Church today was great

A good service, enlivened by Rev Deb’s inclusion of both Thomas King and George Carlin.  Plus, Beatles, and Dark of Winter, my favourite hymn as sung by the choir.  Paul, bless him, is back from his gig in Seattle and gave me a lift to and likewise fro. I sent him forth with chicken breast for sandwiches, my homemade pickled beets (which he adores) and a frozen soup by way of thanks (also he gave me one of his very chiropractic hugs, which by damn I needed!)

Wrote about 750 words on Midnite Moving today.

Practiced HARD this morning.  It’s getting close!

Found Keith’s 300$ sunglasses in the couch downstairs.  Phoned him immediately and was he glad!

No walkies today.  Still a bit nasty underfoot out there.  Not like Toronto, though, it’s a freaking mess there.

A*****e McF*****t stood me up for the meet at the shop.  Sorry, I’m not in the mood to be charitable.  Jeff knows the whole tale and concurs.

Totally took down some asshat on twitter going on about vaccination.  The article he linked to said that vaccinations have something to do with infant mortality in the US.  ( well they do, just not negatively). The high infant mortality rate in the US has more to do with institutionalized racism and unevenly distributed prenatal care than vaccination, and anybody who says different doesn’t know a FUCKING THING about epidemiology, obstetrics, and forty years of data drawing a line between race and good — or poor — health outcomes.  Given that the twitter account is ostensibly an anti racism media site, I unloaded very hard.  I do not want persons of colour to put their kids at risk believing this bullshit because ‘da man’ makes bad vaccines.  HEAVY HEAVY SIGH.

As a palate cleanser….Cute temporary tattoos!

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?

 

 

 

 

I love it when my characters come up with good lines

George, sputtering about his cousin Theo, “The plural of fun is not drama!”

 

Jeff and I have started watching Longmire.  It’s loaded with some of our fave actors; Robert Taylor is totally new to us and turns out to be an Aussie; Katee Sackhoff, Bailey Chase, Gerald McRaney, Peter Weller, Lou Diamond Phillips.  Well written, exquisitely shot and kinda violent, just the way I like my shows.

No show

Oh my screaming g’s the Detroit Philly game. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Six inches of snow on the camera crew and half the football disappears when you put it down. When the player rooted double handsful of snow out of his face mask I howled.

Furnace is broken, internet is spotty.  Working right now, but who knows later.  It’s been like this for days now.

We’re at the end of Season 4 for Burn Notice and Jeff has declared a short moratorium.  That’s okay, because I’m currently thrilling to the amazing dress sense of the lovely Phryne Fisher of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  It’s very much in the Foyle’s War category of murder mysteries, except Australian and Phryne is a SLUTTTT! A cheerful, unapologetic and unambiguous one (but sex scenes are strictly decorous and mostly off screen).  She drives a Hispano Suiza! She has a gold plated pistol, which never seems to have any ammo! She is awesome.  So until I get Michael Westen back, probably about a week from now, I’ll have to watch Farscape and Miss Fisher instead.

Person to see the shop yesterday didn’t show.  Somebody else called, I’m showing it Tuesday.

David Simon (of the Wire) talkin”bout capitalizm.

I am thinking of going to the shooting range the next time Keith and Rob go.

I know I spend a lot of time whining, but I am really happy to be alive, and I’m writing and practicing every day, and there’s food in the fridge, and my friends love me, and my cat is cheerfully indifferent to me unless I’m crinkling packaging.

Eddie is feeling a bit better – his appetite has returned – but he’s now hiding in Jeff’s bathroom cupboard a good chunk of the time.

I have half completed my first of two new homilies (March 9 and May 11, or perhaps the other way around) and intend to have a completed draft of the first by the end of the week. mOm I should have a bit off to you shortly.

The Alberta government has tabled legislation that will prevent public sector union employees from even TALKING about striking.  What unutterable bullshit! My prairie populist ancestors are whirling in their graves like a rotisserie set on stun.

Yay, Natalie Reed is blogging again. She is a queer trans blogger living in Vancouver and she can write like a m*****-******* riot.

A somewhat likely story

following is fictional…

 

Dad staggered away from the kitchen in an exaggeration of his normal walk.  He had grimly supported Mom through the whole ghastly process of getting the equipment through customs, and grimly supported her in the sequelae, which included about four dozen eggs on the outside of the house and a number of unpleasant encounters with the more tender hearted of their neighbours, including the one neighbour they were always having fencing discussions with, and whom they suspected of allowing access for youthful depredations.

Now the damned machine was here, and it was as if every item which had been eviscerated from his diet was now coming at him as extruded by this knitting machine of the damned.

She’d seen it in a catalog, and ever since had wanted it so.

Dad couldn’t watch.  He knew he would not be able to resist, even knowing where the meat had come from.

________

So, today there was news about knittable meat.  There was also meat you could wear and meat you could form in rainbow layers and other kinds of Modern Foods kinda meat.

I DON’T  want to know what the meat was. In the story, that is. Sometimes the depths of one’s subconscious are a small but entertaining tidal pool.

 

Grace has no race

Man, I read some PAINFUL SHIT  yesterday.  But this is what fell out.

 

Unitarians have no issue with working through privilege and fighting discrimination. That is one of the functions of religion, to identify bias in ways that open the heart and warm the soul and loosen the fists.  It’s part of our congregational covenant.

▪ The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

  • Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;

 

Race is not specifically mentioned in our principles.  I can understand why that is; my personal bias is that a specific mention of race when we’re all about the oneness of humanity is well, unseemly.

 

But… We haven’t had the internal conversation on race. I believe our ideas and words on the subject are hampered by fears of giving offense, by guilt, by ignorance, by denial and by a vast interlinked network of laws and customs, tv news and badly taught history which result in the elevation of white people over people of colour.

 

It’s time we got over that.

 

One of the things I’ve noted, and which yet again was pointed out to me by a young FN activist in November of 2013, is that it is not the responsibility of those discriminated against to plead their case as and when asked – or, indeed, ever.  If you’re an ally, the thinking goes, you will put down the Chardonnay and google “Residential schools” or “Highway of Tears” or “Poll Tax” or “Komagata Maru”.  You’ll educate yourself.  And if you’ve got a boatload of guilt or want to interrupt at public meetings, please stay home, you’re tiresome and a continual reminder that many more white people want to have wings than earn them.

 

Having accepted after all this time that it is my responsibility to look at the problem and develop my own curriculum, this is how I see the process.  We’re talking years, but there’s no reason we can’t start.

 

Step one. Sorting.  Get over how we don’t know how racist we are.  Staying home and reading about it on the internet is not helpful.  We must share our painful, quirky, horrific, wrackingly tragic, bewildering, magical and intimately personal stories about race in the comforting bosom of our church siblings before we talk about it in public.  It is by story that we will be set free.  It is through story that we will find both the will and the vocabulary to accept our complicity and move on together, with grace and forgiveness stumbling forward with us.

 

Step two. Reconnecting with the flow of life.  Develop a way of talking about race and racial discrimination which removes inflammatory language (by listening to what people of colour have to say on the subject and humbly paying heed), doesn’t play into old guilty habits (“well we’ve done talking about race now”), models the best possible behaviour church-wide for our children and visitors (so yes, special attention given to greeters and those people in the congregation who have the ability to talk to anyone and RE), and helps distinguish us from other liberal religious organizations.  We’ve been a stagnant pond, it’s time to be a tranquil stream.

 

Step three. Clean up time.  ACCEPT that we will likely never be racially reflective of the areas we live in, STOP being ashamed about it, WORK to eradicate discrimination the way humans everywhere always have.  Build networks with people you personally like, who value life and freedom and beauty and nature and art as you do, to find whatever role to play against racial discrimination you have the strength to fulfill.  They don’t have to be in the church, and in fact one of the marks of a healthy Unitarian congregation is how many different social justice sandboxes are being played in at once.

 

Step four. Sing the message.  Encourage those UUs who can to self identify as people who have quit taking racial privilege and discriminatory bias as part of the natural order of things. Teach consistent and tested ways of knowing the why and when to speak up, what to say, and how to say it with humility and temperance.  If we have a haven on Sunday where we can bring our stories of confronting structures of evil, it will be much easier for us to shift out of our guilty little comfort zones.

 

Step five. Carry the flame.  Find ways to set congregational goals regarding eradicating racial bias, incorporate them into church life, celebrate milestones.  Continue to hold workshops and write curriculum on racism and equality, make art and media about it, blog and write and link on facebook and other social media platforms, build links to faith communities not just for interfaith kumbayas but for true stories about institutional racism and how we can be of practical help.  Put refresher courses on the church five year plan.  Note to self:  leave the presence of the word kumbayas but take it out of the final version because it refers to a spiritual song wrested from the Gullah folkways. Of course when I heard it in my childhood it was the Weavers singing it.  And I have to go away and think about that for a while.  Anyhoo…

In sum:  Racial bias must be defined and that definition broadly accepted, its eradication valued, encouraged and honoured, and participation in self-reflection, liturgy and civil engagement to end racial bias must be considered a foundational aspect of UU life. Grace has no race.

Well that was odd

As soon as I finished the last post, this fell out.  Right after.

 

And Katrina knows about the barrel of clothes

And the man who was stolen for the hell-bound train

And the little girl who died, and the man who broke my nose

On a night when I had to wear my paint in the rain

Leave me be!  your tracts all belong in my past

And I’ll live my own life now, and make my own way

And if it seems to you that I live without a care

I’m waiting for the worst — it’s always waiting over there

I’ll light a cigarette and stand on my very own verandah

I’ll listen for the train, and I’ll think about him then.

I’ll think about him then.

 

That’s the missing bridge for Bootlegging Mary!!! I’ve been waiting freaking ages for that to happen, and it finally did!!!  It’s still rough, but I love it when it all comes out like that.  I am sure I’ll have to edit the hell out of it for singability.

Projects!

Right now I am using Scrivener to assemble a book of all the small small things I’ve written over the years, snippets of this and that, some ranty, some funny, some just plain weird.  The project is already almost 20K long, so I am thrilled.  And I haven’t even started to draw in from the paper pile – this is all stuff from my blog, more or less.

I spent so much time complaining about Katie, I think with the cafe I got what I deserved.   That plus some other sincerely unpleasant things are what I learned.

However, I should really get going on the other two projects (Neil Gaiman “Make Good Art”), so I am going to put on a restorative cup of tea and run some laundry and get going on the other projects.

Incremental progress

Good news first, I have been asked to come in and talk to a recruiter this afternoon.  This is the closest I’ve gotten to genuine job hunting activity in months so I am obviously thrilled.

Bad news. I’ve lowered the price and still can’t get anybody interested in the cafe; I will have to break the lease.  HEAVY HEAVY SIGH.

Tarot for Atheists, a couple of hundred words’ worth of progress.

Turkey soup is on the stove – I will adjust seasoning shortly and then start freezing it in containers. Jeff can’t stand the smell of the bones, and has no idea how this sentence would have ended if I hadn’t backspaced over it.

Replaced cpap machine with one that smells a little less disgusting.  I must make a purchase decision within 2 weeks.

Completed writing down a song, converted it to midi and fired it off to mOm.  I only have another hundred songs to write out.  It really IS the Song That Never Ends.

Herewith today’s linkorama:

Crowdsourcing Tolstoy. 

This guy and guys like him are why I make no further efforts to date.

Fighting sexism… using MATH.

My cat wants an escape pod.

If you rape a girl and leave her naked outside in freezing weather, and you work for your family’s restaurant, and your local prosecutor despite eyewitnesses and video refuses to prosecute, and then the whole town turns on the rape victim and burns her house down, well, the internet just might give bad reviews to your restaurant.

Little yawning kitties.

 

 

Giant insect fear films r us

Okay, it’s an arachnid, but what-e-ver.  Gotta love that sense of humour!

I made bacon and egg and salad wraps on home made naan bread for breakfast this morning. I was kinda mean, I told Jeff I’d take him for breakfast and then cooked it instead, but he’s a trouper and ate without comment…  I really really love home made naan. It’s comfort food.

I have no idea why, but my digestion instantly improved three days ago and I am very much enjoying it.  Further to my sudden improvement I purchased a book called Gutbliss by an American women gastroenterologist, in which she talks about all the things that can go wrong with a modern female gut and how you can put it right.  Her opening comments about how gastroenterology has lost the plot and turned into ‘the endoscopy biz’ were very revealing, and she also said she’s learned about the gut not just in school and from her patients, but from a large selection of non traditional healers.  She still plumps for the “I want to see the evidence” but her three rules of dealing with gut issues are:

Talk to the patient, take time with the patient

Most people aren’t crazy even if their symptoms don’t make sense.  (!!!)

Think outside the box.

I am enjoying her writing style, which is vigorous and plain-spoken.  Yes, she has a line of products.  But I don’t see her making extreme claims for them, which is always pleasant.

I am exercising my shoulder very hard every day.  I can now visualize a complete recovery.  I could not two weeks ago.  I think I am going to go back into the biscotti business.  This was a temporary setback, not the end of the world.  Both of the folks I showed the shop two recently haven’t called back.  It’s actually kind of freeing.  I will leave the ad up until a few weeks from now, and then get back into it.  Huge to do list….. that never stops. 

Somebody said on twitter this morning that offense is taken, not given, and I have to say that’s bullshit. It completely ignores the power differential that exists throughout the continuum of a life between you and the rest of the world.  Powerful people give offense all the time.  They just don’t call it that.

I slept a little with the new mask and the cpap machine last night, but at some point I ripped it off again.  I have some kind of dysphagia (as is almost always the case with me, not enough to come to the attention of a doctor) and what ends up happening is I can’t swallow my spit properly with the mask going.  I swallow, my ears pop like a mofo, the spit is still there, and I’m lying there feeling like I’m drowning in spit.  Also, my breathing mechanics change a lot with the cpap machine and I don’t feel like I’m breathing enough… nothing feels natural and I end up holding my breath… which feels very weird because the whole POINT of having a cpap is to get enough O².

 

 

 

 

Nairobi

Woke up this morning, checked facebook and found out that relatives of a friend of mine were under fire in Westgate Mall in Nairobi.  I told Salim that I could only hope that I’d never get into religion or politics to the extent that I felt shooting my neighbours was appropriate.  Twenty dead at least, fifty injured at least.  What a world.

Saw Keith briefly yesterday, and read the Shiduri sequence out of the Epic of Gilgamesh to him.  I liked the new translation / new gloss of it so much I actually bought it.  As a writer I guess I feel I should own the oldest surviving story (there are older documents but they are storage related…).

My stop digging exercises have commenced; the kitchen is coming along and I’ll be poking at other piles of disorder gradually over the next few weeks.  Rome wasn’t destroyed in a day.  Also, wrote stuff yesterday, put a song into Songwriter, did some ‘work on my projects’ stuff as well as cleaning and watching tv.  Also, applied for a job, since one of my contacts hailed me and gave me the frequency.  Nothing is likely to come of it, but I can’t look any gift horses in any particular elevation.

The exercises continue apace.  Next physio Monday, next doc appointment a month.

I tried the cpap again last night and MAYBE got two hours.  I think my sleep disorder is actually a little more nuanced than this machine can deal with.  Also, I really think I’ve got the wrong mask.

I got a really good and extremely cheap back rest for the driver’s seat in Ziva.  She has been very well behaved since she was smacked in the parking lot.

 

Another nibble on the café.

 

I leave you with a John Shirley quote (from New Taboos).

People who are quadriplegic have stated that they feel less emotion than they could when they could still feel their entire bodies. The projection of the self into our electronics reduces the relationship to the body, the seat of our emotions, and for several reasons that might lead to an increase in psychopathology.

 

 

 

 

The two of Cups

So, I was processing one of the cards for Tarot for Atheists, and I had been dodging the two of Cups because I never felt comfortable with it.  This time I really meditated on it for a long time… and now I have my new interpretation of the card.  Here it is in poetic form, but you get the general idea.  As a standalone, it’s fine, but the card interpretation changes radically in readings.

 

the two of cups

 

in profile stern

bearing a grail, or great stirrup cup

she stands so that her tabard barely stirs

against his touch, against his moving will

no occasion of beauty or grace

as they part

their attachment sundered

by disease

body-borne and spirit-lowering

see the winged lion flying expressionless

the cabin announcement of bad news

cruising into crazy danger

and l o  o  k the lion’s got a caduceus

jammed up his ass

the point of which is resting on

the young man’s hand, and wow

garlands of paper flowers or hell

maybe he sprang for roses

(they got the picture done professionally

after all)

you can tell this young man putters

over his appearance

he is in full vigour and sweetness

and wants you to choke on it

to eat the entirety of his cruelty, which is

of two fold kind;

that he is young and beautiful which he

need not say for it is for anyone to say

and that he must make you drown

in your own decay, hating the smugness

and hatred of the old, you get reflected

decades later.  It was you who did this, you.

 

in the meantime they are going to break up

he gave her clap, or his coke addiction

cost something. or she went crazy

or got in a car accident and couldn’t fuck anymore.

me, I’m hoping that red roof

in the background may be an inn.