Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Finding My Laughing Place

Wow, school starts and look at how the posting drops off! I've been a lazy blogger.

A few updates and then I'm going to post something completely different.

I've added a few new links to my blogroll. Both of them have to do with Disney. To be honest, all my time online in the past few days has been reading these blogs. If you don't know it already, i'm a disney junkie. I took my honeymoon with Kitten there, and we've got plans in the works for going back in a couple of years (hey- its expensive!) We're planning on taking Hedgewitch and her husband, Shyguy. Kitten's BFF Precious is coming too. We're going to let all of our buddies in on the trip if they want to come. Anyway, its brought on a load of park research and fact searching. Then I get excited. Then I get distracted. Its a vicious cycle.

Life is going well for all of us in the Kitteh household. We've been planning for upcoming holidays. I bought the start of my Halloween costume, which I am making by hand. Its going to be epic, and as soon as I have it in try-onable form, I'll be posting pictures of it. I'm excited. Also, did a little baking tonight, and it was fun.

Life seems to be evening out. I'm grateful for it.

I had a strange dream the other night, as soon as I am able to close my eyes and think of it in more detail I am planning on posting about it, because I had two visitors in my dream that Iwas suprised by. I was talking to the girls about it earlier today, and the more I reflect, the more interested and disturbed I become.

For as long as I've been gone, that's about the long and short of it.

I'm thinking of all of you.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Who Cares if You Disagree? You Are Not Me.

Wow. As the days grow shorter and back to school time approaches, time seems to be getting shorter as well. My days are begninning to blue together, and its difficult to remember to keep on things. Even things I enjoy, like blogging.

Yesterday was Kitten and I's one year anniversary with Oscelot. All three of us had to work, so we didn't do anything too huge and spectacular. We got Oscelot a bunch of roses and the Disney movie Bambi. She's been on a Babmbi kick lately, so I thought it was timely. We also went and has a nice casual dinner. I was thankful. In part, I have had a cold for the last couple of days (in August, right? Its 100 degrees and I have the sniffles!) and the prospect of getting all dressed up and going to a nice meal seemed like a waste, especially since I'd be sniffling through the whole thing. Also, and we discussed this, I hate the expectation that anniversaries have to be this big to-do. Now, milestone anniversaries I understand, but there's so much pressure. And honestly, if you're doing your relationship right, every day is something special that should be celebrated. So we went and had a good time and it was delightful. Also, Oscelot and Kitten purchased a blender for me, so I can have fancier protein shakes. Romantic, right?

I had thought I was doing better, that I was putting on weight. Then I started my menstrual cycle and realized I'd probably only put on water weight. We'll see at the end of the week, I guess, whether or not I've made any progress. And here I was excited. I thought I'd gained 6 pounds.

My gift from Oscelot was really thoughtful. She purchased the DVD set of Band of Brothers for me. I've been wanting it for several years now, and it seems to get skipped over on all my present lists, because its pretty expensive. I wanted it because my Grandfather was in 151st airborn during WWII and I really realate to his experiences, as he told them to me, through those films. I'm excited to watch it with the girls, I think they will love and appreciate it as much as I do. Its pretty good timing as well, because Samhain is approaching faster than I care to admit and i would like to start an altar for the dead in my home. The primary person I would chose to honor is my grandfather, so I think its a good way to get me thinking about him and how I want to honor him in the coming months.

Fall is approaching (or if your me, or any neopagan, we're almost halfway through the harvest season) and with that comes the picking of fruits and vegetables. I'm excited because this is an excellent time to get plenty of tasty local produce. I like fruit and vegetables from gardens because they seem to have such a better flavor. Also, I know that there are less chemicals and pesticides in the food I'm eating. While I'm definatly not one of the big "everything has to be organic" nuts, I like that there is less likelihood I'm putting cricket killer, or whatever, into my mouth when I eat. And, like I said, the food just tastes better.

With the harvesting comes canning time. Now, I've never done canning before, but I'm excited to give it a try. Hedgewitch gave me the idea. She asked me if I knew how, because she has so much excess vegetable in her garden she isn't going to be able to eat it all. So, canning. I didn't, but I told her I would find out. As luck would have it Bobcat had the comeplete Ball canning book and it has all the detailed instructions we need, plus some great receipes. I plan on making peach preserves at least, and I saw some other recipes in there I wouldn't mind giving a try. One day this week we are going to get together and have an old-fashioned canning day. I'm excited about the preserves. My great-grandmother used to make them, and I'm coming full circle again on fall being the time of year where we remember and honor our dead. Actually, this Samhain is the three year anniversary of her funeral. She will definately have a place on my altar as well.

After we have our little canning party I think we're going to take the time to go for a walk. Its time to start collecting acorns and fallen leaves for Mabon. (that's the second of our fall holidays, and it takes place in the middle of September) Our leaves haven't started to turn quite yet, but they will soon, and in the meantime there are plenty of fallen flower petals and such to gather up. As a fun activity, we're planning on saving some to dip in parrafin so we can arrange them in vases as decoration.

Its been really nice to have another witch to talk to. Especially Hedgewitch, because I've known her since I was a child, and we're so comfortable with eachother. I don't know if I've mentioned it, but we've recently reconnected, and its been refreshing to see someone I knew so well. She is the same as she's always been. I feel like I've been separated from a sister for a very long time and we're getting to make up for lost time. She's a great lady, and she's really in touch with the earth, and with herself, and she is fantastic for understanding and empathizing with other people's emotions. She always has been. She gives me a lot of perspective, and lately, I think I've needed that.

I've had a lot on my mind emotionally lately, and its been nice to have someone to share that with. I know that Sakura and Perpet are always there for me, but I also know that you can only go over something so many times before your friends get sick of hearing about it. I also know what they would say to me, and sometimes having a new perspective is all you need. I think part of my recent illness (okay, most of it) is related to stress, and most of my stress is emotional. I have a lot of stress related to work, and then there's the things you have to cope with on a day to day basis, which I can handle. But sometimes there are long-standing problems you let go too long, or there's new ones that you just can bring yourself to talk about. I have a lot of those. Chatting with Hedgewitch has given me the chance to catch up with her, and to express some of those problems that I let go, or bury, because I have to or I can. She seems to draw it out of me.

I've found myself telling her things I don't talk about much, even here, and they are things that from time to time are troubling to me. Lately, a lot of those things are cropping up, and I hate having to face them emotionally all over again. Of course, this means that I'm dealing with family issues more, or there are things in my past that continue to upset me, and I have to deal with them some time or another. Talking about them with her has helped me greatly. I think its also helpful because some of those things were secrets I'd confided in a few other people recently, and those people let me down. Big time. Now I know that there's that dark part of me out there, in someone's mind, floating around, and they have no reason not to tell other people, because they aren't attached to me anymore. Its frightening. Remember how I mentioned I don't trust people, I expect them to let me down, and I trust them anyway? This is what happens, in my experience. They move on, and they carry that part of you with them, and you can't keep yourself safe anymore.

I trust you, here, because I know that you aren't running around telling people "Alecya has this problem" or "Did you know, Alecya had this happen to her as a teenager, she's sure fucked up because of it." Most of you aren't, anyway. I'm experiencing a new phenomenon, though, and maybe you long-time blogger buddies of mine can tell me how you deal with this. I've always regarded my blog as my space, my place to vent or to confide. Its my little online diary. It never was a problem before, because I don't- or didn't- have a lot of friends. The ones I had weren't interested in my blog, or they already knew my problems. Now I have a widening circle of aquaintences, and they do read my blog, and sometimes I need to vent about things that I don't know I want to share with them. But then, if they are interested...ah, well, I think you get my point. I feel like I have to be careful what I post. I've done the typical, I think, I don't post a link to my blog on Facebook when I've posted something relatively personal or private. I definately don't post a link when I'm blogging about a friend I'm stressed about. Still, I hate editing myself. Maybe I need to say devil take them. This is my space afterall. If I think Sakura is being dramatic (I don't babe) or if Oscelot is making me nuts, or if the Lifeguard is being distant and its making me bonkers, maybe I should post it. If they're checking in, like I know they do, they'll know how I feel. Of course, they probably do already. I just verbalize it here. Right?

Speaking of FB and all its dramatic glory, I had an epic throwdown with one of Oscelot's aunts recently. Without divulging too much of her past, because it isn't my story to tell, I can say safely that her childhood and teen years were terrible. I mean, they make my early years look like a cakewalk. Part of what happened to her has contributed to the mental conditions she suffers from now. She's gtting therapy, which I'm really happy about, and one of the things she's been doing is tring to distance herself from her family, because they were the ones that inflicted the damage. Recently, she asked her parents and the rest of her family to please stop contacting her because she needed time and space to sort out her issues, and seeing them was not only hurting her emotionally, but it was damaging her progress in therapy.

Needless to say, her family has not respected her wishes. Trying to be supportive after a couple of rough days, I posted on her FB wall about how proud I was of her for making those tough decisions and how inspired I was by her bravery in facing her demons. One of her aunts posted a snarky comment underneath my wall post about how that must include abandoning her family. I won't give you a blow by blow, but I tore her in half. Politely, you'll be pleased to know, but in half all the same. She responded by calling me a manipulative bitch and a liar. I was about to be really mean to her when Sakura and Perpet jumped right in and gave her the what for too, telling Oscelot just how much they loved her and how inspiring she was to them too. I was proud. Its great to see your friends come together to support someone who needs it. Also, I was glad to see them put her in her place because I wasn't going to be nice about it, and honestly, I'd like to look like I'm here to love Oscelot (which I am) and not just bait her family. I'm expecting more fallout, its only a matter of time. Fortunately, only one person in her family knows where we live, and she seems to have forgotten. Oscelot has sent a letter to her parents telling them she's going to file a restraining order if they don't leave her alone. They have gotten quiet, but I think we're marking time. I'll be interested to see how things turn out. On the upside, Oscelot has a new counselor, and she's much more versed in queer issues and in Oscelot's issue's in particular, so I think the progress she's made with seem small with the milestones she has ahead.

While I'm speaking of family, I might mention I had breakfast with my mom earlier in the week. i've been trying to focus on myself when I'm with her, because Kitten pointed out that when I'm with her I tend to come away drained and feeling poorly about myself. I noticed she was right, so I 've been making the effort to be better to myself around her. Last week she told me I shouldn't put on weight because I would get fat. That was about the time I realized Kitten was right. Truth is, I'm underweight, by about 30 pounds right now, and worrying about being fat is the last thing I should be concerned about. So, I was proud when I told her I needed to take care of myself. I digress, though.

She launched into one of those long guilt-trip tirades about me not being in contact with Punk, my brother whom I am estranged from. If you're new to the site, the short version is, two summers ago Punk beat up my mom, and when I refused to tell him where she was hiding from him at and tell her to drop the restraining order she filed against him (she did anyway, for the record) he told me I wasn't his sister anymore. Then he called me a stupid dyke and told me he hoped I died of AIDS. Suffice to say, I don't really want to talk to him. Its a small glimpse of a much bigger picture of my relationship with him, and his with my family at large. I don't approve of his lifestyle, or of his actions. Being a former drug abuser and alcoholic, I make it a point not to be around people like him, because I don't want to be like that. I think my family enables his bad habits. I won't.

Anywho, she started in on how she hates the idea that when she dies we'll go on hating eachother forever, and who will take care of him when she's gone. She went on in that vein for a few minuted before I interrupted her. I told her its not my job (or hers for that matter) to take care of him. He's almost 30. He doesn't need to be cared for. He's a big boy now. He needs to do it on his own. And I don't hate him. I just refuse to have someone like him in my life. Why would I willingly subject myself to verbal abuse and disrespect like that? Furthermore, why would I subject my chosen family to that kind of situation? I think the clear answer is that I shouldn't have to. I don't. I never will.

Mom gets like this when the holidays near. She's one of those people that believes in a Brady bunch type family, and she thinks that the holidays can't be happy without that kind of family interaction. Based on a lifetime of expereience, I can tell you that those visions never materialize into reality.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Mom has asked me to get in touch with Punk. She had been asking me about the Craft recently, and I've been explaining the best I can without being too specific, because she doesn't really need to know the clockwork mechanism of my faith. She doesn't practice, and I know she's not really asking because she wants to. Two week ago she asked me about healing, and how we feel about it, and if we have healing spells. I told her we did. She asked me to heal Punk. She was upset when I told her no. Honestly, that was because you have to have a person's permission, not to mention they have to want to be healed and they have to have the faith to make it work. I was missing all three of those things. Mom thinks its because I don't want him to "get better" as she puts it. I explained to her why I couldn't. I also explained you shouldn't cast when you're angry, and believe me, my brother makes me angry. I also mentioned that if he really wanted help a stint in rehad and anger counselling would go a long way.

Again I got a long speech about hating Punk and how it hurts her. She's fixated. I can't make her see my side of the situation. I'm pretty well past the point of trying to explain. Of course, I'll always defend my position when she brings it up, but it seems like I won't make any progress when it comes to making her understand how I feel. When we were talking at breakfast I told her I refused to talk to someone who had said such terrible things to me. I don't tolerate it from strangers, or my friends, why would I tolerate it from my family? Her response was that because he was family I should. And that it was just words, and I had no reason to hold such a grudge. I didn't waste my breath telling her I believe words have power, and that what he said is a reflection of how he feels about me, and the fate he wishes on me. I let it go. Thankfully, we were interrupted.

She did tell me, however, that Punk is going back to school. And that she's paying for it. And that I should be happy about it. I can't tell you how angry and hurt I was. I'm trying to let it go. I mentioned it to Mrs Boss, because she had asked me about school the day before. She told me (and I agree with her) that if being abusive and an addict was the only way I could get help from my family, I was better off not being beholden to them. I'd be more proud of myself doing it on my own anyway. Cheers to that.

In better news, tonight a dairy famer is coming to take all of my adult kitties that are stray to live on his dairy farm, hunt mice, and sleep by his fireplace. I'm excited. I'll miss them, no coubt, but they deserve better than my front porch for a home. Its another prayer answered. I thank Goddess for that. Now, I only have to find homes for my five little male kittens, and all my stray children will have been placed. I'd say it would be over, but there's always more, sadly enough. But the ones I've come to love so much will be better off. It makes me sad to let them go, but I'm pleased that I get a chance to make their furry little existences better.

I'm almost done catching you up, I swear. I'll leave you with a little poem I typed out earlier in the week. I got started writing these because Flyguy (my buddy at work) sent me a rhyming text one day. We got started on little verses, and now he sends them to me when he gets bored at his other job. I like them, because his are always strange, and always a bit dark, and if you know me at all, you know why that appeals to me. On my day off this week he sent me one I liked so well that I returned a second verse to him. It pleased him. So when I forgot to tell him goodnight at work on Friday, I sent him this little verse:

The spectre of the one I love haunts the places dear to me.
Her spiteful laugh, like grinding glass, reminds me what I cannot be.

Not cheerful, but a fun little text poem. I like them. Its like flash fiction, only for poetry. I might post them from time to time. I can't write poetry that isn't trite, but its fun anyway. It gives me a tiny little brain breather.

I hope you are well. I've been thinking of all of you. And for the record, if you're in my blogroll, I've been lurking, I swear, even if I don't say anything.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

I'm Swinging on the Stars

Hi there. Sorry I dropped out for a week. I've actually been pretty busy. Also, this was the last week of freedom before Kitten went back to school so we've made an effort to spend a little extra time together.

As I'm sure you've figured out, I am not going back to school this semester. I can live with it. I will be going in the spring, so I'm letting my disappointment go. That doesn't mean I haven't got a ton of reading to do.

Lately fiction hasn't really been holding my attention. I attribute part of this to the fact that despite there being literally hundreds of books on my shelves I can read, nothing is interesting to me. I attribute the other part of it to my growing spirituality. Now, I don't want to bore you with details of my religion because I don't like blogs that advertise for Jesus and Buddah, so I figure I can keep the "My Religion is Great" to a minimum. I'm not out to convert you. Honestly.

I will say this, though. I've been fascinated. I've been reading a book by former NPR journalist Margot Adler called "Drawing Down the Moon" and its on the history of Neo-Pagans, which includes Wicca, of course. Its a really interesting peice of work, I've learned a lot about myself and about the religion -the history and philosophies behind the modern movement that is.

Anywho, as a voracious reader who can hardly get my hands on enough books, I've compiled a to-read list (a start anyway) of books related to the occult, Wicca and divinatory arts. I've got a ton of books on astrology coming to me in the mail. We received a few earlier this week that Kitten ordered. One of them tells you about your personality, flaws and the challenges you face based on your birthday. Its interesting because I felt like it resonated for me when it came to Kitten and Oscelot's personalities. I feel I can hardly be pbjective when it comes to me. Maybe I should post what it says and you can tell me what you think?

Anyway, astrology is interesting me more than I care to admit. That means at some point I am going to have to become better at math. or at least learn to be comfortable with using it. Trust me to find a way to finally force myself into math exercises for something that doesn't have to do with work or school, eh?

Speaking of work, things have been going pretty well. Oscelot likes her new job, Kitten hasn't killed the new guy in the kitchen yet, and I'm getting along okay with my coworkers, even when they annoy me. I had another moment where I wanted to tell my staff to stop talking, they were makng me feel old, the other day. I overheard them talking about pop stars at the hostess stand and one of them was telling the others how she remembered that she had a Brittany Spears lunch box When she was in first grade! By that time I was listening to her in the clubs! Terrible, terrible children I say.

Well, that's a brief update. I wanted to write, get my fingers working, I plan on coming back tonight and giving you a fuller update as to what's been going on. In specific, I feel like I want to rant about Oscelot's family. They've been making me very, very angry. And here i was, working on my anger issues. Ah well, best we can do for ourselves, right? Oh- and I want to talk about Hedgewitch- because she's awesome.

I continue to thank for your thoughts. I managed to put on 5 pounds this last couple weeks. I'm almost back to 130.

Have a happy Sunday. See you later tonight.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Agony and the Irony Is Killing Me

Good Morning1 I'm up and about early, so you get that promised political blog this morning. I don't blog about politics too often, mostly because I think its inflammitory. Me getting on my blog and saying that the government are a bunch of asshats doesn't do me too much good, however nice it must feel, and it has a tendency to piss people off. I generally avoid it. But sometimes...its too much to resist.

The current political climate is definately irresistible to a cynic like me. In case you aren't familiar with me and my political leanings, I suppose you could say I'm a liberal. It wouldn't be entirely true. In fact, Mrs. Boss will tell you I'm a pretty conservative person. She isn't wrong. The thing, I think, that makes me liberal is the fact that the few issues that are voting issues for me I'm really, really liberal on. (Read: abortion, gay marriage, etc.)

Today, though, I really don't think that it matters whether or not I'm liberal, or conservative, or a moderate or whatever. I think what matters, or what should matter, is that I'm a US citizen. Here's the problem, it doesn't.

I'm sure, if you've listened to the radio, watched the news or spent any time on the internet in the last few days you've heard that S&P, a sovereign credit rating group, downgraded the US credit rating from AAA (which is perfect) to AA+ which is a notch below. Now, if you listen to the current administration, this downgrade isn't justified because of a rather large math error they found in the paperwork S&P sent them. Facing the facts, however, S&P even though they made a mistake in the math, kept the downgrade because of the current political environment. They said our government is too unstable to make the necessary political decisions that would help us deal with our long-term debt problems. This made me think of two things, both of which I wanted to address in this blog.

The first is about the debt itself. There's no denying it, we're going through some pretty hard financial times in the US. Our markets are bad, we haven't recovered from the sub-prime moirtgage crisis, we're in the middle of an incredibly long war (which I might note, normally pulls a slumping economy back up) on top of all our other "normal" debt issues. We're running out of money and we have to keep borrowing. Clearly, something needs to be done.

Now here is the part where I'll probably piss off people from both ends of the political spectrum. I have a few ideas on how to deal with that problem. I know, I know, I am not a mathematician. I know I am not a political analyst, but I think I've got a firm enough background in the US economy I can speak without making myself sound like a total idiot. Some ofthe things I think we should do:

First, we need to deal with entitlement programs. I'm not saying that they need to be erradicated, but they do need to be refined. I had coworkers who claimed it was easier to have another kid and live off the government than have a full time job. We had a woman working with us at one point who couldn't get more than a certain amount of hours a week or her government assistance was cut off. When she was fired, she had us fax her termination paperwork to her. In her home, in government assisted housing, where she had two phone lines and a fax line hooked up to her computer, all of which were paid for with taxpayer dollars. Not cool. I've had coworkers who would rather be on Medicare than pay for their children's health insurance through programs offered at work. That's not okay.

I know there are people out there who need the help. I think they should be able to get it. But I also think the system needs to be regulated, needs to have checks and balances that prevent abuse. I know that creates red tape, and its hard to follow up. There are simple things that can be done though. Limit the amount of assistance available to people based on how many children they have. After a certain point, enough is enough. When you have six children and live on government assistance, having another one shouldn't sound like a good idea. Getting more money to live from shouldn't be incentive to procreate. Ever. Those children are not being cared for the way they should if they are a means to an end. There need to be things like home visits and checkups. I'm sorry, if you can afford two cars, two phone lines, a fax line and a nice computer system and government assistance is paying for that, maybe you don't need the assistance. Maybe you are spending your money in the wrong place. Financial counseling, my friends, is a good idea. Also, I think there needs to be time limits in certain circumstances, and I think that (like unemployment checks) showing that you've been actively looking for a way to support yourself should be required.

As much as I hate admitting it, we could probably raise taxes too. I know people hate this idea, but really, when the other option is a national debt crisis, it doesn't seem so bad. And would it really hurt the people higher up on the food chain to pay a few more taxes? I don't think so. If you live a life of wealth, I think that comes with both privelage and responsibility.

Also, the whole military spending thing? That needs to be curtailed. I'm sorry, I know we need to protect our national security interests, but there comes a point where you have to say enough is enough. And while we're thinking of our brave laddies, yah, I'm glad they have incentives to sign up for the military, but while some of our weekend warriors are going to class on the governmen's dime, other soldiers are in poorly equiped vehicles and barraks because there isn't enough money for them. I think active duty should be a requirment for people who are having school paid for them by the government because they are in the military, and I think that there should be a restrictions on what they can and cannot take. I know of a guy who was paying for lessons at a golfing academy with his government school money from the military. He told me point blank after he was done he was headed to the northeast to pay for a polo academy with the same money source. Checks and balances friends. Also, I think like any scholarship, you should have to maintain your grades. That's just how it ought to be. If you were in the military, you should be able to focus attention long enough to study.

Another idea I've had for a long time is that some of this government money we've been "wasting" ought to be going to the refinement of industries where the US seems to be falling behind. Wonder why we have to tax Japaneese and Russian steel imports? The same reason we have to tax imported cars. They've refined the technology where we haven't and its cheaper for them to make. But no, we can't buy good product from overseas in the US without raising the price, because we have to make it fair for the US companies that can't seem to keep up. Free market kids! If a business can't hack it, it can't hack it. Maybe instead of taxing Brazillian banana imports because its cheaper there (they must be cheating, heaven knows they probably don't have a better climate for that kind of farming or anything...) we should take the cheap bananas and find a fruit or other form of produce we can grow and focus on that. I mean, we've got a diverse climate, surely there is something out there we can farm and farm well. Right?

If you ask me, one of the big problems with the US auto industry isn't unions or consumer confidence because the foreign car makers have more prestige. Its because the foreign car makers are better at it! We make shitty cars. We do. And we don't want to invest to make our cars and their technology better. There's a reason Porsche and BMW are big name cars friends. Its because they're nice and they last a long time. Nissan and Toyota trucks sell well in my area, I'll tell you why- you can drive them into the ground! I've had three trucks in my life. Two were nissans. One was a chevy. Guess which one spent 90% of the time I owned it broken or sitting idle in my driveway because it was a gas hogging POS? Yeah, I thought you could.

A few months ago I listened to an article on NPR about the Chevy Cruse and how it was makign waves for a car in its size and class because it was the same price, or comparable, to others in its range, but it came with more "luxuray" options. Like it doesn't break all the time. And it has lots of air bags. The car is comfortable and gets good gas milage. You know, once upon a time those things weren't luxury in US cars. They were standard. The fact we've gotten away from that and let our ability to manufgacture high quality cars shows we're willing to sacrifice when it comes to the consumer in favor of a profit. Looks like its backfiring now, doesn't it? Here's the trick- make good cars, charge a reasonable price, rebuild your reputation. Its not difficult. We've got the technology to do it, we simply choose not to, and the longer we let it slide, the more difficult it becomes to maintain and train on those higher technologies that are coming standard in other country's cars.

I could go on for days about tariffs and protectionism and all those things that keep us from beign good at what we do. We're the country of mediocrity, right?

Money being spent by politicians also really makes me angry. For example, in Wisconsin, where six recallelections are going to take place in the next week or so (over the governor's decision to ban union collective bargaining rights- you remember that fight, don't you?) they are setting campaign finance spending records. ON A RECALL ELECTION! They've spent something in the neighborhood of $35 million dollars. $35 million. That is so much money. Think of all the things that money could do. While we're talking of it, the Govenor of Texas sponsored a huge prayer rally yesterday where over 8,000 people attended. All the money that went to that could have been put to good use too.

When you think of the money spent yearly by politicians for the pure selfishness of political gain, the mind boggles. Then, my friend, think of how that money could have been used had the politicans given it to charities who help the less fortunate, that work to improve the environment or prevent violence in inner cities. Think of all the people they could have helped had they selected to use that money for good rather than their own personal gain. Then, having spent that money for political purposes, rather than putting it to good use, they stomp to their state and national governments and wave their fists about irresponsible spending. Pot? This is kettle.

And that brings me (slowly) to my second point, the things that kicked the ass of our credit rating in the first place. Politics, now, don't have anything to do with the citizens. Our congress people don't listen to us. They don't care. They cater to fringe groups (on both sides of the political spectrum, I might add) who have money to spend and don't give a damn about the opinions of the people who elected them. Its sad, but its the truth. Have you ever written one of your congresspeople? Have you written your senator? i have, and you know what I got back? A form letter. It wasn't even a form letter that was addressed to my concerns. Its just said "we're happy you're concerned about politics, don't worry, we're taking care of it!"

I call bullshit. You know, when I was in the middle east I was stunned to see that the "congress" people paid to have constituents over to their houses for dinner so they could find out how politics were going, and what they wanted them to do. I was floored when Isaw that you sat directly behind your senator during sessions, so they could take time to turn around and talk to people before they made their decisions. I was amazed when the MPs walked out because some were trying to get the public barred from a controversial hearing, and they thought that was unconstitutional. We don't do that here. We have town hall meetings where preprepared speeches are made, the questions are selected ahead of time, or when politicians get an question tehy don't want to answer they bluster and change the subject.

We pay now as constituents to sit down and have dinner and talk to our representatives, and usually, we don't get to offer our opinions. We get to listen to them talk about theirs, and all the things they plan on doing for us, if they ever get the time and political clout to do it. No one cares about the individual anymore. This isn't a government for the people. This is a governemnt for the government.

Nothing makes me angrier than listening to the chest beating of the extremeists. You can't "take America back" America doesn't belong to your political party. It t belongs to everyone. You don't get to dictate the mores and opinions of the country, because we decide our own. And there's not a "right" or a "wrong" path for us to be on. There's the one we all think we should take when we make a journey as a country, together. And when we make mistakes, we should be big enough to admit it, and then fix it and try again. The whole purpose of our government is to ensure that everyone has a voice. Yes, there is going to be a majority opinion, but that doesn't mean the little guy gets marginalized in the process. We're supposed to be taking care of everyone. That means when we vote, we think of how it benefits or harms everyone, not just us. We reflect on whether we're makng a decision that isn't ours to make. We think of whether we are protecting, or if we are prohibiting.

The problem with american politics, from the individual voter up, is that we're selfish. That's human nature, and I know its not something that can be changed. But, at some point, we have to take the time to think of whether our selfishness borders on self destruction. I think, after this week, after the last few years, that's something that has become painfully apparent. Its something that has to be fixed. And friends, we won't have money, freedom or a reputation if we don't.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Can You Make it Last?

I'm not going to lie, if there are any of you out there who read my last post and lit the candle for me, thank you! In the last two days I have felt better than I have in months. I've been able to eat real food and enjoy it, I've had more energy, and I haven't been nearly as grumpy. I appreciate it if you were thinking of me.

I had a great couple of days off work. First, I woke up both days to a thunderstorm. Now, I know in the middle of summer most people wouldn't think that was a good thing. Unfortuantely for the last month we've had more days of 95 degree plus temperatures than not. I think one of my coworkers said she heard on the news that we only had four days below ninety five in July. While it does tend to get hot here in the summer, this is unnatually hot. And it doesn't look like its going to stop terribly soon. We get a bit of a break next week and then its supposed to get hot again. i'm disappointed. Normally we only have our air conditioning on for about two weeks out of the whole summer. Its been so hot we've had it on since early June. I just want to open the windows and let the fresh air in. Its part of the joy of the warmer months.

Anyway, I woke up to rain, and a lot of it. I was thankful. I'm pretty sure my plants were thankful too. We got to see some blooms come out on our roses and the cats look way less miserable than they had. A bonus, because the kittens outside were so hot we'd been taking them in until the temp dropped back below 100 and now they think they need to be inside all the time. They do, just not in my home.

Thursday I as able to meet up with an old friend of mine. I grew up next door to her grandparents when I was a little girl. We used to play together all the time. After we started high school we lost track of each other. I would call our reunion a fortunate coincidence, but you know I don't belive in coincidence. Turns out Hedgewitch lives across the street from Black Magic. When she friended her on facebook, she saw my profile and was able to get back in touch with me.

I was delighted. She is the same wonderful, sensetive, fun person I remember as a child, only all grown up. We have a lot of similar interests, and we had no trouble whiling the day away together. She came to meet me at my house and we went to lunch together. I didn't know how long she would hang out, having a husband and a life and all that, but we came back to my house and she ended up staying and chatting for almost five hours. It was amazing. She also had a chance to meet Kitten, Oscelot and Sakura, and they loved her. She has a good energy. I'm looking forward to hearing from her again very soon.

Speaking of things I am looking forward to, tomorrow morining I am having breakfast with one of my coworkers. Flyguy is a lot of fun and he's my age, which is such a relief at my workplace. I feel like I actually have someone my own age to relate to and talk to. I don't feel out of touch all the time. As dorky as it sounds, I was nervous giving him my phone number. I assume all of my coworkers tolerate me, rather than actually like me. He's been shooting me messages every now and again, and I like him better each time we talk. He's a nice, clean, stable person. I need friends like that in my life. Anyway, breakfast should be fun, and even though it means I'll wind up at work a half an hour earlier than I am scheduled, I'm not too bitter. I used to go have breakfast with some of my former coworkers every saturday, and I kind of miss it. I like being able to talk to people that I work with.

Speaking of talking to people at work, I won't be able to chat to Oscelot anymore. She's got a new job, funnily enough, at The Happy Waffle. She's really happy there, and making a ton of money. I'm glad for her. They're also calling her by her preferred name rather than her given name, which I think makes her feel a lot more comfortable. She gets to see Kitten all the time now, and I have to admit, I appreciate her company more now that I'm not with her 24 hours a day. It was rather annoying for this first week, though, because everyone keeps remarking that I must feel really lonely without her there, as though I didn't work at Casa Bueno for three years before she started. Ah, well, I hate admitting it, but I had gotten accustomed to having someone who would always smile at me and always had a kind word. We'll see if my mood suffers. I certainly hope it doesn't. i'm immensley thankful though, now that she's out of the insurance plan at Casa Bueno, which doesn't cover anything at all and has no network providers in our city, she may actually have a chance to get real, decent medical care, and she needs that. I'll be happy to see her healthier and with doctors who are able to help her rather than make halfhazard guesses as to how to treat her condition.

School's getting ready to start, and I know soon I'll be missing Kitten. I've forgotten over the summer how taxing the schoolyear is, since she goes to school all day on her days off from work. I'm also fighting the disappointment of not getting to go back this fall, but the girls have promised me they are setting aside money to pay for me taking classes next semester, so its only three more months. To be perfectly honest, I've almost gotten to the point of giving up. I don't want to. I really want to go, but after years of thinking about how badly I want to go back, and not being able to, it seems silly to get my hopes up. I think I'm decent at the job I do now, and I think I'm doingokay as a manager. I could do it for the rest of my life and not be loved any less by the people who matter. Still, I want to try. I get frustrated. I do.

Mom's birthday is tomorrow. I hadn't found anything I though she might want or need as a gift. She's living with my grandmother right now, so more fun things to pack into the house don't seem practical. I wouldn't dream of shopping for clothes for her, and I can't even take a stab at the kind of book she might want. She reads a lot of things, but its hit and miss as to whether or not she likes them. I've decided later this week I'm going to take her to a nice dinner, and hope that its the thought that counts. In the past, I've always gotten her ornate gifts, and packaged them prettily, and taken her to dinner, and for night on the town. This year, that's not really in the cards for me. Not to mention she and I work such different schedules its almost impossible to arrange a day to have lunch , let alone a whole day to do things. I'll be sure to call her tomorrow, and tell her happy birthday. I'll make plans with her to go to dinner. It'll work out I hope. Bet me money, though, that my grandmother calls to remind me to call her, even though I have it marked on my calendar and my mom has mentioned it at least twice in every phone conversation we've had over the last two weeks. Ah, well.

This month is also the month of Kitten and I's one year anniversay with Oscelot. It doesn't seem like its been that long, but it also seems like its been forever, it that makes sense. I feel like I am still learning about her. Of course, she is still learning about herself. With the strides she has made mentally in the last few months, its like she's a new person. I mean, she's the same, but she seems more alert, more emotional, more interesting. I like it. I'm proud to see the way she's taken on her new life. She does it with finesse. I see her outlining new goals for herself and reaching them. It makes me so happy. Not to mention, in case I never have, she's a really patient, giving, loving person. She makes being in a relationship so easy. She is a wonderful partner. I'm thankful to have her every day. I'll have to make sure I tell her that more often. Kitten and I would not be the same without her. Even with the unique structure of our relationship, it feels like we aren't really whole without her as part of our life. I'm so glad we found her.

Well, that's me in a nutshell. I won't bore you with the tedium of my life too much longer. Tomorrow, if I have time, I'm plannign a post on the new US credit rating and a cute rant about how our politicians are making us look like bigger assholes than we normally are. That takes talent.

Wishing you well this late evening, and hoping you find something beautiful in your life to celebrate this coming week.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sunday morning is every day for all I care

I'm back, and I still have plenty on my mind. I just finished dinner, and I'm pretty proud to say I ate most of it. For those of you who don't see me on a day to day basis (and I swear, I'm not looking for sympathy, I jsut feel like bitching about it) I've spent most of this summer sick as hell. Its not really a cough cough kind of sick. In fact, I have a high suspiscion that if I went to the doctor they'd tell me I am stressed out and need to take some time off. Yeah, riiiight. Here's the thing- I've been getting more headaches, I think I've mentioned that a few times. Most of them are a result of my blood sugar being all out of whack. Most of that is a result of my inability to eat anything decent.

If you know me at all, you know I'm a foodie. Me going off food has been one of the great tragedies of the summer. I love eating in summer because there are so many fun things out there. Unfortunately, everything tastes terrible. To be honest, everything tastes like blood. Its gross. The only thing I can seem to eat is fresh fruit and vegetables, which is nice, but not a balanced diet for someone like me. I need meat. I need protein. It all tastes awful. As a result, I'm spending more and more time feeling lethargic. I spent most of last night on my couch unable to even lift my arms to grab my water. When I do eat, I'm lucky to force down half of my meal, and nine times out of ten, I get sick to my stomach afterwards. I'm thinking of buying stock in charmin.

Long story short, I've gone from about 155 pounds, a healthy weight for my height and age, given my muscle mass, to about 120. Not cool. At all. And while I love looking like a bean pole, I know in my heart it isn't healthy. My size 2 work pants are getting roomy. Tiger has taken to force feeding me shakes laced with Ensure and Whey Protein. Gross. But I always feel better after, so they must be doing something right.

While laying in bed, contemplating how much it sucks not to be up and about in the evening when the temprature finally dips below 100 degrees, I got to talking to Oscelot about first impressions. Naturally, we got to talking about our first impression of eachother. Turns out, she thought I was sophisticated, because of my extensive knowledge of books and my vocabulary. I don't necessarily agree with her, but it was flattering. She mentioned that I went on "my book rant" which I apprently do any time Ihave someone over for the first time. I show them our extensive library and tell them all about my favorites. I got a huge kick out of this. Kitten verified I do indeed have a book rant. It made me laugh.

I had some people come in to Casa Bueno yesterday that did not make me laugh. Now, I will preface this with a disclaimer. I didn't feel good and that makes me testy. However, I think these people earned my ire. They were stoned. Big time. Like, I could have gotten a contact high from them, they smelled that badly of weed. They were jerks, and they made my life difficult. They were all (yes, all of them, down to the baby in diapers) wearing various shirts advertising the Christian faith.

Now, before you get all riled up and think I hate Christians- that's simply not true. I think its wonderful that there are people out there who gain consolation and faith through that religion. I do. I also think there are a lot of wonderful Christians out there who do many great things for humanity. But I also think there's a lot of jerks like these guys who set a terrible example.

Now, I did mention this to my co-workers, and we postulated everything from they were atheists masquerading a Christians to they went to the local clothing donation place and those were the shirts they got and they all happened to wear them on the same day...we tried to make excuses for them. But the fact is, wearing those shirts and acting like that give all people of that faith a terrible name.

And honestly, I think Christians get a lot more slack than they sometimes deserve. Now, I've been accused before of being insensetive to other people's feelings and religions, so I might as well tell you this part might be worth skipping if you're sensetive. Seriously. I know I don't have a filter, and sometimes I don't word things as gently as I could. But this is my space, and its my right to say what I like here. That said, onward.

Now, I know there are bad Wiccans out there. I know there are other religions out there that do terrible things. I do. And I disapprove of them. Every last one of them from their dirty spellbooks, to their strange cultish ways to their whatever it is they do. I think there's plenty of press out there for that. I know there are Muslim extremists out there. And they are bad people. But there are just as many out there who are good people who have a better sense of morality than most Americans, Christian or not. You never hear about them. I know there are bad Wiccans out there- people who scam for money and charge for spells that don't work. I know there are people out there who use Neo-paganism as an excuse to inflict harm on them. You hear plent about them too. But you hardly ever hear of a Wiccan group doing good. Why is that? I mean, I live in a really, really big city in my state. Its like, the third biggest. I frequent the occult stores, I'm groovy, and I cant even *find* an active coven in this area because they've all gone to ground for fear of persecution.

What really yanks my chain is that every time a local Christian church does something even remotely miniscule for the community, its front page news. I'm annoyed by the fact that people assume that because I am not a Christian, I can't be a good person. I'm annoyed that because I work on Sundays people assume have no faith, and that I must be a bad person because I'm not at the local Baptist church up the street. It yanks my chain that there are local and national corporations and restaurant chains that actively discriminate against anyone who isn't just like them, and it never gets press because they're allowed to do it for "religious" reasons. I'm sorry, I don't think Cracker Barrell, a publicly traded company, has any right to not hire me or refuse to serve me because I'm gay, or a pagan or any other reason. Its awful. And the minute I start up a restaurant chain that wants to be exclsive to other religions or walks of life, I know I'd have city council on me like a duck on a june bug. Hell, there are people who are kicking up a fuss because a local restaurant is moving to 18 and up at night.

I'll hand it to my boss, the other night (Sunday, actually) I came in to work in the morning. I've been working Sunday nights recently, and he noticed and said it was unusual to have me in the mornings. I told him it was nice, since it was a religious holiday for me, so I could spend time with my coven that evening. He seemed suprised, then upset that I hadn't asked off for the holiday, and then he looked horrified and asked if I had asked off and not gotten it. I simply laughed, and told him it wasn't a big deal. his sensetivity is nice. It is. But I was frank with him when I said if I asked off for every Sabbat, Esbat and any other occasion I had need to practice, I would never be able to work. (you know, retrogrades, coming out of a retrograde, fun stuff like that) Plus, I know better than to ask off for our biggest day of the year, because Halloween is impossible to get off in our store. It just is. I know better. But I also know I can practice as I am able. So he gets bonus points.

The misconceptions, though, they bother me. I mean, most of my coworkers know about my faith, and they seem truly tolerant. They take it as a matter of course, even if they don't agree with it, and some seem truly interested. One of them the other day accidentaly outted me from the "broom closet" as it were to one of our regular customers. I didn't mind. I've known him for four years, he's pretty familiar with my lifestyle and personality. I trusted him to be cool about it. You know what his response was? "Wiccan? Like, she's a witch and worships Satan?" I rolled my eyes and asked him if he honestly thought I was that stupid. He wants me to fill him in, and I will, when I have the time. But the fact is, it bothers me to think that someone who knows me relatively well would assume because I am a witch that means I worship the devil. Ignorance is such a terrible thing, especially in people who are otherwise really intelligent. It makes me sad.

For the record, yeah, I am a witch. I say Witch the way most people say Christian. Its the title for the people who practice my faith. And no, I don't worship Satan. I don't even believe in Satan. I think you give evil power when you name it, and to make something that is supposed to be evil a diety in your faith....I think its dangerous. I think the evil in this world comes from humans, who choose to make bad decisions and blame them on anything but themselves so they can't be held accountable. Which brings me full circle. I do my very best to be a good person, and to love humanity, and to be patient. I know I have my failings, but I try, every day, to be better than I was before. I know where I stumble and I humbly ask my coven and Spirit to help me be better, to try harder. But if you asked most people who live in my area, I'm going to hell and I am damned eternally because I don't believe in their god. But those jerks, high as kites, children in tow, exposing them to crassness and poor morality, they get a free ticket into heaven because they go to the right church and believe in the right god. Its silliness. I think good Christians are going to be rewarded. I do. But I also think the people of other faiths can be rewarded for their goodness as well.

I get angry when I think of it. Not healthy, really, because anger is and always will be one of my big trouble spots. I can help it, if I try, but it takes a lot of work.

Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox and let you get back to being good people. I know you are. And if I might ask the favor, if you pray, or light candles, or whatever it is you do, if you have the time- think of me. I want to get better. That's the first step. But a little help never hurts.

I love you all, as I hope to love everyone.

Multiply Life by the Power of Two

School is about to start and with it comes the reflections on learning, and on my experiences in school. I was thinking about it last night, and I thought about sharing with you some of my experiences with school, and about learning.

I have to start out with the most recent news from a school district in my area. Not my city, but one close by. If you'll recall, I posted earlier this year about banned books. Turns out, this was a timely post. I was checking facebook yesterday and came across a post by Mary Lou Wretched about how a local city has banned some books for the upcoming school year. This banning actually made national news, I read about it in the Christian Science Monitor. The big one, of course, was Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. Now, I've made my feelings on book bannings pretty clear, but I feel like I have to make the point that its really sad to me that students are kept from leaning and expanding thier worldview because someone feels like a particular book doesn't jive with their worldview, or their morals. I feel like its important to remember that many banned books are interpreted incorrectly, or in some cases, are written from a view point that relects the author's disdain on the subject. The key word here kids is irony. It seems silly to not trust that a student reading a book on a controversial subject is able to interpret the important mores from a story on their own. Reading is not just leisure. Its meant to be a learning experience.

The books banned in this particular town are chalked up to being "too mature" for the high school reader. I think we need to be frank. The local professor who wanted the books pulled from the shelves wasn't thinking of maturity level. He was thinking about the Bible. He said so himself, and even if the local schoolboard wants to stay away from the moral issues concerned- they're there. Like it or not. Regardless, it kills me to think that any school district is attempting to pull books because they feel like they are too advanced for the high school reader. Heaven forbid we give them the opportunity to learn at an advanced rate. Don't make our students think. Don't give them an opportunity to learn something that might benefit them once they reach the college level. Make them wait. After all, the students in the US are far ahead of their world counterparts right? We have no reason to want them to learn critical thinking skills at an early age...

The solace I take in this particular act is I know the personalities of most the high school students in this area. The ones who weren't going to read it in the first place, the Cliff's Notes kids, well- they aren't going to miss out any more than they would have anyway. The advanced students who might have read these books? They'll be checking them out at the county library, or they'll be hitting out local Barnes and Noble or local bookstores to get a copy and see what the fuss was all along. I think they won't be suprised when they see that there isn't much there that's offensive or upsetting. No more than any other book they might be reading in class. Even then, though, it makes me sad to think that there are still people out there who are actively looking to retard the learning process for fear of damaging the blessed cherub's morals. I hate to break it to them, but the fact of the matter is, unless all parents are minding what their children are reading, and watching on television and at the movie theaters, and what they see on the internet...well, their work is in vain. And we all know that parent's now are spending less and less time checking in with their kids. If the local school board really wants to help their students grow they should be finding a way to to get the parents involved in their children's development. Fat chance.

While we're talking about school regulations, lets mention that in the state I live in (as of this school year) teachers are no longer allowed to friend their students via social media. To me, this is one of the studpiest moves they've made in a while. Partially because I know of several elementary and junior high teachers who use social media as an online tutoring tool, and its been helpful to those students. I know we want to protect our students from predators, but maybe screening new teachers, mental health tests and other proactive tools would be more useful than this reactionary response to the use of socal media as a learning aid. I think its clever for teachers to take the opportunity to help their students learn by untilizing a form of communication that their students understand and are familiar with.

Speaking of books, I might mention I found a fabulous article I came across the other day on Cracked.com. Its a great site, full of laughs, if you haven't visited before. This one was about books everyone, including most eanglish teachers, interpreted incorrectly. It was not only informative, but amusing. I had a great time reading it. Who knew that Jack Kerouac hated beatniks? Definately worth a read, if you haven't already.

It also gave me information that made me love Lewis Carroll a little more than I already did. Turns out Alice in Wonderland is all about how he hated advanced mathmatical theory. Apparently, as a mathmatics professor, he was frustrated at the use of imaginary numbers and strange theoretical concepts that his collegues were beginning to discover and teach. As a firm fan on 1+1=2 and I don't care about whether or not there's an absolue value or if the numbers are real or not and heaven forbid there be some sort of x or y that I have to solve for to get the 2, I was delighted. The book was fun to read to begin with. Now that I can approach it from a math viewpoint, I'm pretty sure its going to take on a whole new meaning. Take that, you smoking caterpillar, you!

As I was laying in bed with the girls last night we were talking about how little I like math. Anyone who's known me for any period of time will tell you not only do I dislike math, I'm terrible at it. This phenomenon is odd to me, because up until I hit high school I scored consistently high on math placement tests. I'm unsure if it was the insane, verbally malicious algebra teacher I had my freshman year, or if it was the emotional upheaval that seemed to continually wipe me out throughout high school, or if I simply stopped understanding it; but math became a huge challenge for me.

I was telling the girls in specific about my geometry class (which I ended up retaking my junior year) and how I struggled with it. Now, as an adult who is facing more math classes if I want to graduate, I'll say this- I think geometry will be easier for me now, because I understand the practical application of it. I hated when I asked my teachers why I needed to know it and they responded "because the school board and the state say so." I would have liked to know that baking a kick ass layer cake requires the ability to calculate volume. I worked on a construction site where I used geometry on a daily basis. I understood it too. All I needed was real world experience to make it useful to me. At the time, though, it made no sense.

I had a couple bad habits that really pissed my teacher off too. We had timed tests, and you were told you couldn't turn in the test until the time was up. This assumed you would want to check your work, etc. The scoring for all tests worked like this: 4 point for each problem. 1 point for writing down the correct formula or theorem to go with the problem. 1 point for the correct answer, 2 points for the work, which you always showed. Once, I was frustrated with a word problem for which I knew I needed the Pythagorean theorem. I wrote it out. After I had finished all the test I could, I went back and turned my 90 degree triangle into a peice of cheese. I doodled a little mouse and wrote "Pythagorus" next to it with an arrow. I even made a point to show the teacher that his tail was tangent to the cheese triangle. She was less than amused.

Eventually she ended up pulling me into the hall and yelling at me. See, in each class you got a "taste" unit of high math, supposedly to entice you to learn so you could do cooler math next semester. Unfortunately for me, Trig was the one we did with geometry. And it made sense. Like, the light bulb came on and choirs of angels sang to me. I got it. I loved it. I aced that unit. So I got yelled at because my teacher became convinced that I was just jacking off in her class. I swear, I wasn't. Also, I pointed out to her, it made me angry when Ilearned a shortcut from my tutor (yeah, I had one) because it always worked and she knew it did, but she wouldn't let me use it, even if I understood it and I got the correct answer when I showed my work. To this day I still think its massively unfair. She told me when I could proof my shortcut I could use it. As if I high school student who is struggling with the volume of a cone is going to be able to proof a mathmatical theorem. Hateful, I say.

So, that's me, and school, sort of. Its also me running out of time, I have to go to work. I'll be back tonight with more entertaining stories about life and me.

Love you all