Sunday, December 9, 2007
I will send a handmade gift to the first five people who comment to this post. I make a lot of stuff that I have to unmodestly say are really cool: beaded jewelry, bath salts, scented hand lotion, sewn and embroidered things. I'll need your address, of course, but I'm sure we can work out a way to get that to me without it being all public.
Here's the catch: If you comment to this post, you'll have to post to your own journal (wherever it is, doesn't have to be on Blogger) making the same offer. Comments are open!
What with one thing and another, I haven't been to church in something like months. I could blame this on my work schedule (and truly, now that I'm working retail it's awfully difficult to get to church anywhere) but even before I got this job I wasn't going. I felt like I needed a break, or I'd get up on Sunday morning and get involved with something, or I'd tell myself I didn't need the church to pray...
Yesterday before work I got a call from Ray. He and Tim had gone to a local SCA event and forgotten a few things; could I possibly run them over before work? Sure!
I'd woken up feeling fairly crappy, and the thought of scraping snow from the car and slogging my ass out to get things done didn't help a'tall. On top of which I hadn't been to local SCA stuff for months, either, was feeling bad and annoyed about that; I'd really wanted to go to this event and couldn't. But off I went.
I felt odd and alone and left out, walking through a hall decorated with bright banners and soft Indian cushions, among elegantly-garbed folks in all the fashions of the Middle Ages, wearing my heavy winter jacket and jeans and snow (and snowy) boots. They were in the kitchen which put me walking right through the center of everything. Tim gave me a big hug which helped a lot but then it was time to go. I wanted naught more than to shed my heavy coat, put on bright Persian clothing, and settle in for the day...but work beckoned (or perhaps threatened with its riding crop, I'm not sure).
I'd hoped to find a back way into the kitchen. No such luck, but in my wanderings I did find the sanctuary as well as the small chapel attached to the church building the event was held in. I looked into the sanctuary, thinking to slip in for a moment's prayer, but there were people inside and I felt shy; the chapel, however, was empty, so I ducked in there.
Empty. Never empty. I'd intended to sit in a pew for a moment or so, instead found myself kneeling at the altar rail, head bowed and hands clenched, eyes streaming with tears. Never empty. God's love enfolded me and welcomed me back; nevermind that this isn't my church, it's his. I didn't see a Presence lamp, don't know if they do that there, didn't even think to look; God was there, God loves me.
I wiped my eyes and went on with my day, errands to run, always something to do. But I've been waiting too long, or perhaps God has been waiting too long for me to come back. It's time, time for me to rejoin His people and await His coming, both at Christmas and whenever He comes again in glory.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Here are the rules, from John at SmuloSpace (the same guy who brought you 5 Things I Dig About Jesus):
• Write down five things that you’re thankful for.
• Tag five friends who you’d like to see participate in this meme.
• (Optional) Include a link to the original at SmuloSpace in your post, and then visit the post yourself and place a link to your completed meme in the comments section so John can keep track of the thankfulness running around the blogosphere.
1) Friends. The friends who are allowing me to stay at their house, the friends who dropped what they were doing to help me move. The friends back East who check up on me from time to time to make sure I'm okay. New friends found in unexpected places. Old friends, comfortable and familiar.
2) My little cat. Brave, snuggly, warm, soft, frequently sharp. Couldn't survive without him.
3) Good, healthy, well-cooked, flavorful food.
5) My Godblogs folks, because some days I need the reminder.
I tag Tim, Mother Laura, Lark, Hedwyg, and Grandmere Mimi.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Secondly, my cats, my poor, long-suffering cats. Taltos and Samson spend most of their time under the futon I sleep on here, though they do venture out when nobody's around or I'm asleep. No hollering, no crying, no clawing at the door like I've gotten previously. Chocolate sleeps with me, pesters me when I'm on the computer, and even will come out and bother Tim or Ray occasionally when I'm not around. I'm very pleased with them all.
Thirdly there's Sarah. I've posted about her before and she's an awful lot of fun to live with. Also a total pain in the ass, mind you. Spends a lot of time outside the computer room door being totally pitiful because all the people in the house are in there but her and she's all alone and lonely and dying. So I go pet her.
Been taking her for walks a lot. To the play ground where she'll happily go down the slide, then into the fenced-in basketball court to chase tennis balls. She's a blast. I think I'll borrow her sometimes when I've moved out, just to have a dog around. The cats will be thrilled.
The problem with working retail is the weekends. I haven't been to church in forever and ever. I miss it.
The faith, though -- that faith that so surprised me when I found it, that still surprises me -- is still there, even when I've forgotten about Him for a few days in all the bustle. This reassures me mightily. And someday, I will have a job that Does Not Suck and so will give me time to, y'know, go to church.
Tim's home -- time to go.
Not dead. Not even particularly broken. Still working at Wallyworld, still have a place to live, still have the three cats I had left.
I dreamt twice about Shanti in the week after I took her to the Humane Society (and I thank those of you who commented about her in my last post -- your comments were reassuring). In the first dream, I found out that she'd been adopted by someone in the apartment complex, who wasn't treating her right. I got together with one of the maintenance guys (who'd told me about the situation) and we planned to steal Shanti back out of the bad situation...at which time I planned to take her back to the Humane Society.
In the second one, she'd escaped on her own and made it back to my place, and was hanging around outside my bedroom window. I figured I'd catch her, bring her inside, brush her good and feed her, pet her a lot...and take her back to the Humane Society.
I miss her a lot, but it seems that deep down I somehow know that I made the right decision.
The job remains a job. My legs are hurting less (except when I'm dumbassed and pull a groin muscle running to the bathroom, but that wasn't as bad as it could have been) and my coworkers really rock. My schedule is varying a lot more so I'm actually getting out of work at decent times some days. It'll do, for now.
The place to live...wow, what a saga.
I started looking back towards the beginning of October, planning to move at the end of November. Of course, all I found back then was places which would be ready October 15, or around Halloween. Not much use for me; 'look in November', said the landlords I spoke to.
So I stopped worrying about it for a month or so, and began looking again at the beginning of November. And nothing. Nothing, and nothing, and nothing. No cats; not ready until December 15; nothing until January; what, are you nuts, trying to move during the holidays?
Franticness grew. I began negotiations with Tim and Ray to possibly stay with them for a day or two if necessary. I began packing. I began realizing that there was no way that all of my things would fit into Tim and Ray's house with all of their things. I began to seriously panic as the fifteenth, then the twentieth, rolled by with no place to live.
The week of Thanksgiving I called a local company about a place in the paper. That apartment was already rented; they said; well, asked I, I'm looking for a place in this part of town for this price range and, oh, I have cats. She listed for me three places; I promptly asked to see them. She'd give my number to the lady who did showings, she said, and I didn't hear from them for a few days. When I called back she said, oh, okay; can you meet the lady who does the showings on the day after Thanksgiving at this address? It wasn't one of the addresses she'd listed; I figured it must be their office or something, and we'd drive around to see the apartments.
Thanksgiving rolled around, and the lot of us wound up at Bri and Richard's home with rather more people than I'd expected, most of whom I didn't know. I managed to avoid a total freakout by napping in a chair most of the afternoon, though I felt like a jerk for not helping with dinner. Normally people I don't know don't get to me much, but with everything that's been going on...dinner was fine, we wound up staying much longer than I wanted to but since I'd come over with Tim and Ray I didn't want to say anything (mea culpa, I know, Tim), and eventually I found myself hiding in the basement with Richard, trying to help him get his computer up and running. His big, mostly empty basement. 'Hey, Richard,' I said, 'I'm having trouble finding a place to move into' (I could see his shoulders stiffen), 'I can crash with Tim and Ray' (they relaxed) 'but I have a lot of stuff. Any chance some of it could stay here for a while?' He had to consult with Bri, she being in charge of such arrangements, but they agreed that it would be just fine, since they have all the space anyway. One worry down! But only one.
And not enough to calm me the hell down, because I wound up having a bit of a freakout well after dinner anyways. Fortunately almost everyone had left by then, and fortunately, the people who remained are people I know, are local, and (with one exception) was comfortable with at the time. I'm still worried, I told them, because I have to have my stuff out by next Friday, I don't have a place to move to yet even though I have a place to put my stuff, and I work all weekend, so I can't ask people to help me move.
Because, really, you're lucky enough to get friends to help you move; you aren't going to wind up good enough friends with people for them to move you out when you can't be there, right?
It was Leif-Bob, the one I didn't know well and wasn't too comfortable with (at the time), who asked what people were doing the next day.
So while I worked Black Friday, my dear friends (and one new one) showed up at my place with two trucks and a trailer and moved about half of my crap to Bri and Richard's basement.
I have the bestest friends in the world.
Leif-Bob also wants to join in our (unfortunately postponed due to my crappy work schedule) D&D game. Heck yeah!
So thence back to Friday morning and the apartment tour. The place I met her was, it turned out, an apartment itself, a two-bedroom place for quite a reasonable price. Lovely light, lovely windows, grand large kitchen, lots of closets. I fell in love. Filled out an application and put it in Monday morning. Prayed and prayed that I'd get the place. Especially as it turned out that the other three apartments I'd heard about a few days before were already gone, gone, gone.
It also turned out, later on Monday, that this apartment that I loved didn't allow cats.
I cursed and railed and damn near had a panic attack. I did all this quietly, mind you, since I was at work the whole time, but nevertheless. I'm guessing the part about 'have cats' got lost in the shuffle somewhere. Well, I wrote them off and started looking again.
Tuesday I went to look at a couple of other places, didn't like them much, but put in applications anyway, just so I'd have an option somewhere. Prayed I'd hear back soon. Breathed a lot. Sometime that afternoon. the lady who'd shown me the apartment I loved called me back and told me they had another one -- two bedrooms, $595 a month with all utilities included, and best of all was the location -- right I mean right across the street from Tim and Ray's. The former occupant was still in residence so I couldn't see inside but I walked around the building, called back, and said 'I'll take it'.
It'll be ready around the 3rd or 4th, they said. Fine; a couple days with my dear ones was perfectly doable. I politely turned down the other two apartment approvals and waited.
Tuesday night I brought a load or so of things to Tim and Ray's; Wednesday Ray came over during the day to help me pack. Thursday night my crew of impromptu movers came over and moved out the rest of my stuff, short Tim who was sick enough that he actually went to the doctor (horrendous cold, but better now). Friday after work Ray helped, again, with the very last of my things including the cats. And so I moved in with my beloveds finally, and prayed we didn't kill each other over the next four days.
Saturday night when I got home from work (at nine-thirty!) they'd waited for me to eat dinner. Two kinds of soup on the stove, fresh-baked bread. The next morning Tim packed my lunch and Ray made me a bagel. I began to wonder if they wanted me to move out ever, but I'm sort of wedged into their computer room with three cats and this can only go on for so long.
Monday morning the apartment people called me and said there was a problem with the painters, it would be next Tuesday and was that all right?
Sure, I said. No problem. Can't lose this place now. I won't find another.
Many deep breaths. Told Tim that night, we talked it over. My cats were behaving, his cats were behaving, nobody'd killed each other yet, might as well stay. Just praying we'd all still be friends at the end of it.
And then he said something totally heartwarming. We'd gone out to by food for the critters (and incidentally pick up another couple of unplanned fish for Tim) and on the way home, he told me later, as the three of us pulled in and set about bringing in fish and food, dog awaiting us at the door and cooler sitting out for the milkman, he had the loveliest sense of 'everything is in its place'.
And I know where he's at. This place isn't big enough for the three of us, and I'm certainly (still!) not ready to be living with anyone else, not really. I need my own space for a while yet. But for a week or so, it's been lovely, truly grand, to get that little foretaste of what it'll be like when everything finally comes together the way we hope it will.
It's Thursday now and nobody's killed anyone else yet, cats or humans. five more days to go and we'll see. But right now, I feel like things are going okay.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Saturday I took Shanti to the Humane Society. I hate it but the situation was becoming untenable. Not the peeing -- that got handled once I locked the other children out of the bedroom once and for all. No, the problem was that a small bedroom just isn't enough space for a cat like Shanti who's used to having most of the Great Outdoors to herself.
I tried letting her out on her own but after the maintenance guy told me she almost got hit by a car in the parking lot, and another lady told me about a cat she'd lost to the foxes, I couldn't bear to. I did walk her a lot and she loved it, but when she got back inside...well, you know how you go to the zoo, and you go to see the big cats, and they're beautiful but you can tell they haven't got enough space because of the way they pace? Pace pace pace pace. One side of the cage. Pace pace pace pace back to the other. And back. And back again. They've worn a rut into the ground and their eyes don't focus any more and it's just an obsessive thing for them because they don't have the room. Well, she was starting to do that, too.
I brushed her real well and took her for a long walk, then drove her over so Tim and Ray could say goodbye. They brushed her some more and petted her a lot and then I took her over to the Humane Society. I was crying so hard I had to hand over my driver's license because I couldn't tell them my address. They gave me tissues and told me that they'd try to take her for walks, and that since she'll walk on a leash they expect to find a home for her very soon. They're a no-kill -- I visited the same quiet, unassuming, older cat something like five times there over nearly a year. They don't give up on cats easily.
It's odd here, now. Chocolate loves it -- he's got his momma back to himself. Samson and Taltos are clearly less stressed as well. I've gotten to pet Taltos more in the last few days than in the last several months combined. Not having to keep them out of the bedroom is lovely and having my little cat with me every night, all night, is heavenly. I've done the thing that was best for everyone involved, even myself. But oh, I miss my pretty, pretty girl.
Once the lady at the humane society heard my tale of woe (and had got an eyeful of Shanti trotting inside, perfectly calm, on her leash) she said I'd done the right thing. That helps some though I wonder if she'd say that to anyone bringing in a cat. I don't know. But I didn't see another way to deal with things.
I also gave in that night and turned the heat on for a bit. I'd left the windows open when I went to work, since it was lovely warm -- up in the 70s. I figured I wouldn't be in the mood for company and would head straight home in plenty of time to close them. Well, Tim (bless him!) called me with fifteen minutes to go at work to basically blackmail me over to his place with food he knew I'd love -- because he knew I shouldn't be alone after giving away Shanti. He was right and I cried all over both of them again and it helped a lot but it was below freezing outside (and not far off inside) when I got home and I just wussed out. Ten minutes of the heat running had the place bearable, though, and I turned it back off and it hasn't been on since.
Today I turned the water heater down to 'vacation'. I'd turn it off but I am a bit concerned about the pipes. If I want a shower longer than 'not much' I can turn it back up a half hour or so before I want to bathe, and then turn it back down afterwards. No need to have the water kept that hot all the time.
I'm starting to collect those small plastic bags you put your produce in, too, so I can reuse them. Even remembered to bring my cloth bag into the grocery store last time -- go me!
Bought beef bones for stock, and, instead of skinless boneless chicken breast, chicken thighs. The meat's just as good (to my surprise), though I learned a lot about chicken anatomy in the process of cutting it off the bone, and the bone and skin and stuff went into the crockpot for chicken stock. It's so, so much better than anything you can get at the store, it's ridiculous, and all that simmering keeps the place nice and warm, too.
The beef stock got turned into lentil soup (thanks Jadwiga!) and the chicken stock is in the freezer, in a perfectly reusable plastic popcorn container, until I figure out what to do with it. I'm contemplating a solar cooker of some kind, eventually, since there's sure no shortage of sun here.
My mint plant has been failing and I wasn't sure what to do. Tim recommended feeding it and I had ugly thoughts of Miracle-Gro or something awful like that until I remembered a thing I'd read recently. Wonderful fertilizer for plants and sustainable otherwise as well -- dilute your own pee in ten parts water and use it to water your plants. Gross? Yeah, I was a little squicked by it. But it's high in nitrogen and concentrated urea is something you can buy at any garden store. Why buy it when you can make it? And it makes so much more sense than peeing into your drinking water, which is effectively what most of do when we use the toilet.
Did that ever strike you as odd? It never did me until I got thinking about it. We clean water -- treatment plants, desalinization even, get it to the point where it's (hypothetically) safe to drink through much effort and expense, and then proceed to pee and poop in some of it. Buh?
Still working on ways to change that. I don't need that much fertilizer and I'm pretty sure a composting toilet is against my lease somehow.
In other news, if it's politics you're interested in, I highly recommend my Tim's blog, Bread and Circuses (okay, he hasn't actually changed the name to that yet, but he ought to). Warning: May cause apoplexy and plans to move to Canadia.
Friday, November 9, 2007
I'd planned to write a treatise on God and nature and why conservation and not buying cheap plastic things are in a way a Christian issue, but my brain is made of cream cheese and I can't think of anything more coherent than 'pollution makes baby Jesus cry' which is admittedly pretty awful.
Praying a lot when I have the attention span. Usually along the lines of 'God please let this end'. Winning the lottery would be nice or perhaps a sugar daddy. Or even a real job, I'm not picky. Replacement knees and headache meds that work? C'mon, something's got to give.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
9) Also, dumpster diving. C'mon! No shame, people!
10) Cats can help you stay warm at night, thus requiring less indoor heating. Course they hog the bed...
11) Remember what I said about the dryer? Handwash some of your dishes, too, and put off running the dishwasher another day.
12) Fuzzy slippers.
13) Don't start your car until your seatbelt is hooked, the window is rolled down (or up), and you've got yourself settled. That half-minute does make a difference.
14) Unplug your TV. Actually, sell it and put the money into savings or a nice warm blanket. You won't miss it.
My secret shame: for all of my preaching about the evils of agribusiness and such, and my urging of folks away from consumerism, I work at Consumer Hell: Walmart. I hate it with a great burning passion. I'm against pretty much everything the place stands for. However, because of them I can afford a place to live. I'd say I'm not sure how I feel about this except that I'm quite sure: it sucks. But? It's a job.
It's also leaving me pretty much exhausted at the end of the day, so posting is harder than it ought to be. Keeps me thinking, though, which is a goodness.
Tomorrow, if I can manage it: Where has God gone in my blog, and how does He fit in with all of this talk about the environment and Peak Oil? The answers, in tomorrow's episode of Insert Clever Show Name Here.
Slightly punchy. Signing off.
2) I go through a lot of tissues: the dry air just gets in my nose. When I looked at a bag of trash I was carrying out and realized it was half tissues by weight, I realized I needed to do something about this. The solution is an old one: handkerchiefs. They're not hemmed yet and they're long and narrow instead of square, but they work just fine.
3) I'm not making a similar recommendation regarding toilet paper. It would make sense, it would be more sustainable, but I'm far too much of a wuss.
4) That said? Pee in the shower. It'll save a little.
5) If you can't talk yourself into not using your dryer at all, think about hanging up a few things from each load and running it a little less. Remember the smell of sheets dried on the line when you were a kid? Wasn't it great?
6) See if you have a local dairy that'll deliver milk once a week. We get fresh, organic, minimally-treated milk delivered every Tuesday (well, it goes to Tim and Ray's and I pick it up, but I'm over there all the time anyway). It tastes a zillion times better (and Tim the milk snob who milked cows for a living agrees). It comes in glass bottles so there's far less waste. Since it only comes once a week you learn something about rationing limited supplies until the next time. And, at least at our local dairy. it's no more expensive than milk from the store. This last part boggles me, but I don't think about it in case it stops working.
7) If you can't do it all, if you forget bits, if you're overwhelmed by all the things you want to change, don't sweat it. Do one thing at a time. Don't kick yourself if you forget. I had two tote bags in the car today and still brought home my groceries in two plastic bags. I'll use them to scoop the litterboxes into. Do what you can.
Missed by seventeen minutes!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Hi Chocolate, I am honored to be interviewing my first Cat. I live with several and have great respect for your kind. I think you have the art of napping really down! I saw your picture and you look so much like my friend Spike that I live with (well except that he's like SIX of you!) You are a really pretty Cat. I liked reading your story, too! So, here are my questions for you:
1. I know that Cats are often pretty spiritual beings. How do you express that side of yourself?
There's a sort of sun worship among cats, as you might have noticed, being lucky enough to live among them (so my Momma tells me). The Sun, of course, for us represents God. Other beings use other ways of worshipping Him (or, as we cats prefer to say, Her) and of course many of these ways are good ones, but drowsing in Her warm comforting rays, contemplating the mysteries of the universe, these are for cats the height of worship.
I also find that taking care of my Momma is a spiritual thing in a way. My brothers Taltos and Sampson think I'm insane for this, of course, but they don't like Momma much anyway so I think they just don't get it. But snuggling up to Momma and purring for her when she needs it is a very good thing.
2. What is your favorite part of the day?
It depends on where I live. In the last place I lived it was in the morning, before Momma got out of bed, when I could crawl under the covers and snuggle up next to her. She was very sad there and needed me.
Before that we lived in a big place with lots of windows. The middle of the afternoon was a good time, because the sun came in on the nice comfy part of the couch and Momma sometimes came and took a nap with me. That place had some bad feelings about it, though.
Where I am now the sun comes in the big glass door halfway through the day and makes a lovely sunny spot. Momma doesn't sit there with me (I think she's too big to fit on the cushion, but I wouldn't say that to her) but it's nice and warm.
3. It sounds like you have moved around a bit. What would be your best advice on settling into a new space?
I don't like moving much; it's scary, everything smells different and all the stuff is in new places. But when I move I stay close to my Momma a lot, and explore a little at a time, and sniff everything to make sure it's okay. Momma's good about making sure I have a good napping-spot or two that's one of my favorite beds so at least that smells the same and that helps. Also sleeping under the covers with her because it doesn't matter where I am as long as I'm safe with Momma.
This is the first place that Momma has let me go Outside. I don't go far and sometimes she puts me on a leash. She's always right there with me even if there's no leash. It's big and bright and everything is very weird, but I like it too. As long as I can go back inside when I want to!
4. Since you are letting me interview you, I assume you must be pretty open-minded. How do you feel about relating with critters of other kinds?
I didn't know any dogs before I moved out here. I've met two, now. Sarah is huge and furry and I think she wants to chase me, so I run away and then hiss at her. Inga is big, too, but not as big, and her fur is dark like mine. She's not nearly as scary. I still hiss at her, but if she lays down I'm not so nervous. Once she laid down on the couch and Momma put a blanket over her, and I didn't know she was there and laid down on top of her! When she stood up I was awful startled so I had to hiss at her then, too. But Inga's nice.
Momma had pet rats for a while. I wasn't sure if they were supposed to be food or not but I guess not. I liked watching them but they weren't very friendly -- when I put my paw in the cage one of them bit me! I guess since I was wondering if he was food I can't blame him too much.
I don't like cats other than my brothers, and the brother Momma left behind in Pennsylvania. I miss him! He was my best friend. But other cats try to take away my Momma and she's _my_ momma.
5. How have you found is the best way to get your human to pay attention to you when she thinks she has Better Things to Do?
Pacing back and forth in front of her book is a good method. If she gets mad at me I hunch down a little and purr really loud, and then she puts the book down and hugs me. If she's walking around doing things, I'll climb up on something and squeak at her, and maybe jump up on her shoulder as she walks by. Yesterday I jumped up on her shoulder and she went right outside! I stayed there until she got to the car and then I jumped off. I don't like the car. But she came right back and let me inside, so it was okay.
So there are my questions for you, and now here are those rules my mom says I have to put down too. And I always do what my mom says. Tee-hee. At least when she is looking! I hope you have fun with these and then have some catnip and a nice nap in the sun!
Thank you Maggie! I guess you're pretty okay for a dog. If we ever meet, don't chase me, okay?
Here are the rules:
1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave a comment saying, 'interview me.'
2. I will respond by posting five questions for you. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post with your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
I will interview people of any species.
Monday, November 5, 2007
I've mentioned Greenpa before -- his Little Blog in the Big Woods is a lovely example of 'you can do this too' at a very down-to-earth, practical level. Here's what he has to say about how he lives:
Basic Green Practices in the Little House
1) Off the grid. 30 years. Solar electricity .
2) Limited power- house electricity has 4 golf cart batteries.
3) Composting toilet. Outside. (eew, you do that indoors!?)
4) No road to house. You gotta walk.
5) No running water in house. Water pumped by wind.
6) Showers solar heated; outdoors.
7) Heat with wood. One stove in house.
8) Cook with wood 8 months, propane in summer
9) Most of our fuelwood now is from trees we planted
10) No refrigerator. 30 years. You don't need one either.
11) Big garden.
12) Eat locally when possible, not obsessive about it.
13) No pesticide use ever, gardens or crops; not even organic (ok, except a little in the outhouse and the greenhouse...)
14) Earth sheltered solar greenhouse (aren't they all solar??)
15) Shut up about it. Nobody likes preaching.
16. These are our choices- yours are yours.
Okay, he can be a little on the blunt side. Not in the scary way, though, and wow, does he know what he's doing.
Sharon over at Casaubon's Book isn't near as far along the path as Greenpa, but she's further along than anyone else I know. Her practical suggestions are interspersed with calls for justice in a way that makes me frankly uncomfortable at times -- but only because I know she's right and there is more that I can and should do. At the same time, she isn't perfect, admits it, and goes on with doing what she can.
Helwen is the lady who got me into this whole way of living in the first place. She's also someone I've known in Real Life for a lot of years. She's fairly new to the whole concept (a few years in, I think) and watching her progress has been fascinating.
And a couple of single posts that bear mention...
Rae's talking about sugar (and sugar-like substances) in our food. Good stuff.
Plain Fool has a scrap bag.
Oakmouse posts plans for a fireless cooker.
100 Things You Can Do for Peak Oil, Parts One and Two.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
See, we got this lovely little notice on the doors. Among other things it includes several guidelines for making sure your pipes don't freeze in cold weather. Some of them make quite a bit of sense, especially for those like me who may be keeping their heat at much lower levels than previously, and I do plan to be careful -- burst pipes are no fun.
Two of their guidelines, however, I find entirely ridiculous. The first is that, any time the temperature falls before 32 degrees Fahrenheit, one is supposed to turn all faucets on to a low trickle and leave them there until the temperature is above freezing. Y'know, I don't think if it's barely below freezing outside that my pipes are likely to burst -- it's got to be a lot colder than that, for a lot longer, and that's even if I don't have my heat on at all. Besides which, given how Colorado winters get, if I followed this to the letter my water would be running all day, every day, for weeks at a time. And this in a state with regular water shortages.
The other (speaking of the heat) is that they recommend that you keep the heat on when it gets too cold. This? I'm fine with. But they recommend that you keep your heat at a minimum of 70 to 80 degrees. What!?
Even in a free-standing house, keeping the heat on at 55 is usually enough to keep your pipes unfrozen, unless they're especially exposed or your insulation is horrendous or the weather is just insane. In an apartment complex? Two of my six walls are insulated by other apartments and another is insulated by the ground. I could probably leave my heat off most of the year and not have problems with bursting pipes. Leaving the heat turned as low as it can go and still be on will entirely precluse pipe issues. Even for people who aren't used to the cold and don't put on a sweater, 70 is on the warm side to have the heat turned to, and 80 is just ridiculous. What, do you feel this need to be able to wear shorts and a t-shirt all year? Move to Florida.
I'm trying to keep things to a pretty friendly tone this month (okay, I do that anyway, but) because I know that a lot of the ideas I'm proposing are pretty radical. I don't want anyone to feel bad because they think I'm trying to berate them into doing things, or because they're not doing as much as they feel they could or should. I'm not doing near as much as I could, should, or want to, and it's a process, it takes time. I do get grumpy at myself sometimes but mostly I know I'm doing what I can.
But this? Just insane.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Ever read the ingredients on the back of a box of processed food? Don't, unless you want to learn how to cook. The number of things in your food that aren't at all food is truly frightening and I have to wonder how many of the first world's burgeoning medical problems are due to eating not-food.
I'll skim over the huge amounts of petroleum required, in one way or another, to grow food in the modern industrial manner and save that post for when I talk about growing food -- but trust me on this, between tractors, fertilizer, and all the gas needed to get food here from Guam or something (when, really, there are plenty of people in Guam or wherever who'd happily eat it too), it's a lot. Growing your own food, or buying it from someone who grows it locally using proper organic techniques, is just a better idea.
But this means learning to cook it. I didn't learn to cook from my mother when I was growing up as girls have done for millennia -- Dad wanted a boy he could teach to build things and didn't get one, so I was elected. I didn't learn to cook from my ex until very late in our relationship, either. I've learned a lot from Tim (and Julia Child!) but don't go thinking that I've been cooking for my entire life or any such. It doesn't take long and, frankly, it's not that hard. If I can do it, really, anyone can.
And cooking from ingredients instead of from a box or a can is so much more satisfying -- yes, it's a bit more work and more planning, but the food just tastes better. Think you don't have time? Bet you'll make time once you taste the difference. Think you don't have the money? The money you'll save on multivitamins and health care will cover whatever extra money you might spend on food made out of food and not chemicals.
Because I tell you what, I feel better. Not just from an emotional standpoint, the satisfaction of doing something I think is right and proper (though that's not a small thing), but straight-up physically. My allergies have lessened or plain disappeared. I haven't gotten a cold in nearly a year (previously every two months or so). The last cold I got didn't turn into bronchitis as they inevitably used to. My joints feel better. I have more energy. It's an astounding difference.
Today we cooked -- a Flemish vegetable tarte, two loaves of bread (and o, the scent of fresh-baked bread in your kitchen!), a quiche, pork and veggies for dinner, and four quarts of applesauce and three of salsa for canning tomorrow.
Which brings me to the other part of this post -- preserving food. Yeah, you can buy the stuff in cans and jars at the store and it's a lot less work, and you can buy it any time of year so why stock up? Apart from blizzards and such, preserving your own food in season just makes a lot of sense. You know exactly what's going in it -- I started on the thought of canning when I read the back of a can of stewed tomatoes and discovered that one of the ingredients was high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup? In tomatoes?
As I recall I said several awfully rude things, and threatened to throw one of the jars (Tim got hold of it so the windows and dog are safe). I was (and still am) furious. That's it, I said, I'm canning my own tomatoes so I know exactly what goes in em.
We found a local place that sold us twenty-five pounds of canning tomatoes for fifteen dollars, and added about five pounds of our own tomatoes, and spent the afternoon cutting them up, bringing them up to temperature, pouring them into quart jars, and processing the lot. Yup, a long afternoon's work and we all hurt some at the end of it. But now we have enough tomatoes to last at least the winter if not until next tomato season, and there's nothing in them but tomatoes and a bit of lemon juice to keep the acidity high enough.
That got us going. Three kinds of pickles, zucchini relish, salsa, goose stock, applesauce, and our cabinets are full of good, wholesome, fairly inexpensive food. We could be snowed in for a good long time and wouldn't be hungry. It's a lovely secure feeling.
As gas becomes more scarce the price of food, which depends so heavily on it, will only go up. Learning to cook and preserve what's available, what's local and in season and thus less expensive, will make things a lot easier as time goes on.
Also? Worth it if only for the flavour.
Friday, November 2, 2007
A lot of people are choosing a theme for their postings -- gratitude seems popular. I thought about that, but decided to go elsewhere for mine, to a concern that's dear to me recently, though I really haven't mentioned it here yet.
I'm talking about Peak Oil. I'm talking about global warming. I'm talking about the credit crisis, and the state of mind that led to it. I'm talking about the fact that the American way of life, powered by cheap and abundant energy and by the labor of a lot of other people in other parts of the world, which, it's rapidly becoming clear, isn't sustainable at all.
And by 'sustainable' I don't mean something to maybe think about doing something about eventually, when you've got the time and a bit of money to spare. I don't mean a remote ideal, a technicolour image of lions and lambs. I mean that the way we in the First World live is simply not going to work for very much longer.
Peak Oil is shorthand for the concept that we are, eventually, going to run out of petroleum products to power our electrical grid, to run our cars, to make our plastic ziplock bags and our prescription medications (did you know that? Many of them not only use oil to power the processing, they're made from oil as well). Most petroleum geologists agree that more than half of the oil in the ground is already gone, that we've used more than half of what's available. In other words, it's all downhill from here.
Think ethanol will save us? I did, too. Until I realized two things: If we put every acre of corn production in the US into enthanol, all of it, all of those huge rolling fields in the Midwest and the smaller ones elsewhere -- and do note that they produce, one way or another, most of what you eat -- they would produce enough ethanol to run seven persent of the nation's cars. Seven. That's all. And what are we eating again? (from this article originally published in the Buffalo News.)
The other thing I realized? There are people starving because farmers can get more money selling their corn to make ethanol than they can selling it for food. People are starving, right now, so that we can drive our cars. Here are a few links talking about that one:
Of course, you can make ethanol from things other than corn. But that has its problems as well -- if we're growing millions of acres of switchgrass, to pick a commonly-cited example, where are we going to grow the corn? And here's an article citing a lot more problems with switchgrass: http://littlebloginthebigwoods.blogspot.com/2007/10/fuelish-fantasies.html. You might be interested in reading some of the other stuff Greenpa has to say in his blog, too.
There's a lot more to the problem than that, and I have to get to work, so I can't go on about it at quite the length I could wish to (or the length I'd need to present my case sufficiently, either). But I will say that I don't intend to dedicate the month of November to doomsaying only. What I wish to do, every day of this month, is share what I'm doing about it. One tidbit a day.
So here's today's tidbit: I haven't turned on the heat in my apartment yet. And it's gotten pretty cold, but it's not bothering me, because I know how to deal with it.
Some of it's the simple stuff like 'wear a sweater' and 'eat something warm'. I'm also opening the curtains and blinds every morning when the sun's coming in, to catch that heat, and closing things up once the sun goes down (or I get home from work). I have nice thick quilts to hang over every window in the place, and a pillow to lean against the bottom of the balcony door where it leaks cold air, and a chunk of carpeting to block off the drafts from the front door. When I get home from work I make dinner, which helps heat both the apartment and myself. I do wear a sweater, and long underwear, too, if it's chilly enough -- but I've only had to do that once so far, because the other thing I've noticed is that I'm getting used to it.
Decent indoor heating is a very new thing in the history of humanity. For gazillions of years we put on a bit more clothing and maybe lit a fire. We don't need it. It's awfully nice, I agree. But we don't need it.
I'll have to turn the heat on eventually, if only to keep the pipes from freezing. But instead of 65 degrees like last winter (or 70, as often as not, with the ex) I'm going to turn it on as low as it'll go in this apartment, which is, I believe, somewhere around 55 degrees. And I bet I'll be perfectly comfortable. I'll be saving money, and more importantly to me, using less gas, eking things out a little longer.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Found the SCA favours I'd made for my ex years ago...which he gave back to me the last time I saw him, right before I moved out here.
I could tell they weren't going to be enough on their own, so I cut off about five inches of my hair, as well. Grab ponytail, snip, right across the back.
And tossed in the lot.
Maybe I'm not quite as entirely Christian as I thought I was.
Still mostly, though.
Friday, October 19, 2007
for those with Little Enough To Do
At work, at home, at school,
or just stuck in traffic somewhere.
Lest they Get Up To Something,
gossip or slander,
kicking the back of Mom's seat,
screaming, or napping
where the boss will catch them,
or just long enough that they won't be able to sleep tonight,
building catapults out of office supplies,
or surfing the web until their eyes cross.
Give them something to Do, O Lord,
not something too hard (unless they're that bored),
something kinda fun or amusing or
at least interesting,
something useful, maybe even helpful,
so that not only are they not Bored Now
(at least for a while,
grant us this, O Lord!)
But at the end of the day they can,
look back upon their day and say, hey,
that was a good piece of work, there,
I'm glad I got that done,
kind of a tough job but boy,
how often do you feel that good about a day at work?
(if we've been especially good or there's just
something that really needs some attention)
let us avoid boredom by being about Your work,
there's plenty enough of it to go around and
well I was kinda bored anyway.
Grant us, dear Lord,
the vision to see when we can do
just a bit of Your work
the attention span to notice when maybe
someone needs a helping hand
a smile, a kind word
even a rebuke, because sometimes
that's Your work too
(though I'm much better
at the smiles).
In the name of Your Son,
who was bored at school sometimes too,
Friday, October 5, 2007
I am left entirely without income. I have effectively no savings and won't be able to pay next month's rent without either a job or borrowing Yet More Money from my credit cards. I keep getting interviews for jobs at the university, and then not getting them (though yes, eventually this will turn around -- it must). Today I filled out a job application at Wal-Mart.
In other news, it's been a year today since I left the ex. It's been an interesting month or so; I've been reliving a lot of stuff I'd hoped I'd left behind. I'm once again dreaming about being back with him, trapped, like I was; waking up to relief at being in Colorado, safely away.
I have to talk to him. I have to tell him I want a divorce. I have to tell him I want half the Stuff. I look forward to none of this.
I'm thinking about sending him an email. It's a copout, I know. He won't care, though; an email, for him, is as personal as a phone call. And the idea terrifies me much, much less.
Even though I'm terrified, I'm also happy, and quite proud of myself. I've lived a year on my own. I've survived. I have my own place. I keep it pretty clean, and I like how it's arranged and decorated. I've paid all my bills and they're up-to-date. I may be barely scraping by, but I'm surviving.
I've grown so much, done so much I didn't think I was capable of. Learned so much. Gained so much.
I'm so very grateful for the past year. If I had any money, I'd treat myself to an Independence Day dinner out tonight; as it is, since I'm broke and Tim and Ray are off to a party without me, I think I'll treat myself to a good home-cooked meal. Seems more of a treat anyway.
I'm going to kill my computer. KILLS IT I TELLS YOU.
I rode my bike to Tim and Ray's new place Wednesday. Three miles. Then another three miles to the garden and back. Hurting? Yes. But not too bad. I had to ask for a ride home, though. Tomorrow I believe I'll do it again. Eventually (and soon!) I want to get to a point where I'm only using my car if something is out of town, or if I need to carry more than the bike can hold. Gas is expensive, and riding my bike is free.
Calling a halt on looking for a place to live until I have a job. This frightens me but not much for it. Any place that lets me live there without having a job or other source of income is probably not a place I want to live. And if nothing else I can get a storage place for most of my stuff and move me and the cats into Tim's spare room for a bit. Not thrilled with the idea, mind you, but one does what one can with what one has.
Remember that job description on my last post, God? Wouldn't mind one of those right now.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
1. Where does the name of your blog come from? What does it mean to you?
It's from a Dar Williams song with the same title. Here's a link to the song on YouTube; I'm not sure it works, because I'm at work and can't check.
When I was born my parents planned to have another child a few years after me. Being the efficient types, they dressed me in 'non gender-specific' clothing (that is to say, boys' clothes) in case their second child turned out to be male. Well, I have a sister, and she got all the girly clothes one might wish.
I don't tell this tale to say that any gender ambiguity in my part is the 'fault' of my parents actions (though I'll admit I did tease my mother about it quite a bit when she finally told me). I don't think that 'crossdressing your child' will 'make him gay' or any such rot; there's no clothing that's 'inherently' male or female. But it's a funny story.
I think people are born with a physical gender (more or less), and that they're born with a gender they feel is right (more or less), and sometimes the two match, and sometimes they don't. And that's okay. I hang out with people who are firmly their birth gender, people who waffle between one or another (or neither), people who occasionally dress in clothing that's 'inherently' that of the other gender because they think it's hot, people who present as a gender that's not their birth gender because the one they are now feels 'right' and the one they were born with didn't, and people who've gone entirely through transition, including surgery, and are now the gender they feel they should have been born as. And all of these are okay.
Me, I was born female. Sometimes I feel girly. Sometimes I feel like a guy. Sometimes I don't much think about it because the bits don't matter at that moment. Sometimes I wish with desperate intensity that I were physically male (usually, I'll admit, when I have to pee and there's nowhere to go).
This song could have been written about me.
I won't forget when Peter Pan
Came to my house, took my hand
I said I was a boy, I'm glad he didn't check
I learned to fly, I learned to fight
I lived a whole life in one night
We saved each other's lives out on the pirate's deck
I grew up wanting to fly, to fight, to be in the adventure books I read and the movies I saw, not as the damsel in distress or the cute love interest, but as the one doing things.
And I remember that night
When I'm leaving a late night with some friends
And I hear somebody tell me it's not safe
Someone should help me
I need to find a nice man to walk me home
Somehow it's never occured to me that being a woman is somehow less safe than being a man. I mean, I know it, in the way that you know that Zimbabwe is in Africa and that traditional clothing in Germany includes lederhosen, but it never applied to me. I grew up walking my whole rural neighborhood at night; in college I walked Southside Bethlehem alone at all hours, never with a bit of trouble. Once I joined the SCA, people -- and it didn't occur to me to realize that they all happened to be men -- would offer to walk me back to my tent at night. I usually turned them down, since I was already attached to someone and why else would someone wish to do that?
When I was a boy, I scared the pants off of my mom
Climbed what I could climb upon
And I don't know how I survived
I guess I knew the tricks that all boys knew
I bounced, like any other kid. And was perhaps a bit sheltered, and a whole lot lucky, and had happened on my own to pick up a lot of the tricks contained in the emails our mothers send us, the ones that say keep your head up and walk quickly and with confidence and always have your keys out before you get to your car.
And you can walk me home, but I was a boy, too
I've learned to accept offers to walk me back to my tent, or to my apartment, with some grace. It's not an expression of my helplessness, especially not from those who know me. It's a courtesy.
Of course, I'm as likely to offer to walk someone else home if they look like they need it. I open doors for people, too. Sometimes they look surprised. *shrugs* It's a courtesy.
I was a kid that you would like
Just a small boy on her bike
Riding topless, yeah, I never cared who saw
My neighbor come outside to say
"Get your shirt," I said "No way
It's the last time I'm not breaking any law"
I remember the last time I got to run around the house topless. I guess I was eight or so. It was the middle of summer and a thousand degrees, for some reason I was inside but moving at full speed. My mom reached out and stopped me, and told me to go put on a shirt. I didn't want to, but it was that tone of voice so I did. I hated it. I'll still run around naked at near any opportunity.
And now I'm in a clothing store
And the sign says, "Less is More"
More that's tight means more to see
More for them, not more for me
That can't help me climb a tree in ten seconds flat
My fashion sense? I know a lot about the clothing of France in 1405 or so...
And don't get me started on the fashion industry and the way they've warped the perception of the human body.
When I was a boy, see that picture, that was me
Grass-stained shirt and dusty knees
And I know things have gotta change
They got pills to sell, they've got implants to put in
They've got implants to remove
But I am not forgetting
That I was a boy too
I think she's still talking about the things people do to make themselves 'look right' these days, but this verse always reminds me of my transsexual friends, and all the pills and shots and surgeries they've gone through to make their bodies be right. I'm grateful that I'm comfortable enough in my body that I haven't had to go through all of that.
And like the woods where I would creep
It's a secret I can keep
Except when I'm tired, except when I'm being caught off guard
I've had a lonesome awful day
The conversation finds its way
To catching fire-flies out in the backyard
And I tell the man I'm with
About the other life I lived
And I say now you're top gun
I have lost and you have won
And he says, "Oh no, no, can't you see
When I was a girl, my mom and I we always talked
And I picked flowers everywhere that I walked
And I could always cry, now even when I'm alone I seldom do
And I have lost some kindness
But I was a girl too
And you were just like me, and I was just like you
I've rarely been shy about expressing myself like she is, here. I don't necessarily say 'bigendered' or 'gender ambiguity' or anything like that but I'll happily talk about what I do and don't like to wear, about climbing trees and falling out of them. It's an easier age for that kind of thing than most. I get a few odd looks when I show up to a wedding in a suit, but no more than that. I'm grateful for that, too.
And that guy? I know him. I know a lot of him. I bet you do, too.
When I started this blog I intended it as a place to discuss sexuality and gender, LGBT topics, some pretty edgy stuff. The place has gone in entirely different directions while my life has done the same, but I keep the name -- it's still who I am, and everything I was going to talk about still applies.
2. Where do you find God most easily?
In nature. In my friends. In the Eucharist. In what I write in my blog. In my cats. In my lovers. In a number of books, only a few of which are overtly religious, or even nonfiction. In a good meal, or a good conversation.
3. If you could write a perfect-for-you job description, what would it include?
Funnily enough, this is a question I've been agonising over for quite a while now...
When I was a senior and getting ready to go to college, my parents asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, so that I could decide on a major. I had no idea. Somehow I thought that everyone else did, and that I was the only one questioning what I wanted to do.
I think most people my age have at least an idea of what they want to be when they grow up. I think a lot of the ones who think they know have simply settled into something that works. I think that some of the ones who think they know are right, and are either incredibly lucky if they're actually doing that, or very unhappy if for some reason they can't be doing what they're meant to.
I'm still not sure. I know I want to make things -- real things. Almost nobody these days actually creates things as part of their job (or even at all); most jobs make naught more than ones and zeroes of one sort or another. That's all mine does.
I want to make food, to make bath salts and other herbal concoctions; I want to make good sturdy comfortable clothing and rag rugs and hats and socks. I want to make furniture and cat trees. I want to build houses like my father did. I want to make trophies, like I did when I was a kid, and when I worked for my mother as an adult. I want to make new, beautiful, useful, well-made things.
I want to minister to people. I want to listen to them when they have something to say, to hold them when they're upset or feeling alone. I want to be with them when they're giving birth, hold them when they're sick, be with them when they're dying. I want to help them realize how very much God loves them. I want to feed them, give them places to live, make them clothing. I want to help them learn how best to be themselves.
I want to learn about the Earth. I want to climb up into the mountains, to walk along highway cuttings, to crawl down into tunnels and see how the rock goes and figure out why it does that. This is both the oldest and most newly rediscovered of the things I want to do when I grow up, so it's not a lot more specific than that, but let's just say that Rocks Friends.
Not much of a job description, is it? Not one you'll find in the classifieds (believe me, I've looked). But that's what I want to do when I grow up.
4. Tell us about a time you felt deeply loved or cherished.
The first five things I thought of I really couldn't post.
Then I thought of my sister. And was a little surprised. We never got along well as children. She was tall, attractive, athletic; I was short, a little dumpy, geeky. She tried, intermittently, to help me be more popular, that being all she knew how to do. This involved her doing my hair and putting makeup on me, at which point I would go and look in the mirror, declare that I looked like a clown, and wash my face. Needless to say, this didn't go over well.
She's always been very protective of our mother, especially after Dad died. At times this manifested itself in anger at me, for not talking to Mom enough, for getting into fights with her -- stuff like that. But she was never protective of me, or so I thought, until I left my ex.
She told him over the phone that I wasn't there when he called my mom's place. She argued with him over IM, telling him that he'd frightened me and really ought to apologize for that. She told me to stand up to him, called him crude names to make me laugh. And when I had to go up to the house that he and I used to share to pick up a last few items, she insisted on coming along, offered to drive on the way home if I needed her to, and was so visibly protective of me while I was there that Lewis later said that he'd been worried she would beat him up.
This isn't as amusing a scenario as you might think. My sister is six foot three and played field hockey and lacross in high school. She probably could.
It felt really good to have my sister there keeping an eye on me. She did have to drive home, too, because I was crying too hard to do it. It occured to me, sometime between then and now, that she was trying to do the same thing in high school, in the only way she knew how. I haven't thanked her for that yet, but I really need to.
5. Tell us about the outfit (clothes) that make you feel most like you.
Old comfortable torn-up bluejeans. A t-shirt of mine, swirly tie-dyed blue, with the silhouette of a howling wolf against the moon. My father's old flannel shirt, navy blue and soft from years of wear. Good sturdy sneakers. Hair up in a ponytail out of my way.
Clothing, you'll note, for cooler weather. I don't like hot; I don't much like the summer. Fall and spring are my favourite seasons.
The moon and the wolf, of course. The wolf is me, the moon is when I'm out and about.
Clothing, as Dar Williams would say, which would help me climb a tree in ten seconds flat. That's comfortable and doesn't get in my way. Has pockets. Doesn't get hung up on things. Easy to take off the flannel if it's warm, or add more layers if it's cold.
Does it make me look good? I don't know, but it makes me look like me.
Thank you, Mrs. M! You made me think; I love that.
Anyone out there bored? Want to talk about yourself? We all like doing that, don't we? Well, I've gone on about myself long enough and it's only fair to give someone else a chance. So here are the rules.
1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave me a comment saying "Interview me."
2. I will respond by posting five questions for you. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
Tandaina tagged me something like last week or the one before, and here I am, finally levering my tuchus free to do the meme.
1) You have to use your own belief system for the meme. No fair using someone else’s to make a joke or satire. Being humorous about your own religion is encouraged!
2) You have to have at least one joy and one trial. More are encouraged. And no, they don’t have to be equal in length, but please be honest.
3) You have to tag at least one other person. More are appreciated!
4) Please post these rules!
The joys of being a confused, intermittently church-going Independent Catholic with occasional pagan leanings:
1) The Eucharist. Every week. Three times a week if I really want to.
2) The freedom to think about what the Bible says, and what it means, instead of having to take someone else's word for it.
3) Finding the sacred everywhere, not just in a building someone's dedicated to God.
4) Drinking wine out of the same glass as everyone else.
5) Sharing a religion with some of the most wonderful people I know (that would be a lot of you who read my blog, y'all).
6) Having the freedom to think the rest of y'all are pretty cool too, even if you worship rocks or trees or something (kidding! Put down that pitchfork!).
7) Being able to be Christian, to follow Jesus, and show people who've had bad experiences with people who call themselves Christian that we're not all like that, and, as far as I can tell, neither was Jesus.
The trials of being a confused, intermittently church-going Independent Catholic with occasional pagan leanings:
1) Watching Dogma.
2) The Texts of Terror.
3) The concept of Original Sin.
4) Sharing a religion with a whole lot of people who really, honestly think I'm 'not fit to live'.
5) People who assume I'm one of the people in 4) when I tell them I'm Christian.
6) Trying to reconcile the thought of a loving, all-powerful God with all the horrendous shit that happens in the world.
I'll tag Plain Fool and Wulfila, cos I'm really interested in what they'll say.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Ups and downs with the Shanti. She didn't get her meds Friday night; I wasn't fighting with her while drunk (I did find her just fine though). Saturday I wasn't home most of the day, so I couldn't let her out some evening; when I did get home around eleven, she'd peed on my pillow. Now, it could be because she'd missed a dose and wasn't feeling well; it could be that she was pissed because I didn't let her outside at her now-accustomed time. I don't know. Since I was heading right back out, I grabbed my pillow and let her out for the night.
Saturday was spent running errands and doing a bit of Salvation Army stuff. Ray got a call from friends of his partway through the afternoon and wound up spending the night at their place gaming; Tim and I went to a really great aquarium store where Tim bought a couple of pretty fish for his new tank. No idea what they're called, but they're sort of white and iridescent. They're pretty.
Kinda glad Ray went out, because he would have been bored stiff at the place. Tim and I wound up talking about that for a while, along with generally worrying over his untreated bipolar. I mentioned to Tim that it seemed that he and Ray had very few interests in common, and he shrugged a little and said that he tried not to think about it too hard, lest he come to a conclusion he wouldn't like.
This is not the way I want these conversations to go.
Since Ray was out and for once I didn't have to get up early in the morning, Tim decided that Tonight Was The Night and he was going to show me Dogma. He also invited me over for the night, which was lovely; it'd been a while. I headed home to give Shanti her pill and pick up my own evening meds, which is when I discovered my poor pillow; when I got back to his place I was in a pretty crappy mood. I actually had to wait at my place for a bit before I could give Shanti her pill and put her outside; I was so upset I was worried I'd hurt her.
This is new. I never used to get that mad. Or let myself get that mad; maybe I didn't feel safe expressing anger. I don't like it much, but I handled it properly.
So I get back and Tim says 'Watch Dogma! It'll cheer you up.' He's still apologizing, too. :/ It...wow. I guess I'd had a crisis of faith building up anyway, but once the movie was done I spent about twenty minutes trying to argue the plot away, because lurking underneath that was the concept that if I couldn't convince myself that the movie didn't make any sense, then God wasn't anyone I could serve. Instead of getting that far as a logical argument (though I did manage more logical argument than usual, which impresses me) I wound up crying on poor Tim, great heaving sobs that only stopped when I realized that if I didn't stop I was going to throw up.
He managed to talk me down from it, more or less, but I wound up hashing through my issues with the concept of original sin again, as well as the whole Texts of Terror, with a side dish of the whole mess in the Episcopal Church and a brief detour into 'what if we're wrong and being gay is sinful?'. It was not pleasant and it wasn't pretty and eventually he wiped my eyes and got me to blow my nose and just tucked me into bed. I am so, so very grateful that he'd asked me to stay over already -- if I'd had to go home and sleep alone after that, I don't know what I would have done. I didn't sleep very well as it was, but it helped so much just to be next to him. Even though he snores.
Somehow by Sunday morning the whole thing had eased again. I don't know if the crisis is actually over or has just wandered off for a while and will be back. I haven't gotten back on balance enough to be able to tell; this whole work thing has me very focused on the physical. Sometime I'm going to have to slow down long enough to do something about that...
We got a whole bunch of things done on Sunday, enough, in fact, that I ran out of energy around seven and went home. Gave Shanti her pill and let her out, since I hadn't got the chance earlier. Slept like a rock and had a hard time getting up this morning. I couldn't find Shanti before I left for work, so she's missed her pill again; it was raining this morning so I figure she was hiding out somewhere dry. I hope I see her tonight, and I hope she doesn't pee on my pillow, too. We shall see.
More later -- I still have two memes to do -- but for now I should actually do some work at work.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Now she's making me post. she posted to. hers is at LJ at bratgrl or something i'll tell you later.
If i try to make a link now it would be bad. bad. i'd make code and it would splode. Cose! Splode!
there was wine and chips and cheese and salsa and chocolate ice cream because sometimes women we need chocolate ice creem. also a dog but not for dinner. I like Inga but not that way cos she is a dog.
i think dwen is asleep now i hope she is comfortable cos i cant pickk her up.
i should go home but there are stairs
my cat is outside and its dark. maybe shell carrry me home?
Seanan McGuire, filker, poet, writer, artist, and all-around wonderfully insane woman, wrote this lovely poem for me, as part of one of her intermittent Iron Poet challenges. She'll post asking for prompts, you give her three words and (optionally) a mood or form, and she'll write you a poem. She usually limits these to ten or so requests, but she left this one open for more than a day and got a couple hundred, I think. She is amazing and the poem she wrote for me simply blows me away. My words were Mountain, Wolf, and Courage.
I'm simply blown away by this. She doesn't know me from Adam, and yet she's gifted me with this work of her hands/mind. Wow.
I also have a piece of her artwork coming, but that I paid for (and gladly!) It's, err, well, it's worksafe, but I might take it down from my wall when my mom comes to visit again. She's awfully pretty; go take a look if you're so inclined.
I tend to swing back and forth between being more interested in men and being more interested in women. I think I'm swinging towards women again (no, not that kind of swinging, ya lot). Dwen's not my type but awfully attractive; I've been turning to look at women when I pass them on the street. But! Life is complicated enough, and I'm staying faithful to my men. They don't mind if I look, though.
I have a meme and five interview questions to answer, and I have two different posts to make with pictures in em. I have a post on the title of this blog that I've been meaning to do for months (Mrs. M, thanks for making that an interview question, cos now I'll have to actually do the post). I have a sermon or so to write up (me! with a sermon idea!) and a few thoughts on things that aren't sermons but might get there. Working on a regular schedule is great for me getting the physical things in order but it seems to be making it harder to focus on mental, emotional, spiritual things. I'm going to have to work on that.
Things are okay with Shanti. Alas, my lease does say something about all pets must be on a leash, so they've got me on the 'don't let her run around alone'. I think I'll be relying on a combination of letting her out after work and the occasional 'oops the cat got out'.
I've also talked to Lark the Expert on All Animals who has given me plenty of suggestions. Her theory that it was all a territory problem seems to be borne out by the results of giving Shanti more space -- even when I kept her inside yesterday she was still happy, and my pillow was still dry. I can't usefully make my one-bedroom apartment larger but I can give it more cat-space -- I've already cleared space on a couple of shelves for cat beds (though they're not using them yet), and I stacked the little cat tree (two feet high, alas) on top of the big wooden box in my bedroom, so it's about four feet off the ground now. Shanti's using that to look out the window and enjoying herself thoroughly.
See, for cats, 'up' space is just as good as 'over' space. And I can make plenty more 'up' space where I am. I don't know if it'll help enough to let Shanti integrate with the rest, as Samson is still insane, but it's worth a shot and they'll be happier anyway.
Lark pointed out, correctly, that bigger cat trees would give them plenty more 'up' space, but also that cat trees cost an average of 6589021394867390154 dollars. I'm going to set about making a few, though, as it's not hard. Knew there was a reason I've been pulling lumber out of the dumpsters. The apartment complex is remodeling, too, and I'll be able to get plenty of carpet for free. All I'll have to buy is sisal rope and possibly a staple gun. I may scam Tim's camera and document the process.
Blah, blah, blah, mundane stuff. I want to get back to writing about my spirituality again. I think I need to find it first, though. Maybe it's in my left back pocket, or possibly up in the park. Wouldn't surprise me if Shanti ate it. She's a stinker.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Got home, got the pill into her with no troubles, let her out. She ran about for an hour or so while I got things done at my place -- made pasta to go with the spaghetti sauce I made last week and packed that up for lunches at work, made two tuna sandwiches for Tuesday lunch, did dishes, filled the crockpot insert with beans to soak overnight so I could start them in the morning.
One of the neighborhood kids apparently rescued Shanti out of a tree, or so I learned when she was precipitously deposited on my porch. (Shanti, not the kid.) I use the word 'rescue' advisedly, but it was amusing, anyway. I brought her in (about which she was not thrilled) and eased her annoyance with some tuna juice, then spent the next half-hour or so in the bedroom with her, cleaning the carpet and keeping an eye on her. She demanded attention, spent some time running from one window to the other, and eventually plopped down on the bed for a nap.
All of which helped me begin to realize that for the last couple of months, when she's in my bedroom alone, she's mostly been slinking about under the bed or otherwise acting schizoid. And also gave me confidence to leave her in the bedroom alone for a bit while I sat down for a well-deserved bowl of popcorn.
When I eventually went to bed my pillow was dry and Shanti was waiting for me. I woke up pretty often, just to check on her, but she spent most of the night lying next to my pillow, perfectly content. Tuesday morning I gave her her pill and let her out, then went to work. Yesterday was the first time I'd let her out and left the apartment, so I spent the day kinda scared. I walked around looking for her when I got home, but with no luck; she showed up before I left for fighter practice, though. I saw her across the field, and called her; she galloped towards me and leapt into my arms, purring.
I left her alone in the bedroom for several hours while I was at fighter practice, with no problems; she slept next to me all night, waking early in the morning to pace and await being allowed outside. She's a whole new cat. I feel like I've got my Shanti back, and I love it. If all I have to do is let her outside and keep the boys out of the bedroom, I can deal with this.
Edit: Of course, I just got a call from the apartment complex telling me I couldn't let her outside. *growl* Not sure what I'm going to do, though 'let her out in the evening after work' and 'check my damn lease and make sure they're not making it up' are high on my list.
We shall see. Only three months until I can move, and I am going to.
Monday, September 10, 2007
So Tim isn't king, and we can all breathe easy. It would have been far too exciting. That said, we all had a pretty good time, though Ray and I ran out not long after the tourney and we wound up leaving earlier than expected. Missed a brilliant feast, too, by all reports, but we were done.
Sunday morning I got up and let Shanti out. I was terrified about it; I've never, ever been the kind of person who let my cats outside, but it was about the last thing I could think of to let her stay. She trotted happily off, and I watched her go, not knowing if I'd even see her again. Then, I went to get a loaf of bread started.
An hour or so later I was sitting at the computer and heard her meowing outside the bedroom window. I went to the balcony and called her, and she came running to me. I held her tight and buried my face in her belly, and she didn't even kick me for it, she purred and purred. I put her back in the bedroom and gave her a bunch of treats, and stayed in there with her for a while, just paying attention to her. She wanted to go back out, so I let her.
While she was out I got thinking. I've been letting Chocolate stay in the bedroom, day and night, because his presence keeps Shanti from peeing on my bed. If she won't come up onto the bed, will she come out from under the bed at all? So I pulled the bed out a little. Sure enough...the back corner under the bed is full of poop (and black cat fur, but that was expected) and dark stains. I pulled the bed out further. Blood.
As far as I can tell she's not hurt, but someone's been beating the hell out of someone and it's a lot worse than I'd thought it was. Samson's nose is scratched up but doesn't look that horrible. I don't know. It's going to be awful getting it out of the carpet, but I'm more interested in not letting it happen again.
I cleaned up the poop and vacuumed that part of the floor. Apparently the fur was a little thick because it seems to have let the magic smoke out of my vacuum cleaner. I let it cool and I hope it still works. I sprayed cleaner-stuff on the carpet, too, but there wasn't a lot of it and I'm just going to let it marinate there until I get more.
I puttered around for a while, waiting for Shanti to come back and the dough to rise. Cleaned up a little, took some things out to the trash, cleared detritus out of the car. Eventually Shanti wandered back and spent some time laying under the tree outside my balcony; by then I was involved in pulling the seat off my bicycle in hopes of getting a new one that doesn't hurt my bits so much. She lounged around and I petted her every time I walked past. I called her from the balcony a few times, but she showed no inclination to come inside, so I left her until I was ready to go.
I thought about just letting her stay outside while I was out, but I felt uncomfortable with it -- I'm still getting used to the idea of letting her out when I'm home! -- and I also wanted to see if getting what she wanted would improve her disposition towards my pillow. I'd scooped the litterboxes while she was out, so that was good. I carried her inside, petted her a lot, gave her more treats, and headed out.
Tim and Ray had made breakfast -- bacon, home fries (homemade, of course!) and eggs. Add half a perfectly-ripe cantaloupe and it was a lovely meal. The plan was to drive down to Black & Read (a local gaming/used books/used music emporium), then ce to attempt to trade in books for cash and/or credit, and then go to Sam's Club for staples.
I only got five dollars in credit for my books and I still have most of them, alas. They've gone through three used book stores and soon they're going to the Salvation Army. I promptly spent my five dollar credit and more, picking up a couple of D&D first edition books in decent condition and new-to-me copies of a couple of novels I'd left behind with Lewis.
Tim, in the meantime, spent his time there buying gifts for Ray and I, to thank us for our help with Crown Tourney. He got Ray a copy of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which I am totally going to borrow when Ray's done with it; he bought me a book on edible foods of the Rocky Mountains, and a blank book with lovely handmade paper and an image of a dancing Indian woman on the front. I declared that the woman was Inara, from Firefly; I have no idea what I'm going to write in it yet.
On to Sam's Club, thence to purchase far too much, because, well, 'bulk' and 'cheap'. Though as we discovered later when Tim went out to Safeway to pick up a few things for dinner, not so much with the cheap, as most of it would have been less expensive at Safeway. Alas.
Dinner was an experiment: fish. Tilapia fillets, to be precise, in a lemon-butter-caper sauce that was absolutely delectable; fresh green beans with a trickle of the same sauce; and rice cooked in chicken broth with minced onions and a little bit of tarragon. It worked, and it worked well. We'll be doing fish again.
Eventually, spare pillow clean and dried, laundry loaded up, I went home. To discover that despite all my efforts, Shanti had peed on my pillow again. Mind you, she had also peed in the litterbox. I fear she's formed a habit and I haven't the faintest idea how to change it.
I'm going to call my vet over lunch today and see if she has any suggestions. I'm also going to call the Humane Society and see what they think. I'm about out, myself. I just have no idea, none, whatsoever.
She was glad to see me home and purred and rubbed against my legs. She's not even mad at me; she's just peeing on my pillow.
Tonight is stuffed peppers for dinner; I'll be making something to eat for lunch the rest of the week, too, and possibly making little pasties to eat for breakfast as well. And deciding what I'm going to do about my cat, because I just don't know.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Unless I can come up with a solution, I'm going to be taking her to the humane society soon.
She's young, beautiful, quite friendly, and is willing (in fact, loves) to go for walk on the leash. She should find a home soon.
See, she pees. At first she occasionally peed on clothing I'd left on the floor; then on clothing left on a chair; then on the chair itself. The chair is now thoroughly cleaned and living in a closet, and I got used to washing my clothes a lot.
Then it was on the bed, and more often. Once a week, then several times a week. Now, if she's the only cat in the room, she'll pee on my pillow. While I'm using it.
The litterbox is spotless, so it's not that. She has a clean bill of health from the vet. I know she doesn't much like it when the other cats are in the room, especially Samson - he beats her up. But she pees when they're _not_ in there. I've taken to leaving Chocolate in the room all the time, simply to protect my bed.
I don't know what else to do with her. My only hope is that she'll be okay as the only cat in the family, or as an inside-outside cat somewhere that's possible (with coyotes audible most nights here, I won't let her out).
I'm desperate. I love her. She's beautiful and loving and I can't sleep for fear she'll pee again. I don't know what the hell to do.
I'll miss her.
So I'm caught up on my email, and my Livejournal, and my blogs; I've read (and printed) a number of articles on how to make various things at home; I took fifteen minutes to pet somebody's dog. I'm bored, bored, bored bored.
The Assistant to the Dean position fell through; he isn't sure what he wants in an admin assistant, so he's going to hire a temp for six months until he gets it figured out. A lot of people have tried to console me by telling me I'm probably happier not working for him anyway, but I think his decision makes sense -- if he doesn't know what he wants someone to do, how's he going to know who to hire?
I'm still applying for other jobs at the university, and my high scores still stand. In the meantime, Crocs will do. Crocs will do nicely.
I feel like what I'm doing contributes nothing to the betterment of the world, mind you, but I suppose that can come later. Right now I need to feel like I'm remotely financially secure, or at least not in a huge hole. Which Crocs will do. I got my first 'full week' paycheck today and it's a lovely lovely feeling. :)
In other good news, my new doctor refilled my antidepressant prescription without a qualm. He rocks. So now I'm on my happy meds again and much more stable.
Sunday (or was it Monday?) I baked bread. There's a brand of whole wheat flour that's specifically designed for high-altitude baking, and it's got a bread recipe on the back; I just followed it. Kneaded it by hand, which didn't hurt near as much as I'd thought it would (which is why I haven't tried it before; I'm careful of my hands). I let it rise three times but apparently not for long enough, because it came out fairly dense. Still very good, though, and I've been eating the results all week. I think I'll be baking my own bread in the future.
I should give props to Tim, who tried the bread thing first. His second batch came out just fine, so I'm going to follow what he did. (His first batch did the same thing mine did; fortunately (or unfortunately) Sarah got up onto the counter and ate most of one loaf. Alas, dog.) It's hard to find a simple bread pan these days, which depresses me, but who's surprised...
I've spent down moments for the last week and more reading The Archdruid Report, a blog on Peak Oil and what he calls the coming 'deindustrialization' of society. Interesting stuff. I'm not sure I agree with him, but his points about doing more things sustainably, and doing more things without the aid of machines, do appeal to me. I've spent part of the day today looking for ways to do things myself -- for example, I printed out three pages of recipes for things to make out of crabapples, and a recipe for homemade laundry detergent. I shall report back on the results of both.
It seems only right to do what I can to take care of this Earth that God has given us to live on. Most of it's more work, yeah, but you know what? Oh well. I 'work' all day and yeah, it does tire me out but I'm not doing anything, not creating anything except lots of little ones and zeroes, and a lot of printed-on paper that will shortly be recycled. When I get home (and when I have the energy) I want to make things.
When I have the energy. I'm still getting used to getting up in the morning. It's a slow process but I'm getting there. I'm afraid I slept in a little today -- Chocolate was being insistent. Since I've been working nine-hour days I don't feel too bad about it, though.
I've been working on getting (back?) into a habit of prayer. Little muttered prayers throughout the day, and stolen moments (usually in the bathroom, I'm afraid) of just being quiet and paying attention to God. I've felt His presence a few times which is good; I don't know if my faith is strong enough to carry me through years without it, like Mother Teresa. Her story still makes me want to cry, and then smack the people who think that her long darkness of the soul makes her less a saint.
I think a lot of people don't understand faith. I know I didn't. I thought it meant a surety, a lack of doubt that humans generally don't actually get. And so I thought I had no faith. A different definition might have made things very different.
Ahh, well. What is, is. And that's what I have before me to deal with.
Tim and Ray have been fighting. I've set aside time with each, just to listen to them. Tim vents upon me in huge bouts of anger. (Not at me, just near me, if you know what I mean.) Ray quietly tells me he's depressed and goes back to reading. I'm praying hard for them both. Ray cheered up while his parents were here (and they talked him into going to a doctor, thank God!) but he spiralled right back down when they left. Tim's trying to convince him to actually go to the doctor, but we'll see. I'm out of it, apart from listening and prayer. I haven't the energy. We shall see.
Tomorrow Dwen is fighting for Tim in Crown Tourney. For the non-SCA folk out there (most of you, I think) if she wins they'll be King and Queen of the local SCA kingdom for six months. A lot of work and a lot of politics. I find myself for the first time hoping that someone I like doesn't win. Tim would be miserable and Ray even worse -- he doesn't enjoy the SCA.
It should be a pretty fun day, though. Dwen isn't likely to win but I do hope she fights well. Tim and I both got silk banners with our arms on them from Adhemar, and they're gorgeous. There will be pageantry and such. I'm looking forward to it.
Kinda scattered today, huh? And nothing too thought-inducing. Ahh, well. Perhaps more on Sunday if I can get my home computer up and running.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I called Tim at their new place on my way home. Turns out they were about to head out to dinner with the folks who're renting them the place, so I wasn't going to have a chance to pick up the St. John's Wort before then. I suffered a bout of Left Out but just headed home and made myself get on with things.
I've had chicken stock going on the stove for a couple days now (skin, bones et cetera of a grocery store rotisserie chicken, two small onions, some garlic, and a bunch of carrots that had been sitting in Tim's fridge a little long). It's smelling really good by now, I tell you what. I skimmed out most of the debris and transferrred the broth into a smaller pot to let it simmer down further; I like to wait until it's pretty concentrated to freeze it.
That gave me somewhat of a feeling of accomplishment, so I continued in that vein and actually made supper instead of eating cookies and popcorn. Okay, it was pizza out of the freezer (and alas not very good), but it was something. While that was underway I did a bunch of straightening up which helped my mood as well.
The boys stopped over after dinner to drop off the St. John's Wort and pick up a couple things from their old place. They weren't here long but it was good to see them. Tim's exhausted and sick, and Ray is, well, twenty-two and could probably have spent another eight hours helping someone else move. I remember those days...
I sent them home with a jar of my Long Day Working bath salts, and I just hope Tim didn't fall asleep in the bath and drown.
Currently my computer runs Windows. I hate Windows with a great searing passion. Well, I got an Ubuntu Linux disc from Tim a week or so ago and finally sat down to mess with installing it. It's not installed yet -- there were partitioning issues and I need to mess with it more -- but just being able to use Linux for a bit was awfully, awfully nice. Comforting. Familiar. Also not claustrophobic like Windows is.
In the times while I was waiting for various install things to happen I did two things: 1) worked on a braided rug I've had in progress for roughly forever and want to get done done done, and, 2) realized that I haven't the faintest idea what to name my computer. The ex and I had a computer naming scheme that gave me plenty of choices and worked very well for the two of us but I don't want to stick with any of those.
This realization expanded into the further realization that I've been out here for nearly a year and still have very little idea who I am. All of the old certainties are gone and I have only a few new ones to take their place. After some thought I settled on 'shewolf' for the computer but the rest is gonna take a while.
I think I need to take some time away from my dearest beloveds (and not just because I've been wanting to kill them both a little too often recently). I'm still defining myself by them instead of my me and that's no better than defining myself by the ex. Okay, it's not as bad because they're actually decent human beings but it still ain't good. I need to figure out who I am.
Now how do you do that again? I've heard keeping a journal is a good way to start...
*wanders off into sarcasm*
Apparently having a day job makes me get up in the morning. No, not just when I have to work, but every morning. This is not a bad thing though Chocolate seems to be grumpy about it. He hollered at me for a while this morning -- get back in bed and pet me, you! I'm all alone here -- but now he's curled up smack in the middle of the bed, asleep.
Normally on a Sunday I get up barely in time to make it to church. Which is at eleven-thirty. Me? Not a morning person.
Today I could have gotten up at seven and been sufficiently rested. I stayed in bed until nine, mostly because of Chocolate, but it wasn't because I needed more sleep. Since then I've been messing with the computer, getting it ready to (with luck and help from friends) install Linux. And tending the stock, and braiding things, and straightening up...I've gotten a lot done already, and normally I'd barely be awake by now.
Heading over to Tim and Ray's in a couple hours. I've decided that this morning instead of church I'm going to get things done, do some thinking, and probably go for a walk. I need processing time. And I need to see my loves...but later.