I am SO not gonna live in my Outhouse

May 28, 2009 at 4:34 AM
My sister's BF Sean invited his entire family and his best friend to stay with me for Veteran's Day weekend. All three days. And really didn't think he'd done it. When they showed up, they announced the length of their stay.

Here is what it takes for me to have enough:


  • One Desi

  • No warning

  • NINE people in my house(!)...

  • Including two complete strangers

  • One bathroom

  • Two bedrooms

  • Parents of sister's BF extremely light sleepers, so needing MY bedroom and accidentally going to sleep in it without asking

  • Two nights of sleeping on the floor in my kid's room

  • One entire bathroom closet full of toilet paper just GONE

  • No chance to shower or bathe entire time

  • Having to play hostess ecause Sean and Libs holed up in their room o were sleeping.

  • 5 dozen eggs and two loaves of bread gone inside of an hour.

  • Guests somehow using up all my water so I had mud in pipes for two days after they left and STILL couldn't bathe.

  • Monday was not a holiday for me. I had to work with pool games and darts and card games and music playing going on.

  • My house which was spotless is now a total wreck.




I love Sean, but if his family shows up again, I want hazard pay.

The Full Spectrum

May 26, 2009 at 5:27 AM
I have changed my template/theme for my blog.

For one, the old one seemed cluttered and unpretty. I didn't feel at home in it anymore.

For another, I didn't remember saying any of the stuff in my sidebar anymore.

So anyhow, here it is. I didn't make it, but I do love pretty rainbows.

US Property Owners Losing millions of acres without compensation

May 22, 2009 at 9:02 PM
Unless you and I stop this bill, we can own our property, but not our water.

Sketching

May 21, 2009 at 6:31 PM
I'm posting some sketches I did yesterday in oil pastel on sketch paper.



Aurora's foot



Sean's Hand



Sleeping Tucker



Oil pastels are my fave medium, by far.

Hana Li Made a Song for a twilight movie

May 20, 2009 at 3:22 PM
http://www.myspace.com/hanalimusic

Hanali was one of the best singers in our school. Loved singing with me and the other teachers.

So proud to hear her singing professionally now. No hollywood studio tweaks her singing voice -- what you hear is the real deal.

I hope she goes places. Go Hanali!

I own the moon and am an idiot to walk alone at night here

May 15, 2009 at 1:20 AM
One of the very best things about being on the ranch is the fact that the all-encompassing, endless blackness of night is an actuality here.

All the stories from ancient times about the sun, the moon, the powerful heavens, the endless depth of darkness.

Let me telll you what I've learned.

It is not that modern civilization, in its vanity and concieved perfection, has tamed the fear of black, the awe of the heavens. Not nearly. It simply distanced itself from it with bright lights.

The ambient light that caresses a city, bouncing and scattering all around, creating dull grey skies, is considered darkness when it is the farthest extreme you ever find.

By definition, most people live there. Most of us are city dwellers. But this has removed the opportunity to truly know the perceived absolute vacuum that darkness can be, and it also strips you of a birthright as a human, the strength of a sky that shines with spilt diamonds. The glowing aura of the moon.

Something miraculous happens when there is nothing sentient in your sight, when the world turns silver and black. And you are all alone with your thoughts, except for the hint of something alive that seems to throb outward from a huge, silver circle in the sky. The moon, outstripping the light of the thousands of stars that usher her into your sky. You can almost feel that the moon has a presence, has life.

Now, modern science shows that this is not the case. But the simple truth is, if you were where I am, you'd be seeing the moon as I do.

The sun looks the same here as it does most places. Maybe a little dimmer, since I'm more north than most populations in the world. No perceptible difference there.

But the moon, which has been pushing and pulling my female form around since I was 14, suddenly makes sense here. I understand why my body feels the pull of the moon, why my fertility is inextricably tied to the changes in distance of a whorling ball of rock, and I can see how and why the moon became revered in so many cultures.

Because you cannot help but see that the moon is not merely a slave to the earth, not merely a hunk of rock, but instead it is a powerful influence on all creatures of earth. It can change the shape of our oceans, it can affect people so deeply as to generate worlds like "lunatic", it can warp the fluxuations of millions of tons of rock, and even brighten my sky well enough to walk home at night in the dark.

The moon is remarkably present here. You can tell when it has arrived and it will not be ignored.

------------------

But when there is no moon, and cloudcover sweeps over the stars, this land gets darker than death. The air seems to suck away, replaced with a palpable, silently keening something just out of reach.

Lacking street lamps of any kind anywhere nearby, walking home in the dark here is a THOUSAND times darker than in the city. Not one tiny particle of light enters the eye, and your mind screams out danger louder than you can tell yourself to calm down. There is literally nothing there to see, no matter how long you wait for your eyes to adjust.

When your eyes report that you are completely blind, suddenly your ears prick up at EVERY noise. I discovered a few nights back that human ears can indeed 'prick up' - the muscles above my ears automatically tighten and raise my ears up somewhat, some ancient primal instinct I had no control over.

Unless you can scientifically explain to yourself the vacuum of light particles, think your way to where something is throwing out light, using only sound, feel, and by sway of the terrain beneath your feet as cues, you will succumb to your own fear. Forget nocturnal predators.

There is a reason that horror writers use the dark as a fallback. Instinct tells us that the dark is to be feared. Too many have died in it.

It does make sense; both the science that says I'm safe and the instinct that says I'm not. Our greatest nocturnal enemy is our own intellect, the instincts willing us to panic, out logic willing us to calm down.


I was walking home from Tammy's two days back, having forgotten she wasn't home and having had darkness fall extremely suddenly, I realized that I had failed to bring a lamp.

It was suddenly completely pitch black.

So I tell my eyes they are not blinded, and to look for luminous eyes. Night creatures have such beautiful luminous eyes. I wondered whether the predator ever wishes his prey had a sense of the aesthetic, so that he could know that his prey fully appreciated the beauty of his killer in the pouncing. But then I realized that the only prey around here that might is me. And I fervently hoped my local predators were not sentient enough to want that.

As I crossed the bridge, carefully scooting my feet along to make absolutely certain I didn't step off the edges (not much siderailing on the bridge, it's just slabs of cement), I tried breathing shallowly so as to hear better. My feet made unbelievably loud scooting sounds on the cement. Unnatural, echoing in the darkness like a beacon. (HERE I AM! SILLY WANDERING SOFT FLESHY HUMAN HERE!)

And if my feet scooting wasn't enough, I realized how foolish it was to use the stinky shampoo - the cougar, the bobcat or even a bear would certainly smell me now. And it's not as though I needed to drum up a predator from scratch. We already know these animals are here on the ranch.

Once I reached the gravel on the other side of the bridge, I breathed out big. I hadn't realized I'd stopped breathing. Very shortly after, I almost stepped off the gravel, and I realize I'd been mere inches from the side of the bridge for the last several feet of my spanning it. I was mere inches at that same moment from where I knew we needed to shore up the gravel. I was on the loose section. Crap. Me feet scooted over to the left a little at a time without my even thinking it. I found myself safely centered on the gravel again.

I stuck my hand in front of my face to test the darkness, but could not see fingers. I only knew I existed because I could feel myself existing.

Leaves were unbelievable sharp smelling. I heard the tinkle of gravel beneath my feet, and I felt the swish of my pants as almost a giveaway. ("Stop leaking the scent of my fear out, armpits. Stop swinging in the slight breeze, hair.") I could smell my hair over everything. I tried to push most of my hair down into my shirt collar.

Thankfully, the creek makes a great deal of noise, I thought. It'll cover me.

Oh, wait. It also covers predatory noises. I suddenly wished I was barefooted. I could easily stop crunching so much if I could walk softly. I realize how important it should be to maintain the basic instictive knowledge we're losing as a race.

What a foolish thing it would be to become super-beings, and then lose our ability to protect ourselves from lesser life forms. The future-perfect almost-alien humans from the 50s movies, taken down by some housecat with a new idea.

Focus... The road is THERE. I visualize it and my mind starts trying to see the road. I think for a moment I'm looking at it. Cruelly, I play a trick on myself and my imaginary road starts cofusingly twisting.

Deep breath. Road is where it has always been. Can't see it - must trust logic. Roads don't move.

It slopes up and to the right. Walk that way.

So I did. Suddenly, walking snapped me out of my fear.

I could not see any part of myself, and that alone is enough to force your attention outward in extreme focus. But you must also be active. Inactivity breeds panic, especially in the dark.

A twig snapped over to my right, subtle, terrifying.

I thought about it. It was from over on the high ground, downwind - down-breeze technically - perfect for the cougar. If I were a big cat looking for an idiot human, I'd have been right over there where the twig snapped.

Mentally calculating in my head whether the snap I heard could have been made by a small enough twig to be snapped purely by the power of a breeze, and trying to force myself to rememberthe exact windspeed at the moment when the breeze reached me right after the twig snapped, I gave up. I simply wasn't going to know whether there was a cougar over there.

I stepped up my pace, now controlling my breathing and attempting to calm myself. Walking alone at night is majorly stupid here. I cursed my idiocy for one moment, and then thought "What if there is a cougar that wants to eat me? Would I like my last thought to be me calling myself an idiot?" Definitely not. So I filled my mind with thoughts of my daughters, my sisters, and my parents. And kept walking, making sure I stayed on gravel. Not running, I'd run right off the road, and then I'd be dead anyway, cliffs to the left and slippery mud on the right. My foot caught on a round something in the road. Of course, being in a scared mood, my mind immediately starts providing likely candidates from the morbid end of the idea spectrum (bone? body?) but I know it's just a big stick or branch.

I balance carefully to bend down and pick it up. Little do you realize how very much you depend on your sight when you bend, swoop, swing a limb. I got lightheaded, entirely psychosomatically, on my way back up.

Presumably a mossy stick. Felt a little rotted out in the middle. But strong enough to weild.

Weilding felt better than limply swinging my arms like bait.

I grabbed the moldering branch portion with my right hand, fiercely. Ii'm positive that had I been able to see my knuckles, they'd have been bone-white, with little red lines across them like cat's eyes from the stress. To hell with exascerbating my carpal tunnel syndrome, I wanted a stick and I wanted to hit something with it.

I kept walking, listening for gravel beneath my feet, correcting course, paying attention to the swoop and curve of the road beneath me.

When I reached my steeply rugged driveway, I was so thankful. I practically ran up it. I slipped a bit, having not remembered where the potholes are. It felt three times longer than it ever had before.

As I rounded the last hill and the light from my porch struck my in the face, it felt solid. It looked so bright. I was blinded for a moment, the light, despite being unbelievably welcome, felt harsh and bitter.

My eyes took a while to become the primary input method for my mind. My ears remained pricked up for a good while. It took wrapping myself in my pashmina, and sitting on the porch looking out at my small semicircle of lit-up grass drinking a cup of tea, before I chilled out.

Looking around me right now, I see lights brightening every corner, and they seem so very much brighter for my recent brush with darkness.

There is something to be said for extremes, and for experiencing them once in a while.

I toldya I was in a music video

May 13, 2009 at 8:09 PM
If you can find the 11 year old me in this video, then cool.

I almost can't.

My Tarot deck is all "Old Maid" cards

at 7:32 PM
The longer I am single, the more I love it.

Don't get me wrong. I still want a man in my life again someday.

See, although I truly hated being alone at first, and do dislike long stretches of empty time with no one else in them, there is something discreetly lovely about having my house to run as I see fit, having only my word as law within my home for my children. Being able to wrap my shawl around my shoulders, sit on my throne and rule my home without anyone else doing it wrong.

There are some things about single motherhood that should not be taken for granted. This is one of them.

And it becomes a much stronger case in point for me when one of my exes says something idiotic. I am then even more grateful that I'm not subjected to them on a daily basis anymore. Over the past several days, I've learned that one of my exes can't manage tiny everyday tasks any better now than back then, another ex continues to try to "fix" my views on gay rights, and yet another one can't stick to a story to save his life. He backpedaled so far he contradicted himself. Yet again. And I'm the liar. Sigh.

At least from my viewpoint, any one of these reasons would have been good enough to end a relationship, and I sigh in contented lonely relief whenever I think what might have been. There was something very healthy in wasting those relationships. I think. They were truthfully not high enough caliber to be worth it.

However, there is the niggling fear that lays in the back of my mind that says "You know that wonderful feeling when your arms are wrapped around someone you utterly adore, your eyes are squeezed shut, your heart is full, and you've thrown yourself into an embrace with all your might? Well... You should have taken better care of it when you had it, because it's gone forever."

So I sit on the porch and drink coffee and imaging what I do want. Oddly, what I want includes reciprocation. I have yet to be reciprocated. By that I mean someone of my caliber, with a truly amazing passion for life, who feels about me the way I feel about all those I love.

I fear, though, that I may well be on my way there to the empty land of old-maidism. Perhaps that little voice is just me being realistic. I am fast on my way to becoming the old lady with eighteen cats.

I live alone in the woods, so perhaps I perpetuate the problem internally. Except when I visit my friends elsewhere, I am generally far from where there are people I might date.

But the crux of it is, I actually need no one, have no particular desire to rush after any man who wouldn't reciprocate, and I am quite happy.

I've just agreed to take on a friend's friend's daughters cats so that she can go off somewhere for a few years. I have a feeling the cats will be staying around for good. Which means I'm already a lady with too many cats. Give it a few more years and there will be the aged part, too.

Just as soon as the cats arrive this weekend, the picture will be that much closer to complete.

But not in the fearful of being rejected way...

May 11, 2009 at 10:48 PM
I am bothered by the expression I hear more and more often:

"I Love You! (But not in a gay way.)"


Why clarify?

The difference between platonic and partner love is terribly obvious to those giving and receiving it.

And I don't require which form of love I'm receiving to be clarified in any personal relationships, publicly or not. I already KNOW which. Plus, I'm proud of being loved by everyone who loves me.

If you're afraid of being seen as gay, don't mix it with your expressions of love -- fear and love don't mix. I don't think there is anything bothersome about seeing a display of love on a public forum or in a note. There is nothing there, regardless of what KIND of love is being talked about, that could even remotely bother me.

It's hate that sucks rocks.

I love those whom I love. LOVE!

(DEAL.)

Coiled and Struck

May 10, 2009 at 4:22 PM
Onomatopoeia (ana-mata-pee-ya) are words that sound like what they are. Wham! Pow! Kablooie!

And in English -- while we may be poor on universally applicable grammatical laws, and poorer in literate souls, and even poorer still in an agreed proper usage that is universally applied -- we are HUGELY RICH in onomatopoeia. A wealth of words allude to their meanings by wrapping diction around function, so that you can let the meaning speak itself. Slip, slide, flap, wiggle.

As you say the word struck, the tongue first forces a "st", which contains compunction and force, then flows its way out with a "ru" toward a "ck" - an obvious blow.

Same with the word coil. In order to say it, your tongue must start hard, then undulate and then finally settle again. Very much like the concept that it conveys.

If you learn your word roots far enough back, every word can be thus. Every word began as the best means known to that person of making sound convey a particular meaning. It is when the meanings shift in huge cataclysmic bursts that we lose ground and can no longer find original meaning on our tongues.

We lose our linguistic touch easily, however, it always returns.

---

I have a small cabin on the end of my yard, that a strange older hippie couple had been renting for nearly nothing. It has no bathroom - they used my outhouse when they lived here. I honestly didn't know what the tiny shed was until someone said it was my outhouse. (Lovely. Just what I always wanted. I'm making plans to plant begonias in it as we speak.)

Anyway, this small cabin intrigued me, as I'm low on dressers, having a remarkably larger household than a few months ago, and more coming. I thought perhaps the hippies had left something behind that could be of use.

Apparently dressers are too establishment. As I was heading back, I stood on the porch and looked about me. Remarkable piles of detritus (aka crap) left behind by the "make love not war" generation surrounded me. Bits of couches, springs from some kind of 1950s kitchen device. A motor out of God only knows what kind of vehicle, conspicuously not present.

I looked down and noticed I was about to step on something.

There was a beautiful, small, pounded-tin cabinet, very thin, with little arched doors like a cathedral, that looked as though they opened. It had obviously originally been painted some cheerful middle eastern or Russian pattern.

I crouched on my heels, and opened the doors to find them lined with and hiding a mirror, now falling away at my touch like a recognized dream through the cracks in the porch. Not old or wiggly mirror, but shattered and disintegrating with the force of opening the tin doors. Oh well. I wondered. Had I somehow never opened it, would the mirrors have retained their arching stained glass shape, shattered but holding together anyway, long after the metal containing them had rusted away?

I looked down into a shard of glass and saw bits of myself staring back up. Just as interested as the real me.

I decided that if I knocked out the bits of glass, it might make a good home for a picture of my children. A tiny shrine to the things that matter most to me.

So, I closed the doors again, and lifted one end of the mirror.

As the cathedral mirror tilted away from me, I noticed a small movement beneath it. Two things. Tiny ants, already well into picking up their food and babies for relocating, having been trained over millions of years into thinking with constant relocation, and having learned through experience passed on by the dead among them that it is wiser to avoid danger when carrying your life around with you.

But also under there, and entertaining no thoughts of relocating, was a very small, very proud, pure-black snake. He looked like a rattlesnake, but probably wasn't. I think he was hardly thicker than a worm, but twice as long. He had decided to let me know the cathedral I had picked up was his home. How he did this, since he didn't move even one tiny bit, I'm not sure. Perhaps it was the steely determinism in his miniscule, proud head. Perhaps it was the attitude of absolute certainty that he conveyed as he lay coiled and resting his head lazily against his skin. He was dead certain that I would replace his cool, pleasing home and let him go about his life again, because he was, after all, the noblest of all snakes.

His little eyes looked up at me without fear or worry and I looked down at him without any either.

I decided that he deserved his existence. I'll come back in a few weeks and maybe find the cathedral ready for me to repaint and move, once he's gotten too large for it to conceal him from prey any longer. Hopefully he'll move near the mice that invade my kitchen each night.

I put his house down and went home. There were many other things to be doing.

---

Today I am struck by the phrase mortal coil, as though the body is wrapped around me, smothering my existence, rather than a tool toward living.

Perhaps it is a bit of both.

Mother's Day Giveaway

May 7, 2009 at 9:40 PM
Yay for mommy's day. Giveaway of neat stuff in exchange for a blog comment. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself.

http://www.5minutesformom.com/6032/mothers-day-giveaway-2009/

Lovely lovely art

May 5, 2009 at 10:51 PM
I'm doing art again lately. Don't know how I'm having time, but I'm doing it.

Working on a collaboration with my little sister and her boyfriend right now. Will post it when done.

Yay!

The Bill of Rights, Dumbed Down

May 2, 2009 at 3:51 PM
Here is a version of the first ten amendments to the constitution, also know as the Bill of Rights, that can be understood by pretty much anyone who can read.

LIST OF RIGHTS

We're congress, which means we're representing you, and we're in New York, and it's Wednesday, early Spring, sometime in the 1780s. (So, like, the US has already been a country for a few years.)

Oops. We forgot to include some stuff in the rules and stuff that we wrote when we made the country up from scratch, such as stuff to protect you from being played by the man, and we're adding it in now like we knew we might have to when we wrote it. (So you don't start hating on us, your reps and stuff, later. And so things go the way they should.)

We've decided to make the stuff that we say next part of the rules of our country that we already made. So here goes.

All this stuff fits after the fifth part of the consitution, that paper that talks about the rules of the country that we already wrote a few years back.

WE'RE TACKING THESE AMENDMENTS, OR FIXES, ON

1. We can't make any laws about religion, or about what you can talk about, or about what you can write, or that keep you from getting together in groups, or that tell you not to bug us for our mistakes.

2. Bitching cool armies that can like do things well and posses and stuff are cool, and needed if you want a safe country. We can't tell you not to pack heat if you want to.

3. If soldiers want to stay in your house, they gotta ask politely and follow the rules if you say no or yes, either way.

4. We can't grab your crap or poke around your personal space or body without your say-so, unless a judge says so cause somebody else swears up and down that you're seriously fishy. And then the judge has to say exactly what is OK to take from you and the dudes who're bugging you have to stick to just that stuff.

5. If they're saying you did something serious, like a big crime, or something you could die for, you don't have to talk. You can shut up if you want to to keep from being in worse trouble, unless an extra special group of people called a grand jury gather together and decide you gotta talk about it and then it's serious and it's time to blab. But if you're a soldier and there's anything going on like a war or something, you gotta blab right away. But, hey, if you're put through the wringer there are no do-overs. And you don't have to say bad things about yourself. Plus also, you really do get to own your own stuff, like your house land and things like that, and it can't be taken away from you without going through a bunch of legal rigamarole. But the government can take your stuff for everyone to use without all the rigamarole, but they have to pay you back for it, and not short you.

6. If you're nabbed for a crime or something serious, you get to have the whole thing be over with quickly and in front of everyone; they can't hide you away forever. You get your day in court about that crime like everyone else, and it needs to be with a whole bunch of people just like you judging you, called a jury, not just the one bigwig judge dude. Plus it has to play out where ever the crime happened. You get to hear what the other guys are saying about you and about what you did, and you also get to know exactly who they got to back them up and say it, too. You've got to get a fair chance to find people to say good things about you, and you get to lawyer up, so it's all square.

7. When you're sued over more than twenty bucks (which is a lot more money in 1789), you still get to ask for a bunch of people like you, a jury, to judge you instead of the bigwig judge deciding things, but not if you don't ask. If a jury looks into it, nobody gets to sue over that same thing again anywhere in the whole country, except if the law says so.

8. If you're in jail and want to get out, you gotta pay money. That's called bail. Bail can't be too much money. And if you get fined, that can't be too much money either. And punishments have to be normal, not too mean or weird.

9. If we have left one of your rights out, it's still cool. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, and you can still demand it.

10. Anything we didn't specifically say here in the country's rules that we get to be in charge of, the states get to be in charge of, or maybe even you get to be in charge of it if the state doesn't grab it up.

----------------

Thanks to Alexander Hamilton for coming up with the idea for the Bill of Rights. Please read the original text, now that you got the jist of it.

And please, this is so totally not the Bill of Rights, really. If you can't see that, you're a basket of hammers. I'm just exercising my right to free speech, as affirmed in the REAL Bill of Rights. OK?

I love the framework and beginnings of my country and I really think you will too once you read over the real documents and make darn sure you understand it all. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are ALWAYS at your library. Go read the real things. And if you want me to paraphrase (dumb down) anything for you, I will. Gladly.