winter

winter

Thursday, December 22, 2016

T-3 days

I did not get any cooking done today. I did not make anything today. To be completely honest, it was a refreshing change of pace. I have been so busy crafting and worrying about getting stuff done in time, this break is pretty nice.

I will be making more white roses next week. I am going to learn a few more patterns for making them. Right now, what I have looks roughly like a dog rose. They're charming, but I want to do something else that looks closer to a tea rose. It may take some experimentation.

I have two things left to wrap. It is a curious feeling to be so close to done ahead of christmas eve.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cookies in a Jar Pages.

So, I opened up the cupboard to start getting things out to put together into these jars. I'm sure you can imagine my dismay when I opened up a new bag of flour and found bugs in it. Now, this is partly my fault because I had left it just sitting in the cupboard for months unattended to. I may be asking Beloved to pick up another bag this evening on his way home from work. I'm not decided.

I am, however, going to post links to the cookie recipes that I was going to use. In case anyone else is in a last minute rush to get something semi-homemade out the door to people as a present.

Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Brownie Mix

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Present for Present Present

So, over the last few days, I have been working my proverbial tail feathers off. I have finished making several things that were relatively labor intensive. I am now at the point where I am packaging gifts. I have a few cookies in a jar recipes to whip together. The chocolate chip one actually looked kinda good. I have a few reasons for the cookies in a jar thing.

One, pretty much everyone I know bakes at some point. Cookies are super quick to make and great for the instant gratification angle. I mean, seriously, even the people who are heavy on the paleo diet thing have cookie recipes that they love.

Two, this cleans out some of my stock pile of glass jars. I have enough now that it is getting a little problematic to keep them. So, I am going to send them off to infest other houses and be useful there.

I will post links to recipes tomorrow. Right now, I need to go get myself some shut eye and try to not wake up in the middle of the night thinking that Loki is threatening to piss on me if I didn't get out of bed (to use the bathroom to piss, no less).

Monday, December 12, 2016

Nope it from Orbit, it's the only way to be sure.


I feel horrible. My abdomen feels like someone has been taking a baseball bat to me. I have been taking Tramadol for a little while. It doesn't take care of it all. I have been taking it with Aleve. This has me where I am merely grimacing in pain and swearing under my breath rather than sobbing and whimpering.

I am terrified that someone is going to decide that I am doing this all for some pills. This is a fear that is deep seated and distressing. I'll probably try to write something cathartic later. Right now, I just feel sick, anxious, and pained. I don't know what to do about it. So, tomorrow, I will be calling my doctor and attempting to figure out what the hell the next step is. In the meantime, I'm going to wish I had access to the orbital NOPE cannon.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Snood Pattern

Chain 5. Slip stitch together first and last stitch. Chain 3, Double crochet into ring, chain one. Repeat DC+chain 11x. Slip stitch together first and last stitch. Chain 5. double crochet into chain space, chain 2. repeat around. slip stitch together first and last st. Chain 5, slip st into chain space, chain 5, sl st into chain space. repeat around. slip st to center of first ch 5 loop. repeat previous round. slip st to center of first ch 5 loop. chain 7, slip st into center of next loop. repeat around, slip st first and last st together. repeat previous round until size desired.

I don't know if my notes are correct. I need to test this out. This post is a place holder of sorts for when I come back to this and attempt to rework the pattern.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Allergy Punchcard

So, I have been having a decidedly unpleasant time of things. In the course of the last few weeks, I have discovered that I have an allergy to pretty much everything tied to morphine and related opium derived medications. Two weeks ago, approximately, I got to spend an afternoon in the hospital after I had an allergic reaction to percocet and then to dilauted. (I honestly have no idea if I typed those names correctly. Let's just say they are two of the most common pain relieving narcotics used.)

It was a stroke of pure luck that I am not having a reaction to the tramodol. It acts in a similar fashion to the opium derived medications but is not derived from opium (as far as I know). I was struggling along for a few days on a combination of aleve and tylenol but the pain hit a point where it was pretty much pointless to continue on with that. The obgyn threw a proverbial hail mary pass with the tramodol and so far it seems to be working. But by itself, it is not entirely sufficient. So I am taking thereputic doses of aleve with it. My pain is still creeping up and making itself known even with these two medications.

I went in for a CT scan yesterday. The doctor has not gone over the results of it yet. I have called a few times, but they haven't gotten the results. They think that tomorrow it will have been addressed. Walking into the CT scan, I was a bit apprehensive. They asked me if I was allergic to the stuff that was in the dye. I said no, because I was pretty sure I wasn't. I mean, I have had an x-ray in the past where they injected me with dye and it wasn't a problem. Cue about a minute after the injection and I start having an allergic reaction. It wasn't hives or feeling itchy.

Nope, my throat started to burn like I drank something hot. At first I thought it was just the weird feeling of heat that went with the dye. Then my throat started to itch. I mentioned this to the nurse who became concerned. She informed me that an allergic response was going to show up within 10 minutes after the test. My itchy throat then started to feel swollen as my chest started getting tight and I began to wheeze. They dosed me with benadryl and directed me over to the ER.

I started to panic. Beloved was with me. He talked to me and held my shaking hands. My hands started tingling and the nurse assured me that it was likely due to anxiety. I sat in the ER being observed as the benadryl was working on me. I guess I was there for about two hours. Beloved told stupid jokes and talked to me to help me stay calm. After a while, the allergic response symptoms went away for the most part and I was released to go home.

This all seems like a fit of perverse humor. I have within the last six months developed an unknown seafood allergy. I am working with an allergist to figure out what exactly it is I'm allergic to. I have developed these medication allergies. Yesterday, Beloved made a crack about how I need some kind of allergy punchcard and with the tenth one I get a free dinner. I said that it would likely be sushi. Beloved laughed. I laughed at the business too, even though it hurt.

I am sick of this nonsense. I just want to be healthy. I can't even walk around my home with out being in pain. Just sitting and doing nothing hurts. I am apprehensive about what they found on the CT scan. I am trying not to worry, but I am troubled by it all.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Random aside.

How I feel when I get a new crochet hook:


Knitting stuff.

I'm still feeling awful and can barely hobble around the apartment. So, what am I doing, screwing around with yarn.

What I think I look like when I'm knitting:


What I really look like when I'm knitting:


Thursday, December 01, 2016

Sophia's Headband.

I started out experimenting with yarn. Then it turned into this. Fortunately, however, it proves a super simple pattern and easy to write up.

I used lime green for the headband itself. The flower is in some random shade of purple that I got in a grab bag of yarn. The leaf is a forest green. The button was from a pack of random shaped buttons. In case you can't tell, it is a five petaled flower shape.

My yarn is all acrylic. It is worsted, sport weight. (Size 4 if you're keeping score.) I used as size I tunisian crochet hook (5.5 mm) for the headband and a size H crochet hook (5 mm( to make the leaf and the blossom. You can't see it, but at the back I have a elastic headband stitched to it.

Headband

With the green yarn and the tunisian crochet hook, chain four. Forward pass for tunisian simple stitch into each of the three chains. Return pass for the tunisian simple stitch. Row 1 done. Row 2 is the same. Row three pick up an additional stitch after the first stitch and second stitch. You should have six loops on your hook. Return pass. Row four is tunisian simple stitch into each stitch. Row five tunisian simple stitch into the first two stitches. Pick up an additional stitch between stitch four and three. Do stitch four as per usual, place marker. Pick up another stitch between stitch four and five. Finish forward pass as per usual. Row six, repeat row five, but pick up stitches along either side of center stitch. Move marker up with row completed. Continue until total stitches in row is twelve.

Work 29 rows of tunisian simple stitch, move marker up with each row. First decrease row, pick up to two stitches from marker. Stitch together two stitches before and after marker. Work next row plain. Continue alternating between decrease row and plain until four stitches remain. Work two rows of four stitches. Bind off. Single crochet around the edge of the headband.

Attach one end of elastic headband to the end with four stitches (I used a circular band and put the metal end where things are stuck together on one side. I then folded the band in half and stitched the part where the fold was to the other 4 stitch end of the headband.

Embellishment

With purple and size H hook, make a blossom and leaf as per White Rose of Resistance pattern.

Sew blossom down and add button of your choice to center. This keeps the blossom open. You can stitch down the petals as well.

Stitch down the leaf to the side of the blossom. I used a running stitch down the center in a contrasting color. This presented the image of a vein down the center of the leaf as well as holding it securely to the headband.

Obviously, weave all ends in when finished with each component and stitch things securely. I don't think this will be washing machine safe because of the embellishments. I would advise washing this by hand and allowing to air dry.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

White Rose of Resistance.

With the rising tide of Nazi sympathizers and their ilk, I have taken up the practice of wearing a white rose as a symbol of resistance. The White Rose Society was a resistance organization based out of Munich formed by a group of students from that university. They distributed anti-Nazi pamphlets and engaged in acts of defiance. One of the defining traits of the White Rose Society was that they were intellectuals. They came together to resist the ultra-nationalistic propaganda and the oppressive practices of the state.

I am presently contemplating making these roses and selling them on Etsy for the cost of production and shipping. If I do so, I will include a note about the White Rose Society. If I happen to sell them for a higher cost than shipping and production, I will likely be donating the profits to programs that are threatened by the increasingly draconian propositions coming out of DC right now. This would include but not be limited to: Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as local programs in my region.


As you may be able to tell, these are crochet items. I give the pattern below for free. share it as you see fit or make what you wish with them. The base pattern for the flower can be made more 'full' if you add more rings of petals. I am using sport weight acrylic yarn. The flowers I crochet with a size G crochet hook (4 mm). The leaves were made using a size H hook (5 mm). This pattern is written up in US terms. I may at some point this week come back and post a video tutorial how to make these. I'm not decided right now. After assembling the flower and the leaves, I stitched the entire affair to a safety pin with a flat back. This works better to keep the flower facing the correct direction and it doesn't shift as much when it is being worn.

White Rose of Resistance Pin

Materials Needed

Size G & Size H crochet hooks
Safety Pin with flat back
Large eye yarn needle (I used a steel one because I prefer it. Plastic can also be an option.)

Small quantity of white yarn, sport weight acrylic
Small quantity of green yarn, sport weight acryic

The Blossom

With the size G hook and the white yarn, make a slip knot and insert your hook in to the loop. Chain 3. Make a half double crochet into the third chain from the hook. Repeat 14 times. (15 stitches in total) Slip stitch into the top of the chain at the beginning of the round.

Chain one. [Half double crochet into the first stitch. Double crochet into the first stitch. Triple crochet into the first stitch. Chain one. Triple crochet into the second stitch. Double crochet into the second stitch. Half double crochet into the second stitch. Slip stitch into the third stitch]*.  Repeat * four times. Slip stitch into first stitch of the round (5 petals, 40 stitches).

Slip stitch two stitches along the FIRST ROUND (you will be approximately at the center of the first petal on the round before it). [Chain four. Slip stitch at the point that is approximately at the center of the next petal in the first round.]* Repeat * four times (5 chain loops, 25 stitches). Slip stitch into the first stitch of the round.

Chain one. [Half double crochet into the first loop twice. Double crochet into the first loop. Triple crochet into the first loop. Chain one. Triple crochet into the first loop. Double crochet into the first loop. Half double crochet into the first loop twice. Slip stitch into the join to first round.]* Repeat 4 times. (5 petals, 50 st)

Slip stitch two stitches along the FIRST ROUND (you will be approximately at the center of the first peal of the round). [Chain five. Slip stitch at the point that is approximately center of the next peal in the first round.]* Repeat * four times. Slip stitch into the first stitch of the round. (5 loops, 30 stitches)

Chain one. [Half double crochet into the first loop twice. Double crochet into the first loop twice. Triple crochet into the loop. Chain one. Triple crochet into the loop. Double crochet into the loop twice. Half double crochet into the loop twice. Slip stitch into the join to the first round.]* Repeat 4 times. Slip stitch into the first stitch of the round. (5 petals, 60 stitches)

Fasten off. Leave a tail of yarn 6 inches long. Make 1 blossom.

The Leaves

With the green yarn and size H hook, make a slip knot and insert the hook through the loop. Chain six. Single crochet into the second chain from the hook. Half double crochet into next stitch. Double crochet into the next two stitches. Work six double crochet into final stitch. Work along the back of the foundation chain, one double crochet into the next two stitches. Half double crochet into the next stitch. Slip stitch into single crochet. Fasten off. Weave in ends. Make 2 leaves,

Assembly

Cross leaves a the base with the center lines at a 90 degree angle to each other. (Base of the leaf is the end with the 6 stitches.) With long tail from blossom, sew leaves together and onto the blossom on the wrong side of the blossom. Make stitches even and small. Do not stitch through the entire blossom, only pick up the back loop facing the wrong side of the blossom. Stitch safety pin to center back of the blossom with remaining length of yarn. Fasten off and weave ends.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

NOTES:

1. Slip stitching into the first round will not be very noticeable on the front of the blossom if you are using a solid color.

2. The sections where the petals are made, the stitches for the petals need to be in each loop.

3. This is theoretically washing machine safe if you do so on delicate and your stitches are done tightly. I would wash it by hand.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NaBloPoMo # ±|potato|

What is the absolute value of potato? Good question. I will let the great sage, the philosopher king Samwise Gamgee answer that question:


Sunday, November 27, 2016

NaBloPoMo # watevr

I spent my afternoon and early evening writing posts for another blog. A part of me said I should have been working on my novel (which I recognize now is most likely going to be a novella) but the rest of me is more interested in trying to get some 'real work' done. I am not entirely sure how much writing I am going to get done over the next few weeks. I am coming down the home stretch on crafting things for people. I am not exactly sure how to manage the last few items, but I am confident that it will come out well. I am crafty in more ways than one.

I am going to attempt to get some work done on the manuscript. I'm not shoving it into a drawer and forgetting about it. Having the notebook sitting there on the table makes it really hard to ignore. It doesn't hurt that thing is school bus yellow, I suppose. I am not going to panic over this, though. I'm just going to keep doing all the things I need to in order to make things happen.

Once I figure out how to start addressing the cluster fuck that is all of the political concerns I have, I am going to start trying to get more active on that front. Before I can get into that fray, though, I have to get my own house in order. So, I do what I can but I am not going to push myself too hard. Remember my limitations and such.

Friday, November 25, 2016

NaBloPoMo (n+1[i/i])

Still feeling awful. Today, I am realizing that there is just no way I am going to finish this novel I have been working on. I think my total time for writing has been about a week and it was not a good week's worth of work. I know that many people would insist that I should not run up the flag of surrender. I recognize, however, that I haven't the reserves to do this right now. My health issues are proving a sufficient enough strain that my novel is going to have to wait.

I sit here unsure how the next several weeks are going to go. I am troubled by so many things. Only a small portion of this is relating to my physical health. The state of the world and the nation deeply disturbs me. I have friends enduring hardship that I am relatively powerless to help. It is all very difficult and I don't know how I am going to proceed forward. I had plans but now they seem to fall apart.

I feel as though I am in freefall. It is a sensation that I hate because all I can think of is the abrupt end that comes after such a descent.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

NaBloPoMo # 7 (?) Inconclusive evidence.

My day today has been long and uncomfortable. I am, apparently, allergic to pretty much every single pain medication that can be offered except for Tylenol and Aleve. We have one last shot and if the Tramadol evokes an allergic reaction, I pretty much have nothing to use but those two. I am trying very hard not to be afraid and upset. We don't know what is going on right now.

We know that I don't have an ovarian cyst. We know that it isn't constipation or something similar. My ultrasounds came out looking normal. The doctor is talking about next thing to be tried is a CT scan. I am trying so hard not to worry. A part of me is afraid that this could be something wrong with my pancreas. It's the next major organ in the region of the body that hurts horribly.

I'm working very hard not to get caught up in anxiety. It is, however, very difficult.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Snowflake.

So, they'll call me a 'special snowflake' with scorn in their voice. They'll imply that I am someone who demands to be handled with exquisite care and sheltered from the harsh reality of the world. They'll say that I am over emotional. Some will even insist that my 'delicate nature' is due to my gender presentation. You want to call me a snowflake, go ahead.

I would like to remind you, though, snow is lethal. The ice it is made of will suck the heat out of you and leave you helpless. It will steal your breath, rendering you voiceless. You will die from the cold and think that you are overly warm, hastening your demise with your confused deeds. You will in your last moments, hide like a feral animal, utterly divested of your dignity. Snow can kill you and you will not realize you are dying.

From Wikipedia
Ah, but some would say that the snowflake is simply a weak thing that can be destroyed with warm breath and warded against with proper precautions. You are a fool to assume this is the case, though, because the snow does not come only in ice. It also comes in stone. And the stone is not something weak and fragile. Oh, it is beautiful. It is also born from the fires at the core of the earth. Snowflake obsidion can be fashioned in to razor sharp blades. Many a person has died from crude weapons fashioned from a hunk of raw stone. A higher number has perished from weapons made with skill and deliberate action.

The other thing you must remember about snowflakes is that there is never only one. They always come in significant numbers. And they're silent until they reach a point that you are unable to do anything about the danger posed by the weight of their presence. Call me a snowflake. Know that I am coming and there is an avalanche at my back coming for you as well.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

NaBloPoMo # 7: Spreading Love!

So, I have been in a lot of pain due to what ever is going on with my ovaries. Yesterday, I had no writing done because I was at the hospital. After some investigation, the conclusion has been reached that I can not have any form of narcotic pain relief due to allergic response. I am not pleased with this development. As an attempt to distract myself from this, I have been knitting.

This hat is really simple. And it is pretty small, because I'm making it for one of the kids in the neighborhood who doesn't have a hat for cold weather. I started out with crochet for the top of the hat. I used a size H hook (5.5mm) and sport weight acrylic yarn. I am actually using one of Caron's Simply Soft Paints. I forget what the colorway is called. I lost the ball band in the course of cleaning last week. Using the magic ring method, I made a circle of twelve single crochet stitches. I then increased in each stitch (slip stitching the last stitch to the first at the end of the round) before proceeding in the usual manner until I had 36 stitches in total. I then picked up each stitch onto a DPN needle that was sized 9 (also 5.5mm). I started knitting in the round until the entire affair was 9 in long. I bound off knitwise.

I'm not pleased with how tense my bound off edge is. I can't quite manage to get the hang of casting off loosely or with a stretchy one. I think I need to watch more Youtube tutorials or something. Maybe I can talk my MiL into showing me how to do it. She knits socks all the time, so I know she knows the trick for that one. I am stalled on the duckie scarf. I am, however, going to pick that back up and work on getting it done.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NaBloPoMo # 6 - Slow progress.

I had my morning sucked up by paying bills and such. But, my afternoon and a good portion of my evening was spent writing. I added around 1.5k today. My hand aches a little but whatever. I got some writing done today. Thus, today was a productive day and a good day. Maybe tomorrow I will hit something closer to 2k. I think, however, I am going to switch back to being powered by coffee, mostly. While the tea helps me reconnect with the mental place this stuff is coming from, the coffee has more kick and helps make my thoughts flow better. If this makes any sense.

Word Count: 14500
# hours writing: 2.5 approx
# cups of tea drunk: 6
page count: approx 50

Monday, November 14, 2016

NaBloPoMo # 5

Well, I got some more done today. Despite the kids distracting me. Maybe I can get this damn thing done after all.

Word Count: 11500

NaBloPoMo Post #4 - Words good?

So, I've spent the last hour writing. I am taking a brief break because my hand feels somewhat crampy. I have added 1k to the manuscript. I am not entirely pleased with what I have produced. It feels shallow and contrived. That, however, is part of what happens when you write a rough draft. That bit of uncertainty will get polished away when I edit this thing. I am trying to keep hope that I can finish this thing somewhere close to on time. If 1k is written in an hour, I may be able to get up to 3k on a given day. I suppose the lack of distractions from the children makes a big difference in my word count. I'll try to get more done in a little bit.

NaNoWriMo Word count: 10,000
Writing Time today: 1 hr (thus far)
Page Count: 39
# Chocolate Covered Espresso beans consumed: 10
# Cups of Coffee: 0.5

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NaBloPoMo Post # 3(?)

It has been a long day. I got almost 2k words written today on my novel. Part of my challenge was the kids distracting me much of the day. Anyone who is writing and has small children about knows this feeling very well. The other part of my challenge today was just getting out of my own way. I am finding that my novel is not as fun as other things I have written in the past. I don't think the problem is that I am writing this thing by hand. I will say, however, I have had mild hand cramps this evening. I don't think I will be doing any knitting tomorrow morning after putting the kids on the bus.

I think my biggest problem with this project is that I am sitting here quietly afraid that something horrible is going to come out of this thing. I'm writing a fictionalized memoir. Some of what I put down on paper comes from things I have actually experienced. Some of what I put down is invented to fill in the gaps with what is too uncomfortable to write down or to serve as a mask to keep some of the demons at my back. I wish that I could say that my novel is something that is going to end in happiness and light.

It isn't. It is grueling to write. It is filled with darkness and agony. Mashing together five separate stays in the psychiatric ward due to illness and all of the trauma that lead to it happening is proving exhausting. Still, I feel like I can't put this project down. I find that I would love to set this thing aside but I feel compelled to keep working on it. The more I write, the more I feel I have to write. And it is uncomfortable and disturbing things that I am writing. Presently, there is more fiction than there is fact but it is also a case where the fiction is illuminating more than I think the fact would have.

The time span this novel covers is a single month. I am half considering dragging out my journal from when I was last inpatient to compare it to what I am writing now. I think, however, that would rob me of my authenticity in this piece. I don't know how that actually works, but my gut says that it will be the case if I started referencing past material. Even doing some research to make sure that I am describing something properly made me feel like I was on the path of losing this character's voice.

It wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't for the fact that I am writing this thing in first person. The book is the character's journal. I don't know if I am going to accomplish 50k this month. I am going to try, but gods only know if I am going to get close to it. A part of me says I should spend some time on a second project, something lighter than this, but I can't shake the feeling that I must see this manuscript to completion before I do something different.

NaNoWriMo Word Count: 9k
Total Writing Time Today: 3 hrs (approx.)
Page Count: 35

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

A Sunny Spot on the Wall.

Perhaps you are familiar with Margaret Atwood's novel A Handmaid's Tale. If you are not, I strongly advise you read it. Consider as you do so that it was written in 1985, a little over thirty years ago. Also, consider how closely those themes run to that which is espoused by the supporters of Donald Trump. The parallels are fundamentally disturbing. I could devote a whole post to this, an analysis of the book, and how it seems that people have taken it as an instruction manual. (I feel as though similar arguments can be made regarding George Orwell's 1984.) This, however, is not the purpose of my post this evening.

I have spent my day attempting to make sense of the apparent madness that is unfurling. Yes, some would argue that I am presenting a hysterical (in a decidedly unfunny sense) picture of things. Many who would decry my position as hysteria would have declared a woman who was of a mind to exercise her rights as suffering from hysteria back when it was considered a legitimate diagnosis. I pay them little heed but I do give them a small bit of time in my thoughts, to consider them scornfully and with great loathing. Given a casual assessment of what has been reported via social media alone, there has been a stark uptick in violence in both word and deed on the basis of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. I have not seen much in the way of reports of such things against people who are disabled but I would not be surprised by this.

This behavior does not behoove us as the descendants of statesmen such as the ones who ironed out the principles that lead to the development of the Consitution of the United States. Or does it? Thomas Jefferson, famed for penning the cherished Declaration of Independence, argued that a white man was of greater value than a black man, specifically slaves. It was known as the 3/5ths compromise. It is a shameful chapter in the history of this nation, among many. Just because our ancestors (both ideological and literal) behaved in a manner that denied the humanity of their fellow people and promoted hatred against them, it does not mean that we can do so as well.

We are supposed to improve upon what was done by they who came before us. The Civil Rights act of 1866 was supposed to rectify the gross errors of our government and people. The Civil Rights act of 1964 was supposed to rectify yet more of those gross errors. This is but one example of how we were supposed to improve and propel our nation towards a more just place wherein all citizens enjoy the protections and liberties explicit and implicit that came by virtue of being part of this nation. And yet, what have we done in electing Donald Trump? We have taken a step backwards.

Still, perhaps we were not as forward thinking as we wished to tell ourselves and present ourselves to the world at large. Donald Trump tapped into a deep vein of hatred that runs through this nation. I can not say this is a great nation. I have not been able to say that for over a decade now. And I think that when I said it when I was younger, it was out of ignorance and believing the pretty stories we told ourselves about how good we are. I suppose one good thing to come out of the horrendous train wreck that has been this election cycle is that the seething, putrid wash of hatred that was fermenting beneath the surface has been revealed.

It has revealed how brother has turned against brother and the way that people wish ill upon others for merely existing. Some are concerned that we are a heartbeat away from a civil war. Others are afraid that the country is headed to ruin, with the likelihood of greater warfare happening within months of Donald Trump being sworn into office. In the meantime, no less than eleven people committed suicide within the last 24 hours with fear that they would have been murdered because of their status as part of the LGBT+ community. And this is only what I am aware of through my relatively small social circle. Gods only know what the final tally will be when sunrise comes tomorrow. I have lost count of how many people relating how they have been harassed and threatened with violence on the basis of their beliefs, their apparent racial background, and their gender presentation. This is but the tip of the iceberg that the good ship America has run into.

I will not attempt auguries to divine what manner of disaster awaits us. My heart can not stand that. I have spent my day feeling sick and horrified. I have been afraid for friends of mine who have moved from being in an abstract position of danger to one of real danger because Donald Trump's ascension has emboldened the people who threaten them. I sit here and question what I can do to oppose this rising tide of fascism. Do not let anyone tell you that this mess is something different. It is perhaps by the perversity of the Divine's humor that the election was decided upon the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

I don't know if I will need to make plans to hide friends from some manner of governmental oppression. I don't know if I should carefully consider how to present as something I am not to ensure the safety of my children. I don't know where this leads. I only know that nothing good comes of this. I know this in my bones. I fear for the future. People who are dear to me have tried to assure me that the apathy that has run rampant through this country will insulate us from the greater dangers that lie about us. I question this assertion. When not even a full day after this man has won the race people are having their very lives threatened with impunity, I suspect that apathy will not save us. If anything, it will be further damnation.

I do know this, I will find away to stand against this. I will find away to resist the hatred. And, when the day is done, I will do my best to ensure that my children and the generations that come after them live in a nation that is closer to being more just and humane. Or at least die trying. Because sometimes, the war that is fought is in our hearts and minds, not with guns and forces of might. I will not be silenced.

So, save me a sunny spot on the wall. And I am sure we will have good company to hang in chains with if all things truly go to hell.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

NaNoWriMo Post No. 1 - WTF am I doing?

It has been a difficult couple of days. I was struggling with feeling depressed. Now I am in a mixed episode. I don't know how long it is going to persist. I rather dread going to the new psychiatrist on Monday. My first appointment was on Halloween. It was difficult because I talked about a lot of difficult stuff. Next appointment is going to be more of the same.

I've been busy with things like piles of laundry and dentist appointments over the last three days. Now, I sit here at the computer struggling to write. I am having a hard time concentrating. Thus, I am having a hard time putting together words for this blog. And I am at a loss for where to begin with the manuscript this year. I was going to pick up something I started last year for Camp NaNo but I didn't finish. Having sat with it and attempted to work with it, I feel like it is not going to work for me this year. I was going to do a fictionalized autobiography. But that just ... it all is striking too close to the real trauma I've been dealing with. So, I have set this aside. I don't know where I go from here. A part of me says I am mad for thinking about doing this year's novel by hand.

Ah well, time to pick up the pen and at least try. If nothing else, writing 3 pages (minimum) a day will end in this thing being full by the end of the month. Maybe I'll try something fanfiction or something like that. I don't know.

Word Count: 0
Goal: 50,000

Friday, October 28, 2016

Basic Meatloaf & Baked Potatoes

I'd snap a picture of this as it was in progress of being made but I am presently thawing out the frozen block of ground beef in the microwave right now. Also, my kitchen is not exactly presentable for pictures right now. (Namely my tablecloth is rather ratty looking and the pile of kid school papers is approaching the same height as the 1 gallon fish tank where our Betta Ghost lives. And a few knitting projects.. it's just a bit messy. So, no pictures today.) Next week, I'll try to do some with another recipe. I'm going to attempt to update a recipe here on a weekly basis. Maybe it will help me get back into posting on here again.

That said, dinner tonight is going to be meatloaf. It's really simple and fairly quick to put together, compared to some other things I've made. The hardest part is waiting for it to finish cooking. My family is on the small side. Between the boys, Beloved, and I, we've got four people to feed plus at least one serving leftover for lunch the next day. I will most likely make something with the spinach that is sitting in the fridge desperately trying not to wilt though it is 24 hours past its prime sell by date. I don't plan on the kids eating much of the spinach because as Cuddle Bear says, "We hate vegetables!" We're still working on this front.

Everything cooks at the same time and at the same temperature with this recipe. It was one of the first things I was cooking for dinner when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure that the boys will be cooking this in the not so distant future. I start off scrubbing the potatoes and pricking them all over with a fork. Then I set them aside. When they go in the oven, they're going to rest right on the rack. Remember to prick them all over, though, because if you don't the will explode and make a horrible mess. (I made this mistake once. Mom was not impressed and I had to clean the whole stove and oven. You'd be surprised how many nooks and crannies there are in an oven.)

For my meatloaf, I use 98% lean ground beef. Some people say it has less flavor. I haven't noticed too big of a difference between that and the more inexpensive ground beef. The big reason why I use the lowest fat ground beef that I can afford is because it makes for less grease sitting in the pan with the meatloaf. Which makes it easier to serve (and it is healthier with less grease, or so my doctor says). Cooking for four people, I use one pound of ground beef. I add to it an egg, some breadcrumbs (but sometimes oatmeal), ketchup, and mustard. It is probably the most boring form of ground beef you can find. I mix it all together until it is uniform and then pop it into a bread pan. Sometimes I will put it into a muffin tin for individual servings. The reception has been indifferent between the two versions of presentation.

When I've got my meatloaf mixed up and pressed into the pan, I put it in the oven on the middle rack at a medium heat. I set my washed and pricked potatoes beside it on the rack. Let everything cook for an hour and you'll have a nice dinner that just needs a salad to be complete. I like to cut the baked potatoes in half and scrape out the 'meat'. Then I put a little salt and butter on it so it is like mashed potatoes. I also put a little butter into the skins and eat that straight up. My kids look at me weird for doing it, but it's tasty so I don't care.

Basic Meatloaf & Baked Potatoes
Serves 4 - 5

Ingredients
1 pound ground beef                         1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg, yolk broken                    1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard

Step 1
In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients until well combined. (I use my hands and knead it together like dough.)

Step 2
Press into a standard sized bread pan. Cover with foil (optional).

Step 3
Cook in the oven at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Allow to cool a few minutes and then slice and serve.

Baked Potatoes

Step 1
Take 4 medium sized potatoes, wash well and cut off any green parts or eyes.

Step 2
Prick all over with a fork, making sure to pierce the skin.

Step 3
Set potatoes on oven rack in an oven that is at 350 degrees. Cook for 1 hr or until fork pricks through the skin with ease.

Fiction - Bad Day.

She reached up and took of the helmet. The man standing before her glared at her with a look of outrage. "How dare you challenge my orders!" he roared. Thyra dropped the helped. The man's expression turned to puzzlement. "You are not my wife," he said in a tone of disgust.

"No, I am not," she answered. She dropped the helmet out of her right hand as her left reached around behind her back to the pistol secured there. "And you are about to have a very bad day, Maxwell Colliers, unless you can answer this question," Thyra continued. Maxwell's haughty expression of offended pride returned.

"You, woman, do not have the capacity to know what you are saying," he said, "Leave my office."

"Where is Zanzibar?" Thyra demanded. Maxwell scoffed and made a shooing gesture.

"You've wasted enough of my time with your games," he said, "Go back to the security officer's suite. Eliot Zanzibar is of no concern to you. Continue and you'll be sent off world on your next assignment." Thyra drew her pistol as Maxwell leaned to the side and moved to push the silent panic button under his desk.

"Eliot Zanzibar is the chemist who can reverse this plague," Thyra retorted, "You had him kidnapped. Release him and you'll live." Maxwell pushed the button. Thyra fired her pistol. It wasn't the elegant, high energy weapons that were issued to the Xenogen security agents. It was actually rather primative with its gunpowder propelled projectile. It did its job magnificently, however, as it punched through the wood verneer of the desktop and the electronics of the call button. As a result, the button was rendered useless and Maxwell had a bullet lodge itself in his hand.

Maxwell screamed. "The fuck is wrong with you?" Maxwell shouted. Thyra readied to fire the next round.

"Zanzibar," Thyra demanded.

Maxwell knew that his screaming and the gunshot wasn't going to be heard by anyone else. His office suite took up an entire floor and everything was automated for convenience. Thus, he was alone with this woman and her dangerously crude weapon. He gripped his left wrist as hard as he could to slow the flow of blood. With great effort, he resisted the urge to continue screaming. His face was pale and a fine sheen of sweat arose, but he managed to speak in something that resembled a calm tone, "Zanzibar is on his way to Anchorport. His lab has been removed," Maxwell said, "I expect he will be reaching his destination in the hour. His work was unauthorized. He has been reassigned."

Thyra fired off a second shot. It slammed into Maxwell's left shoulder, hitting him hard enough that he rocked back in his chair. "You're lying to me, Colliers. Now where is Eliot?" Thyra demanded. Maxwell looked at Thyra's face. Her complexion betrayed her sub-Saharan heritage but he could see something of a European lineage in her ice blue eyes. Thyra's expression was something like that of an avenging goddess, filled with wrath but also curiously serene. For a moment, he wondered if he should offer her a position within the Enyo program. Even though she was on Xenogen property, she managed to make her way through at least five levels of security to reach his office. It meant she had a terrible talent for doing very bad things.

Thyra's third shot hit him in his right shoulder. He screamed. The queer distance from the pain that came with shock was ripped away from him at the insult of the third shot. He felt as though someone had plunged a red hot poker into his left hand and shoulders. His ears rang with the noise of the gunfire. "I have already killed your wife," Thyra said, "Which you should have figured out by the fact that I am in her uniform. I have killed three of your security agents on the level immediately below us. I expect that they are running around looking for someone else at the moment, though, because of the image scrambler I used on your cameras when I hacked the system through her uplink." Thyra raised her right arm, turning it so that he could see that the touch pad had been forced open with wires plugged into it. It was an inelegant mess but Maxwell couldn't really focus on that.

His pain was too great for that. The dull realization that the angry black woman standing before him might actually kill him somehow made its way through the pain. Maxwell tried to reject it but when Thyra walked up closer and moved her pistol so that it was pointed squarely between his eyes, he couldn't. "Where is my brother?" Thyra demanded, "Answer me and you'll die quick. Don't and I'm just going to hurt you, really badly. And then I'll let you bleed out while I rifle through your console."

"You can't do that," Maxwell said, smiling despite his pain, "It's keyed to my bio markers. You can't get into the system with out me."

Thyra squeezed the trigger. As the top of Maxwell's head blew off, she said, "I don't need you alive for that, fucker."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pretty as a Picture!

In the course of my evening today, I made an apple pie. It wasn't something I did from scratch. My pie crusts are functionally cardboard still. And I didn't can the apples for the filling (but getting them off the shelf did free up some space in my pantry so that counts for something, right?) The boys noticed I was up to something when I started getting out the can of pie filling, the wax paper, and thawing out the pie crusts.

They mistakenly thought I was making cookies when I cut the hearts out of the top crust. But, when it was all put together, they realized exactly what I had made. I dusted some apple pie spices over the crust and then drizzled it with some clover honey before I popped it in the oven. It was finished right as Beloved got home from work.

We didn't have any this evening. I suspect it may be eaten tomorrow. But, Beloved may sneak a piece before he heads to bed tonight. Anything is possible. If he has started on the thing tonight, this means that I am free to eat a slice for breakfast instead of a bowl of instant oatmeal, right?

The pie crusts were from Aldi's (The box says their brand is Ginger Evans.). They had been sitting in the fridge for about two weeks. That's a little bit long, but they didn't give me any trouble when I unrolled them and started working with them. The pie filling was also from Aldi's. It was their usual stock pie filling (I believe it is branded as Sweet Harvest). I am looking forward to when they have their apple-cranberry pie filling again. It is a seasonal item that goes magnificently in oatmeal.

Reworking EVERYTHING!

I'm about to do a major overhaul on this blog. I will be changing the look and some of the format. Please bear with me. It is part of a process to making things easier and more effective. Presently I am rather scattered all over the place. I want to correct that. Please note, a name change will be coming along in the near future, but the content will remain the same. I will also be posting more pictures and such soon as well.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Writer's block? Use Generators!

I think I have a new way to laugh my way out of writer's block.

Random transportation disaster generator (best one thus far: hamster powered hovercraft crashes in rural indiana. terrorism 'not ruled out.'

Random story generator. Isn't this the plot of a movie that happened recently?The story is about a traveler who is haunted by a ghost. It starts in a village in Europe. The story climaxes with someone getting lost. Archaeology versus respecting native cultures plays a major role in this story.


http://fantasynamegenerators.com/backstory-descriptions.php#.WAVnLPkrLIU This thing sounds like what some gamers I used to LARP with used to come up with their character's backstory. Hmm...

I had something more I wanted to say but I forgot. Ah well. Cheap laughs all around, though.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Stupid humor.

So, there was this horrific airliner crash on the border between two countries. Emergency crews show up and the scene is just ugly. There's fire everywhere. People are screaming. There's the stench of burning flesh. And the threat that more jet fuel is going to go kaboom. As this crash happened right on the border, the crews are faced with an urgent question.

Where do the bury the survivors?

I got this joke from my late grandfather when I was in my single digits. It took me a second to figure out what the punchline was. In my defense, however, I was seven.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Indigenous People's Day.

Easy Home Mini Sewing MachineI spend my day trying to figure out my new small sewing machine. I picked it up at Aldi's last weekend. It is the Easy At Home Mini Sewing machine. Upon inspection, it is surprisingly robust for its petite size. It seems to work well with most of the generic bobbins I have kicking around here. It also looks like it will take generic standard sized sewing machine needles.

I wasn't impressed with the needle threader. But it is a style of needle threader that I generally dislike. Unfortunately, it is the only one that will fit through the eye of the needle. My vision is such, now, that even with my glasses threading that is hard.

I took the boys out to the park this afternoon. Snuggle Bug picked flowers and gave them to Gregg the pizza guy over at Pizza Pauls (the pizza shop that is right next to the park). I brought my spinning with me. As the boys played on the swings and then played freeze tag with the other kids their age that were present, I did some spinning on my petite turkish spindle. I charmed people with my work and explained how it worked to the curious. I will say, spinning on a suspended spindle is a lot easier to carry with me when I am out and about. I even was spinning as I stopped in the hardware store to see if they had full spectrum light bulbs. (I think I will need to take a trip up to the city to get some. It is my hope that if I set up some lighting with full spectrum light bulbs, perhaps I will have a reduction in the severity of my depression symptoms over the next several months.

I did not do much for activism today. I wanted to do something for the oppressed peoples, especially the oppressed indigenous peoples, but my day got sucked up with domestic tasks and all that went into keeping the boys out of trouble today. Beloved and I, over the weekend, did our best to explain why Columbus Day was not something we celebrated or acknowledged in our house because Christopher Columbus did some awful things to the people that he met when he came to the Americas.

Cuddle Bear was having a hard time trying to understand it. Beloved was doing his best to explain that it was stuff to horrible for him to describe right now because Cuddle Bear wasn't old enough to understand, and, quite frankly, we didn't want him to have nightmares of invaders bursting into our home, killing us, and enslaving him. So, we just said Christopher Columbus was a man who did very bad things and we don't celebrate him. I'm pretty sure that there are going to be a number of discussions and angry conversations with the kids at school.

Who knows how the teachers are going to take it. We even had a discussion, briefly, with the boys why we don't support zoos. (Animal cruelty is not something we condone in even the remotest sense.)

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Another day.

I got a little bit of spinning done today. I'm using the rainbow color way fiber that my mother in law gave me for Yule last year. I am working on the little Turkish spindle I have. I am considering spinning the rest on my kick wheel. I'm not decided yet. I feel a bit like I need to do a bunch of spinning before the weather gets cold. I don't know why, but that's been there at the back of my mind over the last several days.

I am almost finished with the scarf that I am knitting for charity. I was going to start one using the last of the ball of eyelash yarn. Then I decided that I hate that yarn and I shoved it back into the recesses of the yarn hoard. I am presently stalled on the ducky scarf. I anticipate, however, getting more work done on it over the next little while. Because I am running out of other projects to use to procrastinate on. I don't think I'm going to do another illusion scarf any time soon. This thing is frustrating me because I keep worrying that I am counting my rows incorrectly. I kinda wanted this to be an enjoyable project but it is not proving to be so.

I had something else that I wanted to share here but I just can't recall what. I suppose that is just how the day goes sometimes.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Fiction: The Meeting.

She walked into the parking garage to the accompaniment of thunder. Some of the people there had a primeval warning of danger as she passed. Maybe it was the way the woman moved. There was something feline about how her body passed through the space. Even with her heavy boots, she was quiet. Her long coat wasn't too out of place, though she looked like she had walked out of some kind of bad science fiction. Her hair was cut in an androgynous short cut and hidden beneath a wide brimmed black leather hat. It could have been a cowboy hat, but it was sufficiently battered that it wasn't clear what sort of hat it was.

The long coat was unbuttoned. Beneath it, there was the suggestion of some sort of vest but the dim lighting of the garage didn't help the viewer to distinguish details until they were far too close for comfort. There was a bit of a bulge on the left side and the coat didn't lie quite right, suggesting something long was there. The jeans she wore were black. That was the predominant color about her appearance except for her skin. That was an eerie white that was almost the color of milk. Her lips were painted black. Her eyes were a dark brown that may as well have been black in the dim light of that place.

A late model car sat idling in space J-33. Beside it, a twitch skinny man stood waiting. His hair was ragged and mouse brown. His clothes looked like they were stolen from a poor man's corpse just before the box went into the incinerator. He looked around himself with a combination of timidness and anxiety that annoyed the female figure approaching him. She stepped into the garish pool of light spewed by the faulty florescent light above. The man jumped a little and dropped his e-cigarette. When his foot came down on the narrow tube, breaking it, he flinched at the sound.

"Bradley," she said, "Do you have it?" Bradley winced at the coldness of her tone. He pulled a battered envelope out of his pocket and held it out to her. Her black leather driving gloves were immaculate and somehow managed to gleam slightly in the light despite their matte texture. When she took hold of the yellow stained white #10 envelope, Bradley jerked his hand back as though he had burned his fingers. The woman looked down at the envelope. As he started to move towards his driver side door, the back of her left hand struck him square on the center of his chest. "No," she said, "You're not leaving yet."

"I brought it to you," Bradley whined, "I did what you told me. I'm done." Her hand moved back to the envelope. Bradley didn't go to his car, though he really really wanted to. This woman managed to kill his brutally violent pusher with out breaking a sweat. Bradley watched it all from behind a dumpster. He still had nightmares of how she butchered Howie. Howie tried to fight back, but that just made her angry. And her anger was terrifying.

She opened the envelope and looked within. The forged documents inside looked a bit worn, but that added to their authenticity. The small sum of money was exactly the amount she needed. There was, however, one thing missing. "Bradley," she started in a mild tone when the sound of a vehicle approaching caught her ear. She slipped the envelope into her pocket.

The muscle car purred like some kind of exotic metal monster. She looked over. Sitting behind the wheel was the tall, scarred Italian that she worked with. As she turned to walk towards the black 65 Mustang, Bradley edged closer to his car. She called back to him, "Bring the ring here tomorrow night at this time. If you don't have it, if you don't show up, I'm going to find you." Bradley felt like he was going to vomit out of fear. The woman turned her head and looked over her shoulder. "Don't fuck up," she said before the car rolled to a stop. She opened the door and the sound of deep South blues came out.

The man in the car said, "Watch the leather. I just got it detailed." The woman shifted something under her coat and pulled a sword from beneath it. Bradley shivered as he remembered how she cut Howie to pieces with it. She got into the car and set the sword between her feet. As the door shut and the car rolled away, Howie silently thanked god that she didn't know what he had in his pocket. The diamond ring suddenly felt a lot heavier.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Because I wanted to reminisce about LARPing.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Standing Rock in the News.

Sara Jaffe writing on the website Bill Moyers and Co. gives a very succinct explanation why the matters occurring at Standing Rock are so important. She explains the perspective of the indigenous peoples and gives a glimpse into some of what they are facing in this situation. Her article Standing Firm at Standing Rock: Why the Struggle at Standing Rock is  Bigger than One Pipeline is eye opening if you're not even passingly familiar with what the indigenous peoples have dealt with in the USA.

Now, some would be upset with me for using a source that is not traditionally considered unbiased. I just have to ask one question. Can you find me a source that is traditionally considered unbiased that is reporting this? I've been looking and finding stuff out about what his happening at Standing Rock is difficult. If you look at what is presented on Facebook, you find tumult. Over the last week or so, there is this dichotomy of material. One group presents that the people at Standing Rock are possibly violent and a group of degenerates. Another group presents that the people at Standing Rock are desperately engaged in an attempt to halt more environmental devastation and a continued rejection of their status as a sovereign people.

Given what I know about the history surrounding the way the native people have been treated here in Nova Terra, I am more inclined to believe the second group than the former. When there are reports of private security firms setting dogs on the people at Standing Rock, I am not one to reject it. You see, there are videos being posted of the dogs attacking and videos of the people after the attacks have happened. They are being suppressed. Because it is inconvenient to say that this group of people are having their human rights casually disregarded. Who is it inconvenient to? The people who are trying to make this pipeline happen. The people who want to perpetuate the racial bias against and the subjugation of the indigenous people of the USA.

Why is there so little in the major media outlets about what is happening at Standing Rock? Because it presents as much of a threat to the welfare of the status quo as the growing awareness of insitutionalized violence against people who don't fit the WASP profile. There is an illusion being sold to us that what is happening at Standing Rock is not a major thing. It is being played down and outright ignored.

Things, however, can change. Standing Rock can be the tip of the proverbial spear that forces the nation (and other nations around the world) to honor their treaties with the indigenous peoples. It can be the beginning of the change that effects true racial justice within the USA. But for that to happen, all of the rest of us need to stand up and demand it. We can't just sit off to the side and tolerate the rank injustices happening while we drink pumpkin spice lattes and try to figure out the bitchiest way to describe the millenials.


If you want info about what's happening at Standing Rock or how you can help, follow these links:

News from the Standing Rock Souix Tribe (Official)

Advice from Greenpeace (I'm not a fan of Greenpeace. I actually rather loathe them, but they are a recognizable organization that many others support. My reasons for not supporting Greenpeace is their refusal to treat world heritage sites with respect. They are also questionable with respect to their use of violence. I can not find enough information to make up my mind if they qualify as eco-terrorists. My sharing this link is not an endorsement of them.)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Not fair.

How is it I have the energy to do stuff yesterday and I don't today? Is it really the fact that the day is cloudy? I don't know.

I just feel tired and sad. I feel like I'm making so many mistakes. I try to keep in mind that depression lies to me. That my anxiety lies to me.

But it is really hard to shut up the thing constantly hammering in your mind.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A question.

So, I'm looking around on Facebook and I see people posting these memes about how a person who has committed a crime previously are essentially worthless people. I see memes posted about how if you have ever been charged with something (including things as paltry as parking tickets or jaywalking apparently) that you deserve what ever violence is meted out to you by law enforcement (or people who present as some kind of law enforcement lite - ie private security firms with weapons). I see people talking about how violence on the part of protestors negate their complaint and 'never solves anything'. I see people posting stuff about how if a person has been accused of a crime, not even charged, that if it falls into a certain category they should be executed.

At the same time, however, I see the same people posting things about how we should reject the demands of others to limit our self expression. I see them posting stuff about how they would tool someone up for looking at their significant other in a fashion that they disapprove of (as in the poster, not their partner). I see them posting things about how they have the right to reform the government by force and they need to stockpile munitions in the event of that necessity. I see them posting things about how we need to get all the details about the violence that is done before passing any sort of judgement when the perpetrators are doing so under color of law. I see them posting things about how much they admire the civil rights activists from the 60s and that the activists of today are nothing like those people.

It makes me sick.

Do you support seeing the just application of the law of the land? If someone is accused of something, are they innocent until proven guilty? Is law enforcement to be held accountable for when they break the law themselves? Do people have the rights that are secured for them by the Constitution of the United States as citizens of the nation or not?

If you answered yes to all of the above, why in the name of anything holy or decent do you say that these people who are being killed by the police deserve it? We are protected against unreasonable force and unreasonable search and seizure. We are protected in our rights to free expression and to peaceably assemble and demand redress from the government for our grievances. There's a long list of other things here that we're protected on the basis of judicial precedent even.

Let us not forget the international laws that are supposed to protect us on the basis of simple human rights.

We are a nation of laws. We are not ruled by pedagogy and popularity contests. We are not ruled by a dynasty of monarchs, dictators, or similar figures. Our opinions and feelings on things come second to the rule of law. And when the rule of law is wrong, we are supposed to come together and make changes to it as a people, via a representative system.

Even then, our individual preferences are second to the needs of the people. Or at least, that is how it is supposed to work.

And yet, we have black and other minorities being gunned down in the street by law enforcement (and law enforcement wannabes) because the people with their finger on the trigger are scared. We have families that have lived in this nation for generations being harassed and told to 'go home' by others because they don't fit the white-christian-productive citizen trope. We have a towns and cities with water that is undrinkable because of rampant pollution and government failure to ensure the safety of this most vital of resources.

I am the one who is said that they're wrong because I look at all of this and say it is not right. I'm sorry, but being poor is not a crime. Being black, latino, gay, or of any other stripe of minority is not a crime. Being disabled is not a crime. Not understanding what law enforcement is saying to you is not a crime. My list of things that are not crimes could get very, very long. I think, however, you get the picture.

Stop punishing people for not fitting your stereotype. Stop saying that their problems don't matter because it doesn't disturb your comfortable bubble. Stop saying that these people some how deserve the on going, systematic atrocities being done to them by people who are supposed to be upholding the rule of law. Having a badge and a gun doesn't automatically make you a hero or judge, jury, and executioner.

I am not going to hold up the law enforcement officers as automatic heroes because they're law enforcement. Yes, they do incredibly hard work for the community. Yes, they function under a considerable amount of strain and are called on to make decisions that can cause life or death for others in the community. Because they are in that position, they should beheld to a higher standard. If you are in law enforcement, your rules of engagement should be no less demanding than those for the military. Indeed, I would argue that they should be more so because you are dealing with civilian lives at all times. Even the 'bad guy with a gun' is a civilian. Last time I checked, civilians rated higher than enemies on the list of people to keep alive since armed conflict began, especially when they are the civilians in YOUR OWN NATION.

So, to boil this all down to that single question:

If you are going to claim that you are a 'patriot' and a 'real American', why are you refusing to demand that all of these people have their Constitutional rights protected? Why are you silent and complacent with all of these egregious abuses happening all around?

The 'no true Scotsman' argument isn't going to fly here, folks. Just to let you know.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Update (or something).

Today, I finished the scarf that I was knitting for Cuddle Bear. It's the orange-navy blue colorway from Red Heart (I think they call it Team Spirit). This one is slightly longer than the other one that I made for Snuggle Bug. But, now the school color scarves for the boys are finished. I picked up two t-shirts for them earlier this week with blue tie-dye and the words 'Livonia Bulldogs' on it in orange. It was $15 dollars for the two shirts through Dollar General, easily half the price of getting the same shirts from the sports booster's flyer.

I also made a cap for the neighbor's 4 month old baby. He's like my boys, a big head for his age. She's got him wearing stuff for an 8 month old baby and has really been struggling to find him hats. So, I pulled out some of my baby yarn for the charity hats and made him one. I remember how frustrating it was to put the boys in hats when they were little. It was cute to watch her light up when I handed it to her this afternoon.

I spent my day going through the huge pile of papers on and around the desk. In the course of it all, I discovered that I have a stack of magazines about two inches thick that I need to put away. (They're my crochet magazines where I have gotten pattern ideas out of over the summer.) I also took care of paying the bills. I felt anxious doing it, but when I got done, I felt like a weight was taken off my shoulders.

The blue shawl that I am knitting for my niece Alexis is approximately half done. Not bad for working on it only a little bit over the last several months. I will confess, most of the work I had done before she asked me to make her something. I did pick up an additional ball of that colorway (Caron's Simply Soft Paints in Ocean). I presently have three balls of this colorway that I haven't been knitting off of. I am only going to need one to finish this shawl out. Then I am going to take the other two and make something for myself out of it. Because the colors in this are just too lovely to pass up.

I have made some inroads into my effort to get some spinning done over the last week. I still have a shopping bag full of the raspberry colored wool. I am trying to decide if I want to put it on a distaff again or not. I am leaning towards the distaff but trying to figure out how I am going to tie it on. Because what I did last time didn't work out that well, which was why I took it off the distaff. I have also spun about ten yards on the rainbow colored wool-alpaca-tencel blend on my little Turkish spindle. I am seriously thinking that I am going to spin the rest of the bat on one of my cobbled together Turkish spindles. It will have a different weight for it, but I will be able to make a larger ball on it. I don't think I can make the ball on this little spindle too much larger.

Also, I picked up an astronomy book yesterday. It dates to 1968 but that doesn't bother me. It will still help me get reacquainted with the night sky, with the help of Sky and Telescope magazine. I think all I will really need aside from this is a way to set myself up with good observing conditions (predominantly comfortable that will allow me to use my rinkydink Newtonian desk telescope). I kinda hope that I can get this figured out before the nights get too much longer, this way when observing time happens sort of early in the evening, I can take the boys out and show them stuff like Orion's nebula.

I also have been bashing away at CreateSpace in an attempt to resolve issues with getting book II of my series to market. You can read more about it on my other blog.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fiction: Fairy Tale

The ground rose steadily to the north. As the path moved from the open ground under the cover of the bare, late autumn trees, the hiker shifted the pack on their shoulders. Leaves crunched beneath their feet upon the packed gravel. The sun slowly sank in the west, bringing rich colors and a chill to the evening. A sense of urgency pushed them to press onward.

Clouds were gathering and the air held the threat of cold rain. Still, the hiker did not pause to build a shelter. They merely flipped the hood of their coat up over their head and moved faster. When the first fat drops of water fell from the sky, the traveler was growing near the summit of the hill. Rain had turned into a steady pelting of icy cold water, mixing into something like sleet. A clearing was on the north side of the hill, just a few hundred yards below where the trees were regularly smited with with the wrath of the sky.

As the traveler moved into the clearing, they pulled a glowstick from in their right pocket. As they snapped the thing and shook it, there was a moment of worry that the chill of the evening was going to render the chemicals useless. The lurid green light that came almost immediately after they stopped shaking the sealed plastic tube should have reassured the one holding it. Instead, they remained agitated. The pack on their back felt heavy. The exhaustion from their quick march up the hill was catching up with them.

A fear pressed them onward. As they came to the end of the path, they found the standing stones. It was nothing like the fabled henge off in an English field. It was barely a ring, to be honest. Jagged stones of granite stood up like they had been cast to the ground by some giant. By the light of day, they seemed some queer combination of orange and pink with dark veins of feldspar through them. In the queer half light of the glowstick, they looked to be the color of the hiker's flesh, if not more lurid- in short, like the flesh of the zombies from the cheap paperback that was buried in the bottom of the heavy pack.

They stopped at the edge of the circle. Carefully, the swung the pack off their shoulder and set it on the ground outside of the circle. Holding the glowstick in their teeth, they opened the pack and began to dig through its contents. With a shaky hand, they pulled out a leather sack that bulged awkwardly but in an organic fashion. Soon a second sack was found. It was longer than the first and seemed heavier. The items in the sack clattered slightly as the hiker was setting them down.

The hiker's face paled at the noise. They looked from the bags they had carried up the hill to the ring they were beside with a fearful expression. With a swallow, they pushed the lump of terror back down their throat before pulling out a canteen and a crushed loaf of bread. The glowstick faded as they dropped the flap over the opening of the sack. They took the glowstick out of their teeth and held it awkwardly in their right hand, shaking it in a quick desperate motion.

The glowstick went dark the moment the tip of an end crossed over the perimeter of the circle. Alone in the darkness, caught in a rainstorm that was closer to hail than sleet, the hiker gave an unconscious whimper of fear. Within the circle, a light seemed to rise. It was like a faint mist, a trick of the eye against the dark. Slowly, the light grew brighter. The hiker tore their eyes away from the light and cast the loaf of bread into the circle. The cord of the canteen tangled on their wrist as it swung away from them.

The canteen abruptly stopped midswing, as though someone had taken hold of it. The hiker looked over. A man stood across the grassy demarcation of the circle's edge. The canteen had swung half into the circle and the man had taken hold of it. He looked at the hiker and then down at the two bags laying at their feet. "You return what is ours?" the man asked.

The hiker nodded, awkwardly attempting to untangle their wrist from the canteen's strap. The man pulled on the canteen, dragging the tangled wrist closer to the edge of the circle. "And the price?" he said. A chill washed down the hiker's spine that had nothing to do with the weather.

"I have nothing to give, my Lord," the hiker wailed, "I have given you all that I have."

The man in the circle tipped his head slightly to the left and regarded his unwitting prisoner. The traveler stooped and picked up the sacks at their feet. They held them out to the man, unable to still the anxious tremors that made the things within give a quiet noise, as though dry, fragile things were jostled together. "Take them," the hiker said. Hysteria had entered into their voice. The man before the frightened traveler smiled.

The tips of the fingers of the hand holding the bags had crossed over the grassy line marking the end of the path. When the man in the circle closed their own large hand over the wrist attached to that hand, the possessor's eyes went wide. A scream echoed in the dark as all light vanished and the hiker lurched forward.

Three days later, a search party found the pack and the glowstick laying at the trailhead. Within the ring of stones, a notable number of mushrooms were present. One of the members of the party from out of town commented on this. The head of the search team, an older man, said that it was due to the previous rain. They then went back down the trail, fanning the search to go through the cold wood.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Wrote this whilst listening to:

Trollabundin from Eivor

I can feel it humming  from The Flashbulb

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Realization.

Tomorrow I see my psychiatric nurse at the clinic. It just now struck me that I am tending towards a mixed episode. I am finding myself spoiling for a fight right now. I have a bad feeling that I may go into this session looking for a fight. I really don't want to do that. Because I'm worried that she is going to fuck with my file.

The whole business with the clinic has me feeling very unsafe. Which only adds to this urge to get into a fight.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Insects.

We're reaching that point in the year where insects start coming inside. Perhaps it is just me, but this seems rather early for that to be happening. I am trying not to start worrying about winter. At the same time, I find myself questioning how cold this winter will be and how much precipitation we are going to get.

Honestly, I deeply hope that we get enough that the water table comes back up to where it is supposed to be. Some people would be upset with the rain we're having tonight. I am glad for it. We really need it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What have I done?

I feel guilty for spending my day shuffling papers and looking at stuff on the internet. I feel like I should have been sorting, folding, and putting away these piles of laundry. I feel like I should have been 'working' rather than 'goofing off.' Self care is so hard for me to do. Because the self care that requires me to respect my limitations is the hardest thing for me. And it is what I have been needing to do the most of late.

I still have sore feet. I spent a lot of time over the last week on them and my shoes are not so great. As a result, they hurt. My knees are uncomfortable, but the weather is shifting and I have arthritis so that is no big surprise. And all of that standing probably didn't do my knees any favors.

I did a bunch of 'official business' stuff today. I filled out the contract and mailed out the down payment and trial period rental fees for Cuddle-Bear's trumpet. I made a few phone calls to take care of some scheduling problems. I did some stuff budgeting. I got some of the massive pile of papers taken care of.

I cleaned out the freezer burned food from the freezer. I think I have taken care of everything that was in the refrigerator that needed to go. I even made sure I ate something healthy for lunch. I also put some of the clean kitchen stuff away. I still have quite a bit more to take care of, and a few loads to wash yet.

My brain still says that I haven't done enough. I have a document file sitting open that I have done nothing more than glance at a few times today. I'm tired, even though I slept all night. I'm crampy and uncomfortable due to my menses but I managed not to destroy clothing, so I guess it isn't all that bad. I wish that I didn't feel like everything I do is insufficient. I wish that I didn't feel like I am a failure because I'm not doing something like a business on the side or out working while the kids are at school. I wish I actually felt something like hope, or at least not so damn convinced that everything I do is worthless because I am the one doing it and (according to my illness) I am easily replaceable.

I'm tired of being sick like this. I looked at some old blog entries, back before the bipolar diagnosis happened. I feel like that person is in me and I'm just being lazy, which I why I am not as productive, active, or social.

I hate this.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Blood in the Water.

If you have been following the news, maybe you have heard or seen something about the business going on in North Dakota. There is a company that wants to build an oil pipeline through tribal lands and under at least one major river. The pipeline is touted by supporters as a safe way to transport light, sweet crude oil from ...

No. I had this plan to write up a post that gave details about this thing and explain both sides. Honestly, however, it wasn't what I wanted to say here.

People assume that this business about the pipeline is an isolated incident. There are a rather large group of people who are saying horrible things about the native peoples who are coming together to resist this. The insults range from 'buffalo jockey' to even more offensive things that I will not sully my blog with. The argument that this pipeline is a non-issue is equally offensive.

This is not just about the pipeline.

This is about cultural genocide that has been ongoing for generations. The native peoples of North America lost approximately 90% of their pre-colonial era population due to this business. They have been denied the right to live upon their lands, corralled into reservations that are too small to sustain them and kept in a state that could be described as ghettos, if anyone was bold enough to look at it directly. There was generations of children forcibly removed from their homes and 'reeducated' in schools where they were punished for speaking their native languages, engaging in their native cultural practices, and forced to take up the culture of their oppressors under the threat of physical, psychological, and legal punishment. And the people who put these poor kidnapped children through this barbarism have been upheld as taking care of the 'white man's burden' as though they were somehow helping these people.

This is about how the concept of 'manifest destiny' and how Christians have more rights to the land then the people who lived there for countless generations before do. This is as much of a battle as Wounded Knee and Little Bighorn. This is not just a case of private citizens having their rights plowed under. It is far more egregious than that. It is a continued effort to take the native peoples and marginalize them until they functionally are erased from the map. Who needs small pox blankets for germ warfare when you can poison their water supply with impunity?

Some people have said that violence against the people at Standing Rock is the answer. Unfortunately, they perpetuate the idea that the villains are the native peoples and their supporters. They are the victims here. Not the company that can afford to have a bit of spray paint washed off their bulldozers. Not the local law enforcement who confiscated the drinking water for the encampment under false pretenses with out any recrimination for doing so.

The native peoples are sovereign nations. They have been abused. They have been maligned and denigrated. And they are not going to remain silent anymore. All of you hoity toity people who want to claim that you are believers in Christ's lesson, you better put your money where your mouth is. Step up and help these people. Christ taught that you were to care for the people who were under subjugation and love them as if they were your Lord. Start walking your faith. Maybe you can make some inroads on paying off the blood debt you owe them for your part in their oppression.

For my part, as an Earth-loving heathen, I'm going to pray. As I am sure many of you will. I am also going to be writing letters to my government representatives. I'm going to be making a point of disseminating information for how to resist this kind of garbage that the people at Standing Rock have been suffering. And I am going to do what little I can for the betterment of the people where I am.

Because, like the people at Standing Rock, this land is in my bones. The water is in my blood. It is sacred. I will not be quiet as the sacred is profaned. I will not stand idle as people who are my kin in spirit and through various aspects of my multi-cultural lineage are abused.

And, as one of the men at Standing Rock noted, the last time the native people's came together like this, they stood against their oppressors. They won that battle handily. The battle may not be fought with rifles and arrows. But, they will win this one as well. I assure you. The very land favors them. And their kinsmen come from all points.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Fiction: Storming the Gates of Hell

He hit the ground and the world went dark. Eerie silence filled his ears. A curious sense of lightness filled him and he couldn't feel his body. He was fairly sure that he was dead. He found himself standing on a road.

A pile of weapons laid in the road. It was a staggering array. Ever the warrior, he knew the tools of his trade from most every era. He also knew that his most effective tool was himself. Thus, he left the guns, bombs, knives, and spears lay on the ground on that blood red path.

He walked down the road and saw a fork in it. One went to a path that angled upwards. The other moved over uneven ground, ever farther downward at an increasingly steep rate. He could hear cries of anguish at a distance from that downhill path. Offended wasn't exactly the right word, but he couldn't define his wrath at the people who had come from the rough world in deeper agony in death.

Thus, he turned his face towards the left hand path. The road was difficult. He was darkly amused by the perversity of this fact after all the years of his father telling him that the road to Hell was broad, smooth, and well trodden. He came around an outcropping of tumbled stone to find himself facing a massive wall.

An iron gate stood across the road. It did not stand open, as his father insisted it would when he came to it. He didn't care. He walked up to the gate and a figure emerged from the gatehouse. A human like form walked towards him. They towered over him, easily eight feet tall, if not nine. "Your place is not here, puny creature," the gatekeeper said.

The man looked up at the gatekeeper. He made a point of adjusting his footing to a more solid stance. "Move me," the man answered. The gatekeeper reached for him. The man grasped the gatekeeper's wrist and, with a grunt, threw the gatekeeper to the ground. The gatekeeper's eyes flickered with some emotion. The man didn't care if it was anger, humor, or annoyance. The gatekeeper rose to their feet and reached for the man again.

Again, the man grappled the gatekeeper and threw them down. The gatekeeper's mouth opened wide, revealing needle-like teeth as it made a sound that could be a laugh, if rending metal was laughter. The gatekeeper moved to knock the man off his feet and the man took hold of their arm. The man twisted it back into a hard lock, forcing the gatekeeper down to their knees.

The gatekeeper gave a cry that made the man's eyes water and his head feel like it was filled with a thousand angry wasps. Still, the man twisted the lock harder. The gatekeeper's cry grew louder, making the man's teeth ache. The man put the full force of his strength into twisting the gatekeeper's arm out of its socket. As he did so, figures came to the gate and watched.

The gatekeeper swore in some language the man did not know, one that was perhaps long forgotten or perhaps yet to be born. And then the gatekeeper's voice turned into a hoarse, raw scream of agony. The gatekeeper's shoulder deformed as the arm popped out of the socket and continued to move in unnatural ways. The gatekeeper wrenched itself away from him, wailing. As it did so, a noise like cords snapping came.

It was now that the man lifted his right foot. He put his boot hard on the gatekeeper's side and pushed. The gatekeeper's screams of pain did not manage to cover the awful, wet tearing noise as the arm separated from its shoulder. The gatekeeper crawled away from the man with a look of terror. Most men fell before them effortlessly. But this man not only withstood the gatekeeper's assaults but thrown them aside. And now, he had managed something not accomplished in over a millennia.

Somewhere within the damned halls of the citadel, Grendel shuddered. The wound of his right side began to weep fresh gore as pain wracked him. His mother looked over at the injury in horror. Another had come. Another had bested one of their number. She silently hoped that the gory icicle that had torn her life from her breast was not reforged, unsure where she may be banished to if she was slain again in this cold place.

The man standing at the gate raised the gatekeeper's bloody arm over his head. "Release the nonbelievers, the innocent, and unbaptized," he bellowed to the throng looking at him, "I will leave you in peace. Fail and I will release them." At his cries, many of the shades looked between themselves in confusion and awe. A disturbance came at the back of the crowd.

Grendel and his mother walked at the heels of their liege lord. The throng parted. Some moved away with reverence for the one who passed among them. Others did so with dread. Still, they stepped aside and according the man with slender build, dark hair, and fey beauty the honors due to him as ruler of that realm. When he came to the gate, he looked at the man who had come.

It was as though looking in a mirror. The warrior who upheld the arm he tore off of the gatekeeper aloft as a trophy and a warning looked identical to the one who ruled the cold halls. The prince of the domain turned. He said quietly, "Open the gate. Let him pass."

As the great iron gate opened, the arm burst into flame and became a torch. The victims of technical damnation timidly stepped towards their liberation. As they did so, Lucifer walked into Hell, bearing the illumination that was stolen away from them so long ago and the prince who had preceded him faded away like a shadow before that light.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Musical inspiration from Au4: Just Hang on Beautiful One (off of the album And Down Goes the Sky)

Yep, there is a homage to Beowulf. It's all I can come up with right now. Long, tiring day.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Flash Fiction: untitled

"Oh ye of so little faith," the voice said with a tone of disappointment.

She closed her eyes and struggled to breathe. Her head throbbed and had a measure of dizziness. She was fairly sure that the blow had given her a mild concussion. Waves of nausea came and went as the fighter worked to gather her strength. Her body hurt so much that it seemed to be nothing but a mass of pain.

Laying on the concrete, the fighter was tempted to just let herself sink into unconsciousness. Her opponent drew back a foot to kick her again. Acting on instinct, she rolled away as the foot came towards her head. She pushed up onto her hands and knees. The man before her moved to punch her in the head again.

She twisted, grabbing hold of his wrist and pulling him off his feet with the sudden force of her motion. As he hit the ground, she wrapped her legs around his chest. Her fists fell on his head with enough force to make the big man cry out in pain. He tried to knock her off of him but she continued to hold on and strike at his face. Somehow, he managed to maneuver himself so that she was pressed down to the ground beneath him.

His large hands gripped her around the throat. Her right hand struck his throat. As she closed her fist, her nails bit into his flesh and her fingers wrapped partially around his coratid artery. His eyes went wide a heartbeat before she pulled with all the strength she could muster. He almost screamed as she ripped his throat open. He collapsed as she pushed him aside, his hands flailing to stem the spray of bright red blood.

She made her way to her feet. Though she swayed, she began to walk towards the ladder out of the pit. Above her, stunned silence reigned. The voice that spoke to her on the edge of unconsciousness seemed to echo in the silence. "Stand," it said, though no one else could hear it. She stumbled and the world swam before her. Still, she pushed herself forward. She reached the ladder and gripped it hard with her blood slicked hand. People above her moved away from the ladder as the master of ceremonies walked to it.

He looked down at her. He was the image of genteel sophistication. His dove grey suit was spotless. An ice blue eye peered down at her, its mate lost in some conflict that the man never spoke of. His expression was one of approval. "Bring her up," he said to no one in particular before turning and walking away. Her knees were growing weak as her vision began to go grey. A person began climbing down. She watched them. Hands slipped under her arms and bore her up as the extent of her injuries caught up with her.

"You're the first one to survive," the person supporting her said as another lowered a backboard.

"I don't die," she said as unconsciousness claimed her.

~*~*~*~*~*~

I don't feel pleased with this. But whatever, I wrote something.