Sunday, August 13, 2017

I can't even...

After Hitler, Nazis, WW II, and the Holocaust, how in the HELL could any American be silent, complacent, or apologist about white supremacists, white nationalists, and/or Nazis? I don't get it at all. It's the ultimate WTF? moment for me.




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Interesting to note...

Interesting how some people who virulently oppose abortion and claim to be pro-life seem to be okay with obliterating North Korea with a nuclear bomb. I wonder if they're only part-time pro-lifers or something. Because deploying a nuclear weapon doesn't seem very pro-life to me. Some of these same people will sit in church pews every week and present themselves as being pious and a follower of Jesus. What a steaming pile of hypocrisy!

The solution is NOT a nuclear bomb

You know what a president who is performing badly, has low approval ratings, and is under investigation for colluding with a hostile foreign power does? He starts wars instead of de-escalating.

The people of Guam (including military members and their families) and the people of North Korea don't deserve to die from a nuclear bomb. The people of North Korea do not deserve to be wiped out. They are at the mercy of their psychopathic leader, much as we are with the narcissistic psychopath sitting in our own White House.

If you're the, "Yeah, let's bomb the shit out of them!" type, stop and think clearly. Employ rationality, because people's lives depend on it. We are talking nuclear weapons. NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Reacting with your war-mongering, reptilian brain is part of the problem, not the solution. Realize the devastating human and environmental cost this escalation between 45 and Kim Jong-Un would bring. This is real life, not a Rambo movie.

There are other solutions besides nuclear weapons. There always are. We are higher-thinking primates. Let's damn sure act like it.

Once that world-altering step is taken from either side, there is no coming back from the nightmare that will have been unleashed.

I have a 2 1/2-month-old grandson who is precious and who is the light of my life. Somewhere, in Guam and North Korea, there are other babies just starting their lives. There are people, like you and me, who don't want this. They want to live their lives and they're held hostage by this race to madness.



Thursday, July 20, 2017

"This is NOT okay. This is not okay at all."

I have an extreme sense of unease about my country and the world right now. It's a free-floating anxiety that something big and bad is about to happen. Of course, bad things happen on a daily basis throughout the world -- always have and always will -- but I'm hypervigilant and can never seem to fully relax for any length of time.

The fact that I have PTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) should come as no surprise to most of you who've been on my friends' list for a while. But damn, this presidency and everything that comes with it is exacerbating the shit out of my issues and making them a thousand times worse. When I go to bed at night, my mind is no longer at peace because I never know what bad news or events I'll wake up to the next day.

Logically, I know some of the things I should do in order to improve my frame of mind. The main reason I'm posting this, though, is to ask how many of you are also finding that what's going on in the White House and our government is disrupting your sleep and filling you with an ever-present sense of foreboding?

Each time I ask, "Can it get any worse?" it does. I feel like I'm living in an increasingly dystopian world where insanity is the norm and people are willingly (and sometimes rabidly) accepting all the madness and chaos as if everything is fine and dandy. "Nothing to see here! Move on along." Meanwhile, my mind is screaming, "This is NOT okay. This is not okay at all. Can't you people see that?"

So tell me, is there anybody else out there who feels mentally battered and bruised by the onslaught of near-constant fuckery going on with 45 and his inept and troublesome administration?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

On concealing my natural Southern accent

Source: Pixabay free images - skeeze


"Where You From, Honey?"
http://bittersoutherner.com/folklore-project/where-you-from-honey-southern-accent

Excerpt: "By eighth grade, I made a studied, conscious effort at enunciation, to pronounce the g at the end of going, or fixing, while avoiding 'fixing' when I meant 'about to,' as in, 'I’m fixing to go to the store.' I did not want to sound poor or uneducated. More to the point, I did not want to sound Southern because to me those adjectives – poor, ignorant, racist, Southern – were inextricably linked."
Oh man, I can relate to this article. I have consciously tried to drown out my natural Southern accent and purposely used my adapted voice for decades. Although Paul will tell you that my Southern often slips out when I get pissed off.

Likewise, If I'm around other Southerners, I'll slip back into 'talking like a hick.' Suddenly, I'll talk like I did when I was ten years old and at the dirt track races with my family and a bucket of fried chicken with all the fixins. Or maybe I'm in the backyard with my cousin Jim, catching grub worms and laughing. Or maybe I'm taken back to the times I camped at Smith Mountain Lake or Philpott Lake with my mom, dad, brothers, and cousins, catching small fish and cooking them up at our campsite.

As much as I can temporarily squelch my Southern accent, I cannot erase that I am Southern by birth (born in Covington, the third-smallest town in the entire state of Old Virginny, just scant miles from West Virginia), or that I was raised in a blue-collar family with so-called traditional (conservative) values.

I still maintain that small-town, blue-collar spirit within me. But thankfully, I have expanded my mind, earned 18 years of formal education, and was able to travel the world, visiting eight foreign countries in addition to 28 states within my own country. All of those things reshaped some of the obsolete, archaic 'values' with which I was raised. For that I am thankful.

I was fortunate to have opportunities while growing up that many others did not. Perhaps if they had they could better understand why I have a love/hate relationship with the South, some Southerners, and my oft-hidden Southern accent. I'm trying to reconcile and make peace with all of it, but it's going to take a while.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Nocturnal Divination website + online store

Check it out! I've redesigned my Etsy shop AND set up a separate website for Nocturnal Divination Magick & Miscellanea.

Now you can order astrology reports, tarot readings, books, and more from http://www.nocturnaldivination.com


Thursday, June 15, 2017

The world cries yet again

Yesterday was such a soul-crushing day of sadness. From the outrageous shootings in Alexandria, VA, and San Francisco, CA, to the horrific fire in London, UK, it was all too much to take in upon awakening. And yes, I'm sure there were countless other tragedies and deaths throughout the world as well. I'm damned sorry about all of them. To mention only a few does not in any way marginalize the others.

Oh, to have the ability to heal the world and to be able to right the wrongs in it...even if just for one day. Our time is short on this planet. Way too short for violence, sadness, hate, and war.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Years ago, I was nearly date raped while college baseball players watched. I kept my story a secret for decades. That ends – today.

As a professional writer, it's hard to say how many words I've written over the course of my life. Hundreds of thousands – maybe even a million. But until recently I've never written in detail about being nearly date raped the first time I attended college. It wasn't the first instance of sexual abuse or coercion I'd dealt with in my life; in fact, by the time I started college, I'd survived a sexually abusive stepfather and been molested by a neighbor of ours when we lived in Mannheim, Germany, a fact that I kept secret because I thought I'd get in trouble if I reported it.

Back in the mid-80s, I attended Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma. It was a private Christian university. I wasn't Christian, but I had five scholarships – including a talent/service scholarship for journalism – to attend there, so I did. Back then, it was $250 per credit hour for classes, so unless you had scholarships or grants, you couldn't easily afford the cost. Lots of students were from Oklahoma and their parents were wealthy thanks to the oil boom. But there were also a fair number of students from other states and countries as well. When I arrived in Enid, I was an odd person out on campus; I didn't know anybody there and had nothing but my compact silver Chevette car, a prized Kenwood component stereo system, a suitcase full of clothes, and hardly any money.

After settling into a routine at Phillips University (and, by the way, the university's initials were PU and – you can't make this stuff up – their mascot was a skunk named Lil Hay), I quickly joined the Haymaker college newspaper staff. I'd opted for a double major in Mass Communication and Psychology. During the day, I dove into a full load of classes in journalism, communication, and psychology.

In addition, I worked a day shift at National Supply, an oilfield supply company. Since my mom was preparing for a divorce and I didn't have any financial support for food, gas, or other necessities, I also picked up an evening shift as a waitress at the local Pizza Hut.

Back then, I planned to become a journalist. I'd spent four years on a newspaper staff, one year at Sproul Jr. High School in Security, Colorado, and the other three years on the Widefield High School Gladitorial staff. My senior year at Widefield High School I was chosen as editor-in-chief. I also landed my first paid gig, writing articles for the Tempo Page of the Colorado Springs Sun newspaper. Based on my history, going to college to become a professional journalist seemed a natural progression.

I did well in my classes and tentatively began dating. While most American students shied away from the foreign students, I made it a point to get to know about them and their cultures. The foreign students all sat at a separate table in the cafeteria, and I joined them at their table. I'd listen as they talked about their countries, families, and customs. All of it was fascinating to me. Since I’d grown up a military brat and lived overseas, I was anything but xenophobic. New countries and languages always fascinated me. They still do.

That's where I met a guy named Davood Akbarzadeh, a 30-year-old student from Tehran, Iran. We dated for a short while. He was nice, kind, and wrote poetry for me. But he was ten years older than I was and I realized we'd be better off as friends. He was attracted to me, but I didn't feel the same way. We never shared more than kisses and hugs.

Then I began seeing a guy named Tim. He was a baseball player for the university team, which was also named the Haymakers. He was a rich kid whose family lived in Kennebunkport, Maine. He dressed in expensive clothes and loved to brag about how well off his family was. We dated for quite a few months, but then our relationship turned rocky. He began trying to control me and I pushed back, something he didn't like at all. Whereas Davood had been romantic, sensitive, and kind, Tim had a large ego and was assertive – even aggressive – at times. In hindsight, I don't know what I was thinking when I hooked up with him.

One night I angered Tim because I refused to write an English paper for him. Later, while at a party, he called me vicious names and dumped a beer on my head in front of everyone there to humiliate me and make me pay for refusing to write his English paper. I was shocked and embarrassed. Another student named Spence called him out on it. Tim flew into a rage and jumped on him. Their fight spilled into the hallway. Meanwhile, I escaped through the open door with a couple other students and went with them to their dorm room where I felt safe and protected.

Days later, Tim lured me to his room with apologetic talk and plans to mend our relationship. We were talking while sitting on his bed (there was no other place to sit in his dorm room). Next thing I knew, he made moves on me, coaxing me to lie down on the bed. I felt reluctant, but returned his kisses. Maybe he was sincere. Maybe he would change, I thought.

Next thing I knew, he was trying to pull down my pants – something I felt uncomfortable with because of recent events. I wasn't ready to resume a sexual relationship with him. I told him no, but he kept trying. I remember him pulling at my clothes and me jerking them back, telling him no. But he wasn't taking no for an answer.

Suddenly, I heard laughing from somewhere. I thought it was coming from outside his dorm window. But he was on the second floor, so I was confused as to how anybody could be out there. Tim was trying to distract me, still trying to get me undressed. I looked over at his windows, which were covered with foil (something a lot of students did to keep out the sun and add more privacy to their dorm rooms). I heard muffled voices and sounds out there.

Then I noticed one of the windows had a tear in the foil at the bottom-right corner of the window. It was dark out, but I could see shadows moving through the medium-sized triangular hole. Then it dawned on me: there were people standing on the second-story ledge outside of Tim's window. How did they get up there and why were they there? I struggled with Tim, jumped off the bed, and ran out of his dorm room. Scared and in shock, I made it back to my room in Clay Hall, the women's dormitory. My thoughts were jumbled and I didn't want to believe what had just taken place.

The next day, I reported the incident to the administration of Phillips University. They asked me questions and assured me they would take action. Thankfully, one member of the baseball team came forward and verified my story. I never talked to that guy and I cannot remember his name, but had he not admitted what happened, I think NO action would've been taken. Instead, Tim and the members involved were punished by being kicked off the baseball team and suspended from Phillips University for all of one semester.

The thing was, I learned what happened to Tim and the other players involved from other sources. The suspension wasn't discussed with me AT ALL and I found out AFTER the fact. I never heard from anybody in administration again. No follow-up letter, no report of actions they took against Tim and his buddies, nothing. There was no local police involvement and the university administration offered no counseling or support for me in the aftermath of such a shocking and traumatic event.

Phillips – which no longer exists as a university but was transformed into a corporate entity known as the Phillips University Legacy Foundation (PULF) – was a private Christian university, so this kind of news would've severely damaged their reputation. Not just locally, but internationally as well, since they had overseas connections and attracted quite a few international students. No doubt the university wanted everything to remain hush-hush.

In hindsight, I should've alerted the media and not kept everything on the down-low for the sake of the university. I was the victim and I had nothing to feel ashamed of! It was Tim who struggled with me to pull off my clothes and have sex with me while his teammates perched on the outside of the building, peering in through the window and sniggering the entire time.

As a naive young woman who felt embarrassed and ashamed over the incident, I kept quiet and chose not to upset the status quo. It was clear the one-semester suspension was a minor slap on the wrist. After all, these were Phillips University athletes, and in Oklahoma (just as in Texas), college athletes seemed more valuable to the university than a run-of-the-mill Mass Communication/Psych student like me.

The impression I got was that, as far as Phillips was concerned, the matter was over and done; I should've been happy with the one-semester suspension and talking-to the baseball players got. In hindsight, I shouldn't have let embarrassment and shame mute my actions. I should've called the city police department instead of trusting Phillips to handle things both internally and externally. I should've pushed for further action. At that time, I was afraid to push too hard for fear it would threaten my academic standing or residence with the university.

The university’s motto was Vincit Omnia Veritas (Truth conquers all things). As a young woman, I used to believe that. Now I’m not so sure. Truth inevitably unveils all things, but when others dismiss, obstruct, and obfuscate the truth, the conquering part is all but obliterated. Especially when it threatens to shake up a college athletic program.

Because many people, including my mother, didn't believe me when I reported my stepfather's abuse years before, it now makes sense why I didn't take all the steps I should have or why I didn't push for more tangible action and confirmation when I was nearly date raped in front of the Phillips University baseball team. In my mind, I felt like I somehow deserved what happened because I was in Tim's dorm room, alone with him. We had a previous sexual relationship and had been dating. Hadn't I asked for it by agreeing to go to his dorm room to discuss our relationship issues? All these thoughts, and many others, influenced my actions after he initiated unwanted sexual advances. But the truth is this: it wasn't my fault, I didn't deserve it, and the punishment didn't fit the crime.

The following semester, Tim returned and attended classes again. I passed him by in an open commons area in one of the campus buildings and felt a cold shock run down my spine. We locked eyes but didn't speak. By his casual behavior, it seemed his so-called punishment hadn't affected him at all. It was business as usual.

After all these years, I still have a reminder of my relationship with Tim. I have a scar on the bottom my left wrist, a few inches down from my palm. Tim cut me with a knife one night, supposedly by accident. Now I wonder if it was accidental at all. I also wonder what would've happened that night in his dorm room if I hadn't been able to resist him. I know I would've been date raped by Tim while members of the Haymaker baseball team watched through a window, laughing and talking. But what would've happened after that? I shudder to think about it. I came close to tragedy that night, but I escaped. I wonder how many other women haven't been so lucky or haven't reported their experiences out of fear, shame, or intimidation? Far too many. In fact, the statistics bear it out.

This is my story. I don't want you to EVER have a similar story to share. So, if you've been a victim of sexual abuse or assault, I want you to know it's not your fault. You didn't cause it and you have no reason to be ashamed. It doesn't matter how you were dressed. It doesn't matter if you'd been drinking. It doesn't matter if you were in a dorm room, alone, with a guy. It doesn't matter if you've had sex with a person before. It doesn't matter if he's an ex-boyfriend. It doesn't matter if you had a lovely date earlier in the evening. A fancy dinner and a fun time doesn't mean you owe any person sex. Simply put, unwanted sexual advances are not okay. In addition, if you did not give consent and were coerced or forced into sex, it's rape. No means no – always.

In the event of sexual abuse or rape, immediately contact the local authorities and file a report. It can be a daunting and scary experience, but it's important to file charges against the perpetrator and begin the legal process. Not speaking up and remaining a silent victim does nobody any good, least of all you. Sexual abusers and rapists count on you to stay quiet. They will often try to intimidate and threaten you in a variety of ways. They'll tell you that nobody will believe you, that you deserved it, that you asked for it, and any other number of lies. Don't listen to them. Don't allow yourself to be silenced by them, or anybody else. Take action for your own sake, and, perhaps, for the sake of future victims.

For more information, help, and support, visit these sites:
RAINN - Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network https://www.rainn.org/articles/reporting-law-enforcement

Break the Cycle
https://www.breakthecycle.org/blog/reporting-sexual-assault-police

Cosmopolitan - 8 Things Every Woman Should Know About Reporting Sexual Assault
http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/news/a60085/reporting-sexual-assault-rape/

TIME - Why Victims of Rape in College Don't Report to the Police
http://time.com/2905637/campus-rape-assault-prosecution/

National Sexual Violence Resource Center z Info & Stats For Journalists
Statistics about sexual violence
http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf


BIO:

Bev (Walton~Porter) Sninchak has been a professional freelance writer and editorial service provider for over 20 years. She is the author of seven books, including Sun Signs for Writers, Secrets of the Professional Freelancer, and Aim To Write: Tips & Tricks for Freeing the Scribe Within, among others. Bev is also a co-author of The Complete Writer (Red Engine Press). For questions or comments, e-mail her at scribequill@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Where there's a will, there's a way

Chronic fatigue has been added to my list of medical conditions. I didn't even know about it till I went into the patient portal and viewed my medical records. But that's okay because CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

My response? Hell, tell me something I didn't already know! For most of my life, I didn't have to go to the doctor nearly as much as other people did. In fact, I used to brag about it. I wasn't on any medications (save for birth control) and it wasn't unusual for me to go *YEARS* without a doctor or hospital visit. Except for colds and the flu, nothing of concern was happening with me.

About six years ago, all that changed. The overwhelming stress and pressure of soul-crushing life circumstances tripped switches in my body and, all of a sudden, a whole bunch of health conditions and diseases showed up out of the blue. I thought I was Super Woman, but I wasn't that at all. Let me tell you, adrenal fatigue and chronic fatigue will knock you flat on your ASS and MAKE you take notice.

I firmly believe when you're under near-constant mental duress and crushing stress, your body exhibits problems and conditions in ways you can finally see on the outside. In other words, when you ignore or try to dismiss the internal issues, your body gets your attention in ways you CANNOT continue to ignore.

I haven't had a full-fledged vacation since 2001; I'm way past due for one. I started working a full-time job at age 16. Even before that, by the age of 10, I took on more responsibility than kids my age usually had. The adults around me often acted like children (I loved them, but it's TRUE), so I had to grow up (at least mentally) faster than I would've liked.

At age 11, I began babysitting. Then I worked in the Provost Marshal's office in Mannheim, Germany, before we moved back to the United States. Bit of trivia: that's where I first learned what 'fellatio' meant from the various reports I had to log. *laughs*.

In college, at one point I worked THREE jobs in addition to attending classes – National Supply, Pizza Hut, and the switchboard at Phillips University. I eventually had to drop down to only two because sleep is important, but I carried a full load of classes in addition to those remaining two jobs.

I don't mention any of this for pity or that kind of B.S. I mention it because I have done my fair share – and even more than my fair share – in this lifetime. I'd still rather work than do anything else, if given a choice. Then again, writing and editing are NEVER chores to me. I get to do the kind of work I enjoy!

But I digress (which is normal for me)...

I am a hard worker and have had a lot of shitty things happen in my life. I've had to deal with unmentionable events and circumstances that NOBODY should have to endure. This is why my psychiatrist was surprised I wasn't a drug addict, alcoholic, or had committed suicide by now. I was lucky I didn't fall into any of those traps. However, my life experiences (and mental health issues that run rampant on the maternal side of my birth family) led me to diagnoses in 2006 for PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

But guess what? I'm still too stubborn to give up. I have dreams, goals, and a butt-ton of ambition. I have persisted and will continue to persist. Nobody should EVER underestimate me. It may take me a while, but I will eventually find a way. I'm a tenacious and determined woman. If I cannot find a way through something, I'll look for ways to keep moving forward by going around, over, under, or any other way I can. I'm not a quitter. If I'm blocked on all sides, I'll simply plow a new path.

Here's my message to YOU: if you're tired, stressed, worn out, or ready to throw in the towel, I hear you. I know what it's like. Getting up every day is a struggle. LIFE can be a struggle! But you can do this. WE can do this. The only constant in life is change. Don't ever give up on your dreams or goals. Don't listen to naysayers or critics. Do your thing! It doesn't matter what they think or what they say. You are the captain of your own ship. Steer it toward the horizon you seek, waving at them as you sail past them!

On my right forearm, I have a big tattoo of the rune Ingwaz (Inguz). It signifies a lot of things, but to me it means, "Where there's a will, there's a way." If you have the will, then you can eventually find a way.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Genetic profile updates -- yes!

Haven't been over to 23andme for a while, so I popped in to see if there were any updates to my genetic profile, and there were! Ongoing discoveries and updates are a couple of the many reasons why I love 23andme.

This time they had a couple of interesting profile updates, including a report that tells me how my genes affect my weight and how far back some of my ancestors from certain countries were and when they showed up in my ancestry.

Turns out I'm predisposed to weighing 11% more due to my genetic makeup.

In addition, my Scandinavian and Italian ancestors go way farther back than do my UK, Irish, French, and German ancestors. Interesting indeed!

I highly recommend 23andme. And hey, if you decide to order your own DNA kit, I'd love it if you'd use my referral code. I'll get a handy credit at Amazon if you do -- and you KNOW how I love eBooks!
http://refer.23andme.com/v2/share/6398733869105202177



Friday, March 17, 2017

From my 7 chromosomes to you, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

From the Irish DNA located on my chromosomes #6,7,8,10,12, 20, and 22, I wish a Happy St. Patrick's Day to those who celebrate it.

(Source: My 23andme DNA ancestry report. Want to get yours? Go here.)


Ruined Memes

http://ruinedmemes.blogspot.com/

Ever find the perfect meme to share, then you realize it's ruined because whoever made it failed at punctuation, grammar, spelling, or capitalization?

We've all been there, and the crew at Ruined Memes is damned tired of it. It's sad to see so many destined-to-be-great memes unceremoniously tossed asunder into the fail pile.

Here at Ruined Memes, we adopt these broken memes so they can live on forever in mediocrity.

Hop on over and enjoy a laugh or two on us!




Sunday, March 12, 2017

Coming June 10, 2017: Lippy Legs & All – My Life with Lipedema

Scheduled for June 10, 2017 release.
You can pre-order your copy from the publisher here:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/710509

===========================

For years, I watched as my calves legs grew larger, bruised easily, and became more painful. Even bumping against a chair or the corner of a wall would send shockwaves of pain through my calves and leave me with huge bluish-purple bruises.

I knew something was wrong, but what could it be? I thought it was a simple case of edema or general swelling, but keeping my legs elevated and taking diuretic pills had no effect. In fact, they only became worse.

In 2014, after several attempts to locate a physician who would help me figure out what was wrong, I was lucky enough to get a diagnosis. I had Lipedema, a genetic disease I'd never heard of before. It's a mystery disease with no known cure thus far.

Not widely discussed, Lipedema is rare and only affects about 11% of women. Few doctors are able to recognize the symptoms, nor have they been exposed to information about the condition and how it relates to the all-important lymphatic system.

LIPPY LEGS & ALL is the story of my life (thus far) with Lipedema. I'll discuss, in detail, what I've learned about the disease, how it's permanently changed me both physically and mentally, and why I'm determined to bring awareness to this condition so women who may suffer from Lipedema can get the essential diagnosis and treatment they deserve.

Without proper diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, a Lipedema sufferer can face a bleak future of wheelchair-bound immobility or, worse yet, amputation of their limbs. No woman deserves either of those things; if I can cast a wider spotlight on Lipedema through the publication of this book, I will.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Creepy (possibly) past-life stories

Today I read an article about creepy (possibly) past-life stories parents recently shared on an AskReddit feed. Go over and check it out for yourself!

Now lemme add my own creepy kid story. When Britt, my daughter, was three years old, she nonchalantly told me she was a nun in her previous life and she had died in a fire. She's always seemed like an old soul to me. I often go to her for advice and guidance because the way she reasons is way beyond her 24 1/2 years.

Now, at the time Britt told me about her memory, my kids had NEVER been to church, had never been exposed to nuns or knew what they were and what role they played in religion or any of that. Their father was Baptist, but I was firm on having the kids research and explore which path of belief (or non-belief) made sense to them. I wouldn't allow them to be baptized into a religion that they had no idea about simply because one parent wanted it that way. Each person, when he or she is mature and ready enough, should be allowed to decide his or her own structure of belief (or lack thereof).

To this day, I still remember thinking, "Hmmm...that's interesting." She doesn't remember telling me, but I sure as heck remember!

Here's the funny part: when I was a young girl of seven or eight, I wanted to be a nun. I was raised Presbyterian but had always been drawn to the Catholic church. In fact, I had a huge crucifix that hung in my room. It was made out of plaster but painted dark brown so it looked like it was wood. I also believed that nothing should ever sit on top of the bible. And, mind you, after my dad Leo died, our family stopped going to church. My dad was Mormon but then became Presbyterian. I still have his bible from the 1920s.

Many of you know I haven't been Christian since the age of 18 when I became pagan. Yet, to this day, I am drawn to Catholic churches, used to watch the Catholic network on cable, and love to listen to Latin or mass. In addition, I also collect rosaries. None of this makes sense given my belief system that I've followed for nearly 35 years.

I've noticed that lapsed Catholics seem to be drawn to paganism and particularly Wicca. The rituals and such probably appeal to them because of their Catholic background.

I've often wondered if I was Catholic or a nun in a previous life, too. Who knows? Perhaps Britt and I were in the same convent. Life is a huge mystery; so many things are possible.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Daughter of the Celts/Vikings

Yes, I am a proud daughter of the Celts/Vikings.

From the Celts, my ancestors were from Scotland (Clan MacNeil from the Isle of Barra & Clan Fergusson), Wales (9th generation, Mary Molly Daten from Wales), and Ireland.

From the Vikings, my ancestors were from Norway, Finland, and Sweden, with the majority of DNA from Norway.

The Norse raiders came to the Isle of Barra, the home of Clan MacNeil, and procreated with them. So I'm a Scot/Norse lass :).


Monday, February 6, 2017

Cacophony? No thanks!

I enjoy jazz a great deal and listen to it often. However, I don't care for the type of jazz that devolves into a chaotic, noisy mess. Just can't get into it no matter what I do.

In terms of sensory reaction, when a jazz song collapses into nothing more than a haphazard, uneven cacophony of sheer noise, I'm driven to skip to another song. Such discordant tunes jar my mind and stoke my agitation.

John Coltrane was, undeniably, a great jazz musician. But all too often I can't make it through many of his songs. :-(

Monday, January 30, 2017

Remembering Lyn and wishing we could speak once more

I really miss my friend, mentor, and first HPS*, Lyn Benoit Goodnight.

What I'd really love to do is sit down with her – or, failing that, have an online conversation with her – and get her reaction to what is happening now with the Trump presidency and the daily disruption on so many levels that is occurring.

Pretty sure I'd already know what she would say about all of it. But I'd give anything to spend time with her talking, laughing, and getting her opinion on many events.

Miss you, Lyn. Still cannot believe you're gone :(. She would've graduated this month with her Ph.D. So tragic.

* High Priestess

Saturday, January 28, 2017

I will NEVER support a fascist or a demagogue

I get bothered by the whole, "Wanting Trump to fail as president is like wanting a plane all of us are on to crash." Oh, hold up. A lot of people who opposed Obama weren't repeating that mantra when he was in office.

If, in fact, Trump can be compared to Mussolini or Hitler in some of the actions he is taking or plans to take, imagine how ridiculous it would be to tell people that they need to get on the bandwagon and hope he succeeds. That makes NO sense. You don't just blindly fall behind or support ANY leader who is a threat to the nation and, possibly, the world.

Just like if it was Hitler or Mussolini, I would NEVER just 'get on board and support them' to keep the plane from crashing. In fact, as my husband pointed out, I'd WANT the plane to crash – even if I was on it – because I would want to be a decent human being and NOT support policies that cause irreparable harm or destroy our country. Alternatively, I would want to wrest control of the plane from the pilot. The latter, of course, is preferable.

Nope, I will NEVER be on board with Trump and his despicable administration, just as I would never be a team player under Hitler and Mussolini. And yes, I DO believe Trump could be THAT dangerous. I hope I will be wrong when all is said and done.

I also find it interesting how, for eight years, all we heard were people saying, "Hell no, Obummer isn't my president, never will be, and I hope he fails," and how the #1 directive of Republicans was to obstruct anything Obama did, regardless of how it might've helped average Americans.

NOW, all of a sudden, WE are supposed to be in lockstep with Trump and 'come together' for the sake of our country. I will NOT support a fascist or a demagogue.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

[Survey] Ten albums that influenced me when I was a teenager

Ten albums that had a profound effect on me as a teenager. One album only, per artist.

KISS - Alive II
Queen - News of the World
Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain
DEVO - Freedom of Choice
Kansas - Point of No Return
The Fixx - Reach the Beach
The Police - Synchronicity
Yaz - Upstairs at Eric's
Pink Floyd - The Wall
David Bowie - Let's Dance

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Proust Questionnaire - Version 2017

From Vanity Fair:
"The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. Here is the basic Proust Questionnaire.
http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2000/01/proust-questionnaire

Here are my answers to the Proust Questionnaire:
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Living in a cozy cabin at the edge of a lake, far away from most of humanity. Think about the book or movie 'Secret Window' and you'll get the picture.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My eclectic, yet sometimes unpredictable, nature

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Continuing to survive despite an array of effed-up events, starting at about age 10. My psychiatrist expressed surprise that I wasn't a raging alcoholic or drug addict after all the events I've lived through (which most people DO NOT know about).

What is your greatest fear?
Knowing I'm going to die before it happens. I'd rather go to sleep and not wake up. I don't want to be on an airplane, for instance, and KNOW it's gonna crash and I'm gonna die. I'd rather NOT know when I'm getting ready to bite the big one.

What historical figure do you most identify with?
Mary Shelley.

Which living person do you most admire?
Stephen King.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Creative people – writers, artists, musicians, etc. People who continue to pursue their artistic passions past the point of childhood when society and authoritarians urge you to abandon your 'dreams.'

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Indecisiveness.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Cruelty.

What is your favorite journey?
The one where serendipity shows up regularly.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Detachment. I want to be hands-on in life and to feel what it's like to live in an all-encompassing way.

Which word or phrases do you most overuse?

F*ck. The more people dislike the word, the more I use it.

What is your greatest regret?
Getting married too early, at age 20.

What is your current state of mind?
Curmudgeonly.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
That some members would accept me as I am and not how they want me to be to suit their egos and wishes.

What is your most treasured possession?
My mind.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being prevented from living a life where one can follow his or her passions and earn a livable wage by doing so.

Where would you like to live?
The highlands of Scotland.

What is your favorite occupation?
Writing, especially when I can spend time working on my OWN books and creative projects.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Sensitivity.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Lack of two-faced cattiness. Things that seem to afflict 90% of the females I've ever known.

What are your favorite names?
Peter & Alexandra.

What is your motto?
Smile and nod at your naysayers, then do whatever the hell you planned to do anyway.