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.

Friday, October 31, 2014


Blessed be those who have gone beforeBlessed be those who live in the now
Blessed be those who follow after
Blessed be we on the ever turning wheel

Tonight I remember Papa, Margot Adler, Robin Williams, Morning Glory, Vivian, and all who passed through the veil since last Samhain.  May the journey be easy, the destination be beautiful, and may they be welcomed int the halls of the dead with warmth and fellowship.  May those who loved them in this life recognize them should they return to the wheel once more.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Remembering Vivian, Part 3 of 3

Mum used to go and visit our friends at least once a year, often more.  July 4 was the preferred date.  They would get up to things.  All kinds of things.   Mum would dabble in glass.  Vivian would ask Mum for quilting help.  They would make forays to the local galleries and crafty places.

I know Mum will miss those visits.  Me, too - I like hearing about what they'd been doing.

Vivian's house in out in the country.  The doesn't mean she doesn't know the city - I like the colorful buildings.

Oh, a nice place to rest, dip your feet, listen to the song of the falling water...

Purple mountains, so lovely.

I don't know if Vivian was particularly fond of horses, but I like the way she depicted them.  With crayon, ink, or paint one may create the illusion of motion...Vivian did it with glass.

Chiaroscuro in glass...

This piece...oh, how I love this piece...

This piece is large.  It is the window at the end of the house, in the master bath.  I have nothing to show size, proportion, but...yeah...big.

The light shining through the dragon window makes puddles of color on the oposite wall.  Ever the artist, Vivian had beautiful tiles in the shower.

Light shields - nothing needs to be ordinary when you're an artist!

Here ends the photography - there was so much more I could have shown you, but the light, my camera, and my lack of skill didn't always capture what was there.

There will be a memorial.  I am hoping I can go.  Whether or not I do go, I will remember my friend, her smile, the time we shared, and carry her with me.

We never die, really.  We reflect our light and others take it in and carry us with them, part of their light, on and on, just as we carry the sun, the moon, the stars.  I regret carrying some people with me, but Vivian>  I am proud to know that her light still streams forth, from Mum, from me, form everyone who knew her.

Safe journey to the other side, Viv - may you be delighted by what you find there, and may I know you should you return for another round on the wheel.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Remembering Vivian, Part 2 of 3

When you look at the world around you, what do you see?  I wonder if Vivian saw things as bits of colored glass fitted together.  I wonder if she looked at beautiful scenery and her mind broke it down into planes and angles, shades of color, cuts and fittings.

She was a marvelous stained glass artist.  When I lived in the condo (before casa de Crazy, a very long time ago), she made a window for me.  I drew a few basic rune for her as a guide, measured the space where it would go (a transom window on the enclosed porch) and trusted her judgement.  When we moved from the condo to the Casa, I took the window with me.  It wants framing before I can hang it here...perhaps this winter I will manage that.

Her house...her daughter's house...is bedecked with stained glass pieces.  So many windows letting in light, how could she not hang her jewels to glow in the sun?

So many colors and textures...

So many ways to depict the world in glass...

It's the reflection that fascinates me, here...

Oh, the hummingbirds!  She loved to fill the feeders and watch them bob and weave from place to place.  When Mum visited, they would take their breakfast out onto the lanai and watch the cheeky hummers zip around, chipping and pipping at the humans who dared intrude on their domain!  I could NOT get a truly good photograph og this piece - the light resisted me.  

She made all sorts of things with glass - here's a candle holder.

Clever way to use bits and bobs, huh?

Here's another kind of candle holder.  I have one in...surprise...blue.  I keep it in the glass case most of the time because my kids respect nothing and I would be awfully sad if it was broken because they knocked it to the floor.  I bring it out for holidays or when I just want to have a candle going and watch the light through the glass.

Another candle holder...can you see the moon faces?  Lovely and dusky, and for some reason it put me in mind of New Hampshire and the birch trees in the woods there.

Hello, Moon.

Landscape photography I can do...but landscape glass?  Not so much.

There are quite a few transom windows in the house, perfect for playing with...Vivian and her daughter spent the summer making inserts for them all.  This was the only one that was in place when I visited.

Oh, such color...twisting ribbons rising upwards...

The rest tomorrow...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Remembering Vivian, Part 1 of 3

I celebrate my friend and her life, and if I mourn it is not for her, who has left behind cancer and pain and a slow and steady fading of her self...it is for Mum, and for me, and for her daughter, and for everyone who knew and loved a vibrant woman and are saddened by the loss of her.  Even mourning, I smile and smile and think how lucky I am to have had a bit of her, to carry her with me as part of my memory's hoard, and to have some of her here with me in the form of a few pieces of her art gifted me over the years.

Funny, one of the few photos I have of her is in black and white.  Why funny?  This was a woman who surrounded herself with color - plants, stained glass, people, all colorful, befitting a woman who was, herself, a gloriously creative and richly hued soul

Her home, now her daughter's home, is beautiful.  More than once I have told them with a wink and a smile that if their house ever disappears, I didn't take it and they should not come look for it here in Redneck Central.

I have so many photographs I want to share.  None of them show Vivian in person; they show tiny bits of her world, more revealing than any portrait.

We begin outside the house.  She had...has...had...flowers everywhere - it's impossible to walk anywhere in her yard and not see some flower shouting its joyful presence into the sunlit hills in which she lived.

Here I am!

Look at me!

Not your average plant hanger - I'd hate to see the mosquitoes it eats.

There's an entire pathway of stepping stones that she made.  I have a set she made for me years and years ago, depicting the four elements.  They will, eventually, be set into the circle at Dragon's Rest.  Every time I see them, I smile.  I considered a midnight requisition of this morning glory one...but nah, it's happy where it is.

Ah, a dragon, watch your step!

I adore these little flowers.  Viv told me when we last visited that if she was still alive when they went to seed, she would see that I got some.  Whether from her flowers or a catalog, I will get seeds and plant them and think of her when they bloom.  She told me what they are, but I can't remember right now.

Nothing is ordinary...even the outdoor coffee table receives its measure of talent and glass.

These caught my eye...I adored them.  Such fun flowers, another plant that made me grin.  The remind me of a party favor, and I think they're called Cat's Whiskers or some such.

Well, hello there bright pink, how do you do?

Vivid.  Vivian. 

Tomorrow and the next day, there will be glass.  Lots and lots of glass. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I'm Not Ready To Write This, Yet

A beloved friend died today.

I am not ready to write about her.

I am not ready to write about her friendship with my other, and to a lesser extent, me.

I am not ready to write about our shared pastime, working flagging and communications at the track.

I am not ready to write about her beautiful heart, her beautiful home, her beautiful art.

I am not ready to write about her poor old cat, who will surely wonder where she has gone and why there is no more lap for her to rest her weary bones on.

I am not ready to upload photographs of the glass she transformed into marvelous creations, some of which grace my home, among my most treasured possessions.

I am not ready to write about her husband, also my friend, left behind in the quicksand twilight of Alzheimer's disease.

No...I am not ready to write this yet.

Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wherein Sprout and I Go In Circles

"It's morning time.  You hafta get up."
"I'm not getting up."
"But you have to get up!"
"Because it's morning time!"
"What if I don't want to get up?"
"But it's morning time, you hafta get up?"
"Because...mmm...it's morning time!"
"I see that it's morning, but that doesn't mean I have to get up.  I'm not getting up.  Maybe I will stay in bed all day."
"But you can't!"
"Why not?"
"Because you hafta get up, it's morning time!"
"But I can sleep in the morning time.  I can sleep any time I like, and I like to sleep all day today."
"But you can't!"
"Why not?"
"Because it is time to get up, Mama."
"Because it's morning time!"
"What does morning time have to do with getting up?  Some people work at night and sleep during the day."
"Because you hafta get up inna morning time!"
"I have to?"
"May I have a few more minutes to snooze?"
"No, Mama, you hafta get up because it is morning time NOW!"

She won.  I'm up.  Dang.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Casa de Crazy is huge.  I don't know if I have ever written about the dimensions of this house, the denizens being my usual blog fodder.  I lovingly - and sometimes not so lovingly - call it a giant cracker box; the house doesn't have a lot of character in its architecture, being a product of the times it was built in, when houses were large, utility bills were lower, and entire neighborhoods were built in a matter of months using a handful of floor plans and whatever paint was on sale by the tankerful.

Strictly speaking, this is a five bedroom, three bath, split foyer house.  We had the back deck enclosed and a room built beneath it that extended the bedroom downstairs into a two room suite.  We can't call it two bedrooms because there's no closet in the addition, but a suite?  You betcha!  Right now, that pair of rooms is kind of a catch-all for everything we don't want upstairs, and that's driving me nuts because the original bedroom was/is the library and my boos are a cluster fuck, to put it mildly, with boxes everywhere and no way to walk into or through it without dodging...umm...crap.

The second bedroom down there is my craft room and we'll just scream "HOLY CARP WHAT A MESS" and leave it at that.  The closet in that room is our preps closet, and it's the neatest part of that space.  There's a bathroom down there, and the laundry closet, plus the door to the two car garage that we cannot, right now, park even one car in.

Up stairs we have kitchen, dining area (it's not a room since it's open to the living room), living room, a hall bathroom, the kids' rooms, and the master bedroom with its own bathroom and a small but very serviceable walk-in closet.

This huge house is stuffed to the gills, crammed with crap, packed beyond reason with knick-knacks and doodads and things that might be useful later, and it's killing me.

The dust hurts my lungs.  I am constantly barking my shins or stubbing my toes or wheezing or coughing or wrenching my back avoiding things.  My spirit is stifled.  My mind is numb.  I do not clean, do not even attempt to clean, anything but the kitchen and upstairs bathrooms, because it's overwhelming to me.

The time I lived here with T was a time of collecting, hoarding, pack-ratting.  I was the only one doing any housekeeping, but not the only one making the mess, and I rebelled, often not cleaning anything for months because I was in a snit.

When Someone moved in, he brought very little with him because he had very little...which, as it turned out, was a good thing because there was no room for him to put anything,  As it is, he's only just recent;y gotten two whole shelves and half the hanging space in the closet because I finally sorted through and got rid of a whole mess of my old t-shirts.

It is still overwhelming to me, to even consider cleaning this whole house.  I need to purge a lot.  Years of accumulation, mindless accumulation, hoard-type accumulation has to go.  I can't afford to be sentimental about things, or I will never get rid of anything and one day you will read about how they found my dead body crushed under the weight of boxes of unidentifiable crap labelled "Stuff That May Be Useful Some Day" or "Thing People I Love Gave Me".

Since I can't deal with thinking globally in this house, I am doing it by inches.

A shelf here.  A counter there.  A drawer or cupboard somewhere else.

Saturday I tackled the master closet floor and the linen shelf that goes around the top of it.  I folded all the sheets and tucked each sheet set into one of its pillow cases.  Got rid of a few things.  Tossed a bunch of old pairs of shoes that I haven't worn in more than a decade, and even some moccasins that I was keeping for sentimental reasons (I had them in boarding school).  Swept the floor.  Tidied up my ridiculous slippers and got all the duffle bags combined into one bag which will go downstairs so its out of the way and neatly stowed in a closet.

Sunday I took out all of the clothing I had hanging in the closet and tried it on or assessed whether I really wanted to keep it.  Gone, now, is the blue outfit I wore when I receiver the Worker of the Year award back in the '90's from the SCCA.  Gone the black dress I wore to the Festival of Trees preview party.  Gone several dresses and skirts, shirts, and many pairs of jeans - I tried on almost thirty pairs - and button down shirts.  I also cleaned off the tops of the two small bookshelves, culling the stuffed animal herds, dusting, relocating a few things from my too-cluttered night stand, putting other things away.

Today I cleaned off my wooden chest, putting things away that I'd haphazardly stacked on it in a rush, tossing other things, sweeping the floor around it, tidying.

Tonight or tomorrow, perhaps I will manage to clean off my night stand.

An inch at a time.

I hope that by the end of next year, I will know the lightness that comes with having less because I want to have less, and the lightness of having a body not wracked with pain or plagued by discomfort because I have wrenched, broken, sprained, banged, or stubbed a body part on another box, bag, or pile of crap that I didn't have a place for.

Inch by inch...

Saturday, October 18, 2014


We have a fire pit dug into the little hill behind our house.  It's not pretty or especially large and it's a little lopsided, but it is dug into the red clay and serves its purpose and contains fire well enough that I don't worry about setting the woods alight and causing havoc among the neighbors.  We are slowly improving it.

We burn as much paper trash as we can to keep it out of the landfill.  We also burn dead fall, cardboard, and the occasional candle end or wax spill.  The ash goes into the compost from time to time.

One of Sprout's favorite things is to help her Papa with the fire.  She helps him pile on the paper and then twigs and larger sticks, and once it's lit she will toss on a stick or two (supervised, of course).  She dances about in the yard and sings a little, and sometimes they carry drums down the back steps and have a little jam session.

This evening, we had a burn - that's what we call lighting our little fire - and I went down, too.  I often miss it because I am busy indoors with cooking or cleaning or napping or something.  Tonight, the flame would not catch and Someone was getting frustrated.  I happened to have finished cooking dinner and it was something that could sit.  I took down a small candle, some papers, a butter wrapper, and a what we call a "god stick", a flame stick style lighter.  With a few carefully placed splashes of wax, some strategic paper and cereal box additions, and possibly an incantation, we finally got it lit and had a lovely little burn.  Sprout cavorted about, urging her Papa to swing her around and dance with her, and Someone and I sang while he played with our girl.

Sometimes I am caught in the middle of a moment and I want to absorb it with every bit of my being, every sense, brand it into my memory against some future need when he is absent and I am feeling forlorn.

Right now, Sprout is nestled against her Papa on the big lounge, leaning against him warm and content.  She has been his shadow all day, intent on working where he was working in the yard, riding her bike in circles around him, always questioning what he was doing, and why.  They just shared a bowl of ice cream, one of her nightly rituals with him that I couldn't curtail if I wanted to.  She has her head on his shoulder and is droopy-eyed, watching some cartoon or another but not really paying attention - all she knows is that she feels safe, loved, warm, and comfortable cuddled up to her favorite man in the whole wide world.

I know just how she feels.

Friday, October 17, 2014


There's often a balloon.  Tonight it's red.  Somewhere is an orange one, sadly deflated from its prime.  It languishes in corners and under beds until Sprout needs a pretend orange or something small and squashy.  Tonight it's the red one, still large, round, proud.

There was a blue one that lasted quite well, several weeks, until an unfortunate popping from an enthusiastic bite.  The terrific bang it made surprised me into dropping a spoon in the kitchen and made her laugh maniacally for several minutes, then mournfully cry out "My 'loon!  My 'loon!" followed by "Mama, can I have another one please?  Pleeeeeaaaaase???" and then exhortations of "Papa, you blow it!"

The red one is a good size for hands both small and large.  It's been stuck between the fan blade and the ceiling until Papa effected a rescue.  She likes to rub her teeth against it, making a kind of squeaking, frog-ish noise.

Her favourite thing, though, is to toss it at her Papa, then catch it when he boinks it back towards her with his fingertips.  She could play endlessly.  When the balloon goes wild, she shrieks, giggles, chases it, tosses it back to him.  From time to time she will stop, lie on the lounge, hold the balloon, roll from side to side.  Or she'll carry it about, tucked under her arm.  She talks to it.

When it pops, there will be another one.  And another.  We buy them by the bagful, worth the few cents per balloon - imagine a few pennies for hours of fun.

It would be worth far, far greater expense just for the joy of watching them play...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wading in the Stream

I can smell the edge of winter in the distance, a cold and outdoors sort of scent riding under the loam and the smoke of burning leaves and dead fall branches that are crackling into flame and falling to char and ash in the fire pit, scorching brick and earth, contained if grudgingly from consuming yard and woods beyond.

The smoke drifts in lazy curls, beginning low down and rising ever higher, tendrils reaching into the open window to tantalize my nose and tickle a few soft sneezes out of me before moving on to the trees, sending a shiver through them as if they envision some future when they, too, rise on the wind lit by crimson heat.

It isn't cold, not yet, but there's an edge to the air that warns of future need for socks, long sleeves, perhaps a jacket or shawl, a scarf.  The girl-child will have to curtail her sudden bursts out the front door, clad only in underwear and sunlight.  She will not like the need for clothing, will frown and demand going out just like always, only to turn back into the house with shivers and laughs and the realization that she will be COLD if she doesn't get dressed.  I need to get her some shoes for the winter.  The Evil Genius, too.  And clothing with more substance than gossamer summer things.

I am steeped in a kind of melancholy.  My bones soften, my muscle weaken, and I sink down onto a chair, the couch, the lounge, with a sigh and every intention of rising again, only to find myself there an hour later, nothing done, just wrapped in a soft grey haze that dampens my senses and leaves me exhausted.

I love the cinnamon-and-leaf-mold smell in the woods, but I do not walk in them.  I am too tired.  Now, more than ever before, I feel as though I could descend into a long sleep and not waken until winter's dark is well past, if ever.  Dreaming away the darkness seems like a fine thing, to me, if it can be done.  I don't think the darkness can be so easily shaken.

There's a depth to the sky that summer doesn't have, a clarity that only comes when the hot beaten copper light from the sun turns to the softer peat whiskey of autumn.  Looking up into that unmarred light, I can feel myself shaking free from gravity's grip, rising up, dissipating into the boundless blue, and I smile a little.

If I am struggling with myself, that is hardly new.  I can, struggle be damned, still see how marvelous this world is through all her changing days, and for that I am blessed more than many.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dog Gone It

I had to call animal control last night.  I hated to do it, but the neighbor's dog, Diablo, was in our driveway beside the van, and when Sprout went outside to play, he started barking, growling, and snapping at her, inches from her face.  She screamed bloody murder - it sounded like there was a horror movie happening outside our garage - because HE may have thought he was playing, but SHE thought he was going to eat her face.

Doubly upsetting is that he really is a big old baby, afraid of anything loud (lawn equipment, thunder, fireworks) and none of his humans seem to care a fiddler's fart for his well being.  Worse, the adult male of the household is a law enforcement officer!

Someone had to chase the dog down the driveway and into the cul-de-sac, and Sprout sobbed on my shoulder - she doesn't understand why the dog that gives her kisses and cowers against her when there's thunder would suddenly turn Cujo on her.  She doesn't understand that sometimes he may get surprised or frightened, or maybe he thinks he's being playful - to a three-and-a-half-year-old, he's a huge black dog that is, without warning, a monster.

Animal Control does not work on Sundays here in Redneck Central.  They forgot to mention that to the animals...  This morning, we had a call from one of their officers, who left a message telling us that the dog's owner has been spoken to and the dog will be contained.  I am not holding my breath, but hope springs eternal.  I really don't want to be party to punishing a dog for being...well...a dog.

I'd much rather be permitted to shoot his human in the ass with the pellet gun.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


If you've been reading my maundering for a minute, dear reader, you know that I adore language.  Word play delights me and finding new words with which to express myself is always marvelous.

What bothers me, sometimes to the point of head-twisting, eyeball-rolling, fire-spitting fury is the misuse of language.

Take, for instance, the phrase "reverse discrimination".


opposite or contrary in position, direction, order, or character:
an impression reverse to what was intended; in reverse sequence.
with the back or rear part toward the observer:
the reverse side of a fabric.
pertaining to or producing movement in a mechanism opposite to that made under ordinary running conditions:
a reverse gear; a reverse turbine.
acting in a manner opposite or contrary to that which is usual, as an appliance or apparatus.   


an act or instance of discriminatingor of making a distinction.
treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit:
racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment:
She chose the colors with great discrimination.
Archaic. something that serves to differentiate.
Discrimination of the second definition has become an ugly word, a verb as well as a noun, and it is not a nice label to be pinned with.  It is, sadly, still quite active everywhere, and many types of people have experienced it.

To reverse is to go backwards form or opposite to some reference point.

So what, I ask you, is "reverse discrimination"?  Does that mean that one is indiscriminate?  Does it mean that one is inclusive rather than exclusive?

"Reverse discrimination" is nonsense.  It matters not if one is black, white, purple, or green, male, female, or somewhere in between, if one is treated differently, as lesser or greater, because of the color of one's skin, who one worships, who one loves...?  One has experienced discrimination.  Period.

Would someone please inform the press and various religious, political, and racial groups of this?  The slinging about of the phrase "reverse discrimination" is making my head ache.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Fall teased us with some deliciously cool nights and mellow days, but Summer has knocked Fall off the seasonal perch and regained supremacy.  The AC is not happy.
Hot or not I am making soup.  Fall is the beginning of soup season, and by gumbo I am not letting the resurgence of humidity, mosquitoes, and sweat-inducing days stop me from exercising my stock pot!
We have taken in one of the (not terribly) wild kittens - he turned up with a terrible wound on his leg and we're nursing him back to health.  The vet was kind enough to charge me only the Humane Society price, about half what he'd normally charge, for our initial visit.  Here's hoping the wound will mend on its own and won't need stitches.
I feel at odds and ends.  I feel trapped by all the possessions I possess that are really possessing me.  Today I cleaned the pantry and got rid of a lot.  Much went into the trash, open, old, well past date...but some of it will be donated to anyone who wants it.  I'm still slowly working at decluttering the Casa, but have been sidetracked.  It happens.
Here in Redneck Central, a journalist has been slapped with a restraining order and told he violated it by writing about being slapped with a restraining order...all because a politician didn't like what the journalist wrote.  WTF???

We are all worthy of compassion, love, and kindness.  All.