Strong Women and Whiskey

not for the delicate palate

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Location: Oxford, Pennsylvania, United States

I've found that if you speak as if with authority on nearly any topic, most people will believe you. This frightens me.

Friday, December 22, 2006


It's almost Christmas, and a week ago, I was ahead of schedule! If anyone wants to help me make 4 huge trays of lasagne feel free to stop by. I'll let you munch on mozzerella when I'm not looking. I also have to do some cleaning. Just some... just the whole house. *sigh*

Welcome to the first day on the flip side of winter solstice. Can you feel it?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Collecting the Dead

I stopped by the cemetary where three of my aunts, my grandfather, and Nanny are buried. We buried Nanny at the end of September.

I used to wonder on the sense of burial -- all that wasted space best used by the living, right? Well, I think we do use it. They're a captive audience in our minds, anyway. We can go and tell them whatever we want without hurting their feelings, risking ours, nurses bustling in, the odor of antiseptic. Just me and Nanny and the sound of rain and traffic. I'm a shelver, I shelve things and I have to come back later. I didn't trully grieve for Aunt Mabel and Aunt Ethel (one month apart) until Nanny's funeral. That day, as the cars were filing away to go back to the church, walked down the hill to visit them. That's when I wept -- for them, for missing them, for the end of an era in our family. I cried for Aunt Betty, who, died a quick and nasty death of brain cancer just as her beautiful house was nearly done being built, and not long after her burial, her husband (though I love him) had a new "lady friend". They have a joint tombstone, does it matter? Nanny is buried next to Pop Pop. He died in 85. Since then she had a companion, Bill, who was the only grandfather I ever knew. He loved her and us dearly. I'm sure he's buried next to his wife -- where it'll be easier for his kin to visit.

And it struck me on how much easier it is to "stop by" and talk to the dead. God knows how little of it I did when they were alive -- all of them, for different reasons. I've made my peace with those reasons but not with the things unsaid. The hinge of my jaw may be worn loose from overuse, but it seems I expect folks to know what's going on in my head with little effort on my part. The visit to the graveyard drove home family I've not connected with, two friendships I've jeopardized, one I've ruined and some I've tarnished recently.

I was a bit upset, that Nanny's stone was bare - her birthday was a few days ago. I though that perhaps I'd go to the convenience store across the street and get her a blue bag of Herr's potato chips, or some Big Red gum -- just a flower, even. As if there is some graveyard hierarchy in who's "best dressed". Just down the hill is a tombstone of a little boy who lived until he was four. The base of the stone is covered in little toy trucks that had been painstakingly lined up along the edges, a plastic alligator on top of the stone. He's been dead three times longer than he was alive -- some of those cars are nearly new.

Sometimes I wonder who's collecting who.

All fancied up after Nanny's funeral. DJ (left), and David (right) in the back. Devin (left), me (center), and Daryl (right) in the front.

And on a lighter note, the official goofball shot. We do bar mitzvah's too.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cookies, cookies, everywhere....

Ahhh, blogging. I remember this. Rather than try to catch up on months of stuff in one swoop, I'll start with Saturday. Raven and I decided to really put the newish kitchen through it's paces and have a cookie party. Okay, I thought it was a good idea and she kept me from fizzling out on it. (I simply don't do winter well, cold weather makes me stupid.)

There was a great turnout and a great many cookies made.... and eaten. I think we got a start on our holiday baking and got to enjoy some quality "hen-time". Not that I tend to be gender-biased but there's something great about sharing a kitchen with a pile of women. Poor Doug was kept nearly captive in the upstairs of the house playing computer games, except when he was called down to go fetch something, eat lunch, or be fed cookies. Okay, so I suppose that's a rather decadent existance, huh?

Now, for the pics.

Raven (foreground) and Sudie making spritz cookies -- which were buttery and delicious, even if some of the dogs resembled horses. Next, year I think the plan is to make more since we only just got the hang of it towards the end of the batch. By the way, I always thought spritz cookies were made with a special cookie gun, not a salad shooter gone gastro-pornographically haywire. I love the transition from healthy veggies to ultra-butter and sugar.

According to the sacred recipe Neddie brought forth from her Mom's recipe file, this cookie dough must be mixed by hand ONLY. Eve (left) seems to think this is a pretty good idea.

We all took so many turns washing dishes, this was one of Mary's. She refused to let us get a real picture of her, so this will have to sufice.... for now.

Erica (left) and her daughter Eve expertly rolling out the gingerbread dough.

No, Erica, I have no idea why Eve spent the night boucing off the walls once she got home. (I think we were all sneaking her treats like well-meaning aunts throughout the afternoon)

The official "Abundance" shot. We have peanut butter grahams and marshmallow grahams dipped in chocolate, coconut macaroons, "Mrs. Field's" chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, peanut butter kiss cookies, scotch shortbreads, ginger bread cookies, spritz cookies, and rum balls. The only thing we didn't get done en masse was decorate the gingerbreads. Raven came back over in the evening so she, Doug, and I could do that. Of course, giving my husband some kind of creative media at any point can be a bit, well, special.

Yep..... special... would be the word here. These I think may be the least politically offensive specimens. (Mike, the Communist Russia propaganda didn't make it into the photo shoot, so sorry!) I think his mental illness may have affected Raven, as well. From the top left: faceless bikini gingerbread girl #1, Captain Fabulous (it started as a sort of Frankie goes to Hollywood thing by Raven, I added the sparkly lightning and Doug named him), one sweet Devil (raven), faceless bikini gingerbread girl #2, Inquisition Snowman, Star of David Christmas Star, and Patrick Starfish. I'm not sure if these will be on display for the family gathering :)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Merry Meeting

I love the name of this lake.

I am so sorry for my lack of bloggity goodness lately. Apparently I have no clue on how NOT to be busy. But, right now I'm sitting at the bench table in a quaint little cottage that Jon is renting this week up in New Durham, NH. After 8 hours of driving yesterday, it was to tempting for D and I to just "crash" here rather than stay. Plus, there was beer. So tomorrow, bright and early well, too early to be bright, we'll be on the road up to "waaaay up Maine" and will be heading back south, to home on Monday-ish.

E2 you almost got a visit, had it now been for the whole "exhaustion" thing. ;)

In other news, the garden looks like southeast asia, I have tons of pictures to post and all kinds of good stuff. Oh, and somehow I've managed to drop about 20 lbs in the past two months or so. Groovy!!

I'm being beckoned to go have dinner. Will post more later, especially if a package of cookies are waiting for me when we get home -- (*nudge*, Angie)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dance junkie, new meds, joy

I received and Xbox and all the toys to play Dance Dance Revolution for my birthday from Doug, Raven, and Derek. While I'll never be anywhere near on par with the Japanese 6 year olds that can rock out on it, I'm still having and aching-legged-don't-know-when-to-quit blast at it.

I went to a long overdue doctor's appointment Wednesday. My Doctor is incredibly cool, and actually really listens to me. I think, if he were not my Dr. he'd be a cool person to know -- actually I'm sure he and my husband would get along remarkably well. Regardless, I rarely have good news coming back from appointment. Since I've mostly kicked the smoking habit since my last physical, it's time to start seriously looking at weight loss. Keeping up the cardio wit DDR would be good, but I have to adjust my diet (moderately high cholesterol) and my blood pressure (a tad high). However before those things can be addressed we have to rule out that I don't have a sleeping disorder (which would affect the blood pressure) and before I have to do the whole sleep-study thing, I am on allergy meds for a month to see if that works, instead. I've got some kind of pressure back around the eustacian tubes that's making my ears itch like crazy.

Oh, and he prescribed Cymbalta for me because apparently, big suprise here folks, I'm clinically depressed and have been for some time. I'm not sure how I feel about really accepting that -- but it finally came down to survival, and I had to address it because I simply was not functional. It'll take a month to fully work, if it does, so maybe there will be a remarkable difference. Maybe not. If it does, then I start looking for a counselor. I hope that I can find a way around being permanently medicated (particularly since I'd have to come off to have kids and nurse). I'm suprised at his choice of meds, though, Cymbalta is a seritonin AND norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Seritonin is a mood hormone but norepinephrine is a pain regulating hormone. The shorts story is sometimes nerves tell the brain that they're in pain even when there's no actual stimuli for pain. Maybe the lining of the nerve has worn away from malnutriton (poor circulation of blood and lymph) and a condition occurs call neuropathy. This happens to many diabetics. This med is also approved to treat neuropathy. Hrmph. The web site says it's for the general aches and pains that often accompany depression (which makes sense, even though I'd never put them together) -- the only thing is that I don't like to take any kind of painkiller if I can help it at all. But I'm willing to try it -- could link back to the sleep thing -- it may help me sleep better which is overall better for my physical and mental health.

I do know that I wrote my first poems in a long time yesterday, even though they sucked. Part of me has avoided this for a long, long, time because I was afraid I'd lose my creativity. Then, I'd become so bad, that I lost all my creativity and passion except for the occasional outburst. Hell, I wasn't even enjoying food anymore -- that's when I knew it was bad. But wouldn't it be funny if I got it all back and the thing that I though spawned a lot of my creativity was exactly the thing that stymied it?

Just a thought. An experiment. Oh, and the allergy meds -- I hadn't realized it, but my sense of smell had diminished a lot. I smelled the outdoors yesterday and was ready to get drunk on it. Even if I don't totally approve, they're working. I just need to see if I can find an effective holistic approach down the road some.

Okay, enough boring medical bullcrap. Here's a really cute picture of Jonas, Angie's kid. I think this photo just captures joy as it should be.

for the archive

....some butchery in the form of non-traditional haiku and tanka. hrmph -- very non traditional as I look it it, more nature and form rather than the intent.

oh well, first thing I've written in months. i rather li8ke the sonic blooms though, it's probably already been done somewhere/how


rose brambles burst forth
wrapped in the scent of sweet hay
whisper autumn's work


i shall drink the wind
and fill my belly with sun-
mourn a lost season

rain stings my face spicy
listen: blossoms bloom sonic


chrysalis my mind
in sheer sheets of summer wind
blarg blarg blargity <------- I had something horrible and trite here, and now I can think of anythinge else right now because it rhymed and is stuck in my head!!!!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

half a month too long...

...and I should be in bed.

Bed is a lonely place despite the kitty's attempts to warm it up. Doug is away on a business trip, which would be disconcerting to most in my position ( my birthday is Tuesday) except that I have to be up at 6 a.m. in order to be at school at 8 a.m. and to be at a massage event at 9 a.m. When that is completed at 3 p.m. I have to be at school by 5:30 (there is some distance involved) and won't be out until close to 10, I surmise. So, no point in getting worked up. I'll at least be spending the day doing something I love.

I have so many pictures to post that I think it'll have to wait for another post, since it always takes so long for me to compress, re save, and attach them. Angie's visit was amazing fun -- I hope we get to visit again. She and Jonas are so very cool. And whatever Wil did to get them here after all the mix-ups has earned him some kind of treat from Barnhenge. Maybe I could send a chicken.

We did so much in the few days of the visit. Thursday Angie, Jonas, and I went to a Turkish place for lunch, and then went home and spend at long time laughing at Jonas playing in the sprinkler. Of course the fact that I've been waiting for the perfect excuse to break out my Patrick Starfish Sprinker had nothing to do with that...

Friday-- we drove around a lot, and basically relaxed. In the evening we went to see Joyce Carol Oates and Salman Rushdie speak at the DuPont Theater in Wilmington. So we got to dress up and be intellectuals for an evening. I've been looking forward to this for some time, as JCO is one of my all time favorite authors -- Rushdie as it turns out, was the immediately engaging one, JCO took a bit more time to warm up, I think, because she was trying to figure out her audience. I like her even more since seeing her, an introverted, somewhat awkward figure on the stage, taking up so very little space, when having read her work, I understood what a massive expanse her mind fills. She, to me, embodies the archetype of a writer. Plus, she is a cat person, which wins points in my book. Rushdie, on the other hand, with his jokes and convivial attitude, and presence seemed so at ease in the eye of so many, like he fed on it -- which may in fact be the case, as much press as some of his work has gotten. He commented that until here recently the Satanic Verses and the fahtwa were so controversial that the book itself was overlooked for it's literary contents-- this I've noticed.

So the 90 minute forum definately provided some thought. Afterwards Angie and I wondered the streets of Wilmington, feeling oddly like country bumpkins playing dress-up, looking for something to prolong the evening. We found a little Italian place with cute waiters and outdoor seating so we treated ourselves to White-Chocolate Rasperry Martini and dessert (tiramisu for Ang, Limoncello Cake for me) and some good conversation before heading home.

Saturday we cooked and cooked and I still couldn't facilitate getting dinner on the table sooner than 8. *sigh* I swear there is some kind of mental block that makes it impossible for me to get supper on the table at an earlier hour. I suppose it's not that I'm a decent cook, but that hunger does wonders for the flavors of a meal. Angie was a phenomenal sous chef and also prepared a very tasty Spinach Roulade that I think will end up being an entertaining mainstay. I have a great picture of her weeping over the onions, I think I'll share it later. *grin*

Sunday we played at the Fairie Festival -- a whole big group of us with Raven, Derek, Morgan, Melissa, Doug, Ang, Jonas, and myself. Followed by Fireside Fondue at Barnhenge and some much needed sleep. By Monday, our main goal was to keep Jonas smiling, since, by this point the poor tyke had been massively overstimulated and prepared to meltdown at the drop of a hat. Not that I can blame him, it happens to those of us that are hardened to such things too. He did really well and it was touching to see he and Morgan play.

In other news it looks like our garden is about two weeks behind, which means that we'll be innundated with harvest come late summer. This is based on the assumption that everything grows. We have technically just past our frost-free date, so maybe it won't be so bad. Doug has been working really hard in his "spare" time to get the fence up, with so much wildlife around (including the very helpful chickens) we simply cannot plant until it's fenced in.

Let's see, what else -- I've had my first clinic at the school, which was exciting to get to do - an actual paying client (to the school), I even got a tip! I quit my job working doing in-home care, and have to find a new one sometime in early June -- there was just too much going on that was preventing me from being dependable. Mom finally had her tests at the hospital -- after the incident of her being ill and vomiting blood -- the test turned up a bit ol' ulcer, but everything else is normal or as it was already. I think we were all really scared it would be something much, much worse. She's on meds for it, and already going well, I think.

This past Saturday I got to go to a Tea held at the same family's house where Doug and I got married. They are such awesome people. Mrs. Taylor host's a tea occasionally -- there were at least forty ladies (and one man) there as guests. Her family and some friends do all the cooking, prep work, and decorating. I went with my friend Erica -- it's such a relaxing, and indulgent event -- with good food and tasty baked treats -- some violin music, and her sons took turns between courses to read us themed poetry. *sigh* What a great way to spend a lovely spring day.

speaking of days, mine begins early tomorrow so I should sleep.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

this poem

struck me today and held me fast

Spring and All
by William Carlos Williams

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines-

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind-

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined-
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance-Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken