Saturday, May 31, 2014

Stitch and Bitch

Yesterday and today are shaping up to be bad bad asthma days.

Late yesterday morn I made the mistake of pulling out six yards of a silky like fabric I'd bought four years ago to craft a dress I'd seen at a boutique and wanted but hated the only color it came in, mushroomy beige. The shade of old mushrooms just looks wrong on me, clashing with my skin tones so I immediately remembered I had a bunch of green touched with gold batik silk like fabric I bought because it was on clearance and I loved the color.

Too bad the fabric didn't love me. I cut the fabric, started sewing on it and about ten minutes in had the most horrific asthma attack. It was so fierce I ended up using my nebulizer three times that day and it still only partially settled down the breathing problems. That fabric has obviously been treated with something chemical I'm allergic to. It's residing in a sealed plastic bag til I hand wash it and dry it outside.

After an afternoon and evening spent huffing on my nebulizer and lolling about on the sofa and bed I went to bed and figured I'd start anew this morning. I got nothing done yesterday.

This morning from the first moment I got up and dressed it was go, go, go. Jim and I ran errands together. When we went to the bank something very disturbing happened. The car next to ours was a solid black Cadillac Escalade with mostly dark tinted windows. Both Jim and I could see that in the second row of seats there was a toddler and a girl of perhaps five strapped into child car seats. The car was running, keys in the ignition, but with no one about that looked adult enough to be watching the kids. The windows were so dark we were unable to see past the second seat.

I've run into this a couple of times in the past here and I usually snap a happy snap of the license plate and kids before calling the local cop shop to report children alone in a car. If the car is gone before I leave I forward the responding officer the photos I took on my cell so they can talk to the careless miscreant and throw the fear of the law into them.

This time I realized my cell phone was home still plugged into the wall charging.

So we went into the bank. There was only one other customer, a lady of perhaps mid thirties to early forties, dressed expensively and trended with lots of jewelry, makeup and careful blonde streaks in her hair. I walked over to her and asked her if the black Escalade was her car. She said yes and I asked her if she'd left the kids unsupervised because it looked like she had left her two young children alone in the car. She told me she had a 15 year old sitting in the third row of seats watching the kids. I said, okay, fine, I just wanted to make sure the kids weren't in harms way.... and it should have ended there. Right?

Come out of the bank and the lady is in her car, windows down and she calls me over and starts telling me how I hurt her feelings and embarrassed her in front of the bank employees. I just about choked on my tongue. Embarrassed her? Hurt her feelings? She's so damn butthurt it is almost comical.

I had to point out that normally I call the cops and let them handle it but this time I gave her the benefit of the doubt by asking instead of immediately calling or getting the bank to call. She seemed willfully determined to ignore the fact that I did this out of concern for the kids. To her it was all about her. Her, her, her..

Walked away shaking my head, wondering what the hell is wrong with people that if you inquire about their children that they make it all about them and their feelings. Now every time I'm going to call the police.

And over to the post office where an older lady at the counter triggered my asthma hard with her cologne, body spray, deodorant or something. I know I freaked out the post master by backing up as far as I could get from this pile of chemicals and going straight into my rescue breathing till she left and we mailed our package. Postmaster wanted to know what the heck was going on, I told her and she acted like I was nuts.

Now I'm shaking from having to guzzle drugs and use the neb again with the solution that makes my heart pound. Day went right to shit first thing in the morning. I still cannot breath and I've been laying down most of the day. Oh why oh why can't I just be sealed into a plastic bubble like the boy in "Bubble Boy" And I'm having to fight to get disability? Knitter please!

The rest of the weekend is shaping up to be me laying on the sofa crocheting in a drug-fueled haze.

Still cannot get over the lady that thought I was hurting her feelings by asking if her kids were in the car alone. Officially disgusted right now.

Friday, May 30, 2014

And They'd Know We Are Christians By Our Lying, Our Pride and Our Hatred

It's a damn good thing that the insane agita I was feeling coming off that drug has faded because I've cross paths in real life and the internet with the types of Christians that really put my teeth on edge. I'm trying to laugh and be amused but it ain't easy.

A few days ago when I was at the gym I ran into someone I used to know quite well from my old church Possum Creek. This lady, who goes by the name of Janet, was there, getting all up in my space, yet not addressing me at all, just everyone else that doesn't know her, doesn't know her reality or know who she really is.

Janet was eagerly spilling out how much better her life was now that she retired. Granted, there might be a small amount of truth to that.. but... the Janet I know had a hard time making ends meet on the wages from her job, lived in a tiny run down shack of a house that needed serious work, for a long time refused to believe that her husband was raping her eldest daughter. Through the years I've heard Janet gossip-pray, use prayer to bash someone else right in front of them, whine about how unfair it is that she doesn't have a husband now, cling to her youngest daughter to the point where now as an adult the daughter is infantilized - no education and no job living with momma. 

She was pompously holding court in the dressing room about how won-der-fulllllllllll her life is! I know better and I wonder why she didn't simply state 'I'm enjoying retirement' instead of painting this rosy sunny picture that doesn't even come remotely close to the truth.

In our eagerness to present Jesus as the solution to all problems many will lie. How does that honor the deity of your choice?

She was doing this standing next to another Possum Creek member who has bizarre secrets. They nodded and said 'Hi' to me and I bit my tongue, not saying what I wanted to say, "How's your husband that screwed your daughter all those years and Cynthia, how's your son the rapist?"

I resisted, mostly because it wasn't very honoring to Jesus to act like that on my part either. I'm not going to pop their good Christian bubbles.

And then yesterday on my way to my physical therapy at Johns Hopkins I had to wade through this mess by another bashing and hating set of Christians - Turning Away From Johns Hopkins I always wanted to drive through a screaming angry mob of any race, not. I asked at Bayview who they were and why they were there, but no one working at Hopkins seemed to know. Some protest.

Not much love and acceptance going on in the world of Christians, is there? I'm not feeling it, but then again I'm kind of a shut in with my health problems. But I try to love on those in my path and before getting to Hopkins had a quick pleasant visit with the homeless guy near the hospital and dropped off some things for him. I am finding I have more love, respect, positive interactions with the 'heathens' of this world. That's a sad statement.

I am beginning to realize that being kicked outside the safe walls of modern Christianity is probably one of the best things that could have happened to me for the sake of my own spirituality and growth.

All reminds me of one of my favorite songs by Jason Upton - Lullaby For A Petrified Sacred Society.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Change Of Seasons (Morphing Into A Grumpkin)

The last week has been a bit, how would you say it, umm, 'trying'. About a month ago I made the decision with my doctors to come off a drug my idiotic former primary care doctor put me on seven years ago. It was an off label usage and I've since learned the only real thing it did for me for those years was addict me to it.

I've tried in the past to get off it, sensing that it wasn't having any desired effect on my IBS/Colitis, only to get to about the three week mark in weaning off and finding myself filled with hateful rage at everyone and everything for no reason at all. I'm there again. The difference is that I've decided to push on through and get it completely out of my system and vow to never take this class of drugs ever ever again.

Getting off it is like walking around with a heightened sense of irritation with everything crossing your path. You wonder if you are going to snap and start bitch slapping each person in your path to try and defuse that irrational irritation and anger.

Figured if it went physical at least there's three hots and a cot in jail, plus I'd have all the time I wanted for reading and crochet. Could be worse.

But I'm gritting my teeth and powering on through, determined to badass my way pass my temporary sociopathic feelings. I understand now why sometimes people snap and croak everyone in their paths.

Used to get this way on high dose steroids before I developed a steroid intolerance. Once asked my old pastor how God viewed these times of anger and less than rational thought processes. Was it sin? Could He judge me for the feelings and actions happening due to chemicals boiling the brain? Patrick assured me that God has mercy when we cannot help ourselves to do something beyond our control driving us. I have to wonder now if that also includes when people snap and do things like kill others in the grip of mental illnesses. I just don't know. Doesn't seem fair to judge actions beyond your control.

My Grumpkinism started on Thursday when I went down to the stores of Madison with my old friend Joanie. She did like she always does and overreacted more than a handful of times to my driving habits and I itched to slap her. I itched to slap her when she asked me several times about stopping to eat. We both had lunch at 12:30 and I wasn't even remotely hungry by  3pm, but she was. I was intolerant and judgmental in my mind, refusing to stop for a meal. Around three we did stop at the Mennonite grocery store we both love and she was able to get something to eat there.

It's a good thing I was able to control my mouth because I ran into four former members of my old church at the Mennonite store. They all stuck their noses in the air and didn't speak, but so did I. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I had no patience for their old peahen selves.  I've cut my hair super short, was wearing shorts and a beautiful summer tank top with no bra. I'm sure they all went home and clacked and babbled to the others that I looked like a 'lesbian'. When the rumors get back to me I'm sure they will be amusing. 

By Saturday I was in full annoyance mode as I wrapped Andy's birthday presents and made Unicorn Barf Smores instead of a birthday cake.

Tip on making Unicorn Barf. Never use real butter and homemade marshmallows in it or the two will turn to toffee when you heat them up. It was delicious, just not as visually impressive as Unicorn Barf usually is.

We took Andy out to dinner for his 26th birthday. Had a good time despite having to walk out of the first restaurant because the waitstaff had made us wait 15 minutes and we'd still not had any waitstaff member take our drink order. The restaurant wasn't busy, and the staff was strolling around like bored teenaged zombies. I sort of... er... went off on the hostess and we left, walking within full view of the staff to the restaurant right next door, where we were waited on immediately.

When we got home I logged into No Longer Quivering to see if I needed to approve any comments only to find someone going nuttier than I. A Good Christian(tm) woman from San Antonio, Texas wanting to tell us all how wrong we were about the Duggar family. The comments started out nice and quickly ran to calling us 'cunts', 'bitches' and 'whores'. Why was she so pissed off? Because I wasn't sitting right there to approve her comments immediately. Obviously never bothered to read the comment rules page.

Normally something like that would make me laugh, but after leaving the site for only six hours to come back to someone trying to nastily excoriate me was so frustrating I was ready to toss the computer out of the window, fly to San Anton to kick her ass and quit admining NLQ. It was well after 2 am before I got her banned, comments cleaned up and sorted and the site comment queue back to a semblance of normal. She'd left well over a hundred comments in the time I'd been gone and there were a pile of wacky racist ones by someone else.

Sunday was peaceful, church, a nap and Mad Men. But Memorial Day was.. memorable.

It was day three that Jim had been home and he'd started to rub me the very wrong way, nagging me as I was still in bed to get up and work on an experimental web site he wanted followed by going to work out. I was in full pissed off mode at the gym, scowling at all the casual exercisers treating the gym like a social function, biting my lip to keep from barking "Get the fuck out of my way!" at people stopping to have conversations with others while I power walked on the track.

But when we got home I got to feeling even more irritated so I decided to wash my car, followed by Jim complaining that I needed to wash his too. I did, but I grumbled at him that I didn't see why he couldn't wash his own. When he did come over to 'help out' he kept spreading my car wash kit every which way, complaining he couldn't use my 'space aged vacuum cleaner' because he couldn't figure out the off/on switch, complaining about the lime, coconut oil and seawater organic cleaner I use on the inside of the car. I could feel my temper rising so chose to run to the grocery store for steaks and the veggies we'd need.

I knew with it being Memorial Day that the supermarket was going to be crowded, I just didn't count on some kid running around eating a hot burrito colliding with me and dumping three quarters of the burrito down tank top and bra. I chewed the kid and mom out before stomping off with my kale and sirloins.

Get home and my cat Kiki throws up on me while I'm holding and petting him. Meaning I had to go change clothes for the second time in two hours. Then Jim started waxing his car and nagging me to help him buff it. I know what I'm going to get him for Fathers Day now, an electric buffer.

But the day ended on a better note, we had a lovely dinner of asparagus and tiny baked potatoes from the garden to compliment our steak. Plus I'd downloaded and started reading Michael Pearl's book "Holy Sex" I haven't laughed that hard since watching a "Robot Chicken" marathon. He's so over the top disgusting.

Today has been better. I've run errands without wearing some kid's burrito or shouting at anyone even if I'm still feeling jittery and jumped up. I hope this ends soon.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review: Manhood

The last few days I've been devouring a book by one of my favorite comedic actors, "Manhood" by Terry Crews. You know Terry Crews. The Old Spice guy, The Expendables, White Chicks, Everyone Hates Chris, Idiocracy, Brooklyn 99 and many other films and television shows. He was also in the NFL.

I've always liked him since seeing him in the film Idiocracy -

and White Chicks

Every time after White Chicks an Old Spice commercial would air I'd point at the screen and say, 'Hey! It's that guy!' before I finally figured out his name and followed him on Facebook. He always seems to post very upbeat and positive messages on his time line and being that I'm something of a smartass I like some positivity to counteract my own sarcasm. Plus he makes me laugh and I love to laugh.

Some of his Old Spice commercials.

The man makes me laugh and inspires me in my workouts. So when he came out with a book titled "Manhood" - an autobiographical journey to his own manhood I could not resist. I figured the book would be about his awesome life as a popular kid/sports hero in school leading to a college scholarship followed by the NFL, scads of moolah and Hollywood. I guessed very wrong.

Terry says early on in the book that he thought about titling it "My Life as a Jerk" and that might have been a fitting title for some of it. He had the entire 'I am The Greatest' entitlement issues of a former NFLer I got to experience first hand in my college years when I went on a series of dates with a former member of the Atlanta Falcons NFL team. Three dates exactly.

How jerky was the former Falcon? Third date he tried to take me to the Motel 6, telling me everyone puts out on the third date and I was hopelessly old fashioned if I thought otherwise. He'd wined and dined me, now it was my turn to show some appreciation. He ended up driving off in anger because I'd told him no, there was not going to be any sexy fun time at the Motel 6 and left me by the side of the road to call a cab. Later I discovered he'd also been seeing this other girl I worked with I didn't know well. We ended up bonding over margaritas after work and tales of how awful former Falcon was. She ended up being my maid of honor at my wedding.

My point with that little story is that guys that have been told they are the greatest and end up, if only for a year or two, doing something not everyone can do, like playing in the National Football League, sometimes have lots of entitlement issues. Terry Crews shared his, warts and all, while talking about his years in the league. His honest is refreshing in a world where everyone wants to pretend they are perfect.

What blew me away about this honest self-reflective book was not the fame and glory of the football field or acting in Hollywood. It was the fact that here is another person, just like all of us at No Longer Quivering, that has been spiritually abused and had to work through that abuse to heal and get to freedom. It's a good recovery read.

Crews was raised in a very religious household with abuse and alcoholism and was an exceptionally good boy with a few dark secrets of his own. Once he went to college he suffered at the hands of Maranatha Campus Ministries, just like NLQ's Kristen Rosser. His story of his treatment by those in leadership ring sadly true.

But even with everything he's been through Crews has always managed to hold on to his spirituality and keep moving forward, from jerk to a much better human being. Isn't that really the story (or it should be) of all of us? Moving from strength to strength to be kinder, more compassionate and loving.

Even if you don't know who Terry Crews is I have to say 'Manhood' is a great read and very inspirational. Terry Crews is on a journey to be a better man.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Feminism, Fashion, Fat, Fear, Failure and Other F-Words

One of the things I've embraced since leaving Evangelicalism is the F-Word. It really feels powerful to be using a stupid word that makes True Christians (tm) feel all faintified. Forbidden in the past, now it seems like a justified and useful expletive when things are going sideways. It's powerful.

I try not to use it all the time, but the last couple of weeks really cranked up my F-Word usage.

Dealing with the IRS, slogging back and forth to the local IRS customer service center about an hour away. The guys that work there are wonderful and competent. Unfortunately it seems none of the IRS folks in Philadelphia seem to know anything. Today the fellow working on my file was borderline cursing. I got the feeling if circumstances were a little different, like we weren't been recorded, there might have been some F-words flying. He stuck to crap, darn and damn instead.

Laura graduated with a BS in Business Management from George Mason University on Friday. So proud of her! She started working today at Mason. They hired her in the HR dept. She has somehow misplaced her birth certificate and social security card so there has been some drama and dirty words thrown about as I tried to help her locate both to no avail.

Still going back and forth from Johns Hopkins in Bayview. Still a pain in the neck driving on I-95 and the Capital Beltway to get there and back. But the therapy is helping even if driving on the Beltway keeps me in a hyper-alert fear state of all the other drivers.

Been pricing out new appliances for the house and getting the nice pat on the head you little woman thing from the salesman who thinks I should have brought the husband with me to make the final decision. Not happening and I'm going to order from Costco instead of this local company. I use the appliances, I usually pay for them out of my money and I don't consult Jim, so being patronized by a smarmy male chauvinist salesmen means he is not getting a dime in commission off me. Haven't we already killed that whole 'little woman' thing?

Saturday I got fat-shamed~ It was the first time in ages this has happened and it's ironic since I'm at my lowest weight in ten years. I guess being fat is still the most socially accepted discrimination.

Jim and I went to the Reston Arts and Crafts festival because one of his old high school friends makes jewelry and was selling at the festival. Jim and I wandered around and I ooohed and awwed over the handmade clothing and jewelry. I went into one booth, where the man had dresses he'd designed and had made a ton of crocheted silver wire jewelry, something I've done in the past but was a pain in the ass.

I wanted one of the simple tee shirt dresses that have back applique technique circles on it, was going to buy one that was one size down from what I'm already wearing. There was just one problem. The owner/artist/guy running the booth would not address me, make eye contact or anything. Every single time some other lady walked into his booth who was not large, like a size six or eight, he'd greet them, chat them up, whatever. Me? I got the eyefucking from him that said, "Get Out Fatty!"

And so I did. And then I copied his design......

Took me an hour, some tee shirt cotton knit and a few scraps of hand dyed batik fabric.

I refuse to let someone elses prejudices cause me to feel bad about myself. Fuck him. He missed out on a sale as I was prepared to buy one for me and one for Laura.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Book Review: 13:24: A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

Book Review: 13:24: A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

Before I start my review I have to confess that when “13:24” first came to my attention I had no interest in reading it, not even with Vyckie Garrison of NLQ's recommendation. I took one look at the cover, saw the shaggy-haired heavy metal lead singer and the animal skull above and decided this book wasn't something I'd be interested in. I knew there would be descriptions of physical and spiritual abuse and figured I was not going there again because this book would trigger me as well as be about heavy metal, a type of music that just isn't my favorite.

But I have to admit it, was I extremely wrong! When I started reading “13:24” I was hooked from the first page. It is more than simply another book on spiritual abuse, at its heart the novel is more a who-done-it, a first rate crime novel coming from a unique angle. There are multiple stories and subjects tightly interwoven into an integral whole. It is one of those books that you cannot put down because you have to know what happens next and you're sitting on the edge of your seat dying to get to the next bit.

The procedural cop epic has always been my personal favorite since my earliest television watching days. I could easily see 13:24 as a script for “Law and Order: SVU” or my all time favorite, “Homicide: Life on the Street”. You will find the type of plot twists that leave you guessing who the actual villain is. It feels very real and, like the creators of Law and Order love to say, 'ripped from the headlines.'

The book also does what great procedurals do, introduce you to something you didn't know, a new sub culture or something just outside your comfortable life. The overarching theme most don't know much about outside the world of Evangelical Christianity is the subculture that believes in physically disciplining children for any infraction, real or imagined.

'13:24' deals with religious physical discipline of children. This is especially timely now that the Pearl's book on child discipline 'To Train Up A Child' is in the news media as being the catalyst and inspiration for the murders of Hana Grace Williams and Lydia Shatz. You see, much of the book 'To Train Up A Child' deals with the extreme Christian belief that you can make a child obey by beating him or her hard enough and long enough to 'break' their spirit with a belt, a plastic plumbing line or other hard implement.

While '13:24' doesn't name the Michael Pearl discipline book, it is easy to make the connection with the child abuse advocated in 'To Train Up A Child' with the abuse written about in '13:24'. I only wish I could force every overzealous Pearl-follower to read the heart wrenching words of Josh, one of the main characters, as he experiences physical chastising.

I've written many a time about my first encounter with Michael Pearl's 'To Train Up A Child' upon joining my old church. My youngest was 4 years old and had been in and out of the hospital with spinal meningitis and idiopathic thrombotic purpura (a bleeding disorder) and she tended to cling to me all the time. People at the new church gave me Pearl's book and I was told I must physically discipline Laura to make her stop clinging to me. Yes, I was told to beat a child with a rare bleeding disorder to stop her from what I knew was natural behavior in a child that had been in and out of the hospital. That type of cruelty is at the heart of '13:24'.

One of the best things about '13:24: A Story of Faith and Obsession' is that it shows how wrong and twisted that type of discipline can go. As the story unfolds the main characters, Josh – lead singer of the band Rehoboam, Chris – a teenager who finds solace in the music of Rehoboam and William, a detective tasked to find the person who cut a killing swath through his town. All story lines and three main characters come together in an explosive ending that makes you question where discipline ends and sadism begins. A must read!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Why Did The Turtle Cross The Road?

Or better yet. Why did the old hippie and the turtle cross the road? Because there was grass on the other side.

Yesterday I had to make that most hated of trips, go to Wal Mart for thread that could not be bought anywhere else in town. So I'm minding my own business, turning onto the side street leading to the Pig Fart, err, Wal Mart parking lot when I see a crawling rock in the road. Which was not a rock at all, but an Eastern Painted Turtle, slowly making his perilous journey from the parking lot of the local Dairy Queen to the grassy area next to Wal Mart.

What could I do? I did the only thing a gal wearing no bra and a tie dyed tunic from Nepal could do. I stopped my car, put on the emergency blinkers, hopped out and moved the turtle out of the line of fire and into the grass in the direction he'd been heading. It was the first time I caused a traffic jam in town without experiencing any wrath from others on the road.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Finding Your Fashion Voice Post-Fundamentalism

One of the troubles coming out of patriarchal fundy religion for me has be fashion or lack thereof.  For ages I dressed like this.

Hair in a bun, cotton jumper, loose t-shirt/shade shirt and tennis shoes/flats, no makeup. Kevin Swanson might say wearing a jumper is no sin but it's now a fashion crime in my eyes. Not that I keep up with fashion, but ugh! It triggers me every single time.

Figuring out your style, what you like, what is flattering to your figure and not so 'out there' that people stare, takes time and intention. It's taken me awhile to sort out my personal style and likes since leaving Jumper Town. I like feminine clothes and the old hippie look. I like unusual clothing that's made by ethically run cooperatives overseas. Today I'm wearing a beautiful tye-dyed tunic made in Nepal by ladies who get most of the money for their labors. But this recent photo of me shows what I'm actually starting to prefer again. Plus skirts and dresses have started to appear in my wardrobe after seven years of mostly pants. I like lace, embellishments, soft fabrics that are a joy to wear.

I love that blouse!

Playing with style aggregates at places like Mad Men Yourself is fun too~ Tho that dress looks too tight to be comfortable, I'd never wear fur or walk around with a cigarette dangling from my lips while holding a martini glass.

Seems like I'm always accumulating too many clothes in the process of finding my post-jumper style too. Between that and my dieting over the last 18 months and I have a huge range of sizes in my closet.... so here I am wasting time, delaying the obvious I must do today, clean out my closet.