You know what? No.

Reblog. Ah, community, so often the ass you claim to loathe.

Strip Me Back to the Bone

This was originally going to be a bullet-pointed ‘here’s how things are going at our place’ list, with shrine photos and Corbie photos and nice, relaxing, “this is what I love about life right now.”

But instead, it’s going to be rant. An angry rant. A “Jolene should know better than to rant while angry” rant. And I should. I should. But it’s rare for me to be angry these days, to this degree. I go forward with the assumption that people by and large mean the best, because it makes me more able to be a kind and compassionate person. It makes my world better. It makes me happier. At the very least, I go forward with the assumption that the people that are in my life, in spaces that are not so public, mean the best, and at worse are thoughtless, but never malicious or intentionally unkind. Those…

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Disability March

I’m participating to be in solidarity with all the women, femmes, and woman-identifying folks in this resistance against the incoming administration. I believe in a level playing field for all. I have degenerative joint disease, herniating cervical discs, scoliosis, and a neurological disorder that keeps me on the sidelines for many events. I’m glad to be a part of this!

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SAD/Depression & Grief, Coming Back Up

It would be too long, even for me, to write out the whole of my world since the beginning of November so I’m not going to try. I had a slow slide into mild depression, the first I’ve experienced since my mother died in 2006. It took quite awhile for me to notice it was more than my regular hermit mode of winter. Partly because some days were better than others and partly because I’m lacking experience in depression and what it feels like. From late 2015 and through a good slot of 2016 my life has been full of stressors. Usual coping techniques began to fail and I didn’t really notice I suppose. It was a bumpy up and down and somehwhere along the line I lost touch with my ever present Joy. It was still there, just not accessible as easily.

My downward swing seemed tied to the lack of sunlight in how it progressed so I bought a lightbox to see if this was so. It is definitely, if not wholly, tied to the diminished number of hours of daylight. What had been choice in how I spent my days became not a choice with the depression, and I felt the choice come back with usage of the box. This brought me gobs of relief that was quickly lessened by our beloved 14 y/o cat slipping out of the house unseen and being gone for 16 days. By his actions in the days prior to his disappearing act we assumed he’d slipped out to die even though he has been indoor only cat for 7 years. We had just informed his vet to mark his file “deceased” when he turned by up about 20 minutes after we returned from the vet’s office.

He’s pretty wasted from lack of food and he was severely dehydrated. He is slowly recouping and I have dubbed him the miracle cat. While I have some caution about celebrating a full recovery just yet he appears to want to live and many of the odd signs he showed prior to leaving are gone. My one friend said he decided to go on a spirit walk and this seems more true than any other reason. The vet’s office felt it was likely he’d been accidentally locked in someone’s garage and that’s why it took so long for his return, and why his body is so wasted. We’re just happy he is back. Immediately upon his return the weight of grief over him lifted from me and I realized just how much the lightbox was helping me. The tangle of depression and grief was bloody awful, and anxiety opted to roll in on top of both.

Grief I have experienced before. Some anxiety I have, too, but the combo of depression+anxiety+grief – well, I can’t really express it. I am thrilled to be coming up out of it. I feel better equipped to identify it in the future. I will be using the lightbox until the days are longer. I will pull it back out in Autumn as soon as DST ends. I don’t want a repeat of the past few months.

This post feels very rambly, but I’m not going to go back and try to tidy it up. I expect to return to blogging with some regularity, but my goals for awhile are going to be small, easily attainable, and things that brings me Joy or I’m not doing them.

Art disappeared from my life and that will definitely return. I have missed it so. That leads into my next post …. which is the main reason I wrote this post, to write the next one. I felt it necessary to explain my absence first.

It’s that time of year again – And I’m indulging 11 days early

Pumpkin and Wild Rice Soup for Samhain – from Penda aka MontiLee Stormer, horror write at large.

  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (16-ounces) pumpkin (for thicker soup, use 2)
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Chives or parsley for garnish

The part that takes the longest for me is trying to figure out how much rice I want. I like my soups like stews – nice and thick and warming from the inside out. This means Math is involved so after trying to figure it out myself, I finally break down and find the husband who reminds me that Rice tends to double and to not go nuts. For more rice in this dish, I recommend 1 and one half cups (uncooked) wild rice made according to package directions. It’ll give you a soup you can chew, and if you’re like me you’ll be eating this while sitting outside feeding other people’s brats high doses of refined sugar. The chewing motion will keep you warm.

While your rice is cooking, you’ll be wanting to get all of the other bits of happiness together because as the rice finishes, you’ll be adding it to the soup. It’s all about synchronicity, which is perfect because if your halloween night is done right, the police will definitely get involved (see what I did there – I implied you’ll do something illegal!).

Chop your onion into pieces that could potentially be snorted by a toddler. You can use your best guess but if you have one around, the trial and error method works best. In a large Dutch Oven (or a big stew pot, whatever isn’t currently rendering baby fat) melt the butter and sauté the onions. You’ll want your onions the color of a three-day old scab, which is to say lightly brown and a bit translucent. Done over medium heat (because the husband put a regulator on the knobs due to “The Incident”) it should take about 15 minutes, about half the cooking time of the rice.

Drown your onions in chicken broth. You can use vegetable broth, but as it’s a harvest holiday, somewhere along the line an animal should have given its life. To tease the onions into thinking they may be rescued, drop in the pumpkin by spoonfuls and chuckle to yourself at the folly of hope. Create your own maelstrom with several good stirs to drive home the finality. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes. To the surviving onions it’ll be like turning off the sun.

Now is a good time to check on your rice.  I don’t know about you, but my rice likes to burn itself to the bottom of the pot. I think it’s an emo-thing as they can’t cut themselves, but they can be all angsty and affect the “blacker-than-thou” bit to your cookware if you don’t keep an eye on them.

For the rice that has chosen to go on and become productive members of society, it may  be added to the pumkiny broth. There will be no surviving onions at this point, and the rice will use this time to claim the corpses for their God – which will be you. Sprinkle upon them white pepper to show you accept their tribute. Cover once more and give everything in the pot a chance to consummate their new relationships. If their anything like my last boyfriend, 10 minutes should be more than enough time. Stirring in the cream is like wrapping a glass in a napkin, stamping on it and yelling “Mazel-tov!” as the happiness in the pot is just that great. Bring everything to one final boil and serve sprinkled with chives or parsley, like the funeral wreaths upon the sea in memory of the fallen onions.

(Serves 8-10)

The downticket shifts the upticket – On November 8th vote with that in mind

I’m not saying the Presidential election isn’t important, but it isn’t everything. And it isn’t the thing that determines the shift of the country’s consciousness. Economics are not the only thing that don’t trickle down. This year the newly elected President knows they get bonus power with at least one Supreme Court Justice appointed, but that is not the usual case. So vote for whoever you please for the Oval Office. (Except not Trump.)

Back towards my point – one of the few things I think our system does right is the power being divided into three groups. So while the Executive branch is important, it is less important than the other 2 in many ways. For one, it has term limits. I understand why the SCOTUS doesn’t. If every sitting President could switch out the justices then either laws would be flipped every few years or nothing would get down as they made decisions vying to be re-appointed. Ugh. But Congress? Those people need term limits and an end to lifetime benefits like health insurance. It should end when they leave office. And their pension should reflect the number of years they held office. Just like the rest of us. Nothing makes you care like being one of the people held hostage by your decisions. In the meantime, without term limits, those folks have long-term entrenched power and if we want different people in there we have to put them there.

OK – my actual point. Local and state elections – who we vote for matters more than who we vote for for President. Congresscritters usually filter up from state and local governments. Presidential candidates come almost exclusively from Congress and state governments. If we want different candidates for President, we must put different candidates in office downticket. That’s where our vote truly matters. That’s where the change begins. If we help put someone in office who turns out to be vile, we need to work to unseat them. Whenever possible, pick candidates who are for term limits for Congress. That forever candidate and seat holder is dangerous to public welfare. Once ensnared in the political machine, they spend most of their time and decision making energy on staying there, rather than doing what is best for citizens.

Change from the ground up – that’s how I vote, in every election. I encourage you to do the same.