Walking distance – a consultation with the spirits

Back in my 20’s I read a book or a manifesto or something about how you should walk every inch of the city within a five km radius of your house.  Yesterday I learned to recognize that as wise, yet again, having forgotten it.

Slept over at Mike’s after a wonderful supper of the salmon of wisdom, the preserves of friendship and the taters of sustenance.  A deep, roborative sleep.  Then astonishment, as the whole city was fogged in and we were above it all in the Eyrie, watching it burn off. Then a brekkie of coffee, hash browns, bacon and eggs. We went a-walking in Byrne Creek Ravine park.

The day signs were most impressive; the Trickster appeared, facing the sun. Then three black dogs.  The first two were on leashes; the third was free walking with her owner. Then a Korean family, joking in English and Korean. Then a troupe of dancers rehearsing Chinese opera on the tennis courts.

THEN a dry big-leaf maple leaf, in the shape of a death’s head, lodged against the ivy twining up a snag.

Then the old man.  He came down, down down the steep incline to the water, and as soon as he saw us he BACKED UP THE TRAIL, never taking his eyes off us.  When I saw him later I tried to acknowledge him, but he would not meet my eyes, although twice I caught him staring at me. Most unnerving.

Each leaf swayed and sang; there was a deeper stillness in the plashing of the water; I could feel my brain trying to calculate things, all the tiny incremental movements, as if they could be calculated.  My vision cleared.  It was a wonderful feeling.

As we paused, walking back, looking down at the ravine from the railing on the other side from Edmonds station, a young First Nations family walked by.  The mother was saying to the toddler while the father pushed an infant in a stroller, “You can’t go climb down to the stream! You’ll scratch your bum on the blackberries!”

Safe back at the Eyrie I asked the spirits if they could help me find my family crest. I’m not knowing what to do about the answer.

At first it was all random stuff, a doodle in white letters against my closed eyes; it looked like Kufic script, and then script in no human language.  I was sad, because I could not interpret the dancing, ever shifting letters.

They gave me the bones of a salmon, the curl of a fern, the head of a vulture, a toad, and strange, gap-toothed cogs, fitting into all these things.  Ground and figure were constantly shifting, but it all felt fitting, and as I’m receiving these teachings, I’m thinking, yes, this is right, this is as it should be.  The salmon and the fern are how the land and the sea connect, the head of the vulture is the acknowledgement of the cycle of birth and death, the toad is welcoming the stranger and the orphan, the cog is the knowledge that all things fit, the gaps the incompleteness that comes with being human.  Then the last part.

It was the outline of a subdivision.  I think I know what it means – that I’m a colonial born and bred and living on the land on sufferance, but damn it is NOT what I wanted to hear, and so it is probably the most valuable part of the teaching.

All these things were interwoven.  As I looked at one thing, it turned into something else.  Everything kept shifting; animal faces into letters, into stylized hands and fingers, curving railroad tracks with swaying ties. All rendered in brilliant white, as if the world’s most skilled tagger was drawing it on my sensorium at the speed of light.

At this point, on behalf of Cousin Gerald, I would like to interject, “Wot, no MOOSE?”

I remonstrated with the spirits, who laughed very heartily at my tears (I was weeping pretty much continuously at this point).  A great woman’s voice said, “It’s nothing for you to parade around! You have no family crest! You couldn’t draw it even if you could understand it!” Then, after a pause, as if reconsidering, the same voice said, more quietly, “It will be there when you close your eyes,” and I’m back to myself and Mike’s handing me Kleenex.

It never ceases to amaze me, what’s in my head.  None of this was real, but I assure you, it happened.

Today I’m going to go keep a promise, but this time I get to drive.  Paul and I are going to Nanoose Bay for a restorative justice conference, or at least the part of it he is presenting at.  I had meant to bail, but all things considered I have a few things to tidy up before I get back to writing.  The characters are once again speaking, though. Theo came and sat with me while I was in the forest.

“I was not a philosophical person, and now I am.  At first I was angry, because I did not need to think about what it all means.  I was happy to move around in the space my people occupy, which is life and death and reproduction, and possibly looking at beautiful things. Then I was angry, because all my previous understanding was not wrong, just too small. I had thought myself as big as I needed to be.  But since I got philosophy I can only think of myself in relation to others, and that makes me angriest of all, for I don’t like most Sixers and hate most humans, and now I am stuck with them all, and I really don’t have the temperament for a philosopher.”

Poor Theo.  There’s nothing worse for a hard-core narcissist than waking up one morning and finding out you’re too small.

Meltingly grateful to Mike for his most restorative and sacred hospitality.

I’d also like to thank mOm for her bracing phone calls of late.

Tom U. is back working with Mike again, isn’t that wonderful? One half of the lunch bunch is back together.

I am not worthy

Best commentary by a man on the subject of maxipads that has ever been written in English.  Required reading for all men who consider themselves to be feminists, and for any woman who has ever had a period.  ALSO VERY FUNNY.  I said in my facebook post on the subject:  This is one of the funniest, truest, most ah-ha pieces I’ve ever read. By me, he’s got a man card the size a phone book – far too big to be casually ripped up!

Victims of Violence Symposium, notes and comments

I took extensive notes.

Christine Lowe opened things up by saying that in healthy communities we acknowledge the harm that comes to victims of violence, and that victimes need to be helped with their physical, spiritual and emotional well being. Strong relationships make social justice possible.

She made a joke about the podium.  When they were finalizing planning they realized they had no podium, and they had no money to buy or rent one.  So they called the police.  The Victoria PD supplied the podium.

This donation by the police meant that we were looking at their logo the entire time, but it also meant that it was a place where cops and SJWs could work together, and that made me happy.

There was a territorial acknowledgement, and Elder May made a blessing that set the tone for the day.  A little rambling, heart-piercingly beautiful, compassionate.  When she sang I started weeping.  The contrast of her speaking voice and her singing voice was so acute it made me sit up. Her song was wordless and filled with yearning for justice and peace.

Then the Deputy Minister for Justiceland Wanamaker got up and gave a canned f*cking empty speech with about as much inflection and heart as one gets from a Grade 7 kid giving her first address.  As a libertarian-inflected feminist, I was enraged to the point I nearly booed when she tried to make political hay out of taking 5 million dollars from civil forfeiture – forgot we had that in Canada, right? right? and earmarking it for prevention of violence against women.  Really don’t like that.  I could go on at great length about why I was pissed, but instead I stink eyed her until she left.  She may be a king hell accomplished career bureaucrat, and we should be thankful that somebody of her dignity spoke to us, but I came away wanting to coach her on public speaking and liberty both.  Please don’t think that the 8 Domestic Violence Units which have been set up across BC with the money are bad things. I don’t.  One thing I will credit her with is saying ‘all genders’; this is phrasing I wish more politicians would adopt, since it doesn’t other trans* and intersex people, or people who are distinctly possessing identifiable bits but are not gender normative, and it includes two-spirited.

Frank Elsner. Chief of Police in Victoria since January 2014.  Man, I wish, you have NO IDEA HOW I WISH, that brO could have been in the auditorium when he spoke.  He worked the room, greeting and speaking with many, many people. Fine, a cop can have good social skills, in fact let’s hope she does. As he was introduced, it was obvious that he is highly intelligent and has multiple degrees from real universities.  He’s been chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which means he’s been exposed to best (and worst) practices across the planet, and let’s face it the last decade has seen some impressive advances in community policing.

He said, “Why talk about community health in terms of policing?” Essentially good policing is part of what makes a healthy community.  As a cop he was appalled to arrest three generations of criminals.  The boys weren’t born bad; intervention and options are required to turn lives around.

He mandated a different approach to street prostitution.  Instead of throwing them in the jug, a group of women were streamed toward social workers.  Picture their astonishment when the first problem most of them had was that they had no picture ID. Childcare, job training and housing were also issues.  Address them, and women can get off the street.  He made it sound simple, but the key is collaboration among a large group of people across half a dozen Ministries and social agencies.  When you get seven women out of the life, you are reducing human suffering in them, their children and their grandchildren, is the point.

Then he said the thing that would have made brO happiest.  He said the police must be accountable to the people they serve for everything they do, even when it hurts the police institutionally and personally.  The reactive model of policing is no longer tenable; police have to earn and show respect in the community they serve.

He also mentioned that cops need to be better educated and trained (yay, maybe that one dingus will finally learn how to give evidence in traffic court) and that their own mental health MUST be factored into the equation; police need like all people to be treated with respect for the sad duties they take on, on behalf of all of us, and that if we just keep expecting cops to suck it up they will snap.  So he wants to look after the well being of the people in his department and not just expect them to stand tall and be stoic.

My applause at the end of his talk was very genuinely enthusiastic, as was Paul’s.

Then Dr. Martin Broken Leg got up.

1. Dude’s funny.

2. Dude’s a survivor.

3. Dude’s hella smart.

With effortless humour, fluency, clarity and logic, he walked us through what it’s like to live in Aboriginal culture, both sides of the border (he is Lakota, adopted into the Raven clan on Haida Gwaii and man you shoulda seen his button decorated black vest with the most beeeyootiful appliquéd silver raven on the back, I admired it in person.)

One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Indian kids went to residential schools until 94 when the last one closed.  Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand Indian kids have gone into care since the mid fifties.

Christ wept.

The ACE studies (Adverse Childhood Experiences) can provide some light.

If a child is exposed to addictions, abuse, domestic violence, incarceration and neglect, you will get social impairment, health risks, disease, disability and early death.

There are other sources of trauma to FN kids. Federal laws, provincial policies, residential schools, the institutions of the churches, poverty, sub standard housing, poor nutrition and lack of healthy practices, lower opportunities for education and employment.

Oppression comes in many forms.  Social microaggressions, the way people look at you and talk to you and make assumptions about you. Systems don’t make place for you and your cultural folkways. The professional people who are supposed to help you don’t necessarily respect you and don’t expect you to improve; and then of course there’s internalized racism and the numbness that comes when you realize that you’re worthless; you don’t need to see 1200 missing women on tv to realize that there’s not a lot of respect for FN women, let alone men.

He recommended Rupert Ross’s Criminal Conduct and Colonialization and Dr. Paulette Regan’s Unsettling the Settler Within.

Traumatized people show it.  They show it by abusing their children, committing suicide, legal trouble and incarceration, early death, violence and addictions.

If you’re working with traumatized people the question to ask is not What’s Wrong with You!? it’s What Happened to You?

In 2012 the Gladue decision brought into sentencing the ability of the judge to inquire as to childhood trauma before jail time.

Subsequently a 19 year old aboriginal man was arrested for assaulting (I remember this story) a Coast Mountain bus driver. At sentencing it was learned that he had been in 28 foster homes between 4 and 18. He didn’t get jail time, he got counselling, and the howls from white people who said BUT HE ISN’T BEING PUNISHED were very loud. And pointless.  Jail wouldn’t help.

 

FN people need to:

See your own and your inherited pain (he called it the dark shadow that lies across every aspect of aboriginal life.)

Know and express your own suffering.

Self-critique and move toward self-improvement (away from victimhood toward self-actualization)

Reclaim aboriginal spirtuality, community and culture ESPECIALLY LANGUAGE (my comment because it is a road map back to the way the land spoke to your ancestors.)

Non-aboriginal people need to work on:

Self-reflection, to lose their white innocence (I had no idea FN children were experimented on, I had no idea that three percent of the residential school kids never came home, I had no idea that the Indian Act didn’t let FN women vote until the 1960s.)

Accept the historical violence, from the Beothuk to Akwesasne.

Admit the full equality of Aboriginal people and ways.  That’s the tough one.  We’ve been acculturated to believe that European ways are superior, and it ain’t necessarily so.

Remember that the 1948 UN definition of genocide COVERS THE SITUATION OF THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS.

Broken Leg then talked about the four stages of forgiveness, as outlined in Tutu’s The Book of Forgiving, which he wrote with his daughter Mpho.

  1. Let us tell the truth. Speak the truth, unvarnished, the facts.  Tell trusted people, accepting that the past will not be changed.
  2. Name the hurt.  Accept all feelings as valid and connect those feelings to the facts.  Use Kubler-Ross’s grief work. Be vulnerable and be willing to be hurt, because you will be.
  3. Grant forgiveness by choosing to forgive.  Grow by forgiveness.  Move to the place of being a survivor hero, not a victim.
  4. Change your story.  Tell a new story to heal.  Renew or release the relationship that has marked you. Ask for what you need.  Look at your role, not to blame yourself, but with calmness.

Reconciliation continues.

 

Young people, to be resilient, must be valued enough by their culture to be taught 

Belonging

Mastery

Independence

Generosity

See also.

______

Then I went to a breakout session on suicide prevention in young people “This do in memory of me” for Kaitlin Schmidt, whose plaque we put up in the Gazebo of Remembrance on Thursday night.

Almost 4000 people kill themselves in Canada every year. A lot of them are young people. Accidents involving brain injury, suicide and cancer are one two three for cause of death in folks under 25.

It’s okay to ask somebody if they are thinking of harming themselves or killing themselves, but there is a big but.

You have to say that you have seen a change in behaviour first.  This marks you as somebody observant and caring.  If they are suicidal but deny it you have marked yourself as a safe person to talk to later. (I find it unlikely that I will ever be that blue again but I know EXACTLY who among my friends I can go to, and that in itself is wonderful.) If they aren’t suicidal they can explain why they’ve been wearing nothing but sweat pants for two weeks and are giving away all their stuff.

Since kids have smart phones, there’s been a lot of work on apps that help kids manage their moods.  Links below.

I found it very interesting that the presenter, Renata Hindle, said that in two hundred 80 minute presentations in BC to Grade 8 and Grade 10 kids, precisely one class wouldn’t go with the guided meditation, and that dozens of kids have told her they wished they knew about it earlier.  Funnily enough, we teach meditation at a number of points in the UU religious education curriculum.  Cause we be all about raising resilient kids yo.

Booster Buddy

Kelty

____________

Then there was a very challenging talk on male survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Men process sexual trauma differently than women.

Gender role conditioning to not seek help, to suck it up, to be tough and stoic, mean that help is not sought and the trauma plays out in all aspects of the survivor’s life.

They don’t have the social permission of women to ask for help, to admit to needing it.

When they do seek help, there is a deluge of stuffed-down emotions which occurs at the commencement of the counselling.

Societal and internalized homophobia (offenders normally being men) can cloud the survivor’s ability to see their own victimization.  Womanizing is often a consequence of childhood sexual abuse.

Often, they can fear that they will prey on children (this was brilliantly depicted, as an aside, as part of Bunchy’s story in Showtime’s Ray Donovan.)

Something that never occurred to me was that as boys arrive at puberty, they have the ability to be physically aroused by damned near anything.  This is used by perps to show to the boy that he ‘must have enjoyed it.’ ew ew ew.

5 – 6% of boys who’ve been molested go on to offend.

BUT 95% of offenders were abused.

Those are horrible statistics. And we’re doing a shitty job as a culture of helping men who’ve been sexually abused as children. I am going to investigate the group helping men here in town.

As an aside, she said that male survivors are very likely to espouse conspiracy theories, because their essential feeling of safety has been destroyed.  They have seen the shadowy forces of evil and want everybody to be as frightened as they once were.

This made me realize that someone close to me is probably a survivor.  I have had to come to a personal adjustment of my thinking patterns.

Sobriety is virtually impossible for survivors who haven’t had counselling for the trauma.

Survivors get in fights, they are medicated heavily, many have difficulty keeping sober and binge or drink steadily, they dress in a fashion that tells people ‘KEEP THE **** AWAY FROM ME”, they don’t come to family events and cause scenes or sit in the corner and drink, and they are job avoidant or can’t keep a job due to ongoing issues with disrespect and authority.

THEN.

I didn’t take notes.

Reena Virk’s parents made a presentation about what it was like, and how the reconciliation with one of their daughter’s killers went.

I cried a lot.

Then they started talking about the Bible, which was less moving, and Paul and I anthem sprinted to the ferry, where we made the 5 o’clock.  There was a circular rainbow in Active Pass, and I saw a fur seal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes and exits

It’s not my story to tell, so I won’t tell it. Suffice it to say that someone dear to me is experiencing anxiety and disquiet for very valid reasons, and I feel my presence really helped move things along a good path and reduce anxiety, an’ that’s what friends are for.

Spent the night away from home, 4 hours on the cpap anyway so I feel quite perky.  Keith says he needs to talk to me about things and stuff for reasons, and that I’m going to be very upset.  Katie and Alex are coming over later this morning.  O don’t I have a lot to look forward to.

Back to the address to the troops.

Colonialism rant

The crowning achievement of colonialism is how it has tapped into the human genome to recycle itself. The finely woven threads, the self-repairing structures of racism and sexism, fear of the other, the urge to destroy that which is experienced as diseased and loathsome, they all belong to colonialism, which I am now going to conflate with the human tendency to devalue other human beings based on feelings of disgust rather than facts. Now science brings us the truth behind the experience of conservatism, that it is based in physical disgust.

This disgust results in things as various as the relentless offering of young men to death in warfare, and old men fighting against young women guarding their fertility as they see fit in consequence. Generation after generation of old powerful men, in whatever culture and of whatever colour, offer young men into the maw of war and conquest, having dragged them from their parents’ arms and essentially from the mother’s womb. Kind people on the sidelines weep with loss as this happens generation after generation.

I have been struggling all my life with this fundamental flaw in human nature, the place where the sociability of human beings, which is quite remarkable, breaks down. Now I see it. It is in the rock-crusher of our capacity to feel deep, emotional, physical disgust that we are broken into pieces and fed into colonialism. It seems circular, and it is. There is a constant value, circulating in the human genome, of persons who feel disgust more readily, inbuilt and coiled in every cell. They will, being of a certain neurotype, congregate, and then they will amass resources and make of their disgust a common, noble reason to make war on anybody on the outside of the group.

Jesus God.

22 ways rapists hurt men

  1. They reduce the number of women interested in sex.  Then they blame women for not being available.  They drag you along for that ride.
  2. They damage women physically and sometimes give them long term health problems which your taxes help pay to ameliorate.
  3. They spread diseases.
  4. They make men who don’t rape look bad by association.
  5. They use men who don’t rape as camouflage.
  6. They can sometimes leave psychological damage resulting in some women have a hard time being open and honest about their sexuality.  Some women vomit, cry or go limp during consensual sex because they’ve been raped.  If they won’t tell you why, it can leave you devastated about your own sexuality.
  7. They are convinced that women deserve to be raped, and con younger men who look up to them into believing the same thing. That younger man could be you, your brother, your son.
  8. They mess with your reality, your life, your future and your trust by raping women you love and continuing to be your ‘friend’. THIS HAPPENS WAY MORE THAN MEN REALIZE.
  9. They are the men who invented the friendzone, and try to convince you that the way out of the friendzone is rape.
  10. They tell women you love that no-one will believe them as they rape them, with the end result that the women you love will lie to you about what’s happened to them, by omission.
  11. They hurt people and spread the blame across all men.
  12. They expect you to stick up for them if they are caught.
  13. They trick you into agreeing if they say she deserved it, so you can be reduced to their level of selfishness.
  14. They gloss over how much of rape is rape PLUS child abuse PLUS mental cruelty PLUS messing over the reproductive futures of the women they rape, and possibly, as a consequence, you.
  15. They honestly believe that what they are doing is merely ‘having sex’, ‘getting laid’; their inability to feel remorse or consequences mars the relationships between and among men.
  16. They prop up the notion that sex is something women have that men want, rather than sex being a continuum of desire / consent / ability / availability.
  17. They misuse science to prop up their belief systems and turn up the volume when they are repeatedly proven wrong, to the point that any evidence that rape is not a ‘natural state of affairs’ gets shouted down.
  18. They turn men who don’t rape into faceless villains.  It’s hard to be the hero in your own life when you’re the bad guy in literally thousands of other lives.
  19. They kill the ability to be sexually spontaneous in some women, one of whom may end up being your partner.
  20. They rape your sisters, daughters, mothers and friends.
  21. They kill discourse by threatening rape to women who say things that irritate or refute them.
  22. They make it possible for human trafficking for sexual slavery to occur by making rape part of the breaking in process, hurting every close family member of the victim.

An open letter to J.

who wants all the kinksters to stop promoting BDSM on the UU poly feed.  Best of British luck with that, darlin’.

 

letter begins…

I guess it all depends on whether you consider the uu-poly group to be a place to talk about kink.  I do, but it’s for the moderators to decide, if we aren’t a democracy.

I used to take what I thought was a moral stance on the subject of other people’s wacky sex practices, in line with how I was raised, of course, but once I figured out that what ‘paraphilias’ are, is a normal human response to various kinds of stress, plus wiring, plus repetition, I quit thinking it was necessarily a bad thing.  The moral issue is not whether it’s healthy by a narrow definition, but whether there is genuine consent.  Human beings of their nature have long childhoods and are incredibly social, and so experimentation with hierarchy in terms of dominance and submission is not just normal, it’s inevitable. And along with inevitable, we will get extreme. 

Paraphilias have been defined as a trifecta of sexuality that is extreme and dangerous and abnormal.  Funny thing; I think of rape the same way and yet we have a large constituency of people, both men and women, who think rape is part of the normal course of events – and a desirable one too, as it allows rapists to provide tools of social control for the society at large.
If we want to travel down the path of having our sexuality defined by those who will profit by othering us, then we’re getting off the UU train entirely.

In that regard the kink community has been leading the way for a number of years with an emphasis on consent for scenes. Humans contain a multitude of sexual possibilities and as long as all parties are able to give and obtain agreement for activities my opinion on whether those activities are harmful is just wind.
Paraphilias concerning those who cannot by nature give consent (children, animals, unconscious and disabled, as examples) need a better class of scientists and therapists to figure out what’s going on so it can be controlled for the benefit of all, because the people who came up with the DSM have harmed our culture almost irreparably; each successive iteration has been an object lesson in legitimized othering. I could start raving about the drug companies too and how long it took to get queerness out of the DSM but that rant’s been done better elsewhere.
Paraphilias involving consenting adults who play in safe spaces and in a fashion that isn’t a menace to public health are not my concern. Which is why I choose to call THOSE paraphilias kink, and will use the freighted medical term for people who get off forcing their violent imaginations and lust on those weaker than themselves.  Solitary paraphiliacs I just feel sorry for but I always was a softie.
I don’t want to other people.  Draw the circle wide, friends. We all need love and acceptance, and we have to model it, whether we feel like punching each other out occasionally or not, or want the (pick a minority group) – oops, I meant kinksters – to leave the room while we’re talking about our serious matters.
Letter ends
At least I didn’t say tone troll, evoke Hitler or tell her to go fuck herself, so there’s that.  I didn’t have permission to quote her letter, which was a masterpiece of liberal uptightness, srsly.

Privilege has its memberships!

White.

Middle class.

University educated.

IQ over 120  – as at last time I was tested…. my BPI on Lumosity is over 1250 and I am in the top percentiles (for all the categories for my age and sex).

Reproductively successful ciswoman.

No birth defects.

All senses currently intact.

Mobile enough to walk every day.

Able to obtain and use a driver’s license.

City dweller all my life with access to cultural amenities and public transit.

Access to health care at low cost including midwifery, physio and eyecare.

Member of an extremely supportive religious community.

Raised by both parents.

Both parents university educated.

Not abused during upbringing (not sexually or physically, no alcoholism, drug abuse or mental illness in family of origin).

Up until fairly recently, consistently employed and employable. Large number of skills mostly in an office setting, but it amazes me sometimes when I look back over my life and see what I’ve learned to do.

Never institutionalized for drug or alcohol abuse or mental illness.

Never jailed, arrested or detained for questioning.

Never randomly stopped by police except in a car for a drunk driving check, and even then I talked my way out of the one time I had been drinking and driving.  (I know, right?)

Never had an unpleasant personal encounter with the police.

Raised atheist/agnostic.

Raised as an appreciator of reason, science, science fiction and imagination.

Raised in a house full of books, music, and intellectual appreciation.

Always had a tv in the house and access to a library card.

Able at one point to afford to purchase a house.

Have a bank account.

Have a secure place to sleep at night.

Access to abundant food, clean water and fresh air, in my house or in walking distance.

Access to land to grow food on if I wish.

Not currently addicted to drugs or alcohol and apart from over the counter stuff there’s nothing in the house.  (OK, I think there’s an airplane bottle of rum somewhere in the house….)

Although I am not neurotypical, my brain challenges are not sufficient to prevent me from enjoying employment, relationships, creative endeavours.

Passport!  Just remembered that.  It’s a privilege I share with more than 50 percent of Canadians but globally it’s a huge privilege to have a Canadian passport.

Access to all vaccinations (I even got Hep C vaccinations when it turned out I could get them for free).

Access to refrigeration and subzero storage.

Access to appliances such as washing machines and cook stoves.

Access to internet 24.7 except when Shaw loses its mind.

Able to speak, read, and write English at a very high level.  It’s a privilege I’d trade for nothing, too.

Access to world class continuing education on a bewildering range of subjects.

Living in a big house with an excellent roommate, who is honest and sane and helps keep me safe and healthy.

 

What’s YER privilege?

 

 

 

 

Maybe there was something to Essiac…

Chipper sends word of dandelion tea and cancer…  and on November 2 updated me with this.  so NO dandelion in Essiac.  I always thought there was.

There have now been about thirty enquiries about the cafe… I know it’s a numbers game, but oh lord.

Here is a very good beginner level guide to layout and design.  

Velcro was developed for outer space, but it will be coming soon to an inner space near you…

And re resistant bacteria, more good news.  

Part of Miss Manners Has her Say, a song I wrote some years ago.

“You’re a very/religious person/offered drugs and porn/Enjoyment in/the evening is/repentance in the morn.”

And now there’s some science that is illuminating.

 

 

I know I have never

fallen asleep like this.

It’s a dog with its paw in its mouth.

Chalice circle was a very big disappointment.  Like uncomfortable making disappointment.  It got better, but I still felt very withdrawn and disconnected at the end.

1.  I did some but not all of the homework.  I was supposed to print out the homework and bring it with me, and also a show and tell item, but I didn’t do that.

2. Lot of no-shows.  This is hard to bear; a lot of organizing went into this and I feel for both host and facilitator.

3.  The ritual was in my view goofy, poorly worded and ever so sincere (we’re doing this out of a book called Soul to Soul and while I admire the effort put into it it’s all a bit ‘canned’) with that reverent spoken word Unitarian sincerity which long timers will completely get and the rest of you will go hunh?  And it got my atheist back up.  I don’t give a shit about facing north and thanking mother earth for her wisdom or toenail clippings or whatever.  I was sneakily pleased that I wasn’t the only person in the room with the ish.  NOTE: If it had been a real Cree or Salish greeting of the directions, I could have stood that.  That has emotional resonance; not some made up pseudo Wiccan horse maneuvers.  However the ritual was brief, I’ll give ’em that.

4.  I was appalled, and I mean it, when I brought 10$ worth of cheese and got told to take it home with me as these chalice circles were not to involve food. I could feel the ghosts of a hundred Mennonite relatives cluster round me with staring eyes and pointing fingers, Matthew 25:35 “I was hungry and you fed me!”  How can the soul be nourished without the body!?

5.  The long pauses in between sharing were good.  That was stabilizing.

6.  There was housekeeping afterwards and my comment about food got taken seriously.  We will have tea or something bracing and then have the sharing.

7. The goofy ritual is supposed to be tried 4 times until we get used to it and THEN if we don’t like it we’re supposed to ditch it.  Hard to believe this never caught on with the Catholic Church.

8.  And there’s @@@@@@ homework.  We covenant to do the *$YO homework.  Srsly.  The point is to increase sacrifice and therefore commitment and it counts as religious education, which the minister is getting marked on, and it means that everybody is going to go through the curriculum at the same time in much the same way (varying by facilitator of course).  If it was my puppy, I’d be doing it SO DIFFERENTLY AND  there would still be more time for sharing.  I totally get why this is happening this way, and the increased emphasis on shared experiences to somehow account for how we don’t really have a liturgical year or specific faith wide rituals has to do with gluing newcomers into the church and broadening and deepening fellowship.  I get all that.  But without food?  Jesus wept.

I believe it could be done better, but since I’m working on other stuff for Unitarianism (my current in process homily is called “Threat Level”) and there’s this LITTLE NOTION THAT I CAN’T FIND A FUCKING COMPETENT BOOKKEEPER TO SAVE MY LIFE and I’m desperate and miserable and anxious and horrified and frightened about it really is not helping.  I thought I had a back up plan but I can’t get anybody.  It’s so painful and awkward it’s warping my frame.

On the plus side I’m getting a lot of money back on my taxes, or so the accountant tells me.

 

This is a year when my faith will be tested and toyed with, and it was ever so.

 

 

 

 

oy – the crazy, it burns

Re a livejournal ‘friend’.

 

WTF?  Okay, so you’ve banned me from commenting, but why?  Either it’s because one of your friends breaks out in pustules at the very mention of my name, or because I said something to offend you personally… and of course I’m being given no opportunity to improve my behaviour.  I can’t help your friend, if that’s what the trigger was; she was craycray outta the gate.  Okay, crazy in this case is a slur…. how about absurdly sensitive, entitled, and broke my brain the day she told me that she’d ‘talked to her psychiatrist and HE diagnosed you as BPD’. Without ever seeing me.  Ya know I’m not driving to Seattle to see a psychiatrist that diagnoses people he hasn’t seen and discusses the results with other patients! woo hoo.

 

I’ve been all kinds of crazy, but I don’t meet the diagnostic criteria for BPD. Seasonal affective disorder, sure; OCD, very likely; ADD, probably; full on depression with suicidal ideation, been there, dun that, got NO urge to get back on that train and likely won’t; migraines (which affect mood), check; rather more narcissism that makes me comfy when I get back into a mode where I can examine it, sure, but hey, I’ve written 250 melodies and you haven’t –  so I get to be ‘all that’ in those things I’ve accomplished.  But all of this is manageable, especially with the form of cognitive behavioural therapy I prefer, the friends I have, the brother I live with and my worldview, which is, depending on the day,

It isn’t about me, unless it’s happening INSIDE ME.

The universe is neutral, people are not.

This too shall pass.

My mother loves me, and she would if I was an axe murderer.  Fortunately she didn’t raise me to be an axe murderer, so she doesn’t have to visit me in jail.

I am a worthwhile person, whose behaviour is sometimes thoughtless and shabby.

Life is a curved line.

You start helpless and peeing yourself and people take care of you.  You end helpless and peeing yourself and people take care of you. If you’re really lucky, you achieve bladder control somewhere in the middle and look after people who are helpless.

Virtually nothing that happens to you happens because you deserved it.  We’re all accidents, we all came to being on a razor edge of improbabilities. Honour the complexity, the scale and heft of your life – in spite of your accidental arrival.

 

I’ve got rants in my pants

I called somebody out on using a gendered slur recently and he paused & adjusted his speech. Sometimes it’s that easy.  Now if I could just stop using my own slurs and replace them with something better.  I am in search of a few good words, to replace a few slur-ry ones.  I’m looking at YOU r-tarded and p-nsy, two words which shouldn’t even be coming into my mind, let alone leaving my mouth.  If the action is stupid, I’ll use ‘ill-considered’, and if the person is stupid to the point of being a threat to life, limb and body politic, ‘witless’.  P-nsy is more problematic.  I am thinking ‘mollescent’ or ‘mollusc’ or ‘spineless’, although if I use mollusc I am afraid the Old Ones will cotch me.  I’m working on replacing “Thank G-d” with “Thankfulness!” and I’m already well into replacing the exclamations “C—-t!” and “J—s!” with “Darwin’s Beard!”