erynn: Gaelic merman image (GONZO!)
I've decided to change my approach to the whole photo thing and will deal with it tomorrow evening. I've got an appointment for tomorrow afternoon to have Garuda's brakes and tires checked so that all will be well when I hit the road Tuesday.

I stopped on the way home and did some errands, and one thing that I found was some imported ginger beer that is actually alcoholic (and in no way beer-y) that tasted really good over at Central Market. Alder smoked salmon for my sweetie in California has been acquired, along with a bottle of Whidbey Island port that I figured I would bring down with me and we could try. Other things I needed to acquire toward other purposes have also been attained.

I got this forwarded to me this evening, for anyone who might be interested:

Seeking lesbian and bisexual women who served in the military!
We invite you to participate in a study focusing on your life experiences as a lesbian or bisexual woman Veteran and the challenges you may have faced.

The goal of the Women Veterans' Survey is to better understand the specific experiences of women Veterans and promote their health and well-being. We are especially interested in hearing the diverse voices within our communities.

This is an anonymous, web-based survey conducted by researchers at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. For more information, please go to www.surveymonkey.com/s/womenvet, or contact the Women Veterans' Survey staff at (206) 277-1511.


One of the researchers doing the survey is my shrink here at the VA. Their identification of persons eligible to take the survey is slightly problematic, but I'm going to talk to her about the wording of it so that it will hopefully be at least a little less insensitive to trans women.

This afternoon before group, I went in to talk to the woman who runs the Addiction & Recovery Clinic, who had been passed my letter from the Patient Advocate's office. She was the one who saw to it that the HIV poster was taken down when I initially made the complaint. She had called me but I hadn't been able to get in touch with her by phone. We spoke briefly. She thanked me for bringing the issue up -- apparently she'd been uncomfortable with the poster herself. I was kind of curious as to why she hadn't taken any action about it before, but so it goes. She did ask if there was anything else that I thought should be done. I told her I wanted to be sure the poster was not in any of the other clinics in the hospital, and that they should get HIV awareness/education posters that actually reflected reality. She agreed that this would be an excellent thing and that she would look into it.

Result!

The last thing I did at the VA today was check in with the women's clinic about getting a refill on my tylenol with codeine. I have to actually speak to someone about it. I still have one left, so I didn't need/want to wait around at the pharmacy near closing time. I told them to mail the scrip to me, but that I would be out of town for the next two weeks, starting Tuesday. I'm hoping that they won't try to deliver it while I'm out of town because I think I have to sign for it and I'm not sure if Brianna will be here, or if she can even sign for it on my behalf. I forgot all about the signature thing while I was there. Regardless, the order is in and I should at least be able to pick the stuff up at the VA next time I go in, if it gets returned there for some reason.

And now, contemplating my bed. Possibly even getting into it.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (The Pupulator)
I’m passing this along for a fellow member of Veterans For Peace. If you’re able to help out even a little, that would be fantastic. Please pass the word, this is really a worthy project. Even a few dollars will help.

Hi! My name is Genevieve Gaea. I’m a female disabled veteran with PTSD, TBI related, and mobility issues from military service. I’m also a member of VFP nationally and of our local chapter VFP 099 here in Asheville, NC. The VA has discontinued their service dog program and so I am looking to my community for assistance.

My current service dog (god bless her little heart) must retire. She has Arthritis and just can’t keep up like she used to. She’s been working now since around Katrina… hard to remember the specific date but that’s a really unforgettable milestone. We moved here from New Orleans about 1.5 years ago because I never ever wanted to see another hurricane as long as I lived. LOL

Anyway, the new dog is going to be ready to pick up in Florida in March but they need compensation for her expenses and I’ll have to get together traveling money and a companion to make the trip with me because I hate just driving 20 minutes across town to the VA hospital. It’s too much with my anxiety. But with this motivation of being able to come and go again somewhat more freely with the new dog, I have to figure out how to do it even if I have to drive from one telephone pole to the next until I get to Florida, right? LOL

Lexi is the new dog’s name and she comes from a reputable trainer and breeder. She’s a German Sheppard which is also a benefit to me since my mobility issues are getting progressively worse I need a taller bigger dog for balance and helping me up when I fall which is unfortunately happening far too often for a 41 year old. I tell people when they ask what is it like to have a brain injury “it’s like being eternally drunk, but without the fun.” Anyway, I’m really excited, and I’m doing what I can to fund raise.

It’s going to probably be around $2000. Lexi’s medical cost is $1000 and I will have to outfit her with gear and make the trip plus stay in a hotel to make the adjustment. Usually they make you train with the dog for 2 weeks on location but since I’ve had a service dog before and I suffer from such bad anxiety they have promised I don’t have to do the whole ordeal. Otherwise, I bet a hotel would cost a lot more. I don’t know I haven’t stayed in a hotel in years. But I’m doing my part. I just need some help from some people willing to assist.

It’s only been a couple of days since I found out I had been chosen to match up with Lexi. Lexi was previously trained for two autistic children but she had to be returned so that’s why she can be trained for my specific problems in such a short time. She has the basics already. So far I’ve gotten my Step mother and my dad to donate $50 each. Some of my friends have promised to donate but those haven’t arrived yet. The manager at Kmart is promising to allow me to sit out one weekend in front of the store in January but I have to get volunteers to help me do that too. It’s going to be a trial to be exposed publicly for hours like that without moral support. Still waiting to line up the exact day so I can try to find companions.

People have been really supportive. I’ve made dozens and dozens of ribbons to pin on donaters. Some of them say “Service dogs Rock!” But my arthritis started acting up so I guess I’ll just tell people what they are for. I think people like to get something for their donation and I want people to be proud of the help they give because they are doing something really great. Service dogs do rock!

I don’t know what you can do but friends have suggested to me that if I could get my story out to more people that more people would help because if people knew the trouble I was having they would want to help. I don’t expect any one person to help more than they can but if everyone helped a little I’d get to my goal faster. Thanks for your time and consideration, GG

PayPal donations can be sent to gennagaea@gmail.com
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Navy seal)
This year, the city of Auburn (which holds apparently the largest veterans day parade west of the Mississippi) had decided that even though they were going to allow a Corvette club and a daffodil festival float into the veterans day parade, they didn't want Veterans For Peace marching, because that would be in conflict with the purpose of the parade.

From the ACLU Washington website, The Greater Seattle Chapter of Veterans For Peace has participated in the Auburn Veterans Day Parade since 2006. Yet the city denied the veterans group’s application to march in the 2012 parade, claiming that the city chose only those applicants which most closely meet the purpose and goals of the parade. At the same time, the city has approved applications from a motorcycle club, a Corvette club, the Optimists and Kiwanis International, the Sons of Italy, and a Daffodil Festival float. The US District court ruled in favor of the VFP, and today I went down to march with the group. This necessitated getting up way early, despite having barely been able to close my eyes last night. I'm hoping to actually sleep tonight to maybe make up for some of it.

The Seattle Times reported on our participation. I saw reporters from KING 5 and KIRO 7 (I talked to the KIRO people while we were marching), and was told that Q13 was also there covering our participation. KING 5 has a short segment up on their website from this evening's broadcast. I can be seen in the first few seconds of film and the two photos in the gallery, off at the far right of the column, just behind the peace flags, carrying a VFP flag. I haven't seen the KIRO broadcast yet, so I don't know if any of the interview with me was used.

Our reception was almost entirely very positive. There were a couple of people who booed when we went by, but we were thanked for coming by quite a few people along the route. At one point, four guys who were standing next to some Civil War reenactors turned their backs to us, but I didn't see that as being any big deal.

The reporter asked me if I was bothered by that and I said not particularly. She asked what I thought about it and I said, well, it's their right. And, of course, that's exactly what we were doing in the parade today - expressing our first amendment rights and offering a challenge to the extreme militarization of American society. Four guys turning their backs on us along a parade route isn't even a pimple on the backside of the flotilla of grey whales that comprise "things in this world that disturb me." Nobody was violent, nobody was shouting slurs, nobody was trying to prevent us from walking along the street like every other group. I don't see what the harm could possibly be, and my feelings just aren't that delicate, thank you.

There were maybe about 40 of us in the VFP contingent. I had some lovely conversations with people both before and after the parade. We stood around for about an hour at the staging area, then marched a mile or mile and a half down the parade route, which I then had to walk back to the car. We all met up at a BBQ place for lunch afterwards but, with all the closed off roads in Auburn, finding it was kind of like running a maze. Thankfully, both a little paper map and my phone's map app allowed me to get there in a reasonable amount of time. I think there were about 34 or so of us at the restaurant.

I talked with several people about my trip to Europe this summer, as they were planning their own trips to various places for next year at different points. It was nice to be able to share some of my experiences so that they would find it a little easier to do the traveling themselves, a little less expensively.

I'd hoped that I could go dancing with [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor this evening when I got home, but I didn't even get here until around 4:30, and by that time I'd started a headache (I think the barbeque sauce had something in it that triggered one), and within an hour or so, the idea of trying to move my legs much was a bit beyond me for the rest of the night. She didn't actually end up going tonight either, not feeling very well, but we'll try to get together tomorrow evening for some fireside snuggling after I get back from the veterans day dinner I'm going to with some of the women I've met at the VA in my group.

Overall, a pretty good day. If I find a clip from KIRO tomorrow, I'll post a link to that, too, whether or not I make an appearance in it.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (asclepius rod)
Military.com put out this little notice:

Study Finds PTSD Gene Link

Week of April 16, 2012

Stars and Stripes reports that a recent study has identified the genes that are linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). "The existence of a study population with clear genetic links, common family histories, and exposure to a single trauma allowed researchers an unusual opportunity to distill information about genes' role in PTSD," said UCLA psychiatrist Armen K. Goenjian, who led the study. An abstract of the study is available in the April 5, 2012 online edition of the Journal of Affective Disorders.


And, of course, the study is much more ambiguous than this. I don't doubt that at some point, however, they'll try denying PTSD compensation to people based on genetic traits that might suggest predisposition to PTSD.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (foggy coast)
Today was the CR schmooze; as noted yesterday, I wasn't too clear on what we were to be talking about, but we did have an interesting conversation. A new person showed up whom I'd met last year at Eight Winds, and I don't think we terrified her or anything, so perhaps she'll come back again to talk with us.

My anxiety today was bad enough that I had to medicate for it. I dislike how the anti-anxiety meds make me feel, but they're at least slightly preferable to that horrible feeling of an impending panic attack. It was enough to get me through the evening, thankfully.

I left Everett a little early so that I could drop off stuff about the pilgrimage at East West Books. That was about a two minute stop. Some kind person had stuck their parking tab onto the kiosk so it could be re-used (it had over an hour's worth of time still on it). I used it for a few and stuck it back on the kiosk myself, to pass along the good karma, as it were. After that I hauled myself over to Travelers, where I ran into [livejournal.com profile] nathan_fhtagn and another friend. I was reading a book but we did have crossover conversation, and Nathan says he'd be interested in coming when I screen the Cthulhu movies from the HPLHS, Call of Cthulhu and The Whisperer in Darkness, so I got a contact email for him and will include him on the list when the dvd arrives and I have some idea when I want to schedule it. He's off for Providence I think this weekend to do some stuff out there (with [livejournal.com profile] meddevi, perhaps?), so I'll be wanting to schedule it for when he's back.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and [livejournal.com profile] joyful_storm both came by Travelers for chai. I'll be wanting to talk with [livejournal.com profile] joyful_storm again about travel stuff, as she's a much more experienced traveler than I am when it comes to the European stuff. She had a couple of suggestions for places to look for light, comfortable, multipurpose clothing that will work for packing into one light carryon bag. She said she'd email me links.

After the schmooze, I went off to Remedy to have tea with [livejournal.com profile] thewronghands and we sat and talked for about 90 minutes, catching up with a bunch of things. She's only in town for two days, so I was glad to have the chance to see her. She said she liked [livejournal.com profile] dpaxson's The Way of the Oracle that I brought back from PCon for her, though I haven't had the chance to read it yet. I asked if she'd like anything from Ireland and she said that a field guide to Irish plants or trees would be awesome, so I'll see about finding one when I hit a bookshop in Dublin or Sligo. I'm sure there are a fair few of them out there. I know that I like field guides and natural histories, so I'm hoping I'll have a good feel for what she might want in one of those. When I was there last, I bought a field guide to birds because I had seen a few that had fascinated me, but I had no idea what they were. Knowing what I'm looking at helps so much in orienting myself to a new place.

We talked a little bit about traveling solo and other similar stuff, and it turned to Badass Women In Seattle (we're looking at you, [livejournal.com profile] lakmiseiru, [livejournal.com profile] canyonwren, and [livejournal.com profile] varina8, among many others). There really are a lot of amazing women we know here, who travel the world alone, who climb mountains and kick ass and save lives, who keep on doing astonishing things despite the health problems that nature handed them. I'm so delighted to know so many of you! Lucky Erynn is one lucky Erynn. We also carped about the right-wing and their attempts (far too successful recently) to rescind every fucking right that women have gained in the last 50 years; anyone who thinks we don't need feminism needs to fuck off. I am a human being and I refuse to condone a government that tries to tell me I'm not. GRAR.

I also noted that [livejournal.com profile] thewronghands really needed to be introduced to [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor because they have a fair bit in common. She said it sounded like an excellent idea, so we shall try to arrange that when she's going to be in town for a bit and we have some scheduling options.

[livejournal.com profile] druid_medb got back to me and clarified about the whole Eight Winds versus PCon contexts. Both of us were having fibro fog and got a couple of wires crossed, but we're good now, and much more clear on what it was we were both attempting to convey. There are both Eight Winds and PCon components to what we were discussing and we just needed to sit down and sort where the salient points slipped by us. Eight Winds is definitely more of a personal with a few other folks in on it type conversation about some of the warrior stuff, geilta, and PTSD, with another private conversation on other issues, while PCon would be more involved, a lot more public, and more formal.

Tomorrow is my Skype chat with [livejournal.com profile] vyviane, there may be some steampunkery at the AFK, and [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor will be coming up before her band practice then heading out to play music with her friends. I really have to deal with sheet changing and all that kinda stuff. With my arms hurting like they have been lately, stripping and re-making the bed has been a challenge, so I'm hoping I can get a little help with it before she has to head for the rehearsal space.

Still way too busy, but at least working on getting some things done.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (ow. Robertson Davies)
I woke today about halfway through the Sunday #writechat, which was rather slow and sparsely attended, presumably because it was Easter Sunday and a fair few people were off doing things with family rather than hanging about yattering with fellow writers. Still, I had fun as I usually do. It's an enjoyable crowd.

Laundry was done while I was chatting, then I tossed myself into some clothing and went for a walk around the lake. It was a lovely, warm 68f today, and partly sunny, so it was pretty much ideal for a walk. I very much enjoyed it, and the park was pretty crowded, as you might expect on such a day. My knee was twinging a bit as I went. It wasn't enough to stop me, but it was fairly creaky. I'm probably going to want to talk to the VA about getting a knee brace sometime soon. If I'm going to walk, especially if I'm hiking overseas, I'd like to be a little more sure the knee isn't going to give out on me at an inconvenient moment - not that there's a convenient moment for joints collapsing, but you know what I mean.

Last night I'd walked over to the Safeway and picked up a few things, including a couple of lamb chops, one of which I had for dinner tonight with some asparagus, brown rice, jerusalem artichokes, and a glass of Boujoulais, which suited it quite well. It was all very tasty, and I hadn't really felt much up to cooking recently because I'd been too tired and there wasn't a lot here that I really felt like eating, nor was there much beyond pasta or a can of beans that was just something I could do quickly and without a fair bit of effort. I dislike having so little energy, but I've been taking B vitamins again and it seems to be helping a bit with that. Sadly, it doesn't do jack for the insomnigrackles.

[livejournal.com profile] druid_medb emailed back about Eight Winds and was very much into opening up the discussion, but I think she took it as being potentially rather more than I'd have the bandwidth to help out with. She suggested maybe a ritual (a tentative suggestion), but I don't have it in me to deal with something that involved before I leave in July. I suggested maybe we could do something at PantheaCon next year instead, considering this is pretty heavy duty stuff and I don't have the skills to deal with it if somebody goes all splodey on us. She certainly has more than I do, but I don't think Eight Winds this year is the right time or place. We'd need a lot more time and preparation to pull something viable together. That said, I do think it's an excellent idea to consider for another time and place. Depending on what's going on next year, maybe at Eight Winds in 2013 instead.

This evening I did some more work on the links document for the pilgrimage preparation. I've got something for all the various places we are (or might be) going, and most of the deities and other figures we might deal with as well, so we'll see if this is what Vyviane had in mind when she asked for something. We'll talk on Tuesday at some point, so I don't have too much longer to wait and see if I need to deal with this differently.

Monday is the CR schmooze. I guess the idea is dealing with a definition of cosmology. I'm not in charge of this ride, so I'm not too terribly worried about it. I've got other things to keep my brain spinning its wheels. I'm also meeting [livejournal.com profile] thewronghands for tea afterwards for a little bit, pursuant to a conversation elsejournal. Wednesday is Irish class, Thursday is group at the VA (which I should actually get to this time, gods willing) and probably meeting [livejournal.com profile] isquiesque afterwards. I may also be seeing another friend, but am not so certain on that one. I was supposed to see her last Thursday but something came up and she asked to reschedule for this week. Saturday is a birthday party, Sunday is the Great Spring Ceremony at the Shinto shrine and a chat with some of the people from Sisterhood of Avalon. All in all, a pretty full week. I hope I have the braincells.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Breakin' Ur Geasa)
I was contacted a week or so ago by [livejournal.com profile] druid_medb about the article I'd written on geilta and warrior stuff. She's a vet herself and has been working as a veterans advocate for people working their way through the VA system. As seems to be a thing at the moment, there's a lot of interest in the more mainstream spiritual and counseling communities in rituals and approaches to dealing with PTSD for returning veterans, and the work our group has been doing, and a fair bit of my own work and writing falls within that area. I sent her off the geilt article and she was very interested in the whole thing. She asked the other day if we could talk while we're at Eight Winds this June, and I suggested maybe we could do an impromptu discussion of the material with interested folks who might be in attendance.

She said that there would probably be a number of vets/military there, and some folks on the treatment/services side as well, who would undoubtedly be interested in such a discussion. So we're looking at how to put this together, when we might do it, and what we'll want to do about distributing the article and other potential material when we're there. I may end up hauling copies of a few things depending on how many people would consider joining the discussion.

In line with this, A is going back to the middle east soon and asked if we would do the warrior blessing ritual again in May, before he leaves. The local group is in planning for that. We have a couple of potential dates and the organizing committee is looking for a place to do it. Last time, we did it out at my place, also using the tiny park across the street at the lake. We're doing a much shorter version of the ritual this time, as he's already been through it once, so it won't be an overnight vigil but a more condensed version to only take about 3 to 4 hours.

I had a short text exchange with Vyviane about scheduling a discussion regarding the upcoming chat with the Sisterhood of Avalon about the pilgrimage and my work. We'll be talking on Tuesday afternoon (my time). She's been out of town and very busy and won't have time until after Monday, and I need to catch up with her and make sure everything I'm working on is what needs to be done. As I've said many a time before, not having ever done this previously, I don't necessarily know if what I'm spending time on is actually what needs to be done, so I'm feeling a little tentative. She's done this for years now and knows what all is expected and what works and what needs to be done, but I feel rather like I'm groping in the dark. Getting a reassuring word now and again helps me feel like I'm on the right track and doing what I should be working on.

A trip to the grocery store netted some rhubarb and some early strawberries (a two-for-one package sale). I may end up doing a cobbler, though I haven't decided if I want it to be strawberry-rhubarb or just rhubarb. With strawberries, I often feel it's too sweet, but these are probably not the ripest strawberries on the planet and therefore not necessarily overly sweet. It might work out well. If [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor is feeling better soon, I might do the cobbler with a gluten-free crust so that she can have some, too. The strawberries, regardless, would go very nicely with my honey yogurt anyway. I froze the remainder of my pseudo-posole this afternoon so that I can have it later instead of having to eat it all right away. Yay freezers!

Tomorrow, #writechat, #poetparty, and laundry, along with whatever note-making and writing I can get together toward the trip again. I opened up the notebook I'll be using for the pilgrimage and trip to Europe and wrote that in the first page, slipping one of the pilgrimage postcards into the little pocket in the back. I'll add all the contact stuff, a list of folks I'm tying ribbons onto the clootie trees for, and travel information to it in the next few days. I got one with blank rather than lined pages, and will be sticking in bits of maps, making notes, and stuffing it with postcards as I go along, as well as various meditations and journal entries. I'll use it as my writing notebook for our ritual and creative writing/poetry prompts work as well. I may or may not have it full up when I get home, but I'm intending it to be a record of my journey.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (all your books!)
I finally finished one of the books I'd got from the Suzzallo today, and hauled it back. The last few sections didn't have much that I actually needed or was particularly interested in at this point. I was too tired to do much else today. I'd really intended to be in bed before now, but such things are sometimes not to be. The group at the VA today was pretty good and I was glad I'd been able to make it.

Next week there's no group and I'll be going up Tuesday to see [livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde to help her out, as she had surgery today. I'll be gone from the 19th to the 22nd helping take care of her, and visiting with Bruce and Heather and possibly Pete if I get in touch with him beforehand. I know he's been busy with a just-released Bruce Lee documentary.

It looks like [livejournal.com profile] lupagreenwolf and [livejournal.com profile] smcinpdx will be up tomorrow and I'll probably meet them at the AFK, as she wants to show him the place. I've been invited out to play Munchkin tomorrow there too, so that's probably what will happen.

I wanted to do some work on the pilgrimage packet stuff today, but got sidetracked. Initial deadline for some of that material was supposed to be today, but I know that [livejournal.com profile] vyviane and Jhenah are a little behind the ideal schedule as well, so I'm not feeling too bad about it as yet. I did get my Queering the Flame paper off to Jhenah, who is doing her Masters on conclaves of holy or fairy women, particularly those living on islands. She wanted to know if there was any evidence for pre-Christian flametending practice for Brigid, but I had to say that I hadn't really found any. Best to offer the evidence I'd found; there's enough information in there for her to chase down some other stuff that's non-Brigidine, which should be useful to her anyway.

I also got an email from [livejournal.com profile] druid_medb today asking about the warrior rituals, and working on a project of rites of return and healing for people in spiritual communities. Part of her work is on spiritual healing and PTSD, which is - as everyone here knows - a deep interest of mine. I sent off a copy of one of the final drafts of the paper on geilt and PTSD for the Disability and Religious Diversity anthology. She's considering proposing a ritual for PantheaCon next year, so I referred her over to [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht. Both of us are behind the idea.

I know that Selena Fox of Circle Network did a ritual for vets this year (which I didn't attend), so it would be interesting to see a script for that one and check out what has been done, and what veterans might do for one another, as opposed to civilians attempting to serve a community of veterans.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor's bandmate loaned me his Thermarest sleeping pad to see if it was going to work out for me for my camping trip, but it's not got enough loft to be good for my back, and it's very short. I'm going to have to look into the more expensive ones at REI to see if they would fit the bill any better. I still have some time before I will have to have one, so I'll have a little time to save up to get something that would work for me with the fibromyalgia and the bad hips and shoulders.

I feel like I didn't get much done today, but looking at it, I did get a few things together that needed to be done, and they were in fact important things. Sometimes I feel like if I'm not constantly busy, I'm not actually accomplishing anything but that's certainly not the case. I need to be more forgiving of myself and my use of time. I do get things done; I do a lot of work, I just don't always recognize it.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Navy seal)
This is on Michael Moore's site, but is important information. If you'd like to get the links as well as the story, click on through.

Story below the cut )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (foggy coast)
Today, thankfully, was nicely quiet, though I did go out for a bit. I hung out with #writechat for a while today, catching up with everyone after being away for a couple of weeks. It was nice to talk to some of my fellow writers again.

I had a text exchange with [livejournal.com profile] ogam and he said he'd contact [livejournal.com profile] vyviane about the pilgrimage. Apparently, at least three people are signed up now, with promised checks heading to the Sisterhood for their places. This thing may fill up fast. (I hope it does, as that will relieve some of my remaining anxiety about whether or not it will all happen. We need a minimum of six people, I think.) I also finished reading A Journey of One's Own by Thalia Zepatos, which is about women traveling solo; there was a lot of interesting and useful stuff in it, but even the second edition is from pre-internet/pre-TSA days, so a lot of what she had to say isn't actually useful anymore. Advice on what to pack is a little odd, considering how much stuff you're not allowed to carry anymore, and the kinds of things she suggests (a skirt or two, a dress) just aren't my style at all, but there's still some excellent material about the art of traveling and staying safe when one is alone in foreign lands.

Copies of the two warrior rituals were sent off to Macha NightMare, who is working on some of those same issues with a variety of people, and who had a meeting with a group coming up on Monday. I still need to send them off to Michael, a Marine I met at PantheaCon with whom I had a lengthy and fascinating conversation over dinner one night. He's had much more direct experience with a lot of the things in question, and our discussion seemed useful to him in his ongoing work.

There was a little fiddling about with last minute things from the old computer, which had its memory excised and is now getting the "no, we're scrambling your brains now" treatment as well, in the hope that it will deal with at least a little of the squirreliness of the system's problems when OS 10.6 is reinstalled. I'll deal with the reinstall of the bare OS tomorrow sometime and [livejournal.com profile] ingvisson can deal with the updates himself, as he has better bandwidth at his place than I do here.

Later in the afternoon, I went over to REI to pick up a couple of things for my Manx camping trip. The backpacking tent needed a little "footprint" to put under it to protect the bottom from tears (it was on sale) and a couple of extra tent pegs just in case. I also got a really light day pack that can be rolled into almost nothing and stuffed into the corner of my main bag, for carrying things like my camera, binoculars, the iPad and keyboard, a sweater, and such while I'm away from the heavier luggage. Pretty inexpensive, considering. I also got a money belt so that I can carry my money, cards, and passport, etc, safely and out of sight without needing to carry an obvious wallet while I'm overseas.

I do need to look into getting some new hiking boots before I leave, as the ones I have are old and worn out, and I probably shouldn't just wear my Docs over there, as they're more suited to city living and are a little large on me anyway. I adore them, but they'd be problematic for actual hiking, and I'm hoping to do at least a little bit of the Raad ny Foillan (Way of the Gull), the coastal path, that circles the island. The path itself is 95 miles long and obviously I won't be doing the whole thing, but I'd love to at least take in a little of it while I'm there. I know there's a guidebook for the trail, but I'm not sure if it's still in print.

I'm also considering a new and much better sleeping pad for putting my sleeping bag on, which will be of immediate use when I go to California again in June for the Eight Winds festival. I need to go over to REI again and ask if I can check out some of the lightweight backpacking pads to see if I'd be able to sleep on them at all. The little pad I have is just too thin and cold to really be much use to me. The air mattress I carry most of the time when I'm car camping is way too big and heavy to even consider taking anywhere overseas. The backpacking pads can be somewhat expensive, but from the reviews I've read, they're really far superior and we're maybe talking 20 ounces for a good one. There is also the possibility that I'll consider getting an actual lightweight down sleeping bag, given that I do go camping a couple of times a year, and the synthetic fiber ones aren't always the warmest things going. I get cold too easily, and sleeping warm is so important when you're trying to sleep in a tent on the ground.

Serendipitously, I thought to pull out my collapsible chopsticks while I was at REI (they were originally purchased there) and ask if they knew how I could get one of the little brass end caps to replace the one I'd lost on Anderson Island a couple of years back. The gal at customer service said she'd look into it for me and took my information, but she also gave me contact info for the manufacturer. Their website lists the little caps for $5 each, so I just ordered two of them, so I'll have an extra if I lose one again! Those chopsticks are the best present I have ever received from anybody, I think. I use them at least once a week and carry them everywhere. I was so delighted to find that I could replace the missing bit!

Speaking of which, I stopped at Blue C Sushi for an early dinner after I got done at REI and used the chopsticks for that, too. ;) Conveyor-belt sushi is not particularly my thing, but it wasn't bad for being that, and I rather needed some time just to sit and think and not have to worry about cooking dinner.

At the moment, I'm sipping the last of Lucinda's blueberry liqueur, to which I added a dose of rosewater. The combination is exquisite. The stuff my sib made while he was here isn't as sweet, so I may end up adding some sugar to it to compensate; a berry liqueur should be sweet, not tasting harsh and alcoholic. Anyway, I'll be poking around with the sib's experiment and seeing if I can get it to be a little more palatable. It has, after all, aged a bit since he left. We'll see what happens.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Eggplant)
I tried to post this last night but the intertubes failed me. I will now attempt to reconstruct what I posted because most of this thing was eaten by the Aether Elves.

Overall, the day was a really good one. I got my neck cracked, which helped with the headaches but didn't do much for the shoulders and some particular spots in my neck. Conversations were had with many friends and acquaintances. I went to the Pagans and Media panel, which mostly wasn't actually about media issues at all but rather talked around the Z and transphobia controversy from last year's con.

I grabbed a meal with Gus, had lunch with Vyviane and Jhenah where we planned our day by day itinerary for the pilgrimage, and had dinner with about 10 of my friends and new acquaintainces after the end of [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht's final workshop of the night.

My own Brigid and Sarasvati workshop went very well, with lots of good questions and discussion. Sadly, my experience was a bit marred by a woman who came up to me afterward; she asked initially if I taught anywhere. I said that I only taught at Pagan events because I didn't have any degrees. That question led to the inevitable question of what I actually do for a living. I noted I live on a VA disability pension, whereupon she declared "you don't look disabled." Things rather went downhill from there, resulting in her insisting that my fibro would go away if I would just have a good cry about 15 times a day and let out all that emotional stress. She was standing way too close and in my face about it, which was making me uncomfortable on top of her wrongheaded insistence that weeping was some sort of miracle cure. She also had the temerity to demand several times that I stand and deliver poetry to her because if I write it, I must be able to instantly produce it or that I had my entire corpus of poems memorized.

I may be a fili in the sense that I am a poet working, in a sense, within the early Gaelic tradition, but that doesn't mean I do on-demand extemporaneous poems for random strangers who have been offending me. It's a much more complicated process than that. There was, of course, also the "I know you better than you know yourself" moment in our conversation where she insisted that I was about to cry and should just let it out -- she could see it behind my eyes and would be oh so honored if I'd release all that emotion in front of her.

The only emotion I was trying not to release at that time was a boot to the fucking head.

When we had to vacate the room for the next setup, she asked if she could have dinner with me and I told her, entirely truthfully, that I was going to another session right afterwards ([livejournal.com profile] alfrecht's queer Celtic deities session) that happened to be right there as the next session in the same room.

Dinner was, happily, taken up with good friends and a talk with a young Marine from San Diego whom Tagh had been telling about some of my/our work in the Seattle community regarding the warrior rituals and the geilt phenomenon. That, and a concurrent discussion of Pagan history and such, went on until about 2:30am, whereupon I decamped to my room.

This morning, checkout, then going to [livejournal.com profile] finnchuill's session on Immram, Echtra, and Aisling.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (d'oh!)
I'm still feeling like absolute crap. [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor came up so that I could actually run the errand I needed to for tomorrow's craft day, but I'm not sure I'm even going to be able to get down there. She can take the stuff with her if need be, so that's not a crisis, it's just hideously annoying. I'm hoping I'll be okay by Sunday, because I want to go to the Shinto shrine for Setsubun (soybean tossing) and our Imbolc is Sunday evening.

My computer (a 2008-ish MacBook) seems to be starting with the erratic behavior one expects of a computer soon to go splah. The bluetooth trackpad I'm using sometimes responds to a right click but not a left click, and refuses to activate anything on the dock, which it should do on a rollover. It's doing everything it's supposed to when connected to [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor's beast, so I'm thinking this is a computer issue, not a trackpad issue. I did a PRAM reset and that didn't do jack as far as the trackpad was concerned. I'm probably going to leave my computer running now, to make sure that everything works like it's supposed to, until I get back from PCon, because I can't afford $1,200 for a new computer right now. (Yes, I do actually want to get another Mac, thanks.)

As to the military fucking up, Madigan Army Hospital is in the news yet again. A couple of docs have been suspended for interfering with PTSD diagnoses. Story below the cut. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (GONZO!)
I promised [livejournal.com profile] tryst_inn that I would post this, when we were talking over on her LJ.

Photobucket

This is me, back at SubBase Bangor in 1981 with my new(ish) 1974 MGB (barracks parking lot). I called it my dragon. Check out those early-80s glasses. Wow. It broke down all the time but fuckdamn it was fun to drive. Top speed, floored, in overdrive, was 75 mph (I know because I tried it), but it was a ragtop and fucking fabulous for summer days.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (tea club!)
Today was given over to the steampunk New Years recovery tea, and what a lovely tea it was! I took [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor out to a very nice, roomy place in Snohomish replete with llamas, pwnies, and other various and sundry wildlife. And that was just outside the place...

There was quite a good crowd there, and some wonderful conversation was had by all. Tea and snackies occurred, along with a white elephant gift exchange, at which I got a very nice Chinese style teacup for loose leaf oolongs. I was also given a nice bag of jasmine green by someone who'd bought Way Too Much of the stuff and was never going to drink it before it died of exposure. I was happy to bring it home.

We met some lovely new people there, guests from Portland, who were the cousin and cousin's spouse of one of the local steampunks. Fantastic geekdom conversation was had by all. [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and I cuted at everyone again.

Once we got back here, I checked the email then sat her down in front of the TV for a shot of Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, which she'd not only never seen before, but never even heard of. I told her that they'd stolen a character from it and stuffed him in, almost unchanged, as a villain in The Tick animated series. Of course, Strangelove is also the source of a huge number of tropes in subsequent movies and TV shows, so it's always interesting to look at the effect it's had on American popular culture.

I noted on twitter that I was showing it to her, and got a variety of responses from some of my friends there. I had a conversation with one of my fandom friends, who said she'd been born in 86 and just didn't quite get the zeitgeist of the movie, having no experience with Cold War mentality. I told her I was extremely glad that was the case, but she certainly saw it for the brilliant farce it was. It's the sort of movie that, if you lived through the whole mess, is so dark you have to laugh so as not to go a little bit nuts with the memory of it all. It kind of speaks to my own nuclear nightmares, particularly given that, as a communications person, I was always worried that any of a certain particular class of messages I sent out frequently would end up being That Message, and the world as we knew it would end. It's a hard one.

After all that, I dived into a beta project for another fangirl friend of mine, which I'd promised to do but didn't do thoroughly enough the other day. She took it down and let me finish cleaning it up, so that she can re-post and it will look much better. I had done a really quick job and had missed an embarrassing number of things. I really hate it when that happens.

Anyway. Tea. Steampunks. Strangelove. Quite a day.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (ow. Robertson Davies)
I didn't feel well enough to go down to Seattle today. Everything ached with a vengeance. I was up around noonish and pinged [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor about the fact that I wasn't going to show and then went back to bed for a few hours. I got up again at 4:30 but didn't revive at all. I went next door to Amante's for dinner because I just couldn't face life, the universe, or anything, and had some rosemary chicken ravioli. Eventually I was alert enough to be able to deal with the dishes. 8:30pm saw me out the door to deal with my grocery shopping for the month over at Central Market. That took me about an hour.

Upon my return, I futzed with the Occupy Everett site some more, fixing a few of the obnoxious problems that I wasn't able to deal with last night. I think I have enough of a clue now to be able to address most of the basic stuff that the other site admins are going to want to do with it. I've figured out the calendar system so that I can get both single and recurring events on there without difficulty, as well as adding things to the calendar as I could find them on the OE Facebook page. I have a few ideas for other pages we may want to add so that things can be easily found by anyone wanting to find them.

I'm planning on being at the Shinto shrine tomorrow morning for the ceremony, then back here for a bit to rest up before I head over to Firewheel for the 5pm meeting with the OE web admin folks.

In doing a little more looking around regarding the Defense legislation that was approved and will be sent to Obama, which people are saying gives the military permission to hold US citizens on US soil, here is the actual text, which does not actually say that:

SEC. 1032 . REQUIREMENT FOR MILITARY CUSTODY.

(a) Custody Pending Disposition Under Law of War-
(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (4), the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.
(2) COVERED PERSONS- The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031 who is determined—
(A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and
(B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.
(3) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR- For purposes of this subsection, the disposition of a person under the law of war has the meaning given in section 1031(c), except that no transfer otherwise described in paragraph (4) of that section shall be made unless consistent with the requirements of section 1033.
(4) WAIVER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY- The Secretary of Defense may, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.
(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens-
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.



National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Engrossed in Senate [Passed Senate] - ES) Sec. 1032


Whether or not any of this is particularly right is another question entirely, but at least it doesn't say that the military has absolute discretion to imprison anyone at any time for any purpose. It is at least somewhat mollifying.

Today's mail brought my annual Social Security notification, and for the first time in several years I'll actually be getting a little more money in my check. That will be a relief. I'm still trying to kill some of my credit card debt, and this and the VA pension both go up for 2012. I've also made the final payment on the condo special assessment for the decks, which frees up more of my budget to deal with those damned credit cards. I swear I shall get rid of another one of them this coming year. The one with the lowest interest is about 9% and the highest is around 24%, which is insane. That's the one I'm working on right now.

A little writing got done today on the fic. It is approximately 44,000 words now. Busy Erynn is busy.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Navy seal)
I went out today to the local Applebee's because they offer a free meal to vets. I had a much longer day than expected for various reasons, which I'll get to in a subsequent post, but I wanted to talk about what happened there, and about some other things that seem to inevitably arise on Veterans Day.

I was sitting next to a table with six people at it, five women and a man. The waiter, when informed that someone at the table was a vet and would be ordering from the veteran's menu, assumed it was the man. It was the oldest woman at the table, who had served in World War II. Even though the place was filled to the gills with women veterans, the assumption was still that the lone man at that table was the one who served.

A couple of weeks ago, while waiting at the travel office at the VA, I was sitting across from a woman who had been in the signal corps in World War II. She hit the beach at Normandy on D Day with the men. Women have been serving in the military for generations, and it is so rarely acknowledged. Not every elderly woman vet was a nurse or a secretary, and even the ones who were often were getting shot at just like the guys.

I see a lot of thank yous to veterans on Veterans Day, and I see a lot of appreciation expressed for vets in the Occupy movement, though that varies from place to place. There are a ton of vets associated with the movement now, offering their opinions and expertise where it's needed. But I also see a lot of it as sentimental and superficial. There's so much more to be said, and so much to actively be done in order for us to have any justice.

I got a ping on twitter from an author asking if I'd read his Veterans Day blog post. I did. I appreciated some of what he had to say, yet I felt that there were also a lot of realities being ignored. I responded:

I’m a vet myself, Cold War era, disabled with PTSD and an alphabet soup of other problems arising from my service and its aftermath. The military system itself, and not just going to war, is damaging to people. If you want to thank veterans and servicemembers, part of the way to do that is to not allow our government to make war.

The fact that in some ways we have it better than people in many other countries doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems here at home that desperately need to be addressed, from economic inequity and poverty to human rights abuses to environmental restoration to education to health care. It is our responsibility to address them and to work for change, not to bury them under empty “we’re number one” talk. We must open our eyes to the problems here, as well as the blessings we have, and to move forward from there.

It is important to recognize the sacrifices that servicemembers and veterans have made and are making, and the rights that we sacrifice while we are in service, supposedly to protect the rights of our fellow citizens. It is also important to recognize that the wars happening now are not wars for freedom, they are wars for oil and for economic and political manipulation. These are not the things I swore to protect when I signed up. I didn’t swear to protect and defend the corporations, I swore to protect and defend the constitution and the rights that have been torn from us by self-serving politicians and their corporate masters.

If anyone wants to thank me for my service, do it by working to change the way our country works and finding ways to restore the freedoms we have lost to fear and greed since 2001. Do it by bringing my brothers and sisters home from foreign lands where their lives are at risk, and not sending them off again without a damned good reason. Do it by making our country, and the world, a better, more compassionate, and more just place. Do it by demanding and exercising the rights I fought for you to have, like the right to vote, the right to privacy, the right to free assembly. Do it by engaging in civil discourse rather than polarizing partisan politics. Do it by not romanticizing violence and war. Do it by recognizing and honoring the damage that military service has done and is doing to us, without making us into victims in your rhetoric.

I served in the Navy from 1979-1982. I fought hard to get thrown out of the military because it was quite literally killing me. My entire family has been military for generations. My brother is still in the Air Force Active Reserves, and is currently serving as a civilian construction contractor in Baghdad. To me, none of this stuff is theoretical. It’s all very up close and personal and it haunts me every day. I desperately want the world to be a better place and do what little I can to aid in the effort to make it so, and to try to make up for my part in the oppression that the US military perpetuates. When you spend several years sending messages to ships and subs at sea that may or may not have launch codes for nuclear missiles in them, never knowing if that one message you’ve just sent will be the order that starts World War III, you may well end up questioning your entire purpose for being. It’s a hell of a lot to carry, even if you’ve never been shot at.

Next time you thank a vet, think about what you’re asking them to do in your name.


I'm still struggling with all of it, but I won't let it defeat me. That's just not what I do.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (writy pooped)
Today was the CR schmooze. Several people weren't up to coming for various reasons -- illness, transportation issues, and the hit that we all take when the time change comes were all a part of it. I was able to pull it together to do a talk on poetry, and there was some good engagement on the topic, particularly as it related to incubation practices and to practical magic. I plugged several of Robin Skelton's books; Spellcraft is one of the only books out there that directly addresses poetry as magic and I still highly recommend it to people.

While at Edge of the Circle, I saw that they had received their paperback copies of Datura, which means that I should be seeing my contributor's copy sometime soon. I was delighted to see it there, and they seemed pretty happy to be carrying it.

Tomorrow I'll be going down to Occupy Everett for a while before I head over to the AFK for the Tuesday steampunk social. I'm really pretty tired after everything I've been doing, but I feel a need to at least check in with them. They were apparently doing some activism on veterans issues today, which is kind of unsurprising given that Everett has a Navy base. It's not a big one, but it's certainly a presence. There used to be a VFP chapter here in Everett but it apparently became less active and the Seattle chapter kind of absorbed it. I don't know the history surrounding that and for all I know there may be some political stuff involved, but at the moment I'm more interested in VFP's participation in the Occupy movement than in its internal politics.

American Women Veterans put out a call for people to do volunteer work in Seattle and several other places on Veterans Day, and I've been in contact with them and with the local organization doing the work. They do have things I'm able to do, so now I'm inquiring whether I can show up in the early afternoon and work with them until the end of the day, rather than showing up at 10am, which would be nearly impossible for me due to sleep issues.

Last night I had a really rough night physically. We had a bad cold snap -- it was at least 10 degrees colder last night than it is tonight, and I was in too much pain to sleep, so I ended up sitting up on the couch until about 5:30 in the morning reading so that I wouldn't disturb [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor with my thrashing around trying to find some vaguely comfortable position. I'm doing rather better tonight, but the time change is still really throwing me.

My editor emailed me and said he'd got the file for Circle of Stones and also noted that corrections had been made to the ebook version of Ogam. I asked him to send a new copy to the person who had pointed out the problem to make sure that things were in order now. One of the problems was that the ogam font was not displaying, so it made the e-text almost useless for actually learning the ogam letters. This, of course, defeats the purpose of having the ebook at all. Of course, I've been rather skeptical about ebooks for a while anyway, and this only reinforced some of my issues with them. The font problem, combined with continuing formatting problems for some kinds of poetry, really does make them less useful than a print book for those purposes. That said, things are progressing, and we'll see how they go.

I still have the Phosphorus article to deal with. I really wish I felt like I could take a break, but the topic is important and should be dealt with. I just hope I'll be able to pull something together soon. I have an outline-ish thing, and a couple of paragraphs together, but I really need to reexamine what I have and might need to start over entirely, given that I initially started the project a couple of months back and that it's really not been in the forefront of my mind since that time. I had more pressing deadlines to deal with. Right now, I mostly just want to collapse in a heap.

The end of the crazy is not at hand.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Navy seal)
Coffee Strong/IVAW’s Veteran’s Day Event

On this Veteran’s Day, Coffee Strong and Iraq Veterans Against the War will be hosting a speaking event with the theme being Women in the Military and the issues women face, but also how they overcame those issues and what these women are doing now to combat issues like Post Traumatic Stress, Military Sexual Trauma, Traumatic Brain Injury.

We will be hosting different female veterans, and active duty military speaking on their experiences, also speaking will be a Vietnam veteran who now works with female veterans within the V.A. with also some audience participation on what we can all do to battle these problems.

Event starts at 4pm, all are welcome.

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