Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Let's Talk Halloween!

It's October already! Only so much time to get your costumes made!

Those of you who know me on FanSci or Facebook know my sister has chosen Lady Loki, (from annagiovannini at deviant art). She's bought some fabric and this weekend we'll be starting to cut it up and hope the shape it takes will look...


Don't worry, I'll post pictures later to show either our triumph or our humiliating failure.... I wonder if we should get a wig or if Christina will just be a short-haired Loki. Probably that second one. I'll get out the hair-wax so she can spike it up for interest.

My idea (which I also bought fabric for, so is now etched as close to in stone as I get) is a gender-swapped Thor costume to go with her Lady Loki. And Lacking interest in armor, I think I might go even a little further away from the traditional.

Sketch of Steampunked Gender-Swapped Thor CostumeI've been sketching. Scanned in pencil doesn't show as well as I'd like, and I'm not used to trying to put my own art online so I'm a bit lost in digitally fixing it, but I'm sure you get the idea.

I'm leaning toward the last one -- the one with the under-bust vest -- I found a light silvery gray knit to make the undershirt with that should give just a hint of armor. The vest and skirt will be a darker, heavier knit that won't be completely stiff, but should hold it's shape enough to flare nicely past the hips.

The top hat worries me a little too. I've started 3 different ones, but have yet to finish any. And I'm not sure how to make the wings yet.

What are you planning? Making anything big and difficult or will you be buying stuff from the store, like I probably will for my children who have decided to be Harry Potter and Hermione.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Changes in my Lifetime

I'm old, but not that old.

Well, I'm 38. Some people would say that's old, but I'm not nearing retirement age. Not that I can retire - home mommies don't get those benefits, but that's a different argument. Right now, I'm thinking of seeing my father beat up my mother. Well, all of us, really, but with a focus on my mother.

I'm thinking of all the times the police came out and went away, having done nothing. Occasionally, there was a type of conversation, three men (police usually came in pairs) standing outside chatting.  They'd gesture, but with small movements, like every day conversation. Sometimes they'd laugh, you know, like every day conversation. As if nothing was wrong.

They didn't think hitting us was wrong.

Maybe they only meant that hitting her wasn't wrong, but we generalized. And we never said a thing, for the rest of our lives.

That was in the 1970's.

As early as the 1960's, there were mandatory reporting laws, suggesting child abuse might be taken seriously, but can you imagine seeing the police walk away while your mother sobbed in the corner? Bruised and bleeding. They didn't care when an adult was getting the mess beat out of her, why would they care if the kids did? Or maybe it was the image of three men chatting in a happy circle in the yard while the females of the house hid behind things and cried. (Once I picked up a shovel and raised it over my shoulder determined to stop him from hurting my mother, but that was the first time he threatened -- in a voice I took very seriously -- to kill me.)

In the 1990's, when I was raped, I knew it was my fault. I knew it, without a doubt, without even having to bother the police about it. I wouldn't have called the police if I'd been hospitalized. I wasn't, and I knew that made me lucky. A girl in my class in college a few years later, my secondary education class, reiterated that point when we talked about issues high school students faced. She wore long skirts and high collars and thought short skirts were an irresistible invitation to horny men. I'd already stopped believing that -- at least a little -- but I never asked if she'd had personal experiences.

Marital rape started being prosecuted as a crime in the U.S. in the late 1990s, not long after the Violence Against Women Act was passed in 1994 and with finances added in 1996. Only when Federal money was put into a hotline was it considered serious enough to jail people for.

Only in the late 1990s did adult women gain even a chance of being taken seriously by the police -- if they lived in a liberal area.

Then, in Kansas, they stopped prosecuting domestic abuse and freed 30 suspects. And now there's a bill in Wisconsin claiming single mothers cause abuse despite the fact that 22 percent of women and only 7 percent of men are victims of abuse. I guess they're asking for it.

If these republicans think child abuse is important (it was made illegal earlier, perhaps it might be considered a big deal), let me tell you - children from those families are affected. It hurts them. We get hit by things. Men who hit women, don't stop there. Most of my scars are from childhood -- and I'm a klutz who sewed through my own finger when I got my first sewing machine and stabbed myself with a screwdriver during a home renovation. Imagine how many scars I have if the ones I got in my first 15 years of life (that's when I moved out) still outnumber the ones I got in the last 23.

And it doesn't stop there. Both my sister's first relationships were with abusive men. Mine too, but I managed to get away and find a truly good guy to marry. The sister who didn't get into drugs has learned to trust my husband, but hasn't had a real relationship since her divorce. Who can blame her?

In those home renovations, I mentioned, I was removing a bathroom sink. I turned off the water outside, removed the sink, turned off the input valves and went outside to turn on the water for the rest of the house. One of the valves was broken and water sprayed the entire bathroom. It broke the light fixture. I can't remember how many things got broken, but I know it was a lot. I laughed when I called Husband, and after the day before of a million little things breaking, he couldn't believe I could laugh.

We agreed that the difference was a million little things instead of one big thing. It's easier to laugh at one big thing than thing after thing going wrong. I used that example the other day when talking to him about why all these proposed laws bothered me when NONE of the Florida laws against women's rights passed. They're passing somewhere and if it keeps happening, they'll pass here too. Eventually.

We have:

  • Throw like a girl and run like a girl - meaning incompetently.
  • Cry like a girl.
  • girly - said in a tone that obviously means unimportant.
  • it's a girl-thing - usually meaning petty or small.
  • Man up - meaning strength.
  • Grow a pair - meaning strength.
  • Slut and whore versus stud.

A million little things, including the new Dr. Pepper commercials saying "Not for Women," that circle of men in my front yard, and the bills that value a cluster of cells over the woman carrying them. (Those bills might say they are to protect life, but women have already died because of their doctor's newly limited options.)

What are we teaching their children? Will they see themselves with the same unimportance I did, growing up?

There have been 916 bills introduced in the United States in ONE YEAR, since last March. These bills take away health care, they take away equal pay on the claim that only men need to support families. These bills make us all less, telling men that being a bully is 'manly' and telling women that abuse is our fault.

You guys don't know how afraid I am that we're going to go back to the world I grew up in.

How can anyone possibly think those days were better than it is today?

Monday, April 9, 2012

And I Conspire with Life to Make my Weeks Busy

A few weeks ago, I volunteered with the local organic veggie people to coordinate pickups. That means they bring a smallish semi truck to my house every Monday and drop off a pallet of fruits and veggies, which I then sort out into bags for anywhere from 10 to 22 people.

It seemed like a small thing, and I like to be helpful, but it does fill a day!

And leaves me with aching abs. And exhausted.

Adding to that new thing, last week was spring break for the kids. And the University, where Husband works, has decided to lower the amount of leave the employees can carry over from year to year, so Husband took the week off to use up some of the (now extra) time he's accrued over the last 12 years.

It made my days weird. No pick up and drop-off times for the kids. No 5:something Husband's home dinners to add structure to our days. No gym trips -- or good logical times to go.

So we ran the Warrior Dash in the rain, bagged veggies, cleaned house and car, went to Legoland, sent the kids to the pool with school friends, and decorated and hunted eggs for the pagan easter.

I held the camera.
We need more veggies!
These are all made of Legos.
All of them.
I ride a Lego camel.
Boychild drives.
Girlchild shows an affinity for acting.
(The boys had smile-screams; she looks terrified) 
We discovered Everyone Loves Vader.
And Girlchild finds the necessary orange Jack-o-Egg.
And this week we try to get back into our old habits. I started off going to the gym, to see if exercise will help my recent bout of crankiness, and sorting veggies. Remembering to deliver and collect the children. Remembering to remind Girlchild to do her homework.

Good habits are so easily broken.

Tomorrow I try adding writing back into the mix.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Perhaps something is wrong with me. The title is "Eerily Realistic Monster Sculptures Wish You Sweet and Screaming Dreams" but they look so happy.

Every one of them is smiling. Except the headless one, but look at his hands! You can tell he's happy too.

And if anyone from the far far north where there are fewer allergens wants to offer Husband a job my nearly constant headache and I will make sure he seriously considers it. Sadly he's gone all specialized so I can't go job hunting for him and tempt him with foreign locales. I'm not sure HE can go online and search for openings either. If we ever move it will probably be someone seeing him speak at one of the professional organizations and deciding they need him. Documenting and managing network ports and cables between a few thousand buildings is not something many organizations need.


But all our stuff is here. And our friends. So I guess it's not too bad.

Then again we're already having days above 80 degrees so if we have more than a week in the 110's I may revisit the idea and follow up by begging people to join us afterward.

How is it in places that aren't Florida? Anyone else tempting heatstroke in March?

Monday, March 12, 2012

More Nerf

I painted another nerf gun. This time my main goal was to be able to reassemble a gun that still worked.
Stop or I'll shoot!

Aaaaannnnnnd... It does.

Not only does the gun still fire, the laser sight on top still.... lasers?

Still makes a red dot on stuff you aim at.

I can't take a picture of it firing (digital cameras aren't that fast) so you'll have to take my word for it. Pretty and functional.  (I can occasionally manage one of those for myself, so both of those on one object.... Exceptional!)

So, I guess I'll see you all again next week when maybe I'll do something useful. Probably, I won't. But maybe.