11/24/2014

Last night I watched the announcement of the “no true bill” finding in the Michael Brown case, on spotty streaming video because I don’t have  cable TV. I watched enough of it to get the gist, and understand what might happen as a result.

I live within a mile of the South Grand business district that has seen a pared-down version of the unrest in Ferguson in the last few months, which unrest is related to the death of Vonderritt Meyers in the Shaw neighborhood.

Despite the livestreams that I watched when the South Grand protests started, I was confident that this time would be different, I held faith that humanity would find a way for people to express themselves that didn’t involve the looting of the place where I spend my free time and my cash. Where I laugh and drink and dine with my friends, in one of the most densely populated and ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the city.

Progressive and LGBTQA businesses in the area were saying that they’d serve as safe places. Our local businesses (more independent than chains) have been supportive of peoples’ right to protest, and the prior events had been focused mostly on civil disobedience rather than destruction. I watched a little of the livestreams last night. I had more than a few friends who were out in the action on South Grand and on 44. I saw the photos and the video, that it was peaceful and police were not engaging because there was nothing to engage. Around 10:45 or so, I went to bed.

An hour later, I woke in a panic, thinking someone was knocking on my door. But it was gunshots. Multiple bursts, small caliber, very close to me. I checked to see what was going on and that’s when I saw that destruction and looting had begun on South Grand. Windows broken out, people stealing from the pawn shop and trying to sell their just-stolen items – on camera – with no shame. Police began to engage, and eventually tear gas was thrown, protesters were told to disperse and did not, more tear gas was used. Lying in my own bed in my own home a mile from what was happening, I could smell the acrid odor of the canisters.

This morning I started seeing pictures of the damages, the broken windows and senseless destruction of places like Rooster, a community-centered restaurant we were all so happy to recently welcome to South Grand. To Upcycle Exchange, a donations-centered craft supply store run by a tirelessly perky and optimistic lady. To Basil Spice, where I get my favorite Thai food, and where the ESL owners are unlikely to navigate well the online donation sites that the other businesses are using to fund their window replacement. I saw all this and I knew that tonight is likely to be just as bad, if not worse. This whole week might be marked by the same kind of fear and destruction.

Most of the people talking about this online, and many of my local friends, tell me that I don’t have a right to feel how I feel. That I should support this action, understand that people are so angry that being destructive is the only way to express it. Or they argue that most of the protesters are peaceful and only some are using these events as an opportunity to destroy things.  Not liking either of these answers, or not seeing them as a good enough reason to destroy the livelihoods of small business owners in my neighborhood is (I am told) deeply racist, white supremacist, lacking in compassion and empathy. Lives are more important than property, so I should welcome with open arms the destruction of the place I live so that some kind of figurative healing can later take place.

I will not believe that. I will not fall for that. This is wrong, what is happening is wrong. People who say their anger gives them the right to destroy someone else’s livelihood, they’re wrong. When white people riot at a goddamn pumpkin fest, and destroy property, they’re wrong. When anyone riots after a sporting event and destroys things, they’re wrong. Mob mentality and mob action are not things to be tolerated in society, no matter the reason. If you’re in a peaceful group that turns into a mob or begins looting, you need to remove yourself. I truly do believe that the peaceful protesters are inadvertently giving cover to the people who want to destroy things. Those people feel anonymous and invisible and they will use that feeling to rip things apart. Whether or not that’s the intention of those seeking change and peace is immaterial, the end result is enabling the violence.

No one can be made happy by any of this. Before last night people were screaming about the over-preparedness of the police and the mobilization of the national guard. Today people are screaming “where was the national guard?” If the police had engaged to stop the destruction that would have made world-wide headlines about police intervention, over-militarization and brutality. But if the police stood back in order to keep from inflaming the crowd, they were apparently creating an opportunity for crime so that they could present that image to the world. I actually saw people saying that the police wanted to watch their own cruisers burn, in fact did nothing about it just so that image would make the news. That makes no sense at all. If they intervene they’re wrong, if they stand back they’re wrong.

None of this is logical or makes any sense or is accomplishing anything, from what I can see. No changes have been proposed, the movement seems to be leaderless (from friends who were there last night, the protest was peaceful until the planned march/route ended and people didn’t know what to do next – that’s when the violence started.) in fact from what I heard, the headquarters of one of the agencies helping to lead the protesters was burned down in Ferguson last night.

So no, I will not be in favor of shutting shit down and burning shit down and whatever else people tell me I need to quietly accept. I will not be sanguine about my neighborhood being destroyed by anyone, for any reason. If you tell me that people are worth more than property, I will agree, then I will ask you how exactly that equation applies to the looting of a pawn shop.

If you’re not from here, if you’re not attached to these places, think twice about how much of my neighborhood you’re willing to give up on my behalf. Think twice before you tell me my disagreement with this destruction makes me racist and evil. It is easy to say that people far from you, in places you’ve never seen, should be willing to sacrifice quite a lot for the sake of a cause you believe in. Let’s see how it feels when you’re lying in bed hearing the gunshots and smelling the smoke. Until then I don’t want to hear about how much I should be willing to give up. And I don’t want to hear about how my unwillingness to give it up makes me a bad person.

If it Wasn’t My Story I Wouldn’t Believe It

Having a shitty family is challenging in lots of ways. You grow up insecure of your place in the world, without a strong foundation of love and acceptance, and you can never regain or build up that confidence later in life, no matter how hard you work at it.

There is a feeling of intrinsic worth that I see in my friends with strong families, a feeling of having a space in the world that belongs to them, a feeling of connection. I will never have that.  So you start off at a different place, and that’s bad enough. But a shitty family is the shitty gift that just keeps on giving, for as long as they’re alive and you’re in contact with them. They don’t just fuck up your formative years – they try their best to fuck up your adulthood as well.

That’s one of the things that my friends with half-decent families don’t really understand at all. It’s not just that they DID suck before, it’s that their brand of crazy is actively sucking RIGHT NOW and all the time. There’s never a nice holiday, there’s never a nice birthday, there’s no sharing of family traditions, there’s no help when you need it – there’s NOTHING there, where other people have support and love and shared good memories and camaraderie, those of us with bad families have at best nothing, and at worst a constant emotional drain and time-suck. It’s not just lack of good, it’s active bad.

Anyway, yesterday my dad fell asleep behind the wheel (at 11:00 a.m.) and ran his stupid SUV off the road and into a telephone pole. He broke the pole and likely totaled his car, but was apparently un-injured. (Thanks, airbags.) Luckily there was no one else on the road when this happened, and he didn’t kill some poor innocent person just because he refuses to treat his sleep apnea. I guess I should also be glad it was morning and he wasn’t drunk, because then he and my mom would get the shit sued out of them, probably.

When this happened he called 911, then he (apparently) called me. He must have called my home land line, which doesn’t have a phone connected to it, instead of my cell. That’s lucky for him because I don’t know what the fuck he thinks I would have done about his accident. He expects me to, what? Swoop in and save the day? Please. I wouldn’t put on a bra and leave the house to go help his worthless ass. When he couldn’t reach me he called my mom, who foolishly went out to pick him up. You know what he asked her when they were getting ready to leave the accident scene and drive to the auto-body place to wait for the tow truck?  Wait for it.  Here’s what he asked – “Do you want me to drive?”

No, I am serious. In his mind he’s a fantastic driver, and my mom is a shitty driver, so even coming off of a one-person car-totaling telephone pole wreck, he seriously asked my mom if she preferred that he drive her car. Yeah.

He also refused to go to the hospital (the airbag only hit me in the stomach) and refused to contact the insurance company, making my mom do it. Then he criticized my mom’s driving all the way to the auto-body place, again because he’s coming from such a position of strength on the skilled-driver front. He then looked in my mom’s back seat, where she had two cases of water.

Him: “You’re driving around with those cases of water in the car?”
Her: “Yes.”
Him: “Do you know how heavy those are?” (implying that she was wasting gas by driving with heavy objects)
Her: “I bet they’re lighter than you.”

This morning he “needed” another ride to the auto-body place (I told my mom to hand him a fucking bus schedule, but she’s too codependent to actually carry through with that.) and apparently cussed my mom out when she was changing lanes, because he didn’t like the way she was doing it.

Again, this is a guy coming off of totaling his car in a one-person wreck less than 24 hours previous. Swearing at someone else in critique of their driving. Let that sink in.

And naturally I am the outlet for all this shit, I get the phone calls describing his shitty behavior. I tell her to let him fend for himself, she says he’s incapable. I say let him sit in the house and starve then, if he’s incapable of figuring out his own transport. Fuck him.

But really it’s more like fuck everything. Fuck having a family that sucks. Fuck the upcoming holidays. Fuck that all my free time is dealing with shit and never getting a word of kindness or support from anyone. Fuck what a giant drain on my resources these people are. Fuck how they fucked me up before and keep trying to fuck me up now. Fuck how I have to manage my family instead of being loved by them. Fuck my fucking bad luck for being attached to these people.

Fuck it all.

Book Review: Bird Box

Bird BoxBird Box by Josh Malerman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book in one sitting last night. It’s creepy with a great atmosphere and interesting premise, while also being an interesting study in the group psychology of trauma survivors. The evil unknown remains just the right mix of revealed/concealed enough to stay scary but answer the reader’s questions, and I liked the technique of staying with the human characters and their limited perception/reactions to what is happening, rather than fully trying to explore _why_ it is happening. Do recommend.

View all my reviews

World of Poe

Now seriously. Is she not the prettiest kitty?
Now seriously. Is she not the prettiest kitty?

So it’s nine days in, and things seem to be going pretty well! I have to keep reminding the dogs that they don’t get to growl when Poe jumps up on the chair or sofa with them, but Louis seems to have given up on chasing her, and Jake does really well as long as she doesn’t come directly at him (which, to be fair, is how he reacts to all the other creatures in the house as well.)

Poe is utterly unconcerned with their antics and, while she avoids them if they’re all barking at one time, she mostly ignores them, continues to walk right across the middle of the floor/stand in the middle of the hallway. Without being confrontational, she’s very comfortable in her space. She’s also hilariously funny, able to take one toy and entertain herself until she’s tired out, and super squeezy cuddly.

Here’s some weekend photos.

Poe in the kitchen window.
Poe in the kitchen window.
I got my very first personal Poe-in-a-box!
I got my very first personal Poe-in-a-box!

And here’s last night, after a heavy day of snoozing/playing/visiting with Aunt V and snoozing some more.

All witches and their familiars were at rest.

Now today is making me nervous because my mom is coming to stay with her incorrigible poodle, Cricket. She doesn’t train him at all, he doesn’t listen well, and he has a very strong prey drive. So I am going to have to supervise them very very carefully until I am sure that Poe knows how to get away from him, and take a swipe at him if necessary. Since my mom is arriving at my house while I am gone at work, I had to shut Poe in the office (with food/water/toys/litterbox of course.)

Poe’s had the run of the house for a week now, and I feel badly shutting her in one room. It is her safe room, and there’s windows to look out of and toys to play with. But I still feel badly. It’s her house, after all, and the fact that my mom can’t control her dog shouldn’t mean she has to get locked up. But I’d rather ensure her safety, which I can’t do if I am not there to supervise. This ought to be a crappy visit with my mom anyway. If possible she’s going even more off the rails than usual. The swift arrival of winter, spending too much time alone, two weeks without seeing her therapist. She’s going loopy. She’s been going to church, which, yuck. Looking for answers, wanting to know that Danny is with “god.” Yeah.

She’s also buying books on that psychic John Edwards guy. In short, she’s experiencing extended denial. She’s looking for a back door, an escape clause. Some way for Danny to not really be gone. If she can pray to him while he’s up with “god” she can ask his advice and look for signs. If she can believe that a psychic could reconnect her to Danny then again, he’s not really gone from her life, she could still communicate with him.

I have very strong and swirly feelings about all that, but I don’t really feel like sharing them. Anyway. She will be there when I get home today, so I will get to introduce Poe to a new creature. I know it’s probably good for Poe, she needs to be properly socialized, and part of that is meeting new people, meeting more dogs, etc. So even if it’s a bad experience, it will be a learning one for her (and I will definitely keep her safe. I just hate for her to meet a shitty little dog who might try to snap her neck for fun.)

Oh, and the feeding her three small meals a day, one right after a good play session and before bed, seems to be working. She has let me sleep through the night the last few nights, only coming in to my room and trying to groom my hair after the alarm goes off. I am a fan of this method. I don’t know where she sleeps, sometimes with me, sometimes not, but as long as she’s happy, I am happy.

Still open to any and all cat advice, especially dog related or how cats do being shut up in one room all day, to keep them safe.

Day Six with Kitten – The Things I Didn’t Know

I am so proud of every new place she can get to.
I am so proud of every new place she can get to.

I didn’t know cats farted.

I guess I hadn’t actually considered it much, because logic tells me that things that digest food will probably fart, that’s how it works, but I hadn’t ever thought about a dainty kitten farting in my face. Now I know.

Stalking the fearsome chihuahua beast.
Stalking the fearsome chihuahua beast.

I didn’t realize that kittens can carry things. They can carry things bigger than themselves, up and down the stairs even. Poe’s downstairs toys got themselves upstairs, and this morning she carried an upstairs toy all the way down. This has interfered with my plan to buy coordinating toys for various rooms in the house, and has messed up my color schemes. I will work on accepting this with equanimity.

Sleep cuddle purr eat play sleep repeat.
Sleep cuddle purr eat play sleep repeat.

I still don’t know if Poe’s lovely, cuddly kitten temperament will translate to a sweet and cuddly adult cat, or if she will go through some awful adolescence and become a jerkbrain.

I didn’t know kittens lost their teeth (again, duh.) Glad I happened to read that before I found one in her food bowl or something, and freaked out.

I thought cats were obsessed with windows, but this one seems to find enough amusement inside the house, so she doesn’t really want or need to look out.

I didn’t realize how single-minded cats can be. Poe has decided that the best place in the house is in the bathtub, and the best thing to do in the bathtub is attack the brocade shower curtain. No matter how many times I lift her out of there and put her somewhere else, she runs right back. By now a dog would have forgotten all about it. A kitten likes to see a thing through, it seems. See also: 6 a.m. kitty hairdresser.  A dog would stop after the first time he got pushed off – kitty keeps coming back to try to re-groom my bun. Over and over and over.

Perched and observing chihuahua activity.
Perched and observing chihuahua activity.

I didn’t know how nice it would feel to hold and pet a silky-soft kitten, and watch her fall asleep. I didn’t know how peaceful it would be to sit with two dogs and a kitten all resting on me, and dozing. I didn’t know how much she’d make me laugh, or how goofy and awkward she was going to be.

What in the world, three pounds of dozing kitty is just the right amount, it turns out.
Three pounds of dozing kitty is just the right amount, it turns out.

I didn’t know that she wouldn’t know better than to walk right under my feet.  Dear kitty: I can’t see you down there you know. I have had to start scooting around the house like a complete weirdo, for fear of stepping right on her head.

There’s a lot that surprises me, and so far none of it has been too bad.  Can’t wait for week two.

And So I Got a Kitten

I had room in my heart and I needed more things to love, so I got a kitten.

I’ve always wanted a cat, but my mom was never into them, so I couldn’t have one as a child. When I was older, dogs suited my fancy and my lifestyle, and now I have three chihuahuas. But still, the idea of a haughty little predator stalking around the house and disdaining me sounded pretty awesome. I was seriously considering it in the spring, but ankle surgery derailed that plan. Then two weeks ago, right after Halloween, I saw this photo on the Stray Rescue Facebook Page.

Tell me she's not irresistible .
Tell me she’s not irresistible .

Stray Rescue is better known for their work with dogs, but they also rescue and rehome cats and kittens.

Poe (at that time named Fox) was in a foster home with her brother Lafayette. Apparently their pregnant mom had been abandoned by her owners and left behind in an apartment when they moved away. May they rot in hell forever.

Her profile description read: Fox is the mellow cuddlebug of her litter. Nothing fazes her and she is remarkably sweet.

The word “mellow” made my ears perk up. With three yippy chihuahuas running around, a “mellow cuddlebug” cat sounded almost too good to be true. Last Friday night I went to visit her at her foster home. She was fostered with her brother, another cat, a large dog and a small dog and (I think) a parakeet. She was utterly unfazed by any of them, and so sweet and adventurous. The 100 lb dog came up and stuck his face in her belly to lick her, and she just ignored him completely.  Immediately I went home to start assembling kitty paradise in my office.

Saturday morning I picked her up, expecting her to come home and hide away until she got used to this strange new place.  Yeah, no. Here she is in the first ten minutes in her new home:

She settled right in, confined to just her “safe” room for the first few days. The dogs were curious and whiny outside the closed door, but she pretty much ignored them. She is adventurous and brave, exploring every last thing in the room. She is also a giant cuddlebug, she is not at all averse to being picked up and petted—she fell asleep last night in my arms, upside-down while I rubbed her belly. No trust issues here.

She basically couldn’t be any more sweet and adorable if she tried. She’s hard to photograph (black cat on a black rug, you try it.) But here she is in some of her most picturesque moments.

So tiny! She only weighs three pounds or so.
So tiny! She only weighs three pounds or so.
Examining the blind cords
Examining the blind cords
Posing for a classic Halloween postcard
Posing for a classic Halloween postcard
Stalking my ponytail
Stalking my ponytail
Destroying the sneaky snake
Destroying the sneaky snake

Here she is investigating the hanging air plant cage. Later, after an Incident, the hanging air plant cage became “the air plant cage that sits on the floor”

Finally, here’s Poe this morning when I was trying to get myself ready to go to work.

IMG_20141110_071826
No no, needs more pets.
IMG_20141110_072108
See? This is much nicer than “work.”
IMG_20141110_072654
Listen guys, I think she will get it eventually. I will just lie here on her until she stops resisting.

Safe to say I am smitten with my kitten. Having never had a cat before, I know I will have a lot to learn (I really wasn’t prepared for her fascination with the computer monitor, at all.) and I am sure there are some interesting times ahead as she meets the puppies, but she makes me laugh and smile, and she makes my heart all full of love and warm feels, and I need that so much right now. I think I did the right thing.

Stray Rescue is overwhelmed with kittens at the moment, and Poe’s brother Lafayette is still available for adoption, so check them out if you’re in the area and in the market.

Shoe-Nuff

I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel insufficiently recovered from last winter to be ready to start this winter. Most of the time I am down for the seasons changing, but this year I feel that there was not enough spring/summer/autumn to make up for that hot extended mess we had last year.

That said, I needed to face facts and go shoe shopping. With all the activity going on in my foot, I’ve been wearing the same pair of basically-barefoot flats for the last four months, which are not exactly comfortable, but are moreso than anything else I have. Since the sensation has not fully returned to the side of my foot, and what sensation is there is super super tender, I have been loathe to order/wear/investigate “real” shoes. But finally ASOS wore me down with some sales (is it me or has ASOS sucked the last few months? I haven’t ordered any clothes from them since like, July.)

Anyway, here are my purchases, the first two should be arriving today, the third later this week.

OK, so I know I said get ready for winter, but come on – these were so cute and on sale and I am a sucker for pony hair shoes.

Park Lane Cross Strap Slide Flat Sandals RRP $66.33, sale $30.32
Park Lane Cross Strap Slide Flat Sandals. RRP $66.33, sale $30.32
Park Lane Cross Strap Slide Flat Sandals RRP $66.33, sale $30.32
Park Lane Cross Strap Slide Flat Sandals
RRP $66.33, sale $30.32

These finally went on sale cheaply enough to be no-brainers for me. So cute. So very cute.

ASOS ADRIFT Cut Out Ankle Boots $66.33 NOW $33.16
ASOS ADRIFT Cut Out Ankle Boots $66.33 NOW $33.16

This is my first wide-foot pair of boots, I don’t know if they will be too wide, or maybe right for the broken foot and too wide for the other one, but I figure with socks they will hopefully be nice. and I can maybe double up on socks on the right foot if that one is too wide..

New Look Wide Fit Binx Ankle Boots $47.36
New Look Wide Fit Binx Ankle Boots $47.36

Until I figure out what size/style/heel of shoe will work best for my foot and ankle, I don’t want to spend $200 on a pair of fancy boots, so hopefully this will help me start to figure out what styles I need.

Also, ASOS, please start carrying cute clothes at reasonable prices (for Americans) again sometime in the near future. K? Thanx.

Here's where I weigh in.