It's especially vexing because I don't think I ate anything especially chewy yesterday.
It's especially vexing because I don't think I ate anything especially chewy yesterday.
Except when it does.
Being able to do it so casually most of the time can make it harder to notice when it isn't just happening, much less to figure out why. Especially since life is usually unusually hard at that point--and isn't that when we need our sacred spaces the most?.
This is complicated by the fact that I find that living my life with the awareness and intent that each moment is sacred to be more important than formal ritual, which so often can be empty, or filled with a sense of bored obligation rather than an awareness and celebration of the divine within and without. Yeah, there's boredom and drudgery in any path--it's impossible to convince myself that washing dishes is sacred on an experiential level, no matter how much I agree it's sacred on a logical level, for instance--so it's a challenge to try to stay in that mental space, even when evil is not on the rise, even when there's no clear and present danger that in the near future I won't have the money and healthcare I need, and even when there's no urgent worries about the health or well-being of people I care about.
Add those things in, and that sense of wonder, of the sacred, can slip away like a well drying up in a drought. It's there, and it's there, and it's there (though you have to work harder and be more patient to drink your fill), until, one day, it's not there, or at least is not enough.
And for all my belief that we can defeat this evil and all my determination that we will (because we must), it's taking its toll. I don't want to have to spend time on politics, not day in and day out. I don't want to be looking at my dwindling income and the threats to Obamacare and the threats of violence to queer people and worrying about the future. My health issues affect my sleep on my best nights. Worries don't help at all, and exhaustion mimics depression remarkably well. It's no wonder I've been feeling worn, overwhelmed, uninspired, and distracted.
But my good friend Susan Urban and her husband were playing at Pagan Pride (as a group, they call themselves February Sky), and though I overslept and we got there late, I was determined to get there. And we did get there, and I was walking around listening to the music, looking at things and talking quietly to the vendors, and the sweet old lady doing readings talked me into a discounted reading. She assured me her cards could give me insight into what I most need to know, and that's why I was at her table. Then she asked about my question. Half of my focus was on the music and the other half, the part thinking about my life, was just kind of overwhelmed. I stuck with that question: "What do I most need to know?".
She does readings using three decks. She had me shuffle the first deck, fan them out, and draw cards one at a time, three from the first deck and one each from the other two. First, I drew Armadillo, which she said was all about setting boundaries appropriately, but also a warning to face my troubles and not try to hide in my shell. Armadillo was flanked by cards for the mental and practical, lizard, for dreams, and snake, for rebirth. A lot of reptiles--maybe signifying that I'm naturally more affected by the metaphysical weather than I thought? I don't know. But the boundaries thing, that rang true in lots of ways, from keeping the boundaries on my food intake I need to stay healthy to limiting my exposure to all the upsetting news happening today. I've also had a task to organize my writing and arting better that I set into my Google calendar. It's been recurring as instructed for a few weeks now, whether or not I had the time and energy to do it, and that is also essentially an issue of boundaries, of carving out time and focus so I get more done. Not that I saw all that in the moment, but I felt at least some of it, on a deep, wordless level.
And then she had me draw a card from the second deck, the deck she said was Spirit Guides. I've never felt a particular affinity to Panda, but the advice that I need to create a sacred space in my home and place of work, that certainly rang true, and continues to ring true. There are plenty of things that have been making me crazy about my work and living spaces. There's reasons for all of that, of course; I've been focused on accomplishing urgent things. But that doesn't leave much space or time for thinking about making sacred space and sacred time where and when I most need it. That dovetails right into the need to tend boundaries, really, in my mind. I've started to act on that part. Since the reading, I've prioritized putting at least a little time every day into finishing the plaster work on our currently deconstructed dry goods closet (I pulled it apart when I didn't have time because the detritus made it clear it had become a mouse haven, and wouldn't be a safe haven for our food and oven parchment and so forth until the holes were fixed), and cleaning my office (I'd kept enough space for writing, barely, but had started sorting old papers and cluttered things up quite a bit. Mind you sorting those papers is a legitimate business activity, but having them clutter up my creative space was far from inspirational. I will just have to refuse to pull more stuff out to sort than I can finish in one sitting, not to have my office look like it belongs in some yuppy magazine, but because I need the space to feel inspired.) There's work yet to do on both of those things, and other stuff to do after, but at least I have started. Some of this was clear to me when she turned Panda over for me to see, but it reflects into other things too, into my goal of giving away or throwing away stuff I don't need and even into remembering to go out and pick up the trash that blows into (and gets stuck in) my rose bushes.
Finally, from a deck that's all wolves, I received the advice that I'm at a crossroads, with an emphasis that I am not at a dead end, I am free to choose my new direction. Additionally, the card advised me to plan and to keep focused on what's practical. I'm not sure what to make of that yet, but I'm still working on the boundaries and the sacred space. I expect that once I get those things in order, I'll start to see what paths are available and what choices I have to choose between. And certainly, with the danger of having less resources in the future, keeping practicality in mind matters.
I suppose that now I should go check on that drying plaster. It would be nice to paint the closet tomorrow, or at least very soon. Once it's dry, I can put stuff away that's currently hard to find and underfoot in the library.
And then I'll remember a lesson learned in my divorce, and do some formal ritual to help things along. Candles, incense, statues and so on are only symbols to help me focus (I learned, long ago, that if I tried to rely on an object for my magic, it would break or disappear all too soon)--but when I'm having trouble focusing, they are powerful symbols. And the tools I use are all, in and of themselves, beautiful and in alignment with my higher self, or I wouldn't use them in the first place.
They'll still be in a space that's imperfectly cleaned and sorted, but I can celebrate the progress I've made and plan for what I need to do to move forward, in whatever directions I will choose along the way.
Blessed Be to all of you, my friends. May you have the sacred space you need, and may your boundaries be wisely set and wholesome. May your dreams be strong, and if you need to shed a skin or two, I hope it won't itch too much as you shed the old and grow into the new. And when you face a crossroads, may you be aware that very few choices are between a good path and a bad one. May you see clearly the risks and benefits of your choices, and may you find inspiring and practical ways to work to achieve your dreams, and kindness along the way.
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by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 7 of 9 (working)
word count (story only): 1184
:: Part of the Polychrome Heroics universe, this is a Finn family story which includes Shiv, Boss White and the Ebonies and Ivories. ::
back to part six
to the Finn Family index
on to part eight
Heron paused, thinking back. “There were some slip-ups in the first five or six batches, but if you're good with your hands, it's easier than using a wooden spoon for mixing.” His lips quirked up again. “It also looks impressive to people who don't know how to do it.”
Shiv stepped away from the table. “I should get a bowl. Does it have to be one of those mixing bowls?”
“No, just anything big enough to hold the dough. For batches this size, a cereal bowl would work, or a plastic container the same size,” the older man assured. “Oh, set the oven to four hundred degrees, so it can be nice and ready for the loaves. I'll pop them in as we finish mixing each batch, since working quickly keeps the oven hot.”
“So, this is really…” Shiv trailed off, shaking his head. “How do you know it's cheaper than buying the box mix?”
( Read more... )
Fay: a goth cheerleader
me: a goth cheer squad
[various comments about school mascot possibilities]
fay: the Raccoon City Revenants
Me: Edgar Allan Poe HS Ravens
We also noted that Gothic Lolita fashions would actually work with cheer stuff because of the short skirts.
Hmmm... maybe twirling parasols instead of pompoms?
I can't believe it's fall. It feels like my life is flashing by so fast I can't catch my breath. Of course I can't catch my breath because it's NINETY damn degrees out there. I'm so sad about that because I've been looking forward to the steampunk train ride all year but I've decided to not go. The heat is a huge part of it. But I'm also so slammed with work and cleaning AND I just got the final edits of my steampunk CHristmas story and it's on a super short turn around. I'll go to the ball next week. That'll be more fun anyhow.
I did pick up some Mothman rootbeer at the winery. Sadly the Mothman wine was a dry red. Gross.
I also have edited thru my Cassadaga novella and need to finish changing how they handle the Lianesidhe and probably need to find another beta reader. I really only need THAT scene looked at because it's been edited thru a few times now (even though I did find some mistakes that were pretty bad). (also am reminded I need to go read some of the original fic kiramaru posted).
I think my plot for that middle grade short story I'm trying to write is too dark. I think I might need to leave it as the kids see the bad guys sneaking 'contraband' into Aurelia's Mom's cargo and one of them gets kidnapped and she has to rescue him. My original idea would work better for older teens than the target so.... Now to keep it short. HOW I don't know?
A real joy for today was the review I got on Candy From Strangers It reminded me why I write. It made me happy. You cane see it here
And Happy 80th anniversary to The Hobbit. This version of the song gives me chills every time.
Then to work which was again very short staffed. Not too busy though because the schools are closed for Rosh Hashanah. Got through that OK.
After work I headed for Boston Market as usual, when my phone rang. The Kid called! So I stood outside the restaurant and had a nice talk. It was good to hear from her.
Went to Boston Market, and the FWiB called. So we talked too. And that was very nice.
Then my meeting, which was good. J made it for the first time in awhile, and we took the bus back together after.
Bjorn ate this morning, at least some, and he ate tonight, at least some. I'm going to try and get him to eat more tonight after I get done here.
Tomorrow is the day Oldest Brother and I take Middle Brother to the movies. Which should be fun.
1. Bjorn ate at least some twice today.
2. The FWiB.
3. The Kid.
5. My meetings and the people there.
Alex: “I just never cared much for things."
Evan: "I know. And it shows. I think these rich people, some of them anyway, find it intriguing."
Alex: "Most of them find it annoying. I know my mother always did."
Evan: "I think it's honest."
Evan: "At least you never pretend. I never realized how much difference that could make. I'd go out with you.”
...Really! Under what circumstances, I wonder?
So I've decided to post a definition of 'Ableism' with slightly different phrasing each time every couple of days. ...Most of the definitions are my own words (or will be). One is from Merriam-Webster Online, and one is from Disability Rhetoric by Jay Timothy Dolmage.
Here are the ones I've got, so far:
1) Ableism is when you discount someone's humanity because they do not have all the 'standard' abilities we're taught to expect.
2) Ableism is when you accept a culturally contrived 'standard' of human ability, and measure the value of a human life against that standard.
3) Ableism renders disability as abject, invisible, disposable, less than human, while able-bodiedness is represented as at once ideal, normal, and the mean or default. [That's Dolmage's)
4) 'Ableism' is the idealization of ability.
It is a bias that credits anyone who has abilities we admire with good moral character, while discrediting the moral character of disabled people.
5) 'Ableism' is a subconscious filter in our perception; it only lets those with a 'full set of abilities' into the category of 'human.' Those with less than a 'full set' are often treated as inconsequential, or even invisible.
By the time I had listed all desired car repairs to my (awesome) mechanic, I had to finish with, "Oh, and the windshield is cracked all the way across; sorry about that. It's getting replaced tomorrow." He was like, "Wow, I hope everyone's okay." I just looked at him for a second before I realized he must think I'd been in an accident. "Oh," I said, "Yeah, it's fine. It happened while the car was parked in the driveway."
Evan: "I... Whatever you want is fine with me."
Alex: "Well, what I want is for you to pick a place."
Evan: "Did you have anything specific in mind?"
Alex: "No. I want you to pick something you want. It's not rocket science, Evan. You do it all the time anyway."
Evan: "What do you mean by that?"
Alex: "You're always making the decision what to eat and when."
Evan: "That's because you get so busy you forget to take care of yourself. Someone has to."
Alex: "So you make decisions all the time. You're only getting angry now because I told you I wanted you to pick something you want, instead of something you think I want."
Evan: "I'm not angry. I just don't see the need to make such a distinction. If you want me to find a place for us to eat, that's fine. Why do you have to make a point about whether or not I want the same thing?"
Alex: "You know, you are the hardest person to be nice to sometimes."
--Kristine Williams, Madness
It's interesting to watch, because I can remember some of the episodes from way back in middle school, almost 25 years ago. I used to watch with my then-6-year-old brother, because it was easier than playing with him as a 13 year old who wanted to just read, thank you (even if we did make an amazingly epic story about pirates when we'd play with his vast collection of Lego). But as I've gone through the seasons, and especially into season 3, I remember less and less. I had no idea this was where Katherine came in. I've just watched the episode where she's able to break Rita's conditioning, and Kimberly passes her power coin on to Katherine. It's really sweet.
That's something I'm discovering as I watch/rewatch this show I used to pretend was a chore to sit through (it was middle school - I was weird enough as the Cartoon Girl and the Trekkie without adding the Power Rangers into the mix). This show is really sweet. There's a lot of heart, and a lot of care in these stories. Even with the villains, who argue and bicker and insult all the time. Rita doesn't kick her brother out when he fails over and over - she gives him another chance, even while she grouses about it, because he's her brother. And when it's (finally) discovered that Rita tricked Zedd into marrying her by means of a love potion, and Goldar forces Finster to spray Zedd with the antidote, we discover that it doesn't work. Zedd may have been tricked at first, but he is genuinely in love with Rita, and she with him (though at the beginning she used the marriage as a way to regain power).
There's a lot of good stuff in the old Power Rangers episodes. Yes, they're cheesy. Yes, they're intentionally cheesy in parts. But they aren't self-mocking. They tell stories with depth I wouldn't have expected of a 90s kids' show. They tap into a lot of different childhood and teenaged experiences, and treat them with sincerity. That, as much as the Zord fights and ninja/karate/kung fu/martial-arts-flavor-of-the-season, is what made so many people connect with the series, and why it's still going strong 24 years later.
Think about it. Power Rangers will have been around a quarter of a century next year. Continuously. Yes, casts have changed, villains have changed, etc, but the core of the series has remained the same. Kids - young adults - who have good hearts and strong morals unite and get super-powers BECAUSE OF their goodness and morals, and fight alone to protect Earth from all manner of evil, while keeping their identities a secret. Each group follows the same 3 tenets, by Zordon in the first episodes. They're not bad tenets for life, actually.
1. Never use your power for personal gain.
2. Never escalate a fight unless the bad guys force you.
3. Never reveal your identity to others. No one may know you are a Power Ranger.
So, let's look at those.
1. Never use your power for personal gain. Don't be selfish and self-serving. With all the abilities the Rangers have, it would be easy for them to help themselves to a lot of things. The nerd could get rid of the bullies with his/her newfound superior strength. And while that does happen, it is never because the nerd sought to do so. No one ever uses their enhanced physical abilities to win the ubiquitous martial arts' tournaments. They use their own personal strength and agility, and call on the Power only when they absolutely have to, to protect others.
2. Never escalate a fight unless the bad guys force you. Self-defense only. Defense of those weaker than you. Stand up to the "bad guys", but don't take the fight to them. If only more people took this particular piece of the Power Rangers' creed to heart. For all the action and fighting sequences in the show, the rule was not to engage in a fight unless you absolutely had to, either to defend yourself or others. Do not attack first. Even in the martial arts' competitions, the fighting skills were mostly for show - a display of discipline and training, not open combat. The mental and spiritual aspects of martial arts were focused on more in the kids' everyday lives than the fighting aspects - those were the dressing used to teach the morals of dedication, discipline, hard work, honor, etc.
3. Never reveal your identities to anyone. No one may know you are a Power Ranger. Don't go gloating or bragging about your good deeds. The Power Rangers, for all that they are in the spotlight, are anonymous heroes. And interchangeable, when it comes down to it. Those who possess the qualities that make someone a candidate for becoming a Ranger usually end up being a Ranger. But they don't brag. They don't show off. This is easily transferable to a real life setting. Do good deeds because you want to help, because you are kind, not because you want recognition or reward. Each of the Rangers participates in community service projects, teaches classes on a volunteer basis, works in shelters, etc. They are engaged in the world around them, and working actively to make that world better, both in and out of uniform. And they don't brag. They just do what they feel is right, and take pleasure in helping. The work itself is reward enough.
There's also an element of found family to Power Rangers that appeals. A group of teens brought together by circumstance, who share a close bond as comrades-in-arms. They lift each other up, encourage each other, and push each other to improve themselves. They care for one another deeply. While we do see parents on rare occasions, and mention is made of them getting permission to do things, the parents are largely absent, unless the story requires. Kimberley's last ten or so episodes before she left dealt with her divorced mom remarrying and moving across the world to Paris, France. Aisha, the current Yellow Ranger, spoke with her parents and asked them if Kim could live with them until the end of school. While this was a big change for Kimberley, the fact that Aisha was there for her, and her parents were so welcoming, made the transition much easier for Kim. Her friends, her found family, supported whatever she wanted to do, just as she did for them.
There's a lot to unpack in Power Rangers is what I'm saying. It was there in the new movie, too. But in a long-form long-running TV show, it's easier to look for and notice trends. And the characters stay with you longer. To the kids watching, they become a kind of family. I've been reading interviews and articles about the original cast, and David Yost, the original Blue Ranger, mentioned that he's spoken with people for whom Power Rangers was the One Good Thing they had growing up. That Power Rangers taught them about kindness and discipline and helping people. It kept them going when they'd otherwise give up. And that, more than the silly monsters or giant robots, is the true legacy of the Power Rangers. And why late 30s me is an unabashed, unashamed fan of the series in all of its iterations.
Do I laugh at it? Do I mock the cheesy effects? Yep. I mock from love. I cheer at good triumphing over evil, I get emotional when long-running characters leave, but in the end, I adore what ends up on-screen.
Which, given the weather - today was persistent drizzle rather than yesterday's chucking it relentlessly down - was a good idea. Salt mine, to be precise.
However, has been a long day - only just in from a Mahler concert - so any more detailed reports on touristic activities may follow at some later season.