Sunday, November 29, 2009

Can You Dig It?

The people who lived here before us apparently used the yard as a dump. For a loooong time. When we walk the perimeter of the yard, and even some of the interior, we find all kinds of interesting and potentially dangerous items.

Dirt has covered a great deal of things out there, allowing grass to grow on top of the detritus. When you walk around you never know what kind of sound will come from under your feet. The crinkle of leaves? Or the hollow sound of a vinyl rain gutter?

We are going to need to do some major excavating to make the yard safe for kid and dog. Right now I am entirely uncomfortable with the idea of Ginny running the yard loose in the dark. I'm not even comfortable out there when I can't see where my feet are stepping.

This morning I performed a small photographic archaeological survey of the yard while I smoked.

There are bags of topsoil buried everywhere, but many of them appear to be at the base of small, ornamental trees. Whether they were tossed there out of laziness or to weigh down the roots, we have no idea. 

This is a fiberglass bathtub that is now, either intentionally or not, a planter.

I have no idea what the hell this rusted out hulk is.

If you look in the center of the leaf fall you'll notice some metal pipes and whatnot.

Many, many plastic bags everywhere.

Again, what this is? Dunno. Big and metal.

That would be the vinyl rain gutter.

Apparently a dog was chained here at some point. Really can't figure out why there are scraps of the flag scattered there, though.

Plastic chicken wire.

Rusted old paint can. There are several.

Apparently the dog tethered here didn't require an actual chain, so they wove fabric scraps into a rope. More flag scraps.

Random piece of PVC. You'll find all of your plumbing needs in this yard.

Metal straps from a pallet or appliance carton. Those are always nice.

A faucet. Looks like it's for a garden hose. Or a washing machine.

All of this was found this morning during a 3 minute walk of the yard. I imagine we'll have to pick a nice weekend and walk the yard and toss everything onto a pile, and then we'll have to call someone to come get it all.

In the meantime, we're simply being careful.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Green Acres, We Are There...

We pass no less than three horse farms between our new house and the grocery store. It's basically a straight shot from our house down the road for about 15 minutes. This doesn't count the single homes with horses grazing their properties.

Today Livvie and I drove out to get a couple of things at the store and pick out a Christmas tree. She's been begging for a tree for months now, and the Friday after Thanksgiving is THE earliest I will allow a tree into my life. Needles on the floor. Watering the thing. Extra power expense from the lights. I'm always happiest in the house with a tree up though. It breaks my heart to take it down. The house looks totally barren and lonely when the tree comes down.

While we were driving to the store we passed one of the horse farms, and at least a third of the horses in the pasture were conked out on their sides (like <-- that one). The others were sort of slowly moseying around. I said, "Good God, what the hell did you all get into last night?"

I could seriously live out here forever. Maybe not in this house, but somewhere, out here, away.

The older I get the less city I am. It's almost like my cells themselves are calling a retreat. I had moved into a very country area with my ex in my late 20s, and when we divorced I was forced by finances to move back into town. I hated every second of it. I was in a unit of three apartments on the corner, and the bus stop was right on that corner. Even though I wasn't in the end unit, every single morning I heard the loud release of air as the bus pulled to a stop, and it drove me right up a wall.

I hate traffic. I hate being on top of other people. I hate being forced by geography into knowing everyone's business.

We are currently about 20 minutes or more away from the nearest Target. This bothers me not one bit. We no longer have our choice of convenience stores to dash to if we run out of smokes. We have to plan ahead or go without. Even the grocery store, at 15 minutes away or so, is far enough that I won't be running there more than once a week.

There is no "culture" out here. There are no museums. There is no hipster district.

There is air. There are trees. Huge, green pasturelands. Cows a brief walk away, if so bold as to walk it.

The people. The people are nice. When we went to the store the other day I was treated fabulously. Everyone went out of their way to be friendly. Today when Livvie and I chose our tree I told her to come on back to the car so I could get her buckled in, and I'd drive the car over to the tree to load it. When I finished fastening her seat I looked up, and an employee was crossing the parking lot to our car carrying our tree. I said, "Dude. You're on your smoke break. It's ok," and he said, "I'm still smoking it. Not a problem. Want this in the back?"

If I stay out here long enough I might have to turn in my Misanthrope Card.

That might not be a bad thing.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Welcome Home

So our new home is a flipped foreclosure, which is why we got such an awesome deal. Rich had researched the loan amount the seller had borrowed this past summer, estimated how much money was spent to flip it, and made the offer accordingly so the guy would make some profit but not take us for a ride.

I feel bad. I am loving this house, unforeseen problems and all, but for some reason the thought of benefiting from someone else's misfortune is eating at me a bit. It'll pass, and no doubt more quickly than it should. :)

We're finding some really weird things as time goes on. At the back of the property there's crap buried under the leaf fall all over the place. There's an old bathtub out there. Rusty old paint cans. I took Ginny through the yard on leash our first day here, and she stepped on a leaf pile and I heard a loud crack and her foot went through. Who knows what's under there. Thank goodness she didn't get hurt.

The previous owners had satellite and we're trying to figure this out. Did they install the dish and then plant the tree right there? Or did they install the dish right behind the tree? Did they have daily conversations about how much their reception sucked?

According to the agent the yard prior to the flip was the shrubbery and plant equivalent of the yard on Pee Wee's Playhouse. She said there wasn't a square inch of yard that wasn't choked with deliberately placed vegetation, and there was nowhere to walk. The flipper spent quite a bit of money, apparently, having most of it yanked. We're positive they couldn't get it all, especially since summer had come by that point, and we're curious to see what pops up in the spring. On Friday when I was out back with the cable guy I saw some morning glories blooming. In late November. I took Ginny out to the back of the yard later that day and found one, lone periwinkle blossom next to a tree. Since periwinkle is invasive and beautiful I told Rich to avoid it with the lawn mower if possible.

There's a very pretty white cat with gray patches that keeps crossing our yard and driving Ginny crazy. I'm wondering who she belongs to. She's sleek and is absolutely not a stray. I'm just getting a bit aggravated that I have to walk outside and scan the yard quickly prior to taking Ginny out every time. She loves "her" cats, and treats them very gently, but she does have a very high prey drive, and I fear for the cat if she's out there when Ginny gets set loose.

The thing that strikes me most strongly about this house is the peace. I sit in the chair by the living room windows to rock Jonas for his naps, and I watch the front yard through the blinds. The Bradford Pears are happy little starter trees, and I can't wait to see them bloom in the spring. I occasionally see a car doing the posted 15mph past the house, but mostly it's totally serene out there. We're two houses in from the corner, which is the highway, and if we go outside we do see crazy people taking those curves a bit too quickly. Our street, though, is simply fantastic.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the US, and I'm cooking. Today I will make pie and prep everything for the Most Awesome Stuffing Ever. The house will smell amazing. When the sun finally peeks out we'll all go outside so Ginny can run for a bit and we can walk back in to the smells of nutmeg and cinnamon and vanilla and cloves.

Is there anything better than walking into a house full of good smells?

Yep. I'd say it's passing more quickly than it should.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cheese and Cheese?

For some reason Livvie refers to the yellow cheese singles as, "cheese and cheese." All other cheese is simply cheese.

I am a sucker for the cheese moments in movies. I don't necessarily mean the crappy dialogue moments that some people fall for, like, "You had me at 'hello,'" or other such nonsense. I mean those overtly manipulative moments in movies, usually "guy" movies even, where it's completely intentional on the part of the filmmaker. At least I think it's intentional. Regardless, I fall for almost all of them.

I was thinking of this in the middle of the night last night while I was lying on the sofa in the dark feeding Jonas. I had left TNT on when I fell asleep, because in the morning I can wake up for good to Angel, and that's a pretty nice way to wake up. So I was fuzzily staring at the TV screen, and they were showing The Patriot for the 5,932nd time, a movie I own by the way because I'm such a sucker for this crap, and I looked just in time to see one of the cheesiest, most manipulative moments in cinematic history. The men are retreating and the French militia guy points that out to Mel Gibson's character. Mel says, "Oh fuck that. Nuh uh," grabs the flag from some hapless dude, and charges back in the other direction to rally the men to fight again.

I fell for it again. I choked up like I was watching a Hallmark commercial from the 80s. Or that freaking Folgers Christmas commercial they still run with the little girl seeing her brother in front of the tree after he's come home as a surprise. Where was I? Oh. EVERY TIME I see one of those on my list of favorite cheese moments I come apart. Mel Gibson is a prime culprit in this, as every time I watch Braveheart I lose it completely at the end when he yells, "FREEEEEEEEDOMMMMMM!" with his last breath, and the King of England has to take that sound with him to the grave.

Every single time.

I know better. I really do. It's even sadder when I know it's coming because I've seen the film before, but I get all teary anyway. My all time worst was not, to my knowledge, crafted in any nefarious fashion. I am very sure that Tolkien was writing from his heart. The filmmakers had to keep it. They really did. If they hadn't, fanboys (and fangirls) everywhere would have lost their bleeding minds. Without fail, whenever I watch Return of the King and Sam lifts Frodo to carry him up the mountain I come apart at the seams. I can't help it. The first time I saw it, in the theater, I have to admit that I (and many other folks in the theater) softly chanted, "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!"

Yeah, that scene from that flick gets me too.

Of course, the matter is not helped when I happen to be hormonal, as I am right now. At least dudes don't have to put up with their emotions about films being at the whim of a calendar cycle. At least I don't think they do. Since last night I've been trying to figure out if I'm a sucker for any of the gratuitous moments in chick flicks, and I can't think of a single one.

But I sob every time the dude in Volcano dies while saving the folks from the subway car.

So. What are yours? I know you have them. Dish.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I wasn't going to take time to post today

So this will be short.

Today on Twitter Brent Spiner (yes, that one) let loose this piece of mild snark:

RT @renee29404 @Anopsis I believe in taking care of our own before taking care of another country--Then here you go.

It's something I've always wondered about. How many people who spout on about taking care of our own first actually make an effort to help our own themselves? And I have to say, most of the people I've met who say such things are averse to "Big Government" of any sort anyway. They seem to say, as a unit, that churches and charities should be the ones to take care of those who are wanting. Well, you know, the churches and charities simply don't have enough money. Because not many put their money where their mouths are. And I would put $1000 down that none of these people were forced to live on assistance like I was as a child. Food stamps. Government cheese. My mother bringing leftover school lunches home at the end of the day because they would be thrown out, and we could eat on them for a week.

So you know what? Put up or shut up. It costs $5 at the grocery store to buy a box of food for those in need. And it's good karma.

And to those of you who take issue with it all I want to extend my gratitude for your tax dollars that fed me as a child. Thank you.

Have a good Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I need to vent

This post is going to be full of anger and disgust, so if you wish not to read such things, move along.

Over the past week I have been alerted to four separate instances of Motherhood Most Foul. Some are far worse than others. My issue is that I simply don't understand how a person can give birth to someone and then turn her back on them. Or worse.

A very good friend of mine has come to the realization that she is not welcome any longer in her family. Her mother and brother, who are all she has left, have made that quite clear. Assumptions were made about her character, and rather than going to her for the straight dope on the situation they simply cut her off. She's putting on a brave face, and handling everything with her usual (and famous) brand of sarcasm and wit, but I can't even imagine how deeply this hurts. How do you go through life knowing that a choice was made between two children and you were the short straw? I simply don't know. Along those lines-

My father's niece who is in her 60s (my parents had me rather late) had four daughters. The oldest daughter was belittled from the time she was tiny. They told her she was fat. They told her she was stupid. They called her names. You know what? She believed them and reacted accordingly. She became the family fuck-up. Self fulfilling prophecies and all that. She got knocked up while unwed, and even though she and the father have been together for 2 decades and eventually married and had another child, the family pointed to that as proof that she was No Good. She's been a waitress her entire adult life. A damn good one. Her mother and three sisters prefer to pretend she doesn't exist. At one point they even tried to take her kids away from her for not providing a "good enough life." Both of her children are smart and her oldest, a boy, works hard for what he wants. So, my cousin, who is a couple of years older than me, was told recently that she might have breast cancer and would need a biopsy. She asked her mother to take her and was informed that she would drop her off but she would have to "find her own way home."

How do you do that? How do you let your own daughter go into the most terrifying day of her life without offering comfort when she leaves that office? To say I'm seeing red is an understatement. My cousin is the only one of the four girls who looks even remotely like me, and even though she did some fairly bad things in her younger years, I'm partial to her. The rest of the girls, entitled blonde princesses who look down their noses at everything, can suck it. I don't even acknowledge them as relations most of the time.

I want to beat my father's niece within an inch of her life. And then leave her in an alley downtown so that Bad Things can happen to her.


(I fear no repercussions for telling this story, because they will never read it. As far as they're concerned, I don't exist either. Besides, I haven't said a single thing that isn't true).

I'm not going to go into the details of the two episodes I heard about on the local news this week. I can say that the first episode involves the prosecutors seeking the death penalty against the mother, and the second episode should.

I am, as I said previously, not the best mother on the planet. Hell, I'm not even fond of babies. Kids? Yes. Babies? Not so much. But even when I dislike my children for how they're behaving, the love I have is deep and terrible. I say terrible specifically, because if anything ever happens to them, woe to the person who caused them harm. I'm talking massive amounts of woe. Nothing mild about it. I own a replica Narsil (it's a sword, hush), and I mentioned to Rich that if anyone comes in after the kids or us they will find it used on them. He told me I couldn't swing it because it's too heavy, and besides, it isn't sharp. I told him that I've actually practiced swinging it and can even lift it above my head. Then I told him, "I wouldn't swing it anyway. I'd hold the hilt at my hip tightly and ram them with it." He said I could probably get two good hits in that way, and I told him, "Oh no. I'd impale them on the dull blade, which will hurt like hell, and then I will yank the blade to the side to unbalance them. When they fall, I'll kick their head in. Over and over and over."

And then I laughed. And Rich was slightly frightened.

Do NOT fuck with my kids.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Drive By Blog Post


Our friend with the farm, because she's the most freaking resourceful chick on the planet, has already moved her husband and herself and what little they have left into a rental a half mile from the farm. Thanks to everyone who was concerned about her.

We've moved about 12 boxes and some sundry other things into the new house already, and the fun continues today and the rest of the week.

I am incapable of packing one of those big Home Depot moving boxes to weigh less than 75 pounds.

We were going to decorate the kids' bathroom in Finding Nemo to make Livvie more inclined to potty training, but due to the fact that she's a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse addict, I'm going that route instead. And that will be her Christmas. A bit early.

Jonas took his first nap in the new house yesterday. On the floor. Woke up with carpet marks on his face.

The "convenience" store just up the road from us has a small grill with hot dogs and sammiches and stuff, so when I drove up there yesterday to see if I could grab us some food and discovered the grill closed up I asked about it. I was informed, "Yeah, sometimes he opens it. Sometimes he don't. Depends on how he feels. If he opens it it's usually around 10." I'm starting to like the neighborhood. A lot.

The dog gets a bath this morning so as not to take her current level of stink to the new house. Wish me luck.

I am tired.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Can I get you anything?

As I sat and read the Harry Potter series, from at least Chamber of Secrets on, I wanted to be only one character.

I wanted to be Molly Weasley.

Oh hell NOES about the seven kids. I did, though, want her ability to provide for those she loves. Why am I bringing this up now, when the series is over, the next movie installment isn't released yet, and I've never even mentioned the Potterverse in this blog except to essentially say, "Got my hands on Deathly Hallows. Be back later. Go away?"

We're closing on a house today with four bedrooms.

Molly Weasley is kind and loving and nurturing and fierce... and Molly Weasley feeds and shelters. I didn't grow up in the kind of house where if someone walked in the door food was slapped down in front of them, and they were ordered to eat. I developed that mentality sometime in my mid-20s. I couldn't even tell you why it started, but at some point I started shoving food at people, at least with plenty of advance notice most of the time, and if I lived somewhere with a spare room I urged people to stay. If there was no spare room my sofa was always available. Quick stopover on your way up the East Coast? Here's my sofa. Really frigging drunk and lack of motor skills means you can't get home? Dumbass, you drove. But here's my sofa. Oh, and in the morning there will be coffee. Now hush. Here's a blanket and a pillow. Don't mind the cat on your head.

Our intent in purchasing this particular house with four bedrooms was to have a room for each kid, one for ourselves, and an office for Rich to work from home. When I opened the door to the master bedroom to have a look I discovered that you first enter a sitting room that is partially walled from the rest of the room. The sitting room is almost as large as our current bedroom. This suite (oh how ritzy*) is on one end of a 76 foot long house and the other three rooms are alllll the way at the other end. When Rich got a look at it he realized he could put his office right in there, and we could, oh my goodness, have a guest room. When the reality of having a spare bedroom with actual bedroom furniture in it dawned on me I simply went berserk. Almost anyone who mentioned the house to me got hit with an invitation. Or three. I think my poor friend in Seattle has been bugged even more than three times. Even local folks got invitations. Just in case episodes of really frigging drunk lack of motor skills arise.

As I scrolled through Craigslist searching for the cheap recliner for rocking Jonas that I mentioned in the previous entry, my eyes kept leaping to the listings for larger tables with seating for many. I'm particularly drawn to the simple wooden tables with plain chairs. Gigantic ones. Last night I saw one with seating for up to 10 people, and the fantasies began. Holiday dinners. Eventual friends of the kids eating breakfast after slumber parties. Gatherings for no other reason than to eat good food and relax in the kitchen. Molly Weasley's kitchen in her home, The Burrow, is a mismatched cluttered nightmare for someone with OCD. Whenever I see it in the films, though, it warms my cockles. Yes. I have cockles. No, there's no cream for that.

Last night while Rich and I were outside I said to him, "Can I go all lame and name our new doublewide?" and he said, "No. And if you do, I don't want to know about it." I said, "So I can't get someone to use one of those wood burning pens to make a small wooden sign with the house's name and hang it from the mailbox?" and he said, "Um, no."

Bummer dude.

In five and a half hours we will be handed the keys to The Burrow. It has an extra room, you know, just for future reference. If I have my way, fairly soon it'll also have a table large enough to feed an entire army. Of course, there won't be any other furniture for seating because we won't be able to afford it. Over my whole life, though, everyone always ended up in the kitchen anyway.

Stop on over. Sit down. Here's some pie. Bring your dog.

The more the merrier.

*It's a doublewide mobile home, folks. But it's the nicest house I'll have ever lived in in my life so far.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Primitive Screwheads

prim·i·tive (prm-tv)
1. Not derived from something else; primary or basic.
a. Of or relating to an earliest or original stage or state; primeval.
b. Being little evolved from an early ancestral type.
3. Characterized by simplicity or crudity; unsophisticated: primitive weapons...


I'm not really up on the latest trends. It's not even something that bothers me. Usually.

I have a bread kneading bowl that was carved from a block of wood. It used to belong to someone very special to me, and using it while I pound dough and manipulate it into loaves makes me feel a connection. Mine looks a bit like this one. -----> Coyote mentioned recently that she wanted to start making bread, and as her birthday was fast approaching I figured I'd find a dough bowl for her on eBay. I didn't expect them to be super cheap or anything, but I wasn't expecting what greeted me when I clicked Search: "Wooden Dough Bowl PRIMITIVE!" "Primitive Dough Bowl" and my perennial favorite in such searches, "Wooden Dough Bowl PRIMITIVE! L@@K!!!!!" I clicked on several of them despite my better judgment, and I was, well, horrified. They were insanely expensive. And most of them were useless. Cracks, warping, suspicious discoloration, entire chunks missing. Almost none of them could be used to actually make bread. When I began reading the descriptions I realized that people are using these as knick-knacks in their homes.

Two hundred dollars for a broken piece of wood in order to satisfy a "theme."

I thought about the people, most likely women, who had been the original owners of these bowls, and I could see the eye rolling and behind-the-hand snickering over this obvious sign of mental unbalance in our society. I pictured them thinking, "Oh hell (if they were cussers), you want primitive? I gotcher primitive right here," as they started piling on lapfuls of non-hinged clothespins, wedding ring quilts, hooked rugs, and gingham.

Because you know what I discovered? "Primitive" is the new chi-chi word city people are using for, "Country."

Ok, I'm going to put aside my distaste for that idea in general and how much it gets under my skin. I am, however, going to mention my amusement over yet another scenario that took place in my head.

"Oh! Your place looks so nice! I love country!"

"What? NO! No no no. This is PRIMITIVE."

People will buy anything if you market it to them correctly.

As an illustration, here is a "primitive" cabinet someone was hawking on Craigslist while I was attempting to find an inexpensive recliner. Doesn't it look like they got it at Target? They made sure to mention that the door is an "antique shutter."

I facepalmed.

According to a Craigslist search pie safes are now primitive. So is an old, wooden student desk with an inkwell like my mom used when she was a kid. Outhouses? You betcha. Especially if they have stars on them.

These people would have a heyday in my grandmother's basement. But my grandmother would slap me upside the head if I took advantage of these people. Seriously, from beyond the grave she would let me have it.

Too bad my last name isn't "Barnum."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Flags of Our Fathers

I love photo editing software. While I love you all to bits, it's really none of your business why my father was discharged from the Army. All you need to know is what it says at the top of the form. "Honorable."

My dad didn't go to Korea. He was stationed in a tech environment once he completed Basic. His assignment was as a photolithographer. This involved engraving patterns on circuit boards. My dad started out his adulthood as a computer geek of a sort. It's too bad he couldn't stick with it once he was discharged. However, if he had he wouldn't have ended up at Campbell's Soup where he met my mother and I wouldn't be here.

My dad was the only person I have ever met who loved Army food. He spoke of it fondly many times. Two of his favorite meals when I was a child were Spam and eggs and SOS. SOS is more commonly known as Creamed Chipped Beef. I still eat it. When I was small we had to buy dried beef in a little jar and make it from scratch, and my dad would go gaga these days over the fact that Stouffer's sells it frozen.

My dad eventually ended up working for the police department in the next town over as a dispatcher. Back then 911 didn't exist, and each department had folks on the force whose job was to answer the phone and direct the officers in the field. They were required to wear the standard uniform of the department, and if I shut my eyes I can see my father, having come home on a dinner break, standing in the dining room with his shiny black leather shoes that squeaked. I can see his belt holding his holstered revolver and his pair of cuffs. I have the cuffs right here. He had used an etcher to imprint his name on them, and one of the Es in Summerell is printed backwards. I have no idea if he had done that on purpose. I never got the chance to ask him.

On the day of his viewing I walked into the funeral parlor with my mother, and I saw two uniformed men, one on either side of his casket. I asked my mom why they were there and she told me my father had a 24 hour honor guard. I asked her why, and she told me it was because he was loved and respected. I was so proud of him. In a small way having those men there through the night made me feel better, because I didn't want him to be there all alone.

No one had given me a single heads up prior to the actual funeral, and I was surprised again the next day when I discovered his casket draped with the Flag. Again I questioned my mother, and she told me that he was being given a military funeral because he had been discharged honorably, and having served his country in whatever capacity he deserved one.

I was ok until the riflemen started firing their volleys as a salute. When I heard those guns crack through the air the tears started. To this day I cannot stand the sound of a rifle shot. On one New Year's Eve I spent the night at a friend's house, and her dad was a hunter. At midnight he took his rifle outside and fired it a few times. With each shot my heart hit my sternum and I had to go inside and sob in the bathroom.

When my dad's funeral ended they folded his flag and walked over to my grandmother. The soldier holding the flag said to her, "As a representative of the United States Army, it is my high privilege to present you this flag. Let it be a symbol of the grateful appreciation this nation feels for the distinguished service rendered to our country and our flag by your loved one." I stood there as straight as a pin. The tears had stopped, and by this point I was numb. My grandmother then did what might have been the kindest and most thoughtful thing she had ever done in her life. She turned to me and handed me the flag. She said, "This should be yours."

And it is. I clutched that flag to my chest as tightly as I could. I placed it in a cedar chest when we got home, and it stayed there until I moved out of the house. My mother bought me a display box for it to keep it safe. When I have room to display it I do. Otherwise it is stored carefully in a closet. I pulled it from the closet the other day to pack it for our move, and I already know exactly where I'm putting it once we get there.

The kids will have to fight over who gets it someday. I refuse to make that determination. Maybe they can share custody.

Happy Veterans Day, everyone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I know you don't actually know me from Adam

At least many of you don't.

But I'm going to ask you to place your trust in me just the same.

My friend Coyote was roommates in college with this absolutely fabulous chick. I met her when she came back to the East Coast and worked with us for awhile. This woman has had more than her fair share of shit in her life. The details of the shit are unimportant for this tale, and I wouldn't provide them anyway as I do not have her permission to do so. What I can tell you is that she plugs through all of the heartache and roadblocks with tenacity that I have found totally inspiring. She's funny and strong and smart and resourceful and beautiful and all of those things that make insecure women envious.

After she had been back here for a few years she decided to pursue her dream. Many of us have dreams. I sure do. She went for it. She did everything necessary to buy herself a farm. I'm not talking about some pansy-ass "gentleman's farm" either. She bought herself a working farm and got to work. Because it would take awhile for this farm to actually provide her and her husband with a living she also worked actual jobs. She busted her ass on the farm every day and then dragged it to work to bring home a paycheck. On the weekends she would hit a local farmers market and sell fresh eggs and vegetables. She was the first person I had ever seen with the ingenious idea of selling a "subscription" service to folks to have local produce in season delivered to their homes.

Did I mention she's wicked smart?

On Sunday morning while she slept the wiring under the house apparently sparked for some reason. The smoke alarm did its job and she escaped. Most of her pets made it out safely. Not all of them did.

Everything is gone.

Her husband had joined the reserves and is currently overseas, but they're sending him home. In the meantime she's staying with his folks about 3 hours away. That is one hell of a commute every day to make sure the farm keeps going. But she'll do it.

Now here's where I ask for your trust. Thankfully they had insurance, which will cover replacement of the house and the larger items in it. I'm not going to toss a Paypal donation button up on my sidebar unless enough of you ask me to. I don't know that she'd accept the funds anyway. What I am going to ask for is gas cards. The cost of fuel to drive back and forth is going to be absolutely insane. If any of you have even a few dollars to send me prepaid cards to some of the big stations, Texaco, Shell, yes, even Exxon, shoot me an email and I will send you my address so we can get these to her. I'll get them to Coyote and she can pass them along.

I'm asking for a rally, folks. The small farmer is a dying breed, and I for one want this one to make it.

EDIT: Wild Onion Farms

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I Want You to Go Get a Peanut

Seriously. Have any peanuts in the house? Salted, Boiled, Spanish, it really matters not. If you have any go get one. Get a few so you can eat some while we talk. I'll wait.

Ok, if you followed instructions and got the peanut(s) (or even if you have no peanuts) I want to ask you a question. Did you know that Santa Claus hides inside peanuts? I do because my mom told me. Even better than telling me was the fact that she showed me. Open a peanut. Gently. Pry the two halves apart and have a peek inside. Do you see him? His tiny little face and beard and hat? Etched in nutmeat in greater detail than any sober person could possibly manage in those dimensions is Santa. If you are a person who has no peanuts available at the moment I will show him to you myself.

Ta Da.

My friend Coyote and I were talking one night about how it's the small moments that matter to kids more than the overblown gestures. I, for one, have always felt that it was more important to have a great Mommy and Daddy than Mother and Father. I had both. My parents were very good at the serious business of parenting, but what stays in my heart and fills it to bursting are those magical moments they gave me. I believe wholly that childhood should be a time of magic, and not simply in the Trips to Orlando kind of way. The serious business of parenting, the rules, the protection, actually parenting instead of chickening out and trying to be best buds is very necessary. If done correctly, those things do a slow burn in a child's character. The tiny little things, however, are those that will be pulled front and center to a child's brain when a parent leaves this world.

My mother was the first person to really show me an example of physics, which is mildly amusing since she failed physics. I do not remember a specific day, or what month it was, or what I was wearing. I do remember, though, my mom pointing to the maples in front of the house and saying, "Look! They're tiny helicopters!" I ran down the steps and looked up at hundreds of tiny maple seed pods fluttering to the ground, spinning as they came. The wind calmed, and my mom came down the steps as well, picked some up in her hands, and tossed them in the air to fall again. My toddler disappointment evaporated, and I joined in. I watched the tiny pods spin in their circles to the ground over and over again, and when my attention began to drift my mother took me over to the neighbor's maple, which was a different type. She picked one of the larger, green pods it held and used her thumbnail to slit the base. She spread the base open and applied it to my nose and told me I was Pinocchio.

My dad was actually pretty good at that whole "pulling a penny from your ear" thing, and it tickled me to no end whenever he did it. In fact, when I became pregnant with Livvie I informed Rich that he was going to have to learn how to do that correctly. It's a Dad Thing. I haven't known many moms that can pull it off, but almost everyone I know remembers their dad doing it. My dad was a gift giver. He was one of those dudes that would stop and pick up flowers for no reason, and he always remembered birthdays and anniversaries. After he moved out his gifts to me became more grandiose, and I have a sick feeling he was trying to maintain my affection for him by buying it. To his credit, he was a fabulous trash picker, and he would snag me some truly fabulous things that way. His gifts to me, in more ways than one, included a telescope he plucked from the side of the road and a microscope he bought for my 8th birthday. One of his best gifts to me ever, though, was a broken prism. It had a small chunk missing from one corner, and he brought it to me and showed me that you can hold rainbows in your hands. Livvie is absolutely enraptured with rainbows right now, and although her Christmas will be small this year, at least on her parents' part, there will be a prism in her stocking. I can get a bag of them for $8.95. So can you. Go Here. They were local folks in Barrington, NJ for ages, and they gave my uncle his first decent job as a teenager.

I received a bit of magic as an adult to pass on to my kids as well. Coyote, mentioned earlier, and I were outside one night when the moon was low and large. She bounced on her toes once and yelled, "Bunny on the moon!" I turned to her with the eyebrow up and she pointed and asked me if I hadn't heard about the bunny on the moon. I told her I certainly hadn't, and I turned my head this way and that for a few seconds, and then I saw it. The trick is to get past seeing the Man in the Moon. Erase it from your head. Widen your vision a bit and there's the bunny. Do you see it? I squealed like a girl and she told me a version of this story:

(From Wikipedia)

In the Buddhist story "Śaśajâtaka", a monkey, an otter, a jackal, and a rabbit resolved to practice charity on the Uposatha, believing a demonstration of great virtue would earn a great reward.
When an old man begged for food, the monkey gathered fruits from the trees and the otter collected dead fish from the river bank, while the jackal wrongfully pilfered a lizard and a pot of milk-curd. The rabbit, who knew only how to gather grass, instead offered its own body, throwing itself into a fire the man had built. The rabbit, however, was not burnt. The old man revealed himself to be Śakra, and touched by the rabbit's virtue, drew the likeness of the rabbit on the moon for all to see. It is said the lunar image is still draped in the smoke that rose when the rabbit cast itself into the fire.
 I never see the Man in the full moon anymore. I only see the bunny. I think I like that very much.

I'm discovering magic along my journey with these kids as well. I am absolutely not the best mother to walk this planet. Oftentimes I downright suck. I'm trying as hard as I can, though, to be a good Mommy. Livvie cannot sleep without the light in her fish's small tank on to chase the dark. I feel bad for the fish, because I assume he gets no sleep and is about to go berserk at any moment. The other night after I got Livvie tucked in I went to her dresser and pushed the button on the back of the tank. Nothing happened. The last time his bulb burned out she woke up hysterical off and on all night, so I told her I'd be right back and went to look for a new bulb. I thought I had purchased a two pack, but I was mistaken. I was poking around in the cabinet where we store bulbs, and I saw a small box of white Christmas tree lights. I think it's a strand of thirty. I grabbed the box, ripped it open, and tore that annoying little baggie full of spares off of the strand. I went to her room and told her we had no more fish bulbs, and that she'd have to make do with these. I draped them across the windowsill and plugged them in. She sat up and said, "It's beautiful!! It's rainbows and unicorns!!"

Ta Da.

We're going to be installing one of these in Livvie's new bedroom before she moves in. It's a fairy door that a friend of mine sent to her. It's about 12 inches tall, and it's going to go on a wall near a small cypress tree decorated with white "fairy lights" in a corner. When we move her to her new room the fairies will have already moved in ahead of time. Hopefully it will distract her to some extent, as the last time we went to the house she asked to "go home" after awhile.

If nothing else it'll be a little bit more magic in my own world.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Love and Other Indoor Sports...

Remember that little phrase from Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself? I remember when I read that book and the meaning of it dawned on me I blushed as red as a tomato.

But then Judy Blume made me blush regularly.

I am by no means a prude. Really. You can ask my best friend. We've discussed some serious raunch over the past 10 years, and I can come out with some wicked nasty. I do, however, still blush. Easily.

Yesterday I was packing up the closets because I figured that the best course of action was to start with packing the things we don't need over the next couple of weeks and end with the items that are still in use. I was going through the closet in the living room, and that happens to be where we stashed everything from our wedding. The fancy shmancy "marriage certificate" is in there. You know, the one suitable for framing? It's um, sort of crumpled now. And I never filled it out. So I took 2 minutes yesterday to do that. It was in a giant gift bag that was itself inside a large, open cardboard box. Other things had tumbled into the box over the years, so I decided to sort through everything and re-pack the box with only wedding nostalgia.

My hand fell upon a wad of white lace and I pulled it out to find a thong (actually more of a G-String) with a musical crotch that plays the recessional music from weddings when pressure is applied. My face burst into flames.

Now, you have to understand that I never wore it. I really, really can't stand thong underwear in the first place, and the LAST moment I want something wandering up my rear end is when I'm trying to concentrate on being happy. I like being happy. I do not like wedgies.

I am convinced that had I lived in the days when the wedding party would crash the honeymoon suite after the wedding took place, strip the bloody bedding, and parade it around the reception I would have slit my own throat.

I am perfectly comfortable discussing sex as a concept. I REALLY enjoy making jokes about it in general (when I turned 21 my roommates gave me a Very Penis Birthday. Let's just say I had no idea there were that many items of that theme in existence). There is also one particular topic from my past that is between the best friend and myself, and it never fails to inspire hilarity. In general, though, I really, really, honest to God truly do not like anyone knowing about my own particular business. Or even thinking about it (and I know that right now you can't think about anything else, but I'm willing to make the sacrifice of my dignity for this entry).

People who give the kind of gift that plays music in your crotch are thinking about your particular business. I flamed when I first unwrapped it just as badly as I did yesterday. I'm the kind of person who spent all of both pregnancies once I began showing thinking, "Oh my gawd. Everyone knows I got laid." When the kids finally figure out that act had to occur to get them here I might very well run shrieking into the night.

I've had moments over the years when I've had to stuff my mortification and ask people for advice about certain issues, and each and every time I've wanted to crawl into a very dark cave and die.

While I have a thousand and one issues that do bug me, such as the OCD thing and really hating to drive at night, I actually don't mind this personality quirk too much. The primary reason is that it allows my husband to still have the ability to make me blush. There's something fairly delightful about that.

Since the theme of today appears to be shame of one sort or another, I'll go ahead and link you to the essay I wrote for my assignment for Chuck at Terribleminds. It is a far more depressing piece than the above. Enter at your own risk.

EDIT: Odd that I have not tagged this post at all, and yet technorati sent someone here because I supposedly tagged the post as "3 D S e x G a m e s." Sometimes I hate the internet.

Friday, November 06, 2009

There Is No Post Today

One of my very best friends lost her dog of almost 2 decades today. He was awesome. On the day I met him he jumped on my bare legs and gave me a 6 inch gash that left a scar for over 2 years. I used to look at that scar fondly. I sure wish I still had it now.

<------- Please notice on the sidebar I have created a wall for those dogs we have lost in our lives. So many gone this year alone. If you'd like your dog on the list, or even one you've known, simply give me a heads up.

Thank you. Hug your dog. I'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I fibbed the other day

I have more than one treasure chest.

I was going through the kitchen cabinets this afternoon determining what would be moved and what would be tossed. And I reached into the back of one cabinet and pulled out <---this bag.

This bag contains Clancy's last morning.

When I pulled it from the cabinet my face must have changed, because Livvie said, "Ommy's sad." and I choked up and told her that while I was sad, it was an ok kind of sad. I told her to go play in the living room. Only then did I let the waterworks go.

On the morning I fought to save Clancy and had to admit defeat and give up, I drove home from the vet and placed his entire morning in a freezer bag. I took the bag and placed it in the cabinet where I would be able to simply open the door and see it. His entire morning. A single, one gallon sized bag.

The bag contains the puppy pad that I placed on the floor when I was desperately trying to get him to pee as his kidneys shut down. You'll also notice the empty Ringers bag from my last attempt at giving him fluids in order to help that process of peeing along. The small object on the puppy pad is the wrapper from the needle used on the line. 19 gauge. I had some 20s, but I wanted that fluid in him as quickly as possible.

The needle is still attached to the line. Capped, but attached.

I did look at that bag. A lot. Over time though, my pain eased and I didn't pull it out as often, and it got pushed to the back of the cabinet behind baby food and dog supplements and heart worm preventative (I know I'm not the only one who keeps the pet stuff with the baby stuff. And if I am, too bad).

After I pulled the bag from the cabinet today I pushed aside the Interceptor and the Advantix and all of Jonas's new, uneaten baby food and I pulled out The Box. The Box contains the rest of Clancy's last few  months.

An open box of lancets. His glucose meter. The silicone gel I used on his ears to help the blood bead for testing. The last bag of syringes. Cat treats. Rescue Remedy. And his last, open vial of insulin and the unopened insulin that had been on standby.

I could have given away the meter. I could have given away the syringes. At the time of his death we had a cat at the shelter who was diabetic and on the same insulin, and I could have certainly given the unopened vial to them.

I couldn't part with any of it.

I don't know why any of this helps me, but it does. I don't know if I'm completely fucked in the head for caring about one particular cat as much as I did him, and I don't care.

He was my cat of a lifetime.

And every single bit of this is going with me.

I'm still not ready.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I have a growing suspicion...

That I know exactly what's going on here, folks.

If you'll take your mouse and click on your scroll bar and zip yourselves alllllll the way down to the bottom of this page you'll see a little box that says SiteMeter. Go ahead. Click it. Get a good look.

I know exactly where all of you are. Move your mouse over to "Location" and you'll see that I can even see your desktop from here. Close that window full of Furries. Your mom is looking.

Kidding. Only Rich can do that. But are you wigged out yet? I am. Here's why. Along with viewing your location and which OS you're running and how many pistachio shells are currently next to your keyboard I can view exactly what brought you here. Do you love and know me and have me bookmarked? Did you click my link on Facebook? Did someone email to you the link to one of my entries? Or was it a random Google drive by? A few weeks ago I mentioned that the number one googled phrase that lands people here is "What a size _____ looks like." Google leads them to this entry. I updated all of you on the fact that I was unfortunately no longer a size 10 as my stress and lack of opportunity to eat much are whittling me away to a pencil.

So everyday at least once I click on SiteMeter and check out where all of you are coming from. I'm nosy. What the fuck can I say? I love to see the geographical locations of everyone and play guessing games about who is whom. It's fun, and I'm lame and I have no life. Shut it.

Since I opened my blog to the public again my hits have exploded with versions of that search. Sometimes it's simply "Size 10." I'll let you know right now that It's a bit disturbing to me that those mere words will bring you right here. My ass has apparently gone global. Mexico. Hungary. Someone in Australia today wanted to know what "a size 10a breast looks like," and landed right here. When I saw that it clicked, and I remembered this comment someone had been courteous enough to post:

Anonymous said...
I'm feeling a little guilty here.
I actually did a Google search that said " what is a size 10".
This nice girl I met online said she was a size 10 and I had no clue what a size 10 looked like.
After seeing your bum I think I'll propose.
Great post....and great bum.

This is all of you, isn't it. All y'all are ending up here because you've been trolling for chicks online and having met one who gives you her stats you feel the need to check up on what that might look like. I applaud the fact that you all seem to have the presence of mind not to approach your female acquaintances and ask them what size they wear to find an example. I do want to provide an answer, though, to the dude who googled, "What does a size 2 look like." One word. Ghastly.

In an effort to assist you all I'm going to present you with this primer on what certain sizes CAN look like. Your mileage may vary.

Marilyn Monroe - Size 16

Emme Aronson - Size 14

Lizzie Miller - Size 12

Whitney - Size 10

Cindy Crawford - Size 8

Jennifer Lopez - Size 6

I refuse to post sizes 0-4. If you're trying to figure that out, go to the news stand and pick up a chick rag. Or you could, you know, ask the chick you're trying to hook up with for a photo. 


(Except Mr. Anonymous who took the time to write...)