December 21, 2009

Pantoum: Solstice

We light candles now,
For this is the dying time;
A little fire in the long dark
To heal the wounded world.

For this is the dying time,
And all things pass in their hour
To heal the wounded world.
Give way now to the cold and dark.

And all things pass in their hour:
Green and light and good cheer
Give way now to the cold and dark
All through this longest of long nights.

Green and light and good cheer:
Keep close and safe some part of each
All through this longest of long nights;
The shadow in its turn will pass.

Keep close, and safe. Some part of each
Your bounteous goods bring to shared table.
The shadow in its turn will pass,
Yielding at last to new morning.

Your bounteous goods bring a shared table,
So keep your revels as a bright beacon
Yielding at last to new morning.
Let wine flow, and tend the welcoming hearth.

We keep our revels as a bright beacon,
A little fire in the long dark.
Let wine flow, and tend the welcoming hearth;
We light candles now.

December 15, 2009

I decree today that life is simply taking and not giving

BODY: Holy crap, it sure is getting cold. Winter must be coming.
MIND: It sure is! It'll be the Solstice soon.
BODY: We'd better stock up on lots of fatty and sugary food, then, for the long trek across the tundra. You never know when the next mammoth is going to come along.
MIND: Actually, we don't need to do that any more. Remember? We got civilization about, oh, six or eight thousand years ago. You really should keep up.
BODY: Oh, right right right. But we'll still need to build up reserves for when the frost lifts and we'll be working from dawn to dusk in the fields, tilling the hard soil.
MIND: Yeah, not so much. Subsistence farming isn't the default for human beings any more either. We talked about this last year. And the year before that.
BODY: But... We're in the northern hemisphere! It's cold! Without the extra fat, we could die!
MIND: Have you seen us lately? Not exactly lacking in that department. Plus, we live in a nice house with central heating. And fleece blankets. We'll be fine.
BODY: But... Pumpkin pie!
MIND: Well, that does sound pretty good, but...
MIND: All right, dammit. Go get us a fork.

December 04, 2009

A River Too Weary to Flood

Good heavens, is that the time?

...I knew I was forgetting something somewhere.

Right. Back on the wagon, hopefully.

While you're waiting, have some JBE:

June 19, 2009

So the Buddha walks into a pizzeria...

(I've been feeling for a while like I ought to be doing cooking posts. Consider this as a test of the waters.)

Normally when I do Pizza Night, I build the suckers from the bottom up - homemade crust and everything. Tonight I didn't feel like going through the whole sponge-growing-and-kneading process, so I got some prefab crusts and threw some stuff on 'em.

Stacy is a Purist, of course, and got a half-plain, half-pepperoni.* I am Not, and had a need for a kitchen-sink kind of pie such as I have not indulged in for some time. Revelatory of something-or-other in my pyschology, I'm sure, I present the full list here. Thus, the Pizza with Something to Horrify Everyone:
Turkey ham
Hot banana peppers
Green olives (with pimentos)

I considered, briefly, throwing some diced onion in there too, but at that point it felt like gilding the lily.

*The last of the pepperoni side of which seems to have been discreetly made away with - and right off the island countertop, no less - by the Hoagie Thief, who is currently sleeping the sleep of the full and guiltless on the back of the couch.

June 09, 2009

Maestro Sartori

So yesterday, for the first time since the millenium or so, I went and had most of my hair cut off.

Several factors came together for this. One is, yes, that I'm still unemployed, and I was starting to feel less and less in love with my hair more than it was a liability to me. It's stupid and unfair that it should be so, but stupid and unfair are, alas, still forces to be reckoned with in the world. Better to pick a fight that can be won right now, circumstances being what they are.

The other thing was that it was just exactly long enough again to donate to Locks of Love, which is really what threw the balance for me. Conceding to the silly prejudices of the mainstream doesn't leave nearly as bad a taste when you have the excuse of doing it for a good cause.

Anyway, thus I come forth new-made:

Not a bad look for me, actually. And if I get tired of it - it's hair. It grows.

(Photo by the Missus.)

February 26, 2009

"Woe betide the favorites of gods who think they're funny"

Most of my (no doubt rapidly declining) readership probably knows this already, but a week ago I got my second laying-off these twelve months, and am back on the job hunt, in the teeth of the Econopocalyse and everything. So, uh, wish me luck, or something - not least that whatever gig I happen to land next doesn't have "Redshirt" listed as implicit under "Other duties as assigned."

It's bitter the need of the poor ditching boy
He'll always believe what they say
They tell him it's hard to be honest and true
Does he mind if he doesn't get paid?

January 20, 2009

Raise Our Eyes and Make a Start

I lost track of time today and realized that, entirely coincidentally, at 12 noon I was listening to "A Farewell to Kings."

I didn't make it into the office lunch room in time to see the inauguration coverage - by the time I got up there, there wasn't even standing room - but I look forward to watching the recaps later. For now, what I've heard of the proceedings makes me not only feel like I'm a citizen of the Republic again, it makes me feel like I'm a citizen of a Republic again.

Hail to the Chief.

January 17, 2009

Sleep Has His House

MaMa is gone. She died around 1:00 this morning, and an era passes away with her.

Talking to family this morning as we made the rounds of phone calls to pass the news along, the most shared sentiment seems to be relief. I think most of us had our big moment of grief and shock when we understood that the end was coming soon, and we've been anticipating this ever since. The best we could have hoped for was that it was as peaceful and painless as it was.

We're still going to have many moments of sadness as the reality of this continues to sink in, but the worst of this is past for all of us. Her pain is over, and we're no longer waiting to see how much longer her end would be drawn out. And we have the luxury, now, of remembering her as she was before her long decline, and loving that memory of her in all her strength and dignity. That was, I think, the only immortality she ever wanted.

I'm sure I will have more to say in the time to come, but for now, suffice to say that she will be missed, and not soon forgotten.

Deyr fé
deyja frændr
deyr sjálfr it sama
en orðstírr
deyr aldregi
hveim er sér góðan getr

January 16, 2009

Diamond Dog

Monty is home and hale and well, if a little worn out from his hospital stay. Stacy picked him up yesterday afternoon and he spent most of the evening asleep; he's on a bland diet and antibiotics and under observation, but seems to be doing okay. He's one lucky little guy.

Most especially glad to have him home again was Willow, who spent a whole lot of the time he was away moping and pining and being Velcro Kitteh on her monkeys ever since we came home the other night without him. For someone who spends as much time as she does as the Squeaky Toy that Moves, that's a lot of devotion. (Of course, I also caught her ambushing his tail last night, which goes to show there are a lot of things she's happy to have him around for.)

Stacy sent me this picture yesterday, shortly after his homecoming, captioned "I look so cute-- you'd never know I just crapped in the kitchen."

(Yes, that's a little red bandage that matches his collar over his IV spot. Poor guy has had that same place shaved three times now since the summer - after his first seizure, to get his teeth cleaned, and now this.)

January 14, 2009

Not Single Spies

Two things from the last day or so in the Not Good News column:

First, the latest word on my grandmother (better known to us, and most of of you, as MaMa) is that she is not well and fading fast; she's no longer able to eat, which likely puts her remaining time (barring bona fide divine intervention, which I doubt she would welcome even if she believed in it, which she doesn't) as a matter of days. This is not shocking news; she was moved recently to hospice care, and the clock's been pretty much winding down ever since. She is comfortable and well-cared-for and the end is being allowed to take its course, which has been her wish for a long while.

I visited her in her nursing home last April, when she was okay but a little confused, and it wasn't terribly long after that when she stopped knowing who people were when they came to see her. I've felt for a while now that going to visit would be much more for my sake than for hers, and neither of us would get much benefit or comfort from it. If that sounds like a shocking casting-off of filial duty, know that I've wrestled with my conscience on it enough to be prepared to live with myself. A better world would, perhaps, have had her last days spent surrounded by her family in her own home; that world would also not have robbed her of so much of herself in these past few years, so that she's simply existing as a shell of what she used to be. The sad truth is that she's been slowly but surely taking her leave for a while now, and this next step will simply be the final stage of a long process. The MaMa I will mourn is one who is already departed, and that's whose memory I mean to keep alive.

The second thing is that our Monty is currently in doggie hospital for the next couple of days, as we discovered that yesterday morning he ate an entire one-pound fruitcake* - full of raisins, which are very very bad for dogs. We took him to the emergency vet last night, where they are keeping him on an IV and watching his toxin levels. He was, for the record, his usual happy playful self when we took him in, and has been doing well - Stacy called this morning and his kidneys were in good shape (renal failure is the cause of most raisin toxicity deaths, for reasons that are still apparently a little mysterious) but his liver was hurting a little, so bringing him in for detox was the right decision. The doctor is optimistic and so are we, but we're a little anxious nonetheless, so if you have any good thoughts to spare for a very silly little dog whose dad was very careless about what he left lying around the house, they would not be unwelcome.

Updates as I know them.

Update 1/15: Mom talked to someone at the nursing home yesterday who said that MaMa's prospects are anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. That's imminent, but not quite as immediate as I first thought. It could still be more or less any time, though.

Monty's second round of blood work early this morning was pretty good. His kidneys are fine, though one of his liver levels went up some and we need to have him tested again in a few days. He's been perky and in good spirits.** They're trailing off his fluids and he'll get to come home tonight. We are, needless to say, greatly relieved.

*Those of you who were around for, or got word of, the Great Hoagie Caper of Thanksgiving 2008 will be less than shocked to read this. I suspect he put the whole thing away in less than 90 seconds, getting the wrapper off included.

**And, almost certainly, loud. We've been able to hear him on the phone whenever we've talked to someone in the same room with him. How is it that we ended up with the mouthy kid?

January 07, 2009

That's it. I'm putting my quill back in my goose.

Obviously, I needed humbling today. It seems there's this young drummer named Sara with a gift for polyrhythm and an ear for prog.

Here she is at 12, doing "Red."

And at 13, doing "YYZ."

That there is pure joy. I should live so long as to infuse all my work with as much.

(Via TNH, on BoingBoing.)