photo by Sheri Dixon

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Well...We Survived Another One...

I could wax all emotional about the end of this year and the beginning of a new one, but I'm still a little woozy from the stomach virus we all had this week, so I'll just forego the syrupy stuff.

2011 didn't suck.

I'll refer you back to our annual Holiday Letter if you care for the details.

It didn't suck and in many ways it was fabulous and the beginning of many new beginnings for me and my family- new home(s) being the most obvious and outstanding.

On the last day of 2011, therefore, I'm left with no major regrets, nothing I'd wished done not accomplished (except that 9 pounds I've been trying to lose since 1986) and resolve only to be aware of and respect Time and Place at all times and in all places.

I resolve to take, to MAKE the time for actual writing- this counts, but to devote more to and getting CancerDance updated and ready to roll to the editor (I'm not kidding, Alexa- this time for real). I love Facebook, shit, I get most of my news from family, friends, local, nation and world from everything pouring onto my wall every day, but...yanno.

I resolve to take, to MAKE the time to finish and/or start AND finish projects around here, many of them things we already have the parts and pieces for, so no need to plead "dearth of funding".

I resolve to take, to MAKE the time for catching up on projects at work- things that will need to be done to keep our business running smoothly this next lumpy economic year, for I AM the "mom" there and my attitude affects my employees just as it does my family at home.

I resolve most of all to take, to MAKE the time for my precious family- each and every one of them. To never ever forget, even when they're being difficult- ESPECIALLY when they're being difficult- that 100% of the time their "bad attitude" is a reflection of my own- something I think and type and read over and over and over again and it still doesn't sink into my hard stubborn petty bullhead and I reflexively snap, and snarl, and my defensive shit-shield flies up like one of those frilled lizards on a National Geographic special. If any member of my family seems "off" it's me, not them.

I resolve to always be aware of Place-

If I'm home, to love those around me above all else- even the computer.
If I'm at work, to think of work above all else- and then go one step further than I need to.
If I'm in the car, to think about driving- and leave the goddamn phone in my purse.

I resolve to Show Up-

To be more physically active outside on our property tending this speck of the planet we call "ours" for less than a blink of Mother Nature's eye.

And more physically active outside our property learning and sharing and DOING something for the causes I feel so strongly about- the first step of any change is just Showing the Hell Up.

Tomorrow starts 2012.

According to the Mayan calendar, this is it. The end of an Age.

If we all show the hell up it can be the beginning of a better one. For all of us.

I have people I love on this planet. I have to believe that, have to fight every day for it.

I resolve to be more like the person my family believes I already am. The person who is only brave, and strong, and kind, because of what they've already given to me.

And also to finally lose that last. Fucking. Nine pounds.

New Year's Day menu here will be simple (see stomach flu in first paragraph)- the requisite black eyed peas and cornbread. The black eyed pea recipe is here (see my "end of the world cookout" entry back in May) but here's an excellent bread machine cornbread recipe (yes I also make it in my iron skillet in the oven, but sometimes this is easier. Shut up)

The Essential To Go With Black Eyed Peas New Years Day Cornbread

1 egg
1 c milk
3/4c plain yogurt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3 1/2 c white flour
1 c cornmeal
3/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp each garlic powder, oregano and chili powder
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

add all ingredients to bread machine and set on "basic white"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dr. Dictator Paul- Makes Me Feel All Warm Inside- Wait, That's Just Nausea...

(be patient- I'm typing on my phone again because Alec gave the entire family the stomach flu for Christmas)

Here's what I'd like to know from the Ron Paul zealots-

How the Sam hell would that crazy little bedbug manage to make good on even a 100th of what he's squawking about?

Because according to the Word of Ron Paul, lapped up like liquid manna by his rabid followers, a Ron Paul presidency WOULD bring us-

-ending the war on drugs- make it all legal
-ending the Fed
-ending the "entitlement programs"
-giving big business full protection and support
-giving people full freedom of choice, unless you're female or gay (which doesn't even make him Libertarian, but whatever)
-hauling all our troops home

I'm not saying a few of those aren't damn good ideas, but it's a very ambitious list, in a deluded "I can reach the moon and serve it up on crackers" sort of way.

Yanno the last time I heard and saw such fervent promising was during Barack Obama's campaign- and yes I believed him and yes I voted for him.

Yanno why?

Because done correctly and with the strength of conviction, that stuff could've really happened.

On accounta he had (presumedly) the backing of his party. The only obstruction he should've faced was the Republicans.

What happened was he caved- made deals with the devils and the devils screwed him (I coulda told him how that was gonna go). Top that off with the infusion of the batshit crazy tea party electees who don't give a rat's ass about anything other than getting Obama out of office so would vote to make the National Lunchmeat baby bunny bologna if Obama voted against it and you get what we got now- a fucking mess.

But I digress...

My point is, Obama took office with his party behind him.

Both parties (and most voters) think Ron Paul is an odd little man who wants to be dictator, not president.

I can say that because without substantial support from at least ONE party, the only way he'll be able to do even one of his sweeping promises is by literally taking over the country and hamstringing both House and Senate- to become dictator of the steaming pile of shit he envisions turning this country into.

I'd just as soon that doesn't happen, thanks anyway, Paulbots.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It Was the Best Christmas Ever!

Remember thinking that? When we were little kids and we'd talk to our friends after the Christmas holiday?

"How was your Christmas?"


When I was little, Christmas was magical- not because of all the gifts, although there were plenty of those, but because of the traditions- the big family gatherings at my Great Aunt Nora's house, a tiny house with a big basement where they set up the long folding tables. The "master" bedroom was where the coats got tossed onto the bed and all of us kids (about half a dozen assorted cousins) figured out that if we crouched down on the floor and listened at the heating duct vent we could hear what the adults were saying downstairs.

It was invariably boring and mundane but that's not the POINT- the point is we could do it and they didn't know about it.

Later on, Christmases were at my mom's house and the presents were distributed by the youngest child, who read the tags and piled them in front of their rightful recipients. Then we'd open them from youngest to oldest and repeat till they were all open.

My grandmother would always sneak the next present onto her lap and stealthily work away at the tape till it was almost completely open by the time it was her turn again.

My mother, an expert seamstress with high hopes, good intentions and no spare time, would end up wrapping tangible IOU's- material, buttons, trim and a pattern for whatever she PLANNED on making us.

Grandpa Norman always wore his Christmas socks- one red and one green, and would tell everyone "I've got another pair just like it". Years later, when he passed away, I told Grandma he needed to be buried in his Christmas socks- no one would see them- and she agreed. I'm not sure if anyone but she and I knew.

My first 18 Christmases were the Best Christmases Ever.

Then I got married and had my own children.

Every Christmas Eve was spent with my husband's family and every Christmas Day with mine. In between, I hosted a Christmas brunch for just the grandparents to come see what the kids had gotten from Santa.

I was the designated pie baker and made pumpkin, apple and french silk pies- 2 of each for every gathering.

My in-laws' family was bigger than mine, so we'd all buy gifts for all the kids and the adults would pick names out of a hat between themselves. I did whatever I could to get my brother-in-law John to choose my name- the single guy of the bunch, he had an incredible sense of just the right sweater- all my favorite sweaters came from John- hunter, beer drinker, seal-the-store-bag-with-scotch-tape-wrapper. The one year my husband bought me a sweater it was so itchy I couldn't even wear it with a blouse underneath.

Those were my Stepford wife, good girl, Sunday School teacher, voting Republican years. Family traditions, babies born and growing, doing everything the absolute way I'd been taught to. And I remember them as being the Best Christmases Ever.

Then I got divorced.

I moved to Texas.

The next few years were hard. The kids stayed in Wisconsin and came down the day after Christmas. I was working 2 full time jobs- one day job and one night job. I volunteered to work on the holidays so the other employees could be with their families- MY family was coming on the 26th.

I cooked/served/cleaned up at the Salvation Army Christmas dinner in between holiday shifts. When the kids got here I was able to spend time with them thanks to my bosses and fellow employees who let me have off- and just being with them made those
The Best Christmases Ever.

Then Ward and I got married and had Alec.

We started renovating our grand old house and settled into small town life. Each Christmas the halls were literally decked and the stockings hung with care. Alec loved having the older kids visit and for just a few rose-colored sugar-coated years they were The Best Christmases Ever.

The older kids grew up and got jobs which precluded them from coming down during Christmas, Ward's mom passed away and Ward got sick. A few years we sandwiched Christmas in between hospital stays, but I doggedly persevered in as many of our traditions as I could- the decorations in the house, cookies baked, Santa's arrival- not because I felt like it, but because when faced with the hideously abnormal, maintaining normalcy is a huge act of defiance, and empowerment, and comfort.

And every year we'd look back and see what we'd been through and then at each other- our amazingly fragile yet titanium-strong family and realize that we were having The Best Christmas Ever.

We "adopted" Joe, and now his mom Edna- our family has grown in a completely unconventional yet wonderful way and Alec said the other day, "It's great that we have other people living here with us- it's like our own little community".

Last year today our contractor/our friend Ronnie finished sealing the interior wood in this house- on Christmas Eve morning. That night Ward and I came out to sweep and seal the floors. I'd refused to decorate our grand old house because we were hoping to be moved into the new house by Christmas, but it didn't happen. We moved in on January 4th.

So there were no decorations last year. The decorations were stashed in the rented storage shed- the one we were only going to have a few months. Therefore they were unloaded into the very back corner of said unit...which we found out a few weeks ago when we went hunting for them. For a few frantic sickening days I thought maybe somehow the decorations had been tossed out by mistake.

But in the end, there they were.

And here we are.

My children, all of them, are healthy and well. I'm not doing too bad for knocking around in this half-century+ bag of skin, bones and too much padding.

Every morning, I open my eyes and can't believe we're here, in this house, at last.

Every night I close my eyes snuggled in next to my darling courageous husband who's still here with us.

Tomorrow is Christmas Day- and I already know it's going to be the Best Christmas Ever.

Silent night- all is calm, all is bright. Rainy and cold outside, warm and so very contented inside. Wishing for you all every day as Special as Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thebj goodness dif auto correct...

So I'm oresssrf dot rind and Alec has taken ivermectin my computer with his incessant needs for information, shock I'd something I can't deny him.

Therefore,imn typing on my phone. It's a likely phone- one of those with the handy ayor correct si I don't have to stress about the time little keys that are so easy to misspell thins with.

The presents are mostly Borden and I just have to wrap even at work roniaske- the boys were shocked and a kittle iggdbfrdcrgat I insisted on taking then to work and locking Rhenish inti my office rikk Christmas (the presented, bot the bits).

We've decided that we're found to forefinger the bid holiday dibber and just head fir the Chinese restaurant ob Sunday, which makes ne feel fault and more than a little kgvwteated.

Hor's dob and famine wukk be comics ob Saturday and I roof Edns sgoooibfcroday and will hejpvher cook a bog.Chrtstnas eve dinner mark fir them.

Rift bow the bots ate St art class so I'm Judy sitting here enjoying the quiet avf the pteygj lights Wafr. Our up akk around the house.

They'll nr hive doib and we'll have dibber and watch a niche.
I cavy believe how quick I can type when I don't have to pay attention to sprigging.

Thank goodness fit Syria correct :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

...and a Merry Christmas To All

So I innocently posted something I thought was clever on Facebook. It was an alternative to the literal buttload of "Put the CHRIST back into CHRISTmas- repost if you're a PROUD AMERICAN ***CHRISTIAN***" posts we get inundated with this holy holiday season of love and goodwill.
(I didn't write this- I just passed it on)

WHAT A CROCK ..... We can't say Happy Holidays now we have to say Merry Christmas. We can't call it a holiday tree, it HAS to be called a Christmas tree. Because it might offend Christians if they don't get to monopolize the holiday season and make the country pretend that Chanukah, Yule, Kwanza, and the winter solstice don't exist or deserve respect. If you don't like our freedom of religion and ...freedom FROM religion, and it offends you so much, then LEAVE: I will help you pack. If you agree with this, repost. I AM A PROUD and EDUCATED AMERICAN CITIZEN. Happy Holidays to ALL Americans, whatever you celebrate! Do you have what it takes to be respectful of everyone and repost this? It's not a war on Christmas, it's a war on rudeness and exclusivity.

Well. The reaction wasn't a total "shitstorm" but it was filled with a fair amount of Christian persecution rhetoric along with a huge dollop of mis-learned history.

The posters are my friends- real life friends, not "just" Facebook friends, so I know they were as tactful as they could muster, and for that I thank and respect them- as I respect their Reason for the Season.

Their main objections to "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas" are that "God is on our money and in our pledge and the 10 Commandments are in our government buildings so we ARE a Christian nation and have always been", that it's only been the last few years that people have started complaining about prayer in school and that before that everyone "just got along". That we are a nation of many faiths and that they DO respect everyone's right to worship or celebrate the way they choose- that I have it all ass-backwards- it's the OTHERS who are picking on and limiting the Christians, who are tolerant and loving towards all.

I guess it may look that way...from that side of the mirror. Because these are thinking intelligent people who I happen to love, I have to believe that.

Of course, since I can't keep my mouth shut, I also had to address things they stated that clearly aren't true. Why they still love ME is anyone's guess.

The whole "God is on our money and in our Pledge, and the 10 Commandments are carved into the walls of our government buildings" is NOT as old as our nation- those things were added in the '50's in response to the Red Scare and to differentiate us as far as possible from the "evil Commies".

The FIRST Europeans who came here- the Puritan Pilgrims- were so strict and harsh in their Faith that Christmas as a CELEBRATION to be touted and given holiday status was against the law punishable by imprisonment. So to say "It's always been this way" isn't true- it's only been this way in OUR lifetimes.

The thing is- the US is a nation that IS predominantly Christian, but as written in our constitution by men who left other places BECAUSE of religious persecution caused by governments that were theocracies, not democracies or republics, we are NOT a Christian nation.

That's a subtle, but very very important difference.

I know ALL the messages are not militant, but there are plenty out there that are- one of my friends was actually denied admittance to a store by a "Christian" group who refused to let her pass until she repeated "Merry Christmas" with "Merry Christmas"- which she would've done happily if they hadn't been brandishing it like a weapon and literally spitting it at her.

I don't know of ANY non-Christian who is insisting that no one can say Merry Christmas or put up 10,000 trees and nativity scenes if that's what they believe and how they want to celebrate. I LOVE Christmas trees and nativity scenes and will have both proudly displayed once I find my decorations buried in the bowels of the storage shed from hell.

Is a nativity scene appropriate in a public school? ONLY as a form of history and culture next to all other December holiday symbols. Not to say "THIS is why we celebrate Christmas" because chances are not all the students ARE celebrating the birth of Jesus and it's NOT THE JOB of a PUBLIC school teacher to convert or teach Christianity in school- I would personally call for the firing of a teacher who preached ANY religion in public school.

Why are the same people who say "We're a melting pot nation and are inclusive so stop harassing the Christians" also the ones picketing Mosques being built by Muslim US citizens?

It all ties together, you see. We have candidates and politicians out there who are saying "Government isn't in charge of health care- that's the CHURCH'S job to provide charity AS THEY SEE FIT" which leaves you pretty much dead unless you're a member of a church with money to spare.

They are saying "We don't need a minimum wage, banking regulations and safe food and water, we need PRAYER".

They are saying "If you are unemployed all you need to do is pull yourself up by your bootstraps- God helps those who help themselves".

They are saying "We need LESS government intervention in our lives and *I* will work for that- and also to make damn sure government forces everyone to tend their daily personal business in a manner according to our interpretation of the Bible".

The answer is NOT "our country needs to be run by the Christian law" any more than it is to be run by (another government law-making time waster) the scary boogeyman of Sharia Law.

The government needs to care for the weakest members of society and regulate the strongest. Within those parameters lies the true freedom and luxury for everyone to live in a free and dignified manner.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's OK- We Didn't Need Any Sleep Tonight

We had a little scare night before last.

Alec woke up in the middle of the night crying, which is very unusual.

He's a stoic boy, not given to being sick and being very brave when hurt.

It was abdominal pain, so severe he couldn't even turn over or sit up or walk.

No fever, no vomiting, no ("MOM- don't say it"), just blinding awful pain.

We tried some Tylenol, then some GasX, and manually shifted him around to see if any other position was better than another. Since the boy opts to sleep on his loveseat, which is about half his body length, we asked if he wouldn't be more comfortable on our bed, but he couldn't get up.

*disclaimer- he HAS a bed- he has THREE mattresses- all of them currently used for piling STUFF on.

Without thinking, Ward picked up his 85 pound son and carried him to the bed. Across the house.

We got him a little more comfortable in the bed, but he was still in awful pain.

In between tears (not like him), informing us he'd never been in so much pain EVER and imploring me to do something to MAKE IT STOP, he started asking to go to the emergency room.

I called the nurse at telecare and she talked to him. When I got back on the phone she said "He's very sincere- it sounds like he's in a lot of pain- even though it's not specifically on his right side, we can't discount appendicitis and I recommend you go to the emergency room NOW".

Ward and I dressed to go and I texted Joe to let him know where we were going, why, and that I'd call him when we knew anything.

I brought clothes into our room for Alec to get dressed in and he said

"Hey. It's gone. The pain is gone. Now I'm really tired."

And he got up, walked back to his room and went to bed.

Ward and I looked at each other. I texted Joe. We got into our jammies and went back to bed.

Ward stared at the ceiling. "I'm too old for this shit".

I've known that ever since Alec was born. The midwife handed me the little person I'd grown inside of me and instead of 8 pounds 4 ounces he seemed to weigh a million pounds and I knew that this one was different. Different from the other two.

Not that he's more special- because he's not.

But that *I'M* different. I'm older. I know the truth.

The truth that slices my heart into shreds when he's sick or hurt.

Because when you're young and you have babies they get sick or hurt and you think "Bummer- poor baby" and you take care of them till they get better.

When you're old your brain flashes every news story about every child who's ever died from the exact same thing yours is currently suffering from.

Over and over and over again until they're better.

So Alec's better. And we're all better.

Every day is a gift. Every moment spent with the ones we love is a blessing.

Life is fragile.

Handle with care.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Today's Equation

An 11 year old who loves to blow shit up +

a 69 year old who KNOWS how to blow shit up +

a non-working printer that's pissed mom off one too many times =

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Cheer OR Cards Are Expensive- Most of Ya'll Are Getting...This

Happy Holidays from the center of the middle of nowhere!

We’re coming up on one year in our new home and it’s just as wonderful (and unbelievable) now as it was when we watched it being built last fall, after years of planning and delays. We’re finally Home- and will never ever take that for granted.

Ward gets stronger every day, and I’ve got him pretty well back to fightin’ weight with the liberal application of home cooked comfort foods. The doctors have cut his scans back to every 6 months or so, and every single day together is precious.

Alec just finished up his first quarter of 7th grade home school- good thing Ward’s his teacher because he passed me by at about 3rd grade…He’s involved in the International Future Problem Solver’s Program with the Denton home school group, is a 3rd degree black belt in tae kwon do, has an insatiable curiosity about all things socio-political, and is working on a complex and constantly morphing earth-berm structure with his dog- Aaron the Freakishly Understanding. He’s considering trumpet lessons since becoming a fan of jazz, big band and swing music.

Erika is back “on the hill” after taking a break for several years in retail management. She and her new husband Dave have a new dog, Lolo who is their running partner (on the shorter runs). She’s still running marathons and she and Dave finish at the head of the pack most of the time. Her wedding was absolutely beautiful at the lighthouse lakefront in Racine back in June of this year.

Dave (the son, not the son-in-law) is still working at Merchants with his dad. He and his girlfriend Kristin live in Oak Creek and have Sophie the guinea pig and now Bill the Bathroom Cat to keep them in line.

Joe’s mom Edna (age 92) fell last summer and decided she shouldn’t live alone anymore so she moved from Oklahoma City to…here. Her little modular home was delivered last week and is a darling little “grandma’s house” in between our log home and Joe’s cabin.

Joe and Alec spend a fair amount of time perfecting an art they call "Blowing Shit Up".

We went to Racine over the 4th of July and spent time with family and friends, and Alec and Ward got to experience the parade and the fireworks on the beach.

Our farm’s inhabitants remain about the same- 1 horse, 9 goats, 1 sheep, 6 dogs, 1 cat, 9 chickens, 12 ducks, 1 guinea hen and 50 (give or take)guinea pigs.

I’m still at the Tyler Animal Emergency Clinic, still writing for, still blogging and trying to re-work CancerDance with the help of a ‘real’ editor to hopefully get it ready for mainstream publication, have a tiny repeating spot on The Homestead Radio Show out of California, and am daily very thankful for family, friends and home.

Sending you peace and happiness during the holidays and always-

Love, the Dixons

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Twelve Complex Questions, Twelve 10 Word Answers

The questions are valid and complex. The answers are purposely short to encourage thought, research and introspection without the trap of getting bogged down in party or social politics.

Because we're all supposed to be in this together- we all need to take care of each other, and leave our world better for our children and safer for our elders, even though and especially because in the end- not a one of us is getting out of here alive.

1) Why does Occupy want to turn us into a socialist nation?
It doesn't. We want capitalism that's accountable, regulated and moral.

2) Why don't those people grow up, go home and get a job?
Most Occupiers are over 40 and have homes and jobs.

3) So what the hell are they mad about?
OUR government being purchased to the detriment of the people.

4) Hey- if anyone in America really WANTS to work, all they have to do is go get a job.
Right. Over a million applied for 50,000 burger flipping positions.

5) If it's so bad here, why are illegals still flocking across the border?

They're not. Illegal immigration is at a 60 year low.

6) But we're in a tough economy- EVERYONE needs to sacrifice- share the burden.

Yes. Don't cut or eliminate ANY taxes- ESPECIALLY corporate taxes.

7) But those are the Job Creators- if we help them, they'll help us.
Seriously? When? In between moving the jobs and money overseas?

8) What's this "People Before Corporations" crap? Sounds communist.
Society is judged by how it treats its weakest members.

9) But this is America- home of the rugged individualist- survival of the fittest, gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet and all that jazz...

Tell it to your children and grandparents. Never get sick.

10) How can we have national universal health care? Who's going to pay for it? Through MORE taxes?
Taxes INSTEAD of your premiums. Do the math. It's horrifying.

11) Providing EVERYONE who needs and wants health care whether or not they deserve it? That just seems wrong and encourages sloth. I don't want MY money going to someone unworthy.
Who "deserves" highways, schools, police and fire protection, mail service?

12) My pumpkin pie recipe made more filling than I needed- what can I do with the extra filling?
Bread machine- 1 1/2c filling, 4c flour, 1 1/4tsp yeast. Pumpkin bread.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No Seal of Approval For Me

*tap tap tap*

"Ma'am? Can you hear me?"

(Inner twinge of irritation since we're not even open for business yet)

"Yes- I can hear you".

"I'm sorry to bother you, but my car broke down and I'm trying to get to church for a meeting- do you think I could use your phone...I'm not a homeless person".

(What? What difference does she think THAT would make?)

I told Becca, the only other employee there, to let her in and let her use the phone. When she came through the door I told her "You know, if you WERE homeless I'd still let you use the phone" and she kind of laughed, nervously.

She was maybe mid-thirties, a little overweight, breathing hard and kind of clicking- perhaps asthma-ish, carrying a huge satchel type purse, and of a different race from myself.

No one answered at the other end of the line.

"I've just got to get to this meeting at church- do you think I could trouble either of you for a ride? I have friends also going who are meeting at a church just past Walmart". (About 5 miles from where we were).

I told Becca "I'll be right back", and to answer her worried expression I asked the woman "You're not planning on carjacking me or anything, are you?".

"No, ma'am. I'm surely not".

Good enough for me.

We made small talk on the way to the church. Her mom had just had surgery and was in rehab. She asked me about my children. We talked about my work. She asked where I go to church. I said "We don't go to church".


I thought she'd undone her seat belt because it was uncomfortable, with her being a little overweight and all, and her breathing labored, and I know when stressed *I* get claustrophobic...I didn't think much about it.

We pulled into the church parking lot, or as into the lot as we could go with the gate locked. "Honey- there's no one here" I said.

She looked even more worried than before and re-fastened her seat belt as we backed out of the driveway. It was getting dark outside. I asked (even knowing I shouldn't) "Where is the meeting you need to be at and what time is it?"

Another 5 miles up the road. She said "You need to get back to work" (true enough) "There's a bus stop right up here- if you drop me off I'll be fine".

The bus doesn't GO the direction she needed to go. I told her "I am not dumping you off at a bus stop in the dark. Just tell me where the meeting church is".

More small talk. "So do you just not have TIME to go to church?" she asked hesitantly.

"Nope. I went when I was younger, but I don't go anymore".


Since I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, it took me almost an hour after dropping her at the meeting church (to many "thank you"s and "God bless you"s and after declining the $3 in her purse for gas money) to realize what she had been doing.

Every time I verified that I do NOT attend church on a regular basis, she undid her seat belt...why?

So she could bail out of the moving vehicle if I did something...satanic?

She'd said how she appreciated my taking her where she needed to go even though I didn't know her- the meeting was for people who need assistance paying their utilities and food bills and rent- and I'd told her that my husband has been sick a lot and we've been helped by many people we didn't really "know" in real life and how we feel very strongly that if we are able to help anyone who needs it, we are morally bound to do so.

My Thanksgiving Eve encounter made me laugh on the one hand- because I'm clearly so dangerous. But it really makes me sad as well- after extending help, sharing some of my family's life outlook in regards to caring for our fellow humans, the mere fact of our being "churchless" made me somehow threatening to her.

Despite all evidence to the contrary by word or deed, if I couldn't claim membership to the Club of Believers, I'm not to be trusted fully.

I'm thankful for my family- my entire human family...with or without Church Homes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Like Simple

Life is hard. It's complex and frustrating and the threads of everyone's needs do not weave together neatly- most of the time the schedules I need to keep up with are all balled up and knotted together, a rat's nest of responsibilities in my head.

By the time I've paid attention to everyone and everything at home and at work I feel fortunate to get 10 minutes alone to read...even if it's while I'm peeing.

But that's ok. I've learned, as a survival tactic, to really ferret out and mentally highlight the best things, the simple, singular things that make my life truly wonderful.

We have a number of sweet gum trees- most of them gigantic sentries one person can't encircle with their arms. None of them have exactly the same hue right now- from spun gold to blood scarlet each and every one of them whispers a different note in autumns' song.

I think the hummingbirds are gone- I haven't seen one in weeks and the feeder is still full. I'm loathe to take it down yet- I have to believe there's one hummingbird out there who's running behind, been delayed, got a late start to wherever they go for the winter...a hummingbird equivalent of myself. And I know that I'd appreciate seeing a beacon of ruby nectar while frantically trying to catch up.

The little things, the simple things.

Laundry seemingly alive on the line- inhaling the breeze and exhaling the scent of laundry soap to and fro, back and forth.

The last walk-through of the house at night- checking the doors, turning off lights, picking up and putting away dog toys and making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be, tucked in and cozy.

Gazing up at the black velvet night sky shot through with star diamonds.

Watching the nocturnal progression of the moon- first through my office window, then the dining room skylight and finally the bedroom gable window before it disappears behind the cedars.

Standing in the morning shower- hot water from the well without a hint of chlorine, walls of wood, sunshine through the window, river rocks under my feet.

The absolute and complete happiness of coming home- whether I've been gone an hour or a week- just passing through the gate lowers my blood pressure.

The daily comfortable thrill of my horse at the evening feeding, especially if she's grazing at the top of the meadow- I call her name and her head comes up, ears forward, and she flies down the hill on thundering hooves- tail flagging, nostrils flaring- every inch a Queen of the Desert and she graciously deigns to be kissed on the muzzle.

My boy and his dog running across the bridge in search of adventure- one long legged and slender, the other short legged and long.

The world around us is changing and unsteady on its feet.

The world we've made here is safe and sheltering and we are spectators- a family of deer mice snuggled down in fallen leaves while the restless lemmings stream by.

Being of Sicilian heritage, one of the most important simple things is food- food for my family- healthy food to nourish their tummies and hearts.

The other day I made applesauce. I've made it before, but not for a good long while, and never with an audience. The boys watched curiously.

I peeled and cored 6 apples, cutting them into quarters. Placed them in a pan with 1/2 cup water.

Brought it to a boil, turned it to simmer and covered.

Ten minutes later I took it off the stove, added 1/3 cup of sugar and mashed them up with a fork, stirred it up well, scooped it onto the plates next to the pork chops and oven fried potatoes and sprinkled it with cinnamon.

Ward looked at me, incredulous.

"That's it? THAT'S the magic of applesauce???"

Yep. The Simple Magic is the Best Magic.

***bonus points for noticing all 4 rodent references, which were completely random and serve no useful purpose whatsoever***

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Outstandingly Bad Day Continued...

...actually it was more of an outstandingly bad week.

Before we knew we had an empty trashed mess where there should've been paying buyers living in our old house, we got The SECOND Questionnaire- from Social Security Disability.

Now, we get The Questionnaire periodically. It asks for medical information and doctors' names and numbers and inquires about what Ward can and can't do as opposed to what he could do before cancer, heart disease and diabetes all started gnawing at him. We fill it out, send it in and within a week or so we get a letter stating "We have determined that you are still disabled".

This time we got a Second Questionnaire instead.

This one asks many detailed questions like "How long can you stand on your feet?", "Can you still drive?", and "Are you able to read?". This one is clearly looking to see if Ward is a candidate to be tossed off the disability rolls.

While I understand the desire to "weed out the undeserving" (because judging others is so easy to do when the world is all cut and dried), what these questionnaires and their intent are doing to MY family is causing even more insecurity and worry than the disease gods have already wrought.

And that really pisses me off.

My husband, my kind, courageous, handsome husband has been through hell, and hell is his constant companion.

Why, no- his eye and that part of his face has not grown back. Neither have the muscles they harvested from his arm, side, back and thigh for the grafts they needed to keep replacing because of the damage from the radiation.

Why, yes- he still has a clot in his heart that they closely monitor and that forces him to be on rat poison to keep his blood thin enough to (hopefully) keep the clot from breaking free and causing a stroke.

Why, actually- he's much more compromised than when you sent the LAST Questionnaire because he had that little 6 week stay in the hospital where he almost died and was in a coma and all since then.

And even though I clearly stated the above in no uncertain terms (because yanno being VAGUE is one of my weak points)in the first questionnaire, they still sent the second one. Because everyone is now clamoring for CUTTING THE WASTE.

My husband is almost 60 years old. He's in never-ending pain and is physically compromised. But some pencil pusher is right now looking at his records and deciding whether or not he could conceivably flip burgers for minimum wage. On the days his head isn't exploding. Under the influence of pain killers- which he takes every single day and which still manage to just take the edge off. Without insurance- because if they toss him off disability he also loses his Medicare.

And he'd be SO EASY to find health insurance for. Oh, no wait. He'd be shit out of luck.

I also just read that McDonald's has hired several tens of thousands of people.

They had over a million applications.

So, what happens to those kicked off disability and can't find work because they're competing with people who are younger and HAVE ALL THEIR FREAKING BODY PARTS?

Can't go on unemployment, because they're not technically getting fired or laid off.

This. This right here is the pesky details, the "gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet" of the conservative mindset.

While bleeding heart liberals say "Let a few people 'cheat' the system if that means allowing 100 to get the help they need", the fiscal conservatives say "Tighten it up, kick off anyone who could drag themselves to work, even if it would kill them- and it will, because there's no health insurance in those types of jobs. At least we'll get all the cheaters".

The figures being ignored show clearly that "entitlement" programs are a microscopic drop in the budget bucket compared to say...military spending.

Problem is the military war machine has a bigger pocketbook and more clout that a bunch of poor women, children, old people and cripples. So we hear "SHARE THE SACRIFICE" when what they really mean is

"You- you there, sitting easy collecting that government handout disability check- you haven't had a rough enough go of it. Your family hasn't had enough uncertainty and suffering. You worked full time for almost 40 years. Your wife still works full time.

It's not enough.

We understand and are sorry that IF you can even find a job that will excuse your many absences due to sickness, pain and hospitalizations and will allow for your physical disabilities going back to work will stress your body enough to kill you, and that having no health insurance will guarantee your early demise. But times are tough and we must ALL MAKE A GODDAMN SACRIFICE.

Nothing personal".

I sincerely hope I'm getting all worked up about nothing. I sincerely hope we get the letter saying "We have determined you are still disabled".

That would be outstandingly good for our family.

But I also know that for every good determination, there is at least one denial. And they aren't all using those checks to buy beer and big screen tv's, I don't care what the talking heads tell you. Most of them are people who need help, who've worked hard and played by the rules and shit just happened.

Most of them are us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

200th Post

So I was going to continue my pathetic bitching and moaning- even though the subject matter is not trivial, I looked at the post counter and saw that this is number 200. Using my 200th post to whine and rant seemed...less than worthy, so I'm taking a short break from my normally sunny disposition and forcing myself to be reflective and squishy instead of acerbic and pointy.

Don't worry. It won't last.

For Now...

Some think I'm cynical because when asked
"How are you doing?"
I always answer with, "I'm OK...for now".

My family is healthy and strong
And that hasn't always been the case.
While we know everything can change
In the blink of an eye
We're just fine...for now.

My home is every bit as magical as it was
A year ago when I watched it
Appear before my very eyes
One day, one log, one nail at a time.

This summer we had wildfires all around us
The acrid smoky air hung hazy for a few days
But our home remains safe...for now.

We have the same different struggles
Everyone does.
Too many bills at the end of the paycheck
Too little time for the work that needs done.
But we're getting by...for now.

There will always be someone better off than us
There will always be someone with heavier burdens.

Our burdens have lifted my eyes from the distractions
The diversions and the bullshit annoyances
And every day I gaze on this family, this home
In wonder and thankfulness.

Because these people- these incredible amazing humans
And this place- this magical perfect place
Are mine...for now.

And those two little words don't depress me
Or anger me.
Life is change.
Everything and everyone changes
With every sunrise and every sunset.

For Now is all we have.
Yesterday is gone, forever.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone, ever.

For Now I'll live and see and hear and breathe and love.
For Family.
For Home.

For Now.

(Standing at the barn gate looking down the road towards the house gate. Have you ever seen anywhere so perfect? Me neither...)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An Outstandingly Bad Day

Anyone looking for one of my funny or lyrical, thoughtful or tender posts may as well check out right now. I will say I'm not pissed at god, or politicians, or the tea

You've been warned.

So the people who are supposed to be buying our old house have apparently moved out.

The people we let move in without down payment or deposit because the house did need A LOT of work done on it- work they said they could do because they'd renovated houses before and loved old houses and they could see the potential in this one and planned on this being their last and final home.

So we told them "Just make our payments and we're good- we'll give you 2 years to sell YOUR house and get our names off of this one". Because I've been helped, my family has been helped, during times when we've desperately needed it and on paper really didn't deserve it, but people helped us anyway. They moved in less than a year ago.

At the time, I called our mortgage company to inform them we were no longer going to be living there and the MORTGAGE COMPANY offered to do a modification to make the payments lower for this 2 year period. The buyers said "GREAT- that will give us some leeway to do improvements". Due to some questionable wording on the papers we signed, we found out (too late) that instead of going from $710 to $595, the new payment would be $595 PLUS $330 escrow...every month. We couldn't afford that. They couldn't afford that.

So I started working to make it better.

Because making this move was financially and physically straining on them and they loved the house and because even though the mortgage company admitted that the papers read "vaguely" because NOWHERE ON THE PAPERS DID IT STATE ANYTHING ABOUT THE ESCROW and I had asked seventy-leven times "Does the $595 INCLUDE the escrow?" and was told YES seventy-leven times, I tried my damnedest to make it better FOR THEM.

Every month, EVERY MONTH I'd call the mortgage company trying to get it re-written since it was now falling behind because of the escrow not being paid. (The people were paying the $595 a week or two early every month- like clockwork). The mortgage company said "Why don't you just do a deed in lieu of foreclosure?" and I said "Can the people stay in the house and buy it from YOU then?" and they said "No. The house must be empty".

I didn't WANT to make the people move- didn't want them to have to face that when they loved the house. So I kept working at it.

They gave every excuse in the book for not doing a new modification-
-it was less than 6 months into this modification
-it wasn't delinquent enough to do a new one
-we were TOO delinquent to do a new one
-the house was no longer owner occupied (my favorite since this is the reason THEY OFFERED ME THE MODIFICATION IN THE FIRST PLACE)

Finally, a few weeks ago, the mortgage company agreed to another modification- the new payments are $660 per month INCLUDING the escrow starting Dec. 1.


All I needed was the November rent to pay for the modification by Oct. 31st and we'd be home free.

That's when I got the note from the buyers asking if they could be a week late with this month's payment...for the first time ever.

When I wrote back saying that I NEEDED the payment by the 31st to complete the modification we'd (I'd) been fighting so hard for this entire last year I was met with the sound of crickets. Obviously they weren't "asking", they were "informing".

The old neighbors contacted me to say "There's been a big U-Haul making trips out of the yard several times now and all the dogs are gone and all the yard ornaments are gone".

(Interjecting here to say that up till a few months ago there were always 2 vehicles in the yard. Then there was just one in the yard, and the last month there were none. I didn't make any conclusions since my visits over there consist of two times a month for about 5 minutes each- once to drop off the water bill still in our name and once to pick up the check.)

Ward said "I've got a bad feeling about this".

I said "No- she's working out of town and away from a computer and her mom's been sick- they've never been late and they want the house. I'm sure there's a perfectly good explanation for the U-Haul truck. It'll be fine".

So I didn't pay some of OUR bills and paid for the modification.

Because I didn't want the house to go into foreclosure and have to tell them they'd have to move.

Today was the day I was to pick up the check. They leave it in a little wrought iron mailbox by the front porch.

I stood in an empty front yard in the pouring rain looking at the spot next to the stairs where the mail box used to be.

I called Ward. "So you think it's a bad sign if the mailbox the check is supposed to be in is FUCKING GONE???"

*Silence at the other end of the line* followed by "Shit. I knew it."

The front door was unlocked.

I can't say the house is empty.

I can say that there's no sign of anyone living there. No furniture. No clothes. Nothing in the kitchen (although the sink is there...just not installed anymore).

I can say that the one bathroom is missing a toilet. Missing. A. Toilet.

What there IS is piles of "left-behinds"- yanno, the stuff you just abandon...WHEN YOU MOVE OUT OF A HOUSE.

The door to the living room was closed. Apparently they'd left the dogs to their own devices with the door open to the back yard. The dogs weren't housebroken and the entire wood floor is covered in dog leavings. The only way I know they left the door open is from the BIRD'S NEST ON TOP OF THE CEILING FAN.

You get the picture.

And yes. I have photos of everything.

I called the people *I* didn't pay, who I'd promised would get paid today and told them the story- they said "Wow". I told them I'd pay them on the 15th when I get paid...unless I get fired at the board meeting on Thursday. Not that I'm anticipating that, but it's been that kind of week. (spoiler alert for the next blog entry).

I called the mortgage company and talked to the girl who worked so hard to get us the modification. I told her the story and she said "Wow". I asked about the deed in lieu of foreclosure and we'll be looking into that as soon as I talk to the local bank THIS house is with- they said once we were out from under the other house officially they'd re-write our loan to a fixed rate, but the intent and understanding was that would be via a SALE, not surrender.


It appears as if
-we're out $800 we could not afford to lose- we were prepared to cough up the $200+ difference to do the modification...FOR THEM
-we've got a huge stinking mess to clean up over yonder
-our chances of getting a better loan on this house may be ruined

No good deed goes unpunished.

And you want to hear the really "funny" part?

As I was talking about doing the deed in lieu of foreclosure, there was a little voice in the back of my head saying "But you haven't talked to the buyers yet- maybe they still want the house, maybe they're just...casual housekeepers with a liking of minimalistic furnishings, don't jump to conclusions till you talk to them..."

Good gawd, I'm an idiot.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Does..."

As promised, today's column is brought to you by a guest blogger who will clarify and define all the different and diverse political trigger words that we've all heard forever but very rarely know the true meanings of.

Without further ado- The Guest Blog.

Misconceptions of Political Systems

Occasionally, whenever you join a conversation (Or even stumble upon a conversation, on, say, the Internet) About politics, religion, etc., you'll find that some people will accuse politicians they don't like of being "Communist" Or "Fascist" Or "Akin to Adolph Hitler". Most of the people who elicit these insults throw it around recklessly, with no idea of what these words actually mean. Basically, in today's culture, if someone is called a "Communist" That means they're a bad person. Nothing more. With no actual study of what the word "Communist" Truly means. The same goes for the word Fascist.

So, I have been invited to briefly define a couple words that have either been bastardized, or that some people would simply enjoy knowing. I will begin with the obvious, Communism.

Communism. Kom-you-niz-um.
A societal, political, and economic theory that promotes abolition of the state, common ownership of the means of production (Factories, tools, machines, resources), abolishment of classes, And a direct-democratic voting system for elections of any and all kinds.
Communist. Kom-you-nist.
A person who promotes and/or believes in Communism.
The misconception of Communism:
The usual misconception of Communism is that it leads to, or is, a totalitarian ideology that oppresses the people, much like in the Soviet Union. But, contrary to the belief, the Soviet Union was not Communist, not even Socialist, but was Totalitarian politically and State Capitalist economically.

Socialism. So-shul-iz-um.
1: A blanket term used to represent the many different Socialisms, including such theories as Trotskyism, Stalinism, and Marxism.
2: A transition phase between Capitalism and Communism in Marxist ideology. It is used to economically rejuvenate the nation after a revolution. Unlike Communism, Socialism still has a more-or-less intact state, but as the society continues towards superabundance and increasing of freedoms, the state gradually dissipates, giving way to Communism.

The misconception of Socialism:
The common misconception of Socialism is that in a Socialist society, no one is allowed to own anything, and the government and politicians are ultra-rich. But, this is not true, as many things can be personally owned in a Socialist society, but if you, say, have a garden that has grown full crops, you take what you need and give the rest to the society, basically making it impossible for any number of people to have to go hungry. Another misconception (As it needs to be addressed) Is that a minority of people in a Socialist society have to work extremely hard to support the majority that doesn’t want to work. But, since money has been abolished, these people don’t need to be “Supported”. Without wage-labor, the requirement for mass labor in meticulously mundane jobs has also been abolished, allowing for people to simply do the job they want, and not the job they need.

Marxism. Marks-iz-um.
1: A political ideology that strictly follows Marxist ideals and tendencies, instead of, say, Trotskyism, Stalinism, and the like.
2: An ideology that simply promotes the plethora of different Socialist systems and beliefs.
Marxist. Marks-ist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Marxism.
The misconception of Marxism:
People who misconceive Marxism basically think of it the same way they think of Socialism and Communism. To be called a “Marxist” Has become quite an insult in recent years, and people such as President Barrack Obama have been accused of being Marxists many multiple times, whether or not they truly are.

Fascism. Fash-iz-um.
The Political, Societal, and Economic ideology that promotes Nationalism, oppression of movements and ideas that conflict with those the leaders hold, Authoritarianism/Totalitarianism, and opposition to a variety of Political systems, including Capitalism and Socialism.
Fascist. Fash-ist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Fascism.
The misconception of Fascism:
Fascism, like Communism and Socialism, is a buzzword. When said, it instantly incites a reaction, simply because it has been made such an ugly word over the past decades. Many people (On both sides of the political spectrum, mind you) misconceive the word Fascism. When someone says, “[Well-known Presidential candidate] Is a Fascist!” They are falsely accusing someone of something. If there were a true Fascist presidential candidate, not many people would support him/her. Many people should recognize the recklessness of throwing around the word “Fascism”, just as throwing around the word “Communism” Is reckless.

Capitalism. Kap-it-ul-iz-um.
The Socioeconomic (But not Political) Ideology that allows for Private Ownership (Both of the means of production and of commodities), the establishment of a Class Society,
Wage-labor, and creation and sale of goods mainly for profit.
Capitalist. Kap-it-ul-ist.
Someone who promotes or supports Capitalism.
The misconception of Capitalism:
Capitalism is often misconceived as a perfect (Or even the best) Socioeconomic system. But, Capitalism, like all societal, economic and political systems, has its flaws. It is vulnerable to such agreeably dislikable ideologies such as Social Darwinism and Plutocracy (Both of which I will get to in a moment).

Democracy. Dem-ok-ruh-see.
A Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that endorses the ability of the people to be able to have say in the choices that affect their lives. Usually accompanied alongside Democracy are the equality of all genders, races and religions (Or Irreligion thereof), The abolition of Tyranny or unfair amounts of power centered specifically in Governmental office, and the main center of focus being the People.
Democrat. Dem-oh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Democracy.
The misconception of Democracy:
The usual misconception of Democracy is that the United States is the best role model for Democracy the world over. It is not. There have been too many cases of the exploitation of the people by the hands of the corporations and politicians to call America a perfect Democracy, much less the role model of Democracy. The United States is more of a fickle mixture of many different Societal, Economic, and Political theories.

Republic. Re-pub-lik.
The Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that endorses supreme control over the government by the people, the ability of the people (Or at least a majority of them) To vote on affairs that affect their lives, and assurance of basic Democratic freedoms.
Republican. Re-pub-lik-an.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Republic.
The misconception of Republic:
Republicanism is very strongly misconceived as Tea-Party Neo-conservatism, or, at least, the Tea-Party Neoconservative movement is bastardizing Republicanism. Tea-Party Neo-conservatism is a much more radical ideology than Republicanism, and promotes things such as Social Darwinism and Corporatocracy. The Tea-Party Neoconservative movement is simply using the banner of Republicanism.

Oligarchy. Ole-uh-gark-ee.
The Political (But not Societal or Economic) System that endorses the rule of the state by a small group of individuals that are privileged to do so, either because of the family they are from, ties with others they have, election by the people or the Oligarchs in power, or by military conquest.
Oligarch. Ole-uh-gark.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Oligarchy. Alternatively, someone who is a member of the elite class of Oligarchs in an Oligarchic society.
The misconception of Oligarchy:
There are few-to-none misconceptions about Oligarchy. It is not a widely discussed topic, and is neither controversial nor belonging to popular opinion.

Theocracy. Thee-ok-ruh-see.
A Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that promotes the use of spiritual scripture as a guiding set of rules for the entire nation, powerful religiosity as a requirement for election into political office, and spirituality as a social norm.
Theocrat. Thee-oh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Theocracy. Alternatively, someone who is in a place of power in a Theocracy.
The misconception of Theocracy:
There are very few misconceptions of Theocracy, and it is rarely discussed in political media.

Social Darwinism. So-shull Darr-win-iz-um.
Social Darwinism is a societal factor (But not a Societal, Economic, or Political system) that endorses Laissez-faire Capitalism, competition between ethnic, religious, and class groups, and the application of the “Survival of the Fittest” Ideology to society at large.
Social Darwinist. So-shull Darr-win-ist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Social Darwinism.
The misconceptions of Social Darwinism:
A fair number of mainstream American politicians believe that creating a system akin to Social Darwinism would be good for the United States. Being that Social Darwinism literally applies Evolutionary theory to societal issues, it would only become more defunct as time passes, eventually leading to a minority of the richest and their families, and a majority of the poor. I won’t start a rant now, as I have other things to address.

Plutocracy. Ploo-tok-ruh-see.
The Political (But not Societal or Economic) System that allows for political power to come with wealth, thus making a Plutocratic nation a state ruled by its wealthiest citizens.
Plutocrat. Ploo-toh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Plutocracy. Alternatively, a ruling member of a Plutocratic state.
The misconceptions of Plutocracy:
There are very few misconceptions of Plutocracy, as it is not a very well known word and idea. But it is worth noting that the United States is quite akin to Plutocracy, albeit an un-official one.

Anarchism. An-ar-kiz-um.
The Sociopolitical (But not economic) System that advocates repression of the State, opposition to governmental authority, and endorsement of some form of Economic Market and Private Property.
Anarchist. An-ar-kist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Anarchism.
The misconceptions of Anarchism:
The common misconception of Anarchism is a caricature of its true ideals. Many seem to believe that Anarchism is the utmost in chaos, where there is no social order and crime is rampant. Even though there is no state in an Anarchist society, social order would still be maintained by the citizens. There seems to be a jump-to conclusion in most people’s brains when they hear the words “Abolition of the State”.

Anarchy. An-ar-kee.
The Sociopolitical (But not Economic) System that promotes reluctance to use (Or abolition of the ability to use) violence, propaganda, or overbearing authority by the state.
Anarchist. An-ar-kist.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Anarchy (Not to be confused with Anarchist (Anarchism)).
The misconceptions of Anarchy:
Anarchy receives basically the exact same misconceptions as Anarchism, and the two Ideologies are used interchangeably, even though they are not the same thing.

Kleptocracy. Klep-tok-ruh-see.
The Sociopolitical (But not Economic) factor (But not system) that advocates the exploitation of the lower classes by the higher classes for wealth and power.
Kleptocrat. Klep-toh-krat.
Someone who promotes and/or believes in Kleptocracy. Alternatively, someone in a place of power in a Kleptocratic state.
The misconceptions of Kleptocracy:
Kleptocracy is a very underused word, even more so than Plutocracy. But, it is worth mentioning that the United States today does have very apparent Kleptocratic elements.

As a final word, I would just like to say that politics is a very important subject. The political structure of a country dictates nearly every aspect of its citizens’ lives, and thus I believe it is very important for the citizens of every country to pay special attention to educating themselves on different political theories and ideas. Please always remember to stay informed on the latest political news, and arm yourself with knowledge that could pay off greatly in the future.

Today's blog was brought to you by my son, Alec- age 11.
(and I watched him type it up- every word came right out of his head.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm Waiting To Hear From You...

I have not talked to one person who thinks that what's happening on Wall St. and in the board rooms and in our government due to elected politicians being purchased by special interest groups is right.

Everyone agrees that while if you make a lot of money you should be rewarded, there is also a basic morality that says using some of that money to buy your way out of paying taxes to the country that gave you that opportunity is inherently wrong. That all that money going to lawyers and accountants could be used for things like making your homeland better for "the little people" (also known as your employees and customers) would be a better way to spend the same fucking amount.

That people (human people just like you and who may even WORK for you) who make as much in a year as what falls beneath your sofa cushions should NOT pay a higher percentage tax than you do.

That the government should consist of elected officials who work for the majority of the electorate who voted for them, not just in numbers of campaign dollars donated, but by numbers of individual votes cast.

No one thinks our current system is working.

Everyone is aware that the American Dream is slipping out of reach for most people- home ownership that can be afforded on one income, safe workplace environments with fair compensation and benefits like health insurance and pensions, a strong and up to date infrastructure to keep this nation moving ahead- all floundering.

Everyone knows someone (or IS someone) who has faced unemployment, an unaffordable health crisis, the loss of a home due to sketchy lending, the disappearance of retirement money from the players on Wall St. Hell- just look at your paycheck (which probably looks much like it did 5 years ago) and look at your grocery receipt (which has gone up at least 1/3 even with frugal shopping).

So- problem.

Problem is that we, as in WE the Regular Workaday People are sinking, and fast.

The solution?

I dunno. You tell me.

The Tea Party had its humble beginnings co-opted by big money who have turned it into an angry circus for its own ends- protect the Big Money while crying for the "taking back and taking down" of the government. Basically a Big Corporation wet dream. The seed planted is "Well, I don't have anything today, but this is AMERICA and SOMEDAY I might be rich just like those fellers- how would *I* feel if people who "didn't deserve it" wanted some of MY hard-earned money?"

*Hint*- you'll never know that because you'll never be "them". Ever. Nothing personal, neither will I and I'm perfectly OK with that.

Having our voices and opinions heard in the voting booth is not working. If it WERE working, our president would've passed a health care bill with real meat in it (Single Payer Option) and all the republicans voted into office in 2010 would've been busy every damn day creating JOBS instead of woman-hating abortion laws, child-hating spending cuts to social programs, voter-hating punitive changes to requirements to vote and making sure everyone knows our country's motto is STILL "In God We Trust".

Because it's been that way ever since the Founding Fathers said so.

In the 1950's.

Because I guess they were time travelers.

Or something.

So what the hell do we do?

If our Constitution is ignored, and our votes uncounted, we must physically SHOW THE HELL UP...

as in Occupy.

Say, "Look- we're here and we're pissed and we're just letting you know it. In case you forgot about us. We are peacefully assembling without leadership from any one front and without funding from any huge entity and without fucking sidearms and threatening signs. Please pay attention because this is OUR America, too".

If that doesn't work (because it won't- we know it won't) we move our money. Individually we have very little- I think we've got $291 in our bank account right now- but en masse it adds up very quickly. Move the money out of the big banks and into locally owned banks (where ours has always been) or to locally owned credit unions. That gives the banks pause.

Only shop at businesses who are locally owned AND who bank at local banks- ask them, and follow through. That gives big corporations pause.

Singly we are tiny. Together we are huge.

And for that "I am the 53%" young person and all the folks who are passing that on as a response to the (very real) suffering of the 99%?

I'm happy you have work ethic. Actually we ALL have work ethic. Here's what I don't get.

Why are you content to accept that as your lot in life? Why do you think it's OK to have to work several jobs (without benefits) just to afford your crappy apartment and when the hell did it become the American Dream to wish that sort of drudgery existence on your children? Isn't the American Dream to give our children MORE opportunities, not train them to accept less?

Is it because Americans flat don't know how people live in other countries? Where things like Universal Health Care, FREE college educations, 4 day work weeks and at LEAST a month of paid vacation is the norm for EVERYONE? That we don't look at that because we've been taught


So you don't think Occupy is the answer.

You think it's making a mess that Taxpayers have to pay for, extra clean-up, extra cops...lemme let you in on a little secret-

I'm a taxpayer. So is every single person at an Occupy. We'll be happy to pay for it, thanks for your concern.

If the videos coming in were from Russia, or the Middle East, or Africa, America would be hailing those citizens as patriots and we'd be sending troops to "help protect them". But HERE?

"Why don't they get a job?"

"What are they protesting?"

"Hey- the police ASKED them to leave (a public space)- if they got arrested/shot at/tear gassed they deserved it. Even the children and old people."


Shut up.

You know there's something wrong, something very wrong. You know it in your gut even if FOX News keeps trying to make you swallow the bile down like so many cows over and over again.

You fear our country is headed for fascism, but are so trained to fear the WORDS "socialism" and "communism" you can't see straight enough to read what the concepts of them actually are and that there are many forms of each and not all of them have anything to do with dictatorships or theocracies. (spoiler alert- guest blogger coming soon to help you out with that).

You MUST make yourself believe that those unemployed, foreclosed on, newly-poor people did something wrong- misjudged, misspent, misused credit, slacked off at work, made bad choices, SOMETHING because if they really ARE victims of "shit just happens"...

it could happen to YOU. In a fucking heartbeat.

Don't like Occupy?

Tell me YOUR plan.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Through the Decades (Decay + Hades = Decades)

Halloween circa 1960's

(my childhood)

Everyone old enough to walk upright trick or treated- almost NEVER with parents- older kids took the younger ones. Starting at DARK on Halloween night. If a porch light was on, the house was fair game. If the porch light was off, you left them alone. At least that was the line you told your parents while sneaking the spare toilet paper and eggs outta the house (which our parents totally saw). We were told, "Don't cross the street- stay on our block" but we interpreted that as, "Stay in our zip code" and our parents knew that, too.

We'd plumb fill up a pillowcase with candy, return home, empty it out and go back out again. The neighbors always pretended they'd never seen us before...several times that night.

Halloween was over when all porch lights were off and/or midnight. They generally coincided.

Halloween circa 1970's

(my teens)

As a high-schooler, I collected a tidy sum to wear a frog suit (not like a scuba diver, like an amphibian) and travel from the field house on the first floor, up the THREE flights of stairs (traversing each floor first) to the top of the school at the other end at final passing time. The stairs were hell wearing flippers but I made over $100 in collected bets.

Trick or treating had lost its appeal somewhat- to be replaced by "working" at the Jaycee's Haunted House, which was by turns hot, freezing, dirty, wet and exhausting. It was awesome. I worked there in costume a few years, then helped them organize and run it for a few years. We gauged our success by the number of people I'd have to help escort out the side doors because they couldn't take another step forward. I also met my first husband there. First a treat, then (aww, hell. Figure it out).

Halloween circa 1980's

(my 20's)

We'd moved out to the country, meaning no neighborhood. The kids were little and the family was spread out half in North Racine (20 minutes from us) and half in West Racine (another 20 minutes from there). I'd dress the kids, we'd get in the car and race from one relative to the next one so they could run up the porch, ring the bell and be fussed over and petted, then back into the car and to the next one...all in the 2 hour alotted "trick or treat time" the city enforced. Late afternoon on the Saturday closest to Halloween.

Halloween circa 1990's

(my 30's)

I'd moved to Texas and was working 2 full time jobs. The only time I noticed Halloween was when we got prank calls at work about black cats and newt's eyes.

Halloween circa 2000's

(my 40's)

A new child, and a new environment. The days of random trick or treating were over, replaced by church "Harvest Festivals" or other organized events- Boo at the Zoo for the younger kids and "Halloween at the Hatchery" for older kids. We hosted a few Halloween parties and they were alot of fun for everyone, incorporating the tamer aspects of the haunted house years.

Halloween circa 2010's

(my 50's)

Holy moly. I've got an almost-teenager. We've far outgrown church festivals, Boo at the Zoo AND the Fish Hatchery and we flat don't have the time or resources for a big Halloween bash at the new place (yet- we have plans simmering in the cauldrons of our minds, we do...). So we went to the Denton Day of the Dead yesterday. It was fabulous. Trick or treating (from classic car to classic car and booth to booth) good food, fun/funny/horrific/horrifying costumes on kids from zero to a century old (my favorite- Dead Elvis). Alec went as Guy Fawkes and had his photo taken with several people and others gave a thumbs-up for the Revolution.

(Alec at Recycled Books and one of the books he got there)

We ate at Fuzzy's Tacos and the evening concluded with a terrific performance of Cirque du Horror under the sliver of a chilly Texas moon.

Over half a century of Halloweens come and gone. Wasn't it just yesterday I was dared to knock on mean old Mr. Cushman's myself? Four years old and terrified, by god I did it, even though his porch light was off and all the neighborhood kids were afraid of him. The door creaked open, Mr. Cushman glared out and I met his eyes with my own steely gaze. Stuck out my sack and squeaked "Trick or Treat". He filled my pillowcase with candy and I returned to the sidewalk triumphant.

One thing I've always known- it's better to face monsters than turn your back on them.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy- We ARE the 99%

So many people are having a terrible time figuring out "exactly what this Occupy Thing is all about". The problem, I think, is that there isn't ONE thing that it's about. It's about a whole lot of things that have been going south for a very long time.

It's about people- good hardworking people who go to work, pay their bills and follow to the letter the steps to attain the American Dream.

That dream was within reach 50 years ago. A family of 4 could not only subsist, but thrive on one income- buy a house, buy a new car, pay for nice things and college educations for the youngsters. A good job meant fair wages AND health insurance benefits AND a pension.

Then society started shifting. Some folks say it began with Womens' Lib but I call bullshit. I know MY mom had to go to work to help pay the bills and she sure didn't do it with a smile on her face- I don't think most moms did. They did it because wages did not keep up with rising prices and they HAD to.

But it was easier to blame Womens' Lib on "destroying American Families".

And it kept shifting. Prices kept rising and wages rose just barely enough to allow people to think they were "getting ahead". Good steady jobs weren't quite so steady anymore and people started re-locating to follow the money, sometimes every few years, meaning hardly anyone anymore stayed anywhere long enough to collect their 20 year gold watch. Or pension. Or pay off a house. Or make and keep friends and maintain family ties and roots.

But it was easier to focus on the presumed assumed benefits and advantages of a constantly moving society than to worry about what all that upheaval was doing to our collective families.

Meanwhile, up in the penthouse...

Rich people have always been with us- they do things like build factories and start banks and spend their pocket change on frivolities like the Arts and sports teams.

Here's some other things they've always done until recently.

They've paid ALOT more taxes. Sometimes up to 75% (compared to the 23% they are taxed now). And here's the funny thing. THEY WERE STILL FREAKING RICH. But more than that- those were the years our country could afford to do things like
-build an interstate highway system
-send people to the moon
-construct a whole shitload of community colleges

But WAIT- there's MORE.

They also employed lots of people.

Then, right around the time everything was going to hell in a handbasket on accounta Womens' Lib and people re-locating for work, two things happened.

Laws changed which allowed the really rich guys to pay a lot less in taxes, and the really rich guys moved lots of their business out of this country.

But I'm pretty sure those two things had nothing to do with the decline of the standard of living here in the USA. As stated before, it was the damn Womens' Libbers and those greedy people running all over creation in search of the almighty dollar.

That the income of the top 1% has increased by over 200% while the income of the other 99% of us has stagnated is surely just an anomaly. Which I also like to refer to as "bullshit".

Meanwhile, on Wall St...

The banks (owned by some of the really rich guys) and investment companies (ditto) and all the big corporations (____) were getting annoyed by any sort of activity that looked like they weren't being trusted. So they bought themselves politicians. Actually they bought damn near ALL the politicians and told them to get rid of any pesky regulations- they just slowed down the process of making money "for everyone".

So the politicians did. And all the big guys on Wall St. and in the board rooms of the corporations smiled. Some of them tried to do the right thing. Some of them saw a wide open road lined with money just for them and they ran with it. All the way to overseas bank accounts. Even though it was OUR money that we had put there for them to keep for us.

If any of us down here at the bottom of the heap were to take someone elses' money and run with it, we'd be arrested and tossed in jail. The banks told their purchased politicians to "fix it", so the politicians took MORE of our money and literally bailed their asses out.

So they did it again.

Meanwhile, down on the farm...

Companies like Monsanto (Native American for "Bastard Devil Seed") have been willfully and with complete knowledge poisoning our families while siccing their purchased politicians on dangerous folks who have the audacity to grow their own food instead of buying it at Walmart like good Americans.

Meanwhile, at the homeless shelters...

Folks who were told that the only way they could get money to buy a home would be with adjustable rate mortgages signed on for them- because that was the only thing offered. They were told that "most likely" the rates would not go up and in fact (are you a betting man, buddy?) may even go down please sign on the dotted line.

Meanwhile, in the cemeteries...

Tens of thousands of Americans die every year for lack of affordable accessible health care.

So Occupy is about a lot of things.

Here's what it's NOT.

It's NOT The Liberal Tea Party.

It's NOT "just" Occupy Wall St.- there are now Occupy's all over the country (actually all over the world) in front of banks, corporations, political and civic buildings- anywhere and everywhere shit needs changed.

It's NOT a buncha unemployed disenfranchised dope smoking drum beating hippies who are reluctant to pay back their student loans in underwater basketweaving. There are retired people, families with children, military people, nurses and doctors, anyone and everyone who are not looking for blood- just asking for morality and accountability from those who are holding all the cards...and all the money.

It's NOT being run or financed by any political party or union or private entity- people from any other group are welcome as long as they do NOT co-opt it. It's being powered by individuals and reported on via the interwebs from digital cameras and cell phones.

It's NOT Obama supporters- most of us are frankly disappointed in our current President. And it's not liberal democrats. It's everyone from every walk of life.

It's NOT advocating for a government or financial collapse. Just some adjustment to make things a little more American than they've gotten lately.

It's just what it says- Occupy. Be there. Show up. Peacefully resist the inequities that do NOT have a damn thing to do with how this country is supposed to work.

Occupy is the first step. Facing things that need changed head on.

Next week is the next step- Turning our backs on 'em- Move Your Money. Out of the big banks and into local banks and credit unions. This should go hand in hand with a shift to doing EVERYTHING locally- grocery shopping, clothes shopping, haircuts to donuts- locally owned and run businesses rather than national chain stores.

People say, "This has to turn violent before it accomplishes anything- no one wins anything they're not willing to fight for".

Not necessarily.

If Occupy can maintain its solidarity without becoming attached to any other group or movement, if it can remain aggressively passive and peaceful despite being baited and bullied, and if enough Americans Go Local even if they never show up to protest real change can occur.

That's a lot of "ifs", but if it doesn't work, we're either headed for violent civil strife, or a continuing spiral into something ugly, either way America- the America our Forefathers imagined and the America we'll be leaving our children- will be lost.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

You Say Tomato, I Say "I Don't Have Time For This!"

So we were out of town for 5 days and have 3 days at home till leaving again for 3 days.

During this interim, I worked yesterday, we had dentist appointments and got Alec all costumized for Halloween today, and tomorrow I work again, then bake something to take to our friends' house this weekend. No time to spare, I am hoping almost beyond hope that I find the time and energy to do the dusting and cleaning that need done sometime tonight yet.

World events are twirling and twisting in the air and won't go away- the Occupy movement fills me with equal parts hope and dread and an anticipation of...something.

Family changes and events swell and boil and simmer and burble over my brain- a rushing river carrying me along whether or not I'm ready for any of it- we're so fortunate to have places to go, the ability to get there and people who love us, so fortunate that our family grows in surprising yet wonderful ways, I just wish sometimes for a day, one day that I need be no one for nobody save myself and every day I promise myself just such a day "as soon as...".

Because one thing I've learned is to cherish every moment with every loved one and I MAKE time to spend one on one with each precious member of the family. Because one day my boy will be grown and gone and the other members of my family are all...older than I am, and I come from a family of ridiculously long lived women. So chances are good that one day I'll be able to take a day for myself one after the other, over and over again without end.

I dread that day.

'Course I wasn't thinking any of that yesterday driving to the post office. I was thinking, "Holy shit I have 3 days to get all this stuff done but I think I can do it if nothing else plops like a steaming pile of cowpatty onto my plate", when I drove past the veggie stand and there it was.

The case of tomatoes.


I'd been looking all summer for the cases of tomatoes that are generally stacked at the front of the stand, but the heat and drought were even too much for the tomatoes this year and there never were any.

Till yesterday.

I cursed out loud and pulled into the parking lot.

The vendor said that no, he hasn't had any cases for sale- this ONE is because here at the end of the season some of the tomatoes are coming in with blemishes and can't be used in the little plastic baskets that hold 5 or 6 of the perfect ones so he set them in...the case. And set the case out front. Instead of last year's $12 a case this one was $5. On accounta the blemishes and whatnot.

Filled with equal parts hope, dread and anticipation I loaded my tomatoes into the car and took them home. Because I far prefer feeding my family stuff I've made myself from scratch with all fresh ingredients. And tomato sauce is crazy easy.

But it takes time.

Time I don't have right now.

Time I had to make because blemished tomatoes wait for no one.

So I made tomato sauce tonight- 12 pints of it- and they're happily chillin' in the freezer.

It's 11:08pm and I haven't started cleaning. I may do it and I may not. I may get a start on it or I may say, "Screw it" and go to bed.

All that remains to be seen...after I type out the recipe for tomato sauce and find a suitable song for my playlist.

Mama Dixon's Fresh Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes- about a dozen
Onion- 1 medium
Garlic- 3 cloves
Brown sugar- 3 tbsp
Salt- 2 tsp
Basil- 2 tsp

Trim off all woody parts/blemishes from the tomatoes, cut into chunks and place in large kettle. Chop onion and garlic and add to kettle. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, stir and simmer covered till mushy (about 30 minutes), stirring every so often.

Remove from heat and ladle 4 cups into a blender. Blend just until it's sauce- chunkiness according to personal preference. Pour into containers and freeze.

makes 4 pint containers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just In Case You Get Hungry While I'm Gone

So I'm literally cooking my way out the door- we're headed to Missouri tomorrow morning for the Gathering and will be gone till Monday night.

The farm is in the capable hands of Joe- with Wendy as his supervisor.

I've run all the pre-trip errands, done all the pre-trip laundry and am assembling all the cooking ingredients I'll need this weekend. Just fixin' to put the bread in the bread machine before bed and I thought...Hey- I think I'll share this recipe for

Sweet Potato Bread

1c milk
1 large egg + water to make 2/3c
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
4c unbleached white flour
2/3c mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1 1/2tsp bread machine yeast
1/2c cranberry nut trail mix (any trail type mix will do as long as there's no chocolate or yogurt chips or other melty stuff in it)

Add all ingredients to bread machine and select "basic white" cycle.

Ya'll have a great weekend and I'll see you next week.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Big Red Horse

I've been horribly remiss in blogging- life is extremely hectic right now- all good things, no worries- but I feel awful not posting anything for so long, especially since my personal goal is 3 times weekly and it's been almost 3 weeks since my last post. Therefore, I'm sharing this short story with ya'll- I wrote it a few years ago and pulled it out yesterday as a possible reading for a radio show, but it won't work- I can't read it without crying. *Enjoy*

The big red horse waits quietly, one ear forward and one back, about to give the most important performance of his life.
Having traveled thousands of miles, and having given many outstanding performances, he's ready for this one as well.

Born in sunny California, Regal Risk (Frisky to his many friends and admirers) was a big showy colt whose glowing red coat and tall white stockings were the perfect package for his 'look at me' attitude and his huge willing heart.
As a young gelding, Frisky was Top 10 National Halter Gelding two years running, and then began his under-saddle career.

At the age of 12, Frisky was purchased by Amy Langhorst and went home to Ohio. With Amy, Frisky was shown extensively in Western Pleasure AOTR, and achieved his Legion of Merit. Frisky had his own following at shows, and people came by just to see the big red horse with the enchanting personality.
The year Frisky turned 25, Amy decided he should retire to a warmer climate and a life of leisure.

This is where I came in. Amy asked if Frisky could come live with me and I made sure she knew that I'd love to have him but that my facilities are not as fancy as he was accustomed to- my horses are out all the time with a run-in for shelter, their few acres enclosure mostly wooded (meaning his 6 foot long tail would need to be trimmed) with a pond to swim in (meaning that his white sox would be getting dirty), and that I flat out don't have time to ride the horses I already have, much less another one. Amy assured me that that's exactly what she was looking for- someplace Frisky could relax and just be a horse for once. Frisky packed his bags and headed for Texas.

Amy and I were both worried about how a 15 hour drive would affect the old guy. The trailer pulled up and Frisky was led out- head up, nostrils flared, tail awave, prancing as though on springs.

Frisky settled in with his new stablemate, and proceeded to begin his retirement. No shows, no being ridden, 100% pasture time and getting just as dirty as he pleased. For the first time in his life, he had nothing to do.

He hated it.

I first noticed a change in his expression. He got kind of a bratty, bored look to him, and started picking on the other horses. Then he started fence fighting with the yard dogs. Although into his 20's, Frisky was not at all ready to retire.

Enter Rebecca, who needed a temporary replacement for one of her string of horses. Even though Frisky hadn't been ridden in several years, he just walked into his new job and did it. When the horse Frisky was filling in for couldn't come back, Rebecca asked if Frisky could stay on.

Regal Risk++ aka Frisky, the big red horse, waits quietly, one ear forward and one back, about to give the most important performance of his life. Saddled and bridled, Frisky is led up to the mounting ramp.

A helper on each side, young Kevon is transferred into the saddle- helmet on his head, voicebox in his lap, grin on his face. Rebecca asks Kevon what he'd like Frisky to do. Kevon presses a button on the voicebox and a metallic voice says "Trot". "No, Kevon, you can't trot first, you must walk first" Rebecca says, barely hiding a smile. Kevon grins and again presses "trot". Finally, Kevon is persuaded to press the "Walk" button and off they go, around the arena. At different spots, they stop, and Rebecca asks Kevon to do various things to help his balance and coordination. Sometimes there's a furry puppet dangling from the ceiling that Kevon grabs and makes bounce and it makes a sproinging noise. Sometimes he holds brightly colored flags straight out as he rides. Always he has a huge grin on his face- one of the only times he ever smiles.

And always at the end of his ride, they trot- Frisky floating as if on springs, tail in the air, Kevon grinning ear to ear, poor helpers running full out to keep up.

Frisky works three days a week with three different children who are handicapped and autistic. Standing in the line-up, he gazes intently across the field to the playground of the special-ed school, looking for 'his' kids.
He is in his glory.

After years in the show ring up to the national level, strange and sudden sights and sounds are met with a ho-hum attitude. When Rebecca starts out new horses, it's usually a month or more of having them watch what goes on before she puts a child on them, since the toys can be alarming and the verbal outbursts of the autistic children even more so. Frisky was working his second day there. He is clearly adored by his small riders, and truly appreciated by Rebecca and her crew.

The first time I went to see Frisky in his new role; I was brought to tears by one thing. His expression is no longer bored and discontented.

Standing in the line-up, the big red horse waiting quietly, one ear forward and one ear back, ready for the most important performance of his life, is happy.

*Post script- the morning of a semi-annual show for the parents and families of the students, Frisky was nowhere to be found at breakfast time- an unheard of occurrence. After an extensive search, his body was found deep in the woods, his favorite spot in the shade and on a little ridge. There was no sign of inward or outward struggle, and it is believed that at age 30, that giant heart just gave out.

Frisky’s body is buried where he chose to lay down for the last time, but his spirit lives on in every child that he touched.

In every rainbow that flashes across the sky, I know where the red comes from.