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.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Letter

Dear politicians,

It's simple, really:

I'd like to know where my food came from and what's in it. 

I'd like to know that those enacting and enforcing our nation's laws are also subject to them, and even respect them to the extent that they seek to hold themselves to a higher standard.

I'd like to know that I can go to a protest or be an activist or attend a lecture or read an article or book and won't end up on a list somewhere as an appropriate target for persecution or that I am somehow considered less than others because I am passionate about a cause.

I'd like to smoke a bowl, or a joint, or eat a medible without wondering if the feds are going to crash through my door and flash-bang my family in order to remove the dangerous criminal from the community that never knew she was a criminal.

I'd like to point out that I do not consume marijuana because I can't legally, but that it would probably be really beneficial to me if I could.

I'd like to know that my fellow citizens and I, regardless of who or how or how many or when or why we love have equal rights and protections under the law.

I'd like to be able to go to school, or a doctor, without fearing the penury that is sure to follow.  

I'd like mental illness to no longer be used as a reason to marginalize people.

I'd like to go out in public without fearing that I, or my family, or anyone else, will be shot by another citizen, the police, or some government agency when we are not a direct threat to anyone or anything and are simply going about our lives.

I'd like you to quit thinking that a group largely made up of older white males has some moral imperative to regulate my (or anyone's) reproductive system - sex work, birth control, reproductive rights, and everything that goes along with them belong to me and whoever I share me with, not you or anyone else.

I'd like not to chew my water or air.

I'd like to know why The Constitution is only applicable when it backs you and yours, but not when it protects me and mine.

I'd like to see laws enforced equitably, not with bias reflecting beauty, wealth, popularity, fame, infamy, social station, sex, or skin color.

I'd like to see fewer laws.

I'd like a fair tax.

I'd like to know what it's like to not live in fear of the government taking or harming my family simply because I don't fit the defined norm.

I'd like to believe that you give the tiniest damn about the people you allegedly serve, but I don't.

I'd like to think we can fix this mess we're in, but hope is a tiny flame flickering against the cold and dark and you seem to be striving mightily to extinguish it.

You make me tired, and sick, and disheartened, and sometimes even afraid, but I'd like to think that those things will never silence me, and that somewhere, somehow, someday, you will hear me and the other voices crying in the wilderness and you will tremble.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Polynesian Inspired Pulled Pork Loin

Sometimes I just have to throw caution to the wind and play in the kitchen.

Today I made a Polynesian inspired shredded pork loin because pork loin was on sale this week and barbecue is passe.*  Two pork loins, really, because there were two nestled snugly in the package and I hated to deprive them of each other's company.

I started making this yesterday but decided to wait until all was cooked and tasted before writing a blog post .  If it turned out edible, I'd post, and if not?  Well, there's always a plethora of cartoons in the Blue Nowhere to yoink and share!

Clearly it turned out at least manageable, as I am posting.  Hurrah!

The players:

Pork loin.  I had bout 2 1/2 pounds in a package.
One can of pineapple chunks in pineapple juice.  I know there are two there - I wasn't sure what I'd need.  Turns out, I needed one.
Soy sauce, about 2 Tablespoons
Hoisin sauce, about 4 Tablespoons (I bought mine at the store because I cannot begin to figure out how to make it at home)
Lime juice, about 4 Tablespoons (I used key lime because it's what I had on hand and I didn't feel like squeezing fresh limes and I don't like RealLime because it doesn't taste real to me, so yeah, I used key lime)
Two slices of onion, chopped small but not quite minced
Peeled and grated ginger, about 3 Tablespoons, and two to three more Tablespoons peeled and chopped small
Three to nine cloves of garlic, minced-ish
Red pepper - I prefer to use flaked but I was mysteriously out so had to use ground

Aaaand - action!

In a large measuring cup (I used a 2 cup), pour about half a cup of the pineapple juice and add the rest of the liquid ingredients (Including the hoisin, which is more liquid-ish than actual liquid, but who's counting?) and give it a stir.  Shake a little red pepper flake in (how much depends on how spicy you like it). Reserve the remaining pineapple juice and chunks for later use.

Place the pork in a large Ziploc type bag.  Pour the liquid over it, then dump in the solids.  Get as much air as you can out of the bag and refrigerate over night.  Feel free to turn it, massage it, and read it bedtime stories to help make it happy.  Look:

Sooooo happy...all those chunks of garlic and ginger and excuse me I need to wipe my mouth before the drool hits the keyboard...

In the morning, dump the lot into a slow cooker.  I'll be honest - I wanted an excuse to try my roommate's slow cooker because it's bigger than mine, and it's new to me, and it's Wednesday.  Set the cooker on low and leave it alone to contemplate the nature of The Universe or something.

After a few hours, it'll be driving you wild with the scent of some kind of magical, alchemical cookery.  Embrace the madness.

I wound up adding a tiny bit of water and the rest  pineapple juice later in the day to boost the liquid content.  About an hour before serving, I cut the pineapple chunks in half and dumped them in.  Another hour, and ooohhhh...

Now came a debate for me - to remove the meat, reserve the liquid, and simply shred the meat without returning it to the liquid?  Or leave the liquid and toss the shredded meat back in?  I chose the latter, but I really don't think there's a correct answer, here.

Oh, my.

I served it with coconut sticky rice (for one cup of rice use one can of coconut milk and enough water to total 2 1/4 cups liquid, cook on medium until it bubbles then on low until almost all the liquid is absorbed, then turn it off and let it rest until all of the liquid is absorbed - it's exhausting bubbling up all that deliciousness!) and steamed carrots and broccoli.

The kids weren't really keen on it but my roommates?  Would have given it several thumbs up if they hadn't been busy using their thumbs to operate eating utensils.  Near the end of dinner, I just mixed all the meat up with the rice and ohmuhgodness.

I'll likely make this again, maybe tweaking the recipe a little because why not?

If you try it, tweak it, love it, hate it, let me know, wouldja?

*Not really.  Please don't feel hurt, barbecue, you know I love you!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Something to Look Forward To

I am a writer of songs.  I am a writer of blogs, a writer of Facebook posts, and even occasionally a writer of stories.  Of all these, my songs are most likely to be heard, seen, repeated, to last beyond my years.  I am learning to live with this, even as I am frustrated that I can't seem to give voice to the stories thronging inside my head, clamoring for release.

It sometimes happens that I experience a bleakness that is almost overwhelming in its nature.  I say "almost" because although I'd like to just let the tide swallow me whole, I can't.  It's no easier to endure, but endure I must.

From time to time, in the midst of the bleakness, I can find a spark of hope, something to look forward to - my childrens' birthdays, a visit with my mother, some time with a friend, something of the world that reminds me there is beauty yet to be seen.

And now?  A book.

There are a few, a handful at most, authors whose work I look forward to.  Patrick Rothfus.  Dean Koontz.  Dick Francis (although he's deceased, his son has been endeavoring to keep the family reputation alive and publishing).  Anne McCaffrey.  Starhawk.

The latter has something new in the works, and it brightened my day considerable to learn of it:  A sequel to one of my most favorite of books (The Fifth Sacred Thing, and if you haven't read it, do...it shattered me into motes of light and then coalesced me again, brighter than before) - City of Refuge is now something to look forward to.

Like my daughter waiting for me to scoop ice cream into the bowl, I am impatient for my treat, but I'll keep...for a little while...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Everybody Eats.

Hey, you.  Yes, you.  Are you hungry?  Is it because you're food insecure, trying to make groceries last, skipping meals to stretch the pantry contents a bit farther?  Read on - I post the following on Facebook from time to tie and thought I'd put it here, too.  I mean it.

Wow, the summer's already half gone! I've been away for a minute or two, so it's time to post this again: If you or someone you know could use a little help with groceries, are wondering where your next meal will come from, are suffering from food insecurity, are skipping meals to stretch your groceries out a little more; if you are on TANF, SNAP, or WIC, are employed, underemployed, or unemployed; if you are single, married, divorced, poly, LGBT, asexual or think it's none of my damned business; and if you can get to me or I can get to you, let's raid my preps closet to help feed you. I don't care who you worship, who you love, or who you vote for, I care whether you are hungry. I have dry and canned goods to offer, and occasionally some frozen things, too. If the timing is right, I can even offer some fresh foods. It ain't the fanciest of vittles, but it'll stick to your ribs and maybe help get you through. PM me or comment here and we'll work it out.
If you can't reach me, try looking here for help: Feeding America
Everybody eats.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mr. D*

Me and Mr. D have been going 'round since I was six.
I offered him a dance but he refused,
Telling me I was too young to follow his steps,
But I heard the music and knew how to move my feet.
When I was ten years older I asked him for a kiss.
He told me I was too young to kiss him
The way he should be kissed
And life had more to teach me
Before he would give me what I asked,
But I knew how our lips should touch
And what sweetness would follow.
Busy as he is,
Mr D follows me everywhere, watching me live
With a tiny smile quirking his lips
And a bemused expression on his face
But he doesn't like it that I see him
So he ducks behind trees and trucks
And tornadoes and blizzards
And wars
And other obstructions, thinking I won't know
That he wants the same damned thing I do
But neither of us can have it.
Not yet.
Sometimes we talk long talks.
He gets lonely, and bored, and usually
Usually when people notice him
They aren't in talking moods.
He says there are some like me, who have known
For a very long time
And we're puzzles to him,
Us fearless souls who look him in the eye unblinking
Me and Mr. D are old, old friends.
He always sends his love on my birthday
Because irony.
Long before I understood what a lover was,
I knew he would be mine.
And he will be.

*I was at an event last week and Grandmother Elspeth was across from me, vending Nybor prints.  The below was one of them, and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it.  We made a trade for it.  I love it.  I'm torn as to where to hang it - likely it will go somewhere near the altar until I either make a memorial altar or decide I want it in my room to look at.  It reminds me to be patient, reminds me of...things...

Friday, July 3, 2015

Independence Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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