Safety and Security Notice:

I never include last names or specific locations here, for the safety of our children. If you or your child is a friend of me or mine, and you approve a first name and photo being posted as appropriate, please click this link to email me with written permission. Thank you

Thursday, June 28, 2018


We all do it, on some level. As an example, I sometimes pull the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do with my kids, especially as regards food choices.

Nobody does it with quite the same verve as the US Republican Party, circa 2018.

I mean, do they not see it, or not care, or honestly believe they're doing the right thing with their white nationalist, gun-loving, pro-life-until-it's-born, racist, sexist, homophobic (but not so much phobic as just hating), hateful and hate-filled selves?

There are probably some of each of those, honestly. The ones I totally can't fathom are the women (their own party hates them) and people of color (ditto) in this camp. And people who say they are pro-life but deny children sex education - which actually makes for fewer abortions - or say they're pro-life until it comes to brown children who come from over an arbitrary line denoted by a river.

Look, it's not that they're all Christians either. I know a lot of Christians who are basically kind and decent people. They try to live the actual word they were taught as children, loving their neighbors and turning the other cheek. Of course, none of them have any power in the secular world whatsoever. They're just not ruthless enough as a group for that.

This is why I've been on Facebook Lite Mode for a week or so. I know it's using my privilege to back off from the hard stuff. I'm still reading about it (off Facebook), still writing about it (generally comment-and-run), but I cannot immerse myself in it anymore - especially not the comments sections - without becoming absolutely useless to everyone.

So Facebook Lite - I've started #ClassicTrekWithAbby, which is interesting, light, and still explores some (a lot, actually) of the same themes we are dealing with today. Racism, sexism, serious amounts of hate by people who should know better. And I don't think it's hypocritical of me (or Abby, 15) to enjoy the lighter bits of it in the process. Her love of the dance-style fight choreography, for instance ("very West Side Story, mom!), and the mind-boggling dichotomy of progressive plotlines paired with barely-there skirts; these are good lessons.

And they may be the reason I am so bothered by that hypocrisy up there; I was raised on Star Trek and Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. I know better.

The people allegedly in charge? They should know better too. And that they don't act that way might be the biggest hypocrisy of all.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

About Me

Reading through Facebook and Google Plus and online news sites - and feeling sick about what I read - and I just thought I'd share my thoughts and feelings about... well, lots of stuff. Feel free to disagree (see point 2) but if you're a jerk about it, I'll block you.

  1. I may believe in a higher power. I don't know for sure, so I call myself an agnostic-leaning theist, although I am culturally Christian, celebrating the major Christian holidays and such. I do know that Christianity the way the likes of the current administration's members claim is not the Christianity I was taught about. Saul/Paul was a bigoted jerk and most of the recent crop (in power) seems to be following him rather than the guys who reportedly hung out with Jesus. I just try to be a decent person and a good parent. I usually - but not always - succeed.
  2. On a similar note, I only care about your belief systems, sexuality, color, gender, ability, physical and mental health, (and so on) insofar as they are interesting. They are part of you, and none of them define you on their own. So yes, your characteristics and beliefs make you interesting. I'm not going to judge you for them as long as no-one is hurt by them (at least, no-one who is not a fully informed consenting adult). 
  3. I feel that "President Trump" (air quotes intentional) is a horrifying example of a human being (along with others in his administration and both houses of Congress, especially Ryan, Sessions, Huckabee Sanders, and DeVos, but they are freaking legion), but I still try really hard to focus on the behavior, and the statements made, not the orangeness of the skin or the fakeness of the hair or the tiny hands. I spent all this energy learning to tell my kids when their behavior is bad, not they themselves. And although I may believe it of the folks listed above, I'm not going to pick on the size of their body parts.
  4. I worry about Barron Trump.
  5. Abortion is lessened when birth control is discussed. It's a fact.
  6. Ditto teen pregnancy.
  7. The shit our (U.S.) government is doing is, in fact, shit. How dare they treat helpless children like cattle because their parents didn't come into the country legally? And try to use the name of God to justify it! Thing is, as near as I can tell, they believe what they're saying. I mean, I can't tell with "President Trump" because he's erratic. But the others I listed up there, trying to say this shit is God's will because Trump said so? And the people who honestly believe it and support them? I just can't fathom it. 
    1. In fact, I told a friend I didn't understand it - all of it from border crap to protesting against kneeling football players- and he said it was racism. I'm sure it is, but that doesn't mean I understand it. I just do not grok.
    2. Also, healthcare and guns. Other first world countries do not have the problems we have with these. Do Trump supporters think this is a coincidence? Facts exist. 
  8. Climate change is a real thing. The earth is (almost) round like a ball, not a disc. We did land
    on the moon (and I'm reserving judgment on whether we were told on international television to kill all the Silence on sight).
  9. I'm not only an autism awareness advocate; I'm an autism acceptance advocate. People who want to "cure" it, I feel you, and some of you have a lot harder row to hoe than me. But just because it's different doesn't mean it's wrong or bad or an illness. Or caused by vaccines. 
  10. SCIENCE. Live it. Love it. Be one with it. Vaccinate the kids. Look at the facts as well as the faith.
For crying out loud, just be decent human beings!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Land in Sight!

We're still swimming, and now we seem to be actually getting somewhere.

You see, today would have been Laston's birthday, had he lived past 51. And I'm a little sad, of course. But I'm maintaining, and I'm functional, and that's certainly better than this time last year.

Part of this is due to the Calm app on my phone; meditation is a great way to keep on an even keel (just to extend the oceanic metaphor). Their Sleep Stories are fabulous too. And sleep is its own healing. I've been getting enough of it lately, and that's a big deal in and of itself.

And my sister-in-law, Tori (who happens to share Laston's birthday, so happy birthday, Tori!), used a phrase the other day that really seems to be helping me. "Relentless Positivity!" Anyone who knows - anyone who has ever even met - Tori knows that she lives and breathes this phrase. And it struck me as a very Hufflepuff (loyal and kind) version of Mad-Eye Moody's "Constant Vigilance!" There is truth in faking it until you make it, and I can fake Relentless Positivity™ with the best of 'em.

Still no job, though a good prospect or two, in part because I realized that it's not call center work itself that is the problem for me. It was call center work in that time and place, with those wonky retail-esque hours. Once I opened up my mind (with Relentless Positivity™) to call center work in a smaller company, with a more important (to my mind) mission, and reasonable hours for a widowed mom... well, I started getting a lot more hits on my resume, people actually calling me back and stuff.

This certainly helps me be relentlessly positive!

I can see the beach from here, and the view is glorious.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

And Now for Something Completely Different

And no, it's neither the Spanish Inquisition (bet you weren't expecting that), nor the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Nope, this one is about allergies.

But wait, you might say, you've talked about allergies before, so it's not something completely different. I have, because usually allergies lead to sinus infections. Sinus infections lead to bronchitis. Bronchitis leads to suffering. Thus is the Power of Cottonwood Pollen the Dark Side.

This one is about the science of hay-fever-type (or "seasonal allergic rhinitis") allergies. In easily-accessible English, with lots of pop-culture references and links, because that's how I roll.

I know, as I have been doing this for a long time (since 1994 or 1995, the first time I got pneumonia and ended up with asthma thereby), that it's not what we think of as cottonwood (really one of several types of poplar) "pollen" (really seed pod puffs); they're just the visual sign that this has been brewing for several weeks.

See, the boy trees have been spreading their pollen around (isn't that just like a man?) for about three weeks. And by the time the girl trees release their pretty white puffs, those of us with seasonal allergic rhinitis have started hitting the overload point; our systems just go, "Uh-uh, that's a big nope!" We get all overreact-y to the stuff we've been breathing for weeks (and whatever else we can normally handle when we haven't been breathing boy-pollen for weeks, like whey for me) and the sniffling, sneezing, coughing, stuffy head, (but not usually aching or fever) begin. (As a side note, in tenth grade, my partner and I did that commercial in Spanish. We got an A.)

For those of us with asthma, it's even more exciting, of course, which is why my initial plan for today - to work around the house and yard until I reached my step goal - did not happen. Can't breathe easily, therefore can't walk much. So I did the dishes and some laundry and job-hunting instead. Indoor stuff. And I'm not even talking about food allergies, which as we know around here can be actually deadly, not just make you feel like death.

I did everything right; I've been taking the preventive stuff since March. But still and all, with a warm and dry (for us) spring, the system can still get overwhelmed. And as it's just a miserable allergy, not a serious one, Benadryl does well in a pinch.

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Morning in the Life of the Unemployed Mom

This may get a bit ranty, but I'll do what I can.

Here's how weekdays go at Chez GamersBabes. Example, this morning, May 21, 2018:

5:50: Make sure fifteen-year-old is awake so she can get ready for school. She takes the bus, and a trusted neighbor with a kid in the same school drives them both to the bus, as it's almost a mile on a country road with no sidewalks. At least this time of year I don't have to worry about it being dark, too, though there's always that niggling back-of-the-mind concern about them getting shot at school, these days. Yes, she can get up and going by herself, but the couple of times she has overslept her alarm made an impression; it's a pain to get her to school if she does this. And I was pretty sure she wouldn't have slept well, as she had a callback for a part at Studio East yesterday and was having trouble settling down last night.

Attempt to go back to sleep, but don't really relax enough to do so until front door slams on her way out. You have to slam it if the lock is engaged, so if I don't hear that slam by 6:25, I go out and check it. She's only forgotten once.

7:45: Get up and make sure ten-year-old is awake and moving. She needs more help, as she is a creature of routine, so we lay out her clothes the night before, in the proper order. From bottom to top of the pile, this is: top or dress, undershirt, socks (or tights if she's wearing a dress), pants or skirt (or modesty shorts if she's wearing a dress but not tights), undies. That way they're in the correct order for putting on in the morning. Today is a red striped top, black pants, pink and black socks (her choice, folks, not mine), and the underwear. She had a shower yesterday so she doesn't need one until tonight or tomorrow.

Mondays she has PE, so it's not a dress or skirt day, and - thank the god(s) of your choice - she's buying lunch today, so we don't have to negotiate that. But also, today is SBA (state testing), so she didn't sleep well; in fact she came out of her room at nine last night to inform me she was panicking a little because she couldn't sleep and testing is today. This is after telling me that this was the easy part of the test, because the writing portion is Tuesday, and she hates writing, but Tuesday is also Music, and she loves Music, so they should balance out. Plus on Tuesday, because it's Music and not PE, she can wear a dress, which makes her feel more confident. So it should really balance out, right, Mom? Right.

Also, today she informs me that she needs a "bigger breakfast than usual" (I don't starve her, I swear it, but it's sometimes a challenge to get her vegetarian self enough protein in the morning). So today she had oatmeal with nuts and berries, a banana, and some cheese. She says her plate looks like "a Cyclops talking on the phone," so we're all good.

I have coffee with creamer and a banana. I'm out of yogurt, and we used up our boiled eggs yesterday. The cottonwood is drifting like snow out there, so I should probably stay away from my allergens (like whey) anyway; why tempt fate?

8:45: Ten-year-old gets off to school, and Mom gets moving on her own stuff. I empty, reload, and run the dishwasher. The not-dishwasher-safe things are washed. I make a huge pot (gallon and a half) of iced tea (several tea bags, a ripe strawberry, half a cup of sugar, and a bit of lemon juice). Boil a dozen eggs in the Instant Pot. Throw in a load of laundry, as I didn't get all of it done Sunday with other things going on. Make ice and leave the trays out so I can rinse them before I make more. Make my first run of the day through LinkedIn. Nothing new, but then it's barely nine on a Monday on my coast.

Run through Facebook. Block someone making racist and misogynist comments on a friend's wall. Snooze someone who thinks that school shootings are because of medication for depression; wish that everyone in the country could take a Logic 101 class and learn the difference between correlation and causation. Commiserate with a friend who is having a "my baby is growing up" moment. Friend someone who really likes the profile pic I designed (I had stickers made!). Get the heck away from Facebook for the morning, because between the constant school shootings and Mad (in more than one sense) President Tweets and picking apart the royal wedding, I need a break.

Start writing a blog post.

10:45(ish): Lookit that, I'm almost ready to post. Cool. Now, for the rest of my day, I will write textbroker articles (probably netting me a grand total of ten bucks for the day), continue the job search now that the job market has had its coffee, fold the laundry that I threw in, empty the dishwasher, do some tidying up, figure out how to hang up Lizzy's chalkboard in her room, figure out how to hang a pretty ornament thing she got from her grandma, and work on organizing the shed a bit (if I can take the pollen count). I'll get a shower in at some point; my water heater is not capable of showers and the dishwasher at the same time. Lunch somewhere in there. At 4:15 I get Lizzy from the bus and go to my mom's for dinner. Vegetarian tostadas, yum!

A day in the life. I'm unemployed. I'm fat. But I'm not (although I have my moments) lazy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Writers Write (Reposted from LinkedIn)

I write. It's what I do. I'm good at it, I enjoy it, and it's my go-to self-therapy. I keep a personal blog, a work-safe version of that personal blog, and I spend a fair bit of my social media time writing. I play with tropes and I write fan-fiction. I teach my children about etymology and literary devices and whether cops-in-donut-shops is a stereotype. I talk about writing (and reading, and editing, and grammar, and the Oxford Comma) with my friends. I write for SEO companies, but at a few cents a word, that's generally enough for my Seattleite Coffee Snob self to have a daily latte (non-dairy, one pump of whatever the flavor of the day is... as long as it's not macadamia or white chocolate, because bleah).

So yeah, I write. In these situations, I write colloquially, but I'm certainly capable of using whatever style guide you like or need me to use. I can proofread and edit, too. I have a Bachelor of Science in Intercultural Communications, an open mind, and the ability to work with people (the last few months of my time at AT&T was an aberration; I was not in a good mental place to work in a customer-facing position immediately following the death of my husband). And I don't want to work retail or call center or hospitality hours anymore; I'm a widowed mom of two and I want to work when they're in school as much as possible.

It's really that simple. A position where I can write, during standard business hours; that's all I'm really asking for here. How hard can that be?