Sunday, November 9, 2014


I haven't done one of these in a while, and I've got MAJOR bragging rights this time!

First off, I knitted a Freddy Krueger sweater! SERIOUSLY! Using a pattern for the glorious mohair sweaters of punk-birthing London, I switched the colors a touch and created something gloriously fuzzy and warm. It's TOO warm, actually, if I'm inside for too long. And I keep getting pet when I wear it, which is damned unnerving. But anyway... here it is!!
On top of that, I actually SEWED the skirt I wore with my "not as punk as I wanted it to be" Velma Dinkley costume. Check this out! It was originally ankle length and I cropped it, loosened the waistband, and created a new waist and hook and eye area out of the excess fabric!

 Pardon my tiny helper in the middle picture... Why not just go buy a skirt and top, you ask? I needed it because I was trying to do a totally homemade costume/cosplay. We kinda broke right now.
That orange shirt in the picture on the left is about to be trimmed down to a tank top, (as it is I've trimmed off the severe excess length on the body and the arms and taken off the turtle neck part) and those shoes are going to be replaced with some serious army boots. But for now? It didn't look too bad, and that skirt is fully functional!
Also? I baked a cake for Bob's birthday from scratch. A carrot cake!

 It was delicious and lasted about a week. No walnuts in this one, thankfully, and I'm shocked at how delicious it consistently was. I hated carrot cake thanks to those crappy coffee hour messes they always presented at church, so to be able to produce something moist and tasty seemed to redeem the childhood as well.
There might have been some minor shenanigans regarding a statue outside a public building somewhere. Maybe. And it might've been adorable, and there might have been a lot of people stopping to take pictures of it a full 4 days later when I was in the area again.
 I'm almost done with the baby bubbles sweater for Evie, complete with my own interpretation of the stripes.

And we did a lot of great decorating for Halloween!

Finally put the last of my garden to bed and ended up with a serious tomato crop... still not sure what to do with all of them...
Went to Tennessee with my family to see my Gramma and let her see her Great Granddaughter for the first time. My Gramma is always so well dressed and put together when I see her. The woman is NINETY EIGHT.

I also took some pretty bitchin' photographs while we were there, from the art museum, the aquarium, and the house where my Dad grew up.

And cooked some pretty amazing food over the last few days. This time of year makes me think of chilis, soups... and Japanese hot pots.

Oh, and I tried NaNoWriMo then realized I didn't care about the writing. It represented for me time spent pursuing goals and being given that time to be creative by my family without interruption. I have that space now, so writing isn't important. Creating in general, though? That is everything. 
There will be more forthcoming as I hammer out projects in the next few weeks, getting ready for Xmas and Thanksgiving. Maybe even just a food roundup at some point for all of the stuff I'm cooking and take artsy-as-hell photos of. Hmm.... will ponder that. Maybe I'll call it "Check Out This Stuff I Made, Then Ate". OR... ooo... "FOOD ROUNDUP".
Honestly I probably take pictures of my kid and food more than anything else, so the fact that I had photos of anything else... I was really on the ball.
Anyway... I'd forgotten how cathartic these can be when I have to go back and think about everything I've done and completed. It's good for my poor brain, since I just chug along and pound things out and sometimes forget to look back... then I sit there and wonder "have I done anything with my life lately?"
Yup. I done crazy amounts.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


It has been a great amount of time since I last posted, and that probably because I felt like I didn't have much to say. Most likely it would've been along the lines "Look, internet, I am still in the midst of keeping my offspring alive."
Nothing fancy, basically. Unless you wanted to see all the pictures of half-accomplished projects I had going on, too.
I was feeling aimless, floating, really. It was getting frustrating because I would think "Wow, I would like if X would happen" but then noted that it kept not occurring.
Add to that the incessant and repetitive (but not identically scheduled, because oh nooo no two days are alike or allow for a definite schedule) care of my now one year old, and I felt like nothing was happening in my life. I was destined to shovel food in to something that sometimes hugged me and sometimes smacked me in the face with hard plastic toys, and that was the end of my days as anything else.
Then I noted that when I had something that required a few weeks of planning, like decorating and getting ready for Halloween, my brain LEAPT at it. I focused on it. I got small details done. I did things in the midst of doing other things that made sure it got finished. In short... I got my goals completed. I was shocked, in fact, to finish everything the morning of Halloween. Usually I'm lamenting missed chances to go do things, decorations that didn't get to be outside. Nope. This year? Everything was done.
I was taking everything down this morning and wondering to myself... what was the difference? Why was this so successful when everything else in my life felt like it was unanchored? It is true that I adore Halloween like no other holiday, and when my dear Evie is older we will bake themed foods every week, and make costumes together, and put up spider webs both inside and out. WE CAN DO HAUNTED HOUSES AGAIN. I look forward to that immensely. But I still dove forward despite the fact that the full celebration wasn't able to take place.
And that's when I realized that I had shut my life down, at least mentally, when I'd had the baby.
That had been my goal and culmination of everything. I was to work, then to get pregnant, then to leave work and have the baby. And raise the baby. And those were all met, which meant my brain didn't just feel like it had stalled out... it had literally stalled out. There was nothing for it to work on in the background, no data to parse. No plans to make. No small reminds to look out for when I was out and about, that oh yeah, this thing reminds me I wanted to learn more about how to do X.... it's hard to describe. The subconscious was twiddling its thumbs, bored as hell, and no wonder I felt stupider.
It's true, since I've had the kid, it feels like I'm trying to think through a muck or a thick fog some days. Part of it has been identified as hormone-induced migraines with atypical symptoms, but the rest of the time I struggle to remember where I set down my coffee cup. Considering I fixed computers in emergency rooms under serious time and materials constraints prior to all of this, atrophy could quite possibly be occuring.
But I digress.
At the same time, a package arrived from Okinawa courtesy of my friend Deya who trades care packages with me about once a month. I had requested her finding me a Daruma, as the last time I had one I'd used it to "wish" for a house, and it was now sitting on the mantlepiece with both eyes happily filled out. It showed up, almost a mirror of the one I picked up in our own trip, and I began to put a great deal of thought in to what I wanted this time around, since I knew it had the ability to do some fairly large psychological tweaking in my favor.

Added to this, this morning's moment of "oh!": I have at least twice now sat down and written out a 5 Year Plan detailing what I wanted to accomplish with my life. It dawned on my as I brought in the last of the spooky lights that I had not gone back and rewritten them since meeting almost all of my major goals. Grabbing my Moleskine (special Pacman edition, y'all) I cracked it open and looking through to be sure; yes, indeed, all of the most major things that I had wanted were now complete. The other things were all goals I had written before having a child and understanding materials and time constraints. Ergo, my brain had just discarded the whole damn thing and none of it was percolating in my subconscious.
That lightbulb.... it was huge when it went on. I sat down and turned to a fresh page, re-dated it, and began to write down my NOW goals. And as I did, my brain felt as though it was awakening and pulling itself up out of the Freudian marsh I'd let it slip in to.
I separated my goals out as I usually did, in to 3 month goals, 6 month goals, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years. I give myself a front and back of a page for all of them, but usually by the 5 year goals I've only got one or two huge things listed. In this case, I already know I'm going to put "2nd trip to Japan" under there, with the stipulation that it will have OCCURRED by then, since the people I would want to visit while there will be gone if I wait that long.
This whole thing works for the same reason that people think praying or casting spells work... you are telling your brain you want something to occur. Your brain grabs hold of your behavior and your thoughts and begins to subtly direct you to complete those things.
Now instead of thinking "It would be great for X to occur", I will always be WORKING for X to occur, and by a specific time frame. Which is great. I love it. I need it. My brain needs it. And it'll get me out of this giant rut that made me feel useless and lonely ever since everybody left from visiting my newborn.
Saying I am excited isn't quite right, but I am energized. Focus will do that to somebody who's used to knitting while watching TV and surfing the internet to keep herself entertained.
Anyway... just wanted to share. 5 Year Plan. I got one. And I already started working on it shortly after I refilled my Lamy fountain pen to write in my pretentious as hell Moleskine.
As for the Daruma, I wanted to wish for something that reached deep, that would cover several areas of my life instead of just one small happening. I wished for "Growth". That should cover everything I want to accomplish over the next few years and keep me active in learning and continuing to expand life for myself, for spouse, for Evie, and for any other littles who might come along.
I wish this were more eloquent. I wish it were funnier. But you know how you can't really process something when you wake up from sleeping a long time? Like sleeping longer than you should have so your brain just won't get itself together and you're stumbling and you can't remember where the coffee grounds are to make that coffee you desperately need? That's what it's like to be me right now. Dormant. Awakening. Not really coherent quite yet.
Perhaps there'll be more posts as things get worked out. Perhaps things will get sorted. For the first time in quite a while I power-cleaned and organized everything, took a mental catalog of what else needed done in the house, and took power tools to cabinets for the purpose of child-protection. The affects of goal-setting are already becoming apparent. I'm grateful. It sucks feeling like 2/3rds of who you are is turned off.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Last night I was incredibly excited to "suit up" and start up my old exercise regimen, where I alternated fast walking and jogging around the neighborhood to the throbbing base of beloved music in my ears. It was something I had started 4 years ago and had helped me to lose 25 pounds, all of which I had since regained. I needed it. I needed to move, too, since being around a baby a lot doesn't lend itself to too much exercise. 30 minutes on the treadmill becomes 7 and then you leap off because she starts crying after accidentally smacking herself in the face with a toy.
As I was walking, though, I noticed this particular tension creeping up on me. It was surprising, because it was familiar but I felt like it was out of place. After all, it had been a while since I last exercised but nothing about walking should scare me, right?
Then I realized what it was, and literally stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. In the middle of Heart Shaped Box, and the irony of that fact was not lost on me.
I was waiting to be attacked. My body was tensed for another one based on my history.
I have always walked, outside my home in the mountains of West Virginia as a young girl, and around my neighborhood in Hershey, Pennsylvania. As a teenager in a suburb of Harrisburg, I took to walking a mile and a half around my neighborhood every night in the summers to clear my thoughts. I had always thought of the darkness as a sheltering friend. Me, a severely awkward introvert, could go out in to the world and experience it without the stress of having to deal with other human beings. It always felt like the night wind and the fireflies were mine alone, as the rest of the world was camped in their houses having dinner and watching TV.
It was on these evening walks that the first attack occurred.
I was perhaps 14 years old, and enjoying my walk immensely. I had walked down across the wide creek near my house to a beautiful spring house and watched it splash over the 200 year old stones it was constructed out of. This was the usual turning-point to my walk as the rest led up a steep hill with sharp curves and no sidewalk. It also meant I would walk almost exactly one and a half miles round trip from that point.
I was within 3 blocks of my own house when I sensed something moving in one of the yards and looked up. A tall boy had pushed out of the thick bushes and trees up the incline. At first I thought he was simply on his way home and cutting through the yard.
Then I realized he was adjusting his angle as I passed. And I also noticed that his eyes were on me. And his eyes, for lack of a better word, were hungry. I later came to call that look "wolf's eyes".
Realizing I was in danger I ran. I ran like hell the remaining two blocks, turning around on the corner to see if he was behind me. He was a block back, standing there staring at me. We had a stare down for several seconds as I memorized what he looked like. Then he smirked and walked off casually.
At that point I ran in to the house and immediately told my parents what had happened. For their part, they did immediately go down and check, but of course the kid wasn't around at that point.
Then they went to bed. Despite my protests (and to this day I do not believe they blew me off like this) they went to sleep and called the police in the morning. The police berated them mildly for "what might have possibly happened." -I informed the officer in no uncertain terms that I knew the boy meant to rape me, but he brushed it off saying again "What MIGHT have happened"- and then filed a report.
To the unknown neighbor's credit, they promptly cut down the trees and bushes, telling us that teenagers were prone to hanging out back there and often left beer bottles.
I was incensed that this was it, that I had nearly been hurt and the law and my parents shrugged and thought it wasn't anything, but I figured it was over. I was wrong.
Three days later I was with  male friend in a comic book shop when I saw the boy there. He was with someone (a friend?) at the counter. And he saw me.
I panicked and told my male friend that that was the boy who had tried to grab me. His response "Well, go stand towards the back and get away from him."
I asked if he would tell the guy at the counter to call mall security. No, he said, he didn't want to make a big deal out of things.
So I did as he asked, and started to peruse the Sandman trades, trying to be very, very small.
Except the boy had already seen me, and had gone around my friend. He came up behind me, so close he brushed against my back. I made the mistake of looking over my shoulder to see his white, white teeth in a nasty smirk right at my eye line. And he just stood there, smirking, barely touching me. I was so scared I couldn't look at him. I looked at my male friend and he looked away, not sure what to do.
Then suddenly the friend called out "Leave her alone man, let's go!" and he then broke away, making sure to smirk at me as he once again slowly strolled out. My male friend rushed me out of the store in the opposite direction. By the time I got home and told my Mom, he was long gone and there was no way to track him.
Even though he had not touched me, I felt violated and dis-empowered. From that point on, afraid that I might run in to him again, I changed the route and didn't dare to walk that way again for another 2 years. I didn't venture far from my house, sometimes just circling the block to make sure I wasn't too far away.
That tension, and the hawk-like scouring of spots between houses, between bushes, under trees, was what sat on my shoulders with such saddening familiarity as soon as I crossed the street. 22 years later and I am still waiting to be attacked from the shadows by some boy who was allowed to walk away by everyone I had asked for and counted on for help.
I know if it happened again that I could defend myself now, as I've taken self defense classes since then. I could outrun him, I could report him and I could be persistent. But I could do all of these things because I realized what could happen and because I was forced to go through these things in the first place.
I do not regret learning how to become my own advocate and having the ridiculous notion destroyed that the world out there would help protect me. It has made me stronger. I am just sad that I thought I didn't have the right to be forceful with the police, or to make a scene even when I was asked not to.
In the years since then I have fought off 2 more rape attempts, this time by people I know. I even had to go so far as to file a restraining order because one individual began talking about how "a woman is a man's property once they're going out" and when I proceeded to try and extricate myself, choked me to show me how scared and weak I was. The rape attempt was the straw on the camel's back that convinced me I was going to die if I stayed.
I have been catcalled, called a slut, called a whore... I have been grabbed inappropriately. I have had managers belittle me for having two X chromosomes. I have been ignored for my thoughts and made fun of for being interested in things that were traditionally male-dominated. When I first began working as tech support at EarthLink (yes, that dates me a little) being a woman in the tech field was a rarity... enough so that I was virtually guaranteed a spot due to EOE laws. But I was constantly talked down to because I was a young female on the phone. "I want a man," the man on the end of the phone said more than once. Other times I was told by my boss to just finished teching the call when I put the caller on hold to report to him that I was being subjected to someone telling me what he wanted to do to me with his tongue.
Times have changed and we have more freedom to speak up about it, but this is my history. This is what I have had to deal with. I have always been advised I am less, I am supposed to be quiet, I am the property of another.
It's bullshit.
I am not sitting by and letting another generation grow up thinking any of this is acceptable. I have a daughter, and I swear now on any gods that will listen that she will not be subjected to any of this bullshit I had to go through. Until seeing the hash-tag I had just assumed I was an unlucky target. Perhaps, but it now shows me that it is endemic within our society. My daughter deserves better.
From this point forward at every opportunity I will fight for her right to walk freely, without fear. Not because it is an extraordinary thing to do, but because it is ridiculous and repugnant  that this isn't already possible.
Tonight when I walk I will turn the music up and ignore the fear. I will be alert, but it will not control me. I will take back my nighttime realm of solitude, that I might share it with my daughter when she is older.