Friday, June 27, 2014
What an amazing week!
As a partner who fought beside me in the trenches for years in the battle of SSM...I say today (with more than a trace of sadness) I wish Bill could have lived to witness this moment! We fought for gay rights together long before it became trendy.
June 25th, Federal Judge Richard L. Young found the Indiana Gay Marriage Ban
Unconstitutional by Reason of the 14th Amendment...well duh...
That day several hundred same sex couples tied the knot in Indianapolis. Some of them who had been in long term monogamous relationships with their partners for over 15-20 years...never imagining they would see this day.
And of course...because it is Indiana there has been a motion for a Stay filed already...because, although our Conservatives are gung-ho on their 2nd Amendment Rights, they never really pay a lot of attention to the others.
Never fear. There will be NO reversal. And why they spend our tax dollars to keep continuously fighting this losing battle...even the gay ones (tax dollars) is an outrage.
And thusfar...despite the weeping and gnashing of teeth I haven't seen any evidence that Jill and Jayne's (or Adam and Steve's) new marriage affects anybody's straight marriage one iota.
So here is my advice for any Indiana Heterosexual who is married and happens to have a problem with this ruling...
"Try expending as much energy maintaining your own damn marriage as you do trying to impose your restrictions/assert your control over other people's marriages...and it might not end in DIVORCE."
Spent a wonderful afternoon with my oldest and (now middle) grandson...and even managed to acquire another "honorary" grand-daughter...lol It is okay...when the boys were growing up I was called Mom by half the neighborhood...in fact some of the kids still walk up to me in the store...give me a big hug and say "MOM!" :)
The Amazing Preston (who just turned 12 and is basketball tall now)
And the honorary? Emily :)
How can you look at that SMILE and not be her "Grandma Rose", too?
On thing I have learned through my life. Children can't have too many people in their lives that love them. Blood relation or not.
So here it is...almost the end of June. Middle of the year. How can THAT be right?
And (as I always do) taking a look back at those New Year's Goals.
1. Continue to Practice Zen Living.
With the exception of a couple bumps along the way...and that is why it will always be practicing I guess...
2. To Be Pro-Active Financially.
I have my bills paid for July already. Go me!!!!
3. To Continue the Fast Diet (and Maintain)
Reached my Target weight in February and have been doing the 6-1 maintenance ever since! Very happy about this!
4. To Attend the Following This Year: A Writer's Retreat, A Zen Retreat and A Photography Retreat.
Not yet. Got to focus.
5. To Observe a Day of Silence each Week.
This has been very hit and miss...however I did cultivate the habit of sitting in Morning and Evening Meditation and watching the sun rise and set each day...which is very centering. Silence? Maybe I need Duct Tape?
6. To Spend more time with Friends and Family this year.
Done and Done and Continuing :)
As I said at the beginning
2014 is going to be My Year!
Have an Outstanding Weekend!
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Began with Basking...A Good Book...Sweet Tea and The Baby, this weekend. Since Mom and Dad and even Big Sis are working on "The Move" I offered to take the little "Prince" for a few hours of Grandma Rose time.
At a little more than a month and a half old, I can put him on a quilt in the floor or his Punkin' Seat- and he pretty much stays in one place.
"Hmmm...there is a car...a clown...and ice cream man and a Blue Umbrella...seems legit..."
"OMG, WOMAN...WTH is WRONG with YOU!!!!!!!!"
Note to SELF- Never EVER ask Grandma to read a story when she just started the latest Stephen King Novel!!!"
(Relax...I didn't really read him Mr. Mercedes...)
If I did he would grow up needing therapy and NEVER sleep again!
Which brings us to the book of the week:
You know what is 1000 times scarier than ghouls and goblins, or Pennywise?
The guy next door.
You know...the quiet one. The one the neighbor describes as
"So quiet you would hardly know he even lived there."
No supernatural hocus pocus in this hefty tome. Just one pure Sociopath and a retired Detective who just happens to have regrets over the "one criminal who got away"...the "one crime left unsolved".
A psychological thriller from beginning to end.
Quick paced. Pulls you in immediately. Some of his best work, right here. A must-read for the Constant Reader and a highly recommended for everyone else. Would make an excellent film!
If you aren't a fan before you start this book...you will be by the time you finish it!
more days until Rose and Idgy's 2014 Summertime Adventure!!!!
(...an Idgy~ism for..."God, I Miss You")
Me too you, hon. Me too you!
Friday, June 20, 2014
Arachnophobia: Pathological fear or loathing of Spiders.
And yes...I am.
You see even the tiniest Spiders look like this to me.
Huge dripping fangs. Too many legs. Lots of beady eyes.
A gorgeous late Spring day...unseasonably warm. Basking in near 90 degrees.
Actually more along the lines of slow roasting...turn twice and you're done.
Coming inside afterwards and drawing a cool bath. Candlelight...a plastic wineglass for the tub filled with Blush Muscato...loofah and scented oils.
Absolute peace and quiet. Soaking in the tepid water. So peaceful and quiet. So very quiet that the complete silence is broken by an audible *plop*.
And when I open my eyes submersed to my shoulders I see that apparently a quarter sized fuzzy spider (obviously with dripping fangs) has lost hit foothold on the ceiling above the tub and plummeted into my bath...with me.
Followed closely by a blood curdling shriek. (Not the SPIDER)
And of course, these days, jumping out of the tub is an impossibility for me.
So I have folded myself up at the end of the tub...contemplating my options...when to my dismay I see the spider panicked thrashing wildly toward the naked, tanned- recently shrieking- nearby island.
An arachnophobic should NEVER be subjected to this. Absolutely traumatizing. Therapy may be in order.
Dumping my wine into the bath I finally McGyver the frantic arachnid into my wineglass...NOW WHAT??? I deposit him in the nearby toilet...and flush. Can spiders live in sewer pipes. Will he re-emerge tarantula-sized bearing a grudge? Is there a nearby egg sac with hundreds of tiny baby spiders that will hatch? Will avenging Mom be on the top of their list?
(...if you think these questions are ridiculous...you obviously aren't an arachnophobe...)
BREATH. You want cardio workout...try a spider in your bath. My Physical Therapist would be so proud.
Scrubbed out the tub...a huge case of the heebie-jeebies...but survived.
And the spider...headed somewhere toward Long Beach, I hope.
Monday, June 16, 2014
All in the same weekend...mind you.
A very Happy Father's Day for my eldest who whisked his wife and Brenden and Emma off for a camping/fishing Great Outdoors extravaganza. Grandma Nancy watched Aiden and they built a bonfire and had a hobo dinner and early on Sunday I phoned to wish him a Happy Father's Day and he regaled me with stories of Nicole up and busily fixing bacon over the camp-fire! Smiling, remembering all the times when Bill and I took them camping and doing much the same.
A very relaxing weekend here. Perfect weather and spent a while playing in my flowers and container gardens...basking...reading...a long bubble bath and afternoon nap...and snipping fresh herbs from my patio basket to grill with sweet Italian sausages and marinara for sandwiches. And FINALLY tried the quick (<10 minutes) method for making French Vanilla Ice Cream using two ziplock bags. Recipe to follow. Amazingly quick and creamy, smooth and delicious. And a smaller portion. Not that you can ever have too much ice cream!
Reading. Well after taking a look at the NEWS and shaking my head...more on Iraq later...I did the only thing a sentient being would do...turned off the newsfeed and plunged into a re-read of a couple favourite Hunter S. Thompson and enjoyed some of Ralph Steadman's Art...just to get the taste out of my mouth. Hearing Hunter's foreboding of "bad craziness" when my thoughts turned to Iraq.
Possibly one of my very favourite writers.
Who else could drag you instantly into the Nevada desert heat going 100 mph in a bright red Chevy convertible on an Acid trip- with a 300 pound Samoan- quite like this:
We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like "I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive. ..." And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about 100 miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?"
Then it was quiet again. My attorney had taken his shirt off and was pouring beer on his chest, to facilitate the tanning process. "What the hell are you yelling about?" he muttered, staring up at the sun with his eyes closed and covered with wraparound Spanish sunglasses. "Never mind," I said. "It's your turn to drive." I hit the brakes and aimed the Great Red Shark toward the shoulder of the highway.
No point mentioning those bats, I thought. The poor bastard will see them soon enough.
Not even Steinbeck's Dustbowl or King's rabid St. Bernard drags you in this quickly.
(...incidentally King's latest novel is now released Mr. Mercedes...I've heard good things and I am definitely in queue at my local library...)
Anyway after finishing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Sunday afternoon and getting a nice tan in the process (...although I did NOT use beer to facilitate the process...) I was still hungry for HST...and poked around in my personal shelves until I found one of his earliest works (pre-Gonzo): The Rum Diaries. If you ever have a chance to compare these works it is incredible...you can see him hanging thinly to sanity...although questioning the whole business before just saying
"Screw it...I'm going to do whatever I want and I am going to enjoy the hell out of it!"
And of course, the rest is history.
And we are back to Iraq. And you knew I had to go there.
George Santayana...philosopher...essayist...poet and novelist once remarked that those who did not
"...remember the past were condemned to repeat it..."
He probably couldn't have imagined the neo-cons would arrive and take care of that whole problem by REVISING HISTORY.
Seriously WTH, people?
In case you've been locked in a closet or live in a cave or simply watching the soccer games...in which the closet or cave might seem preferable right now...the shit has hit the fan in Iraq.
Remember the 47% of us during the Bush years that screamed from the rooftops what a bad idea it was to invade Iraq. And the responses we got that ranged from burning Dixie Chick albums to calling us unpatriotic and spineless...
Or our President...Barack Obama...who was just a nobody from Illinois at the time explaining his opposition to the invasion/war in October of 2002
What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.
But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaida. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.
After re-reading this Sunday...the man was a goddamn visionary.
Applauding our President's initial response of "...no boots on the ground..." and seriously hoping he can hold to that conviction in the face of the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham who are shrieking that we must go in now...now...now...
I think I can safely say that most of the American citizens...and most importantly her troops are absolutely...positively...unequivocally saying NO...possibly even HELL NO...
And I am firmly in their midst.
Have the people advocating for a return to Iraq lost their damn little minds?
To simplify this to nursery school level...and don't laugh because some folks seem to need this (...bless their hearts...)
Once upon a time there was a horrible evil dictator named Saddam. And he was evil and nasty and blood-thirsty and just as awful as you can get...but he kept the three warring tribes in Iraq from warring with each other. He did this because he was so horrible and blood-thirsty that the others were VERY VERY afraid of him. Sometimes he would attack the Kurds...his own people...just to prove how blood-thirsty and bad he was. So they behaved themselves.
A Knight named George the First knew when he attacked years ago that if he removed Saddam the delicate balance in Iraq would be lost and there would be chaos...so he thrashed him good...but left him in power and so the Country remained stable.
Unfortunately, the knight had an idiot son.
Dumb as a bag of hammers.
And as idiot sons often do...wanting to One Up His Dad At All Costs...or maybe because he was an idiot and didn't know a Sunni from a Shiite...or Iraq from Iran for that matter...and certainly had no grasp on how precarious the situation really was in the Middle East...and being kind of a Cowboy-
He declared he was going to rid the Country of EVIL...and by and by he removed the evil dictator and was very pleased with himself.
The Sunni and Shiites were very pleased too...for they knew in time they could get back to killing each other for there was no EVIL enough to frighten them anymore...
And all the kings horses and all the kings men...couldn't put Iraq back together again...
No...unfortunately where the fairy tale ends real life begins.
Now there is a great joining of Sunni...ISIS...and the Shiites are being rounded up and slaughtered. Along with the Iraqi guard and anyone else that tries to get in their way. Things are blowing up again.
And we need to stay out of it. Completely.
Because as much as the Shiites hate the Sunni and the Sunni hate the Shiites...they BOTH hate Americans even more. So much- that if we would send troops in they would take a break from killing each other to kill us...
Then resume killing each other.
These tribal factions have been warring with each other for 1,400 years. Leave and come back in a Century and they are STILL going to be warring with each other. It is a Holy War.
Like Catholics and Baptists- but with heavy artillery and IEDS.
We can't fix this.
Iran has the most to gain by helping control ISIS. And the most to lose if they don't. They (hopefully) will not allow Baghdad to fall but we need to stay completely out of it. They will sort it. Maybe breaking the Country into three smaller countries. One are for the Kurds. One for the Sunni...and the lion's share will probably end up (assuming Iran's involvement) to the Shiites.
But it is not our Civil War.
In the last two days I have heard all the "...you break it you bought it..." arguments.
Yes. We broke it. No question. Then we went in and re-built it...financed it with money borrowed from China...and trained their troops..and helped set up their new Government...and when the SOFA by the Iraqi government and President Bush (before Barack Obama ever took office) ended in December of 2011...and they voiced that they wanted us gone...adhering to the pre-agreement...we LEFT. And we have been gone for several years now.
It truly is their problem.
I guess I am still a bit pissed off that we sacrificed 4000+ US troops...killed innumerable Iraqi citizens...trashed the US economy...spent 1.7 TRILLION dollars that could have done amazing things in THIS Country...and destabilized the region after 47% of us said what a mistake it was going to be.
Hopefully somebody will listen this time.
So...I promised you Ice Cream in a Bag...and after putting up with that rant...you have EARNED it.
Ziplock Bag French Vanilla Ice Cream
Two large ziplock bags.
In one bag add 1 cup half and half
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 uncooked egg yolk (...this may be omitted if you are worried about raw egg)
Zip bag closed.
In other bag fill 1/2 full with ice cubes and 1/2 cup rock or table salt...you can use either...
Add bag with ice cream ingredients sealed into ice and salt bag and ziplock closed.
Shake for ten minutes or until ice cream is thick.
Extras can be kept in freezer in bag.
Add anything you like after ice cream is thick. Chocolate chips, peaches, strawberries, nuts..whatever...
Makes 2 servings.
Can be doubled easily.
Made some Sunday with fresh Strawberries...and it really does work!
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Spending a day catching minnows and crawdads...scrounging for rocks, shells and fossils with Emma...and rocking Aiden to sleep right there in the creekbed!
Swooped up last Sunday afternoon by the eldest and his wife and the kids to just play creekside for a while.
Thanks guys...what a wonderful Grandma Rose Afternoon :)
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Although my latest "new wheels" will allow me a similar amount of Independence at a fraction of the cost.
Not completely accurate depiction as mine is equipped with four wheels...and the boys have already started tricking it out in their mind.
"Flared wheel wells...or spinners!"
"A neon under-body kit?"
"Must have off road tires for muddin' "
"A great paint job and ghost flames...maybe pin-striping by Bikini, Mom"
"NOS" (...in unison...)
A giant leap in ambulatory stability for me, though.
Buying back the ability to walk distances again without difficulty/falls/exhaustion. To be completely honest- I have needed this for quite a few months, and resisted because of a self-imposed "geezer factor". Having now used it for several days out running around I realize how ridiculous that self-limitation really was. It is so much better to be able to walk comfortably and without the fear of falling...not to mention being able to keep up with the herd...lol!
So...as yet unnamed...but absolutely "hell on wheels"!
(Perhaps I should paint it Torch Red???)
And yes...I am getting the tee-shirt made.
I always said when it came time to use one of these I was going to have a shirt made that said
"Yeah...yeah...I KNOW...Six Points"
Or perhaps this
Complete with the "Frogger" music...lol!
Keep them amused at cross-walks!
Caught a glimpse of myself as a young girl, yesterday. James and Nicki and Emma spent the day at Brown County riding horses...running around the shops...and calling to ask
"Mom, what kind of fudge do you want us to bring you back?"
But back to the horses...
As a girl there were two stables within walking distance of my home. One privately owned and one livery stable. Most of my youth was spent either mucking out stalls and grooming/feeding for the privilege of riding or saving every spare cent to head to the livery stable. So when I saw these pictures of Emma from yesterday's outing...
Yeah...I used to be that little girl hanging off the fence-rail :)
They had a great time and soon I am going to go with them...maybe Turkey Run Stables or McCormick's Creek!
Yes...I can still "sit" a horse.
FRED hasn't messed that up!
Enjoying the whole sunrise...sunset thing immensely.
And finding myself often reaching for the camera! I love skies...particularly clouds...and as Idgy remarked once, "It shows in your paintings!"
Can't wait for our Summer Adventure...only a little more that a month away!
And...I picked up these (on the same day)...to ease the sting of the walker a bit
Pinkish peach...satin, ribbons and lace...once piece pajama-type-bottom lingerie that look fabulous with pearls!
Attitude is everything!
And another sure sign that (at least in Indiana) the climate is already changing.
In addition to Kudzu, which made its appearance quite a few years ago) and Fire Ants which have been steadily migrating North...we are now seeing these
Texas Speed Bumps.
Also known as Armadillos...now being found in Indiana. And don't let their oh-so-cute appearance fool you...grab one of these little guys up and you'll be in ER getting a lot of stitches. Basically, armoured opossums.
This week's book review comes in the form of a film. Saw "Maleficent" last night. This is what happens when you put Angelina Jolie in a Disney Film...
For adults...an amazing DARK rendition of the Sleeping Beauty story.
For children under 10...nightmares and sleeping in Mom and Dad's room for a month or more.
Seriously...if you have small children...skip this one. The crying during the film and the subsequent bad dreams just won't be worth it.
For everyone else...the actress cast as Maleficent as a young carefree girl/fairy was perfect...looking just like a younger version of Jolie.
Angelina Jolie dripped with evil as the betrayed Maleficent and this movie took a great many liberties with the fairytale but they worked exceedingly well...and we finally got to see the REASON behind the invitational snub and the sleeping curse. Needless to say "Hell Hath No Fury..." as well as a refreshing new twist on the "Kiss of True Love".
Excellent film...and dark...very dark.
And finally, experimenting with Crostati this week.
A Crostata is basically a simple rolled out pie crust...with ingredients piled into the center...and the edges lapped casually up over the sides of the filling. They can be made savory with meats or veggies...eggs or cheese. The pastry wrap salted...buttered or sprinkled with hard crack pepper.
Or sweet with fruits...chocolate...and the wrapped edges sprinkled liberally with coarse grained sanding sugar.
Quick...simple and delicious...and the combinations are endless!
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
From Basking to Bobbing in a couple of days!
Can't complain. The plants are looking amazing. And the weekend left me with a bit of colour post-bask, anyway.
Red is a colour, right?
Cultivating a wonderful new habit.
Every morning I take my Morning Cup onto the terrace and sit quietly in the dark pre-dawn until the sun rises. An enhancement to my Morning Meditation.
Every evening I take a glass of wine or a cup of herbal tea outside to enjoy and sit quietly for my Evening Meditation as the sun sets.
It is incredibly centering and relaxing. Sometimes I capture the peach of the morning sky or the watercolour brushed look of the setting sun...often I am accompanied by Tucker-Cat for a bit of kitty-therapy, as well. In the mornings I listen to the world wake up with an assortment of bird calls and a few "human noises", too.
In the evenings I listen to the peepers and booming bullfrogs...assorted "kitties in love"...the rumble past of a muscle car...and the occasional owl. Later this month the fireflies will join in the evening show.
Of all my "habits" I am enjoying this one the best!
more days until our Summer Adventure, Idgy!
And both of us adding more to our "...stuff we want to do together..." list every morning with coffee and chat! No beach-side adventures. This year is all about picnics and photography treks and painting and relaxation.
"il dolce far niente"
Watching the sunrises and sunsets. Sampling the chocolates and wines. Capturing everything with a camera or a paintbrush. Or both. A private fireworks show since the 4th will be a few days gone. Real hugs and coffee and chat. Cooking together. Plundering Menard's or checking out the newest French Restaurant.
Maybe an addition to our matching tattoos.
It is always an amazing adventure!
My latest adventure in colour inspired by a new book picked up at my local library
Where I discovered aquarelle, which is basically coloured pencils designed to be water soluble and give a nice misty watercolour effect. Basked on Sunday and sketched botanicals. Very enjoyable...although I must admit that acrylics are preferable.
Still, it was something new and fun to explore.
This week's read...a new historical fiction piece by David Park: The Poet's Wives
Two of the three story novel built around the poets William Blake and Nadezhda Mandelstam...the third a composite that exists only in the author's imagination but built around a well known painting:
Our Daily Bread
Well written and researched (in the cases of Blake and Mandelstam) Engaging and quickly paced. Told from the perspective of the poet's wives. Blake's brilliant madness. Mandelstam's incarceration and death. I found the third story intriguing as it was built solely from Park's vivid imagination completely from an image. Creating a story of a pious but difficult poet/husband upon his demise and reflections by his wife and two estranged daughters.
Well worth a look.