Inverted Crescent

One Woman's Journey Over the Moon and Beyond

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

I'm going to Hattiesburg for a New Year's Celebration amongst friends. It should be a fine time. I will even bring my bicycle in the hopes of getting a few good loops in before the rain arrives, and I must get changed for the evenings festivities which, as far as I can tell, will involve John Wayne in "The Quiet Man", and liquor.

I'm looking forward to it.

Now, whether or not there will be black-eyed peas and turnip greens I cannot say.
But I'll let you know. (:

Have a Happy one!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Comparisons are Odorous


I can just barely hear James Thurber rolling over in his grave.


Okay, I admit it.
I get a little flustered with today's politically correct fairy tales.

In an effort to get back to basics, and make childhood as gruesome as the Brothers Grimm really intended....I chanced across the following website.

Nothing like seeing a story in the original German to give you perspective.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Methinks I just made a resolution

I’m not an island.
But a human woman hungering for more.

More life. More joy. More connection.

What has this blog been but my message in a bottle, giving me, perhaps falsely, a sense of connectedness, rescuing me from my unintentional islandhood?

Well, it’s time to step things up. A blog is nice, but it does not make for a full and rich life alone. It is time to add to my life-cultivating repertoire by reaching out in a new way. A dynamic way.

You’ve heard of functional alcoholics? Well, I’ve been a functional isolate.
I have, for the past 7 years, lived alone.

In that time I have lost a father; two jobs (once the company collapsed, the other I was “laid off” due to financial considerations), adopted the blue-grey stealth kittens, been in and out of a significant relationship, and had the better part of a cervix removed due to a “cancer scare”. In all of that I found a church, my life’s vocation, learned to celebrate the wisdom of womankind, and to truly appreciate science fiction. Ups and downs to be sure, but more ups in the mix, so it feels balanced.

For the first time in years I am surrounded by other humans. I am residing with extended family and making adjustments to living within their schedules, as they are also making adjustments to live within mine. It is a kind and equitable arrangement.
I have an opportunity to see what it is like to be a part of a family; to enjoy that, to participate when I can, and retreat when I should. It is a beautiful thing.
But it also makes me clear on how easy it is to be lonely.

When you start to compare your life to those around you, the differences stand out.
Here I am, with the family---they have each other to hold onto. I love them and they make a concerted effort to include me in many things. But there are things which are of the family, and belong to the family. And there are things that aren’t. And I am a part of the things that aren’t.

It’s okay. I get that. But it makes me aware ----of the wanting. Of the wanting more.
So to that end, I’m coming up with a game plan to maximize my chances of meeting,(in the words of my sister) “a man worthy of me”, of expanding my friend base, and encouraging my hobbies.

What the plan looks like:
Trying to go to one new place or activity a week. (I don’t care what it is, as long as there are no smoke-filled rooms involved). Seriously. Wine-tastings? Yep. I’ll try it. Tractor pulls. Lord be with me---yes. I’m a new woman in a new town. I need new local friends to add to my old diversely scattered friends. And who knows? Maybe I’ll learn something new while I’m at it.

Try to talk to at least two new (available) men a week. This may be harder than it sounds because I can become intensely quiet around men. Unless I’m talking about my work, that is. I’m not certain about why this is, but it is true.

Keep a dating journal. When I do go on dates, keep a record of what I like about this person---about what I am concerned about---about what I am thinking and feeling and what that means. I know it sounds ridiculous---but I have a tendency to idealize someone before I really know them. I hope this will help me be grounded and learn to see the person before me, instead of just seeing what I want to see.

Find a good church. Since I’ve moved to MS, it has been hard finding a church that was really living the path of God, instead of a legalistic, passionless faith. I want a good church to help my spiritual growth. My heart has strayed too much of late, and I need a little help getting home.

Get my dating team together. By this, I mean my friends who will be able to tell me when the guy I’m dating is a good one---or if I’m simply hearing the siren’s call of attraction and putting up with behavior that is, basically, unacceptable.

Find a cool club---and play there! Really, I’ve been unable to get hooked up with Volleyball here, which sucks, because I really love to chase that little white ball. But Canoeing would be AWESOME. I would like to be a part of a group where I could make new friendships and get some exercise in. I’m more prone to exercise if I’m surrounded by a support group. I’m co-dependent that way. But self-aware, so maybe that’s a strength if I work it right.

Sew---I freakin’ love sewing. And it would be a lot of fun to be a part of a local theatrical group-- making costumes for them. I’m a good seamstress, and I have fun fanci-fying the peoples. Should be a good way to get to know the artsy types too.

Biking.---Here biking is big. But that’s road biking, and I’m not very good at that. I don’t think I could hang with the pod. Most of them go 13-15mph, and I’m just not there, yet. Now if I could find a group a lazy bones who just like to get out and about, that would be great.

Holy cats, I think I may have just made a resolution. Well, we’ll see how this goes. Wish me luck!!

Joy to the Chef

During Christmas, I succumb to my inner Rachel Ray, and break out my store of exceptionally yummy recipes which are, otherwise, hidden from the light of day, enjoying their hermetically sealed life in an archaic edition of the Joy of Cooking.

This book, long ago stolen for me by a friend, from a hometown library, has been the treasured repository of family recipes written on scraps of paper, the backs of envelopes, and the occasional true recipe card. Though there is no substitute for your own personal HVAC system to protect the treasured recipes from yellowing with age, a Joy of Cooking will suffice.

This Christmas, for the first time in years, my Joy is in storage, and as it is too mammoth a task to locate one book in a roomful of boxes, there is no Christmas baking in my immediate future. (Also, did I mention that our oven burned up in the great “roast pork debacle of 2005”?) Yea, so no Christmas baking this year.

Alternatively, I’ve gotten up close and personal with my stove top, and have determined that Hot chocolate really is one of the gifts the wise men would have gotten to Mary and Joseph, if they had known about it.

Therefore, here’s a little recipe for the non-bakers…

Real Hot Chocolate
(inspired by Chocolat and a recipe I read once upon a time)

2 cups of boiling water
1 chile pepper, with seeds removed
2 cups of light cream
3 cups of whole milk
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 squares DARK choclolate
Whipped cream (small container)

Boil water with chile pepper in it until it is reduced to 1 cup. Strain the chile out of the water and set aside.

Combine cream, vanilla bean and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Look for bubbles around the edge of the saucepan as an indication as when to reduce the heat to low. Add chocolate and sugar. Stir continuously until the chocolate is melted.
Turn off heat and remove cinnamon and vanilla. Add the chile water, a little at a time, to make sure it doesn’t set your tongue on fire.
Whip the cream in a COLD bowl. Serve on top of the chocolate.

Monday, December 19, 2005

In Honor of Dick Clark

Approaching the New Year, I’m in a comparing mood.
So, let’s take a peek at 2004 and 2005

2004—State I lived in: Ala-freakin’-bama
2005—State I’ve moved to: Mississippi

2004—Number of jobs: 3 (One official, two part time)
2005—Number of jobs: 1 (One official)

2004—Number of times I’ve held an alligator:0
2005---Number of times I’ve held an alligator: 1

2004—Number of times I’ve worked with endangered species: 0
2005—Number of times I’ve worked with endangered species: 50

2004—Number of times on a “real” date: 2
2005—Number of times on a “real” date” 10

2004—Number of experiments in accidental beer making: 0
2005---Ditto: 1 (See “What I Learned on Saturday” post)

2004—Number of churches I went to: 1
2005—Number of churches I went to: 8, and still church shopping! (It’s hard to find a spiritual home after you move.)

2004-- Number of luster-glosses by Bobbi Brown: 0
2005-- Number of luster-glosses by Bobbi Brown: 1 (Thanks Sarah!)

2004--What I meant when I said “my sister”: M
2005--What I meant when I said “my sister”: K---Both are my sisters. I’m just living closer to one than the other now.

AND THE NUMBER ONE COMPARISON ON EVERYONE’s MIND (especially if they read this blog regularly…)

2004: Number of Naked Masturbating Men Standing Outside my Window: 0
2005: Number of Naked Masturbating Men Standing Outside my Window: 0

YEA! (Let’s keep 2003 a distant memory for Naked Masturbating Men.)

What I Learned on Saturday

I received a phone call from the landlord of my storage unit on Saturday who informed me that “something was leaking from my unit into the next” and that I needed to come and investigate the situation.
Got it.

So, after inventorying the place, I learned a few things:

1. Freezers, even after they are defrosted, retain a little moisture.
2. Pasta is made of wheat.
3. Some varieties of wheat are the basis for beer.
4. Sugar is a mighty fine fermentation fuel.
5. Left to their own devices, moisture, sugar and pasta make a weirdly bastardized beer.
6. Left to dehydrate for a prolonged period. Oh, let’s say... a few MONTHS… such a beer can turn into a taffy-like shellac.
7. It takes a really long time to clean taffy-like shellac.
8. Said shellac also acts as a fine adhesive.
9. Shoes stick to adhesive.
10. So do shovels.
11. And dustpans.
12. And putty knives.
13. Remembering your chemistry classes when confronted with said shellac really
does help. (Water dissolves sugar.)
14. The only way to effectively rid a previously “thought-to-be” dry freezer of the
bastardized sweet smelling beer is to take it to a car wash.
15. Surprisingly, it didn’t smell as badly as you thought it might.
16. Freezers really are as heavy as you think they are.
17. It is super-important when carrying around a fermentation-filled freezer on its
way to the car wash to have the truck filled with gas.
18. Don’t drive quickly when you have a freezer in the back of your open-bed
pick-up truck.
19. Husbands of soul-sisters are awfully nice.
20. Single Malt Scotch may be a good Christmas thank-you for a super-nice brother-in law.

Moral of the Story: ALWAYS towel dry your freezers after a good de-frosting, and never store anything in them, even if it is a supposed “dry good” OH, and know where your local package store is, too. AMEN.

Good Stories

If you were to imagine the stories that children tell, you may think they all begin with “Once Upon a Time…”

Not so with a my neice.

Beginnings of her stories go something like this:
“Legend has it…”
“They say that (insert legend like material here)”

Oh, and did I mention...she's FIVE.

Isn’t she great?

Ms. Lillian's Beauty Shop

Every evening when I get home, my little niece Lillian is waiting for me. Not like a lioness, lying in wait, hoping for sustenance---more like a ferret that is looking for something to carry away to their lair for storage so they can play with it later. Sigh*

This often leads to auntly hijinks which involve, at the least, a trip to Ms. Lillian’s Beauty Shop.

I’m not certain exactly how it got started…I just know that Ms. Lillian does my hair and, for whatever reason, I am very tardy to my hair appointments, no matter how hard I try to be punctual.

It seems that whenever I arrive, she is just about “ready to close”, and she can really only help me if I’m having a hair emergency.

Remarkably, I always am.
You see, my blind mother does my hair.
Well, my blind mother does my hair most of the time, and that is why Ms. Lillian must “fix” it.

If my blind mother isn’t doing my hair, then invariably screech owls grab my hair when I am walking the trails and tangle it up. Or---worst of all---there was a family of rat’s making a nest in my hair when I slept---one night in November.
You can see where I have a problem.

Thank goodness for Ms. Lillians’ Emergency Hair Repair!
Sometimes vacuum cleaner parts are used. Other times, her entire treasury of little girl hair bows and rubber bands come out. What else can save the hair of a woman whose blind mother styles it?
And once, she even used…(gasp!) a comb.

Anyway, it’s a fun game. I like the pampering. It gives me a modicum of privacy (it is possible to read or watch a movie when Ms. Lillian is doing your hair). And if that fails I can always lock myself in the bathroom for a hot soak and some quiet time. At least, until the screech owls come again---or Mom is feeling creative.(:

A Little Christmas Were-wolf Story

Anne Rice has a sister. And guess what her obsession is?
Were-wolves! So, naturally, I LOVE HER.

If you like were-wolves, ask Santa to get you this:

And you will feel very merry, indeed.


Did you know that your baby boy
has come to make you new;
the child that you delivered
will soon deliver you?
Mark Lowry, “Mary, Did You Know?”

In the course of my life, I’ve heard the song that yields those lyrics three times.

The first when Nola’s sang in church. Her rich, bluesy voice making this song a permanent part of my Christmas memories.
Next I heard it on the radio, voiced by Clay Aiken. (I can’t help it! The kid has talent!)
And, after a google search for lyrics, I found this older version, with Kenny Rogers and Wynona.
Nice song.
When my soul-sister had her baby, she said this song resonated strongly with her.
Hope you love it as much as I do.

Fa-ra-ra-ra, ra-ra-ra-ra

Pull up a chair, throw a log on the fire…and read or watch any of these with your family and friends this holiday season. It’ll definitely help you get the Christmas cheer on!

A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
Warms the heart. Grab your hot cider and listen to this one with the kids.

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
More from the heart warming department. Very southern. Very much like home.

Lessons and Carols, King’s College
How many times did I not make it to midnight mass, and opt to watch this on PBS instead? Beautiful service.

A Christmas Story
I laugh every time I watch it. I triple-dog dare you to see it. And if you have TBS, you probably will see it. Over. And over. And over.

It’s a Wonderful Life
Need I say it? I gotta watch it so I can hear Zuzu say “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”
Also, on a different note, this movie gave me inspiration for a band name: “Zuzu’s Petals”. Wouldn’t you want to listen to “Zuzu’s Petals”? Definitely a punk rock band name if ever there was one.

Nestor, the Long-eared Christmas Donkey
Yea, I’m a sap. This one makes me cry and I never see it on TV. anymore. Probably made too many kids cry. But I freakin’ love it.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Great music. Great story. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, this is the Charlie Browniest.

Asthmatics beware! This movie makes you laugh so hard you’ll be grabbing your inhaler. Of course, I love the Walter Scott as Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”. However, I have seen so many incarnations of Dicken’s original that I am in a mood to like the parody more than the classic. Go fig.

Twilight Zone: Night of the Meek
Once upon a time, Rod Serling told a beautiful Christmas story. And when I watch it, I cry and smile. I really, really, must get my own copy of this Christmas classic.

And now for something completely different:

Edward Gorey’s Christmas Cats
Enjoy your Gorey Christmas and be happy about it, dammit!


I could wax prosaic about the entire goings on this Christmas: shopping, singing, churchy-stuff and parties. I could even tell you about all the ways I suck at preparing for the arrival of that baby: Of how I’ve achieved membership in the Simon Peter club (denied him thrice ----without trying!); of so many little things as to sound self-involved and pedantic.
Instead, like Linus or the Grinch, I’m simply going to conclude that Christmas doesn’t come from a store-- and leave you with a quote from Luke 2: 1-11 RSV

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city."
"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."
"And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of The Lord appeared to them, and the glory of The Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord." AMEN.

Friday, December 09, 2005

If it bit me...

It is quite possible that I wouldn't know what was good for me, if it were sitting right next to me and then bit me.


So, I am dating a GREAT guy. He's kind, considerate, fun and respectful of boundaries. All good things.

So, why am I not feeling like diving into Relationshipsville? I don't know. Maybe I've had unhealthy dating patterns for so long, that when something healthy comes along I can't give into it---you know---from lack of practice.

Or maybe the chemistry isn't there. Or if it is, it is different than what I thought I would end up falling for?

Hmmmm.....I don't know.

At any rate, he is pretty great. And I don't want to overlook the great---especially if what I am "getting over" is really just an unhealthy pattern from the past. I will keep it casual and fun. I really want to know him. And there is no shortcut for that. Take it slow. Date him. Date others. Keep things honest, make friends in my new town, and be open to what tomorrow holds.

Blessings for all, I hope, are around the corner.