State of the Insomniac: DMV Edition

The DMV is a mini world boss with a lot of hit points and I don’t like authority figures.

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*flop* Who has two thumbs, social anxiety, an annoying mistrust of authority figures, severely under-diagnosed neroatypicality, and a sudden need to go to the DMV because their driver’s license apparently expired last week?

*points thumbs at self* This guy.

It started on Friday when I tried to pull fifty bucks out of the joint savings account I share with my mother. It’s my money, from selling my old place, which is a stress inducing tale I’ll tell some day if you buy me some whiskey and have a couple of hours to burn. Anyway, I found some boots on a not entirely sketchy Facebook buy/sell group that could work for costuming. So I went to the bank I’d really rather never give my money to but is the most convenient to use (*sigh*), waited in line, handed over my license, filled out the paperwork to withdraw money, literally everything up to the ‘I’ve credited the account here is your money thanks for doing business with us’, and…

‘Do you have another form of ID? Your license expired two days ago.’

Anxiety level: 5

Oops. Turns out your license turns into a fucking rotted pumpkin at midnight after your birthday. Who knew? The lady behind the counter, apparently, only she waited until the end of the process before telling me about it. You couldn’t have led off with that? Come on.

So I left, went to the grocery store, bought some potato salad, got cash, drove to this lady’s house, bought a pair of brand new maybe not stolen boots but how would I know, and went about my weekend, with ambient anxiety level of 2 every time I got in the car.

Did I mention my mistrust of authority figures? Gosh, I just love getting pulled over! Thankfully, that never happened, but I got to drive around all weekend technically illegally because the state of Montana is a butt.

I’m a procrastinator. If anyone ever got around to making a club for procrastinators (see what I did there gosh I’m hilarious) I’d be voted in as a board member. I’ve been in Arizona about eleven months and still hadn’t updated anything. Well, good thing I was thinking about finally getting an updated license.

My mother, the eternal packrat of useful things, still has my original birth certificate. Like, the first one she ever got. She’s a sentimental old broad, it’s in with a bunch of other shit like my GED, certificates for various achievements, immunization records (vaccinate your effin kids, folks), and some goofy shit seven year old kids who are visiting their father mail to their mother.

What were we talking about? Oh, right. The DMV. Attention span of a fruit fly.

I went in this morning. I wanted to get a number, but I guess in Arizona you have to wait in line to do that. I don’t get it, but okay. I handed over the expired license, TOTALLY PRETENDING I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IT, and the dude barely mentioned it. Ha ha oops wow that’s good I came by ha ha play it cool, idiot.

Anxiety level: 3

Got my mug shot taken, filled out some paperwork, waited. Sometimes it’s hard not to stim. I didn’t bring my fidget thingy and rocking or flapping my hands on a government office really doesn’t seem like a great thing to do, so I played The Good Neurotypical and sat still. Ugh.

Got my number called, sat down, handed over all my shit, the lady at the desk commented about the license expiration, my anxiety level creeped up, and I did some active grounding. Both feet on the floor, uncrossed, energy out through the right foot and energy in through the left. Out with the anxiety and let the earth absorb and transform it, draw in clean energy. Waiting sucks when they’re poking at computers and checking filed and paperwork and all you can do is just sit there and try not to snark.

Next thing I know, I’m down $25 (okay, more like $28 because Uncle Sam is a dick) and I have a crappy temp license until the real one shows up in a couple weeks. I got out before they changed their minds and drove straight to the quilt store because surviving an encounter with the DMV Miniboss deserves a reward and it’s too early for booze.

Bought me a neat pattern for a 2′ wall hanging type thing, accent and backing fabric. I already had 2.5″ mini charm packs for the pattern itself. Drove home, showed my mom the goods, fondled fabric squares, ate some pizza, and generally celebrated surviving going to the DMV without losing my marbles.

Wicca and looking (and being) serious while praying

… and by looking serious, I mean I probably looked RIDICULOUS.

(10 April 2017, 05:43)

 

The trash goes out twice a week where I live.  I was up all night (please contain your shock and surprise at this revelation) and it’s not quite dawn yet.  The driveway faces east, and I noticed a bright star in the sky.  Remembering the interesting stellar event of Jupiter rising as the full moon set from a few days ago, I realized the bright shining light I saw in the pre-dawn was Jupiter.

 

So I did what any self-respecting witch might consider in my situation.  I grinned, threw my arms up in the air, and whispered a prayer to him and asked for a blessing.  What a sight I was, let me tell you, a picturesque Wiccan in a ‘Damn Right I Shot First’ shirt with Han Solo’s face, convertible hiking pants I bought at REI that one of my gaming buddies said were the most lesbian pants he’d ever seen, bare feet, and a backwards Red Sox hat.

 

Being Wiccan is serious business, yo.  Sometimes you just gotta witch when the opportunity presents itself, and damn appearances.  Like the neighbors in the community don’t think I’m weird enough already…

(15 May 2017, 04:11)

The amusing part comes a couple weeks later when I’m at the big pagan festival, lamenting that I hadn’t dedicated to any of the Greek deities at their shrines during the time their priest and priestesses were present with the god-forms invoked.  I couldn’t decide who I wanted to dedicate to and so I just spent my time as an attendant, which is a fancy way of saying I stood outside Athena’s temple and made sure nobody walked in while she was already meeting with someone.  Talking with some people afterward about what’s been going on in my life, and let me tell you how emotionally validating it was for people to say things like ‘I know this year has been hard’ or reference specific events, I came to agree with their suggestion to dedicate to Zeus and Athena.

 

In a roundabout way, I sort of already had dedicated to Athena.  So now I just had to see if I could find time to meet with the priest of Zeus.  I was able to do so in the end and it was pretty damned powerful, as having a private soul-baring chat with the King of Olympus should be.  I have ideas in my head of things I want to do now, and facing the necessities associated with it are daunting.

 

And then I thought back to the morning when I saw Jupiter in the sky, threw my arms in the air, and looked ridiculous as I asked for just one shred of a blessing, just a moment of his attention.  I guess he must have heard me.

The weekly State of the Insomniac: Mother’s Day Edition

I’ve been having mild success with taking melatonin to help me sleep. I’m writing this post at 4am so you’d be correct in guessing I forgot to take it. I’m gonna talk about my pathetic attempts to show my mom how much I appreciate her.

I bought some melatonin capsules a while back and didn’t have much success with them because I just kept forgetting to take one at a reasonable time.  Thinking ‘Wow, I should take some melatonin’ doesn’t really help when you have to be awake in four hours.  Finally I got smart and set an alarm on my phone.  Every night, at midnight, take the damn melatonin and go back to whatever your stupid Sims 3 family has been doing (like ignoring the sink spraying water all over the kitchen to go play in a puddle outside).

And well, since I’m writing this post at four in the morning, you’d be correct in assuming that I forgot to take it tonight.  Yeah yeah, phone, lemme just snooze the alarm for a sec — oops, I hit dismiss instead, that’s fine, I’ll take it right after I…  Yeah, nope.  Good job, dumbass.

I live with my mother.  She’s got health fuckery that worries me and I’ve been living with her as a caregiver.  She lets me live in her house and take hot showers and complain about the oven-like atmosphere that comes with living in a desert, and in return I schlep her around (in her car, which she can no longer drive herself) to doctors appointments and quilt stores and the Free Wifi Place AKA Starbucks.  She does a lot for me and don’t think that I’m not incredibly grateful for that.  I’m uncomfortable when people tell me how ‘brave’ or ‘good’ I am for helping her out.  It’s something a decent human being should do, especially in my circumstance of having needed a place to live anyway.  I live in fear of the day I realize I can’t take care of her alone anymore and we have to hire someone to come in every day and help her, and the idea of her in a nursing home — even a good one — makes me sick.

Nobody’s been stupid enough to suggest that I put her in a home so I can go live my life.  The internet doesn’t count, I can laugh those idiots away.  I mean that nobody’s said it to my face.  If they’re strangers I can make a snappy comment about their family.  If they’re friends I’ll probably chuckle because they’re saying it as a form of mockery, and if they’re actually serious I’ll slap the shit out of them and lose their contact info faster than you thought a human could unlock a phone.  Point is, I’ve received nothing but support from my very sparse Venn diagram of social circles.  I’ve curated it pretty carefully, so I’m not surprised.  That doesn’t stop me from worrying about what people think of me, because that’s just how anxiety works.

My mom’s included in that worrying.  Every time she buys dinner, every cut of fabric I add of my own at the quilt store, every time I drive her car to the gaming store, I wonder Does she know that I can’t truly put into word or deed how grateful I am?

When my dad was still around, I woke up one Father’s Day morning (I lived with him) and announced to him that I was spending the whole day with him.  We did what he wanted, all day, no reasonable request denied.

Enter Mother’s Day this year.  I did much the same.  She said she wanted to get coffee and we went.  While sponging that sweet free wifi I hit up Google maps and found out the nearby quilt store was open on sunday.  ‘So, here’s the deal.  We can go to the thing right now, but it won’t be your favorite.  Or we can go to your favorite tomorrow or something, but then it won’t be Mother’s Day.’  She gave me a funny look because she didn’t quite understand.  I repeated it as we left the parking lot.  She suddenly snickered and mumbled something, catching on. She wanted to go today.

Well, it’s her day so all right.  To the quilt store, where I told her she could get whatever she wanted (uh, within reason — I don’t have the money for a serger or a medium arm, sorry mom) and she wasn’t allowed to fuss about the price.  She picked out some stuff, insisted on paying for a ruler I was fully prepared to buy myself because I wanted it too, and chatted with the employee that she knows.  I got some stuff for myself and off we went.  She wanted to go to Target.

I guess not every store has Pride merch.  I was disappointed.  I wanted those gender pronoun pins.  She wanted some color catcher sheets so she could wash some fabric, and a toy on a stick for the cats.  I put the day on pause because my uterus decided it wanted to murder me, and went home.  Mom could use the rest anyway.

After that, we wandered around Best Buy to rubberneck at a new laptop for her. Didn’t buy one, I want to make sure she gets something that’s mildly balanced and not a flashy piece of crap. She doesn’t need any touchscreen fuckery or a fancy case.  We went to the Applebees in the same parking lot and stuffed face with steak and cheeseburgers and went back home.  She fondled fabric and watched HGTV, I wasted time on Facebook and reddit.  The cats ignored the thing on a stick, because of course they don’t want to play with it right now.

This weekend has been pretty epic.  We didn’t fight, we went to the Music of John Williams concert and freaked out when Vader showed up, and today was a huge success.  I forgot to take her to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 again, but I can fix that soon enough.  We’ll go back to our usual routines later where our schedules don’t mesh quite right, get cranky with each other about stupid shit, watch Stephen Colbert and laugh hysterically, only get half the things done we meant to this week, and hopefully don’t set foot in a restaurant because we need to cook the food we already have here.  I’ve got a list of shit we (and I) need to do on my phone so we might even end the week ahead.

Not everybody has a great relationship with their mom.  And that’s completely understandable, I’ve met some people’s moms and a couple are pretty … yeah.  I tell people I won the Parent Lottery with mine because in my opinion, I wouldn’t trade them for anything less than total world domination with zero chance of ever being overthrown.  Hey, everyone’s got a price.

Now let’s see if I can get me some sleep.  The girls have a vet appointment this afternoon and won’t that be a fun ride in the car…

Dungeons and Dragons pt 1: How I Got Started

I’ve been playing D&D for a very long time. Here’s a very brief history of what my RPG career has looked like.

There was this ‘D&D Thirty Day Challenge’ meme floating about the social medias, so I decided to get in on it and here I am.  Since I don’t want to inundate a multi-topic blog with ALL D&D ALL THE TIME I’m breaking it up some.

 

Day One: How I Got Started

 

The very very first rpg I ever played was TMNT.  I was sixteen and played a mutant raccoon with a tendency to get on the nerves of the RDF (Robotech Defense Force) who were stuck in the modern world.  After that, I played a Zentraedi rebel fighting with the RDF.  I don’t remember much about either character but I know the raccoon liked fast cars and the Zentraedi had purple hair and passed every single Cooking skill check I had to make.  No small feat considering she only had like a 9% skill at first.

 

My GM in those games, who’s turned out to be a lifelong friend and literally the reason I didn’t commit suicide at sixteen, mentioned D&D at one point.  I want to say he told me to avoid it, but that could be completely wrong.  This was back at the tail end of the ‘Dungeons and Dragons is eeeeevil‘ propaganda, so I may just be mis-remembering things from some nonsense the teachers at our high school tried to warn us about.  Anyway, one of the quickest ways to get me interested in a thing is tell me to avoid it.  I spent my summers in Montana with my father, and when I flew out there I began searching around for a game.

 

And I found one!  Probably up at the college campus nearby, I don’t remember.  My first D&D group was a bunch of college nerds living in a house.  I think I was the only girl.  Looking back on it now, I was possibly not very smart just walking into a house with a bunch of strange dudes and hanging out with them for hours on end.  I was young, not entirely stupid, and at that point relatively unafraid in nerdy circles.

 

I played a human wizard in AD&D 2nd Edition.  I died a lot.  Having only four hit points does that to you.  It was your average dungeon crawl style game, not a whole lot of RP in there and no overarching plot that I can recall.  One of the guys kept hitting on me.  I just thought hewas being nice to me.  I was still pretty far in the closet back then and didn’t recognize – or really want to recognize – when someone was trying to flirt.  The GM told me about it once day when I was early for the game, told the guy that I was underage and reminded him of the Joey Buttafuoco case that was still on everyone’s minds at the time.  (Shut up, I’m old.)  He backed off a bit after that.

 

I left the game when I had to go back to my mom’s for the school year.  I was sad.  I’d made friends who didn’t suck.  The GM gave me a set of dice, which I might even still have somewhere if I ever get all my shit in one place and sorted out.

 

Since then I’ve played in many a game.  I had a brief AD&D2.5 game where I played an Avariel, a winged elf; a human warrior; fell in love with 3rd Edition and delighted in not having to calculate THAC0 anymore for each and every weapon; absolutely refused to play 4th Edition or allow it in my house; played the Kingmaker campaign in Pathfinder with some old WoW buddies over Skype, which was really heavy on the RP; and was browbeaten into playing 5th Edition Rise of Tiamat run by some LARP acquaintances who’ve become some of my most treasured friends over the years.

 

Currently I have plans to join in another 5th Edition game run by the same folks who ran the Rise of Tiamat game.  This one’s set in the Underdark and I’ll be playing a male Elf with anger management issues (aka a Barbarian).  We’re starting out at level one, it should be a riot.

 

I’ve been playing RPGs for about 22 or 23 years now, long enough that I don’t exactly remember how old I was when I started.  I still have most of my books, in storage right now because I couldn’t bring all of them with me when I moved across the country (twice) looking for a place to live.  Roleplaying games aren’t a thing you grow out of, and I never want to.

Wicca and when to keep your mouth shut

The middle of a memorial service sermon isn’t the time to comment about the impossibility of the existence of a ‘Good Witch’. Neither is calling someone out on it then and there.

My stepfather died a few weeks ago. I never lived with him; my mother married him shortly after I moved in with my dad who lived a thousand miles away. I was never really close with my stepfather. I did respect the hell out of him, and loved him. He made my mother smile in a way I’d never seen. He had a lot of health issues. Specifically a form of Parkinson’s called ‘progressive supranuclear palsy’ likely caused or aggravated by post-polio syndrome. Sounds pretty scary, and it kind of was. There’s a lot of very private stepfamily drama attached to his declining health, which summed up is that my mother stayed in her home while my stepfather was placed in a nursing home 1500 miles away. She got a call that he was ill, and my heart sank. The next day she answered the phone and almost immediately started crying uncontrollably. I got up, poured a shot of whiskey, and drank it.
More stepfamily drama meant my mother wasn’t able to attend his funeral. She never got to hold his ashes. She started going to grief counseling within a week, something I never did after my father died. I don’t like discussing the details of my private life to strangers (an odd statement from someone writing a public internet blog). I’d called mom’s Lutheran church as soon as I could to see if someone could come and speak with her. You don’t have to follow a religion to have respect for its followers.
One of the church pastors helped set up a memorial service here for my stepfather, to be held at the neighborhood’s clubhouse. I wasn’t aware that it was to be a religiously themed memorial until I showed up to see a lectern in front of a few rows of chairs, and one of the pastors in attendance. And here I was with my pentacle tattoo, pentacle necklace, pentacle bracelet … I’m a big believer in interfaith cooperation and support, so aside from quietly feeling a little out of place I told it in stride. I put up with being patted, hugged, given what was intended to be a comforting shoulder squeeze, and the general physical contact folks do when they’re being sympathetic. As my mom’s caregiver I get to live in a retirement community, so I just put up with it when I have to.
The service was very nice. The pastor, a woman with an EXCELLENT speaking voice, gave a wonderful sermon. She talked about the wizard of Oz, and how Dorothy would never have been able to succeed at her journey without the aid of the tin man, scarecrow, and cowardly lion. In the analogy he was Dorothy and we at the memorial were the ones helping him navigate the yellow brick road.
It’s during this sermon that I come to the point of this post title.
As she was speaking she of course brought up Glinda, the Good Witch, and talked about her role in helping Dorothy realize her strength and capability. I don’t know who said it, and seated in the front row with my mother I never turned my head to look. At the first mention of the ‘Good Witch’ someone behind me said, in a nasty tone full of disgust, ‘There’s no such thing.’
I wanted to stop the sermon. I wanted to turn around and confront this unknown woman who had, probably unintentionally, insulted me and effectively everyone in my religion. I wanted to ask her if she thought I was evil, if driving my mother to church when her usual ride wasn’t able to was evil, if going grocery shopping and cooking for her was evil, if taking her to get coffee when i wanted to stay home and curl up in bed and pretend the world didn’t exist was evil. I’ve only ever said no to her once, and followed it with a promise of going the next day. Was that the evil?
I wanted to stand up and leave, feeling like a thousand spotlights were on me with a neon sign over my head pointing down and blinking EVIL. I no longer felt like I belonged, didn’t feel welcome, didn’t feel wanted. How could someone be so callous, so cruel, as to say that in the middle of a sermon? Sanctified ground it wasn’t but I felt the sacredness of the service pop like a soap bubble. Way to ruin it, semi-anonymous lady.
I wanted to turn and confront her about the inappropriateness of speaking during a sermon. Your disgust with witches has a time and a place, and maybe it’s not where a bunch of grieving people can hear you, the wrinkled peanut gallery, mutter your opinion in a not as quiet as you think you were voice. I wanted to turn and see whose face looked most out of place, dripping with contempt and loathing.
Instead of doing any of these, I kept my mouth shut. I kept my eyes on the pastor, who had to have heard and didn’t miss a beat. I didn’t see her with any notes. She was dignified, prepared, and knew what she was going to say by heart, if maybe not word for word. I raised my psychic wall of Lego blocks (I’ll talk about that some time) to block out the probably unintentional hate and listened to the lesson. That each one of us helped my stepfather, in whatever way and however direct or indirect, and that he couldn’t have done it without each and every one of us.
I spoke to a few folks afterward who came up to me. I was offered many condolences, and told a few times that I as a very good person for helping out my mother. I told them the truth, that I wouldn’t be much of a decent human being if I refused. I didn’t recognize any of the voices as the one that spoke earlier. One woman who I did talk to about what I’d heard helped me remember not to let it bother me, and my internal voice turned to say to me ‘Don’t let the bully win.’
Folks stayed for a bit afterward, then filtered out. I thanked the pastor for the eloquent sermon, in a much less eloquent manner than I’m writing this post because in person I’m a verbal disaster when it comes to social situations. Mom and I went home, feeling a little better about our feelings of grief. I told her about what I heard much later that day, when we were a bit less emotionally raw and drained.
There are times and places to have discussions about faith. There are times and places to confront people about their unintentional bigotry. I doubt that woman really knows that Wicca is a federally recognized religion in our country, that the symbol of our faith is allowed on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, that there’s a section about it in the military chaplain’s handbook. Or that I’m one. Three pentacles aside, they can be easy to miss. My tattoo is on the inside of my wrist, the necklace is on the same chain with two other pendants, and I wear a collection of woven and beaded bracelets. If you don’t look closely, they sort of blend together into something vague and unremarkable.
Moreover, it wasn’t really worth the fight. It’s unlikely I’d change the woman’s mind about Wicca or open her mind to the idea that maybe there’s good in everyone, even me. My time would be wasted and my already high anxiety levels would have gone through the roof. In the immediacy of the moment I wouldn’t have been able to present a decent, respectable argument for my cause. So, like I said, I kept my mouth shut.

SRI Talks About Baseball

Now and again I get excited about sportsball. Right now, the hype is SO REAL.

Now and again I get excited about sportsball.  Right now, the hype is SO REAL.  I don’t know what they’re putting in the water in Minneapolis this year, but I want some.

 

Two days.  Two games.  Sixteen runs earned.

 

The Twins haven’t exactly been the best of teams over the last few years.  I’ve been a fan since 1987 and there’s been many a time when I’ve wished dearly for a TARDIS so I could steal Kirby Puckett and bring him to the present day.  They’ve been a total dumpster fire.

 

They’ve done really well so far.  Crazy well.  Great plate discipline, great offense, great defense.  Not to hyperbolize but right now they’re on track to outscore opposing teams by eight to one and that means I should just buy my world series tickets now.  If they’re not already sold out.  They should be.

 

I want to believe, guys.  I want to believe.  I can’t wait for tomorrow.  And since I have a subscription to MLB TV I can watch as many games as I like so now I’m gonna watch my second favorite team, the Red Sox.

Charm packs, obsessive counting, and insomnia

I bought some charm packs for a project, my sleep schedule is behaving well, I exercise some self control and sleep instead of play with fabric.

My mother’s quilting group went on a mini shop hop as one of their last events before ending for the summer (many of them are snowbirds and take off for more hospitable climates when the weather gets stupid here in the desert). We only went to the one store and they had a great demo of how to take ten inch squares and make triangles out of them. I’ve wanted to branch out from squares and rectangles for a while. Everyone was given a pattern, and since my mother and I live together the store gave me a different pattern. I would’ve been content just sharing with mom the one everyone else got.
So, since I had this pattern that wanted a butt load of 10″ squares or a smaller version calling for three 24-count 5″ squares, I picked up a pair of Moda charm packs that I like. Two 42-count packs will work instead and possibly leave me with either lots of leftovers or a bigger quilt. The colors are kind of on the ‘bright’ side for me, but if I’m ambivalent on the final result I know I can find a good home for it. I made it about four hours before I opened them up to fondle them.
I have this thing where I have to count some things. Label says there’s 42 in a pack, I have to count them. And then again, in case I was wrong the first time. If I’m interrupted I have to start over from the beginning and count twice again, because who/whatever interrupted me ruined the routine. Lacking even feline interference for a change I counted the first pack which had 44(!) squares, very exciting. The second pack didn’t. So then I had to go through and fold over each square, one pack and then the other, to see which ones were extra. They turned out to be orange hues. I pulled them out to separate them and they’ll go in a comic book sleeve as a scrap square for later pillaging. I’ll have to write a post about that with some pictures.

(02:52) Now the two packs are taunting me. I had a really awful sleep cycle the last couple of weeks and I’m absolutely exhausted. I really really want to play with them, sort them and re sort them and organize them and do layouts and put them back in piles, them sort them properly for the project and get them ready for sewing. And here is an example of why I’m NOT just making a choice to be irresponsible – I’m not gonna play with them until Thursday. Nope, I am tired AF and I’m going to sleep because hallefrickinlujah, I’m gonna sleep. It’s a blessed feeling to feel like sleeping, wanting to sleep, and feeling that I can sleep. I’m not gonna spoil that just so I can molest some fabric.
I’ll dream of sewing charm pack squares and cutting them into triangles. And I might even wake up on time, if the cats leave me alone.