It’s been 17 years now, and like many of you, the memories are still sharp enough to hurt. So many words have already been said and written, shouted and sung, whispered and wept. Some by me and many more by others. What more can be said?
Most of the children born that day are now finishing high school, the anger, confusion, and betrayal of the day does haunt them. It’s something they’ve learned from others but didn’t experience themselves. My own child was 2 years old at the time. As far as he remembers, he’s always lived in a country with a Patriot Act and is waging a war on terror. He doesn’t remember how desperate his mom was to run away from the office and wrap him on her arms. He probably doesn’t even remember that there were tears.
I was all of 22, almost 23 years old. It brought reminders of a chilly day in Oklahoma 6 years prior. In the coming days, my heart would again swell with pride for my fellow citizens that rose up and took care of each other because that’s just what communities do. Yet the empty skies above served as a grim reminder of what had transpired.
And here we stand, 17 years later. Bruised but not beaten by those that wish even to this day to destroy us. Lord willing, we’ll stand against them for many more years to come.
It’s been a while so I figured I may as well drop a little content here. I posted it a few days ago on Facebook, but I think it deserves a place here because, well, it just does.
She put on her finest outfit. The one that always drew his attention. Patiently, she waited. Seeing him across the way, she began her dance.
He knew she would be there and dashed as fast as he could, throwing caution to the wind. Tonight would be the night. There she was, beautiful. He watched her move. He’d waited his whole life for this moment.
He was right there. Surely he could see her. Slowly, carefully she danced in his direction, but he came no closer.
He was ensnared. He tried to signal her but he was unable to approach. He’d been caught by something and couldn’t escape but he had to let her know how he felt. Desperately, he signaled while being wound ever more tightly.
Drawing closer, she began to realize something was terribly wrong. He was singing their song, but he’d stopped moving. She must have gotten to him. Hope dimmed and slowed.
He flashed his last as the femme fatale had her way with him.
Thus ends the front yard firefly romance foiled by an orb weaver.
Maybe? Sort of. I mean, I am always me but I am an always evolving and changing me. Or, at least I hope to be anyway.
Here we are, it’s 2018. I’d like to promise you all more regular content in the new year, but I can’t. This whole going back to school while working a more than full time job thing saps a fair amount of the blogging mojo. I miss it though, so hopefully I’ll find some moments to squeeze in more blog time.
So, what has Jennifer been up to lately? I’ve taken up weight lifting. Just a little, but I’m really enjoying it. I’ve got friends that are far more hardcore about it. Competitive lifting types. I’m not trying to get there, but I’m enjoying the added strength and muscular definition. Generally speaking, even with the scoliosis and extruded disc, my back doesn’t hurt anymore. Yeah, I still need regular adjustments, but I’m not likely to throw something out in my day-to-day activities or even a heavy yard work day. If you follow me on Instagram, you’re likely to get tired of flex pics and food. Don’t expect a lot of activity there either.
Still making progress towards the accounting degree. I’ll happily talk assets, liabilities, and equity and the various ways to figure depreciation with you. I’m apparently a glutton for punishment and am taking some programming courses to satisfy the elective requirements. Current course is Secure Coding in C/C++. Got to be honest, it still sounds like a lot of gibberish, but everything I’ve written so far works, so there’s that.
I moved from a supervisory role to an analyst role professionally. It’s a lateral move that should allow me to explore some projects that interest me personally. It’s different and kind of scary, but I really do think it’s going to be a positive move for me. It’s been a long time since no one reported to me, but the new flexibility should be exciting.
Doing some more photography. Something that really warms my heart is that I’ve been able to use it to give back to my community. That picture in this slide show here with the boy that’s so happy with a blanket is mine. This one
This organization serves disadvantaged youth in the community and they asked us to come and take pictures for the Christmas party. All these kids make Christmas lists. This boy only asked for a blanket because he’d never had one of his own. I’m so humbled that I was there with my high-dollar camera and fancy lens to capture this moment. I wanted to run out and buy a pile of blankets and build him a blanket fort. This is one of my favorite photos that I’ve taken, and it simultaneously makes me want to smile and cry. It’s easy to get hung up on the fact that I don’t live in a nicer house or drive a nicer car, but I’ve always had a blanket that I can call my own. His joy is real here. At his feet was a duffel bag full of beautifully wrapped packages that he didn’t touch. The blanket was the only thing he wished for.
For 2018, I want to take a lesson from blanket boy and celebrate the small blessings. I have a roof over my head and food to eat. I have a job I enjoy and work with an amazing team of people. I have the most amazing friends and family and the lines separating such are fuzzy to non-existent. I am blessed and rich in the things that are actually important. I want to actively celebrate that.
If you know me, you’ve likely heard me say this. I stole it. It’s not my quote, but I have permission to use it. So, maybe I didn’t exactly steal it. This guy said it.
I met Michael Logan 4ish years ago. I heard the whirr of his mobility scooter and I was trapped. It was a meeting of the Retro Gamers Society, a group Evyl and I had recently joined. Before me sat an older gentleman in said scooter with a flag attached. It was a black flag with a skull adorned in sugar skull styling with a Legend of Zelda motif. Different, but definitely a flavor of different that I could relate to.
I once cringed at the sound of that whirr. I knew, regardless of whatever else I was doing or where I was going that whirr meant I was spending at least the next twenty minutes of my life with Michael Logan. Didn’t take long before I started looking forward to those encounters and even sought them out. There was a distinct loss to those meetups where I didn’t hear the whirr.
Walk and talk
Evyl and I have been cat-herding the photography team for SuperBitcon! since year 2. In fact, my photos are still the official documentation for year one by crazy random happenstance. For these events, my extrovert tendencies turn up way past 11. I am a full-on pinball of Ooh! Shiny! Social Butterfly! I don’t stop moving. I high-five everyone.
So here I am in hyper-social my camera is my party cannon mode and there’s the whirr. Michael tells me to walk and talk. I slow down. I’d missed him as we hadn’t seen him for a few meet-ups. He told me he’d been in the hospital again but he was glad he got out in time for the convention. The guy had been on a mobility scooter and generally using oxygen for as long as I’d known him, so I knew he wasn’t in especially awesome health, but I had been unaware that he’d been so recently hospitalized.
I’ve been dying as long as you’ve known me, but everyone is. Life is a terminal condition.
He told me about how he had terminal cancer. The chemo, the bad heart, etc. I must have made concerned face because he assured me that it was all fine. He’d lived a great life and done things most people would never believe. He hadn’t always been the old fat guy in the chair, you know…
Terminal cancer or no, I just kind of expected to keep hearing that whirr, and it just became one of those constants that became a comfort. That whirr meant I was going to be regaled with a story which may or may not involve midget wrestling, or met with a unique bit of wry humor, or shown the newest bit of artwork by his daughter. I always knew I could find him holding down the fort at the Charity Bazaar during the convention. I believe it was year two and there was a super nifty if I do say so myself crocheted Legend of Zelda throw pillow up for grabs in the charity auction. Michael pointed it out to me talking about the hours and hours of labor involved in making it. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise until I could no longer control the giggling. Yeah, I made it. I know.
If I recall correctly, he got the second Legend of Zelda hat that I crocheted. Stole it fair and square in the annual RGS gift exchange. That whirr was the prelude to that laugh. A laugh that was always contagious and inclusive.
It was just assumed that I’d outlive Michael and now I have. That whirr is silenced. The day we all knew was coming has come. Far too quietly for my taste, but here we are. I still wasn’t ready. We certainly had our differing viewpoints on many, many things, but my life is richer and fuller for having known him and he will be missed. Please, read Evyl’s tribute as well. He was special to both of us.
As my friend so eloquently reminded me, life is a terminal condition.
Still here? What are you waiting for? I’ll still be here when you get back.
So I know you’ve heard that Andi is a wife, mom, sister, small business owner etc. When I met Andi, she was coffee-slinger extraordinaire at the local purveyor of blogorado breakfast, aka Obligatory Cow. (She also brought bacon, eggs, and cinnamon rolls that could give you diabetes from across the room.) I don’t think you can fully understand the magnitude of slinging coffee and vittles to this rag-tag group of misfits. We take over a room. We switch seats. We tell tall tales which usually contain not insubstantial amounts blood, gore, and improvised explosives. Not really the kind of thing that could be described as polite company. We’re loud and often unruly. Andi took it all in stride with a smile on her face. Not only that, she kept coming back for more. This woman’s cat-herding skills even kept us out of the hair of the more regular clientele.
Not only is she one of our own, she has served as caretaker of the tribe. And now she needs our help. I know, it’s a terrible time to ask for money, but it’s a terrible time to need the help. She’s looking at 18 months of therapy that will have to be paid for out-of-pocket. It’s hard enough to do the work to get your life back without the extra anxiety about how to pay for it. In our house, we’re intimately acquainted with the challenges that come with recovery. I’m sure many of you are as well.
If you can, please contribute to her GoFundMe. Email the confirmation of your donation to firstname.lastname@example.org to enter the raffle. You’ll get a response which is most likely keyed by yours truly since I’ve volunteered to collect this data and make with the magic. It may just say ‘Thank you,” but I promise, I am really reading those messages and passing them on as appropriate. I’m a bean counter in my day job, I can count the beans for this too. I can even sort them out and make pretty charts.
You guys are awesome, each and every one of you. If and when I meet you in real life, you’re getting hugged. I’m pretty serious about my hugs too. No hover hands or side hugs. You should warn me if you’ve got any injuries like broken ribs prior to said hugging.
I know, I haven’t been around much. Work is busy. Home life is insane. And did I mention I got the bright idea to go back to school? You know, when you major in music they don’t make you sit for a single accounting course. And since my end goal is to get my CPA… Well, you see my predicament. I know, extroverted accountant sounds like an oxymoron, but since when have I been the normal one?
But hey, I got to play with a cannon over the weekend.
Lumpia was made and consumed
And most of all, my soul was rejuvenated by the company of the very best people. You know who you are. My tribe. My heart. I am blessed beyond measure.
Here’s to you
I’m on a break between trimesters (accelerated classes so there are 3 sessions per year), so I will attempt to get the free ice cream flowing again. You know what happens when you let dairy sit too long, so there may be some clean-out and overhaul needed. Do ignore the smell.
I don’t know what’s coming next, but I hope you’ll stay along for the ride.
May as well give the 44 Mag a try
Guess those bottles weren’t so lucky.
Gotta love that grin!
This was this young lady’s first time out with the AR. Looks like she’s got the hang of it. This was her reward for finishing the school year with Straight A’s. The Evylrobot and I were thrilled to help make this happen. She’s got a great future ahead of her, and we’re proud to be a small part of it.
Here, let me pat you on the head and guide you to a safe space while the adults just fucking deal.
Look. I get it. Real life is hard. There’s, like, bills and responsibility and alarm clocks and evaluations. It’s, like, seriously style and cramping, ya’ know? You really put your heart and soul into that expletive filled rant against capitalism and someone just stole your freaking intellectual property and shared without even so much as a link back. That sucks! No one will ever know that you wrote that!
How will anyone ever know that you are the super special snowflake that really participated? I know, I know. You just can’t even.
Well then maybe you should odd.
Someone hurt you right in the feels? Take a moment. Breathe in. Let the hurt flow through you. Can you show me on the doll where it tingles now?
Listen. Really, listen. I don’t care how much melanin content you’ve got, who or what you want to consensually rub your gooey parts against, or how you’d like to identify yourself. Are you useful? Can you make me a sandwich? Mow my lawn? File my taxes? Massage my feet while painting my toenails? Entertain me?
Then why for any deity’s sake should I give a flying flip about your well being? Because you feel discriminated against? Show me.
I’m a woman of color* in flyover country. I’ve never been able to pass**. I’m a survivor of many things I never deserved, but the sun just keeps rising so I better keep on.
The world has crapped on me and my own over and over and yet, we persevere. You, my dear snowflake, really can too. Yes, you too can own a tiny house in the suburbs with innumerable plumbing problems and mice so your children can go to the right schools and you’ve got the bragging rights of living in the right suburb.
I digress. This is you and your micro-aggressions.
Breathe in. Feel it fully from your forehead all the way down to very tips of your toes.
You. Think of you.
Meditate on you.
So you’re a socialist? That’s awesome. What, exactly, are you contributing to society? From each according to his ability, yes? So, what are your abilities? What are you throwing into the pot for redistribution?
Oh! You have a bowl.
There’s kind of a lot of people showing up with bowls. I might have some pepper. It might be in spray form.
Someone maybe ought to wash all these bowls people keep bringing. No?
I’d direct you to the ball pit, but you have to sign a waiver. We had to let some un-vaccinated children play there so there might be a touch of polio.
You don’t want to hear me, do you? In fact, you’ve probably stormed away with your spittle rage to your keyboards and are furiously telling reddit what a terrible human being I am. Post a link while you’re at it, ‘k!
I am! I am the awful human being that thinks maybe, just maybe, you should be capable of contributing to what ever perfect society you believe you deserve a place within. It’s true. If you are useless, I believe society should shun you. Kick your worthless butt out. You. Should. Starve.
Does that hurt? Do you need a minute? A blanket?
Who am I kidding? You’ve left. You’re already telling me that I’m terrible in my comments. I like you. You’re going to tell your friends. They’re going to get mad too and visit. They will probably comment. You know what? Happy clicks and angry clicks are totally equal for ad revenue. Do that. I’m a damn evil capitalist. Angry is usually a lot more delicious, profitable clicks. Please, be mad. I like lobster.
Oh right! You can’t deal with this right now.
Hang on. I’m going to have to move some crap out of the designated safe space. The entire house is a deplorable mess, but that should definitely take priority.
Here you go, sweetie. Some gentle head pats. Maybe even a Popsicle.
Right now happens right now. Yep, that sucks the big one sometimes. Sometimes, your car decides that your gas pedal doesn’t really exist while you’re doing 75 MPH down the turnpike. Totally okay. You drive stick. Shove that bad boy in neutral, turn the car off and back on(rebooting the computer), and throw it back into gear at speed without impeding traffic. This is now. It’s a lot. It’s seriously, no doubt, scary. I’ve done it. You can too.
Forget the safe space. Own the scary space. Conquer and overcome.
*I really hate that term.
**Almost as much as I hate that one. In the second grade, I had to explain to my teacher that Filipino is not, in fact, a Native American tribe, but thank you for the paper work that could get me on the rolls.