Rambling: I’ve got 2 laptops and finally figured out what to do with them.

So I have these two laptops. One of them has no usable internal storage (something I am working on dealing with) and the other is an old beast with missing keys and parts falling off. But plenty of internal storage. Both run Windows 10, but 2 different accounts (and  don’t want to deal with resetting my much hated Acer Cloudbook AGAIN and deal with uninstalling the 10 gigs of bloatware AGAIN and have to deal with Powershell code fuckery AGAIN) so I can’t exactly sync them up. But I really didn’t want to do that anyway.

So, I have these two laptops. The beast machine is my main rig. I do nearly everything on it. Except watch youtube or streaming. It’s so old now that it can hardly keep up with that and it has to buffer a long while before I can watch anything. I do all of my photo editing/artistic stuff on it, and nearly all of my writing. Again, it has much more storage wise than the Cloudbook. I also listen to my music on it. But pretty much my projects are all done on that machine. The Cloudbook is my “travel laptop”. Having a much longer battery life, and weighing roughly 1-2 pounds max, it’s ideal for when I need to go to the laundromat and need something to do. I can do some of my writing on it, via GoogleDrive and Evernote. But I can’t really do anything else but watch Youtube and stream movies.

Well, I finally figured out a good use! I’ve been trying to sort out how to efficiently do my tarot reading online. It requires I have a camera of some sort. Well, being strapped for funds as I always am (we pay bills and provide for our son just fine – comfortable even – but stretching beyond that is dicey as we have a crappy car and other things that we need to be careful of and keep extra money in reserve in case of emergencies. That kind of thing) so I can’t exactly just go buy one. My mom has one she got a few years back, but half the time we can’t find it and the other half the time it’s frustrating as hell having to go through and delete all my pictures after I transfer them to my laptops. And no, I don’t own a smartphone that actually works anymore. The one I do have can only be used while plugged in, and even then I can’t move it because it’ll shut off if the cord is moved too much. So, what do I do?

I recently discovered that my current phone, an LG prepaid flip phone has Bluetooth on it. Windows 10 also has Bluetooth compatibility… provided the device it is on also has compatibility. The beast of a laptop does not have Bluetooth… but the Cloudbook does. Essentially I’m going to be using the Cloudbook for basic blogging (like this), and business related things because I can use my flip phone to take the pics I need, transfer them to the Cloudbook via Bluetooth so that I can put them into the e-mails and such that I need to do to fill in my orders when I get them, or when I do my freebie events on Tumblr.

My clunker beast will be used solely for my projects and hobbies. This will help me manage my time better as well, and will help me dicipline myself to sticking to specific tasks I’ve set out for the day. Such as “Today, I’m only going to work on my novel.” So then I’ll be using the beast all day. Or “Today’s a casual work day!” so I’ll pull out the Cloudbook for streaming while I update my blogs, process payments, do ebay, etc.

At least, that’s the goal at any rate.

Finding My Goddess; or “The path to Hecate was littered with shitty fanfiction. And I wrote most of it.”

I was sitting on my toilet earlier and thinking, as one does when waiting for their loving spouse to locate a roll of toilet paper for those emergency “Why the hell didn’t you replace the roll after using the last of it you dipshit!” situations, when a thought occurred to me that I forgot about until a few minutes ago while browsing Twitter (no, not while on the toilet).

The gods (or God, whatever your belief) come into our lives at such strange times and we often aren’t even aware of it until years later. I’ve said before in passing that Hecate is considered my household’s patron goddess, and has been for my mother and I since before I married. Since before we came back to Georgia in 2010. I’ve also told my long, winding spiritual journey and yadda yadda yadda. That’s the “official” version, at least that’s what I call it. It’s got the main plot points, the important details, but lacks the down to earth, slice of life details and stories between the major plot points. This is one of those little, silly detail stories.

My mother’s a Christian again, but not the sort to completely ignore or rally against what she believed before. It was a natural progression for her, and it makes her happy. And I’m happy that she’s happy, too. But that’s just here for context. Before she returned to Christianity, she worshiped Hecate. And through the part of her life that she did, Hecate was what she needed most. And I am happy that the goddess welcomed her and helped her through a very troubled and dark time of her life in ways that I could not be there for her.

And while I do not consider myself a devotee and have her as my main deity – she is among my personal pantheon and does fill the role of primary goddess in it, with Death itself as the god role (which for my personal spiritual practice takes a more prevalent position in my worship. More on THAT in another post on another day). So, in my practice and worship, she’s around and pops up when she feels she needs to.

But it occurred to me earlier, and again right before making this post, that I was drawn to Her long before I knew anything about paganism beyond basic Greek and Roman mythology we learn in grade school.  Bizarrely, this particular stroll down memory lane takes a sudden and sharp turn into the world of Fanfiction. I’ve mentioned before that I write the stuff (but I do not post it to this blog). But first, a bit of context as to how this links up with the rest.

I love books and I love learning (despite what all of my teachers in the past were led to believe). I would think of a subject, and look it up in the dictionary, then thesaurus, and eventually the encyclopedia. When I had a chance to go to the library, I’d take a notebook and just do as much research from as many different sources as I could. I didn’t have to, no one made me, but I just did it. I would devote entire summers to learning about a subject as much as I possibly could. This continued from second grade all the way up until part way through college and I had a job that took most of my time away from my academic leanings.

In 1997, my family got our first computer through the Finger-Hut catalogue. Technically it was my mom’s, but we kids were allowed to use it for school and a little bit for the internet (mostly, again, for school). A family friend set it up for us, and he gave us some nifty programs for it, too. One of them was an encyclopedia program. Needless to say I was the most excited of all of us over that one. Mind you, Wikipedia would not be launched until 2001. So this program that I got for free was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. The summer of ’98 I used that encyclopedia program to do a lot of reading. Every subject I could think of until finally, I settled on Greek and Roman mythology. At the time I already had a basic grasp on it, a little more than my peers, but only because my favorite anime or all time had been (and still is) Sailor Moon, who’s characters’ super heroine forms are named after the planets and have attacks based partly on the elements and partly on the particular gods/goddesses associated with their planet (except Saturn and Pluto. That one gets a little weird and mixed up – but the rest are pretty close to the mythical origins to an extent). It was also around this time I discovered… Fanfiction. See, I told you it would all connect together.

One of the main plot points of Sailor Moon is the love story between Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom and Prince Endymion of planet Earth. I had never heard the name Endymion before, so I was curious to see if like many other aspects of the show, it was based on mythology. Imagine my middle school aged surprise to learn there was more than on goddess of and/or associated with the moon. I read up about the Selene and Endymion myth, which led me to an entry about moon goddesses in general. This entry, of course, led me to Artemis and Diana (funny enough, the names of 2 of the 3 talking cats on the show). However… in a footnote among other articles and names of gods and goddesses in the “See Also:” section was Hecate. I’d already decided to go through every entry even remotely linked to Greek and Roman mythology that I could uncover, but that entry in particular caught my interest.

And later that summer, when I decided to try my hand at Fanfiction, it was with my fanmade character Sailor Dark Moon, Princess Hecate. A dark and edgy version of Sailor Moon who came from the dark side of the moon. Yes, very original, I know. Go ahead and get your giggles out now.

Take a breath. How about some water? Need a bit of air?

You good now? No?

I’ll give you another minute to compose yourself.

Okay. Let’s continue. Yes, that was a very awkward period of my life and I am insanely grateful that I never committed any of THAT fanfiction to digital format. The handwritten stories that were circulated among my friends now no longer exist, thank the gods. I burned every single last copy. The take-away from that experience though is that I devoured the information more than I had any other of the gods and goddesses in the encyclopedia at the time. And over the years, when I happened to come across information regarding Hecate, I’d read through it. I didn’t seek it out though. Just one of those “Hey, random article about this subject cites this other article about Hecate. Neat. Wonder if there’s anything in the Hecate article I don’t already know.” And so I’d click it to read it. But I never went out of my way to look for information after that summer.

Well, after that summer, I really didn’t want to go to church anymore. I wanted to branch out and explore other beliefs. But at the time, my hands were tied and I kinda had to go to church if I wanted anywhere to go out and do. It was the only way we could afford things like bowling or skating at the skating rink, etc, as part of church trips. A few years later, around early 2000, I didn’t have to go to church anymore, and this afforded me the freedom to explore other beliefs. So I read a lot. Went to the library, and checked out any book I could about all kinds of beliefs. At the time my library wasn’t even close to being as big as it is now, but it was better than nothing. It was nice. Of course, I looked up old Hecate when I explored Greek/Roman polytheism and at the time it really didn’t connect with me all that much. Still, it was an interesting read to me at the time.

A few years later in early 2003 (my 16th birthday no less) my family moved to Florida. Much of the first few weeks I try to block out of my mind. However, where we lived – we were very close to a little store within walking distance of my house called The Purple Door. And it was run by a nice Wiccan named Gretchen. It had all manner of pagan stuff, and it was here that my mom found her path, or rather, the path that was needed most at the time. We stopped in just because “Hey, there’s this place that literally has a purple door.  They’ve got neat stuff in the window. Let’s stop in and see what they do there since we have time to kill today.” and it seemed like a good idea at the time. And it really was. My mom went back, bought a couple of books. Talked with Gretchen a bit. Of all my mom’s kids I was really the only one who had an interest in her newfound spirituality because I was the only one who’d really tried to branch out and find something new for myself. And I felt she needed at least someone in the family who was supportive of her in this regard that she could talk to with no judgements. She experimented with different gods and goddesses, until at last she had settled on with Hecate. Boy was she surprised when she told me about Hecate and I went and told her even more (at least in the academic sense).

At the time I remember thinking it was pretty funny because of my silly little Sailor Moon fanfictions that were inspired by Hecate. And while she wasn’t exactly one of my personal pantheon at the time, she was still an influential deity of my spiritual life at the time because she was the one to which my mom turned in her faith and belief (alongside Hestia and other home-maker type goddesses to a lesser degree).

Ten years later, after meeting my husband and right around when we started dating (right before we “officially” started dating. He actually courted me. It was cute. This next bit is during that “courting” period which lasted about 2 weeks) I’m over at his and his mother’s house for dinner. Somehow we got on the topic of spirituality and witchcraft and Wicca in general (I must note, by this time I firmly identified as not Wiccan) and something I said must have impressed his mother quite a bit because she actually started going pretty in-depth into the topic with me, and later said it was a better conversation on the subject than she’s ever had with any of my then-almost-boyfriend’s past girlfriends. And of course, given the subject matter, Hecate’s name came up. She might have been impressed with the fact I didn’t do full on woo-woo new age sparkly glitter about the sparkly glitter version of Hecate that most of the fluffy woo-woo types go on about, and more on the realistic expectation of personal belief plus the academic perspective. At least, I like to think that’s what it might have been. I know she was surprised that I knew some stuff that typically doesn’t come up on a surface level Google search. Whatever it was, she was satisfied that I gave the goddess her proper respect and reverence, so I guess that’s a tick in a win column somewhere.

But thinking back on all of that, earlier today, it makes me want to giggle. Because again, you never know when the deities you may or may not believe in will step in, make themselves known, and then just kinda poke their head in from time to time whether or not you actually believe in them. Needless to say, by 2013 Hecate had become part of my personal pantheon as the main goddess among them, where she continues to be to this day.

But it’s just a little funny that for me, the road to Hecate started not with a dire need for something to believe in. Nor was it a deep spiritual devotion and hours upon hours of meditation. It started with a 1997 no-name computer from a mail order catalogue, with 1997 encyclopedia software, and an obsession with the anime Sailor Moon.

Emotions or “Why I, a US citizen, avoid July 4th. And no, it’s not because I’m a commie bastard.”

Not written here for a bit. There’s a few reasons for that. Life gets in the way, as per usual. But in this case it was more of an emotional/psychological bit of thing going on. Since 2010, the 4th of July has always been hard for me to handle and deal with, and in the last few years it’s been especially bad emotionally, for different reasons.

Growing up, July 4th was never just America’s Independence Day. It was my father’s birthday as well. My dad was born in Cuba, and came to the US when he was (I think) 9 years old. He always thought it was funny and really cool that his birthday was Independence Day. We always had cake, usually some variation of red, white, and blue in some way. Some years we even had actual sparklers on the cake. Cookouts every year, rain or shine. If it were raining then… well, the basement door, which was more of a giant garage door, would be opened up and set to an angle. The grill placed just below it, technically outside, but just barely.

Life was so very far from peachy, especially the last 10 years before my mom and I left my dad in Florida. Often for holidays, even his birthday, entire dinners would be thrown into the trash because he didn’t tell any of us he was going to head over to his sisters for the entire evening instead of come home for the holiday meal. And none of us were allowed to touch the dinner until he was home There were a lot of problems then – ones that most parties that are still alive agree could have been handled better. And pretty much all of us were suffering from mental illness in one form or another.

So to say that holidays for me are rough is an understatement. I’ve managed to work through my issues with nearly all of the standard holidays because those were easier to deal with. They were JUST holidays. Many of which I’m able to focus on other people for. Christmas? Spoil my kid rotten. Halloween? Take my kid out trick-or-treating! Easter? Here comes the easter bunny! New Years? Valentines? Father’s Day? Focus on my husband. Celebrate fresh starts and new ideas with him. Celebrate the fact that Valentine’s is exactly one week after the anniversary of when we started dating. Father’s Day is for dads, and my husband is my kid’s dad. Mother’s Day? Hey I’m a mom, and so is my mom! Thanksgiving? Surround myself with my family. St. Patrick’s Day? My husband’s part Irish and likes to drink so why the fuck not. (Unlike most on St. Patrick’s Day my husband actually IS part Irish, not just claiming to be. He’s also part Sicilian and has a blood card somewhere for Cherokee so, that’s a fun combination.)

But… Independence Day is much harder for me to refocus. Had the story simply ended in 2010 with my mom and I leaving, I think I could have been able to refocus it easier. But… in 2013 my life changed in a huge way. And by 2014, my perspective on many things had changed. I now finally could see things from the other side, and I regretted a LOT of things I had said and done, especially to those of my family I left behind in Florida. But mostly my dad. The last thing I ever said to him was on the phone after receiving a letter from him. I used someone else’s phone so he wouldn’t have my number to reach me. I told him I hated him, and never wanted him to contact me again. That I didn’t need him and I was happier without him. That was roughly a week after I started dating my husband in 2013.

And to this day it eats me alive knowing that’s the last thing I said to him. Later that year, he had a massive mental breakdown, resulting in his inability for quite some time to recognize anyone, even my baby sister who had been stuck taking care of him. He had the breakdown around the time I started telling people I was pregnant (I was a few months along at that point) and I had made it known that I didn’t want him to know, that I didn’t want him to know anything about me or my life. I don’t know if he ever found out or not. After my son was born, I did try to make amends the only way I knew how. But I didn’t have a good phone number for him. I didn’t even know if he still lived at the address he was at when I left after staying with him for six months looking or work in 2011. I contacted a sister of mine, to ensure I had the right address. I sent him a card, apologizing for my actions and words and acknowledging that I had hurt him in such a way that no one should ever hurt another, let alone their parent. I sent a picture of myself and my son, and my son and my husband with the card. I don’t even know if he ever received it – as I came to find out later that he wasn’t at that address anymore.

He died a few years ago.

Heart failure, from what I understand.

I’m not making this post for pity or sympathy. I want to make that VERY clear right damn now. Just…  just trying to work out my feelings and put them into better words than I did for my therapist on Friday when I brought it up with her. The closer the calendar gets to July 4th, the more withdrawn I tend to become. And after the holiday, it takes me a bit to re-enter the world so to speak. I try to separate my personal feelings from the actual holiday of Independence Day, and I do the typical Fourth of July activities. Cookouts. Burgers and hotdogs. Lots of soda. Fireworks. Oh the fireworks. My son loves the fountains, but hates the fountains that have all the popper in them. The noise is jarring for him and frightening. He finally got to watch some this year without freaking out too badly. He actually started getting excited for some that he liked when we had more than one of that type. But even as I do these standard, regular holiday activities, the memory of my dad is nagging at the back of my mind. And the harder I push it away, the stronger it is and the harder it is to push it away at all. I also tend to avoid social media the closer it gets, and on the day of, and immediately following, because of family members.

One of my sisters visited his grave marker on his birthday. She took pictures, and wrote a touching post about him and honestly I can’t fault her for that. He was her dad, too. And I’m genuinely glad that she can speak well of him. And that she celebrates his birthday on the 4th of July with joy and laughter and so much life. I want that for myself, but I know it’s a long road yet for me to work through all of this baggage and let it go.

I am optimistic. One day, I’ll be able to wake up on July 4th and not dread the day. Not dwell on my regrets and the might-have-been and maybe even share funny stories with my kid about his grandpa on his birthday (especially the funny birthday stories like the time we found out or next door neighbor was also born on the 4th of July!). One day I’ll face the day and not feel the need to hide in the kitchen and cook so I can hide any tears by cutting up an onion for burgers. But I’m taking it a year at a time. It’s all that I can do, really. In the meantime, I’m gonna make pies or Jello. Cook up some burgers and brats. Crack open a cold can of Pepsi (fuck you, I like Pepsi!) and watch my husband as he fails to blow himself up with the fireworks I bought at the actual fireworks store we have in town now.

Rambling: Cigarette Ash and Clock Radios

There are times I yearn for my teenage and early adult years. No, not the depression and anxiety. The stress of high school/college. The near death experiences and occasional hospitalizations. More I yearn for that period of creativity that I had.

I yearn for the late nights spent up well past my bedtime, during punishments of not being allowed internet because of bad grades, typing away at my old 1997 off-brand computer from FingerHut. The once pristine white casing stained yellow from years of cigarette smoke and tar that no amount of cleaner or bleach could clean or scrub away.

The bright light of the old hulking monitor as my clock radio played beside me. My window cracked as I smoked the cigarette butts that I had foraged from my parents’ ash trays when I thought they weren’t looking (but they knew). The heavy smell of cigarette smoke and eucalyptus incense that I burned in my room nearly day and night.

The first light of dawn as I realized what time it was and had to rush to get dressed for school – racing to the bus stop on less than an hour’s sleep because I was up all night writing.

The seeming unending inspiration as I jamed out to my stolen Linkin Park cds (stolen from my sister, not the store.).  The 1 foot tall stack of disks that held all my stories, my books, my poetry, my notes and research for my stories.

To this day, I can’t make a single playlist to listen to for my writing that does not include every single song from Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory and Meteora albums – because their music just always hits the right buttons for my creative streak. They are both my muse and my soundtrack for life itself.

I mean, I’m happy with my life as it is, and where I am in it. The people I still have in my life and the people that have come into it.But there are some days, some nights like tonight that I can’t help but long for those old days when it was just a blank Notepad file, the blinking red of a clock radio with the time still not re-set after a power flicker, and my own thoughts in the dark before the bright, brilliant screen of a 10lb late 90s computer monitor.

Ramble: Eliciting Emotion Without Details

Recently I posted 3 new chapters to a fanfiction I’ve been writing for a rather long time now (no, I’m not going to link it. It’s embarrassing. If you happen to find it though… well… anyway). These chapters dealt with some very harsh, dark themes such as rape, torture, mental fuckery – among others. One of my favorite readers, who leaves reviews nearly every update, mentioned this in one of her latest comments:

“You weren’t kidding about there being hard things in this chapter, but you did a good job of having us feel the horror without needing to go into gruesome detail.”

And it got me thinking about all of the stories I’ve read over the years that I can remember. Both in regular and in fanfiction And I’ve come to realize that many of the stories I have enjoyed the most leave a great many details up to the reader’s imagination. While yes the basic description of characters and scenes are given, or building up to an event and using language to direct the reader to experience a certain emotion, stories that suddenly jumpcut immediately after making it clear what is about to happen, but not having you read the gruesome detail (especially in horror and suspense situations) – those to me are the best. Not only does it allow every reader to have their own personal experience with the work, but there is nothing more frightening than the worst possible things we can imagine. Perhaps the scene was leading us to believe that a favorite character was about to be tortured to death, but then didn’t let us see/read the torture taking place. When we read the segment that the character appears in afterwards, perhaps having escaped their jailers, how they are described and appear will guide us to imagine the things that may have happened to them. Perhaps the reader is more afraid of water torture – they may imagine that’s taken place to the hero. Or maybe starvation and beating? They’ll imagine that THAT is what may have happened to them.

But later still in the story, the hero may confide in their best friend or lover what truly took place in the jail/dungeon/cavern, etc. And how relieved the reader is that what they feared most wasn’t the thing that has happened… Or, for those who imagined correctly, the overwhelming empathy the reader feels for the hero. This method, which I honestly unintentionally used in my piddling little fanfiction, makes the reader more emotionally invested in the story, and in a way makes them feel like they are part of it. And when a reader becomes so invested in the story, they will keep reading.

That’s my take on it, for what it’s worth anyway.

Ramble: Small Town Blues

I have a love-hate relationship with small towns. When I lived in Debary, then later Deltona, FL I loved it. They were small in their own right, but smushed together so closely it felt like a larger city. It was perfect, really. And had easy access to anything I needed via public transit. The town I currently live in, the town where I grew up… I love it because it’s so peaceful (usually) and reasonably quiet. It’s a kind of place where everyone either knows everyone, or you know of them enough to wave and say hi, have a great day.

But at the same time, it is this “everyone knows everyone” aspect that I hate. It’s the inconvenience when there is no public transit that I hate. It’s the inconvenience of everything being so spread out that I hate. Being such a small town that if I want to catch a special showing, one night only event at a movie theatre, I have to drive out to Rome or Atlanta to do so (Rome is about 45mins to an hour away; Atlanta is abut 2-3 hours depending on traffic).

But most of all, it’s the higher likelihood of bumping into people you’re not exactly fond of (to put it lightly) when you step out the front door. This has happened to me exactly 3 times in the month.

First, my husband and I bumped into a guy we both met around the same time in 2013. We’ll call him, uh, “Rob”. When we each met Rob, he was in a long term relationship. But he and his girlfriend wanted more. They wanted to be in an open relationship. And hey, that’s fine. I got no right to judge. Well, turns out that Rob wanted me to be his fool around buddy. Just like his girlfriend, we’ll call her “Margo” had already hooked up with the man that later I would end up with. (It must be noted at the time that my husband and I were not dating yet. We were both single. It must also be noted that meeting him and these 2 people, and when we DID start dating happened in the span of 2 weeks.) Between meeting my husband, and meeting these two people, whom he met at the same time, and when my husband and I started dating, the following happened: Rob and Margo fought daily, resulting in a domestic violence situation. Margo pulled a knife on Rob. Rob pulled a knife on Margo. Margo lost her shit and pulled a knife on the landlord. Rob repeatedly tried to get into my now mother-in-law’s pants (despite her frequent protestations of being a lesbian), continuously tried to flirt with me and having the goal of sleeping with me, and Margo doing the pants off tango with my future husband (again, during this 2 week period, my husband and I were NOT dating one another, and I didn’t really care what all he did because he was just a friend). This resulted in false claims of abuse, rape, and a fake pregnancy. This all came out at the end of 2 weeks when Margo’s aunt tried to step in and defend her niece, only to discover it was 100% made up and she slept with someone else of her own free will, was not pregnant, and was the primary abuser in her own domestic situation. And that ALL of the drama stemmed from the fact that she got booty outside of their “open” relationship while Rob was continuously turned down and rejected… because it was Rob’s idea in the first place.

Needless to say, it was rather awkward seeing Rob again after nearly 4 years – jobless, homeless, and with another woman. We gave him $2. I told him about different places in town that were hiring, and then husband and I quickly went on our way to Gamestop, then dinner. This encounter reminded me to appreciate my relationship with my husband, and our narrow escape from the drama llamas that were Margo and Rob.

Next up, we’ll call her “Penny”. Penny was my brother’s fiance up until his death in January 2014. Generally a decent person, we lived with her after my son was born, up until August of 2014. While she herself is generally decent, one of her kids caused multiple problems while we were living there, resulting in potential legal issues simply because we happened to live with her. Penny’s daughter, however, was taken into the foster care system for reasons I’ll not divulge. Penny is a decent parent, but her daughter is an out of control fucking monster. Penny knows this. However, Penny also lied to us about the situation and tried to use us as a shield so that her daughter could not move back in. She also lied to us about how her court proceedings would affect us – this resulted in us having to move out in 2 weeks or less with no notice. She was upset that we didn’t pay the next month’s rent… rent and all utility bills for a place we would no longer be living in. What we DID do was give her our share of the utilities up to the point we moved out, even though we were under no obligation to do so. And rather than hand the money over to her like she had wanted, we went directly to the offices and paid only our share, leaving the rest for her to deal with. She had also lied and said the landlord had not wanted to add our names to the lease. After we moved out and were settled in, I contacted the landlord. He was surprised to learn we had moved out, as he had been expecting Penny to be moving out and us to take over with a new lease. He had also been willing to lower the rent because my husband was on disability.

Well… I bumped into Penny oh, about a week ago at the laundromat. First time I’ve seen her, really, since we moved out. Life has not been kind to her. That daughter I mentioned? Made Penny a grandmother, and Penny is raising the baby. She’d bought a trailer, and had to give it up again. Her mother, last I knew, lived on her own in low income housing. A nice little place, too. Now she lives with Penny and her roommate. In the time since we moved out, with the exception of my Asshole Neighbor Eddie and my older sister whom I’ve written about before, we’ve actually been doing much better physically, emotionally, and financially. Our lives have been more stable, and less drama filled (again, with the exception of the 2 things mentioned above). Bumping into her made me remember to appreciate what I have gained and what I have.

And lastly… that dastardly sister who lived with me for a good chunk of 2015 (as read about in my Word to the Wise series of posts…) For those who don’t want to read that clusterfuck, here’s the long and short f it. I let my sister move in, in good faith that she would maintain the progress that she had made, and look for a job. Four months or thereabouts fly by, I’ve had enough, tell her to get a job. All hell breaks loose and we end up falsely imprisoned in our own home, scared out f our minds, and she threatens to have my child taken away for the sole fact that she had her kids taken from her and I made her upset by telling her to get a job or get out. We finally managed to kick her out. But the lasting damage to my marriage, and to my mother’s mental state, is still evident. Last we knew, she had gone to Savannah. We haven’t seen her since my mom stopped by her motel a few days after we kicked her out, to let her know my dad was dead.

Well… I saw her Saturday. Same laundromat as Penny. Thankfully, unlike with Penny, I was already done and loading up my car when she showed up. I noticed her getting out of a car that happened to have parked right in front of me. I was halfway through loading up my car when she came back out of the laundromat and called me out by name to say hi. Needless to say, given her history with me, I wanted out of there ASAP. I did try to be kind-of polite because hey, we were in a public place. But still… it had me rather shaken up. If I was a drinker, Saturday is the day I would have switched from beer to whisky, that’s for certain.

So what did I learn from THAT encounter? Well… it might be time to look for another laundromat. Unfortunately, that one is the only one with free wifi.

Ah, higher frequency of awkward and unwanted reunions. Such is the price we pay for quieter, more relaxed and peaceful living.

Ramble: On Inspiration, Creativity, and the Lack Thereof

He stood in front of the Untempered Schism. It’s a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the vortex. We stand there, eight years old, staring at the raw power of time and space, just a child. Some would be inspired. Some would run away. And some would go mad. – The Doctor (David Tennant); “Doctor Who: The Sound of Drums”, 2007

Since 2005, I have had a very deep fondness for Doctor Who, both the revival/current running series and the classic stories from the childhoods of those who’ve come before me. But every Whovian has that one line, that one special monologue or quote or scene that really touched them in a meaningful way. For many it’s the First Doctor’s farewell speech to his granddaughter Susan when he leaves her to find a new life and to settle down with a man she has come to love. For others, it’s the Fourth Doctor’s statements following his refusal to prevent the creation of the Daleks, questioning whether or not he made the right decision but also certain that without the Daleks many races who came together to fight them would otherwise be fighting one another. And need I even bring up the various speeches given by the Sixth Doctor during “Trial of a Time Lord“?

For me, it has been, since it’s first utterance on screens across the globe, the quote above. It really hit me right in my feels, and evoked a very powerful emotional response in me. I know everyone has their own interpretations of, well, anything and everything really. Even reality. So just because I’m about to go on a long diatribe about mine, it doesn’t mean your interpretation is any more wrong or right than my own.

That segment of dialogue inspired me in a point in my life that was still… dark. It was looking up. I’d gotten a job that year that I loved dearly. I made friends in college, I was doing well in school. But emotionally I was a train wreck. Problems at home caused me to become very withdrawn from my family and I spent more and more time losing myself in my fantasy worlds – be it through writing or artwork, movies and video games. But, as was always the case – Doctor Who was the thing that started to get through to me. At the time, I saw it as “It’s okay to be scared out of your mind. No one knows what the future holds, and even if you were staring it down it could always change tomorrow. Nothing is set in stone. You can let yourself go crazy worrying about it, be inspired to change it, or keep running away in fear of it.” And at the time I was so sure that is what it meant. It gave me hope and reassurance in a really crazy time in my life.

Years later, as I’m periodically putting the series on for background noise as I clean, write, knit, cook, ecetera, I hear it and feel… something else entirely. Now I read those words and I am reminded of all the wonder of childhood. The wild imaginations and dreams and hopes and… and then… the drudgery of life and growing up. And losing that sense of childish wonder we come into the world with. Eight years old is around the time kids in school start getting reigned in. And over the following decade of their lives the creativity, the wonder, the imagination, the excitement is stripped away in order to “make them productive members of society”. To “prepare them for the real world”. No, it doesn’t make them productive. It doesn’t prepare them for the real world. It makes people apathetic. It makes them ignorant of their own potentials. Keeps them from aspiring to be more, to be better people, or to better the world around them. It makes them accept the mediocre and makes them wholly reliant on others to tell them what to think and how to feel. It teaches them that individuality is inherently wrong and that in order to succeed they must conform 100% to someone else’s ideals and morality rather than their own. It creates drones who’s sole purpose is to do as they are told, when they are told, how they are told, and that it is pointless to ever want to work towards something more, especially for the self. And many who manage to get through it all, and manage to build themselves up, twist the system to their own benefit, and shape others to their own brand of ideals and morality. It does not matter if you are left or right. Liberal or conservative. Blue. Red. Hell purple with pink polka dots and from Pluto. The fight to get to the top of the food chain twists us all in some way, and rather than seek out the better and the new for others as well, we turn it back to that which created and shaped us, feeding it to others. Stripping THEM of their uniqueness and shaping them to meet OUR standard. And so the cycle continues.

I could go further into a long political diatribe at this point, but I’ll save that for another time. Besides, I’m pretty sure ALL OF US are tired of EVERYTHING being made into a political statement at this point…

We NEED creative people. We NEED imagination. Creativity and imagination lead to hoped and dreams, which drive people to be inspired. I know it’s old hat at this point to use the “I bet everyone thought the first person to build a fire was crazy” example but let’s just imagine a world where say… toilet paper was never invented. It’s a pretty gross world and I’d bet you wouldn’t want to eat anything someone hands you, or, well anything that anyone else has even touched… guess it was a really great thing someone was inspired to take some paper and wipe their behind after going to the loo, isn’t it? Otherwise we might still be using hands, or worse – corn cobs (which apparently was a thing in rural America according to my maternal grandmother… so… that’s a thing that people actually used to do).

There’s more to it for me, but it’s getting rather late as I write this and I need to get some rest as I’m meant to be getting up at 6:30AM (it’s currently 12:30AM as I write this bit here) so I’ll save that for a part 2 or something.

But the point of this post is… we won’t be able to break the chains that restrain us, that strip us of our hopes and dreams, that hold us back from our creative natures and inspire us to do more, to be more – we won’t be able to end the cycle until we stop trying to force our ideologies on the next generation. Stop insisting that every weird, odd little quirk needs to be stopped and corrected. Stop forcing our own ideals and standards on them. Give them some structure, yes. Teach them fundamentals like right and wrong, manners, how to share and be kind to others, definitely. But also we must encourage them to learn. To explore. Imagine. Play. Build. Draw. Sing. Dance. Read. The more we feed their creativity, the more we feed their imaginations, the more they will dream. The more they will hope. The more they will be inspired to do great and wondrous things. We used to be like them – collectively as a human race we’ve done so many great things. Some of us looked at the moon and wondered “what’s it like up there?” And others stood there and looked out further still and wondered “what’s out there?” – Without the dreamers, we’ve seen a generation where the space program has been stripped to it’s bare minimum. Where people obsess over what some reality show bimbo said about some other reality show bimbo’s husband. We’ve seen an entire generation of young people enter the “real world” with nearly all of their wonder and drive stripped from them at an early age, to “prepare them” for the big bad “real world”… and I hate to say it but all that preparation has failed, leaving an entire generation where going five minutes without checking Twitter can lead to severe panic attacks or worse – destruction of property and assault.

So please, PLEASE we as just people need to change this. My generation is pretty much a lost cause if today’s social climate is anything to go by. But the next one, and the one after that? They are all waiting to be tempered. Do we continue to strip them of everything that can help bring change for themselves and for their peers? Or will we instead inspire them to do better, to be better than we ever could be?

Okay, now I’m done for tonight. Nearly half an hour after my last time stamp (it’s now 12:56AM).