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, August 30, 2015


I worked at the track this weekend.  My friend A watched the kids.  I appreciate her, and everything she does.  I lucked out in the friends department, for sure.  It's rare that one has so many good folks one can trust with one's children.  Sure make it easier to do the sporadic work I can do!
I read a joke yesterday.  It was bad.  Really bad.  Wrong.  Really wrong,  You know I'm about to share it here, right?

Here goes.

The person who proofread Hitler's speeches?  Really was a grammar Nazi.

Sometimes I have to share bad jokes to dislodge them from my brain.  Thank you for helping me out with that.
I wonder why so many people are so angry and fearful these days.  I don't remember it being this way even a decade ago.  I wonder if it's like the chimps that got violent when there were too many for the land to support...they went to war and killed each other off until there were few enough for the land to support again.  yeah, that's a simplification, but...worth thinking about.
I don't believe in trophy hunting.  If it's not an unavoidable threat to one's life or one's next meal, there's no reason to kill it.  A life is a life.  Why's that so difficult to understand?
I like watching the goldfish swim in the big tank.  Sometimes they hover in one place, looking for all the world like little scaled sculptures in the water, and other times they bob up and down, and yet other times that flit about the tank.

They tease the cats, too, swimming to where one of the kitties peers through the glass, and I believe they do the goldfish equivalent of thumbing their noses.
We had one sunflower grow to maturity.  It is loaded with seeds.  Sprout likes to pull the seeds out and eat them.  I'd better grab some to save for planting next year before she munches them all.
Sprout tells me there's a fellow name Hi-You who has a magic wand on his head and wings on his feet and he flies upside down...and he's responsible for all the 'narls in her hair.
I am looking forward to taking the kids camping at one of our favorite places next month.  Little pleasures...
What's on your mind these days?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

All Of It*

The apple I eat, the mosquito I slap, the cat I feed, the squirrel I hit with my van, the woman I give groceries to, the insects splattered on my windshield, every soldier that has ever died on any side of every conflict, women, men, other, more, less, in between, the tree I burn in the fireplace, the flowers I plant, the old woman and the infant boy, the well, the sound, the whole, the beautiful, the sick, the crippled, the shattered, the ugly, the feline, the canine, the equine, the avian, the bee and the butterfly, the squash and the carrot, the microbe in the dirt and the zooplankton in the ocean, the people I loathe, the people I love, the builders, the destroyers, the imaginative, the literal, the white, the black, the red, the yellow, the brown, long hair, short hair, no hair, fat, thin, tall, short, median, clothed, nude, naked, nekkid, wise, foolish, wealthy, poor, the givers, the takers, the singers, the silent, the life that I consume and the life that I nurture into being and the life that I live and the same, the same, THE SAME goes for you and you and you and every other being of any kind that lives and shines and is glorious and marvelous and overwhelming and complex and one tiny, tiny piece of this whole damned thing, and every, every, every life matters because lose one piece and the puzzle falls apart, and I love you, yes you, in all your glorious youhood.  

I matter.


You matter.


We matter.


We are all of us the whole.

We are all of us...

...all of it.

*Sometimes she speaks to me and I try awfully hard to take the hugeness of her voice and put it into these shallow human words but ours is a paltry language in the face of her tremendous love, and how does one capture the song of the universe and make it over into into a single note?

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Brief Interlude In the Yard at Casa de Crazy

(AKA:  Somebody Has To Feed the Mosquitoes)

I had a rare opportunity for some solo time this morning, as Sprout was deeply asleep when I got up and didn't even twitch when I rescued my arm out from under her head.  Yes, she sleeps with me sometimes, but these days it's only in the morning for a sort of prolonged cuddle.

I was turning on the fish tank light in the sun room when I noticed a puddle of cat pee.  Don't all the best stories start out with a puddle of cat pee?  Lately I feel like all of my stories start with a puddle of cat pee.


So I had to mop up the puddle of cat pee.  Say, I wonder how many times I will type "puddle of cat pee" in this post?  I'm not going to count.


Mopping up the puddle of cat pee (I'm on a mission, now) required fetching the mop from the back stairs where it languishes until I frantically fetch it forth in a dither because PUDDLE OF CAT PEE!!!

On fetching it hither, I chanced to look down in the yard and saw that the morning glories that I planted this past spring were blooming and was reminded that I wanted some photographs of them.  I mopped up the puddle of cat pee (it's like a refrain in my head, now), cleaned the mop and sent it back into exile, snagged my camera, and headed out.

I am, by the way, still trying to figure out all the functions on this camera.  Two years and I still mostly just kinda point, click, and hope for the best.

I planted the glories near the front stairs and in a pot near an old dead tree behind the house.

The vine by the front stairs isn't as hearty as they've been in years past, but given my rather neglectful style of gardening, I am happy to have even one bloom:

One of the blooms behind the house had a little visitor.  Can you see it?

The flowers are large-ish, about as big as my palm.  I have no reference photo, so, er, my palm is about as large as the top of a Chobani yogurt container.

I was hoping, when I planted them, that the back vines would climb the old dead tree but they were more inclined to sprawl on the ground.  Next year I will give them some guide strings and see how high they will go.  If, that is, the old dead tree is still there - it continues its slow, piecemeal shortening process with every good wind we have.  I haven't been fussed about cutting it because it falls away from the house, it anchors my clothes line, and I kinda dig seeing it continually change state.

See?  Old dead tree is nifty!

The Dogwood around the side of the house is in full berry.  I don't actually like this tree much - it's one of the pink blooming variety, and I prefer the white, but it was here when we bought the place and I am not going to cut it down just because I am not fond of it.  It's around the side and I don't have to look at it if I don't want, and once the flowers are gone we get along fine.

The Japanese Maple is preparing to set millions of helicopters loose on the yard.  Helicopters - that's what we called those seed doodads when I was a kid.  We also would break one in half, peel the bottom open, and stick it on our noses so we could pretend to be rhinoceroses.  Who need electronic games and smart phones?  No, I did not have a deprived childhood, why do you ask?

I had occasion a few days ago to be out in the yard, chatting with a fellow about lawn care, when I noticed we have some non-rent-paying residents (kinda like me, huh Mum?).

Can't see?  Here's a close up.  it is fantastic and when the denizens move on, I want it to hang from the center of my ceiling.  Perhaps as a light fixture.  Or, you know, not.

I was stalked joined on my little walk by the resident Kittens of Doom.  We have had a lot of loss in the outdoor cat population this year, but these four have hung in there.

Not a bad way to spend my morning, really.

How was yours?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Kids. Yup.

Sigh.  The Evil Genius is grudge cleaning his room because I made him do his chores.  He gets to sleep late, and usually by the time I get him up I've already done laundry, dishes, and several other chores.  All I ask of him is to clean ONE cat box, take out HIS trash, empty the compost bucket, and feed the outdoor cats.  Shouldn't take more than five minutes.  Every day I have to ask him of he did his chores, ALL his chores, and every day there's something he didn't do and hes says "Oops." and then I have to TELL him to do the chore he "forgot" NOW, please.

Then he's hungry or thirsty or exhausted from his stretch in the salt mines and needs to rest or some other excuse.  He puts more energy into NOT doing his chores than he does into doing them.

So today I got a little mad.  I woke him up at the ungodly hour of 10:00 (the morning one, no less - horrible!).  I woke him up again at 10:15.  Then at 10:20.  Then at 10:30. He finally got up a little after 11:00.  Thirty minutes later he still hadn't done a single chore - in that time I emptied three trash/recycling cans, put new bags in, hauled the full bags out, and got another load of laundry started.

He did one chore in a half-assed manner then flopped on the lounge as if he had Mono and I just made him run a marathon.

Did you do your chores?  All of them?

Oops.  Can I have some chips, first?

No.  Finish your chores, then you can eat.  And not chips.  You can't have chips for breakfast.  I think it's a rule.

Then he leaned on the door as if he'd never eaten and was faint with hunger and spent twenty minutes staring at me.

Then he started doing his chores, but with a huge chip on his shoulder.

By the way, I am NOT in a good mood today.  I am hauling around my own basket of stones, juggling flaming chainsaws, trying to get from one breath to another, and I don't need my almost-teenager kid to be heaping more crap in the middle of the room for me to shovel.

So I snapped at him.  Told him I'm tired of every day being a struggle to do his damned chores, et cetera, and extra tired of being met with attitude and sass every time I ask him to do something.  So he finished his chores and slumped off to his room, and now he's grudge cleaning it because it's a horrid mess and has been for years (Not hyperbole - literally has been years since I last got it clean and we could see the floor.  I am not proud of this, it is simply truth.)  He is taking toys that he loves and throwing them away, saying he can't see the point in keeping them, has no place to put them, they'll just keep making his room messy and he'll get in trouble, and on and on and on.

I'm letting him.  Some things I am pulling from the trash heap because I know he will regret tossing them - the dinosaur we assembled together, the white tiger his father bought him when they went to the circus, his 3DS.  A couple of things I have given to his sister because she plays with them and loves them.

The trash has already been picked up today so he has a week to decide he didn't really want to throw something away.  I may even let him reclaim these things that he really loves but put in the rubbish out of sulky spite.

I'm such a great Mom.

If he's like this now, I dread the barreling-down-on-us teen years.  It's not too late to take up drinking, is it?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Five Nights? More Like Every Night.

The Evil Genius is rather enamored of the game "Five Nights at Freddy's" and its many derivatives.

He spends hours on end talking via Skype with friends both near and far, playing with them online.  They have their own FNAF related language.

I don't see the attraction.

The sounds of the game annoy me, and I am constantly telling him to turn down the volume, to lower his voice, to be mindful that there are other people in the house, that I think the neighbors up the street can hear him.

He will stay up until the very wee hours playing it if I let him, talking to a friend across the country or on the other side of the world.  He watches YouTube videos of others playing the game, spoofing the game, teaching game strategy and cheats.

At one time, I had to ban the game entirely because he said it was causing bad dreams.

For all that I don't care for it, there are some upsides.

He is developing an understanding of story line.  He is learning communication skills.  He is learning about game development.  He is honing his sense of irony.  He is using slang, which you might not think is such a good thing but he likes to know where the slang comes from so we get language history lessons.  He is continually using cooperative play.  He is learning to do Internet searches, how to filter out the useless or erroneous information and hone his searches to help minimize unwanted results.  He is learning to type.

He is also learning patience, as our desktop computer is slow and can't always handle the tasks he asks of it.  He is learning to trouble-shoot glitches, and learning that sometimes he has to walk away, sometimes there is no solution.

As much as the game can annoy me - and it does so often and in large quantities - I'm okay with him playing it as long as he's also gaining knowledge and skills.

There's always Vodka to numb the pain.*

*Not really.  I don't actually consume alcohol very often or in any quantity.  If the Evil Genius keeps on with this game, though, I could learn...

Saturday, August 8, 2015

In the Holler


I was trying to have a no-yell day.


In my defense:  I tried to take a nap but the Evil Genius and Sprout decided that THAT was the time to sit in her room and build block towers...to knock over.  Then when I hollered at them to cut it out because LOUD, and please put the blocks away because Marvelous Mizz A literally worked her butt off (it's two sizes smaller, now) cleaning that room and it WILLBYGODDESS stay clean for more than a minute, so they put some of the blocks away...by throwing them into the bins from across the room.


I hollered about that.

Then Sprout decided that she had to express her musical genius.  On the xylogator.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the common rainbow xylogator, this one somewhat less loved than the one currently residing in Sprout's room.
The xylogator is a wee loud in the best of circumstances.  When Mama's trying to get a little much-needed rest?  Not the best of circumstances.

So I hollered about that.

Then Sprout decided that she should lie down with me.  She really is a cuddle bug and most of the time it's just fine for her to snooze with me, but today was not most of the time.  Today was one of the days when she simply HAD to play games on her Papa's phone.  With the volume all the way up.  And her definition of "be still" is a little flexible - sometimes she will lie still, but sometimes?  It's like trying to sleep in a mixing bowl when the mixer is set to "high".  And then being tossed into a threshing machine.  And then being run through a laundry mangle.  An industrial one.

Actually, that looks like it would be more comfortable.
So I grumbled and then hollered about that.

Then I decided I may as well get up and get dinner started, which meant going downstairs and fetching some shrimp from the freezer because I want some kind of shrimp pasta and broccoli for dinner and it won't make itself (because that would require sentient, non-frozen shrimp and then I couldn't eat them because eating sentient beings could be viewed as rude, especially by the erstwhile dinner), and the freezer was a right mess because the Evil Genius's idea of putting things neatly where they belong in the freezer is defined as "Just toss that shit anywhere so I can get back to gaming or talking on the phone ASAP".

So I hollered about that.

Then I went into the living room and saw that all the lounge cushions were scattered on the floor despite my having asked the Evil Genius to put it back together again, and the clean laundry I had folded and placed carefully on the table to be joined by more clean laundry later was scattered all over the floor, and MY brand new pencil box had been played with despite clear instructions not to so much as breathe near it (because I know kids, my kids especially, and they WILL find a way to mess with things without explicit directions) and the tag removed and the hasp bent so that now I will not be able to latch it properly shut, and the 3-D puzzle ball that USED to be on the upper shelf on the bookcase in the dining room was once again in pieces and left by my place at the dining room table for me to reassemble, and I may have hollered a little about that.

Imagine the one on the upper right, only in pieces.

I swear, lately it's like I can't leave a room (or the yard) without things being knocked over, broken, torn, scattered, spilled and not cleaned up, mashed, crushed, banged, whanged, slammed, eaten, dirtied, stained, crashed into, killed, removed, slashed, cut, and otherwise destroyed.  Seriously, not even for a few minutes.  They're like rabid weasels on a meth-fueled tear.


Tomorrow, perhaps I will manage not to yell - after all, I'm supposed to go out for a few hours with a friend while roommate D minds the children.  What could there be to yell about?

Umm...should I take out extra insurance?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Hatred Is A Cage

Every time I see a law enforcement officer of vehicle, I have to fight a surge of adrenaline and the rush of anger and negative feelings that plow into me like a runaway train.

I remember a time, not so long ago, when I would say a blessing to every law enforcement, military, or first responder vehicle I saw.  I taught t hat blessing to the evil Genius so he could say it, too.

Goddess bless.

These days, I am more moved to mutter something a little less positive and a little more bitter towards law enforcement.

I am fighting this new instinct.  I don't want to feel anger or hatred toward anyone who hasn't themselves done me wrong, but it's difficult.

Whatever anyone feels about Someone and his past, or what put him in prison last year, or anything else for that matter...whatever HIS experience was and the reason he had that experience...my children and I were NOT part of his alleged crimes and we did NOT deserve to have our rights so thoroughly violated.  We did NOT deserve to be threatened with the removal of my children from our home and my care because ONE officer didn't like that the Evil Genius's room was messy.  We do NOT deserve to be treated like pariahs or ignored by the people who were supposed to represent Someone in court but did nothing.

Our home was invaded, searched, and parts of it damaged.  Evidence was fabricated or left behind (generally folks agree that it was left behind on purpose so they could "find" it a third time and use it to create yet another case, perhaps one against me this time), my property was taken and used as evidence of a crime that wasn't committed, children were scared, and all of it unlawful.

Even typing that little bit, I am angry.  I am trembling.  My shoulders hunch and my head ducks down, and every sound is magnified and distorted to become those heavy-footed thugs tromping up my steps to take my children away.



In and out.

I am breathing.

I make an effort, now, not to shy away from law enforcement when I see them, not to cross the proverbial street or turn in a different direction or leave my grocery cart and walk out of the store.  I am trying to seek out positive stories of officers saving children from hot cars, or rescuing puppies or helping families of ducks across the road, assisting addicts into rehab and offering continued support, buying groceries for hungry families.  I am trying to avoid the stories, so many more stories, of law enforcement abusing their power, killing, ruining lives with impunity.

I am trying not to hate.  Hatred is a cage.  Anger is the lock.  Compassion and love are the keys.  I am well and truly bound up right now, stuck inside this cage, and I want out.  I want to look on law enforcement the same way I look on every other being, and that is as individuals worthy of love and compassion no matter who they are or what they have done, the same way I look on the other prisoners when I visit Someone, the same way I look on my neighbor who has chosen to hate me simply because I am me without ever really knowing what that means, the same way I look on all of the angry, hateful, spiteful, mean, blind, beautiful, loving, kind, and compassionate people in the world.

It's a struggle.  I wish it wasn't.

Still, I'm trying.

Hatred is a cage.  I will be free.