Legionary Priestess Costume

So much is happening I can't keep up!  But let's talk about my most recent costume.

This isn't the first time I've shown this costume!  It was created for the Wastelander's Ball which I wrote about back in March.  However I never got any good, detailed photos of the costume and I never talked about the creation process, so that's where we'll start today.  Before we get into my costume, I just want to point out my girlish excitement that the official Blood Drive Instagram noticed and re-grammed Allyn's Julian Slink costume.  Talk about a COOL FREAKING MOMENT.

Enough about him let's talk about me.  So, one thing a lot of people don't know is that I dressed up as a female Caesar with my own special flair, for Salt Lake Comic Con back in 2014.  It was a last minute pipe dream that I somehow slobbed together and it wasn't a great fantastic getup, but I really just wanted to dress up and meet some Fallout fans.  I don't think anyone knew who I was and I had just moved back from Sweden so I was very much a loner and didn't talk to anyone or meet up.  The costume was held together with glue and hope, as my skill level was really poor, but I still enjoyed it.  So I guess we can say this costume was the precursor to my Priestess.  When I look back on it, it had so much potential, but my poorness+lack of skill+throwing it together last minute to the Benny Hill theme is what made me stop any further progress or development for years.

I started thinking about an elaborate Legion costume when I knew I was going to take Allyn to the Wastelander's Ball.  It's "formal apocalypse" wear, and I knew I wanted a huge sweeping dramatic skirt and a big headdress.  The Legion is the only faction that can really pull off something like that in New Vegas, so I started making some ideas.  The game mentions priestesses of the Legion and I suppose all of my Nordic/Celtic/Germanic medieval pagan vibes worked their way into this look.  A few drawings later and I had everything in mind.  We bought the supplies and began work in February.

The biggest challenge was honestly, my post partum body.  I spent months fluctuating weight, being a bigger weight than I ever have been in my life, hating my body, and on top of that searching for a fluffy ballgown dress.  That was the second biggest challenge, ha! The dress.  I found what I needed at the thrift store, but it was white and needed to be dyed red.  Like, bloody Legion red.  As you can see above, this fabric did NOT take well to the idea of red.  We had a good laugh, a mild panic, and hesitantly decided to try spray paint.

It worked like a charm.  It even gave the dress a weirder, firmer texture that just suits the apocalypse so well, almost like the dress is an old relic that's been burned or charred.  The other big project was the headdress and we played around with ideas of what to put on it; I wanted some type of animal skull but most of the ones in the desert are so dry rotted they crumble when you do anything with them.  We were toying with other ideas when Allyn took out an old creepy metal mask he'd put together long before we met.

It was like the missing gemstone in a temple lock or something, it fit so well.  I was stunned at how I instantly looked very "Legion" with the headdress.  Once the headdress and the main dress were finished, it was smooth sailing.  I painted the cape, we weathered the clothing, and while I slept feverishly in a hotel in Primm, Nevada, Allyn put together the remainder of my codpiece.

It looks amazing and I think it might be my favorite part of the costume.  I do intend to embellish it more in the days to come, but this is a great starting point.  There's a bit of lore here, and the codpiece design was all my idea.  In the older, scrapped Fallout stories, there exists a tribe called the 80's who roam the remains of Interstate 80 through Salt Lake City, sometimes on motorcycles.  They're described as vicious and identify their rank based on the signs they wear--of course, the prized blue and red interstate 80 denotes a special member.  I live right next to 80, so it was only fitting that my priestess kept a bit of her home tribe with her after assimilating into the Legion!

From here it's just adding more details and finding a makeup routine I like! But I'm pleased so far, and not only is this bad boy going to be entered into Fanx's cosplay contest this year, but I have a special "version" of it planned for Zombie Prom.......stick around!

As usual...Allyn was instrumental in making this costume happen and he's the reason for all the awesome stuff we do together.  It's the best feeling in the world to have someone so talented and creative in your life, and even better when they encourage your own creativity and theirs compliments yours.  His enthusiasm and problem solving skills are infectious and if he were in game, I'd keep him as a companion for the whole main quest! 


Correcting Tongue and Lip Ties

I've thought about writing this since Ender was small.  I wondered if anyone would care, if it was worth sharing, and so on, even though when I was researching this myself there is precious little information out there about it, so by default I should have thought about sharing to raise awareness.  Anyway, I was going through Ender's old pictures and found a pre-lip-tie-fix photo and it just took me right back to those really hard days, and I thought, what the hell, it's time to share.

Tongue Tie 

So I actually got kind of "lucky" on this.  Allyn was an adult with a tongue tie.  Before I met him, I thought "tongue-tied" was a colorful expression.  But nope, it just means that your tongue doesn't lift properly and is "tied" via skin to your lower jaw.  In the case of a mild lip tie, maybe nothing changes.  In an extreme tongue tie, which Allyn had, things like touching one's tongue to the back of one's teeth is impossible.  This meant no ice cream cone licking for Allyn, for most of his life.  He had the tie corrected in his 20's, and it was painful and a long healing process.

It's interesting that breastfeeding is the new FRENZY CULT and yet not a lot of education is out there about tongue ties and how it affects breastfeeding.  I'd done all my duties and read up on proper latch and blah blah blah boring who cares god I don't miss ANY OF THIS, but when Ender first tried to breastfeed I told the nurse that it hurt really bad and her response was "yep. it hurts. that's life."  I'M NOT EVEN JOKING.  She was awful.  

But I pushed and asked the lactation consultant, who had no clue what I was talking about until I explained it and then said "oh yeah! I knew a woman who had that once and she had to have her tongue cut when she was an adult! Supposedly it's really painful!" UGH THANKS.  The worst part? "You know what helps bruised nipples? Rub a little breastmilk on it!"  I'm sorry, but breast milk is literally fat and sugar.  Do you want me to put cookies on 'em too? Butter them up maybe?  What other bodily fluids should I apply to my contusions? So dumb.  I absolutely hate that breastfeeding is this new pseudo-science-mystic-healing-powers bullshit.  So over it.  Anyway, that was also a bust and I'm getting off track.  She was no help is my point.    

Sooooooooo I pushed again and went to the hospital pediatrician, who I have mixed feelings about.  I'll explain why in a minute.  She was the first person who actually had experience with tongue ties, and after hearing my suspicion, she poked Ender to get him crying (keep in mind he was like 2 days old and I was very sad to see him cry like that.)  The minute he opened his mouth she said he had a severe tongue tie.  I was happy I stood up for myself and my son, but annoyed that I had to ask three separate people and it was me asking instead of the medical professionals during whatever checkups they do, but whatever.  

I didn't know what to expect since Allyn's experience had been so painful and traumatizing.  I guess it isn't so when done on a baby, because Ender didn't bleed, he didn't scream, he was just annoyed at having a little spatula in his mouth to lift his tongue up.  Unlike circumcision, which is a completely unnecessary cosmetic procedure, this was a cut on an infant (haha) that I feel like really truly helped him.  Allyn was a little jealous that Ender would get to go through childhood without the trauma of not being able to speak or eat properly.  I was just relieved and thought we'd fixed the problem.

Lip Tie

But Ender was still having problems.  I noticed that he had what I called a "turtle lip" and I suspected it was the cause of his bad latching issues.  When he was only a week or two old I took him back to the pediatrician with again, suspicions that he had a lip tie.  A lip tie is bad because it also prevents a good latch, which whether the baby is sucking down from a boob or a bottle, they get extra air, they have reflux, and so on.  They can contribute to later problems as well, although since that was the "survival mode" of motherhood all I was worried about was the eating and latching.  The pediatrician looked and said yes, he had a severe lip tie, BUT (and this is why I have a mixed opinion of her) she was very haughty about correction of lip ties and stated that "maybe a dentist would do it, but would they be doing it for the right reasons?"  Implying that money was the only reason you'd want to remove such a feature.  She urged me to wait it out and see if things "got better" WHICH IS THE WORRRRRRRRST ADVICE to a new mother with severe PPD but whatever lady, I'm sorry the dentist hurt you.

Poor old Ender was having a rough go of it and I got so mad about the doctor visit that I switched pediatricians which is the best choice I could have made.  Ender's new doctor took everything I said seriously, checked his mouth and was stunned at how "glued down" his lip was, and he called in another doctor who had extensive practice with the procedure.  They asked if another pair of doctors could witness the procedure and I said sure, have at it.  It was just the same as the tongue tie; took a few seconds, shed a few tears, and bam, a HUGE problem was fixed.  And almost like he was reading my mind about the gall of the other pediatrician, the doctor said "We'll see if we can look up some codes for this to bill it as cheap as possible since this was medically necessary, at this point."  Guess not every lip tie fixer is in it for the money EH LADY?  I was and am, very, very grateful for these compassionate and understanding men and wish they would have been around for my traumatizing birth and first three weeks, ha!

I don't know how well I have helped Ender medically speaking; I know that he could eat better but still had reflux most of his early days.  I know that we only breastfed for a month and I attribute a lot of that failure to the lip and tongue ties and the idiocy of the medical team "on my side" or whatever, and I know that according to Allyn, growing up with a tongue tie was completely miserable and I've spared Ender years of pain and strife.  I also think it's likely he could have had speech problems with the combination of a "severe" tongue and "severe" lip tie, and now that's one less thing he has to worry about maybe?  When we got home and I saw how full and luscious his lips were without the frenulum holding his lip down I cried because he has my lips and I had no idea before that.  Just have a look at the before and after. (The before is the photo that prompted me to write this entry) 


Summer in Progress

I can't believe the last update I made was in May.  That's absurd.  Summer just kind of steam-rolled me and I'm still feeling the effects of it as we're maybe halfway through, but I had to give at least a small update and recap.

I had a huge Midsommar party and it was a blast.  I keep meaning to upload photos, but it just hasn't happened.  I'm bummed because I didn't take a ton of photos in the first place, but it's really hard to be an event planner, host, participant and photographer.  It was everything I dreamed it'd be, though! We had all the classics including jordgubbstĂ„rta and the symbolic opening of surströmming (which I thought was going to make Allyn divorce me).

I don't even know what happened all of June.  It just blurred by, and July has been even worse.  I can't go into too much personal detail but something completely unexpected happened--good, but stressful, and when I say stressful I mean the kind of shit that most people don't survive without some kind of mental breakdown.  Luckily, I was already mentally broken down so I have cruised through everything and seemingly FINGERS CROSSED, August looks to be less...intense.

The above photos are from probably my favorite day all summer...I went to Butterfield Canyon with Allyn and Ender.  Our plans to go down the other side were washed away in the rain, so we turned around and came home, but it was so amazing to get out of the city and be in the rain and dirt and trees.  Why don't I do this more often?  It's a form of self-care and it just doesn't happen nearly enough.

I decided in May that I was going to try handwriting in a journal, mostly for Ender, because there are things I want him to know that I just don't care to put on a public blog, and also because that will be something he can continue to keep track of when the nuclear apocalypse inevitably happens.  But I can't seem to find the right journal to do it with.  They're all so small and obnoxious.  Or they're not lined.  Or they're not pretty enough.

I did buy a small journaling pad and though it's been nice and I've gotten a few good sketches out of it, I've decided I need something bigger.

Follow my instagram art page!   @haifisch_art

Haha, I just noticed these two are both skellyton-ish....well anyway.  The purple haired girl actually comes from a "game" I'm obsessed with...it's called Choices, and it's an app where you do a choose-your-story IT SOUNDS SO LAME! and the stories are definitely geared toward more young-adult fiction, but they had a "scary" book that was just so moody and haunting it reminded me of those days playing Silent Hill 4 or reading Goosebumps and Spooksville...yeah I was super obsessed with scary young adult books, so much so that I'd love to write a few myself.  

The best were these three-story collections called "Fright Time" that I would get from the dollar store....I've always intended to rebuild my collection via the wonder of Amazon.  Another great series was "Shivers" which had SO many great tales, my favorite of which was titled "Night of the Goat Boy."  You laugh now but that thing was terrifying!!! Come to think of it, I think it's time for another Amazon books buy.  A random sidenote is that way back in the early, early days of Facebook I happened to track down M.D. Spenser, the author of the Shivers series and I gushed to him about how much I loved his work and how the books ignited my imagination as a younger kid, and that he was one of my author inspirations.  He was very gracious and encouraged me to write.  Pretty cool. 

Anyway, a bunch of other stuff has happened, I went to two pinup contests, and joined the Battlin' Betties, which seems promising.  Also not documented anywhere on my instagram or Facebook is the fact that since April, I've been doing on and off keto--I LOVE IT.  The "off" part has been mostly due to unfixable circumstances and heavy stress, but goddammit I'm committed, again, and can't wait to get back in ketosis.  To sound cultish for a minute, my aches and pains pretty much disappeared, I had energy in a way I've never had energy before, I had stunning clarity and better moods...and obviously a lot of weight came off.  I'm ready to get back into those feels please! 

In August, we have:

-My birthday
-Hot Air Balloon Festival
-Zombie prom and walk (and I have an AWESOME makeup unveiling!)
-......my birthday
-Salt Flats racing!

For real, I'm trying to keep the "doing" to a minimum because I'm just exhausted.  I've "done" enough in the month of July and I'd just love to sit around for my birth month and enjoy my family.

Here's a Currently:

reading:  A whole lot of Reddit.  Now that I wrote this post I'm getting into buying more young adult horror to traumatize Ender with, and it's going to be amazing.  I still have my two books to read to Allyn on my kindle but that hasn't happened yet :( 

watching After the third person compared me to Lagertha (I still am not sure why) I finally started watching Vikings.  The funny thing is that I listened to Wadruna, who does a lot of their music, yeaaaaaaaaars ago.  It's weird watching a show that has all this weird folky Scandinavian music in it that you've heard a lot.  Anyway, the show really fizzled out after the first two seasons, but those two seasons were phenomenal.  Very artful, incredible acting, and lots of ancient languages including my absolute favorite--Anglo Saxon!  Well done History Channel good job 10/10 in the beginning there.

Other than that?  Just a lot of murder and crime TV.  What else is new? 

thinking about my health.  I'm 30 and I feel 90.  There are so many things I want to do but these changes last if they're implemented slowly and the best place to start is my diet.  I WAS on track there for awhile and then life punched me.  I still am thinking a lot about my health these days.

wondering how to make more money.  Wondering WHY I have to make money.  Hating society.  Feeling stressed.  Wondering if I can make it by digging out a nuclear shelter and just eating platain for the next twenty years until I die.  I really, really hate modern society and I don't care how cynical I sound.  I'm so over it.  I'm so over both Allyn and I having to break our necks with this work-obsessed culture where wealth is something the average American will never achieve.  I'm just sick of it.  Wow this got dark huh?  Always on my mind though, lol.

enjoying Ender.  He is such a good baby.  He's so smart and strong and wonderful.  He hasn't quite gotten attached to me in the way where he loves on me, but he does scream blood-curdling monstrous screams if I walk away from him, so there's that.  I've been going a little nuts on the pinning of baby birthday stuff, so that'll be our next big party for sure.  


2018 Rat Fink Reunion

I had a random trade day at the beginning of June and decided it would be a fun "small" getaway for the family.  I was looking into car shows and found out that the Rat Fink Reunion was taking place that same weekend!


Rat Fink is the above grotesque, ugly character created by Ed Roth.  Rat Fink and a bunch of other equally disturbing illustrations (haha I really do not like how they look) are kind of synonymous with kustom kulture--special and unique vehicles, artwork, hairstyle, fashion..the whole nine--from the 50's and onward.  Ed Roth was a great artist and made some pretty famous vehicles, including custom motorcycle builds, and as it turns out he traded his partying ways for Mormonism before he passed.  He moved to Manti, Utah and that's where the reunion is held.  There's also a museum dedicated to Ed in the town.

Grungy and not-so-normal is the vibe, and that's exactly Allyn's jam when it comes to cars.  He and I have different tastes but that's one aesthetic we agree on, and we knew there would be cool stuff to see.  I was also eager to get the EEFFFFFF out of the city for a night and enjoy small towns again.  What's with me, right? I'm so old, haha.  I remember being 22 and saying "I LOVE living in the city!!11!1" NO MORE.

We spent the night in Gunnison, an adjacent sleepy town. I considered the one motel in Manti, but the motel sign literally said "CTR"on the sign! and I am so not into that.  (The motel in Gunnison had a big huge picture of Jesus from the Book of Mormon in the lobby, but still...it's better than on the actual outside of the motel, right?)  The "town" of Gunnison is so small and quaint, it almost felt like being back in Goodsprings, except the prison was literally a stone's throw away.  I love the strangeness of small towns in the west--they're their own enigmas. 

The next morning we got all doody'd up and went to Manti, a short drive away.  On the way to the "town" is this ridiculous, obscene-looking temple.  It was actually pretty cool and I enjoyed looking at it.  Don't get me wrong, I despise religion and have no love for LDS history, but I can appreciate fine architecture, and it will be quite the hideout in the desert once the apocalypse comes.  It's odd but none of the photos online do this ominous, towering structure any real justice.  Here's the best I could find.  But have no fear, when the aforementioned apocalypse comes and we take over, I'll be sure to take a lot of photos.  I do have some pretty severe megalophobia and this building had me pretty uncomfortable.  I dig it!

Onto the reunion, though--Allyn had been saving this awesome steel-bodied "Beetle" for his hypothetical child whom now exists.  I say "Beetle" because this company made toy cars in the 70s and never approved their design through Volkswagen, so Volkswagen put a stop to it and now these rare, illegal cars are pretty valuable.  They're push cars, but Allyn took it a step further and made it into a moving RV car.  He controlled the remote, and we sat Ender in it so he could drive around!!

Now I will say, at first I was terrified of this thing.  Ender is only nine months, this was a push toy made for older kids, and never meant to be a remote controlled vehicle.  But I got over the jitters quickly.  Ender was a natural.  I don't even think he cared.  In fact, he fell asleep a few times, LOL!  But he was one cool dude.  We were driving him around and parking him by the cool cars for photo ops.  The funniest moment was when we drove him under this HUGGGE monster car and heard the people on the other side laughing when a kid just popped out from under the vehicle with no warning!

As expected there were a ton of cool cars.  Allyn got an awesome printed tin sign with a rat rod on it and I got a rat fink hairbow.  I do think the characters look atrocious but I wanted something to help me remember the event, and it did the trick.  I almost wish we could've spent two or three days there because we got so tired, so fast, that we didn't get to see everything, including the museum.

But it was a great family outing, and our first time away from home with Ender since we went to Tennessee last year.  Whole different ballgame with a moving, crawling baby--I much prefer the lumpy newborn stage!! Travel is going to be different from now on, but that's okay.


Best and Worst Phases of My Life

Today I'm answering a double question from my journaling prompts: "What was the worst phase of your life/what was the best phase of your life?" 

The Worst

Worst?  Aw shit I love negative topics. Easy.  BET YOU THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO SAY FOSTER CARE DIDN'T YOU?  Well, it's surprisingly not.  That was maybe the hardest phase of my life, but it wasn't the worst.  I learned unwanted, valuable survival skills and I made the longest lasting friendships in my life during that time.  Plus foster care was a very long experience, peppered with so many different phases in itself I could break it down by home or by event and I don't care to.

No, when I read 'the worst' one era of my life sticks out like a sore thumb.  I think it's pretty standard that people who have broken home and family lives try to reconcile maybe past the point of reasonability.  I had stayed away from my family dutifully, for years, and around this time I just missed them I guess.  I'd gotten in contact with my absolute favorite aunt, my mom's older sister Doris.  I spoke to my sisters on social media.  I was in a long distance relationship with a sailor who had just been stationed in Virginia, a mere hop skip and jump away from my home state.

 And to start this shitty phase off right, I'd quit my job as a teacher and was feeling entirely lost, jaded, and depressed.  My students were my world and I still haven't enjoyed anything quite like teaching.  The experience really prompted me to look elsewhere for happiness and it seemed logical to go toward home.  I was very 'Jack Dawson' in my early 20's and just kind of flitted around everywhere, which isn't a bad thing in itself, but it definitely was when what I needed was stability and security.

I moved back home.  After spending a few weeks with my then-fiancee, I moved in with my Aunt Doris who had completely hidden the fact that she was bedridden and suffering congestive heart failure.  She was such an amazing, powerful woman and to see her incapable of even standing was....not the best.  We were isolated, in the deep Georgia forest, with her dementia-ridden husband and abusive daughter in law.  Again, not the best.

We hunkered down and suffered through a tornado.  I went to a southern church again and remembered how mild the rest of the world is with their deity worship.  I walked around in the Appalachian foothills like I'd done as a girl, but I did not feel at home for one second.  I had some good old fashioned yelling matches over the phone with my fiancee.  Doris got hospitalized and declined quickly--the EMTs taking her away on the ambulance marked the last straw before I pursued my own medical education.  I remember feeling so powerless the entire illness.  I didn't know what to do.  I didn't understand what her body was going through.  I didn't know how to help.  I begged a foster sister to come drive me the 200 or so miles to my real sister's house, and while I was settling in there, Doris passed away.

Living with my younger sister, who was also in an unfamiliar home waaaaaaaaaay out in the country, did my mental health even less good.  She flew into a rage one day and started throwing everything but the kitchen sink at me, so I clocked her...not because I wanted to, but it was the only thing I could do to stop her tantrum.  She went to Doris's funeral with a black eye.  Again, not the right place for me.  I went to my other sister's house and got into yet another altercation there after a few weeks, which ended with her getting pissed at me and calling the cops to remove me from her apartment.

They were pretty stumped at what to do with me (as was I!) so I just had them drive me to the bus station, figuring I'd take things from there.  Let me tell you, a police backseat escort to the greyhound station, complete with them popping the trunk and handing you your luggage, is the BEST way to ensure that nobody at the bus station fucks with you.  Those bus station dwellers scurried away like cockroaches and stared warily at me until I was on a bus to Virginia.

As you might expect, I got to Virginia and was greeted by a failing relationship.  There were actually some peaceful, happy memories there, because I lived in a hotel next to the beach (you think I'm kidding?)  We explored colonial Virginia, which was all new to me...we went to the aquarium, we went to civil war battlefields, we ate a lot of seafood and drank good beer.  The fond memories, like everything else during this phase, were peppered in with some of the worst and most devastating fights and relationship turmoil that I've ever had.

I had moved down south in January.  I moved back to Utah in July.  I lasted six months through all of this terror, post-teacher-dom.  It was a HELLISH six months and for awhile I had severe PTSD symptoms and crippling anxiety.  Things settled down eventually, and that awful road was followed by a really lovely portion--moving to Sweden--but I'll never forget 2011 as being the absolute worst year of my life in every way.

The Best

Just like answering 'the worst', this one is incredibly easy.  And it makes me happy to say that.  The best is now.  It's better than it ever has been.  There are many reasons why.  First, I do have that relationship with my family that I sought out for so long.  My mother died and I have made peace with our horrendous relationship.  My dad and I have never been closer, and though I worry about him, I also get to talk to him frequently and send him pictures of his grandson.  I'm close with my sisters and I know I always have people and places to crash when I'm in Tennessee.

My job is the best job I've ever had.  It's unique, it's the right environment and place for me, and it has given me opportunities I never thought I would have, like becoming an EMS instructor.  I've met some amazing people around the globe, and I'd like to brag that I have some of the best relationships in the world, friend and otherwise.  I have Flemith and Allyn and Ender.  I enjoy being a mom, I enjoy being who I am and I live with people who respect and appreciate me.  It hasn't been perfect; for god's sake we went through a flood and evacuation (and subsequent purgatory/homelessness) my labor was traumatic, I had HORRIBLE post-partum depression, I still need to lose another 30 or so pounds of baby weight and I regret chopping my hair off every day, but in the grand scheme of things  I am so, so happy.


Hospital Hatred

Note: I'm not writing this to bash on hospitals in general, or even this particular hospital--so I won't even name it.  I'm just writing this to get it out of my system, because it has made me sick with anxiety for the past month and a half and I just can't not write about it, you know?  I'm going to skip over the really shitty parts like waking up to Ender in respiratory distress and the whole 15 hours of emergency rooms and treatment  b e f o r e  this part of the story.  

With that disclaimer out of the way, here's what happened. 

Ender was getting suctioned every 2 hours at that time, and it seemed to be a good time ratio.  He was so congested and having such a hard time breathing that he had to be suctioned before every bottle; he couldn't breathe through his nose and drink his formula.  He had been doing all right for an hour or so, but while Derik and I were sitting in the room and Ender was napping, his oxygen dropped low again.

If he'd been awake and alert I would've just let the monitor beep but he was asleep, and his breathing was labored, so I pushed the call button.  It was mid-afternoon but the lights were off in the hospital room--as you can see from the above picture, there were HUGE windows letting sunlight in anyway, so the room was dim, but not dark.  When I pushed the call button I anticipated the respiratory therapist (the one who used the high powered suctioning device) to come in, but it was a nurse(?) I had never seen before. 

I remember that she was blond, and pregnant.  She rushed into the room all business, didn't introduce herself or anything.  I was holding Ender and she wordlessly went to a cabinet without even checking his pulse ox or anything else, and withdrew a nasal cannula.  I told her, "He needs suctioning, he's going to eat soon anyway and he can't eat without it."

"We still have some time left before the two hours," she replied (what...like...twenty minutes?) so I just gritted my teeth and watched her try to put this nasal cannula on a cranky baby with an IV in his head.  It didn't go well.  She didn't speak or inform me what she was doing or anything, she just reached over and slapped these two circular, quarter-sized bandages over the edges of the oxygen tubing and bandaged them to Ender's cheeks. 

She left without a word.  I was fuming mad already because I didn't consent to or agree with giving supplemental oxygen without even looking to make sure he was okay.  I got to poking around at the bandages, which Ender HATED--he was tugging at them and tossing his head around.  Now he was wide awake and unhappy.  It seemed like his breathing was worse, too.  I looked more, I felt like something was off.  The notches on the cannula were far too wide for his little nostrils, they were pushing his nose apart and it looked painful.  The nurse(?) had set the oxygen to a whopping 1 lpm...gee whiz, what a difference....but what bothered me more than all of this is that Ender seemed to be breathing worse now.

I sat him on his bed and watched his breathing.  His breath seemed to be stuck in his throat.  He'd been in distress for literally all night and all day, at this point about 15 hours total, the only relief coming about five minutes after a suction and then immediately going away.  But what happened next is the part that sticks in my memory.  I was watching him breathe in a new, weird, unusual gasping pattern and every alarm bell in my head went off.  I haven't had much EMS experience with infants, and having it be my own may have played a part, but just thirty seconds of watching his gaspy breaths made me hit the call button again.  I felt like he was going to go unconscious at any second, and he was trying desperately to cry and couldn't.  As gently as I could, I took off that stupid ass goddamn cannula, leaving big red marks on his cheeks from the adhesive.

One CNA entered, then another nurse.  I didn't even pause, "He's not breathing right, get the respiratory therapist."  Then I saw him coming anyway, likely due to the beeping monitor or the fact that it was time to suction anyway.  As everybody piled in I sat Ender back down and assumed they would suction him first, so I laid him on his back.

And thank god it was me who did it and me who was facing him.  They were all standing around the bed and the moment I lowered him down I looked in his open (gasping for air) mouth and saw a foreign object in his throat.  IMMEDIATELY I said, "He's got something in his throat."  I kid you not, no one moved.  It just enrages me to think about it now, I have tears in my eyes thinking about it.  An actual circle of children's medical personnel and not one person moved an inch, to see, or to speculate, or to say 'what?'  I spoke calmly and clearly--with urgency, I presume--and nobody moved or flinched. 

I repeated myself, "There's something in his throat" and I remember thinking before the sentence was even done, that I was going to have to fucking take care of it myself because these dazed workers would have reacted the same if I'd been speaking Tagalog.  Before I even realized what I was doing I did a finger sweep.  It moved maybe an inch forward.  I assessed and did another finger sweep and pulled out a clear plastic tab--the cover of the adhesive bandage the nurse had placed on his cheek for the cannula.

I was deeply, deeply disturbed.  I held up the plastic--this was a round, quarter-sized flap of plastic that had covered Ender's throat and left him with a one way valve to breathe!!!!!!--and spat out something resembling the English "THIS WAS IN HIS THROAT." 

The only reply that I even remember came from the CNA who muttered, "Welll...it's...dark in here"

Seriously I'm so enraged I don't even know if I can type the rest of this out.

I demanded everyone leave the room and I called for the nurse manager.  She came in and gave a very lovely rehearsed speech about how this was unacceptable and she would speak to her staff and blah blah blah.  I was as aggressive as you'd imagine if you know me and the hospital staff tread very lightly around me for the rest of the visit.  The nurse(?) responsible was not allowed back into my room, because if she would've showed up I would have likely killed her with oxygen tubing.  The nurse manager pretty much avoided me as well. 

Luckily Derik was there, witnessed the entire thing, and when I shut down out of pure anger he stepped in and continued defending the situation.  I don't kwow what I'd do without him. 

There's no point to this story, it's just one of many festering piles of anxiety stuck inside my stomach that doesn't seem to know how to find its way out.


Darkness, My Old Friend

I know I've ranted about this before, but it seems like the sickening endemic is still rampantly online, (and offline as well!) here in 2018 and it's maybe even worse than before...so I am going to share my thoughts.

Humans find negativity unattractive.  They see it as a disease.  Part of that is biological and it certainly has its place.  My rant of disgust is not about the obvious and natural aversion to anything bad: pain, drama, unhappiness--but our deeper, and more over-the-top reactions to every little negative droplet that comes into the happy bubble.

I bear the burden of being someone who is openly and unabashedly cautious, negative, cynical, and talks about unhappiness as if it were any other mood we brag about being: thrilled, tired, optimistic.  I feel negative emotion more often than not, and I don't mind talking about it.  I allow myself to feel it and I don't add a disclaimer, like "...but even though things are rough I'm looking on the bright side!" Goddammit, sometimes there IS no bright side.  Sometimes things suck, wholeheartedly, and there is nothing good about it, but you're branded a pariah in today's world if you dare say aloud that hope is foolish.  THANKS OBAMA

It's like dieting and the apologies people make for their current body.  "I am not happy with my weight but I'm working on it!" Like dude, just let the statement stand on its own.  I am not happy with my body.  Just focus on that.  Segment it.  The constant need to drag a safety net around is exhausting.  And I don't even do it, I just deal with it.  "Finances are tight but we're hoping for a turnaround this quarter!"  "I will push through this bout of depression and feel like myself again."

Just allow the misery, people.  It's going to be there whether or not you try to fool yourselves into thinking that a tag on the end about everything turning around is going to change it.  It's not.  If tomorrow really is going to be a better day, it's going to be a better day whether you say that or not.  I could get deep here and talk about how the point of pain is to notify us that we are in danger in some way, and sticking your foot in a fire and laughing about how great things are going to be once your foot is out of the fire is idiotic...get my point?

I wanted to actually talk about how sadness isn't the enemy, though.  It feels like it is, because duh, who wants to be sad? or mad, or whatever.  I'm going to go meta and remind the world that there are positive things to be found in sadness.  Not in overcoming sadness or beating negativity, but in the actual bad shit itself.  It makes us stronger.  It makes us kinder, hopefully.  (Unless you're just a shitty person to begin with) It makes us think about situations differently, problem solve better.  It aids us in more quickly identifying people and places that bring us down, if we allow it to. 

Some of the most beautiful art and music--arguably our only positive legacy on earth--comes from places of deep despair, broken people who couldn't function in society but stirred emotion by making sound or vision.  That's incredible to me.  In fact, I would argue that you can't have great creations without a great range of emotion from the creators.  Nobody with a 24-7 sunny disposition exists, and if they did a) nobody would like them and b) they damn sure couldn't create Swans Reflecting Elephants, or the Overture of 1812.

I mentioned before that it's human nature to avoid negativity and anything that makes us feel discomfort.  It is also our destiny as meatbags full of bacteria that we will feel discomfort no matter what.  Be a realist.  Get used to it.  That's what I do.  I suck it the fuck up and when I see the storm of depression or suicidal thoughts coming over the horizon, I accept that it's going to happen.  I'm not going to enjoy it.  I'm not going to prefer it over the good days.  I'm not even sure if I'm going to survive.  But I wasn't sure if I was going to survive anyway, so that's irrelevant.  I will take it for what it is, whatever negativity it may be.  It's a part of me.

And I will not be ashamed of that part of me, or try to hide it, or cover it up with a sandwich of compliments.  There's a lot beautiful about life and it's not always positive.  I'm okay being the antagonist, or the devil's advocate on this issue.  But I say, the whole movement is exhausting, fake, obnoxious, annoying, short-sighted, ignorant, and unnecessary.  Embrace the sadness!  It is a part of us all.  


Wastelander's Ball

So, I wanted to wait until some official photos came out to post this, but I'm just kind of writing things on the fly now!  I felt so excited about this event and it's been in the back of my mind so much that I just want to get the details of the experience down before I forget them.

The same people who put on the Wasteland Weekend event tried something new in 2017--a Wastelander's "Ball"....post apocalyptic, but fancy.  From what I understand it obviously was a hit, and they announced a second annual event sometime toward the end of that year.  I got tickets for Allyn and I as a birthday gift to him (and presented the present as an old, worn invitation stuck inside a Nuka-cola bottle) back in January.  We immediately got to work on our costumes.

Allyn started watching a show, Blood Drive, right around this time and fell in love with a character named Julian Slink.  Slink dressed fancy, and post-apocalyptic, so Allyn did a bit of a costume mixed with a cosplay on this one.  I just went with full on froofy ballgown, because duh.  The only faction regal enough to pull that off is the Legion, and that's exactly what I modeled mine after.  The past few months has been filled with scrambling to glue, cut, paint, spraypaint, and mash together everything.  We pulled it off with help from Niki and Derik--I couldn't believe it, but we looked fantastic!

Getting There

LA is a ten hour drive for us.  We got the weekend off and I used my master of travel planning skills to decide the best way to do it was drive to Primm, Nevada, stay overnight, then go to the party/stay in LA, and drive home Sunday.  It worked out so well that I have to once again applaud myself.  Frittering away all over the states and the globe has paid off so that I rarely end up stumped about travel plans, I don't overdo my schedule or energy, and I don't end up STRANDED IN THE AIRPORT---looking at you, Arlanda 2009.  Holy shit, that was almost ten years ago.

Anyway, Primm was so great--I'll definitely stay there again.  Whiskey Pete's was remodeled and the rooms were just as fresh as anything in Vegas, with none of the crowd (just kidding, there was a crowd, this big desert race was happening that weekend...) and all of the amenities.  I actually had pertussis and bronchitis during the trip that got so bad I ended up with full-blown laryngitis, so I crashed early.  The amazing thing about Allyn is that even while I slept in Nevada, he was working on my codpiece, and finished it in the hotel room.

After exploring for a bit--the Bonnie and Clyde car is in the casino on display, so that was super cool to see, and we also made a pit stop at my home away from home, Goodsprings--we got back on the road with a few hours left before the big night.

I'll get back to the road trip in a minute, but I just have to make my usual sappy, sentimental post on how much this area of the world means to me.  I'm lucky I'm just a few hours away.  New Vegas shaped my life in so many different ways, it almost feels like a religion.  Standing in the Goodsprings cemetery is always indescribable, and I got to take Allyn there this time.  

Anyway, we left Goodsprings with rocks in our pockets and headed to California.  Sunny California, where we were instantly bombarded with rain the entire drive.  I am not complaining much, because it was beautiful and humid and a lot like home, and probably helped me breathe a bit better.  We arrived at the hotel and pretty much started costuming up.  I did Allyn's makeup and my makeup, and everything was way easier than I expected it would be due to good planning on both our parts.

The next part was definitely the most stressful: getting to the venue.  I had already booked us a parking spot in a garage, but this was downtown LA and I had never been.  I also don't wish to ever go again, because that place is just awful.  I hate cities, and I hate people, and I hate everything...but this was especially bad.  I've never seen so many homeless people, some of the freeway passes looked like District 9.  I'm quite used to poverty, but urban poverty is somehow especially devastating to me, likely because I am so unfamiliar with it.

Anyway, we get to the parking garage and the angry little dude tells us that our truck is too big.  Allyn risked going down anyway and I think we cleared with about 1 centimeter left.  From there we could walk a few blocks to the venue.  We were so early (good planning what can I say) that we had time to eat.  We stopped for drinks at a bar nearby and got a lot of compliments.  We also got some hamburgers and a homeless guy asked for some food, and Allyn gave him a burger and was really annoyed about it until I pointed out that the guy had guts coming up to the only people in the place dressed fucking ridiculously terrifying and asking for food.  Haha.  (We later saw him again and he was profoundly more cheerful and grateful after the food, so that cheered Allyn up a bit)

The Party
When I went to my first Rammstein concert I had no idea what to expect.  The 'typical' Rammstein fan is a surly angry goth in a trenchcoat with a spiked collar, and I thought that me not fitting that stereotype would make me an outsider.  When we all gathered outside the Denver Colosseum though, my fears were washed away as I saw every age, race, social class, and style of human there--and the giddiness and love of Rammstein was present in every single person.  We didn't even need to introduce ourselves, we just babbled and nerded out.

Wastelanders are the same.  They're my people, even if I don't know them.  You show up and stand there waiting for the venue to open, so excited you could burst into flame, and nobody cares what you sound like or where you come from, they just want to talk about the apocalypse n shit.  It's just amazing.  I never connect with people and I absolutely don't connect with crowds--I mean, I literally left in a panic during my EMT instructor class because we had to do a group activity--but this crowd you can't help but connect with.

I'll take this opportunity to mention that Allyn and I actually first "bonded" over Wasteland Weekend.  I'd been talking to a fellow guard about the event, and the guard turned around and mentioned it to Allyn after Allyn glimpsed a Mad Max wallpaper on my computer.  I don't think that guard realized that he was accidentally creating an avenue of us to start talking, but that's how we did!  Feels really good going to an event together after that legacy.

Onto the ball itself!  The venue was decked out, it looked AMAZING.  We were like kids at a candy shop.  I still couldn't speak at this point but it appeared everybody around me was so drunk or happy they didn't even notice.  Maybe it just went well with my imposing character to glare silently while Allyn translated whatever I needed to say.  I didn't get too many venue pictures, but it's because I was too busy having fun, really.  We watched some aerial dancers, and participated in a really cool group ballroom dance lesson.  Interjection--the instructor was so professional and maintained her composure while being surrounded by total weirdos, most of whom were already inebriated.  She was snarky and hilarious, perfect for the Wasteland ball.  Also, even the ultimate introvert-me-got to mingle with a lot of people because we kept trading partners.  This is the kind of interaction I can get behind--a minute or two of dancing aaaaaaaaaand go away now, repeat.

You can see Allyn in this photo, he's the top hat in the lower right corner.  I think I'm in the bottom left, but it's hard to tell.  Anyway, after the dance lesson there was more music and a performance by Hell's Sirens, some really awesome bellydancers.  The final performer opened her piece by walking around the audience and painting inverted crosses on random "chosen" onlookers, in fake blood.  She marked one guy near us and with every ounce of willpower I conjured up enough of my voice to say "Now you're fucked."  He shrugged, "Yeah....well, I had a good run."

Another item of note--we ran into a maker of uranium bullets, which fascinated me so much he seemed amused at my awestruck gaze and gave me a uranium bullet bracelet, and he was the only person who knew who Allyn's costume was supposed to be.  He'd worked on the set of Blood Drive, and that's pretty much the coolest thing I've ever heard of.  We were both nerd-level excited.  I was wearing my Vault 34 shoes, and showed them off to a few people who mentioned that I was with the Legion.  I was too sick to even attempt dancing after the lesson, but I guess while I was in the restroom a girl came up to ask Allyn to dance.  He declined her! What a jerk!  I told him next time he'd better say yes.

Anyway, we ended up leaving early because the very light exercise in dancing just became too much for me.  I was feverish and sick and disgusting and couldn't talk or move.  I didn't mind leaving early but felt bad that Allyn didn't get to enjoy the ball for longer.  You know how these things get as the night progresses.  At least I lasted as long as I did, which is surprising, because I was reeeeeeeally sick.  I collapsed at the hotel pretty much immediately and slept way too late the next morning.

Going Home

It's always nice to go home after you've had a good time out.  Allyn and I stopped at a random gas station to use the bathroom, but everybody else in the world was in this one lone gas station (going home from the race I mentioned) so we opted to just go out in the desert a ways and pee.  That ended up turning into a mini off-road session with the rental truck.  We also stopped at a deserted..who knows what?  It looked like a gas station and restaurant, but had long been taken over by raiders.

Edit: I went and googled and apparently this place was once called Halloran Springs.  Wow! What a difference.  So cool to see the 'before.' These days I'd like to think the surviving architecture could be renamed "Eat Passy."


a) can I just do like Myspace Tom and cash out an empire and spend my life doing photography? I'd be happy to photograph this shit forever

b) isn't Allyn such a dreamy hunk?  I love that he loves exploring the dredges of the world (and prefers them) just like me.

Anyway, that pretty much sums up the trip.  I can't wait to go back to the Mojave later this year, to Vegas.  I have a better appreciation for Southern California and won't mind going back to the various Wasteland events we're sure to go to.


The Ritual



I very rarely get excited about movies.  I am a complete movie snob.  I went through a period in my early 20's where I didn't even watch a movie for maybe three years?  I get so annoyed knowing the clock is moving and my day is wasting and whatever I'm watching is poorly written or acted, or both.

I love horror, just, in general as a part of my life--haha--but unfortunately horror is one of the genres least likely to impress a total snob like me.  So on the very short list of movies that I enjoy, the slots for horror are even more limited.  This sucks for me because like I said, I love scary stuff and being spooked and ghosts and nightmares and horribleness.  Movies just take the "cheap scary" lazy route (one of the main reasons video games are superior.)  I roll my eyes at gore, I sleep through possessions, and every ghost that I get excited about ends up being an over-the-top spookfest at the end of the movie or doing like the movie 'Mama' and turning into a Tim Burton edgefest.

I found the movie on a whim because I was bored and Netflix was available.  I freaking love when I have luck like that.  I was so enchanted with this movie that I stopped whatever craft I was doing to just watch, enraptured.  The wind was blowing super hard that night, we had gusts up to 97 miles an hour, and the CREEP FACTOR was SO HIGH, just sitting there in the dark with the wind howling through the walls and doors.

There's so much to love about the Ritual.  Honestly, the opening scene where Rob dies was really stomach-churning for me.  Like I say, I roll my eyes at gore, but it was subtle and realistic, which made it way "scarier."  From there the movie really took off.  I thought the pacing and momentum were great, and even though they had some pretty cliche 'horror story in the woods' opportunities here--cabin at night, creepy wooden idol, weird Swedish hillbillies...they really did well with them.

When Luke woke up from his nightmare and realized he was outside then rushed back inside to find everyone in chaos I was legitimately terrified!  Stuff like this is just really eerie and that's what I love.  It's the same reason I prefer horror video games: plot building, characterization, atmosphere, more atmosphere, a sense of dread, and did I mention atmosphere?  Specifically the sound direction was great--there was no music, just the ominous 'something in the woods' snaps and pops and ooooh I'm getting creeped out just thinking about it.  I grew up in the woods and can attest to how terrifying they get, even in the middle of the day with the sun shining.  

Another thing I loved is that the 'creature' was actually shown.  That can either pay off or be really cheesy and so far most people who I've convinced to watch the movie agree that it paid off.  So many movies do a cop-out and make something Christian (demons, devil, blah blah blah same old crap) and pray the monster away that I have gotten accustomed to my hopes being crushed.  This story actually stuck to a Nordic bastardized creature and wow!  That character design.  I'd play that video game.  No seriously, I loved the way it looked, it added so much to the movie at the end.

On the same "everything can be bible-shouted-at-awayed" annoyance and its blissful absence here, this movie had less religious reasons for Luke's survival and more human ones.  He overcame his guilt, his "pain" as the one follower called it, and I think that's beautiful.  Maybe a bit anti-climactic as to the method, but I really enjoyed his angry scream into the wilderness.

The only head-scratchy part for me were the draugr-esque like people in the attic at the end.  They were severely creepy and I LOVED the scene and the setting on of fire, but I wasn't sure who they were.  Really old worshippers? Original bodies of worshippers who were now in younger bodies? Punished souls? The dead?  I need more info, Ritual, pls.  

Just a mention about Sweden--I had no idea when I hit 'play' that I was watching a movie supposedly taking place in Sweden.  Honestly if they hadn't stressed it I wouldn't have known.  The terrain just looked...not Swedish (it's mostly flat, thanks to ice caps squashing it on their way down) and as another friend noted, if they were there in winter there would be no daylight, and if they were there in summer, there would be no sunset.  Day and night seemed to progress normally, which makes sense when you realize it was filmed in Romania, nowhere near the land of the Midnight Sun.

I think those are minor details though, only because the mood of the forest was so good and spooky.  I'll suspend belief since this is literally about a Loki-child monster that eats people and gets worshipped by Deliverance Swedes.

So anyway, check it out!  That's it from me until we return from our California Wasteland Adventure!!! I'm so excited you guys.


What People Misunderstand About Me

So, I was looking through my journaling prompts and this one really caught my eye:

 What’s the one thing that people always misunderstand about you?

JUST THE ONE? angst. But there's SO MUCH to tell.

Actually, the first thing that came to mind when I thought about that question, is how people always assume I'm friendly or social or outgoing.  I actually talked about this in another entry:

"I can't imagine you not being social!" or "You're so social!" No, I'm a faker, I hate all of you, and you're annoying, go away and leave me to the garden. But instead of expressing that, I smile and nod and say thanks....

So really let's talk about it in depth, since I never do.  What people see from me is most likely an eager hostess, who loves to talk and have meaningful conversations and probably interesting stories and more social grace than you'd expect from someone raised by wolves in Appalachia.  I don't know when this shift happened, but it was sometime in adulthood.  As a kid and teenager I was more of the quiet weirdo who wore homemade Led Zeppelin shoes and a trenchcoat.  Haha.  Truthfully I had no desire to stand out or interact, because I'd never been urged to do so by my family and foster care was not the place or time to blossom into a socially developed human.  My parents, my dad in particular, actually lectured me to keep my 'head down' and stay out of trouble.  I think this likely came from his time in prison, as I've heard others who have learned similar, say so.

Whatever the cause, I was not urged to be social or friendly under any circumstances.  My parents were borderline xenophobic, and held themselves and us in high regard; we were better than others and it was by their grace that they bestowed conversation upon people.  (I still maintain characteristics of this mentality today.)   Add to that the fact that I was abused and lived in poverty; I had all the traits you'd expect from a child who endured that environment. Yet there must exist in me some charm that I'm unaware of, because people started talking to me when I was an adult and began enjoying my company.

I'd say I started to come out of my shell my final year in high school, and when I moved to Utah at 19  I really began socializing.  Again I don't really find myself witty or interesting or fun to hang out with but others disagreed, and I had friends and went to parties--a lot of it was superficial, but a lot of it was also genuine.  Still, my introvertedness stuck out like a sore thumb.  I cried at the prospect of spending the night at a friend's house when I was around 20--I only ever slept at home and being away from home for that long was too much to bear.  I honestly thought I was insane for awhile and just suffered through these idiosyncracises, before I got older and wiser and had a better handle on who I was.

As it turns out, I much prefer written communication to verbal.  I prefer online friends to friends in person.  I hate and avoid eye contact.  The vast majority of social courtesies exhausts me and smalltalk makes me want to kill someone.  Even genuine and fun encounters are really terrible for me.  Many times I've been out with friends, either drunk or sober, and my friends are having an obvious blast and comment on the fun we're having and my inward response is basically

The good thing about being me is that I am happy to eschew every single appropriate fraternization and be a total hermit.  I guess other than my work commute I was a complete shut-in for...five, six? years.  It was glorious.  Maybe I was coping with all the shitty forced interactions that partying and having friends involved...who knows? 

I really found a happy medium in Sweden.  Swedes are notorious for being awkward, quiet shut-ins who ignore everyone.  The part that isn't so well-known is how Swedes are behind closed doors: unnaturally warm, caring, concerned, honest, loyal.  To be friends with a Swede is to be friends with a true person, instead of one of the multi-facted Americans (not that one is better than the other, I'm the latter myself.)  Somehow in this society of "it's okay to not talk to strangers" I did a lot better socially and really found myself enjoying hosting.  Hostessing? Does it matter?  I like to take care of people I love, that's it--if I could do that remotely I probably would.  

So fast forward to today.  I can socialize, I can party, I can have guests over and enjoy entertaining people.  But I hate it.  People seriously underestimate how much I hate it.  I go into a state of depersonalization every time I have to maintain eye contact with someone.  I struggle when holding the simplest of "how's the weather" dialogues.  And yet, because I am caring and warm, people automatically think I am also social and love to entertain.

I don't.  I really truly hate it.  It's a part of life that I endure rather than enjoy.  And when I say this it's always met with "oh yeah sure me too" or "I get it, I'm a quiet person too!" I'm not fucking quiet, man, I just HATE being around other humans!! It's not just smalltalk, it's not just forced interactions, it's every single social event and close friend that I have.  One of the reasons my friends are so special is because they know, understand, or appreciate that I need my space, and for some reason they keep me around despite my hermit nature.  

So! Let's clear up this misunderstanding...just leave me be, I truly hate human interaction.  And no it's not "just for strangers" and no it's not because I'm "mean" (though I am pretty mean!) and it's not just "being an introvert."  It's an actual aversion like a vampire in the sunlight and you should count yourself extremely lucky if I show up at your party--it means I do care about you very, very much.  


My Favorite Book(s)

I didn't feel like going in order so I picked one I actually feel like talking about:

What’s your favorite book/movie of all time and why did it speak to you so much?

A few things came to mind when I saw that question...namely my "big two" movies, Life of Pi and The Grey.  I've actually already written about the Grey although it was forever ago, and I'm pretty sure I wrote about the life of Pi on my now-defunct Wordpress blog (it's a great platform, but too much maintenance for someone as bored and disinterested in MAKING AN IMPACT as me....) anyway, what a bummer!  I'll give them a brief mention.

Nobody who reads has a single favorite book, right?  I have two that rank top favorite out of anything ever, even Jane Eyre, so here they are:

Something Wicked This Way Comes
Ray Bradbury was the epitome of storyteller, and the thing I love about this book is how it really feels like you're a kid when you read it as a kid, and yet it feels like you're an adult when you read it as an adult.  I read it when I lived at home and I was around 12, and these horrifying scenes of Mr. Cooger going backwards and turning into a creepy boy (why are the gingers always the creepy kids?) and the Dust Witch and her balloon really truly kept me awake at night.  It was such an eerie, wonderful tale.  But rereading it as an adult I found myself enjoying the symbolism between the two main characters (Will and Jim, light and dark, good and evil, willpower and temptation...etc) as well as being in 10000% sympathy with Will's dad.  One of the themes of the book is aging itself, and I think as an adult the scariest thing besides that Dust Witch is how real the scenes depicting the father's struggle with his age feel and sound.  When I reread it I didn't even have kids....I'm betting if I reread it when Ender's eleven I'll be super depressed.  Still......great book.  Great symbolism.  Great imagery.  Set in the perfect era.  Expressive and fantastic. Oh and Mr. Dark probably started my crush on guys in stovepipe hats.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
This book made it on my memorial painting for my mom's death; it was one of the rare books we 'bonded' over.  I say 'bonded' because after she finally let me read it at 14 years old I just kind of stared at her in abject horror and she nodded fervently, and that's pretty much how everyone reacts to this book.  (I saw the movie much later and was extremely disappointed in it) Chief is such an amazing character, and his admiration and love for McMurphy is really touching amid all the just downright horrific things that happen in the story.  The symbolism again is really strong here, but the themes are of course, establishment and mental health...really such a progressive book for its time.  And the narration! My god.  Here just read it.
I don't fight or make any noise. If you yell it's just tougher on you. I hold back the yelling. I hold back till they get to my temples. I'm not sure it's one of those substitute machines and not a shaver till it gets to my temples; then I can't hold back. It's not a will-power thing any more when they get to my temples. It's a [...] button, pushed, says Air Raid Air Raid, turns me on so loud it's like no sound, everybody yelling at me, hands over their ears from behind a glass wall, faces working around in talk circles but no sound from the mouths. My sound soaks up all other sound.

Ugh, SO MANY GOOD PASSAGES LIKE THAT.  And the humor in that book is just perfect.

Okay, I can't help but mention one third runner up:

Intensity I knew I had to read this book when it was told to me that one of my foster dad's daughters had put it in the freezer because it scared her so much.  Haha!  To be honest, the protagonist reminds me of myself, and it's just a grueling and terrible and painful book.  I like pretty much anything by Dean Koontz but this book is in a whole different realm of amazing.

 Honorable mentions: (aka my 900 other favorite books...)   Black Beauty, Great Expectations, Behind the Attic Wall, The Witch Returns, Harry Potter series of course!, Dark Matter: A Ghost Story, Jane Eyre, Brother Odd, and Frankenstein.

That's about all I have time to write; I might do a part 2 for the movies!


An Impasse

Okay, I have a lot to say here, and none of it is exciting or inspirational.  But I'm going to have a rant anyway, because it's time.  There's so much to say.  I want to talk about blogging for a bit, and how it fits into my life or who I am or whatever.

Blogs used to be so different, circa MySpace and Livejournal.  Social media was not a constant onslaught of pretty and curated, and it wasn't targeted advertising.  Ads weren't sinister, they didn't hide and track your pages, they just popped up so obnoxiously that you knew it was a crappy spam ad.  People shared their bathroom selfies and who they had crushes on, it was all so messy.  And cringy and--here's that buzzword, authentic.  Maybe a little toooooooo real.

And that era had its issues and problems, but nowhere near what I believe we have now.  Every sponsored and mommy blogger harps on about this on their own pages...how we need to be more "real" and "candid" and "raw" they say, as they layer on ten photoshop filters and only show the slightest suggestion of messiness and fussiness.  We still need to "be positive" and "love ourselves" though...of course.  Between the disingenuous and just plain shitty life advice peddled online, and the barrage of ads EVERYWHERE (I just recently uninstalled Facebook Messenger for having ads!! WHY DOES IT NEED ADS?)  it's enough to make you want to quit social media altogether.  I am on Instagram to see photos from friends, not be sold makeup and stickers.

Anyway, my rant about social media is relevant to blogging because they're so uniquely intertwined.  If I listened to the good Internet Mothers of Creativity, I would be a 'boss babe' doing my 'business hustle' (likely with an MLM of some kind or some other treachery) and 'radiating positivity' while doing yoga and attachment parenting and blogging to my 'tribe' about being a 'mama'.  No.   To all of that. No.  It took over the world a few years ago and nothing's been the same since.  You can't blog about depression unless you put a positive spin on it.  You can't just blab out your feelings like I'm doing here, you have to c u r a t e, and compile, and schedule your posts for optimal traffic flow with the right graphics and attention-grabbing headlines and shit.

There was a time where I struggled to do this in my own small (uninterested) way, and it went as well as anything else I've ever not been interested in.  I stopped, and said screw that.  So did pretty much everyone else worth reading.  But I guess I also got kind of lost...what did I want to talk about instead?  I missed the community of blogging, but everybody had dispersed to their strong wimmin businesses and their lipstick shilling and their doula classes.  There were things I wanted to say but to no one in particular.  What I love the most about blogging is going down my list of posts and reminiscing; I'll read entries from years ago or months ago and smile about the memories or even where I was emotionally or what I was working on and it's great to get to know and relive those times.  This may sound a little conceited, but I always thought that maybe one day my kids/loved ones, if they missed me, could come read through my rants and remember how I was, or sounded, and so on.

But another conundrum presents itself.  Back in the Myspace days and even well into my blogger days, I've been comfortable with sharing or even over-sharing.  I was social online you might say, and I've gotten less so the older I've gotten.  I have no idea why this is and every time I try to analyze why that might be, someone posts something STUPID on Facebook or I get another goddamned targeted ad on Instagram and I just roll my eyes and put my phone down for another hour....so I have my answer.  I even filled out a stupid Facebook survey recently and one of the 20 or so questions was "dream job?" and I said "writer"...and lo and behold I got THREE freaking "why wait? become an author NOW!" advertisements on Facebook that week...after previously having exactly zero.

I'm already hesitant to be open online, and things like this really bring out the Gargamel in me.  I've done so many workarounds to avoid the advertising, too.  Fake emails, new browsers, ad nauseum, alternate apps on my phone that aren't "official" Facebook.  It helps, and also limits my online time, which is nice, because you know, I have better shit to do I guess.

But! How does this affect my blog presence?  Advertising is pretty much all blogging is anymore--if you've got a business, you blog about it.  If you've got a product, you blog about it.  If you travel to third world countries to be a white-people-cringefest family...you blog about it.  Blogging used to be virtual scrapbooking, but see, I don't even like scrapbooking!  I have other writing projects that span tons of server space and they're all creative writing..you know..the writing that actually matters... not like thoughts and feeelllliings, which are completely and utterly inconsequential. And yet I can't bring myself to neglect this blog.  Hence the title...an impasse.  I could say that I'll "write about whatever I want, when I feel like it" and even as I say that I can see the entries failing to make it so swiftly that I lose a year of memories.

For the time being I'm going to implement a series, which I don't usually do because I find them unispiring, but I keep reminding myself that maybe Ender will want to learn more about me when I'm dead, lol.  (Parenthood is weird.) I've compiled a list of subjects and I'll try to frequently write about them, as well as anything else I find interesting.  This blog is just as disorganized as it's ever been, so if you do read here, the inconsistency will seem normal to you!  In fact you may wonder why I'm talking so much.

I just had to get that out of my head and write it down


Winter Creatures

“There are such a lot of things that have no place in summer and autumn and spring. Everything that’s a little shy and a little rum. Some kinds of night animals and people that don’t fit in with others and that nobody really believes in. They keep out of the way all the year. And then when everything’s quiet and white and the nights are long and most people are asleep—then they appear.” 

 ― Tove Jansson, Moominland Midwinter

What does 2018 look like?

Well, so far, pretty wintery.  I have nothing witty to say.  I also have no resolutions, is that just me?  A few cool things have already happened this year.  I got my EMT instructor certification, and Allyn got a fantastic new job, but even with all that positivity I'm still stressed and letting winter have its day.  I'll cheer up when spring comes (yeah right.)

I just feel like people really try to fight that seasonal slump, but I'm all about letting it work itself out.  I'd rather have a depressive, exhausted slump at the same time the earth does, than do it in the middle of summer.

Allyn and I went to Black Rock on our first official "date" the first weekend of the month.  It was pretty, but cold, and I figured it was a good enough ritual to start off the year; being in a place important to us, the place we got married in fact, and putting us at the top of the "taking care of" list.