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I have watched this (and another from a different angle) about 15 times in the last couple of days and cried every time: https://youtu.be/IGVxaFJeYTo

It’s the finale to the musical “Waitress,” sung by a 14yo boy invited on stage by the cast. I seriously cannot believe how gifted he is, how much he shares of himself, and how touching it is to watch a bunch of adults just lose themselves in raw emotion.
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Hello, Duluth folks. I am a huuuuuge fan and have purchased scores of your items, including two pairs of overalls. They are, of course, wonderfully functional in many ways, but like every other pair of overalls in the history of MANkind, they fail women in a fundamental way.

I speak, of course, of the pain-in-the-tuchus of peeing while dressed in overalls.

To pee, one must unfasten one side of the overalls and push them down to one’s knees, being careful not to dunk the free strap into the toilet and preferably not letting it rest on the floor either. There’s an extra amount of rearranging one’s shirt, finding the free hanging strap, and getting fastened back in. And this is to say nothing of when one is wearing layers and must take off, for example, one’s winter coat in order to pee in an outhouse, which is brrrrrrr and yuck in equal measure.

There are devices in the world to help women pee while standing up - basically, funnels to cover the crotch and direct the flow away from the body. Could the lovely Duluth designers and engineers please work on integrating such a device into women’s overalls? A little waterproof pocket with a bit of rubber tubing, easy to detach (for rinsing at a more opportune time) and to fold away when not in use. Oh, and a flap at the crotch to unzip/snap, or the zipper that can start at the top or bottom of the torso. I promise you, we would love it so, so much.

Colleen Campbell, faithful but yearning customer
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I get that the status quo is “overwhelmed” with a side order of “existential dread.” I really do. I appreciate that I am in an unusually good place, shielded from most of the effects of The Horrorshow and with sufficient resources to bear witness even if I feel helpless. I hope that writing this doesn’t come across as judgy or guilting; it’s not my intent, but it might anyway.

I’ve heard a number of people lately talking of having to pull away or shut down now, that they are out of cope. And I can simultaneously know that that is legit, and feel like maybe they aren’t taking advantage of an opportunity both to address their feelings of helplessness and have an impact on the situation.

So in case you aren’t already aware and taking action, I suggest SwingLeft.org and its scion site, thelastweekend.org. SwingLeft materialized after the 2016 election, for voters in districts too blue or red for their votes to make a difference to influence their nearest House swing district. It has scads of information on how to get involved at whatever level.

I’m hammering out the details of my volunteering now. I think I’ll be driving to NH district 1 on November 5 to canvas for Chris Pappas, staying over with another volunteer, then canvassing and getting voters to the polls on November 6. I waffled on this for weeks, but Swing Left’s webinar really did wonders to allay my anxieties about being to do it, both physically and emotionally.

Between now and the election, there’s phone banking and the last 50 of the 250 postcards to voters that I’ll be writing. It might be a bit late to get started on the latter if you haven’t already, as it takes a bit to get going; but if, like me, you really quite dislike talking to strangers and feel like you could hammer out a whole bunch of postcards in a week or so, postcardstovoters.org is your site. As to phone banking, it’s pretty much ongoing from now through the election, can be done from your own home, and again, Swing Left has a ton of info on how to get started.

If you seriously don’t know where to start, crushthemidterms.org will help you make a plan on how to best allocate your money, time, and cope.

We are in the fight of our lives, my friends. If you can hold the depression off for three weeks to put your resources towards the midterms, you’ll be more likely to have less reason to be depressed afterwards.
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I’ll disable this feature, but: I just got a notice from Livejournal telling me,

“[user] posted entry for the first time in a while.
Your friend did not post 2 months, look at his new post”

It’s followed by “Read the news LiveJournal [news LJ button]”
and “We are in social networks [buttons for FB & Twitter]”.

Well, good to know that English’s difficulty to master is useful for something. I cannot help but read the email as with a Russian accent, the phrasing is so immediately “off”.
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In August, I return to WA to assemble a yurt. One of the many glories it will provide is a mosquito-free space where one is sorely needed, for the mosquitos are many and I am delectable to them, and sometimes nothing deters them other than bathing in DEET.

I now have a goal. Before then, I wish to build a device, of which I have seen several DIY versions on YouTube: something that lures mosquitoes with CO2-producing bait (yeast often seems to be involved), a fan that traps mosquitoes against a screen with its velocity, and solar/battery power. Ideally, I could use it in my backyard for gardening, then transport it to WA, so it’s also got to be small enough to bring the components with me (or easy enough to reproduce there).

This is waaaaay out of my wheelhouse. Who do I know locally with the skills, time, and patience to do this with me? Apart from the pleasure of my company, I can offer massage or money as motivating factors.
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On a sadder note of life-reallocation, this seems also to be the year of letting go the identity of “being a writer.” I adopted it when dissecting a frog at thirteen convinced me that I would not be a veterinarian, and I Needed to Know right then what I could do instead. I made up stories, I would just start writing them down - crisis solved. Three atrocious teenage novels and loads of the requisite crappy poetry didn’t dissuade me. Then I wrote a play which my theater teachers had me direct. I got a standing ovation, praise from students and faculty, roses from my cast, and two of the three genuinely good days of my high school years. Hell yes, I wanted more!

My college playwriting had even more easy success, including winning a contest with a full production and cash award. That play got the attention of a Hollywood producer, who cold-called me at the callow age of 22, interested in adapting the play as a TV movie. I took that as a sign and abandoned the time invested in learning to write for the stage, thinking I would level up in screenwriting as easily as I had in theatrical writing.

Narrator’s voice: “She would not.”

So I wasted fifteen years, gave up my traction, skills, and industry connections, and never got so much as another nibble from Hollywood. Wrote three screenplays I’m happy with, but the only thing that ever came of them was a local theater adapting my lesbian fairytale musical to the stage. That easy success drew me back to stage writing, but that’s as far as it went. I learned a lot, got a lot of feedback and engagement from my community, got some nibbles here and there from small-scale theaters, but never another production.

And while I’ve genuinely loved the writing for its own sake - while I get a uniquely satisfying thrill from living in my brain while it’s crafting a story - it is a huge amount of work to plan, write, edit, and submit to theaters a full-length play. I can only do it so many times for the love of the craft and my dedicated little fan base. Might I reconsider? Sure, if something insistently demanded of me that I write it, or if the script that I put out there last year leads to a contest win or production. But without that, this year is the end of the line.

I know it matters to a few other people, who will be disappointed alongside me. And I know, simultaneously and contradictorily, that it doesn’t matter. Both in the sense that the world does not lack for good storytelling, and in that I never relied on my writing for an income or something crucial like that. I can step away with no repercussions other than a bruised ego.

But yeah, there’s a bruised ego in there. And some discomfort around letting go of the identity of a writer. Especially now.

“Writer” since thirteen.

“Massage therapist for life” since twenty-three.

“The center of my kid’s life” since thirty-three.

All shifting, no longer part of the bedrock of my identity. I mean, “crappy romantic partner” used to be in the mix too, so it’s not like I’m opposed to change. Just, there’s an awful lot going out the window in relatively short time.

Oh well. All in service to transitioning towards being a homesteading innkeeper across the nation, I guess.
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Time for more of the protracted deep-dive catch-up! I had a request for body talk, so I’ll start there.

So, I’m in pain much of the time, and have been for many years. I used to watch other people with extremely chronic pain and think I wouldn’t be able to function, or I’d just be cranky and bitch about it all the time. And yeah, it compromises my functionality, and it does make me cranky, and I do bitch sometimes, but not to the extent that I feared. What I wouldn’t have anticipated is how much of my life is about managing pain: how many hours a day I’m massaging myself, or days a month I’m at appointments for it; how much of my life gets arranged around dealing with it.

Underlying it all has been a gigantic, frustrating, baffling question: WHY? And at age 44, I finally have an answer. I deduced it via work from a visceral manipulator, Joanna Welch, who has been following patterns of compression, adhesion, and dysfunction through various systems intersecting in my torso. It has impacted everything from my breathing (like being unable to get a full breath while biking across the nation) to digestion (pain from eating has become the default) to the swarm of easily-irritated trigger points in my body - and I wonder, perhaps to my lack of breast development, including failure to lactate enough for my baby. Joanna has been creating slack in my connective tissue and freeing adhesions for many months, which begs the question of why there is a need for so much work. Why am I all squished into a non-optimal shape, if not by some traumatic incident early in life?

Huh. Like, say, a car accident at age three, in which I impacted the car so hard it left glass in my forehead?

That is literally all I know of the accident, all I was ever told. I was strapped into a car seat in the front passenger seat, but it was not strapped into the car and so went flying when my dad braked to avoid someone running a red light. My parents picked glass out of my forehead rather than take me to the hospital, and they gave me a yellow lollipop for being so good about it. That was the end of the matter.

No one ever made a connection to the fact that, according to my parents, they took me to multiple doctors when I was in preschool, to find out what was wrong with my wheezy, restricted breathing. “Not asthma” was as far as anyone got. No one wondered for me at my chest muscles randomly going into spasm, which felt like being stabbed with an ice-pick for no particular reason. No one thought it unusual that a teenage girl would have a neck so tight that no one could ever make a dent in the tension; so tight, in fact, that it would send her to massage school and into an entire career, trying to understand the mystery.

So now, forty-plus years later, it is - to wildly paraphrase Churchill - an insight wrapped in a revelation wrapped in an epiphany, to deduce the cause of so much pain and dysfunction. If my forehead hit the windshield hard enough to leave glass embedded in me, the restraining straps of the carseat slammed my torso with that impact. My body was distorted, my rib cage compressed, organs shoved into non-optimal positions.

It is very slow going, undoing patterns of a lifetime, but we are getting there. I can take the deep breath that my pathetically-hindered bike-tripping self longed to. I have more and more days without painkillers, and even with little arnica. I still spend hours massaging myself most days, but I am able to make incremental progress with the tension, instead of just keeping myself from sliding into utter misery.

There are weeks it still feels like I’m playing whack-a-mole with the pain. There are times when I feel internally incoherent, terribly fragile while my tissues are re-ordering themselves. I get frustrated and anxious about whether the trajectory of improvement is enough to counter the natural aging process. I worry that I’m setting myself up for big difficulties in planning to move to WA to spend my later years in physically laborious homesteading work.

But then there are times I’m in so much less pain, that I know it’s slowly coming together and that I’m reclaiming the use of my body that is my birthright. I wake so much less often to discover that tension has pulled my ribs out of place during a few hours of sleep. It is scary to hope, after a lifetime of being knocked askew and baffled, that I could truly come into my own in my mid-forties, but I’m giving it a whirl. Here’s to spending the rest of my life glorying in the freedom and internal coherence that I missed out on for decades and will always appreciate hereafter.
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I am the kind of white woman whom 2016 America desperately needed to be paying closer attention. Earlier too of course, but 2016 was when I came to understand that my way of doing things was untenable. I had said many times since 9/11 that I kept myself in-a-bubble-in-a-bubble of my lunatic-fringe-progressive community, isolated from the increasing deplorability of America. Perhaps understandable, but not okay.

I went to the 2017 Women’s March in DC, where I encountered the term “intersectional feminism” and the Angela Y. Davis quote, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” Slow and therefore picky reader that I am, I got myself her collection of essays, Women, Culture, & Politics, and a year later took it in for Black History Month.

Wow, was that a serendipitous choice. I’ve spent the last year learning why African American people, and women in particular, are pissed off at me, the oblivious white woman. This book makes it clear that everything they’ve been trying to get through to me, they’ve been saying the exact same for decades. Black women have been telling white women for generations that we cannot decouple racism and sexism and poverty issues, we cannot make significant progress towards the betterment of women while ignoring racial inequality. American white supremacy and male supremacy are inextricably linked.

I’ve been watching #MeToo unfurl in amazement, disgust, schadenfreude, new hope, etc, and with #TimesUp, am freshly aware of the prevalence of harassment against lower wage workers and minorities. And there’s Davis telling us over 30 years ago, “As domestic racist violence mounts - and as global imperialist aggression becomes more widespread - so women can expect that individual men will be more prone to commit acts of sexual violence against the women around them.” She talks of the battle against rape culture going back to the 1970’s. It is painful reading, but then most worthwhile things are these days.

And then there are nuggets like this, from 1985: “I was privileged to hear Maxine Waters...[speak of] the painful reality that only one Black woman then served in Congress... I could not help but speculate that if Maxine Waters herself were elected to Congress, Ronald Reagan and his cohorts would find it all the more difficult to execute their heinous schemes.” The book is liberally sprinkled with anecdotes with an all-too-familiar feel, of fighting the unbridled greed and bad faith of a hostile and reactionary administration.

One of the most surprising bits was in a visit Davis made to Egypt, where she was roundly scolded by the Egyptian feminists for focusing on issues of female genital mutilation and the veil. They schooled her that she had been made a tool of the oppressive white American feminists, whose focus on FGM to the exclusion of economic issues was somewhere between useless and dangerous to the Egyptian women. An unnamed woman tells her, “We want to be liberated, we want to be emancipated, we want to be equal - but from an economic point of view, not from a sexual point of view.” Davis muses, “She seemed to be suggesting that an isolated challenge to sexual inequality would not solve the problems associated with women’s state of economic dependency or their exclusion from the political process, not to mention the exploitation and poverty suffered by women and men alike.” It was a powerful lesson in speaking truths and listening to what disadvantaged people have to say about their own lives, which is, again, the sort of thing that has come into focus for me this last year.

Of course, some of the book is wincingly ironic. Davis’s wishes for her people are, if anything, less fulfilled now than then. She says to a high school graduating class, “Imagine that the Ku Klux Klan had already been relegated to the distant past and that we would never again have to worry about the establishment of camps where young white kids learn to hate and brutalize Black people, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans, and Jews...
“Imagine that we lived in a world where Mexicans, Central Americans, and Haitians without immigrant papers would not be rounded up like cattle and incarcerated in concentration camps, only to be shipped back to their own countries, where they face abject poverty and brutal political repression...
“Imagine that we lived in a world where physically and mentally disabled youth would not be subject to devastating routine discrimination...”

Then she says, to these kids, “My young sisters and brothers, we must do more than engage in such flights of imagination. All of us, the young and the old alike, women as well as men, must stand up, speak out, and fight for a better world.” Watching the Parkland kids now taking up the banner really brings that home to me. And this year, for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m finally over the hump myself: I’m paying attention, taking cues from people of color, doing my phone calls and marching and widow’s mite of donations and stuff. I feel embarrassed at how much catch-up I’ve needed to do, that I not be giving mere lip service to Black History Month, but I no longer feel shamefully ignorant.

Twenty

Feb. 10th, 2018 12:20 pm
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Twenty years ago today, I completed my drive from southern Florida, where I’d moved for massage school, to Allston. With the perfect job falling into my lap, I’d stayed for two years beyond school, but I was baseline bored and lonely there, and the only real pleasure I took in life was hopping a plane monthly to see Moxy Früvous perform, along with fellow rabid Früheads. Having never fit in in Florida (much less Alabama), I chose where to move to based on how well I liked the people I’d met there in my Früheading.

Bostonians stood out to me, an intuition I verified with a trip to the area. While staying with [personal profile] cos in Inman Square, I walked around and felt more at home than I ever had in the South. I told my fellow Früheads that I wanted to move up the following spring, and [personal profile] veek suggested I move sooner and into a group household which she would scout out. Florida to Boston in February was daunting, but moving in with a person with whom I had a piece of connection and into a found housing situation tipped the scales.

As the only thing of nominal value I had (besides my car) was stolen just before the move, I loaded my remaining possessions up and road-tripped my way here. I visited family in Alabama, [personal profile] moominmolly and [personal profile] dilletante in Chicago, and stranger-on-a-plane friend [personal profile] m60freeman in Columbus, before I fumbled my way through the bewilderscape that is Allston.

Lucky for me, it was a mild winter, with only the prettiest of snows. I found a crappy job instantly, and then a much better job very shortly after, alleviating my fears that it would be hard to transfer my easy success in the achy aging Florida market to Boston. [personal profile] veek and I lived our dreams for a year in the tiny wizened 200-year-old house which we dubbed Mi Casa Es FrüCasa, where we shared massage and cooking (“rub and grub”, as one recipient had it) with our favorite folk artists and fellow folk fans.

The house was sold and I moved to 38 Sewall Street in Somerville, with a rotating cast of acceptable strangers for two years. They were all young people like me, who moved on to different Tetris-configurations of young people in old Somerville buildings. As the last prepared to rotate out, [personal profile] moominmolly and [personal profile] dilletante were considering moving to Boston, and I said, hey, come stay with me, if it works out, great, if not, use this as a home base to find a different place.

Two years later, after six months of searching, we bought a house together, literally across the street, with a fireman’s brigade of friends (including [personal profile] jbsegal) carrying stuff across for us. Tons of other huge stuff has happened - I got married and unmarried but in between had a kid, got my own massage practice going, discovered gardening, got started on my homestead in WA - but right now, the closer in time it gets to now, the more it runs together.

Right now, It’s the details from 20 years ago that I’m remembering. How that one winter of 1998 snow sparkled in moonlight just like department store snow that I thought so fake, growing up in Alabama. The names for the rooms in FrüCasa - the Den of Iniquity, the Wife of Bath, the Madwomen in the Attic. The near-panic of finding my way through Allston that first time, and how traffic in general felt like a battleground for many months. Interviewing for minutes at the first, terrible massage job, and hours at the second. [personal profile] veek introducing me to spinach - spinach! - the first of many foods I’d reclaim from the horrible cooking of my youth. The possibility and uncertainty and newness and challenge of moving to a place not for a job or school or a relationship, but because it felt right.

Twenty years. In another six and a half, if life doesn’t make other plans for me along the way, I’ll move to my land in WA. I’m just about three-quarters of the way through living here. It feels absurd, against the backdrop of the minutiae of what happened that far back. Then, six and a half years was enough to remake myself 47 times over. Heck, six and a half years ago, I was kindergarten-homeschooling my kid and not even seeking a divorce. But somehow, I have hope for continuity from here through the next life I see taking shape, across the nation.
ceelove: (Default)
I’m sure you’ve all wondered from time to time, so I decided to share at last my answer to one of the world’s great mysteries: What is the weirdest thing I’ve ever had in my mouth?

“It looked like something from a horror movie and smelled worse, which rather suggested that drinking it would be…problematic. Like sucking down Chthulu-flavored cake batter.” And yet, this is not the answer.

http://fiddlersgreen.me/2018/01/29/the-weirdest-thing-ive-ever-had-in-my-mouth/
ceelove: (Default)
The blizz-icane (or whatever) bolluxed my massage schedule, so instead I have written about the importance of massage in my life, in yet another blog post which approximately 1.4 people will read:

http://fiddlersgreen.me/2018/01/05/in-which-i-say-massage-a-lot-which-is-no-surprise-it-being-a-favorite-and-quintessential-thing/
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My friends Pamela and Jesse have been working on a musical together the whole time I’ve known them, and in a week it’s going on in Winchester. It’s the story of Prometheus & Pandora, and it incorporates fire-spinning into the action. Just one day, next Monday at 8:00, and free.

https://www.facebook.com/events/372678776523452/
ceelove: (Default)
As occasionally happens through the years, I’ve been hearing some confusion from people about whether I am accepting new clients. The answer continues to be that yes, I welcome you and your friends/colleagues/family to my massage practice and appreciate the referrals. I’ve been working professionally for over 21 years, blending techniques of Swedish, Thai, myofascial, lymphatic, and trigger-point work as needed. I’m available weekdays and -evenings and have very reasonable rates.
ceelove: (Default)
[personal profile] mangosteen and I pondered the origin of the wasps-becoming-figs phenomenon and decided it needed an origin story, a la Greek myth. We crafted one, and I fleshed it out. For extra challenge, I wrote it in segments of <140 characters so I could put it on Twitter. Here it is.

The lesson is probably, don’t neg a goddess. Or maybe, know your origin stories.
Either way, he’s in for it from the moment he opens his fool mouth to say, “I could do better.”
Now, Athena has some serious resting bitchface - but still, it shows when you’ve displeased She who knit-bombed Arachne into a spider.
Possibly because she’s been hearing this stuff for millennia and most of us are sick to death of it after about five minutes.
And yet, she gives him the same calm, unearned grace she bestows so freely. “You could create a better olive tree, do you mean?”
“No, olives have been done to death. I’d want to go in a fresh new direction, cleanse the palate with something fruity…”
The next thing you know, he goes and creates this flowering tree. Nice enough in its way, but then he keeps fussing with it. Like they do.
He prods the bloom until he is hopelessly entangled with it, inverts it around his finger.
And then he’s caught up in an impossible intimacy, caressing and penetrating its newfound interior.
He shudders with love and it near lifts him from the ground. He buzzes with agitation to be one with his creation.
Athena takes his measure with her cool gaze. “And what would a virgin like you know of it?” he says waspishly.
But it does not sting her. “So what must happen to consummate your union?” she queries. “I don’t give a fig!” he flies back.
Ah, but she does: it is her specialty to unravel the tangled desires of the human will, to find the thread.
And so she weaves his DNA afresh to be himself most fully.
He is a wasp, and he thrusts himself with desperate ardor into his flower, merging to become one succulent flesh.
Athena plucks a fig and nibbles it appreciatively. “I’m glad you decided to do better,” she tells it.
ceelove: (Default)
My reaction to the election and news since has been to be as politically involved as I can afford to be, including attending four rallies/marches: feet on the street is the best antidote for my feelings of helplessness.

In case you feel the same, and also think of Mueller's investigation as the very last line of defense, you might want to do as I just did: sign up to be part of a "rapid-response" action in the event of his being fired.

https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response/13293/signup/?source=MFT&s=

Berries!!!

Jul. 22nd, 2017 05:35 pm
ceelove: (Default)
So you know that drought we haven't had this past spring? You know how rain makes things grow? You know how I have a wild obsessive-compulsive love for berry picking? (You do now!)

This is by way of saying that I'm going berrying again tomorrow morning, having verified today that the Fells are resplendent with berries. Mostly tiny wild blueberries now, with a few black raspberries, and huckleberries soon to ripen.

Yes, you may come with me. Yes, you may ask me where I go, but understand that I suck at directions and maps, I really only know landmarks, so I'm vastly better at taking people than sending people. (If you come with me, though, understand that I wasn't kidding about that obsessive-compulsive thing: I can happily pick for hours.)
ceelove: (Default)
I keep mentioning this, online, and people keep not having heard of it IRL, which makes mentioning it online some more seem futile, but it's important to me, so at the risk of being annoyingly repetitious:

THIS SATURDAY, nationwide and beyond, in something like 140 cities & locales, people will be marching and otherwise peacefully demonstrating to demand a transparent, independent, and publicly-accessible investigation into Trump-Russia. Join us, contribute, spread the word, resist!

www.marchfortruth.info

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