Day 147, with… well, everything.

CW: pandemic, explosions, death, chronic illness

One of the aspects of this timeline I’m struggling with right now is having to hold multiple intense emotions at once. The multiple horrors here in America, pandemic-related and too many others. The horrific explosions in Beirut. India’s rising COVID numbers.

But someone’s suing the NRA. Protests are not stopping, not in Oregon and not here (thankyouthankyou). Zimbabwe is rising against Mnangagwa. Michelle Obama is normalizing pandemic depression. I’m seeing stigmas fought on so many axes.

At home, I have to write. I have to work. I can’t go anywhere. I am required to depend upon people who are being mistreated, or become terribly ill. I’m having a difficult time concentrating. The storm season is making my body ache much worse than usual. I had a nasty flashback two days ago due to a story I read, and I’m having a tough time recovering from it because I don’t have my usual resources.

But I am on staycation. Hanging out in my front yard was surprisingly delightful, watching the ordinary birds do their ordinary things after they got used to us. I’ll do more of that later today.

It’s not “one emotion per paragraph,” either. Each thing has at least one ferocity in my heart and throat; some have many. There is so so much to talk about and raise up and…

It’s a work. It’s a hard, hard work.

I am sending so much love to people who are sharing this struggle, and gratitude to those who are bulldozing through it.

Day 136, with both Freedom and Unfreedom

CW: pandemic, fascism, kidnapping, sexual abuse

This was going to be a post about feeling freed from a long burden. About the moment where you know, really deep in your gut know, that your abuser can never, ever touch you again. That kind of freedom. But given that people in Portland Oregon are being snatched off the street by unidentified people in unmarked cars and not being Mirandized or given their rights to a call?*

I mean, holy fuck. I can’t talk about freedom from my horrors in that context. That’s both the nightmare I used to have about my abusers** and the stuff you watch in spy movies about dictatorships or unstabilized countries.

We’re officially an unstabilized country. Not just unofficially, ‘we sweep it under the rug’ unstabilized. Everyone knows, now.

That First Amendment was first for a reason. If the highest office in the country is not honoring that, we can basically wipe our asses with the rest of the Constitution, because it’s all going to be at his whim.

.

.

* I know this happened for marginalized folk and asylum seekers before now, and I am so sorry I didn’t truly recognize that until 44.5 got in.

** Not just a ‘bad dreams’ nightmare, but an actual discussion I would have with certain friends. Friends with guns. To make sure there was someone who could try to find me if it did happen. That’s how bad the PTSD was.

Day 121, After the Storm

Tropical Storm Fay blew through here yesterday. It wasn’t a bad storm by any means (says the person who has been through 5 hurricanes). The courtyard was a bit flooded and Jon & I had to change our clothes after walking the dogs to the corner, but otherwise all was well. Not even much lightning or thunder. Our animal-roos don’t mind thunder and lightning, possibly because both Jon and I love it so much? But I was thinking about our wonderful neighbor dogs and hoping they’d be okay, so I was glad it wasn’t such a noisy storm.

There was one interesting thing – one of the buildings in the little cluster where we live has a gutter drain pipe that is not quite functional, so when we went around the corner to take the dogs to their favorite pee-spot, there was this wide arc of rain runoff that looked like a really enthusiastic fountain. I wish I could have taken a photo of it, but there was no way I was going to pull out my phone in that downpour.

In other news, the world continues. In the US, protests continue. The USA is a dumpster fire. Things are getting worse here, both in relation to the virus and in relation to how our government is treating its most vulnerable people. Other countries are closing their borders to the US and they’re absofreakinglutely right to do so. The CEO of Goya praised 44.5, saying we are “blessed to have a leader like him” and then whined his free speech was being curtailed when progressives started a boycott en masse. You know who didn’t complain like a whiny baby? Nike, when conservatives boycotted them over their Kaepernick endorsement.

But hey, conservatives complaining when progressives do what they do? It’s par for the course.

On the “this is Bizarro world” side of things, Ann Coulter actually *praised Amy McGrath,* who is running against Mitch McConnell. (Yes, I confirmed this.) While sure, this is due to the pettypettycreep being angry at Mitch denouncing her chosen candidate, it is still SERIOUSLY freaking weird, and I’m really not sure our “union” (excuse me while I spit, that lie tastes worse every day) can survive what we’re going to endure come November.

I worry a lot. For my friends. For those who will be trapped in this nightmare because they have no recourse. For those who have already recovered who might experience major neurological issues later. I worry. And feel helpless. But that’s also par for the course these days.

In the meantime, I keep trying to think of better ways we can weather this storm while we wait for November.

If you have ideas, I’m open to them.

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.

.

* 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.