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And here's the second half of October

Life was utterly insane but so amazing. Here is my post about the trip to London and the Corvus Corax concert. There are tons of photos.

In additional news, I've started my Italian language class, though it's an A-2 instead of an A-1, and not officially the class I'm supposed to be in. The teacher really likes me and invited me to come take the class with her because I'm on a waiting list for the A-1 class. I agreed because she's cool and because I have to do something.

The supposed sale of the condo fell through. Again. This one was a problem from the get-go and was probably better for failing. They moved in a couple of months ago (a guy and his son), and had been paying me rent. The neighbors can't stand them. They're noisy, they've painted the place Seahawks blue and green, and apparently that's only the start of the annoyance. They decided to bail on the place because he "doesn't like the women there." Good riddance. I sent a 20 day eviction notice to them today to get them out by the beginning of December so that the realtors can try to sell the place again.

These people tried to not pay me rent this month because they'd heard a rumor they had a closing date. As though a rumor of a closing date was as good as having signed the sale contract. I think they were planning on bailing and not wanting to pay rent. But one of my neighbors said they intended to stay in the place until they found something else. Nope, I'm not having it. They're gone.

The mortgage holder was an additional pain in the ass. I was getting $900 a month for the last three months, over half of which went to the condo association for back HOA fees and the special assessment. In total, they paid me $2,700. The bank said I had to give them $3,600 in cash, "the amount you received in rental," or they wouldn't approve the sale. Funny how that three months of rent suddenly expanded into four, and none of the money that got paid to the condo associated counted. I told them I might be able to come up with $300, but nobody had told me I was going to have to pay cash to sell the place, and if they didn't like it, they could feel free to evict the tenants with my blessing.

Needless to say, that is not going to happen now.

I will not allow anyone else to rent the place while it's pending a sale. I'm not planning on giving the lenders any further cooperation. They keep asking for my financial information (which doesn't change) and for updates on my hardship request (which also doesn't change). They actually asked if I had the money to pay the rent here and to pay the mortgage on the place in Everett. I have no idea whose ass they thought I was going to pull that cash out of. The only thing I plan on doing toward selling the place from now on is signing the sale contract. The lenders have blown off TWO POTENTIAL SALES because they can't be arsed. Well, now, neither can I. I've tried consistently to do the right thing and gotten bit every time because of it. They can just suck it.

A brief update on the condo situation

No, it still hasn't been sold, even though I have a buyer. It's been about six months now that this has been in process. I got an email about two hours ago saying that the lender wanted April and May's BECU statements and my 2014 Social Security award letter. By Friday.

April, sure, no problem. I can download the PDF from the BECU website. May? MAY DOES NOT EVEN END UNTIL SATURDAY. I won't have the May statement until the 16th, just like it comes out on the 16th of every month. Unless they expect time travel, they can suck it.

I get an SSDI benefits statement each year, but not an award letter, but I am figuring that's what they mean. Regardless, either I didn't receive it in the mail or it has been misplaced, so I can't scan it and send it to them. I can't go online to request it from Social Security because I have to have a US phone number to verify my residence address, which I don't have. Which means I will have to do this either by phone, or by post, which could take months. I'll try to call them a little later tonight, but there are a lot of things they will not let you do over the phone. It's not like I can just pop down to the Social Security office and get a printout.

Anyway, I've tried explaining this and we'll see what happens.

Busy and not

I've had kind of a frustrating week on one level (discussed on my Italy blog here with some photos of the city), but a pretty good one otherwise.

The people who are supposed to be delivering my stuff this week are being a serious pain. They say they want me to get them a parking permit for unloading the truck in front of my building. The only permits I can find on the Trieste municipal website are for pedestrian zones and restricted parking zones, neither of which describes my space. I don't know if they even need a permit. If they do, the website says that the police require copies of the front and back of the drivers license of the person driving the truck, front and back of the truck registration document. I don't even know which day they are supposed to be arriving, much less having access to this documentation.

They have been talking to me through the company in the UK that passed my stuff through customs, and had said if I had trouble with the permit, to let them know. I told them this information and said I would pay for the permit but they would have to get it, or I could see about paying the hourly parking fee for as many spots as they were taking up in front of my place.

In response, they said if I was willing to pay the fines if the local police came by and made trouble, that was okay.

I sent a very strongly worded email back to the people in the UK (recognizing that this was not their fault), and emphasizing that I was NOT offering to pay fines, but a fee for a permit, and I would hand them cash on the spot for it when they handed me the receipt. I was told that there might be additional fees when I signed the contract to have my stuff moved last year. But getting a permit for people when I don't even know the name of the company that has been contracted, or the date when I will be getting delivery, much less not having the necessary documents in my possession, IS NOT MY JOB. I told the folks in the UK that these people sound incompetent to me, and I would really prefer if they could hire someone who knew what they were doing. If these people were professionals, they would know where and how to get a parking permit, if they actually needed one, and what documentation would be required. This is unacceptable. I'm very frustrated and angry and uncertain about what to do beyond what I've already done at the moment.

On the up side of things, I met with Giulia yesterday and we talked about cons and fandom and Trieste. She took me to a cafe with a bookshop, art gallery, and performance space, then we went over to a tea shop where they had actual loose leaf tea of many varieties and some tables to drink it at. The shop also has good spices in bulk, which is something I'd been looking for. They sell cupcakes and cake, too. I got some garam masala and some spice mix for berbere paste, so I'm currently cooking up some Ethiopian style noms for my dinner.

Giulia took me into a couple of bookshops, also. One of the places we went past, coincidentally, had a couple of copies of her book on authors in Trieste on display in the window. We were both pretty tickled by that. At one of the bookshops, I got a really short book by Umberto Saba, a Trieste author and poet, of poems about Trieste, and a copy of an Emily Dickinson collection with her poetry translated into Italian, so that I can practice reading.

The weather for the past few days has been sunny and warm, and I've been out walking a fair bit, both with Giulia and by myself. Giulia says she will help me sign up for a library card in the Trieste system so that I can do interlibrary loan of volumes I might need for my research.

I had to give up on Granada in April because of continuing problems with buying things with my credit card on the websites. We'll schedule something for later this year, after I've got the DoDC+3 back and things have settled down for me. I did go over to my bank and request a debit card. Because of various requirements imposed by the US, I can't get a debit card or a regular credit card from them, but I can get a prepaid MasterCard, which I did. With this, at least, if I need something online I can put money on it and use that. It will restrict how much I can spend unless I have a lot of cash available, at least until after I've dealt with the billing/mailing address issue, but it's one way to deal with things for the moment.

Tomorrow I'm going over to the American library and cataloguing some more books for them. I was asked for some help setting up their new women's library section as well, and said I would be happy to do it. They are apparently having the US Consulate General from Milan here on the 18th to officially open the women's library.

Green Lake: People are dicks

My day didn't start well. I woke too early and didn't sleep too well the night before, and was just generally feeling down and under the weather. I got up and grabbed a shower so that gra_is_stor could come by and take some photos of her bicycle for a craigslist ad, and haul me off to run an errand.

We got two packages mailed out then went across the street to the Safeway so I could get some money out of the ATM because I owed her for party snacks from this weekend. In order to get change from the $20, I bought a cup of tea and carried it out to the car. I was a little shaky to begin with, the string on the tea bag was leaking down the side of the cup, and then we hit a speed bump and I spilled the entire thing all over the floor of the car, burning my fingers in the process.

Not a happy start to the day.

Last night I'd signed up for iTunes Match and tried to upload my music. It didn't manage to finish the job even though I left the thing running overnight. Eventually I had to download a program that shields your originating information to help prevent downgrading your speed from your ISP. That had an early fail but it looks like the stuff might actually finally finish uploading tonight. It had stalled out again while I was out, but I shut down iTunes and restarted again, so it's moving okay now. Apparently it can take days to upload a collection to the cloud if you don't have something like this to help prevent the speed getting choked off.

My neighbor Willow wanted to go down to Green Lake today and I went along to go walking. It was a lovely evening and we saw a Great Blue Heron, among other birds. What soured me on the experience, though, was an old guy who thought that I didn't look disabled enough to be using the hiking poles and told me I must be faking it. Where the hell do people get off with this bullshit? Who honestly thinks it's okay to say this crap? What the fuck do I have to look like for people to thing I legitimately need some mobility assistance? And who the hell appointed anyone the disability police?

Anyway, it has not, overall, been a good day. I'm hoping tomorrow will be better. VA appointment for group. Friday is gaming with some friends at their place.

Can I stab things now?

In which there is a storm

Yesterday gra_is_stor and I went to a party/ritual at the house of one of her bandmates. I had a reasonably good time. I was kind of childed-out and almost got kicked by one of them who was having a wrestling match in the chair next to me in the living room (I got up and left), and there was a really uncomfortable moment where some of the non-Pagan guests were making snarky racist jokes and Hitler apologetics (I gave them the stink-eye, but I was a guest in the house), but the ritual was nice and I got to see some Pagan friends (who were not making racist jokes, tyvm) and get a reading from the lady of the house.

Today I got up earlier than I wanted to. Once I finally got out of bed, the power flopped for almost two hours. I called mom and talked with her a little bit and about ten minutes after I got off the phone, the power came back up. I haven't been able to send email since then, though, and if any of you local computer-geekier-than-me friends would be willing to come help me out, it would be very much appreciated. For all I know, it might be working again tomorrow, but at the moment it's looking not so great.

I sold the coffee table today. I had someone come look at the couches, tell me he was going to the ATM to get some cash, then text me that his wife didn't want it. So, whatever. It would have been nice if you'd just said so rather than making a production out of it.

I have inquiries in tonight on a couple of other things but I can't email them from my email program and will have to do a cut & paste to email from my gmail account.

Tonight gra_is_stor and I went over to Qi and Rob's place for a bonfire/birthday get together. I got a chance to sit down and talk to a friend whom I kept seeing just in passing in the hall at Steamcon, so it was good to catch up with her. I took over the bottle of Whidbey Island port that I'd got a couple of months back. I wasn't going to be able to drink it all before I left, and the bottle hadn't been opened. It was gratefully received and actually really tasty, so there's a good local port, if you're into that sort of thing.

Tomorrow is Irish class, which I will most likely skip. Once the furniture is sold, there won't be a place for people to sit for the class here, so it will probably only be here for another week or two at the most, depending on how long it takes to sell things.

Tiredness is occurring. Somehow this doesn't surprise me. I should try to banish the insomnigrackles.

oyay plagiarism

I got this from my friend Fern over on FB:

Plagiarism alert. The Samhain ritual by Joann Keesey (which uses some of your work) at http://www.obsidianmagazine.com/samhain.html has magically become the work of someone's long-dead grandmother, whose BOS was handed down to the plagiarist. If you're in touch with Ms. Keesey, could you let her know, and you might want to drop them a line yourself. The FB link is over at https://www.facebook.com/UnityOfPaganism/posts/385681551561993, where she claims it comes from her long-dead grandmother, and it links to the ritual on the non-FB Unity Of Wicca web site.

I thought you'd want a heads-up, even in the midst of this happy/crazy/exciting time.


I called the kid on her bullshit, but this was so stupidly uncreative that she had actually cut and pasted directly from the article including the linked footnotes that take you back to the article that show right on the face of it how deep the bullshit runs.

Her post claims that she copied it out of her grandmother's BOS. Which she apparently got in a safe-deposit box? Except for the part where her grandmother's BOS has links to footnotes that she didn't include in her own post. Because that would give people too much information.

*rageface*

The pupper is better now

He woke up before I did today and danced around a bit, but I rolled over and he eventually got back in bed with me. When I did get up, he was slightly slower than usual, but by late afternoon he was his usual bouncy playful self again. Yay for the healing qualities of time!

I got a book in the mail today that was recommended by wire_mother and have read a little of it. It deals with the cauldron of poesy text. The author generally speaking supports my translation, though (I have not got this far in the book yet) takes his interpretation of the translated material in a different direction than I did. When I'm done with it, I'll probably do a short post with a response to a few of his questions about my work, just to clarify.

Also in the mail was a small royalty check from Hiraeth for my poetry book. Yay! (By small I mean under $20, but still, I'm getting paid for poetry!)

On FB I joined a Celtic Pagan group, posted that I had joined, and that I'd written a book on ogam so if people wanted to ask any questions, I'd be happy to answer. Some one did. I responded. And, naturally, a troll who has not for the past twenty years been able to let anyone else have the last word and who condescends to anyone who disagrees with him, responded to the thread. I answered his responses several times but it was getting terribly frustrating, so I asked gra_is_stor if there was any way to deal with this, as she is far more versed in FB than yours truly. I blocked him. He won't see my posts, he can't respond to them, and I will never see anything he posts. I feel so much better now. Gods, he makes me so ragey. He thinks he's the most brilliant thing since the fires of the sun were lit, but he's an absolute blithering idiot who drowns people who disagree with him in such a vomitous flow of words that they give up in disgust.

There were reasons I haven't been in Pagan forums for years and years. Stark reminders are stark. At least this way, perhaps I can have some conversations with people without him horning in and pretending he's Daghda almighty.

Today's movement toward Italy involved packing a box of pots, pans, and baking stuff. It's not everything I'm taking with me, but it's a lot of what I use most often. I still have some things out that I'll be able to use, but there's still more left to pack, including my largest frying pan, which wouldn't fit into the size box I used today. I do have another size up that will probably fit it, and I'm likely to be able to get a fair bit more into the box with it, but I'm going to need more packing peanuts and stuff. I'll probably go down to the mailbox place on Monday after moving has been done (or maybe Tuesday, when I've recovered from all that hauling) and get a bag or two. I'll see if I can get a ride, because the peanuts are pretty bulky, even if they're light, and walking with them might be problematic.

Tomorrow, gra_is_stor and I are going over to see joyful_storm and then we're back here for Irish class.

And now, all tired little Erynns must go to bed.
I had a good session with my shrink today and got a lot of angry flailing done. The reason I had a lot of angry flailing was because the neurology clinic called me up a little after 1pm and said "oh the doc who is seeing you wants to see one of her regular patients instead so can you come in tomorrow at 10am to see a different doc?" If it had been a medical emergency, I might understand, but it was not in any way presented as that. I explained in great detail that I had zero control over my own transportation and that rescheduling with no notice at all like this was impossible because it involved not just me but whoever it was that was supposed to be driving me to the VA. And that one of the friends who drives me to these things had his car break down so I did not have alternative transport. And that I lived in Everett. And that I'd had to sell my fucking car because I can no longer drive myself. We will not even mention how neither I nor the people who drive me everywhere are morning people.

I told them that if they'd called me last week about rescheduling I might actually have been able to do something about it. The clerk mumbled and said they'd see what could be done and they'd get back to me. After I finished up at the travel office at about 4:15 this afternoon, I called the neurology clinic and the clerk said "oh, yeah, well we've left the appointment at 2pm." Nice of them to let me know.

There was a great deal of fury and rage, but things are back to what passes for normal and I won't have to wait another couple of months to get into neurology. The doc, however, is going to hear from me when I see her tomorrow. They insist that we are supposed to give them 24 hours notice if we are not coming or if we need to change our appointment. I did not get even that much time. I don't care if she sees me and does an evaluation and passes me on to somebody else, but I could not just drop things and go "oh yeah, I will now disrupt the life of the person who is doing me a huge favor by driving me 25 miles to come to this appointment on no notice, thank you very much."

Aside from that, I barely made it to my shrink appointment on time, and there was some kerfuffle about getting me home after the appointment that meant I took the 510 bus from downtown Seattle so that I would not be arriving here after midnight instead of the usual time. Anyway I got home about 7:30 and tried to deal with my woozy head. Nothing else got done today, but at least I managed to get through the day.

So anyway, tomorrow is neurology at 2pm, and then there will be a Bach lute concert in the evening. Maybe Friday I will get some more packing and some writing done.

oops

So that VA appointment today? Wasn't actually an appointment.

Apparently central scheduling has been sending out appointments recently that the clinics didn't make, and this was one of those. I got to the clinic and was told the appointment had been cancelled, but nobody had told me. Well that's because nobody had cancelled it because the clinic didn't actually even know. Anyway, I did get travel funds for the trip, but it was bloody inconvenient for both me and ingvisson.

I hung out for a little bit today with gra_is_stor after I got home, then came back here. The day was gorgeous and hot, in the mid-80s, which was really really nice after all the chilly weather we'd been having. I'm not sure when it will be going back to its normal grey state.

I mailed out the copy of my poetry book to Sheela today. It should be there tomorrow or Wednesday. We exchanged some emails after I got home. She wants to know if I can be in NYC for June 2nd if I'm a finalist for the awards. I got email back from my publisher about it, and they were very excited. They're gong to contact Sheela and find out what, if anything, further needs to be done, and possibly arrange for one of them to be there if I'm actually going to be there myself. The lowest round trip airfare I found today was $322, which is doable, provided I find a place to stay in NYC with one of my friends out there. I do have a couple, and have some inquiries out. I can't afford a hotel room, but I can certainly afford to get to NYC and back. On the other hand, what would I wear to a Big Gay Awards Ceremony? (Things I either already have or can afford before I go...) Anyway, I'll figure it out if I need to get on a plane.

Shrinkage and irritation

Shrinkage today was good and useful. I spent a little time at Travelers then went over to the hill for the queer Pagan meetup, where I had a lovely time.

The irritation mentioned in the title of the post was due to a comment from one of the guys working at Travelers, talking to a couple of other people there in the shop. He said he didn't think that gluten intolerance actually existed before genetically modified food came around. I could not help thinking how idiotic such a thing was. Sure, maybe it has aggravated things somewhat but you know what? Before we had ways to identify and deal with allergies, people got sick and DIED. And nobody was quite sure why. We didn't start getting more infections once antibiotics were discovered, though we did make some of them worse because of the overuse of antibiotics. People got sick and died of infections, and they don't do it quite so often any more. Those young children who failed to thrive and eventually died? Maybe they had food allergies that were unidentified and were essentially untreatable a hundred years ago or a thousand years ago. Just because people didn't understand a thing doesn't mean it didn't exist. Germs existed before we figured out what they are and what they do. You wouldn't have seen a lot of adults with severe food allergies because they would have died in childhood. The way that people used to die of infections or acute appendicitis or kidney failure or aneurisms before we figured out ways to diagnose and prevent or mitigate or even heal some of these things.

This has been your rant for the day. We now return you to your regularly scheduled whatever, already in progress.

Galettes, research, and a short rant

I attempted galettes today. I need to actually sift the buckwheat flour, because the stuff I have has the little bits of husk in it from when it was ground, and it is slightly annoying in the finished galette. I also need some practice getting them thinner and flipping them so they don't break apart. They tasted pretty good, though.

I've finished the basic digging through books that I'd planned for my healing deities presentation. I have five pages of notes, plus the text of one poem that I do plan on using as part of the presentation. I have 32 named figures and half a dozen or more unnamed ones who are mentioned as doing something that heals themselves or another person, or who are invoked as a part of a healing procedure or ritual. It's been quite interesting. Tomorrow, when I'm not dealing with Brianna's moving stuff in, I'll be working on an outline.

I"m ranting a bit here, but it"s not that long.Collapse )

The Auburn veterans day parade

This year, the city of Auburn (which holds apparently the largest veterans day parade west of the Mississippi) had decided that even though they were going to allow a Corvette club and a daffodil festival float into the veterans day parade, they didn't want Veterans For Peace marching, because that would be in conflict with the purpose of the parade.

From the ACLU Washington website, The Greater Seattle Chapter of Veterans For Peace has participated in the Auburn Veterans Day Parade since 2006. Yet the city denied the veterans group’s application to march in the 2012 parade, claiming that the city chose only those applicants which most closely meet the purpose and goals of the parade. At the same time, the city has approved applications from a motorcycle club, a Corvette club, the Optimists and Kiwanis International, the Sons of Italy, and a Daffodil Festival float. The US District court ruled in favor of the VFP, and today I went down to march with the group. This necessitated getting up way early, despite having barely been able to close my eyes last night. I'm hoping to actually sleep tonight to maybe make up for some of it.

The Seattle Times reported on our participation. I saw reporters from KING 5 and KIRO 7 (I talked to the KIRO people while we were marching), and was told that Q13 was also there covering our participation. KING 5 has a short segment up on their website from this evening's broadcast. I can be seen in the first few seconds of film and the two photos in the gallery, off at the far right of the column, just behind the peace flags, carrying a VFP flag. I haven't seen the KIRO broadcast yet, so I don't know if any of the interview with me was used.

Our reception was almost entirely very positive. There were a couple of people who booed when we went by, but we were thanked for coming by quite a few people along the route. At one point, four guys who were standing next to some Civil War reenactors turned their backs to us, but I didn't see that as being any big deal.

The reporter asked me if I was bothered by that and I said not particularly. She asked what I thought about it and I said, well, it's their right. And, of course, that's exactly what we were doing in the parade today - expressing our first amendment rights and offering a challenge to the extreme militarization of American society. Four guys turning their backs on us along a parade route isn't even a pimple on the backside of the flotilla of grey whales that comprise "things in this world that disturb me." Nobody was violent, nobody was shouting slurs, nobody was trying to prevent us from walking along the street like every other group. I don't see what the harm could possibly be, and my feelings just aren't that delicate, thank you.

There were maybe about 40 of us in the VFP contingent. I had some lovely conversations with people both before and after the parade. We stood around for about an hour at the staging area, then marched a mile or mile and a half down the parade route, which I then had to walk back to the car. We all met up at a BBQ place for lunch afterwards but, with all the closed off roads in Auburn, finding it was kind of like running a maze. Thankfully, both a little paper map and my phone's map app allowed me to get there in a reasonable amount of time. I think there were about 34 or so of us at the restaurant.

I talked with several people about my trip to Europe this summer, as they were planning their own trips to various places for next year at different points. It was nice to be able to share some of my experiences so that they would find it a little easier to do the traveling themselves, a little less expensively.

I'd hoped that I could go dancing with gra_is_stor this evening when I got home, but I didn't even get here until around 4:30, and by that time I'd started a headache (I think the barbeque sauce had something in it that triggered one), and within an hour or so, the idea of trying to move my legs much was a bit beyond me for the rest of the night. She didn't actually end up going tonight either, not feeling very well, but we'll try to get together tomorrow evening for some fireside snuggling after I get back from the veterans day dinner I'm going to with some of the women I've met at the VA in my group.

Overall, a pretty good day. If I find a clip from KIRO tomorrow, I'll post a link to that, too, whether or not I make an appearance in it.
Comcast left a voicemail message at 8:30 this morning, after I had explicitly instructed them not to call me until after noon. The voicemail was a tech telling me to do EXACTLY THE SAME THING EVERY OTHER TECH TOLD ME TO DO.

At 11:30, when I got up, I called Comcast. I talked to a tech and asked to speak to a supervisor. I asked how long it would take them to get back to me. She said about an hour. Two hours later, no callback. I called Comcast again and spoke to a tech, asking to speak to a supervisor. The tech attempted to tell me to do AGAIN what every other tech had told me to do. I said no, I wanted to talk to a supervisor, thank you very much. I was put on hold for 20 minutes. I hung up. I called Comcast again and spoke to ANOTHER tech and told him that I was going to speak to a supervisor. He said a ticket had already been put in and the supervisor had 24 hours in which to call me back. He attempted to tell me AGAIN what every other tech told me and I told him to STOP because I had already heard it and I wanted to talk to a supervisor. He put me on hold and came back a couple of minutes later said he couldn't get through to one.

I took the Comcast modem back to their service center in Lynnwood and talked to a guy at the desk. Guy at the desk asked a couple of questions, took the modem, and made an appointment for a tech to come out to my house on Friday and try to find out/fix what's wrong. He wrote a note on my receipt saying to prorate a credit for the time when I have NOT been getting the modem speed I am paying for (less than 20m when I am paying the bucks for 50m), and initialed said note. I'm supposed to see the tech between 1-3pm on Friday.

I went to get some lunch and decided that, while I was no longer in a frothing rage, I was not fit to be company for human beings today. Eating didn't help the stress headache, but I did feel slightly better.

The post brought the tax assessment for my condo for this year. The enclosed info notes that, as a disabled veteran at 100%, I can apply for a property tax exemption, which I wasn't aware I could do, and I can apply for a back exemption for the three years previous (if I am reading it properly). I dig out my files of my bills and such from 2009-2012 and have a minor panic attack dealing with the forms. They are currently partially filled out. I have dug out my VA award letter from 2000 saying I am 100% disabled. I have to find my SSDI statements for each of those years, as that is the only income they count, seeing as I don't really have any other income at this point. Their cutoff for income is $35,000 for an exemption. I qualify for the highest level of exemption (60% on my property taxes, and exemption from levies).

Dealing with the papers, even to the point of just filling out part of them, has left me a shaking wreck. I know the papers are just paper. I know the numbers are just a very simple string of digits. Dealing with the government and paperwork on any level does this to me and I'm not entirely certain how to not have a freaking panic attack. Now that I'm typing this, I've actually remembered I have some meds for moments like this and I'm going to go take one and see if that will help with the whole heart trying to make its way out of my chest feeling and the dizziness.

This, gentlebeings, is why Erynn does not play well with employment. Spending an hour on the phone with fucking idiots and filling out government paperwork leaves me completely useless for hours. Tomorrow I'm heading down to the VA for my usual Thursday appointment. I hope I'm up to leaving the house. I will still have to fill out the other papers at some point and take them down to the County offices in Everett to see a clerk at a desk and have them make photocopies of the relevant SSDI and VA forms, as well as get the clerk's signature and file everything properly. I have no idea how long it will be until I get a check from them, or how that will affect my mortgage payment every month. I am not looking forward to this.

Overall, the idea that I can get a huge whacking chunk of my taxes back for the past few years is awesome news. My body, however, does not believe me when I tell it this.

Yet more Comcast stupidity

I got a callback from Comcast today, before noon, so it went to my voicemail. When I called them, I got a young guy who tried to walk me through the same shit as before, as though no other tech had ever thought of them previously and I was possibly too stupid to have followed directions if they had. He said he would have someone else call me back tomorrow before I leave the house, or later this week, but not on Thursday, given I'm away then. Next time I speak with anyone I'm demanding a supervisor and telling them to just cut my bill by the amount I'm paying to AT&T and call it done. It's a pain, but there doesn't seem to be fuckall they can do about it.

This evening I went with gra_is_stor and ingvisson to a small Beltaine celebration out in Arlington. It rained copiously, but we dashed between the bonfires anyway. It was a pleasant evening, given that I wasn't feeling all that well. Today has been a very down day (hormones, we hates them we does my preciousss), but I had fun anyway. When I got home, I made dolmas for dinner. It was 12:30 by the time I got them into the oven, but they were done with already mostly-cooked rice and lamb, so I only had to have them in the oven for half an hour. They were very tasty, though. Most of them are now sitting in the fridge for later.

Tomorrow I'm heading over to Nicole's class for 3:30, then to the AFK for the steampunk social. I'm not even going to try to think beyond that right now.

ingvisson accidentally caffienated the DoDC+3 (he left a tea mug on the floor where he was sitting when he got up and didn't think about picking it up before the dog got into it) and the beast was slightly overstimulated. He's currently in his crate, gnawing a bone and contemplating life. I'm hoping he'll be mellower in a few minutes when I head for bed.
http://www.hrc.org/nomexposed/entry/must-read#.T3ILLSNGyQk

Monday March 26, previously confidential documents of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), an antigay group that opposes marriage equality, were ordered unsealed by the Maine courts as part of an ongoing investigation by the State of Maine into NOM's finance activities in that state

among the statements found:

“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…”

Another passage:

"The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity - a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation."

Wherein the intertubes failed me

I tried to post this last night but the intertubes failed me. I will now attempt to reconstruct what I posted because most of this thing was eaten by the Aether Elves.

Overall, the day was a really good one. I got my neck cracked, which helped with the headaches but didn't do much for the shoulders and some particular spots in my neck. Conversations were had with many friends and acquaintances. I went to the Pagans and Media panel, which mostly wasn't actually about media issues at all but rather talked around the Z and transphobia controversy from last year's con.

I grabbed a meal with Gus, had lunch with Vyviane and Jhenah where we planned our day by day itinerary for the pilgrimage, and had dinner with about 10 of my friends and new acquaintainces after the end of alfrecht's final workshop of the night.

My own Brigid and Sarasvati workshop went very well, with lots of good questions and discussion. Sadly, my experience was a bit marred by a woman who came up to me afterward; she asked initially if I taught anywhere. I said that I only taught at Pagan events because I didn't have any degrees. That question led to the inevitable question of what I actually do for a living. I noted I live on a VA disability pension, whereupon she declared "you don't look disabled." Things rather went downhill from there, resulting in her insisting that my fibro would go away if I would just have a good cry about 15 times a day and let out all that emotional stress. She was standing way too close and in my face about it, which was making me uncomfortable on top of her wrongheaded insistence that weeping was some sort of miracle cure. She also had the temerity to demand several times that I stand and deliver poetry to her because if I write it, I must be able to instantly produce it or that I had my entire corpus of poems memorized.

I may be a fili in the sense that I am a poet working, in a sense, within the early Gaelic tradition, but that doesn't mean I do on-demand extemporaneous poems for random strangers who have been offending me. It's a much more complicated process than that. There was, of course, also the "I know you better than you know yourself" moment in our conversation where she insisted that I was about to cry and should just let it out -- she could see it behind my eyes and would be oh so honored if I'd release all that emotion in front of her.

The only emotion I was trying not to release at that time was a boot to the fucking head.

When we had to vacate the room for the next setup, she asked if she could have dinner with me and I told her, entirely truthfully, that I was going to another session right afterwards (alfrecht's queer Celtic deities session) that happened to be right there as the next session in the same room.

Dinner was, happily, taken up with good friends and a talk with a young Marine from San Diego whom Tagh had been telling about some of my/our work in the Seattle community regarding the warrior rituals and the geilt phenomenon. That, and a concurrent discussion of Pagan history and such, went on until about 2:30am, whereupon I decamped to my room.

This morning, checkout, then going to finnchuill's session on Immram, Echtra, and Aisling.

A vaguely better day

I was still feeling some of yesterday's anxiety today, but it was much reduced, thankfully. I headed down to Seattle for the spirituality group, where one of the women there gave me a pair of earrings that's in the blueish end of the spectrum of things I wear; she said when she saw it she thought of me. It was awfully sweet, even if they're not really the sort of jewelry I generally wear. I'll find something to do with them, though.

I did manage to cope with the travel office today, though it was stressful. They always manage to handle it so badly, and there is inevitably someone who comes up right as they're closing who desperately needs travel funds or help finding a way to get home -- sometimes a couple of hundred miles. All these people would have to do is say "after hours, you can go to the emergency clinic and the social worker there can help you" but they never bother. There is always a shouting match and the employees just don't give a flying fuck. It would save everyone so much stress if they'd just offer that one sentence to these folks. I really, honestly don't get why they don't even have a sign up to this effect. (I told the guy.)

I got over to Travelers after that, and spent more time reading from King of Mysteries: Early Irish Religious Writings. Some of this stuff is just fascinating. I can at least pretend that some of it is research for my PCon presentations, right?

Traffic coming home the past couple of days has been truly awful and I don't know why. That's been pretty stressful on top of everything else. I'm glad I don't have to head down to Seattle tomorrow. I do have a games evening tomorrow night, then Saturday is Burns Night, but I can at least breathe a little there.

Still not actually writing. *sigh*

And it just keeps coming down

It snowed from about 5am until mid-afternoon and we got another four-ish inches or so today. The main road out front has got at least an inch of hard packed snow/ice over it, and people are still driving on it. The parking lot has more like three inches of the hard packed stuff and six inches or so in some places. There's about a foot of the stuff on top of my car at the moment. An article in the LA Times had the gall to refer to us as "snow wimps" -- a city that does 24 hour coverage of half an inch of rain. Yeah, stay classy guys. Different regions have different weather patterns -- I don't expect you to cope with four inches of rain, don't expect us to cope with a foot of snow.

Group was cancelled today. Trees are down all over the region. Roads are closed. Tons of flights out of SeaTac were cancelled today as well.

If this doesn't substantially go away on Friday up here, I'm not going down into Seattle for the Sisters of Seshat initiation. I just won't take that kind of chance, even if it's only 3 miles to the freeway. There have been way too many accidents out there today -- I've been following the WSDOT twitter and they report on all the stalls, spinouts, accidents, and other incidents on the road. There have been several per hour all day today. It's insane.

This is what it looks like outside my place right now, even though there's no snow coming down.

more snow

I think I may be coming down with a cold. I've got that scratchy sinus feeling and have been sneezing a bit the last couple of hours. I went walking down to the Safeway at 112th this evening and watched cars slipping on the road, going too fast. People are nuts. At least I've got veggies and some other stuff to last me for a while.

Today's post brought a Veterans for Peace sweatshirt that I'd ordered back in November (they were out and I told them to go ahead and ship me one when they got the new stock in), and a check from my car insurance company. Apparently, my credit rating went up a few points and I'm now eligible for a lower insurance rate, so they sent me a check for the difference. That was unexpected, and a very pleasant surprise, so I stuffed it in my savings account for PCon and/or the Ireland pilgrimage. That was part of the reason I'd bothered to walk down to the store today, so I could deposit the check. I have enough stuff here to last for a bit, but it was nice to have a little variety, rather than relying on what's currently in the house.

The trees menacing the Shinto shrine were taken down today, over a tense period of a few hours. According to the shrine newsletter, the guy who did the work said it was the most dangerous situation he'd ever tackled, and gave them instructions about calling 911 and his wife if anything happened. Everything went well, I am pleased to report. They are somewhat over halfway in their fundraising efforts, but if you can kick a few bucks their way, please do. I'm sure this is not going to be quite the end of the whole thing. More snow and ice may yet fall and bring down more trees.

I didn't do any writing today, but I figured dealing with dishes and walking to the store with my hip seizing up on me was enough effort for anyone.

Did you know?

The Muppets are brainwashing kids into hating the oil industry!

Oh, Fox network. You make my brain all splodey.

Oh glee. Republicans.

Republican Presidential wannabee Jon Huntsman wants to tax people on Social Security and disabled veterans while giving tax cuts to billionaires. What a fucking surprise.

On the bright side, nine people showed for the Everett steampunks tonight, and we had a pretty good time chatting and catching up. Miss Cherries Jubilee, in charge of Captain Nemo's Ball at this year's Steamcon, was soliciting donations to make sure the ball can be put together. She was given seven whole days to raise $500; she's nearly there, but the deadline was tonight. She said if she can't raise it today, she'll do an auction to raise the rest of the money. I didn't have any cash (my pension check doesn't come in until after midnight), but I did donate one of my three copies of The Scribing Ibis (signed) to her auction.

When I got home, there was a cute little tree frog sitting on my doorstep.

I got invited to Maizie's potluck on Sunday, which I will very likely attend. gra_is_stor will probably be up this weekend also. If all goes well, I'll pick her up on Friday night before we go to the Mercury, then we'll attend the Queer Milonga on Saturday, and she'll stay until the CR Schmooze on Monday.

I'm hoping to sleep in tomorrow and catch up on a little rest, as I've been pretty busy of late.

A charming moment of WTF

Over on cadmus's LJ, he notes that he'd been on the Pagan Scholars email list again recently. Apparently, did you know, all modern Paganism is derived from Wicca and nobody is doing anything that isn't Wiccan. At least according to Fritz Muntean. Needless to say, calling Fritz on it led to his being booted from the list.

Aside from anything else, Fritz's arrogance in claiming that nobody who isn't Wiccan is actually doing anything is pretty astonishing.

PCon plans are proceeding apace

Today my 10 copies of the ogam book arrived for the con. Yay for efficient shipping! That'll make things easier for me while I'm down there. Further planning has been done for scheduling and who's staying where, when. alfrecht, are you in need of space before/after the con? What's our situation with you down in SF/San Jose? We can find space for you if necessary, but we need to know what your current plans are.

In creepy-assed news, a kindergarten kid in Palatka, Florida (where my dad lives) somehow got hold of a loaded .22 caliber pistol and dropped the damned thing during his class. Fucking irresponsible adults. The gun didn't go off and nobody was hurt, thank all the gods.

Next Wednesday's steampunk meetup is on the calendar at the AFK, along with Phil and Kaja Foglio doing a book signing at 8pm for their newest Girl Genius release.

It looks like my friend will be staying until February 3rd -- he's got a place lined up, but it won't be open until then. I'm okay with this. He's very quiet, and I don't think I have anyone coming to visit overnight before then.

Tomorrow evening I'll be popping over to the AFK to hang with some of the local druids, as I did last Friday. Happy Erynn is happy.

Another crappy migraine day

I'd wanted to go down and pick up my pocket watch today, but woke about 3:30 this afternoon with another brewing migraine, this one worse than yesterday's. For a while, it was at the mild spike in the head stage, but slathering my head with some migraine-combatting essential oils (peppermint, eucalyptus, cajeput, lavender & vetiver) kicked it back enough to at least tolerate. I wasn't up for leaving the house except for doggly necessities, though. For a while, it was an open question as to whether I'd be able to put anything in the tum beyond some tea, but by early evening I felt well enough to have some of yesterday's cauliflower curry.

Tomorrow is that talk on mysticism and Italian poetry, and I'm hoping to be up to leaving the house, though I'm not certain this particular migraine cycle isn't related to the cold front that's been here for the past few days, coinciding with evil hormones. Anyway, I'm hoping I'll be doing better tomorrow and can both pick up my watch and pop down to the UW to drop off some books and catch the lecture.

The annual amulet burning ceremony is out at the Shinto shrine this Sunday. With any luck, I'll be well enough to get out there, too. If I do manage to, I might be able to catch some lunch at the Greek place in Granite Falls with mimerki and varina8, pending an answer back from varina8. I last saw them when thewronghands was in town and would love to see them again.

In the realm of serious WTFery, some fundie fruitcake has decided that the mysterious deaths of all those red-winged blackbirds was caused by the repeal of DADT.



Yeah. I know. That's about what I thought, too. *headdesk* The stupidity of human beings never ceases to amaze me. Do all those horrifying, deadly storms that whip through the Bible belt mean that God hates Southern Baptists?

A very successful schmooze!

Our first study group happened this evening and we had a dozen people with us, several of whom were new. Handouts for January were given out and we had a really good discussion of some of the basics of CR -- things like how we define spirituality, how we're defining Celtic, the importance of language, music and culture, and the fact that there's no CR orthodoxy. Some really good questions were asked, and there was quite a bit of group participation.

Sadly, joyful_storm was down with a headache, so she couldn't make it this evening, but we'll probably see her on the 15th for the planning meeting. Most of our regulars did make it, though, and it was nice to see such an involved, vibrant group getting together to talk about the issues. We took the CR FAQ as our jumping-off point. Moss asked if we really did get some of those questions -- about whether CR is racist, for instance -- and we said yes, that pretty much all of those questions had been asked of people in the community at one point or another.

I'm pretty excited about the whole thing and am really looking forward to January's group, where we talk about the history of the Celtic peoples and about concepts of druids and druidism through history.

On the downside of the day, the HOA's idiocy continues. I got sent the same damned statement and told that yeah, the extra August payment had brought me current at that point, but the guy neglected to add in the September payment that I had just sent him proof of not twelve hours previously trying to tell me that I was still in arrears. I called and left him a message and sent him a followup email explaining in great detail that I had, in fact, paid and if he would just add in the damned September payment where he was supposed to, we'd be fine.

We'll see if he can comprehend English.

Tomorrow, it's down to the VA for the usual Tuesday group.

Pupulator update

The past couple of days, the DoDC+3 has been doing better. He's back to jumping up and down from the bed, bouncing around, and has a couple of times wanted me to throw a toy for him. Today was his last day of pain meds and antibiotics, though the anti-inflamatories will continue for another two weeks. We'll see how he does tomorrow without the pain meds. He was kind of urpy this morning when he woke up, but thankfully he didn't make a mess on the bed. It's always disconcerting to wake up to that.

Today consisted of doing laundry and parting out a couple of chickens to freeze. They came chopped up (except one of the breasts wasn't split, so I had to go at that one with a knife) so all I really had to do was put convenient parts into appropriately sized containers and stuff the whole mess into the freezer.

The condo's HOA vaguely annoyed me in that they sent me a notice that I hadn't paid the special assessment in September for the deck repairs. Given that my credit union automatically sends this stuff out, all I had to do was go in and search back to September and get a picture of the cashed check. I printed out a copy and will be presenting it to the property manager with a "yeah, try telling me again how I didn't pay you." Yay for convenient electronic record-keeping.

Tomorrow is the first session of the Seattle CR Schmooze study group. I haven't heard a single peep from anyone objecting to the materials I suggested, so that's what we're getting. I did get an email from one gal who came last month that she wouldn't be able to make it tomorrow and could I save copies of the handouts for January for her, so I'll be sure to do that. mael_brigde won't be able to make it down from Vancouver, but hopes to in January as well, from what I understand. There does seem to be rather a lot of interest, at least. We'll see how things turn out as far as actual people being there tomorrow evening.

The 11th I've got a Medieval Women's Choir concert ticket. The 18th I'm gaming. Tuesday the 14th, with any luck, I'll be able to see thewronghands when she's in town.

I need a snack and then maybe to head for bed.

I am an idiot. Really.

Shrinkage today was at 3pm. It was in my calendar as 4pm. I was late but still got to talk to her.

Anyway, more later. I sleep now.

Crap.

For the first time in a long time, there's been a finances kerfuffle at Casa Erynn. If you're interested in (and don't have copies of) the Circle of Stones book PDF file, my short Not Your Mama's Tree Ogam PDF booklet, or the PDF ogam deck that I sell on my website, please drop by and order a copy. You'll be helping me pay my phone bill!

http://www.seanet.com/~inisglas/publications.html

Thanks folks!

Made of WTF

Apparently some parents in the Alameda CA school district are appalled that their chilluns are being taught to not beat the crap out of queer kids. And they're suing the school district.

The story is from August, but I just ran across it.

Isn't it wonderful to know that Christian mercy is all about being kind to everyone but faggots?

The comments section is filled with bullshit homophobia too. Since I can't link direct to the blog entry, here's the story quoted:

Parents Sue to Keep Kids from Having to Be Nice to Gays

Posted by jeannesager on August 14th, 2009 at 8:28 am
You know all those schools being sued for NOT protecting kids from bullying? A California school district is another boat going in the other direction. Parents are suing the Alameda schools for requiring their kids learn to BE NICE to other kids. Gasp!

Of course these kids aren’t any old kids - they’re lesbian, gay and transgender kids who the school district dares to think should be protected from getting their asses kicked on the playground. Yes, dear readers, they’re teaching kids to be nice to the fags!

And their parents want none of it. They’re suing on the basis of religious freedom to keep their kids OUT of the anti-bullying workshops. The district has thus far said no to requests that their kids be allowed to opt out, prompting the parents to decry indoctrination into the gay lifestyle.

Because a teacher telling your kid not to call the other kid a queer is tantamount to telling your son to go kiss the other little boy on the lips, right?

I’m willing to grant that not everyone “agrees” with homosexuality (whether or not I agree with THEM is another issue). But I’m hard-pressed to see how telling kids not to say hurtful things to other kids, not to physically hurt other kids, etc. is indoctrination into another lifestyle. I wouldn’t let my child kick an evangelical Christian . . . that doesn’t mean I’m training her to become one.

If these parents are so afraid their kids are going to encounter a bit of gayness in the world, I think it’s time they home school, how ’bout you?

Oops. Deleted messages.

Nick and tryst_inn -- I accidentally deleted your messages in my inbox last night when I was tired and not paying enough attention. Could you resend?

Thanks.

It's a day

I didn't sleep well last night, I'm afraid. man_of_snows's insomnigrackles got me and not only did I not sleep well, I was up at 10:30 this morning. The DoDC+3 did have something to do with this. He's been a rather insistent nose-licker recently.

For the first time this morning I removed somebody from the Puget Sound CR yahoogroup (my policy is to moderate the first post or two to be sure they're not spammers) for being a troll. The person had posted three responses to a couple of things on the list that came to me for approval, all of which were snide, asinine, and entirely off topic except to snark. No, little troll, feel my banhammer.

Part of the thing about the Puget Sound CR list is that it's a low-traffic list that is mostly used to notify for meetings and rituals, or to discuss things that come up in our face to face meetings. As such, links that are posted tend to be on the list because people at the schmooze asked for them to be disseminated. Long posts of notes or questions are usually made as reminders to consider these items for our next meeting. Every now and then we even actually have a conversation on the list!

Better for my mood was an email I got from my website asking for some advice from a solitary guy who wants to do CR but can't find anyone local and was under the impression you had to be part of a group in order to learn anything or advance at all on the path. It's both problematic and unfortunate that the community can be so unwelcoming to seekers, whether in person or online. It's sad that some of the loudest members of the CR community are also some of the most obnoxious. This poor guy was told that if he wanted to make any progress in the CR or GT community, he would have to dump his wife, who isn't interested in the path but doesn't mind that he is. That, my friends, is the worst sort of crank advice. People who tell you that you have to separate from non-involved loved ones are rushing right into control-freak cultist territory. Isolating the new believer from family and social support is a prime tactic with groups like that. At any rate, I sent him a lengthy email back and hope he will approach more people for correspondence.

After group this afternoon, I'll be heading over to West Seattle to drop in on a friend to trade a reading for a massage. That'll be a lovely alternative to chai at Travelers -- not that there's anything at all bad about Travelers! But my back and shoulders could really use some work lately, I know.

What day is it?

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