Asher hears the Voice of Saturn

I think it's entirely possible that we have the most awesome kid ever made. At the moment I'm sitting on our comfy new sofa and listening to the new Zoroaster album, Voice of Saturn. If you have heard it you know how good it is. Deep grooves, fuzzy canyons and a river of sometimes smooth, sometimes whitewater vocals running through it all. In my opinion, this will easily be one of the top 10 albums of the year. I turned on the first track through Apple TV (which I can't imagine not having, by the way) and immediately Asher started bouncing up and down in time to the rhythm to what he hears. He turns around and looks at me with an enormous grin on his little cherub face. He then gets down on his belly and does a one handed push up while still bouncing to the music. I particular like when he does this last dance, it is unbelievably funny.

If you haven't listened to Voice of Saturn, or any Zoroaster for that matter, check them out. Go here.


Millions of children... where does it end??

I just saw a preview for the TV show 'Table for 12'. C'mon. Seriously? For what reason does a set of parents need to have that many children?? I seriously do not understand what drives a modern man and woman to procreate that many times. If you are horny, cool. Have sex. Have lots of sex, you can even have it dirty if you want it that way. But use a pill, or a condom, or something that will prevent that eager little tadpole from going the distance, and meeting up in a dark alley with a poor and unsuspecting egg and having its way with it.

This whole Octomom stuff just has me disgusted too. It almost is becoming fashionable or something to have a ridiculous amount of children. Now Brad and Angelina (or Brangelina, if you run in certain circles) are able to have twenty-five kids. They are multi-millionaires. They can afford the best of the best and those kids probably don't lack for anything (including love). But really? Octomom? If you already have more than a handful of babies in the house and you haven't paid your mortgage for months, what would possess you to have MORE. And where does the money come from?? It better not be coming from my tax money.

Which brings me to the economy. But I'm not touching that bag of shit with a 10-foot pole. I'll save that for another day.


Mike will be traveling to China for two weeks coming up in April. If you know anything about me, you know that I'm not fond of when he travels, and two weeks is a long time. But I can't complain because he has a great job in an economy where they are becoming far and few between, and he supports me and Asher financially and emotionally as well. I've got a good life, what can I say?

I AM envious that he has the opportunity to go to China. I've always wanted to go there, even more so since I've reconnected with an old high school friend, Sarah, that lives in Beijing. So this semi-Irish lass is feeling green with envy on this most sacred of Irish days, St. Paddy's Day.

I am sitting on our nice soft sofa while Mike is at a show - Electric Horsemen - Lancaster county's own dirty sludge. They are a great band, I wish I were there. The show is at The Stomping Ground, which isn't a club at all, but at someone's house on King Street in Lancaster. I saw them the first time at the old Rex's in West Chester, I think they played with Backwoods Payback and I'm not sure who else. Beer and time tend to cloud my memory...

So. I'm sitting here, the doodlebug is in bed and actually went down easily tonight (after a tiring day where he screamed for about three hours). I am working on a big bottle of cheap red wine, Yellowtail Shiraz, and catching up some shows. I tried watching Rock of Love on demand but the show was labeled wrong and isn't this past Sunday's show that I missed. Bummer. I was looking forward to watching trashy girls making fools of themselves. God, I love that show. I'm kind of watching CSI: Miami from last night but it isn't holding my attention.

On a completely different train of thought, I am actively pursuing information to prove that my great-great-grandmother was full Cherokee. If I can prove this through documents and genealogy then both Asher and I will be able to get our name on the rolls; technically, we will be part of the Cherokee tribe. What a beautiful legacy ... my son is the last generation that can become part of the tribe.

Now. I must drink wine and watch trash tv.


The Fine Art of Self-Tickling

My husband and I got to talking in the car the other day about tickling. He reached over and squeezed my knee and I squirmed uncomfortably due to the inevitable tickle. I laughed and whined and he pretended to tickle his own knee. He didn't laugh. It got us to wondering why one cannot tickle oneself. What is it in our brains or nervous system that only registers light touches in sensitive spots as being ticklish if touched by someone other than ourselves? Seriously, I tried it - I can't tickle myself. So we got to thinking how funny it would be if we really could tickle ourselves ::

I bet there would be people that really got addicted to it, like a recreational drug. There would be closet-ticklers, social-ticklers and ticklers-in-denial. You would likely notice the individual having their own tickle-fest out in public domain; this is definitely something that should remain in the privacy of one's own home or among close friends. These things should not be shared with the general public. There would be support groups called Ticklers Anonymous. There might be small, dark theaters playing an old nature show like Wild America and all around you there would be stifled sounds of nervous giggling from the ticklers. They'd glance side by side furtively, making sure they didn't see any familiar faces : oh, the embarrassment that would cause, to see cousin Stan the next row over! Tickling is NOT something we do to ourselves in this family. Children would be taught at a young age that not only is tickling inappropriate, it especially should never happen at the dinner table. Bartenders would keep a close eye on patrons that begin laughing to themselves while sitting by themselves at the far end of the bar - this person obviously has had too much to drink has begun to tickle and now will be forever banned from the establishment. Police are given special training on how to handle ticklers. A common story that would be talked about by the men and women wearing those shiny silver shields is of the man that was arrested for disorderly tickling and even while handcuffed was still able to tickle himself to tears. Sad. Most police departments actually would have their own special Anti-Tickle Squad. There would be protest groups that would form, declaring "It's my body, I can tickle myself if I want"; parents would not let their kids leave the house on the days when they'd be marching downtown for fear of the corrupt practice finding its way into their impressionable child's head. It would be well known that tickling is a 'gateway' to doing many more dark and despicable things to oneself and it is just so upsetting that no more should really be said about it.

I suppose there are reasons why we can't tickle ourselves. But in my dream world where self-tickling does exist, it has its own well developed and comical storyboard. Frankly, it tickles my fancy.

'The Doctor' and African stoner rock - who knew?

I woke up this morning feeling like I'm coming down with a cold, lots of congestion, sort throat, achy body, the works. Mike feeds Asher his early morning meal and gets up with him so I can sleep longer. I fall asleep for a couple minutes only, but here is what I dreamt:

I am standing outside, off the end of a long porch, and there in the dappled sunlight under large leafy trees, I feel like I'm waiting for something. I hear the old porch door creak open on rusted hinges and look up. My entire view is taken up by a huge joint. I can smell the earthy aroma filling the warm summer air and I know this is what I came for. There is a large hypodermic needle sticking out from one end of the joint and the rest is just fat green goodness. I don't see who is holding it out to me, offering me such a generous gift, but I do hear their voice. "Here you are, this is The Doctor." End of dream. The Doctor seemed quite able to assist in my time of sickness, but alas, I woke before I was able to enjoy, I mean suffer, through the treatment.

Now I'm listening to some groovy African stoner rock, compliments of Sludge Swamp. African fuzz. Who would have thunk it? Check it out.

I think my mental Green preoccupation must have something to do with the nearness of St. Paddy's Day.

So go get yourself a green beer, I think I will.


Bolivian Pork Chops and Ham Hock Lentils

I adapted this recipe from a South Beach Diet cookbook. There are some changes I made due to ingredients that I had (or didn't have) on hand as well as personal taste. The original recipe called for split peas as opposed to lentils but since lentils are one of my favorite legumes and it's the only kind I had in the cupboard, this is what I used. This recipe is broken into two parts, starting with the lentils and ending with the pork chops - the lentils take much longer to make.


2 1/2 T oil (I use Smart Balance for everything)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp ground cumin
3 c. chicken broth
1 smoked ham hock
1 bay leaf, broken in half
1 c. lentils

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the onion, celery and carrot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the Sriracha and cumin, stir in well. Add the chicken broth, ham, bay leaf and lentils. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then turn down to medium-low and cook until the lentils have softened, about 45 minutes. Depending on the size of your ham hock it may take longer than this as some of the heat will be absorbed by the meat. Remove the ham hock and bay leaf halves. Lightly mash the lentil mixture with the back of a spoon, stir and let sit while the pork chops are cooking. This dish will thicken slightly as it stands.

Pork Chops:

1 1/2 T ground cumin
3 tsp ground coriander
1/2 T hot paprika
1 T lemon juice
1/2 T salt
1/2 T pepper
6 pork loin chops, about 1 1/2" thick
3 T oil

Combine cumin, coriander, hot paprika, salt and pepper in a large ziploc bag. Add the pork chops along with the lemon juice. Seal the bag and shake and rub well until pork chops are evenly coated. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add the oil and once it is quite hot add the chops. Sear on both sides, turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and cook for about 6-7 minutes. Your pork chops should be slightly pink inside and exude clear juices when pricked. Remove the chops to a tray and let stand for about 10 minutes. This will let the juices redistribute before they're cut open. In other words, your pork chops will be juicier than if you cut into them right away. No one likes dry pork and it's so easy to overcook them to shoe leather.

Dinner is done! This was a really tasty dish that my husband enjoyed as well. The lentils have this incredibly smoky and complex flavor from the veggies and ham hock and the pork chops are quite pleasing as well. Leftovers can be eaten on greens for a quick and easy salad or sliced thinly and reheated with the lentils.



Mastodon Photos from Scion Rock Fest

Once again, I'm regretting the fact that I was not present for this event. There are some good photos here of Mastodon's set at The Masquerade.

Scorpions. Not the band.

I got to thinking this morning about spiders. It was another one of my 5am, sitting in the glider with a doodlebug on my lap while eating his morning meal, mind-wandering moments. I was barefoot and I started having an irrational fear that a big spider was going to suddenly crawl out from under the chair, scramble its way up onto my foot and plant sharp, barbed and poisonous fangs into my skin. I immediately shook my feet, just to make sure there wasn't anything on me and stomped a few times for peace of mind.

Then after the giant tarantulas I thought of scorpions. Scorpions are quite possibly the only bugs I despise (and fear) more than spiders. I grew up in the woods and there were often wolf spiders on my bedroom wall that could only have grown that large from taking 'roids in Arachnidia High. Since they were too large for any sane individual that valued their life to squish with a tissue, my mom would get the vacuum out and send them to their quick and certain death. I thought they were the most vile creatures ever. That is, until I lived in Florida and came face to face - literally - with scorpions. There are no scorpions in Pennsylvania. You have to go to a pet store to find them, or to a crazy friend's house. Not so in Florida. Of course I didn't know that they lived in Florida, naive as I was, so imagine my horror when the first day I lived there I sat down on the stoop outside my apartment, lit up a cigarette, took a deep breath of plumeria-scented air and glanced to the fence beside me to see a scorpion RIGHT THERE looking back at me. I screamed. I did a dance. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was terrified, the heebie-jeebies were running all up and down my spine and I probably looked crazy to my new neighbors. As time went on, I learned that the only thing worse than stepping on a large spider is stepping on any size scorpion. They crunch. Loudly. And ugh, the mess.

Back to feeding Asher in the dark. As if I'm not grossed out enough by the thought of a spider attacking me, now I'm worried that a scorpion will. Even though I know there aren't any scorpions here and I've never seen a spider bigger than a nickel in our house. I know they're out there, waiting for the right moment when I'm not suspecting them and they'll GET ME. All rational thinking eludes me when I'm half asleep and sitting in the dark.

Them and the zombies.

Why don't I think about ponies and unicorns and cotton candy?? Why has my imagination always been filled with horrors and the macabre? As if I don't have enough to think about, what with the economy in the shitter like it is, I also have to think about imaginary monsters that aren't even there. Maybe it is a manifestation of some sort of my subconscious fears. Maybe I need medication.


Sweet and Sour Individual Meatloafs

I made these for dinner tonight - very tasty! I served it with baked macaroni and cheese and the only thing missing was a cold beer.

1 lb ground beef
1 chorizo sausage, diced (about 6 oz)
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
1 T garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Sriracha
1 egg
1/2 c bread crumbs

Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c brown sugar
2 T vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Saute onion and carrot in a bit of oil over medium heat for about 7 minutes, until softened. In a large mixing bowl, combine all meatloaf ingredients and mix well. Use your hands, it's fun.

In a small bowl, mix the ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar until it's combined.

Divide meatloaf mixture into 12 fairly even balls. I start by forming it into a rectangle and separating it in half, then into half again, then into thirds. Coat a 12 muffin tray with cooking spray and put 1 T of sauce in the bottom of each section. Then add a meatloaf ball and press down until flattened on top.

Pop the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove and let cool on a tray for 5 minutes, then serve.

Mmmmmmmmmm! This also freezes well so whatever you don't eat, just put into a freezer bag and freeze for a rainy day.


A Night With Pentagram and More...

We had an adult night out on March 7 and we headed down to Baltimore for a show at the Sonar. Before the show we stopped at CHAPS Charcol Restaurant on Pulaski Highway. This place was featured on the Food Network channel's show, 'Diners, Drive-ins and Dives' on their All In The Family episode. As you may know, Guy Fieri is the host of the show and he looks like this:

As we walked through a delicious pit smoke cloud and went in the front door we were greeted by a large and life-like banner proudly displaying Guy and the restaurant's 15 minutes of fame. The banner was directly behind a table and sitting at this table was Guy Fieri. Wait, that's not quite right. It was Guy's body double..no lies, folks. He was a spitting image and I can only guess that he realized this and was hoping for a couple requests for autographs. What a poser. I would have liked to snap a picture but the camera was in the car. I chose a 1/4 lb all beef hot dog with ham and cheddar cheese and my tastebuds were singing with joy. The dog was sliced longwise down the center and grilled, piled with pit ham on top and swimming in thick yellow cheddar sauce. Completely yummy. The french fries were fresh cut, small and skinny, and fried to the zen of crispiness in peanut oil. I'm salivating, are you?

After dinner we drive a couple miles into town and found our hotel, checked in, then headed to the show which was 3 blocks away. Playing at the show was, in set order, Serpent Throne, Moonshine, The Devil's Blood, Priestess and the headliner, Pentagram. The show was at the Sonar club, on East Saratoga and it's a good venue because it's all about the bands. There are no frills, no fancies, and the side of the club we were on didn't even have any chairs. It's dark and cavelike, quite the perfect setting for watching a historic metal show.

The show was great, as expected.

Serpent Throne opened the night up with their usual groove - I look forward to the day when I watch them headlining shows. They hale from Philly and their roots are deep set in Black Sabbath, Sir Lord Baltimore and other hard classic rock. Here is a video that my husband took/edited from a show they played at Johnny Brenda's in Philly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkjaGHgOumI

Following was Moonshine, bringing some good ole' doom to the stage with an energetic female lead, Mis, capable of singing as well as producing some impressive growls. She was feeling the music, swaying backward and forward and touching the invisible notes in the air with outstretched hands. This was a local show for Moonshine, as they are from Baltimore.

Next was The Devil's Blood, all the way from the Netherlands, and yes, they did hit the stage doused with freshly poured blood (or was it cornstarch and food coloring?). I'm not sure if it was schtick or serious but they were intense - she who shall remain nameless stood still the entire set, moving only to turn and face the drummer for periods of time and then back again to pierce the audience with baleful eyes. The lead guitarist was technically skilled and hit those notes fast and hard; he also was casting a scowl upon the crowd, just to get the point across that they meant business. I was impressed with the tunes but the vocals were a bit 'operatic' at times for my personal taste, although I cannot deny the talent.

Priestess came up after The Devil's Blood and it was not quite what I was expecting. They were fast, loud and explosive. I thought it would be a bit groovier based on their album Hello Master, but it was all good. I definitely wasn't disappointed because they put on a decent show. I think this is the first band I have seen from Montreal.

Now we're down to one band, rising from the dust with a weekend of phoenix wings, now ready to settle again into the pages of history: Pentagram. The stage was appropriately decorated with lit candles and the air was full of suspense as we all sat waiting in the dark for Them. Then they did come: Bobby Liebling was wearing a gold lame shirt, tight ass pants and his eyes were lined with thick black kohl, giving him a surprised and slightly crazed look. He was all over the stage, belting out classic Pentagram songs and bringing old school stage presence. I found it amusing that he kept knocking the mic stand over and would get ticked off and a roadie would run out quickly, reset the stand, secure the duct tape attaching the mic (I think that's what the duct tape was for), and then run off-stage again. It reminded me of one of those kids that hang out at tennis courts and run onto the court to get the dead balls.

If anyone is interested, there is a documentary coming out soon on Bobby Liebling. It's by 9.14 Pictures and called 'Last Rites: The Rise and Fall of Bobby Liebling'. Go to 'Features' and you will see 'Last Rite'. Check out the link for a clip from the documentary and some info.

I thought it was an awesome show and I'm stoked that I was able to attend. The Sonar is a decent venue, there were lots of security around and there is re-entry. I found it slightly annoying that every time I went outside for a cigarette the security would have everyone pushed towards the building. It's already a pain in the ass enough to have to go outside to smoke ... give us some room to breathe. The beers I had ranged from $4.50 to $5.00 - I had Guinness, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Woodchuck Oak Aged Cider and Newcastle. I saw some guys walking around with cans of PBR but when I asked for one the bartender said they didn't have them. Maybe it was a personal stash for one of the bands? Not sure.

Did anyone else go? What did you think?


What Side of the Car is the Gas Tank??

If you are anything like me, you will sometimes forget what side of the car the gas tank is on. It doesn't matter if I just filled it up a week before, sometimes I just don't remember. Here is a simple way to remember: take a look at the gas gauge on your dashboard. There will be an arrow beside the little gas pump picture and that arrow points to the side of the car that your tank is on. No more pulling up to the tank on the wrong side!


The Soccer Mom

Mike asked me yesterday if I'm going to be a soccer mom. My response was that if Asher wants to play soccer, then by golly, I guess I'm going to be a sort of soccer mom. To be honest, I always enjoyed playing soccer and getting all aggressive out on the field in gym class. I regret not joining the team in high school; it is one of my very few regrets regarding that period of my life. I followed Manchester United when I lived in Key West, probably due to the fact that I was good friends with a fellow named Lindsay who happened to hale from Manchester. We would watch the games in he and his girlfriend Claire's living room while consuming large quantities of Guinness and Newcastle. American football really is quite lame in comparison to the football of the rest of the world. It's a pussy sport when compared to rugby. The only reason I get into football at all is if I have money in a pool. Now soccer is a real sport and one that I could actually follow and enjoy - if I had the time to take the time and watch.

Could I be a soccer mom? Sure. I won't be the mini-van driving, manicured, prim and proper soccer mom. I'll be the nappy-haired, tattooed and pierced, lifted Jeep driving soccer mom that pulls up to the field with the soothing sound of Clutch invading the eardrums of anyone caught listening to Top 40. I'll be the soccer mom that always feels slightly out of place but shows up every practice and game anyway because I love my kid and will support him in whatever he wants to do. I'll be Asher's biggest cheerleader even though I've always sneered at the cheerleader type. I can definitely pull off soccer mama.

Watch him want to play American football.

Now playing: Pentagram - When The Screams Come
via FoxyTunes


Philadelphia Tattoo Convention 2009

The DeGrace fam went to the Philly Tattoo Convention today. It was at the Sheraton in Philly, right around the corner from the Convention Center. It took us a couple trips around the block to find the entrance to the parking garage across the street from the Sheraton - but it was worth the trips because the whole day of parking was only $5! This was the first convention for both myself and Asher; Mike has been to three before, in Reading, Philly and Columbus OH. We walked into the hotel past the 'smoking area', about 50 or so people outside in the cold air shivering, laughing, smoking and sporting a variety of piercings and hairstyles and tattoos.

It cost $20 each to get in but Asher was free. We arrived at about 2:30pm and the festivities were going on from about noon to midnight, I believe. Mike had Asher in the carrier the whole day and he was quite an attraction to the convention-goers. We had so many people tell us that he was the most adorable kid they ever saw. Of course we agreed because they were telling the truth. There were also several people that commented that his carrier was definitely the way to go and they wished they had one as well. Asher started waving in the past two weeks or so and he was enjoying waving to everyone all day long. It didn't matter what they looked like, how old they were or whether they were male or female. He was just happy to wave and get a response. He was also trying to touch everyone around him and Mike had to hold his hands pretty much the entire time so he didn't sneak out and pull someone's hair. He is our happy little handful. We were there until 5:30pm and he did great. I fed him once and even with me sitting on the ground with him on my lap to give him a bottle and everyone walking all around us he wasn't startled or scared at all. What an amazing boy!

I got to see Rod from Dexterity Tattoo on Manor Street in Lancaster. It was good to see him again, I haven't seen him since right after me and Mike got back from our honeymoon. Rod started my sleeve and I'm really looking forward to going back to him again. I completed the portion of what I have now right before we got married and planned on getting started right away once we got back but then I found out I was pregnant so had to wait. Since I stopped breastfeeding about 3 months ago I'm in the clear to start getting ink again and I'm really jonesing for it now, especially after going to the convention. Anyway, I plan on having Rod work on my arm some more. I also saw Kim Saigh and Guy Aitchison; they were both set up on a dais along with two other artists. They were all working on oil paintings. Kim's canvas had a very detailed set of dragons hatching and Guy was doing an organic piece that had amazing depth. I love watching artists do their thing. Mike wants to have Guy do a half suit on him and start off with one of the 3D ultrasound shots of Asher and build around it in his style. That should turn out great, I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out and he hasn't even tried making any appointment yet.

Later in the evening they were doing suspension which we were both really interested in seeing but it was too late and we needed to get home with the doodles. I definitely would have enjoyed that though. Must be the sadist in me. We saw our friends Brittany and Travis while we were there, it was good to see them again. I don't think I've seen them since Asher was maybe a month old. It's pretty strange when you live so close to people and then run into each other in Philly. A couple of our other friends were planning on going to the convention, Switz and Jess, but they actually got there right when we were leaving.

Now. We are home. And exhausted. We've both got comfy clothes on now, are posted up in front of the TV, Asher is in bed and Mike's just waiting on me to finish up this blog so he can hit 'play' on RockandRolla. Time for a relaxing Saturday night.


Pre-Dawn Thoughts

I was awake at 4:30 this morning listening to some lil man over in his room being  a jabberjaw.  Two guesses who that was.  I don't know what he was talking about or who he was talking to but he had a lot to say, and there were many squeals and gurglings punctuating his 'words'.  I finally got him to go back to sleep for an hour before he woke up again.  I decided to feed him, it was 5:30 and that's an ok time for the first meal of the day.  Every morning when I give him a bottle I think of the hobbits in Lord of the Ring and all the meals they'd eat every day.  They had first and second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, and so on.  He's my little hairless hobbit.  

Anyway.  So I'm sitting in his dark room, rocking back and forth on our cream glider and my thoughts start to wander, as they often do.  I hear the wind has really picked up again and this gets me to thinking about how awful it would be if we lose siding (thank you, Andrea, for implanting that thought).  We've already lost a gate from the wind a couple weeks ago.  Why does it always feel that you're losing some sort of battle when you own a home?  Then I started hearing creaks and groans through the house - from the wind, of course.  But this got me thinking zombies.  

I'm truly terrified of zombies and I'm certain they'll exist someday and I'll have to fend for myself because I might be the only real human left.  I sat in the rocking chair doing one of those things that I do best in quiet moments.  I created different scenarios in my head of zombie attacks on the house and how we best could handle it.  In today's version, they were surrounding the house so we grabbed some garbage bags and threw in jugs of water, baby food, formula, bottles, crackers, and other random foodstuff that we could sweep into the bags in such a pinch.  Then we ran up to the second floor and destroyed the staircase.  I'm not sure how we did that but it happened.  We must have somehow had some explosives in the house; I'm not sure where they came from.  Manna from heaven.  Once on the second floor we grabbed diapers and wipes and headed straight for the attic.  Then we destroyed that staircase as well.  We could hear the wheezy moans of countless zombies below us but we were safe now.  There was food, water and we had each other.  I'm always the hero in my own zombie story.  

By the time I saved us from the zombies, Asher was done eating.  I burped him and got up to change his diaper.  I checked behind my shoulder a couple times (for curiosity sake, not because I was scared or anything), put his sleeper back on, kissed him on the forehead and laid him back down.  I walked back over to bed, laid myself back down, closed my eyes and feel right asleep.  Then I dreamt of porcelain chickens, six bottles of Sriracha and an old English manor house.  


my imagination is too active.


When The Levees Broke

Last night we watched Act I and Act II of When The Levees Broke, a documentary by Spike Lee on Hurricane Katrina and the Federal response (or lack thereof) to New Orleans in its aftermath.  It is the most disturbing movie I ever watched.  My emotions ranged from shock at how the same levees that were breached twice before were never repaired, to grief at seeing bodies left in the water or under blankets while their loved ones painfully searched for their own salvation, to rage at how poorly the entire situation was handled by the federal government before, during and after the storm struck.   There were interviews with a wide range of individuals, from survivors to the mayor of New Orleans to residents of the city that were able to evacuate.

This storm hit home hard for me since it hit within a month of when I moved back to PA from Key West.  I was through three hurricanes while living in the Keys but none of them were over a Category 2; the winds and water I experienced were tame in comparison to Katrina's.  Those of us that were crazy enough to stay in town for the hurricanes after the mandatory evacuations were posted would have 'hurricane parties' as the storm was closing in on us.  We played it off just as another excuse to party but it was largely a cover to drink a lot so we were able to sleep through the maddening sound of wind tearing at the roof and siding and the thought that your end may be imminent.  I didn't necessarily choose to stay for the hurricanes but I did not have any vehicle and no spare cash and no credit card.  There is no way I could rent a car, drive to wherever safety was, rent a hotel room for several nights and pay for three meals a day out.  I already was losing up to a week of work that I wasn't getting paid for.  I really felt so horrible for the individuals that could not afford to leave New Orleans (despite the mandatory evacuation) and then didn't receive necessary food and water and medical care for over 5 days.  I've been there; the only difference was that I was not through Katrina.  This is America.  There is no excuse.  

I am still disgusted and still disturbed and still thinking about all the images I saw last night.  This is a film that everyone should watch.  We need to be aware of what happened so history does not just get forgotten and brushed under the carpet.  If honest citizens don't stand up and educate themselves on current events then the dishonest will simply rewrite our own history while we stand with our heads stuck in the sand.  It's so important to always learn, always talk, and always keep an open mind.  Go watch it.  


Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farms

I don't know about anyone else but I'm ready to celebrate Spring.  I'm looking forward to the Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farms in Glen Rock, PA to help me bring in the new season of birth.  It will be on May 1-3 and is great green fun for the whole family.  This festival is in keeping with the ancient celebration of May Day, held on May 1 or Beltane.  There will be food, entertainment, tea parties with fairies, and a maypole (of course).  Spring will hopefully be sprung sooner rather than later.

He'd love to just wait in the cab ...

A 20-something man sits in a taxi in front of his parents' house, trying to find the strength to tell them that he has experienced quite the life-changing event.  He lingers in the stale cigarette-tasting air, his hands planted thoughtfully on either side of his worn denim jeans on a hard vinyl seat filled with crumbs and sticky substances that under normal conditions would have made him gag with disgust and reach for his antibacterial gel.  He absently peeked over at the woman beside him.  She smiled a nervous and thin smile, pulled his one weak hand up and clutched it tightly within her own.  Anxiety vibrated in the air between them.  On the second finger of her left hand a 2-carat princess cut diamond solitaire sparkled coldly in the darkened cab whenever the streetlamp above got trapped inside its fathomless crystal depths.  He squeezed her hands tightly back, determination finally steeling him to open his cab door and step out into the brisk suburban night.  He knew the neighbors were watching behind old and yellowed lace curtains; they had been sitting here for nearly 5 minutes now.  Tongues were wagging.  Phones were nearby in case there was a sudden need to phone the Police.  One could never be too careful.  Fortunately for the nosy neighbors, this man was not here for any dirty deeds involving them; rather, he was here to confess his own dirty deed to his parents.  He had finally arrived at their doorstep to introduce them to his new wife.  They hadn't even known he was seeing anyone.  To be honest, he hadn't expected this sudden elopement himself.  They had taken a vacation to Lancaster, PA and the Amish country was just so full of charm and romance and good breweries that one thing led to another and they just couldn't help themselves.  What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas but what happens in Lancaster must be brought back to Mom and Dad.  He sighed.  He didn't regret their rash and impulsive decision but his parents were going to be devastated.  He had stolen the joy from them being able to be a part of their only child's wedding.  Might as well get this over with.  He crossed over to the other side of the taxi and opened his wife's door (wife, odd as that sounds to say).  They slowly walked towards the front door.  The porch light was off.  There was a thin crust of freshly fallen snow on the ground and they left a double set of footprints up the walkway.  He slipped once but caught himself before he went the entire way down.  Cursing under his breath he wondered if this evening could get any more uncomfortable.  He was tired of prolonging the agony of the inevitable.  He rang the doorbell.  Waited.  Nothing.  He rang it again and knocked on the door for good measure.  Still nothing.  A cold sweat broke out on his neck and a small part of his brain registered amazement that he could sweat in this frigid weather.  Then he noticed a note on the door.  He pulled it off, leaving some tape and one corner of the paper on the entrance.  He squinted in the dark and struggled to read the following:  Darling, We have decided to take a spontaneous vacation to escape this winter.  You know how your father's bones ache so in the cold.  We're away, in the Pacific, on a boat.  We'll be back in the Spring.  You can't reach us, we're blissfully unable to make contact with the outside world.  I do hope you are not cross with us; please don't worry, we will be fine.  If you do need anything in the house, use your key.  If there are any problems, talk to Mrs. Gitchum next door, she'll be caring for the house while we're away.  Most of all, dear, I love you.  See you in a few months though I can't give you an exact date.  I hope you don't do anything crazy while we're gone, like get married!  This thought makes me chuckle, I know my son would never do anything like this to his parents.  The wild imagination of an aging woman, eh?  Hugs and Kisses, Mother.