Kiss The Fiddler

Ramblings, moments of humor, random thoughts, experiences, insights, simple wisdom, and whatever else I feel like sharing.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bought a Car!

I bought a car today!  I've been pretty seriously car shopping for about a month now, and sort of semi-seriously looking for awhile before that.

My car, my very fun to drive Saab, no longer fills my needs.  It has wonderful heated leather seats and an oh-so-fun turbo.  But it can't go off pavement.  And, well, let's face it - I do (go off pavement).

I bought a 2003 Subaru Legacy Outback wagon.  Green, of course.  I love it!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

On the death of hate

Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, has died.  He and his church are known for their hateful and inflammatory speech and actions, specifically that "God hates fags" and that "fags" will "burn in hell".  

The overwhelming response from the gay and lesbian (and bi, trans, queer and questioning) community has been one of reactive hate.  For this, I am so, so sad. 

Let us not trade hate for hate.  This makes us no better than he.  Let God be his judge.  I hope this sad and angry man has finally found the "peace that passeth all understanding".  I hope God welcomed him with warm and open arms, just as we hope God will welcome each of us. 

I understand.  I really do.  Gays and lesbians, our friends families and supports, have been deeply hurt by this man and his followers.  And, I am so, so saddened by the overwhelming response of hate this morning.  When you are so hurt, it's easy to hate.  Please though, try to let yourself breathe through it.  Go ahead and feel it.  Get angry.  Then use that anger to focus your action.  Become an agent of change and growth instead of spewing hateful sentiment.  Please . . . 

Let this be the death of this hate.  


Monday, March 17, 2014

Dark Side of the Moon

It was a full moon.  And somehow I ended up on the dark side of it.  The last few days have just been upside down and backward for me.  Migraine and lots of body pain can get to a person after awhile and they start to wake up on the dark side of the moon.  It's hard.

Today I think I'm here.  I'm sore.  But trying hard.  I sent Little Bear to school with green hair today in honor of St. Patrick's Day.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Last week I was trying my best to hurry Little Bear out the door and into the car.  I should know by now that you can't hurry Autism.  I still try.  Anyway, I was pulling him along, intent on getting to whatever highly important place I wanted to go to.  He, in true Little Bear fashion, had his heels dug in, intent on whatever thing it was that was of utmost importance to him.

Suddenly, he stopped.  He yelled, "Mommy!  Stop!".  I did.  "Look!" he said with excitement.  He pointed to the trees.  I scanned them, trying to quickly see what it was he wanted to show me.  A bird?  An old brown crinkly leaf left over from the fall?  What?

"There's nothing there." I told him and tried to move him toward the car.  

"No!  Look!" he said again.

Frustrated, I said "What?  Show me."  He took my hand and every so gently, he guided it to a cold naked branch on the tree nearest us.

"Spring is here!" he said with glee.

On that tiny cold branch, there, right at the end, were swollen buds.  He was right.  Hiding right there in front of me, poking out of 2 feet of frozen snow, was the promise of spring and new life.  In my hurry to get to whatever important thing (so important I now have no idea what it was), I had nearly missed this beautiful fragile yet persistent and determined sign of spring.

My challenge today is to stop, if just for a moment, and notice the promises around you.  The tiny new green grass is pushing it's way toward the warm sun.  The buds on the trees are swelling with promise.  The snow melts and runs in rivulets, streams, rivers down to the low places.  Calves frolic in the fields.  For me, both morning and evening chores are not done in daylight.  Yes!  Spring is coming!

Thank you, dear Little Bear, for making me slow down and notice these gifts.  Thank you for being exactly who you are.  I can't imagine being mama to any other boy.  I love you.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Dare to Listen

During Lent (and often not during Lent), I think of the quiet.  People tend to scurry away from the quiet and fill the space with doing, with making lists or mindless drivvle.  That’s not a bad thing.  Not at all.  It's part of what we do to survive a busy hectic world.  Rilke though, invites us to listen.  Listen to the quiet.  It can deepen our being.  I dare you to listen to the quiet.  

The quiet of the soul - that’s where God meets me in the most powerful ways.  It can be quite terrifying because in that sort of quiet, I am open and willing and sometimes the things I’m shown feel devastating in their pain.  But it’s a healing sort of thing.  For my Lenten practice, I intend to invite the quiet.  To breathe through the uncomfortable-ness of it, to simply let it be.  Wanna enter the quiet with me?

Here’s what Rilke has to say.

Listeners at Last

Oh when, when, when will we ever have enough
of whining and defining?  Haven’t champions
in the weaving of words been here already?
Why keep on trying?

Are not people perpetually, over and over and over again, 
assaulted by books as by buzzing alarms?
When, between two books, the quieting sky appears,
or merely a path of earth at evening - 
rejoice . . . 

Louder than all the storms, louder than all the oceans, 
people have been crying out:
What abundance of quietude
the Universe muse yield, if we screaming humans
can hear the crickets, and if the stars
in the screamed-at-ether
can appease our hearts!

Let the farthese, oldest, most ancient
ancestors speak to us!
And let us be listeners at last,

finally able to hear.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

In the Singing

In the singing,
in the silence,
in the hands expectant, open,
in the blessing,
in the breaking,
in the Presence at this table --
       Jesus Christ,
       Jesus Christ,
be the wine of grace:
       Jesus Christ,
       Jesus Christ,
be the bread of peace.

In the question,
in the answer,
in the moment of acceptance,
in the heart's cry,
in the healing,
in the circle of your people --
       Jesus Christ,
       Jesus Christ,
be the wine of grace:
       Jesus Christ,
       Jesus Christ,
be the bread of peace.

--Shirley Erena Murray 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Too Much!

It's winter.  Full force winter.  Feet of snow (2 and then it blew and now it's snowing again).  Icey roadways.  Blizzard winds.  Bare naked wind chill.  Winter in Montana.  Like it hasn't been in the past 20 years.  I like it.

And it's completely wearing me out.  We're down to one vehicle that can (sometimes) drive in these conditions.  My car is long buried.  Our big old truck won't even make a spark.  Our snow shovels are worn out.  Hinges on doors are breaking because they're cold or they have freezing rain stuck to them or they're just old.  There's ice in all the windows and puddles on all the floors.  Little Bear's sweet little faced is chapped and cracked.  My hands are chapped and cracked.  The wind keeps trying to rip our front screen door off so I've tied it on with some parachute cord and looped the cord around the inside of the door knob.  Our steps are buried and caked in ice.  The drifts on our back deck are hip deep.  Time to shovel more.

With the winter weather came slick roads.  And with slick roads came the usual side off's, whoop-tee-do's and oopsie's.  And, about a week ago, a terrible crash that has, so far, claimed 2 lives.  I responded to the crash with the fire department.  It was hard to see and has been somewhat daunting to deal with afterward.  Not nearly so hard, though, as the families of those who lost their lives.  I cannot imagine . . .

Another thing that snow and wind bring to the mountains and hills of western Montana is avalanches.  Today an avalanche swept down Mount Jumbo on the outskirts of Missoula.  It blew right into a neighborhood and destroyed 2 houses.  3 people were buried.  Neighbors grabbed their shovels and ran, on foot, to the scene and frantically searched and dug through the snow, broken trees, pieces of ruined house, desperately searching for those under the snow in the darkening evening and quickly falling wind chill.  It took several hours but eventually, all 3 people were recovered.  So far, the news on their conditions is positive.  I hope it stays that way.

Things have a way of getting kind of off kilter during extreme weather.  An example of that is the thousand or so (ok, maybe hundred) starlings that think the "free" food in our chicken house is theirs.  When I go out to care for our cold puffed up hens, I open the door to the coop and what follows is akin to a scene from a horror flick.  Birds and flapping and beaks and squawking and screeching and feather and dust everywhere wings beating starling bodies thumping against my chest, my face, the wall in crazy desperation to get out.  The chickens, cowering in corners, nowhere to go but into the freezing blowing snow outside.  I've tried to block up all the places I think the starlings are getting in.  Obviously I've missed some.  The entire inside of the chicken coop is now painted in a thick fresh coat of starling shit.  While it does lend an interesting texture to the place, it makes every surface slippery so when I tried to lean a ladder up to work on plugging more holes, it was like trying to climb slime.  I eventually gave up, and with frozen and bleeding fingers, told the chickens I was sorry and went inside to thaw.

As I'm sitting here trying to come down off the wall this evening (middle of the night now), I hear that another Search and Rescue team has been called out.  I don't know if they're calling in help to locate lost skiers at Snowbowl or if there is somebody else in peril.

I'm lucky.  My house is warm.  My bed is soft.  My family is here.  We are safe.  Yes, the door is tied shut against the freezing wind.  But we are together, not in a tree well or snow cave.  I love winter.  Real winter is exhilarating.  And tonight, I've had quite enough, thank you.  I want a day or two just to be normal.  To have normal, not traumatic, non stressful things happen.  I want to feed Ginger and watch her play and scamper happily up and down the hall.  I want to bundle up warm and roll around in piles of snow with Little Bear.  I want to sit on the couch next to my sweet wife and sip coffee together.   But first, I want to sleep.