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.

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* 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 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.

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:

Day 59, with US Mother’s Day

Since getting together with Jon, I’ve had a little tradition of sending flowers, a plant, or some such thing to my mother, grandmother, stepsister, mother-in-law and sister-in-law. This year I couldn’t send what I’d usually send because, yknow, not an essential business. So it’s a giftless Mother’s Day, this year.

I’m a bit taken aback how awkward and wrong it feels.

I mean, sure, we called and texted folks and had lovely conversations. Everyone understands the context we’re living in. I know no one feels slighted. Everyone is just happy everyone else is being safe.

So why does it still feel like I’ve let people down?

It might be a side effect of quarantine. After all, this isn’t good for anyone’s mental health, even while it is the best alternative to maintain people’s physical health. Or it might be that I’m upset at my lack of creativity – I wasn’t able to come up with a good alternative that would work for everyone involved.

In the end, I know this is a good thing because I love all these folks and want them to feel loved. But wow is it weird when one part of my brain decides to be inconsolable about something like this.

Here’s to all the people who care.