Armand Hammer

If your last name was Hammer and you were born in modern times, why would you name your child Armand? Isn’t someone sometime going to figure out that you named your child after baking soda? The baking soda company has been around since for “over 170 years” so it’s been out there in the public sphere so theoretically one would know about it, and so again, why?

I looked it up and Armand Hammer is not related to the people who started Arm and Hammer baking soda. I thought maybe that’s where Arm and Hammer baking soda came from, the Hammer family and that there was a line of Armands and they made the name for the baking soda as a kind of play on words on their names, but no. That’s not it. The Arm and Hammer baking soda people have no Armands or Hammers in their names. Not even close. So Armand Hammer’s family named him that anyway, in spite of the baking soda. They do call the junior Armand Hammer Armie, so I suppose that’s some improvement, but even Armie Hammer brings up thoughts of Arm and Hammer when you say the name out loud.

Armie Hammer. Armie Hammer.

I said this and it made me think of Arm and Hammer baking soda so I looked up Armie Hammer to see if he was related to the baking soda and found out he is an heir to some rich people, and one guy in particular called Armand Hammer, and they call Armie Armie because he’s the grandson, but he’s not connected to the baking soda. So then I looked up the baking soda and read its history (which is actually pretty interesting and can be read here if you’re so inclined), but it’s not related in any way to Armie or Armand Hammer. “A trusted solution for more than 170 years!”

This is my thought for the day, why anyone would name their child Armand Hammer if they’re not related to the baking soda. I wonder further if children he knew said anything about the baking soda. Probably not. It sounds like his family was kind of a big deal and he seems really well adjusted (and extremely handsome, but that’s an aside unrelated to any of this or his ability to manage his funny name) so I doubt anyone called him baking soda or asked him if he liked sitting with his top open in the back of the refrigerator.

See? I would have been one of those children asking those kinds of questions and maybe he would have gotten it and played along telling me how he kept cold food smelling fresh. But he may have just raised his eyebrows quizzically at me like maybe I was kind of nuts. I’m used to that expression so it wouldn’t have traumatized me to get it in any way. I would have just looked quizzically back at him wondering about his funny name. I might also asked him something about sleeping in barracks, but that would really probably result in a funny expression and likely not to go anywhere, although it’s the more likely question from boys who thought they were clever and making fun of a name that sounds like a military squadron.

No. Thank. You.

I know. WordPress probably doesn’t want me to complain about it. But the idiots running it must have migrated from other sites I avoid like the plague. Back when I signed up with it in 2007, the internet and blogging were different animals. I made several across the country friends who were also bloggers. We read one anothers’ blogs. We commented and communicated and discussed. Then Facebook hit and the world was never the same again. First of all, commenting went by the wayside and thumbs up and like became the norm. God, I hate thumbs up and like. Someone writes a blog post about their dog dying. I’m supposed to thumbs up that? Or like it? I don’t fucking think so. But those were the options. Now we get emoticons with little cartoons smiling or crying to represent what could have been actual words, but you know, words are hawrd.

Then of course the greedy capitalists out there pushed “Make money with your blog!” and that was truly the end of life as we knew it. Now the ONLY comments I get are some asshat trying to help me “Make money with your blog!” Gone are the days of interesting blogs about people’s lives. Now it’s all commodification and influencing and puke.

Another big change is this move to make wordpress like Word or Google Docs, both of which are absolutely useless garbage word processors. WordPress wants me to write according to their instructions. In fact, as I type this there is an instruction telling me to “start writing or type / to choose a block.” Go to hell WordPress. Stop telling me how to think. I can actually, believe it or not, think for myself. The other system they used to use for drafting might not have led me through by the nose, but is sure as hell let me think for myself. If I want to think for myself on this crap, good luck. It’s not intuitive. WordPress wants me to do things their way. Good ol’ monoculture, boring ass crap. No. Thank. You.

I finally managed to export all my content off here. This will be the last year my writing is hosted on WordPress. Obviously they hired some 20 year old straight out of Satanford, er, Stanford to run their design team and they have no imagination at all having spent their entire life glued to a screen and regurgitating what everyone else is doing so now WordPress does too. Actually, the whole team (sitting in their open floor plan and meeting in a glass wall conference room and now sitting in their living room staring out the window at the side of the building next door while they commune via Zoom) put together this bullshit that is the modern WordPress.

No. Thank. You.

Ass Hattery

The ass-hattery is rampant. I cannot add anything meaningful to the cacophony regarding the murderous police state antics by the wizards of evil, but I can without equivocation state that ass-hattery is rampant. Lately… Well, more than lately — for some time, I have felt that the USA is a pile of stinking poo. It’s been sitting there a while. The outside layer got dried and bits of weed and grass began growing in that outer layer giving it the appearance of normal soil, a mini mound, a chapeau upon the earth.

But dig oh so slightly under the shelac and discover a mighty stock of goo underneath festering and filled with maggots. The outer layer has been getting gradually invaded, exposing the muck. Now it’s unmistakable. The rest of the world has been sitting out there, true hillocks most of them, and some of them actual shit piles without any shiny false exterior hiding their foul innards like that in the USA. Now these others see that the US is not true earth, but excrement. Rotting excrement. Gooey, diarrhea excrement. Poop. Feces. Fecal matter. Guano. Coprolite.

Okay, you get the idea. No need to go to the thesaurus for all the words for shit. In fact from now on all one would need to do when they’re trying to find another word for manure is to put a little map of the USA there instead. Voila! Perfection.

Paper Towels Don’t Just Kill Trees

Paper towels don’t just kill trees.

They kill the family of baby birds nesting in the tree, leaving bird parents lost and wondering what happened to their children.

They kill the raccoon and opossum babies who were sleeping in a warm nest with their mothers.

They kill the insects and spiders that live on and around the tree.

They kill the plants around the tree, the sorrel, the ferns, the rhododendrons.

Giant tires from the machines that rip the tree from the ground smash the homes of mice and salamanders, killing them too.

Those same tires leave mud that drains into nearby streams, harming the lives that live there.

Paper towels don’t just kill trees; they destroy the lives of everything living nearby. Is it really worth it to destroy an entire community just so your hands can be dry?

Shake off your hands and let them air dry.
Death of an Ecosystem
More Death of an Old Growth ForestThe deaths of these trees mean the deaths of many others whose bodies we don’t see, left to rot in the forest. The forest “managers,” the corporations who profit from this death may have piled some of the destruction into mounds and set fire. All this death and destruction for what?

Simply Love

I have no expectation of humanity saving itself. It’s too selfish, too disconnected from what it should be, too far gone. This is depressing, I know it. However, in spite of its poor prognosis, I still find glimmers of goodness and these are something of a balm to the despair of living in death culture. Humans selectively bred animals like dogs to make them something humans could control. This is reprehensible. However, it doesn’t make me love the creatures that are derived from this version of eugenics any less appealing. I live with such wonderful animals. Each and every one of them is unique. Each and every one is simply lovely. Every time I pass something that causes the despair I close my eyes and think of one of them or my dear daughters and I can be okay for the moment. My love for them and for this planet and it’s resiliance is a way to get by.

Thanksgiving Sonnet

Our family renamed Thanksgiving “Indigenous Murdering Day.” I know. We are snarky. Yet really, the true origin story of this holiday isn’t pretty. However, I do think it is a good idea to be thankful and to have a day to put emphasis on this. Unfortunately, the consequence for the planet is a lot of death, especially for turkeys.

Our turkeys are lucky. They are happy and healthy, albeit a little muddy (the poultry pen has gotten really wet in the last few weeks). There is a dry house to go into, but the turkeys would rather roost in the trees even if they get rained on. Silly turkeys! They are free to roam our property, but they like to stay close to home and to us. Feeding time is their favorite. I have to give Clove a little pile of his own while I feed everyone else, otherwise he is climbing on my feet and into my lap and acts like a little greedy monster!

They are truly wonderful creatures. They’re smart and fun. They follow us around and pip at us while we work. When I ride my horse down in the pasture arena next to their pen, they come wait by the fence and pip at me while they dig in the soil for grubs.

Every year I post the sonnet I wrote back in a college poetry class about turkey genocide on this day. I think last year was the first year I didn’t post it. I didn’t forget this year. In the past, I tried to find different words to make the syllabic setup for a sonnet exact, but I haven’t been able to without losing the meaning. I would also like to provide, to those who are interested, the link to a wonderful documentary about turkeys called My Life as a Turkey. It is a fascinating story about a man who lived with some turkeys. It’s well worth your time. View it HERE.

And now, without further ado, here it is the turkey genocide day sonnet:

Thanksgiving Sonnet
Perspiring hormones, Tom Turkey stares with one sad eye at a crumbling chimney tower belching death in putrid smoke, blackening holiday skies. Annihilating light.

Bodies, bones. None remain unfrozen. With elaborate precision he’s taken apart; neck, gizzards tied in a bag between his ribs, head ground neatly into pink hot dog slabs.

Holiday skies are crowded with turkey souls, ascending to heaven like deflated balloons.

Turkey

Pepper peeking around the gutter I was installing.

Turkey

Clove says, “Hello!”

Honorifics

Did Robert or John Kennedy ever think to themselves, “I wonder if I’ll have a drinking fountain at a university in Oregon named in my honor”? What a weird thing, to honor someone with a drinking fountain. And not even a fancy drinking fountain, but your average, typical, run-of-the-mill fountain. The metal kind that hums when it’s cooling the water. And for some reason, the font chosen has A’s that are taller than the other letters.

So weird.

LOL

All these ridiculous acronyms have taken over language and become our new normal. Something is funny so LOL or lol, because, you know, holding down the shift key is hawrd. Ok is okay. It’s the original casual acronym.

LMAO. LMFAO. EG. BRB. NO. (That last one wasn’t an acronym, but me communicating that I do not want acronyms to take over our language.)

My chihuahua sits in my shirt while I type. She’s helpful. SH. That’s the acronym for this. SH. ICJUTFLFSIOUWW. Get it? I can just use the first letter from something instead of using whole words. See? So much easier.

The other fun part about acronyms is that one can simply dispense with capitalization and grammar as well. No more pesky commas so lets eat grampa. (I wonder what lets are and why they eat grampas?)

And don’t even get me started on people typing u for you or 2 for to or too. Gag (that’s not an acronym; it’s me pretending to puke).

I admit it. In text I will type LOL. Ha ha used to be my default, but lol is easy to type and suffices. The trouble is that sometimes, something really does make me laugh out loud and then I’ve used lol already and so it’s like crying wolf for the real thing. Then it’s not communicating. Or it is, but it’s watered down communication. But so much of our communication is watered down, so I suppose it’s just par for the course.

For the record, if it’s not obvious, I’m PRO oxford comma. I really, REALLY dislike the lack of the oxford comma, particularly in APA style prose–the most common type in journalism. In most instances, it bothers me more than lol or brb or the like, except IMHO. I can’t stand IMHO. It’s as annoying to me as no oxford commas. LOL LMAO LMFAO IMHO and NFW. Makes so much sense, right? No commas. No detail. Just straight to the point, whatever it might be.

No Relation

Something about Buck Henry. I don’t remember now. I do remember that at 4:46 when I thought of the opening line to a story that included the name Buck Henry I also thought it wouldn’t seem so profound in the light of day. Considering I can’t even remember what the line was, I guess I was right.

I don’t kill flies. I don’t intentionally kill anything. I hate how our culture uses killing as the first way of getting rid of something it doesn’t like. Fly nearby? Kill it. Gopher in your yard? Kill it. Ants in the kitchen? Kill them. Don’t like the mouse in the walls? Kill it. Death culture, that’s what we have. It extends to plants too. Go to any store’s “garden center” and you’ll find a whole aisle devoted to poisons to murder other beings with. Genocide abounds.

Lately it seems driving around I’ve come across more and more trucks with giant ants, bees, wasps, spiders, mice, etc., on them, all in the business of killing. I can hardly log on to the Next Door app anymore. All the posts whining how someone saw some wasps outside so how can they kill them. I respond to leave them alone and the pack pounces.

I should be a hermit. I can sit in my house and the flies will buzz by. Sometimes they will be annoying. Flies can be. But I don’t think that my annoyance justifies their death. I have taken to leaving the corners of my screens open all summer long. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t let the flies in, it gives them an escape. Except for this time of year when things outside are getting cold, they don’t want to remain inside. Ever notice how they congregate at the windows? They want back out. They don’t know how they ended up in these artificial boxes with giant clear panes they can’t get through. When they head back to the sunlight, they run up against clear obstacles and search all the edges trying to escape. Since I’ve left the edges of the screens open, just a crack wide enough for a fly, they leave. I have a couple of windows that don’t open and the poor things die there. I think it’s sad.

What does any of this have to do with my desire to write a story that had Buck Henry in the first line? Absolutely nothing. There is no relation. I just thought about writing it and ended up here.

1 view

Site stats. Today: 1 view.

I’m a mover and a shaker. A salt shaker. And a lazy ass who can’t get up the gumption to write anything.

I’m covered in dogs. They’re lying all over and around me. I am the leader of the pack. They dog pile on me because I’m the leader of the pack. Maybe they think I’m the salt of the earth because I’m a salt shaker. I know I’m not a pepper shaker because I’m not spicy.

1 view. HA!

Shitty Obamacare

In 2011 my daughters and I went to Spain for a week. During that visit, my older daughter fell down some stairs, severely cut her head, and had to ride in an ambulance to the emergency room. She was stitched up and given all her care products and prescriptions by the doctor at the hospital. As a non European citizen, the visit cost us $64 American dollars. For everything. For the ambulance ride, the visit, the stitching, the care products and drugs. A similar visit in the US would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $6000, if not more. And since the ACA went into effect, it’s only gotten worse.

The ACA is not a boon to Americans. It’s not. Do you know that it’s virtually impossible to get a plan on low or moderate income that doesn’t have a multi-thousand dollar deductible? Somehow, in over 2000 pages as a law, someone didn’t think to tell insurers to cap deductibles. It’s insane. Pretend to be an average American. Go to the “marketplace.” Look at the options there. You’ll see that all the plans have insane deductibles. The only plans that don’t are too high priced for people in lower income brackets. It’s a joke.

The ACA isn’t a boon. It’s a legislative nightmare. It’s a paperwork nightmare. It’s raised costs, not lowered them. Emergency plans available before the ACA that covered essentially the same thing were cheaper than the plans under the ACA. The ACA operating in reality is anything but an example of success unless you’re an insurance company executive. What would be a real success would be getting rid of the for-profit middle man in healthcare. Then when someone needs to go the doctor, it would cost what it should instead of lining the pockets of everyone along the way while the person in need of care suffers financially in addition to suffering with their health.

What the ACA has done is to take public dollars and use them for privatized profit. People whose health insurance is “subsidized” get their insane premiums paid for by tax dollars. So greedy ass insurance company charges $740 a month for their crappy plan (that’s $8880 a year!) and the government pays part of that premium out of tax dollars. The shitty insurance company theoretically can’t profit more than a certain percentage, but that doesn’t mean they can’t pay their executives more and have less in “profit.” It’s all a big game, but it works out the same: public tax dollars paying a greedy middle man to skim profit off before providing subpar healthcare. And people are worried about socialized medicine because they don’t want to pay higher taxes? The logic escapes me. Really the problem is that the greedy bastards who lobby for the insurance companies have all the “lawmakers” in their pockets. It’s a giant, shambling scam.

We never asked for our daughter’s insurance company to reimburse the $64 spent in Spain the day she was injured. We paid for it because we could because that kind of healthcare is truly affordable. The Affordable Care Act? Not so much.

Curses

How does one lift a curse? How does one know if there actually is a curse? Can one just assume based on circumstance and then do the spell to lift the curse, and if there doesn’t happen to be one, no harm no foul? Or what if there are specific ways to lift the curse, and one option is chosen, but it is the wrong one, and then it is assumed that there wasn’t a curse so no other options were tried, but really, it was just the wrong means of lifting the curse? Maybe one should run through all the options for lifting the curse and this way, all options are exhausted before presuming that there isn’t a curse or a cure for the curse and giving up. It’s certainly much more complicated than it appears, that’s for sure.

Explore Costco Travel

I got an email from Costco telling me to explore their services. Explore Costco Travel, it said. Oh my god, please. Let me explore Costco Travel. Costco Travel, can you give me some travel for FREE? I’d really explore that. Please? I’d like to explore New Zealand, Australia, Paraguay, Uraguay, the south of France, Barcelona, and Scandinavia. That about covers it for now. Once I’ve Costco Traveled my way through these places, I’ll come up with some others.

I’m sure this isn’t what Costco Travel has in mind, but it’s what I have in mind, so I’m putting it out there, Secret style. I’ll just manifest a free trip somewhere in the world by thinking of it. Costco sent me this email; it must be the universe setting me up to send me somewhere lovely. It wants me to manifest such exploration. Doesn’t this sound feasible? I think it does.

I’m going to go burn some essential oils and hum and hold my thumbs and fingers in a circle and hope something manifests in accordance with my thoughts. Thank you, Costco.

I started typing in the words for the tags on this post and was going to type “meditation,” but accidentally typed “medication” instead. I think maybe my blog is trying to tell me something.

Shedding the Rust

A friend asked me if I write on my blog. Not much, I said. I actually have been writing, just not here. Not a lot, but I’m trying to make it a habit again, trying to do it every day, even if just a half an hour. I am rusty. It doesn’t come as easily to make lovely sentences any more. I need to practice and shed the rust.

After he asked if I’ve written on the blog I scrolled through it on my mobile phone and read a few of the last posts I’ve written. I was not surprised at the lack of number of posts, but I didn’t feel like what I had written was fake, which was good. So many times when I read old posts they seem so fake, and I hate it.

I have ideas of what to write, but often I just don’t want to share so much. This is the stuff that ends up in what I write but not on here. I’m the opposite of how I used to be in this regard, the opposite of how so many are these days. Oversharing is the norm. I have no desire for this. I lean in the other direction, away from disclosing too much personal information. Not personal information such as that I think my breasts are too big (which is true, but meaningless), but personal information such as what I’m experiencing and feeling in reaction to what is happening in my life. All the online algorithms think they know us, but they don’t. They might track stuff and try to predict what we want to buy, but if the ads I get are any indication, they’re wrong. Maybe it’s because I’ve made every effort to block every attempt to track what I do. I don’t know. Maybe they would know some stuff, but even my searches wouldn’t reveal the inner workings of my mind as I perform chores on my farm, mulling over whatever is floating around in my brain.

Somehow I got onto texting with Milla about the little people and animals stickers people put in the rear windows of their SUVs or minivans. We realized that ours would be so expansive we would not be able to use the window. It would be:

👸 👸 👸🐶🐶🐶🐶🐱🐰 🐴 🐴 🐴 🐴 🐴🐐🐐🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🦃🦃🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🦆🐟🐟

Yes, that is quite a lot, I think.

So another meaningless blog post that reveals virtually nothing except that I have a lot of animals. And that I can cut and paste emojis. I love it.

😶

Have a mouthless day.

My Spam Rubber

Akismet has protected my site from 284,202 spam posts already. They roll themselves out to protect me from spam venereal disease. Oh, I’m so popular with the algorithm machines. They tell me I’m writing “most great best post” and I can “learn sell many item on special marketing plan.” For some reason, it’s not enough to tempt me. I don’t even see them anymore. Years and years ago when this started, I’d get them in my inbox. This was back in the day when people actually read blogs and wrote real comments on them and you could actually meet people in faraway places and become friends with them. Nowadays, people “like” blogs so you’ll go read theirs and “like” them back so they get followers because having followers and being liked in this way is more important than reality and in fact some people kill themselves because they don’t have enough of them. Tragic. It’s all fucking marketing and I fucking hate it. I’d rather have spam than that shit. I can’t stand the commodification of everything–EVERYTHING. It’s all facebookified. Gag, spit, puke, blurbppprtth. NO.

When I get comments now, they are to tell me to go look at someone’s blog on how to “market” myself. Hard as it is to believe, I have no desire to market myself, and if I did, it wouldn’t be through my blog. So the blog goes unused, but the spams keep coming, only I don’t have to look at them.

I wrote to wordpress and asked about taking back my domain. I claimed and bought it years ago and they “kindly” set it up to pay them for it each year. Well, they sold it on to the domain monopoly. They didn’t ask me. They didn’t make it clear what they were doing. I didn’t sign anything. They just took it. Now if I want it the domain monopoly wants thousands of dollars. For my own fucking name. That I bought and didn’t say anyone could have. This is the world we live in. Creaky, greasy, greedy end of empire.

Have you noticed that internet searching has changed? Type in anything (into startpage because I don’t want my searches monopolized either) and good ol’ greedy Amazon will be at the top. I’ve taken to typing in a minus amazon when I want something. Or type in something you just want to know about and the first sites are those selling something. Just want information? Good luck with that. I often put in site:edu so I get education sites.

I’m PROTECTED. Akismet as prophylactic. “Do you want a condom with that?” We are getting to the point where existing in culture requires we sheathe ourselves in rubber. I don’t want spam, likes, marketing, electronic billboards, being tracked to sell me stuff, any of it, so I wrap myself in a metaphorical rubber to keep it all out by staying off the blog I used to enjoy, never searching on the google, refusing to enter “contests” for a “chance” to win, having no television, never turning on a radio, going into the settings buried deep in my phone and turning off location services and tracking and following and notifying and bugging and bothering. It’s like being followed by a pack of blood-sucking gnats all the time, a little cloud of them surrounding us trying to suck out our blood and marrow and life. No wonder everyone is so exhausted. Late stage capitalism is a fucking vampire.

How did I get here? Not where I intended to go. I just thought it was funny that I’ve had 284,202 spam messages, and “115 are still in my inbox.”

4 Visits to Your Blog Today

I get stats on how many people read this blog. I’ve had times in the past where it was in the hundreds a day. Overall I think the total visitors over the life of the thing is over a hundred thousand. Not so much traffic anymore. Today I have had 4 visits to my blog. That’s what it says: “You have had 4 visits to your blog today.” I don’t think I can keep up with this. The sheer numbers are overwhelming. I know it’s because I never write anymore and most of what I write is boring, which is part of why I don’t write so here I am with my four views today. A couple of weeks ago it got up to over 30. Not sure why. I didn’t write anything that day. Maybe someone shared an old post when I was witty. Who knows?

The blog wants me to link to facebook. Trouble is, I don’t have facebook anymore. I hate facebook. What a huge, useless waste of time. We get 100 years if we are lucky, and probably less. Why would I spend it staring at nonsense and nonsense and nonsense? But I know I’m in the minority. In so many things I am in the minority. It’s why, I think, I am so alone. I have my 5 people and that’s it. There are a handful I would like to be more friends with but my efforts there have not been reciprocated so…

I played with my dogs today. I was giving them treats for lying down. I told George to lie down, he threw himself on the floor and got his treat. Abbie laid down quietly and calmly and got her treat. Then I asked Oliver to do it. Before he could move, George threw himself on the floor in front of him. I DID IT! I DID IT! I’M LYING DOWN! GIMME A TREAT! Oh for crying out loud, George, would you get out of the way? Oliver sat with his head back like he was trying to avoid being smacked by a crazy Dachshund paw. Peaches sat looking at all of it as if to say, “When is it my turn?” She hasn’t learned lie down yet. She’s just a baby. But she sits and sits very well, little angel. All of them are good dogs.

I have to go give my horse his medicine. He’s finally home after 3 weeks at the vet college. He’s been home long enough for me to change his bandage three times and the wounds are looking better and better. Keeping him sane is a challenge though. Thoroughbreds are bred to run, bred to exercise, bred to move. Making one stay in a stall day in and day out is torture for them. Poor guy. I hope all this stall time works and he heals back to one hundred percent. If not, I guess he’ll be my expensive pasture pet because he’s not going anywhere. If by chance you read this and want to help out with the vet bills, I have set up a GoFundMe here. All help is genuinely appreciated. It’s been a tough year, especially for vet bills.

Okay, four people. I’m going to stop writing. Actually, the four already read this so it should be okay, maybe two more people, I’m going to stop writing. I’m hungry. Horse needs drugs to battle infection. Buh bye.

Gads

Ninth grade. I was not popular. In fact, I was the opposite of popular. I was the butt of many school jokes. Popular kids plugged their noses when I walked by. They “sprayed” themselves with their finger if I accidentally touched them. I know I didn’t stink, but that didn’t matter. Mostly I walked through the halls of junior high invisibly, and I cultivated this. I went out of my way to avoid detection. I had enough of a temper that if pushed I would strike back, quick and mean, then retreat and hide. Mostly though, I just tried to avoid being noticed. I read books constantly, pretended I was riding my horse through the halls, and tried to operate under their radar. Sometimes though, I failed utterly and completely, in spite of my best efforts.

We all had to take Sex Ed in ninth grade. Good god, what the fuck were the administrators thinking? They so underestimate teenagers. I had a crush on Mike Darby. Mike was lanky and horse-faced, with tousley brown hair, but I thought he was adorable. Mike was popular. He was on the football team. Everyone knew who he was. He did not know who I was. I would fantasize that he would say hello to me. That was how silly and naive I was. I did not even consider hand-holding or kissing. At age thirteen, such conjectures were well without my realm of possibility. No. Saying hello was about as brave as I could get.

Because of my crush, I wrote “I like MD” on my palm. Why did I do that? Did some little part of me hope he would notice and fall instantly in love with me at the sight of his initials inscribed on my hand? Was I a fool? Come to think of it, I doubt I thought much of anything. I probably sat there in my teenage, hormone-addled state, reading something from the library. I read a lot in the library. In fact, I took pride in the fact that I had read every book in the junior high library by the end of eighth grade. I also won the library’s “Ghastly Riddle Contest” at Halloween. It was a sort of treasure hunt through haunted books whereby clues were given in the form of quotes. You went to the quote and it would lead you to another clue. It required some knowledge of the books involved to locate the original quotes. A weekly clue would be handed out to help you when you were stumped. I won a nice set of horse books, which I still have, actually. I think they knew that I would win since I spent every free moment in the library.

Anyway, I digress. Back to my lusting after Mike Darby by hoping he would say hello. I had taken the liberty of professing my love via ball point pen. I sat hiding in the far row of Sex Ed class. I do not recall the name of the teacher, but I remember what he looked like. He was one of the coaches. He was tall and stocky, with blonde hair shorn closely like in the military. Unlike some teachers, he was actually pretty kind to me. The head cheerleading coach acted like I was a virus she might catch if I asked her something about the pre-algebra that she taught. But Mr. Sex Ed was pleasant enough.

There I sat in Mr. Sex Ed’s class. It was a sunny afternoon and I remember sitting and staring lazily into the sunbeams. I had done the reading. Mr. Sex Ed was dozing up front. Most of the class was chatting and passing notes back and forth. Suddenly Kelly Dee, who sat behind me, leaned forward in her chair and peered over at me.

An aside about Kelly Dee. When my parents chose to move our family to “the country” because that is where I thought I wanted to live in order to have a horse, I was in the sixth grade. The little school in our town had one grade per class and each class had about twelve students. Kelly Dee was in my class. She immediately befriended me and nearly as immediately dumped me when she discovered that I did not smoke, drink, or swear, and that I rode horses and read books. She had perfectly feathered blonde hair. I did not have perfectly feathered blonde hair. Mine curled in all the wrong places and my mom cut it for me. How humiliating.

Kelly Dee wore San Franciscos and Sticky Fingers and had several colors of Nike swish shoes. I had one pair of Sticky Fingers, no San Franciscos, and no Nike swish shoes. I wore Keds and Keds were not popular. Kelly Dee knew that one was supposed to carry a large comb in one’s back pocket. Until meeting her, I was not privy to such inside information. Essentially, Kelly Dee had all the makings of a cool person while I had zero. By the end of ninth grade when this incident took place, we were in junior high and I did not exist. Kelly Dee was a cheerleader. She still had perfectly feathered hair. Mine still curled in the wrong places. I think I may have finally acquired a pair of Nike swish shoes and a comb, but they were clearly not noticed in the library where I spent all of my time.

I was not happy to have Kelly Dee peering over my shoulder. Kelly Dee did not involve herself with me except to make my life miserable. She had completely mastered the pretend to be friendly and suck me in while simultaneously concocting some nasty evil plot approach. She would say something that seemed kind. Weaving back and forth, back and forth, hypnotizing me, I would respond to the false kindness, believing for a moment that she might actually be friendly, whereupon she would suddenly expose her true nature, losing the lovely exterior, spitting in my eyes and becoming the cobra she truly was. Once she put gum in my hair without my notice. Usually she would say something really ugly and make her friends laugh. “Do you use butter grease to style your hair?” she would sneer. Her friends would erupt in laughter. Ha ha. Real funny. You’re so clever, why don’t you hit the comedy circuit?

Back in Sex Ed, she wanted to know, “Who is MD?” Uh oh. Uh oh. Uh oh. Fuck.

“Nobody you know.” My heart was pounding. Why couldn’t she just go away? Why did she have to torture me? Was I really such an obvious target? Apparently so because she did not go away. “So who is it?”

“No one you know. Someone from another school.” God, please don’t let her know. Mike Darby was in that class. If he found out. Oh crap.

“What’s his name? MD. MD. Is it Mike Darby?” What the….? How in the hell had she nailed that on the first try? Maybe she saw my hand and worked it out before saying anything.

“No. No, it’s not Mike Darby. It is not. No.” I stammered, obviously flustered. I must have seemed like a giant bullseye for her pointy cobra fangs.

“It’s Mike Darby isn’t it.” It wasn’t even a question. “You like Mike Darby. Wow.” She turned and told her friend, another Kelly who must not have been so evil because I do not remember her last name. “She likes Mike Darby. Can you believe it?” Kelly could not believe it. In fact, she was so shocked that she had to share it with the girl next to her.

Then Kelly Dee did the unthinkable. She called out to Mike Darby, “Hey Mike. Lara likes you.” Oh my dear God, please kill me now. I should be punished for having written those damn initials on my hand. Actually, I was being punished for having written those damn initials on my hand. Mike Darby turned and looked over in our direction. He may have been looking at me. I don’t know. I was staring at my desk and begging the gods to reach down and suck me from my chair. Anything, anything but this.

“Is this bad news true?” he asked. All the kids who had been paying attention laughed.

My pain was complete. Not only had I been fully humiliated by darling Kelly Dee, Mike Darby saw my liking him as bad news and he wasn’t afraid to say so. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I suffered through the remainder of the class, wishing I could disappear. Having ensured she had gotten a good and deep bite right into the side of my head, Kelly Dee was no longer interested in torturing me. She moved on to discussions of cheerleading routines and hairdos. My face burned and the room swam. I pretended to read my Sex Ed book. At least I could say the bad news was no longer true. I no longer liked Mike Darby and could not wait for class to end so I could go and wash my hand.

Once the bell rang, I shuffled through my belongings to take as long as possible to leave class and ensure I did not have to rise and move with the other students. After every one of them was gone I sat for a few more seconds. Alone in the room, I took a deep breath. It seemed like it had been long enough for the lot of them to clear out of the hallway.

I must have lacked some serious capacity to foretell possibilities because it had not been long enough for Mike Darby to clear out of the hallway. He was the only one left, digging through his locker that was just across the hall from the Sex Ed classroom. Mine was down past his, requiring that I pass him, completely humiliated. Thankfully, he did not look up as I shuffled quickly by. Perhaps part of his dismay at my liking him had been for show. Certainly his reaction had been. At least he left me alone. I went to my locker, deposited my books, and took the long way around to P.E. class because the direct route would have taken me past his locker again, and there was no way I was going there.

Junior high is certainly a breeding ground for mean people. Volumes have been written on the subject. Millions have been made in movies about the outcasts being tortured. Pleasure is taken in the geek who grows up and shows up to the high school reunion in a helicopter. I think we all assume that as adults this crap goes away. Unfortunately, that’s wishful thinking. Even if you grow into a swan and develop inner strength and confidence, there are those people who never move past being mean to you.

Lucky for me we moved away from that school after ninth grade, so Kelly and her friends were only able to harass me during those three years of junior high. I heard that she got pregnant her senior year in high school. A few years after graduation, I saw her at a discount store. She was extremely heavy and was dragging around four ruffian-looking children. A friend of mine who had finished school with her said they all had different fathers (not that this is a bad thing). I remembered her bragging in eighth grade about drinking and having sex. Maybe whatever made her so damn mean was also what made her gain a lot of weight and have lots of kids by the time she was 23. She’d clearly hit her prime in junior high. She was still mean though. At the store, she came up to me and sneered, “You think you’re really hot now, don’t you, Lara?”

I remember looking at her, not knowing who she was because she looked so wretched and different. When it was obvious I hadn’t a clue about her identity, she said, “I’m Kelly, Kelly Dee,” like I was retarded or something. Funny. I realize now what she said sounded like Forrest, Forrest Gump. I said hello and turned to continue walking with my mom.

This happened decades ago, but it still follows me around. There is a man I’m interested in. In a recent conversation, after he said something about himself that impressed me to no end, I let my interest be known (at least I think I did). I then began to babble. When I get nervous, I babble, and nothing makes me more nervous than liking someone and thinking I let him know. For hours after being around him, I felt horribly humiliated and embarrassed. What the hell was I thinking? Why did I say that? Why didn’t I just shut up!?!? I berated myself. Random pieces of the conversation kept coming back to me and I wanted to go hide under a rock. I still kinda do…

Today I told my best friend Debbie about this man I like, this conversation, what I said, and how I felt. I told her how utterly and completely stupid I feel every time I think about it, wishing and hoping I had just kept it all to myself, worrying about what he must think of me. She couldn’t believe this was my reaction. I always have this reaction when I am interested in someone and let them know, I told her. She couldn’t understand it. It led me back to remembering Mike Darby and Kelly Dee in Sex Ed class in ninth grade. Oh, the pure, devilish humiliation. It must be the origin stories for the feelings I have experienced for as long as I can remember when liking someone. I know there was a brief period during my sophomoric twenties when it wasn’t like this, but I’m pretty sure that in my twenties I was much cuter than I am now and boys were usually chasing me rather than the other way around. Since I have gotten older and less nubile, I don’t have hoards of men interested in me. Not just no hoards, I have none at all, so it’s usually me lusting in secret hoping to hell I don’t give myself away. I have no fear of public speaking. I can speak in front of crowds of people. Yet let me give it away to a man I might be interested and I’m 13 again, dying inside and praying he didn’t notice.

Gads.

Blah blah blah

I know one-hundred percent one thing that causes In. Som. Ni. A. It’s alarm clocks. The damn things have an amazing capacity to ensure I don’t sleep. No alarm clock set for the morning? In. Som. Ni. A. is highly unlikely. Alarm clock set? Guaranteed no sleep. I am not saying that no alarm clock is a guarantee of sleep. I have had In. Som. Ni. A. when there is no alarm clock. But it is much more unlikely. Damn In. Som. Ni. A.

I don’t like how the internets are anymore. Blogs used to be read and commented on. Now they’re just followed and liked, like stupid facebook. You know, there are lots of things that go on blogs that are not really things one should “like.” For instance, someone discusses their pain at losing a dog or some other trauma. Really, is “liking” that appropriate? But everything has become facebookified. Plus searches only result in amazon or wikicrapia. The fucking corporations won on this front too. Bastards. Also now I get tons of follows every time I post–tons of follows from internet “marketers” who think I’m just willy nilly going to follow them back. No damn way. I have no desire to fill my feed with a bunch of internet marketing crap. The whole internet has gone fucking capitalist crazy.

There was an anthropologist named Ruth Benedict who postulated that groups of humanity are divided into two types. The first type funnels wealth from the rich to the poor. In this type, there is little violence. Women and children are safe. Everyone has what they need. People are valued for how they treat one another rather than what they accumulate. In the other type, wealth funnels from the poor to the rich. There is a lot of war. Women and children are not safe. Most don’t have what they need. People are valued for what they accumulate. One guess what kind is dominant in the world today. Why is it everyone knows the names of rich people? Why should we care? We shouldn’t. But we don’t live in the good kind. We live in the bad kind. And the planet is dying because of it. Across the board, every ecological system is in major collapse. Good fucking job humanity. Those giant brains of yours are an evolutionary failure.

I am for sure going to be gathering all of my writings here and either moving them into pdf files or putting them on another platform or just shutting it down. It hasn’t been a place for writing for me for a long time, and it’s foolish to give them my money every year for something I don’t use or want. Plus I’m not happy with the way WordPress censors women speaking out for women. They shut down blogs when they don’t like what someone says. I think that’s just crap. So this is another reason to kiss it all goodbye.

Well, gotta go fold laundry. Later everyone (said like there are a bunch of everyones out there–ha! I know better).

In. Som. Ni. A.

“Hmm. We’re having trouble finding that site.”

Well, then keep trying, bitches! Seriously. Give the damn wifi a minute to hook its ass up to the computer before turning into a big fat quitter. Jeez.

In. Som. Ni. A. That’s what I have. I diagnosed myself. I didn’t even use Dr. Internets, or read Dr. Wikipedia, or anything like that. I just figured it out all by myself because I’m brilliant and have lots of star stickers.

I thought I had cured my In. Som. Ni. A. You can read all about it here if you’re bored or don’t have a sock drawer to arrange or something like that. And while I truly did experience some relief there for a while, and although sleeping with wifi on next to my head is akin to setting off a bullhorn three inches from my ears, I didn’t actually cure anything because the shit came back with a vengeance a couple of years ago and it likes sticking around like a bad rash. It’s like foot fungus. You put on the cream between your toes and a few days later it’s like your feet are normal or something, but really, they aren’t because one day you’ll wake up with a burning fire on your feet and know that the cream did NOTHING.

That’s how the In. Som. Ni. A. is for me. Thought I beat it down. Thought I cured it. Wrong and wrong again. That’s what I get for making assumptions.

Back when I lived in Portland and during the time I had a regular doctor for a decade because I was being the poster child for public healthcare (see that here), I went to her and asked for a sleep test. My best friend suffers from some of the worst sleep apnea in the whole world and she had been listening to me lament my In. Som. Ni. A. for decades, literally. One day after I was complaining in an incoherent rambling manner (kind of like this blog, actually) because I had been without regular sleep for so long, she said, “You need to get a sleep test. What if you have some sleep disease like sleep apnea that can kill you if left untreated?”

This of course scared the crap out of me because I can’t die before my children are grown and really don’t want to die anyway because I’m too young for that shit and who would take care of my animals and I’m digressing, probably because I’m so frickin’ tired. ANYWAY, so I asked my doctor if I could have a sleep test and she laughed at me. Yes, she did. She laughed! She said the sleep testing center told her that if she sent one more person over to have a sleep test for In. Som. Ni. A. they were going to kill her. Well, they didn’t say they would kill her. I actually don’t remember what she said they said they would do to her if she sent another insomniac for a sleep test, but they would do something really, really bad, so she wouldn’t let me go. Bummer.

This is the same doctor who wouldn’t let me have cortisone shots in my frozen shoulder when it was in the freezing stage and I thought maybe I was going to throw up sometimes from the pain in it. She told me she had had two frozen shoulders and they froze, and then they unfroze and so I could just suck it up. I really liked this doctor, but sometimes she was a little bit like Katherine Hepburn or something. I’m not sure why I thought she was like Katherine Hepburn. Maybe she was a little entitled? Maybe she was like someone who had all sorts of people she could order around when her arms didn’t work so it didn’t matter that they didn’t work. I am not like that. I do not have people in my life I can order around when things don’t work. I need them to work so I can do stuff. And sometimes that shoulder would hurt so badly it felt like maybe I would vomit from the pain and I have a VERY high pain threshold, so it’s saying a lot to say it made me nauseated from the pain.

Again, ANYWAY. I don’t know how I ended up here in this story, but I did. The point is that I’m getting tired of being tired all the fucking time. I wonder if some of the many people in my life who have decided they don’t like me and don’t want to know me anymore got together and put a curse on me and gave me In. Som. Ni. A. There are enough of them, I think they could probably put out some really ugly vibes if they wanted to. But at the same time, I also don’t think I’m that important to them in their scheme of things so it’s unlikely, but I do have some sage so maybe I should just burn it anyway in an effort to rid myself of the possible curse. I will try that. I am at the point where I’ll try anything.

I got new health insurance and it’s AWESOME health insurance. I’m not with the same medical group I was with when I had the wonderful public health insurance I used to have. I don’t know if that kind exists anymore. Obamacare and all the insurance companies made sure of that. But I have this paid for health insurance and it’s wonderful and I have a new doctor, so I’m hoping maybe I can beg and they’ll find a cure for my In. Som. Ni. A. that doesn’t involve horrible drugs that make me feel like I’m stuck in slime or make me drive my car to my ex’s house in the middle of the night and climb into bed with him. That happened to me once about 11 years ago. Took this stupid sleeping pill and woke up across town in bed with my ex. Didn’t remember one minute of the experience. I have to AVOID that shit for sure. I don’t want to die, remember?

ANYWAY. Digressions seem to be par for the course in this blog post. The point is that I’m going to try and see if a new doctor has some new ideas. It can’t hurt. I’ll also try the sage burning. And maybe chanting. Or maybe moaning. I could be like Harry in When Harry Met Sally and lie in bed and moan.

Moan.

Moan.

Moan.

I can dream, can’t I?

No, I can’t, because I can’t fucking sleep and you have to be sleeping to dream.

Shit.

Sleep Gets It

The problem with years of insomnia (among others) is that you are so used to waking at the wrong time and then lying there exhausted hoping to fall asleep that when you do actually sleep normal amounts, you’re never sure they’re normal amounts. You awaken and presume it is the too early hour, but then you’re not really tired. You finally do what you have taught yourself to avoid and either look at the clock or the window and lo! It’s actually morning.

This has been happening to me more and more lately. I have my sleepless nights, but then I have many normal ones. I feel like I should keep lying there because that’s what I usually have to do, but I don’t. It’s hard to train the body to do something different.

Luckily, I have dogs. They don’t want to wait to eat or go potty so I have to get up and feed them. The horses, too need to be fed. In fact sometimes it’s the knowing I’m going to have to get up and feed and care for everyone that makes going back to sleep more difficult when I do awaken at 2:30 or 4:30 or some other too early hour. Knowing I have an early rise time that is required always causes insomnia in me. I suppose the goal then is to find a way to not have to have the alarm. I’ll awaken on my own, like today, and feed the animals, and be awake because I slept enough the night before.

I wonder why slept gets a t. Why isn’t it sleeped? So many words seem to beg for a t, but they would be slang and not correct, but sleep gets it. I wonder why.

Turkey Decimation Day

Here again, my annual posting of the sonnet I wrote in college about turkey murder on our holiday. I’ve gone back and tried again and again to get the exact syllabic format for a completely proper sonnet, but could not find words to replace those here that would maintain the imagery and metaphoric content that I want, and so it stays the same.

Thanksgiving Sonnet
Turgid turkeys, strained into rickety wooden coffins, exit four-by-four from a ten-ton hearse. Into the turkey mill: mutilation, holocaust.

Perspiring hormones, Tom Turkey stares with one sad eye at a crumbling chimney tower belching death in putrid smoke, blackening holiday skies. Annihilating light.

Bodies, bones. None remain unfrozen. With elaborate precision he’s taken apart; neck, gizzards tied in a bag between his ribs, head ground neatly into pink hot dog slabs.

Holiday skies are crowded with turkey souls, ascending to heaven like deflated balloons.

ChickensTurkeys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lovely film that all should watch is My Life as a Turkey. Watch it online here.

There was only one time in US history when refugees actually did wipe everyone out—and we’ll be celebrating it on Thursday.” — John Oliver

WordPress censors GenderTrender. Gallus Mag responds

WordPress censors GenderTrender. Gallus Mag responds

WordPress censors women.

4thWaveNow

4thWaveNow reached out to Gallus Mag of GenderTrender after WordPress dumped the site yesterday. In her most recent post, Gallus Mag  broke the full story of a Canadian MTF trans activist who has launched “human rights” complaints against a group of women’s salon workers who were unwilling to touch and wax male genitalia. GallusMag revealed other details about the activist’s prior social media activities, some of which pertained to underage girls.

GenderTrender’s importance as a groundbreaking investigative reporting outlet covering the excesses of transgender activism cannot be overestimated. The site has also served as an incubator and launching pad for many other bloggers and writers; 4thWaveNow’s founder counts herself among them. The loss of GenderTrender is a huge blow. It is also the latest casualty in a growing clash between–on one side, a loose coalition of feminists, parents, gay and lesbian people, detransitioners, free speech advocates, and many supporters; and…

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Contemplating the Bar in Denny’s

Why would anyone want to go to a bar in Denny’s? Dimly lit by pink fluorescent Oregon lottery lights, the smell of stale cigarettes hanging about even though cigarettes have been banned in bars for nearly  a decade, I can’t imagine anyone actually choosing to go there, yet people do. Is it a case of just wanting a bar and it’s close so they go in? Is it gambling addiction? Is it simply pure boredom? Is it such thorough disconnection from the self that there isn’t any consideration at all, just a walking in and ordering without any conscious thought? Probably all of this and more.

I try to imagine a life where a person would choose to spend time in a bar like this. I am certain that there are those who do not find such places unpleasant. Maybe the smell of cheap perfumed restroom soap mixed with ages old cigarettes is a comfort. It slightly sickens me, but I’m the princess and the pea when it comes to stuff like this. I notice the slightest unnatural smell. I feel something rubbing my thigh under leggings. It bugs and bugs. I finally slide my hand down to figure out what the irritant is and realize it is a speck of hay no bigger than a grain of sand. The smallest crumbs on sheets are like mini razors to my skin. If I walk into a building and music is louder than it should be, or if multiple televisions are blaring bright and flashing, especially in stores or restaurants, I have to leave. My body can’t take it. It vibrates in response, irritated and reactive. I’m fine in concerts or music venues where I have chosen a specific loud sound, but even then, I’ll be tired when I leave.

Because of how I am, I’m often startled at many humans’ seeming ability to ignore what is to me sensually annoying and awful. Even if I’m reading a novel and one of the characters experiences something that would make me cringe, I can hardly stand it and will feel the commensurate response that I might feel as if I actually experienced whatever it is that is happening in the book.

I don’t by any means believe I am superior or more connected than others. However, it seems radically apparent to me that most of humanity in our civilization is drastically disconnected, to the point where they seek out means to maintain that dissociation. Silence is anathema to most, as is visual quiet, because in this state, in time it is nearly impossible to avoid ourselves and our lack of connection. That disconnection is uncomfortable. It forces us to see what we don’t want to see, and to feel what we don’t want to feel. If we feel all that we have been avoiding, it becomes overwhelming.

If we do allow ourselves to reconnect to the earth and everything in it, when stripped of all belief and ego, what is left is the pulsating vibration of life and love. It ebbs and flows. It allows you to observe the stories that surround us and we are able to fully connect with life–the eternal I–and dissolve the separation between the self and the other. There is no other in this place because it is all connected. Earth is her own being and we are a part of it.

The Nature Program produced a great documentary called My Life as a Turkey. (It’s available to watch online for free.) A man imprinted himself as the turkeys’ mother by caring for and hatching 16 wild turkey eggs. He then lived with them as they went through the different stages of development. Wild turkeys are 20 million years old as a species and humans are less than 200 thousand. It didn’t take him long to wonder who was more conscious (always in the present moment and not lost in future thinking or avoiding the present as much as possible) as he observed their innate knowing of other species. They knew who to fear and who were compatible species in the forests.

Nature can teach us so much about who we are if we learn to listen with our hearts and whole bodies instead of our chattering ego minds and the constant blaring clutter we use to obliterate that connection. Humanity has a lot to relearn and unwind collectively. Frankly I doubt our species will get there. I often ponder why Earth would allow itself to develop into a cancer that would destroy it, but maybe like cancer in us where our own cells go rogue, we too are the rogue parts of Earth, taking over and destroying that which sustains us.

Such is the conclusion I reach by contemplating the bar in Denny’s.

Pregnant Mares Pee More

My mare is pregnant. It seems that she urinates more frequently than when she was not pregnant. Every morning the corner of her stall has way more pee in it than it did before she was pregnant. Since pregnant humans urinate more frequently I figured it was entirely possible this is a mammal thing and not a human thing. In an effort to determine the accuracy of this postulation I went online and searched Do pregnant mares pee more?

All I found was post after post about Premarin™ and how pregnant mares are abused to steal the hormone from their urine so humans can look younger for a few more years. Do pregnant mares urinate more frequently? Same result. Pregnant horses frequent urination? Same result. No matter what search phrase I tried, if it included pregnant and horse or mare, I got the same result, posts all about humans abusing horses to steal their hormones. Gads, humans make me squirm.

Finally, I gave up and tried Do pregnant mammals urinate more frequently? That brought up post after post about how pregnant humans urinate more frequently. Nothing about other mammals. One post about how much elephants pee in general, but not while pregnant.  Guess I’m going to have to call the vet and ask (I tried while writing this but since it is Saturday, they are closed). My suspicion based on the reason humans pee more frequently while pregnant is that horses do indeed pee more frequently.

While cleaning stalls this morning, I was thinking about my inability to find the answer to this question on the internets and decided I should write about it so that if someone else out there searches for the answer to this question, maybe they’ll find my blog and I can answer it for them. After I call the vet and ask, I’ll post the answer so it will be here for all to read about instead of finding posts about humans torturing pregnant horses.

Electronic Birthdays

This is how birthdays are for me: Today my sister and a friend sent me a happy birthday text and my oldest daughter said, “Happy birthday, Mom.” (My youngest is with her father, so I am not sure if I’ll get to talk to her today or not.) The chiropractor I saw in Portland sent me a personal email yesterday. It was nice because I could tell he actually wrote it. Then this morning, in addition to sister, friend, and child, I got two form emails from two dermatologists I saw 3 or 4 years ago, and a form text from the chiropractor I see here in town. It says “msg&data rates may apply.” It’s so pathetic it is almost funny. Might they? Might I have to pay Verizon because of a form text telling me some computer was glad I was born?

Thankfully I have unlimited texting so I won’t have to pay more than I already do for the service, but it’s a pretty sad state of affairs that this is what the world has come to. I don’t have facebook anymore. Too many reasons not to. However, when I did, I turned off the birthday feature because it bothered me that I would get 20 happy birthday messages on facebook and not one phone call or face to face interaction from humans I know. I know there are those who would say I should be grateful for the 20 happy birthday messages, but I felt like they were not much really. Facebook tells users it is someone’s birthday so they don’t have to expend more effort that it takes to type a little post. Honestly a text has more meaning to me than a facebook post.

In years past I have been upset that no one remembered or cared about my birthday. Then last year a lot of people remembered and either called or texted. It was nice, but also a little unnerving to me. I’m not sure why. I didn’t really like the attention. It’s something of a paradox; I want people to remember that I am alive and that I was born, but I don’t want them to draw attention to it. I know, I’m weird.

This year, no one seems to remember (not even Mum, but she doesn’t remember her own birthday let alone mine, so it’s not like I’m unusual), and I honestly don’t mind. I just find it interesting that there are all these companies that have turned my birthday into a marketing ploy. Dr. Herold in Portland knows I’m not going to be driving to Portland for a chiro session, so his email does not feel like a marketing ploy at all. He is really nice and we have had many non-chiropractor conversations, so I know his happy birthday is more than just a way to get himself business. While typing this, a text came in from a woman I have known since I was a baby. She remembered too. She is so sweet.

So much of today’s world seems to be a stand in for real life. Get a text. Get an email. Get a notice on facebook. Of all the birthday interactions I have had thus far today, only one has been with a human interacting with me as a human. And now this is how things are. No wonder I feel so isolated all of the time. Even when it’s easier, a lot of people I know will text rather than call.

Well, wonders never cease. My mom interrupted this little — whatever it is — by calling to wish me a happy birthday. Wonders never cease because she has stroke dementia. Sometimes she is remarkably lucid. Others, not so much. Lately the not so much outweighs the lucid by about 4 to 1. I have tried calling her multiple times over the last couple of weeks.  She doesn’t notice her phone ringing. She doesn’t notice messages. I thought for sure she had no idea it was my birthday. She forgot last year. In any case, she did it. I love her. I hope she’s around next year for the next one.

Rumble

The forests need to be managed, they say. The brush and plants growing at the bottom of trees, the “understory” has to be cut out because it causes forest fires, they say. Cutting down the trees is best, they say. Rumble.

They say what the public wants to hear so that the public won’t question them. In fact they create the “science” to back up what really is just meant to make cutting down the trees easier for them to do. If there isn’t brush in the way they can more easily back up their machines to kill and destroy the trees, hook on the chains, rip off their branches, drag them down and out, lay them on a truck.

Rumble.

One after another after another after another after another. The trucks rumble by. Every five minutes a truck full of logs drives by my house. Every five minutes another 20 or 30 trees carried out of the ruined forest.

Rumble.

How many walls are built out of the dead bodies on that log truck? How many shitty pieces of quarter round sold at the Home Depot? Rumble.

They love the big trees. The bigger the tree, the more “board feet of lumber.” Forests aren’t even discussed in terms of the ecosystems they represent. They’re seen as a “resource.” They are seen as siding, or fencing, or roofing, or a new office because the one that works just fine but isn’t pretty enough needs a “facelift” so the humans inside can keep their blinders on and pretend the world isn’t falling apart around them.

Rumble.

Once the trees are cut and taken, what is left is piled up and burned or left to rot. Detritus. Nothing here worth anything, at least to us.

Rumble.

Last year after the massive fires on Mt. Hood caused by a fool with a firework the husband of a friend posted on social media about how it was best to “manage” the forests. Humans needed to go in and cut the trees. He had learned this in school in forest management, taught by professors schooled by the timber companies. Because he had learned this at university, it had to be true, and he was passing his wisdom on to his friends.

Rumble.

Forest science. Forest engineering. Forest fucking manipulation to lead to Forest Products. That’s the point of the “science.” That’s the point of the “engineering.” The foxes teach the students how to catch the hens. The students become more foxes. The foxes tell the people that the hens need to be managed. They tell the people that the hens will become dangerous, that their homes will burn, that the hens can’t possibly live their own lives without fox intervention. The foxes need to remove the hens.

Rumble.

The universities with their Forest Science, and Forest Engineering, and Forest Products are all designed to create more willing cutters to remove the trees from the forests for human use alone. No matter that humans can’t BREATHE without trees. No matter that deer, and raccoons, and bears, and birds, and mountain lions, and salmon, and wolves, and fungi, and Rhododendrons, and Snowberry bushes, and beetles, and bees, and flies, and every other creature that lives in the forest needs the forest to exist as it has for thousands and thousands of years without human intervention.

Rumble.

They’ll bring in the stories about how native Americans used controlled burns to manage forests as platitude to keep everyone comfortable and justify their continued destruction. Nothing to see here, folks. Keep moving on. Oh, look! Tom Cruise is getting married. Did you know that?

Rumble.

I drove to Portland yesterday. On the way I saw at least six trucks filled with logs two and half and more feet thick. Those trees had been here before the Wetiko virus bearing humans came along and killed them. Now they’re dead. Now they’ll be in someone’s kitchen or on the side of an ugly McMansion.

Rumble.

The trucks don’t stop.

Rumble.

Loose Socks

Socks have to be in deep lockup for me to wear them. I can’t stand them loose; if they’re loose, they drive me bananas. So…only jailed socks for me.

I wanted to know if I was really a ghost so I tried walking through a wall. It didn’t work. Either I’m not a ghost or as a ghost I’m unable to walk through walls. If it’s the latter, that is somewhat disappointing because being able to walk through walls would be one of the most fun things about being a ghost. That and invisibility.

I Used to Could Write

I used to could write. I used to actually be quite good at it. I thought I wasn’t, of course. Isn’t that always how it is? It’s like when I look at old photos of myself. At the time, I thought they were hideous, but I look back and wonder what I was thinking. Look at me now. Much worse. I don’t think I’ll look back on this writing and find it anything wonderful. First of all, I rarely do it anymore, if at all. The talent buried in the backyard or, if not buried, neglected. I have a tab open on my computer that has been there for weeks. It’s a story I started about a girl I knew in junior high. I felt an uncommon urge to write it when I started, but then got distracted by life and the urge waned, so there it sits. A bell binks, a voice calls, “Mama!” A dog barks in a way that says someone is here. Something anything nothing calling me away from doing this and so the talent wanes, if indeed it is a talent at all. Have discipline, all the books say. What the books don’t mention is that even when one is disciplined about making the time, if the urge to say something meaningful isn’t there, then the words that come are not very good. Maybe that’s part of the discipline, to suck at it most of the time? I don’t know. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

Aging is Ouch

The main physical difference I can see between middle age and when I was in my teens and 20s is that I have to keep up athletic endeavors every day or I feel really sore. Even stuff I do all the time, like riding and jumping, or riding my bike, if I miss a couple of days, I’m sore when I do it again. This is kind of disheartening. I used to be able to go long stretches and then do the activities I do all the time without getting sore. No more. I took for granted that soreness was only reserved for the unusual. I was naive. I guess this means I will have to just not skip days, although my horse needs a break now and then too. I will just have to put up with it.

I wave around a heavy kettle bell to keep my midsection strong. I look like a fool when I do it, but it does help keep my core strength, which I need for racing across fields jumping obstacles on an equine. Actually it also helps with the dressage and stadium as well, but it’s really cross country where I notice if my core is feeling weak. Galloping miles in a half seat while occasionally throwing in a fence or 18 is a lot of work.

Last weekend my horse and I did a schooling cross country show in preparation for the rated one we have coming up in June. I was a little disheartened after dressage. Johann started really fixed and tense. Some days he comes out like butter, soft, and forward, and stretchy. Yesterday was one of those days, the type of day that if we were in competition he would get a score in the low 20s. The show day? The opposite. He was stuck and it took a good hour warmup to get him soft enough for a 37. Not so great. There’s a train! There’s a kid cutting me off! There’s a breeze! Press him into the outside rein. Spiral spiral spiral. Supple, supple, supple.

This was a two day event, so after dressage and a four hour break, we headed over to cross country. I was a bit worried he was going to be fixed again, holding on and wanting to run. Last year we rode a course where on parts it felt like I was riding a steeplechaser and it was all I could do to keep him in control. I just held on for the ride for many of the fences. This weekend, it was bright and sunny. I jumped him over a few warmup fences, which were great, then let him just walk because it was warm and running him around doesn’t make him run any less on course.

As I was waiting my turn, I got the little nervous feeling in my stomach I do sometimes before jumping. A couple of the obstacles weren’t anything we had schooled since last season. The fourth was a bank up and then down to a 3′ roll top one stride off to the right. In the past, before a winter of solid work on rideability and adjustability, this would have been one of those fences that might work out and might not. I still wasn’t sure how it would go because we hadn’t schooled anything like it recently. The other was a narrow triangle fence near then end of the course. Same as the other, in the past it was one of those fences Johann might have just said, “Nope,” and run out the side or barreled at it like a bullet out of a gun. Neither option is fun. We had spent a LOT of time schooling to keep him between my aids, rideable, and light in front, but hadn’t actually schooled anything like these since last year.

I sat there in the sun with my stomach doing its flip flops and thought, why am I doing this again? Then the clipboard holder said time for me to head to the start box, the start box person asked if I was ready for the ten second countdown, I said yes, hit the stopwatch, and Go! We cantered off easily toward the first obstacle. I remembered to keep my hands light and low, crouch in my half seat, let him move forward without getting too fast, settled in 10 strides out, and jumped the first fence, a big, ol’ pile of logs, like it was nothing. The adrenaline kicked in and we were off! The flip flops were gone, we were connected, Johann was locked on every fence, light and forward. It was SO MUCH FUN!!

We popped over the second and third fences easily. One was a coop, the other another log. Then we headed for the bank to the roll top. Johann was completely adjustable. He didn’t hesitate at all. No barreling, but in control and comfortable. It was perfect. I had figured out by the minute beeps on my stopwatch that we needed to slow down on some of the long galloping sections so we didn’t come in too fast. I sat back, pressed him into my outside rein, said, “Easy,” and “Slow,” and he did! All the work this winter was paying off. By the time we got to the narrow, any thoughts he might not jump it were completely gone. It was pretty near the end. I aimed for the left side of what was a pretty narrow jump so that he would be jumping the narrow side of the triangle. He stayed right on track in a perfect line. “Whoo hoo!” I hollered in joy as we carried on.

The final fence was challenging because it turned sharply to the right away from the crowd and other horses. Near the end, the horse had to be still listening and willing to ride away from the herd. Several kids had issues with horses bulging too far left on their approaches, which gave them crooked tracks for the finish and a few run outs. I held my left rein and leg and made the turn, pressing him into that outside rein. Johann didn’t even bulge against me, but rode straight and true to the final fence. We galloped over and done! Only 13 seconds over the optimum time, which was such a major improvement over last year, and the speed at the rated event is going to be 400 mpm, while this was 350, so we were doing well.

I felt high and excited after the run. THIS was why I did this! I answered myself. Why? Because it is the most fun in the world. I LOVE it! Johann loves it! He was prancing and arching his neck, soft and delicious in the bridle. I hugged him and got off. He rubbed his head on my shoulder, his way of saying, all good, Mama!

The next day for stadium, he was absolutely perfect. Funny, he’s often the most rideable after a day where he starts out with a ton of tension in his jaw and shoulder. We loosen that up, then he’s a dream to ride. It helps that I have been figuring out that I hold tension in my arms and shoulders, which I’m sure translates to how he goes. I’ve been riding with my arms like wet noodles, and he has been going much more relaxed from the beginning. It doesn’t take a half an hour of lateral work to get him soft, he starts out soft. It’s teamwork, and I definitely fit into the equation.

We have another schooling event coming up in two weeks, then Aspen the week after. It’s getting close! In the meantime, I’ll keep riding my exercise bike and waving around the kettle bell and taking maybe only one day off so I don’t end up sore and sorry–like I am today, which prompted this little post. The muscles above my knees are screeching at me. What did you do that for?!? Ride two horses, ride the exercise bike, wave around a hunk of metal 40 times? You trying to kill us? Um, no? Trying to keep from being a blob with no muscle tone. I’m not taking any of it for granted any more.

This culture…

…makes me want to blow something up.

Link to ban pig cages. Click this link if you want to sign an online petition that will do nothing and go nowhere, but will make you feel better for having done “something.”

I have spent the last 3 days nursing a baby chicken that will probably die. She is in my bra right now, keeping warm against my breast, peeping when I move. She is weak and I’m not sure what is wrong with her. I prize her little beak open with a toothpick and pop in pieces of chick feed. I dip her beak in water laced with probiotics and electrolytes. She was born in an incubator, fed some gel with vitamins in it, and mailed in a box with 24 other babies the day she was born. Her mother lays eggs. Constantly. She will never know this baby and her baby will never know her mother. These eggs are placed in the incubator that makes the babies that get shipped around the world. It takes too much time for Mama to brood those babies. Better to get them in an assembly line and send them out. Oh, and before they’re mailed out, someone who is trained to run their thumb along their vent, essentially their anus and egg tube, ascertains whether they are male or female. If the person isn’t careful they can kill the chick by destroying its internal organs. This sometimes happens, but you know. Collateral damage and all that. So they separate the girls and the boys. The males, no one talks about what happens to those chicks, though in death culture, it’s a pretty good bet that it’s nothing pretty. Those who pass the test are mailed out. They usually toss in a couple of extra because it’s a given that some won’t make it. The weak ones. The weak ones, who if they get as far as the farm store or the home of the well meaning buyer, will likely die soon and get picked on in the process. Nature, you know. She’s a bitch. Except this isn’t fucking nature. It’s fucking insane and I’ve been just grieving it because to me, this entire way of doing things is a perfect metaphor for just how fucked up this culture is. Taking these babies BABIES! and fucking MAILING them. We have no soul.

In any case, I went to the farm store to buy some food for my horses. I peeked in the chicken cage to see the babies and I saw her sitting there, not doing well. A couple of the strong ones went and pecked her, and yeah, if it really were nature and she were out in the wild and were weak, that would be the best place to leave her. But this wasn’t fucking nature. This was a steel cage with red light bulbs and people staring in at these babies, so I opened the door and I scooped her out and I have kept her on me ever since. She has slept two nights sleeping in a bandana around my neck because it keeps her warm. Then tonight I turned on the facebook—a foolish thing to do, because there was this damn online petition to stop the caging of pigs and the photo accompanying it was so awful and so TYPICAL and so like the situation with these baby birds. Right. Sign an online petition and maybe someone will give a shit and ban these cages? Somehow, I doubt it. But the people “signing” it can feel like they did their duty and then get on with their lives. Fuck. Part of me doesn’t begrudge them trying to survive. But part of me does. Part of me begrudges them a damn lot. I’ll say something on the facebook and be that person again who turns the mirror at people and they’ll remove me from their notification list so their posts of online petitions don’t show up in my feed  and then I’ll tell them how useless this is. So turn me off because they don’t want to fucking know and this MAKES ME CRAZY. I post a happy picture of the baby chicks who were healthy frolicking on my desk and everyone gives me a thumbs up. I post all the bullshit that is wrong with this world and it’s crickets. My posts are a veritable field of crickets. Lonely crickets chirping through the night. No one likes the naysayers.

Ack. Why am I writing this? So I might feel a tenuous connection to someone, anyone who might get it. Might understand this frustration and grief. I HATE this culture with my entire being and soul. Saying it doesn’t make it better. I only hope I can save this one baby chick from this fucked up messed up WRONG world that hurts so much I can barely take it. It really and truly makes me want to blow something up.

Addendum the next day: I realized this morning that getting stuck in being angry just keeps the ugly going. Rather, I am going to continue to focus on being decent and loving. This doesn’t mean I’m not angry; just that if I think about blowing things up it just makes me feel worse. Doesn’t the anger come from the deepest love? It’s the manifestation of the anger that can be soul sucking. This culture likes to suck our soul through helplessness and frustration. I will instead put all my focus into loving this little darling right here. She made it through another night. Her breakfast this morning was cottage cheese, which was way easier to feed than chick crumbles. She perked right up then got super sleepy. Her little eyes closed, then her head gradually fell forward onto her little beak. Snore… Oh my goodness, she is the most precious little dear. I am in love with her sweetness. My poodle Oliver is lying on my lap snoring too. The sleepy family. They are wonderful.

Addendum later the next day: She died. I’m lucky I got to spend the time with her that I did. She was a blessing.

Conundrum

It’s like clockwork. All day and all night while I’m off doing something else like driving or whatever, words are banging around inside my head desperate for me to write them. Then I sit down when I have time and they have gone to sleep or left on vacation. Maybe both. Maybe they are sleeping on vacation. In any case, there is a disconnect between when I can write and when my brain has ideas I want to write about. It is a conundrum.

Time Passing in the USA

I was driving through Springfield. I saw the sign for Thurston High School. It reminded me of the shooting there. I struggled to remember the boy’s name. Kit? Kid? Kip. Kip Kinkel. I was driving. I asked my 18 year old to look up the date Kip Kinkel shot up Thurston High School. It was May 20, 1998, nearly twenty years ago. He only killed two, and wounded 25. Then came Columbine with its bloodbath of deaths and it is used as the yardstick against which we measure, and Springfield and Thurston High are largely forgotten, as are so many where only a handful are killed. Shortly after the shooting in Florida, an article was going around on social media challenging the allegation that there have been 18 shootings since the first of the year because in some cases no one died, or in others, the shooting was a suicide. I guess if lots of people don’t die or there isn’t outward hate then it doesn’t matter. What a fucking joke.

After Sandy Hook I wrote Safety is a Straw Man. In it I argued that the reason gun control legislation has nothing to do with safety or infringing on rights really, but the profits of the gun industry. Since I wrote that, a few others have said the same thing, but this topic never really comes to the fore. Those who don’t want control put out their memes on social media claiming guns don’t kill people, people do. Those who want gun control put out their memes about how fucking useless are the platitudes on thoughts and prayers. Meanwhile, the politicians and power mongers do nothing because ultimately they know there isn’t a damn thing the population can do about it. If we could, we would have. They keep their place of power, the gun manufacturers keep making their fortunes, and they all laugh at us fighting with one another on their way to the bank.

Yeah, I’m cynical.

I was in my twenties when a mentally ill 15 year old, white, male killed two children and wounded 25 other people in Springfield. I did not have children yet. Now my oldest daughter is 18 and in college and my youngest in school. I have acquired my teaching degree and license, and I have spent hours learning how to react if a school shooting occurs, all the procedures and codes and charts that are essentially about how not to get murdered and to know how and when to hide. A lot of damn time has passed and still nothing has been done. Calls for action. Horrible, heart-wrenching speeches. Hand wringing. Thoughts and prayers (which, if this shit worked, would have by now, one would think). Nothing changes.

To me all of these mass shootings are just another symptom of the brutal dysfunction of the United States. Everything this country stands for is a lie. Our military bases populate the world because the US is the world’s biggest warmonger (Are there German military bases in the US? Are there Japanese military bases in the US? Then why are our military bases there?). It is the bastard child of the almighty imperialist abusers, and it took the lessons of its forebears to heart. Still to this day if those in power want something they take it. The average citizen might not agree with stealing native American burial grounds for oil, but so what? If those in power want it, they take it, and they have the police and enough citizens to agree with them to get it done. The average citizen might know they are suffering under enormous medical debt, but those in power refuse to give up their profits so we can medically take care of ourselves. Average citizens might not want to blow off the tops of mountains or reroute rivers or kill wolves and polar bears, but those in power want what is under the mountain or the water in the river or the land where the wolves and polar bears live, and they take it. Rugged individualism is the lie that one by one, sitting in our bunkers with our guns, we can thrive. On an individual basis, most people in this country are decent and good, but also damaged and traumatized, and victims of damage and trauma have to spend their time taking care of themselves as best they can. They don’t have the ability or confidence that they can stop the almighty US of A and its narcissistic bullying. They know, have been taught since birth, have been brought up and propagandized to believe there is nothing they can do.

So here we sit, twenty years after a damaged boy damaged countless other lives, and it will happen again and again because hand wringing, thinking, and praying doesn’t stop those in power who take what they want when they want it. Guns make a profit. Controlling those guns will slow that profit and those in power will make sure this never happens. This way of being is a cancer on the soul of an ugly nation and an even uglier civilization with a long, ugly history of taking what it wants when it wants it. That we have a “leader” who symbolizes this isn’t an accident. The individual traumas that go unhealed, the wounds we carry and pass on, have created a collective that has metastasized into a place where children are shot up in schools every week, where children are stolen from their parents because they are brown and then shipped to countries they have never been to, where going to have a broken arm fixed costs a month’s wages, where a month’s wages won’t buy shelter and food, where mountaintops are blown off, where oil is sucked and spilled on the ground, where rivers are rerouted, where men can beat and rape their wives and children, but if those women or children kill them in defense, they will spend their lives in prison, where police murder black people just because they are black and suffer no consequences, where…

I could go on and on. The list is so long, the dysfunction of this culture and this country is so pervasive and complete that it is the norm. It shuts people down. It creates more of the same: rampant, hideous narcissism and the consequential dysfunction and trauma. We can only address it if we bring it down to a much smaller level.

Yesterday I saw an article that told the story of one teacher who is stopping gun violence in schools. She isn’t packing a pistol or learning how to better hide. She isn’t doing anything that is a band aid to the problem created by this sort of violence. Daily, she pays attention to her students. She asks the students who they want to sit with and has them write it down. She also asks the students to write little excerpts about how they are feeling. She then analyzes the information on a regular basis to determine which children are being left out, which children are likely the lonely ones, and she addresses these issues individually. One by one, she is trying to find the children who are hurting or lonely, and then goes to them individually to try and assuage their pain. She is bringing down these problems to an individual level to help and heal pain. It isn’t easy, but why should this kind of work be easy?

All of us can do this. In each moment, we can react to that moment, and work not to react to previous moments of pain. Anyone who isn’t so stuck in their own pain and trauma can help those who are. Those who are stuck in pain and trauma can try to heal themselves so that they don’t create pain and trauma for others. We can resist the tyranny of this culture in every way possible. I’m not trying to offer platitudes and comfort for the downtrodden in a single blog post, but I do believe that if enough people stopped hand wringing and blaming and participating in a culture that creates isolation, rage, and damage, we can make some small difference, and this has to be better than what we have now.

Death and Loving, Ten Years On

Reposting my Valentine’s Day post from ten years ago. It is interesting for me to read. Three days after writing this, I met Isabel’s dad. What a different human I was then. The Valentine’s Day stuff is very interesting, though (although it doesn’t mention the self-flagellation with the skin of goats, which I am positive I have written about at some point on some Valentine’s day). And my unwillingness to be the Martha Stewart of mothers is completely entrenched.  Neither child is the worse for wear for it, so no angst there. Also, happy birthday, Oregon! I love you!

Death and Loving

Ah, Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day.  This is the first year I can ever remember when I haven’t either wanted a romantic Valentine’s Day or the not wanting it isn’t sour grapes.  There have been a few of those years, ones where I pretended to myself that I didn’t care but deep down it hurt that there wasn’t someone special to remember the day for me or I had someone who was careless about such things.  Right now, I am honestly happy just being who I am and love having my little girl as my Valentine.  As a result, this is a really nice Valentine’s Day, at least thus far.

Milla is so sweet.  Last night the two of us took heart cookie cutters and cut beeswax hearts for her classmates.  We then wrapped them in tissue paper and tied them off with yarn. As is often the case in these sorts of projects, I had the assembly line going.  There have been moments in the past where I go off half-cocked trying to be Martha Stewart mom and decided to make 28 Valentines from scratch.  16 Valentines in and 4 hours later I’m ready to slice my wrists with the scissors and poke the glue sticks in my eyes.  One year we hand-cut hearts from construction painting paper, then watercolored hearts on each one, then I helped Milla sign her name to each one.  It was fun for the first 8 or so, then Milla was getting mad because she was sick of signing her name and I was getting mad because there was paint on the ceiling and walls and we were both ready to kill each other so I’ve learned my lesson.  I’m not the Martha Stewart of mothers.  Now I know when it comes to large crafty projects making multiples of anything, go for the assembly line approach.  These kids won’t know the difference and ninety-percent of them will likely end up in the trash anyway.

So last night Milla and I lined up the wax and started cutting the hearts.  Then we piled them up in twos.  Then we cut the yarn for the tissue paper.  Then we cut the tissue paper into squares.  Then we wrapped them and she tied.  At one point she tried tying bows but that deteriorated after about 3 sets because it was a huge pain in the ass.  The yarn kept getting caught on her fingernails and she’d pull the whole lump out of my hand and we both got irritated so we quit that.  We managed to complete the entire project in under an hour, so that was all good.  Of course, we got to school this morning and it turns out her teacher doesn’t do a Valentine’s Day exchange, but with my luck if we’d skipped it there would have been an exchange and I would again look like the mother that couldn’t.  I’m good at that.

Valentine’s Day is kind of a weird holiday.  In some regards it seems almost like Mother’s Day; designed entirely by the greeting card industry to make people spend money.  But it has a really cool history and dark side that appeals to me.  There are all these legends about who St. Valentine may have been, but in all of them, he’s rescuing someone and doing all these good deeds and as a result, he gets killed off.  I suppose that’s the nature of Sainthood, but I find it somewhat ironic that his life is held up as the namesake for a holiday about romantic love.  Isn’t the murder of St. Valentine for all his good and loving deeds kind of a perfect analogy on some level for the way we lose ourselves in romantic love?  It’s all good if both sides are party to the celebration, but more often than not I think it all ends in despair.  And even when both sides are happy about things and ultimately stay together, the romantic part inevitably ends.  And most sane people I know are glad that it does.  It’s almost like death in some ways to be in that place where you’re so in love you can’t eat or sleep or think or do a damn thing and you might as well be dead.  It’s a good thing that part ends or we’d never get anywhere.

Another interesting consideration in the history of St. Valentine is when it’s celebrated.  Some say the mid-February date is to commemorate St. Valentine’s death.  However others argue it was an active choice on the part of the Christian church to obliterate a pagan festival called Lupercalia.  It was one of those native festivals where people prepared their homes for spring and celebrated fertility through a festival to the Roman God of Agriculture.  Well, we certainly couldn’t have people worshipping any Agriculture gods, now could we?  That would be idolatry.  So the Christians murdered off the local religion with a nice little holiday of their own.  How special!  I do find it quite fascinating that in all the history surrounding Valentine’s Day there is quite a lot of death.  And loneliness too.  As I understand it, St. Valentine spent his last days in prison before being put to death.  There he was trapped in his lonely heart and then he was killed.  Wow.

On that special note, I think I’ll sign off.  Someone I know told me he likes my blogs because I just go on my rant without making a point.  Yep.  That’s me.  Pointless.  Ha!  Well, I have a point today, and that’s to enjoy the beautiful girl I made while in the throes of romantic love that ended with a sputter.  Her father and I may have our differences, but if I could go back and choose whether or not to toss that condom across the room (Yes, mom.  That’s what happened.  It didn’t break like I told you.), I would do it again in a heartbeat because the love I have for her is better than any romantic love I’ve ever experienced.  I suppose that’s the point, though, isn’t it?  To fall in romantic love so you breed, have children, and ensure the continuation of the species.  Who cares if the species grows up, falls in love, and ends up killed over it.  As long as the breeding took place and the children were born first, it’s all good, right?  Kind of senseless and weird, but it must work or we wouldn’t have a population explosion.

Animal Farm on Steroids

A small boy’s father abuses and rapes his mother. This goes on for years until the mother kills herself. The boy can’t imagine being a man. Men hurt. He doesn’t want to be one so he changes his name, his clothes, his hair, and becomes a girl. Girls might get hurt, but they aren’t rapists.

A girl is molested by her uncle. For years he sneaks into her bedroom and rapes her. Finally, at age thirteen, she decides to tell her father, hoping he will stop his brother from doing these things. She works up her courage and goes to him. He looks at her like she is insane and tells her to stop making up stories. He tells her that if any of what she says is true, it’s because she asked for it. He tells her that girls are for men to have sex with so she should just grow up and go with the flow. Feeling destroyed, she determines that she will not be a woman. She changes her name, her clothes, her hair, and becomes a man. If she isn’t a girl, then she can’t be hurt.

A young boy feels alienated from his peers. His parents divorced when he was five, and he hasn’t felt quite right since. His mother and her new husband are extremely conservative. They make him go to church four times a week, which he hates. The church tells him homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuals will die in the fiery bowels of hell. He knows he likes boys, and is scared that he might go to hell. His father is more supportive, but he only gets to stay with his father every other weekend. There is a group of kids at his school who tell him that he doesn’t have to be a boy. He can become a girl. He can change his identity. He decides to do this. At least if he becomes a girl then he won’t end up in hell for liking boys.

There are many reasons why biological males wish to be female and vice versa. For many, the desire to be something different comes from a place of pain and trauma. The change in identity becomes a way to deal with the hurt, an attempt to heal a wound that feels almost too deep to ameliorate. It is difficult not to sympathize with the person in this situation, to feel empathy and compassion for their pain. It is from this place of compassion that most people support identity changes. It is automatically assumed that someone who is making such a change must need to (otherwise, why would they do it?), and why not support this?

What has followed is that well-meaning people, in an attempt to show compassion for victims of trauma, label their bathrooms for “those who identify,” or cheer in victory when a trans person is elected or appointed into a place of power. Yet I very much doubt that when Unitarian churches added “or those who identify” to their female bathrooms they gave much thought to the female who had been raped and didn’t want to share an intimate space with a male, even if that male was traumatized as well. I very much doubt it was their intention to sweep thousands of years of male oppression under the rug when they allowed males into this female-only space. Unfortunately, though, that’s exactly what they did. And this is a problem.

What is essentially eliminated in these actions are the thousands of years of normalized violence against females (usually by heterosexual males). (There has been so much hand-wringing and exclaiming over the sheer numbers of #metoos, when really, what should be surprising is if there are any women left who haven’t experienced some form of violence or oppression.) The real tragedy is that oppression and violence are common. It is normalized in most places. It results in continuing trauma and violence against anyone who doesn’t conform to strict norms and often excused by systems that exacerbate and were created to keep things the way they are. Most of the time, the need to change one’s sexual identity is because of this normalized violence and oppression. If we didn’t live in a world where fathers raped mothers, or people think homosexuals should burn in hell, or uncles (or fathers or brothers and on and on) molested children, there would likely be no need to cut off breasts or penises to escape the pain.

Yet some men decide they want to become women, and although they may be doing so because they were the victims of violence, for whatever reason they use their reaction as an excuse to be controlling and violent. This very vocal and very abusive group of males who call themselves trans women are violent and abusive to anyone who supports female-only spaces or anyone who calls for an end to violence against women, or even anyone who has the temerity to suggest that they have experienced sexual violence, as if the violence of the trans person is the only violence that counts, and if they speak out about their own personal experiences, they should have more violence done to them. These trans activists have managed to get all the progressives to agree with them, using the compassion people feel for those who have suffered trauma and pain to get them to automatically jump on board with anything trans, without really putting any kind of critical thought into what is being done. Any statements questioning the means of acceptance of trans people are automatically labeled transphobic. Any questions on the subject are automatically shut down. Any attempt to engage or explain is stopped through force with name calling, threats of violence, and in some cases, actual violence. Any stories of one’s own experiences of pain and trauma are belittled and shamed. These perpetrators of violence and threats are males who have decided that they are female and therefore they want access to female experience and female spaces, and they don’t like being told no. When females question their intrusions into female experiences and spaces, their response is decidedly male when they start talking about committing rape or murder against those who would dare to question them.

Here are some examples:

A long time social justice activist, socialist, Green, and civil rights lawyer was cyberbullied on social media by a group of trans-activists and their supporters. The bullies called her a TERF (“Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist”). They called her a “Nazi.” They called her a “rapist.” They called her a “racist.” They called her a supporter of “genocide” and a hateful bigot who deserved to die. Several people contacted her employer in an unsuccessful attempt to get her fired from her job. The reasons for these hateful actions were that she had written that people who are born as female are oppressed on the basis of being female, and that males often do not recognize this. That’s it.

A woman ran for the school board in Minnesota, hoping to fix problems like lead in drinking water and improving the quality of education. She also took a strong stand against school bullying, including on the basis of gender identity. Because she expressed gender-critical views, within 24 hours of announcing her candidacy, bullies began attacking her. On social media she was called a “loathsome snake” who spreads “venom” and “hate.” One person told her to go home and masturbate. She was threatened with death. Ultimately, she dropped out of the school board race because she couldn’t focus on the issues that were important to her.

The reality is that women have experienced violence at the hands of men for as long as there has been civilization and men pretending to be women are no exception when it comes to perpetrating violence.

What has happened is that a rather large number of people who support these people who have attempted to change their biological sex identity, in their attempt to be “supportive,” automatically presume that anyone who questions the policies and actions of trans persons must automatically be “transphobic,” and that they can have no valid purpose or argument. The efforts to be inclusive have turned truly bizarre. Major midwife groups have changed their guidelines to take women out of their language, changing “woman” to “person” in order not to exclude transmen (women who consider themselves men (as if somehow they are no longer women, so using the word woman would exclude them)). Young males decide to become females and are then allowed to participate in sports as females, their male physical bodies and strengths notwithstanding. A city in Canada passed an ordinance where misgendering someone can get you fined. Parents give children as young as four irreversible sex hormones because the child thinks they might be a boy instead of a girl or vice versa (apparently a child can make a decision this drastic this young, but they don’t have the judgment to drink alcohol before they’re 21?). It is the world of Animal Farm on steroids. Say it is so and it is so, even when reality says otherwise.

When actress Rose McGowan spoke out about the abuse she suffered and that millions of women suffer daily, a trans woman screamed her down. He disagreed with some remarks she had made in the prior year stating that the experiences of trans women are not the same as biological women. Essentially, his argument was that his experiences and those of others like him should override all others’ experiences of trauma and abuse. Rather than support McGowan in her willingness to come forward and describe her experiences as an assault survivor, Seattle Arts and Lectures cancelled her speech. In today’s world, speaking one’s truth about an experience that half the population lives with on a daily basis isn’t enough. That experience must be truncated by the male experience and if it isn’t, it will be silenced.

We must not conflate the taking care of those who have been traumatized with the desire of abusers to act with violence and cruelty against those they want to control. The mistake so many well-meaning people make is to assume that because someone is trans that they are automatically to be supported and that their version is the only truth. People must stop claiming that speaking out for women, calling for protection of female-only spaces, and ending violence against women is transphobic. Just because someone calls a person a transphobe doesn’t mean that person is a transphobe. People must stop believing that describing our experiences somehow negates those of a trans person who has been harmed. It is possible for the two to exist simultaneously. It is even possible to understand that the two are sides of the same coin. However we will never get to that discussion as long as those who have some genuine criticism to offer are automatically shut down (or shouted down, or beaten down, or shut out). There are real issues around transgenderism that should be discussed without fear of repercussion against those who think there are major problems with allowing men into women-only spaces, with making biological changes to children, and with erasing women by claiming that biological sex is a choice and social construct and not biological reality. This doesn’t discount those who have experienced abuse and trauma, it just adds a sorely needed dose of reality to a world that increasingly seems hell bent on insanity.

A Trip Down Toothbrush Lane

Are there toothbrush design teams? What I’m wondering is if there are people whose job is to design various toothbrushes. These people would come up with bristle thickness and placement, handle designs, widths, colors, etc. Then they would get together with other designers from the same company and decide which ones to make. Or maybe all the toothbrush designs have already happened so now companies just pull from old archives. Maybe they can mix and match, take brush heads from one design, mix with handles from another, and colors from yet another, to create a brand new toothbrush. They could have multiple options, depending on how many choices they have to pull from.

I wonder if there are toothbrush wars. Oral B, Colgate, Gum, Sonicare, Reach, or Crest (I’m sure I left some out) having it out over whose design was theirs. The way corporations are–the truly litigious among us and NOT average citizens as those who would silence us would have us believe–I would not be surprised. There could be a movie about it, with corporate moles sneaking into the design rooms of other companies to take their toothbrush secrets. It’s fascinating to contemplate.

Actually, as I began to contemplate this, I did a little internets searching and discovered many Chinese companies selling toothbrushes in massive bulk. You can get “cheap” toothbrushes for 15 cents apiece. You just have to buy 30,000 of them. What a great deal! I can just imagine the island of plastic these will create in the ocean. Colorful and massive. Ooh! I can get a bamboo toothbrush for only 25 cents, and I only have to buy one! What a great deal.

Further searching produced a site dedicated specifically to toothbrush designers who wish to avoid “ugly” toothbrushes. My god. A perusal of this is like viewing a microcosm of so much that is wrong in civilization today, with its hyper dependence on technology and ability to spend time in useless ways. There are toothbrushes you can connect to your phone to “track” your brushing. And toothbrushes that play music so you’ll brush longer. Toothbrushes that clean with “nanotech ions” instead of toothpaste. Minimalist toothbrushes that are alternatives to “ugly” toothbrushes. Toothbrushes with “two-tone” bristles because you know, the two tones in the average drugstore toothbrushes are so last decade. There was even a toothbrush with a hole and a tunnel in the arm so you could run water into it, thereby creating a toothbrush water fountain. My, oh my. Oh! And a special, “functional” package to carry around your tooth-cleaning twig, should you be so inclined.

The ways in which humanity entertains itself. It boggles the mind.

I had no idea. I just had a silly idea to wonder about toothbrush designers because last week my old toothbrush wasn’t doing its job (I always know it’s time to switch when the back of my teeth still feel fuzzy after brushing) so I went to my toothbrush stash (yes, I admit, I have a stash) and picked out another toothbrush. I used it for a few days but it was so harsh on my gums I went to the stash and exchanged it for one that turned out to be identical to the one I had replaced. The prior one had an enormous head and a clunky handle with even clunkier primary colors. The bristles were super stiff. It hurt to use, even gently. I’m not sure whose mouth it was intended for. A horse? The other toothbrush has a delicate small head with soft bristles (in only one color–the shame!) and a two-tone, smaller handle. All this led to the thought process behind this post and now here I am. I have whiled away 20 minutes and know more than I ever thought I would about toothbrushes. I can’t even believe the crap that is out there for people to waste their money on. No wonder Earth is covered in garbage.

Yum

I love chocolate. Specifically I love dark chocolate. I do not really care for milk chocolate. I love hot chocolate, too.

I also like shelled pistachios. I don’t mind the shelled kind, but the delayed gratification aspect of eating them with shells on can be slightly frustrating. Also if the shelled kind are salty, my lips hurt after a bit when I eat them.

I really love ginger beer and ginger ale. The best kinds are the ones with lots of ginger in them. That Seagram’s crap shouldn’t even be allowed to call itself ginger ale–there isn’t any ginger in it! My best favorite right now is Bundaberg ginger beer. Oh, my. It is simply delicious.

Sometimes when I’m at the barn I nibble on pieces of hay. I really love alfalfa. It’s got a good, grassy taste and it’s kind of heavy. It is good to have a piece between my teeth while brushing my horse.

These are my observations for today on things I like to eat.

I am Boring

I think I might be quite possibly the most boring person in the world. One of those people who, when they speak, others look at as if to say, “Did you say something?” or “Um, really? How interesting” when what I said was not interesting, but they were just being polite. Inside they are wondering how much longer they have to pretend to listen, or when they will be able to go and organize the pantry or something.

I’m unfortunately so boring that there isn’t even any irony in it. I am not stupid and boring, so that if I told the story of stepping on a ping pong ball and causing Bunny Bixler to not complete her ping pong winning streak, everyone would look at me agog as if to ask, “Is she serious?” I’m not even like the boring guy who talks about insurance sales. At least that guy has a monotone voice that can help others sleep. I’m just a void, a blah.

This boringness of mine might be a good thing. If I committed a crime, all of the witnesses would forget what I looked like. “I think maybe she had blonde hair? Or maybe brown? I’m not sure.”

This is even assuming they noticed me in the first place. “I thought there was someone hanging around, but maybe I’m wrong.”

“The person might have been wearing a grey t-shirt. Or a black one? Can’t recall. Jeans perhaps? Or leggings? Dunno.”

Yep. Boooooorrring. That’s me in a nutshell.

Turkey Genocide Day Sonnet

In honor yet again of Turkey Genocide Day, here is my annual sonnet. I would also like to provide, to those who are interested, the link to a wonderful documentary about turkeys called My Life as a Turkey. It is a fascinating story about a man who lived with some turkeys. It’s well worth your time. View it HERE.

Thanksgiving Sonnet
Perspiring hormones, Tom Turkey stares with one sad eye at a crumbling chimney tower belching death in putrid smoke, blackening holiday skies. Annihilating light.

Bodies, bones. None remain unfrozen. With elaborate precision he’s taken apart; neck, gizzards tied in a bag between his ribs, head ground neatly into pink hot dog slabs.

Holiday skies are crowded with turkey souls, ascending to heaven like deflated balloons.

For the Birds

A month ago this would have been 7 am and I would have been waking in the hours before it anyway, so trying to sleep through it now is an exercise in futility. This stupid human construct called the time change wreaks havoc on my already toss and turny body. Insomnia is a constant companion. It will go away for awhile. Turning wifi off near my bed made a huge difference. But there is also the brain that tosses and turns too much. When I remember meditation, this helps a lot of the time, but I don’t always remember it and so…

I think if I suggested that the time change is a conspiracy to mess with our minds I would be accused of being a conspiracy theorist, the new fastest way to shut down inquiry. Yet I wouldn’t put it past the deviants running this shit show to sit rubbing their hands in glee as the population crashes its cars and goes even more crazy every time the clock shifts forward and back, forward and back. It’s just more evidence to me that these kinds of human constructs are for the birds.

What is that expression, for the birds? I went and looked it up. It’s an American expression from the army shortened from “shit for the birds” because birds ate horse poop, so something that was for the birds was considered drivel, nonsense, irrelevant matter. Hmmm. I doubt it was nonsense, drivel, or irrelevant matter for the birds who ate the shit. Even calling it shit belittles it, somehow. It actually is part of the cycle of life, and of many insects for birds or other animals to eat manure. All the way around, humans find a way to make what Earth comes up with meaningless.

How did I get here? This is what happens when I’m too tired and wake up before I’m ready. My subscapularis is in its own little personal hell, so when I woke and couldn’t sleep I used my little thumby tool to rub out the friction between the muscle fibers, then still couldn’t sleep so played cards on my phone (an activity I know is useless and also not helpful to sleep because of the blue LED light in the phone but I did it anyway). Then I started thinking about the time change and looked at the clock and discovered it was six and then wrote this. I am nothing if not a master of writing useless stuff when I’m tired. But hey, now I know where for the birds came from. They can come and peck through this post.

Identify with Truth

We live in an alternate reality, a reality where if we say up is down and down is up then it must be so, and anyone who dares question this better run for the hills because they will come for you. In today’s reality, the child who pointed out that the emperor was naked would have been stoned for pointing out the obvious because pointing out the obvious and stating the truth means that the child is infringing on the rights of the emperor to identify as wearing fancy clothes.

Yesterday I stumbled into one of these modern “conversations” (if you could call it that) that was stepping into a rabbit hole of this modern insanity. I honestly don’t even know what got things going. I did not read through the entire thread. I just saw that someone had posted that The Midwives Alliance of North America was saying that if someone claimed men cannot give birth, then that person was “transphobic” and their words were “hate speech.”

Genuinely baffled, I asked the question, “How is it that stating the obvious is transphobic? What does phobia have to do with any of it?” I do know that the use of the word phobic has been attached to any kind of group hatred, when it really isn’t a phobia, but the label can suit. However here, I could not see how the label suited. How is saying men can’t give birth hatred of trans people?

I also pointed out that in claiming that men can give birth, it is  a complete dismissal of my experience as a female who has carried a child in my body and has given birth, and all of the attendant experiences of being a female outside of birthing and mothering. I said, “Please tell me how it is “transphobic” to point out something that is simply true? Where is the phobia in this? I don’t think it’s fair that a man can compare his body to mine. He has not and will never give birth. He has not and will never experience carrying a child in his womb; indeed he has no womb. He has not and will never experience what it is to be female, even if he cloaks himself in all that a female would experience. He will never experience menstruation and everything associated with it. Why is it considered “transphobic” to state this very obvious fact? It dismisses and diminishes my pregnancy and birth experience. It dismisses and diminishes the legacy of being a woman. It is thievery to try and take this away.

In response, I was called a TERF and some other acronyms. I was called a transphobe. I was told my words were “hate speech,” and told by one person that they “knew several men who had wombs and had given birth.”

I sat and stared at my computer screen in complete and utter bafflement. WTF? Had some scientific calamity worse than cloning happened whereby humans decided they wanted men to have wombs and give birth so now it is so? Seriously? Are they transplanting them? How are they doing the hormones? Again, WTF?

Then it dawned on me. Oh! I get it. It’s a labeling thing, a language problem. The person who gave birth was actually a biological female. She just called herself a man and lived as a man so she is a man–or rather he is a man–so therefore men gave birth. What a fucking clusterfuck.

So I said so. I said, This is a label thing. You’re labeling biological females as men, so then men can give birth. I get it. Then I got online screamed at for stating this, telling me that it isn’t a “label” thing, but an “identity” thing, said very sarcastically because I’m clearly not in the know and I’m infringing on someone else’s rights by failing to label the identity thing the identity thing by calling it a labeling thing.

Honestly, before this, I thought I got it. I figured someone wants to identify as something else, more power to them, but it doesn’t change their biology. I also knew that there are some very rabid and abusive biological men who call themselves transwomen who verbally abuse and threaten violence on anyone who dares to question this identity, regardless of biology. Apparently there are also those who know “transmen” and who are “transmen” (biological females calling themselves men) who will also verbally assault and threaten violence on anyone who dares question their reality, too. This is a rabbit hole, and a scary one at that. On college campuses across the US, this “reality” is taught as reality called “Queer Theory,” and anyone who questions it is shut down, often viciously, including losing their livelihoods. This is insane. What is more insane is that the Midwives Alliance of North America, a group that purportedly exists to help females give birth, a group specifically by and for mothers, is filled with those who buy into this nonsense.

The people “yelling” at me for daring to question their identity reality asked me why I thought it was offensive that men could step in and take over my female experience. They asked how in the world does this impact me?

My response was that first, it is intellectually dishonest to on the one hand claim that individuals who want to identify as something biologically impossible can’t be questioned about this, but when I claim as an individual that I find it offensive for a man to co-opt my experience as a woman and as a mother, I am being abusive. At every avenue they shut down any discourse. Because many people who identify as something other than their biology have often been the victims of horrible abuse, those who support them see any questioning of their choices as abusive, too. They can’t see their own abusive behavior however, quickly jumping to the offensive while believing themselves on the defensive in protection of these victims who identify.

My second response was to say that I have decided that I am going to identify as a black woman. I have kinky hair; I’ll just dye it black. I will go and tan until I’m dark brown and wear brown contact lenses. I will change my name to Lakeisha and hang out with my homies. I’ll listen to Beyoncé and Rihanna because they are my sistahs. I’ll wear a lot of bling. I can share in the black experience of exploitation and slavery. I can fight to ride on the front of the bus, holding the deaths of Hayes and Mary Turner in my heart because their experience is my experience because I want it to be and therefore it is so.

All of this identity bullshit, and yes, I’m beginning to consider it all bullshit, is just co opting stereotypes. It is fully buying into the culture that creates the stereotype. If you aren’t a part of the dominant culture that creates the stereotype then you wouldn’t have a stereotype to co-opt because the stereotypes come from the dominant culture.

If I want to identify as a black woman, I’ll take the stereotypes of what it means to be a black woman and appropriate them, tell everyone that this is how I identify, and then it is true. If anyone questions me, then they are being hateful and infringing on my rights. I am changing my identity in response to abuse by the patriarchal system and the dominant culture, so as a victim of this system, I have a right to do so.

How is this in any way different than co-opting the stereotypes of the biology of male and females and then abusing anyone who questions it? It isn’t. A biological male who wants to claim my experience as a female who has carried children in my womb and given birth and is a mother and has experienced all there is to experience as a female is offensive. My saying so isn’t hate speech, it’s truth. Those who call truth hate speech are just the same as abusers in every other situation: they are projecting onto their victims what they are and what they do. Threatening me, verbally abusing me, trying to shut down these words is abuse.  Considering the dominant culture is completely abusive and well, domineering, none of this is surprising. It is the product of the people of the lie, where lies are truth and the truth is a lie. Keep everyone guessing so no one knows what is real anymore.

I used to work in an office with a sociopath. For the first six months, I thought everything was hunky dory. Gradually however, I started to question what was right in front of my face. Am I insane? I wondered. Wait, did I just experience that, or am I losing my mind? Over and over, I questioned reality and my sanity. When I finally reached out and asked a women who was becoming my friend if the insane reality I was experiencing was indeed reality, she confirmed it. No, you are not insane. Yes, what you are experiencing is true. Yes, the person causing all of this is an abusive sociopath.

This is how it is in this culture. It is a sociopathic, insane system where up is down and down is up and if you question it then you are the bad guy. Little children may not point out that the emperor is naked.

We must all resist this. We must all continue to speak the truth even if those who would co-opt and change and act like the sociopaths that they are would try to shut us down and threaten us with violence. Identify with truth, even if it kills you. It is only in refusing to participate in the house of mirrors madness they would have us believe is reality can we have any hope of shutting it down.

Round Peg in a Square Hole

In 2008 I sold a house. I had remodeled the house back to its original character, pulling out 70s carpet and mobile home wallboard, and installing built-ins and woodworking true to the house’s 1920’s charm. After the sale, I realized I had forgotten a little ceramic sun, a smiling cherub made by a local artist. I went to the house and asked the buyers if they had the sun. They told me they had thrown it away. Shocked and hurt, I said goodbye and left. Over the next several months, I heard from neighbors I remained in touch with that they had ripped out the built-in bookshelves, torn out all the shrubs in the back yard, and cut down the giant tree in the front yard. After hearing this I vowed never to return to this place into which I had poured literally years of my life making beautiful. I did not want to see how it had been ruined.

Five years ago I bought another bungalow, my first after the sale of the house in 2008. Built in 1941, it had been a rental for over 20 years. The seller chose mine from several offers based on the letter I wrote to her telling her about my two daughters and my desire to make a home for them. I loved this little house. It was darling and sweet, with an arch between the dining and living room, and tiny arches over the door bell on the wall and the phone nook. This little place was simply lovely.

The seller had installed new windows and had some plumbing done before the sale. She installed a new sewer line, which tore up the front yard. She covered the wound with sod to spruce things up. Upon move in, I set out to create a habitat for birds and bees. I covered the sod with native plants in varying sizes. I installed a watering system to keep everyone happy in the summer. I nurtured and watered and pulled the grass out by hand. No poisons touched this place. I planted small trees that grew tall, fluffy medium bushes, and flowers–so many flowers! Every spring and summer the yard hummed with the life of pollinators and birds, flitting among the plant life, which grew prolifically.

In spite of my love for this adorable house, I gradually grew to despise the city in which it was located. Thousands upon thousands of people were moving into Portland, and it was changing, and not in a good way. It stopped being friendly. Traffic became unbearable. Costs skyrocketed. I decided I needed to live somewhere less obnoxious, plus our whole family wanted to be closer to the land and away from cement and fuel exhaust and noise. After nearly two years of consideration I put my little house on the market, vowing that this time I would find a buyer who loved the house as much as I had. Someone who would care for the plants and gardens. Someone who cared about the character of the place and would not rip out the built-ins in the kitchen to replace with ugly granite counters and steel appliances.

Immediately after listing, someone stole four blueberry bushes out of the backyard. They dug them up, filled in the holes, and covered them with mulch. This broke my heart. I cried and cried, hoping that whomever had taken them would care for them as much as I had. I could only hope that they would show as much care for these plants as they had for hiding the evidence of their thievery.

I received a couple of offers, but both were much below asking price. Two weeks after listing, I received an offer that was below what I was asking, but not by much. As part of the offer, the prospective buyers wrote me a letter telling me how lovely the plants and landscaping were, and how they had seen the yard grow and change over the years, and how this made the house special to them. Oh wonderful! I thought. These are the kind of people I’m talking about. These people will take care of my house. I counter offered to a higher price and they accepted.

I have often in my life discovered that I can be quite naive when it comes to treachery. I don’t see it coming and when it happens, I am shocked and angered at my own naivete. In spite of my efforts to try and make this house sale different, I stupidly did not ask the right questions and made assumptions based on this letter that the people actually wanted to live there and leave the plants alone.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. They have been gutting it and have a for rent sign out front and are planning to “thin” the trees and plants. Even worse, the neighbors discovered they are turning my darling bungalow into a duplex! (Although I guess I can’t call it mine anymore, now can I?) And unfortunately, since I let the guy know I was upset about this, he isn’t letting me come and remove the plants he is planning to kill at the end of the week. When I told the guy that I felt like I had been misled, he told me that he should never have talked to me because I am “too emotional.” Basically, Mr. Lack of Empathy turned his being a lying asshole into my problem because I had an emotional reaction to his destruction and dishonesty. What is really remarkable to me is that I had not really expressed much when he said this.

I’ve spoken to the neighbor, begged him to get in there and rescue things before they are killed. I don’t know if he will do it. He is one of the few people I know who loves plants as much as I do, but his yard is full and his husband has told him no more plants. I asked him just to take them out and I’ll come get them. The most frustrating part of this is the powerlessness that I feel. If I lived just a little bit closer, I would be there now with buckets and a shovel bringing those plants here with me. Getting further away from that city makes it that much harder to get there if I have some need to. I am going to complain about the realtor who brokered this deal, the realtor who allowed these people to lie to me and lead me to believe they were going to live in this house and take care of the plants when they were planning otherwise. I had many conversations with him about my desires. He knew what I wanted. He may have represented them and had a duty to them, but he also had a duty to be honest, and giving me a letter that implied other than their intentions was dishonest. At the very least, I am going to post reviews of him everywhere I can.

I don’t fit in this death culture. Most people, when they hear this story, ask me, “What’s the big deal? They’re just plants.” But why should it matter less because they are plants? Why are their lives worth less? Plus even more than that, what about the fact that habitat I created that was teeming with life? Why don’t those lives matter? For whatever reason, these liars want to destroy this mini ecosystem. No reason they could offer is justification for misleading me or for doing any of it. They want to gut the house and remodel? Fine, whatever. I’ve lived that. But to take out the plant life and destroy it, too is simply wrong. And telling me that this was what made the house so beautiful and special, just so that I would accept their offer is just plain evil.

This is the review I wrote on  the agent who represented the buyers: Mr. Michalowski represented the buyers when I sold my house. As part of their offer, the buyers wrote me a nice letter stating how much they loved the landscaping and beauty of my charming little home, and how they had enjoyed watching in change during the years that I owned it. In the course of negotiations, I explained to Mr. Michalowski that I was excited to have someone interested who wanted to live in and take care of my house. I told him that I didn’t want someone who was just going to rent it out. He never once insinuated that the buyer’s letter was a complete lie and that they intended to gut the house, kill the plants I had spent years nurturing, and turn the thing into a duplex. He did well by his clients, letting them lie to me so that the sale would go through. Now the sale is done, his pockets are lined, and the neighbors I promised would have a family next door will be subject to living with renters who don’t give a damn about the house or anything associated with it. I offered to take any plants the buyers wouldn’t want, but Mr. Michalowski said the sellers could make these arrangements once the sale was done. Landscapers are coming this week to “thin” including taking out trees I spent a fortune on and spent years nurturing to ensure they would grow. Devious and void of any integrity, that is how I would describe both these buyers and Mr. Michalowski. If you want an agent who will do the devil’s bidding, if you want a smooth operator who will skillfully lie and evade, he’s your man. If you want honesty and above-board negotiations and information, run.

Edges

There is this edge of me that wants to be liked.

There is this edge of me that doesn’t want to rock the boat.

There is this edge of me that wants to drink lots of cold water, but there is another edge of me that doesn’t want to do all the things I’m supposed to do.

There is this edge of me that would like to lash out irrationally.

There is this edge of me that would like to speak up.

There is this edge of me that would like to shut up.

My gum hurts. Right behind my front two teeth. There is this edge of me that would like to poke this place until it bleeds.

There is this edge of me that dreamed of a Rabbinically bearded man carrying a frothy furry rabbit on his shoulder. When I kissed the rabbit, the man kissed me and his beard hair became tangled in the fur of the rabbit and in my teeth and I spit it out.

There is this edge of me that would like to reach out and slap that smug smile off one person’s face, but there is another edge of me that would rather pretend she does not exist. This latter edge is bigger.

I went in to floss my teeth and drink cold water and thought about my edges. I knew while running the soft cloth between my incisors that some things do not belong here, including cold water that runs through metal that was stolen from the ground and formed into tubes with which to corral the water. The fire hydrant in the street does not belong here because the street does not belong here and the hoses that would carry the water from the fire hydrant do not belong here, and the places the water would cover if the hoses were aimed at them and the hydrant were opened do not belong here.

I am comprised of edges and live in something that does not belong. I used to believe it was myself that did not correspond, but really it is the places around me within which I cannot capitulate that were not meant to be. And so there are edges of me.

Tap Tap Tap Tap

I’m lying in my room with the french doors open (there are no windows, but french doors) and reading. I hear tap tap tap, tappity tappity tap. I look out to see what it is and there in the trees is a woodpecker.

The bunnies live in our yard and I can see them as well, sitting in the yard nibbling the weeds. A squirrel is digging and Willow the rabbit is hopping over to say hello. This scares the squirrel who runs away. Silly squirrel, bunnies won’t hurt you.

I so much prefer lying and listening to a woodpecker than any man made noises, and watching the creatures that live out there. It’s peaceful and lovely.

The Split Begins Early

The Eagle Creek fire is destroying forests all around Mt. Hood in Oregon and across the river in Washington. There are many fires raging, but this one is particularly wretched because it is known that it was begun by a teenager playing with fireworks. The woman who reported his action and the actions of the other teens with him described them as non-reactive to the likelihood they had started a fire in a very dry forest (see the story here). She said the girls were giggling and that they all were encouraging his behavior. They filmed it, like it was something fun to put on SnapChat or something. The woman’s description of these kids sounded like children who are very disconnected from their actions and the consequences for those actions.

In My Name is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization, Chellis Glendinning describes the split, the dissociation from the self, that occurs in humans when they become “civilized.” Civilization is built on abuse and destruction. We began by destroying the land in order to grow things according to our own will. This led to abuse upon abuse upon abuse, to the point where abuse is the norm. Derrick Jensen, in The Myth of Human Supremacy, describes how in western civilization, we are indoctrinated from the moment of birth into a belief system whereby humans rule everything and that all the world is at their disposal. To my mind, the original sin was that of humans leaving the earth to “tame” and control it, bending it to their will, first through agriculture and on to the world we have today, where every aspect of the world is under human control. The Garden of Eden was the world before humans decided that they were “special” and that everything should be as humans decree. Thus, the split was born. Humans disconnect first from their selves, then from others, and finally from the world around them. Humans are the most invasive species, and the world is suffering because of it.

Today, that indoctrination begins practically before a child is born. It is not uncommon in this country for doctors and parents to schedule births induced by chemicals. That such births often result in the death of the fetus or the mother, or in an invasive surgical Caesarean section is no matter; it is a given that in most western births, induction of some sort will be the norm. Those of us who choose to have children at home with no drugs or medical intervention are considered bizarre and dangerous, as if the control of the hospital and the intervention of drugs is the more safe, and therefore, more sane route to childbirth. We are the wild west parents, putting ourselves and our delicate children in danger rather than having a birth controlled by chemicals and machines (or a doctor’s golf schedule).

Once the child is born, it is immediately placed into a system designed to disconnect it from anything remotely resembling connection to the self or its parents. The split is encouraged early. A “good” baby is one that sleeps all night as young as possible, without interrupting its parent’s lifestyle. One of the most common early questions of new parents is whether their child is sleeping through the night (because a baby who isn’t sleeping through the night makes it impossible for parents to sleep through the night, and discomfort of any kind is to be avoided at all costs in civilization).

Thousands of books have been written on the subject of getting children to sleep through the night alone. Doctors create systems such as that of Dr. Richard Ferber, whereby parents let their tiny infants scream and cry until they learn that their cries bring nothing and they finally give up and shut up. It is the ultimate in teaching children from a very early age not to trust that the world around them will be safe and welcoming. The parents hover outside, periodically going in and patting the child, then retreating to let it cry even further, viewing the action from a monitor in another room. It is pure insanity.

Children cannot tolerate sleeping away from their parents, and small babies need to be fed more frequently than once every eight hours, but never mind this. Parents still do it in western culture. Children are placed in cages in separate rooms away from their parents to sleep alone within days of birth. The parents hover over electronic monitors and cameras, rather than have their children in the same room or indeed, even in the same bed as them. In western civilization, a child who sleeps with its parents is considered to be “spoiled,” like a piece of meat gone bad. I have often wondered how bizarre it would be if wolves and bears laid their cubs in separate caves far from their mothers. What if mice placed each bare infant in multiple holes far from their warm breasts? Mammals have breasts for feeding infants. Only human mammals place their children in cages far from their breasts forcing them to ignore their own needs and call it normal (it’s an entire other subject and outside the scope of this rant how our language encourages all this crazy nonsense).

In addition to putting children in cages and ignoring their basic needs, parents feed them fake milk from plastic nipples rather than from their own breasts. In spite of multiple studies showing that this is bad for babies, bad for mothers, and even bad for the economy (which I could care less about, but which is a major force in this culture), breastfeeding children as long as nature intended remains a rare thing indeed among western mothers.

By the time children are two or three years old, they are already completely desensitized from what they were meant to be biologically. With the advent of iPads and other screen devices that further entertain and rewire the brain (see here, and here, and here), screens as babysitters are the norm. It’s no wonder that by the time some children are teenagers, they can toss firecrackers into a dry ravine and giggle as a fire begins to rage.

I could go on and on. This culture is crazy. Civilization is not how life is meant to be on this planet. We are the Earth. The Earth is us. Yet we continue to pretend we are separate and above it even as the obvious fact that we are not and that our attempts to control everything do not work. Mama Nature knows what is best. Sadly, we seem unable to see what is right in front of our faces and senseless destruction is the result.

Sleep Eludes Me

So tired, yet sleep eludes me. Dancing just out of reach like a flirtatious lover, rubbing fingers along my shoulders then tiptoeing away as I turn to reach for him. I laid here and tried to get underneath all the thoughts, yet it was as if a boulder were lying on my chest. I struggled to climb down behind its mass, turning. It didn’t work. Exhaustion sits on my shoulders, yet here I am, bleary eyes gazing at this screen. Maybe writing about the elusivity — is this even a word? — will help me to get even a half an hour of blissful sleep.

At some point in the near past I did reach over and look at my phone and discover I had not turned off the wifi. Bad. Bad. A guarantee I’ll awaken. But by then it was too late.

Moving

I’m mostly moved. Actually, so little is left in the Portland house that I can’t say I’m not moved. However, I’m back in Portland for several reasons, sleeping in my basement on an IKEA mattress with my daughter’s down comforter. Sitting here, even though I realize that Portland is not where I can be, and that I love how things are in Eugene, I feel the familiarity of this little house and miss it oh, so much. It is home to me. It is comfort, even with all the stuff gone and my children and animals not here, the house itself is comfort.

Today when I got here I discovered that someone had stolen the mature blueberry plants out of the back yard. They stole them and covered the holes in the ground, raking the mulch to look like they were never there. It made my heart sick. I hope whoever took them takes care of them and gives them the love that I did. I loved them. I still love them, wherever they are.

Reason number 8,347 why I hate Portland. I love this dear little house, but the city in which it resides is a bad place and I don’t want to live in it any more.