Sara Crawford’s 30 Day Writing Challenge: 1

Published May 5, 2014 by Carmen Lamiarum

A good friend of mine has recently published a 30 day writing challenge in the form of an e-book on amazon (which you can find here). I’m going to attempt the challenges. While I may not be in a position to do one per day, I have read the entirety of the book and believe I can at least do them numerically. While in the past I’ve privately attempted poetry and photography challenges, I’ve never done anything like this, and I hope it will assist me in getting back into writing on a regular basis. I plan to number each challenge and begin it with the prompt.

“Write in stream of consciousness for 10 minutes without stopping.”

Does “without stopping” mean I can’t vape? I’m gonna need to vape. I can’t think without inhaling something other than oxygen. Can I stop to fix typos? Well, I’m going to. I hate typos. I wonder if I should have left Opal’s light on when I came downstairs. He’s not accustomed to having a light on or off. It’s just always dark in my room. But three blackout curtains plus blinds on each window will do that. I wonder if it’s strange that Opal likes to organize his rocks and sleeps in the corner closest to the TV. Maybe fish like TV. I wonder if he can hear it playing while we sleep. It’d be nice to be a goldfish. Just kinda hang out, eat ground up fishy flakes, enjoy the bubbles, watch some TV, and poop neon pink. Comparatively speaking, do you think it’d be better to be a cat or a fish? Well, at least my fish has it pretty good, and were I to also have a cat, which I unfortunately do not, Opal would be safe from all harm. His new tank is so tall that I had to stand on my toes to wipe down the bottom of it once it was all put together. I hope I cleaned it well enough. I hope I did everything right. Of course, now I’m worried because I got a filter for a 40 gallon tank, and his new tank is 45 gallons. But if he can survive in water that’s mysteriously turned pink (having nothing to do with his poop, I assure you), I think he can handle a 45 gallon tank with a 40 gallon filtration system. I mean, the damn fish could survive an apocalypse. Eww, another typo. a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. Shows how much concern I have over the idea of one if I can’t even spell it right. Correctly? Right? Eh, whatever. apocalypse is a pretty word though. One of those words that sounds weird if you think about it too much. But it makes me think of Calypso. Now was she the one in The Odyssey? I know, I know, Pirates of the Caribbean (holy shit, I spelled Caribbean right? No way.) but I’m always more of a fan of the true classics. I think she was the one at the top of the mountain who turned all of Odysseus’s men into pigs and goats and stuff, right? Am I allowed to stop and verify that with my spouse? (I almost wrote my partner’s name. Don’t do that.) I only have two minutes left, so I guess I can ask him after, and if I’m wrong then I’ll just correct myself at the end of the post. Instagram. Can I instagram my fish? Is that a thing? I loathe taking selfies after hearing that disgusting club song M****** played for me after work a couple weeks ago. Today he was threatening to play it in the car. I’d rather hear Godzilla or In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida…is that how you spell that? If it’s a typo, I’m coming back to fix it. Oh. Out of time. Now let’s go back and see what kind of weird crap I think about over the course of ten minutes. I wonder what it’d say about who I am as a person. Holy shit, I actually shrugged in real life…

Notes:

~ Circe was the name of the witch at the top of the mountain (or clearing in the woods or whatever) that turned Odysseus’s men into pigs and monkeys and goats and stuff. Apologies for not taking a refresher course in Greek mythology over the last ten years.

~ Calypso is the one who keeps Odysseus prisoner on her island of women, claiming him as her husband and keeping his occupied with her sweet singing voice and warm bedside manner.

~ I didn’t vape for ten minutes. Not really an accomplishment as I sometimes go hours without vaping, but I just thought I’d add it in because I completely forgot all about it.

~ Before and after pictures of Opal’s tank:

Image

Opal’s used 10 gallon tank with no lid, stand, or light.

 

Image

Opal’s new 45 gallon aquarium with bubbly pillars. I also custom made a background that’ll be here in a week-ish.

Advertisements

And Jill Came Tumbling After

Published May 3, 2014 by Carmen Lamiarum

I haven’t written anything since Halloween last year. So pathetic. I hardly ever write in my journal anymore either. It’s only at the request of a friend that I plan to eventually hand write something this weekend. Letters have been promised and never delivered. Paper-filled notebooks sit in stacks by my computer, staring blankly. Yes, a pun.

So many things have happened. The world has turned upside down and right side up and upside down again. I’ve been on the edge of the cliff and back. Climbed to the highest cloud only to fall right through it. Has it really been only seven months? The definition of life itself can change so entirely in that short of a time frame? I am baffled.

I’ll gloss over what I can as quickly as possible. It is not my intention today to write a novel.

In November I became sick to the point of hospitalization, coinciding almost perfectly with the arrival of out of town family. The seemable lack of concern over my health was disheartening to me and frustrating to my spouse, but nevertheless, I recovered well enough shortly after their departure.

December was cold, I guess. And tense. Christmas was a quiet affair, as we unwrapped presents by the tree, just the two of us, before heading out for our traditional Christmas Day Chinese Buffet meal. At this point we had a short term roommate. A good friend of both of ours. Having him around was nice, as I enjoyed the comfort of having someone else in the house without the intrusiveness of having someone in the room constantly. My partner would go to work, I would focus on my failing business, and our roommate would sit in his room playing video games.

January was almost the end of everything. My business venture was officially a flop, having been promised a multitude of commissions, none of which actually panned out. The cold was keeping me constantly indoors, and my spouse was getting more at wits end with my lack of job by the day, and understandably so. While he simply wished for me to keep my word and help our family, I was more focused on finding a position that would make me happy. Something I could be proud of. In today’s society, I guess there’s no room for that. Eventually the D word was spoken, and I felt the weight of the world come crashing down on my head.

It’s unfair to sum up January to that end. Especially when that’s right about the time everything changed for the better. It was in January, toward the end, that everything came to a head and life as I knew it was completely redefined. You see, my partner had begun going to therapy. I had a new therapist as well, but was still not on any medication, as my previous doctor closed her practice last July. I attended a therapy session with my partner and his therapist in a last ditch effort to save whatever we had left. She recommended me to a new doctor, and everything took off like a rocket.

Suddenly I had a new doctor that I really liked, who re-diagnosed me and put me on medications that have worked miracles. Within days of that occurrence, I managed to get in contact with the owner of a local vape store, and was offered the job of a lifetime. One of my best friends and the girlfriend of my roommate moved in part time to be with him, which offered a vast amount of support and happiness. It was surreal that within the course of less than a week, everything had gone from so so so bad to so so so good. I was happy. My partner was happy. And our marriage was on the up and up.

February, everything was good. Valentine’s Day was subtle, but sweet. I still have the card he gave me. It’s a poodle sitting on a pile of bones and says, “The nice little things you do really stack up. Thank you.” He included a little love letter that I keep as a daily reminder of when he had faith in us again.

March, everything was even better. I was absolutely in love with my job, my medications were proving to have lasting positive effects, and we were really moving forward as a couple. I believe to heights we have never attained before.

April was beautiful. Finally, the warmth of spring was here, making me even more happy than I already was. I saw that the dogwood sapling we bought at the festival last year had made it through it’s first winter, and it felt symbolic of the ups and downs that had finally brought my spouse and I to the loving place we are now. As a birthday gift to my partner, we took a trip to Tybee Island for a weekend, renting a beautiful little beach cottage and all in all having a wonderful romantic time together (except for the shark. But that’s a different story.)

It’s now 11:14PM, May 3rd. I was fired yesterday. I’ve never been fired from a job before, and it was quite a shocking experience. I personally believe that my termination was due to pre-planned manipulation and a simple miscommunication. I won’t go into the details of it here. All I will say is that I feel hurt, betrayed, angry, sad…and what’s a more polite way to say “screwed over”? My partner is being exceptionally sympathetic, empathetic (two different things), and seems just as shocked and hurt as I am. My anxiety still lingers in the back of my mind saying, “Find a job as fast as you can so things will stay good!” My depression says, “You’ll never find another job that makes you as happy as that one did. You’re doomed to a miserable dead end career.” I’m trying hard not to listen to those thoughts. I think I might try to get out of town for a little bit, just to clear my head. Then I guess it’s back to the drawing board. My spouse has two rather large ideas/suggestions that might resolve the issue of my employment. Seeing as I suddenly have my weekend free, he and I will take that time to discuss our options.

And I’ve asked my blog host site to remind me to post something at least once a week. I’m going to try my best not to do this again. I need to write when things are bad AND when they’re good.

Image

Perfected Silk Web Crochet Pattern (Free to Use)

Published October 31, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

I swear, it’s totally a coincidence that it’s Halloween and my first pattern is a spider web. lol.

So I was in Joann’s, picking up more materials for my store, and I saw a “No Sew Jack Skellington Fleece Throw Kit” for half off. Of freakin’ course I snatched it up…then used my 40% off coupon… I’ve purchased the no sew kits before, although they’re a different brand, and then cut them to size and crocheted borders on them to make baby blankets. But I wanted to keep this one for myself, so I was going to leave it 50x60in. Anyway, I get it home and take it out of the wrapping, and I notice that the purple border has white lines on it…damn “cut here” marks. The other brands don’t have those. Well, if you’ve ever tried a no sew kit, you know that you have to cut the corners off. So now I have this awesome throw that I DON’T want to cut, and it has big blank spots in the corners. See?

Image

I figured what I’d do is cut off the squares in the corners, and attach some sort of granny square. Just for a little added flare, and because I had nothing else better to do. So I scoured the interwebz looking for a gothy granny square, and came across this spider web pattern. http://chucknorriscrochet.blogspot.com/2013/10/spider-web-motif-granny-square-for.html And here’s a picture of my results:

Image

The pattern was cool, but I didn’t like it. The center seems too dense, and I was having a hard time stretching the square enough so the web part didn’t bucket. After trying three times and getting pretty irritated with my results, I decided I’d make one of my own. So here’s MY pattern, inspired by this one. I’ve never written out a crochet pattern before, so bear with me.

(If you would like to use this pattern for items to sell, you are more than welcome. Please link to this blog post in your listings. You may not repost this pattern, claim it as your own, or sell it. Thank you.)

Perfected Silk Web Crochet Pattern by Carmen Lamiarum:

Materials:

~ 1 roll of Patons silk bamboo yarn (I used the color “stone”)

~ Size K crochet hook

~ Scissors

Abbreviations:

~ ch – chain

~ dc – double crochet

~ sl st – slip stitch

Round 1 (FIGHT!): Ch6, join with a sl st in the first link to form a ring.

Image

Round 2: Ch5 (counts as first dc and ch2), *dc in the ring, ch2* repeat from * to * 7 times. Join with sl st in the 3rd link of initial ch5. (8 dc in the ring)

Image

Round 3: Ch7 (counts as first dc and ch4). *Dc in the dc from the previous round, ch4* repeat from * to * 7 times. Join with a sl st to the 3rd link of initial ch7 (still 8 dc).

Image

Round 4: Ch9 (counts as first dc and ch6). *Dc in the dc from the previous round, ch6* repeat from * to * 7 times. Join with a sl st to the 3rd link of initial ch9 (STILL 8 dc).

Image

Round 5 (pay attention): Ch11 (counts as first dc and ch8). Dc in the dc of previous round, ch10 (this will begin to form the corners). Dc in the next dc of previous round, ch8. Alternate dc, ch10 and dc, ch8 around. You should end with a ch10. Sl St into the 3rd link of initial ch11. (This is where I take a moment to stretch the ch10 spaces to further establish where my corners are going to be.)

Image

Round 6: Sl st into ch8 space and ch3 (counts as first dc). 2dc, ch1, 3dc, ch1, 3dc, ch1, all in the ch8 space from the previous round. This makes your first “side”. Each side hereafter in this round will be a grouping of 3dc, ch1 3 times.

Image

For the “corners”, 3dc, ch1, 3dc, ch2, 3dc, ch1, 3dc, ch1, all in the ch10 space.

Image

repeat the “sides” instructions in every ch8 space, and the “corners” instructions in the ch10 spaces around. Join with a sl st in the 3rd link of initial ch3. Almost there.

Image

Round 7: Ch3 (counts as first dc). 2dc in ch1 space from previous round, then ch1. 3dc, ch1 in the next ch1 space. Continue with 3dc, ch1 in each ch1 space around. When you reach the ch2 spaces that make up the corners, 3dc, ch2, 3dc, ch1 in the ch2 space of the previous round. (If you’ve made a granny square anything before, we’re just doing a standard granny square cluster all the way around.) After the last 3dc, ch1, join with a sl st to the initial ch3. Fasten off and FINISH HIM!!!

Image

Notes: With my size and gauge materials, this square comes out to be about six inches. It takes about 5-10 minutes to make one. If you use a thicker yarn, you might have to adjust the number of ch3 clusters on the sides. I’m not sure. 3 clusters per ch8 space just seemed to fit right with this yarn. If there are any mistakes, please let me know in the comments and I will fix them. And if you make one of these, I’d love to see pictures of it! 🙂

I’m thinking tonight I might try to come up with a new pattern for an itsy bitsy spider to put in my webs. Not sure yet though. I haven’t attached the squares to the blanket yet, so I’ll decide that after I see how they look.

What’s in a Name?

Published October 30, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

I haven’t written lately half-on-purpose. I have big (to me) news, and part of me was afraid of jinxing it by telling anyone before it was ready to go. But now I have no choice. I’m taking too much time. I’ve pretty much stopped talking to my friends in an effort to keep this a secret, when really, I should be doing the exact opposite. I can be a bad friend at times, I know. If you feel like I’ve been neglecting you lately (J, D, S, T, N…) this is why.

So the secret is this: I’m in the process of opening up a store. I took all the money I made from BZXL and put it into craft supplies. Right now I have a somewhat large-ish line of silk and fleece crocheted baby blankets. I’m also starting out on a venture to re-purpose old window frames. I want to eventually make a ton of different kinds of crafts to sell. I’m going to learn how to use my Singer (I can’t even thread the thing without knotting up the line) and I might take up knitting too. I’m also going to get back into painting, although I’m doubtful anyone will be interested in those. Heh. Anyway, I’m going to open an Etsy store asap in attempts to sell my crafts. I just need to think of a store name. That’s the ONE thing holding me back from going live and telling everyone. I need to think of something that represents what I do, why I do it, etc. Sounds catchy, and can be made into a marketable logo for business cards etc. I really liked “Crafty Rascal” but that could have a negative connotation. Then I though of “Stitchcraft Designs” with a witch hat and crochet hook jolly roger logo, but there’s already a business by that name in Athens. So I’m at a loss.

The end goal isn’t an Etsy store though. It’s really just the first step. When I make enough money I would like to rent out a booth at the antique mall over by my house, and sell there. When I make enough from THAT, I want to eventually buy a piece of property to use as an event center for local charities. You see, all of this is for charity. 10% of my monthly profits will go to one on a list of charities. I’ll also be having product give-aways where I’ll be donating some of my blankets and other useful crafts to shelters etc.

But I can’t go live without a name and a logo. And I was supposed to be live a month ago. I need some help. Does anyone have any name suggestions? Feel free to leave them in the comments. Once I have something good and original then I can make the logo, upload my product line, and be doing business within a day. Which would be lovely as I REALLY need to start making something from this. *sigh* I don’t want to fail at this idea.

DeejStuff Vape Juices: A Review

Published October 3, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

Well the Deejstuff juices I ordered have arrived and I picked up some spare tanks to test them all out and tell you what I think. My partner is helping me write this review, as he picked some of the flavors, so here we go:

What We Ordered:

~ 1 30ml bottle of “Honeysuckle” flavored juice. 8mg/ml nicotine. 70%PG/30%VG. “Push” (or 150% flavor strength)

~ 6 15ml bottles in the following flavors: “Lavender”, “Honeyed Figs”, “Dragon’s Nectar”, “Green Tea Honey Drops”, “Banana Nut Bread”, and “Watermelon Angel’s Breath”. All of them are 8mg/ml nicotine. 70%PG/30%VG. “Push” (or 150% flavor strength)

Total cost: $52.65 with free shipping over $50.

What We Are Using:

I am using a SMOK SID battery set at 4.5 volts. My spouse is using a Provari V2 set at 3.5 volts. We are also sharing a SmokTech E-pipe mod. All of the tanks we will use are Vision’s Vivi Novas with 2.4 ohm wicks. The tanks are new and have not been exposed to other flavors prior to our review.

Ordering and Shipping:

Gotta say, the website is fantastic. I love the way the juices are categorized and the menu has a simple and effective interface. The ability to create your own six pack of juices was also something I rarely see and greatly enjoy. Makes writing reviews like this much easier. The names for some of the custom juices were creative without being so obscure as to hide what the flavors are, and the descriptions of each flavor type are informative and to-the-point. I also really like that you can choose a “flavor strength” when you place your order. 100% is “normal”, 125% is “extra”, 150% is “push”, 175% is “nuclear”, and 200% is “apocalyptic”.

As for shipping…well, everything arrived pretty much when it should have. I was prepared to give a little leeway considering the government shutdown, but the juices still arrived in a timely fashion. Each bottle is marked with the date the juice was mixed (9/26, same day that we ordered) and they arrived 10/2. So from start to finish, it took six days (four business days) for our order to arrive. Not bad at all. Each bottle was shipped in an individual little bag, I guess to prevent any potential leaks from getting all over all the juices. The only negative thing I can say about the shipping process is that four out of the seven bottles did arrive having leaked a little bit inside the bags. The bottles and caps were inspected by us and nothing seems damaged. I think it was just a matter of the caps being screwed on loosely. But really, the leaking wasn’t too bad.

Image

The Flavors:

~ Honeysuckle

What the website says: “If you ever loved the taste of Honeysuckle Nectar as a kid, you are going to LOVE this vape! It’s truly amazing!”

What we think: Honeysuckle, to me, doesn’t really taste like honeysuckle. But that’s not to say that it isn’t absolutely fantastic, and my chosen flavor of the month! I’ve already gone through four bottles of this stuff prior to ordering from DeejStuff directly, and I love love love this flavor. It walks a really thin line between not exactly floral and not exactly fruity. It does have a honeysuckle-ish flavor to it, but I would describe it as the taste of the SMELL of honeysuckle. Not the nectar itself. It also bites the tongue just a little bit. I wouldn’t say it’s spicy but you get a little tingle on the tip of your tongue. It’s really nice, really refreshing, and does invoke memories of myself as a child, running around the backyard in the southern summer heat.

~ Watermelon Angel’s Breath

What the website says: “Inspired by ECF’s AngelsBreath, this is a blending of Watermelon and Honeysuckle that simply must be tasted to be believed. It really is like the breath of an Angel! Well… WE think so, anyway! ”

What we think: It’s subtle and refreshing. I like it. I don’t love it, but I like it. If you’re looking for “real” watermelon flavor as opposed to “candy-ish” watermelon flavor, this is not going to do it for you. (But so far, I’ve yet to find a “real” watermelon vape flavor from anyone.) I can taste the sweet candy-like flavoring of the watermelon, and while the honeysuckle mix still gives you that little bite, it’s not as prevalent as I would personally like. However, I could certainly see myself reaching for this flavor in the spring and summer. The flavor is bold without being overpowering. And it gives a really nice throat hit.

~ Dragon’s Nectar

What the website says: “Dragons near and far all seek the elusive Dragon’s Nectar…Created with help from ECF’s own Spud006 Dragon’s Nectar is a blend of Dragonfruit, Peach, Cantaloupe, Watermelon and Green Tea.”

What we think: Whoo boy, what a delicious and complex flavor! The dragonfruit and the peach are certainly the frontrunners of this puzzling juice, but the cantaloupe and watermelon play a crucial role as well. I feel like the green tea serves as a sort of base for all these other flavors to stand on, and works as a nice comfortable after taste. Really, vaping this juice is like going on an adventure. I’m not sure what I’m going to taste the most each time I inhale. My only suggestion is to rename this juice to reference hobbits. Cause really, the words “there and back again” are on a loop in my mind. I totally dig this bold and complex flavor combo!

~ Banana Nut Bread

What the website says: “Banana nut bread. How can you go wrong?”

What we think: Believe me, Deej…you CAN go wrong! Fortunately for you, you haven’t. Banana Nut Bread is my spouse’s favorite flavor, and we’ve tried this flavor from a few other sites and stores. But yours goes above and beyond and is, undoubtedly, the best. First of all, it’s a flavor that actually tastes like the thing it’s made to taste like. I know that might sound silly, but it’s a rare occurrence. It’s a perfect balance of banana (that tastes like “real” banana, not “candy” banana), nuts (warm but not overpowering), and a slight hint of ground cinnamon…and maybe some nutmeg? I’m not sure, but I taste something else there. Just a little bit. Either way, it’s a great fall/winter flavor. I’m personally not partial to “warm” or “cake-like” flavors, but this one is fantastic. I can almost taste the crunchy outside and soft mushy inside of actual banana nut bread. Great job!

~ Green Tea Honey Drop

What the website says: “Green Tea sweetened with Honey!”

What we think: I was a little skeptical of this flavor at first. It was a toss up between this one or the peach champagne though, and I was really curious to know what exactly DeejStuff thought green tea should taste like. I was really expecting to feel like I was vaping a cough drop. But I was certainly wrong. It’s warm, subtle, crisp, and refreshing. The balance between the honey and the green tea is spot on. It’s also pretty thought-provoking. I’m swarmed by mental images and memories from every season, all of them peaceful and pleasant. I would recommend this flavor as a year-round choice, and for people who place a high value in feeling calm and comfortable.

~ Honeyed Figs

What the website says: “Figs and honey. An ancient combination… but still oh! so good!”

What we think: If the only fig you’ve ever tried is a “Fig Newton”, go out and buy the real thing so you can taste it before you buy this juice. It really tastes JUST like figs! The honey is actually a little more subtle in this one, but I like that. It just sweetens up the fig taste a little, and serves as a great complimentary flavor. For some reason, figs have always reminded me of old things that make me happy. Like antique stores. Or my grandma. You know, a little on the weird side, but welcoming and unforgettable. This flavor doesn’t miss the mark. I really really enjoy this, and would probably use it after a nice meal as a sort of dessert flavor.

~ Lavender

What the website says: “Ever think you could vape Lavender? Now you can! Let the soothing flavor and aroma be a part of your vaping experience!”

What we think: Honestly, I was scared to try this flavor. But it was also the one I was most excited about. I had in my mind this memory of visiting a good friend in Seattle and getting a honey lavender milkshake (first time I ever actually ate lavender anything) and it was so ridiculously good that I thought nothing would be able to compare. Well this vape juice is totally different, but just as good. It has a similar level of bite that the honeysuckle has, and tastes just the way lavender smells…which lavender smells just the way it tastes, so I’d call that a win. I really like that it’s floral, but not in an old-lady-perfume-headache kinda way. It’s floral in a new-age-yoga-pants kinda way. A hint of sweetness, a dash of floral, and just a tad spicy, this is a perfect flavor for the local dogwood festival in springtime.

Score:

The website is great, the shipping is fast, and the juices are stellar. The fact that all the juices are made in the USA just totally makes my day. The only real negative was the issue with the caps not being on tight enough. Everything else was simply fantastic, and I can’t wait to place my next order. I will certainly be passing out the business cards that were included in my order to my other vaping friends. 4.5/5!!! (Please make a lavender honey flavor? Please?)

To check out DeejStuff vape juices and place an order of your own, visit http://www.deejstuff.com/

Image

Shelves Abound

Published October 2, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

I’ve been ill since Friday, but by today (Tuesday) I’m feeling much better. So since my spouse took the day off for our staycation (in celebration of our weddingversary), we decided we were going to do one of the things that we love to do together: reconfigure the house. Or at least parts of it.

Today seemed to be all about shelves. There weren’t enough shelves in the house for all our movies, TV shows, video games, and books. So the goal was to make more room while spending as little as possible.

Our relatively large book collection was being housed in the dining room, on two bookcases that were hand made by our old neighbor. Here’s what they looked like.

Image

Quite well made and very sturdy. I liked them because of their potential. But leaving them like they were…meh. Kinda boring. Didn’t match the dining room table. And even two of these was nowhere near enough room for all our books. We had them both full to the brim, and there were still towers of books stacked on the top. So we decided to custom build some bookshelves for the dining room/library. We ordered all the parts we need, and with shipping, it was only around $150. So those things are on their way, and I’m sure I’ll make another project post just to cover that process.

The DVDs were being housed on the video game shelves my partner custom built for his man cave. Which meant the video games and consoles were being stored wherever we happened to find extra room. Usually in the “media closet” on a shitty little DVD rack from Walmart. So I figured if we’re going to build custom bookshelves, why not give the old shelves a little makeover and use them for DVD’s? Then this happened…

Image

Image

Image

Note to self: Stop buying movies. Just stop.

Since the movies were moved to the new-old bookshelves, that meant there was officially room for the games on the game shelves. See?

Image

But then there was an issue of the consoles. Because the games filled all the empty space where the movies had been. Oh, well no problem…just build more shelves in the media closet out of scrap wood in the garage!

Image

In the meantime, all the books are in massive stacks on the dining room table.

All My Children (A graphically violent bit of writing therapy)

Published September 29, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

I was going to write a blog about week two of having the gliders, and Ayla’s escape last night. (Lucca distracted us after playtime last night and Ayla snuck out and downstairs into the man cave. Fortunately, she came right to us when we caught up to her.) But now I want to write about something else. I’ll put this in the gliders section because it’s applies to them, and because I don’t have a section for Laci and Griffin (my two dogs, if you didn’t already know). Bear with me though…even as I write this, I don’t know what it is I want to say exactly. I don’t know what my message is, or if I even have one.

Over the last couple of days, I have been spending my time watching videos on a site called http://www.upworthy.com. I don’t really know why. Maybe subconsciously I just needed something to feel good about. I’m not feeling well this weekend, and so it’s been a pretty good distraction so far. It’s at least gotten me hooked on a book about the introvert/extrovert spectrum and something called The Extrovert Ideal, which has made me think a lot, and left me feeling a little frustrated. Anyway, the book is by Susan Cain, and it’s called Quiet. I haven’t finished it yet, but I already recommend it, and might make a post about it after I’m done reading.

I saw Patrick Stewart lose his cool over the mere idea of a man ever putting his hands on a woman in a violent way. I already love Patrick Stewart, and that just made me love him more.

I also saw countless videos of people helping the homeless, rehabilitating victims of sex trafficking, infecting strangers with laughter, and in general just bringing goodness into the world in unique and creative ways. I’ve been stuck on the community and inspirational sections for two days.

Then today, I saw something that, to me, was the total opposite of “upworthy”. And it’s really shaken me. It was so completely horrific that I’m not going to post the video here. I don’t want it on my blog. If you wanna see it yourself, go find it on upworthy. But essentially what happened was this:

A group of people were standing on the street outside a crime scene, video taping all the police cars and SWAT trucks. There was a guy who was just a little bit closer than everyone else, so you could see him being video taped as well. He was just standing on the sidewalk, next to his parked car, with his cell phone in one hand, and his dog’s leash in the other. Like everyone else, he was filming whatever was going on. Down the sidewalk from him were two cops, kinda keeping all the spectators in their peripherals. I guess the cops eventually decided that the guy with the dog was too close to the scene and told him to stop recording and leave. The guy didn’t do ANYTHING confrontational. He put his phone in his pocket, walked back to his car, put his dog inside, and prepared to get in himself. And here is where my spouse and I differ. My partner says everything that followed was the guys fault for opening his mouth/daring to challenge authority. Had it been me though (I guess because I’m naturally argumentative) I would have done precisely what this guy did.

He said, “Isn’t this some violation of my civil rights?” That’s it. He didn’t walk toward the cops. He didn’t present any threat to anybody. He was getting in his car as he said it. But the cops turned to him, walked down the sidewalk, and instantly arrested him. For asking a question. All the while, his dog was in the backseat of the car, barking. I noted that it seemed like these two cops were being unnecessarily rough with this guy, but that thought soon left my mind when the dog jumped out the window of the car and ran over to it’s owner. And one of the cops shot it.

This wasn’t like “blamo, you’re dead”, either. This cop shot the dog four or five times. AND IT DIDN’T DIE!!! The poor thing was there, writhing and bleeding to death in the street. Convulsing in agony. Of course his owner was screaming in horror. And the cops just…stood there. They watched, and worse, forced the dog’s owner to watch it die. Everyone. They all just watched.

I don’t even know what to say. People are homeless, children are dying, wars are raging…but this just fucked me up.

I don’t have children. Or rather…I don’t have human children. Maybe it’s stupid to some of you, but Laci and Griffin ARE my children. Ayla and Lucca are too. I’d do anything to keep them healthy, happy, and protected. After I watched this horrible clip, I just sat here, asking myself if I’d be willing to die for one of my dogs. And the answer is yes. I love them that much.

I’m so angered by what I saw. And so heartbroken by it. And in writing all of this out, and seeing it again in my mind…after comparing it to all the other positive things I’ve seen on this (typically) awesome and positive upworthy site, I finally know how to react. I’m going to get off this stupid computer, stop watching a bunch of strangers make a bunch of other strangers happy, and focus on making my own house a happier place. Time to spend a little time with my partner and my “kids”.