  Don't want to.  I think about the band and I am just...tired.  When we are rehearsing again I'm sure the ennui will go away, but for now...tired...as if even the idea of making music is tedious.  I have no song, and I do not want to sing it.
My children are both on the bed with me, snuggling. Cygnus has spent the night at his place, so the bed is too large with only me and the cats (who don't come up on the bed when he's here, any more, and sometimes I miss their furry presence reassuring me what's the real and what's the dream), and it's morning but still early enough we don't feel too bad about being in bed, and both kids have climbed up and nestled in with me and I am listening to the whisper of their different breaths and my arm is thrown over them both so I can hold them snug to me and they are warm and wriggly and I am suddenly a child myself and I am in the big brass bed with Mom and my brother in the room over the kitchen at my grandparents' house, and it is early morning but we don't need to be up yet and Mom is cuddling us and we're in that hazy place between awake and dreaming and she smells of soap and cigarettes and Mom and it is good and I love her and we are warm and safe and loved and for a minute that is all there is and I am happy.
How are you today?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum

I smiled today.

Big deal, right?

Well, yeah, kinda.

Not tired, wan, sad, fleeting, this smile.

It was genuine.  It made it all the way to my eyes and hung around for a while.

Those smiles, the ones that go all the way through and up and into, those smiles are rare for me.

It felt light.  It felt peculiar.  It felt good.

Monday, January 6, 2014


I spent Dec. 22 - 25 in the ICU at Redneck Central General Horspital, Pill Dispensary, and Sock Emporium.  Nurses are marvelous.  I try to make mine laugh whenever possible.  They don't have enough opportunity to laugh.
When they sent me home, I was instructed to rest.  Umm.  About that...
Winter has us in its teeth and is shaking us like a rat - the wind is so fierce right now the house is making a sort of rattling hum.  Some people think it's cold outside, but it's not too bad if you're just taking out the trash.  I did put on shoes, anyway.
I want to bake something, but I don't know what.  Perhaps I shall take a nap and make up my mind in my sleep.
If I didn't have kids I would crawl under the blankie and stay there for a week.  Sigh.  I DO have kids, though, and they are so unreasonable about eating on a regular basis and having clean clothes to wear.  Double sigh.
I have a rash.  Under my arms.  It itches and burns and distracts me something fierce.  My body hates me.
Sprout is speaking so much now, and it's funny to hear her.  I love how little kids talk and make connections.  She makes me smile.
The Evil Genius has a crush.  Oh, how he will deny it, but his father gave him an iPhone for Christmas and the boy spends as much time talking to her with face-time as he does doing anything else.  It's cute.  Disturbing, but cute.
My feet have been chilly for more than a week.  What's that about???
What books are you reading these days?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy Birthday, Evil Genius

If I could give one gift to you
What would that gift be?
Shall I make the world anew
Create it sickness free?
Shall I banish hunger,
Banish hatred, banish pain?
Shall I mend the broken,
Let them dance in the rain?
What if I could take cancer,
AIDS, Alzheimer's too
And send them gone forever
As my gift to you?
Could I soften heartache
Anger and fear
Give vision to the blind
Help the deaf ones hear?
Help the lost to find their way
Along the winding path
Show the weak and weary mind
The beauty that life hath?

I cannot snap my fingers
And make everything right
But I can tuck you safely in
Each and every night
And while the world is faulty
And filled with many woes
I can help you learn to avoid
The very worst of those
And I can help you to be strong
When you most want to be weak
And I can teach you to raise your voice
When most you fear to speak
I can help you find your light
To shine for all to see
And I can help you learn to know
Why the spirit must be free

In time you'll grow beyond my words
And stand up all alone
In time I'll be a whisper
Where the winds of fate have blown
But if you see injustice, hunger, or need
And work to make it right somehow
Then we both succeed
Be strong, my child, and wise
Compassionate and smart
And don't forget to listen to
Both your good head and good heart
Wherever else I be,
Whatever else I do
I will always be that soft whisper
Saying "I love you"

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


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

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