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 activism, asexuality, bigotry, bugaboos, faith, LGBTQIA Pride, life, Personal, politics, sexuality, society

6/26: Building Bridges… #politics

Since the election in November here in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK, our society seems to have fallen into a free-for-all of hate and violence. I’ve posted on the vicious cycle in the past. Quite recently, in fact. Since that post, I’ve seen news of more vehicles being used to plow into crowds of Muslims during Ramadan. And then there’s 45 (I don’t use his name) breaking a long-standing tradition of the White House celebrating Eid. He also didn’t say a word on Pride Month, so at least his hate is consistent.

One thing I’ve noticed, at least here in the US, is that a large number of people killed or harmed in hate crimes are not “white Christian people” (for the record, if you haven’t figured it out, I’m a white somewhat-Christian female), but people of color as well as non-Christian religions and LGBTQIA. Vehicles plowing into crowds of Muslims outside their own mosques, LGBT being attacked and arrested for wanting to show their pride, black men and women being gunned down by citizens and police alike, etc… the list just keeps going.

This cycle is perpetuated by fear of the unknown. That fear becomes hate. Are there attacks by non-whites? Yes. But the ratio of white attackers to non-white attackers, at least in the US, leans toward more whites than non-whites. Here in Portland, hate crimes and discrimination are on the rise. And we’re a pretty damn liberal city. Our surrounding cities and counties are not so liberal, though, and we have a lovely mass transit system here. One I use all the time. If my queerness were more obvious, I might get some random jackass giving me shit. My mohawk isn’t quite enough. Remember, this is a very liberal city. And I’m not quite queer-looking enough to get harassed.

We fear what we don’t know or understand. This is fairly common human nature. The nature of our society. The thing is that we have access to more information at our fingertips than our not-so-distant relatives. If you don’t know something, look it up. Ask questions, talk to people. If you fear Muslims, go to the site for TED Talks (also, if you have Netflix, they have a fair number of them there as well) and look up the religious ones. If you want to understand POC or LGBTQIA, …. ASK! No harm in putting a question out there.

The only stupid question is the one that never gets asked.*

Ask. Listen. Learn. Seriously, learning isn’t just in a classroom. Each day, we have a chance to learn from our surroundings. Take advantage of that.

The more we know, the less we fear. Okay, except for spiders… that’s my weakness… I know plenty about them, but still don’t like them. But when it comes to humans, just learn. When we communicate and learn from each other, the barriers we build in our minds and our society will break down and we can work together.

That’s all for now… sorry I’ve been quiet.

~Amanda

(* – Although if you ask me, as an Asexual person, about amoebas or how we mate, that is one question you should keep to yourself. It gets old.)

Posted in anxiety, dragon, empath life, job hunting, Personal, research

6/23: Recovering from Humans (Dragon)

I had a long day yesterday. Without going into all the explicit details, let’s just say I should have been on valium the whole day. I had a TR gig, then dragged a couple of boxes to storage (got them from the gig). Being on transit made me twitch. One angry drunk, and then another interesting one later while heading to a job networking event. My social anxiety went through the roof at the networking thing. Managed about 2 hours of a 3 hour event and then headed home.

While most of the day was ‘meh’ I did get some insight about my job path. See, I’ve been looking at Social Media, but I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s pretty saturated here in PDX. I apply and apply for jobs and get nowhere in this field. When I mentioned to those I talked to that I also do demographics research and similar work, eyes lit up. Two different women said that since social media is kind of a bust, leaning toward research may be better. With my almost-finished MLIS in Archives, I know searches and detailed research. I actually enjoy it.

Around here, tech folks and social media people are a dime a dozen. But researchers? A bit more specialized and less common. So maybe I have a chance. I see my VR counselor Tuesday. I had been contemplating a shift in focus but wasn’t sure where to turn next, but I think I may have my answer. It works well with Archives, as I tend to do research on historical things when I’ve processed slides, trying to get more info on the history behind this building or that one. While I may not do write-ups on most of the items, that is something I’ve done for other things. I should dig that file up and repost it on my portfolio site.

Who knows where this path will take me.

~Dragon

Posted in cats, depression, dragon, grief, Personal

6/21: Dragon’s Cat

Portia is pushing 12 years now. I’m using her “gotcha day” as her birthday, since I adopted her at roughly 5 years of age (they said 4-5, but I have no clue so I’m going with 5) on October 30th, 2010. Which means she’ll be 12 this year. I chose her partly for wanting a dilute tortie, but also her personality was more social than JoJo ever would be (she was very much a one-human cat and was scared of other humans).

2017-06-20 16.35.12
I mention further down that she likely has Maine Coon in her. I say this because of her mane and then the short fur, and then the varied fur on the rest of her.

She’s always been a bit goofy… not the brightest feline on the planet, but gorgeous, floofy, silly, and friendly. Not the “in your face” friendly, but enough of an attention-hog that she will take it from damn near anyone.

2016-05-08 18.21.12
Hey YOU! You there!

Then she gets her “zoomies” or Elevenses, or whatever you might call them. Usually after a meal. Well, today, she’s full up and knocking things over. Almost broke her food dish in a failed attempt to make a u-turn from the bathroom to the hot tub cover where her food and water are (and the turboscratcher, which is getting a lot of use today). Failed only because the piece of carpet she dug her claws into to gain traction and jump wasn’t exactly attached to the flood (it’s a scrap and the floor is tile). Same piece of carpet nearly got flipped earlier this morning during another round.

2014-08-02 18.34.54
Her Turboscratcher. She LOVES this thing. 

She also has her lovey moments. Especially ever since JoJo died in February, she’s been my sleeping buddy. She was before, but not as clingy. Now a night (or the next morning) doesn’t go by without her taking a nap on top of me. Usually my chest, but if I’m on my side, she’s discovered she can perch from my shoulder to my hip (yes, she’s a sizable cat).

2013-08-28 19.56.30
On my chest. To be fair, this was in the apartment and I was sitting, but still. She has to be touching me or near me (with me in her sight line). 

She has a face that can melt hearts, eyes that change colors, a squeak that informs me of her mischief, an innocence that belies her years, and a heart of gold that has eased the blow of losing her older (adopted) sister. She likely has some Maine Coon in her, from the way her fur is. She’s roughly 14 pounds… which makes things interesting when she wants to sprawl all over me and my bladder is a bit full. She hates being groomed and will give me many -MANY- warning bites.

2016-04-15 19.39.38
Her mat trimming haircut from April 2016. In order to get to the mats, I had to trim rather haphazardly. It looks like a 3 year old found the scissors, but ultimately, I think she liked having less fur during the summer as it grew back. This took me over a month to get all the mats. Yes, go ahead and laugh. I’m still giggling over it over a year later.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. She will need a companion in the form of another cat once I get work again. We’ll see who chooses me when that time comes. A black cat? A Siamese? A Tuxie? Who will be that new friend for Portia? We’ll have to wait to get into our own place again before that happens.

~Dragon

Posted in anxiety, community, depression, dragon, grad school, job hunting, Personal

6/20: Dragon Job Hunt Frustration

It isn’t easy finding work as a dragon. They expect you to breathe fire to a certain number of feet, and you must fly with absolute precision…

But all joking aside… it’s frustrating. I’ve revamped the resume, tried everything, and I still get rejected without even so much as an interview. As much as I know social media work and web design, I am wondering if this really isn’t where I should be focusing. I am going to a networking thing Thursday, and will finally meet my “mentor” person at VR (Voc Rehab, for us working types who are disabled and unemployed) next week. If that doesn’t get cancelled again. *sigh*

I’m not sure, but I think that mentor person is actually not for SM, but for research. My counselor said she could probably find a person in that field than in Social Media. Which I find interesting as I can find jobs galore for SM, but barely anything for research. Most of what I do find is medical.

And then there’s my grad school field. Do you realize that PDX has Librarians and Archives Specialists popping out of the woodwork and not enough jobs for all of them? Yeah. And don’t get me started on Multnomah County. I’ve said it in the past: Fort Knox was likely easier to break into than getting a library job in MC.

Right now, I want something that pays decently, where I can afford a studio apartment of my own and save up for stuff, pay off debts, etc. On top of student loans, I owe $4500 (I thought it was higher) to my school for withdrawing from Spring term. Then about $3000 to the former landlord… I can’t enroll to finish school until the debt to my school is paid. So, I’m basically screwed on that end.

I’m not sure where to set myself down in society. I’m not one for blending in (I want to turn my mohawk back to purple SOOOOO badly right now, it hurts). I can’t answer phones thanks to my voice/vocal cords being a bit wonky… I just want to research stuff, work on the computer doing things… could be web things, social media things, research things… have my little corner of a workspace where I can do something I enjoy in peace. For a decent paycheck.

So I’m a bit grumpy… and unsure.

~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 baking, cats, dragon, food cravings, life, Personal

6/19: Dragon Bakes

Technically, I’m supposed to eat gluten free. I get sick if I go off the proverbial wagon. Ginger tea and similar stuff helps ease the pain. Well, this month I went off the wagon a couple of times: Poptarts (Cherry frosted ones) and a package of Fireworks Oreos. Yes, I’ve been reaping the side effects as well.

While my housemates (hosts) are off chilling out at the RV, I’m at the house, tending to the felines of the household (one theirs, one mine) and hanging out. This means I have the kitchen entirely to myself.

Heh heh heh….

Getting myself back on track. I don’t have much left of my EBT/food money. Eating gluten free on food stamps is hell. You think it’s hard with regular food? That box of granola bars is at least $2 higher for gluten free. I do limit my carbs. I try to eat alternate foods that are still reasonable. But I still run out of funds.

So I’m baking. Well, I will later. I have gluten-free flour, using the last of my butter, a little vanilla, and some sugar. So, what am I making?

Gluten Free Shortbread.

Something I’ve wanted to attempt for a few years now, but never bothered because I didn’t have the space and didn’t feel the need for cookies. I’m just going by a regular recipe. The flour I have is a 1-to-1 blend from Bob’s Red Mill. I’m letting the butter soften. I took the two sticks out of the freezer last night and put them in the fridge. Now they’re sitting in the microwave (long ago deemed the safest place for food to thaw… and no, I’m not melting it… microwave is not on… and by safe, I mean away from curious paws. Someday I’ll tell you about what Jack the Cat did years ago when I forgot to put the plate of brownies back into the microwave).

I’ll report later on the results.

~Dragon