Monday, October 31, 2005

Ninja J-man

Ok, so if I were picking out the halloween costume for my son, this certainly wouldn't be my first choice. But Steven was so excited to have his little cousin dressed just like him that I couldn't possibly resist. Besides, J-man would be cute in anything, right?

Happy Halloween y'all!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Forced Insomnia

If Jonas doesn't start sleeping soon, I'm going to be forced to give him away as a trick-or-treat goodie.

Ugh. I can't take it anymore. Sure, he falls asleep every night, ever so sweetly at his regular bedtime. But by 1:30 or 2:00 it's playtime and there ain't a damn thing in the world that I know of to stop him.

We've tried giving him warm milk, we've tried turning on cartoons, we've tried music, news (thinking it would bore him to death) we've tried total darkness, we've tried talking nice, we've tried being firm, we've tried holding him down until he finally gives in. I don't know what else to do, but something has to give! Mommy can't take it much longer. It's been a week since I've slept more than three hours.

Of course, his little late-night romps usually wind themselves down around 5, which is exactly the moment my alarm goes off. And then he slips peacefully back to sleep, and I'm left dragging ass and a sleeping baby off to daycare. Did I mention that daycare frowns upon sleeping children first thing in the morning? I think I have. And, quite frankly, so do I, since I didn't get any sleep myself.

I'm grumpy, and dare I say, resentful of both my son and my husband who both seem to have the luxury to do whatever the fuck they want, whenever the fuck they want, and all I can do is try to warp myself around their needs and wants.

Ugh. I need coffee. Sorry to rant.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Yeah Baby!

You're an Orgasm!!  There are a few variations on this drink but one way to reach the climax is to combine equal parts of Irish cream liqueur, white creme de cacao, triple sec and v
""Which cocktail are you?""

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Monday, October 24, 2005

It's all over now

The storm is gone.

It never really got horrible. Quite a bit of rain. Enough to make the canal behind the house nearly overflow... nearly. And as far as wind goes, it was wicked at times, but nothing like the storms we had last year. Ironically, we sustained more damage this time around than we did last year. The roof is intact, thank God. Of course, with a brand new roof, we didn't expect any less.

The damage this time came in the form of a blown in shed and a ruined water softener. Erin, all of my baby clothes were in the shed. I haven't gone in there to actually assess the damage, but once I do, I'll let you know the status of your care package. :) I really don't expect it to be that bad.

The water softener has already been repaired as well, thanks to my Dad and my uncle. They were really life savers, working by the headlights of the jeep, in the cold. Damn it's cold.

We lost power for a little while, but it has been repaired, apparently all around town as I've only seen a few buisnesses and traffic lights down.

The worst part of the storm came in the form of tornadoes. Three of them in this county alone. None of them close enough to us to be scary at all.

Overall, Wilma was a dud for us, and I can't say that I'm upset about it.

It's been a long day, and we're holed up at my parents house, since we weren't expecting to have our power restored so quickly, or our water, for that matter. I took a few pictures throughout the storm, and if any of them are worth sharing, I'll post them tomorrow, once we're back at home.

'night y'all

All now sleeping

Around sunrise I took Mocha out for what will, most likely, be her last potty trip of the day. The first bands of Wilma had arrived just before I woke up. It's not really bad at all, yet. Just some short lived gusts of wind, lots of rain. Seems like a typical rainy day, not a hurricane. I'm sure that as the storm makes it's way across the state, the situation will get uglier.

We've got Wil's van pulled up against the window. You couldn't squeeze a fart between the cargo doors and the a/c. I feel much better about the whole plexi-glass situation.

And, as promised, here are some pictures from this morning. They're not high quality at all, but c'mon, who's going to stand in the middle of a storm and worry about such thing as lighting?

This is the front yard/corner of the driveway. As you can see, no wind, just a little rain.

And this is from the screened porch, looking across the street to the vacant lot. Again, not very exciting, but you can see some of the water that's already standing there. We've never flooded here before, but we've had record rains this year. We'll wait and see.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


At about seven hours before impact, the thought just occurred to me that the biggest window in our house is nothing more than a sheet of plexiglass held in with weather-stripping.

A little too late, I suppose. We could dismount the window unit a/c and shut the window completely, but we haven't the tools needed to do such a thing, and I hardly think that my sister is going to drag her ass, and Steven's over right this second to help me.

No plywood in the shed to try and rig some sort of cover for it. So, on to plan... well... the only plan we have. We're going to drive Wil's work van right up against it and hope that that's enough to keep the majority of wind and rain from blowing the damned thing out.

It's about 8:30 in the evening and we're already starting to experience some bad weather. Nothing major, just thunder, lightning, and there have been some tornadoes to our south. We're under a warning, but it's not even raining at this point.

And, like earlier, it's eerily quiet all around town.

Wil and I ate a hodge-podge dinner of stuff from the freezer in an attempt to reduce our losses should the power go out for an extended period.

It's going to be a long night. There's nothing I hate more than uncertainty, and that's exactly what we've got.

The Calm

It's incredibly serene this afternoon. I guess it's the proverbial calm before the storm.

We're not projected to get the brunt of the storm, but we are expecting winds over 75 mph, and considering half of my neighbors still have blue tarps for roofs, that's capable of doing some damage.

Incredibly, no one seems to be doing anything in the way of preparations. I haven't even stored my trash cans away or brought in my plants. I think it's just that we're all on hurricane overload. We've become immune. If this were two years ago half the town would have evacuated by now. Funny how tragedy makes us stronger, or dumber.

I went to the store yesterday, not because I wanted to go overboard on hurricane supplies, but simply because I had to. Baby's gotta have his milk, etc. That's the only place where I ran into any sort of hurricane frenzy. Oddly, my biggest scuffle was over a can of vienna sausages. Apparently those are considered the prime rib of hurricane fare. Me, I just wanted them because they're the only meat product, vile as they are, that will pass Jonas's lips. The bitch in front of me took the last five cans, knowing damn well that I was waiting to grab them. Honestly, couldn't she have given me just one for my son? People suck.

I thanked her very sarcastically for her goodwill, and she had the balls to smirk at me in a finder's keepers sort of way before meandering her way down the canned goods aisle, big ass jiggling in her wake.

Other than that, the grocery store was still well-stocked on everything. Of course, water was hard to come by, but I got three gallons of the high-priced "nursery" water, which is just distilled water with added flouride.

I fail to understand people's logic sometimes. I mean, this IS a fast moving storm. It'll be in and out of here in a matter of hours, so why are they buying out the stores as if it's their last chance?

And if they're that damned concerned, why aren't they preparing their houses?

Wil's been activated, which means J and I will be riding this one out alone. I find that, more than anything, to be the hardest part. Being here, all alone while he's up at the hospital.

If we somehow manage to keep power and cable throughout the storm, I'll do my best to update as often as possible. I've got the camera ready, and in a way, I'm almost looking forward to mother nature's show of force. Yep, I'm sick like that. :)

Later y'all.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Shove it

Today I had one of those days where I could have easily quit my job, and walked away without a single feeling of regret. I know we all have those days from time to time. But sometimes it's almost impossible to resist that urge.

Anyone who owns a pet has probably heard of this new canine influenza virus that is, apparently, sweeping the country. It presents like kennel cough, acts like kennel cough. As a matter of fact, I don't know how you can tell the difference between the two other than the fact that it's running rampant around our kennel even though all of our boarders are vaccinated.

And the strange part is, no one seems to give a shit. So here we are, up against a weekend AND a hurricane, and we're calling all of our reservations and urging them to find alternate plans for their dogs, and yet people are so damned determined to go on their vacations, or to tuck their pets away somewhere "safe" for the storm that they're totally disregarding the fact that we've got this epidemic ravaging our kennel. Morons.

Nearly every pet that's spent any time at our place in the past week is sick. Some moreso than others, and none of them life-threatening at this point, but there's really not a whole lot we can do for them, other than symptomatic treatment. And yet they keep coming in.

Would you drop your child off at a daycare where they stood a 99% chance of catching chicken-pox? So why would you do this to your dog?

And, of course, the owners seem so fixated on the almighty dollar that they won't put their collective foot down and just make the decision to close the kennel until things are under control. And how are they going to get under control as long as we keep bringing in new animals? Sure, we can quarantine those that are exhibiting symptoms, but it's AIRBORNE. Ummm... last I checked, that means that it's traveling through the a/c ducts. There's no "safe" room.

But enough of the boring vet shit. It's just been a bad day. Between being up to my eyeballs in dogshit all day, dealing with a hoard of dumbasses, having the computers down for several hours and having to do everything manually, and a few select employees that don't pull their weight, or make it their personal goal to make other people completely miserable, I'm just mentally and physically exhausted.

So, when I said this afternoon that I was just about ready to call it quits, I meant it.

I've talked this game in the past... many, many, many times. But due to recent events, and some other events that may be coming to fruition in the near future, I think that my tenure in the vet world is about to come to a screeching halt.

And with that, I wish you all a wonderful evening.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Here we go again

Looks like Wilma will be stopping by for a visit this weekend.

After last year's devastation in this area, and the recent hurricanes that have torn the gulf apart, I'm on storm overload. And while this storm threatens to be pretty severe, I just can't seem to muster up enough strength to even give a shit.

So many people are scrambling to buy supplies. Gas lines are outrageous. Me, I'm sitting on a quarter of a tank with no plans to alter my life. I guess you just sort of reach a point... I don't know if it's apathy, exactly... where it just seems useless to even worry.

And you can say that you're not worried, but of course, under that calm exterior, you're a total wreck. But what can you do? You can't alter weather patterns, so what's the point. It's just a matter of acceptance.

My parents have reserved a couple of hotel rooms, thinking that a hotel is more secure than home. I tend to disagree, and besides, I can't take my animals to the hotel, and I'm not going to just leave them behind. I'm sure the cats would fend for themselves for a few days, but the dog wouldn't make it.

We can't evacuate since Wil's job requires him to report. I guess I could go on my own, but that seems silly. How can I take off and leave my husband behind? So I'll sit put, ride out a few hours of ugly weather, and spend a couple of days in the dark. I'll go ahead and cook all the perishables, we'll have a virtual feast of odds and ends, and then we'll settle in for the crackers and peanutbutter phase of recovery.

So bring it on, Wilma.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Picture Meme

I saw this on another blog, and, although I usually don't bother with these things, this one seemed kind of fun.

Here's what you have to do:

Do a Google image search of the following and post the first (or favorite) result for each:
* The name of the town where you were born
* The name of the town where you live now
* Your name
* Your grandmother's name (just pick one)
* Your favorite food
* Your favorite drink
* Your favorite song
* Your favorite smell

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My hometown- Memphis... sure, I suppose I could have chosen something Elvis, but why be that obvious?

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You'd be surprised at how few pictures there are of Palm Bay.

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Don't I wish?

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What was Granny's name again?

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Ummm, self explanatory, I guess.

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Mmmm... coffee.

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a guitar legend

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FPG and Gumbo

My son, who is on a cheese only diet lately just surprised me by consuming a rather large bowl of Daddy Dave's gumbo. I mean, ate to the point of licking the bowl clean. Amazing! Especially considering that Daddy Dave doesn't do anything mildly. He's been known to clear a room full of sinuses and leave tears in the eyes of grown men. My kid's got strange taste-buds, for sure. I'm just glad he ate something, finally.

He's teething, two bottom teeth, two top molars, all at once. Poor kid. Poor me... he's so fussy and clingy. This is the first time he's teeth have really bothered him.

Do you have a website that you visit regularly? One that, when you arrive there, it's almost like a homecoming?

For me it's the FPG site. FPG

This is a festival that Wil and I attended regularly before Jonas was born. I can't even begin to tell you what a group of amazing individuals we've met there.

You see, I'm pagan at heart, but I'm not much of a "practitioner" of the craft. You won't find me casting circles, invoking the elements, garbed out in flowing robes and chanting. Nope, I'm just not that elaborate of a person. To me, paganism is more about living life in tune with the earth. It's got about as much to do with flash and glimmer as Christianity does with the easter bunny or Santa. I'm a silent worshipper of the fallen leaf and the flowing water.

But festival... oh, my sweet festival. So many people. So many like-minded, earth-loving folks. And there's such a variety. There's your typical black-footed hippy, and then there's the Joe Schmo corporate banker that, for this one weekend, sheds the geekdom and let's it all hang out... quite literally.

There's comraderie between folks that, in every-day life, just wouldn't exist. There's love flowing from every corner of the park, it's thick, palpable, exquisite.

I miss fire-circle, with drums pulsing out the earth-beat, the dancers, sweat-glistened and the scent of burning dead-wood. The musk of incense. The laughter from the camp next-door. The lonely guitar strummed in the darkness. Lord Jacobus, the oldest Pagan in the state, smiling wisely from his chair, yellow-white beard flowing down his chest.

I miss Boom-Boom, the ever-child, fairy wings upon her back, belting out a song about her "big ovaries". I miss men in loin-cloths, women in less, the squeal of children chasing butterflies in the labrynth.

It's utopia, or at least, as close as you'll ever get in this life. And I'm not saying that pagan folks are the only ones capable of creating such a sacred space, where 500 or more people can gather and there not be a single argument or tiff, but it's the only place where I've ever experienced such. It's like coming home to family. It's like resting your head in the palm of the goddess, at least for one weekend out of the year.

I'm homesick for my FPG.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Holy Ebay, Batman!

Ok, I've never been an Ebay enthusiast at all. I mean, sure you can probably find some good deals on there, but I just find it easier to run to the store and get whatever I want.

Now that Jonas is in love with the Teletubbies (God help me!) I figured that I could let go of my own personal hatred of them and get him a Teletubby for Christmas. Only problem is, they don't sell them in the stores anymore. You just can't find them anywhere. So off to Ebay I went. It's incredible how much junk you can find on there. If I want, I can completely redecorate his room in Teletubbies. I can dress him in Teletubby costumes, he can make tubby toast and clean up with a Noo-noo.

No, I won't go that overboard. I just want A teletubby for him. I'm not into commercialism that much.

So I placed a bid on a couple of items that were getting ready to end. I got outbid on the set of four talking teletubbies. (Just what do they say? They don't even talk on the show!) And I got outbid on the "Po" doll, but I did win Tinkie-Winkie. He's the purple Jerry Falwell hatin' gay bastard Teletubby. I'm fine with that. And for $3.95 my son will be one happy kid on Christmas morning.

I also still have a bid out on a two foot tall Dipsy. Quite honestly, I hope I lose. :) But if not, that's fine, too.

My point to all of this is, I've never been a gambler. Never really got into any sort of competition, but now that I've bid on this damn toy, I find that I'm addicted to it. I have to return every hour or so and make sure that I'm still winning, or what the price is up to now. And somewhere in my mind, the wheels are turning; all that stuff I have out in the shed. Jeez, I could make a killing!

And that's how it starts, folks. I am now thoroughly convinced that the Teletubbies really are the root of all evil.
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Saturday, October 15, 2005


Going back to my previous post with the link to Erin's site, I am spending this evening remembering.

Miscarriage Aftermath

The midnight air
vibrates electric,
as tense as the moment
before lightning strikes.
A leaden sky oozes
sulfuric blue sorrow
in fiery rivulets
of salacious, thick sweat .

Wake me,
shake me,
make me breathe again.

You pace these twisted halls,
anxious, caged,
yet singing softly
beneath deep sighs.
A honey-latin lyric
that sticky-drips
and slides—
warm into my untied ear

Calm the bee-buzz in my mind.
(You know the song I need to hear.)

Touch me,
hold me,
teach me your narcoleptic trick.

I cannot sleep
beneath these blankets;
cloaked and tainted
by the blood of bastard children
we’ve created, but never held.

A miracle denied,
deemed unworthy,
by selfish and unsharing Gods.

I lie awake,
count ceiling tiles and wait,
for the purple-pink of mourning to arrive.

and this one...

For My Husband, On Father’s Day

I often think
about her tiny fingers
that might have found
comfort wrapped around yours,
a picture of contrasts
so intimate
that these clumsy words
would seem a sacrilege.

You think about it, too.
It's in the phantom
way you touch my hair
in the quiet hours before dawn.
Her's might have felt that way,
nestled in ringlets,
halo-framing her cherub face.

I tell myself that
on this day, she
would have awakened you,
with her strawberry smile,
so much your own:

Like the sun's light
reflecting from the moon.

And somewhere inside
that radiant glow you
would have discovered your worth.

This is all I have left of the child we never held. No headstone to mark the place where she lay, no tiny strand of hair clipped gingerly from her still head. Just these words, and the silence of a pain so great it cannot be spoken.

I know that there are so many who have suffered harder losses than I, but all the same, a loss is a loss, and it deserves to be remembered.

I missed the trash, dammit!

And that's the way the day begins: A virtual ton of trash, and I missed the truck. There's something so damn agrivating about hearing that big engine whizzing down the street, knowing that there's no way you're going to make it to the road with your stuff before they get there.

Oh well, it'll just have to hang around until Wednesday. By then I'm sure we'll have nearly two tons.

The morning only got better from there when I logged in to my bank account, only to find that we were more than $100 over-drawn. Ugh. Never done that before. I always know how much we have. I guess we forgot to write something in... like the mortgage check! No big deal, though. My paycheck got deposited this morning, so that's settled.

It's been a rough couple of days around here.

Thursday night, about 11:00, Jonas sits straight up in bed and starts barking like a seal. The rest of the night was a struggle for him, trying to catch his breath between coughs. Any mother who's ever heard their child emit a barking cough knows immediately what it is: croup.

An early morning visit to the doctor confirmed this, and now he's on steroids to keep his throat from swelling shut. All in all, he's in pretty good spirits considering the fact that he feels like he's breathing through a straw. A little whiney, very hold-me, but otherwise smiley and content to play.

After our visit to the doctor, I had to leave him with Granny for the rest of the day because there was just no way I could take the day off of work.

Today we went and picked up a few groceries, purchased with a technically bad check, since the paycheck deposited this morning won't actually be posted until Monday. But you gotta eat, right?

Tomorrow is Wil's birthday. I feel bad because I can't get him anything. It's not that we expect gifts to be lavished upon us or anything, but just a simple little something would have been nice. I know he's been looking at watches. He needs a knock-around watch that he can wear to work without worrying about it getting scratched and broken. I almost bought one for him, but I have too much of a conscience to go buying things that aren't complete necessities when we're in the negative.

But, on the good side, our re-fi is finally in the works, and we should be in a much better position soon. We'll be paying off our two biggest debts, as well as doing a lot of repairs to the house. Of course, along with the repairs, we'll be doing a lot of fun upgrades that are totally unnecessary, but hey, you gotta live, right?

If all goes well, we'll have our bathroom fixed, our carpet replaced, a new laundry room, a new screened porch, a fresh coat of paint on the outside, and stucco repaired. We'll have a/c (praise god!) and possibly even new kitchen counters. I'd really like more counter space in the kitchen, and if we get the new laundry room, that'll be possible.

Of course, we'd also like new livingroom and bedroom furniture, but that's probably going to have to wait a little longer. We're trying to focus on doing repairs that wll add value to the house. I can't justify furniture yet.

Hmmm... do you think that all of this is do-able with about $20,000? I sure hope so.

Anyway, J-man is up from his nap. He's dancing along to "Jack's Big Music Show" and laughing. It's so cute watching him transform from a baby into a boy. Just in the past few weeks it seems like he's changed into a totally different child. He's starting to show preferences and dislikes with things that he used to just be indifferent about. He used to be content with any toy in the world, now he goes and picks a specific one. And music, god he loves music! Any kind of music will send him into a happy little dance.

But that's enough rambling for one day. Time to go figure out lunch and maybe do something constructive with the rest of the day. Maybe we'll bake Daddy-o a birthday cake. I've got a shaker full of candy sprinkles. Jonas would LOVE covering a cake in sprinkles.

I can't say it any better than this

and so I won't.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Right where it belongs

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Jonas has a new fascination with the paper shredder. This morning, when I went on a mad dash for the ringing phone, here's where I found it. My son is no dummy! :)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Driving home

The other night my sister and I had a little barbecue thing at my parents house. Nothing major, just a few friends over, a couple of beers, some conversation. Now, my parents live in a really nice area of town. Nice quite neighbors, big houses, nice lawns. The sort of place you'd like your kids to grow up living.

As we were driving home, at the place where the small road meets the main one, I prepared to make that familiar right. To my left I see a plice car approaching, lights strobing, no siren. I figure I'll wait for him to pass. Especially since I'm driving with a busted tail-light. As he gets to the place where I'm waiting, he comes to a stop, pulls a u-turn across the median, and the sight that is illuminated by his headlights is something I wish I had never seen: A dead man, lying at the curb, the back of his head a collage of blood and bone. A woman stood above him, phone to her ear, dressed in a ragged old robe. She wasn't screaming, she wasn't crying, she was just gone. Blank and ashen and vacant.

I don't know these folks, but I've seen the guy before. He's her son, I think. I don't know what happened. Maybe it was just a hit and run, maybe it was a shooting. Hard to say, but all I know is that I never wanted to witness it. The blankness of mother's empty stare, the twisted remains of a son whose life was cut unexpectedly short.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Do you suppose

that by merely thinking about someone you somehow draw them closer to you. Maybe humans have some sort of telepathic link between them that scientist know nothing about.

Just the other day I had grandma's kitchen in my mind. As I tried to write about it, instead, what came out was more an image of my uncles all gathered around the kitchen table. That was not part of the original mental image, and I just sort of wrote it off as one of those mental-association things. Where one thought leads to another, and then another. Or maybe just the fact that a grandmother's kitchen is one of those places of familiar comfort and gathering.

Either way, Friday morning, at the butt-crack of dawn, Dad calls me on my cell as I'm dropping J off at daycare to inform me that Daryl had shown up the night before. No phone call, no nothing, just there, on the front step, sunburned, bedraggled, tired.

To know Daryl is a tough thing to do. He's quiet, shy, reclusive. There have been times when I've traveled home to Tennessee where he hasn't even come downstairs to say hello. For him to journey over 1000 miles without even a phonecall. Weird, to say the least.

We may never know the story of the true reason he took off like that. It wouldn't be out of the question that he's in some sort of trouble. Or maybe it's just a midlife crisis sort of thing. But here he is, with no plans.

I chatted with him over lunch on Friday. Apparently he's been in town for over two weeks. Just caught a Greyhound bus to wherever, washed up on the beach here and that's where he stayed, sleeping under the cover of sea oats, eating whatever came his way, drinking copious amounts of beer. He even had some sort of job for a few days. Construction of some sort.

One afternoon, venturing out into the ocean for a swim, he was caught in a nasty crash of wave and slammed against some sort of rocky protrusion. He's bruised from mid-thigh to the small of his back. He laid on the beach, not moving for two days, thinking he'd broken his hip or leg. Finally, able to hobble to the road, he caught a cab and showed up on his brother's doorstep.

Strange, indeed.

Why would a handsome man in his early 40's decide to voluntarily live the hobo life? Just take off and leave everything behind? I can't imagine.

Sure, I've had the urge a time or two to just take off. Maybe it's something in our family blood. Some convoluted genetic flaw that makes us want to just run off when things get tough. The only thing I know for sure is this: I come from weird, weird stock.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Birthdays and Breads

October is a busy month around here. My sister-in-law's birthday, my sister's birthday, my husband's birthday, my grandfather's birthday, and our wedding anniversary all occur in the first half of the month! Yikes!

Along with all of that, it's also a busy time for me, personally. I don't know what it is about October, maybe it's just the fact that the seasons finally start to change a little. The sticky heat of summer starts to subside, and I come alive.

I've always been a fall sort of person. I love autumn and all of it's colors, smells, and crispness. I love it the way most people love spring and it's green budding.

The pagan in me realizes that this is the time of the harvest, when things come to a close, it's the end of things, and the beginning of the dark times. But I love the beauty of the harvest time so much that it's hard for me to look at it as a time of darkness and cold.

And Halloween... god I love Halloween. Sure, I guess being a pagan and all, I should be referring to it as Samhain, but that word seems to carry around a stereotype of it's own... deathmetaldarkoccult type of image. And that's not what it's about.

There are so many misconceptions about pagan religions. I'm not going to sit here and try to dispell them all. It's simply not worth it. If you don't get it, and you don't want to try and get it, then there's no use in trying to explain it. Just know this: pagans aren't satanic, they're not evil or malevolent. We're not out to drink blood or cause any sort of evil. We're just in-tune with the earth's cycles and choose to celebrate them.

So now is the time of harvest. The God (represented by the fading sun and shortening days) is dying. On Samhain (pronounced "Sow-in", ok?) the Great Father passes on into the underworld. The world becomes cold, the days shorter. This is a time of rest and reflection and giving thanks for all of the bounties of the previous year. Many pagans consider Samhain their new year's eve. And why not? Since the god dies on this night, and is reborn at Yule, shouldn't this mark the end of the year? Think back to simpler times when the world was mostly agricultural. Once the crops were in and the land barren, the year would logically be over, right?

Anyway, as I said, this wasn't meant to be a lesson in paganism, just sort of a description of the time of year that I find most appealing.

Jonas played out in the yard yesterday for the first time. Mostly he just sat and ran his fingers through the grass. He was intrigued by it's texture. It made me wish we lived farther north so that he could witness leaves falling and the quiet of a cool day in the woods.

Oh well, instead we came inside and baked bread. Any time I bake, I give him a little piece of the dough to play with. Usually it just gets eaten, or thrown on the floor, but I think the early exposure to cooking is good for him.

Here's the bread we made, fresh from the oven and still piping hot. Yum!

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We had it with spaghetti, and it was delicious. Crispy crust, dense but soft in the middle. Sometimes I think we could live on bread alone. The spaghetti was just so-so. As a matter of fact, the sauce was a bit too salty.

Anyway, today my sister, Wendy, is another year older. We're going out to dinner at Makoto's. It's one of those hibachi places where they cook the food in front of you and put on a little culinary show. We chose it because we knew that the kids would really enjoy it. And hey, the food ain't bad, either. :)

This is going to be the collective birthday/anniversary dinner, since it's so damn hard to get the entire family together for anything.

I bought Wendy a card, of course, and a Carl Hiassen novel. I personally can't stand the guy's style, but she loves it. To each their own, eh? He's a local schmo and he does paint a picture of Florida life well, right down to the trailerpark trash and the eccentric whackos. But I just don't need to read a book to know that I live in the nuttiest state in the union.

Anyway, J's asleep, and I've got some work to catch up on. Y'all have a beautiful day.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Memory Jogging

Isn't it great how we can close our eyes and return to a place we haven't been in years?

In high-school I took a writing course held by an incredible teacher. Of course, being a rebellious high-school student, I probably didn't take away nearly as much as I could have, but one thing I remember clearly were his memory spiders. We'd write a place in the center, and then, using all of our senses, break that place down into all of it's elements. We'd explore every facet of that place, go through it with every sense and re-create it. Once we'd fully fleshed out the details we could write about it.

This sort of brainstorming stuff is not something I'm particularly good at. For the most part, when I write, it comes from the moment, not from some forced exercise in remembering. But sometimes, in my mind, I will create these little memory spiders, I'll envision every little detail about somewhere I've been. Branch them out into the five senses, really re-live moments there.

Today I am thinking of my Mema's kitchen. Don't know why, but that image is looming inside of me. Maybe just because grandmother's kitchens are places of warmth and safety and familiarity. Maybe it's some sort of little twinge of homesickness.

Forgive me if this goes nowhere, but I feel compelled to flesh it out a little.

The wrought iron door casts vining shadows across the pergo floor. It's gritty beneath my bare feet. Not exactly dirty, just a fine layer of red-clay silt trudged carelessly in from the winding driveway. The wood paneling glows honey-oak in the lilting afternoon sun.

Everything is earth-tone, orange, brown, wood. Over on the cooktop, four large pots bubble away, emitting their organic scent. Limas, corn, black-eyed bliss mingled with the sweetness of ham hocks simmering away to soupy perfection.

Over the sink there is a glass-rack, cradling the stems of very unfancy glass goblets. We'd drink sweet tea from them, as if it were the nectar of honeysuckle freshly plucked from the enormous vines overflowing the barbed-wire fence just outside.

The countertops are orange Formica, straight from the sixties. The height of fashion back when Daddy Dean designed this places. Speaking of heights, all of the cabinets are beneath the counters instead of above. Mema is a petite little thing at just barely five feet. A striking contrast to her nearly seven foot husband.

This kitchen reminds me of lazy summer sundays, after church afternoons spent on a barstool, bellied up to the island. It wasn't just a place to cook and eat. It was the hub. The place where family came together. The uncles crowded around, smelling of the field and the heat in their off-brand jeans and sleveless Marlboro shirts. Their hair sweat-plastered to their heads, a tribute to a hard day's work. They sit in creaky wooden chairs, legs out before them, crossed at the ankles, flicking their cigarettes into an amber ashtray in the center of the old table.

I always wanted to be like them. Hard on the outside, weathered in that Clint Eastwood sort of way.

And that's as far as this can go now. Jonas is awake. I'm fully aware that there is no cohesion there, just a jumble of images that don't really seem to fit. But that's where writing starts, isn't it? I'll get it all together eventually, make it say what I want it to. Give it a purpose. Or maybe I won't. Either way, time to hit post.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The rundown

You'd think that going back to work part-time would make life less busy. At least I would have thought that.

It's really not that I'm overly busy, it's just been one of those weeks.

On Sunday my step-mom dropped a bomb on us... Granny has cancer. Just like that. No padded words to soften the blow or anything. There we were, sitting in the floor playing blocks with Jonas and in she comes and just as casually as you'd tell someone that their shoelaces were untied, "Did I tell you that Granny has cancer?"


I guess maybe that's just the way she needs to deal with it. Me, heck I'm stewing inside. What kind of cancer? How bad is it? What are her treatment options? When can they start? How long has she had it? On and on...

She's my step-grandmother. No blood relation. But she's been part of my family since I was two or three years old. And I feel like shit because I haven't even really called or visited with her in more than a year. I saw her briefly at New Year's when I was in Tennessee, but that was it. And now the idea that I've wasted all of this time. That she's got this disease eating away inside her... let's face it, we all know what cancer does to you. Especially when you're older and don't want to go through chemo. It's just one of those things where you realize how insignificant you are, that you're useless to help, nothing can heal, and all you can do is anticipate the end.


Other than that, the week has been mostly uneventful.

The note on the door at daycare yesterday informed me that, effective Oct. 3, tuition is being raised. Thanks for the advanced notice. I made up for it by dropping a day. Now I'm paying the same amount for less time. It'll make Abuela happy, though. She'll get to have him one more day a week.

Jonas and I have a ritual on nights that I work. We come home, I feed him a snack, and then he plays his playpen while I get dinner ready. Usually I'll turn on PBS Kids for him. Last night I flipped on the tv, punched in those all-too-familiar numbers on the remote, and was met with three big question marks on the screen. Ok, so I punched in the wrong numbers... so I did it again. Question-marks. So I search the guide, perplexed that they'd go and change a channel for no apparent reason. It's gone. They fucking got rid of PBS Kids! Further research reveals that they've moved it to the hi-def realm and that it's now a subscription channel.

First of all, why the hell does my kid need to watch Dragon Tales and Barney in High-definition? And second, why the hell should I have to pay extra for it. Just another way for them to make a buck.

Ironically, as I sat there fuming over this, a commercial came on discussing how you could block certain shows so that your kids can only watch wholesome programming. Well, no, they really can't, since you've gone and FUCKING MOVED the WHOLESOME programming to channels that I have to pay extra for. Good lord! My cable bill is already over $100 a month.

So I can let my kids watch random violence and adult situations on all the regular channels, but if I want them to watch something that's actually good for them, I have to pay for it...

And that's what's wrong wit America's children. That and all the sugar and preservatives in the food and the chemicals they pump into the chickens.

Or something like that.

Seriously, any of you guys use satellite? I'm thinking of switching.

Who'd have ever thought that I'd be this vested in Public Television. Public... isn't that ironic?!