Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Passover!

We celebrate deliverance and religious freedom.  Here is a song usually sung at the yearly Seder meal, our commemoration of the Exodus deliverance.  Dayeinu means "it would have been enough/sufficient" and the song lists a progression of things God did for our ancestors, any one of which was abundant in itself...but as in life, He gave us beyond Enough and compounded His blessings far beyond our comprehension.

Here's an idea of the song..this vid's from youtube and on second glance it looks like the post-er is christian, but the song's the authentic'll get the idea.

Approximate Song translation to English

Leaving Egypt:
1) If He had brought us out of Egypt...Dayeinu (it would have been enough)
2) If He had executed justice upon the Egyptians....Dayeinu
3) If He had executed justice upon their gods...Dayeinu
4) If He had slain their first born...Dayeinu
5) If He had given to us their health and wealth..Dayeinu
6) If He had split the sea for us...Dayeinu
7) If He had led us through on dry land...Dayeinu
8) If He had drowned our oppressors...Dayeinu
9) If He had provided for our needs in the wilderness for 40 years...Dayeinu
10) If He had fed us manna...Dayeinu
Being with God:
11) If He had given us Shabbat...Dayeinu
12) If He had led us to Mount Sinai...Dayeinu
13) If He had given us the Torah...Dayeinu
14) If He had brought us into the Land of Israel...Dayeinu
15) If He built the Temple for us...Dayeinu

And so begins our 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Next year in Jerusalem!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Proof I'm Not An Figment of my Imagination

I feel good, as in gooooooooooooooooood ! 

This is a nice foil for the not-so-skippity-doo-dah I get when pondering the Over-Examined Life (read tallying up the goofs and glories of my past and finding the columns aren't stacked the way I'd prefer).

SO I won't over-examine this except to say a single recent email changed my perspective and helped me better define something I've found hard to conceptualize...Myself.  We've all heard the old question "what use is history?" least I heard it a lot in school asked by those who thought there was no practical use in knowing history.   But who are we apart from our histories?  For some of us farther removed from our own histories, the blanks are hard to fill in and leave me, at least, feeling as if a really important part of me lacks definition.  But I'm getting ahead of myself...back to the email.

It went something like this...

Sent my sis an email asking if she knew which of our great grandmothers was said to be Cherokee.  It's a detail that came to me one day and I wanted to follow up on.  Sketchy oral historical highlights from conversations past, always overheard by us children who weren't paying attention as much then as we would now, are elusive to my memory now.  Ah, if we kids only knew to ask our oldtimers those questions back then  (Smack to the head, arggh!)

Back to the email...

So ten minutes before I'm about to leave for that evening shift, I go to clear my email box and there's a reply from my sister.  But it reads along the lines of "Grandpa and Family Documentary."  Grandpa in our vernacular means my maternal granddad, since my paternal one was always referred to as Granddaddy.

What's so important about this, and remarkable (!!!), is that neither my sister or me are genealogically-savvy progeny though we came from a really amazing lineage of forbears...I know so because all the older family members I can remember were rugged individualists as well as loyal family people who, (but for a few exceptions thrown in for spice and spit), lived lives of hard work, integrity, and simplicity.  They came from big families familiar both with country and city lives and stayed in touch and very connected through all of the major life ups and downs.  Until the modern Disconnect...somewhere along the line the most recent generations, mine and my parents'...did ...what??  Got busy??  I have no idea what happened, but there's no venerable elder to access now to sit at the feet of (dangling partciple be darned) and glean the wisdom of the years and the tales of family.  All I have are my own memories of my grandparents, which are a treasure.

My Grandma and Grandpa had a profound effect on my life and there are  no two people I miss more.  Since an estrangement from our own parents, my sister and I both have often felt the sensation of being shadowed by a great oak of past family, but not being able to firmly grasp any part of it...our own family past a history lost to us. 

That may be a very American identity problem for some folks like me whose parents moved far from generational homeplaces in this faster and supposedly more globally accessible world.  I'm a product of the busy-lifestyle melting pot, one of so many suburban gypsies orbiting independent of a lot of ties.  No wonder I'm happier the more we simplify and attempt to put down roots, slow down, and invest in something with meaning.  I've met some others so shed of their pasts that those pasts are unrecoverable.  I've led a transitory life and have relocated over 22 times in my 43 years.  I've needed something to anchor me to some part of my past, or at least I've wished for it, to carry it into the present.
Grandpa and Family Documentary proved to be a document compiled by my Grandpa's niece (still living) who somehow had (for how many years??) had in her possession two notebooks penned by my Grandpa's father.  In his notebooks, he told his own story beginning with his earliest memories of his parents,  from about the year1880.  From when they "went West."

This niece transcribed the entire two notebooks into type with the only additions being the correction of some spelling errors and doublechecking names mentioned therein with a family tree book she had from her parents' side of the family.

So THERE, in pages and pages and pages in a computer file, was attached this HISTORY of MY OWN FAVORITE Grandpa...and I haven't even read it yet!  Guess what I'll be doing the whole weekend besides resting for Shabbat??

This is something I give so much thanks for, and I'm totally thanking God not only that my relative went to the trouble to do this AND share it, but for the timing of it all.  This is a time I can truly appreciate every detail and have something to pass down to my own daughter.  Strangely, it helps me feel like I belong, though all the people mentioned in the journal are likely no longer alive.  I can't adequately express how defining this is for me, but I'm SO VERY HAPPY! 

And I had to share...I'm grateful for so many things.  As always, God, my husband, my daughter, my friends (includes you guys!), my pup, my job and so much more.  Friday night we'll shut things down for the weekly rest (yay!) and spend a lot of time in particular rereading the Exodus account since it's just about Passover. 

To others, my great-Grandpa's journal might read about as interestingly as all the biblical "begats" lists, but even those anchor individuals in their times and their families and their heritages.  Were our "begats" to be forgotten, we lose so much. 

I can't wait to read it and to meet my lost family.  For the first time.

Shabbat shalom! :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Vicarious Chicken-Stalking

There are certain subjects that I simply love to look at....over and over and over...especially on blogs.  Chickens, milk cows, certain types of dogs, gardens, DIY projects...and so on.  Did I mention chickens?

I don't yet have any, but I'm ok for now...I have my awesome dog who fills my days with constant devotion and a good many antics, so it's filled some of that void inside me that Must Have Animals Nearby.

But I'm still looking forward, someday, to a small flock of chickens.

Here's a blog in France I frequently chicken-stalk....this post includes some of HardWorkingHippy's system of keeping her free range hens out of her (bee YOO tee full) potager terraced garden beds.   Enjoy!

P.S. I'm counting down till Monday night...still haven't accomplised The Big Clean, but am slowly and halfheartedly pushing dust bunnies further and further towards the trash bin.  I SHALL find my camera and reinstate some photos in this blog before it expires from visual boredom.

Monday, March 22, 2010

This Was Worth Hearing

We spoke, they didn't listen.  Change, oh yes...November will see change.  And plenty of action before then. 

BTW we just joined the Tea Party Patriots.  I'm so laughing now...that's so NOT us...we're the Mind Your Own Business sorts.  But since the government now wants to get all up in our business, tell us how and what and with whom we'll do business and mandate it out the ears, we have to do something.  We're not right wing, left wing, or any fringe group sort.  We're your average folks who are fed up with party politics and who believe that the Constitution has to be enforced and the citizens of ye olde USA must be HEARD not HERDED.  It worries me little-to-none what names we average folks will be called if we don't "play nice" or just keep shutting up...shutting up and minding Ps and Qs never would have gotten this country its freedoms in the first place.

Look at all the levels freedoms are being challenged at the core.

Consumer choice in purchasing what WE determine WE need.
Registering farm animals...for "protection" against disease
DNA registry...already happening.
Mandatory enforced health insurance.  SO bogus and anticonstitutional.
Unregulated IRS.
Printing money we can't back with real worth.
Exploding our national deficit and our historical enemies now buying it up, already mandating the terms of our repayment.
Trying to further restrict our right to bear arms and protect ourselves and our property.
People who question these things now being slandered and called "factions" instead of patriots.

The list goes on and on.

Let's get busy changing things BACK unless we want a repeat of Castro's glorious New Cuba.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


We all know Washington can never resist an offer of free drinks.  Now it's open bar for everyone!
So raise your glasses high and toast the new Hellthcare Reform legislation.  Best not to ask a whole lot of questions.  (Mr. Obama might have to cancel another trip or spend another trillion or two)
+  Obama
 =  Constitutional freedom and privacy rights/medical freedoms suicide

Drink up, folks!  (Please consult your government representative as to your preference of cherry, grape or lime...)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stirling Engines

Here's something Jack's been having fun researching...the Stirling engine concept has been around for a long time.

This is a book he purchased recently entitled How I Built a 5 HP Stirling Engine.  He's been enjoying poring over it, so it's worth a mention (we don't get any $$...just including the link if anyone's interested, it's a little pricey).

 Here's a link to a youtube vid showing an animation of the Stirling engine configuration. If I understand it correctly, it operates from the expansion and contraction of gases (heated and cooled) to create a vacuum that operates a piston (maybe I didn't get that right, but I'm new to this) :)

Here are a couple more just for fun...Jack's intent on exploring different options for energy. 

Public Servant

noun   1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) an elected or appointed holder of a public office

...or what our elected officials are supposed to be.  If ego plays into the equation and our elected public servants forget that they represent us ...and they think we can't hear past the idiotic rhetoric, stonewalling, political intimidation, and arrogance -- they need to go.

If they mock our Supreme Court justice's decisions publicly, they need to go.

If they tell us that one plus one is not two, black is white and white is black, and that there is no clear line between wrong and right all things being relative, they need to go.

Mr. or Ms. career politician, if you don't remember who voted you in, you will go, your kind will go, and we will remember that you forgot us and that you believed our voice was weaker than your power.  We will vote you out.  Goodbye.

Better listen up.

If anyone else out there is like me, there are plenty of us with long memories.

I don't enjoy being dictated to, ignored, and seeing the majority of Americans being patently bypassed, especially when it comes to legislation that bends the content of our Constitution into a pretzel, blatantly, unapologetically, or for any reason/special cause.

If the fat cats in Washington think they're above voting the way the people they represent tell them to, they're out.  Dear Public Servant, YOU are not our government...WE are.  YOU are our REPRESENT.

If you don't, we will go out of our way to vote against anyone remotely smelling like you in years to come. 

But thank you...

Thank you for mobilizing Middle America, like myself.  You've helped breathe some life into those of us who were often mediocre when it came to engaging in the legislative and political process, in adding our voices to the cacophony we were so long convinced had drowned us out.  You have now sucker-punched us to wakefulness.  Our dissatisfaction with ALL our political predecessors within (at least speaking for myself) our own several decades finally spawned a determination to GET ALL OF YOU OUT if  you won't do what WE (the people...we, the boss) tell you we want.

Hope you're listening, Washington folks.  Listening to the people you serve, and not to your peers who are trying to pressure you to participate in power games at our expense.  We've had it with your bad reality show antics, your public circus made of circumscribing the content and intent of the Constitution, clubbing the skulls of your out-of-line party members like a bunch of Neanderthals, pressuring for illogical timeframes with inadequate facts and fact-finding, and your flagrant behind-closed-doors suspicious (and so very NOT transparent) collaboration...minus us...the American public.

So go head....

If  you think we're not paying attention...if you think you're merely our entertainment and this is just some political episode of Survivor, you may be suprised shortly to find you've been voted off the island.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Easy Homemade Breakfast Sausage (or for anytime)

We don't eat pork, and I'm from Tennessee.  In Tennessee, sausage is defined as pork with good stuff mixed in and fried up.  Don't try getting a Tennessean (except me and a few exceptions) to eat fancy sausage made from something'll usually get a blank incomprehensible stare.  Nothing personal.   :)

I haven't yet gotten the spice combination down where I can duplicate a good Tennessee breakfast sausage with some other kind of meat, but I'm working on it.

At the moment, I have a decent stand-in I make for Jack using ground turkey meat.  We keep it easy, so forget any casings...this is a mix-it-up by hand sort of thing that gets pattied and keeps a few days uncooked in the fridge, and freezes well in patty form for quick pan-cooking later down the road, if desired.

It's not perfected, but it's quite good.  And when I say it's good, Jack requests it often, scarfs it, makes loud man-noises in the process, and asks for seconds.  It is responsible for his delaying his early morning urge to stop at a drive-through on his way home from the night shift long enough to walk in the door and smell good things on the stovetop...and that has saved us considerable money...and is so much healthier.

I'd love to know if any of you have a wonderful standby spice combination for breakfast sausage.

Here's the one we're using now...amounts of each spice/ingredient are not listed since I am still varying it a lot.  I'd also like to find a substitute for the saltines:

Ground turkey meat
Olive oil or your choice light-flavored oil (enough to give a nice feel to the overall's needed because the turkey is almost no-fat)
eggs (number depends on quantity of meat), beaten lightly
Saltines, mashed to crumbs
Small amount sea salt
Garlic powder (plenty)
Minced sweet onion
Shots of hot sauce
Black Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Sage (plenty)
Thyme (plenty)
Fennel Seed (go easy)
Lemon juice

Vary spice and ingredient amounts per your preference.  I usually use 2 lbs ground turkey and 1 to 1 1/2 sleeves crushed saltines, 2 or 3 eggs, and 1/4 c olive oil.  As far as being heavy handed with the spices, when in doubt, leave it out and add it after testing a small bit later in the process.  Mix well by hand in large bowl.  Test a small piece in skillet...cook and taste and adjust spices accordingly.  Go easy on the hot things if you're not sure...they intensify after mixing.  When spices are how you like them, press remaining uncooked portion into oiled loaf pan and store covered with foil or greased paper/wax paper in fridge, airtight, overnight for spices to mingle well.   Patty as needed to cook in hot oiled skillet for breakfasts, or freeze patties for later cooking.

Here are some other spice combinations I have yet to try...I found these different lists on the internet:

1.  Rosemary, sage, salt, marjoram, basil, garlic, cayenne
2.  Sage and Savoury
3.  Onion, basil, parsley, garlic, salt, thyme, ginger, red pepper, black pepper
4.  Salt, Pepper, brown sugar, ginger, sage
5.  Nutmeg, thyme, salt, sage, cayenne
6.  (for English "bangers") Lemon zest, black pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, mace, thyme, marjoram, sage

What's your favorite combination?  Help, we love sausage, and now I know it's so easy to mix up, I want to try more :)   Honestly, it's as easy as making meatloaf, which I also used to think would be hard to make, until I did and it turned out great and is now an old standby.  We're not eating as much meat as usual, but it's still on the table.  Homecooked's the best, hands down!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

And Now That I've Resumed My Human Form

...what the heck??

Last night, beset with fear and anxiety, I cried like I haven't cried in a long time, going from a trickle and culminating in ugly noises gulped into a damp napkin.  Now my eyelids are like golfballs, not my most fetching look.  I have no idea what happened, but I just got situation has not changed, though it lingers in the midst of not-yet-accomplished long term goals.  Things here are actually good, positive, progressing.

So...what fears and anxieties?  I can't even write about them...or I get fearful and anxious.  Thankfully they are nothing so bad as to require the wearing of green drapes for a ballgown or crawling across sun-scorched earth declaring "I'll never go hungry again."

I think I'm better now.  I'm breathing through my nose again and not feeling the urge to drown my hormonal fluctuations in frequent applications of Jalapeno Poppers from Sonic (well, AS much).  I am still doing my green smoothies, still doing better at All Things Eating except Jalapeno Poppers at Sonic.  Have I mentioned Jalapeno Poppers at Sonic?

I've been turning over a lot of important things in my mind lately.  Never underestimate the impact of The Examined Life, I suppose.  It might drive you to jalapenos.

I just wrote about it here in a post, twice, and deleted.

It's time to clean house for Passover.  Maybe my little outburst was a subliminal reaction to the prospect of de-funking the depths of my fridge?  Maybe I'll find something amazing to hand-loom from the copious quantities of dog hair I know are lurking beneath my bed and in every forgotten corner.  Nevermind that I don't know how to handloom anything and that deep cleaning dusty hairy areas makes me itch non-stop...I suffer for my art, ha!

I crave homegrown tomatoes.  So begins the disintegration of our No Garden policy for this year.  I look outside and see the mess that needs to be cleaned up from the past freezes, and I just want to toss everything in the trash and see ORDER somewhere.  I know the bermuda is dormant for only a little bit longer before it plots with the fire ants to take over our world.  I don't know if we will have all the cleanup done in time before the clash begins in earnest again and the sun melts our innards.  I am SO enjoying this cool weather!

Make it last make it last make it last just a little longerrrrrrrrr......


P.S.  I will, truly, use my camera soon and begin posting pics again.  But first, to declutter enough to find it...


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Here's the Quote

Actually, two, from the movie Judgement At Nuremburg, script by Abby Mann  (these excerpts are at the conclusion of the movie, so please don't read further if you don't want a spoiler)   I tried to summarize their content in a line or two of my recent post, but in fact they lose something if not enjoyed in their full version, so here 'tis...

Emboldens and italicizations (below) are mine for brevity and emphasis.  Both excerpts contain the same powerful concept and have given me much food for thought since watching this movie. 

The longer of the two is this speech given when the tribunal (for Nazi war crimes) has reached its final decision. Again, if you'd rather see the movie first, skip this spoiler.

This is the speech which struck me with its insistence on the responsibility of the individual and to the individual.  Here is the classic Spencer Tracy ...the typed script for closer reading follows:

The tribunal is now in session. God bless the United States of America and this honorable tribunal.
The trial conducted before this tribunal began over eight months ago. The record of evidence is more than 10,000 pages long, and final arguments of counsel have been concluded. Simple murders and atrocities do not constitute the gravamen of the charges in this indictment.

Rather, the charge is that of conscious participation in a nationwide, government-organized system of cruelty and injustice in violation of every moral and legal principle known to all civilized nations.  The tribunal has carefully studied the record and found therein abundant evidence to support beyond a reasonable doubt the charges against these defendants.

Herr Rolfe, in his very skillful defense, has asserted that there are others who must share the ultimate responsibility for what happened here in Germany.  There is truth in this.  The real complaining party at the bar in this courtroom is civilization.  But the tribunal does say that the men in the dock are responsible for their actions. Men who sat in black robes in judgment on other men. Men who took part in the enactment of laws and decrees the purpose of which was the extermination of human beings. Men who, in executive positions, actively participated in the enforcement of these laws illegal even under German law.

The principle of criminal law in every civilized society has this in common: Any person who sways another to commit murder, any person who furnishes the lethal weapon for the purpose of the crime, any person who is an accessory to the crime, is guilty.

Herr Rolfe further asserts that the defendant Janning was an extraordinary jurist and acted in what he thought was the best interest of his country. There is truth in this also.  Janning, to be sure, is a tragic figure. We believe he loathed the evil he did. 

But compassion for the present torture of his soul must not beget forgetfulness of the torture and the death of millions by the government of which he was a part.  Janning's record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial.  If he and all of the other defendants had been degraded perverts, if all of the leaders of the Third Reich had been sadistic monsters and maniacs, then these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake, or any other natural catastrophe.  But this trial has shown that under a national crisis, ordinary, even able and extraordinary men can delude themselves into the commission of crimes so vast and heinous that they beggar the imagination.

No one who has sat through the trial can ever forget them. Men sterilized because of political belief. A mockery made of friendship and faith. The murder of children. How easily it can happen.

There are those in our own country, too, who today speak of the protection of country, of survival. A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat.  Then it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way.

The answer to that is: Survival as what?  A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self.

It's what it stands for.   It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult.

Before the people of the world, let it now be note that here in our decision, this is what we stand for:
Justice, truth, and the value of a single human being.

And, in the final scene, the newly-convicted former Third Reich jurist Ernst Janning speaks in private from his prison cell with Judge Haywood, the American judge who presided over the tribunal:

Judge Haywood,  the reason I asked you to come...
Those people...those millions of people...
I never knew it would come to that.
You must believe it.
To which Judge Haywood replies:

Herr Janning,
it came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

All In 48 Hours

A beautiful new baby  boy born to one of my favorite cousins.  A new life, new pages not yet peopled with words.  A homebirth, full of hard work, love, prayer, wonder, closeness, gratefulness, family. 

Another friend whose personality and life cannot be adequately contained in mere words, died, full of years, but none of us ready for him to go.  A space no one else will fill, and we're left longing for more volumes to his lengthy story.  When is Complete complete enough?

Possible buyer for my car that's been grounded in the garage for the past few months, (Stella) my beautiful Ford lemon with the sleek V8 engine that makes grown men swoon.  Too many repairs invested and still needed.  We'll see if he returns in a few days to bond further with her and prove his devotion with cash.

Prepare food accompanied by library DVD of an old western called The Furies.  I hate it.  So does Jack.  Finish watching the last few scenes of another DVD begun earlier, Judgement at it love it love it, unexpectedly.  I contemplate several of the dialogues in the movie throughout the weekend and the one that most sticks with me is Spencer Tracy's statement that no matter what is justified in the name of the common good, if justice is not given to the individual, it's not really justice.  That corresponded so much with what I see today being promoted as "good for the nation" but on an individual level is neither just nor true to constitutional freedoms.

Sundown, and peace descends.  A night and day of rest from our week, our shabbat of worklessness and renewal.  Feelings of loss remembering our friend, feelings of joy for the new baby's birth.  So many thoughts on this day, and time to think them.  Gentle home smells, soup on the back burner, cold roast chicken.  Chores can wait.  Torah portion to share.  Relaxed conversations, napping, sunlight throuh the cold windowpanes.

Family member of my husband phones, relates trips down memory lane.  Her mother she described as dainty and petite, tough and scrappy in early days in Cuba working side by side with her husband in an automotive shop.  Both she and Jack's mom, gone now.  She speaks of the years before I knew my husband, her childhood memories of their youth, when he first arrived here at age 11, how he concentrates when listening to someone, his fine eyes so much like her father's, the first time she saw him dressed in his military uniform waiting at the bus stop oh so handsome...snapshots past, spoken back into existence during her retelling.  As she speaks about Jack (he was asleep at the time), I understand he is part of me now, my setting for every new scene --his face I have memorized, every inch, my familiar foreground.  Her words sketch in blank spaces and a background unknown to me emerges.  I fill in some more recent missing years for her, our newer history in which we've grown our marriage of over 5 years, knowing each of my words will be weighed and dissimenated far afield -- pumping whatever gossip, gleaned from our quiet life, like an arterial lifeblood to the most distant limbs of a well-traveled grapevine.  My Jack - I guard the truth of him like a lioness.

Devoted companion, my dog rouses me from afternoon nap with insistence that something MUST be wrong if we have not yet gone for our daily errands together.  He talks to me in dog noises so human, so SURE there is something amiss.  I explain to him that if Timmy is, indeed, stuck in a mine shaft, this time the sheriff's department is on their own.  But I still get up and give Kaleb a biscuit, averting near disaster and returning to my nap with the vague realization I'm not the one really running this place...ha :)

Nap with husband.  No one explains to the young and impetuous just how wonderful this simple tangle of bedclothes and best friend really is.

Dog snores.

Day declines.

Dreams patchwork together, a piecemeal of all the above, interconnected with images of dancing reflections across a sky blue and sea green tiled room, a full sized pool waiting for me to swim.  I love to swim in clear waters undulating with azure and aquamarine.  I awaken peaceful, smiling.

After dark, we rouse ourselves and venture forth in the truck to amble down Tamiami Trail, thinking of perhaps food but steering clear of congested watering holes.  We find a mom and pop, enter to a hearty Greek welcome, eat mediocre food and wonderful bread and pots of steaming hot tea.  Just in case we haven't eaten enough carbs yet, we split a piece of chocolate cake.  Watch a waitress nearly singe her eyebrows off when doing the flaming platter bit for nearby table...Opa!

Rabbit trail to the bookstore.  Sate ourselves with armchairs and quick reads; Jack chooses weapons periodicals and I've gleaned the famine of near-empty writing books section.  Found a couple of great excerpts by Cormac McCarthy in one book (about settings)-- might look his books up at the library next time to see if I like his stories; his writing quoted in the book I skimmed was superior.  Digested some writing tips; was granted absolution for my habit of preferring frequent chopped-up sentences lacking proper subject and verb -- does hacking to bits the grammar rules count as style as long as people somewhere out there know the author's CAPABLE of correct english? 

Kept sneezing in the store, something about my nose and being in public -- it happens.  Jack circuits back around with one styrofoam cup of coffee that we share.  He's put honey in it.  Actually in everything.  I like cream, so does he, but I don't like sweet coffee.  Somehow I like the honey with the cream ok, though...strange.  My hero goes to get his maiden fair something for her nose.  He returns with a huge wadge of toilet tissue.  I sit there in my barn jacket, old track shoes, dripping nose, and toilet paper streamer.  Lone man in nearby chair has earplugs and laptop, perfectly round face.  I try not to overload him with nasal noises.  He gets up and stretches and looks at the science books about things factored X and such.  He departs.  Maybe I'm a factor X.

Home again, thoughts extend into tomorrow and the week ahead.  A best friend has left a phone message, ongoing story (we talk in installments),  the content of which provokes an urge in me to fly to California to be part Mary Poppins part Terminator and to instill personal law and order for MY FRIEND.  I resist the urge to call her back and tell her she is wearing a neon sign shouting ENABLER on her forehead...I will be gracious.  I will listen and say nothing about it.  I do not HAVE to be opinionated.  I cannot afford to fly to California, I am not Mary Poppins (just a spoonful of sugar and diabetes don't mix) nor the Terminator (not a republican married to a Kennedy, whoa is that messed up, ha!).  I will be blithe and capacious with the openest of minds, and mind my own business. 

Ok, that resolution is going to probably last me about 30 seconds.  (I can hear her laughing at the very thought of that!) Thank goodness our friendship is straightforward, valuable, long-lasting, and nothing if not Teflon-coated.

Check other phone messages and see that the same salesman has called now at home for the umpteenth time after 6 PM.  That's a lot of Eastern Standard Time nerve.  His name is Armando, and he is the only salesman persistent enough to leave different messages each time.  I have not blocked him yet since I am now intrigued at his message-varying capacity.  Yeah, we're hurting for entertainment around here.

Strange unidentified caller prompts me to hand phone to Jack.  He is asking about Jack's work site.  How he got our private number and Jack's name and INcorrect work site is beyond me.  He is asking about a key and putting Jack's name on some report.  Jack hangs up and alerts his site of something weird afoot.  Then he goes back to bed to sleep off the carbs while I go to computer and am greeted by dubious spyware threat warnings I have no idea whether to take seriously.  Cold numbs my feet from the floor tiles.

Dog's contentedly sleeping by my feet.  I remove computer threats, I hope.  The night is chill and starblown.  I am enjoying our little bit of winter while we still have it.  I head to bed now to settle into my husband's warmth until tomorrow's reawakening of joys, sorrows, the mundane and the gloriously ordinary.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ah Vocation

Haven't been here in a while!  The weather here is spring-like and I'm loving the mild sunny days and the chilly nights. 

Bullet point summary is that we're paying off debt and I'm making an effort to turn some of the things I most love doing (and used to pursue more but got sidelined over time)  from hobby (though I don't really like that term) to vocation...or at least intentional daily pursuits.  Writing is one of those.  Art is another.  Continuing my education is another.  All are neglected talents long overdue for some dusting off and possibility-calisthenics :)   Learning about firearms and learning to shoot is another one.  I've been prodigiously reading new authors (new to me, at least) since last fall and am finally finding some that I really like...and crossing others off the list.  I love to find beautifully-written passages or ones that make me laugh aloud.  I especially love writings evocative of a particular region or community.

I mentioned we're not having a garden this year.  Gardening is a necessary skill we need to continue, so even though there's no official plan in the works, there are a few things I'll be testing as "firsts" (to us) as test plots...on the agenda for sure is amaranth, and I want to see if I can grow clover in pots (sound weird?).  Clover is one of the highest protein herbs I've found so far, and it can be used in a lot of ways.  I'd like to experiment with it, but Florida supposedly has a real problem with nematodes that affect clover, so I thought maybe growing it in pots (and other things to experiment with like wheat grass) would be a nice trial, if it works.  The amaranth I'd like to try would be of both types, the type best for seed and the type best for edible leaves.  It seems to be easy to grow about anywhere, so if we can determine what ways work best for us to incorporate it into our new eating both as a cereal and a green, it would be a reliable and easy regular in our  yearly growing rotations.   Also up for experimentation are plants that can be grown and "forgotten"...that don't need much babysitting but  reseed reliably and have good edible qualities.   Even THOSE can be grown during years spent taking care of business elsewhere than the garden.

And all our pursuits are for that end...the garden path.  I am very very content with that.

I am discontent with what is happening to our freedoms and our government.  But this post is not about that.

I am so grateful to realize in this lifetime that the things in which I find the most fulfillment are defined very simply.  Relationships, God, meaning, honest work, learning, hands in the dirt growing things.  Rediscovering talents and learning to develop them for both enjoyment and possibility.

I hope your weekend is beautiful and restful and the contentment of a hardworked week culminates in some refreshing down time, something fresh baked, renewal, worship, gratefulness.

Shabbat shalom :)