Posted in baking, cosplay, creativity, dragon, family, Personal, storage

6/19: Results of Dragon Baking Shortbread

(random featured image…)

Ummm…. needs more flour. It’s been so long since I made shortbread before that I’ve forgotten how the dough should be… and now I’m realizing it should be on the MUCH drier side. This round liquefied and eventually baked out to a 1/4″ thick mess. It’s…. edible, but not for sharing.

I’m going to have to craft my own damn recipe. I was going back and forth between about 4 different recipes. One uses powdered sugar (don’t have any), another uses less flour (the main one I went with… bad choice).

I have the capability of crafting my own recipe. Despite the bad blood between my mother and I growing up, she taught me a few things. One was baking from scratch. Baking is typically an exact science, but shortbread is one area where wiggle room is easy to manage. Most recipes call for three things: sugar, flour, butter. I went off a recipe that adds vanilla. A comment on that one said almond extract would be better. I might have that here with me. I brought the “spices and stuff” bag back from storage a couple weeks ago… I think the almond bottle is in there. If not, that’s okay.

Shortbread is about as simple as it gets when it comes to baking. Three base ingredients, a little time, and then you have tasty little shortbread cookies. This round didn’t work. That’s okay. I love experimenting in the kitchen. I grew up with a fully stocked kitchen. This is how I do my best to live as an adult. Sometimes I’m lacking in some ingredients, and that’s okay. I make a note to pick them up next trip.

My mother also taught me other things, such as visualizing a finished project and what I might need to make it happen, even if there is no template or pattern. This is how I can design and draft my own patterns for some things. Same for altering patterns and making a “franken-pattern” using two or more patterns. This is where the 3rd jacket project comes from… the one I mentioned in the projects post yesterday or so. There is no template for it, but I know what I want to do and how to do it. I can see the finished coat. I just need to get there from where I am.

I noticed a couple people visited the post about my Kai Opaka  cosplay. During the eviction, I did find the missing pieces and put them in the bin with the rest of it. I can’t really work on it here… but maybe… just maybe… I can get it done for RCCC this September. There are many parts of that costume that I have designed myself. There is no pattern for Opaka’s outfit.

My mother created the costume ideas I brought to her. Sometimes with just a sketch. Many times, with no pattern. My ST:TNG dress uniform top is that way. Everyone else I’ve seen has a zipper at the back of the neck. We were super intense, watching clips of every episode that had those and we determined that it closed in front. We figured out the what, and then the how. I still have that uniform. I need to do some repairs on it, but the craftsmanship on it impressed the crap out of people in higher ranks at the regional Starfleet conference (Yes, I started out doing Trek cosplay in the early 1990’s and was a member of Starfleet). This lowly Ensign had a better dress uniform than her own captain.

Despite the two of us locking horns a LOT (the two most stubborn people in the family also happened to be the two most creative), we did a lot of incredible things. I still have a hard time forgiving her for the emotional abuse she heaped on me. I lost the chance for reconciliation years ago as her Alzheimer’s got worse. She passed away in 2013. The only thing I can do now is to handle it on my own.

She taught me how to bake and cook from scratch. She taught me visual and tactile skills that have served me well as I get older (God knows I’m not maturing. I need to put it into my living will that I go into the incinerator with both middle fingers flipping off the world).

More baking experiments to come… next month. I don’t have any more butter.

I also need to stick to more liquids for a bit. A sizable piece of one of my bottom front teeth is loose/broken off (it’s wedged between the rest of that tooth and the one next to it).

Until the next round…

~Dragon

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, depression, dreams, eviction, grad school, homeless, job hunting, life, Personal, storage, student life

6/17: Falling Apart

I’m not totally sure what to do anymore. I have no back up, no resources. Remember: I’m homeless, jobless, and disabled. Trying to finish grad school has become an impossible feat. I owe nearly 5K to my school because I had to withdraw from my classes last term. I got a letter recently (I check my PO Box about once a week) saying if I don’t send something (and where is this money coming from?) before the 26th, it’ll go to collections.

So I’m at a loss. I’ve worked at this degree for nearly three years and the last two terms, due to depression and the eviction stress, I’ve tanked. Hard. I talked with my advisor and decided on just doing the one credit wrap-up capstone… but it’s one credit and financial aid only covers 5+ credits. I don’t have the funds to pay for one credit. I’m about ready to say, “sign me up for 5-6 credits for the fall term… fuck this, I’m going for the certificate.” Summer term has already started.

Maybe I’d get enough funds to pay off the school and a new term. Not sure.

So, here’s why I’m pissed off… they know I’m trying to finish the degree. There’s a damn good reason I’ve needed financial aid. I’ll try calling them next week and try to deal with this. Explain that with the debt, I can’t finish my degree… but I’m unemployed and fucking homeless so how the fuck am I going to come up with 5K??

I’ll call them next week and see what I can do. I don’t have the money. I’m trying to sell stuff out of storage so I can pay next month’s storage rent of a mere $280 (mere compared to 5K).

The letter from them states that enrollment will be frozen while I still have outstanding debts… I need a miracle of some sort. At the very least a small one to keep me from losing it while on the phone with them next week.

I’m frustrated. Partly with school, but mostly with myself and my life. I can’t fully put my finger on the WHY of the mess my life has become. I can’t blame it fully on either myself or “society.” Believe me, I wish I could figure it out. I wish I had that answer.

But it eludes me.

~Amanda

Posted in dragon, Personal, storage

6/15: Not A Morning Dragon 

Yesterday was spent in storage and one TR gig. I had awesome friends helping. Got more stuff up high to utilize the space better. Lots more work to be done in there.

I will likely be laying low and letting my body recover. Ow. Expect some blog posts… as those don’t require physical exertion. Right now? Rest.

~Dragon out… zzzzzz

Posted in bugaboos, cats, chronic pain, depression, eviction, grad school, life, Personal, storage

6/12: Monday Ramblings

A few things on the plate tonight.

I’m hoping/planning on going to storage later this week. I don’t think I’ll make tomorrow, as I have two appointments and the second is closer to “home” … unless I have some surge of energy early in the morning and go over there before my first appointment downtown at 11.

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

I need to pull a couple of things and brainstorm something from what I already own to lift Portia’s food bowl up. She’s doing something she never did when it was elevated back at the apartment. She does this half cough/half hairball hack. What I think is happening is that she needs the bowl elevated again so that the food is staying where it needs to. This is why it’s strongly suggested to elevate bowls off the floor/ground. The problem is that the item I was using back at the apartment was a few old shelves from long-dismantled IKEA bookcases. Both food bowls, the water bowl, and the container of kibble were all on there. I can’t bring anything like that into the house. That’s been well established. I think they’ve mostly been tossed into recycling anyway during the move-out.

So, I need to jury-rig something smaller. Using only what I have in storage.

This will be fun.

I have mentioned I grew up watching the original MacGyver as a teen, right?


I had Physical Therapy today. Because of the new order for my back, we did an evaluation on that. Here’s where things get bothersome:

Medicaid/OHP+ only covers 8 visits to therapy type things like speech therapy, PT, etc per 12 months or something like that.

I had 4 approved visits for speech therapy due to my vocal cord dysfunction.

Then 4 approved visits for my knee, one of which we used today for the eval for my back.

I have one visit left for my knee. I need to get them to somehow approve/jump through flaming hurdles visits for my back.

Ahh, bureaucracy and red tape at its finest.

My knee is doing better… my back? Not so much. It’s getting rather inventive with new curse words. I’m not sure what language it’s using…. not sure I want to know either.


I have a lot of things swirling around in my head about some of the bigger things in my life. I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to keep my shit together long enough to finish grad school. Frustrated I can’t get very far with job hunting. Frustrated that I crave the peace of my own place but can’t see when that place will happen for me.

I’ll figure it out at some point… just wish it wasn’t so damn frustrating.

~Amanda

Posted in asexuality, bigotry, cats, chronic pain, LGBTQIA Pride, life, Personal, sexuality, storage

6/7: Random Ace-ness and Antics

My last three posts have been about sexuality/asexuality, dating, disadvantages of being Queer Asexual in this society. I will certainly continue on this general topic this month, being Pride Month and all.

This post will likely be a bit of that plus updates on other things….


Asexual Erasure: When I got home today, I saw that a friend on FB had posted an article on the erasing of asexuality within the LGBTQIA community. This is something I’d mentioned in one of the recent posts. We don’t get taken seriously. I highly recommend reading the article linked above. She did an incredible job detailing the shit we have to go through. Yes, ‘A’ can be for Allies as well, but being an Ally isn’t a sexuality… Asexuality IS. We aren’t aliens (although I do tend to feel like one that got left behind on Earth sometimes). We’re human beings just like everyone else (I hope we all are), and our lack of sexual attraction should have nothing to do with whether we, who are -at times- even more marginalized than others within the LGBTQIA community.

I am open about my sexuality because of this crap. I’m tired of people dismissed us, telling us we’re mentally ill for it… and the list goes on. So I’m “out and proud” and you can’t tell me or anyone else that we don’t matter just because we don’t get sexually attracted to others.

The way I see it is that with being Ace, I have less issues in my life. I have other things to do with my time than go to bars and clubs and be treated like a piece of meat. I have many hobbies. I like my hobbies. I don’t need a bunch of horny assholes trying to get in my underwear to tell me that I’m a real woman.


Storage: Two days in one week… that’s pushing it for me. I had an appt to trim up my mohawk downtown today, so after that, I headed up to storage. I didn’t get very far, but did do some shifting around of things. I even found a jar thingy of hair stuff to spike/play with my hair.

Note to self: learn the lengths for hair clippers… do not do a 1. Unless you like having hair that almost passes for military.

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This is for all the assholes who treated me like shit. 

Portia is sleeping… for now. With a full moon in a couple of days, her antics have ramped up. It’s funny and adorable, but when I’m trying to sleep at 3am and I heard these thuds because she’s playing on the hot tub cover…. it isn’t so cute.

*thud*chirp*squeak*thud*thud*scrabble*thud*squeak*thud*


I’m still exhausted and dealing with pain… I just about have all the “tools” needed to start organizing some of the stuff I have here. Gradually…

~Amanda

Posted in food cravings, friends, homeless, Personal, silliness, storage

6/5: Digging through Storage

I took the bookcases, rollerblades, decorative bowl and a bin of stuff I’ve accumulated since I was initially locked out of storage mid-March back to storage today with some help (and a vehicle). My goal today was to dig through the area just to the left of the door. My mattress was on the coffee table along with a bunch of other things… so today, mattress got dragged out, coffee table pulled out. Smaller items taking up real estate at waist high for me got tossed, shoved, crammed, etc into spaces further back where there was room for small things. I checked the drawers of the taller dresser in case there was anything I really needed from them (there wasn’t)… and then started loading things in.

I moved one of the huge waxed produce boxes back there, then loaded other boxes on top, then other things on those boxes. Shoved the mattress into a new spot (I really should ‘invest’ in one of those mattress bags or something to keep the poor thing from getting any dirtier), and put the bookcases and bins in front of it to keep it upright.

By the time the hall was empty -save for the piano bench and folding table I set up for small stuff- I had a little bit of floor real estate left. There’s still a long way to go. But it felt good to finally tackle something beyond the space just inside the door. Some broken items came back with me, along with my laundry basket (I had brought my wheeled hamper with me and with a flight of stairs between me and the machines, I felt the basket would be much easier) and a jar of pickle relish.

I have showered (much deserved and very welcome) and am now in my penguin footie pajamas… with little-to-no intention of going anywhere.

I’m just craving food I can’t afford and shouldn’t have because it isn’t gluten-free…. it sucks when you get sick from eating something that’s in nearly everything on this planet that tastes good… such as fried chicken. I know I can get “breaded” GF chicken nuggets and stuff, but honest-to-God crunchy-skinned juicy fried chicken (Popeyes over KFC)? Nope. Haven’t seen anything yet that comes close and is gluten-free. There are moments when I do something I shouldn’t… such as getting fried chicken. But I also don’t have the funds to get it, so the craving will wait.

~Amanda

Posted in adoption, anxiety, cats, depression, empath life, family, Personal, PTSD, storage

6/4: Crash Day with Portia

Originally today was going to be spent at my storage unit selling off the bed frame to a friend and then organizing and trying to reclaim some space in the back half of the unit. My mattress is resting on edge on my beloved coffee table (that I’ve had since I was about 18 and needs refinishing one day). All of that blocks my views of the rest of the space behind it. On Thursday last week, I managed to get to where I was sitting on my taller chest of drawers (I tend to call them dressers, even though that’s inaccurate, but yanno, it’s easier) and noticed that the space behind the mattress is not being utilized to its full ability (think vertical). So my goal is twofold: find a way to store the garment bags of costumes so they don’t “avalanche” while being stored flat, and then clear a better path to that area and organize it better.

One goal, when I have the funds (which I’m looking at costing more than I originally thought at around $60-$80, depending on the diameter of the chosen pipe) to make a steel pipe garment rack. I’ve had purchased racks from Target and IKEA and they cannot withstand the weight of the costumes. Eventually, I’ll get some plywood and make a platform on casters and put the steel pipe rack on wheels, but that part can wait. I need three 6′ pre-threaded pipes, four 12″ pieces, two elbow joints and two T joints. Yes, I know my way around a hardware store… maybe a little too well.

Honestly, if I could work retail again, I’d love to work at Ace Hardware. The people there understand thinking outside the box and have always helped me suss out how to work around problems with creative things (the guys at Pearl Ace still remember my dragon puppet head from 2009).

So, today was going to be spent at storage, but after Thursday afternoon in there, then two days of moving books and stuff around at the yard sale here, I was tired. When my friend who is buying the bed frame said he wasn’t feeling well today, I decided I’ll just stay home. Tomorrow, I tackle storage. So, about today…


The rest of this is part of a status I wrote earlier about Portia… the parts in Italics are the original post.

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First Position. She normally sprawls on my chest if I’m in bed, but not today. 

Although the bond with Portia isn’t as strong as mine was with JoJo, she is still bonded. Note in this picture that while it isn’t obvious, she’s napping on my left hip/pelvis. The side that has been problematic for a couple weeks now. Earlier she was roughly in the same spot, purring and grooming herself.

I adopted Portia October 30th, 2010, a few weeks after I had to put Jack to sleep due to Acute Renal Failure. His quality of life was extremely poor, so it was best to let him go. I tried making JoJo an only cat, but that didn’t last long. She became “Super Cling Kitty” within a week. I found Portia through Petfinder at Cat Adoption Team.

20170604_154810
Second position. Still in the same place on my left hip and leg, but this time taking my hand as hostage.

I know some people who think “she’s JUST a cat,” but I know better. Having been a petsitter, volunteer at shelters and rescues, and a lifelong cat person, I know behavior and a lot of health stuff. As an Empath, I connect with cats and dogs. Cats can, if you let them, be amazing therapy animals. Both girls were there for me last November as I dealt with the 2 year anniversary of my dad’s death as well as his 90th birthday and on top of that, a massive trigger of my C-PTSD. Portia and JoJo got me through it. Three months later, we lost JoJo, oddly to an illness similar to what my dad died from. Portia has picked up where her big sis left off, being there for me in her own quirky way.

She’s adjusting to being an only cat better than JoJo did. Granted, we’ve also been in this transition and technically homeless since early March. I think she wants a buddy, as she tries to get along with the resident cat, although that girl isn’t too keen on Portia. Hence my reference to baby gates on occasion. I have to keep them up to keep her contained.

It’s been 4 months as of yesterday that we lost JoJo. My father died of heart failure and then JoJo with Congestive Heart Failure. Two of my closest companions gone from similar issues.

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Third Position. Belleh Floof! A fair amount of the time, she actually likes belly scritches. Jack was the same way. 

Portia has picked up on things. She makes me laugh, does things like in these images today to help comfort me and be a bit of therapy. She’s feisty but sweet. Hates being groomed, but loves attention and treats. She gets underfoot a LOT and loves wet food. She’s a total dork of a cat, but she keeps me grounded and sane. For me, if not for the cats in my life and music to help push the emotional pain out, I don’t think I’d survive my life right now.

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This is from a few days ago. She was partially on my lap and licking my nose and chin.

Cats are amazing creatures in so many ways. Far too many people see them as aloof, cold animals, but those of us who have shared our lives with them? We know better. There is power in those paws. The whiskers. Those knowing eyes. The power of absolute love.

~Amanda

Posted in creativity, life, Personal, silliness, storage

6/1: Thoughts while working on storage

The building my storage is in is a giant metal and concrete box. No cell signal, nothing. So, the list here is a bunch of random thoughts or things I said to myself.

  • It will get better. It will get better.
  • Why have I accumulated so much wine?
  • Ugh.
  • Now, if I can put that there and then that can go there.
  • Avoid avalanches.
  • I HAZ A TAIL!!
  • Found the grey nail polish!

Poem coming shortly.

~Amanda 

Posted in activism, anxiety, artsy stuff, bigotry, chronic pain, depression, life, Personal, storage

5/31: Day off again

I did a little too much yesterday, so I spent the day at the house helping my hosts with prepping for a book garage sale. Tomorrow, pain levels willing, I’ll hopefully head down to storage and push myself to even higher limits. I have things I want to remove, shift around, etc… weekdays are better for that because there are less people so I can spread out and use the hallway to pull things and move more stuff around.

Thanks to a certain person whom I don’t know, June storage rent is paid up. One less thing to worry about. A friend is buying my bed frame… and I’m going to find a way to haul the two little bookcases back to also put up for sale this weekend. My intent tomorrow is to get a little deeper into the mess in the middle of the storage unit. The perimeter is organized, but as things got more frantic, it was more of a “throw it in there and don’t break anything!” It’s a jumbled mess of stuff that if you pull on one thing, Bast only knows what will come tumbling down in an avalanche of stuff.

One goal of selling things is to buy the supplies to make a steel pipe garment rack for my costumes and such that come down when things get shifted. Eventually I want to rig it so it’s on heavy duty casters, but those can wait. I just want to get those garment bags hanging up.

Another goal is to pay the buyout price for a textbook. I like keeping my Archives textbooks and this one will take about another 65 for buyout from rental.

Then, after that, set funds aside for feline supplies and July rent for storage. I’m also returning to TaskRabbit as a Tasker and will hopefully start back up and get decent gigs… it isn’t the best source of income, but for the storage unit, it’s fine.

And yes, I’m still job hunting.

Life has been tugging me in so many directions, I’ve felt like I’m on the edge of something… a breakdown maybe… but I’ve gotten through the worse of it… I just still feel stuck. Getting steady work and back into a place of my own will help immensely.

So, there’s my boring life in a nutshell… at least for today.

I also just made a banner for my FB. Feel free to use, just don’t trim off the copyright at the bottom. It fits the FB specs for banners.

nohatepdxfbbanner

I can make a general one as well, but with so much shit going on here… hate crimes more public, bolder, more violent… I needed something. And with Pride Month upon us, the colors felt right.

Well, I think the coffee has worn off for the day and it’s well past my bed time. Although the pain meds were taken too late, so I don’t expect to sleep tonight anyway…

~Amanda

Posted in anxiety, artsy stuff, chronic pain, creativity, Personal, silliness, storage

5/25: Arting w/o Words & Stuff

So I scribble and doodle a lot…. well, not often enough to be REALLY good, but I try.

A few weeks back, an image came to my mind that I felt needed to be put onto paper. Now, when I do artsy things, they usually involve photography or Photoshop… design-like things… but this image in my mind of a Tolkien-esque elf just kept sticking. I started to sketch it out, but got stuck on shitty erasers and a pencil that wasn’t soft enough… I stalled. I still have every intention of finishing her in watercolor pencils… but now there’s a second version that popped up in my mind while sleeping last night. Same general image, but in charcoal on toned paper…. yeah.

So, while I have some quiet time here at the house, I’m going to work on her. She doesn’t have a name… she’s different than RG, who is the main character of a webcomic I’ve been trying -very unsuccessfully- to launch for over two years… I think my financial instability and such hasn’t helped…

I have access now to storage and can get my charcoals and supplies out… I don’t know at this time if I have any blank toned paper left… if not, I’ll have to get some.

I’m a writer who occasionally likes to draw and paint. And now, as I’ve been writing about this, I’m thinking of a small piece as a gift for someone…. I wonder if I can pull it off in time…


Now, about yesterday. I’m amused that I got all kinds of ‘likes’ on here for last night’s post about not being able to do my usual stuff.

I had my Voc Rehab appt and then went to storage… by the time I got TO storage, both of my hips and both knees were screaming bloody murder at me. I rested for a bit on a bench I have in the unit, then started pulling things out and trying to make the stuff right up front a little more “me friendly.” I’d gotten 5 of these huge waxed boxes for produce and four were stacked up right in the middle of the doorway… trying to get around them was a bitch. They’ve now been split up, a few other things shifted around… etc.

I have two short and narrow IKEA bookcases for sale and a friend is buying my bed frame as soon as I can extricate it from it’s location in storage. I can see part of the headboard, but yeah…. there’s a lot piled on top of it, so it’ll take some major shifting of stuff… MAJOR shifting. My folding table is now withing easy reach for each time I open the door. It got buried in the rush of things in March. I like setting the table up for smaller items and an intermediary spot for heavy boxes as I pull them out.

I really want the bookcases gone… they take up floor space in there, which is extremely precious.

Thanks to a person and their biz PP account, the day after auction, I received enough to pay for June rent for storage. When I went down there yesterday, I paid it early. Needless to say, Dustin (manager) was very surprised. I’m almost always late on rent. So I have a little breathing room to tackle selling off some things, organizing the rest, and just getting the physical stuff together in my life.

My left hip is still hurting as I walk around the house. Not as bad as yesterday, but I’ve been resting and trying to stay off my feet, and thus my knees and hips, today. I think this is my sciatica flaring up… although with only occasional sharp jabs of pain. If I had free access to weight machines like leg press, leg extension, and leg curls, I’d not only make my physical therapist happy, but it would help strengthen both of my hips and my back…

Now to see if I can pull off this small thing in time… I have a kneadable eraser, both WC pencils and regular colored pencils… and a sharpener…

And I’m not posting it publicly until it’s been handed off to the person.

~Amanda