November 2, 2004
I find it fascinating that our election day falls on Día de Los Muertos. Hand in hand with Death is the concept of "rebirth" (if you follow that line of thought) or at least the concept of "change" (by even the most diehard agnostic). Any time a person or a concept or a lifestyle dies, there is change in its absence.
I wonder what kind of changes will be made today, if any?
It's definitely one of the most empowered days for Americans. As much as people get off on taking to the street and having their voices heard, this is the one day every four years where we are guaranteed to be part of the process of change, being the cause of the effect.
I'm definitely not one to get on a soapbox about voting. Honestly, I don't much give a shit about whether or not people vote. I feel if people want to be pro-active in being heard and make a choice that really counts, then they should go vote. If they don't have an opinion or care either way, then voting could actually be harmful, initiating changes they did not intention to create. Voting is a right and a privilege, but sometimes people seem to miss that it's not an obligation. It bothers me a great deal when folks get all bossy and indignant with those who choose not to vote.
Mind you, I do believe that if you don't exercise your right to vote, you've absolutely got to cause to bitch when political decisions are made that you don't like. If you don't vote, don't bitch.
For years, I didn't vote. There are two very key issues about which I feel passionate and they are always, always mutually exclusive; never a bipartisan agreement. I can't bear to vote for one, knowing I'm automatically voting against the other. That dilemma has typically left me to take my hands off of it and pray for the best possible outcome, then trust that whatever happens is what should happen. This is the first year I have felt a specific interest in the outcome of the election, so I will be following it a little more closely.
We found out who ate the pre-jack-o-lanterns. Last night, just at dusk, Nathan was looking out the front window and said, "Mom! Look at all the reindeers!" There was a doe with her two babies by the front porch, munching happily away. They even kicked out the candle. :)~ There is still a pumpkin and a half to go and I am curious to see how long they last.
I got the downstairs absolutely sterilized yesterday. It looks really lovely. Of course, the little office/laundry room is, as always, crammed with crap and there is laundry to do, but the rest of the downstairs looks great. The upstairs doesn't exist for me until I am ready for bed. Guess I should try and do some cleaning up there.
I screwed up today big time. Nathan had a school field trip and wasn't going to be home until around 4:30 tonight (all day! whoo hoo!). He was getting a ride home from another parent since I don't have a vehicle to go get him and he'd be getting back after school buses left. I was uncomfortable with the idea because they are going so far, all the way into Sacramento (an hour and a half) for some cultural world expo thing at the Arco Arena. I guess I subconsciously undermined it in some way because while we were waiting for the bus today, a parent drove past and asked if I knew the kids left at 7am today. ?! Nope. I somehow completely missed that they had to be at school early today. He was disappointed (his first field trip), but he seems to have recovered and he and Dylan are being particularly rowdy (incompetence has its punishments).
Eric is coming home early today (which for him, means at a normal husband coming home time) and it will be great to spend some time with him. He's been getting home late at night for one reason or another for the past couple of weeks. He's going to be working some overtime in the next couple of weeks to try and offset the post dated down payment on the jeep. I'm going to take advantage of seeing him while I can.
Oooh, new passion: Henri Matisse!
I must have it.
This will be a short entry today. I'm looking for a snooze before Eric gets home.
November 1, 2004
Already November. Absolutely amazing.
Changing themes. Bored with the other one.
I wrote a wonderful Nonsoapy over a couple of hours this morning. It's gone now. The program froze and the info that I saved wasn't there when I reopened it. Weird stuff like that happens sometimes. Don't know if I can recreate it or not. Just not meant to be, I guess.
The weekend was wonderful and provided a very satisfying end to the harvest year. Saturday morning, Delena and I went to town to pick up a few necessities. When we returned, it was time to get ready to go to the school Halloween Festival. It was like every other Halloween Festival in every other school in every other town. We dumped about $10 in tickets for the kids to play games, knocking over pyramids of soda cans, plopping ping pong balls into cups of water and tossing bean bags into the body parts of clowns painted onto plywood in the 1960's. The kids had a great time and were able to get a little trick or treat candy in the process.
I was a little disappointed by the lack of interesting people watching material. Usually, I'm good at picking out the interesting among the seemingly benign (the better to entertain myself), but this time, there was very little that stood apart from the rest. The few, the proud:
A very large dog, a boxer, I think, decked out in a tutu, looking alternately indignant and righteously pissed off.
A guy in his 30's or so who handed the basketball game attendant about 20 tickets and stood there bouncing shots off the rim while a line of kids a mile long formed behind him. When Eric kindly asked him to step off and give the little kids a turn, he got particularly snarlly. I think he might be our mountain's only crackhead.
After the Fall Festival, we went to the local pizza place for dinner and let the kids drown a few quarters in the pinball machines. The last time we went anywhere as a family was the first week of September for Nathan's birthday, so we made the most of it.
When we got back home, the kids ate some candy and went to sleep. Eric and I watched a little TV and then quickly followed suit.
The next day, yesterday, we the longest day of the year. I always think of the day in Fall when the time changes as the longest day of the year. My kids don't look at the clock when they get up, so the time change didn't matter to them. Having more time in the day works great for me, but of course, I also peter out an hour earlier (interestingly enough, they don't). Eric went out to forage for wood at the mining claim and was surprised to see that someone, presumably the forestry service, had actually cut about a ten foot entry through the giant tree they felled a few weeks ago to block the river (so now it's no longer blocking the river). Strange stuff. He filled the jeep with wood to be cut down later on tonight. He'll go out each clear weekend from now on to get wood from one place or another. You really can't beat free heat and it's even critical for the time in Winter when we lose power for a few days at a stretch.
We learned yet another important lesson for those of us who are blessed to live in the mountains among wild critters of the four-legged, fur-bearing variety. Pre-jack-o-lanterned pumpkins left on the porch in anticipation of cutting the next day actually mean "buffet." I bought four pumpkins and two were eaten. One was down to about a 4" piece, delicately scraped clean with teeth mark indentations along the flesh. The second one was completely hollowed out, more cleanly than any pumpkin I've ever gutted before, with about 1/3 of the front of it gone. I suspect some critters are likely harboring a raucous case of the pumpkin shits right about now, poor things.
Eric and the boys were carving up the other two as Delena and I were leaving for the cemetery. As we were going, Sage arrived to pick up a gift one of his online friends sent here, so he went to the cemetery with us. It's only about 5 minutes down the road and was very alive and busy on that day, with the veil between the worlds so thin. None of us talked much, just walked around enjoying the quiet company of one another and the others around us unseen.
The cemetery looked different, both Delena and I agreed, from last week when we visited (in the rain) and the other times we've been there. For one thing, there was a giant stump in the middle of the cemetery and our only complaint about this particular one has always been that unlike the other (many) cemeteries we've visited, this one has no place to sit down except for Charles Kensington's large, flat tombish thing that covers his grave and is about thigh high. Since Charles is a bit of a perv and kind of annoying to be around, we try to avoid it unless we're really wanting to sit and then we shield a lot. The stump wasn't a new cut by any means, it was just really, really odd that none of us had ever noticed it before.
There were also a lot of great open areas where I'd remembered stones being before. Odd again.
I spent some good time at the Betty plot, which is surrounded by a lovely split rail fence. Viola Betty's headstone draws me in every time because of the epitaph, "Beloved Wife lies here at rest...and Lord knows she needed one." To her left is her husband, who died 15 years after she did and to her right is her younger sister, Jitterbug. In the same plot, there are two babies, each with a different last name than the adults buried there. One was called "Deuce" and was a Jr who died at 3 months.
Eleanor died in 1963 and has a decaying hat on her grave. Last weekend, I got the nerve to ask Eleanor if I could pick up her hat. She was OK with it, but Delena flipped out, "Don't touch Eleanor's hat!" I figured asking her to put it on was then out of the question.
There are a lot of unmarked areas that are sinkers, so we figured folks are there too.
John Michael Levitson was 5 days old when he died. His marker is erected in his memory by a woman named Gloria who has a different last name. Four out of eight people who were at the cemetery last week independently got the impression that Gloria was a nurse who had cared for the baby. Erick (not my husband, a different Eric) got the impression that the unmarked grave next to John's was the baby's mother, who died giving birth.
This particular cemetery has a lot of unmarked graves, delineated by stones around the grave and a wooden stake that says "RIP." No name or other identification. Some don't have the marker, but just silk flowers in a mound of stones. For all we know, it could be Billy the Kid or William Blake in one of those unmarked graves.
After the cemetery, Sage did his usual "always leave'em wanting more" exit and we got ready to go to the Grizzly Flats community party, which is sponsored by "The Committee" that puts on Hamburger Night every Friday from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Halloween party was held in the Fire House, which Eric called the "Fire Room" since it's just a room big enough to hold the one fire truck we have. About 10 people were putting on the party and had candy for the kids and prizes for the 6-7 games they had set up. Outside, there was free cocoa and coffee, as well as hotdogs with all the trimmings (GOOD grilled hotdogs).
The kids had a lot of fun. One little kid of about 10 was dressed in white shirt and white pants and a black wig. He had some electrical things (looked like sound boards and such) attached to places on his shirt. Delena commented that he looked like Elvis (except for being Asian) and the kid freaked out screaming that he wasn't Elvis. Guess she hit a nerve.
I had a very interesting conversation with a little boy of about 8. I was sitting on a log outside drinking my cocoa and he was sitting on a log at a right angle to mine. Delena and Dylan showed up, with Delena fussing about a little stuffed horse Dylan won in the hat toss. Dylan offered it to her and I told her to go in the Fire Room, toss some hats and earn her own horse. She left to do so and Dylan shared my cocoa with me.
The boy said, "I don't know if you noticed or not, but you misspoke. You told your daughter she had to earn her own 'hat' rather than earn her own 'horse.'"
Me: "I did? I guess I made a mistake. Thank you for pointing it out."
Boy: *shrug* "Normally I don't rush to correct people, but I felt compelled to do so."
Me: "One day, impulse control will be your friend."
Me: "I'm just grateful to live in a world where a young person can use words like "compelled" and "misspoke" correctly in a sentence."
Boy: "I know."
We sat together in silence for a while and then he excused himself politely and left for the costume judging. Frankenstein and the kid who carried himself around won.
After we got home, the kids again went right on up to bed and Eric built a bonfire out back for us to "burn off" the things in our lives, metaphorically speaking, that no longer serve us. That, for us, is the true meaning of Samhain/Halloween. We see the dark of the year from Samhain until Spring Equinox, as a time of returning to the darkness of the womb to reflect, contemplate, plan and introspect prior to the energy of "rebirth" that comes in Spring.
At Samhain, when the fields of the harvest are burned to sterilize them for the planting that is to come in the Spring, we burn off the things in our life that are hindering us or are old and outmoded. That way, we don't carry them with us into the new life that is to come.
We're lucky that the recent snows and rains allowed the burning ban to be lifted, so all across the mountain top you can see little bonfires blazing, like in ancient times. There are so many things about this place that are absolutely timeless.
Eric built a raging fire and we huddled around it, me in a heavy blanket having just been sick and absolutely hating the cold. He already released a lot of his own demons. When we met, he smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day, having started smoking at age 10. He gave up cigarettes in December and has since smoked his pipe, getting wonderful pipe tobacco from a tobaccoist in the mall in Sacramento. Last weekend, he also gave up the pipe, which was a big step for him, but he came through it with flying colors. He also wanted to release our dependence on our poor, tired Caprice that just isn't meant for these mountain roads, especially in snow and ice. He was able to get the jeep, so David is borrowing the Caprice for a while.
My releases are just beginning. There are certain ways that Eric and I have treated one another in the past, recent and far, that aren't healthy and only serve to hurt one another. Primarily, it is about taking out frustrations from the mundane world (mostly about money) on one another. We both agreed that we wanted to stop hurting each other and not allow that sort of behavior from ourselves any more.
I am working again to release the fat that once served a purpose that is no longer a factor. Mostly, I haven't wanted to do the work that is going to be required to get rid of it. I'm ready to give it another try and see if I can get on the way to a healthy weight. I'm starting out with low carb and will then go to Insulin Resistance Diet after a few days. Going low carb first helps me to lose the cravings for the foods I shouldn't have quicker and then I can come back and use them in moderation.
I spent the past couple of months eating freely and it was wonderful not to think about what I ate. I gained 4 pounds, but it was glorious. Now I'm ready to buckle down, do the exercise and again keep track of what I eat. I'd like to emerge in Spring a good 20 pounds or more lighter. I'm not afraid for my health or anything, I just want to have more energy and endurance for the warmer times when they get here.I have about 80 pounds to lose total, but I'm taking it a bit at a time.
Today, I am going to do a good overall clean on the house. I feel much better than I did last week and need to pick up some slack from when I was sick. The boys are being particularly good, so it should only be a matter of my own motivation (or lack thereof) to contend with.
I have more book reviews to write this week and want to get the photo album project under way. Today, I pack away the harvest decorations for the year and bring our world back to its usual look.
I should be around tomorrow. I hope you have a magnificent week.