18 November 2016

Hey. How you doing - you doing ok? Yeah, it's been a rough week, I know. Me too. Some seriously bad juju going round right now, I hear ya. You know what, though, just cause we got knocked down don't mean we can't get back up again. You know? We got suckerpunched, no doubt, and right in the gut, too. Your stomach upset? Having digestion problems? Nausea, maybe just don't feel like eating? That's why. It's that solar plexus chakra, Manipura, that's where we've all, a lot of us, been feeling it.

If you're not up on your chakras - and I admit I had to go for a refresher, here - this is the third one, the point where inward and outward flowing energies meet, where they are processed and transformed by the fire of your chi. And when things are off and you get destabilized, it can manifest here; because you're not fully processing. Whether it's food, thoughts, or emotions, or maybe some combination where one of those manifests as one of the others. Right? This is the seat of your internal fire, and some of the Hindu deities associated with it - Rudra, Vahni - are not only fire gods but have the power of dispelling fear. And there's been a whole lot of that going around this past week, hasn't there? A *whole* lot. Not without reason, but fear, man.. fear will mess you the eff up.

But here's the thing, and if you've read Starhawk you probably know this already: where there is fear, there is power. We're being fear-bombed right now, in great big waves (and I would not be surprised if there was actual psy-ops going on to accomplish this - not saying there is, just I wouldn't be surprised). And I don't at all mean to say that the bad things we see out ahead, that they don't have the potential to become very, very, real. They do, absolutely. And yet.

All these things that we fear, all the ways we can foresee our democracy being destroyed, all the hate crimes, all the progress we've made that stands to be repealed, all the things we stand to lose - we stand to lose them because of fear. Not *our* fear, this time - theirs (whoever 'they' are). Well, we've got some names and faces to identify as 'they'; I don't need to list them here. What's important for you to know is, 'they' are absolutely terrified - of us. Of what we represent. Of the free and open future we have been, and will continue to be, fighting for.

What we're seeing right now is their fear played out on the public stage. What do they fear? Oh that's easy; they fear loss of power. They fear a world where some - them - *aren't* more equal than others. They fear losing their privilege, their special snowflake-ness that defines them as The Norm. They fear it because they assume if they no longer occupy that special, privileged position, they will suffer every bit as much of the suffering they have and will continue to inflict on everyone who isn't 'them'. (I'm resisting the urge to identify 'them' as cishet white males though undoubtedly most of them are; I understand intellectually that #notallmen are like this, even as my angered, wounded heart rages at the ones who aren't because they also haven't stopped those that are. But that's an argument for another time).

This is the really important part though: they are coming down so hard because that is how terrified they are that we are actually winning. If we weren't having an actual, tangible impact, they could shrug us off. A few memes, a few nasty tweets and jibes on reddit and that's it, the dominant paradigm would be re-established, back to those glory days that we're pretty sure existed even if we didn't really experience them!

But that's not what happened, or what's happening. Instead, we ('we') keep making gains. Women don't just have the right to vote, they nearly ran off with the top boss job in all the land. Gays can marry. Marijuana, that reliable scourge that ruined so many lives (or the laws against it did, but never mind all that) is not only no longer the bugaboo it once was; it's actually finally becoming legal - all over the country. The drug war, that big 'accomplishment' of the Reagan/Bush years, has at last been revealed as a collosal failure.

And people of color aren't just sitting home smoking blunts and watching gangster rap videos; they're using the internet as their *own* tool, exposing the racism and brutality we were all supposed to believe got swept under the rug fifty years ago. The tools of control that have been employed for the past however many decades are failing. We aren't just being pacified by must-see TV, the Christmas shopping season, sports championships and celebrity scandal. People have big screen TVs, but no jobs. People have big box stores endlessly jammed with new versions of the same electronic devices that fill their homes, but no money to buy them - or no fulfillment if they do. Overdose deaths happen more and more in safe white enclaves, not just ignorable city slums.

The tools aren't working. But the machine, the corporate death mechanism, the dominant paradigm, is insane; it keeps doubling down. More control! More jail! Fewer privileges! Make them obey!! And now their fear has pushed them to the point where they're willing to employ sheer naked aggression - a bloodless coup. Blatantly ignore the will of the people (who would *not* simply accept the narrative of corruption that was peddled, damn them!) and enforce the election of a wildly unpopular candidate - all of this, rather than concede that the future that's ahead of us is not their fever dream of a semi-mythical past.

But in a sense, and I know this is really hard to feel right now, that's the good news. Good, because it means we actually ARE a threat. Look how hard they're having to fight us! Would they be bringing out the big guns if we weren't actually having an impact? An impact that scares them? I don't think so. And that knowledge is power, if we're willing to embrace it.

This is an opinion piece, so I'm not googling for hard facts just now, but consider this: nearly half the country did not vote in this election. Let that sink in - did. not. even. bother. to. show. up. To borrow the words of Rush (the band, not the bloviator), "if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice". Add that 46% or whatever it was to the 25ish-plus% that voted for HRC, and that's something like three-quarters of eligible voters who DID NOT CHOOSE this fascist sock puppet to lead us. Why so many abdicated their responsibility as voters, well, that too is another discussion for another time.

The point is, the whole country hasn't gone mad. One small section - many of whom were conned and lied to - managed to seize power in a blatant attempt to *force* progress to come to a screeching halt. When I say conned, I mean it: already, various bedrock campaign promises are being pedalled back, while others (bring back jobs) were never worth the hot air that inflated them. Jobs aren't coming back - we're almost caught up to the Jetsons, where nobody has to work because robots will do it all; only we're still stuck on the model where you have to work to make money to survive (oh, so many other discussions to be had, here!) People who voted for the mango mussolini with the hope he'd usher them back to a place at the middle-class table are in for some serious disappointment, and that's not likely to play out without some casualties. Unfortunately.

But let me say this one last time: where there is fear, there is power - and people have the power. We hold these truths to be self-evident, although they can often be forgotten when the promise of shiny new toys is dangled from one hand while the other points to That Other Guy as standing in your way of getting them. Don't believe the hype - don't fall for the con. We have the power, the power of progress, on our side. All men and women ARE created equal, and are equally deserving of the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. Even if they wear different clothes, pray to different gods, eat different foods, and have differently colored skins.

And that fear you've been feeling? Not saying it isn't grounded in reality, because those big guns I just mentioned include very actively tearing down every progressive gain that's happened pretty much my whole life; and I'm so old, Eisenhower was still President when I was born. But that fear is also a weapon that's being employed against you. When you are afraid, when you are depressed and frightened, and curled up with your kitty or your pup or your honey and praying the goons don't knock on *your* door, you're not fighting back. And trust me, the other side wants - needs - you not to fight back. They have one tactic: Hulk smash! You bad scary person, with your brown skin or lack of a penis, or same-sex lover, or funny last name, Hulk smash you! Because Hulk is SCARED of you.

But when you can uncurl yourself, when you can stand up straight, when you can step outside your door and see that there are far more of us than there are of them, you have found the power inside of your fear. I have been turning, these past few days, to the Litany Against Fear from Dune: Fear is the mind-killer.. fear will pass through me and I will turn to see where it has gone. You can look that one up if you don't know it; it's a good one.

And once your fear has passed through you, you may find that you have The Voice. OK, maybe not full-on Bene Gesserit (though if you do, drop me a line backchannel?). But the ability to speak truth to power. To go out in the streets, to march with the hundreds and thousands of others who are marching, marching for the thousands and hundreds of thousands more who aren't quite there yet but are still in your corner. Where there is fear, there is power - and we, the people, still have that power in our hands. Don't let yourself be intimidated into giving it up. They got the guns, but - we got the numbers. And if you're ready, it will carry us through.

05 February 2014

Friday Night Pizza

2 pkgs buttermilk biscuit mix
1 c baking mix
1 c rolled oats
2 c water
Flour as needed
1 15oz can spaghetti sauce
1 4 oz can tomato sauce
1 3.5 oz can tomato paste
To taste: basil, parsley, fennel powder (<- secret ingredient!)
2-1/2 pkgs imitation mozzarella cheese
Toppings: turkey sausage, sliced mushrooms, black olives, pineapple chunks, broccoli florets

Mix dry ingredients for crust in bowl, minus flour. Stir in water until dough forms a sticky ball. Break off a chunk to fit your pan - for the cookie sheet pictured, I used a piece somewhat larger than a grapefruit; maybe like an acorn squash?

Spray pans with cooking spray or grease lightly. Place dough in center of pan and sprinkle with flour. Roll to fit, allowing excess to form rim at edges. Bake at 450F for five minutes, then remove from oven. If crust has bubbled up, prick it with the tip of a knife to release trapped air.

Meanwhile, stir spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce & paste together with seasonings in a saucepan. You can use just tomato sauce and paste - 2 cans of each, maybe 3 paste; I went with what I had on hand.

After crust has cooled slightly, ladle sauce on top, then spread evenly using a spatula. Distribute toppings evenly, then cover with grated cheese (I use the imitation because it doesn't affect my dairy allergy; feel free to clump on the real thing!)

Bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is happily melted. This made two cookiesheet pizzas plus one 12" round. Small dogs are very helpful in removing leftover sauce from the pan.

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15 January 2013

Cleveland is My Paris too.

This banner is down now. But late last fall, I would pass it in the evening on my way home from work, and it always made me smile. Unfortunately, clevelandismyparis.com only has a placeholder page right now; but apparently there are t-shirts at least. And he is on Facebook.

14 January 2013

Cauliflower with Blackbeans & Rotini

3 med carrots, cut into half-moons.
1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
12 oz whole wheat rotini pasta
1 15oz can black beans, well rinsed
1 T margarine + 1 T canola oil
1 sm onion, diced
1 pkg chicken gravy mix + 1 pkg cheese sauce mix
1/2 shredded cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it has begun to bubble, add the carrots and cauliflower. Let cook a minute or so then add pasta. Cook all three until pasta is tender. Drain, reserving liquid for later use*.

Melt margarine in pot you cooked pasta & veggies in; add oil. Dice onion and add; cook until just translucent. Meanwhile, dissolve gravy mix in cold water as per pkg directions. Once its whisked smooth, pour into pot with onion. Whisk in cheese sauce mix and grated cheddar. Whisk or stir while heating to remove any lumps.

Drain black beans thoroughly. Add liquid to previously saved cooking water*. Rinse beans well, or the whole thing will turn a muddy grey-brown (still tasty, just not visually appealing). I rinsed my beans in a smaller sieve then added to the pasta-veggie mix in colander and rinsed all together.

Add pasta/veggie/bean mix to sauce. Stir thoroughly to coat, then warm through on medium-low heat. Serve!

*I drained cooking water and bean juice together in a tub and froze it: next time I want to make soup, I'll have a hearty seasoned stock ready to go.

The cheese sauce came from a box of mac'n'cheese; the gravy mix was generic because I was feeling lazy. This meal could easily become vegan by making a roux out of 1/4 c. whole wheat flour & an equal amount of nutritional ('flake') yeast. Use leftover cooking liquid to thin the roux into gravy.

I also used Ched-O-Mate imitation cheese - because its cheap, readily available, and doesn't ever bother my dairy allergy (not lactose intolerance - dairy gives me asthma attacks). Vegetarians can use real shredded cheese; vegans can use a soy cheese or skip it altogether, as flake yeast makes a passable cheesey sauce.

04 December 2012

Stuffed Peppers

Wow, a random thought turned out pretty yummy!
Here's what I used:

     - 1-2 t olive oil
     - 1/2 red onion, minced
     - 1/4 c garlic (yep, I like garlic. Adjust to taste)
     - 3 turkey sausage links, sliced into rounds & crumbled
     - 1 sm can mushrooms
     - 3/4 c couscous
     - 3 lg bell peppers
     - 1 12oz jar spaghetti sauce w mushrooms
     - 1/2 c shredded mozzarella (approx)

Sautee onion & garlic in oil. Stir in sausage and cook til no longer pink. Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid, and add to skillet. Stir in couscous, along with mushroom liquid and water to make 1-1/2 c. Season to taste w onion salt, garlic powder, & basil. Cover.

Meanwhile, heat sauce in electric skillet or pour into baking dish. Slice tops of washed peppers, remove core & seeds, then slice in half lengthwise. Remove ribs, if any.

Fill each pepper half with couscous mix then place open side up on top of sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella on top of each pepper. Cover and steam through or bake at 325F until peppers are just tender.

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19 April 2012

Bloodshot book review

Oh look, GoodReads just helpfully formatted my most recent review into a format just for copying and pasting into my blog. Seeing as how i'm a DAMN LAZY BLOGGER, who am i to turn down such quick and easy content? (should you care to read it ensuite, as it were, i am sade wolfkitten over there too..)

Bloodshot (The Cheshire Red Reports, #1)Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Priest's vampire books (somehow i read the second before this, the first) are like a big tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream: tasty, fun to polish off, not exactly *bad* for you but not your daily staff of life either. Not quite as engaging as the Eden Moore series, but less annoyingly twee than the steampunk stuff - which, i hasten to add, is entirely my own opinion. My taste for alternate histories seems not to extend into the past - call it a bias of linear time.

This is not one of those, very definitely contemporary, but a vampire/master thief main character might be just a wee bit too much of a Mary Sue for my tastes. Your mileage, as always, may vary significantly. And do note that however this may sound, i've read almost all of her books, and will continue to pick them up as i run across them.

View all my reviews

26 March 2012

Fish in a Tree? How Can That Be??

Oh look, i have a blog. Y i has u, blog? Blogging seems so five years ago. i've said before i'm too busy doing things to stop and write about them. When i'm not doing things, i am resting - sleeping, probably, and/or getting ready to do something else.

For a while i experimented with micro-blogging. i still like the concept. i do tweet a lot; i send out little random thoughts throughout the day. When i'm at the day job, this helps the time go by while i'm scrubbing cages and chattering mindlessly to the birds.

i tried collecting and re-posting them to LiveJournal for a time but it annoyed *me*; i can just imagine how my LJ friends felt about it. Incidentally, this seems to have coincided with dropping off of LJ, something i've not been able to get back to even tho i enjoyed the format. LiveJournal was my very personal internet home for years. Not now. Twitter is probably the closest thing to an online 'home' i have these days, but my profile page isn't considered a true blog.

The truth is, i don't see much need for a blog in my life. Yes i know, social media blah blah marketing blah personal branding blah blah quack. Maybe i could be Actualizing(tm) and Monetizing(tm) myself more Effectively(tm) if only i sat my *ss down and wrote something every few days! Yes, my decided lack of glowing financial success can surely be traced to this one bad habit.


A week or so ago, i finally figured out why i'm not writing anymore. happydance Hold on to your hats, cause this one's a shocker: i'm happy. i think its been so long since i could really say this (probably not this century, sadly) that i'd forgotten the obvious: i only journal when things suck. i figured this out a long time ago, back when 'journals' still meant physical, paper notebooks, filled with reams of absolutely miniscule handwriting. (Oh yes. Any future biographer who wants to plumb the depths of my personal history will need a magnifying glass: most of my journals have four lines of tiny print squeezed on to every line of notebook paper. Have at *that*, psych geeks).

There are gaps in my personal history. Times when i didn't curl up in a corner somewhere, seeking escape through an mmm-okay maybe slightly manic noting down of what i was thinking/feeling/experiencing at the time. Unfortunately, this means all my best times have evaporated into thin air; 'memory' is something you put in computers, not something in my head. If i didn't write it down, it might as well not have happened.

This means my future self will look back at now and think, i wonder what i was doing that made me so content with my lot? i don't know if i can answer that directly. i can't say, Well, This. This is the thing, or things, that make life Good now. Well, except for this little guy: Marvin

i did mention him here - holy crap, have i really not blogged YET THIS YEAR?! Anyway, his name is Marvin. He is, best as i can tell, a chihuahua-schipperke mix. Schipperkes are Belgian boat dogs and look like black Pomeranians, if you've never heard of them. He is the best thing to happen to me in a *lo-o-ong* time. My last dog was also technically Rasputin's dog, and he's been gone over eight years. i was thinking about maybe getting a dog again when this fellow managed to get lost/abandoned near the theater and wound up with me. Now i wonder why i waited so long - except that i was waiting for him, i suppose.

Besides the pupster, i've finally - *finally* - gotten to a point where i like being home again. i'm pretty sure there was a point back when i lived in Collinhood that this was true, but i can't remember when. Mid90s, at a guess. So yeah, this has been a long time coming, and its nice to have it back. i don't go out much anymore (and yes, there could be a story there too, but its not one i care to tell here). i do sometimes miss the Tremont scene that i was part of five years ago, but its not like its there and i left. It was An Era, its over, time to move on.

i've also got an acceptable balance going between jobs, theater, and personal projects. My day job is in a sort of warehouse of birds for a major pet-supply chain, and my boss there is *fabulous* - a theater friend who would make a great gay husband. He trusts my judgement and lets me pretty much supervise myself. This is so heavenly that it strongly outweighs the absolutely crummy pay. i have another part-time evening job working as a sort of 'test patient' for medical students to try out their exam skills on. Boss there is great too, as is the pay; the hours, well, not so much, but it balances things out.

i am a bit less involved with the theater than in years past, meaning i don't stage-manage anymore than one play a year. This way, once my work as a designer is done, i have nights to myself. Now, i am balanced lightly on the cusp of having just about enough time and money both, so that i can work on my own projects now and again.

Most recently, Photobucket i've been making these Faerie Empress crowns: Just sold my first one on Etsy too, w00t! They are a lot of fun to make, and allow me to make use of my hoardcollection of leftover jewelry bits and sparkly things.

Along with working on projects, i've been continuing on with organizing - well, pretty much everything. i used to have things stashed all over the place, because i could never remember where i'd put things before. Now that i'm not managing a household, raising kids, and dealing with relationships, i've been able to start sorting and consolidating. Amazingly, this means i am now able to FIND an item when i need it =:o i'm even learning to clean up when i'm done, a skill its only taken me *mumble*fifty-odd*mumble* years to acquire.

So yes, add all these things up and you have (*gasp*) a Fairly Contented Wolfkitten. Fairly? That's unfair. Quite. But geez-a-pete, look how long i've been sitting here. i've got things to do! See ya round - sometime.