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, November 29, 2015


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


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
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
The scent of leaf loam and woodsmoke in the crisp autumn air
Books, music, and art
Clean, plentiful water
Clean air
Clean clothes
Nature and the way she finds to show me something new of herself every day
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
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

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.


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...


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.


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.


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


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


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.