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 24, 2015

Stormy Day

Okay, I'm up.

Disappointing trip to the mailbox, but there was a lovely roll of thunder accompanying me down the driveway and the gentle patter of rain walked me back to the house.


So thick, these clouds.  This darkness pervades, and makes my thoughts thick and slow, too.  I am heavy.  Like the wan light struggling to shed its leaden shrouds, I struggle to shed this weight of shades and shadows.

I wonder, sometimes, is it better to be aware as I am that it's not real?  That this feeling isn't real?  That it's the result of faulty wiring, malfunctioning messages of the mind, misfiring neurons?  Or would it be easier if I didn't know, if I believed this was true and everything and all there was or would be?

Is it better to know that there may be hope? Better to cling to that hope and risk being dashed against the rocks of disappointment for the possible transcendence of its fulfillment?  Or to dwell in a twilight of hopelessness without knowing the lofty heights of potential and clarity?

The lights on the tree sparkle, and Sprout is watching cartoons and laughing like a loon, and I have people who love me despite myself, and I know that is good, but right now it is foreign to me, unreachable.  I can see but not touch, and the more I reach, the more slippery it gets, the farther it recedes, and like trying to hold a fistful of water, the harder I grasp the less I can keep.  I feel so far away.

Today I do not want to be open.  I want to be closed up, to curl around this wounded, tender, never-quite-healed place within me and protect it from the world and everything that hurts.  Today I would like to be bundled in the soft warmth of my cozy bed, perhaps with an adamantine shell for extra protection.  I don't want to feel anything - no hope, no despair, no love, no sorrow, no loss, no joy, no misery, no happiness, none of this wondering when I stopped being worth anything to the people who should value me the most, no wondering when I became so ephemeral in the world that is supposed to help me be solid and present and real, no wishing that I could let go of this need for approval or at least acceptance from places I will never find them.

I do not want to be open.

So I open myself a little more.

In the end, I can't let the illusion become more than what is real.  I can't let it win.  The smile?  Is brittle and may shatter at the slightest provocation, but it is pasted on my face because it doesn't want to be there.  I am open, and every aching, raw, miserable inch of me is there to be poked, prodded, judged, and left deeply scarred, because it's the only way I know for it to scab over and some day, with luck and love and perseverance, maybe heal into a puckered, cicatrix of a whole soul.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Yule

It's almost Yule - two days away and I'm almost-but-not-quite ready for it.  Here's the annual repost with alterations to make it current.
~~~~~
Happy Yule, y'all!

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

OK, go get a snack and a nice beverage (eggnog on the right, pink punch in the center, pick a bottle from the high chair to spike it with)(yes, the high chair is our bar - the Evil Genius doesn't need it any more, Sprouthas long outgrown the use of it, and it's an heirloom that I want to keep on display - so why not??) and get comfy. All set?

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

Yep, it's that simple.

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes a group of us will get together and just spend a quiet day nibbling snacks, enjoying each other's company, and taking a break from the holiday insanity out there among the English. If we exchange gifts, we try to make them ourselves, or give things that encourage and nurture our spiritual or creative selves. Things will be a little sparse this year, what with Someone being all in prison and whatnot (in case you didn't know, it can be expensive to have someone in prison, but that's a tale for a later time).  I want the kids to have a nice holiday so I have gone a bit overboard, but Sprout is just beginning to understand the concept of The Holly King (our version of Santa) and what presents are and she's really excited about them, and this is the last year before the Evil Genius is a teen (holy carp!!!) and things will change between us in the coming years.

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

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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Glimpse

I have a doctor's appointment today.  Nothing untoward, just a simple check-up.

I will make it a multi-purpose trip - the doc is up near mom's place so I'll go wash my shirts in her laundry machine (mine eats my shirts, hers is far kinder to them) while I'm at it.

My brain is screaming at me, telling me to cancel, not to go.

This is nothing unusual.  It is why sometimes I don't listen to my instinct, because my instinct is often irrational.  My instinct is in league with my Variety Plate and cannot always (or even often) be trusted.

Don't get me wrong, when it comes to confrontation or real, imminent danger,my instinct doesn't mess around.  It does a good job and, when I don't ignore it, saves me a good deal of grief.  But I am not currently in imminent danger.  What is wrong is, I have to leave the house.

Going to the doctor for a simple check-up begins with an internal fight the moment the appointment is made.  A small voice tells me "That's a bad day to go, you should cancel" as soon as I walk out of the office.  Then, as the day approaches (and it's every six months I go, so there's lots of approach), my mind tells me all kinds of things that mean I'm too busy to go.  When I refuse to cancel, things escalate.  I start to think about my horrible diet and how I am not at all practicing self care and he's going to yell at me.  By the time it's the day of the appointment ohmygosh I have to leave the house help help help I am, internally a mess.  The xenophobia and agoraphobia kick in and I don't even want to go into the garage, let alone all the way out into the world.
This appointment is going to suck.  I have not taken my meds as I should.  I have eaten and drunk many things that I shouldn't.  This is part of a self-destructive cycle, and it will mean I shall be chastised by the doctor (who is really a terribly nice fellow and very good at his avocation and I did warn him that I am a difficult patient at best).  The cycle has to stop.  The way I am eating, the way I am living, will kill me.

So today I am fighting with myself.  No kidding, my heart is pounding!  I wasn't always like this.  Depression, yes, and then OCD and paranoia, but this...this...anxiety...is only a couple of decades old.  It's probably the youngest of the things on the plate.  It is mighty big sometimes, and vigorous, and just going to the grocery store can feel like a trial.  Leaving the house to be confronted by my own actions?  Too much.

My new shrink says I have anxiety and depression with a psychotic element (but I'm harmless, really!!!) (it's the paranoia, my old and faithful bugaboo, that is the element, in case you wondered) and my counselor is helping me sort it all out, but I have to leave the house to make things better.

My brain doesn't seem to grasp that logic and is screaming at me as I type that I have other things I need to do and can't I just this once reschedule and look, the sky may fall at any moment and people are horrid and there is gun violence and religious hatred and politicians run rampant in the streets and...and...pant...pant...pant...

My mind goes around and around and gnaws on itself, and this is constant, constant, every damned day, exhausting and occasionally overwhelming, and it's all internal so nobody sees it and it's easy to dismiss as not-real, irrelevant, because the cracks and leakage and rubble from past tussles are all in my head but if you could see in there, just catch a glimpse, it would rival any photograph of war-torn landscape you've ever seen!

I know it's not real.  It feels real enough, but I know it isn't.  It is my imagination on steroids.  It is the voice of the child I was who had no control over what others did to her, said to her, made her do.  It is the voice of fear trying to shatter the seemingly fearless shell I wear and I cannot let it win, not today.  Other days I can choose to change plans and stay in bed or curled up on the lounge with my kids watching movies, but today I can't.  Today I have to gird up my loins (which sounds much nicer than "suck it up, buttercup") and adult.

I don't want to adult.

I don't want to do anything.

Up and at 'em.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Uncaged


Hatred is a cage.  Fear is a cage.  I will not be caged.  I will not hate.  I will not fear.  I will fly free.

Who will fly with me?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

An Inch At A Time

I am working at reclaiming myself.

This means personal work,but also working to reclaim the space around me, namely Casa de Crazy.  If one's environment is a reflection of one's inner state, it is painfully clear that I'm a complete wreck.

It all needs cleaning, purging, sorting through, and more cleaning.

Taken as a whole, it's too much.

So a little at a time I am taking it back.

The kitchen counters are cleaner and less cluttered.  I can see the couch.  Laundry is always behind, but less so today than yesterday.

This morning I cleaned my bathroom counter and swept the floor.  Washed the sink and faucet.  Cleared some boxes from the garage (race things that will be given out at a holiday event rather than sitting and moldering in my garage).

Most days I am tired, whipped, even when I've only just gotten up.  Mental weariness takes a different kind of rest to ameliorate, and I don't have what I need to deal with it so it grinds on me.  I ache physically, too, for no other reason than I have no idea why.

It's going to take a lot of small actions to clean up this big house, take back my home, get myself back, but I'm taking them.

An inch t a time.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Memorial

This is John Watson and his Mother.

John was an addict.  He struggled for more than half his life with his demons.  His mother knew those demons.  She says that an addict has as much difficulty with the good times and the bad, and I believe her.

I believe her because sometimes there's overlap when it comes to weird wiring, and I know how it is to be as afraid of, as unsure of, the happy as it is to be of the sad.  How many times have I said or written that  I don't know how to be happy?  Depressed, miserable, stressed, angry, hurt, and confused I can do.  Happy? Can be terrifying.

An addict will deal with their stress in predictable ways.  Sobriety requires learning new ways to cope.  Sometimes those new ways are not as effective as the addiction.  Sometimes all the happy is too much.

John was nine months sober this time.  I am told that's a dangerous time in sobriety.  He had a young woman he loved, who loved him.  He adored her daughter.  He was working and reaching out to help others.

His memorial is on Tuesday.  My friend A and I are going.  Won't be blogging until I'm home again.

I am mourning this young man who I loved like a brother, a son, a friend.  I ache for his mother, his sister, his lover.  I ache for his friends.  I ache for the little girl who thought he hung the moon and sun and stars.

I will miss my smiling, vividly blue-eyed friend.  There is a John shaped hole in the world, and nothing will ever fill it.
I hate heroin.  I hate the chemical monsters that eat up people, eat up hope and love and family, eat up lives.

Friday, November 27, 2015

John Watson

On Wednesday a young man I have long loved and hailed as "friend" stepped through the veil.

He has always had a sweet smile for us, always had gentle hands and kind words for my children, freely offered support to me, offered guidance from his own experience as an addict when I felt ill equipped to help Someone navigate that dark and dangerous path.

Nine months clean, gone in an instant.

If ever I believed in demons, I would name them Heroin, Meth, Alcohol, and any of the other countless substances that sink their teeth and claws into people and gnaw at their bones.  If ever I believed in evil, it would be these things that destroy, that steal the light from us, that leave holes where people we love, loved, once radiated light and warmth.

The world is a little dimmer, a little colder.

Inside the utility trailer where we sleep, on the wall near the back end, by the door, there are crayon marks.  John brought a HUGE bag of crayons and some coloring books over to our camp one day and sat with Sprout for a bit, coloring with her.  He left them with us for the duration of the event, and she colored.  Some pages, yes, but also on the plywood that lines the trailer.  It will remain there, that crayon rendering of happy enthusiasm., and remind me of him.

Sprout wept when I told her he'd died.  She said she will miss him. Me too, kid.  Me, too.

All of the denizens of Casa de Crazy will mourn our friend.

I once told him, teasing, that if he wasn't young enough to be my son (or much younger brother, at least) and if I had more confidence, I would be more than happy to be inappropriate with him.  He grinned and replied that he'd have gone there.  Very good for my ego.

I will miss his hugs - he had strong arms and gave good hug.

I will miss his teasing.

I will miss seeing him light up when his eyes fell on the people he loved.

I have offered, and continue to offer, boundless love to his family.  We are here.  If we can help, we will.

And to John...may your journey through the veil and into the next place be gentle and without pain or sorrow.  May you leave behind all that hurt, all that angered, all that darkened your days.  May you carry with you all that brought you joy.  May the love you gave and the love you received never fade.  May you be met with love and fellowship by those who made the journey before you.

By all the gods who ever were, who are now, and who ever will be, may you make yourself known to we who loved you in this life when you return to our circle again.

Shake the rafters and make the foundation tremble, John Watson, and for the too little we had of you, I thank you.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Here followeth a Casa de Crazy Thanksgiving Day Tradicion:

We hope you have a pleasant, tasty,mellow, comfortable, not-at-all-contentious Thanksgiving day if you are in the USA and an all around good one if not in the USA.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thankful

I have a few traditions on Thanksgiving. 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, Martha 'n' Milo, Avalon, 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, I would have 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...)
Honeycrisp Apples
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.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Traditiooooooon, Tradition, Tradition!!!

Every year I post the menu for out Casa de Crazy Thanksgiving extravaganza and every year I wonder why I don't just cut and paste from last year because it very rarely changes.

Oh, the people change, and the weather, but what goes down in the kitchen and gets laid upon the table are as reliable as...well...something very reliable.

SI also wonder if anyone cares, but I kind of get a kick out of seeing what y'all are doing and I like to share, so without further ado, here's the eats for Thrursday's T-Day dinner:

Turkey, a 13 pounder this year because we have a couple of extra guests.

Dressing.  Not stuffing.  I like the stuff the gobbler with herbs and use the pan drippings for the gravy, so it's dressing.  No one has complained, yet.

Mashed potatoes (Mum always helps with these and I let her because she is Mum and you don't tell Mum "no" when she wants to help with the taters).

Gravy, of the home made variety.

Green Beans.  Just plain old steamed green beans.

Mashed Turnips and carrots, because Mum and I adore them and they're pretty in the fancy, cut glass bowl.

Can-o-Cranberry, because cranberry that isn't can shaped ain't right.

Sweet Potato Casserole (because Martha 'n'Milo insist on bringing something and that's what they'd like to bring)

Desserts include Chocolate Silk Pie and Dutch Apple Crumb Pie made just for us by Marie Callender (her pie crusts are way better than mine and I'm fine with letter her do all the work) and a Key Lime Pie with a shortbread crust (crust store bought, pie made here).

Whew, I am full already.  How 'bout you - what's traditional at your Thanksgiving dinner?  What's your favorite savory?  Favorite sweet?

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Countdown Beginneth

It is Monday of Thanksgiving week and there is much happening here at the Casa.

Roommates gone, cleaning commences, and while the downstairs needs some love it is the upstairs that will be gone over in the next few days.  My good friend A is coming over to help me, bless he heart and all of her guts.  I could do it alone but would have to start last June to get it all done.  No kidding, the woman is a dynamo.

This is a somewhat traditional post for me - every year I write a little something about this week, as it is the lead-off to The Silly Season and often one of my busiest here at the Casa.

So, here we go.

Monday (today) - grocery shopping for the week.  Baking bread for the dressing on Thursday.  Cleaning house.  Cleaning out the van because I am selling it (long story, more about that another time...maybe).  More cleaning of the house.

Tuesday - band practice.  Making one of the vegetable dishes for Thursday when I get home.  More cleaning, including washing every last dish/bowl/platter that we'll use on Thursday since they're the "good" dishes* and sit all year until I pull them out for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday - cleaning, cleaning, more cleaning (I move slowly, the Casa is enormous, and I am not a good housekeeper so when we DO clean, it's a job).  Making a pie and beginning the defrost for another pie.  Possibly baking a third pie so I don't have to tomorrow.  Cleaning the coffee maker.  Dressing the turkey and getting it ready to pop into the oven tomorrow.  Getting the turkey stock out of the freezer to use for dressing and gravy tomorrow.  Panicking about the butter - is two pounds enough for the day?  Gah!  Making sure the table linens are washed and ready to use and pulling out the "good" flatware**.

Thursday - Turkey goes in to bake.  Dressing is prepared and ready to bake.  Finishing up any last minute cleaning.  Children are shooed outside to frolic.  Friends and family trickle in.  Set the table.  Fill the water pitcher.  Watch TV and baste the turkey.  Make food,food,more food.  Serve.  Eat.  Coma.  Dessert and coffee/tea.  More coma.  Play games.  Pack leftovers to go for guests.  Make cookie dough.  /Sleep well.

Friday - NO SHOPPING!!!  There will,however, be cookie baking.  Lots of cookie baking.

Saturday - take Someone's mother and Sprout to visit Someone.

Sunday - Cookie swap

Monday - sleep until just shy of forever.  Not going out if I don't have to.  Not doing anything if I don't have to.  Does anyone want a couple of children for a few days?  No?  Oh, well, I guess I'll get up and feed them once in a while.

How is your week shaping up?

*These are dishes that Mum and I bought one piece at a time from a grocery store a long, long,looooong time ago.  Service for fourteen including serving dishes, either free or bargain priced with purchase of a certain amount of groceries.  I love them.  Not fancy, but pretty and simple and I like them.

**Not sterling, but some rather lovely and solid stainless steel flatware from the Oneida Company, back when there was a Betty Crocker catalog and we clipped Betty Crocker points from boxes and saved them in a tin on top of the refrigerator.  Service for twelve, and some day I hope to expand it and add more serving pieces and other cutlery, but that'll have to wait a bit because it's a discontinued pattern and getting the pieces I'd like to have will cost a small fortune.  I adore my pattern, bought a few pieces at a time through the mail with little bits of cardboard and postage paid.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Learn, Grow, Change

Disappointed.  Not angry, not surprised, but disappointed.

I know there's a risk inherent to opening my home to others, particularly folks who are strangers in the beginning.  I accept that there are many adjustments to be made on every side and there are certain things, control issues, that I must let go of if I am going to give shelter, give sanctuary, to anyone.

I am not an easy person to live with under the best of circumstances, and when I am not at my best I am a pain in the ass for anyone to deal with.

That said, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that, when living in my home, a body doesn't damage it, they respect the property and the people living here, and they own up to their mistakes.

NOT telling me when property is damaged, hiding broken things, and disrespecting some very basic and necessary rules is no way to behave.

There's a hole in the wall behind the door that tells me it was slammed open or slammed up against hard enough to force the knob completely through the drywall.  There is artwork missing.  There are a number of small tchotchkes moved or missing.  There's a socket plate cracked, part on the floor and part still on the wall.  There's a dent in another part of the wall.  There's a spot where paint was picked at and peeled off.  There's a cup that was clearly on the windowsill but was pushed or fell out into the yard and left there.

The truck has front end damage, bald tires, and a huge dent in the side.  The brakes are gone and the promised repairs never happened.  I don't know when the oil was last changed.  There are food wrappers and pieces of food all over the interior.  Things that belong there are missing, removed without permission and put who-knows-where.  It will be expensive to repair everything, and I will have to ask my already overburdened mother for help with that because it is Someone's truck and it's not okay to give it back to him trashed.

And the cigarette butts.

The cigarette butts all over the garage floor, in the driveway, nestled among the stuffed animals that I have kept through my childhood, tossed out the window into the yard, cigarette butts in places that tell me that the no-smoking-in-the-house rule was roundly ignored, putting me and my son in very real danger of respiratory distress and a hospital visit.  That rule is there not because I don't like cigarette smoke (because I don't like it) and not because I represent all my art and craft work online as coming from a smoke-free environment (because I do, and yes, it matters to folks), but because I am allergic to cigarette smoke and both the Evil Genius and I have asthma that can and often is triggered by said smoke.

I don't really care if it's inconvenient to walk a few dozen feet to smoke in the garage or outside.  That's not my problem.  My health and my childrens' health are my concern.

Disrespected.

So many small signs of disrespect, of the people I opened my home to not caring that they were living in a borrowed room, using a borrowed vehicle, using borrowed pots and pans and dishes...

So.

I won't close my heart or my home to anyone who needs a place.  No one gets to change me that way.  I will, however, learn and grow from this experience.

The rules are changing.  They will be simple but not negotiable, and there will no longer be second or third chances.  The first violation will be the last, and there will be no two-weeks notice, not even two-minutes notice - as soon as the infraction occurs, out you go.

There will be rent, and it will  be paid when it's due - no making missed rent up next week, next week, next week.  No.  Pay on time or out you go.

You will contribute to the household groceries.

There will be no smoking of any kind anywhere on this property or in my vehicles.

There will be no eating or drinking of anything (even water) anywhere but in the kitchen, the dining room, or outside.

If you use it, clean up after yourself and put it away.

I will not get up early, stay up late, or change my schedule to give you rides anywhere.  Ask 24 hours or more in advance if you want a ride and if I can, I will, but it will be at MY convenience.

You may not borrow one of the family vehicles.  Don't ask.

You may not borrow or remove anything from this property - no taking my camp chairs, my grill, my coolers, my camping gear to the lake, camping, your Aunt's pool party or anywhere else.  Don't ask.

No, I will not give you the WiFi password and no, you may not use my computer.  You certainly may not change passwords, security settings, or anything else on said computer, nor may you download anything, watch pornography, or do anything legally questionable.

If you damage it, you repair or replace it immediately.  If that means you don't have money for DVDs, cigarettes, beer, or whatever else you think is more important, too bad.  Never borrow what you can't replace, and understand that yous SHOULD replace it first and foremost.

I will not loan you money.  Nope.  There will be no "I need gas to get to work and will pay you when I get my check" or "Can I have a couple of dollars for cigarettes?" or anything else short of a life-saving item, and even then I will likely want proof that a life hangs in the balance.

You may not bring another person to co-habitate with you, or even to spend the night, without asking me first, and more that one night means they pay rent, too.

You will help with the chores when they need doing.

If you use it, you replace it.  If you ruin my cookware, you replace it the next day.

Turn off lights if you're leaving the room, even if it's only for a moment.

If it's not yours, don't touch it.  Don't let your friend touch it.  Don't let your child touch it.  You are responsible for any damage done by anyone you bring to this house.

No drugs.  None.  Not kidding.  I WILL call the blue-light taxi service.  Do not test me.

No drug dealers or anyone who is high.

No fugitives from justice.

Do not bring drama to my house.  Do not bring anyone or anything that might bring drama to my house.  Drama includes but is not limited to stalkers, abusers, out of control addicts, law enforcement of any kind, or snark from the neighbors.

Do not lie to me.

Do not steal from me.

Do not break your word to me.

Those last three are not negotiable, ever.  No wriggle room.  No forgiveness.  The rest?  Yeah, I'd like to be all hard assed about it, but honestly, I know there are circumstances and I AM a compassionate being and I WILL do my best to help a body out as much as I can, but I'm not going to allow anyone to cross my personal boundaries again.  No one has any right to ask it of me, and I'm working hard on the firm yet gentle "No."

Everyone has lessons to teach, lessons to learn.  I am learning.  I hope that I taught something good, something that will carry my former roommates on into strong, healthy, positive lives.

We live, we learn, we grow, we change.  It's a bumpy ride, so hang on tight!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Low, Today*



*But it will get better, it will, if I can just hunker down and hang on and not let it sweep me away, if I can endure, it will get better.

Right?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Many Ways

There are many ways to look at this old world and the people in it.  There are many ways to respond to what is happening around us.  There are many ways of being.

I posted this on Facebook earlier today:

What good have you done, by helping just that one?

To that one, I have made all the difference.

There will always be another, and another, and another.

One at a time.

And if that one, that lonely, only one, is all I ever make a difference for, then it is enough and more than enough, but I will never stop striving to find the other, and another, and another, and maybe, just maybe, they will find their one, and then another, and another, and we will ripple out and out and out and inexorably roll in greater circles until we return back to ourselves and fins that, just one at a time, we have swept over our wide Earth and made the change we never thought could be when it was just that one.
~~~~~
There are many ways to make a difference.

Here are some (feel free to add more in the comments, I know I cannot have covered everything here):

Volunteer to help veterans in the USA:  Volunteer VA

Help a veteran find a home by donating or volunteering:  National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

Find and support or volunteer at a food bank: Feeding America

Crochet sleeping mats for the homeless:  Make a Plarn Mat

Help the homeless:  35 Ways to Help the Homeless

Help people all over the world (including the United States) help themselves:  Heifer International

Help provide one of the most basic and necessary of elements to people who face its privation:  Water

Help provide for medical needs:  Doctors Without Borders

Help people locally and globally:  Oxfam is a good place to start

Concerned about the Syrian refugee situation?  You can help others help out in Syria, at the source, to give hope and perhaps help build a better situation before anyone has to leave their home:  Hand in Hand for Syria

Help provide shelter:  ShelterBox

Find someone who could use a hand to get back on their feet - we all struggle with our load sometimes, and knowing that there's a friend, a family member, even a stranger there to help us carry on, to be a cheerleader, sometimes simply believe in us when we falter and doubt can make all the difference.

One at a time, we can help stem the tide of fear, anger, hatred, hunger, poverty, and privation, just by facing it with small acts powered by compassion, kindness, and love.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Meme, Meme, Meme, Meme

I was tagged on Facebook to do this meme.  I've been managing to avoid these things for a while, now, but I cannot ignore on in which I am directly tagged.  I can, however, bend the rules a little and not post it on Facebook or tag anyone into the madness.  If you're keen, have a go and post where you put it in the comments and I'll come have a looky.

A- Age: 28 (in my head, anyway)(Okay, okay, I am 43 for a few more months).
B- Biggest fear: Losing my loved ones.


C- Current time: Now.

D- Drink you last had:  Water.

E- Every day starts with: The clock reaching midnight?  Sunrise?  My daughter's elbow in my ear?

F- Favorite song: Asking an Aquarius what their favorite anything is is an exercise in futility.

G- Ghosts, are they real?: I cannot say.  I am supposed to believe in them, what with being a witch and all, but I've never had one show itself to me despite living in and visiting a number of haunted places.

H- Hometown: I always wonder if this means where one was born (Fall River), where one grew up (Little Compton, West Palm Beach, Canterbury), or where one lives now (Redneck Central).

I- In love with: All.

J- Jealous of: None.

K- Killed someone?:  Depends - of people, I have killed none.  Of critters, countless many.

L- Last time you cried?: A few minutes ago.

M- Middle name:  Haven't one.

N- Number of siblings: One.

O- One wish:  Contentment.

P- Person you last called: T

Q- Question you're always asked:  Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

R- Reason to smile: My children, my mother, my friends.

S- Song last sang: Take Me to Church.

T- Time you woke up: 3:12, 5:30, 7:00, 8:30, and 10:00

U- Underwear color:  Presumining I wear any...  Kidding!  Blue.

V- Vacation destination: Va-ca-tion?  What's that?

W- Worst habit: Hmm...either eating mindlessly or deflecting compliments given to me.

Y- Your favorite food:  Food.

X- X-Rays you've had: Let me see...hmm...right wrist, right hand, right ankle, head, and spine/pelvis.

Z- Zodiac sign:  Aquarius.

Nominate 8 people:  The first eight who want to do this thing.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What Dreams May Come

The pendulum swings, in a herky-jerky kind of way.

I don't sleep much, and often it's an interrupted sleep, a restless, fitful sleep that leaves me feeling as if perhaps I'd have been better off not sleeping at all.  My dreams are often shattered, scattered things and what I retain are wisps, shreds of feelings or a word or two and not much else.

For the last few nights, I have gone to bed late (or early, if you like, given the hour) and slept hard for a few hours.  It's not as good as a long night of blissful slumber, but it's something.  In those few hours, though, my mind runs rampant and I remember more of the stories it tells.

Oh, dreams.  Sometimes even the good ones hurt.


A few nights ago I dreamed that someone handed me $5,000.  Just gave it to me.  I was stunned and overjoyed because it means I could fix the truck, pay bills, and help out a friend, too.  Woke up to a cold, rainy, grey day with $.82 in my pocket and a feeling that I'd let myself down somehow.

Two nights ago, I dreamed two dreams.  The first was full of anger.  Not mine but Someone's.  My friend Gypsy was here at Casa de Crazy and we were doing...something...maybe crocheting or something...and went out to the grocery store.  When we came back, Someone was home and he was angry.  Mean faced, flashing eyed, a-n-g-r-y!

He was yelling at me for putting the remains of a stick of butter in the refrigerator.  It was only a pat, wrapped in the paper, but he thought it was ridiculous to keep it rather than throw it away and open a new stick and he was in a rage over it.

I answered first in confusion and hurt, then in anger.  Gypsy was right there beside me, telling me "I see you"  and "I'm here" in a calm, reassuring voice.

It was bad enough that I told him he had to leave, that we were done.

That hurt enough to wake me up.

The second dream had me on a motorcycle, riding...I don't now where, only it was a largely empty highway, four lanes with a broad median and surrounded by hills.  I low sided the bike and slide over to the verge.  I hurt my leg and was walking with a limp, using a curtain rod as a walking stick.  I am was undercover officer of some sort (too much Criminal Minds before bed), and everything I had in the world was in a backpack.  Somehow I was no longer alone, surrounded by a bunch of bikers, one of whom knew me and addressed me by my real name.  I had to convince them that I was not the person they think they know, and I had to carry my backpack with me and get to my destination, but the backpack was full of things and heavy, and I had a hurt leg.  I was trying to decide what to leave behind when it struck me that it's all my life in one place and I can't leave it, I have to carry it.

Meanwhile, there are several women spinning poi in the road, but instead of poi they have swords.

Yeah, my head is weird.

Then last night I have the one dream I would happily never have again.  It's a recurring theme, often exactly the same in imagery, but it's the feeling of the dream that I know so well.

In it I am lonely, hurting, feeling isolated.  Often I am chilly.  This time I was at my grandparent's house (a new setting for this dream but a very common setting for my head's stage), the one I largely grew up in.  I'm in the room by the stairs to the third floor, a small-ish bedroom tucked between my grandfather's bathroom and the main bathroom for the second floor.  I leave the room and enter the main bathroom.  Door closed and locked, I'm sitting on the potty and I reach into the vanity drawer and pull out a piece of candy.  The drawer is full of candy, and I am sneaking it.  As I sit on the throne and eat candy, I look out the window into the yard and see a couple of men down by the stable, working.

Somehow, I am then down in the stable.  It is dark, late.  I have no idea what work they are doing, but in the dream it is okay, they are supposed to be there.  There's a metal barrel with a fire going in it, and I'm standing at it, warming my hands.  One of the men walks up behind me and wraps his arms around me in a loving, comforting way.  He is warm, and his warmth infuses me.  Oh, I feel loved, cherished, protected, and I know who this man is, he's the man who has haunted me for decades inside my head, the man who has lurked in the shadows of my dreams, the man who isn't real but if he was, I would forsake all others for him because he's the god to my goddess, the yin to my yang, he's the match I will never make because it's not real, dammit, but oh, how I want it to be!  I've dreamt him before but he's been away for a while, so finding him haunting my psyche now is a surprise.

So he stands behind me and holds me and it's so very good.  And I know I can't be there, that Someone is still in the house, sleeping, trusting, and I can't betray that, so I have to pull myself away from this warm, solid, being who gives me so much just by standing silently behind me with his arms around me.  I don't even look at him, just walk away to the house, but I am colder than when I was before I stood at the fire.

That last dream is always difficult.  In the dream, it is good.  It is sweet.  It is solid and powerful.  But eventually one wakes, and in waking all of that is left behind and I feel bereft.  

The feelings I take away from these dreams linger long after the sleep is done.  I can't shake them, they cling like cobwebs to me, all sticky and insitant.  They haunt me even as the waking world spins around and life goes on.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

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, Ed, Danny, and all of those who step/ped up and put on a uniform.







*For those who didn't know, Veteran's Day is for the living, Memorial Day is for the dead, which is why this post only mentions people still walking this Earth.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Letter

My Dear Children,

It is my fervent hope that by the time you are grown, the following will be irrelevant because you will know that I love you no matter what and the rest of the world doesn't judge and perhaps ostracize you for who you are or who you love.

Given how much has changed since I was a child, and how much our society has grown and altered its opinions even in the short years since you were both born, I have reason to hope that by the time you have both matured, have found yourselves, defined yourselves, grown into yourselves, none of this will matter.

Still.

In case it should matter, in case you should wonder, in case anger and hatred and fear should win out, I want you to know.

I love you not matter what.

It makes no difference to me who you should love, as long as you love well and true and are loved in equal measure.  If you love a man, a woman, one or more of either or both, if you are honest and honorable, that is what matters.  I will love you just the same because my love is not predicated on sexuality.

I love you no matter what.

It makes no difference to me if you should find that the skin you wear doesn't fit quite right and you seek to change it, to become something you are not now but feel you were always meant to be.  As much as I can I will go down the road with you, be by your side supporting you as you change, cocoon, emerge gloriously changed and more yourself than you've ever before been.  Son, if you feel you should have been my daughter...and daughter, if you feel you should have been my son...I will love you just the same because my love is not predicated on gender.

I love you no matter what.

It makes no difference to me if you should seek to wear trousers or skirts or ball gowns or sneakers or cowboy boots or hats or go bare headed and barefoot or dress in silk or denim or lace or taffeta or nothing at all, or if you wish to be tattooed, pierced, shaven, made up with cosmetics or in your natural skin.  My son shall wear a dress and heels if he wishes, and my daughter shall wear dungarees and flannel shirts with hiking boots if she wishes, and we will make fabulous family portraits and be comfortable in what we wear.  I will love you just the same because my love is not predicated on fashion.


I love you no matter what.

It makes no difference to me who you worship, or how, or how many.  One god, two gods, countless gods, goddesses, if you find that worship helps you make your way through life, helps you be the best you you can be, if that worship gives you comfort and helps you make sense of Mystery, or if you spurn gods in favor of your own good sense and strong foundation, your own well developed mores, in favor of what you can see and feel and prove, I will love you just the same because my love is not predicated on religion.

I love you no matter what.

It makes no difference to me if you are wealthy, if you have countless millions and huge houses and fancy cars and yachts and all the trappings of that wealth, or if you share an apartment with three other people and struggle to make ends meet and have to borrow money from me to buy groceries sometimes, or if you are living with me because times are tough and you need to lean on your Mama because you can't stand on your own two feet, as long as you are living true to yourself and are happy and doing your best, 
I will love you just the same because my love is not predicated on the contents of your wallet.

I love you no matter what.

No matter what.

Angels or axe murderers, 
I will love you just the same because my love is not predicated on your actions.

There will be times when we do not agree.  There will be times when we do not like each other.  There will be times when we cannot stand each other.  Those times will be irrelevant because I am and always will be your mother, and my love?  Is a mother's love.  It is not bound by convention, tradition, sense, or sensibility.  
I will love you just the same because my love is not predicated on anything at all.  It is freely and endlessly given.

Sincerely and with love,
Mom, Mama, Mommy, Mother, Ma

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Thoughtfetti

For the first time in more than a year, I can park in the garage.  My friend A came down and helped me clean it a few weeks ago, and today she came and helped me do the last few little things needed to get a van in there.  There is even plenty of room for me to bring in the avocado plants for the winter and still get to the big freezer.  Bonus, when the weather is bad enough, long enough, I can back out of the garage and let them play in there!
~~~~~
Tonight, A and I are tackling the Evil Genius's room - we hope to clear enough that we can close his door tonight, and then tomorrow will plow through as much as we can.  It may not get all the way clean, but I have reason to believe a significant dent will be made.  A lot of clothing and toys will be going away - anything broken or too small will be tossed.  Hopefully he will not resist too much.
~~~~~
I am going to make Crab Rangoon tomorrow, for the first time.  It's a favorite of mine and the boy's, and learning to make it means we can have it at will rather than waiting until we can afford to go out and get them from the local Chinese place.
~~~~~
I started therapy two weeks ago.  I need it.  Things...things are not good at Casa de Crazy.  I am not doing well.  I am struggling.

Next week I start taking medication to help me deal with the Variety Plate.  I feel as though I am giving up, that I am weak and even more useless because I can't do this on my own.

These feelings are not founded in reality, but they feel awfully real.

I am still going to take medication because I need it, and I may not like the need, but I will honor it.
~~~~~
I do not think people who are not me are weak or useless because they take medication to treat their conditions.  I think they are smart and laudable.

In part it is this imbalance of thought that I am working to repair.
~~~~~~
Today at the supermarket the young man who bagged my groceries and helped me get them out to the car mentioned that he lives in my neighborhood.  He is from the house at the top of our street, the one where they always have a Jeep Cherokee up on stands for tinkering with.  I suddenly felt old - this lad was perhaps as tall as my middle and frolicking in his yard when I last saw him, and now he's inches taller than I and working for the market.  Oy.
~~~~~
I miss Someone every day, fiercely, stupidly, distractingly, distressingly.  Prison doesn't just punish the offender.
~~~~~
My cell phone is six years old and feeling every minute of its age.  I have to replace it.  I will miss it.  The new phone will be perfectly okay, better in some ways, but I don't like change.
~~~~~
I swear the goldfish in the sun room tank are taunting Rook, the youngest cat.  When they perceive her near their tank, they swim to the place closest to her and wag their tails at her.  She is continually frustrated by her inability to swat the through the glass.  The sound of her paw striking the tank amuses me.  She is cross with me right now because I laughed at her.
~~~~~
What's new with you?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Honestly.

Sometimes when you ask me how I am doing, I answer honestly.

And I get the feeling that the honesty isn't what I was meant to give.

And that maybe it's boring, "Oh, no, not more of this again.  Doesn't she know I didn't really mean it?  Doesn't she understand that I'm just waiting for her to shut up so I can talk about what's really important, me and what's on my mind?"

Sometimes I am in the middle of answering, or struggling to answer, and I see your eyes wander away or glaze over, or I hear you sigh, or I hear you talking to someone else (if we're on the phone) or you grunt or respond in a way that is supposed to make me feel like you're listening but really tells me you have no idea what I just said because your attentions wandered, or you interrupt as if I was never speaking and tell me your story and I am left feeling like maybe I was never part of this conversation to begin with.

And I know that you are just being polite and I'm really taxing you but I can't help it, every now and then my mouth begins to go on about what's real and my mind is telling it to stop because no one wants to hear it, it's not important, it's awkward and difficult and really, I know better, but my mouth just keeps on and I want to tell you I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know you didn't ask for this but I can't.  Stop.  Talking.

Most of the time I try to keep it short.  How am I?  Fine.  Tired.  Busy.  Chaotic.  Fine.  Yeah, fine.  Fine's the default, the safe answer, the one word that lets you off the hook and the one word I know, I know, I KNOW you want to hear and I want to give you what you want even when it's not honest because my honesty wasn't really what you were asking for when you exercised social convention and asked me how I am.

Sometimes I can't do that, be dishonest but I can't be honest so I try to distract you by making a joke or asking how you are without ever really answering, or pointing out that money is an illusion or that the sun is brighter today, or that I saw the funniest meme or what's that behind you?

And sometimes I think it would just be better if I didn't speak to you, or to anyone, because I can't, just can't, just...just...cannot...give you what you want from me and I know with dread certainty that if you ask me how I am I will begin, and once begun I won't be able to end and you will be bored and want to walk away and it will be awkward.

So maybe sometimes you could shoulder the burden, the responsibility, and not ask me how I am so I can maybe take a break, have a rest, not feel like I have to work my way towards an answer.  I know it's asking a lot, really,but it'd be awfully nice not to feel like I don't matter,my answer doesn't matter, and the only way I can think to make that happen is to not be asked the question.

Or maybe...and this is reaching, it's out there, I know...maybe if you do ask, you could listen, really listen, while I answer you honestly about how I am doing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Something to Ponder

I recently read a quote attributed to Buddha.  While I haven't researched it to see if he really did say it, it sounds like him.

It was something along the lines of it not mattering how compassionate one is towards others if one cannot also be compassionate toward one's self.

I've heard variations on this theme throughout my life - if one cannot love one's self, how can others love one, if one does not see one's own beauty, how can anyone else, if one cannot apply love, healing, compassion, or whatever to one's self then it is incomplete.

It is terribly difficult foe me to look at myself in the mirror, and it is equally difficult for me to see myself as having value.  So many messages incoming that tell me I don't measure up, so many times hearing that I am worthless and useless because I don't fit some mold, some idea or ideal of what a person should be, and after a while it really does drown out the smaller, quieter, kinder thoughts and truths.

I am pondering this idea that I deserve compassion, too.  I can't quite wrap my mind around it.  I have always said, and meant, that I don't matter.  My needs don't matter.  My wants don't matter.  That can't be healthy.

It's a strange thing, to try and put myself before others.  It feels selfish and wrong.

How do you do it?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

But Oh, Wouldn't It Be Lovely?

Sigh.

What one wants and what one needs may be two different things, but they sure can feel much alike.

That I need to find a way to move my family to a place less surrounded by hateful neighbors and overzealous law enforcement, a place perhaps quieter and more distant from the city, is a given in my family.

That I want to move closer to my mother and my friend A, out into the country, is also a given.

Those two things often get entangled.

And the truth is...

The truth is that my mother already pays my mortgage and most of my bills.  She buys clothing for my children and takes care of my medical expenses.  Hell, she even buys cat food most of the time because I cannot.

The truth is, I can never repay her for all that she does.

So getting a new place, moving out of this neighborhood and into the country, just isn't possible the way things stand now.

I can want in one hand and spit in the other, and I know which one will fill up first.

But I do want.

I do.

There's a place for sale, just went on the market last Friday, isn't even on the MLS yet.  The asking price is ambitious on the part of the seller and well beyond the best that I could offer (about $2.75 at the moment), and there is no way short of a lottery win that I can make it happen, but dammit, the wanting throbs into the feeling of need, and the need grinds away at me and won't let me be.

I cannot stop thinking about this house.  I haven't seen it, only heard a description from a friend who lives across the street.  I likely won't ever see it, because seeing it would just make the wanting worse, and why waste the time or energy taunting myself?

More and more of my life is there, near my mother.  My doctor, my new counselor (I found a place that provides psych services on a sliding scale) are a few minutes away.  Eventually, I will make it up there, away from here, far from the unpleasant neighbor who wishes me to live her way because only she knows how to live a right life.  For now I feel both sheltered and trapped here in Casa de Crazy.  It's a good house in a good place and I've no right to complain or wish for more than what we have.  I can't help it, though.

I'll feel this want until the house is sold and I have a few days of despair to muddle through because I hoped that a miracle would occur, maybe.

One can dream, and one can wish, and one can think how nice it would be, and life goes  on, but oh...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

...and Everything*


I am dealing with a few stressors in my life right now and am a bit on edge.

Ahem.  Excuse me while I smack spellcheck upside the head for telling me the "stressors" is not a word.

There's a general swarm of things that take turns nipping at me and keeping me on the run.**

And I've been a little sick for the past week.

It all adds up.

It feeds my depression and it fills up my Variety Plate, and sometimes it gets physical.

Which is how I explain what happened today.

I had a performance with the band today.  It was about a two-hour drive from home, so I opted to drive up this morning (can't afford a room and spending the night in the van with Sprout is a a great, big "NO!!!" with flashing lights, whistles, bells, and one of those twirly lights on top like the old-time police cars had).  I didn't have any breakfast because I wasn't hungry, but I did get a cup of coffee on the way.  We got there in good order and I helped a tiny bit with setting up the stage, then drank some water and ate a couple of Slim Jims and an apple.  Slim Jims are several food groups in one and chock full of preservatives and chemicals so they are health food.  Hush.  I'll have a fabulous carcass for a hundred years or more!  The apple was a lovely Honeycrisp, and completely faultless in the coming events.  I would like to note that I have eaten less and worse and eon more without coming to grief.

I finished getting my things arranged on stage, did sound check, and we launched into performance.

At first, I didn't notice anything amiss.

Then, the light.

Strangely bright, it crept into the edges of my vision and made the world a sort of flat negative of itself.  It grew brighter and bolder and sort of puddled and pooled into more of my field until everything seemed to be covered in a kind of glaring, molten white glaze.

I couldn't read the words on my lyrics pages, and eventually couldn't see the drum that was inches in front of me.

My hearing began to twist and get all knotted up, everything sort of throbby and fuzzy and far away.

I have felt this before, once, when I was pregnant with the Evil Genius and my appendix exploded and I passed out on the bathroom floor.

Not caring to thud onto the stage in a rather graceless lump of singer, or tumble off the front in a sad-seeming attempt at crowd surfing, I placed my hands on the edge of my drum and bent down as far as I could, sort of but not really getting my head between my knees.  It kinda helped, in a not-passing-out sort of way, but I was useless for singing or playing.

I stood back up and tried to keep going, but had to do the bend-over again.

Some kind person put a stool behind my arse and sort of shoved me to sit on it, which I did.

Still, the light, the sound, everything was all sideways and inside out and white and blinding and throbby and fuzzy.

Eventually I stood up and tried to be a more dynamic performer, but I felt something even more not right and finally...

I did something that I have never before done, not once, not in all my time performing, not when I was tired or sick or had foot and leg cramps, not when I was pregnant or anything - I left the stage.  I walked off, waving a fellow performer, a guest who was playing with us, to take my place at the microphone, got myself down the two step, and somehow made my way off behind the stage to a shady spot.  My vision cleared the tiniest bit.  A friend was there and asked if needed help.  I couldn't understand what he was saying despite his speaking clearly - my hearing was malfunctioning, my ears full of cotton and clay and distortion.  Finally I understood he was asking if I needed anything.  I asked him to hold my hat and not to worry, I'd be fine in a bit.  He was so sweet and obliging!

The nice old tree in front of me propped me up, and eventually was kind enough to let me lean on it and empty my innards.  Several times.

When I felt that last week's lunch was finished egressing, I went back to the stage, just in time to finish the set.

When we were done, I had to go find shade and sit for a very long time before I could pack my things and leave.  The light just wouldn't behave and time was all stretchy-like.  I had to ask a friend to look after my daughter because I couldn't.  I drank small sips of root beer and water and eventually felt well enough to get up and pack my gear, find Sprout, even get some lemonade and french fries (which were rather steadying, despite sounding like just exactly what one wouldn't need after such an episode).

Sprout and I drove home, and as the lemonade and fries and air conditioning in the van took hold, I felt much better.

When we got home I lay down and slept for three hours.  I would be sleeping, still, if the kids hadn't reminded me that in many homes, dinner is an actual thing and they'd like some, please and thank you.

Tomorrow I will simply rest.  I had other plans, but am loathe to endanger my child, myself, or anyone else going out into the world when I may have a repeat of today's episode.  Life will have to go on without me for a few days, and then I'll see how I feel about it, the Universe, and...well...Everything.


* this got long.  Sorry.  It does say "Everything" in the title, though.

**More about this later, no need to stretch out an already rather too long post.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I've Been A-Searchin'

Dear Google,

When I very carefully type words into your search field, it is safe to presume that those are the very qualities I am searching for in my, er, search.

For instance, if I should enter "Dark Blue Bunny Costume, Adult", then I am most likely looking for an adult sized rabbit costume, dark blue in color.

What it most certainly DOESN'T mean is that I want chickens, ducks, pirates, white or pink rabbits, or baby onesies (however cute they may be).

It most certainly DOESN'T mean I want models, toys, grey, brown, or purple costumes in children's sizes.

If I carefully, clearly type in that I wish to see BLUE bunny rabbit costumes in ADULT sizes, you can bet that I pretty much want to see just that and nothing more.  Not leopards.  Not penguins.  Not stuffed animals.  Not sexy ANYTHING.

I appreciate the marvels of the search engine and all of the fine tuning that goes into them, and I try very hard to be as specific as I can be, including using the ability to exclude certain terms to make the search more fine tunes.  Please, Google, don't waste my time and resources by INCLUDING the very things I EXCLUDED because why would you do that???

Sigh.

Sincerely,
A Very Frustrated Mum Who Is Trying To Find Her Evil Genius the Costume He Desperately Wants for Halloween (or "Samhain" as it's called around here).

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lost In Translation

I don't know what it is that I need, only that I need something, some indefinable thing, some thing that will take away the empty loneliness and shine some light in the dark corners or at the very least offer a few drops of comfort to fill a void that has grown for so long it may never be entirely filled.

I'm not sure what makes the emptiness ache the way it does, but it aches and I can't seem to numb the pain with any conventional means, and unconventional means are not an option although I can understand how people turn to drugs or drink or sex or some other thing to distract or remove themselves from what's paining them even when that answer isn't real relief and doesn't do anything but mask what's there without ever really fixing.  So why's it called a fix, then?  Those things just make it worse, and I don't need worse, I need better.

Oh, I am restless and want to wander free, wild, alone, no children or cats or fish or Someone or mother or friends or anyone or anything who is part of the history of me that feels so awfully heavy right now.  I feel the gypsy part of my soul stirring, turning her face into the wind, smiling, yearning to hitch up her ponies and follow the swirling autumn leaves away, away, away, but I am not the gypsy, not entirely, only partially, and she's been chained for so long that I don't know, really, if she remembers how to wander, how to dance beneath the moon on a winter-cold night while the stars burn with their tiny ferocity and the dew freezes into frost crystal patterns finer than the fanciest etched glass in the greatest manor house.

Something akin to peace, quiet, rest, solitude, something like not being responsible for myself or for anyone else, something like not having to clean or cook or make a decision, something like sleeping in for days and days and swinging gently on a hammock and napping and sitting out in the dark counting stars and not hearing people or feeling anger or fear or hurt or all this tired.

How does one find what one cannot name?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Without One, No Other

We never let the shadow swallow the light
Despite ourselves, we continue

To fight the desperate fight
Clinging with strong, bony fingers

And wiry strength
With all our might

We never let the light send the shadows away
Bright as it burns, we still seek shade
Hoping to make them stay
And help us sharpen
The glimmering hope
For which we pray

The one, the other

Each defining each
We between them twist and turn
Trying not to become lost
Trying not to burn

Saturday, September 26, 2015

He Only Loves Me For My Baked Goods

He hasn't been around much, lately.  On the rare occasions He pops in, He looks tired and sad.  I don't like to mention it, because I would rather He view this place as a peculiar kind of sanctuary where He may simply rest and be Himself.

I can't help, it though, I worry, and so I speak up.

"You look tired and sad, JC.  What's up?"

"I could say the same for you, dear Witch."

"Well, I'm human and have a whole mess of terribly human concerns.  You, on the other hand, are half deity at least and shouldn't be worrying about mortal concerns."

"Well, I'm responsible for all of the wrong done in my name, or done and then repented.  They say that's why I was nailed up by the Romans."

"And here I thought it was because you were considered a criminal."

"Is that why you welcome me?"

"Yeah, I always did like the bad boys."  That gets a wan smile.  "So, come on, spill it.  You know whatever you tell me is between you, me, and The Blue Nowhere."

"You've seen what's going on in the world lately?"

"Well, a bit.  I don't watch TV, take the paper or most magazines, and try to avoid all the anger and hatred bubbling up on the Internet, so I am not always exactly current."

"I wish I could avoid all of that, but the things people do in my name..."  He falters, sighs, stares into the distance.  "How is it so unclear, my word?  When did I say to hate or hurt for my sake?  When did I say I only loved a few souls who followed a very narrow and particular set of rules written by men hundreds of years after my death?  Did I not say to love one another?  Did I not say to forgive?  Did I not encourage compassion and discourage judgment?  Did I not say that what is done to the least is done to me?  Did I not heal without asking who the afflicted loved, worshiped, or voted for?  Did I not strive to help all who asked without demanding they qualify for my help?"

He is agitated, now, up and pacing in the room in my mind, the room that always smells faintly of incense and cinnamon and tea but never quite looks the same twice.

"JC, you can't help what people do.  We're such ridiculous critters.  Folks are afraid, and they turn fear into anger and anger into hatred, and they turn that hatred on anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable.  You offer peace, but humans want more than forgiveness and peace.  They want to feel stronger, better, right.  Your Daddy laid down some crazy rules before he had you and mellowed, and some folks like those rules because those rules tell them who to judge, that it's okay to judge, that by following those rules they are better,more favored.  Those weird, ridiculous rules that should have been negated by YOUR words and actions (what with them being the more recent and clearly sanctioned by your Pops) let people feel powerful.  Those rules let people feel powerful and superior, and right now?  Oh, JC, there's hunger and hurt and fear, so much fear, and people need something to hold onto."

"So why can't they hold onto each other?"

"Way less satisfying to hold out a hand and pull someone up than to stomp them down, I guess.  The righteous can't stand the idea that anyone less righteous should be equal in your eyes, equal in your love."

"That's horrible."

"That's humanity."

"It doesn't have to be so."

"It isn't, always.  Plenty of people all over the world acting in your name, and not in your name, are doing incalculable good.  People feeding the hungry, healing the sick, striving to help those who need help without judgment or reserve.  Lots of people who, even when they don't worship or even believe in you, embody the same ideals you were created to embody.  Like you, they give unstintingly of themselves and seek nothing more in return than that those they help show the same love to others when they can."

"Why do you understand this?  Why do they?  How is it that so many who claim to be MY children have turned so far away from me?"

"Maybe because they ARE children, children in a world full of shadows and monsters, and they need to believe in a supernatural hero who can save them all from the ugliness because the realization that we, and we alone, can fix all this is too damned much for them."

"Language!"

"Pfft.  Damned.  Dammit.  Jesusmotherfuckingchristonamotherfucking cracker!"

He grins.  He can't help it.  He knows I love him, even in my irreverence, even though I don't worship him or his father and don't hold myself to their printed standards.  "But still, it's not as if I was unclear..."

"No, but self-reliance and accountability are difficult and unpleasant.  We like the easy path.  Judgment, disdain, superiority...they're so much easier."

"It hurts to know that people are considered less than, in my name...that they are denied their love, their freedom, basic human rights...because of me."

He needs a big old hug and I oblige.  "Sweetie, they aren't doing it because of you, not really.  They are doing it because of the illusion of you made by a church run by very human men (for the most part) who have very human desires to have power and control others and force the world to behave in a way that pleases them.  If people who claim you could really know you, really follow your example, really understand what kind of pure, unadulterated joy and love you embody...they might burst into flames from it, or they might simply drop dead from the shame of who they've been and what they've done, or maybe...maybe...maybe they'd shake themselves a little and get right with you, reconcile themselves, move forward and be their Very Best Selves, do right by you.

I suspect, though, that as long as you keep showing up in MY dreams and nomming imaginary sweets (Snickerdoodles this time), talking to me, and not smiting me with lightning or plagues or whatever the going smite-y thing is, people will continue to be angry and smug and superior and all judg-y.  Of course you'll forgive them, it's what you do,and of course they will continue on and wonder how come I get to blog about these things and all they have are troubled, restless dreams that tell them something is missing but they don't know what or why.  And they aren't all bad, your people - I kind of like that new Pope of yours."

"Hmph.  Look how he's marginalized by his own church and followers!  I bet he knows how I feel, a little.  Maybe I'll go see him later, bring him a Snickerdoodle.  Pass me the cookies."

He doesn't want to talk about it any more.  He's worn to the woof, disappointed, and as dispirited as a spirit can be.  He'll keep striving, because he can't NOT, and he'll keep hoping, because he IS hope, and he'll keep haunting my dreams and asking for baked goods from time to time because even a Messsiah needs a break once in a while, and maybe I'll keep blogging about it and maybe it'll make a difference.

I hand him a bag of cookies to take with him.  Sometimes one can bear up a little better when there are cookies.  I hope the Pope like 'em.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

It's Not Just the Bars Make the Prison

Treat a person like an animal, a dangerous creature to be caged and minimized, to be starved and controlled, and what can you expect but that they should become that ravening beast you have all along accused them of being?

Feed their spirit, nurture their humanity, show them that they can grow to be more than what they have been, and there can be tremendous change for good.

Idealistic?  Probably.  No less true for the idealism, though.  If one, even one, can change the path they're on and become a light in the dark, I would see them given the opportunity rather than let them be trampled into the mud and misery.

I have seen and heard of much of the negative in the world of jails and prisons, and certainly Hollywood has aggrandized the worst of it all.  What is missed or quashed or ignored is the good, the tremendous good, that happens among and between inmates every single day.

Yes, there are gangs.  There is bigotry.  There is violence.

There are also people who give a bar of soap to someone who can't buy their own.  People who reach out to their families in the outside world to help connect their fellows with THEIR families.  People who ask their loved ones to give a ride to a stranger so they can visit.  People who share food, offer a pair of socks or a shirt, lend some paper, a pencil, an envelope, a stamp, never asking anything in return.  People classified as less-than by society who act as more-than despite the expectation that they should be anything but their higher selves.

Prisoners are people.  They have souls.  They are imbued with the same divine spark as all living beings.  To see them as lesser is to diminish us and create the monsters they never would have been without our help.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Evidence Of Things Unseen

I am really so very tired of being told that I must prove I have mental illness.  It's not as if I can point to a place on my body and say "Look, see, there?  See that broken, damaged, bruised, twisted, destroyed, missing thing?"

I can't SHOW you a mental illness.  

I can show you what it does to me, but the illness itself is invisible.

I can tell you about my struggle every. single. day. to keep climbing the fucking mountain carrying my heavy-ass fucking basket of stones, sometimes with nothing but grim determination not to falter or fail, not to break my word and give up and let the mountain send me tumbling down into the abyss that dogs my heels waiting to swallow me whole, but the illness itself is invisible.

I can refer you to the rare few people who get to see it when it has me in its teeth, the very rare few people who I trust enough NOT to past the smile on my lips and falsify the light in my eyes, the rare, special few people whom I permit to hear it in my voice when I am worn down near to nothing and still have to carry on, carry on, carry on, but the illness itself is invisible.

I'm too busy trying not to die from it to show proof of its existence, and if I am not to be believed about it then there's not a damned thing I can do to convince anyone and I haven't the time, haven't the energy, haven't the strength to keep proving to anyone who simply won't believe me because the illness itself is invisible.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Grandparents' Day



Seems it's Grandparents' Day.  Honestly I had no idea, so it's a little funny-weird that this morning I woke up thinking about grandparents.

Specifically, I woke thinking about my daughter and how she doesn't really know what a grandfather is.   My father and stepmother came to visit when Sprout was a newborn, but otherwise have never been in the same room with her.  Aside from the photos I send every Christmas, and the occasional Facebook post (if they even read my Facebook posts), they don't know her at all.  Her other grandfather, Someone's dad, has seen her once, when she was just learning to toddle about and we drove to Texas to visit his family.

Oddly, for a child who hasn't any real idea what a grandfather is, she talks about "my grandpa" a lot lately.

"My grandpa has a flute at his house and he plays it all the time."

"My grandpa drives a car and he takes me in it and we go to all kinds of places."

"My grandpa has ice cream at his house."

And so on.

The only grandparent she knows, really, is my mother.  Now, my mother is a fantastic grandma and if my kids only interact with ONE of their grandparents, my mother's the one to have...but...I can't help feeling a little wistful, a little melancholy, because the whole burden of grandparenting falls on her shoulders and my kids are missing something that I had in spades as a child.

I had an excess of grandparents growing up, what with divorces, remarryings, and all that.  I think I had eight at the height of grandparentage.  I loved them all, although my mother's father was probably my favorite.  Probably?  No...definitely.  We were kindred souls in some small ways.  I miss him every day.

My kids, though - they have my magnificent mother and once in a while Someone's mother, and that's kinda it.

I would have liked there to be fond memories for them - fishing, swimming, rambling in the woods, playing cards, sitting on a porch somewhere, chasing fireflies, indulgent laughter, cookies, all the things that I'm told are part of the grandparent package.

The Evil Genius barely knows his paternal grandfather.  Goddess knows I've tried, but I had to stop.

I'm sure if I worked harder, chased more, made even greater effort, the other grands would take a tiny bit more interest in my kids, but I don't have it in me to chase people down and beg them for love.  Not for me, not for my kids, not for anyone.  I can't help thinking that it'd be nice if THEY cared enough to make an effort.  Their actions have shown me that my kids (and I) do not matter enough, and I am not throwing good love down a hole and hoping for a return.

So my kids have one Gramlin, mostly, and one Gammy Beff sometimes, and that's a lot, and it's enough, and with our extended family of aunties and uncles and misses and misters and nana's, we fill in the gaps quite nicely.

Happy Grandparents' Day to them what celebrates it!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Finding the Way Down a Dark Path On A Moonless Night While Blindfolded

Altenatively:  Here, Have Some Sticks



Wow.  I just found out that a person I was acquainted with committed suicide a few days ago.  We weren't good friend, only met the once.  He was a talented musician and a very likable fellow, and I'm sorry we won't have a chance to make some good craic together.  Whatever drove him to it, I hope he left it behind and finds himself welcomed with warmth and fellowship on the other side.
Suicide isn't about the wanting or needing to die, it's about NOT wanting to keep on living without hope or happiness, about NOT wanting to continue on down a seemingly endless dark and dreary path, about NOT seeing anything else, any other way to escape.

People who are there, they look around and see a world they can't touch, can't be part of, can't even fathom.

We feel alien, alone, unwanted, abandoned and we want it to stop.  Our bodies and souls ache and we just want it to stop.  We are blinded by the noise and shadow and silence and all of it, everything, and we just want it to stop.  We see others slip free and we wonder why we keep on slogging down the path carrying our loads of stones, the weight is unbearable, and we just want it to stop.

Some of us have tried counseling, meditation, medication, unlawful substances, primal screaming, sex, dangerous hobbies, prayer, pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps, getting over it, just ignoring it, faith healers, hula dancing, and every other thing that has supposedly cured anyone else, ever, and it hasn't worked.  We have a malady, a very real physical malady attacking our psyche, and we fight with it every day.  Every.  Day.

Remember that scene in the first Lethal Weapon movie where Gibson's character tells Glover's character that every day he has to wake up and think of a reason not to do it, every single day?  Yup.

It's contagious, too - one goes and others see it as an answer and they go, and more see it, and more, and before you know it a half-dozen people have slipped loose from life and left a wake of sorrow, confusion, anger, and envy behind them.

And death doesn't solve anything, but the dead don't care because, well, they're dead. 

Now, listen up - I get it.  I do.  I've been there.  Often.  I know...I do...and if it's what you really want there's nothing in the world can stop you but if you think, even for the briefest moment, that maybe you'd like to try one more time to find a way to keep on THIS side of the veil and maybe could use someone to talk to, get in touch...with me, with a hotline, with a friend, with a stranger at the bus station.  Reach out.  It's weird, I know, but people DO care.  You can't see it or feel it or understand it because you're wrapped in a thick bubble of psychological ick that distorts everything you experience (I know this because I'm in that bubble, too), but it's true, they care.  We care.  I care.  You matter.

Some resources (sticks, if you will):

National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1 (800) 273-8255 or  www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

IM Alive:  1-800-442-4673 or 
www.hopeline.com

A list of hotlines by state with a link to international resources:  
http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html

Another list of international resources:  
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines