I went to my doctor last Monday to get my prescriptions refilled and was horrified to find that I had gained 20 pounds since January, and my blood pressure was not 120/80, but 150/94!! I knew that I had swallowed my worry over Matt and Mum with way too much sweets, and we had gone too many times for fast food. So, when it came time to have a treat this week I made the goodie below, I like it so much I thought I would share it with you.
SUMMER SQUASH AND TOMATO FRITTATA
2 medium yellow crookneck or other summer squash, thinly sliced
1 red-ripe tomato, diced
3 eggs beaten well
1 Cup shredded cheese blend
2 Tbs. butter
Wash and thinly slice the squash into a pan preheated to medium-high, with the butter. Season with Lemon Pepper to taste. Cook, covered, until the squash are translucent and beginning to brown.
Dice the tomatoes finely, and set aside.
Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the Salad Crispings to eggs. Set aside.
When the squash are browned nicely add the diced tomato, and stir well. Pour the beaten egg over the squash and tomato. Drop the temperature to medium and cover until the egg is almost set.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top, cover and drop the temperature to medium-low. Leave in the pan until the cheese is fully melted, the edges are browned and there are bubbles rising through the frittata.
You can top with salsa, and/or sour cream.
Serve with buttered toast (I’m a sucker for Sourdough or French bread, juice, and/or ice cold milk.
Next time I make this I plan to play with it some more. Like… using Herbes du Provence instead of Lemon Pepper, and adding a little white onion with the squash. Feel free toi experiment and remake it to suit your family’s tastes.
I’m sure most of you already know about my baby brother Matt being diagnosed with late 2nd Stage 2 Colon Cancer, In less than a week he had been ti surgery and had a permanent colostomy attached to his side, with a bag attached around it to collect ‘solid waste’. How’s that for a nice sanitary euphemism for poop.
Having the ‘Emperor of All Maladies’ really isn’t at all fun. Matt has already undergone a 6 + hours surgery, he woke up with a tube for extra oxygen, IV’s in each arm, cardiac Monitor leads attached to his chest, dressed in one of those ‘front only’ nightshirt. Poor Matt, he had strange nurses and doctors checking different things on his body. So far Matt has seen at least 5 different doctors: his surgeon (V. Sheridan) Truly cares about her patients, his kidney/Liver doc is pleasant, and listens to his patients, his oncologist (Dr. Chang) and her office staff are already going well beyond what a ‘regular’ medicaL practice, they have sent paperwork for Matt to fill out for financial aid with his chemotherapy.
Through the admission through Emergency Room, up to one unit to await tests and further information. He was getting three different kinds of antibiotics, and two opioid pain meds through his two IV’s, as well as lots of fluids through both the IV’s and his drinking. He had three different drains hanging off him and a cotton farms’ worth of bandages.
Our brother, Jim, hates hospitals and will go out of his way to avoid being near one. He was visiting Matt every single day, and buying him gifts ranging from a T-Shirt about our home town in Michigan, a portable DVD player, and two DVDs of sports follies.
On the day of his surgery, all of the adults in the family did the waiting room thang. We tried to rest in those too-small chairs that feel as though they were carved from granite, and people took turns trying to fill the time with light-hearted chit-chat.
While all of this was going on, Matt’s cat Pye, was in a distressing decline, he had stopped eating and drinking, and grooming himself. One night, as we were getting ready to leave the hospital, I rubbed my hands all over Matt. When we got home I called Pye into the kitchen, and invited himn onto the counter.
He effortlessly jumped ponto the counter, looking around for a treat, I offered my hands, full of the scent of “Da”. He sniffed and sniffed and sniffed some more, before he gave me a silken little head-butt and purred softly. He then buried his face in the food dishes and gorged, then drank an amazing amount of water. When he was sated and soothed he reclaimed his place of vigil on Matt’s bed. My Missy Skye spent every second she could lie next to Pye and comforting him while he waited for more than “Da’s” scent.
The Chemotherapy is really interesting, and cutting-edge (IMHO), the chemo will bypass non-cancerous systems and organs, and concentrate it actions where there may be a few rogue cells hovering about.
Matt has been so upbeat through all of this. When he was more fully out of the chemical cocktail they plied him with in intensive care he looked down at the angry red pucker of flesh protruding from his belly, with a bag attached. He mumbled sleepily. “They gutted me from sternum to crotch like a rainbow trout!”.
That seems to be the tone he has chosen, he has spoken about it with me, and he told me he can’t understand why some people just go home and let the cancer take ’em. Matt will begin to understand a bit better when he must undergo chemotherapy. Matt has yet to suffer the kind of pain cancer metes out to those it claims. He also has not seen what his struggle will do to the people closest to him. He told me that, “There must be something more that I have to do.”
Matt already does lots of things that I am proud to call him Family because of. He is so kind and gentle with children and animals, tolerant and cheerful when talking with ‘senior citizens’. He throws good deeds out into the world, and claims his reward in how he feels doing it.
Matt is focussing his intelligence, wisdom, and smarts on fighting the goof fight. A few nights ago, what were the’ hippy’ kids in # 133 doing? Playing Yahtzee!! Matt signed his card C-Bag (short for colostomy) and I signed mine, “Not you”.
We’re already talking about creating stoma-friendly recipes; food that tastes good, is nutritious, and easily tolerated by compromised digestive systems. Matt is already thinking of ways to make the whole colostomy experience less difficult to learn and be able to adapt to someone’s special needs.
A good example of the dietary changes necessary would be the burritos I made the other night. I had to use less seasoning, and leave out our beloved green chillies. Lettuce needed to be shredded smaller, and tomatoes have to be peeled and have all the seeds removed. Therefore, he cannot use the salsas we have normally gotten.
Unless I send the salsa through the blender, and through a fine wire sieve Pace and other chunky salsas will no longer be on the menu. I think I am going to be doing a lot of tomato canning this year, so we’ll have plenty of diced tomato for recipes that are Matt-tested and approved..
When Shiloh posted her tale on the constellation of Cetus she inspired me to write another of my little myths, I am especially pleased with how this one came out. So, wihtout further ado, I bring the story of Whale Song.
“I know that many of you have heard the whales sing; but do you know why they sing? Or how they got their voices?”
“You haven’t? Well then, let me tell you the story of how the whales got their song.”
I let the children, and most of their parents get settled; everyone seemed to enjoy my tales. They would enjoy them more with their loved ones close, and their feet up. The wee ones were reaching under their mother’s shirts for the final drink of the day, many more for the comfort than the sustenance.
“When the Great Father and Mother made the world and every living thing in it, they made wonders most of us will never see, but every wonder has a place and a reason for being.
Even something as small as an ant has a reason they were made. The animals and plants know their place and purpose and fulfil their purpose to their very best, and know the quiet joy of living in harmony with the world.
The rabbits knew their place was to keep the grass from growing over everything, and to feed other animals with their body. Their droppings fed the earth that sheltered and fed them.
Great Father gave them swift legs to carry them away from hunters, and busy noses to smell danger and flee from it.
Great Mother gifted them with a love of children, so they would greet their many babies with great joy. She also blessed them with soft fur to shelter their babies from the cold winds.
Wolves knew their duty to be one that often has them at odds with man. Theirs is the onerous chore of culling the herds so the beasts remained healthy, and the Earth could feed them easily.
Great Father fashioned them cunningly, so they could fulfil their destiny at night, away from the eyes of those that might not understand their place. He gave them sharp eyes and keen noses; they were blessed with swift and silent paws.
Great Mother gifted them with a love of family, so deep they could not live without their pack. This pack-love gives them great strength and brings them much happiness…
How do I know this?
I have watched a mother rabbit snuggle her babies close, pulling the fur from her own belly to make a safe nest for them in the body of the Great Mother. I have seen them graze, easy with taking turns as watch-rabbit, so all of the warren could feed in peace.
I have watched a wolf pack, the Father Wolf sleeping in the sun, happy to have his cubs rolling and playing on him. I have seen the Mother Wolf defend her cubs to the death if need be, even from the Great Grizzly.
The whale however is the tale I have come to tell you. Great Father fashioned the whale to be a part of two different worlds. He made the whale to swim in the seas, but to breathe air like you and I. That is why the whale is the living symbol of one who walks between the worlds.
The Whale feeds on the smallest creatures in the oceans, only their great appetites could hope to keep the uncountable numbers of the krill in check. Great Father fashioned them to be the portents of the wellness of the oceans, where whales flourish the seas are well, where the whales will not go the waters are full of sickness.
Great father gifted them with enormous bodies to keep them warm in the deepest oceans, and powerful tails so they may swim from one end of the world to the other and back again.
Great Mother blessed them with patient spirits, so that they could come to understand the world and its way, even the world of those on land.
But, the whale was mute. Even in pods, they were silent wanderers, locked in the voiceless deeps and unable to share what they knew and felt. The Whale could rise from the water and see trees by the shore, mountains rising above the land. He wondered at the sky, both day and night.
Oh!! How Whale ached to express his wonder at the Sun, Moon and Stars! He wished to sing the praises of everything he had seen and learned, but he had no means to share this utter joy.
One of the whales, wiser than even the other whales thought that perhaps one of them should see Great Father and beg this one great boon of the Creator of all.
This whale knew that the only way to reach Great Father was to travel to the Path of Death, so he took it upon himself to bespeak Father and Mother. He swam to the shallowest part of the ocean and heaved his bulk upon the sea-strand and waited patiently for Death to claim him.
The other whales came, wondering what was happening, and stayed, so that this whale would not die, alone, beneath the cruel Sun. Without voices to call to him they would breach, sending waves crashing over his body, so that he would not suffer needlessly.
He would wave a weakening flipper at them in thanks and kept his vigil on the shore. At last Death came to claim the whale. He asked the whale why he done this thing to himself.
In Spirit form whale had, at last, a voice; he told Death of the wish of all whales, to be able to communicate and share their joy with their own kind and others. Death bowed deeply before leading the Spirit of Whale to Great Father and Mother in their home in the Heavens.
Death first told Great Father and Mother the tale of how Whale had come to die before he had been called Home. He spoke of the long deathwatch the he and the other whales had waited, just so whale could speak to them.
Great Father listened silently, little puffs of smoke issuing from his pipe and wrapping the Whale Spirit in fragrant smoke.
Great Mother wept as she heard the tale, Her tears a sweet balm on Whale’s Spirit, purifying beyond mere Spirit form.
Great Father spoke at last, as he patted Mother’s hand gently. “Whale, your story is one of great love and courage, you have earned a place in the Heavens forevermore. First, return to the World and tell the whales of this gift.”
Great Mother interrupted, “We will gift you with a voice as great as your love and self-sacrifice for the greater good.” With those words She kissed Whale on his gigantic mouth, and he began to sing!
What a song Whale sang! His song reached across the stars, in harmony with the Song of the Spheres. He wept from the pure joy of it!
He returned to the seastrand where the whales were mourning, gathered round his enormous body. They all stared in wonder when Whale returned in shining Spirit form.
As he told them the tale they began to sing, slowly at first, then in the boundless, eerie chorus we have come to revere, they leapt above the waves and sang to the stars.
Whale felt himself growing lighter, and he was fading but for shining starts that rose to the heavens, to circle the world as the Whale Constellation. To this day he is the symbol of love so great, and deep that one is willing to sacrifice everything for it.
That, too, is why we revere Whale’s Song, and celebrate its return every Spring, when the whales return to their calving grounds. We don our finest garments and dance like whale, rising as high as we can, before Earth pulls us back to Her embrace.
As long as whales sing, and the Whale Stars remain in the Heavens, we know that love will still be here, and joy will be at the side of love, as it should be.”
I looked at the circle of faces; their eyes were shining in the fading firelight. I knew in that moment, that these were my children. I may never have birthed children yet I was blessed with an enormous family, every one who listened to my tales, and took joy in the words, was become another child.
I sang my own Whale Song to the Heavens, thanking Great Mother and Father for Their infinite wisdom and love. One by one, other voices joined me, as full of joy and gratitude as mine was.
Those of you that know me, know that I have many totem spirits, and not all of them are lovely or magical. Some of them are ugly and twisted, rooted in the darkness I have known. One of the Dark Totems visited me last night and begged me tell this tale.
She worked in the laundry
For what few tips she earned and
Her share of abandoned clothing.
In the evening and early morning
She hulled the grain that grew
Wild around her husband’s motor home,
Freed 8t of grass and hard shell
With aching calloused hands.
For amusement her husband would
Dump the clean grains in the mud
And order her to clean them without water.
And so it went, until the day she knew,
She had had enough of this.
On her infrequent breaks
She drove the abandoned car
That sat behind the laundry.
All the women that worked there shared it,
For their moments of freedom
From drudgery and abuse.
This dust-coloured machine
Clad in mud and rust.
It took them patiently
To stores and doctors.
Never to visit family.
That took special arrangements
Made with a friend that had escaped.
Where they hid the nicer clothing
They had claimed, with
Tiny bottles of toilette water.
Frail scents and frailer defence
Against the truth of their lives.
They took the shining buses
To the very door of the families
That had betrayed them into this life.
Day after day her skill grew,
Until the worn steering
Obeyed her lightest touch
And she could tell how
Much pressure it took
For the brakes to seem to work.
One day, while practicing
She found another abandoned car.
With the ladies’ help she dragged
It to a hiding place behind the laundry.
They pooled their money together
Made it pretty,
Made it work,
Made it theirs.
And when the ladies held the paper
Saying it was theirs, and legal
Then her practice began to change.
She knew how to handle the dustmobile.
Now she worked on her nerve
And her self-control..
She ranged far and wide.
Dragged back sagging tatty-bogles
Filthy, useless mannequins
Dragged from their dumpster graves.
She would drag them to a lonely field
Nothing but mud,
Here she stood them
Her silent army
Her eager victims.
Day after day she drove
To this field of dreams
To her victims
And ran them over
Until there was no hesitation
In her hand or her heart.
NOW she was ready
She bought a GPS chip
And secreted it on his
So she learned where
And when he was.
She learned of his mistress
Wearing shining jewels.
She mailed the girl a
Copy of she and her husbands’
Showing the girl what she
Had to look forward to
When she was
No longer pretty,
No longer young
No longer free.
That was the last time
She saw her husband,
And the last time
Her husband saw the girl.
She had listened to
Their final day together.
Revelled in the words
“Go away and
Don’t come back!
“You’re a liar
And a cheat!”
She had heard her husband’s
Excuses when she was
Now was the time.
The time in now.
When her husband shouted,
“There are better fish in the sea!”
Like an actor from the stage.
She followed him, driving
And not at all safely.
At last he took
The road she needed.
When on the curving bridge
She hit the gas
Touched the wheel
And grazed the brake pedal.
She honked her horn wildly
Not as a warning
She wanted to see his face
Ran him down.
Like a cur,
Like an ageing beast.
At the moment of release
He saw her behind the wheel
She had had enough of this.
She danced in the road,
Until a semi
Ended all the pain.
He was a lonely boychild
Grew up by the swamp.
Never knew love or
His father showed him
Went to sleep hungry
Awakened by fear.
Trained with a
Hard right hand
Never knew his mother
Nor tasted her love.
Did not know of trust
Hadn’t learned of hope.
So he grew, twisting
Like a madweed vine.
Home was where the
Battered pickup broke down.
He knew the ashen taste of fear
The taste of his own blood.
The sound of his own cries.
There was the occasional woman
A victim like himself
Burdened by shame
Twisted by dark needs.
Often the pain would be too much
And they would slide,
From this life.
Their bodies tied to rocks
And tossed in the swamp.
Just so much gator-bait.
As the boychild grew
He learned to dig through
Garbage for food
And ragged clothes
The source of others’
An occasional woman
Acting in kindness would
Give him nice clothes.
He had nowhere to
So his father took them
Sold them for his booze.
Give the by a beating for
Hiding something of value.
Until the boychild
Learned to say the words.
“No thank you Ma’am
My Pa don’t hold
And hide his tears of shame
There was a woman,
One who knew.
She would hide him when
His father raged like
A wounded beast.
And sought to punish
For his own failings.
She gave him easy chores,
So what she gave was not charity.
She fed him food that filled
His belly with warmth
Good food, to help him grow strong.
She taught him how to call her
And she would run to his rescue,
Bringing comfort, and the
Taste of love
Until the day his father
Followed him to the woman.
Father bellowed at the woman,
Aimed the same gun
The boy had felt
Pressed to his temple
So many times.
He pulled the trigger.
The woman was gone
In a puff a\of acrid smoke.
Joined so many other
Women in the swamp.
At that moment the boychild
Tasted something new,
Hate filled his heart,
Blossoming in anger,
Rooted in revenge.
He began to steal away at night
After He had blacked out.
Take the deadly gun
The weapon of fear.
The boychild began to master it.
First with old cans and bottles.
When they would shatter with
Constant cries of pain.
The boychild leaned to lie.
You took the gun
To the swamp last night.
I heard you shooting till late.”
Her also learned to steal,
Ammunition, and food
To grow strong,
He drank deeply
And nurtured his need for
Sweet and sad blue eyes
Grew cold, deep with
And darker plans.
Soon the boychild
Learned to kill
His heart shrivelled
To an old walnut,
Bitter with age.
His aim was steady,
His eye sharp.
Soon his game grew larger,
No more birds and
Now his prey
And Painter Cats.
He would claim the
Reward monies and
Hide them away in a bank.
Finally her was a young man.
With crazed eyes
And straggling beard.
Living the law of tooth and fang.
He met others of his kind,
Dull, and devoid of love.
Through them he found
More powerful weapons,
Better ways to make money.
Finally came the day,
He was asked to kill a man,
We all know whom he chose.
Stood before his father,
Stood tall and fearless.
Aimed the deadly weapon,
Pulled the trigger
Like you and I breathe.
His father fell like
So much dirty laundry.
Bleeding into the swamp.
Became so much gator-bait.
The boy-child looked down
He felt nothing or less.
He raised the first weapon,
Put it in his mouth,
And ended all the pain.
I had a request to share the recipe for the German Chocolate Cake, so here goes…
I made the cake part from a box mix, although I did run the mixer on high until the batter was shining and silky smooth. I learned by accident that the smoother the batter is, the finer the texture of the finished cake is.
The Frosting was made using a recipe on Allrecipes.com:
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, cook the condensed milk, egg yolks, and butter 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until bubbly. Remove from heat, and stir in the coconut, pecans, and vanilla.
2. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before spreading on cake.
Amount Per Serving Calories: 224 | Total Fat: 13.9g | Cholesterol: 83mgPowered by ESHA Nutrient Database
First, I would like to thank everyone for their sincere and loving Birthday wishes. I appreciated and enjoyed all of them.
Secondly, I wished I could have shared my cake with all of you, I couldn’t do that in fact, but I could do a variant of that wish.
My favourite Birthday Cake is German Chocolate- buit not that premade eeeeww, good ol’ from-scratch German Chocolate. I made that this year and it was a great success!! Mum and Matt couldn’t wait to get some, but one of my birthday gifts beat sall of us to the munch as it were…
Every time Mum looked at the cake she laughed aloud until her eyes watered, Matt and I giggled away, the first time Matt saw it he chortled and said, “You really did it!!!”
I went so far as to crush one corner down so it woulf fit perfectly under the dragon’s forepaw.
I was worried that the Dragon’s ‘new resin’ smell would leach into the cake.
I removed the dragon from the cake, but a blob of cake and frosting remained in his fromt paw…
She had never been off her parent’s little farm at the edge of the Wychwood. All she knew of the world is what she had read in books.
She knew that her parent’s people had built great machines, capable of doing their labour and thought for them. That they had great medicines, which could kill a disease that was itself a killer.
So too they had left their mark on every piece of land by way of cities, places of learning, places of athletic prowess.
But, her parents told her, that did not make them great. What made them great was also the same thing that made them a terrifying people. In any person were the seeds of great goodness and great evil.
She was shown example after example in the computer’s data banks, images of holy men and tyrants; angels and demons all wearing the same flesh of the same species.
She knew too, that the animals and plants lived together in harmony and comfortable in their place in the world. Again, she had watched every bit of information that she could reference, cross-reference, and cross cross-reference.
She also had been taught of the ‘religions’ of her parents’ people. She saw every similarity and difference between the people that had created her parents. And still she had the same question.
“Why can’t I go to these places, speak to these people?”
Always, always she was given the sharp reply, and shuttered faces of her parents’ reply,
“Because it isn’t safe.”
“We will show you why when you are old enough.” Was all the answer she was given for many years.
The last few years, things seemed to be working almost backwards; her father worked less of his little farm, yet his yield nearly doubled by harvest-time. This year he had picked enough of the harvest to feed them for two or three years and let the rest return to the earth.
She asked her father why this was and he spoke in a low voice.
“Because it almost Time.”
“Time for what?”
“Ask your mother, she knows far more of this than I.”
She forgot about asking her mother until the next summer, yet the explanation came about not by a question.
On a brilliant late spring morning she was awakened by pain! Terrible pain, so severe all she could was keen her misery and curl in a small bundle.
Her mother came flying down the passageway that ran the length of their underground home, her father a bare step behind.
“Ah! My wee miracle, it is Time.” She was gathered in her mother’s arms and comforted. Mother captured her cries in soft bosom and hummed a comforting monotone.
When She opened her mouth for air Mother slipped some dust in her mouth; it was almost as terrible as the pain! It tasted of age, and false medicines, and machines. When she tried to spit it out her mother forced her to swallow the vile stuff.
“It will help Wee One.” She was right! Soon a sweet relief began to spread across her shoulders and back.
“Father, I will need your help with this please.” As her mother spoke she slipped into senseless darkness.
Mother kept her in that darkness for three whole days, watching the swelling on the small girl-child’s back separate into four tense, whitened bars under the skin.
She awakened keening frantically, the pain before had been bad, but this, this… She knew not what Faith would hear her cries and give her succour.
Just when she thought she should shatter through the agony of it all her Mother, the woman who had never given her anything other than love and understanding plunged a knife into her back, effectively splitting open the first lump.
Three more times her mother did this, and every time she felt such a wave of relief that she didn’t fight the blade, or her mother.
Her father was weeping as he set her free. Her mother wiped streaming eyes with the corner of her apron. “I have been dreading these last few days since you parents gave your egg to us, begging for us to keep you safe.”
“You’re my parents.”
“Not truly, we have raised you and protected you until you came of age.”
As she spoke with her parents, some no longer dormant instinct compelled her to flex the muscles in her back.
Each flexion of her back was a greater wave of pleasure, and she felt the bars on her back unfurling slowly, as that happened she felt herself growing lighter, less in contact with the earth.
“Come this way Dearling,” Her mother led her to a passage that had always been locked, there was a tingling along her nerve-ends, and she felt something deep in her awaken.
One wall was full of computer banks, and they seemed to rouse themselves as she looked at them. At last one of them spoke, in a language she had never heard, but understood immediately.
Her mother and father slipped from the room, knowing they would see her again in three days. Those days flew by in preparation for their daughter’s coming of age.
Father went OverSide and returned with encouraging news. There were expanding pockets of life all over the world, and the wasted spaces were even showing signs of life! He was sure that some of the greening was male, so the best they could have hoped was true.
She left the room of awareness, and she glowed like a miniature moon, full of surprises and glamourie. She went immediately to find her parents.
Her parents! How could she have missed how beautiful they were? Both of them were happy with the lives they had led, and with one another as life-mates. They we incandescent with love of the heart and spirit.
At the same time she sensed their continuing loneliness for their own kind, she knew that they had sacrificed their lives and mortality to raise her, but they had never regretted being the saviours of another, older race.
Her mother awakened first, and she doubled in beauty as she smiled down at her fosterling.
“Come, you must look now, while you can still be seen” Mother led her to a mirror; one that had been covered all the time She had lived there.
She was stunned by her reflection, what there was of it, She was going transparent, the only way she could see herself was to look with her heart and spirit.
For a moment she saw her parents with her eyes, and she was stunned, understanding just how dire things must have been for her kind to go to their kind for help.
Yet she, she did not look like them, what she saw in the mirror was something close to this.
Her birth parents, the ones that had given their only child to the humans had looked so much like her! Yet there was something in her eyes that was not seen in her birth parents’ eyes, she knew it to be understanding of the new species inhabiting their world.
She knew also that there could only be one dominant species on a world and the humans had wrested control of the OverSide, and killed off nearly all of her people. She knew that they did it not out of cowardice, but out of fear.
Her foster parents had seen the wrongness in their species’ actions, and had sought out her birth parents’ people apologising for their species’ actions and offering their help.
Now it would be her time, time to see the world and what the other people had done with it. She was lit with anticipation, her light shining through the walls of the UnderSide home, but she felt such sharp-edged sorrow knowing she would never return to this place that had been home.
She had not been raised to remain UnderSide, but to return to OverSide and care for the planet as her species had done for millennia. She went OverSide with her foster parents, the three of them spoke briefly, and her foster mother had even mastered a few words of her birth parents’ language.
Mother spoke words of love, and pride, kissed her and returned UnderSide. Father spoke three soft words, “I love you.” Before he, too went UnderSide.
She rose on iridescent wings, and sailed on updrafts towards her future.
Last spring we (Mum, Matt, and I) noticed that one of the Canada Geese that winter here in Arizona wasn’t migrating back to Canada. He was patrolling down by the pond with fountains here in our ‘manufactured home’ community.
We wondered if he was injured, or had simply become too old to make the flight home. Being the pack of human marshmallows that we are we ‘adopted’ him, and started to feed him.
Then, two days later we found out why he had stayed, when the Mrs., and the hatchlings showed up! We thought this was just the greatest thing since sliced bread!!
Of course,we immediately fell in love with the goslings in their fuzzy racing stripes. Matt called them ‘The Gooseberries’ and we fed them stale bread on a nearly daily basis, so they had no fear of us, and would bring all the goslings over to us.
Since animals are a lot smarter than most humans give them credit for, they soon recognized the sound of the car, and us. When they saw the car pull up to the kerb, they would hurry to us, wings a-flap and honking a welcome.
We would be down by the pond with the Gooseberry family around our feet, eating from Matt’s hand, and greeting him as part of their flock. This charmed me to no end, and (I didn’t know it was possible) I loved my family even more.
The Goslings grew with shocking speed shedding their plush down, and growing in the same lovely pattern as the adult geese. We expected them to make a late migration once the goslings were flight-ready, but no! They remained here all summer, and into the next winter.
The first time the goslings, now as big as their parents, accepted food from Matt’s hand was so cool!!
This year, they hatched out another clutch of fuzzy gosling, and they proudly ushered the new babies over for us to admire and feed. One of the neighbours, (he says he’s Canadian- but he wasn’t nice enough to be one) drove by in his golf cart, he flipped a U-ey and came back to yell at us for feeding the geese. He completely forgot that here in the States Canada Geese are protected by law, and an entire lake is closed for them every winter.
Personally I think he just wanted to be ill-tempered, his wife looked as though she had felt the rough side of his temper one too many time, and found life much easier if she stayed quiet and avoided his notice.
I didn’t bother to point out to him that he had flat-out lied about the notice that he claimed was up in clubhouse. We just wait till he isn’t around to feed the Gooseberries, and we wonder… can they still be called Canada Geese if then live year-round in Arizona, USA?
Purity Of White
She was clad in a purity of white,
Fleeting as the wings of Pegasus,
Gossamer as the mist’s shroud.”
Glimmering like a fresh snowfall,
Cool and smooth as marble,
Or the burgoning blooms of Alyssum.
Ishtar and Isis!
Kuan Yin to Juno!
Gowned in the light of the moon.
Caught in summery clouds,
Or tangles in the ocean’s foam.
Glittering as a starfield,
Or diamonds, faceted brightness,
The crispness of freshly ironed sheets.
Ishtar and Isis!
Kuan Yin to Juno!
Perhaps Posiedon’s daughter,
In her halls of pale coral,
Round smooth pearls glow.
\Soft like chalk lines in the sand,
White-hot as the summer sun,
The healing light of Unicorn’s horn.
Ishtar and Isis!
Kuan Yin to Juno!
MYSTERY OF BLACK
“She was clad in mysterious black,
Like the shine of Ravens’ wing,
Or perhaps the archetypical Halloween cat.”
Black as the shadows of a moonless night,
The oily shine of fresh-knapped chert,
And Apache Tears’ speckled secrets.
Ishtar and Isis!
Kuan Yin to Juno!
The gleam of Chrysaor’s hide,
The necks of proud Canada geese,
Or Sharp-edged beads of malachite.
Like gleaming Gypsy eyes at night,
Rich as the velvet in a jeweller’s box,
Black as the screen of a silenced televisions.
Ishtar and Isis!
Kuan Yin to Juno!
Shiny as fresh-shined patent leather,
Depthless as the pupil of an eye,
And variable as a stick of artist’s charcoal.
Sleek as Orcas side rising from the sea,
As soft as the foam on headphones.
Like chalcedony chessmen poised to conquer.
Ishtar and Isis!
Kuan Yin to Juno!
I wrote the poem below when one of the three images in the poem inspired me when the line “She was clad in green glory…” just popped into my head
And so she was clad in a green glory.
Like unto the forest deeps,
Or her gardens’ well-kept gleam.
Glossy as finely polished jade
With the depths of the deepest of emeralds.
Ishtar and Isis!
Kuan Yin to Juno!
But then again,
It could be kelp beds dancing with the waves,
Painted by the endless oceans.
She was the First Mother,
A fecund Gaia, birthing life itself
In Her womb of Universes.
Ishtar and Isis!
Kuan Yin to Juno!
Another face was her
Time as Demeter of Harvests
Serenely brushing gardens golden.
Her soft skin
Delicately hued in peach
The glow of roses across Her cheeks.
Ishtar and Isis!
Kuan Yin to Juno!
I am still having a ball following my family tree back as far as the records will allow. One of the surprises in
um’s family tree was how long the family was Royalty. from over a dozen countries scattered across Europe, the British Isles, and the Middle East.
One ancestory in particvular that excited my imagination was finding that we are descended from one of the most famous Irish Kings, the :Last Ard Rhi of Ireland, Brian Boroimbe! When I discovered that, it really set my mind going.
One or two nights later I had one of those dreams that sticks with you, now, months later, the sound of hoofbeats or pipes will set my blood to racing and I back to the dream when awake. The dream inspired the following short story:
Happy, happy was I to be back in Eire, no matter the reason. Although I was more fortunate than most women in both father and husband, my spirit knew rest only on the sweet green island where I had been born.
My mother had seen to my education, I spoke Celtic, Gaelic, English, Latin, Frankish, German, and Spanish. I knew how to read both my letters and the Ogham. I could sew, sing, if that is what you wish to call it, cook, heal, weave, and embroider. I knew as many courtly manners as any Frankish Nobleman, and more than enough diplomacy to fool even her.
My father had known my spirit, for he allowed me to ride with him when he took the army out to practise. I could ride a charger as well any man, except my sire. Also, I skilfully used lance, dagger, bow and blade. I had learned enough smithing to make myself arrowheads of iron, and jewellery of silver and gold with whatever precious stones I wished.
Because of my determination to be with my father, his soldiers knew me nigh as well as him and called me their ‘Wee Bear’. They knew all too well how I came about being called the bear, an animal well known for it’s ferocity and blind rage. Everyone thought me sweet, biddable lass, until they asked me to do something I wouldn’t. Then I simply refused to do it.
No blandishments or bribery, coaxing, cajoling or demanding could change me, or make me do it. Yet, were I given a reason beforehand of why I must do it thus, I would set all of me to mastering the task with good grace.
When I came of age and was betrothed , I was undecided on whether I would be happy with him. He came with his father to celebrate our betrothal, we managed to ride next one another for the first hunt, and I knew my future was assured.
He had said to me as we trotted to one side of the party, a silent chaperone a few paces behind us. “Do you wear these clothes to greet nobles in your court?” He eyed my liente and breach an fheilidh, my legs and feet were bare, and my hair ran riot past my hips.
“No,” Replied I. “I wear fine gowns, dainty slippers, and style my hair prettily, I even use perfume to cover my own smell.”
He laughed, loud and long. “We shall have a good marriage, you and I. I shall have to thank my sire for choosing you.”
“As I shall have to thank my sire for accepting your troth.”
Although nigh as dark as my mother’s, my hair still had fire like that of my sire in the sun. I had eyes that were a different colour at different times and with different colours. I had a few freckles across my nose, and a telling smile. I was sturdy, and a little short, again, thanks to my mother, but had no trouble keeping pace with my brothers, all of whom took after our sire, both in temperament and size.
How my father had laughed the first time I smote one of my brothers in anger, he had been warning them to not treat me rashly. Finally, I grew tired of the foolery and punched my older brother hard enough to knock him off his feet.
I dragged myself back to the present, on horseback, marching for Clontarf, and the damned Danes who had tried to take Eire from the Irish. At my sire’s behest I had ridden the Western side of the island, seeking troops for the coming battle for Ireland. Many of the older Kings, knew me through my father, and gladly let their men ride with, and for, a woman.
Now, on the final leg to Clontarf, the soldiers I brought to my father’s command were a thunderous presence, even at a quiet walk. That many hooves and feet would make their presence known at a standstill, simply by breathing or talking softly.
I signalled to the Kings that had chosen to ride with me to Boroimbe’s army, when we were close together we talked.
“This is the final pass before Clontarf, if the Danes wish to defeat the Boru, they will need to ambush us in there. I will hold no spite for any man that wishes to choose another route, or to return to their Kingdoms.”
“I will stay with you my Lady.” One of the oldest kings, he sat easily in the saddle and did not bind his mane of silver hair.
Connacht’s King laughed, and said, “You are so like your sire, gladly we ride with you.” As if the sire of Boru’s bride would not ride with him!
As the ‘Leader’ of the army the disposition of the troops fell to me. First I sent my standard-bearer ahead, in stealth to forewarn Boru of our presence. The kings agreed that my plan of the mounted men on the edges and the foot soldiers in the centre was excellent for the terrain and the possibility of a trap.
When everything was set, I watched as every Kingdom’s standard dipped once, twice, thrice right-to-centre. Unbidden the cry of “Boru! Boru! Boru!” rose in my throat and was taken up by the three thousand men who had answered the call of our Ard Rhi.
Most of the foot soldiers had already stripped to their bare, hairy selves and pounded on their shields. The pipes and drums took up the cry, and were echoed in the horns roaring the charge cadence.
At this point training overtook thought and we charged as one, banners snapped in the wind of our passage, the horse manes and tails flew like silken flags, men’s hair were their personal banners, and the dogs that had been trained for battle ran between the men baying and snapping their teeth.
My own dogs ran around my charger, my favourite directly to my right. He was a pure white Mastiff, massive, with baleful red eyes that peered out of the folds of his face.
The army moved through the pass like a spring flood, there was an ambush, and as I had put the mounted archers to the outermost edges of the army they began to fell the Danes long before the Danes could do much damage to the army of Eire.
The valley of Clontarf spread before us and we spilled forth, spreading to cut a wide swath across the valley and crashing into the flower of the Danes from the side opposite Boru’s army.
The world became a blur of blood, screams, fallen men and beasts, from early morn until the setting sun painted the sky as red as the blood flowing from wounds, both mortal and small.
At last the Danes unwillingly ceded the day, and surrendered to Boru, who himself lay on a litter, bleeding from what I knew to be a mortal wound. My King would not see the many more sunrise, nor would he see Eire free of Danes, although he knew that we would live in an Ireland ruled by the Irish.
As I, and my personal troop (what remained of them) scoured the battlefield, I saw far too many fallen, we learned later that over 11,000 men of Ireland had been killed in that one battle. Horses were dead or screaming in agony, as they struggled to rise on legs with the tendons cut. My own horse limped from a wrenched shoulder, I did not know if he would be ridden again, or put to stud, or if he, too would be a casualty of Clontarf.
The groans of the wounded faded as they either died, or were given whiskey enough to numb them unconscious. Dogs whimpered and yelped where they lay on the battlefield. My own beloved mastiff was more red than white when I found him, his belly spilled across the grass.
“Ah! My brave bean Sidhe! I will hie you to the Summerland.” I blinked back tears as I cut his throat and held him until he lived no more.
“My Lady, your sire calls for you.” My father’s second in command was bandages from shoulder to elbow, and pale from loss of blood. He pointed to my own arm, a sword pierced my mail and my arm was splattered with clotted blood.
“Come, now, let the healers attend to you. It enough that both your sire and eldest brother were felled today, we do not wish to lose you too.”
I stood, slowly, and stiffly and went to my sire’s tent. He sat carefully on his throne, hair still spiked, and the Crown of the Ard Rhi sat heavily on his brow.
“Ah! My brave lass, there you are!” He weakly tossed me his blade, the sword of the Ard Rhi, Boru’s sky-stone blade. I caught it and stared at the Boru, my sire, and bowed before the inevitable. “I entrust you to deliver that to Beal Boru.”
I held the blade as the leader of the Danes offered his blade to Brian Borimhe, who, being a gracious and wise King, returned it to it’s bearer, on the promise that it would never be raised against Eire again.
The Danish King and myself stood before the surviving troops, I raised the blade of the Boru as the Dane’s blade was lowered. Again I led the men in the chant, “Boru! Boru! Boru!”
From somewhere in teeming mass of men came the cry, “Nic Brian! Nic Brian! Nic Brian!” For the rest of my years, the only sound that thrilled me more was the birth cries of my children.
What to post? I’ve wanted to post for a couple of days, and the words just aren’t there.
That is a lot like thinking of what to make for tonight’s dinner at 4:00 p.m. You have to see what you can throw together out of what’s on hand.
Anywhooo… I was faced with the what’s for dinner dilemna again tonight. It seems that someone else talked about making dinner last night, and didn’t do it. Again. Oh well, no problem, I don’t have a use for my creativity, or time. I can do this…
Oooopss… here comes the Bombie-Mombie, to ‘help’. So add another hour to the prep time, now didn’t that speed tjhings up dear?
ANywhooodlz… what to make for dinner? Ahhhh Tacos!! Everybody likes them, cool. I can turn frozen ground beef into taco meat wayyyy easy. First, let me see if we have enough Taco seasoning and…
“Honey, would get me a knife.”
“Just a minute Mum.”
Cool! We do have the seasoning, and there’s green chillies! Hustle to the kitchen with them.
Get Mum her knife and add a giahugic cutting bord to help with. Put two cups of water in the electric Fry Pan, and plop both packages of ground beef in the water, leave that to
Toil and trouble.” Brain!! Come back!! Please, I need you!!”
Ahem!!! Get out the lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, black olives, and avocado to go in the tacos. Also grab the salsa and sour cream (Only Daisy brand, please).
Now it’s time to scrape the cooked meat off the still-frozen lumps , chop that up really tiny, like well-cooked chorizo. Leave it to continue cooking, and shred the lettuce and add it to thecutting board.
“Will you get me the platters so I can put this stuff on them?”
“We don’t need those? Just leave it on the cutting board.” That means that I do the clean up and the last thing I want is a little dish for every different type of vegetable to have to wash and load in the dishwasher.
*sigh* pouts and coughs over the cutting board, before grazing across all the veggies.
Now it is time to season the meat. Add the two cans of green chillies and two packages of Taco seaoning, one hot and one regular.
“Do we have shredded Mexican cheese to go on the tacos?”
“Yes, it is right there on the cupboard.” I point to a spot about two feet in front of her nose.
I open the sour cream and give it a quick stir, wipe off the counter, get out three plates and forks, set them on the counter with the cutting board loaded with veggies.
“Go ahead and make your plate Mum. I’m going to tell Matt dinner is ready.” Matt has been in bed all day, avoiding everyone.
I take the refried black beans out of the microwave and give them another stir. Mum still hasn’t gotten up to fix her plate. She won’t stir pout of that chair until I am in the middle of filling my plate, and then she will park in front of all the food and pore over it all slowly, as though she hadn’t chopped it up ten minutes ago.
Mum finally fills her plate and sits next to the table, while she eats food spills down her clothes and to the floor. I give her two napkins and she remembers to wipe the grease and sour cream off her face.
Did I mention that she is wearing pajama pants, and only a mesh brassiere on top?
Did I mention that the cats were both underfoot, begging for more wet food?
After dinner I clean up all the mess from dinner, put away the leftovers and wipe the counters down.
And Matt, who has successfully avoided doing anything other than lie in bed, he has very few words on the situation.
“It looks like you spilled food on the trash can lid and didn’t wipe it up.” And he didn’t wipe it off.
“Yes I know MIss Kittikins, you have finished eating your cheeselings and now are telling me that it is time to adore and groom the kitty.”
And I wanted to write something in my blog today.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was limited to static images in digital art. I had several different photoshopping-type programmes, and bounced between them to get the image as close as I could to what I wanted.
It’s cool, but… it lacked a little something. Then I began playing with Sqirlz Water Reflections. Then I was able to do things like this:
This was cooler, but again, even with varying the wave pattern, height, number of directions and so forth, I was still limited to a reflection of a static image. Then, there are images that don’t translate well into that format. So, I am now working with Animation Pro, I used it after I create each successive layer or frame in Paint SHop Pro.
My first attempt is below, Each flicker in the eyes and in the scattering of stars in the image was hand-added, one layer at a time. In a couple days I will post a tutorial on how I did it.
I must admit I am looking forward to doing this when it isn’t crammed in to the space of time I have the house to myself. Next time round, I want to play with different brush shapes for adding the twinkling effect. I am afraid I may dive into it and may not come up for air.
The creator of this awesome image, and others that I plan to use for inspiration, and the e-friend that shared Jasc Animation Shop and Squirlz Water Reflection.
You can find his digital artwork at:
Despite the fact that between Soul Food Cafe and Mick’s groups average about 100 e-mails a day, I couldn’t give up any of them, I enjoy them that much.
Yesterday was the beginning of the first ‘Holiday Season’ since Matt was diagnosed with Late Stage 2 Colo-rectal Cancer.Today is his 49th birthday, his thoughts on the matter are simple,
“I’ve reached a milestone; it has been nearly a year since my diagnosis, and my first birthday since then. I’ve made it this far, so I should be a round for many more biurthdays and Holidays.”
Just a few days ago he said that he was filled with empathy for the family and friends of those fighting Cancer, “They all look so shell-shocked and helpless.” Hiow could I not feel so proud of him? This is not new for Matt, the fearlessness in saying so is.
I have learned some things since January, that I am sure I share with everyone with a loved one fighting something like cancer:
1) Tomorrow is a long way away.
2) Laughter can sound as beautiful as a favourite symphony.
3) There are some very powerful 4-letter words that should be said, a lot- Hope, and Love a foremost.
4) Holding hands can be a great gift.
5) A request for seconds, or an empty plate can be a cause for celebration.
6) A loving pet is truly a gift from the Creator.
7) Heaven is no longer an abstract.
8) Sharing favourite memories can be more entertaining than a good film.
9) Housework really can wait, without the sky falling!
10) Sometimes all you want to do is stand there and listen to them sleeping.
11) Making changes in your lifestyle seem little enough sacrifice for a loved one.
I’m sure there a many more that I will think of, and you’re akl welcome to add your own to the list.
Since Matt had to get a permanent colostomy we have had to change they way we cook. This was the first turkey we’ve made since his surgery. We have always added diced onion and thinly sliced celery to the stuffing in our bird; bith of which are BIG no-nos for a colostomy. It was more than wirth the time it took to find some vegetabe broth ( almost 45 mninutes) Wednesday to put in the stuffing instead. Ther stuffing was excellent and we all were able to enjoy it without worry.
Matt ate a huge (for him) plate of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. All of us ate more than we should have, but it was soooo good! The cats were so funny as I was preparing the bird; Skye stood on her hind legs and danced from one foot to the other until I broiught the bird down to where she could smell it. They both took up posts where they could keep on eye on the oven while it was cooking. I swear they were talking to one another!
‘Did you see the kill our human made?’
‘Yes! She did a great job, all the feathers are off.’
At the same time the cockatiels sat in unc9ommon silence, with their crests up and shivering. It’s no wonder they didn’t eatr the mashed potatoes I gave them!
Later, we decimated the ‘plumpkin pie’ I baked for Matt, he said that it melted in his mouth, but… “It wasn’t quite as good as Grandma DeShaw’s”! I knew it wouldn’t be, and I didn’t care, as long as he enjoyed it.
All in all, even though we were all broke, and felt poorly physically we had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I pray all of you were blessed with loving family and good friends to share the Holiday with, and may your future look bright and hopeful.