Sunday, July 26, 2015

Day One Retirement

I hope that yesterday was not an auger as to how the rest of Jim's retirement is going to play out. It was the most triggering and awful day I've had in ages. Jim started cleaning the garage at daybreak, hours before I arose and started stumbling around making coffee.

First you must know that Jim is prone to start cleaning and organization projects, stop at a half way point, then just mound the stuff in a pile and demand I sort it.

Second - I have ADD, Adult ADD, that makes me freak out and not be able to function or think straight if I'm confronted with a huge pile of stuff. I get frozen where I cannot figure out what I need to do first and end up starting to put one thing away, get distracted by something else and end up overwhelmed and unable to complete the task. Which is why I keep much of my things sorted into plastic labeled tubs. I had all my art supplies and the things I used sorted in plastic bins, labeled and put on the long shelving that runs the length of the garage.

Now they're in a huge heap, thrown hither and yon, freaking me out, triggering me. This is after I deliberately asked Jim about a dozen times not to touch the stuff on the shelves. He didn't honor that and now I cannot make heads or tails of what was my carefully organized art supplies and home improvement equipment.

Third - It's always a bad idea to ask me to think or sort or do anything before I've had coffee. I'm one of those people that feels like a grumpy raging serial killer before coffee. Yeah, that's part of the ADD too.

So now there's a huge pile of trash on the front lawn, a big pile of stuff that needs to go to Goodwill and the garage has a heaping mound of my art supplies and tools in a mess. Just like Laura's bedroom from when Jim sorted it two years ago that I'm still working on sorting out.

I'm upset because I've told him repeatedly how much harder he makes it on me when he does these kamikaze clean outs without my help or notifying me it was coming. But he does it anyway.

Too big to bury him in the backyard and pretend he ran off so I don't know what I'm going to do. But if he keeps doing things that trigger me so massively I might have to take a sanity break at the beach for a week or a month.

Because of the ADD I do things a certain way here because I find I do better and keep on track if I have a set schedule.

Monday - Shopping and clean the bathrooms are picking up the house. Sweep, vacumn mop. Wash all bedding and towels.
Tuesday - Laundry and ironing. Baking the week's bread and whatever baked goods we need.
Wednesday - Home repair and gardening
Thursday - Complete housecleaning
Friday - Usually I work in my sewing room. Do whatever repairs need to happen to clothing or making clothing or working on quilts.
Saturday  -  Gardening
Sunday - Rest, which usually means oil painting and/or reading

None of this schedule counts the fact of the daily things like cooking and dishwashing or work or having to drop every damn thing to deal with a crisis like picking up his bumper and license plate off the ground where Jim hit a deer with his car.

Yesterday I had the double whammy. I picked a huge pile of cucumbers and zucchini and spent most of the day canning, putting up 16 quarts of various types of pickles and making 7 quarts of zucchini relish. By seven pm I was exhausted by the canning and dealing with Jim dragging everything we had in the garage out onto the lawn while demanding I sort it. I took a shower, laid on the sofa trying to crochet. He was most annoyed with me because by 8 pm  I was on the sofa and refusing to get up and sort things from that giant pile or go to the local carnival with him.

I know he means well, but it was seriously stressing me out and no amount of explaining to him why this was affecting me like this helped at all. He's not hearing me at all. Plus after dragging everything out of the garage from 6 am till about 10 am he decided to do other things like go shopping, followed by taking a name from 1 pm till around 5 pm.

Now he's threatening to do the same to the bathroom cabinets. Told him they were perfectly organized already and not to even dare touching any of that!

Here's hoping he gets many days substitute teaching this fall.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Congradulations Eeagle Eeye!

The title is how the bakery wrote the words "Congratulations Eagle Eye" on the cake at the office party for Jim's retirement. He has worked all these years as an editor at the Dept of Publications for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and he's known for having a sharp eye, catching everyone else's writing mistakes.

I went into the city with Jim on Wednesday when his department was holding his retirement party and did some shopping for my youngest daughter Laura's birthday in the morning. I wandered around the Union Station area and the museum shops picking up a few things I think she'll love.

The afternoon was the party and I have to say, I was impressed. One of the high high ups that answers directly to presidential appointee Secretary of Labor Perez attended the party and had some kind words to say about Jim's ability to spot mistakes. The rest of his coworkers and his supervisor also said what a decent and kind man he is. One lady read a humorous poem she wrote for the occasion. It was moving, I'd not known how well liked he was by his coworkers.

Today was Jim's official last day at work and it started with a bang. He hit a deer with his car around 5:45 am this morning. He tried to stop but could not, clipping a young doe as she and her fawn tried to cross the road. He was uninjured and did not stop, thinking he'd just knocked out the passenger's side headlight. But once he got to the VRE station to catch his train he saw that part of the bumper was crushed and splintered plus the license plate was missing.

Guess what I did this morning? If you guessed that I went out to the accident site to retrieve his license plate, pick up pieces of glass and bumper from the road and see if the deer was dead you'd be right. I was almost done when a sheriff's deputy arrived and wanted to know what I was doing.

Looked for the fawn, trying to see if it was still around so that we could get the wildlife rescue folks out there but there was no sign of it. The mama deer had managed to get about twenty yards away from the accident site before dying. So sad, upsetting start to the day.

Now Jim's home with five boxes of things from his twenty plus years in his office. An era is coming to an end.

Dear Washington D.C. Tourists....

Recently the Washington Post did an article on what local customs tourists routinely ignore or trample upon when they arrive here, things that make the area and it's people function smoothly. I am reminded of those things when I go into the city to shop, or go to the museums or the days I ride the train in with Jim to visit his office. Wednesday I went into the city with Jim to go over his retirement paperwork with HR and to attend the retirement party that his office threw for him.

Jim is more sanguine about the tourist hordes than I am. Yes, I understand we live on the edge of one of the biggest vacation destinations this side of Disney World and Disneyland. I understand they bring 7 billion dollars into the area every year. My problem with them is that they act like the DC/VA/MD area is just like Iowa or Mississippi plus the piles of RVs snaring up the really bad traffic on the major highways the areas I go to shop.

Like this photo from the Washington Post of the Metro escalators. I'm surprised no one pushed these folks or said something to them. You do not stand on the left side of the escalators in the District or you risk being pushed over or elbowed aside. Here it's stand right and walk left.

Good thing this wasn't rush hour or some of them would have been pushed down.

See, here's the thing. When I go places, like Costa Rica, or even someplace like the Midwest, I try to research as much info as someone in tourist mode can. Looked up tipping practices in Costa Rica. Made sure when I was in Germany not to give the 'okay' symbol to any drivers because it means 'asshole' there and is against the law. I never expect anyone to talk to me in my own language, I eat whatever the local cuisine is and try not to act like The Ugly American, save my venting over customs I don't like either for here or into poor Jim's ear, not airing them publicly.

I had a couple of hours to kill before Jim's retirement party and I spent them shopping at Union Station, observing the tourists after getting stuck on an escalator behind them trying to get back up to the Postal Square Building Jim works at. 

So what do you need to know besides never stand left on the escalator (which can earn you a shove, a nasty retort, or a simple big sigh and side eye) Sorry, but most of us there have a limited amount of time to get to work or are running to catch a commuter train.

1 - It is rarely a good idea to come to DC with a camper or RV. The nearest campgrounds are between 30 minutes to two hours away dependent upon traffic and rush hour situations. There is absolutely no place to park them in the city and many of the streets are too narrow to accommodate them easily. You'll also find drivers shaking their fists at you as you clog up the major highways with them and try to drive the speed limit. Traffic is too insane here to ever make that a good idea.

2 - Don't try to lecture a local on some custom or notion of the city. This happened to me standing in line at the Union Station Subway location to get a sandwich. Some busy body lady turned around and started trying to tell me where the line started and all the things wrong with D.C. I had to point out that she was mistaken about a few things, including where the line ran. She was in the wrong line. Don't assume everyone around you is a tourist.

3 - Expect to be run through security EVERYWHERE..... There are armed security officers just about everywhere, Metro, Union Station, the Mall, the various Smithsonians and every federal building ever. Don't take offense, just shuffle yourself through them, but please leave your handguns home.

4 - If you insist on driving, which I do not recommend, I recommend you fly in and take the Metro/VRE/MARC and stay in a hotel. But if you do drive please have a working GPS with recently updated software and at least take a look at a few maps to familiarize yourself with the fact that the city is laid out in an odd fashion and filled with lots of one way streets. Doing this might keep you from ending up in the worst parts of the city and out of the grips of petty criminals. Ask me about the time I got lost going to pick up an uncle from the Trailways Bus station in the middle of the night and the crackhead that jumped on the hood of my car at 2 am.

5 - Another point to consider when driving is the problem of parking. Real estate is at a premium here and parking during the work week is next to impossible and can be quite expensive. Many times you end up parked so far from the place you're going you would have been much closer if you've have taken the Metro into that thing you are going to see. 

6 - Realize everything here costs much more than in many places. Simple supply and demand. Griping isn't going to help. Again, research the costs before arriving instead of standing in the middle of Union Station and ranting that you never paid that much for sandwich/bottle of water/memory card. Tourist areas are always financial ripoffs.

7 - Don't come in the Summer time. Not only is that when there are hordes of tourists that make obtaining things like tickets to the White House harder to get, but it's miserable here in the Summer. Washington D.C. is built upon a swamp and all the auto exhaust is not helping anything! It's gets Louisiana swamp hot here in the Summer. Spring or Fall are glorious, just not the Summer. Unless you enjoy sweating your ass off. Oh, and Winter sucks too because it's just far enough north to get some nasty nor'easters and snow.

8 - There are many places that are not going to allow you to bring that water or that backpack in, where you'll have to check your belongings, like the viewing gallery of the Capital. If you want to watch the senators or congressmen bloviate from the balcony be prepared to check your belongings.

9 - Summertime driving coming out of the District means that the traffic jams can start as early as noon on Thursday and Friday with people taking off early and fleeing the city for the mountains or Ocean City/Virginia Beach.

10 - Best to travel into and out of the city after rush hour unless you enjoy being stuck on the freeway for upwards of two hours to go a short distance.

~~~~~~~~~~

But to counter balance all that awful in some ways D.C. is the best place to go for freebies. The Smithsonian is always free, with the exception of parking at the Air & Space Museum near Dulles Airport. There's always something happening on the Mall and every afternoon brings a free concert at the Kennedy Center. It is a center of culture with many interesting things to see and do.

Don't forget to see the great things  in the surrounding countryside too. Where I live is mile after mile of white fenced rolling hills and horses. Not too far past that is the Shenandoah National Park with some of the most magnificent views in the East.




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Stings, Arrows & Dead Batteries

Yesterday I should have just stayed in bed. I got up and did the usual work and house things before deciding to head out for the five dollar burger deal at a nearby Glory Days. I hadn't had a burger there in ages, Monday is the day to go while they're cheap, plus I knew I could get my burger wrapped in lettuce with a side of steamed veggies instead of fries.

It didn't quite work out like I anticipated. I tried to call Joannie to go with me so I could bitch about what a bitch I'd been to Diana the day before but she never called me back, just sent a Facebook message about a mutual friend being hauled to the hospital with a possible brain tumor and a request to pray.

I left around noon for my burger, but when I pulled into the parking lot and turned off the engine to my car the air conditioning kept blasting and would not switch off. Had this problem another insanely hot day a few weeks ago when I drove up to Northern Virginia to go to a Potomac Nationals minor league baseball game with Jim, Laura and Ian. That time the a/c finally cut off after a few minutes of running and it was a day like yesterday with temps in the high nineties.I decided not to chance it, just go on home.

Got home, turned off car and went inside. A/c off. Came back ninety minutes  later to find the car a/c blasting, yes it switched on while I was inside and not driving or running the car. By that point it had drained the battery. Eventually the a/c cut off because the battery was drained. I threw up my hands in frustration and went back into the house, resigned to an afternoon with no transportation but beyond going to the recycle center had nowhere I had to go. Or so I thought.

On my way back into the house I was stung by a wasp, another thing I am deathly allergic to. Managed to give myself an epipen injection followed by injectable benadryl.

Usually when you use your epipen you're supposed to go to the ER. I don't always because there's not a lot they can do but monitor me, give me oxygen and injectable benadryl. Yesterday I sat there and did the scary 'do I call an ambulance' thing because my car was dead, waiting with dread and panic attacks to see if my asthma/allergic attack would back off enough to avoid the ER. It did, but it made for some hairy moments here.

It helped that during my hyper vigilant do I or don't I call the ambulance I was able to talk to several friends on Facebook. One of them had been bullied by some of the same people I ran afoul of last summer and fall. We ended up talking a great deal about the need to develop and learn kindness post-leaving dangerous faith systems. There's just something about most of fundamentalism that just kills kindness dead and does not teach it to the children in the system. I've seen much of the lack of kindness first hand. Which means I'm going to try to be kinder, because that's the only thing that's going to help heal all the damaged persons coming out of the church. There's no real safe places in recovery but perhaps practicing kindness might help others to feel 'safe'

At that point I just gave up and went to bed for the rest of the day with my nebulizer. Jim was away at a Washington Nations baseball game and didn't get home till after midnight.

When Jim did come home he had gossip from our old church about our old pastor morphing into an alcoholic. At first I was pretty shocked, but as I thought back about puzzling happenings and interactions with the old pastor there are some things that never made sense to me that really clicked suddenly into place. Poor thing, I feel bad for him because that's not an easy path for anyone, particularly a pastor. For all my nasty journey out of the old church this pastor was not one of those trying to spiritually abuse me, he had his hands full with the hateful nuts at the old church. I hope he manages to kick this thing.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Jerk of Mormon

I was pretty offensive yesterday morning, a jerk even. I guess I'm still dealing with the eight years of fall out from leaving the old church. First thing in the morning I got to see Gina our new worship leader's mom and dad, who I knew all too well after serving on the old worship team with both of them.

Didn't get a chance to say much to her father Whit, we hugged and exchanged greetings. But once her mom Diana appeared I found myself being pretty mean to Diana by taking a couple of nasty swings at the theology we'd been taught at the old church, putting her on the defensive. It just popped out of my mouth like a series of big ugly toads, definitely not a magical Mormon Fuck Frog. I own her an apology this week. I'm not even sure why I did it. I guess I was a little extra tense. It was still wrong.

Was just about having a stroke because the service ran very late, our pastor would not cede the pulpit, the service ran a full thirty minutes late. I dread this because the moment this happens, when we're doing everything in our power to break down and move all the worship team things off the platform we're being hit with a few nasty retorts from the traditional service people coming in for the next service, the eleven o'clockers. Sure enough I was complained to no less than three times, including being told by one of the ushers, who acts like an asshole on his job during the week at the local school, to leave the sanctuary because we were impeding the flow of people into the church. Bullshit, we were not, there was plenty of room in the aisle. He was just pissed we weren't done with our service.

The sad thing about all of this is that the design team has talked to our lead pastor till we're all blue in the face about the fact that he frequently gets up there and rattles off a long list of announcements that are in the bulletin, listed on the media screens throughout the church and on the website. He will ramble on for almost 15 minutes, putting us at least ten minutes behind schedule. Add in others who come up to give out awards or call for volunteers and you can add in many more minutes. We go over this again and again in the meetings, insisting any presentations or talks need to be prerecorded and no longer than five minutes, but it goes in one ear and straight out the other of the head pastor.

Plus our old worship leader made a huge effort to make sure we didn't run over. Gina's new and I'm sure she's not about to step on the lead pastor's toes. After being chewed out by some ancient man I'd never laid eyes on before, with him telling me we'd better not make his service start late because he was going to not be able to miss the crowds at Country Cooking for his Sunday dinner I was pretty fed up.

Why all the handwringing over timing? This Sunday it was critical. We were driving into Washington D.C., to the Kennedy Center to see The Book of Mormon musical. Jim bought the tickets as a Mother's Day gift for me. He knew I'd been dying to see it for ages, listening to the soundtrack again and again.

Jim works in D.C., I avoid D.C. whenever possible because of the crowds and the traffic. Plus I've seen every single freaking Smithsonian and Museum now many times. We live a mere 60 miles out of the city and it should take us a mere hour to drive in.... if it wasn't D.C. When we first moved here it was just over an hour to get to Constitution Avenue and the White House. Now, it really depends on the traffic, could take anywhere from two hours to as much as four or five hours. See why I was sweating getting on the road?

The service was supposed to be over at 10:30 and our matinee tickets were for 1:30. By the time we drove through the horrible traffic to the Kennedy Center, which is right off I-66, first site off the interstate in the District, parked and found our theater, we had a mere 20 minutes to spare.

I loved the musical and we had the best time! The whole thing is hysterically funny, from the first song with the missionaries ringing doorbells and singing hello, all the way to the end when the Ugandans put on a skit showing what they learned to the bishop visiting the missionaries "Let's be really fucking polite to everyone we meet!" Anyone that has struggled with some of the more ridiculous aspects of faith or dealt with leaving their beliefs should see this show!

In all the years we've lived in D.C. and attended all sorts of events, even visiting the White House, we'd somehow never managed to make it over to the Kennedy Center. But this isn't going to be our last time. I'm planning on going to see the Suzanne Farrell Ballet in Oct/Nov when they play the Kennedy Center. The only problem is that I'm going to have to take someone else besides Jim. He's already indicated that he's afraid he'll have to give up his Man card and cut off his balls if he goes to the ballet. He's so funny about that!

I do know one thing, well one thing more than the facts that I have to apologize to Diana and see the ballet live, if we ever get another cat I'm going to name him General Buttfucking Naked and call him/her General...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

20 Worst Things To Say To Someone Suffering

As part of my adminning No Longer Quivering I have to stroll around the blogosphere a couple of times a day to see what's going on. This morning I found this list posted at not only on a blog but also on NLQ regular author's blog. Two different places. This list made me almost retch upon reading it.

Edited to add. Shortly after writing this I found out from the NLQ author that this was meant as a sarcastic piece. I never even picked up on that fact, but whew, am I relieved. Except I'm extremely sorry that the original author had to listen to this crap spewing out of the mouths of anyone as she left her abusive husband.

The original posting was about how your friends can support you best when you leave your abusive husband. Granted, I've never had to do that, but I have gone through trauma, tragedy and pain, just like everyone else, and heard more than a few of these very unhelpful suggestions.

Okay, from the original blogger who I'm not going to name or link to because I really don't want to start a beef. She's been through enough even if she is promoting these poisonous ideas.

Top 20 Very Best Things to Say to Someone Who is Struggling

… because they just gained the courage to flee an abusive marriage.
  1. Have you tried … (taking a nap, eating, medication, more prayer…)
  2. God never gives us more than we can handle.
  3. The sun will come out tomorrow!
  4. Whatever you do, don’t try yoga (or antidepressants)… #causesdemonpossession
  5. You just need to submit more… to God, to your husband, etc
  6. I know just how you feel… fill-in-the-blank with non-abuse related incident, like: “I know just how you feel… my middle child was *so* colicky!”
  7. If you just trusted God more then none of this would have happened.
  8. You just need to try harder (read your Bible more, pray more, etc)
  9. Think positively!
  10. Things could always be worse!
  11. At least you aren’t experiencing… (insert 3 hour long personal story)
  12. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and move on!
  13. You aren’t really struggling; it’s all in your head!
  14. You must be in sin.
  15. It was the Lord’s will.
  16. Have you forgiven him?
  17. I just don’t want you to become bitter!
  18. Just remember, God is in control!
  19. The Lord works in mysterious ways…
  20. The storms will relent if you simply trust God and repent.
Or, you could simply say something like, “That must be so hard!  I can’t imagine what you are going through or how you are feeling, but I care and want to walk alongside you in this.”
Makes me just want to yell 'Aw hell NO!" Here's my thoughts on these.

  1. This one is one of the very few on this list that I have no trouble with. It's natural to want to 'fix' or help someone you have mad love for or just simple friendship.
  2. Mouthing platitudes never helped anyone. This particular one merely minimizes the situation and the very real emotional pain of the sufferer. 
  3. Another simple cliche that reduces whatever you are going through.
  4. Wow, just wow! Let's see, anti depressants can actually help you get through trying times and there's NO evidence of 'demon possession' from them. Evangelical fear mongering. Plus you know my thoughts on yoga already. Another ridiculous fear mongering over what is not understood. 
  5. Submission never stopped a man that is abusing a woman, plus it's another version of blaming and shaming a person for their own abuse by implying they are submissive enough.
  6. This one is actually not harmful so much as it is irritating. If you are going through hard times the last thing you want to hear is someone comparing your heart attack to their cut finger. Not helpful at all.
  7. Again, with the blaming the sufferer for own suffering.
  8. More saying that the sufferer is responsible for her/his own situation in a shaming and blaming way.
  9. This sort of denial of actual feelings and emotions can be harmful. If you suppress all your negative thoughts and emotions they're going to eventually emerge in a much worse way. Better to deal with the way you feel and be honest with yourself than deny reality.
  10. Well yeah, they really could be worse, but how is that being encouraging of someone suffering through tragedy?
  11. See number six above.
  12. Don't you think if the person dealing with hard times could do that they would have already? It's disrespectful of that person and their journey to reduce it all down to simply.
  13. It goes beyond disrespectful to hostile, attacking and gas-lighting to suggest something is all in your head. If any friend of yours tries to throw shade at you with this line I suggest you immediately drop that friend because they are really no friend.
  14. Blaming and shaming is what many Evangelical Christians do best and this is that.
  15. Let's keep God out of this. If a god wants to torture people to teach them a lesson then he's not much of a god, more of a sadistic monster.
  16. How is being told you must forgive someone that abused you helpful? If there is forgiveness it needs to be freely given, not because someone else is pressuring you. It must also be in your own time as part of your healing journey. There are no time tables or hard and fast rules about forgiving an abuser. You may never get to that point of forgiveness and that's okay too.
  17. Bitterness, another Evangelical-speak buzzword for not forgiving someone. See number sixteen.
  18. See number fifteen!
  19. See number fifteen again!
  20. More blaming and shaming. In this life we can do things perfectly, PERFECTLY, and still bad things can happen to us through no fault of our own. 
Here's twenty better things you can say to some one going through a great trial or tragedy.

  1. Have you remembered to eat, sleep or take care of yourself while this is going on?
  2. How can I help ease some of your burden right now?
  3. I know this looks bleak right now but maybe you should sleep on it before you make any hard and fast decisions?
  4. Is there something you love to do that could give you some relief from the stress and maybe make you feel a little better? 
  5. Let me do something for you like bring you a meal or go with you when you file that restraining order.
  6. I understand you're in pain.
  7. I know you did everything you could in this situation. Please don't feel guilty.
  8. Rest might be the best thing for you right now.
  9. It's normal to hurt or feel disappointed. You are still grieving about what happened.
  10.  I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this. 
  11. I'm here for you.
  12. It's going to take time to work through this.
  13. If you need a shoulder to cry on or just someone to listen to your feelings you can call me.
  14. Sometimes things happen that are beyond our control.
  15. God doesn't hurt us to teach us a lesson.
  16. You should concentrate on your own healing right now and not worry about anyone else.
  17. Would you like to get together and do something like go to the movies or shopping so you don't have to think about all of this for a few hours?
  18. Please don't isolate yourself in this time. 
  19. I admire how you're handling yourself in this difficult time. You're so strong.
  20. Can I give you a little break by taking your children to the park for a few hours?
Sometimes a simple "I'm sorry" is the most powerful thing you can say.

What did I miss that needs to be on the list of things you should say?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Baking A Cake For My Pity Party

So I was extremely triggered and maudlin earlier in the week. A couple of things happened to shift my mood.

1) My friend Joanie and her husband Paul called us up and we went out for a late lavish Italian meal at a local restaurant followed by some shopping. Joanie started sharing some of her eschatology views that always make me laugh because I cannot take any of them seriously. Apparently Sid Roth and other prognosticating fundamentalists are all calling for some end of the world cataclysmic event around Sept. 23 this year. Something like the government seizing control of everyone via martial law due to some happening.

Well, looking at Sid Roth's website to see if I can find the details while writing this and I see nothing about it, in fact Sid is hawking a tour of the Holy Lands in November, which would never happen if he was one of the end of the worlders. I'm not sure who she's citing, but I have heard talk of this Sept. date and disaster, just cannot remember who came up with it.

In my years in a charismatic conservative church I have heard every single end of the world scenario you can imagine well before Y2K appeared on the horizon and did nothing. I'm over it. As I always point out to her if it actually did happen I'd die quickly because of the asthma so there's no use in worrying about it.

2) I realized I'm not angry at God, or any God that might or might not exist over what happened to me. I'm freaking angry at guys like Joel Osteen who babble on about shaking off everything that happens to you from a hangnail through cancer, like it's actually possible not to react when some of the worst things life can hand you is even possible, much less a normal reaction. Joel lives in a protected rich white man bubble where child molestation, cancer, heartache simply does not exist.

3) I saw an article about the fates of women who were molested as children. So many of them end up working in the sex trade or on drugs or in jail that I realized anew that I'd made it. I escaped the worst fates, beat the odds and carved out a life for myself without those things. I have things I must work on to recover, particularly since I could not even admit what had happened to me until about ten years ago. Recovery is slow and not much fun.

I also made an effort to do a few things for other people to get my mind off my triggering on Sunday. Baked a cake for someone and hung out with an old friend of mine from my days working at the international floral wire service.

In my years at the floral company I'd always admired Debbie, she had a big booming laugh and was the only person I've ever seen there get away from deviating from the accepted script. Guys would call up, grumpily ask the cost of roses. Debbie would retort, "If you have to ask the price you cain't afford 'em" followed by that great big booming laugh. Somehow most the guys would laugh too and then order the flowers. It always reminded me of Texas Guinan greeting her nightclub patrons with a hearty "Hello suckers!"

But the absolute best thing about Debbie was when I was hired, we were given a few scanty hours training before being tossed in cubicles to sell items we knew nothing about, was that she sat in a cubicle facing mine and would go out of her way to help me when I had questions. That is rare in a commissions only sales environment. There were only what I would call a handful of decent human beings in the entire place. She was one of them and did not mind helping you out.

Debbie and I had quite a laugh talking about the things that happened at work. Like The Tickle Guy, who would call up in the mornings and act like he was about to order a big bunch of roses. As you started to lead him through the ordering process he'd start asking you questions, like if you had kids or little cousins and if you tickled them. The more you'd try to steer the conversation back to the floral order the harder he'd push talking about tickling, eventually asking you if you'd tickled them hard enough to make them pee on themselves. Suddenly you'd notice he was breathing hard before there would be total silence, he'd thank you and hang up. It was only afterward it would dawn on you that he'd been masturbating the whole time he'd been talking to you. Debbie and I were the only two that went so far along with the conversation to the end. Everyone else but us had the sense enough to realize this perv was molesting himself while talking to them. He called up regularly.

I quit back in 2010 and she was laid off a couple of years ago. Debbie didn't realize that the floral company had been slapped with a five million dollar fine for deceptive practices over their rewards program by the courts and that had been the reason they laid off most of the staff. She ended up working as a home healthcare aide until earlier in the spring when it was found she had cancer. She had surgery but not chemo and radiation as they said it wouldn't buy her any time. I suspect, knowing how many organs/pieces that they took out that the prognosis isn't a good one.

Didn't realize how much I'd missed Debbie and some of my other former coworkers that have tried to stay in touch with me. I'm going to have to see if I can made amends for my lack of communication with them.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hasa Diga Eebowai

I always thought I'd be over the triggers of religion and evangelicalism eventually. But life has, as usual, been proving me quite wrong. Now I've been mentally singing a song from the musical "The Book of Mormon" all morning in my head. The song that translates literally to 'Fuck You God!'

Give it a little listen:

I'm feeling it.

What happened to trigger this? Our usual Sunday morn routine. I'm on my computer checking the comments section of No Longer Quivering for random fundies spouting nonsense and Jim's in the living room switching on his every week viewing of Joel Osteen.

For full disclosure: I do not care at all for Osteen, with his stupid grin, simplistic prosperity gospel that tells you to deny all of your emotions and feelings and only think positively. I've seen the wreckage and fall out, the extreme damage done by this type of thinking. I can think of at least three people who are now six feet under because they chose to ignore the doctor and employ Osteen's positive thinking method.

Anything or anyone that tells you to suppress your own feelings is toxic and will only destroy you eventually.

Jim loves Joel and if it helps him feel better I leave him to it. He never follows or actually does what Joel preaches.

This morning Joel started by talking about when unfair things or you are hurt by something someone did to you that God is getting right up to either defend you or redeem or revenge what was done to you. I don't even know why this got so under my skin so instantaneously. I burst into tears and wanted to shout out at Joel, "Where the fuck was God when I was being sexually abused for two years?!" ending with a lot of Hasa Diga Eebowai!

Seriously, this is one of those things that makes me seriously doubt the existence of any God. What type of good or almighty God allows children to be sexually abused? Or allows someone to murder others of a different race in His house? Or allows innocent babies to be infected with AIDs or be born without brains or with other deformities? A God cruel enough to not protect the most innocent is not anyone I want any part of.

The damage of what was done to me as a child has touched negatively every single aspect of my life. Now, I can see what it's done and how screwed up its made me  for most of my life. There's no easy way to heal from this, repair what can be fixed, redeem the wasted years. The fear and pain of that horrible thing makes me do so many stupid things. I've made a pile of bad decisions because of my own skewed view of the world. 

It's only been in the last ten years that I've been able to even admit what happened to me from years seven to nine. I guess I'm still processing it and working on recovery. But people like Joel Osteen aren't making it very easy at all with their words. They're killing what little belief I still have left.

Seriously, fuck you Joel Osteen's version of God..

I prefer to think that God, if there actually is a God, wept over what happened to me, instead of saying He would use it to glorify Himself. That's just sick.

Friday, July 10, 2015

When Memes Lie - Obamacare

There's a meme going around Facebook right now that many of my more conservative friends have been sharing. I'm not going to put it here because it's a huge lie I don't care to promote. I had to speak out and point out how many lies one meme can contain.

It's a photo of some poor sad sack claiming that he now has to file for bankruptcy because he was hit with the IRS fine for not filing for insurance through the Healthcare Exchanges of the Affordable Care Act.

It was pretty obvious from the discussions on threads that many conservatives have no idea how the ACA works, what the fines are, how they are collected and about the health care subsidies. They don't or won't understand that even if (Gawd forfend!) Jeb Bush is elected president that he'll not be able to end the ACA. The Supreme Court has spoken and no amount of Bush politics will end it.

After trying to explain these realities to people who refuse to listen I've decided to break it down here, for anyone that's seen that lying meme. I studied this in the fall in my tax classes, volunteered to man the phones when the ACA was still in the planning stages, plus have helped people sign up for the ACA through several volunteer stints. I understand this stuff, at least better than the average Teaparty member even if I'm not Einstein.

First of all, people below a certain income threshold are not required to purchase insurance through the marketplace. If this fellow in the meme was so poor he couldn't sign up, pay premiums and will end up in bankruptcy court then chances are good he's below that income threshold.

The government have made it very easy to sign up for. You can visit the healthcare exchange website, you can call a phone number to sign up if you're not computer literate. Many volunteer organizations at social outreach sites have helped people sign up for the ACA. The tax preparation place I trained at also helped people who showed up and hadn't signed up for insurance go ahead and sign up. It's easy to sign up, unlike what many on the right are claiming.

One of the things that you can qualify for based on income when you sign up, or later when you do your taxes, is a healthcare subsidy that the government pays towards your ACA insurance. For some people that means you can get your coverage for a very low cost. If you're as broke as the guy in the meme claims to be you'd qualify for some sort of payment reduction or subsidy.

Now if you're one of those government-defying screeching Obama is going to have death panels kind of conspiracy type and you plain old refuse to sign up for the ACA you get hit with a fine. Many of these people found out the hard way this past tax season. It was the first time the fine had been levied and it was part of your federal tax return. You had to fill out several forms on the status of your insurance and if you signed up for ACA if you didn't have employer-sponsored health care coverage.

For this past year the fine was either $95 dollars or 1% of your yearly household income with the maximum family penalty being around $285. Again, this is only if you had an income over 10,150. Below that you're not required to register for the ACA.

So.... this fine was a maximum of $285 and this guy on the meme was having to file bankruptcy on an amount less than the cost of the average monthly car payments? Not bloody likely. Fear tactics and lies from the right wing.

That being said the fine for 2015 is going up. The individual fine is either $325 per person or 2% of your yearly household income with the family maximum fine being $975 so make sure you register and apply for a subsidy if you cannot make those monthly premium amounts.

And if you have a refund due you at tax time, guess what? You own a fine on failure to sign up for health care coverage? That comes right out of your refund. Just go ahead and do us all a favor, obey the law, sign up for the coverage.

Makes me happy I didn't end up doing taxes this season at the tax place as I can just imagine the outrage by some of the folks showing up there finding out that they have to pay a fine for not signing up.


Thursday, July 09, 2015

What "Gaystapo"?

I never know exactly what awaits me every morning when I take a stroll through the latest articles and blogs on the type of extremist Christianity that fills Quiverfull. Today I was greeted with the bizarre thoughts of one Mark Judge at Real Clear Religion. Mark has one of the stranger reactions to the recent Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. He decided it means that the gay community has started to purposely inflict emotional abuse on Christians at large.
Say what? Emotional abuse, that thing that goes hand in hand with the spiritual abuse many of us here at No Longer Quivering suffered at the hands of those same 'Good Christians'(tm)? If they were actually getting abused instead of merely imagining they are being abused it would seem to me to merely be karmic realignment. Clearly Mark Judge doesn't have a very good understanding of what constitutes emotional abuse.
Let us take a look at Judge's claims:
Critics and victims of the rage-filled gay rights tsunami are comparing the new reality to living under a totalitarian regime, with the unforgiving "gaystapo" as the new SS. The analogy is not totally off -- Ernst Rohm, one of the first Nazis, was a homosexual, and the early movement was littered with homosexuals.
Judge immediately goes for the easiest cheap fear-factor that is so overused online that it has it's own rule: Godwin's Law. When you lack facts, logic and a legitimate way to demonize your opposition it is all to easy to pull out the most feared boogie-man: the Nazis. This pretty much invalidates much of his argument.
Christian America is being emotionally abused by the gay rights movement.
Sadly, not once in this long article does Mr. Judge manage to cite any examples of gay emotional abuse of Christians. Unless you count that whole Christian bakers sued because they will not bake gay wedding cakes. Yes, he does cite that, but how does being scorned by the general public for exhibiting homophobia translate into all LBQT folks commit emotional abuse of Christians?
Emotional abuse is a sinister human reality, arguably more iniquitous in its slow-drip subtlety than outright physical abuse or political aggression. In emotional abuse a partner (and some think it happens more to men than women) is lured in by love and affection, only to have their spouse or significant other exert more and more psychological and spiritual control, then curdling into abuse. The abuser might start as a loving person with a slight edge of sarcasm, but over time they methodically pick apart the self-esteem of their partner. The occasional cutting quip becomes a steady stream of put-downs. Nothing the abused person can do is enough.
Eventually there is an atmosphere of chaos and unpredictability. Victims often have emotional breakdowns.
The emphasis in the above bit is mine. Now not only do we have homophobia, Godwinning, martyrbating, we also have a big dash of anti-feminist / men's rights nonsense about more women inflicting emotional abuse on men than men doing it to women. Emotional abuse is so much more than his description of a partner picking the other one apart with put-downs and cutting remarks. Sometimes it's so subtle and pervasive that the abused thinks there is something wrong with them, not the abuser. Sometimes it is passive-aggressive, lurking just below the surface where the abused cannot quite figure out why something feels 'wrong.'
Judge goes on to quote a list of ten signs of emotional abuse from a recent book: Say Goodbye to Crazy: How to Get Rid of His Crazy Ex and Restore Sanity to Your Life by Dr. Tara J. Palmatier and Paul Elam From the look of the book on Amazon it seems like a guide to gaslighting your husband's ex wife out of your lives. Not very supportive of women and right up the alley of any MRA supporter with a pile of ex wives he's driven crazy by emotionally abusing them. Of course, I could be wrong as I've not read this book.
• Bullying
• Unreasonable expectations
• Verbal attacks
• Gas-lighting (lying and then claiming the abused is crazy)
• Unpredictable responses
• Constant chaos
• Emotional blackmail
• Rejection
• Withholding affection
• Isolating
Yep, those are all signs of emotional abuse, I just cannot see how many, if any, of these apply to the situation of marriage equality, Christianity or society in general. Most of these are things all of here have seen or experienced first hand in toxic churches or at the  hands of those in our former faith communities that said that they loved us as a brother or sister.
The result? Palmatier: "You're constantly on edge, walking on eggshells, and waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a trauma response. You're being traumatized by her behavior. Because you can't predict her responses, you become hyper vigilant to any change in her mood or potential outburst, which leaves you in a perpetual state of anxiety and possibly fear."
To analogize the hegemonic sweep of the new homosexual oligarchy to what sounds like a New Age psychological term can seem odd, an outlier to the larger struggle for political power that is actually going on. Yet emotional abuse is the driving force of many tyrannies, including historic monsters like Hitler and Stalin. Hitler was abused by his father; that, combined with a traumatizing war experience in World War I and the resentment of being a failed artist, turned him into a monster. Driving Hitler's armies and master plan was a pathetically childish psyche.
It's normal if you've been legitimately emotionally abused to have a trauma response. It's not emotionally healthy or normal to feel that way because you cannot control a people group such as the gay community. If Mark Judge and other Christians are experiencing such emotional abuse feelings because of the ruling of the Supreme Court I suggest that they consult their own local mental health community for therapy to recover from these unhealthy feelings of trauma.
Again with the Nazis! Arm chair head shrinking of Hitler! No comparison with the situation at hand and not evidence of the author being abused.
The emotional abuse of America by the left has been going on for decades. No matter what amends are made for slavery, misogyny or misgivings about homosexuality, it's never enough. In the beginning, advocates for gay marriage assured us that they loved America. The country wasn't perfect, but mostly what gay activists wanted was the ability to express love without violent reprisal. They didn't want to control the rest of us, or dictate terms or tell us what to believe. No one would lose their job or business because of gay marriage. And America, like a decent man committed to his wife, didn't like it when gays were bullied. Warily, traditional America decided to enter into a relationship to explore options for more freedom for everyone.
For a few years things went well. Gay people got to live more openly. There were more homosexual characters on television and in politics. States were debating gay marriage.
But then something changed. Liberals didn't just accept civil unions, they demanded gay marriage -- or else.
That's not emotional abuse either. It's called societal acceptance, or progress, or equality for everyone. Why is it so threatening for the original author?
Anyone who didn't only accept gay marriage but celebrate it was isolated as a hateful bigot. Bullying and gas-lighting of resisters became common. Gay marriage advocates ignored or denied that they had ever argued that no one would lose their job if gay marriage was passed. A Christian baker who didn't want to make a cake for a gay wedding was ridiculed, isolated, and lost his business. Like an abuser who refuses to ever acknowledge wrong doing, preferring to turn the tables on the abused, gay marriage advocates now refuse to answer the most simple questions. To ask "What is marriage?" is to be emotionally blackmailed (shame!), isolated (go back to the 1950s!) and bullied (damn right, you'll lose your business).
Where are these people running around all celebrating marriage equality, I mean really, more than just the first few days. I think whatever resistance those who do not agree with the ruling are getting has to do more with open homophobia and hate they're flinging at the gay community. When people push back against those who are abusing them, and make no mistake - making homophobic statements is more emotional abusive than those resisting them.
The sad part is that emotional abuse usually continues until there is divorce or the perpetrator gets help. The only other way to escape emotional abuse is to adapt a spiritual perspective that allows one to, as philosopher Roger Scruton put it, "step outside of the circle of retribution." Scruton was referring specifically to Christianity, which preaches love for one's enemies. This is how blacks in America, surely one of the most emotionally and physically abused people in human history, were able to transform America's political and social systems with minimal violence. Without Christianity, the civil rights movement would have resulted in a lot more bloodshed -- and the fighting may still be going on today.
And look how well that's worked out for our African-American citizens in the wake of all those police shootings in their communities, the burning of black churches throughout the South without a word in the press and the tragic shooting at Charleston, South Carolina's historic Emanuel AMC church? The struggle for equality, respect and a place at the table still continues, sadly enough, for blacks in America. Look at all hate thrown from the pulpit towards our nation's first African American president and tell me that Christians are positively impacting this issue. You cannot.
Lacking Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Christian influence, the gay marriage aggressors have nothing to restrain them. They also reject the Natural Law preached by King, who quoted Thomas Aquinas in his Letter From a Birmingham Jail. Fueled by resentment and childish rage, untethered from -- indeed contemptuous of -- human reason that observes male and female bodies are different, the "gaystapo" won't be satisfied until the last homophobe in America is brought up on charges.
And as classic emotional abusers, whose very nature is to demand more and more supplication, even that won't be enough.
The only 'childish rage' being shown untethered from human reason being show in the wake of marriage equality is coming from the Evangelical Christian community. Tantrum-throwing, floor stomping and shouting 'It's not fair' all because the government has decided to grant the same rights to everyone. That last line 'And as classic emotional abusers, whose very nature is to demand more and more supplication, even that won't be enough.' it's clear it applies more to the church, the fundamentalist evangelical Christian church, not all Christians and certainly not to a minority group wanting the same basic human rights as everyone else.
Mark Judge, you are not fooling anyone.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Inequality: So Women Are Like Fine China?

Recently I quoted a piece at NLQ on how Christian men are supposed to treat their wives in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. Someone over at John Piper's The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood compared women to 'fine china'.

Firstly I am outraged yet again that some self-proclaimed 'Good Christian Man' is objectifying women yet again into animate objects instead of treating them like living, breathing, thinking humans. Just objects to be used. The only thing I didn't find sick about his entire women as objects schtick is that at least with fine china it can be washed and reused again and again.

I am not like fine china in most ways. I do not sit on a shelf, cloistered away in the china cabinet against the dirt and crudity of real life, I am in the thick of it. I'm not out and about only on special occasions when deemed by my owner/master, I am out in the world whenever I damn well please.

 This is my Lomonosov porcelain - very fine china. Thin, delicate, strong.

And here's the thing that the author apparently does not know about fine china or bone china - it is stronger and much more chip resistant than stoneware or earthenware. It has to be because it is fired at a much, much,  much higher temperature than it's lesser cost alternatives.

If I am fine china that means I've come through incredible heat and am stronger for it and I am okay with that version of fine china.

I reject the original author's version of fine china as dirt, the world, and life do not bother me to the point where I need to hide away and have my darling husband be my protection against life.

One of the few right things I did in my life was marry a man who knows he can give me the freedom to be 'me' and that everything will be alright without him hovering over me, ordering me to do this or that, forbidding me to live. In fact, I'd venture to say that the way we've lived for the last 29 years as a married couple would likely make a good Christian patriarch throw up.

As I've stated before neither of us is wedded to the strict gender roles of patriarchy even if we are still Christian. He has no problem with me painting the bathroom or doing our taxes and I have no problem with him washing the dishes or rearranging the deck furniture.

Do we both do stupid things occasionally? Well, yes. This last weekend he tried to mash down the lawn trimmings in the trash can by jumping down into the trashcan and falling over to smack his head on the ground. I locked myself out of the house one afternoon last week just as a big bad bout of IBS struck and you can just guess what happened (hint: I'd just watched a wilderness survival show and used their tips). Not either one of our finer moments, but we both gave each other the grace to do stupid things, not remarking or blaming each other or claiming that either of us shouldn't have done those things. No rules, no strict gender roles, no blaming when things went haywire from our own stupidity.

That's the other thing that burns me up about patriarchy. There is no room for mistakes or messing up. No grace. No forgiveness. Just rules and roles.

We are all uniquely made and made quite differently, so why do we allow those good patriarchs to try and sort us all into ill-fitting boxes? To dehumanize us by forcing us to do things that are against our God-given talents and natures.

One of the good things to come out of NLQ lately is that I stumbled across a Christian blog written by someone that realizes that one size Christianity doesn't suit everyone, that seems to have the common sense lacking in most of the Patriarchal types. His name is Tim Fall and he wrote a great response to the women as china posting - Patriarchy: When Husbands Possess Wives Whenever I discover the existence of reasonable Christians it gives me hope, hope that we can wrest back the church from those that have taken it into realms that Jesus likely never meant us to go.

My faith or lack thereof is a work in progress and I really don't like having someone call me by the name of an object. It sure doesn't make me eager to embrace the type of Christianity they push.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Why I Decided To Return To Church

You may recall my leaving church because of it's non-relevance in my life back last summer/fall. I was sick of sermons that I'd heard a zillion times before, tired of being hit up to do things someone else decided were important that didn't matter to me, just so over the hate for gay people, transgendered, people that think differently and mostly just completely burned out of most things religious - especially the dramaz and gossiping that occurs at about 99.99% of all churches.

Recently I decided to go back. I'm no less over the gossip, the sermons, the triggering by hate and scriptures. However I miss worship too much. Worship is as essential as breathing to me. I cannot live happily without it. I no longer sing on worship team, but I still do flags and creative worship.

Another reason was that my poor husband just could not understand why I would walk away from his church, doesn't see that many there are treating it like a social club, the country club without a golf course. I got tired of constantly explaining myself to him.

But the biggest reason is that someone I know from my old church, Gina, a young lady that was one of my daughter Laura's best friends for many years, has been hired to lead worship. She started yesterday as the new worship leader. I know what an uphill battle she's facing there, the struggle to try and get people to do something different there amid a chorus of 'We've always done it like this!' I cannot leave her alone in this.

During Gina's adolescence we'd hauled her with us many times to conferences at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship and other places. I'd sometimes work with the youth group activities  and youth worship team when she was on them. So yeah, there is a larger sense for me of helping and protecting someone that was close to us, almost another one of my kids for awhile.

Another aspect of this is that I feel pretty certain from what I've heard that there will be some folks from the old church coming to attend this church. People who once told me that they could have nothing to do with me for attending this church, filled in their minds with homosexual abortionist approving types, will be landing at our contemporary service. I feel like I'm needed, if for nothing else but to be helpful to the jarring sense of dislocation many will feel. It's not something I want to do, no, not at all. It's something I feel I need to do. It doesn't impact my faith or lack thereof.

Once the old church split happened a few years ago I've witnessed many old friends wandering from church to church, not finding a good fit at all. This contemporary service, which is currently the biggest and growing service in the county, is going to be a better place for most of them than some of the more wacky IFB churches they've drifted through. 

One thing is going to be very difficult for me, putting up with the ignorant rolling out of the mouths of some of our old church members. What was it Queen Latifah said in "Hairspray"? 'A whole lotta ugly coming out of a never ending parade of ignorant'?

I've already experienced that. Last week one of the old members of the original church stopped Jim and I at the gym and excitedly babbled out that how happy she was that Gina had the worship team leader job and how Gina was going to bring "The Holy Spirit" and "God" to our church finally. This is someone I used to be good friends with who told me in the same health facility that she could no longer talk to me after I left 'The River' and started going to a dead dry church without the Holy Spirit. I wanted to smack her then and I was wanting to seriously smack her upside of the head now. How dare she judge what we were doing at this new church? Like I said earlier our service is the fastest growing one in the county, so we must be doing something right. With her words she dishonors the hours, the blood, sweat and tears, the work of creating a new service out of thin air, reducing it to something of a placeholder until Gina got there.

So it looks like this is a season in which I will have to keep my mouth shut to the parade of ignorance, keep a very short offense list and grant grace. I'm not necessarily good at any of those things in the natural and I don't want to be good at them. But I am focusing on the good things instead, like everyone from worship team embracing Gina and trying to help her navigate the very different theology and church culture here. I hope she succeeds.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

I've Seen Fire(works) & I've Seen Rain

The Fourth of July was like this scene from "Office Space" for me..


I did nothing, I did absolutely nothing and it was all I ever thought it could be. I read, I watched a little tv, I worked on a quilt, I took a nap, I ate and I watched fireworks. Jim ran about and did his things, going out to the town July 4th celebration to help out at the church's booth, trying to sign up people to take the church's new English as a second language lessons geared towards our burgeoning Hispanic population.

I hate crowds, so I prefer home. Much easier on my asthma if I don't have to be exposed to everyone, the scents they wear, the cigarette smoke and assorted chemicals. If that means avoiding the town celebration so be it.

Glad our church is involved in helping out the Hispanic population instead of the usual response by many here that echos the recent words of Donald Trump. As time goes on and I get to know more of the ones that have chosen our small town as their new home, the more I realize that most of them are good additions to our community and country at large. Hard-working and family-oriented. The family that used to live next door would routinely bring me things like a flat of flowering bedding plants in the spring and other things and I'd help translate when things like the police or an ambulance needed to be called, even with my crappy tiny amount of Spanish. The family I know down the street are also equally wonderful. I'm always surprised and happy about how giving and sharing they are. They've sent over food from their family fiestas and birthdays.

The one negative instance I have with the local Hispanic community is the time I was in my living room quilting and my front door popped open. Some very inebriated Hispanic man was in my living room before I picked up my sewing scissors and told him to scram. It was terrifying to have someone break in like that, but the officer sent by the city police said he believed that the man mistook my house for his because there are so many Hispanic families in the subdivision behind ours. That could be.

Once the town fireworks started last night Jim and I were able to go out into our backyard, the edge of the backyard that backs up to the street to the next neighborhood, and see all the fireworks most clearly. It had rained very hard earlier in the day, soaking many at the local parade and celebration so I was glad the weather cleared enough to see the show.

This year the town moved the fireworks display down from the main park in town to the edge of the large graveyard a mile or so away. It made a big difference for us, usually we hear but cannot see the fireworks. This shift brought the display right to our backyard. We had people driving up on the road behind us to stop and watch the fireworks. Good vantage point as our subdivision is up on a hill overlooking the town.

As we stood on the edge of our property a large Mexican family we know that once lived in our neighborhood came by and we all watched the display. Lots of good conversation in a mixture of Spanglish.

After the fireworks Jim and I stayed up way too late watching the movie musical "The Music Man" marveling over the fact that here was a movie that was funny and good containing not one iota of sex or violence. I'm feeling the lack of sleep this morning.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Sea Changes

Okay, so I know I likely at some point in the last nearly 16 years of blogging I've mentioned at some point how rewatching the movie "Easy Rider" as an adult has shown me all too clearly that my ideas and memories have undergone something of a sea change. I remember seeing "Easy Rider" as an impressionable teen and thinking it was the coolest movie I've ever seen. Rewatching it in my late forties I found little to like in it, lots of crazy violence, racism, drugs, stoned sex in the graveyard. Struck me as a self-indulgent piece of tripe written/acted/directed by a fleet of dope heads. Didn't seem so 'cool' now.

I started to talk about this last year, how incredibly different things look after tide and time, I wrote a piece about the Voodoo Museum in New Orleans that terrified me as a child and how as an adult I realized how stupid my fear was. I never finished writing about how that related to a family relationship and how I'd gone last year into the zero effs left to give zone.

Tonight was another of those things that look so different after time. The movie "The Turning Point" came on television just as I was winding up a new batch of plarn to crochet baskets to store things in. Decided to watch it again, the movie was one of many different books and movies referenced in the book I recently reviewed for NLQ 'Jane Eyre's Sisters' by Jodie Bower One of the best books I've read in a very long time. I started reading the book thinking it would only talk about traditional portrayal of women in literature, but it was so much more, right down to psychological profiles of women in both life and literature. I came away from the book with a deeper understand of why I do some of the things I do and why others in my life make some of their own choices. Not so much 'right' or 'wrong' but the factors that play into how we forge our own lives.

I have always loved classical music and liked to watch ballet, so I was eager to see this film again. Oh, the insanely perfect leaps ending in a kneeling position carried out by a very young Mikhail Baryshnikov in his performance of "Le Corsaire" I was delighted to see performances by Suzanne Farrell, Peter Martins and other luminaries of the ballet world.

What I saw in the film that I'd not thought too much about was the corrosive power of resentment and jealous on the part of Shirley MacLaine's character. This time I could not help but see how not dealing with negative emotions the right way when they first appeared, but allowing them to fester and explode caused MacLaine's DeeDee to live her entire life without enjoying much of it. It ruined everything for her, leaving her bitter, twisted up too much to realize all she had to do was just let go of those things. I spent much of the film wishing DeeDee into therapy.

Don't live like that if you can help it. Let go.

I know I'm trying to do that, even if I'm here complaining occasionally about people showing their buttcracks at church or dealing with things that happened to me in the past. With the exception of perhaps two people in my life I can honestly say I've forgiven and forgotten. I'm going to have to work on the other two obviously.

One of them is a hopeless cause because he's the one that abused me and he's now dead.

The other one I'm going to have to figure out a way to let go, forgive and forget without allowing my own boundaries to be crossed again. Boundaries are new for me, another thing I'm having to relearn after my childhood and years in a cult. I am no longer willing to let my boundaries to be breached by anyone.