Posted in anxiety, depression, dragon, family, friends, grad school, job hunting, life, Personal, PTSD

6/26: Angry, tired Dragon

(I’m mostly venting… so if you don’t want to read my venting, it’s okay. I started this on FB, but it was getting long. )

At this point, at least for right now, if there’s something political that harms a large percentage of people in some way… then I’m likely mad about it. I can’t fucking keep up. The Supreme Court is failing us, the “president” is one of the biggest fuckups we have done to ourselves as a nation, congress has too many blind greedy assholes, and hate crimes abound because the perpetrators figure with 45 in office, they can get away with pretty much anything. So yeah.
But I’m done right at this exact moment. I can’t put energy into fighting this cesspool our society is turning into right now. I have too much of my own shit to deal with.
It’s fucking tempting to start a GFM or something for getting the fuck out of Dodge for a few years… raise funds to get my passport, plane ticket and such for Portia and I, and leave. Right now, that’s where my head is. Finishing my degree is on hold until I can come up with the funds to pay off the school. So that’s fucked.
Other than having many good friends here, I don’t have anything tying me to PDX. the US in general, my brother is still cool… there’s extended family… but I never see any of them anymore because I live at least 600 miles away from them and have been too fucking broke to visit. They’re all busy with their own younger branches of their families. Our branch? None of us have married and unless we adopt, no kids. 
So where is all of this coming from, you may wonder. Especially since I posted earlier about the very thing I’m trying to get away from: posting on politics and striving for peace.
Well, I have a few books next to my bed. A couple of overdue library books, a textbook from the class I fucked up on, and Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History. I was going to refer to one piece in there for the papers I didn’t finish for the class I didn’t finish… yeah. So my head is in this weird place all of a sudden.
I want to finish, but I don’t have the 4500+ to pay off the school. I know I got myself into this mess. Spring term fell apart due to the eviction stress filling up my headspace.
I can’t put my finger on why I can’t seem to get myself together. Exhaustion and PTSD screwed me up last Fall term. Then I had a chance to redeem myself on the class from that term that I took an incomplete on… and then the eviction took over Spring term.
I started grad school totally on track, getting good grades, etc… and then over the past year, I’ve been slowly unraveling. Stress, no job, frustration with things in general, have all played a role in my downward spiral with school. I’m super close to finishing, but the money thing from withdrawing in Spring has messed things up. By the time I came up for air after the eviction, the term was nearly over. The whole thing is a jumbled blur.
***
Well, I have a bit of a nutty week ahead. Tomorrow will be a very long day, then a couple of things Wednesday, possibly something Thursday and then GearCon all weekend. I’m on staff… A week from now I’ll likely be so dead-tired I won’t be able to function for a day or two. We’ll see how things go.
I’m working on rounding up as much as possible of the $280 needed for storage. I have a little under half right now… but two more TR gigs this week will help… and still trying to sell off a pair of speakers and the two bookcases. I may need a little help, as my tasks didn’t really start getting going until mid-June. We’ll see how things are after Wednesday.
Let the wild week begin!
~Dragon
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 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.

20170604_160711
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 family, friends, life, Personal, storage

5/18: All is well… for now.

I woke up this morning around 4 or 5 to a certain large feline purring on my chest. Normally she isn’t very stealthy. The extra weight made it a bit difficult to breathe. She finally jumped off and I checked my phone for messages, etc. A friend overseas helped get me the last needed funding. I slept in a little more and then headed downtown. Took care of some banking and then headed up to storage.

All paid up for now. I tried digging into the stuff, but couldn’t get very far. I did find one of my treasures, but my shoes are all buried somewhere in there… I did grab some items of use and then put everything else back. Just in that short time digging in there has me hurting a lot.

Thank you to every single person who helped share and/or donate! It means a lot to me… really, I swear.

2017-05-18 11.32.16
You obviously can’t see everything, but yeah… this is what ya’ll helped me save: my life in boxes and such.

So many things in there that mean a lot to me. Okay, not the vacuum cleaner so much, but I did a lot of research before buying it to make sure I got a good quality one. And it wasn’t a cheapie!

Next time I go down there, I’m bringing help. Oof! The stack with the vacuum was all I could move… I thought the majority of my shoes were fairly close by, but they weren’t. Now I’m trying to remember where the hell they went. My poor sneakers need retiring badly… and I only held three pairs of footwear out: the sneaker slides, a pair of ballet flats for interviews, and my winter boots. What? It was winter at the time!

I’m gonna get off my feet for a bit… rest my back, etc…

~Amanda

Posted in anxiety, cats, chronic pain, crowdfunding, dragon, emergency, family, friends, Personal, storage, urgent

5/17: Adventures in Dragoning

The stickied post is above this one, sorry folks… until storage is safe, it stays. Getting close, though.

My adventures out today. I definitely over-taxed my knee. But that’s what I get for walking from the MAX downtown, up to The Roxy, then over to Mud Bay on 16th & NW Glisan, then up to Safeway on Lovejoy (this will all make sense to people who know the downtown and Pearl/Alphabets areas), then to the Post Office (central), then the Greyhound station MAX. Almost 9000 steps today. My knee is swearing at me again.

I’ve picked up a modest writing gig with a friend of a friend (we had breakfast at the Roxy)… after breakfast, we went our own ways… needed kitty kibble so off to Mud Bay. Then picked up one of my scrips at Safeway and then mail, then back here. One thing I learned the hard way: If you’re going to run errands afterward, don’t drink two large sodas at the Roxy (the pitchers)… I was waddling the whole way. I did get some good belches off thanks to the root beer. Yeah, I have a teeny bit of redneck in me. When your Southern Boy boyfriend (this was years ago) feels mildly insulted that his native Californian girlfriend can belch better than he can… heh heh heh.

While sitting at the station for the ride back here, I ended up writing today’s poem. More of an observational theme than internal. But you have to wait until later for it.

Okay back to raising the last of the funds.

Posted in crowdfunding, emergency, eviction, family, friends, homeless, life, Personal, storage, urgent

5/16: one last bit for the night (#crowdfunding)

Keep sharing. Donate if ya can, share no matter what. This is nearly everything I own at risk.

Yes, I got two donations. And an unidentified amount will be coming from someone tomorrow. And picking up a writing gig tomorrow. I don’t know where it all stands. I just need to show there will be enough by 6pm pst tomorrow. So he can pull it from the auction listing. The PP is immediate. I have a debit card for it. And no fees taken out. 

That’s it for now. Thank you to everyone who has helped in some way. 

~Amanda 

Posted in adoption, animal advocacy, anxiety, bugaboos, cats, crowdfunding, dragon, emergency, family, homeless, life, music, Personal, silliness, storage, urgent

5/14: This time I’ll remember a title (#crowdfunding)

SHHAAAAARREE MEEEE! Pwease?

So I must have been more tired than I thought when I wrote up last night’s blog post. I didn’t realize until this morning when I checked the stats that I’d forgotten to put anything beyond the date (sometimes I put that after I write). Whoops.

The usual stuff: need help saving storage and all my stuff, etc… yes I’m quickly running out of time here. Thursday is the auction and I need to prove I’ll have funds by the time they close the office at 6pm PST Wednesday. Yeah… only a few more days. 

On to other things… there’s the big elelephant in the room. Mother’s Day. My mom passed away from end stage Alzheimer’s (total organ failure, etc) in 2013. But with her disease, this day hasn’t felt like anything special for a lot longer. Before that, it was ‘meh’ as we constantly fought. The two strongest willed people in the family… yeah, fireworks happened… a lot. I never got that mother-adult daughter relationship. It was stolen from me by a disease that hits the caretakers the hardest. She went to her death never seeing me as a strong adult who can do awesome things. She forever saw the four year old teaching herself to play the melody of the Star Spangled Banner on the piano without knowing how to read music, and yet, once learned, my mother actively discouraged me playing it.

I also have a friend or two who don’t think women like me with pets instead of human children should celebrate it as a ‘mom.’ Even being hostile about it and saying they’ll unfriend anyone who wishes a Happy Mother’s Day to women who only have pets.

[Oh shit… Dragon wants a word…]

Look here, hun, just because I chose to not fertilize my damn eggs and put more dragons out there to devour stupid humans does NOT mean I’m not a mom. I pick up more cat shit from one cat alone in her entire life than you do changing diapers. Don’t even start with me. I step on toys, clean up errant cat poop, take her to the vet, feed her the best damn food I can get for her and her specific needs and issues, make sure she’s healthy and happy and clean and know what that furball gives me in return?

Unconditional LOVE. Laughter at her antics. Purr therapy when I’m stressed out. 

I don’t need to bring more like me into this overcrowded world. It’s fucked up enough without more from my gene pool. So, you go do you, be a parent to human children all you damn well please. Just know that I’m over here saving animals and I don’t have to buy them clothes every six months and worry about how I’m gonna pay for their college. I may adopt a human child one day… when I’m damn well ready to do so.

You do you, and leave us pet lovers alone. 

[shoves Dragon off the chair]

“GO BACK TO YOUR CAVE, DRAGON!”

Sorry about that. She can be a handful at times. Anyway….

Sooo… I’m taking things one nerve-wracking day at a time. Job hunting, etc. Never easy, but that’s life.

Nightly poem to be uploaded later….

~Amanda/Dragon

Posted in anxiety, artsy stuff, cats, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, empath life, family, friends, homeless, life, Personal, society, storage, urgent

5/7: Sunday Ramblings & #crowdfunding

Addendum to today’s earlier post: when I made the title “getting close” it was referring to the amount of time I have… not how much has been raised. I wish. Running out of time.

I admit I’m horrible at marketing myself or my creations. I have an anthology project that has had two submissions… and my own issues with my personal life have interfered with all my creative endeavors: the anthology, my re-edits of my first book, finishing my latest rough draft, poetry (to some degree…. it has to be whenever it hits me), getting the next novel out after edits. The cover is done, but the editing isn’t. Getting websites back on track… on top of everything else.

One thing I’m considering doing is boosting my Patreon by using the latest story/novella and heavily editing one chapter a month and posting it for the patrons I get. I don’t have any patrons now, so I haven’t been keeping things up… it’s a give and take. If you want patrons, post stuff… if potential patrons don’t see anything posted, they won’t become a patron… someone said a while back that Patreon is really better for those who are already established and have a fan base for their work. I don’t have much of one, and with my pen name website being one that’s down, I’m kinda screwed.

I would love to be more positive in all the things in my life… but it isn’t easy when life just keeps biting back and I can’t seem to get anywhere. Being an Empath doesn’t make it easier. I have my own crap to deal with and then I feel the weight of emotions from others and I’m rendered useless. The day the AHCA passed in the house, as well as the day after, I could barely function. I slept a lot during the day and still slept at night. I felt the anger and frustration from friends and others. On top of my own.

Being uprooted and semi-transient with no work doesn’t help. If I got patrons, I’d have some income. Which would help immensely.

Tonight, I’ll build a page on here for my pen name… it’s temporary until I can get my domain back. I’ll title it: “My Alter Ego” …. Man I have way too many of those. I find it amusing that friends, including the ones I’m staying with, introduce me to neighbors and such as Penguin, and then correct themselves. I’ve had the nickname for roughly 20 years. If you can’t remember my legal first name, Amanda, I do actually answer to Penguin. Dragon is a newer one. I’ve had many others (some have stories attached to them): Sewer Goddess, Kiltlifter, and White Wolfie to name a few… man, those go way back (White Wolfie was from about 1995).

Well, I’ll put on some music and get to drafting up that page.

~Amanda

Posted in cats, crowdfunding, dogs, family, life, Personal, storage

4/26: Cats & Humans

(yes, still need to save my storage unit. #crowdfunding)

Something I’ve noticed recently. Those of us who have pets in our homes can treat those animals very differently. Now, I’m not talking about those who abuse their pets. There’s a special level of Hell for them. I’m talking about people who love and care for them. Especially with cats.

It can depend on the personalities of the humans and the cats, but I’ve seen a range from basic affection to where I tend to be: if Portia (or Jack or JoJo while they were alive) is on me, I ain’t moving unless it’s a dire emergency. Lately, Portia has returned to what she used to do before we had to leave our apartment. Except now she does it a LOT more. If I’m in bed, she climbs up on my chest and naps there. She’s even expanded to when I’m on one side or the other… whichever side is up, she rests on that, with her head near my shoulder. I swear cats really are like putty… they can conform to whatever is needed. Not to mention the contortionist aspect of them cleaning or sleeping.

And my old chiropractor referred to ME as Gumby… I think the cats win.

I think this is why I get offended when people tell me to give up Portia because I don’t have a lot of money and no permanent home right now. She keeps me grounded. I have someone, even if “only” a cat, to live for. To try harder for. To keep pushing myself for. I can see in those people that they’re the type to abandon a pet, no matter how much they say they care for it. They don’t believe that pets are aware of loss and other emotions. But they do. They feel, sometimes even more so than us humans.

Years ago, while still living at home, we had two cats, Skunky (the B&W girl that shows up sometimes in my featured image) and Smokey (DLH brown tabby girl). These two were best of friends. They curled up frequently on the front porch (parents didn’t really want indoor pets) in almost a Yin & Yang cuddle. Virtually inseparable. One day, Smokey died. I don’t remember how. Skunky began to lose weight, was grieving the loss of her best friend. She didn’t move much, etc. We took her to the vet and made sure she was healthy (she was), but when we got home, I told my mother that we needed a new friend for her. She was grieving her best friend. My mother wasn’t too keen on my analysis, but days later, she brought home a three month old little grey DSH boy. The movie Gladiator was in theaters at the time. My brother came over that weekend, after seeing the movie, and it was decided his name would be Max, short for Maximus.

Over time, as Max grew bigger, we let him outside on supervised sessions. Skunky perked up and was eating more and gaining her weight back. By six months, he was neutered and starting to be outside more. Keep in mind that Skunky was at least 10 by this point, but she appreciated having Max around, even teaching “how to cat.”

Years later, we would again suffer another loss. This time Max. There was another cat in the “household” by the name of Coco. Losing Max was hard, but he was roughly 7 at the time, so right in the normal age range for outdoor cat life spans. Coco helped with that loss. Skunky was still going. Certainly showing her age, though. I think one of the reasons she survived so damn long was because she loved anyone and everyone who came into contact with her. And those loved her back. She was at least 18 when she died. Likely older. She and her siblings showed up and adopted us. I was in my junior or senior year of high school, I think. She passed away around 2008 or 2009, which puts her close to 20 years old. Everyone in the neighborhood LOVED her and recognized her on sight. She knew she was dying and went off alone to do just that.

For me, my pets, which I’ve only had cats since moving out of the house in 2001, are a massive part of my life. They are my companions, my friends, my “kids.” Wherever I go, they go. I know different people behave in their own ways when it comes to pets. To some it’s “just a cat/dog.” But I don’t subscribe to that view. They’re my family.

~Amanda

*DLH: Domestic Long Hair; DSH: Domestic Short Hair