Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brent Weeks

A few months back I stumbled on a book entitled "Way of Shadows" by Brent weeks. It didn't have the look of a book that I usually enjoyed, but I was interested enough to read a bit of the first chapter. And I was hooked. This book led me to the Night Angel Trilogy, a wonder

I'm a green magic drafter!

Take the quiz at Brent


Green luxin is springy and flexible. The uses are as varied as the drafter is creative: from furniture to projectiles to shields to the throwing arms of war engines. Greens are wild, free. They don't so much disrespect authority as not even recognize it.

The results from your color matching test have also shown that you are one of the elite, a superchromat. The magic you do will almost never fail. Satrapies will compete to recruit you, and you will have a wide latitude in what work you choose to do once you finish your studies. You can expect your patron to lavish praise and honors on you. As a monochrome, you will master your color, and only have to defer to bichromes and polychromes and, of course, the nobility and the satraps who support us all.


When a candle burns, a physical substance (wax) is transformed into light. Chromaturgy in The Black Prismis the inverse: A drafter transforms light into a physical substance (luxin). Each different color of luxin has its own strength, weight, and even smell: blue luxin is hard, red is gooey, yellow is liquid, etc. But even as drafters change the world, the luxin changes them too, physically, mentally, and emotionally. The color change of a drafter's eyes is only the beginning…

Friday, August 6, 2010

The only things that never change are death and taxes.

I have been contemplating fair, and taxes... Now while I don't think taxes are ever fair, I do think they are necessary. But in relation to a progressive tax scale? All I know is that a $1000 to a family making $25,000 means shoes, and clothes, and food. $50,000 to a family making a million every year means they don't take that month long family vacation to the Bahamas... or maybe they think twice about buying that 3rd (or sometimes 4th or 5th) car for the Nanny. I have worked for these people... I know they have budgets (usually) like everyone else, but paying for the necessities is not something they worry about. Paying the 4th mortgage is. Paying for private schools, or a new car every 4 years maybe. But they never wonder if there will be enough to buy their kids new shoes because the old ones are wearing out, or clothes because no one offered you hand-me downs this year, or food because this month there just wasn't enough overtime to go around. They don't look at the bills and wonder which one they can pay. They complain about the bills same as anyone else... but it just isn't the same in my book. Somehow, I can't begrudge that money to those who need it. I just don't understand how others vote wishing they were millionaires (or hoping to become one), instead of looking at the needs of children and families who work harder for every dollar than any millionaire who is lucky enough to have an air conditioned office to sit in and work in every day. There are some who earn a million dollars a year, and who work hard for it. I will concede that. But that is no reason to lower their taxes... most people work hard for their money. And these days, they are working harder for it than ever before. If taxes were fair, they would hurt equally across the board. But that will never happen - equality in taxes just can't be achieved on that level. And a flat tax would hand bounty to the rich, and pain to the poor. So now, what is the most moral decision? An attitude of "More for ME!" - or making life a little more livable for those less fortunate than you?

I am very lucky. I am blessed beyond compare, really - especially when I look at what so many in our own country do not have. I have a loving husband. I have 3 (relatively) healthy children who are smart, and compassionate, and can be very generous. I have a home to live in, clothes and shoes for my family that are not full of holes, or worn out beyond reasonable use. We have computers, TV's, internet, and more toys than I know what to do with as a mother. I almost never worry about having the money to buy groceries, and we even get to go out for dinner/lunch/or movies on fairly regular basis. We are very fortunate in this world, and I am grateful every day for the life I live, and for the hard work of my husband who makes it all possible. And even though I do worry about money, I do not feel the slightest animosity towards those who pay less than I do on that sliding scale. With very little imagination, I know just how much it means to them to have even a few hundred dollars coming their way after tax time.

I know what decision I would make. And I know exactly why. Do you?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spring Cleaning

I have to admit I have been a scoffer as to lent. It never made sense to me. How could giving up meat, or whatever you choose to do without, actually help you spiritually? Wouldn't it just make you obsess upon whatever it is that you were missing.

Today my mind turned the kaleidoscope and I suddenly had a new perception of this previously strange time of year to me. Lent isn't about what you give up. You could give up anything. Anything at all. It really doesn't matter. Lent is about learning something about yourself. It is about pushing you outside of your comfort zone, about finding that you are stronger than you thought. About learning that you can live without some things, even if you don't want to. And sometimes it is about learning what you can live with. It is meant to take you spiritually to a place where you can see exactly what is important in your life. It is clearing the chaff from your mind and your body so that you emerge a better version of who you were before. You can give up many things for lent, but if you do not do it knowing why, knowing what you wish to achieve, it is all for naught.

The giving up of something for lent is symbolic, but perhaps we as human beings need that symbol. You take that one thing, and you channel all the things you don't like about yourself into it, and you cast it away. The fact that lent repeats each year seems to be a lesson too... the doubts and hurts of a life time cannot be cast away in a day - or even a month. They are like weeds in a cultivated garden. Even should you manage to purge them all, they always return. A cultivated garden must be tended or the beauty is lost.

Seems like a good analogy . And yet, while I appreciate that cultivated garden I have always been someone who loves the wild garden... the idea of effortless beauty and freedom. I have always scoffed at that tended garden, just a little. Told myself it's beauty was artificial. And yet today I am forced to realize that even the wild garden's beauty comes from balance in the environment. And though I have always sought balance in my life, it is a tricky thing to maintain.

Perhaps it is time to tend my wild garden... just a little... so that the balance is restored and peace and beauty - and yes, freedom - are restored. Perhaps, though it may seem beyond a little strange for those who know me well, I will observe what is left of lent this year. Either way, I I think it is time for some spring cleaning of heart and home.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

For Mary...

Okay, I have finally gotten a couple of hours by myself and watched it. THE Casanova, done by Masterpiece Theater with David Tennet and Peter O'Toole.

Oh. My. God.

That was more fun than any movie that I have seen in ages, and yet cried like a baby at the end. Fantastic. I laughed. I cried. I kissed 3 hours goodbye. Peter O'toole was the perfect dirty old man, and yet compelling in the extreme. And David Tennet... excuse me, where was I again? Oh, yes, David Tennet... mmmmmm, uh maybe you should just watch it for yourself - again. I think I will. Soon. Maybe now...

Oh, and a warning for others; when you get this movie and watch it - because everyone should - don't invite the kidlets.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope your holiday is filled with joy and love, and may your holiday knitting abound.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

You spin me right round, baby right round...

like a record baby, right round, round, round...

Well, despite my best intentions, we are now about to head into the whirlwind that it PPO healthcare when dealing with hospitalizations. Brandon went into ER last night with oxygen levels of only 81% (that's really bad for those of you who don't know - at that level he's really close to going unconscious...). After spending a few hours at ER he still couldn't hold oxygen levels above 89% on his own, so he is now admitted and being set up in the children's ward. Javier is there now, and I will relieve him after lunch. Anyone got any good crock pot recipes?

Brandon is sick - possibly the flu - so this does not help his asthma at all, and I have no idea how long he will be in the hospital. The knowledge that the bill on the back end could be as much as $10,000 is not helping either. I have heard how wonderful PPO's are, but I have to admit, if given the choice (which I am not) I would take my HMO with all it's red tape in a heart beat right now.

The hospitalization is further complicated by the fact that the hospital is not allowing children visitors under 15. That means that Javier and I need babysitters twice a day when we switch off who is going to be with the kids. Brandon is only 9 - he would not be happy being left alone for so long a couple of times a day. Can everyone out there give a great big Huzzah! for my mother and father who are graciously filling that spot for us. I really and truly do not know what we would do without them right now. Thanks Mom and Dad. For everything.

Good news on the knitting front though... I should have several hours of knitting time a day until Brandon is out of the hospital... maybe I'll be able to catch up on some of the projects I'm doing.

Take care everyone, and be well!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

memoirs from the mothering world...

Lately I have been concerned with why. Why? Why is it important, for instance, not to lie. Really important. Important to the human soul. Why? We all know, "do not lie", and yet we have "little white lies" and admire those who would lie to protect others. Those are still lies. And we tell our children, never lie. Why?

My son told a little lie a few days ago. I asked him if he had brushed his teeth and he told me that he had. Mother's intuition pricked up my ears. "Well then," I said, "you won't mind if I go and check your toothbrush." Of course, he hadn't brushed his teeth. This is not the first lie my son has told. This is not the worst lie my son has told. He was punished... losing 2 days of video games this weekend (the only time he is allowed to play). But I was left wondering, why? Why was not brushing his teeth worth lying to him? Why? The more I thought about it, I realized, we never explain why we don't lie. Perhaps we talk of trust, others will talk of a god, but one only feels the effect of that lie if they are caught. Lying was making his life easier. If he told me he had brushed his teeth, then he didn't have to do it. If he didn't admit that he had knocked over the proverbial vase then he didn't need to suffer the consequences. It was easier.

And that was his why.
I know this is wrong. But why? I thought about those little white lies. I thought about those who hide important truths in lies to preserve the greater good... such as those German families that risked their own lives to save Jewish families from the horrific injustice of the Nazi regime. Such as the Quakers and others that risked themselves and their families along the Underground Railroad to help lead men and women to a life of freedom, not because it was easy, but because it was right. Surely, at those moments, it was not only right, but good to lie in the face of evil?

Then I thought of what my son would become if I allowed him to believe that lying for no reason was acceptable. I could imagine his heart growing dark, his soul troubled and lonely, the selfish gleam to his eye... and my heart broke. Trust is important, but it is not for the regard of others that we should not lie. It is to preserve our human soul - that part of us that loves selflessly, that gives without discrimination, the part that cares for not just our fellow human beings, but the world around us. It is not lying that is bad, it is why we lie that determines whether the action was good or bad. To believe that lying has no consequences, whatever the reason, is foolish. But lying for selfish reasons leads to a selfish person. A sad and angry person who does not understand why the world is against them. A person who never sees that it is because he has been against himself. And I do not want this for my son.

So, now I know my why, at least in this instance. And strangely, that makes it easier to do not only what I should, but what I must for my son. I have never really understood how some people can think that anyone wouldn't need to know why. It seems to me that is the most important thing they could ever know.