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, September 5, 2019

Fork Me

Something was eating my forks.

I’ve had my every-day cutlery for several decades, service for eight plus serving and infant utensils.  It’s not unusual for a piece to go missing from time to time, only to pop up later in some strange place, but lately?  The forks haven’t been coming back.  They are just...gone.

I’ve been pondering what to do.  I could have gotten by with six.   I don’t often have large dinners, after all, and there’s my good Oneida stainless if needed, but four forks?  Nope.

I finally decided to order something new, a set I’ve been eyeballing for a while now.  It’s an extravagance, and I used part of the inheritance from my father to fund it, but I’m rather chuffed...and for the next few decades (and maybe longer), when I use it I’ll think of Daddy.

Meet the newest addition to Kitchen-de-Crazy:






Service for twelve plus iced tea spoons, soup spoons, and two serving sets.  The pattern is Celtic by Liberty Tabletop.

Oh, baby.

Yes, weird things make me happy, why do you ask?

Sunday, August 11, 2019

What if...?

“What if…?”

It’s a question to play with, a question that children like to ask.  

Today, the “What if...?” was about the kids, a sudden thought that struck me as I watched a show about people building their dream homes, either by rehabbing an already established building or from scratch.  

What if I didn’t have kids?

Hmm.

Maybe I’d live with Mom.

Maybe not.  

Probably I would travel more.  I’d have less laundry, fewer dishes, less cleaning.  I’d have fewer expenses, maybe fret a good deal less about paying bills.  Less work at events and fewer costs associated.  I wouldn’t have to plan as far in advance, could pick up and pop off at a moment’s notice.  Lower grocery costs.  Things would stay where and as I’d put them.

I might write more, create more, have fewer distractions.

I wouldn’t be responsible for or to anyone but myself.

I also wouldn’t have constant snuggles, hugs, laughter, runs of puns, heaps of horrible jokes.  There wouldn’t be the endless opportunity to teach and learn, the exhausting, exhilarating privilege of helping shape two extraordinary people into the final framework that will carry their ever-evolving selves through life.  

There wouldn’t be the same sense of wonder at the world, the beautiful rediscovery of life, the universe, and everything, the drive to try all of the things, all of the time, the unceasing why.

It would be different.  It would be emptier.  I’m not one of the mothers who identifies herself only by her children, but they’re certainly a tremendous part of who I am and how I live.  They shape every choice that I make.

So I can imagine with great clarity a life without them, but from a distance, like watching a show about homes in far-off places and wondering what it’d be like to have the resources to build that dream while making the most of and being content with what I have.    

Monday, July 15, 2019

Cecily


How long did I know you?

I can’t remember.

Not long enough.  Always.

I can’t remember when we didn’t actually meet but we met.  Back in the dark ages of Yahoo groups, anyway.

The lot of us, “sisters”, migrated over to Facebook eventually, but it was Yahoo groups first.

We all had babies, relationships, sorrows, joys.  We were honest, open, vulnerable, trusting.  We leaned on each other despite mostly never having been in the same room.

Fey.  You were fey.

Warm.  Sweet.  Funny.

We watched our children grow together, apart but connected.

Now what?

You will not see my Evil Genius and Sprout as they become amazing people.  How will we see your W and D grow up if you aren’t here to share them?

You were quiet, gentle.  What did your voice sound like?  I don’t know, really.  Just snatches on video, not the same as in person.  You meditated daily in support of the water protectors at Standing Rock.  I didn’t always watch.  I was busy with my own disasters. 

Our last conversation was about my son’s hair growing back after a drastic cutting...in 2017. Why did we fall silent?

That man, why did he kill you?  Gentle soul, what could have made him bring an instrument of violence and death into your home and use it on you before turning it on himself?  Why couldn’t he just take his own hateful life?  His life, his choice...your life wasn’t his to steal.  Why couldn’t he quench his darkness and leave us your light?

I want to drag him back from the other side, drag him away from whatever his punishment or peace may be and make him pay.  I feel, my dear, sweet Cecily, I feel such anger, such...hatred...for that horrible, odious,  evil, twisted, tortured man.  I want to hurt him.  I want to make him pay.  I want to punish the people who made him and raised him up to be a murderer, who shaped him into the kind of person who could be so rotten, so selfish, so...

Damaged.

But you wouldn’t, would you?  Sweet Cecily.

You fell silent and all I knew was what little you’d shown us, that your love was brilliant and deep and dizzying and...I never saw it devouring you.

Why didn’t you reach out?  Why didn’t I notice?  Why?  So much why.

My friend in the Blue Nowhere, sister of my soul, gentle mother, persistent light in the cloying dark, you will be sorely missed by so many.  

Hail the traveler.

Hail Cecily.

May your journey to the next world be a peaceful one.

May you leave behind all memory of pain and sorrow.

May you carry with you all memory of love and happiness.

May you be met with joy and fellowship by those who went before you, and should you return to the circle once again, may we who loved you in this life have the honor of knowing you again.

Hail Cecily.

Hail the traveler.

“Other people’s solipsism is annoying” - Cecily

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Thoughtfetti

On my way elsewhere I decided to get some lunch.  I chose Zaxby’s because they’re fast-ish food and at least seem healthier than other drive-through options.  Being possessed of a large dollop of weird sentiment, I chose to try the Shazam related ( I have no idea how) Honey Butter Bacon sandwich - chicken filet, bacon, and honey butter sauce.  So much potential to go wrong, but it was pretty good!  The honey butter wasn’t too sweet or overpowering, and the chicken was crispy.  I peeled the top part of the bun off halfway through because I didn’t want the bread.  It’s something I might order again for a change of pace.
~~~~~
The end is nigh.  I know this because I worked on weeding the iris bed yesterday evening.  It only makes sense that the apocalypse will follow.
~~~~~
I find myself thinking, once again, about hate.  Hatred is a cage, fear the bait that draws us in, anger the lock that keeps us trapped, hope, compassion, and yes, love, the keys that will free us.
~~~~~
I’m struggling, but my head is just above water and I know that I will float again if only I can keep treading a little while longer.  It’s a painful, dreadful kind of hope and knowing because right now, just the idea of it all is exhausting.  So much easier to just relax and let the dark water swallow me.  Still, I keep on.  It does get better.  
~~~~~
What’s new in your life?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Gone to Pot



Lort.

I would still be asleep but for the very nice sheriff’s officer who rang my doorbell this morning. In his defense, he couldn’t possibly have known that I did not sleep much or well last night and I only really fell into a deep slumber just as the sun was beginning to peek over the horizon.

You may wonder why a sheriff’s officer was ringing my doorbell.  I certainly did.

It turns out that “someone” called in a complaint about empty flowerpots all over my yard.

Imagine my surprise to hear that I have empty flowerpots all over my yard.

Before ringing my bell, the nice young man looked around the yard, confused, seeing no empty flowerpots. There are some flower pots filled with soil lining several of my garden beds. The garden beds are fallow as I have chosen not to plant anything this year.  I am pondering whether or not I should remove the garden beds entirely. I can’t keep up with it anymore, and if I should decide to garden in the future I can always put more beds in.

Flower pots? Really? The officer did point out that there were a couple of things that maybe I could relocate because they are scrap and shouldn’t be where they are, but he wasn’t terribly pressed about it.  He mentioned that he was expecting to see empty flowerpots all over the yard, not neatly placed around garden beds and filled with soil. He seemed rather disgusted by the person who called it in.

He’s not the same fellow who has been called out here before on other bogus complaints, and I explained to him that yes, they do get called out here sometimes by someone (eye roll towards neighbors house) who seems intent upon harassing me because they don’t like me or the way that I live.

I told the officer that I was sorry that he had wasted a trip, and that it was likely that they would get more calls throughout the year. If they call ahead I’ll bake a cake.  I have to admit, I thought that the harassment via law-enforcement was over. While I cannot prove that it was the unpleasant neighbor up to her regular shenanigans, it certainly fits her pattern.

I was happy to learn that I cannot be cited for any code violations because of yardwork, or lack thereof. There is no code for grass height, nor is there any code for fallen branches or deadfall in the woods.  I’m thankful for that, as I do not own a lawnmower and I’m disinclined to do yardwork even on my best days. I wouldn’t mow this early in the year, anyway, as leaving the grass and flowers to grow as they will is helpful to the local honeybee population.  He nodded approval and understanding.

All in all, he was a very nice fellow. Kind of cute, if I’m being honest. I caught myself glancing down at his left hand to see if he was wearing a ring. Oh my goodness, but old habits die hard! He told me he hopes that I won’t get too much trouble from whoever it is that’s calling me in and smiled at me. I told him that I thought that he was awfully pleasant, and while I wouldn’t like for him to be called out here again it wouldn’t be terrible to have another conversation. I don’t think I was flirting. No really. Why are you rolling your eyes that way?

He mentioned that he really likes the banner on my door. I told him that it is something that I strive for, and although I may not succeed every day I never stop trying. We chatted about his ink (I will notice tattoos), exchanged pleasantries, and he was on his way.

The upshot of this visit, for me, is a new acquaintance in law-enforcement (I must admit, for all of the bitterness that I have towards certain law enforcement individuals, I have not had many bad experiences with my local constabulary. They have mostly been pleasant, professional, and even downright friendly throughout most of our dealings), and a little more empowerment regarding the state of my home and the laws surrounding us.  Oh, and I got a blog post out of it!

I do wonder. These supposedly Christian people never approach me, never ask me nicely to take care of anything that concerns them. They never offer to help me. They know that I am a single mother with two children on a large property (3/4 of an acre is quite large where I live, although small in comparison to other rural areas). They know that I do not own a lawn mower or other yardwork equipment, just some small hand tools.  I know that they have never seen me out doing any kind of yardwork. I have always tried to remain pleasant when dealing with them, even when they were unkind and even downright rude to me. Why is this? Why do they feel that it is not only acceptable, but necessary, to harass me to live my life the way that they deem fit? 

I may not be Christian myself, but I do know Christ’s teachings.  These people who claim to follow him do not seem to understand what he tought. I wish I could say that this was isolated, an anomaly to the religion, but it isn’t. Before anybody gets their feathers ruffled, I know there are good Christians in the world. Just as I know that there are good pagans and bad pagans. It’s not really about what gods we profess to follow, it’s more about how we choose to behave and embody their teachings. In this neighborhood, there seem to be a lot more people who speak one thing, but an act another.

I know that my neighborhood is no different than many neighborhoods in this area, and in fact in this nation.

I find it distressing.

While I can think of many ways to be ugly to the unpleasant neighbor who seems to think that harassing me via law-enforcement will get her what she wants - my living a life that she thinks is proper, or moving away - it simply won’t. There is a very specific set of circumstances that will allow me to leave this house and move to another property. Those circumstances haven’t been met, yet, and likely won’t be for a very long time. She is simply going to have to deal with her frustration as I have no intention of changing anything.

I will continue to endeavor to live a good life. I am human, and I fail, but I never stop trying.  I will let the unpleasant neighbor live her life without addressing her. Frankly, aside from writing a blog post or two, she’s really not worth my time. She has to live with herself. She has to think the thoughts that are in her head. She has to live with the consequences that her ugliness bring into her life. I do not. 

Now that I have written this account of my morning encounter, I’m getting on with my day. I have things to do, things that make me happy and that will hopefully make others happy as well. There’s a stack of sewing as high as my head to be done. There are cats to be pet and fed and otherwise loved on.  There are music lessons and cooking to be done.

I may even go out and trim the Camillia bush. Not because of my neighbor, or for any other reason than that I know it needs doing, and was already planning on getting to it in the next day or two.


Flower pots. She called the sheriff because of flower pots. Maybe I need to go over there and offer to teach her to quilt or crochet. She clearly needs a hobby.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Lemon-Garlic-Parmesan-Cream-Something



I can’t recall if I’ve already shared this recipe.  If I have, sorry for the leftovers.  If I haven’t, abundanza!

This is a “some” recipe.  No measuring, just some of this and some of that.  Add and subtract ingredients to suit you.

What’s in it:

Chicken or
Shrimp or
Scallops or
Crab or
Lobster or
Any or all of the above

Garlic.  Lots and lots of garlic.

Salt and pepper

Capers, when I remember/have them

Lemons

Chicken stock or broth or bullion paste

Heavy cream

Artichoke hearts (frozen) or
Asparagus or
Spinach (fresh) or
All of the above

Wine, sometimes

Some variety of pasta cooked to desired doneness, hot

How to make it:

Mince fresh garlic cloves into teeny minced cubes of mincedness.

Cut up some chicken or get the seafood components ready to cook.

Heat some butter and olive oil in a pan.  Salt and pepper it.  When it’s hot enough for you, toss in the garlic and some capers.  Stir ‘em around a little and add the meat.  Cook until pretty much done.

Pour in some chicken stock or broth, or stir in a goodly spoonful of the bullion paste.  If you use the paste, add a little water.

Stir it up and bring to a simmer.  Squeeze in some lemon juice.  I usually use one lemon’s worth, or so.  Pour in a little wine if you want.

Simmer a bit and then add in asparagus or artichoke hearts.  If you’re using spinach, hold off.

Cook until vegetables are almost done.  Add cream.  Simmer a little more.  Shake in grated Parmesan and stir it up.  Turn off the heat when it’s thick enough for ya.

Put a handful or three of spinach in a bowl.  Scoop cooked pasta on top.  Ladle sauce on top of the lot.  The heat of the sauce will just cook the spinach.  Good stuff!  Sprinkle more Parm on top, if you want.

Mmmmm...


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Lou



A light has gone out.

Yesterday, another friend passed through the vei.

Lou.

How to describe her?  

Salty.  Tart.  Spicy.  Sweet.

She was a force of nature, a tiny dynamo.  Took no prisoners.  Spoke her mind.  Cussed like a sailor.  Grinned like an unrepentant imp.  Hugged long and hard.  Laughed loud and often.  Gave no quarter.  Made art with verve.

I only just met her last year or so, when I started going to the gallery with Mom.  She rolled her eyes in ecstasy over my pesto chicken tortellini soup.  She generated smiles in others.

Feisty.

She kicked cancer’s ass.

She bought a cake and sang happy birthday to me just last Friday.  We had a show over the weekend.  She seemed fine, maybe a little tired on Sunday but who wasn’t?

She decided to pack up later in the week, hugged me and said she’d be glad when my mom was home from her vacation, and headed out.

Some time Monday night or Tuesday morning, she slipped across the boundary between worlds.

Fuck.

Hail, Lou.
Hail the Traveller
May your journey to the next world be swift and easy
May you leave behind all memory of pain and sorrow
May you carry with you all memory of love and happiness
When you reach the next world, may you be met with joy and fellowship by those who went before you
And should you return to this world, may those who loved you know you once more
Hail the traveler
Hail Lou

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Lasagna Rolls

Today is my ex-husband's birthday.  He's 46 again.  He said when he hit 50 he was going to start going backwards.

As is my wont, I asked him if he had any birthday plans, and when he said he didn't, I invited him to Casa de Crazy for a birthday dinner.  Since he likes lasagna, I thought I'd make lasagna rolls.  I like to make rolls rather than a traditional pan of lasagna because a traditional pan never gets finished and I wind up throwing half of it away, which makes me sad.  Rolls I can divvy up, freeze, and give away.

This is a pretty simply, not really home made dinner.

The players:
Lasagna noodles.  I use a box of Mueller's, cooked in salted water until almost-but-not-quite-done, and lay them out on paper towels to cool and dry.

Cooked ground beef, Italian Sausage, chicken, or whatever meat (or no meat) you want.  I cooked ground beef and added chunky garlic paste and Italian herb paste along with salt, pepper, and onion powder.

Ricotta cheese, into which I mixed ground Parmesan, chunky garlic paste, more Italian herb paste, and shredded six-cheese-Italian cheese blend and seasoned with salt, pepper, and onion powder.

Sliced mozzarella and sliced, non-smoke-flavored provelone.

Canned tomato sauce (I used Hunt's Garlic and Herb) and canned tomatoes (diced tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano.


 Lay out a noodle on a paper towel, preferably patted dry so the cheese doesn't slip around.

Spread some of the ricotta mixture on the noodle, leaving the ends empty to make rolling them up a little easier.

 Sprinkle some of that six-cheese-Italian mix on top, because cheeeeeese.

Next come the meat, if you're using any.  Hey, I happen to know that spinach goes nicely in here, and while I'd rather burn my hair while it's still on my head than eat tofu or mushrooms, you are welcome to use my share in your lasagna rolls.  Now...roll 'em!


I put six in a loaf pan, because that's more than enough for us, and any extra rolls go in foil pans to freeze for later (I like to give them away).

Ladle tomato sauce (I mixed 2 cans of sauce with one can of tomatoes) over the top.
Top with mozzarella and provolone (or whatever cheese you want - you're cookin', it's all about you, baby!).

Bake at 350 until it's all bubbly and gooey and swoon-inducing.  I have no photos of that stage because we...we...we couldn't help ourselves!!!

I did get a photo of the to-go thingy that I'm sending home with T because I can't help it, I like to feed people and happy birthday, T!

We had brownies and ice cream for dessert, but I forgot to take photos of that because brownies and ice cream, man!!!

I am pretty sure dinner was enjoyed by all.

What're you up to, today?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Thoughtfetti

Do you ever experience whiteout vision?  When everything sort of washes out and looks like an over exposed photo?  Sometimes I get it in the morning when I first get out of bed, and sometimes it happens during the day when I'm really active for a spell and then slow down.  Human bodies are weird.
~~~~~
Not related to the above, I've been laid out for the last two days.  I'm doing as little as possible today so I'll have the oomph I need for Sprout's birthday party tomorrow.  She's turning eight next week.  Yikes!
~~~~~
I keep my heat set at 68 F, most of the time.  How come in the spring and summer that's warm, but come winter it's ice-cube time?
~~~~~
If itchy palms means money will soon cross them, what do itchy eyes mean?
~~~~~

~~~~~
How're you doing?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Very Good Dog


I like dogs.  I don't have any because my life isn't conducive to them sharing a home, but I like them.  I have friends with dogs, and I get my doggo fix by visiting and loving on their animal family.

There are dogs, and there are Very Good Dogs.  Some dogs try to human, and some dogs just don't care, and some dogs just dog so damned well it's a pleasure to know and love them.  They're superlative.  They set the bar high with enviable grace and ease.  They're unabashedly, perfectly imperfect and even when cross with them, their hoomans can't help but smile or laugh, shrug, and love them.


Trip was A Very Good Dog.  I liked him.  Sometimes, when no one was looking and so my reputation for not feeding dogs from my plate was safe, I would give him a little something - a piece of chicken skin, a tidbit of meat, or the last bit of soup or whatnot.  Strictly hush-hush, of course.  Reputation and all.

I let him lick me once or twice.  You may not think that's a big deal, but to me it's huge.  I do not let dogs lick me.  It simply isn't done.  Rare exceptions.  Trip was one.

A few times I even invited him up on the couch with me.  Shh, don't tell the others.

Trip was extremely patient with the kids, mine and his family's, even when he would have been justified in a growl, a nudge, a nip.  He loved his hoomans and they loved him.

Note the past tense.

A Very Good Dog crossed the rainbow bridge today.  I was honored to be there with his people as he ended his current earthly journey and left behind grieving hearts, shed his physical form and the cancer that was killing him, and went on to whatever is next.

Many people had the pleasure of knowing him.  He was loved and he will be sorely missed.

His hoomans permitted me to say my blessing as he crossed.  Thank you for that E and K2.  I wept a little.  I am not made of stone.

I say again:

Hail Trip.  Hail the traveler.
May your journey to the other side be an easy one. 
May you leave behind all memory of unhappiness and pain.
May you carry with you all memory of happiness and love.
May you be met with joy and fellowship by those who crossed before you.
And should you return to the circle once more, may those who loved you know and love you again.
Hail Trip.
Hail the traveler.

'Scuse me, there's something in my eye.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Doctor, Doctor

I was supposed to go to the doctor, today, but I didn't feel well enough.

Wait, what?
Hold on, I'll explain.

I was supposed to go in for a regular maintenance thing, but my innards declared war on me during the night, and not going was the better option.


To be honest, I really didn't want to go, anyway.  Why bother?  Nothing's changed, and I'm just not in the mood to be lectured by someone who means well, really he does, but has no idea.


It's not cheap to have a chronic illness, and doubly not cheap to have mental illness on top of that.  I can't afford...my mother can't afford...all those meds, so I keep to the minimum and that doesn't mean injectables or extra pills.  Those meds?  Will have to wait.  Maybe forever.  Whatever.


But the good doctor doesn't get it.  He doesn't seem to understand how depression works, how it's not as simple as just making up my mind.  And sometimes I just don't want to be sternly told what will likely happen if I don't get my shit under control.


Shit under control...heh...ahem...


So maybe my innards were doing me a favor, but instead of just blowing it off I called and rescheduled.  I'll go listen to him and nod and agree because it needs to be done, and maybe one of these days it'll take.  Even when I'm being irresponsible, I try to be responsible about it.

How're you doing, dear reader?

Friday, January 4, 2019

Crummy Letters

Take 24 sheets of high quality paper.  Tri-fold them as for sliding into an envelope for mailing.  Open them.  Stack them up.

That's the pile to my left.  Just beyond that is the pile of torn-open envelopes.  No neatly sliced open bearers of documents, these, but ripped asunder with impatience fueled by the guilt-riddled knowledge that they should have been opened, viewed, signed and sent back years ago.

No, I'm not being hyperbolic.  Years.

24 letters spanning from 2012 to the end of 2018.  I suspect there are others lurking in odd corners of Casa de Crazy, waiting to haunt me.

They come quarterly-ish, issued by a lawyer I've maybe met twice...three times?  I don't know.  He's a nice fellow and I'm likely the bane of his existence, or at least the bane of his filing system.  There, in drawers neatly labelled with names or numbers or whatever he has going on in those solid, sturdy steel receptacles, is a file that isn't as thick as it should be, letters sporadically signed and returned when I find them, when the clouds part, when I remember that I really should be bothering with this, that it's a responsibility I should (and do, really, I do) take seriously, and more than take seriously, I should act seriously about it.

I'll spare you what they're about, these letters, except to say they're really a good thing, nothing criminal or nefarious, a lovely piece of legal footwork that is worthy of admiration and the scant seconds it would take me to sign and return them if only I paid attention.

Depression isn't just being tired.  It isn't just eating what one shouldn't.  It isn't just forgetting or neglecting medication or crying one's self to sleep, or staring into the nothing for hours on end.  It isn't just anger and restlessness and feelings of being of little or no worth.  It isn't just a messy house, messy hair, rumpled clothing, fighting to breathe, hiding in darkened rooms, wanting to scream, wanting oblivion.

It's not dusting.  It's letting the dishes pile up and cat boxes go uncleaned.  It's piles of laundry unwashed or unfolded, un-put-away.  It's un-mopped floors.

And it's letters unsigned for years on end, piling up grey and forlorn until the clouds break and, in a fit of clarity, they're signed and mailed en masse to an unsuspecting lawyer who will likely stare in disbelief as he shuffles through the incomplete chronology of neglect and whisper incantations to himself in a reflexive response to what could possibly be determined as a miracle...or a curse...before passing them on to a secretary or assistant or whatever they call people who patiently take stacks of papers and order them into folders to be kept until perdition or maybe slightly less than forever. 

I'd say I'll do better, now that I'm somewhat caught up again, but while that wouldn't be a lie because I mean to, really I do, it wouldn't exactly be accurate.  Intention isn't action, and it's action that speaks, isn't it?

If there is a tremor in the Force, if you see a brilliance on the horizon and hear joyful trumpets shattering the air with a clarion call, if a wave of warm benevolence washes over you sometime near the end of next week, you will know that somewhere in Redneck Central a terribly nice, wickedly smart, beleaguered lawyer just received the peculiar gift of 24 signed letters the receipt of which, I hope, he hasn't been holding his breathe for but perhaps was holding out hope.