Day 100, and holy CRAP

8.5 million cases worldwide. 2.2M in the US.

Well over 450K dead. 120K of which are in the US.

We’ve been seeing spikes because of Memorial Day weekend openings.

Because people couldn’t wait. Let alone mask.

Protests continue for the fourth weekend. Confederate statues and portraits are coming down. But people are guarding others. With guns.

Juneteenth was celebrated nationally yesterday. It has become a state holiday in many states, including New York. But racism still abounds in many places.

Breonna Taylor’s murderer was fired but no charges have yet been filed. She was murdered the same day we started quarantine here, and still no charges.

I am truly, deeply hoping that justice comes, and comes with her sword.

Day 92, with Many Yrs and Omens

I haven’t been talking much about my year omens here since arriving in Philadelphia, even though I’ve been doing them since leaving Houston. Part of it is because before, I would forget to blog. Another part of it is that it got repetitive. Butterfly, dragonfly, butterfly, dragonfly. Another part of it is that it felt self-indulgent, in the era of 44.5.

But yknow, this is a Time and a Half, and sometimes we need something small and wonderful to keep us going. So I offer this with the idea that it might be something that would lift your heart.

I was worried, this year, that not being able to go beyond my stoop during the day when people are around would mean this would be a mourning dove year, or a sparrow year, since I can see those through the window. Sure, I’ve had those before, no big deal. Butbutbut this is an iconic year, and I was hoping for something more interesting.

Cue clickbait title: “They never expected what happened next!”

Two pale lavender flowers from a leggy purple shamrock plant in a beige-pink pot

OMG IT’S A FLOWER YEAR.

This purple shamrock/oxalis is only freaking four months old. I got the bulbs in February and planted them in early March.

My typical habit is that I wake up, I give the cats some kibble so they won’t wake up Jon, and then I open the curtain so that my pile-o-plants can get more sunlight. I hadn’t even NOTICED a bloom stalk on this baby, so I was shocked as hell to see it had bloomed.

And then it kept going. This was around noon.

WHERE did that other one on top come from?

I’ve never had a flower year, because really – when you’re going outside in late spring, who can tell which flowers or plants JUST kicked off? But this one, unfurling like whoa to greet me first thing in the morning?

I admit, folks, I fucking cried.

(When it comes to tears? Gods I’m easy.)

Here’s hoping that all my readers have amazing omens for the future to come. <3

Day 86, with # Black Lives Matter

This thing, which should not even be a contentious statement, is the reason for the full week of massive protests here in Philadelphia, in America, and even the world. I support all the BLM protesters under all conditions.

ALL conditions.

….

If you are reading this and the statement Black Lives Matter is somehow uncomfortable to you, ask yourself:

“Why would someone feel an intense need to assert that their life matters in this country? And why would they believe I don’t think that their lives matter?”

And fucking sit with that.

If you can’t see it, you’re deliberately not looking.

If you finally see it?

Read “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo and realize this is not even the tip of the iceberg: this is a white woman’s perspective and she doesn’t even break ground on this; this is the easiest possible starting place. Then go read “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo.

Realize that these two books are just the start of a VERY long life of unlearning the unconscious bias that has been fed to you.

Then read everything on the Schomburg Center Black Liberation Reading List.

If you’re on Twitter and you follow Black people like Bree Newsome Bass or Charles M. Blow or Imani Gandy, don’t reply! Just freaking read. Just listen. It does not matter if you think they’re wrong.

No, really, it doesn’t. They’ve lived through a lot more than you have in this regard.

And for the love of all that is holy, stop giving Shaun King money until he actually finishes something he’s started.

Day 80, with Nebulas, Protests and Curfews

Holy crap, folks.

Okay, so first, because it’s most MOST important and this blog is for me to remember dates and times things happened* as much as it is to share with others, this past weekend there were nationwide protests about police brutality, systemic racism and government-sanctioned murder. It’s amazing to watch these protests unfold, and I cheer for folks and wish I could be out there with them. It’s also amazing to me that we’re finally seeing, via video, how white people undermine protestors. I wouldn’t care much about looting – I got disabused of the belief that the word “looting” isn’t dogwhistling for racism during Hurricane Katrina – but I DO care that white people are expressly going against the instructions of organizers, manipulating Black pain for their own ends.

And apparently over the weekend, Atatiana Jefferson’s home was vandalized too? If you don’t know her name, look her up. You SHOULD know her name, because it’s one of the stark demonstrations of how Black people still cannot even be inside their own damn homes minding their business and be safe.

While all this was going on, I was also attending the Nebulas online. I had been planning on attending in person, but WOW am I glad this was done this way because I could do so so much more like this. My physical constraints meant that I’d have missed probably half of what I got to do online, and I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity. Plus, what an AMAZING demonstration of what’s possible!! We were all on the airship Nebula, and coming from TechWorld myself, I know how many things could have gone wrong. This was so so well done and so smooth and easy to get through. Even the technical issues were framed in a delightful way and just… aahhh I can’t even.

Additionally, usually because I can only go to a few panels during a con, I have a favorite. This time? Nuh uh. So freaking many extraordinary panels and people and moments and connections and aaaahhh

(Though I admit extra EXTRA squee when Cat Rambo won for Carpe Glitter, because I’d been watching her work on that in her Discord. Feels more personal when you’ve borne witness to something.)

I’ve ordered…. <counts> 18 e-books because of these panels. I mean, wow, that’s a lot for me for a weekend.

Here’s the kicker for this weekend, though – at around 6 pm for both Saturday and Sunday, I received a phone alert that a curfew was being established due to the protests. No notice for the first; very little notice for the second. So for me, very low logistical impact: I had to skip panels in order to figure out how we’d take care of the dogs.

But for anyone protesting? Anyone working? There was NO WAY they could get home. It was an excuse. An excuse for the cops to start arresting anyone they wanted to. (ahemIwonderwhothatwouldbe)

Which means a lot of folks need bail.

I’ve donated, but there are lots of bail funds around the country in cities where curfews have been established. I encourage anyone who has a little room in their budgets to consider donating to help these folks out. Particularly when essential workers are caught out in this curfew as well, and are vulnerable.

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* I’m really bad at remembering time. Like, REALLY bad at it – and it’s nothing to do with age, this has been since I was very young. I can barely remember what year I graduated high school or college.

Your Ballot Has Been Received

I really like the vote by mail system in Pennsylvania. The primary ballot came promptly and included explanations, allowing me to do research alongside the descriptions and the candidates. There was a privacy envelope for its return, which went inside the envelope that included my name and address to ensure my name at my address would only be counted once. It included a reminder email and a *confirmation* email saying my ballot arrived successfully, and then it told me I could not vote in person during the primary.

Mailing the thing was free. :tada emoji:

The only change I’d make is have the circles to choose one’s candidates be larger to accommodate people with hand mobility issues.

New Moon Rant – v1

CN: this is about the virus.

Some people say that humans are all relatively similar on a base level Рthat we all want the same things. Survival, safety, love, belonging, pleasure, self-esteem. That we can understand each other better if we understand that. Maslow, Grawe, Gagn̩ and so so many more Рpsychologists have delved into this in detail for ages.

What I’m realizing with great clarity right now is that the definition of the terms seriously matters.

Right now, a lot of people across the world are fighting for survival. Literally millions of people. And right beside them are people trying to help them survive.

And then there are the people who say that wearing a mask, or social distancing, is “living with fear” and so they won’t do it.

Now I get that some people can’t breathe with a mask or have health issues that make this difficult. I’m not talking about those folks. I’m also not talking about the hoaxers. Those poor people are either massively deceived or brainwashed or both*.

I’m talking about folks who believe masks should be optional. That social distancing should be optional. That they should be able to go anywhere they want without a mask and other people can wear masks if they’re so scared, because they’re not going to live in fear.

…. um.

Now I’m not scared of the world; I’m scared of THEM.

Because honest to every freaking god there is, SHOULDN’T we be AFRAID TO KILL PEOPLE? Even accidentally? Isn’t that what morality is about?

I seriously can’t anymore.

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*Cmon I’m giving people the benefit of the doubt here.

Day 70, with Chocolate

I’m at that point in the negotiations between my allergies and my foodieness/not-quite-supertasting thing where everything I can eat that I can make for myself is annoying for some reason, except for chocolate*. Thing is, I also swell like a balloon when I eat too much sugar, so regular chocolate is pretty much out right now, and I am not at ALL a fan of anything particularly bitter, so making my own from baking chocolate tends to be dissatisfying.

So I tripled-down on some ChocZero** chocolate varieties.

One of the interesting things about buying stuff from companies that spring up surrounding the keto craze (which I use due to aforementioned swelling and because it’s better than diabetic candy/chocolate) is that they change rapidly, and so you get to see the startup model close up. Companies come up, they get really popular, they run out of stuff, and then things evolve, or fail, from there. In the 6 years I’ve been eating low-sugar, only 1/3rd of the new companies I’ve seen have made it through the growing pains.

I thought ChocZero would be one of them. They had the standard “can’t meet demand” hitch, and sailed through it.

But then there was the other day, which has me a little worried for them. See, they started off sending their chocolate in regular boxes, then in branded puffy bags, then in branded foil-lined boxes. But the other day?

They send a whole damn soft cooler, branded. Like, on all sides, not just a logo on the top. And a nice one, at that.

That I didn’t ask for, nor was it billed to me. And no “special gift because you’re a great customer” note. :side-eye:

Okay, no, I get it. I do. Shipping something that is vulnerable to temperature extremes is difficult. I’ve often received ice packs with the shipment, and sending a cooler is a good way to take extra precautions. But in the meantime, this cooler is easily over $5 worth of product they’re sending to me unsolicited, and…

…well. I REALLY want this company to work. I love their product. I have a whole ‘nother rant about how products I love disappear from the market or get drastically altered by a new parent company even if the brand survives, which I’ll share at some point. And chocolate is a precious commodity. So when I see them tipping over into swag so soon? Yeah, I worry.

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*don’t worry I also get to the point where even chocolate is annoying, but I try really hard to avoid crucifers a week before I get to that point, or else I end up eating something I’m allergic to. Like potato chips.

**CW: child labor
I know the issues with chocolate, and I do my research on chocolate companies before purchasing the 1st time. I’m a little bad at following up, though. When I first researched them they were not only fair trade but were also on an enslavement-free chocolate list, but I can’t find the latter list they were on. They do source from a South American company that is organic and monitored, and most places discussing this issue believe that South American companies are largely ethical in this particular way. Now ChocZero just needs to join in raising awareness… :side-eye: