Triggered

I go to church. I go to an awesome church, where I know that people love me and my family and we practice loving each other and people who aren’t necessarily part of the church.

I feel safe there. But things happened today that made me feel unsafe, and depressed, and detached from the world, and I realized what this feeling is: TRIGGERED. That’s what they mean by that word. I didn’t know it until I felt it.

I’m still feeling low-to-mid-level anxiety about Trump’s America, so there was that to start with. Then, today is the first Sunday of Advent (the church’s time of preparing for Christmas), so we were talking about the tradition of penitence during Advent, which led to discussion of the Roman Catholic practice of confession.

I’m a former Catholic, and another former Catholic and I described our experiences and even laughed about it a little. But then I remembered a couple of experiences I had that helped turn me away from the Catholic Church.

The first happened when I was a young, queer, single adult. I still wanted to be part of the church. Really, I’ve never NOT wanted to have some kind of relationship with God, even when I wasn’t part of a church. Anyway, I went on a women’s retreat, and confession was offered as part of the retreat, and I decided to take part. I don’t remember what I actually tried to talk to the priest about, but the advice that he ended up giving me — completely unsolicited — was that I should pray to St. Joseph for a good husband.

Thanks, Father.

The other one happened after I was married. I think I really did say something to the priest about my marriage, but his response was to ask about why we didn’t have any children and whether we were doing anything to prevent it.

!!!

I joined the United Methodist Church not long after that. Which ended up being problematic, too, but that’s a whole other thing.

So, all of that was going through my head after the discussion of penitence, and then, and THEN, another church member came in late and talked a bit about the sermon he had just heard at another church in the neighborhood. That church was teaching about injustice. Cool! That’s definitely something churches should be talking about. But their first example of injustice? Being forced to pay a $135,000 fine for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

Dear. Lord.  Obviously I could not disagree with this more. I could give you the reasons, but here’s how this makes me feel:

A church in my community, where I live and work, is OK with discrimination against non-straight people.

I know, they’re not the only ones. But normally it’s not practically happening in my face. Normally I can ignore it. And heck, when that case first came up, things were relatively normal. Most people that I knew thought the bakery was wrong. And there was no Donald Trump messing things up.

So I am angry. I wanted to march down there and tell them off and fight people.

I also feel unsafe. It’s NOT like I’ve had anti-gay slurs painted on my door or anything. But the idea that people in my community are OK with discrimination still makes me feel unsafe.

And then I realized I was feeling sluggish, feeling symptoms of depression, and feeling detached from reality. That’s when the word “triggered” came to me, and it definitely fits.

 

 

Standing Rock Protectors

I haven’t written or posted a lot about Standing Rock, but I have been watching and listening and being concerned. It’s hard to bring my thoughts to any coherence right now (and my computer is being slow and uncooperative), but there are a few things that I’m mainly concerned about.

First, recent reports have had law enforcement using water cannons on people during freezing weather.  birmingham_campaign_water_hosesThat’s endangering people’s lives. Law enforcement says it’s justified because people were trying to remove barricades that they wanted to remain in place. I think they could find a better way. Also, I thought we decided a while ago that fire hoses and dogs shouldn’t be used on people
(yes, they’ve also been using dogs).

300px-birmingham_campaign_dogsBut now the Army Corps of Engineers has said that they intend to “close” the area of the Oceti Sakowin camp. Meaning that they plan to forcibly evict anyone who tries to stay.

Mr. Archambault said the best way to protect demonstrators during the winter and to reduce conflicts with the police “is to deny the easement for the Oahe crossing and deny it now.”  (The New York Times, November 26, 2016)

The people in the camp have not asked for such “protection.” They are asking for a halt to the pipeline project. They are willing to stay during the winter months if necessary. An eviction is going to provoke more violence, not prevent it.

Finally, this is about more than just protesting a pipeline, or even about protecting water. It’s also about our reliance on oil. We wouldn’t be bothering about pipelines if our current lifestyle wasn’t dependent on oil. And we need to fix that. Except not today, because I’m driving to visit friends and I’ve been driving my kids and their friends around a lot.  :-(

What can we do? I think it’s important to listen to the native people. Here’s what they’re asking for: http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/getinvolved

More info:

http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/

http://time.com/4548566/dakota-access-pipeline-standing-rock-sioux/

 

 

 

Stories

It’s personal. But it’s not. I don’t know. I’m appalled that Donald Trump has been elected our next President, and that he’s already putting at least one person with white nationalist ties into his administration. I’m frightened by the apparent outbreak of bigotry, harassment and even physical attacks tied to the election.

But I’ve also been reminded more than once that this has been happening all along for black people and other marginalized groups. And we still haven’t done anything about it. It’s just more overt now. And the person who’s going to be in charge of our country is the symbolic focus of it.

How is it personal? I pass for white, Christian and heterosexual, so I’m generally safe, right?

I could tell you about my non-white, non-cis-gendered, non-heterosexual friends and family. I’m certainly worried on their behalf, but those are their stories to tell.

Here’s mine: I’m not straight. Some of you know that, or have guessed, but lots of you don’t. I identify as bisexual. I have for a long time. I’ve also been monogamously married to a man for almost 21 years. And my sexuality doesn’t generally come up in conversation, unless you want to talk about the hotness of Rachel Maddow. We can totally do that if you want.

Back when I didn’t pass, when I went around in super-short hair and a leather jacket, I got mis-gendered all the time. And I had slurs yelled at me on the street — in Berkeley! And I was afraid to talk to my family about it. I guess I still am. Thinking about writing this post was kind of terrifying. My friends and family are far braver than I am.

I’m also not strictly white. My grandmother was from the Philippines. I pass. Some of my relatives don’t.  But if, say, the government decided that only people whose grandparents were all born in the United States could vote, that would cut out me and my siblings and all of my first cousins (on both sides of the family, because my other grandmother emigrated from England), not to mention my parents, aunts and uncles.

And finally, I’m cis-gendered, but I am a woman, which isn’t an asset in the Trumpian worldview. That thing about grabbing women by the p___y? That literally happened to me in seventh grade. Some boy  in the hallway grabbed and then kept walking. I never knew who it was and didn’t know what to do.

I definitely don’t have as much reason to be afraid as some others do. But these are my stories, and they are part of why I am angry and afraid.

 

After Election Day, What?

I had originally envisioned this as a hopeful post. The title is a literary reference, from one of my childhood favorites, the Betsy-Tacy series. When Betsy, Tacy and the Crowd graduate from high school in 1910, the class president, Joe (also Betsy’s boyfriend), gives a speech titled “After Commencement Day, What?”

And I have been concerned about what happens on November 9, whichever way the presidential election goes. But mostly, I’ve been thinking in terms of a Clinton win and wondering what upset Trump supporters might get up to after a loss. That has been worrying me quite a lot. Would there be a continued uptick in racism and xenophobia? Armed rebellion? What?

But now it’s election night, and I’m looking at the results in horror and facing the possibility of an actual Trump presidency. I honestly don’t even know how to deal with that.  Do we need to think seriously about moving? Or about pushing for Oregon to secede from the United States? Should I buy a gun? What is happening here?

Yo

13177225_10209876533258692_7768388631242626952_nOh, hi. I seem to blog here about once a year lately. And yes, I have a few things to say again — but it’s going to take me more than a few minutes to write them, and I can’t decide where to put them. You see, I literally have 15 blogs registered to me. Yes, I may have been a blog-a-holic at one point. A few of them are my kids’ old blogs. One is a shared book blog that my sisters and I did for a little while. This one is more or less my main blog, and it used to be focused on technology and sustainable living. I also have one for religious posts and one for political posts and one for posts about my neighborhood and a couple for Girl Scouts. And one is my OLD main blog before I registered this domain name. Oh, and I manage my school’s website which is also a WordPress site.

So now what? I’m thinking about getting rid of this domain…it’s never really made me any money; instead it costs me a monthly hosting fee and an annual domain registration fee. I can put it all back on WordPress.com for free

But meanwhile, I’ve got things to say. So I’ll probably just put them here, even though they are religious and political in nature, because I don’t really see the point in splitting it all up any more.

See you around!

In Which Resistance Is Futile

11896259_10207705639544037_5042304961677310831_nYes, this is a blog post.

Yes, it’s been over a year since the last one. Why? I’m not entirely sure.

So why am I posting now? Because I have something to say!

Why don’t I say it on Facebook or Tumblr? Because it’s longish and fits here content-wise (my Tumblr is full of Lumberjanes and Loki and scouting stuff and cats).

So here you go.

Earlier today, on Facebook, I vague-posted that I was going to do something I’d been resisting, and that I was giving myself permission to NOT do something else. This attracted rather more attention than I expected.

11921655_10207706210518311_3407555502548387667_nThe thing I was resisting was nothing earth-shattering. I needed to make and can salsa, because I had several pounds of fresh tomatoes on hand for this purpose. I was avoiding it both because I had to clean the kitchen in order to do it, and because canning is fairly labor-intensive and includes lots of steps. I like canning. Or at least, I like feeling accomplished after I’ve done it. I had it on my list for Thursday, but after I did all the other things on my list it was pretty warm outside (in the upper 80s) which meant canning would heat things up considerably inside.

The thing I gave myself permission NOT to do was walking. I currently have a goal of walking 5 miles per week (intentional walking for exercise, not just daily walking around). Sometimes I easily surpass this. This week, I’d only walked a mile (although I did get other exercise), and Friday was the last day to make up the other four. Walking four miles is something I’m perfectly capable of and even enjoy, but it’s best done first thing in the morning, and if I’d done that I would have been exhausted and not done the canning.

So I cleaned the kitchen and made the salsa, one baby step at a time, and got it done, and then I still had time and energy to walk a couple of miles before dinner. Didn’t meet my goal, but that’s OK! The world didn’t end, and the tomatoes won’t spoil now. Well, most of them. Some of them already had. Oops.

 

Kids and Allowances: What Do They Pay For?

Allowance Game
Photo by Mike Baehr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Yes, we give our kids an allowance. Yes, they also have chores – but the allowance is not tied to the chores (they lose electronics or other privileges if chores are a problem).

How much? Right now, our 9-year-old gets $5 per week, 12-year-old gets $10 per week, and 14-year-old gets $15 per week.

How do they get it? 12 and 14 get theirs direct-deposited into a bank account with a debit card. 9 gets $3 per week direct-deposited into savings (her choice), and $2 per week in cash (she doesn’t have a lot of expenses but likes the occasional candy or soda).

Now, my question to you, if your kids also get an allowance or have some sort of income, is what do your kids pay for vs. what you pay for?

Our kids can spend their money on fun stuff: candy, sodas, books, magazines, music, posters, etc. But they are also supposed to pay for things like birthday gifts for friends and smaller expenses at school (school dances, smaller field trip and supply fees, additional school supplies, drum sticks).

We’ve also started giving a seasonal clothing allowance for the older two, although I’m still trying to figure out what is the best amount. So they pay for their own clothes out of that, unless something comes up like an urgent need for a new winter coat, or having NO SHOES that fit any more.

OK, that kind of sounds like I have our system figured out. But I don’t entirely, and I suspect high school is going to shake things up a bit, and we’re going to have to figure out where to re-draw the lines between what we pay for and what they need to budget for.

What do you do?


 

Yes, it’s been a while. What have I been up to? Lots of hiking this summer. I’m hiking for my health and because I love it!  I post hike reports and photos at the Portland Hikers Forums (latest post). I’ve also been traveling with my family – family reunions, Yosemite, and the Oregon Coast.

 

Unplugging Slightly

I got a new bike basket and bag (more about that later), which I love, but even though I pre-measured, it turns out that the bag isn’t quite big enough for my work laptop.

I suppose I could have returned the bag and basket and gone with the rear rack and pannier, but I decided to try something different: leaving my laptop at work. After all, we have a perfectly good family laptop, plus I have my iPad mini, which can easily go back and forth.

So far, it hasn’t been any real hardship. I do have to share the family laptop with other people, which means occasionally I have to ask to use it, but that’s OK!

Am I really using my electronics less because of this decision? Maybe not. I’m still in the habit of using my phone and iPad to obsessively check social media and play solitaire. And I hadn’t been using the laptop that much at home anyway.  But it is something different for me!