Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Poem of True Love for Valentine's Day

If this isn't true love, then there is no such thing!  Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Love Poem
by John Frederick Nims

My clumsiest dear, whose hands shipwreck vases,
At whose quick touch all glasses chip and ring,
Whose hands are bulls in china, burs in linen,
And have no cunning with any soft thing

Except all ill-at-ease people:
The refugee uncertain at the door
You make at home; deftly you steady
The drunk clambering on his undulating floor.

Unpredictable dear, the taxi driver's terror,
Shrinking from far headlights pale as a dime
Yet leaping before red apoplectic streetcars - 
A misfit in any space.  And never on time.

A wrench in the clocks and the solar system.  Only
with words and people and love do you move at ease.
In traffic of wit, gently maneuver
And keep us, all devotion, at your knees.

Forgetting your coffee spreading on our flannel,
Your lipstick grinning on our coat.
So gaily in love's unbreakable heaven,
Our souls, on the glory of spilt bourbon float.

Be with me darling, early and late.  Smash glasses - 
I will study wry music for your sake.
For should your hands drop white and empty
All the toys in the world would break.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It Really Is This Simple

This is my criteria for choosing a dentist:
1) You don't make me feel like I'm a bad person because I have a cavity
2) You don't have pictures of clowns or hot air balloons all over your office.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This is Why I Love John Shuck!

A commenter on John's wonderful blog recently mentioned that she's getting Baptized.  Here is John's response to her:
Baptized! A dangerous act. I am serious about that. Once you get baptized shit like truth, justice, compassion, peace (Jesus kind of stuff) will make demands on you and gnaw at your conscience 'til you're dead.
Now, wouldn't it be a great world if all preachers said more stuff like that?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa Drives a Series of Tubes

My friend, Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein, did NOT originate the internet Secret Santa scheme.  However, he did make it sound enticing enough to encourage me to play along.  The recipient of my virtual gift is
Odile, a blogger in Mexico.  Fun!  I've never been to Mexico, but my mother went, once.  She told a story on herself about her trip to California that included a detour into Mexico for a short gad.  She was enjoying herself and the dry desert air when she realized her left arm was significantly more tanned than her right - from resting it on the car door as she drove.  "I'm not worried", she said to herself.  "I'll get the other one tanned on the way home."

That was my mom.

It's quite likely Odile has more sense than that (at least sense enough not to tell on herself, I'll warrant), and she probably has sense enough to buy her own gifts and get exactly what she wants.  Still, a secret Santa has certain obligations.  I took said obligation on freely, just as my mother freely (and frequently) took on the obligation of telling the world she was a goof.

And so, without further adieu, I present my gift to Odile.  ¡Appetit del bon y Feliz Navidad, mi Amiga!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Cheer to All!

There's nothing like a hot toddy to beat the cold when it settles into the bones. So, I thought I would share my own version of Hot Buttered Rum. Most recipes are so sweet they would throw a whole room into a diabetic coma. This one is light and clean, with just a little sweetness for balance. It gets rave reviews whenever it is served!

Put the kettle on, dear.
Put a little honey in a mug. It's up to you, but I put in a good heaping teaspoon of good, local honey.
Drop a pea-sized bit of creamy unsalted butter in.
Pour in a jigger of quality, golden rum. I've never tried it, but I'll bet a spiced rum would taste just dandy!
Grate a little nutmeg over it.

There's the kettle now! Pour in the steaming hot water and stir! Heaven.

And here's a virtual Buche De Noel I made. Have a slice. You know you want to.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spend More

Here's how our weekend went:
Friday, Mr. Dewey and I did our errands in town - with a goal of eliminating trips near the mall between now and 2009. That evening we met some folks (including Mike and the boys) at the church and helped set up for the Ten Thousand Villages Crafts Sale that has been held here for the last 11 years. Our friend, Lisa, was in charge, and she had everything organized so well!

After that was done, Mike, the boys, Lisa, Mr. Dewey and I went up to Rico's for pizza and cards. Then it was home for hot buttered rum toddies before the fire and bed.

Saturday was cold and fresh, and the boys had a great time sledding. Check out the blog banner for a picture of Ben heading down the hill behind our neighbors' house. (We got a few inches of snow here last Thursday night, and it stayed cold enough that it stayed until Sunday morning.) They would go out for a while, come in and warm up with hot tea or cocoa, a little drawing, a little computer time, and then back out. I baked fruitcakes. Bunches of them. All three ovens were going from about 11 am until I pulled the last batch out at 7:30. During that time, Mr. Dewey got a chance to work out and do some computer housekeeping, while Mike did some reading.

Dinner was Rico's pizza again (it's just that good, folks!) and a movie, and some quiet time before bed. We needed it after watching Jurassic Park with the stereo cranked!

We had breakfast on Sunday and then all went to church, followed by lunch at the Southern, before Mike and the boys headed home to prepare for their week. It was a perfect weekend, and it felt like a holiday. It was a holiday! We celebrated family and time spent together, and I don't think it could have been better.

And that brings me to this: the "holidays" are upon us. What will you spend? You can spend your time at the mall, and your money too, or you can spend your time enjoying family and community. We've chosen the latter, and have enjoyed this time of year immensely.

Below is a great video, put together by a group called Advent Conspiracy. I just learned about it, thanks to my friend, John. He's such a rabble-rouser that he even asked a heathen like me to be secretary at his church! What a joy that's been!

Anyway, the video says what I've been trying to say for years: that consumerism is a disease that robs us of our lives. The good news is that it is the easiest thing in the world to cure! All you have to do is stop buying things that no one needs. But no need for me to blather on about it. Watch the video. It reminds me of the words to a song written for John Denver years ago. "I guess he'd rather work out where the only thing you earn is what you spend."

And remember, you don't need to be a Christian to act like one.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Now, This Is Something You Just Don't See Every Day

This is our neighbor.

Yes. He is mowing the snow.

He is from Florida. What can I say?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Philosophy 101

Not to take anything away from the sincere and honest search for meaning currently going on at my friend John's blog, but this just says it all:

Thanks, Lucky!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Great Miriam Makeba

My mom introduced me to Miriam Makeba (and Lena Horne and Hugh Masakela and Harry Belafonte) when I was a little girl. I wish I still had her record collection! Thanks,Madame Pata Pata for bringing your voice to the world. Thanks, Ma, for bringing it to me.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mr. Dewey's Favorite Song in the Whole World is at 10:42

Monday, October 20, 2008

In the Beginning...

John and I had been married for about a year and a half in October of 1991.  We'd been in our house a little over a year and had two lovely kitties - Ivan and Bernice Kopiski.  We were pretty well established in our routine.  John was enjoying running along the Mississippi river paths after work, and I was working for Subway, gone about 9 or 10 nights a month and working long hours.  It had not occurred to us to get a third cat.

But, one evening in mid-October, we came home to find a message on our machine.  Our neighbor, Marge, had a kitten in her garage, and she wondered if we would want it.  It turns out, her son, Joel, was living with a friend in an apartment down on the river, about 6 blocks from us.  He was walking one morning when he heard mewling, and found a little striped grey kitten, bedraggled and wet, struggling on the bank.  He took it back to the apartment, only to find his friend irate.  I'm not sure what the story was there.  He may not have liked cats, but I think there was more to it.  Joel was never the most productive fellow, and I suspect he was living off the good graces of his friend.  Bringing a cat home was likely close to the final straw for him.  He told Joel to get the cat out of the place within the hour or he could go, too.  So, knowing no other options, he did what most grown-ups do when they don't know what else to do; he took it to Mom and Dad.  

Well, Mom and Dad (Marge and Bud, to us), had two dogs, and didn't think they would appreciate having a cat in the house.  They knew we had kitties, so Marge called us and left that message, then put the kitten in the only safe and comfortable place she could think of - her car.  
So, when we came over to see the kitten, she took us out to the garage.  We were expecting a mangy, scrawny, drippy little thing that would shy away from any quick movement, as strays so often do.  Instead, we saw this adorable little grey thing curled up in the front seat, as cozy as could be. I opened the car door and he looked up at me and immediately crawled up my chest and stuck his head under my chin, as if to say "Where've you been, Mama?"  Of course he came home with us.

We took him to the vet the next morning, got him all checked out, vaccinated, and cleaned up.  He was the picture of health.  It took another day to come up with the name Moses.  Perfect!  Enter Moses Kopiski.  We always like to dignify our kitties with middle names.  Ivan's was Raskalnikov, for he was prone to bouts of aggression followed by contrition.  Bernice's was La Flueur, for she was indeed our "little flower".  Moses' name proved to be a poser.  He liked eating bugs, so we often called him "Renfield", but it didn't really go with the flow.  We liked the sound of Moses P. Kopiski, but could never settle on what the P. stood for.  In the end, we left it at that, and decided Moses would let us know what it stood for when he was good and ready.  Turns out, it took a lifetime for us to get it.  But it was worth the wait.

It's easy for us to remember the general time in which Moses came into our lives.  Just about two weeks later, the five of us were sitting in the dining room on a sunny November 2nd, looking at 28 1/2 inches of beautiful snow - the Great Halloween Snowstorm had hit Minneapolis.  

That's our jack-o-lantern, sitting under the snow.

We already knew that we had a special kitty, so we were beside ourselves with joy that we had saved this little fellow from his homelessness when we did.  And I got two great Halloween Treats that year: a long, snow-filled weekend with my sweetie pie where everything stopped completely for a while, and a new kitty who would turn out the be one of my best friends.

For more pictures of Moses and his friends, click here.

Moses' Tale Has Ended

Moses the storyteller fell silent, Friday, October 16, 17 years (perhaps to the day) after we brought him into our home.  He went peacefully and easily, six days after we made the decision to let him go.  I spent a lot of time with him in the last week, even petting him through the night to comfort him.  Even at the end, when he was too weak to walk and could hardly utter a sound, just the touch of my hand would cause him to purr.

We don't know what happened, really.  After managing his blood sugar well for so long, it all of a sudden went sky-high.  A month of increased insulin saw it get worse, rather than better.  Now Moses took his shots like a star - never a problem - but he did not like going to the vet, and he would tell us so, every time.  So, the idea of more trips and more trips, and then that final trip, felt like an injustice.

In addition to the insulin, he also had some mysterious liver ailment that had been lurking in the background for about a year.  He had been sick last December, and we almost lost him.  He was in the hospital on IV for 4 days just to keep him from being dehydrated.  We were never sure what happened there, but we did learn of an elevated liver enzyme - many times higher than acceptable.  The vets wanted to do tests - even though they admitted that whatever the test results showed, there was little success in treating liver disease in cats.  So, we brought him home and started adding an herbal tincture and nutritional yeast to his food.  He loved it, and the liver enzymes reading went down from 780 or so to 72 over the course of a couple of months.  We figured we would enjoy whatever time Moses had left with us, and leave it at that.

We continued to manage his diet, and he was down to just over 9 pounds and quite svelte.  And still quite the storyteller.  And quite the snuggler.  I am going to come out and say something no mother ever should say, but here it is: he was my favorite.  He would lay in my arms all night, snuggled in like a stuffed bear.  I could always count on Moses for a hug.  I often carried him around the house with me like he were an infant, and he would respond with his arms around my neck.  Moses taught me everything I know about "snuggy bumps", and naps, and cuddling, and patience (and heaven knows, we can all use more information about that!), and relaxing.

His full name was Moses P. Kopiski.  He never told us what the "P" stood for, but I think I figured it out. It wasn't a matter of getting to the "Promised Land" for this fella.  I think he was the Promise.  He lived the idea that you just couldn't say "I love you" too much.  He embodied the notion that love received could easily be returned, and thus amplified.  He showed us that, more often than not, just sitting quietly with someone was the best thing you could do for them.

Over the next few days I will be sharing some of Moses' story.  He was an extraordinary being; sweet natured, tender, demanding, peaceful, funny, sometimes grouchy (as with humans, diabetes can cause irritability in cats, too, I found), but always a lover.  

As with our other beloved pets, Wilma, Ivan, and Bernice, we planted a living memorial over Moses.  I chose this particular plant because I wanted to connect this time of year with Moses - not when he left us, but when he came into our lives and added light and joy.  It wasn't until we were at the cash register with it that I realized the connection.  Moses now rests under a beautiful Burning Bush.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

WTF, People!

h/t Open Pie Hole.  If I were still in Minneapolis there would be 4 sweet people, a dog and a couple chickens hanging out at my house, 'cause I would have hauled ass over there to get them off the side of the freeway.  From what I understand, some of the fine attorneys who belong to the National Lawyers Guild are working on this issue.  My CARC team may have beat yours at softball once, but you guys are still Da Best!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gee, Mr. Davis, We Were Just Starting to Have Fun!

David Davis is our Representative to the US House - well, for the next 3 months or so, anyway. Mr. Davis is a freshman rep, and he always will be. You see, he lost his bid for re-election just a couple of weeks ago - a feat that was last accomplished here in the 1950s. Well, at least we can say he accomplished something. According to, Davis ranked 430th in effectiveness his freshman - dare I say ONLY? - term. That's 430th out of 435.

So, naturally, when those 8000 or so voters out of some 50,000 eligible declined to invite Mr. Davis back for a sophomore term, he did the only logical thing a small town politician should do: he threw a hissy fit. He claimed that the only reason he lost was because Democrats crossed over and voted for his major opponent, Dr. Phil Roe. Well, he's right about that. But what he failed to grasp, and as far as I can till, still hasn't got it quite right, is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And that's where it started to get fun. He hired a big-city lawyer who specializes in voting irregularities; he claimed he was gonna uncover this vast left-wing conspiracy and take back what is rightfully his, namely, the right to not represent anyone who didn't vote for him.

I sent a little letter to the papers, which showed up in all four of the area dailies. Here it is.

He whined and belly-ached for a few more days and then conceded - but not before pointing out that the "law was on his side". Okay. I was hoping he'd carry on for a week or two more, just to make sure that he completely obliterated the snowball's chance in hell he had of running for office again.

Mr. Davis is not without his supporters, though. One woman wrote to the Johnson City Press, begging Mr. Davis to run as an Independent, as though he could. With all his puling about party loyalty, such a stunt would be just a little hypocritical. And I don't believe Mr. Davis is a hypocrite. I think he is completely sincere about his unwillingness to do his job for ALL the people in the First District. But perhaps an even greater hurdle for Mr. Davis to overcome en route to an Independent ticket would be his ability to act, well, independently. You see, I don't think Davis could look at a clogged drain and act on it without first getting the Bush Administration's perspective.

So, while we got a little snicker out of watching a grown man groan, the fun ends there. Here's the irony: the single brave soul who is running for Davis' seat as a Democrat (talk about a snowball's chance!) is a great local musician named Rob Russell. He and his band just finished their farewell concert as he gets ready to jump into the general election season with both feet. The name of his band? The Sore Losers, of course.


Well, "The Big One" has come and gone. I'm talking about the event of the year for all the big-belt-buckle-wearin', backy-chewin', boot-scootin' boogyin', American-flag-wavin', farmer's-tan-showin', NRA-sticker-totin' NASCAR fans out there. The "Bristol Motor Speedway Sharpie 500" took place just over the mountains from us this weekend. We did not attend, but some friends, Lonney and Amanda, did. Here's one of the photos they took:

Amanda said it was a good time, and I'm gonna take her word for it. I don't go anywhere near Bristol during "race weekend", which happens twice a year. You don't have to, because all the folks who roll into town for the event come to you! Now, I don't mean to disparage NASCAR, BMS, red-necks, or any of that. It just isn't my thang, as they say around here. But we have been to the BMS a couple of times, but only for their Christmas Lights extravaganza. We've even gotten to drive our extremely sedate Saturn VUE on the "fastest half-mile". That's enough for me.

Still, it is kind of neat to drive along Panhandle Road, which runs the ridge of the Holston Mountains, and look down to the right and see the BMS (it's a little hard to see in the summer, but the orange roof shows up pretty darn well in the winter, I'll tell you). I'll never go to one of the big races. Lots of folks in the area work at the beer stands or other vendors to help raise money for their favorite causes; it does make me smile to think of folks here in Carter County (where they just passed a "Drinks by the Glass" ordinance for restaurants in 2004) selling beer to make money for the Carter County Democrats, or the Moose Club. I don't know if any of the churches sell beer, but I can just picture them selling Dale Earnhart T-shirts. Some things just never go out of style.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rainy Days and Canning Never Get Me Down

The rain fell softly and steadily all day, with just enough of a break to allow me to go outside and take a picture or two of the clouds hanging over the Holston Mountains.

John and I picked four baskets of tomatoes, which I then turned into velvety rich marinara. The garden has done nicely, this year, although the weeds are never under control enough to suit Mr. Dewey. I've told him to quit looking at Martha Stewart magazines! Actually, the garden looks pretty good, considering... .

We are in a multi-year drought, so the rain is a welcome visitor - and one we hope will stick around for a few days. These rains are the inland remnants of Hurricane Fay, and they are late. It's wondrous to think we live close enough to the coast to get hurricane rains. But we do!

It was 4 years ago this Labor Day (give or take a week) that we came down here on our whirl-wind house hunting adventure, and we were treated to rains from Hurricane Ivan: 20 inches over night out here in Carter County. It was a mixed blessing: difficult to get around in, and hard to keep the shoes clean, but it was great to see which homes passed the seal test!

Today's rains were nothing like that. We picked our tomatoes in a light drizzle which intensified almost as soon as we got back to the house. Mr. Dewey enjoyed the steady hum of rain as he snoozed, and I enjoyed the cool fresh air as I did my canning in the downstairs kitchen. What a luxury that second kitchen is! I can close off the upper level and keep the heat down here - and since there is no venting, I can have the windows open in the lower half even as the air conditioning is running upstairs. Even so, partitioning the house means we can do without the AC - we may have used it a total of 10 days all summer, and I expect there will be no more need for it, this year. That sits well with this dirt-worshipping, tree-hugging liberal couple!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

And I Wasn't Even Running

Well, I've had a blog for a couple of years now and this is my first time being tagged. My good buddy John tagged me. And yes, he was gentle with me. Here it is:

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

Each player answers the questions about himself or herself.

At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. Ten years ago I was . . .
Living in Minneapolis, working temp jobs after having quit the baking gig at the Mighty Fine, and probably waiting for the snow to melt.

2. Five Things on Today's To Do List
Actually, I don't really have a To Do list, anymore. But, these are five of the things I aimed to get done, today:

Finish the church newsletter for printing.
Call Margo.
Update the bulletin board.
Play with the dog.
Take Ruby's pan back to her.

As you can see, the opportunity for adventure is endless!

3. Things I'd do if I were a billionare
Invest heavily in this company. And this one. And this one.
Buy a mountain, build a dome home, and get off the grid.
Help others do the same.
Explore and learn all about this incredible Earth.
And have a Mai Tai, a Latte, and some dark chocolate everyday (yeah, I know, I pretty much do that now, but like those redneck lottery winners, I'll just be the same old me, rich or not).

4. Three Bad Habits
Refusing to answer questions about my personal failings, faults, tics, squeaks, and bungles.
However, I do admit to habits that others would question that don't really bother me in the least, such as belching when I need to, refusing to wear uncomfortable but attractive shoes, and rolling around on the ground with the dog.

5. Five Places I've lived
Crest Hill, IL

Argyle, WI
Valley Stream, NY
Brooklyn Center, MN
Up the Creek

6. Five Jobs I've had in life:
First of all, I have to take exception to the question. Where else would I have had the jobs? Is someone trying to tell me that we have to work in death, too? No frickin' fair, man!

Anyway, jobs:
maintenance person at McDonald's
manager of a Dairy Queen
nanny (Pardon me, I meant Au Pair!)

Now, I'm supposed to tag five other people. However, I am unable to do so, since the only friends I have in the blogosphere have already been tagged.

And so it dies here. You're welcome!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring is Sprung!

We've had these for a couple of weeks now

And I heard several of these today:

And noticed more of these:

Which means Spring has Sprung!!!!!

And we can expect to see these:

In about 10-14 days!


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This is my friend, Jason. He is my hero.

Please take the time watch more testimony from Winter Soldier. We owe them that much.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Well, Well, Look What We Have Here!

Thanks to my good friend, John Shuck, the Tri-Cities is well on its way to having its very own chapter of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)! I am proud to be one of the charter members of the group. The paperwork for non-profit status is complete and should be on its way to DC for the final step in the process. We have a website for local use, and about a dozen members already. I'm looking forward to being involved with this great group of people, and of helping make the Tri-Cities a welcoming, inclusive place for a few more.