Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hypocrites and Pharisees

I spoke with my sister over the phone, earlier today.  She was bitter and angry about the small splinter denomination church our family has been attending.  She's declared that she won't be going back. 

She isn't welcome.  Nor is my mother (though she is too stubborn to permit that to drive her away, assuming she can see it in the first place) nor my mother's youngest sister.  I'm not sure why, unless it's the fact that all of them are on disability,* but the fact remains. 

Case in point: one of the "ministers" shuts them up or corrects them any time they try to participate in the Sunday school classes.  Only them.  No one else.  It's obvious enough that everyone can see it, but there's only one person that cares, sorta, and she won't say anything for fear of being similarly ostracized.

They also pray, loudly and in public, for God to open the eyes of all the sinners surrounding them, and to pour His blessings down upon them, the only ones who aren't sinners (although, if I recall correctly, excess pride is a sin, as is gossip--i.e., bearing false witness and spreading rumors). 


Somehow, these idiots see what they're doing as perfectly okay.  They're either incapable of seeing the parallels, or they don't think it counts for them. 

If I recall my bible correctly (and with a near-eidetic memory for anything I read, I'm pretty sure I do), Christ disapproved of that crowd.  Disapproved immensely, and compared them unfavorably to the working-class man who asked God's mercy on himself, a sinner. 

Why is it that church-going Sunday Christians are unable to apply the lessons they study to their own behavior?  And why is it that so many of them use religion as a club with which to beat up those they wish to ostracize?

*The ironic thing is that one of the other ministers and his wife make their living off of his disability check, and they're seen as living in godly poverty.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

random ramblings

My imp completed his pre-K camp on Thursday.  His teacher recommended he repeat the early skills version instead of the advanced skills version, because the advanced skills version is for kids who are beginning to learn to read.  She said he was a very sweet and cooperative little boy whose attention lagged in the last half hour (when he was starting to get hungry).

Huh.  I know he's sweet, but cooperative?  That's new.  ;)

In any case, I think he's going to really enjoy kindergarten when it starts.

The pixie was  her normal, fluttery happy little self, this past week--except when her brother was gone to school.  And that was because she wanted to go, too.   I think she will greatly enjoy her preschool this fall. 

For the most part, they've been pretty good kids this week.  The imp's few issues I think are more related to mild allergies (the mimosas are blooming, and thick enough that I'm having issues, and I don't have allergies).  He's much better behaved on the Zyrtec syrup.  Sleeps and eats better, too. 

I'm thinking I'll be getting the imp to practice writing his name this week and next.  I also plan to get him started on Hooked on Phonics, probably after Odysseus's and my tenth anniversary, week after next.  I hate to start him on something like that, then take a several day break and let him lose ground.  I also think that the pixie will more than likely want to work with him on that, and learn to read, too.

So, we got Odysseus a new chair.  Nice, big executive's chair.  It took putting the back seats down in the Subaru to get it home...and half an hour to pull it all from the box and put it together. 

Which left...the box.  Odysseus's favorite cat, Shadow, is obsessed with boxes.  Especially nice, big boxes she can hide in and jump out of to scare Cricket into collapse (which she'd done three times before I got the thing out onto the porch and out of the way). 

We got a couple of boxes of assorted sizes of space bags from Sam's Club, this past week.  Yesterday, Odysseus spent the day filling them and vacuuming the air out.  We first tried putting the filled and vacuumed bags into the big chair box...but there were major flaws in that plan: namely, the fact that Shadow simply loves boxes.  And one of the bags got punctured.

The dog has had a miserable day, today.  It stormed, and rained hard, all afternoon.  When I went out to get her, she didn't want to come in.  Kinda tried to tell me she was fine in her doghouse.  And if the wind hadn't been whipping rain every which way, and if I hadn't been seeing lightning and hearing thunder, I'd've left her out there.  She's been whining on and off ever since.

Writing is...going.  The story chapter I've been working on is temporarily stalled.  I should have that finished tomorrow night, assuming I get adequate sleep tonight. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

FFOT: ...

I actually put writing this in my to-do list for this morning, and still forgot it.  

That can ftfo. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

long damn day...and good news

First, the good news: the Hartz flea spray works

But it really has been a long damn day, with much done.  I cleaned the imp's room while he was off in pre-K camp, with the pixie's help.  It wasn't a terrible mess, but took forever because the three and a half year old was helping.  And then, I sent the pixie and imp up to my mom's for the afternoon...and really tore into things.

I cleaned up the pixie's room (twice the mess took half the time to clean up without help).  Then, after lunch, I dug in around Odysseus's chair, while I waited for him to get back.  Then, I had TCA help Odysseus move the couch and my chair, so that I could pull everything out from behind my chair (and, incidentally, out from under the couch). 

I pulled a full bag of trash from around our chairs, and about two dozen toys that had been confiscated out of the middle of a fight, then forgotten.  Oh, and a new boat-neck tank-top sweater I'd made for myself.  That's awaiting a wash. 

After that, we curbed Odysseus's ancient orange wall hugger recliner, and replaced it with a huge, executive chair on a swivel and wheels.  His computer is over there, so...why not?  It's actually more comfortable than the recliner was.

All of that plus vacuuming, plus the flea spray = a much cleaner house, and a much more tired and sore me. 

Tomorrow will see the laundry finished, and the kitchen floor finished.  And the winter clothes re-sorted into Zip-Lock Space Bags, to try and reclaim some storage space.  And the dishes (which have been neglected while we were combating fleas) done.  And some of the gel roach baits set out in a few places through the kitchen.  And...I think that may actually be me caught up.

For a while.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It never rains...

I'm beginning to think we've just got an overall bug problem.

Every spring, the ants move in...and move in...and move in.  I've finally got that problem nailed down with the liquid Terro ant baits.  Yeah, for the first two days, it seems like the bait is attracting them rather than killing them, but by the fourth day, the only ants I see are the dead ones floating in the bait liquid (which doesn't seem to deter latecomers a month later).  

Since last summer, we've had an issue with trying to control a roach population that moved in when a nasty neighbor was evicted...well, we have the stuff together to (hopefully) get that licked: Ortho indoor spray for around the baseboards (and behind them, and behind the stove and cabinets), and some gel bait in a tube.  Hopefully, this will finally do the trick.

And now?  We have fleas.  Yes, we doctored all of the animals, but either the dog's isn't working, or she just brings them in when we bring her in for the night.  Because one day, we didn't seem to have any, and the next, we had jillions.

In any case, they seem to be everywhere: nesting in the carpet, in the furniture, in the dirty clothes that the kids leave on the floor in the the bath mats, towels, and my terrycloth bathrobe.

One of the remedies I've seen involves a lot of vacuuming, and making sure to take the vacuum outside before you remove the bag...but.

But my vacuum is a bag-less.  And the cup doesn't fit tightly enough that the fleas couldn't get out.  And that's assuming that they didn't latch onto the filter and wait.

We have a flea spray that's supposed to be safe for children and pets when it dries.  It seems to have worked on Odysseus's chair, and on the couch...but the living room carpet needs it, around my chair needs it, and probably the kids' bedrooms' carpets. It's a lot of dancing around, because it takes at least an hour to dry.

Tomorrow would be a good chance to nail the imp's carpet--it's his last day of pre-K class until the 7/7-7/10 session.  The pixie is a lot more difficult, since she's here with us all the time. 

But we do have a plan in place.  I just wish it was easier to carry out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


It has been a long, hard day of hard work.  I tried mopping the floor today, and found out that it wasn't coming clean.  I don't know what the fuck was going on, but there was dirt ground in in front of the fridge, sink, and stove.  And the linoleum is textured to kinda sorta follow the flagstone look of the pattern.

Keeps you from slipping and falling on your ass, but a complete and total pain to clean.

Anyhow, I pulled out my last double-sized Magic Eraser, and went over half the floor with it, getting the muck out of the crevices.  And then I mopped it with Pine Sol, then a clear water rinse.

Half.  The.  Floor.  The Magic Eraser is about half gone (or more), and we had to empty the buckets because the water was gray.

And then, I had to sit on the boy and force him to do his homework.

I am wiped out.

And I have it to do tomorrow on the other side of the kitchen.  Joy.

My arms are already complaining.  By the end of tomorrow, they'll be plotting to kill me.


So, the imp brought home more homework.  Exactly the same as last night. 

He started it at around 4:00, and finished at 6:15.  Last night, it was 6:45. 

We'll see if he brings home the same thing tomorrow, and how long it takes him to do it. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

The boy...

The boy had homework from his kindergarten prep day camp.  He needed to trace his name, then try to write it.  Which he did--even if it took an entire line to write a six-letter name.  He then needed to trace 1 and copy it over the line.  And then 2.  And then the vowels. 

He started working on it around 4:00.  He has only just finished.

Lower case e was particularly bad--he kept drawing something that looked like a sperm, and claiming that it was the best he could do. 

I know better than that.  He does better than that on a regular basis. 

I am about ready to send him to his room directly after he eats (which he will not do until he's done with his homework) until bedtime.  I am so tired of his crap that it's not funny. 

And I'm sure I'll have more to make him do tomorrow. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The blocked.

I haven't been able to come up with a single damn thing to talk about today. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

random ramblings

Starting Monday, the imp has a four-day pre-kindergarten camp to go to, for two hours per day.  Ten a.m. until noon.  He's looking forward to it very much.  I'm looking forward to his enjoyment of it very much. 

He had his first eye exam yesterday.  The doctor says he doesn't need glasses, and that he's a little far sighted (and then she tells me that all kids his age are, and that he's not as farsighted as she'd like to see).  She wants us back next year, and wants to dilate his eyes so that she can get a good look at them.  And if there's no change, we don't need to go back for three or four years. 

The pixie is now, officially, fully potty trained.  She's wearing underwear 24/7, and is now using the toilet instead of the potty chair (which was the hardest step for her--her little butt is so narrow that even the toddler seat on the toilet had her afraid she'd fall in).  No, she doesn't wipe herself, yet, but I'm sure that won't take as long as transitioning her from potty chair to toilet did. 

The cats didn't take long to forgive us.  We put topical flea meds on them Thursday afternoon, and then fed them canned food (which Shadow gorged on, then promptly threw up--usually, it's Cricket doing silly shit like that).  They had forgiven us by bedtime.

The dog didn't take even that long.

I'm down with a migraine, today.  Discovered that it was sneaking up on me when getting the kids some chocolate milk sent a spike of pain through me that didn't go away.  So, this is all for this week. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Nobody asks me personal questions...

Smart decision.

Back about nine years or so ago, while I was in my second year of grad school, I had a classmate run into me at Walmart.  She was kinda goofy, and sweet, and really innocent.  Oddly innocent. 

We chatted for a bit, then moved on. 

The next day, as I was holding office hours, she came over and sat on my filing cabinet in my cubicle, and started chatting.  She then comes out with this gem: "Your husband is soooo tall!  And you're soooo...not!  How do you guys, well, you know...?"

So, I told her.  In enough detail that she turned fuchsia, and couldn't look at me for three days.

To be fair, my husband is sixteen inches taller than me.  She's right about the height differences making some things awkward.

But nobody seems to want to risk the answer they get to a personal question anymore.  I wonder why...


FFOT: brain fog

Brain fog--the inability to think through a constant state of too tired--can fuck right the fucking fuck off. 

And that is all.

What's on your mind?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


So, last night TinCan Assassin came over for a promised biscuits and sausage gravy dinner, and he asked if he could pop in a movie.

The one he chose was kid friendly, with one scary spot, that the kids had never seen before.  The pixie was entranced.  The imp?  Didn't get to see it.  He could have, if he'd gotten his butt in gear and worked on his handwriting worksheet (which he could have had finished long before the movie started, if he'd only, y'know, worked on it).  And then, when he finally finished, he sat and watched a few minutes...then reached over and slapped his sister.  And missed the rest of the movie. 

I'll probably let them watch it again tomorrow.  After the imp does his second worksheet on letters. 

Today, however, we went to visit Odysseus's parents.  The kids slept most of the way home, and wanted supper immediately on walking in the door (at nearly five p.m.).  They can watch something shorter than the three hour movie that Uncle TCA watched with the pixie last night.  Because they're probably going to need to go to bed in half an hour or so.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

So far, so good.

The kids have a new morning routine: they watch an episode of classic Sesame Street (although, I'm gonna have to find something else, soon--they're running out of the free streaming episodes), then Daniel Tiger, then Umizoomi (if Odysseus isn't up yet). 

All on Roku.  We don't have cable anymore. 

I need to find more for them to watch.  Research time!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Can I just strangle my mother, now?

So.  The story is this: my mother had an XP desktop tower.  It's an e-machine, from fourteen years ago.  It isn't a capable machine for really anything.  Useless. 

I got a refurbished Windows 7 tower.  I initially ordered it for my sister.  My aunt got my sister a Windows 8 machine (which she hates, but won't let us download the Windows 7 shell for), so the tower went to my mother. 

My mother discovered that the people who refurbished it didn't wipe the hard drive from what the previous user left, so the hard drive is full.  And it won't let her delete anything, says she doesn't have the authority to do so.

I was going to order a reboot disk to just reformat the drive without removing the OS.  I had it figured out, and Odysseus thought he might be able to fix it even without that.  So I called Mom to tell her to bring the tower on Thursday when they come to visit. 

In a long-suffering tone of voice, she said she was planning to, and we could keep it, and maybe give it to TinCan Assassin, and she'd just take her old, useless, piece of shit home with her. 

I give up. 


The bugs are back with a vengeance.  They are going for the baits, in some cases, but not in most, and I have seen them coming out of the outlets. 

We've got some indoor-safe Ortho stuff.  I'm trying to get the kitchen cleaned to the point where we can spray at the baseboards, behind the appliances, and behind the bookcases I use as extra pantry space.  I'm incredibly hesitant, but the box says it's safe for pets and children after it dries.  I hate using poison inside my house--inside my kitchen--but it seems like we have no choice.

Because otherwise?  We're losing the fight.  And I don't know what else to do. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Random Ramblings

TinCan Assassin truly needs prayer.  He's really hurting this weekend--tomorrow is Father's Day, and the day after is his little one's birthday...and the terms of the restraining order forbid him from wishing her a happy birthday.  No contact whatsoever permissible.

We took the imp and pixie to visit my mother, earlier this week.  They greatly enjoyed themselves, and we got my mom set up with a new computer--one that runs Windows 7.  So far, I've heard a few compliments, and a host of complaints, all followed by "But it's nowhere near as bad as [younger sister]'s Windows 8 computer!"

I stood both the kids up against the wall and made marks three months ago.  I did it again last week, and there was an inch difference between the marks made in March, and the ones I just made.  The imp is 47.5 inches tall, and the pixie is 39 inches tall. 

An inch in three months.  No wonder the pixie's dresses won't stay at her knees.  I need to take some time to practice sewing, so that I can attach eyelet ruffles to all of her dresses...and shorts.

In two weeks, the imp will be attending a four day two-hour day "camp" for incoming kindergarteners at the private school the two will be attending in the fall. Two or three weeks later, he'll be attending a second one.  There isn't one for the 3yo preschool, so I'll have to figure something for the pixie. 

And then, in the fall, the imp starts full-day kindergarten, and the pixie has a half-day, three days a week, while Odysseus and I are on campus for classes. 

The dog has been a much happier dog, the past couple of days.  The rain let up Thursday morning, so she spent all day Thursday and yesterday outside.  She'll be spending all day today outside, too--which makes for a much happier dog than being stuck inside does.

Cricket, our dumb black and white cat, managed to get lost in the hallway.  Twice.  In two days.  I seriously don't know how she does it.

Shadow, our smart black cat, has been in a hide-to-sleep mood, this week.  Three days ago, she decided that the perfect place to sleep was on the open-backed shelves that hold the TV, DVD player, Roku box, lamps, printer, and DVD collection, right behind the kids' DVDs.  And then, she decided she was done sleeping there, and pushed all the DVDs out, onto the floor, rather than getting out the same way she got in.

Kitty got thumped for that one--mostly because I was trying to get her to back up and stop shoving the DVDs out of the shelf.

I've got a chapter and a half written on Fire and Forge.   It's going to hold a lot of foreshadowing for the next book, and hopefully as much goofiness as there is discomfort for the characters.  There will also be redemption for some of the classic monsters from Greek mythology.

I'm starting to revise my short stories today, and will post one on the other blog, and enter the other in Baen's short story contest sometime next week. 

"Bar Tabs" will get one more once-over, and then I'll ask my cover artist if she can get something to me so that I can publish that one as Kindle-only, and put it up for free for a few days.  It fills in the background on who's who in the Modern Gods universe.

Pendragon Resurgent has moved nine more copies this month, so far.  And The Last Pendragon has sold one copy, which brings my total books sold up to ten.  Not too bad, for me, but nowhere near replacing my current salary.  I could raise the price, which would net me more per sale; however, that would more than likely reduce the number of sales I make. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

FFOT: my right knee

My right knee can so FTFO.  I was sitting down, last night, and it went popCRUNCH.  And then it swelled up, got stiff, and got painful.  And it still is.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Good to know.

Tequila makes me hyper and alert.  I had a drink in the memory of a favorite step-uncle I lost recently, 'round about ten last night...and was suddenly wide awake, and didn't get to sleep until nearly two.  Woke up with the kids, and was awake and alert...until around four o'clock. 

And now?  I'm flagging, really flagging. 

Next time I drink Tequila, it won't be later than supper time.  That way, I'll be able to sleep.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Can I go back to bed, now?

I've had a productive morning: the kids woke me up fighting at 8:00 this morning.  I slept right through their morning noise because I'd gone to bed at 1:00 a.m. this morning, after having finished the first chapter of Fire and Forge.

I went to get coffee, and found less than half a cup in the pot.** And, after the stupid I pulled Saturday night, the sinks were piled high with dishes, so I couldn't clean up the coffee pot parts (the grinder, and permanent filter basket and cover).  So, I got the dog on her long lead, called the imp to hold the leash through the shut door and supervise, and called the pixie to feed the dog.  Then, while the imp was "walking" the dog, I unloaded and put away the clean dishes still in the dishwasher.  Then, I put all of the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and cleaned up my coffee pot. 

While that was running, I got the last load of laundry put in the washer--the darks, which contained all of Odysseus's work shirts (which are almost all black or red). 

So.  Dishes are waiting to run, laundry has already run.  I'll be putting it in the dryer in a few minutes.

And I still haven't finished my coffee.

*If I can keep up the pace of a chapter a night, I should be finished with a first draft of Fire and Forge right around my tenth anniversary with my other half.  

**My pot is a grind and brew, which necessitates more cleanup than dumping the wet paper filter full of used coffee grounds in the trash.  Yes, I make a full pot.  No, I don't drink more than half of it on the day I make it.  Yes, I microwave brewed coffee.  Before I'm awake, I can't really appreciate it, anyway. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Almost halfway...

The imp has made it from A through H in learning to write upper and lower case letters, as of this evening.  Tomorrow will see him reviewing that, and then moving on.

It takes lots and lots and lots of practice--something referred to (with much contempt) by teachers' education departments as drill-and-kill.  Doing something over, and over, and over, and over until the person doing it finally gets the hang of it. 

It's how skills used to be taught.  It's how physical skills are still taught--things like martial arts, or shooting, or anything else that requires muscle memory.  After a certain point, it truly doesn't work to teach mental skills, but that point hits sometime around puberty, not in elementary education, where it's been (mostly) phased out. 

I remember the endless worksheets: spelling words copied down ten times each, multiplication tables copied down ten times each, math drills, spelling drills, grammar drills...I hated every second of it.

But I can spell without depending on my spell checker.  I know the rules of writing grammatical sentences so thoroughly that I can tell at a glance when something's wrong.  I know the parts of speech, and know how to conjugate verbs in two languages (three, if you count the no-longer-spoken Old English--which also includes different declensions for nouns, depending on whether they're singular or plural, male or female, subject or object, or part of a prepositional phrase).

I can multiply through 12 x 12 in my head.  I can quickly add and subtract.  I can quickly reduce fractions down to their simplest form, then change them over into decimals.  I can quickly change decimals into fractions.  I can add and subtract quickly and easily, and I am not stumped by the issue of someone handing me $5.01 for something that costs $4.76.  I can quickly and accurately figure a 15% tip in my head, or estimate what I'll pay for something that's marked down by 30%. 

I know who Betsy Ross is (something a friend was horrified to discover that none of her kids knew--in 2nd, 3rd, and 8th grades).  I know what's in the bill of rights.  I know how government is supposed to work (not that it does, anymore). 

I remember these things because they were drilled into my head.  They didn't kill my curiosity or creativity, as the opponents of drill worksheets claims happens.  They gave me a firm foundation for my imagination and creativity to build on. 

Without that thorough understanding of the basics, no way could I be able to write the stories I do.  Or keep the family budget.  Or, really, do anything but what most of America is doing: rotting intellectually. 

I am determined that my children will have this same base.  I've chosen a school that still drills basic skills, and am willing and able to work with my children outside of school time to make sure they master these basic skills. 

Which is why I'm working on teaching my son to write his letters now, and why I will be working with him on the Hooked on Phonics stuff as soon as he's gotten them all down.  And why I'm already starting to work with my daughter on the same stuff.

Update on TCA:

He's posted a bit of an update on the situation here

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Lesson learned.

Yesterday afternoon, I worked around the deck, clearing vegetation (our weedeater died the death five years ago, can imagine).  We've had a week of daily rain, so the ground was soft, muddy, and mucky.  Lots of bugs and other critters have made their home in the rotting vegetation, so...instead of getting down on the ground, I bent over, leaned over and twisted around, and stuck the snippers under the deck, cut the stuff, then hauled it out.  Still bent over, still twisted around. 

My back started screaming at me after less than twenty minutes, so I quit and came in.

It is no better, now.  In fact, it's a little worse.  I move my arms much, my back screams at me.  I try to stand up, and it takes half a minute to straighten up.  I hobble instead of walk. 

Next time, I'll take a bit of the ground cloth we got, put it down on the ground, and lay on it to shove the shears under the deck.  If I don't, in fact, simply take a sledgehammer to the whole thing and have done with it.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

TinCan Assassin's still in need of help.

He's been in contact with a lawyer, and discussing it is NOT prohibited, so he's talked about why he needs help here

Go read.  Donate if you have anything.  Odysseus and I have done everything we can (and will continue to feed him so that he doesn't have to buy groceries). 

Random ramblings

It's been a long, busy, stressful week.  The kids have noted the stress, and are reacting to it by fighting and misbehaving pretty badly.  I think what's going on is scaring them, and they don't know how to handle that. 

And I don't know how to help them understand that nothing bad will happen to them.  No, I've never lied to them, but they're too young to understand what's going on, much less understand that it doesn't affect them directly, only through one of their friends.  No matter how many times I explain it. 

My imp went to go spend a couple of nights with his grandparents yesterday.  He took a review sheet of capital and lower case letters I had him do the night before (A through F), and showed them off.  "You didn't know I could do that," he says.  Grandma allowed that no, she hadn't known that. 

Honestly, I'm impressed with how far he's come in a bit under a month.  I haven't been able to work with him every day, mostly because some days are busier than others, and some, I've been under the weather. 

The pixie cannot seem to settle for any length of time.  She flutters and floats around aimlessly, picking and poking at things she's not supposed to, until I'm ready to scream.  And one of the things she likes to pick at is her big brother--she's been starting fights, which gets them separated into their own rooms with the door shut for a couple of hours of play-time. 

What is it with cats wanting to hork up hairballs on stuff?  I had to toss Shadow into the back room yesterday afternoon because she was trying to make a mess on the imp's desk and learning materials.  And it made her quite irritated with me--she's still not completely forgiven me this morning. 

The dog has been a miserable dog, this week.  It has rained, at least a little bit, literally every day since Wednesday.  And we have more in the forecast. 

So far, Pendragon Resurgent has sold eleven copies.  And sales have dropped off precipitously, so I figure that everybody interested in reading it has already bought it. 

I've finished a draft of "Gremlins" and "Quetzl" this week.  I'm going to revise both, because "Quetzl" ended up skating in just right at 6,000 words, and might end up over the 8,000 word limit, if it comes to be that I decide certain scenes need fleshed out. 

Once I finish revising, it's on to writing Fire and Forge.  I've got all the chapters outlined, so it shouldn't take too long.  Unless it goes off on a tangent with what plot I have, like Pendragon Resurgent did, and completely FUBARs my outline.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A big case of the raspberries

I don't know if the care home in Sussex in this story actually did initially forbid this individual from leaving, and only backpedaled when the story came out (hard to prove one way or another), but the idea of an 89 year old veteran of D-Day putting on all of his medals and traveling to the 70th anniversary celebrations without telling anyone at the old folks' home sorta tickles me. 

Good on you, sir.  You are beyond awesome. 

FFOT: mmmph?...ugh.

Nights full of restless dreams that have you more tired when you wake up than you were when you went to bed can fuck off sideways.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

No, really--

TinCan Assassin really needs help.  Yes, his last blog post was posted on Memorial Day, and no, he hasn't discussed this himself, but there are reasons for this: first, he's lost his password (computer died with a whimper); and second, the issue is such that he probably shouldn't say much for fear that the individual making allegations may consider it contact (since he would be talking about them in a medium in which they're free to cyber-stalk him). 

Please.  I've done all I can.

Blogger needs help

TinCan Assassin is having major, major problems.  He needs help, financial help, to be able to hire a lawyer to combat some accusations in court.  If you have even a little bit, please help. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Oh, my son, my son.

Odysseus and I have been working on the imp, trying to teach him how to stay at a task.  I've been working on trying to wean him off of constant feedback.

We're doing this by having him work on learning to write his letters.  With the handwriting worksheet generator, we're having him do a worksheet of upper and lower case of a letter twice a day.  So far, he's worked his way through F.  Tomorrow, he does a review of the last three letters he's done, and does G. 

After he can do all of the letters on the worksheets, we'll move to doing them on a composition book designed for his age group.  And I'll try starting him on the Hooked on Phonics stuff again.  And maybe let him do some math to keep his interest up.

By the time he gets to kindergarten, I'm hoping he'll be reading a little.

Addendum to yesterday...

I forgot to mention, in my post on emotional abuse, that the abuser will often insist that they have been repeatedly victimized in some fashion by their victim.  And will attempt to insist that their victim must agree with them.


My kids hate Sesame Street. It has become stupid, though I don't know when.  There's no more counting, no more letters, no more grown-ups guiding the kids--the grown-ups are friends, not authority figures. 

And my kids don't like it. 

Odysseus found that Amazon Prime streams classic Sesame Street.  Season 1, even.  Gordon has a 'fro, and mutton chops attached to a mustache. 

I pulled it up this morning, and the theme song came on--the song remains the same, even if nothing else does--and the imp whines "Can we please watch something else?  This is stupid."

I got him to give it a chance, and he's now entranced.  It's a lot better, a lot more advanced, than the Sesame Street he's used to.  I'm hoping it helps him like it did me when I was little.  Although, I will freely admit that this particular episode (season 1, episode 1) is way before my time.  I watched in the early '80s. 

One difference that I'm already seeing, that the kids like better, is that Gordon is leading a little girl around, teaching her.  And he's acting as an authority figure, not as a friend.  That grants a security to children that the newer episodes totally lack. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Emotional abuse

I have seen a lot of cases of this through my life.  Hell, like the physical abuse, I lived through a lot of it my own damn self.

So...what is it?
  • Manipulation by the abuser so that they get their way. "If you really love me, you do/not do x, y, and z."
  • Degrading little comments that work on the victim's psyche.
  • Discouragement of anything that might improve life: "Oh, you shouldn't even try that.  You should know that you never finish anything you start."  (I heard that one from both of my parents where college was concerned)
  • Undermining everything that the victim tries to do.  
  • Isolation is a classic tactic used by all abusers--in the case of the one specializing in emotional abuse, they try to break up friendships and make family members believe the worst of the victim.  
  • Not setting and enforcing clear boundaries for children--it makes the child incredibly insecure and afraid, because it's often accompanied by punishment by whim.  
  • Mocking the victim.  Mocking the victim's friends.  Mocking the victim's family. 
  • Trying to make the victim feel that they deserve anything they get because they're obviously at fault for something, even if they don't know what it is. 
  • Moving the goalposts.  "If you do this, I'll do that.  Wait, no, you have to do this, too.  Um...I changed my mind, there's no way I'll do that."  My dad told me he'd be proud of me if I brought home all A's.  When I did, he glanced at the report card, said, "Huh.  Keep it up," tossed my grades aside, and cooed over my younger sister's C's and D's. 
  • Using a child as a weapon to hurt their victim.  
I used to wonder how in the world someone could do this to someone they loved.  I mean, my parents were supposed to love me, right?  My ex swore that he loved me.  Then, I realized something that they all had in common: they said a lot of things that didn't ring true when words were compared with behaviors.

The thing that I learned is this: the emotional abuser doesn't love their victim.  They may say they do, but all they love is the power they have over their victim.

It's one of the main reasons that I will call people on one or two attempts made to manipulate me.  If they keep it up, they're pushed from friendship to the outer circle of acquaintances.  They usually don't mind too much because by this point, they've started to hate me.

Manipulators and emotional abusers really hate people that see through their shit.  Means that's one less potential victim for them to have power over.  They also really hate it when their victims hang out with the people that see through their shit, and will do their damnedest to separate their victims from the people who see through their shit and offer the victims support.

Physical abuse is bad.  Emotional abuse is worse, because it's an attempt to destroy what makes the individual...just so the abuser can feel better about themselves.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

PSA: It's not abuse.

I know that the APA has and the family courts have defined abuse downward until anything can be called abuse, but...there's abuse, and then there's feelings.

Current "wisdom" has it that if you feel abused, you are abused, but that is not the case.  Abuse--specifically physical abuse--is pretty cut-and-dried.  Here, let me give some examples:

If someone punches or backhands their spouse, or slaps hard enough to bring blood or leave bruises, that's abuse.

If someone chokes their spouse*, that's abuse.

If someone rapes** their spouse, that's abuse.

If someone shoves their spouse down stairs or into walls hard enough to leave bruises, that's abuse.

The key here is what causes actual harm.  Pushing someone away who's screaming in your face isn't abuse.  Stopping someone who's charging at you isn't abuse.  Leading someone around to show them the housework they're accusing you of not having done is not abuse.  Yelling during arguments isn't abuse.  The fact that one of the two (or both) owns weapons isn't abuse. 

And anyone who feels otherwise is delusional.

*Choking as in not in the bedroom during agreed-upon fun times.  

**Asking isn't rape. Even nagging isn't rape.  If you're saying yes because you're feeling guilty for saying no, check your conscience, but it isn't rape.  If "no" is respected when it is uttered, it isn't rape.

Small schools

I went to public school.  My mother raised me on child support ($366/month) and food stamps ($285/month).  There was no money for either private school or curriculum. 

So, I went to public school.  It was a very small school--my graduating class had 40 students; the one before me had 36, and the one after me had 38.  Our library was a 15'x25' room with 2/3 of the shelves holding fiction, and a quarter of the rest holding dictionaries and encyclopedias.  There were something like ten or twelve classrooms, a standard sized gym (biggest room in the school), cafeteria (second biggest room), and seven hour-long classes that I sat through every day. 

I knew everybody in the school.  Knew most of the crap that went on in their lives, too--when the school counselor was too busy, people tended to seek me out and talk to me.  I think there were one or two others, but I never knew who they were.  Probably other disinterested outcasts that wouldn't spread rumors.

Every one of the teachers--even the ones I never had class with--knew who I was.  The school's secretaries knew who I was (and who everybody else was).  The principal knew who I was (he had to--he'd been the middle school science teacher until the end of my seventh grade year).  The vice principal was the history teacher. 

When memories I'd repressed started coming back my freshman year, I was also trying to mediate a relationship breakup between two of my best friends.  And the stress made me incredibly sick.  Mom suspected me of bulimia, but bulimics make themselves throw up.  I couldn't make myself stop throwing up.  I dropped thirty pounds in about a month, and my grades started slipping.

And the faculty noticed. 

My first class was a math class--and it was my first class of the day I was sickest for.  The teacher noted how terribly nervous I was in the middle of the room, and moved me into the back corner away from the door, and put my friend between me and the rest of the room.  The rest of the teachers did similar.

That year, my last hour was a study hall.  I started out serving it during the biggest Home Ec class of the day, in the Home Ec classroom...and the teacher noticed how worn I was and pulled me aside to ask me what I needed.  And then she took me to the office, and through the office, to the library (which was closed, because the afternoon librarian went home in the middle of sixth hour).  She helped me set up in the corner, and told me that this was my study hall for the rest of the year. 

Small schools notice their students, and notice when their students are having problems. 

I was, however, bored out of my mind.  There was no challenge whatsoever.  My teachers noticed that, too--I walked into my first freshman year English class reading Hamlet, and scared the shit out of the teacher that I'd be bored and make trouble.  She ended up letting me read what I wanted, so long as I kept up with the work.  History was much the same, and so were most of the other classes (except math--I sucked at math).  I coasted through everything, and the teachers saw that, too.  So they assigned me to sit next to the people having the most trouble in their classes during the rest of my time there, and asked me to help.

Small schools also notice if their students are incredibly advanced--or very much the other way. 

The school we've chosen for the imp is very small.  Their normal graduating classes are 34-38.  All grades are in one building.  There are two classrooms for each grade through the elementary years.  The teachers and the faculty will get to know my son, and probably come to care a great deal for him.  Yes, he can be incredibly obnoxious, but he's also very lovable and sweet.  And smart--did I mention that the kid blew off only what he knew he did well on in the second kindergarten assessment? 

Unlike the public school I went to, the small private school the imp is enrolled in (and the pixie is enrolled in preschool in) has a challenging curriculum.  It's designed to create good students, and to challenge great ones.  I've looked through the curriculum, and if school in general turns out to be not for the imp, I'm probably going to spend what I would have spent on his tuition on the curriculum that the school uses, and keep him going in that. 

The imp wants to learn to eventually design and build a suit of powered armor.  This is the best possible start I can give him toward that end: a small school where he won't slip through the cracks (or be deemed a "problem" with the faculty wanting to drug him into a zombie), with a curriculum that starts out challenging, then increases that level of challenge with each year.

This is also a school that has a strong moral base, and hasn't ever had an issue like the local big district has had with pedophile teachers, and twelve and thirteen year old kids watching porn on the bus.  A school that will aid me in parenting my kids, rather than undermine me in teaching them to be good and decent adults.