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.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

A Visit From Joshua

I’m between dreams, mind processing in bits and pieces my recent experiences.  It is the liminal space.  I hear him, sandal scraping lightly on stone that isn’t there.


“Hello, Joshua.” 

“Is it ok to be here?”


I turn from the dough I’m suddenly kneading.


“You’ve never asked, before.”


“I’ve never been so uncertain of being welcome”


“Dear boy, I will always keep a place for you, here.”


I open my arms and he walks into the embrace like coming home.  We’re like that.  The love I have for this benighted man is deep and abiding.  I may not worship him, but I weep for him all the same.


“I was worried.  You’re angry, and hurt…”


“Dearheart, I don’t blame you for what those fools do in your name.  I know you too well.  Come and have a cup of tea and some toast with honey.”


“I can’t stay long - there’s so much to do, so much to make right, so much wrong done in my name…”


He falters, distressed.


“Joshua, there’s no time, here.  There’s only now.”


“Is that Irish butter?”


“Of course.  And honey from a friend’s hives.”


He sits next to me on the padded window seat that just became, and I pour him tea and give him toast with butter and honey.  He leans on me with a sigh.


“Why won’t my people listen to me?  How did they stray so far from my message?“


“Oh, honey…” I wrap an arm around him - it never hurts or is frozen when he’s near - and give a squeeze “I don’t think they ever heard you in the first place.”


“Cynic.”


“Look at how they behave and tell me I’m wrong.”


He can’t meet my eyes.  He knows.  They’ve taken the beautiful gifts he’s given them and twisted everything around until it is thorny and slicing, and they’re trying to wrap the world in this perversion of his grace and call it love.


“I think maybe it’s going to get ugly out there in the world, Joshua.  You come here whenever you want.  Never fear - this Witch will always welcome you.”


Eventually we stand up.  One more hug, and I kiss his brow just like a mama kisses her child, offering comfort and benediction.  He gives me that sweet smile and fades away with a sigh.  I notice he took the rest of the toast with honey and grin as I slip into my next dream.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Kyd’s Twisted History, St. Patrick’s Day

  Another year, another repost.

~~~~~
No corned beef tonight - I’m putting it off until tomorrow so I can go to a Tuatha Dea concert!

Seeing as I'm Pagan, you wouldn't think I'd celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Better than most, I am supposed know what St. Patrick did to get famous and earn his sainthood. However, I'm also part Irish, and I happen to love corned beef and cabbage. Also, I consider it a reclaiming of the day for Pagans, or some junk.

A bit of slightly bent history (that has, I'll grant you, been mangled in my head over the years and is rather truncated because I'm not writing a book, here)(I'm writing a book somewhere else). When I was a child, we were told that St. Patrick's day was to celebrate his chasing all the snakes out of Ireland. It is an historically serpent-free bit of earth, and the church attributed this to Paddy and his efforts...kind of overlooking that there weren't any of the slithery things on the island to begin with, if you ask me. Which they didn't, because I was a kid and most grown-ups weren't prepared for my staggering logic and keen grasp of history but rather appalling lack of respect for theology.

Many years later, people were saying St. Patrick's Day was a celebration of all things Irish, like green beer (wait, isn't beer German??) and green clothes, and green hair, and green mashed potatoes (which I won't eat on a dare because, really...green potatoes???), and rivers dyed green (I'm sure the fish are all so very thankful to be included...like Fridays and Lent weren't enough for them!)(that might only be funny if you're Catholic)(or not) and exclusionary parades, and funny little men waving their shillelaghs about (look it up you pervs!!) and that sort of thing.

 In none of the many different explanations for this seemingly random holiday did anyone mention pagans. A most curious oversight if you know what St. Patrick, who was just Patrick at the time (not really, I have no idea what his real name was. For all I know, it was Fred), was actually doing on the Emerald Isle.

He was born and lived sometime between 490 and 461 AD, give or take. Around age sixteen, he was either sent, or stolen and taken, to Ireland where he spent some time hanging out with sheep and being lonely. He talked to God a lot. You may notice that lots of shepherds do that. You would too if all you had for company all day was a bunch of mutton-heads. I'm sure the Pope understands... 

Christianity was rolling along like a snowball in those days, spreading out all over the dang place. Good grief, it was getting so that a simple Pagan/Heathen (there's a difference between the two, not that the church cared much) couldn't get any peace any more. Everywhere they turned, there was a church being built where a sacred grove used to be, from the trees that used to be the sacred grove, or a church going up on a sacred hill, or someone bathing their dirty feet in a sacred stream. To be fair, there was a lot of real estate lumped under that "sacred" heading in the pagan world. We're like that - we just love our planet so. Plus, you know, all those gods needed housing, and they don't all do the roommate thing very well. So the pagans were running out of places to have sex on the ground, in the woods, up a tree - they were big on the sex, those little devils - and to read entrails in their spare time.

I digressed. Sorry.

So there was this lonely kid, Patrick Whatsisname, hanging out with sheep and pondering life, the Universe, and everything. He got the idea, somewhere along the way, that maybe other folks should share his God. He got out of his contract (OK, probably slavery) and went around telling folks how terrific his God was, and how he reckoned they should convert. It seems that polite conversation wasn't doing it for the pagans, who tended to stare at him, or point and laugh. Rude beggars, huh? Now young Patrick (or middle aged Patrick, or old Patrick, I have no idea) decided he needed to be a bit more...persuasive. He had noticed something common among the pagan big-wigs. The guys at the top of the food-chain, magic/spirituality wise speaking tended to have a symbol on them somewhere...often around their wrist. On the wrist that indicated their "hand of power", or the hand which they believed their "magic" flowed from. If it wasn't a tattoo, it was a torque. Guess what the tattoo/torque was? A critter called the ouroboros. For them as what doesn't ken what that critter is, it's a snake eating its tail, and often represents eternity.
Pat realized that if he took away this "power", he took away their mystique and leadership ability. So he removed the snakes - often with something edged and unpleasant. Yes, he whacked off their hands. Or branded their skin. Or took their trinkets. Converting Heathens is such messy work!! It was for their own good, of course.  Serpents in Ireland?  Not on his watch!

Some pagans today go on "snake crawls", a sort of pub crawl where they wear snakes and proclaim their paganism. I'm not quite that...er...proactive. I also don't necessarily think old Pat went around mauling everyone he met in an effort to build church membership and win a nifty prize. But it's the bloody aspect of what he supposedly did that earned his name in Christendom and for which his holiday is celebrated.

So again, why would I celebrate the day? Well, I'm all for a day when families get together and discuss history, theology, spirituality, and the like. Traditions are important - they give us a foundation on which to build our lives. People should discuss their history so they don't repeat it - whatever side of the issue they're on. Also, as I mentioned, I am part Irish. I can celebrate that heritage even as I acknowledge its imperfection. And I am Pagan - and I am celebrating the fact that I can be pagan today without (much) fear of having my (largely not visible when I'm clothed) tattoos painfully removed and other unpleasantness (except for the odd zealot who thinks I'm fair game, but I'm used to that. I live in the Bible belt, after all). Precisely because we didn't get wiped out, I celebrate. And have you ever had a really nice corned beef and cabbage dinner? I mean, yum! Oh, but I won't be wearing green. I wear blue. Don't even think about pinching me.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Perchance to Dream

 Dreams


Dreams and dreams and dreams, last night.

~~~~~

First was a concert.  Spiral Rhythm as we are now, on a high stage, thousands in the audience.  Last song, a round, we each take a section and urge the people to sing with us as we move the song in circles.  It’s a new song made up of old songs.  Thousands singing with us.  Glorious.  We are connected, we are powerful, we are one.  The crowd roars.  Tomorrow looms, dark and threatening, but tonight we sing.


I wake and say thank-you for that dream.

~~~~~

Second dream, battle.  Scenery, animals, and people drawn from fantasy and sci-fi worlds. Violent, bloody.  Lies, betrayal, we refuse to give up.  Some of the enemy discover they’ve been lied to and stand with us.  Not many, but it turns the tide.  We don’t win so much as survive, but it is enough.


I wake and lay a curse, whisper it out my window three times for the wind to bear to its target.  I am a Witch.  It isn’t all sweetness and light.  Sometimes a curse is called called for.

~~~~~

Third dream.  Same sorts of people and creatures as before.  First part in a medical facility, overrun with wounded, doing battle of a different sort.  Fighting blood, fighting infection, fighting scarcity.  Ours or theirs, it does not matter - we empty ourselves into them.  Standing between patients and Death.  Exhausted, empty, ever vigilant.  Not today, beloved, this one is mine, you shall not collect them.  He will take no one unless he first takes me.  I tell him where our enemies lie dead, go there and do your sacred task.  


Second part, a feast of remembering.  Tables in rows upon rows.  Crowded.  No one is unmarked - we are all scarred, exhausted, knowing it isn’t over, it’s never over, we have paid and will continue to pay freedom’s price.  We don’t want to be here when tyranny prowls outside the gates, but here we are.  It will help those who could not or would not fight feel better to fete the battle worn.  They cannot begin to understand what we have known.  Easier to let them have their way than to explain.  


We speak quietly to each other.  Where were you?  I was there, and there.  Did you see this person, did you know that one.  Family, friend, tribe-in-arms.  Where did they fall.  Did they make a good end?  We do not weep.  Stone faced, dry-eyed, we listen.  We bore witness and now we tell.  Who is remembered, lives.  We will not stop speaking our memories until even the unclaimed are shared, remembered, carried by all.


At the end, we stand beside a massive memorial for the animals that served as soldiers.  Dogs.  Cats.  Creatures I cannot begin to describe.  They were intelligent.  They spoke.  They knew, as we did, the cost, and they paid willingly.  It is an enormous play structure where other animals may frolic, built to stand for millennia, shining metal, looking like a cat tree mated with a skyscraper and bore this progeny.  The names of the animals cover the walls and columns.  We find the names we know, and in silence we remember, and now our tears course freely.


I wake weeping.  

~~~~~

After the third dream, I did not go back to sleep.  Instead, I watched the darkness until the sun came up and gave shape back to the waking world.  No mystery where these dreams came from, only a painful, helpless-feeling, useless-feeling sorrow and a simmering combination of rage and resentment.


Threefold.  Threefold.  Threefold.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Perception

Today, John Scalzi (terrific author and Twitterer extraordinaire) posted this:



It got me to thinking, which led to pondering, which led to a rather impromptu and not-very-well-thought-ought experiment after a jaunt to the grocery store, so I logged on to The Tome of Visage and posted this photo I shot while shopping, with the question "What happened here?":



Within about hours, I had 9 replies.  None of them were correct in this instance, but they rather proved a point brought to mind by Mr. Scalzi:  perception and presentation can shape opinion without basis in fact, and an image/story taken out of context might be spun any which way.  If I missed his point, my apologies to Mr. Scalzi, but I'm slogging on with this blog, anyway.  Go big or go home.

Wait.  I am home.  Onward!

As time passes, btw, there may be more replies to my original ToV post, but I wanted to write this now, so here we are.  Also, those first folks?  Are people I know and love, not strangers, mostly not nutjobs, not trolls.  They represent a rather satisfying array of personalities, ages, social strata, political and spiritual beliefs, educational levels, modes of employ, and car ownership.  Some are dog people, some cat people, some are horse people, some like reptiles, some have many critters, and some eschew pets entirely.  They're readers, writers, thinkers, yarn harlots, artists, mechanics, gardeners, painters, ex-lawyers, white collar, blue collar, male, female, and many other varied and wonderful things.  They were polite, informative, and some even linked to informative articles in support of their thoughts.

The responses ranged from Putin ordering Russian troops to invade Ukrain to supply chain issues to corporate shenanigans to controlling the populace through food to end stage capitalism to the impending Mardi Gras, and each response was likely rooted in what is foremost on the responders mind.  Boy, do I grok!  Lately, my response to stimuli has been rather more cross than not because I?  Am rather more cross than usual. Because my brain is feeling somewhat mean-ish, it interprets every little thing as an affront, and I've been snappish when perhaps I needn't have been.  But enough about my misfiring neurons!

Each response could have been the right one, and frankly they could be spot on in the near future, but then this would be a moot post, wouldn't it?

So, what did happen, here?

I mean, you'd want to know, right?  You'd want to know the truth, right?  Not just how someone maybe carefully crafted their presentation to poke you in the feelz, rile you up, get you on their side of whatever the "issue" is and share, R/T, forward, or whatever?  Right?

Oh, lort, please say "Right!".

That photo I took at the market?

That's where frozen, ready to heat-and-eat foods usually dwell.  Meatballs, chicken wings, nuggets, strips, and patties.  Country fried steak.  Stuffed chicken breasts.  Corn dogs.  You know the stuff.  A second case nearby would normally have frozen turkeys, burger patties, brats, and whatnot.  It was also empty.

Why?

A simple failure of the refrigeration/freezing doodads.

Yup.

They broke.

That's it.  That's all.

I know because I asked at the meat department, and the fella there who usually stops to chat with me for a moment was happy to confirm that the cases had, indeed, fizzled and that anything I'd normally get from them  I could ask for and he'd fetch it hither from the behind-the-scenes of the department.  

Boring, yeah?  I could probably have told whatever narrative I wanted and let it fly, and probably no one would have gainsaid me.  Probably it could even have been copied or shared and used to support someone else's narrative without regard to what was/is really going on.  That could still happen.

It's happening with all kinds of other images/stories.  Happens every day.  Sometimes there's just enough truth to make it seem really real, and sometimes it's all horsefeathers.  Sometimes people know they're spreading misinformation and/or hyperbole, and they're doing it with the intent to manipulate people into responding without thought, with high emotions.  Nothing like a conspiracy to speed misinformation along, root it deeply enough that truth no longer matters.  

So yes, please, think twice and look into things before you pass them along in a frenzy of like-and-share-if-you-agree, polarizing posts.  Does the agita really need feeding?

And to my beloved kin/tribe who saw the original post and answered - I love y'all more than salt and in no way wished to cause unhappiness.  I hope you'll always respond with your honest thoughts and know that I am a special kind of asshole but would never knowingly aim my assholery at any of you with intent to do harm (or, really, at all - I usually save my assholery for yelling at strangers in traffic when they can neither hear me nor see into my car and read my lips because I am a considerate asshole and don't want to cause angst in others).

Friday, January 28, 2022

My First Scar

I’m seven.  It is summertime.

Mom and dad have been divorced for most of my life.  We spend a lot of time at my maternal grandparents’ house.

On this day, Mom, Papa and Mimi, and the Bessenroth family are all visiting.  The grownups are off on Papa’s boat and us kids are at the house under the watchful eye of Louise. 

Louise.  How to explain her?  Sort of a housekeeper, babysitter, grandmotherly woman who worked for my grandparents.  I loved her.  She’s the one who taught me how to make a bed with proper hospital corners, how to use the laundry machines, how to fold towels, and how to hang laundry on a line so it dried without those weird bunchy spots that clothespins can leave behind. 

So my brother and the Bessenroth son, Andreas, are off playing together, and I am wandering around the yard just kind of drifting in and out of my own little world.  I meander too close for their liking to where the boys are playing, and they chase me away.  Andreas thinks it would be fun to claim he is a ghost, some kind of vengeful spirit, and run after me with a tomato stake.  This is before those wire cages, when people tie their tomato plants to long wooden stakes so they stay up.  He’s found one lying about and is using it like a spear, menacing me.

He gets me backed up against a curving wall of trees lining the driveway across from the front of the house, and is sort of thrusting his spear at me.  As I recall, I wasn’t much scared, because even then, ghosts weren’t an issue, and he was a friend of the family and we’d always gotten along well, and really, I thought then and think now that he was just being a little boy.

The spear slips. 

Thud.

My next memory is of moments later.  I’m in the house, somehow through the front door.  My hands are cupped beneath my chin and I cannot see where I am going but somehow I’m through the sitting room, the dining room, the pantry, into the kitchen.  There sits Louise, having a rare quiet moment, and in I slowly walk, bleeding from the face. 

My brother must have followed me in, because she shouts at him to go get a washcloth.  He complies.  She tells him not that one, it’s one of the good ones for guests, go get an older one.  I agreed – I really don’t want to upset my grandmother by spoiling any of the good linens.  I worry that I dripped blood on the floor as I came in, but as I recall, I hadn’t.  I caught it all in my hands.

A bit of a blank spot, and then I’m in an ambulance.  I am sitting on someone’s lap up front?  They are nice fellows, friendly, and they allow as how we can have the sirens on if I’d like, which of course!

Jump through a blank space again, and I’m in the hospital, lying on a cold table with a terribly bright light shining in my eyes.  Several people are leaning over me, dark silhouettes against the brightness, assessing the damage.  I am not frightened but they keep reassuring me, anyway.  Louise sternly tells me not to let ANYONE do ANYTHING to me until my family gets there.  I guess someone managed to get ahold of them, out on the boat?  Louise doesn’t want an intern mucking about with me.  She wants a full-on, experienced, got-some-sleep-this-week doctor to deal with my face.

Eventually permissions must have been given, because a person in scrubs comes along and carefully begins picking splinters out, then sewing stitches in.  Tiny band-aids are applied.  I am proud of my stitches – seven of them – and want to show them off but am told I have to leave the bandages on for a while.

All the grownups are there. 

Blurred memory of leaving and going to the T&C for clams, Shirley Temples, pinball, maybe dancing with Papa, and clear memory of me continually pleading with any adult who will listen not to punish Andreas for this, he didn’t mean to, please don’t spank him.  Spanking, in my mind, is the height of horrible fates for a child, which is odd because I don’t recall ever having been spanked.

Eventually, they acquiesce, and as far as I know he got a good ticking off but was never spanked.

After a few days, I get to show off my stitches, and when they come out there is hardly a scar.  You can still see it if you look hard, on the bridge of my nose just between my eyes.  It was a lucky shot, really – left or right and you could call me Winky.  Any harder and maybe I’d have had a brain injury or maybe been killed.  I do have the best kind of bad luck.

Tweny-ish years later, after a long time apart, we see Andreas at Papa’s memorial.  We laugh, chat, catch up with our somewhat more grown up selves, and I remind him of this incident.  He has completely forgotten!

He thinks I am maybe misremembering, but I have witnesses.  He is horrified and apologetic, which I think is funny and I reassure him it’s fine, all was forgiven way back when and now it’s just a story.

Funny thing, though.

He’s afraid of blood.  Can’t bear the sight of it.  Now he thinks maybe he knows why.  I guess I wasn't the only one scarred, that day.



Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

Here followeth a Casa de Crazy Thanksgiving Day Tradicion:




And a new (old) addition to our warped holiday hilarity:


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

Here are the links if you want to view on YouTube:  Alice's Restaurant , Thankful and Turkey Drop

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Thankful

I have a few traditions on Thanksgiving. Not many - the menu, Mom recording the Macy's parade so we can watch it together at Yule 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 we’re actually interested in hidden among all that junk, and my day-before-Thanksgiving list of some things for which I am thankful, in no particular order and in no way complete:

What remains of my left foot, Nubbly, which perseveres and does its best not to pain me even when I deserve it
The doctors, nurses, and techs who probably saved my life and helped me get back to living it
The care that family and friends have given me while I return to upright living (or what now passes for it, which is pretty darned good) once more
The Evil Genius
Sprout
Mom
The house in which I live (beloved Casa de Crazy)
Gypsy
Kerri
T, who may be my ex-husband but remains a staunch friend
Mr. Grey
Mizz A
Kit
Sam-I-Am
PJ
Mizz Beth
Martha 'n' Milo (who lives always in our hearts)
Avalon
My band mates
Dica
Donna
And all of my friends who put up with me when I am most myself and therefor least likable. They are the net beneath me when I fly and fall
Bread
The scent of leaf loam and woodsmoke in the crisp autumn air
Apple cider
Books, music, and art
Clean, plentiful water
Clean air
Clean clothes
Freedom
Nature and the ways she finds to show me something new of herself every day
Words
Song
Dance
Adversity, that joy is all the sweeter (Okay, okay, the joy is sweet enough, so basta with the adversity for a minute, please)
Every creature and plant that I consume to sustain myself, because without the life I take, I would have no life to live
Love - that it exists at all is a wonder, and I feel blessed to know it in many forms
Chocolate, gift from the Gods (yes, even the perversion called "candy bar") (Mmm...candy bar...)
The cats by whom I am kept
Honeycrisp Apples
Strong hands
Strong spirit
Strong will
Laughter
Cussed determination not to curl up and die just because life can sometimes be a succession of truly awful, bleak, and desolate days...but sometimes it isn't
The Internet
You


I hope you have a blessed day, and that the things for which you're thankful outweigh 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.